Gates, Marvin H., 1876-1972; Bostian, William, 1887-1985; Thacher, John H., 1872-1960; Bostian, Kenneth V., 1893-1980
Letter from Harry S. Truman to Bess Wallace, July 7, 1918. Family, Business, and Personal Affairs Papers - Family Correspondence File.
Angers, France July 7, 1918
Sunday and sunny France sure enough. It feels exactly like Independence or Grandview would on the 7th of July. We are having very warm and very dry weather. It is fine for harvesting the crops but rather uncomfortable for long walks and strenuous drill. I'd rather see it through than have it cold as it was when we first came over.
The regimental band has just been giving us a serenade and I sure enjoyed it. They played some regular American music just like they did on the 4th when we had our grand celebration and track meet I told you of.
Major Gates, Captain Thatcher and I went into Angers to dinner last night because we wanted to give our battalion mess cook a Saturday afternoon off. We had from soup to nuts in a little French place that probably has fed some celebrities in its time. It is run by a large fat woman who speaks English almost and who endeavors to give American officers her best at a percentage on regular prices. (Not reduction you understand.) Anyway she has the best French cooking I've eaten. Major and Capt Thacher were horrified when I told them that the very best meal I ever tasted in France was the one of stewed tomatoes and stewed prunes on the side that I got when I returned to the regiment from school. Mike Flynn happened in and the Major asked him to sit at our table. He ordered ham and eggs and coffee which is also considered a sacrilege in a French restaurant when you can get lobster, roast capon and much other good for nothing junk cooked up with a Louis XIV flavor that doesn't appeal to me.
We go into town on a cute little narrow gauge railway that has a little wind up engine and coaches about the size of a Ford limousine. It's easy enough to get in about 5:30 but you've either got to buy an interest in a taxi or walk out. It's nine kilometers or about five miles in civilized distance so we usually buy the interest. There are only three taxis in town, the rest having been requisitioned by the government and it is necessary to make arrangements early. It is also the reason it costs 40 francs to go 9 kilos. You can pile on all the thing will hold for that but no reductions are made for fewer passengers. It's the same for one or seven.
We went to a French picture show at the Grand or National Theater. Every town has a big show house where they put on operas, plays and picture shows. Saturday night is picture show night. They had an American film play translated into French. I know all the actors and [illegible] but couldn't tell head or tale about their performance except that it was the usual three cornered mellerdramer. We had to leave in the midst of the show because our taxi was dated up for ten P.M.
I felt right romantic riding down alleys that Henry of Navarre, Mary di Medici or Richlieu had once graced on horseback and considered very fine streets. Two automobiles have to maneuver for quite a while to pass in most of them. There's one boulevard call Le Boulevard di Saumur which is a real street but the rest are just as they haven for 1000 years.
I haven't had a letter for a week. Guess the mail boat is held up. I am going to school again this week but it is a regimental one so it won't be so bad. It is about 100 miles from here and in the direction of the United States. It takes a long time to get to the front but I guess we'll get there some time.
Saw Bill Bostian yesterday. He looks fat and healthy and is also a school teacher. He belongs to the suicide squad or machine guns. He came in just as I was taking up the regimental school so I did not see him but five minutes. He'd come down to see Kenneth but Kenneth was away at school. Bill caught the next train and went on to the school where Kenneth is. He had a gold service stripe on his arm and seemed to be very happy and enjoying life.
Keep writing for I sure enjoy a letter or a bunch of letters from you.
Harry S. Truman Capt. 129 F.A. Ajt 2n Bn. American E.F.
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