Harry S. Truman Presidential Library & Museum

Paterson, Newell T., 1890-1977; Truman, Mary Jane, 1889-1978

Letter from Harry S. Truman to Bess Wallace, June 27, 1918. Family, Business, and Personal Affairs Papers - Family Correspondence File.

Angers, France June 27, 1918

Dear Bess:

Another banner day. Got four letters. Hooray! Also a box of candy from Paris on which it said it was sent by order of Miss Bess Wallace, Independence, Kansas City, Mo. It was grand candy, too, and very much appreciated because candy is hard to get. I guess they sent the candy instead of the cake because cake is under the ban. All flour is used in bread. The candy was just as well and lasts a heap longer. I have been working as usual—the regimental schoolteacher, along with Captain Patterson. You should hear me hand these fellows bunk and make them like it. It's rather funny for an old rube to be handing knowledge (of a sort) to the Harvard and Yale boys, but it's happening now. The hardest work I ever did in my life too. I'd rather saw wood or pitch hay. You can never tell what will happen to you in this war. May be a farmer superintendent before it's over. They say that if you can't pass an exam in trig. and logs, they'll keep you on the horse lines and won't let you up front. I hope it's only a rumor.

Your dream was sure a fine one but I could never teach West Pointers anything. I might teach some B.N.A. outfit how to do squads east or squads west but its not likely. I had a good dream myself a few nights ago. Thought I was in Independence all diked out with stripes of service and bars of rank and celebrating the grandest event a man can. I never saw you look so pretty as you did in that white get up except in that black velvet dress with one suspender. Now can I have two letters this week?

I was mighty sorry to hear of Rufe Montgall's death. Hadn't heard until I got your, and Mary's, letters. He was a fine boy and his mother's only child. The French say, "C'est la guerre." One old lady over here had eight sons killed. She asked that the ninth one be sent to the reserves. Her request was granted but before the order got there he was also killed. They are stoics though and are satisfied to give all for the principle they are fighting for.

I'm for the French more and more. They are the bravest of the brave. If there were only millions more. They and the Americans hit it off fine. The people we are billeted with seem unable to do enough for us. They appreciate the least friendliness and if I had the time I could learn French from them. But I don't know any more now than when I landed. Too much artillery to learn.

No I haven't seen any girls that I'd care to look at twice and when I'm happiest I am dreaming of you, so that ought to be the right and proper condition of mind, oughtn't it not? If you'll just keep writing so I'll get letters and lots of 'em I'll write every time I have a minute.

Yours always, Harry


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