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May 1, 1919
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May 23, 1919
SBButler Letters, May 1919
I'm home alone. It's after school time. I'm at my old job again - building the fire. Oh I do hope you are an expert fire maker and keeper. Our fire usually goes out during a cold or rainy spell.
You see it's raining now and has been all day and it isn't a nice pattering rain, or a drenching downpour. It's just raining. Little Kathryne was so disgusted because it wasn't clear so we could take our walk or go out that she cried almost all noon and I just couldn't stop her. You see I'm sort of blue too because it was just a year ago today I was with you and then I wasn't.
Mrs. Risley, down at the #2 school informed me that you were back as Mr. Cressman told her so because he had received a letter from you, mailed from camp Dix. I really thot you would let me know when you returned and Camp Dix isn't awful far from here.
I think Mr. Cressman will be down to school tomorrow with some of the State men. They are around visiting and Miss Schaible told me to expect them tomorrow.
The little teacher's room we have fixed looks very nice. We haven't any chairs in it as yet, tho. I'm afraid I'll have to carry one down tomorrow for the visitors.
I must get supper ready so will give you a tiding over kiss
Supper is over. There was no mail and I'm sleepy so will say "goodnight" I love you
Today has been busy and sunny. We had no visitors thank goodness! For one of my girls spilled a cup of cocoa all over my white dress and shoes and wash as I might all stains couldn't be exterminated.
Tonight Daido and I took another meadow walk and found buttercups, anemones and quantities of wonderfully fragrant white violets. I saw a tiny crescent moon too and thot of someone real real quick. Can you guess who? I love you
Dearest, It's morning. Wake up!
I've been traveling today. Miss Monohan I went over to Atlantic in time to miss the Liberty Loan Parade. I went to Church with her. A catholic Church too. She went up the aisle, bowed to a lot of images and finally arrived at an alcove where she knelt for about five minutes, lit a taper and came away. It was weird as there were only two other people in the church, a kneeling woman and a man saying his beads.
Miss Monohan left on the car Daido came over on and Daido and I took lunch and then went up to the Steel Pier for the concert. Perhaps you remember hearing something about one of the selections, "To A Wild Rose". I love you. I enjoyed it. I love you
I've been off on a hike by myself and I've taken some pictures also had one taken of me, too. I've been down in the swamp back of Bargaintown and I had a fine time.
As I was walking along the mossy grass and enjoying the stillness and the shade of the most wonderfully beautiful apple trees, I suddenly heard the most ferocious "Moo" and a stamping black and white cow just glared at me over the frailest looking rail fence. I'm sure I would have run back if it hadn't been that just then a scarlet tanager flew in from of me. I darted on and soon I came to my marsh with the wonderful long stemmed swamp violets. I took off my hat and coat and reveled in the beauty and the loneliness. At first a red winged black bird who teetered back and forth on a last years cattail was my only companion but soon I heard a cheewink and he let me get within a foot of him. I wanted his picture but let myself be diverted for a turtle and he flew away. I went way into the swamp and found lots of strange birds but couldn't get any pictures. I wanted a picture of the cows standing peacefully by the wild beachplums so I very carefully stalked them on my way back and hope my picture is worth the pains. I worked away from them down in the marsh and sent two ducks whirring. Just as I was coming out I scared the cow to death and she ran round and round her stake at the end of her rope.
[May 4, 1919. Just after coming out of Bargaintown Marsh with violets having stems a foot long.]
I took a picture of the old mill and on the bridge I saw Emma Clark, her sister and one of the girls from our school. I took their pictures and had them take mine.
I'm going to send you some of the violets to tell you I love you
I took two pictures of the kiddies and myself today. I do hope they are good as I would like you to see what a large and healthy looking family I have.
We have just had a wonderful thundershower but it was spoiled for me because we were up the street when it started and Daido made me go in Smiths. They have just now opened for the first time since Laurences' death. It wasn't very pleasant standing in and looking out.
No mail again today and I want a letter so much. I love you
The pictures are finished and back already and they are so good. I don't think I'll send a set to you as I'm hoping you'll be back before they could reach you.
One of the members of the Board of Education asked me to send in an application for next year as they were to have the meeting tonight. I didn't so I am not sure what they will do about it. They are talking of holding school until the 30th and I think it would be a good thing. They talk of lots of things, however, you never can tell what they'll do.
The little boy next door just threw a stone and broke one of our big front windows.
The cows in my picture look so peaceful you never will believe they chased me. You know, I told you I took a picture of Bargaintown mill. Well, just after I left, someone told me yesterday, it fell down and in my picture you can see one side of the foundation commencing to lean.
Now, here is something important. This noon I grew restless, took a trip up here and found a letter at the post office. It was written the evening of the morning your (my) last letter was written.
Jene say pa. (I mean that to mean, Do you understand? I'm afraid I have my persons mixed. Vous say pa. Please state that I'm a good phonetic speller.
