Letters

1918-5-23 – Camp Sherman

Camp Sherman, 5/23/18.

Dearest Olive,

Will write you this afternoon. I received your card this morning. No, I have not had my pictures taken. Have not had the time. I was at the Artillery range this morning and had the chance to come home early this forenoon and I took the chance. I travelled in the ambulance to and from the range. Got back about eleven o’clock.

I made arrangements at the community house for you yesterday evening for six days, so rooms are presumably safe there now. They are in very great demand and I thot it best to engage one before I heard from you, as to when you would arrive. Now, if you come Wednesday the room may be found in the city for that evening, so if you can come Wednesday, come by all means—but take your time. There is no use in hurrying so that you will not enjoy your trip. We will be here for a couple of weeks yet anyway, so that will give us some time together, at least a week.

It will be much better for you to live in camp while here and it will be no dearer financially than otherwise. It cost 25¢ each way to go to and from the city. It is three miles to the city. You can get your meals at the community house also and I can continue to mess with the company.

Olive, I am going to leave my two suitcases in your care and you can use these while I am gone. I will not take that leather one with me. I am sorry in a way that I brought it with me, since someone has it borrowed most of the time. The other one is not much good, but serviceable. I will send my trunk home with some of the extras which I have. I do not wish to take anything more than possible. The Gov. will not allow us to take only so much.

We can talk over your future while you are here together with numerous other things. One and the greatest reasons why I do not wish to go is that I do not like to go and leave you—but the time must come. After all the war department has planned elegantly for us. Your school is closing just in time for you to come and visit your husband. They was very kind indeed to us, aren’t they? Guess they did not know anything about our plans though.

I am very anxious for your arrival and will meet you whenever you say. Yours affectionately,

Clyde

See journal

1918-6-7 – Camp Mills, NY

[With an envelope, missing its stamp, postmarked Hempstead, N.Y., June 7, 6 p.m., Mills Branch, addressed to Mrs. Olive Cummins, Freeport, Ohio]

Camp Mills, Hempstead, N.Y.   June 7, 1918

Dearest Olive: Yours truly is out of bed feeling fine this morning and I only hope that you people are feeling likewise. The P.O. force was down at Hempstead last eve. It is about one mile down the line. Just makes a nice little evening jaunt. I was will blanketed last night and slept warm. We did nothing in the city except walk around. We tried to find a show of some sort to go to but did not find anything that pleased us so did not go. We have not been checked for our clothing yet. I guess they were around to see us list night, but the office was closed and we were absent. We close at seven o’clock. We are using Eastern time here, so now we have turned our timepieces ahead one more hour. We will soon be getting up the same time we go to bed. It is raining and very wet here this morning, but we have a good tent and have kept ourselves dry. I have had no word from you this Friday morning. I was thinking that it is time mail was getting here from Camp Sherman, but the mail seems to be pretty well clogged up here. In fact we are getting poor service all around. Quite a number of the boys are getting passes to go to the city. Some are going in the daytime and others during the night. I think that I will go down tomorrow, if plans work out well. Still I may defer until next week. The city is always so crowded Saturdays. My writing is poor but my knees are my table. I do have a board to place my paper on. We are fortunate to have paper, pen and ink. Just so you are able to read. When I think that it is definitely settled that we are going to leave I will sign my name in full thusly: Clyde Manson Cummins. You may as well know it as not, if it will do any good, and I can’t see what harm it will do. I am anxious to hear from you to know how you are getting along, and to discover what you are doing, your plans, etc.

Yours Lovingly, Clyde

1918-7-? – France

Somewhere in France, July 1918

Dearest Olive:

It is a little difficult to write you so often when I do not get any word from you, but all we can do is to write and let each other know who we are from time to time. I suppose that we will get the mail all in a bundle when it does come. Remember that it does not cost any more to send mail to me than it did at home, not as long as it is handled by the American Expeditionary forces.

I have plenty of money and will need none so far as I know. I think that we will be paid very regularly here. I understand that all enlisted men get an increse [sic] of 20% in pay.

I am glancing at a French book from time to time and am gradually picking up a scanty vocabulary. The pronounciation [sic] is so difficult. I was out again yesterday evening visiting a farm house. Took my French book with me and conversed just a little with the people. That seem to be the only way to catch the language. The French are certainly convivial.

