Harry S. Truman Presidential Library & Museum

Lee, Jay M., 1873-1945; Klemm, Karl D., b. 1880; Elliot, Arthur J., born 1882; Truman, Martha Ellen, 1852-1947

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

Lawton, Okla.

Feb. 11, 1918

Dear Bess:

Your letters were all waiting for me when I got back and I got one last night. I hope you got my last Oklahoma City letter Sunday. (Filled my pen here. It's always dry when I need it.) I have been going like a horse since I got back. Went over and took some special instructions on gas protection. Had to take a mask like a diver's and get into it and then go into the gas house and sit there ten minutes. Some of the men were very uneasy about going on. They were afraid they'd get gassed and never see the Kaiser. I don't see that it makes any very great difference where a person gets gassed or shot either provided he's slated for either one, because the same result takes place. Still I reckon there's more honor in getting battle wounds than training ones. Don't you worry about what's going to happen to me because there's not a bullet molded for me nor has Neptune any use for me. Had I have been on the boat that went down, I'd have been in Dublin by this time with some Irish woman at a dance (if she looked like you) or taking a look for the man who invented corks and corkscrews. Ireland's a great country so they say.

Mr. Lee is back and says that he sure likes the sound of your voice over the phone. I told him that he had good judgement [sic] and so have I. You don't know what I'd give to see you or even listen to your voice over the phone. You know what, the poet says that Spring time does for young men.

I can't imagine why my letters arrive unsealed because I am always very careful to given them an extra pat at both ends. This one will surely get there sealed. Col Klemm was here today. He seemed very glad to see me and so did Col Elliott. They go to the School of Fire today for ten weeks.

Please wire me if you get sick because I am terribly uneasy if I think the least thing is the matter. I am going to wire you tomorrow if I don't hear that you are all right. For goodness sake don't worry about me. I have so much to do I can't be into meanness and when I have a minute I'm writing to you or mamma. I took some sergeants out riding today to show them how to figure a deflection and also how to sit on a horse. We rode up Signal Mtn and down again and one or two were very glad to get back to camp. One of them informed me that he would stand up to rest for a couple of days. I must be getting to be a tough guy because I don't get tired and I can ride all day without unpleasantness. I have decided to make good and not get an efficiency test (therefore I may get it). You know very well you wouldn't have me home for that even as badly as I'd like to come and you'd like to have me. I'd be forever disgraced. They may have to send me to the supply department or some where like that but I don't reckon they'll give me a test just yet.

I wanted to come home last Sunday so badly I nearly did anyway. I guess I was too cautious but if I'd get kick out for disobedience it would be worse than the other way. I am writing under difficulty. My board keeps slipping and if I go to the canteen I'll have so much conversation I can't write.

Please send me a wire or letter to let me know you are all in good health and spirits and not doing any worrying over a good-for-nothing person like me. I am awfully glad you think I'm well enough without a D.S.O. because I'll never get one. The Huns can't run fast enough to catch me. I don't think they could make another like yourself because perfection comes but once.

Yours always, Harry

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