May 26, 1918 – …three stewed prunes no seconds

One hundred years ago today, May 26, 1918, Jay wrote to Rinda from Camp Devens, Mass.  With a background in hotel and restaurant management, he knew his food so his comments about what was offered at the mess hall was probably on the mark.

‘Jack’ was a horse he and my grandmother had when they lived in northern Minnesota.

As we know, he hated drilling.  I’m not sure what it was that made him hate it so much….weak legs? Poor lungs?  His light weight?  Even before the war, these things were mentioned in letters he had written.

He had sent a little money to Rinda in his previous letter, we’ll never know what she got for Raymond for his birthday with it.

Dear Rinda,

Sunday once more and I have done my weekly washing.  Think it would be a good time to answer your letter.

Beautiful morning here, nice fresh breeze blowing sunshine very bright.

Didn’t go to mess hall for breakfast but went to Baldwins Restaurant which is nearly one mile from our barracks.  The food is getting no better fast at mess hall.  Friday I was out working as a freight helper on five ton truck, worked real hard and was hungry and tired at supper time here’s what we had for supper:  bread & butter, hash, tea & three stewed prunes no seconds.  How’s that for a working man to live on.

Guess we would have had some trouble had we started feeding Jack like that in woods.  Don’t you think?  About every regiment has a canteen where they sell pies, fruit, soft drinks, tobacco, and toilet articles and I visit them very often.

We have been booked for a transfer since Thursday and it hasn’t come through as yet.  Yesterday we were ordered to remain in or about our quarters.  In case the call came.  But none come and only a few men were transferred.  Thursday a very large number of men were transferred from 28th Co to permanent companies of 76th Div.  Most all green men coming in the last draft.  The engineers I came to Depot Brig with are most all with the 28th as yet.  But tomorrow we are sure to land in a new home again, it may be infantry, machine gun or artillery as 76th Div is composed of many different units.

Sure will be hell for us in case I land in any of those outfits and very sure I can’t stand the drill.  But all I can do is try if fail its all right.

Will then be shifted to some other unit or branch of service.  When long hikes come with gun and pack I am out for sure.

Don’t care much any more where they put me.  Could not go over seas with 33rd so would just as soon remain in the U.S.  Don’t believe I will ever pass for overseas service.

Glad to learn Raymond is getting along good and that you both are enjoying good health.

Did you receive the little gift enclosed in my letter of one week ago?  I will mail you a card very soon telling you my new address.

So will close for this time sending love and best wishes to you and R.

Good bye

Lovingly Jay

1918.05.26 148

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