Jun
2012

Harvard, Idaho, September 11, 1918

Harvard, Idaho
Sept. 11, 1918

Dear Maud[e],

I received your letter a few days ago. You said to answer it by return mail.  I’m sure that I would have done so, but listen, I’ve been awful busy.

So don’t get peeved. I helped your father thrash and have been helping Jack.

Went to the show twice Saturday and Monday night and hauled timber last night, so you know I’ve been busy.

I know that you’ve been busy.

We got the pictures and you are the only one that can take a good picture. I will send them to you. I know that you want to see how they look. Some of them weren’t very good. We only got part of them. We will have to have some more taken when you get back.

When are you coming back? You don’t know how we miss you. I wanted to send this up on the noon train but I didn’t get up in time. I’ve got to work tonight so I think I’ll go back to bed. You know I’m always sleepy.

I don’t know whether you can read my writing or not. I don’t believe I could make it out after it gets cold.

I am too nervous to write today but couldn’t put this off any longer.

Well I think by the time you make this out, you will be ready to rest for a while. So I will ring off for now.

Hope you will like the pictures. You needn’t wait as long to answer as I did. Get me?

Well, don’t work too hard. Tell them hello.

Your F,
Hugh

Jun
2012

Garfield, WA, September 10, 1918

Chamber of Commerce
Garfield, Washington
September 10, 1918

Dear Maude:

Was tickled pink to hear from you again and glad to know you are still kicking.

I suppose you are having a grand and glorious ? time attending school again — or are you going this year? School started here Monday and yours truly is glad she is not on the list. I hated to see school start because Margaret has to stay home almost every evening during the week. We have been together so much this summer, I’ll feel like a lost dog now. She stops at the office most every day after school, but I’m generally so busy we can’t gossip much.

Went to Pullman Sunday and had a dickens of a time. We stopped at Palouse and went to the show in the evening. Palouse is some city, I don’t think. I want going to go to the show there Thursday nite as I imagine it will be good.

Had a chance to go to the Spokane Fair, but couldn’t get away. We have been busier than a cat on a tin roof the past week. Oh! Such is life! I saw Mr. and Mrs. Daily and Jim C in town Friday.

I’ve got the sorest jaw you ever did see. Will be glad when that blamed dentist gets through with my teeth. Was down Friday eve and have been in misery ever since. Am having my work done at Elberton. There is a good dentist there.

I’ve got a I.L. for you, too, old “smarty cat” — Lucy Hughes said she met you while at Harvard and thought you were a dandy kid – so there! Lucy was in Garfield a week ago Sunday. She used to live here as no doubt she told you.

My Pal is down to Colfax today being examined and if he passes alright as no doubt he surely will, he will probably be called very soon, and then I’ll be a “merry widow” — booh-hoo!

What is the latest excitement in Harvard? Have you had any dances there lately? There isn’t anything going on here now. I suppose there will be a few High School parties later on. There are some cute new teachers here, this year, but I don’t suppose you’re interested, being you’re not a boy – eh?

I am embroidering the prettiest chemise for myself. When I get it finished I’ll have my picture and send you one. I am afraid it will shock you. I have the darnedest picture you ver saw taken while I was up there this summer.

Well, pood-let, I must get busy at something worthwhile (get that?) so will have to kiss you good-bye for now.

I would ask that Earl and Hugh please stay home the next time you want to write to me cause I don’t like to wait a whole month for a letter from you.

Yours,
Leona

The occasional letters from girlfriends are interesting. Since I have none of Maude’s letters, I wonder if this is the same sort of tone she took in hers.

The letter is written on Garfield, Washington Chamber of Commerce typing paper.

Jun
2012

Hermosa, SD, September 3, 1918

Hermosa, SD
Sept. 3, 1918

Dearest Maude,

I rec’d your letter August 16 and was sure surprised to hear from you.

I see you were surprised to hear from me. Well, I was just as surprised to hear from you because I thought that you would never answer a letter of mine when I had delayed so long in writing.

I don’t believe Harvard will ever amount to anything if it hasn’t gotten livelier since I left.

What kind of Army service has Clark joined when he is traveling so much? I would like to be with Dick G on the Sub chasers. Where have Emery and Frank been as they [are] returning to Harvard.

I see you heard from Marvel. Well I am glad he likes it, then it isn’t so hard to stay.

I see by your letter Ellen is in Harvard again. Well I sent her a letter and she never ans. She must of never got it or she has forgotten me. But I should worry, there are a large number of girls in SD & Idaho besides her.

[We] were going to thrash today but it rained so we are laid off so I thought this would be a good time to write to a dear old Friend.

What are the people around Harvard doing this time of the year?

Well today school starts and I wished I was going, too. I am thinking of going to Rapid City and go to High School. They have a good one there. You better come and go along. I suppose you are through high school by now.

I got some pictures taken in my wild western riding habit the other day on my favorite horse and will send you one if they are good.

This place is sure dead. Nothing doing and fourteen miles to the nearest town. But us young fellows get together and have a dance every three weeks but that is a long time between good times.

Well Maude I must close my rooster scratching for this time. Hoping to hear from you soon. Will send you that photo in the next letter if they are good. Tell all Hello.

Yours as ever,
Elmer Thompson

Jun
2012

Bassano, Alberta, July 11, 1918

Bassano, Alberta
July 11, 1918

I received your card some long time ago, and was sure glad to hear from you again.

