Harry S. Truman Presidential Library & Museum

Truman, Martha Ellen, 1852-1947

Letter from Harry S. Truman to Bess Wallace, January 11, 1918. Family, Business, and Personal Affairs Papers - Family Correspondence File.

Lawton, Okla. [January 11, 1918]

Dear Bess:

Got your letter today and was sure glad to hear from you. I sent you a note from the train but you evidently had not received it yet. We were hours late and there were so many people to get on at Oklahoma City that some of them got left. I was not among them. We got into camp at ten minutes before midnight. That is all the time of my leave that I wasted in camp. They put me on as officer of the day right off the bat and I didn't get any sleep for another day. This colonel is working the socks off of us. My cold kept getting worse and worse until today. I couldn't talk yesterday and I went out and stayed all day mounted, very nearly froze to death and came in feeling better than I have since I got back. They sent me a general order closing all canteens until they had paid their debts and shown that they are solvent. I passed out the word that last night would see the finish of the canteen and they almost mobbed the place. Sold six hundred dollars' worth in three hours. I have been working like a nigger ever since getting invoiced and billed out. It seems like you're never up with the hounds in the army.

There is a terrific blizzard going here. It began raining this morning from the east. It turned to snow and the wind got around in Hiawatha's corner and ice balls began blowing in straight lines like bullets right from Medicine Hat's worst mixture. You can't see ten feet from you now and the wind is blowing about sixty miles an hour. This must be one of the kind I've heard my grandfather speak of when he crossed the plains. This place just sticks up high enough to catch every misting air current that goes from the Arctic to fill the holes in the Gulf of Mexico. In summer it catches all the dust in the whole of North America. Now we are getting some of Klondike's surplus snow. We were to have been inspected from cellar to garret and clear to the top of the chimney tomorrow but on account of the storm we won't be. This colonel inspects, too, believe me. There are eyes in the back of his head and nothing, absolutely nothing, gets by unseen. Then he congregates the whole regiment and gives a lecture on what you didn't do so the rest can profit by it. Makes you feel like crawling in a hole and pulling it after you but it gets results.

You've no idea how short five days are. I have been pinching myself every day saying, well what a grand kidding you gave yourself. I sure wanted to stay another week. If I only could. But I suppose it would have been just as hard to come back in another week as it was in five days. When I counted up I was only home one hour and thirty minutes one afternoon, four hours another, and part of two nights. Didn't get to talk to Mamma over an hour and never saw you much over that at a time. I didn't know how crazy I was about you until I went to leave. I'd give all I have or ever expect to have to see you tonight. We are getting closer to a move all the time. No telling when it will come. Write as often as you can and I'll do likewise.

Yours always, Harry

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