Harry S. Truman Presidential Library & Museum

Danford, Robert M., 1879-1974; Paterson, Newell T., 1890-1977; Marks, Ted, b. 1882; Berry, Lucien Grant, 1863-1937; Butterfield, Chauncey G., born 1869

Letter from Harry S. Truman to Bess Wallace, February 22, 1918. Family, Business, and Personal Affairs Papers - Family Correspondence File.

Lawton, Okla. [Feb. 22, 1918]

Dear Bess:

This day has been a bright one. So was yesterday. I got your letter both days, and I have been the delinquent party this week. I hope you won't blame me when I tell you what has been happening. The overseas detachment is again having spasms of preparation to leave. I am still on it, thank heaven, and so of course I am having spasms too. I had a regular one yesterday when Colonel Danford ordered me up before an examining board not for efficiency but for promotion. I think I failed miserably because General Berry was so gruff and discourteous in his questions that I forgot all I ever knew and couldn't answer him. He said, "Eh huh! You don't know, do you? I thought so. You don't know. That'll be all, outside." He kept me and the two others, Lieutenant Paterson and Lieutenant Marks, standing out in the cold so long that we took a terrific cold and I couldn't get up this morning for reveille. I got up for breakfast and outside of a slight headache I am all in good health and spirits. That is as good spirits as could be expected in a man when he falls down on an examination. We had no opportunity for preparation and I suppose that it would have been no better if we had. I have been looking for them to say that it was a mistake and that an efficiency board is what I needed instead of an examining one. Please don't say anything about it until the announcement is made as to whether I get the promotion or not. If I don't get it then we won't say anything. If I do then we can tell it. I guess it is a compliment anyway to get ordered up even if I didn't pass. They almost sent me home on a physical, too, yesterday but I talked past the M.D. He turned my eyes down twice and threatened to send me to division headquarters for a special examination and then didn't. I guess I can put a real good conversation when circumstances demand it. You see by taking everything together if I hadn't gotten your letters, I'd sure have been a blue person. In addition to all the other things I did yesterday I turned the exchange over to Captain Butterfield and sat on a general court martial. Some day, wasn't it? Can you wonder that I didn't get up for reveille and still have a slight headache?

I shall cable you as soon as I arrive in Europe. I thought I told you I would once before. I intended to anyway. I am glad Uncle William was landed safely and I hope to see him when I get across. I don't know much to tell you about leaving, but I'll let you know immediately I start. I shall also let you know if I get the two bars. Please don't say anything about that though until I hear that I'm turned down, which is what we all think. I am no longer Trumanheimer. Did I tell you I met a pretty girl in Guthrie who was nice to me until someone sold her my name was Trumanheimer, and then she wouldn't look at me anymore. She thought I surely must be of Hebraic descent with that name. She of course didn't know that it is little I care what she thinks or doesn't.

Please write me as often as possible because the days are sure brighter and not so hard when your letters come.

I think of you always.

Yours, Harry

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