August 9, 1917

Dear Ma:-

I have two letters from you and one from Betty. Two Tribunes also came today at the same time as the letter saying you had sent them. That was about the quickest I have received things.

Also four cans of wonderful Borden's C. milk and fly paper. I think the latter will be useful, but we are not really so badly off in that line for French flies don't seem to congregate in such numbers as U. S. flies. However, many thanks. I never knew of anyone who could think of more things, but please don't flood me too fast. The B. C. milk was the first package for ten days, but I hope the others, especially the tobacco, will come soon. The day after tomorrow, we are going to have some oatmeal. Someone found a little somewhere and I have been commissioned to cook it in U. S. style.

I was just about to start this when a lieut. and a sergeant came out and I have just come back from carting them around to all the various hospitals.

It is a glorious afternoon and I had a fine three hours drive. Henry runs like a dream after having been given some four hours attention this morning. Again I am at the headquarters I mentioned before.

When I read the letter about the cute little stove, I was thinking how nice it would be if I could have it here, as tomorrow I miss breakfast for the two simple reasons that I can't go back to our cantonment for it and there is none to be had here. However, I won't miss it much.

There was one remark in one of your letters that amused me a lot - our little cars must be running a lot because of what the paper said about activity around here. Just after I read that, a boy came in and said that he had been at post for four days and hadn't even carried one wounded or sick man. Yes, there has been action along what the U. S. newspapers call the Verdun front and the paper you sent didn't lie when it said that, but we watched and heard that action and that was all. It was about fifteen miles away from us. However, we are always hopeful for something like that.

I was very interested by two things in the newspapers. First, this aviation bill. What is or was that and, secondly, that editorial that said fine men for officers were being turned down for slight physical defects. Will the War Department ever learn? However, one thing it said I am going to quote and that is I never can feel comfortable in civilian clothes while others are in uniform and going to get a crack at the Huns. That is just my sentiment. Now, please don't plead that I am only seventeen for altho' I am, most Frenchmen here (and they seem to be very inquisitive about age) put me down for at least 19. However, what I want to know is, can I stay in this or, preferably, go into something else if it is possible. Dad was very encouraging the other day when he wrote and said he was glad Brad was in aviation for it was by far the most interesting and no more dangerous than any other branch. I wish I could be sure you would both say the same if I said definitely that I wanted to go in it. Of course, you may think that that sounds foolish but the French claim that aviation is for the young. Consequently, the age limit is only 16 and they prefer aviators of 18, 19 and 20. I hear that it is 18 in the States. If that is so and you will let me, I would like to stay in this till I am 18 and then try for U. S. aviation if I can. However, I realize that things are unsettled and conditions for entrance in various services may change, but still I want to do something and aviation I certainly prefer much the most. I am capable of a lot more than this demands and want to do the most I can. Please talk this all out and then tell me what you think and suggest anything. As to college, I don't think I would study at all if I went back this fall after being here. I couldn't because citizen clothes on anyone who is able bodied and as free from any business or other such ties as I am, is the same as a man pointing at you and saying "slacker". Yes, there are lots who will still wear citizen clothes merely because they couldn't use everyone, but I want to be used and if I can't get a place, I feel now as though I would just have to walk from one place to another without stopping till somebody let me in on something.