My garden is way way up. Goodness! peas and radishes and onions and columbine and marguerites. I love you
Katie Wyrnia is to be married tomorrow. I heard this noon. I love you
Last night I wasn't where I could write a letter. Your sweetheart was in a sad, sad predicament which, however, had its funny side too perhaps for at exactly one o'clock this morning I found myself alone I knew not where, with not a house in sight, and with only a three-wheeled automobile in a ditch. It must have been that I had a dim appreciation even then of the funny side of my predicament, for a I think I distinctly recall that I uttered not a word of profanity. That is surely unusual enough to record, particularly as I wouldn't want you to be thinking you'd have a chance to wash my mouth with soap and sand or whatever that dire punishment is you have for those poor boys under your iron rule.
John and I had driven over from Poitiers yesterday morning to Saulzais, near St. Amand, to call on Mme la Marquise de la Roche, of whom you will remember me speaking last fall - she with the funny little son-in-law who didn't like cats. At any rate, we had made our call, and I had driven John up to Bourges, some 35 miles or more, where we took dinner, and then I started back on my 150 mile journey home. About midnight I found I was somewhat off my road, but by the aid of a setting moon was getting, I hoped, back in the right direction, when at a bad moment, I ran into a fog which covered the road just at a right angle turn. I was at the turn before I knew it was there; it was too late, and I took the ditch instead with the resulting unfortunate predicament heretofore described.
So there was nothing to do but get out and walk in the most likely direction, which I did for a mile or so, when I arrived at a little village and found a house with a light in it, and with the aid of the men of the house routed out the keeper of a place which passed for a hotel and finally got put up for the night. I found that I was in the little village of La Guerche, 8 or 9 miles from Dangé, the farthest town in my area, itself about 35 miles from Poitiers. In the morning I started out to walk to Dangé but was soon overtaken and given a lift in a farmer's cart to Dangé, found there a truck which I requisitioned to take me to Chatellerault where, in turn, I got a lighter truck to carry me to Poitiers, arriving back this noon. Now I've sent a truck out to get my poor little roadster and trust it won't be quite all picked to pieces by the Frenchmen of the vicinity.
Today I cheerfully sent an immediate answer to a letter from the Director Motor Transport Corps asking to be checked up in his information as to the present location of the companies of my train, with a view to its movement to the United States. All that in black and white! Every evidence points to our going home very soon, and it looks as though the dope I gave you in April right after I came back from Tours wasn't so far from right. Things look now again as though the Train might be assembled. I wish it might. I'd like to take it back together.
Well, I must say good-night, with lots of love
Good morning Sweetheart, with my best springtime love and a kiss
My car is all fixed today and ready for service again this afternoon. To all of which we point with pride as showing the efficiency of the MTC at Poitiers.
Nothing especial has happened today. I have had lots of work to do at the office and have also got a lot of personal letters off my chest, and for evening's entertainment have been reading two interesting Alumni Weeklies. Chances look fair for my being present at sexennial this year. Do you think you'd like to see the ridiculous reunion costumes, the Yale-Harvard Commencement baseball game, and all the gala reunion festivities at New Haven in June? I'm not planning to go much of anywhere without you after about another month, just let me tell you that, young lady.
Well, dearest, I've written just about enough to beat you 21 word record, but there is not an awful lot to write about tonight.
Good night and a sweetheart kiss
Good morning, girlie. Not very long now, I think. I love you. Sylvester
More good news today. We leave here absolutely on the 12th. We take our motor vehicles to Romorantin, and I have been assured over the phone today that we shall then be released as available for return to the United States. That means we are liable to embark anytime after the 25th of May, and the Commanding General of the Intermediate Section, who was down here to confer with all local commanding officers today, told us we would all probably be in the water before the end of the month. I think there's a very good chance of it, and if not before the end of the month, at least very early in June.
So, I'm going to suggest that you send no more letters over here to me but do ask you please to write me everyday as usual, and either keep them for me till I get back or send them to my home. Please?
I love you and want you and surely - I'm going to have you very soon, yes?
I'm going to Paris tonight to spend two days, so that I can really see something of it before I return, I have been thru there 3 or 4 times but really never have seen much of anything.
Well, be a good girl, and my own sunshine lady, and keep the home fires burning
Your Sylvester, always and forever.
It's firelight and I'm alone and I'm so lonesome I believe I'd just about eat you up if you were here. You just can't imagine how much I want you sometimes. I keep pretending all the time you'll drop in to see me real soon and I pretend and pretend and want you so I'm all dressed up for you again tonight. I'm curled and I have on a flower and I wish you were here.
I love you. I wish we were at home now. I'd make you tell me what a good cook I am, and lots of nice things. I couldn't let you kiss me much tho for my dress is crushable and my flower too. I might blow you a kiss tho. I love you
A few lines from the American University Union in Paris, where I am staying tonight. I took a train after midnight from Poitiers, arriving here about eight thirty, after very little sleep, hence didn't start out the day overly ambitious for seeing Paris. In the morning, I did a bit of shopping, during which I got lost for a considerable time in a fine English bookstore. I must have read the titles of every book therein. Browsing in bookstores is one of my great delights.
