Harry S. Truman Presidential Library & Museum

Truman, Martha Ellen, 1852-1947; Truman, Mary Jane, 1889-1978; Wallace, Madge Gates, 1862-1952; Danford, Robert M., 1879-1974; Boxley, Fred A., 1877-1936; Gibson, Agnes Salisbury, 1888-1968; William II, German Emperor, 1859-1941; Wells, W. Gates, 1898-196

Letter from Harry S. Truman to Bess Wallace, March 25, 1918. Family, Business, and Personal Affairs Papers - Family Correspondence File.

[March 25, 1918]

Dear Bess:

Your telegram and letter were both waiting for me when I returned from New York this afternoon. I was in on strictly business today. Bought two pairs of glasses which makes me six pairs so I don't suppose I'll run out.

I accidently ran into an honest optician who happened to belong to my goat tribe (ie Scottish Rite) and he sent me to the best or one of the best oculists in the city. He gave me a complete and thorough examination a prescription I can use in Paris or Vienna and lots of good conversation all for the whole sum of $5.00 and then he asked me if thought I could stand that. How is that for the crookedest town in the universe? Then the optician who also gave me lots of good advice only charged me $17.50 less 10% for two complete pairs of regulation aluminum frames and glasses, throwing in an extra lens that he happened to chip on the edge in the grinding. I can't understand it. Watts stung me for $22.00 for two pairs and Dr. Leonard charged me $10.00 the last time I bought any and they were supposed to be friends of mine, too. This place is on Madison Ave. just off 42nd St. and I know he pays more rent for a week than Watts does for a month. Evidently these men are patriotic even if one of them is named Haustettee. That's the optician's name and he says it loses him business although his son has made some wonderful inventions in observing instruments for the U. S. Navy since we went to war. I sent you a small package today for Easter. I hope it arrives intact. When you wear it think of me out on the Atlantic thinking of you and seeing your face in the moonlit waves of Old Neptune, and wishing, wishing oh so badly that I could only see you. Really I'm almost homesick for you & mamma & Mary. If I could only have stayed these two days in Kansas City instead in this kike town I'd have felt much better. I am crazy to leave because I know that if the British stem this tide there'll not be another and I do want to be in at the death of this "Scourge of God." Just think what he'd do to your great country and our beautiful women if he only could. This is the reason we must go and must get shot if necessary to keep the Huns from our own fair land. I am getting to hate the sight of a German and I think most of us are the same way. They have no hearts or no souls. They are just machines to do the bidding of the wolf they call Kaiser. Old Julius Caesar's description of the [illegible] exactly fits the Germans of today and to think that Wilhelm should call himself Caesar. Attila or Tamerlane would be nearer the truth.

As I told you before I've seen this town from cellar to garrett and from the Battery to the North End and I can't do much for it. When a New Yorker shows you the Woolworth Bldg or Sen. Clark's house or Grant's Tomb or the Hudson River he expects you to fall death with admiration and if you don't he's confident your education has been overlooked. When one of our N.Y. Lieuts showed me Grant's Tomb from the Hudson Ferry I did him like March Twain did the dago who showed him the paintings of Michaelangelo. I said, "Well! Is he dead." The nut didn't even think it was a joke. He thought I wanted to know sure enough. Anyone from west of the Mississippi can make these people believe anything. I believe I could sell gold bricks on Broadway and make 'em cry for more.

I shall try my best to find White's and spoil a photographic plate if it will please you. This is Wednesday evening and Friday we leave so I don't know whether I can make it but I'll try.

Don't you worry about me not taking care of myself. I'm not out for V.C.s or Croix de Guerre. I'm going to use my brains, if I have any for Uncle Sam's best advantage and I'm going to aim to keep them in good working order, which can't be done by stopping bullets.

Agnes must want my fine plug pretty badly, but she doesn't want to pay what he's worth. He has a pedigree that would make the King of Spain green with envy. He's worth $300.00 for a saddle horse and being himself he's worth $500.00. If Agnes wants to make an offer like that I might listen to it. Although I promised Col Danford that I'd keep him until the war is over and let him have him if he wants him. That was the only way I'd take him because it would have been stealing to buy him for $100.00. Agnes must think I want $50.00 mighty badly. I do need it and badly but my grand saddle horse isn't for sale. This letter is not what it should be but I'm trying to make up for what I didn't do at Ft. Sill. I hope you'll forgive me because my intentions were the best but I was trying hard to make good for Uncle Sam. I did down there and if I can only hold up on the other side perhaps I can do him and you and everyone some small service. A telegram just came from Gates Wells to know if I can see him. I shall try to meet him at the McAlpin tomorrow if he can come up there and I can get away. It's fine of him to want to see me. Tell your mother I love her almost as much as I do my own and if you ever throw me down I'm going to call her mother anyway. I'll write you tomorrow and wire you Friday.

I shall cable you direct when I land. My cable censor address is Boxley and I can cable oftener because it's about ½ the cost. Keep on writing to the same address the letters will be forwarded.

Yours always,


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