One hundred years ago today, March 24, 1918, Jay wrote to Rinda from Columbus Barracks Ohio where he had recently arrived for basic training. He sounds a little more upbeat here. In his letters he occasionally mentions the hard work, mostly referring to drilling. He clearly did not like that part of his training, I can’t imagine anyone did. But he does say that he’s used to ‘mopping and scrubbing’. Jay managed hotels and restaurants around the Upper Midwest, he knew what had to be done.
Dear Rinda –
This will be my first letter since I received a union form which was last Wednesday. Went through examination with flying colors my weight was 118 lbs, some heavy weight. But government needs men regardless their weight. Men here from all over Central States, everything from a coal miner from PA to lumber jack from Mich also a lot of men out of Detroit.
Government says use both sides of paper so I am following my instructions.
Eats are fair. Sleeps are good cot for each man strung along in rows on each side of bunk house. Good warm wool blanket. Clothing is also good.
Weather is still warm, grass is nice and green buds are coming out on trees around the campus here.
Large numbers of men arriving daily. Many soldiers around here must all be green men same as I. Some change from good hotels and easy job to mopping and scrubbing bunk houses. But I shouldn’t worry. Have done plenty of such work before and not as hard for me as it is for some men. I am going to bath house and clean up and may go over to city. Columbus is a good city. Was over to city last evening but could not remain long as I was on duty as fire guard from 10 pm until 12 so had to return early. Barracks are about ½ mile from heart city.
Planning on going to bath house and shave today and also that bath. Change underwear and keep clean. So far, I like this game but when we get long and hard drills I will undoubtedly fall by way side. But what’s the difference may as well spend my life here as anywhere.
When you write address me as above and use Jay instead of J.E.
Love to you and Ray,