This afternoon I went to call on the Marquise de la Roche in her Paris home, didn't expect to do any more than that, but she has started out to conduct most of my Paris tour for me, which is agreeable enough to me, because it is so much pleasanter to see places with someone who knows them, when you have only a little time and there is a lot to see. When I have lots of time and not so much to see, I often like to discover things better for myself. At any rate, this afternoon we have visited the Louvre, which I wanted of all things to see before going away, the Cathedral of Notre Dame, the first-built of the great Gothic cathedrals of France, the church of Saint Geneivère, the patron saint of Paris (the good lady has been crowned there about 1400 years); and we have gone by the outside of many other famous buildings - the Conciergerie, where Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette were imprisoned before their execution, the Palace of Justice, the church of Sainte Chapelle, which was the old church of the kings, the Chamber of Deputies, and many others. this took us all thru what was the old, old Paris. All the collections at the Louvre have not been brought back yet - many were taken away or hidden during the war when the Germans threatened Paris - but there were enough there to make the visit worthwhile. The Mona Lisa, which you remember was stolen several years ago and about which there was so much excitement at the time, is back in its place. I am glad to have seen the Louvre, if for no other reason than not to feel foolish in having to admit that I had been to Paris without seeing it.
Late in the afternoon we found M. Gillet, who was Sous-Prefet at St. Amand last fall, and I went out to dinner with him. He is walking now, with the aid of a cane. It seemed strange enough to see him thus, after never having seen him except in his plaster cast, in bed. He is now interested in reconstruction work in the villages of the devastated section.
After leaving him, I went to an organ recital by a well-known Parisian organist named Gigout at the church of St. Augustine. I have enjoyed it, but would have enjoyed it somewhat more if I hadn't been quite so sleepy.
So much for today. Goodnight and lots of love to my sweetheart. Always your Sylvester
Here I am back at Poitiers at an extremely early hour, really the 10th and not the 9th. It is almost three, and I have stopped at the office on the way up from the train to write you. It's lucky I'm off there and not riding further; I only just happened to wake up a short time before the train arrived at Poitiers. I never would have gotten off otherwise, for there are no stations called, and you are absolutely on your own. Before I was finally seated in my train, I had had to persuade the ticket agent there was a train, then spent 15 minutes persuading a conductor that he had a seat where he could put me. "No" is the first answer to everything in this country. It's a habit. So one must offer a counter-habit, never to believe; just argue, wheedle, froth at the mouth, or show the color of you money, until you get what you want. I went thru the first three this evening and the old boy came across so I came across with the fourth just to show there were no hard feelings.
This morning I did a lot of shopping, a lot more shopping than buying. I was chiefly looking for pictures, and have acquired a few that I liked. I have wanted for sometime, now that I have seen quite a good deal of France, to get a few good pictures which were characteristic of different sections, while what I have gotten is by no means a complete collection, it is in part an attainment of what I have wanted to get.
I took lunch with the Marquise de la Roche. Her little grandson, Roger, was there today, and recognized me as soon as I came. He is a dear little chap, only about 4 or 5; full of life and romp, and I think you would like him tremendously. The two faultless cats are now in Paris, too - those nice sleek brown ones who have the run of the house, even the dining room table.
After dinner I was taken out to see some more of Paris, visiting today the Hotel des Invalides containing the tomb of Napoleon - a tremendous crypt of red marble; the garden of the Luxembourg Palace; the Pantheon, a building of Corinthian architectural design, very splendid, containing inside paintings on the walls which are symbolical of events in the history of France and the Tombs of the great men of France; the Hotel de Cluny, which is a museum of Old Paris - old fancy locks, beautiful old carved furniture, ornate pistols, carved ivory work, and what-not; and then had a ride thru the Bois de Boulogne, which is the great park of Paris, just outside the city - very pretty and agreeable, as parks and artificial landscapes go; our drive back from there took us by the great Arc de Triomphe at the end of the famous Avenue des Champs Elysées and then down the Avenue. I can't rave very much about the beauty of great cities, but, as cities, Paris is surely very fine, and especially in the spring. The Champs Elysées is a great straight avenue a mile long and the sweep down it from the Arc de Triomphe is quite a fine sight.
After the drive I did a little more shopping, aided by Madame la Marquise, who could of course tell me where to find things better than I could find them unaided. Again I did a lot more shopping than buying.
Well, I've seen Paris pretty well now and am well satisfied that I took the two days to do it. Now to get busy and work for going home.
Almost time for bed. What do you think? Goodnight and lots of love, Sylvester.
My own dear Girlie,
See what's above? The anniversary of our first good bye. What a lot was in our hearts then which we didn't speak, and how hard it was for me to keep back from saying all that was in mine! But I don't find myself tonight having to keep anything back. I love you, just love you, with my whole soul and being. And very, very soon we are to be together. No more good byes.
You know how late I wrote you last night. For that reason - the lateness, not the fact of my writing - I wasn't up with the sun this morning, not by a matter of some hours. Our time for leaving this town has been postponed for a few days. This is no bad news, though; and means no postponement in our sailing. It means only that orders have not yet come thru directing what port we shall go to after I turn over my trucks at Romorantin; and this is a better place to wait for them than Romorantin. I am expecting them anytime, probably in 3 or 4 days.
I have spent the whole evening rearranging my personal property, packing it as it will stay till we get home, and making such lists as are necessary. I've accumulated a big pile of junk.
