Harry S. Truman Presidential Library & Museum

Letter from Harry S. Truman to Bess Wallace, May 19, 1918. Family, Business, and Personal Affairs Papers - Family Correspondence File.

Somewhere in France May 19, 1918

Dear Bess:

I am still somewhere in France going to school like a darned kid, and I guess I'll keep on going for some weeks to come. No letters yet since the first week I was here, but I know there are a bushel of them somewhere. They send them just as the mailman feels when they come. If he's facing the south bag when he gets our mail that's where it goes, and if he's facing the north bag, why it goes north, etc. ad lib. I guess we'll get 'em sometime. I went off on a truck ride this morning over to the adjoining town. It wasn't any different from the other French towns I've seen, but the ride was beautiful. The French know how to build roads and also how to keep them up. They are just like a billiard table and every twenty meters there are trees on each side. I have raved over the scenery in every letter I've written and it is worth raving about, but it was particularly beautiful this morning because the sun was shining. It has shone for two days together—a really unusual occurrence. I didn't take my raincoat because it was so pretty and bright, and as was to be expected it rained to beat thunder. We were lucky though and got home between showers. It's sure pouring down now. If you'll read the letters that came out in Collier's about a month ago, you will get a very good and vivid description of France as we see it.

We have been working harder than ever. I had an examination Saturday that would make the president of Yale University bald-headed scratching his head trying to think of answers. I think we'll all be nuttier than an Arkansas squirrel if we study this hard much longer. I am now an orienting officer (whatever that may be). From what I can gather in a casual survey of the situation, I am supposed to go out on the earth somewhere and find out where I am and then tell everybody else. It's a nice job as far as I can discover if I can get a little surveying, geometry, astronomy, and a few other things into my noodle inside the next three or four weeks. If it doesn't bust, I guess I can do it.

We have so much to do all week that Sunday is the only day we can write letters home. I suppose you only get them about every three weeks anyway. I would have given my anticipated service stripe for a chance to see you today. We all hope to wind things up at this school with great honor or all go home efficiencied one. I hope it will be the first anyway much as I'd like to see you and home.

The rest of the gang are all writing letters or trying to. They write a few sentences and then sing a few song of home and then write some more.

I played the piano at the officers YMCA at the town I visited today. It was the best piano I've seen since leaving USA. It was a dandy, evidently belonging to some rich Frenchman who had given his house for YMCA purposes. There were whole volumes of music by Mozart, Beethoven, Schumann, Mendelshon, Litz (can't spell 'em) and everyone else you ever heard of. It was sure rest after the week's work.

I am hoping to get some letters this week sure, so keep on writing. Remember that I'm thinking of you all the time anyway if I don't write every day. Every fellow in this room is engaged to some fine girl back in the States and the French girls haven't a chance. None of us have ever seen any worth raving over yet. I guess all the pretty ones are in Paris anyway. I'd like to go see but I guess I won't anyway soon.

Yours always, Harry

Harry S Truman 1st Lt. 129 F.A. American E.F.

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