Harry S. Truman Presidential Library & Museum

Bostian, William, 1887-1985; Wallace, Frank Gates, 1887-1960; Gates, Marvin H., 1876-1972; Elliot, Arthur J., born 1882

Letter from Harry S. Truman to Bess Wallace, December 8, 1918. Family, Business, and Personal Affairs Papers - Family Correspondence File.

Verdun, France

December 8, 1918

Dearest Bess:

Back to slavery again, but it was a pleasure to get back because I found three letters here from you and some from home. Your name sure looks good on a letter head and I'm glad you sent me a copy of the stationary. Bill Bostian is certainly lucky to have forgotten his gloves but I'm afraid it has spoiled one of my pet superstitions for him, that is that it is unlucky to turn back when you start any where. I am very glad to learn of Frank's recovery and I sincerely hope that no one else has taken the "Flu." It has never struck our regiment although some of the others have been badly hit by it. We seem to have been a lucky outfit in more ways than one. You must have had one glorious celebration on the 11th and I'd have certainly liked to be present although we had a right good celebration ourselves of extreme quiet after 11 o'clock and it was greatly appreciated, that extreme quiet, I'll tell you.

I stopped in Paris again on my way back to the regiment and went to the opera, the real one, and heard Thais. It was beautifully put on and well sung. The building was worth the price of admission to look at. Major Gates and I went. The rest went to the Casino de Paris to see a gaiety show, which, they said, was very good. Paris has a thousand streets more or less and no two of 'em run in the same direction, nor do any of them have the same name from end to end. Nearly any old street in a small village sports a name for each end of it and in Paris they have from two to a dozen. It is always necessary to hire a bandit on a taxi to take you around or you'll never arrive. They're not such bandits after all, because I rode all afternoon with Major Gates and Colonel Elliott and it was only 15 francs, about $2.75 in honest-to-goodness money.

They made us sign a paper the day we returned stating whether we wanted to become regular army men with our same grades, go into the reservist army, or have a complete discharge from the army at once. I naturally took the last event. I don't expect to go into anything where I can't say what I please when I please. Anyhow the emergency is over and I am ready to be a producer instead of a leech. If they take me at my word, which I much doubt they'll do, I may want to see you in New York sure enough if you'll come. I am of the opinion we'll all go home and be discharged with our outfits next spring.

How I wish I could see you. Keep on writing. May you have a Joyous Christmas.

Yours always, Harry


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