I am thinking of you always, and hope when this letter gets to you, I'll only be a little way behind. By the way, I had 3 nice letters waiting for me when I returned last night. I was surely surprised to get two letters from you from Rocky Hill, because I did not know you were going. It was nice of you to spend your Easter vacation that way, and it pleased Mother ever so much. I had a letter from her at the same time.
I'm going to say goodnight, sweetheart, with my best love and a kiss.
Your own Sylvester.
Mornin', lady of mine. Love me a little this morning? I love you lots
I got up very early and did quite a bit of work for Sunday today. But have mixed up a little pleasure along with it. John and I went to the local Cathedral of Notre Dame to hear the music of the High Mass this morning. This Cathedral is a very old one, having been begun in the 11th Century, and is fashioned according to the Roman style of architecture. We dropped in on the old boy as he was spouting his sermon, of which we had of course perfect comprehension; but he finished after a while, and then the musical part of the service and we got what we came for.
This afternoon John and Sergeant Fernald and I made a visit to the local Palace of Justice, a very old building with very much of a history - a room where Jean of Arc received her commission as a general, a room where Chas VII of France was coronated, etc, etc. Our guide took us to the tower, from where we could see the whole city, also gave me from the tower what I have wanted for some time, that is, the general location of the Battle of Poitiers along about 1350 when the Black Prince of England defeated the French in the 3d Period of the Hundred Years War; also of a battle near there in 510 between the Franks and the Visigoths; and of what is known as the Battle of Tours in 732 in which Charles Martel, of the Franks, defeated the Moors, who had come up from Spain and were threatening all Europe. The Palace of Justice is also interesting in that there are foundations visible, dating from the Romans in the 1st Century, the Visigoths in the 6th, and the Normans in the 9th.
After visiting it, I let Sergeant Fernald drive me out in the Dodge for a spin in the country. I had promised him this for some time. The country is now just about as I expect to find it at home when I get there, if present indications don't fail. The lilacs are blooming very profusely. I love them very much, especially for their fragrance.
John has just come in from the movies and has ordered a chocolate milk. Incidentally I don't think I have mentioned that I prepare his breakfast as well as my own now. Also, I am having much better luck than formerly with cocoa.
Dear Eva, my own sunshine lady, give me a nice big goodnight kiss, for I love you and want you. I am yours always and forever
Good morning sweetheart. I have just been reading your last letters again. How the little hepatica from the wild Us garden speaks, at least I have heard lots of things from it, so I hoped that you really told them to it
I must go get to work. I love you
Let's see, this is another anniversary, isn't it? a year since you met me in New Haven to come up and give me a week of yourself. It's also two years that I've been in the Army, which is a fair little bit of service.
I have done very little today, except to become particularly incensed with Lieut. Fitts. He has absolutely exhausted my patience on many matters, and beginning tomorrow, I shall begin to exhibit a few evidences of who is boss for his edification. It is extremely distasteful, but there's a limit to all things. Well, all this is very indefinite and of course uninteresting. Excuse me. But he has made me a candidate for a large mouthful of your soap-suds torture this day.
It has been such a beautiful warm spring day. Every such day makes me wish all the more for you.
I love you. Goodnight, and excuse me for being so ill tempered. I have had much provocation
I have brought this over to the office to say good morning to you. I love you. Everyday means now so much more a day nearer you, because we know that things are really under way. Here's a morning kiss
Not having had very much to do today and it being a beautiful day I have taken time off both morning and afternoon for trips in my little car around the surrounding country. In the morning I had finished making a few official visits, then said to the driver, "Lets take a little spin in the country, it's such a beautiful morning." So we did. My objective was Vouillé, a town about ten miles out, which was the scene of a battle in the year 507 between the Franks and Visigoths. That was somewhat before the days they began putting monuments on battlefields, but at any rate it is known that it's the general vicinity of the battle and I have seen that much. The chief old relic in the town is an old tower which was part of a castle built in the 8th century.
It surely was beautiful to be out in the morning. It's at the height of spring here now and the whole air is fragrant with it. Even the wisteria is out, the first I have seen France. And apple-blossoms are at the their full bloom.
This afternoon John and I went out in the car about 4 o'clock for another ride. We went by a circuitous route in the southern environs of Poitiers, along especially a beautiful picturesque little valley, full now with the bloom of spring as everything, and eventually came to the little tiny town of Nouaillé, set down in a little pocket of the hills, very old and very quaint. It has an old church there built in the 12th century; we found on entering a little catechism class going on inside. Outside the town a little way is the vicinity of the Battle of Poitiers of 1306 in which the Black Prince of England defeated the French, during the 100 Years War.
We got almost back to Poitiers and decided to run over east to the town of Chauvigny, about 15 miles. We had gone by it before and two or three old castles on top of a hill which commanded the town had interested us very much. They were interesting enough, especially the old Baronial Castle built in the 11th century, destroyed now since 300 years or more, but old sections of wall are still standing. It seems impossible that they should stand so long, for one would think any strong gale of wind would blow them over. Such old relics are very interesting, and think of it, that old castle is something 900 years old, whereas we think of something at home 100 or 150 years old as terribly ancient.
John and I ate supper in Chauvigny for a change, and are just now back. Not a bad day at all.
