April 8, 1918
Dear folks at home,
How are you all?
I am in Pt. Townsend this week but you address my mail to
Flagler as Herbert is going to try to get me over there by next Sunday.
We have been staying here at the Hotel since we arrived here.
Herb got 3 days off.
Had to get up at 4 clock this morning to get over to Flagler.
Well I can tell you just where Flagler is now.
Itís just a little south east of Pt. Townsend about a half hour
ride on the boat.
I sent the folks a telegram when we got here so I
did not write as I wanted to talk to Herb as much as possible.
I have 2 rooms rented and am going to move in there today but I
donít want to stay here very long as I want to get over on the island.
Mrs. Dick is talking of going home tomorrow.
Donít know yet for sure just what we will do.
Well we got into Seattle about 8:30 Pacific time
Friday morning and we looked around in the depot awhile and there I
tried to phone to Herbert.
And I was standing looking out of the telephone booth waiting for the
reply when I saw Herb looking around.
He walked right by Mrs. Dick, as I had left her to watch the
suit cases. I just saw
Herb from the side but I knew him by his walk and Mrs. Dick noticed him
and looked over to where I was and I winked at her and she took after
him and there sure was a tickled kid.
He didnít know whether to laugh or cry.
He had been around there all night, as I sent him a message from
Spokane the day before, and it was good I did otherwise he could not
have got there till in the afternoon so we had to wait there till 5
oíclock to get a boat back here.
Emil couldnít get off that day.
They had some new men put in where he stays and they quarantine
them 2 weeks when they run in a new bunch, but he is here now.
His Lieut. left him
off yesterday morning, so Sat. we, Herb and Mrs. D. & I, went over to
Flagler to see Emil. Itís
not a very large place and lots of timber.
Well perhaps I can tell you something about army
life. I really am not
allowed to write it as they want everything kept secret, but I am going
to write something about it anyway.
You just ought to hear the boys cuss about it when they get
together. They are all so
disgusted and everything else out there.
You hear people say the army has the best of doctors but the
boys say they would not even make horse doctors.
Herb went to see the one at Flagler one day about his headache
and one other boy had rheumatism in his arm went up the same time and
they both got the same dope (salts) so when they got back to their
barracks they threw their dope in the stove,
And the Dentist broke 2 mens
jaw bones trying to fix their teeth.
I could tell you a whole lot more if I could talk to you.
I guess Herbert was right when he wrote that he could tell me
more in 10 min. then he could write in a week.
Well Fred, you perhaps will be surprized [sic]
when I tell you that Herb was broke, he had to borrow the money to come
to Seattle. When anyone
tells you again that the government supplies the boys with the best of
everything you just tell them itís a lie.
Herb has $8.00 and ten cent left after his insurance is taken
out and thatís always taken out.
Then they have to pay for their laundry, clothes pressing,
cleaning, etc., tooth paste, soap, shoe polish, gun oil and I donít
know what all else. And
then when they were in the 65th Co. they very near starved
them. All they got there
was beans and potatoes and thatís the reason they used to go and buy
pie etc. And they was so
homesick they didnít know what to do with themselves.
Herb said he never spent a more miserable night than last
Christmas eve, but he never wrote that they didnít get enough to eat
because he did not want me to find it out.
And I asked him in a letter if he had a pillow and he did not
answer me that question because he had no pillow and he did not want to
tell me that. They have
pillows and spring beds now in the co. they are in.
Well the 65th Co. landed in France from
what I hear. Well how are
the papers coming, have they got old Bill yet.
Oh how the boys would like to get home.
I donít know if you can read this letter or not as I am sitting
here on the bed. Oh what a
blessing it would be if we could both go home together itís too good to
Well I just wish you could see some of the things
I have seen. Crooked
feet, bow-legged and all kinds put together and they call them
Well that picture did not tell the truth.
Herb is a little heavier but not like that picture.
He looks stouter when he has that short blouse on.
Just as soon as he gets that off he looks natural just as humped
back as always. He weighed
117 lbs. when he got here and gained about 11 lbs.
The boys can ride from one Fort to the other in
the government boat free of charge and I can ride on it free also.
Thatís about the only thing they have got free.
I have met 3 Ia. women already and that Mrs. Young & Highland
are also here at Townsend but I havenít found them yet.
Well I guess Iíll have to ring off and get me some
breakfast and then Iíll have to try and get my things up the hill a
ways to my rooms as Iíll be here this week for sure.
I can talk to Herb over the phone from the land ladies house but
the sooner I get over on the island the better it will suit me.
I just hope Herb will be able to get a room .
A fellow by the name of Gates got his wife over yesterday.
Herbert is well aquainted [sic] with him.
He has crooked feet, and we met them in the street yesterday,
and he told Herb how he worked it to get his wife over there and Herb
is going to do his best.
Well we will leave it in the good Lordís hands.
He has helped us so far and
will stay with us yet.
They are going to move another co. out and think thatís the reason, as
they donít want anyone to find it out.
Maybe they are gone already.
How is everybody and Eleonora.
Well if I get any more pay
from the government you better send it out here and I guess you better
send me a Bank Draft for 25 dollars unless you have received a check
from the gov. for me, then send that.
It will be enough.
I have plenty but I donít want to run short, so I can always get home
if I have to. One never
[3 or 4 lines of handwriting whited out/erased]
Well bye bye for this morning.
Your sister, Emma
May God soon end this war.
-source: Cheryl Siebrass. Letters from her
Grandmother's sister Emma and Herbert (brother-in-law) while
stationed stationed at Fort Worden, WA.