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.


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.


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


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!


Brooklyn Naval Yard, August 24, 1918

USS Cleveland
August 24, 1918

My dear Maude,

Well, here it is Sun and I have time to write. I won’t be able to finish this before chow but go on watch after dinner and can finish then. The Old Man is in Boston so we can do about anything we please. He is hardly ever here nites. Well, I guess that we will go to City Park Barracks about tomorrow.  Hope so as I want to see Clark again.

I got your letter all rite enclosing the letter you wrote in June. I knew darn well that I hadn’t been getting all of your letters but I will all rite when they come to the Y.  You must have had some time all rite when you hiked to Grizzle Camp. Wish I had been there, too.

You say you are getting tan as a Mex. Well I guess you will have to go some to beat me. When we were coming back we had to wear like belts without jumpers and my arms got sunburned from my elbows to my shoulders so darn bad I could hardly lay in my hammock.

Well, if you think that Helen [Maude’s middle name] is pretty why I will have to agree of course. The name is all rite but of course I always called you Maude so like that the best.

Say that Swede soldier has his nerve to talk about coming to see you. Bet if I was there no bloomin’ Swede would hang around. Afraid he mite fall in “luf” with you. Ha ha.

You are sure having lots of company all rite. Well that makes it pretty nice. You had a good trip for huckleberries all rite. I remember the time I went up there and heard a panther holler. Gee, I was about scared stiff. Hans Lund is a pretty good old fellow all rite.

Say you write me that you think my kid brother is sore at you and he writes me that he thinks you are sore at him. What in the dickens is the trouble with you two? Guess I’ll have to come out and see that you arbitrate, how about it? Hah.

But say I think you make a slite mistake when you say he and Glen Gilder look like twins. You say you never knew him to do anything bad. Why of course not. Look at the brother he has to set him a good example. Don’t see how he could possibly do anything wrong with such a good example to follow, do you?

Yes, I’ll drop Emma a few lines if you want me to but I’ll have to wait until I get all of my letters answered.

Well, I reckon you are glad to have a new garage. I remember when your dad built the other one. He took a tumble and hurt his back, do you remember?

So Earl has a REO, eh? Well, if he is as much of a nut as they say you better watch out that he doesn’t ditch you. Now take someone like me, for instance, it’s perfectly all rite to speed because I know darn well I can hold it between the fences at least. I never think about how fast I am going when I am driving or when I am am with someone I know can drive but I have ridden fast with some nuts driving that I would just as soon go slower with. But I guess I’ve got no grounds to talk. I used to be considered a nut when I was driving a car, myself.

I am awfully sorry dear that you had such a bad headache when you wrote but of course you don’t need sympathy now. Bet if I had of been there I could have cured it. I am the best headache doctor you ever saw. Except when I got one myself. I had one for two days at sea and could hardly see.

Guess you’ll have to wait and let me finish that dress after all. I bet I can sew it all rite. I had to cut off 4 inches from each leg of a new pair of white trousers and hem them up for inspection yesterday.

I bet you are glad to get done with bailing all rite so you won’t have to do so much cooking. I should be there to drive bailer team again. Never again for me. If I work on a bailer again it will be on some other job than driving team.

Well you may wish that you were a boy but you can tell the world that I don’t. Also I have to disagree with you when you say that girls aren’t good for anything. I know at least one girl that I consider good for a whole lot and you know very well who I mean.

I sure am crazy to hear the song that you girls composed. What is the tune of it or did you compose that, too?

Ellen must have some new fellow. Clarence Clauson, eh? Sure sounds Swede enuf. I reckon old lady Johnson wants him to marry her.

Well I am glad that Rollo is going to Pullman to school. I know it will be pretty lonesome for the folks this winter but he should get all the education he can. There aren’t’ many boys around there now are there? Oh, well the war can’t last forever and there will be more boys around there then. I know one that is figuring on heading that way, you bet.

There sure is a lot of shipping in the harbor now. I am sitting in front of a gun port where I can look out across the harbor and there are ships going in all directions.

It seems to me all I do is scrub clothes. I scrubbed a lot yesterday and have to scrub a white suit again today.

You remember me telling you about that Spanish tanker blowing up? She is still burning. Been burning about 7 weeks. I guess just a little oil escaped at a time and it keeps burning.

Well my dear, I guess I must close for this time and get ready to scrub clothes so all for now.

Yours as ever,


Brooklyn Naval Yard, August 23, 1918

Naval Yard Brooklyn
August 23, 1918

Dearest Maude,

Well back again and you can believe me I am glad to be walking on something solid again.

We dropped anchor at eight o’clock last nite. We anchored Monday nite in Chesapeake bay and had gun practice Tuesday nearly all day. Then Tuesday nite we went to Hampton Roads, nearly to Norfolk, and anchored. We rigged the ship for coaling after chow [and] worked till nine o’clock. Had to lower the boats and rig coal in the davits [cranes on a ship]. We were rolled out at 4 o’clock Wednesday morning but the lighters [barges] didn’t come alongside til 8 and then the fun began.

I had an easy job. All I had to do was to get down in a lighter and shovel coal. Believe me, I shoveled, too. I wanted to get my picture taken after I got done but didn’t get to. I had a half inch coal dust on me and don’t know if I have it all out of my eyes yet. We worked till 5 o’clock and then knocked off coaling and weighted anchor and set sail for N.Y.

We cleaned the ship up partly on the way. I had to stand gun watch from 8-12 and I was so darned tired that I could hardly stand up. Yesterday we scrubbed the ship from top to bottom. We sure have done a lot of work in the last week. I am back on orderly watch again now so won’t have to work on deck any more.

I think we will go to City Park Barracks about Monday. I hope so because I am pretty sure Clark is there. I couldn’t go down tonight. We don’t get any more liberty till we leave the ship account of a call being liable to come most any time for us. I had five letters on the ship 4 here at the Y. Tonite I had 6 from you. Believe me you don’t know how good I feel when I get your letters. I tell you, dear, you don’t know how good it seems to get a letter till you get to where you can’t get any at all. I won’t try to answer yours tonite dear because I must write some more letters but I will answer them all soon. I will make this short and sweet.

Tonight yours as ever, with love,