Harry S. Truman Presidential Library & Museum

Letter from Harry S. Truman to Bess Wallace, April 13, 1918. Family, Business, and Personal Affairs Papers - Family Correspondence File.

Aboard U.S.S. George Washington Apr. 1918

Dear Bess:

We are about to arrive and I am going to write you what purports to be a letter. There are so many things we can't write about that there is practically nothing left but the weather and the scenery to talk of. The weather has been fine all the way across, ideal submarine weather so they say, but I prefer it to the rough kind. We had one day that made me and several others pretty much disgusted with life on the sea. I can't see what a man wants to be a sailor for. Except for the one day, I've enjoyed all the meals I could get. Some of the officers have been sick all the way and, I am sure from my one day's experience, have spent a very unpleasant time. Everyone has a remedy and none of them work but Christian Science and sometimes it fails in a rough sea. We have had a very pleasant time except for the monotony of it. There are six lieutenants in our cabin, all congenial spirits. We play cards awhile then go on deck and hunt for submarines awhile and sleep the rest of the time except when we're on guard.

There is no scenery to write about, nothing but blue water everywhere when the sun shines, lead colored when it doesn't, and copper colored at sunrise and sunset. The sunsets on the sea aren't half as good to see as those on our prairies at home. You see just as far as the rim, which they tell me is twenty miles away. The funny part of it is we never catch up with that rim. If we could only get over it I'm sure we could go twice as fast because it would be downhill. One fellow remarked to me the other night that according to his map of the Atlantic Ocean we'd have a hard pull of it from here to France because it would be uphill all the way. Some of the things the crew pull off are a caution to hear. Most of the best ones are unprintable but are not so bad as humorous when you hear them. I am enclosing you a copy or two of the Hatchet—our daily paper—which will tell you lots that goes on on board every day. I didn't get any of your last letters at Camp Merritt. The telegram about the picture was the last thing I got. I am hoping they were forwarded on this boat and that I'll get them when I land.

Shall write again tomorrow.

Yours always, Harry S. Truman


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