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Letter from Alma Kienlen, Fairfax Standard, 12-26-1918

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Darling mother:

Several days have slipped by and I haven’t written any letters. Have been waiting to hear from you. Received your letter yesterday written Oct. 8th, so guess I’m getting my mail a bit more regular. