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My Grandfather’s Words: Thursday July 25, 1918

The weather today was hot and windy. The thermometer reads 102 degree F. at 7:00 PM, but the breeze makes it seem cool.

For breakfast this morning we had hot spuds, coffee, cornflakes, & milk. Oh! and one peach. For dinner we had cabbage, sugared spuds, bread, boiled ham, & water. For supper we had mince pie, bread & water, carrots, and spuds.

Up again at 6:15 and passed up my bath, breakfast was at 6:30. I went on sick report & was marked “quarters” for today. My ribs are pretty sore from the horse’s kick yesterday. They will likely be sore for a few days. I read and tried to think and read some more until the A.M mail came. A dear letter from Sweetheart Wife. She is well, but is lonely, too. I seems strange sometimes that we are separated this way. She, way up there in Waterloo & I down here. Yet God knows best and we try to be patient under His hand. She sent me two snapshots of herself, too. My heart longs for her. For a moment these pictures bring her nearer. Maybe she will come down here. Yet, I don’t know whether it is best she come or not. I can only pray that God will open the way soon for us to be together again.

We signed the pay roll. I expect we will get our pay about the second of August.

I wrote up some of my journal’s back pages this evening. I started this the second of July & was drafted the 9th of May. I have quite a bit of back history to write up. Of course I won’t be able to remember all occurrences but will do the best I can.

At this time, the horses that are going overseas are all sorted. They finished this A.M. It seems there are but twelve hundred to go, instead of the twenty-seven hundred I had heard were going. There is always  talk flying around here.

My Grandfather’s Words: Friday and Saturday, July 12, 13, 1918

Editors Note: I’m sorry I’ve been out of touch for a few weeks. I’ve posted two entries from my grandfather’s journal to make up for it.


Weather was hot both this A.M and this P.M. I thought with the dark clouds there would be rain, but it was a dust storm.

Breakfast was liver & onions, bread, fried spuds. Lunch was cold roast beef, sliced potatoes with gravy, bread, water, and applesauce. For supper we ate bread, water, potatoes, meat, and gravy. I bought two sticks of candy.

Up at 6:10. Bathed and dressed by 6:20 reveille. The usual A.M. routine. Some of the men were told off last night to help load horses this morning. They had to rise at 4:20. They loaded out 260 head. Don’t know where they went. The top Sargent went along. I was informed by on the the Vet Corps men some time ago that there were about 11,000 horses and cows here. Several have been sent out since, & I suppose that there are around 900 or 1,000 here now. One of the horses was killed this evening. The men were driving a bunch into the 9th corral. This one slipped and fell and broke a leg. They had to put it down.

I don’t know much other news to set down tonight. I had a letter from Mary Dear written on Tuesday just before she had the operation. I had another letter from James written the day after the operation. Honey had tried to start the second letter but was too weak, so James finished it for her. She was at O’Neils. James had taken her there from the doctor’s office. She was in as satisfactory a condition as could be hoped for at that time. My dear girl. God keep her & take care of her for Jesus’s sake. Amen.


Weather: A warm light rain this A.M.

Breakfast was hot cakes with syrup, coffee, a banana & cornflakes. For lunch we had bread, beans, cocoa, & tapioca pudding. For supper we had bread, water, spagetti with mean and apple cobbler.

I was up at usual time, bathed and dressed as per my usual routine. Worked in A & B & 6th corral today. We quit about 4 P.M. I had a hair cut. After mess, Ralph & I went to town. Hiked in and bame back on the car. I was looking for a furnished rooms. I was trying to get the lay of this end of town. Had a letter from Honey Girl written the next A.M. after she had her operation. She sat up in bed & wrote & and was feeling fairly good but weak. Aunt Frances was going to fix her something to drink, some kind of broth. I expect that would strengthen her.scan0039camp-macarthur.preview

My Grandfather’s Words: Thursday July 11, 1918

Weather: hot in A.M, but a north wind cooled the evening.

For breakfast we had coffee, oatmeal, canned milk, bread, fried spuds. Lunch was jam, bread, water, and beef soup. Supper was watermelon, cake, cold salad with one small tomato, water, bread and rice.

