Camp Kearny, CA, October 22, 1918

Camp Kearny, California
October 22, 1918

Dear Maude,

Well, my dear, I will not tarry so long this time, because you say if I do I’ll get mine. Whatever you meant to give me I’ll take no chances. I rec’d your letter yesterday and enjoyed its contents immensely.

You will have to pardon this ink it’s the best I could get in a hurry.  I have some blue ink over in my barracks, but I’m not there now and really am too lazy to go over and get it, or rather I’m too busy. Ha. Ha.

Gee, somehow as other my thinking cap is not on the dimmers. This quarantine is getting on my nerves.

Well, how’s the weather out your way pretty cool in the morning now, isn’t it?
Rather chilly out here some these mornings. You’ll have to excuse scribbling as I can not write at all today.

Have a letter lying in front of one, addressed by a student of the Tamblyn School of penmanship, and when I look at it and then at mine I feel like tearing mine up.
Gee can’t some people write swell, tho, wish I could. I just love a swell handwriting, don’t you?

You seem to be having some time with your rain out there again.We sure had a good shower here, too, the other night, just poured down.

Well, Maude, as yet I have not heard from Marion H but had a letter from EJ and enjoyed it fine. [E.J. Would be Maude’s friend Ellen.] You ask me if I’ve met Marvel’s wife yet. Well, I haven’t but am not surprised to that she loves Calif.

Well, here I am again about 3 hours later and I’ve been quite busy, too. The Sgt. Sent me to have some papers signed by the Mayor, and when I got there he wanted to see the patient so of course I had to go back and bring him. And as he got his furlough alright, I had to get his clothes and then it was time for my laundry, so you see I’ve been on the go all the time and goodness only knows if they’ll let me finish this now without interrupting me again.

When I sit down to write a letter I do like to finish it, but then I’m writing while on duty, so I have no reason kicking.

Well you ask me if I am as wild and wooly as I look on that picture, well I’m not quite so woolly. Ha. By the way, dear, are you going to send me another picture? I’ll send you one when I have some more taken, where I don’t look quite so woolly but in the meantime you might send one of those dolled up in your best suit.

This is a punk letter and I know it. I had really ought to tear it up. But you wanted one to ans immediately so here I am. It’s the best I can do today.

Gee can you beat it really, I got out of going for chow tonight. Well I’m tickled to death, and now I see where I finish my letter tonight or today rather. Mistakes is all I can make today.

The bugle blowed so I must go eat.

Well I’m here at the desk once more just got back from supper.

You ask me if I’m any kin to Albert Larson, and in reply will say I have no kin by the name Larson that I know of. And right here I might tell you my right name is not Larson altho I’ve used it so long that it’d be hard for me to change it now. You see, I have a stepfather and Larson is his name so that where I got it. My real honest-to-God name is Odegard, very odd isn’t it?

Yes, dear I’d like to see Germany get what’s coming to her and she’ll get it. Really I think if you had your say you’d tell me to ring off and I’m now going to do so, and make it snappy. Hoping to hear from you real soon.

I am ever yours,

I don’t know what it is about Theodore. Maybe it’s that at the bottom of every page it says “Help your Country by Saving. Write on BOTH Sides of this paper” and he almost never does. Or maybe it’s because he’s a tool. Anyway, this was the first letter where I almost liked him, possibly because the name reveal is the one time he used the back of the paper.


Camp Kearny, California, October 8, 1918

Camp Kearny, California
October 8, 1918

Hello Maude –

Your sweet letter recd a few days ago and I will now ans some.

Pardon me, dearie, for not doing so at an earlier date as I have not been feeling very good. Sure enjoyed your letter and will try and answer them sooner after this.

You ask me for my picture, you shall have it, but I hope you will recover from the shock in due time to ans my letter at an early date. So now if I do not get an early reply I shall take it for granted that you was disappointed with it.

Remember I’m just crazy to get another one from you, but don’t suppose I’ll ever get it now after sending mine.

Well how’s weather out there. Kinda chilly here now and trying hard to rain.

Yesterday I was on a pass but did not have a good time. Couldn’t even go to a show on account of this influenza. Stayed an hour and a half over time, so may get restricted to quarters for a couple of weeks. Gee whiz, I do not know what to write about. News is scarce out here now.

By the way, what do you think of this peace we hear about in the papers?Wouldn’t it be great if peace were declared pretty soon? Guess we’re in here for about six months after the war is ended so you can reckon how we do look for the end. I don’t think this peace is going to amount to much? And really I do not figure on getting out of the Army for another year.

Gee, I hope I’m badly mistaken, however.

Well, I guess some more of the boys here will be going across before long, tho. They may never see active service. Hope I’m one of them, as I sure would like to move from Camp Kearny.

See you are enjoying some hot weather out there. Not so here, nice and cool, and trying hard to rain. Thanks for sending me those names. I will write to them. This Alice Bingham I am writing to her now.

Skip this.
Well I will send you a picture but I hope you will recover…

Guess its about time I quit as I’m starting to write the same thing again. Well, really I got to be doing something, the boys want candy and tobacco, so guess it’s up to me to make a canteen trip.

Will try and do better next time and now I’m going to quit.

As Ever Yours,
Theodore Larson
Please ans soon.

Poor Private Larson. I mean, I go from wanting to punch him in the nuts to feeling sorry for him; he’s not even a good liar. Flu? Can’t enjoy a show…but stayed out past curfew? Really! But since Sylvan wasn’t writing many letters during this time (or if so, they haven’t survived), I suppose she was willing to write him all the same.


Camp Kearny, California, August 29, 1918

Medical Department
Base Hospital
August 29, 1918

Lo Maude —

Would you believe it, I really rec’d a letter from Miss Maude Canfield today.
That is, I’m quite sure I rec’d it, because I’ve rubbed my eyes and pinched myself till I’m quite sure I’m awake. Ha! Ha!

No sweetheart to be quite frank, I did not receive your letter which you say you wrote. Now when you say you wrote it? I know you did, but I know very well that I was not a-receipt end of that letter. But I think I have the whole situation in a nutshell.

You see, there are several by the name of Larson, here, and it’s a safe bet that some one got it.

Well, I’d a-liked to seen him get it and then open it and read it and then not be man enough to give it to its rightful owner.

I hate to tell you what I’d a-done. You asked me to answer your letter right away, dear, and here I am first through reading yours and enjoyed it immensely so do write often, would you, honey?

To be sure, I got your picture to, but Oh-O-O-O, how am I to know whether it’s you or your brother. If you dress like that all the time, you’ll never see an honest to God man again as long as you live. Speaking for myself and I think a whole lot more, that is one thing a man doesn’t like to see, a woman dressed in, and that is, in “man’s clothes.”

Now kiddo, please send me a picture of your sweet you dressed in anything but man’s clothes, won’t you dear?

Well, changing the subject a bit, you can say we are having some really hot weather out here now, also had a shower the other day.

I am still working at the same old job but haven’t fallen in love with it yet. Neither have I heard anything about our possibility of going across soon and it makes me feel kinda blue.

I made it a point to ans all letters rec’d the same day they arrive if possible so if you don’t hear from me at the expected time, don’t wait till next year before answering. Sure have a nice place here now for writing letters as the new YMCA is finished and it’s a nice place.

Am writing with music so don’t blame me if I call you dear or dearie, music makes love, you know.

Well, honeybunch, as I can not think of anything but love with this music, so sweet, ringing in my ears, and fearing you would not want me to write love letters to you, I guess

I’ll call a halt and continue this in our next.

Bye bye, darling, and for heavens sake do as I did answer soon.
As ever yours,

I have never wanted to go back in time and punch someone in the nuts until I transcribed this letter. Contrast this to Sylvan’s letter where he talks about girls looking cute in boys’ clothes. No wonder Sylvan dissed Larson (I’m guessing that’s who he’s talking about as “that Swede soldier“); I just wish I knew what Maude had written him!


Camp Kearny, California, June 25, 1918

Camp Kearny, California
Medical Dept.
Co. B., Base Hospital

Dear Miss Canfield:

Here’s a little surprise for you, Miss Canfield, and I hope it won’t be annoying to you.

No don’t try to figure out who you know by the name of Larson at Camp Kearny for I’m taking upon myself all responsibility of introduction, and will now proceed to make you acquainted.

It’s like this. One day Mr. Tompson showed me a picture of his wife and you happened to be in the same picture. Well, to tell the truth of it, Miss Canfield, I sure did get stuck on your picture and was telling Tompson what a nice girl you was and how I’d like to correspond with you.

He told me that he thot you’d ans if I’d write. So here I am but I don’t’ want to get Tompson in bad. So if this should prove to disaprrove with your feelings, please lay all the blame on me. Now perhaps it’d be good for one to give you some idea who I am. Well you know my name and to make a long story short will say I am only a lonesome soldier boy and not getting enough mail.

Some of the boys are upstairs playing cards and I don’t know where all the rest of them are. However Tompson is taking a nap. I’m afraid he’ll spoil his night-sleep tho as it is only half an hour till bed time.

I have now been in the Army about 3 mts but don’t’ like this Medical Department at all. Would sooner serve in any other branch but we have no choice so its of little account to crab about it.

Well, Miss Canfield, how’s every thing out your way, weather has been rather hot out here.
I haven’t had any letters this week so can’t figure out what have happened to any correspondents.

There’s nothing looks better to a soldier than a nice long letter, and there’s nothing as disappointing as when an expected lever does not show up.

Well I have no news this time and am afraid all this will prove very uninteresting to you so I will cut short hoping you will ans this in some way or form. Next time I’ll be more explicit if you care to continue corresponding with me.

Well the lights will soon be out so much skiddo.
Hoping to receive an early reply &
Sincerely yours,
Privt. Theodore Larson
Co B. Medical Department.
Base Hospital
Camp Kearny, Calif.

Right. Because I’m sure writing only about boring stuff and yourself has NOTHING to do with getting little mail. Just saying, Private Larson. Just saying.