Brooklyn Naval Yard, October 28, 1918 – “You make money slow in the Navy.”

Brooklyn, NY
October 26, 1918

My Dearest Maude,

I am back in Brooklyn come back yesterday and will til about the 20th of November and then eighteen months in France.

I seen Sylvan this morning but did not get a chance to talk to him.

I am sure glad to get off the S[outh] D[akota]. She sure is a madhouse. I never put five months of my life like them.

Say, Maude, I will try and send that ring by Xmas. I have got $70 toward it already. You make money slow in the navy and I don’t want to draw any out of the bank. Will that be all right? If not tell me, dear, and I will send it. Now don’t be afraid to say no.

I and my pal was out of New York about 40 miles last night. A lady took us out in her car. Some time, believe me. Of course I was kinda in the road being the third one but they said I had to go along. Gee I wish you were there. It would have been much nicer.

Well, I must close for this time.
From your loving Clark.


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.


Brooklyn, October 25, 1918 – “Maybe the war is going to be over one of these days. I hope so but I guess not till spring. “

Brooklyn Naval Yard
October 25, 1918

My dearest Maude,

Well I am writing this evening as I have lots of leisure time. We got a restriction for two weeks because an officer caught three fellows asleep in their bunks when they should have been studying. So he said, “Well, Guard 92 can just stay aboard for two weeks.” That’s the number of our guard.

This is only the second nite and I feel lost. Part of the bunch went to moving pictures in the mess hall but I have seen the picture so it don’t interest me much. I expect I have a letter from you at the Y. I will jump ship tomorrow and go see. I will jump ship anyway before I say in here two weeks. All we got restricted for was such a little thing that I don’t intend to stay in here for two weeks. Last nite one fellow jumped ship and another one got caught trying. They put him in the brig but let him out this morning.

I don’t think we will be here any way in two weeks. They tell us in the office that we will get either the next or second ship out. Believe me, I can’t get out of here too soon to suit me. I don’t do enuf to keep me from getting lazy. We did quite a bit of exercise this morning. We marched up to Fort Green Park, drilled quite a while, then boxed three rounds. Then had physical exercise, two games with basketballs and a game of “sacks” played with a football. Then some more drill and marched back. Not so bad, eh?

Then this afternoon we cleaned up the barracks for tomorrow’s inspection. So we did quite a bit today. I sure hate to think of laying around here Sat and Sun.
I have too much sleep already. I am not used to sleeping so much and turning in at 7 and getting up at 6 is too much. That’s what I have been doing the last two nites.

Maybe the war is going to be over one of these days. I hope so but I guess not till spring.

We had some time in here this evening. We had a half dozen boxing rounds and then put a good jazz tune on the Victrola and all had a dance. We sure are some bunch of dancers in here. But I would about 1000 times rather one-step with you than anybody I know of. I guess we can show them how to one-step, can’t we?

I came nearly losing my hammock lashing today. I just scrubbed it yesterday and it was not quite dry. I came in and a fellow was just lashing his hammock with it. I jumped him and he said, “Well, someone took mine and I had to have one.” I persuaded him that he didn’t’ want mine tho in pretty short order.

Well, I reckon you still have a hop in Harvard once in a while, don’t you? Henderson still comes, eh? Well, if I were you I wouldn’t let him take me home either. He is the one that wanted to know so much about me, eh? Well when he wants to know any more just tell him we are going to be married my next furlow or anything like that and he can come and talk to me then. I sure wish you could drop in and visit me next Sun. Lots of girls come to see the fellows Sundays.

Well, I hope I can soon buy you a souvenir in France or some other foreign country. I want to send this by a kid so I will ring off for now, here’s hoping I hear from you tomorrow.

As ever yours with oceans of love,


France, October 21, 1918

October 21, 1918

Miss Maude Canfield
Harvard, Idaho

Dear Maude,
Will drop you a few lines to let you know that things are going fine and dandy over here and this letter will find you well for this [time] leave me fine and dandy at the present time.

Well, Maude, I guess you are having a good time there now and it will soon be winter and there a feller can have some sport. It is getting to be like winter over here but it is not very cool yet but it sure is muddy around here but I hope that it will turn warm again and dry the road up.

I have not rec your last letter yet Maude but I sure am looking for it everyday so I thought I would drop you a few lines to pass the time away, but sure would like to be there to pass it away with you for it is pretty lonesome here. All a feller can see is soldiers but I guess we will be moving in to some town where there is some French people until it is time for us to get after the Huns again. Ha! Ha!

It is sure some war. I got a letter from my old chum and he is at camp lewis and I guess he will be over here soon and I will be sure glad to see him. Well, Maude, I guess I will ring off for this time and hoping to rec your letter soon and I will drop you a few more lines so good bye and good luck.

With love, from Bill
Yours as ever.
Pvt. A.W. Gunton
#1 Platoon A. Co.
29th Battalion

Write soon, Miss Canfield
From Bill Gunton

Believe it or not, I actually toned down the run-on sentences and repetition in this letter. Really.