Up at 6 A.M. bathed and dressed at 6:15 with the usual routine, revielle all call, police up, and breakfast. Sergeant Hasht told me to go get a team this A.M. Choose a team and then report at the warehouse. I did and helped unload a car of bran and then helped unload a car of hay. We took it out to No. 7 corral. 80 bales. A pretty strenuous day in all. I was not as tired as I was last evening though. I think pushing that water cart is about as hard as any job on the cleaning and feeding force.

I am getting acclimated a little so I don’t feel the work on the cleaning force is as hard as it used to be any how. At first when they put me on the cleaning force, and I was shoveling manure, I did overdo it, especially in the heat. I now take it a little bit easier.

I just ate the tomato. I had eaten so much watermelon for supper I could not eat the tomato so I put it in my pocket. It’s now 8:30 and am eating it now.

I had my daily letter from Honey Girl today & I wrote her this evening. She will be getting a bit over the operation by now, God willing. It is over two days now & tho her throat will be sore for a while yet she will be getting used to it now.

My Grandfather’s Words: Tuesday July 9, 1918

Weather today was cool in the A.M. yet hot in the P.M.

For breakfast we ate fried spuds, bacon, cornflakes, coffee, bread and jam. For lunch we ate string beans, mashed spuds, meat & spaghetti, and doughnuts for dessert. For supper we had meat cooked with hot sauce, spuds, bread, water, and pudding.

Up at 6:10 bathed and dressed by 6:20 reveille and police work, breakfast & to work in the corral, lunch & back till 3, then worked in until P.M. It was so much cooler this morning but the heat rose in the afternoon. It was pretty hot.

I didn’t hear from Mary today. She was to have had her tonsils out Sat at 1:30 & yesterday’s letter was written then. It must have went all right with her or else I would have had a wire. I wish I could have been there, but God willed otherwise & I can try to put more trust in Him. She will be pretty sick for a while, but God grand she is all right now. I had ought not to worry, but I do. I guess it is because she is my dear wife, all I hold dearest in the world is just her. My Mary.

Today, D. Hartman who came here when I did is to go to the hospital tomorrow. He has a touch of T.B. This dust in the remount would develop that in most anyone, I guess. He is from a rather strong creed – the Church of the Disciples & is from Detroit, Michigan. I have talked with him on scriptural things. I am afraid he is not saved.

My Grandfather’s Words: Saturday July 6, 1918

543-taken-at-camp-macarthur-waco-texas-durWeather: Hot as usual.

Breakfast: Grapenuts, milk, fried spuds, bread, coffee. For dinner (lunch) we had boiled ham, cabbage, spuds, bread, water. Supper was sliced ham, cabbage, boiled spuds, bread, pudding, peaches, water, raisin pie.

Usual routine, up at six bathed & dressed by 6:20. Revielle, breakfast, finished a letter to honey-girl, then to work at 7:20. Worked till 11:15, came in, found a package in my mailbox from sweetheart, no letters. Shaved before dinner, then to work again at one. Worked till four, then quit for the day. Had a bath, changed into my uniform & was ready for supper.

Went to see the canteen sergeant about a job as short order cook. Some of the boy’s said it paid $10.00 a month extra. Told the sergeant I could hold it down. He wanted to know where I had cooked before. I told him “to home”. I told him I had “batched a year on a farm.” He didn’t say much, said that he wanted a cook’s helper, that he was not sure about the extra pay. They had promised extra pay, but he was not sure about it yet. It was not a satisfactory visit.

Went to library. Drew out two books. American short stories & Life of Franklin to read.


Mess call at six. Ate supper, washed out some clothes, then read awhile. Ralph E. and J. Bohi came along. They were going to the Y to weigh themselves. They urged me to go along. I went & was weighed at 155 1/2. I’m getting used to the grub and the climate. Back to barracks. Read awhile, then to bed about 10:40.

My Grandfather’s Words: Monday May 13, 1918 (Part A)

Time to Pack

I don’t remember the time I woke up this morning, but I remember I went and had a cold shower just about day break.

The previous evening I had had my arm with the boils on it looked at by a doctor. He told me to go on sick report in the morning. So I went. There were so many there before me. The doctor just put iodine on my arm and bandaged it up again. It must have been nearly 8:30 when I got out. I hustled for the mess hall and arrived just in time. I nearly missed my breakfast. Continue reading My Grandfather’s Words: Monday May 13, 1918 (Part A)

My Grandfather’s Words: Thursday May 9, 1918

wedding-of-grampa-and-grammaMy grandfather, Glenn Ethan Hollopeter married my grandmother, Mary Dowson Leask on February 26, 1918.

The following is the first entry from my grandfather’s Journal:

Mary and I returned from Tracy, Minnesota, at 3 A.M. (Brother Ben lived there.) We went to Mary’s folks, and to bed.

Leask Home in Mason City
In 1906 Mary’s family moved to the Waterloo area from this house of seven gables in Mason City, Iowa

In the morning, I went out to the farm to get my trunk, and finish straightening things up there. I saw Oliver and asked him if I could hire Harvey for the morning. He told me go ahead. So I had Harvey go down to the station, get my trunk, and fetch it out to the farm. I had taken it out to Mother’s to put my fur coat and other things in it. Continue reading My Grandfather’s Words: Thursday May 9, 1918


                                                                                                                                                                                                           AuthorTHINGS WE CANNOT CONTROL!!



Shirley Harris-Slaughter is a Michigan native. She is a community activist having been a school board trustee in the Oak Park School District and mentored four freshmen girls in the Winning Futures Program. Shirley loves trains, vintage clothes, and old buildings with historic significance. So it was a natural that she would write about growing up in historic Royal Oak Twp. and keep alive a catholic community that was about to lose its history and identity. It seems that everything she loved closed down and she was not about to let any of it be forgotten. Shirley joined Rave Reviews Book Club because she recognized the need to support fellow authors in order to move forward in her own endeavors. She already had a thriving relationship with like twitter followers that lead her here. “We all had the same goals so it was a natural fit.”


The continuing saga of this story is played out in an excerpt presented here…


Book Excerpt

With the help of our godmother, Martha Palms-Williams, my severely

retarded brother, Rudolph James, was baptized a year before the rest of the

family and placed in an institution in Lapeer, Michigan. When they took him

away, he turned around and reached out his hands for Mother. It was so

amazing that he knew that he was leaving her. He knew who she was in spite

of his handicap. It was also a sad thing to see, and I cried so hard for him and

my mother that day. Yet I was relieved. It had been very stressful on the family.

Because he was so handicapped, we could not lead a normal family life.

We never saw him again. I do not recall him getting baptized before the rest

of the family, but there it was in the records. I can certainly see the urgency of

it, looking back. We got help for him only after coming to Our Lady of Victory

and meeting those wonderful, Christian people.


Years later, Mother received a letter from the State of Michigan informing

her that Rudy had been dropped during the birthing process, and that was the

cause of his retardation. Apparently, there had been an investigation. Mother

could have filed a lawsuit, but her faith in God would not allow it. The faith

came from her association with Our Lady of Victory. This church profoundly

influenced her, and it helped her through this stressful period in our lives. As I

sit here at my computer writing about this incident, I am emotionally distraught. It still hurts after all these years, and I still feel the guilt of leaving him in that institution, even though I had nothing to do with any of it…Slaughter CoverImage


This excerpt is something that played out in my mind for many years. It was something I planned never to talk about. But when my editor told me that I needed to tell my story, since I’m the author, this became part of it along with other incidences that were buried deep within; things that I was too ashamed to discuss let alone put in a book. Like the time my brother and I were put back a grade just to get into a Catholic School for the first time in our lives. Talk about humiliation; I would not speak of this for many years because I was too ashamed. I get butterflies in my stomach every time I think about it. Our parents were willing to sacrifice a lot to give us a good education, even sacrificing us if that’s what it took to get it. They weren’t trying to hurt us – they were just that desperate to do whatever it took to give us a good start in life.


Question: Did you ever feel desperate enough to do whatever it took to reach your goal – trying to control something you had no control over?

Book title: Our Lady of Victory, the Saga of an African-American Catholic Community. RRBC Seal of Excellence

Genre: Biography; Narrative History


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Website: http://shirleyslaughterblog.wordpress.com/