They are drilling the boys fairly hard now. We will undoubtedly remain billeted here in this town for five [redacted] or six [redacted] weeks [redacted] and then move to a [redacted] [redacted] [MSC–almost readable] for further equipment and training. Unless something unforseen [sic] occurs, I hardly think that the regiment can experience any real action for at least [redacted] [redacted]. This is all a guess but think that it is a good one.

I am enjoying my stay here. Our quarters are just as good as they were at Camp Sherman. The bathing facilities are not so good. Must walk for about three or four miles to a river. The water is good for bathing after one arrives. I took a bath near our quarters today.

The demands of the people are much different here from that of Americans, but I suppose that they will finally discover that we want.

I think I told you that we have the P.O. in the town hall.

Yours affectionately,

Clyde.

1918-7-9 – France

Somewhere In France, July 9, 1918

Dearest Olive:

Well, got a letter from U.S.A. yesterday and it was certainly welcomed. The regiment got its first mail yesterday. The letter received from you was written from 11 and 12. Also it contained a letter from Mother. I do not know whether she will get to read this letter or not. I will try and write her also, very soon. Your letter also contained one from Anna. The handkerchief was in good shape.

I am inclined to think that there is another letter back of that one yet, but it will come later. We must observe patience when we wait on our mail here.

We are permitted to date our letters now, so you can tell about when they were written.

I do not have access to a paper and am absolutely in the dark as to how the war is coming on. I hope to get some where soon where an English printer’s devil operates, so that I can keep up with the times. I would think that it would be a paying proposition for an American printer to start a good paper here. I have not seen anything but few paged paper in Europe.

The French use wooden shoes—similar to the Hollanders, i.e. many of them do. One is able to see lots of wooden shoe soles. When a bunch of kids go down the street, the sound made is similar to that made by a bunch of horses on a brick pavement.

We had a very slight rain this morning—The first since our arrival. I understand that it is naturally very dry here at this time of the year.

Your vacation is nearing a close. Hope that you have enjoyed yourself, and wish you all sorts of good luck in you coming year. The letters seem sort of stale by the time they arrive here but I appreciate them just as much as if they were only one day old: We will have to accustom ourselves to the new.

Yours affectionately,

Clyde

1918-7-19 – France

[on YMCA bi-fold paper, the first on this stationery]

Somewhere in France 7/19/1918

Dearest Olive:

Yours truly wrote you a card today, but why not end the day by writing you a short letter. I came back to town this evening. Had a pair of trousers at the tailor and wanted to come after them. Then too, one of the boys is sick and wanted some oranges, so I got them too while here.

There has been but little happened since I last wrote you. Saw an English paper today and everything in war news was favorable for us. So much the better. I have the feeling that such is going to be the case, for the most part from now on. Of course we must look for some reverses from time to time.

I got back from my business trip O.K. yesterday, and was very tired when I pulled in and had not done anything either, but travelling always did make me tired. Guess I never did enough of it to get use to it.

I am going to have to make a change in my allotment since congress has ruled that we cannot make a voluntary allotment of over five dollars. I hardly know what to do about it. I suppose that I can draw the money and send it to you or someone to take care of. I spend but little money here, Olive. In fact there is nothing to spend money for. You should not think of sending me money. I will wait and see how I come out and later I may send you some and you can drop it in the bank with the other.

I am pretty tired this evening. By the way the P.O. force and I moved the postoffice this morning. We were on the second floor and now we are down stairs. It is better than upstairs. Much cooler and more room.

It is twenty minutes ‘till nine the sun is still shining. It does not get dark until ten o’clock.

Will close for the evening.

Yours affectionately,

Clyde

— The change in allotment takes place in August. I hardly know the government’s idea.

1918-8-1 – Bain de Bretagne

Bain de Bretagne, Fri, 8/1/1918.

My dearest Olivia:

I suppose you have certainly received my first letters before this, but I notice that you are very sensible about it when you say the mail might be delayed several weeks. You will know at least that I am doing my part in writing to you, and if my letters feed the fish it is not any fault of mine.

We are looking for more mail soon, since but little has been received from the 1st to the 9th of July. Just think! we are beginning another August. Am glad getting here, but they will finally come.

