August 2, 1918

18 letter

Dear Ma:-

One of the boys just came back from leave and brought these with him, so I just thought I would mail them before I went out to post. These were all taken in at headquarters.

Harvey

P. S. There should be six pictures enclosed when you get this.

(Endorsed by Censor: "There are enclosed six photographs in it".)

August 2

 

17th letter

 

 

Dear Ma:-

Yesterday the chef came home to supper with the news that the colonel had given us two front line posts. Up till now, our nearest post was about two miles or so from the front. It used to be nearer, but the Italians pushed the Austrians back in the last offensive. Now we are to have these posts right behind the second lines or about the same as it used to be in France. I can't say anything more because I haven't yet been out to the posts. However, I guess we certainly can expect mud and all the other little things that go with such posts.

This morning I went down to one of the big towns where we get our rations.. We went to a big bakery where they make 130,000 loaves a day. In one part, they were heating the oven by building a big wood fire inside. The stone sides end bottom get very hot and then the coals and ashes are hoed out and the loading crew sets to work. Two men bring little baskets with a round ball of dough in each to a little platform by the door of the oven. Another man stands right in front of the door and has a pole about 25 feet long and with a flat piece of iron on it, just big enough to hold two balls of dough. A fourth man empties the balls from the baskets onto this piece of iron and then they are pushed back into the oven. And by giving them a little jerk, the man with the pole places them just where he wants to. They work awfully fast, too. It looks as though that pole was just going back and forward like a piston and they never stop, either. After the bread is cooked, they have to keep it 12 hours before they give it out. Of course, it may be several days before it reaches the men in the lines, but we get it direct and so it is pretty fresh.

I never saw such a motley crowd as there was in the square this morning. One old woman selling vegetables had a red bandana around her head, an orange blouse, a red skirt and a blue apron with white polka-dots. You can't imagine how brilliant she looked in the bright sun and everything absolutely clean. All the little counters that they set up on the sidewalks had ribbons and bandanas and every variety of nick-nack for sale, but always the loud colors were placed or hung so as to catch the eye.

The mosquitoes are terrible and the most vicious beasts I ever saw. They don't just raise a little bite, but a regular welt wherever they bite. I have not had any letters from home since I last mentioned those about five or six days ago. Will write again soon, but I go to post tomorrow and may not get a chance till I get in.

Harvey

P.S. We have 4 days at post and 4 at headquarters.

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