Harry S. Truman Presidential Library & Museum

Truman, Mary Jane, 1889-1978; Cannon, Joseph Gurney, 1836-1926

Letter from Harry S. Truman to Bess Wallace, November 2, 1918. Family, Business, and Personal Affairs Papers - Family Correspondence File.

Somewhere in France

November 2, 1918

Dear Bess:

Your letter of the eighth came today written on Treasury Department stationery, and I am sure glad to get it. You must be a wonderful solicitor and money getter to be made manager of the drive. Should we decide to promote some of my numerous oil leases when I return, I shall know whom to elect secretary and money-getter.

I am most awful sorry to hear of Dave Winton's death. He was certainly a fine kid and it doesn't seem possible that he is dead. That Spanish grippe must be a fright. I'm not bragging but my battery hasn't a sick man in it and has not had for several days now. This seems to be a healthy place except for diseases caused by Fritz's iron ration he sometimes heaves this way.

I am glad Mrs. Sands thinks well of me but I can't for the life of me see why she should. I busted her boy and transferred him to another organization and simply wrote a letter to Washington D.C. about the allotment and I guess was lucky enough to get into the right pigeon hole with it and some armchair warmer accidently got it when he took his feet off the desk and it had the desired result. Uncle Joe Cannon says the reason officers in Washington wear spurs is to keep their feet from slipping off the desk and I guess it's right.

I am sending you (under separate cover, as the mail order house says) a package which I hope some postal clerk in the A.E.F. doesn't steal, because it is supposed to contain a Christmas present for you. It is not a good present but it is the very best I can do since I can't go to Paris. It is a pair of bronze vases (they're bronze looking anyway—really they're plain old brass) made from German 77 shell cases by a Frenchman here on the front. They will be rather unusual anyway, whether they are pretty or useful or not, and I hope that you'll think of the thought and not look too hard at the present, always considering that it arrives at all. I am hoping that I can give you a better one next time, or make up for the lack of this one on February 13.

I am enclosing you, also under separate cover, a Stars and Stripes. It is a very hard thing to get papers up here but I sent my efficient second lieutenant to town today and he succeeded in landing one, as well as some Saturday Evening Posts and some late Paris papers, all of which we appreciated highly. Mary tells me that she was elected to be treasurer of the 129th Auxiliary without a dissenting voice, which is very nice. She also seems to be on the point of purchasing a Dodge coupe. Well, I don't care if she does, but I'll bet four bits she backs out when it comes to handing out the money for it. I am sending her a piece of German brass also made by a Frenchman into a powderbox. Face not guns. She said she purchased a couple of Liberty bonds. Did you solicit her? I have never bought any Liberty bonds yet because I've always seemed to need all the francs and centimes I could rake together to lend to worthless birds in this regiment. I'll have enough to start a French bank or buy a Paris lot or something if I ever get it all collected up, which I don't ever expect to do. Maybe I can make them collect votes for me when I go to run for Congress on my war record—when I get tired chasing that mule up this corn row, as I told you, I am going to.

I am glad you don't hold it against me when I can't write but there have been times, and there will be again, when I couldn't possibly write. I have gone as much as sixty hours without any sleep and for twenty-two days straight I marched every night. You know that's not conducive to letter writing however badly you want to write. I thought of you just the same and still think of you.

Always, Harry


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