The war news still continues favorable. The Japs are intervening in Russia. The drive of allies in practically stopped. Can’t see now how Germany will last more than two years. We will undoubtedly be in the fight by Spring or early summer. You must remember that just now we have just as fine a place to live as in Camp Sherman. We have no dust, since we live in the fields. The roads are not so dusty. They are made of limestone. The lanes leading to the farmers’ dwellings are not in very good condition and they must get terribly muddy in winter. The roads are shaded by tress on either side also. And the sun never gets to them.

I suppose, Olive, that when I return to America that you will have everything ready for me when I return. If you decide that you can enjoy yourself better by renting some rooms next summer and having them furnished do so. I suppose that you will hardly want to do it since you can just as well rest at Mothers and I am inclined to think from your letters that you like to stay at mothers. Then too, you hardly know what you are going to do next year. I am not hoping to be home in less than a year and a half. Well, you is ever thinking of you.

Yours affectionately,

Clyde

1918-8-3 – Bain de Bretagne

OBM’s mother is in Barnesville at this time.  On YMCA double fold sheets

Bain de Bretagne, 8/3/1918

Dearest Olive:

Good morning. How are you this fine morning? You are not up yet.

I just found Pres. Wilson’s address given on the fourth of July, and that it was very good. Does not at all sound like peace for some time. Think Germany is bound to get thrashed ere the trouble ceases. Think Wilson’s ideas of peace are good.

I am sending you a clipping which will undoubtedly interest you some. The old married women are again being welcomed into the schoolroom. I notice also that at the N.E.A. which met at Pittsburgh recently, they are trying to have money set aside by congress to help the teacher’s depleted salary. that would be fine fro the teacher. Much better than previous. If they finally devise such a scheme, teaching may finally become an inviting vocation.

I suppose that if you go to Waverly you will have things more or less your own way in planning your work. You should have it arranged so that you will not have more than four or five classes per day. – Then you may either visit or do what you care too. If you do not have a four year high school, you will not have so many classes. Will the school be a commissioned one? I would like to be with you in your planning of the work. Now, I am writing all this and not know even where you will be. I feel sure that by this time you are thinking going to Barnesville. Of course I know that since you can rest better a mothers you would want to stay there as long as possible.

In one of your letters you spoke of sending me a draft, but I am in no need of money. Money is practically worthless here, since there is but little that an American would care to buy. I saw some beautiful handwork yesterday evening and thot of sending some to you. It is very costly and I fear that some of the mail sent you will never reach you. I don’t like to send anything that is costly on that account, but some time or other I must get something and send it to you in our remembrance of France. They have lots of beautiful laces etc., and I know that you would appreciate it and I may send some to you. I must spend some money someway. Pay day will soon be here again. Of course I will not be overflush with money, but I do not need money here. Why, Olive, I can get along a whole month without any, if I have to. So you must not send me money unless I ask for it. You should spend what I send you in allotments, and I send you a few dollars from time to time to help out a little.

You well realize that we are out to win and you perhaps too well realize how much interested we both are in looking out for the future. I am afraid that sometimes you may skimp yourself in order to conserve, but you should not do that.

We had some second class mail yesterday, but little first class. It will be a week or two I suppose before I receive word from you again; since mail seems to come in about bi monthly. I am well and intend to remain so as long as possible, and I will be careful not to contract any disease which would minimize my good health. I am just as safe here morally as in Ohio, altho there are more temptation, but such do not bother me. You of course would be advised if I were sick. Will close.

Your Husband,

With Love, Clyde.

1918-8-4 – Bain de Bretagne

to follow up: Hartford City Sgt. Brackney  / On YMCA double sheet stationery

Bain de Bretagne 8/4/1918

My Dear Olive:

This is Sunday morning. we had some articles of was read to us this morning and we did not get started to work as soon as we might. [According to Patrick O’Brien, articles of war were frequently read on Sunday, the point being to remind soldiers of the rules—probably because some of them were not following them and had been charged.]

Yesterday evening after supper Serg. Brackney and I went out and picked some blackberries for pies. We are going to have the cook make them for us. They will go good tomorrow. I think that we will have blackberry pie for dinner today since a detail was our yesterday picking berries.

