Mail service was hit or miss during the war. A dough boy could write a letter home and it might get there in 10 days. Or in a month. Or often….never. Apparently Rinda was worried about Jay, she hadn’t heard from him for a long time so she wrote to his brother Dell, in Gaylord, Michigan. Mail service notwithstanding, it seems my grandfather just wasn’t much of a letter writer during the war.
Here is my great-uncle’s reply written to my grandmother one hundred years ago today:
Sept 28, 1918
Received your letter some time ago just as I was starting to take a vacation and visit in Southern Michigan and try and get a little rest from the mail route.
Neglected to answer it while I was gone and also after returning but will get busy today and hope you pardon my laziness in writing.
The fall weather has been cold and rainy here and not very good season for fall harvesting of corn and potatoes. We have some few to get taken care of on our little farm of 37 acres.
So you are out on a big farm or ranch and you should think you would get lonesome there after being in town and in restaurants so long. But I suppose there is lots to take up the time then as well as in the towns.
Yes Jay is in France but we have never had but two letters from him since he landed there about August 1st.
It takes a long time for letters to come from there and you probably will hear from him in due time.
When we heard from him which was about two weeks ago he was feeling fine and was quite a long way from the firing line but of course will be moved forward sooner or later and we hope he may be spared to come home to us all again some day.
Yes I certainly will inform you if anything happens to him as you asked me to do so do not worry about that anymore. Last we heard from him he was looking after the getting of the meals for the company he is with (Co A).
How are your brothers and near relatives in this war? Hope they may be allowed to return safely home if you have.
With best regards to you for all time.
I remain sincerely yours
Dell S. Shetler
P.S. Jays address is
Sergeant Jay E. Shetler
American Expeditionary Force France