I think I'll say good night, with lots of love, as always
Good morning dear. Lots of sunshine again, to remind me of - who do you suppose? Sylvester
I thought I was going to get a lot of correspondence out of the way tonight, but my chocolate milks are too popular with friend Fitts, who called up as he went by a couple of hours ago. That always means he's thirsty, and to show his gratitude, he bestows on you a couple of hours of platitudinous conversation. So I'm afraid now that even my little sister, who reaches today the august age of 23, won't get the letter which is due her by reason of that fact.
My Sexennial notice came today. I didn't realize it was going to be so early - June 14-18 - and I hope it won't be so early that I'll have to miss it. It will be the biggest class reunion we have ever had or ever will have, I believe, and the biggest reunion of Yale graduates in general on record; for all classes which have postponed their regular reunions for the last two years on account of the war are going to have their postponed reunions this year. New Haven will be a crowded place. I am anxious to have you see it at that time, with all the crazy costumes of the reunion classes and everything. I am hoping not to be back too late to get seats for the Commencement baseball game, too.
No more definite news yet, but I guess things are moving our way gradually. What would you do if you should see me 5 days after you received this letter? Would you give me a little kiss, like I love? Here's one I'm sending you, anyhow, and I'll say goodnight
Good morning, dearest. Here's another little kiss for morning love. Sylvester
I started on a little two-day business trip this afternoon and am spending the night at a make shift hotel in this uninteresting little place. It is the center, however, of a tremendous American camp, built up around the AEF's General Intermediate Storage Depot. I am going around to certain necessary places to secure receipts for vehicles I have gotten rid of, and to get clearance on all of them, which will be necessary before I personally could get back to America. I am also going to take up matters in Tours tomorrow relative to our homegoing.
The MTC has closed in Poitiers. I sent the last vehicle out this morning except my little roadster which I shall keep until the last minute. We still are without our orders, so don't know exactly where we shall go from Poitiers.
Well, be good. Goodnight and lots of love
I am staying in Tours tonight with Lieut Daly. I have been at several different places today checking up different matters; my most important accomplishment being to have found a truck which I had lost. Rather a large thing to lose, isn't it? It was one I had loaned to some Engineers just above Poitiers, and when they left the area they drove it away with their new trucks, but vowed up and down to me that they hadn't. However I've gotten out of the habit of taking folk's word for things and after finding out where they drove their trucks to, which was at St. Pierre-des-Corps just south of Tours, I made a little visit there and came back with a receipt for the truck in my pocket, and a decided feeling of relief. I had much rather spend what little money I have saved in starting up a home for myself and my lady than in paying for a truck which someone drove away from me.
I spent most of the earlier part of the day around the great American storage depot at Gievres. It covers miles and miles of ground, and to be in this great camp is a reminder that you are still in the Army. My life the last couple of months has certainly been much more a civilian than a military one, as far as surroundings go. I have also been in Romorantin, near Gievres. At that place, there is a large aviation center, and also a huge motor reconstruction park. There is a big field almost half a mile on all sides, which is filled with old junked vehicles in all conditions from the front and everywhere in the AEF. Such a bunch of junk I never saw.
This evening I took supper with Daly at the American Officers' Hotel - which has a soldier orchestra, a splendid one, to add pleasure to one's meals - and Apple Blossoms was on the program this evening! Later Daly took me to the YMCA Officer's Club, which is located in a very delightful house in Tours set way back from the street and beautified by a splendid garden in front. Here we played billiards and then when Daly went to an Officer's dance from which I begged off, I stayed on and read and listened to the music of a piano and violin, which was surely a treat. I haven't heard so much good music since I left America. Among others they played the Berceuse from Jocelyn, and if I ever do feel right with the world, I surely do when listening to it.
I have learned that our preparatory orders are on their way to Poitiers. Things are moving.
Here's a goodnight kiss. I love you
Today I've done somewhat more travelling, and am finally back at Poitiers, since about eight o'clock. I spent the morning in Tours, getting information, and seeing about property clearances which are necessary to obtain before embarkation. I find that my headquarters, Co. B at Nevers, C. at Poitiers, and D. at Tours, are likely to go to the big embarkation center at Le Mans to prepare for shipment home, whereas Co's A, E, and F, which are at Le Havre, will probably sail direct from there. I have done everything but ask point blank that we be all sent to Le Havre, assembled there, and shipped home together; but my hints seem to have been of little avail. I had hoped, up to now, to get together, especially since I knew we should be released together, and also the French liners, on which troops go out from Le Havre, are very nice and comfortable and speedy.
This afternoon I drove back over to Romorantin and got receipts for the last of my motor vehicles from Poitiers, which have just been sent up there, and now I am all clear except getting the proper clearance papers from the Property Officers of the MTC at Tours, where I am going again on Monday.
It has been a pleasant day to ride. The spring is at the height of blooming. there are, especially, the lovely lavender wisteria in front of most every house, the very prevalent well-rounded horse chestnut trees with their equally well round blossoms; the red clover fields; and the pastures yellow with buttercups.
