One hundred years ago today, April 2, 1918, Jay wrote to Rinda from the Columbus Post Hospital where he’s been hospitalized.
It sounds like there might have been a little discord between them but its now taken care of. In letters written to Rinda while he was on the road before the war, he often spent time calming her down from ‘scraps’ they were having.
In this letter, as he often does, he mentions his mother in Gaylord, Michigan. I know from family history that he was very close to her, Mary Elizabeth Shetler. But I’ve learned this past year that the relationship between Jay and his father, Edwin, was definitely not a warm one. Sadly, Edwin was very hard on Jay as he was growing up.
The Germans were making progress at this point in the war which must have made the prospect of going ‘over there’ even more foreboding. I’ve learned in Jay’s letters from before the war that he could be very negative and pessimistic. But then, heading to the Western Front could make even the hardiest soldier pessimistic.
He also mentions that he’ll be going to Camp Devens in Massachusetts. There he will be getting closer and closer to the war as he continues his basic training.
Dear Rinda –
Beautiful spring day and last evening it rained.
Received your letter of 27th was pleased to hear from you and Raymond.
Been in hospital since last Monday a week ago and undoubtedly leave here or rather hospital some time this week about Thur or Friday.
Haven’t been very sick but you know they take good care of one and make them stay until they are really well. My trouble was my lungs and cold.
Glad you have decided same as I that its best not to scrap all the time and let bygones be bygones.
Way Germans are winning upon western front and way US is now hurrying men overseas it will only be a question of time before I am on my way to France. And undoubtedly be planted in some unmarked grave in some far distant country. May come a time when it will be months that you don’t hear from me so think the last few months should be at least pleasant. I know not how long I will remain at this post after being released from. I will undoubtedly go to Camp Deven, Ayers, Mass.
Yes, Mother felt very bad when I left and has had some very bad nervous headaches and been sick in bed some since I left. Father is standing it very well. But still it tells upon his iron nerve.
I am writing laying upon my cot and fell a little tired now so will rest before supper by taking a little sleep.
Best of wishes to you and little Raymond.
With love Willie