May
2012

US Naval Training Station Great Lakes Armed Guard School, May 13, 1918

US Naval Training Station
Great Lakes, Illinois
Armed Guard School
May 13, 1918

My dear Maude,

Well, at last I have time to answer your letter that I rec’d Sat. As I told you before, I was in the mess hall. But I didn’t like it very well tho. I didn’t have enough to do. Really for ten minutes one afternoon we just sat around and did nothing.

I sure wish I had been out car riding with you. It has been so long since I had a hold of a wheel that I don’t think I would know how to steer a car now. I used to have somewhat of a reputation for fast and reckless driving but I never ditched anything but one Ford and nobody was hurt then. One nite I took a lunch out to a wiener roast over a rough road in an old Ford. I hit a few high shots but they were few and far between. Every time I did hit one the girls screamed.

Will you go out riding with me some time, when the war is over? I promise not to drive any faster than the car will go, ha ha. But I can tell you one thing. I never drove any make of car over roads anywhere near decent that I didn’t have it wide open. Everyone said I would break my neck but I guess I was born either to be drowned or hung. Ha ha.

Yes you bet I’ll write often when I go to sea. And you write just as often too, won’t you? I will get them every once in a while and will sure be more anxious than ever to hear from you. No, I don’t believe I want you to be a nurse because I’m afraid I would never get a chance to go to the hospital and then I would never get to meet you in France. I am going to try and get a German helmet for a souvenir. That would be some keepsake, eh?

No, I should say you never told me a lie. I don’t believe that caused your sore tongue because I don’t believe you would tell a lie. Now if I had a sore tongue it would be different for no doubt as you well know I am pretty “onery.”

Tell Marion hello for me when she comes down. Tell her I’m just another one of the family, like Bill, and maybe we’ll get to see her some day. I know she must be a pretty nice girl if she is a chum of yours. She may find Harvard pretty quiet but I have a kind of liking for the brite lites myself and I sure would have been glad to have stayed in Harvard for six weeks.

I only wish I could be there the 19th to celebrate our birthdays. But of course, you know I am 11 months and 3 weeks older than you, now. I’ll tell you what I’ll do. I’ll try and send you a birthday present from new York. That is if I go to New York. I intend to leave most of my stuff wherever I have my headquarters. My personal belongings and part of my clothes ,then, should I get torpedoed and rescued, I will not lose everything.

Gee, I would have liked to have seen Rollo when the preacher tried to get him to go forward. I have had them talk to me too but someway I never felt that way, myself. I’ve no doubt but what those who do are better off, but you know how it is. I guess I’m hopeless. I like to have a good time too well. Such as dancing, etc.

You nearly got me in bad. I read your letter in class the other morning I was holding it down and reading tho seemingly attentive to the Chief’s lecture on bore-sighting a gun. When I read about the scarecrow that looked like Ruby it tickled me so that I burst rite out laughing.

Of course, I tried to turn it into a cough but the Chief had seen me. He looked at me steadily for about two minutes and said, “Well, what the H— are you laughing at? Do you think that I am giving you a comedy or something like that?”

“No, Sir,” I answered.

“Well,” he said. “You seem to have quite a sense of humor. Now don’t you think it would be a joke if you happened to go on guard four hours tonight?”

“No, Sir,” I said.

“Well,” says he, “there’s going to be just that funny stunt pulled off if I catch you at anything like that again. Now perhaps you can tell us the purpose, method, and result of bore-sighting a gun.”

“Yes, Sir, I can” and that was all that saved me. As heck would have it, I had studied up all about bore-sighting the nite before and knew all about it.

But four hours would not have hurt me any. I would be willing to do that every nite for a letter from you every day. But it sure did tickle tho about Harry Smith saying he tipped his hat to her three times.

I agree with you about your poor opinion of war brides. I am not much in favor of them myself. I think that if they want to get married they should at least wait and see how much of him will be left after the war.

Tell Ellen hello for me. I reckon she has all kinds of fellows coming up there, don’t she, as my kid brother said she had about a dozen more or less scattered around the country.

Well I reckon I will have to quit and scrub some clothes. I have a dirty white suit and a stack of other dirty clothes. Someone stole a pair of leggins (?) out of the dryer from me. I hope they give him paralysis every time he wears them.

We are doing quite a bit of studying now on gun construction, ammunition and how to be effectively fite the submarine.

Well all for tonite, ans. soon or sooner,
Yours as ever,
Sylvan

My company is color guard this week. Every nite and morning we march to the flag staff and stand at “present arms” while the band plays “The Star Spangled Banner” and the flag is hauled up or down.

I get a kick out of how Sylvan alternatively talks about how wild he is, at the same time pleading for more mail. Also, Ruby is Maude’s sister, and Rollo is Sylvan’s brother.

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