Everything must be beautiful at Hemlock Manor, too...Goodnight, dear Eva. I love you
I wonder what we were doing today a year ago. Happy things I'm sure as I've been happy today. My first greeting was a letter from you telling of your journey to Poitiers and your first day there. We had a hot sunshiny day too after a week of rain. The kiddies and I took a walk this noon and found quite a few whip-poor-will shoes. I received also a letter from your mother this afternoon, a letter that made me awful hungry as she said she was writing and eating maple sugar and ever since you brot me some last year I've been wanting more.
Daido and I took a walk tonight and found lots of blossoms so I'm going to send you another conservatory letter and whisper a message to each.
I love you
I do wish you were here or I was there. Goodness I saw something in the papers today about the middle of August. I think I'll come over in the next aeroplane.
Dorcas' husband arrived on the Manchuria last night. If only you could have been tucked in somewhere too.
No mail today. No mail this week and I want some so bad. I just feel as if I want you.
I started into business work again today in a Real Estate-Insurance office in a real office building and I don't like it.
Our columbines are just wonderful now and the little gold pansy is smiling and happy and I'm sure that means you're happy. Maybe you're coming home, maybe you're most ready to start, maybe you've started and will be home soon.
I do love you. Here is all my love and lots of kisses
Having been absent from my desk for three days, today, though Sunday, has been very much of a working day. But at promptly six o'clock, all work was off, for the Headquarters Co. of the 301st Supply Train had a very resplendent banquet at the Hotel du Palais starting at that hour, and ending somewhat after ten. There were 18 at the table and I think all the men had a good time. I didn't let a single one out of the 18 out of making a speech, and nobody knew beforehand that it was coming to them. I think it's much better that way. Absolutely the best one was by good old faithful Cookie, with his broken Armenian Accent. In fact all the foreign born boys did splendidly. Our Headquarters Co. is quite cosmopolitan for we have men born in Armenia, Greece, Portugal and the French-speaking part of Canada, as well as from our own country. My little Greek orderly, Lollis, gave us almost a history of his life.
Sylvester is front and center, to his left is probably John Achorn. Below is the menu. Both pictures are taken from Sylvester's AEF Scrap book.
Well, I guess this is the whole story for today. It's late, and I must get up early in the morning for another journey to Tours.
With lots of love and a goodnight kiss
5/19 Good morning dear. Just a reminder that I love you this bright sunshiny morning. Sylvester
To Tours and back again, and quite a little short-cut scheme thru the Embarkation Office, which will get us started to Le Mans a few days earlier than we might have. It was necessary to get out of here, because the Quartermaster had closed down and we'll be out of food in three days. also I've gotten clearance for myself and my Supply Officer on all the necessary classes of property. All of which were matters of some hours' chasing. Oh! such red tape!
Late this afternoon Corp. Kopple (my driver) and I went over to Saronnières, about 10 miles west of Tours to see an interesting grotto we had heard of thru Lt. Daly and the D Co. men at Tours. It was surely worth the trip. You have seen pictures of these stalactite and stalagmite caves in Kentucky, haven't you? Well, this was something on that order. There was an underground lake (pond, but they like to call it a lake) supplied by water trickling from above. This water comes thru rock which is composed of calcium carbonate, and in the years and years during which this has occurred, sediment has been eroded by the water and been deposited further along, making various icicle and wave-like formations or been deposited in the bottom of the little pond or elsewhere in the bottom of the cave. The people who own the place have taken advantage of this, and have placed molds underneath the drip; gradually the molds fill up with the sediment of the calcium carbonate, and when removed, there are handsome little cameos to sell. I think I can explain it better when I show you the cards I have of the place.
On our way back from there I saw on the map a town called the Lost Village (Villeperdue), and the name making me curious, I contrived to go around thru it. However there was nothing about it to give evidence why it should have such a name. It was one of the most prosperous towns thru which we passed.
Another day nearer to you. Goodnight and all my love
It is a year ago that I planted the Pleasantville Us garden, and a year ago that we spent our last night together among the locusts and the whippoorwills and under the moon and by the waterfall at Hemlock Manor.
One year since I have seen you, since I have spent an evening with my sweetheart. 365 days with a big blank in each, gone by. but the 365th finds me getting ready to come back to my sweetheart.
The night is so lovely now. I think it must be just as it was a year ago at Hemlock Manor.
Everything of mine is packed today just as it will be until we are in America. It seems wonderful to be really working on something which is connected with going back home. Home has seemed a far away intangible place at times.
I have been thinking of You a long time this evening. Still, that's not so very unusual.
I am tired and dusty-brained, and can't think very clearly. Goodnight, I love you best in the world
Just a hasty note tonight. I got word at 8:00 tonight that my train would be on hand tomorrow morning at 9:05 to pull us out of here bag and baggage. So I have had a busy evening, getting ready to start on the first leg of our journey home. The first leg takes us to the great American Embarkation Center at Le Mans, the 2nd to a port and the third home. I don't imagine we shall be obliged to remain at Le Mans for long. Perhaps a week. Perhaps less. Co's A,E,F pull out of Le Havre this Saturday, I learned tonight in a telegram from Spalding. They'll beat Hdqrs. home, but not by a very wide margin. I see that Sgt. Davidson's outfit, the 104th Engineers, sailed on May 11th. If you have newspapers which contain the sailing lists, you will see Hdqrs Co. 301st Supply Train very soon, I am sure.
