August 6, 1918


Letter 20


Dear Mother:-

I have written one letter to the family today addressed to Betty and telling what I have been doing the last three days. But more has happened in the nine hours since I finished that than all the other days together. I'm sorry I can't give details, but they would just be scratched out. Sufficient to say that I set a new high record for men carried in twenty-four hours, although I have only been working nine, and I drove about 150 kilometers from noon till six tonight. When you include unloading, loading and getting papers fixed at the hospitals, that isn't bad moving. All that red tape takes just about as long as the trips themselves.


We have been hearing some wild and contradictory rumors about new draft rules and about numerous other things. I do wish you would send some clippings or a little present history. Betty might be assigned the job of cutting clippings from the Record and the New York papers and sending an envelope full every four or five days. Here the newspapers are only a small single sheet printed on both sides and have nothing but continental news and very meager at that.

Tomorrow I go back to camp and here we appreciate it even more than in France, for at camp we can swim in the river and when one gets so awfully hot all the time, with no place to wash and no opportunity to change one's clothes, a bath is very much appreciated. I have just come in and now it is raining cats and dogs outside. The sky is perfectly wonderful as these storms come up and at night the lightning is very useful on the road, but the rain itself, altho it doesn't last long, is often so heavy that you can't drive in it. If you do get caught in it, it surely does get you even with a raincoat on and seems to delight in running down all the little cracks - especially down around your neck-

These Italians are very different from the French. Some are very nice and as considerate as can be. A barber gave me a haircut this morning and because I was an American, he wanted literally to give it to me for nothing. On the other hand, you will run up behind a wagon with a big load and a man will be sitting on top and the driver down in front right behind the horse where he can't hear your horn or look around and see you. It is very seldom the man on top will have either enough gumption or sense to lean over and tell the driver that you want to pass. So you make frantic signals and finally take a chance and shoot by when there is just enough room between the wagon and the ditch. On the whole, it would be all right except for the mosquitoes. The flies don't bite and neither does the heat, but the mosquitoes. I just counted 17 bites on the back of one hand. They bite right through a shirt or pants if they are drawn tight over your skin so it's next to impossible to avoid them - and anyway, they get you while you sleep. I am feeling mighty fine, though, except as you can well guess, rather itchy in certain areas.