How are you anyway? I hope you’re all right. You told me on the card to try a letter for a change. So here goes, I’ll do the best I can. Why want just me to write a letter?

I’ll bet you’re getting so many now that it keeps you busy answering them. Isn’t that right, kiddo? I got a letter from Bessie, and she sent me your picture. It’s dandy too. I have looked at it more than you can think for it makes me homesick when I look at my old picture. I heard that you are as large as Cecile [Maude’s middle sister] now. Is that all you have to do is grow?

I think that I’ll have to come back on a visit or I won’t know you. You think I won’t?

How is Clark getting along now? I suppose you know if anybody does. How about it? Does Harvard play any baseball yet?

Maude, that’s a good picture of you and Clark. Were you a-walking together?

Where did you spend the fourth at? I haven’t celebrated since I left home. That’s pretty good for a scrub, isn’t it?
Do you go to any dances any more? Or isn’t there any to go to?

I was up on the Raven [Alberta] last winter with Bechtels, I spent about six weeks with them. Had a pretty good time.

You ought to see the girls. I don’t believe that you would know them now. Mabel wrote me about 4 months ago and she said when I wrote to you, tell you hello for her.

She is working in Red Deer [Alberta] now. Gladys is staying at home.

I was in Calgary about a month ago. I went up thru to get my birth certificate signed or get the American consul’s stamp on it. And I had to swear that I would fight for Uncle Sam. I was in town last night, and I saw a good ball game. It was Vulcan & Bassano. The score was 4-0 nothing in favor of Vulcan. It sure was a good game.

I wouldn’t have been in town but I haven’t started to work since I got my big foot run over. The right one is awful sore yet, can’t hardly walk on it. The left one is all right. But I still have to sue crutches. That’s no fun. I may go up to Raven for the 20th. They want me to come but I don’t know just what to do yet. Can’t you tell me? Send a wireless, wouldn’t that be all right? Say whether I should go North or South.

Did you ever see a folding love letter? I’m going to fold one and send you. Is there anyone to object? If so let me know. There was a big picnic west of here today and a big dance tonight. In a seven thousand dollar hall. There is four or five of the boys going from this camp but me I’ll say at home as usual. I’m getting to be a regular old man.

Do you believe me?

How is Ellen getting along? The folks never say anything about her when they write. Perhaps she’s married. It’s as all the rest are doing.

I come near falling over when I heard that Bessie was married and I also heard that Hatty was married.

I suppose you’ll be next, now Maude let me know if anything like that happens. I want to be the best man. Get me? There has been four or five weddings around here that I know of.

Laying all jokes aside, I would have liked to seen Bessie married, but didn’t find it out until about a month ago. Well as news is scarce I think I’d better ring off for this time, don’t you? You’ll be sick of this kind of stuff.

Now Maude, let me hear from you and tell me some news, the news, you know. Good news. Get me? Say Maude if you don’t like to have me write this way just let me know, will you? And I’ll not. Get me?

Will you burn this letter after you have read it then no one will get hold of it, you know we used to burn our notes at school and them good old days, ha ha.

When you’re lonesome or want some to do just write me a letter for fun. I’ll be glad to get it. Well here goes for the folding love letter. I would like to put a lot of hugs and kisses in it but then I am afraid it mite make you angry. Would it? Clark, he might kick too.

Excuse writing as I am a poor writer. I don’t even try to keep in [illegible]. Well I must say goodbye for now.

As ever yours, Hugh Q, Bassano, Alberta Box 7.

Inside is a tiny folded note, criss-crossed with creases. It says:

Well, I think I told all I know, and it took me more than 30 seconds, too. This is supposed to be a folding love letter but I don’t know how to put the Love in it. Do you? But I’ll send my love anyway. Can you fold this up again? It’s not hard to unfold but it’s not so easy to fold. Yours truly, Hugh.

May
2012

Letter from a frenemy: May 1, 1918

Highwood, Montana
May 1, 1918

Dearest old sweetheart:
Received your pictures was sure glad to get them, and also one of Dick, I would love to have one of Charlie too. Because you never can tell what will happen cause the old Germany also taking the joy out of life.

Uncle Ed’s talking about going to war. I think I can hold on to him, though, what’s the matter with Rollo, has he gone to war too? He must have a broken finger or arm. Tell him I heard he has a broken hand and can’t write (ha ha). Be sure and tell him also Bugs and the rest of the kids every one owes me letters, huh Poody. That easter card Harold sent you. His address is Great Falls, Montanta. Well, I hear Dora’s married and Bessie. Good-night nurse. Some match. I bet they don’t hitch.

Please excuse my hen scratching I’m in a hurry.

Your loving old pal forever,
Illa

Ans. sooner or soonest

There is so much I don’t understand about this letter.  While there are plenty of pictures of Maude with her girlfriends, there aren’t many letters from women; either she didn’t keep them or didn’t correspond with them (although that would be unlikely). Also, I’ve never seen anything noting who Illa is.

So who is she? I’m guessing a frenemy. Rollo is Sylvan’s brother, and Charles is Sylvan’s given name (both he and Maude, at times, go by their middle names). Is that who she means by “Charlie?”  And surely the notion that someone should fake injury to avoid going to war was as tacky as it would be now. (I’m looking at you, Vice President-of-the-deferment Dick Cheney.)

I’ve corrected a lot in this letter, grammatically (really!) but left many of the errors intact, because the letter has such a breezy, slapdash quality.