To get orders starting me back home on the anniversary of our last goodbye day isn't so bad, is it? I won't have to remember it as a goodbye day anymore, will I?
A short snooze is now necessary before morning. Good night dear. I love you
Last night we arrived in the great sandy Forwarding Camp in this Embarkation Center about half-past one. Officers had to go with out their baggage as the MTC doesn't function here at night and couldn't carry it up from the RR station; at least that's what they said an hour after they had promised to send a truck down for our stuff. No argument availed and after having fed up at the Red Cross canteen we marched the five miles up to the camp. The men were plentifully tired and warm after their night hike with their packs, but at least it gave them blankets to sleep under when we finally got barracks to stumble into in the dark and flop down for a few hours rest. As I said, for myself I had no baggage and hence no blankets, but stuck myself in between two bed ticks and slept very comfortably. In fact, could almost have slept standing up, anyway. I had to flop in without writing you, but hope you can forgive me under the circumstances.
Today we've been acquiring information as to all necessary matters to be attended to in preparation for embarkation, and getting started on many. I spent all afternoon holding an inspection of all the men, checking over the equipment of each with Lieut. Fitts and Sgt. Callahan, who made lists of shortages. And now tomorrow morning Lieut. Achorn will be very busy getting the shortages. Perhaps we shall have our final inspection tomorrow preparatory to leaving for a port. It doesn't look as though we should be here long. I shouldn't care to, that's certain. This isn't the height of comfort, by any means, but "anything to get home", that's the spirit of the men. The sand here blows about as it used to at Plattsburg.
It seems impossible that we're really on our way home. But I can think of nothing else. It's mildly exciting, to say the least, after ten months sojourn in a foreign land.
Lots of love and a kiss and I hope I can give you a real one before you get this letter. Yours always, Sylvester
Today we've progressed more or less, chiefly less, in our preparations. Our baggage is all properly marked at any rate, our paper work after many vicissitudes is now correct and complete, and our deficiencies in equipment are made up as far as possible. We've not been inspected for the last named as yet.
Co. D with Lieut. Daly arrived this afternoon, and I rather expect Co. B and Lieut. Fox from Nevers tonight. However we may get shoved out ahead of them. There's not much effort to keep outfits together.
I went way down town this afternoon, and have cabled to you that I would probably be home by June 15th. We shall no doubt land in New York, but I can't get definite information here as to boat and date of arrival.
Sweetheart, it seems almost impossible that I am going to have you again so soon. Seems so I couldn't wait to see you. Curls for the first evening? I love every one, and love you best in all the world.
One day nearer.
Lieut. Fox and his B Co. arrived this morning from Nevers. It seemed good to see him again, the first time since I and headquarters left Nevers for Poitiers.
John Achorn and I had a long wrestle with the inspecting officers over the headquarters fund this morning - but after about three hours, the last i was dotted and the last t crossed to everybody's satisfaction, and that was over with. Baggage list went in tonight and was approved. Daly and Fox are hard at work fixing up their companies so that if we aren't shot out in the meantime I can make a strenuous effort to get us all together.
Well, I'll be glad enough to get out of this camp. It's a good place to be out of.
Particularly when our next destination is the Promised Land.
I wonder just where I'll first see you, just how you will look...but I don't need to wonder how nice it well be to have you kiss me. For I AM counting on that kiss - the first in 13 long, long months.
I love you, sweetheart, and long for your presence, your love, and you kisses, and the companionship which I am going to have to make my life full and rich and complete and worth living. What man wouldn't be eager and impatient, when he was looking forward to the companionship of One like my Sweetheart?
I am yours always
Today hasn't shown as much progress as I would have liked, and at times I have been raving around and tearing my hair like a madman, because of a lot of silly red tape which has had to be gone thru for Co's B and D.
As for myself, I've had most nothing to do, my chief occupation being to make chocolate malted milks for the increasing number of my patrons who like them. They come around with a thirsty look about three times a day, which means I have to reach for the cocoa box, the pile of canned milk, and the bottle of malted milk, also the handkerchief full of sugar stolen from the mess hall!
Well, I hope for more tomorrow. Goodnight and lots of love
Good morning, Sweetheart. Do you love me just a little bit? I love you
Much more progress today. Co's B and D were finally reported in this afternoon as OK on records, company fund, and baggage lists - after much more trouble and red tape - and I have been assured to night that they will be rejoined with me, and that we are all being put in what is called a provisional battalion tonight. This provisional battalion is a convenient form of getting troops inspected and taking them from here to base ports - the battalion holding about 1000 men, enough for a train load. I was also told that we should probably get out in a couple of days. I hope so sure enough.
I never expected to get any more mail in the AEF. There's a great deal of mail which never reached me in Poitiers, and that hasn't come yet; but mail later than the last I received there followed us along here today. I was surely happy to have it. How easy it is for folks to get things all twisted up, like that woman who told you Mr. Cressman said he had a letter from me at Camp Dix! I'm sure he never said anything of the kind, for I received an answer to my letter to him, addressed to me over here in perfectly proper fashion. I can't understand why so many people will be so careless in the way they report things with any regard for facts, or seeming to take any care at all that they are telling a thing truthfully or accurately. Especially since they cause many times by their loose heedless tongues a lot of unnecessary worry to other people. If you weren't a girl who had some sense, her silly story - goodness, I don't know - what mightn't it make you think? I happen to know of six cases, four in my own Train, where men's sweethearts have thrown them down since they were over here, because of silly distorted stories which they believed without giving their men a chance even to have a word. If the girls in question acted that way, I don't believe they could have had a very deep affection for their men.