This is a pretty day. I want to go to the river this afternoon and take a bath. Have not had a bath for a week.

We have not had any mail today but are looking for some a little later in the morning. Hope there will be something for me. I had a paper yesterday: The Freeport Press. – the result of your efforts. Much obliged for your trouble.

The Allies are still gaining. Looks good, but there is so much left to do.

This is the busiest time in this town. Everyone comes in from the country Sunday morning. They do some trading at the stores at that time also. Think that everyone attends church young and old. Very religious and yet so irreligious.

I am sending all my letters to Hartford City. Suppose that if your address is changed you can have the postmaster there forward all your mail. Hope that by this time you have made up your mind as to what you wish to do. Oh! well I will hear in a few months.

Yesterday evening we got some milk from a farmer and had some bread and milk just before going to bed and it was very good. The people are very dirty but the milk was clean. Suppose they are some cleaner during peace times but they are bad off in that respect now.

I am glad that you were rested before your vacation ended. I think that you did the right thing by working a little while visiting since it helped you so much to pass away the time, and your planning for our future is certainly appreciated by me. I love you for it.

Will close—

Yours lovingly

Clyde.

1918-8-16 – Camp Coëtquidan, France

Stationery: “With the Colors”

Camp Coëtquidan, Fr. 8/16/18

My dear Olive:

The last letter I received from you was dated July 27 and received that yesterday. It told me of your change of plans. I am glad that you succeeded in you endeavors in first rate style. It is certainly complimentary of your previous work there as teacher. You will have everything there more or less your own way since you are principal. I see no need of your having but little work to do than you had last year, or while you were there before. If I were you I would certainly arrange all the work to benefit No. 1. You know that is the way others do and they seem to get along very well. You should not have more than four periods daily and at the most seven. If you teach history you will want to do much reading to keep up with war developments, etc.Certainly that is an interesting subject with which to deal.

You notice that I am in a different place from where I was. In our letters we are not mention anything about the movement of troops, but by a little deduction you are able to see that we have moved. We are located in a camp similar to that of Sherman. The barracks are more permanent than at Sherman. I understand that the camp has been here for some time. This place puts me in the mind of Sherman. Lots of dust. We have some German prisoners here, and I understand that they are sending some back to the States.

I have not written you for a couple of days. Have been very busy. When we arrived here found lots of mail and cared for that the first thing. Then too we had to set up a post office eand are still working at that. Finally we will get things arranged.

Much warmer here than at Bain.—but little shade. The camp is practically treeless. The nights are very cool. We are not so far from the coast (western).

Yours affectionately,

Clyde

1918-8-19 – Camp Coëtquidan, France

Stationery: “On Active Service”

Camp Coëtquidan, , 8/19/18

My dear Olive:

This is an answer to your letter of July 26. It may be that I will not get them all anwered since some of them are misplaced somewhere.

It seems that your program at Waverly is much better than at Hartford since your school begins the week following institute.

Glad you had a pleasant time at Uncle Als. They have a good machine and certainly make good use of it. You will find that the Sprouls are very much alike in action. I always that that Aunt Adda was OK.

I am surprised that they had enuf of pep to have a Chautauqua at home. They had one several years ago there. Yes the paper comes in very handy in bringing in home news scandal gossip, etc.

Hope the return shops are full male prisoners. They should put a few in every ship so the Huns would be careful about sinking ships.

Yes we are fighting for democracy, liberty and a lot of other things that we can’t define but our ideas are good.

 Now about those letters of the “March Wind.” Just tell her that she may write all the letters she cares to and they will be read, reread scrutinized to the limit at this end. They are always welcome.

 I am sure that you will have but little trouble at Waverly. In fact the little trouble in discipline will not worry you at all. I am glad that you have interesting work to occupy your mind.

Was at a “Y” building yesterday just in time to hear a talk. The music was good, but the sermon nothing xtra.

Yesterday afternoon I had a good rest and last night too, as a result I am feeling extra good this morning.

he regiment is on the range this morning firing with the “big guns.” I am doing no drilling. just taking care of the mail and we have been very busy since we came here. Our aim is take take some of our P.O. furniture along with us this time when we go.

Yours affectionately,

Clyde