How thankful I am to have a sweetheart that isn't like that! What would I ever do without you, Eva? You are the Light of all my future; and I love you with all my heart and soul
Good morning dear. I love you this morning, too, and always. Sylvester
There were more letters today and I am thankful for all but one which had a mean little tease which wasn't just or fair. But I shall treasure the love and hope and happiness of the nice ones and not think of the other one, that is, unless you want me to.
Your nice letters were extra lovely this time. They make me restless and impatient for you, too. But it's only a short time to be restless and impatient now. I also received that very important letter you forwarded from the National Audubon Society for the protection of wild birds, or something.
I have done nothing all day, that is almost nothing. But tomorrow a few things will get started. We are now assigned to one of those "provisional battalions" of which I spoke, and tomorrow morning our battalion, which has been designated the 149th, will be inspected for equipment out in one of the big fields of this camp. This battalion is made up of all sorts of units - a supply train, a laundry co., air service mechanics, sanitary squads, hospital units, military police, and a remount squadron. So we are quite a motley crew. My three companies and headquarters are made up into the first provisional company of the battalion, under my command. So we shall be at the head of the column in tomorrow's inspection and get thru with it first. In the late morning or early afternoon we shall probably have a physical inspection of each man, and then we shall be all ready for transportation to a post as soon as one is ready for us. It can't be too soon for anybody that I know of.
To the Day! Goodnight Sweetheart
This morning our entire provisional battalion was turned out for equipment inspection, probably the last of its kind we go thru in the army. In the middle of the afternoon, the entire battalion was physically inspected. This evening, at a Commanding Officers meeting, we were given orders for moving out tomorrow. We don't go out directly to a port, it seems, but have got a 12 mile walk (with packs for the men) to another camp in the area until a train is ready to take us to the port. Our stay at this new camp will be short, I think. It has been very hot today, but I hope for the men's sake it is more comfortable tomorrow. The long hike is in the afternoon, the hottest time of the day, and will be very trying, for they are not any of them hardened to long marches since a long while.
Every day is bringing me a day nearer to you. I think of that all the time, trying to make it seem real.
I love you. Goodnight, and a kiss for my love
Good morning, sweetheart. Here's love a-plenty for you only in all the world. Sylvester
Well, we had what you might call a Memorial Day parade today, all except the admiring crowd on the side of the road to applaud. The entire provisional battalion, 1500 strong, marched from the Forwarding Camp, where we have been for the past week, to the Belgian Camp, 12 miles away, but all a part of the same embarkation center. The men, with their heavy packs stood the trip very well. About two thirds of the way along some YMCA people had come out and prepared delicious orangeade for the whole outfit to take in their canteen cups as they went by. That helped save the day materially.
We are just out here to await entrainment to the port of embarkation. All inspections are over and we had to come out here because the other camp was too full with more and more troops coming in for preparation to go home. This camp was one formerly used by the Belgians and is a great improvement over the Forwarding Camp. It is neat and clean and well arranged and kept up in every respect and shows what can be done with the proper organization. It is attractive, too, for trees have been allowed to remain in it and form pleasant groves. Especially attractive now are the white locust trees, with their fragrance pervading the whole atmosphere. Do white locusts make you think of anything?
Of moonlight? Of a waterfall? Of kisses and love's old sweet song? Every moment of that our last night is with me, and white locust flowers bring them all back.
I don't feel especially tired after the afternoon's hike. Took a grand cold water foot wash and changed socks afterward, and between that and a clean shirt and collar felt like a king again a half hour after arrival.
I've appointed myself to get up for reveille in the morning. So I had better turn in and get some sleep.
Think of it! Perhaps only two weeks between You and me. It is too good to be true. Yet it is true. So I am very, very happy.
For I love you
I am using up my bits of writing paper lying around my trunk. Do you mind? This, I see is purloined paper from a hotel in Tours a couple of months ago.
This has been just a day of waiting as everyday at this camp will be. The news today looks as though we should be here 4 or 5 days rather than the 1 or 2 we had expected. Well, it's a much better place to wait than the Forwarding Camp
The only discomfort here is lack of proper messing facilities for officers. That's a small matter, especially as the messing facilities and the quality and quantity of food for the men are all of a greater degree here than at the former place.
There are pleasant woods all about the camp and Fox, Don Stuart, and I have taken a considerable walk about them in the cool of the evening.
I am still making chocolate milks. I'm sure I'd make an excellent soda fountain clerk and just recommend me to Mr. Crawford, or whatever his name is, on the corner in Pleasantville opposite the Post Office, will you.
Eva, dear Eva, dearest, Eva, here is a big goodnight kiss. I love you always
Here's sending a morning kiss with sunshine which will reach you a little later this morning. I hope you get it and will send one back around the world to me. Sylvester
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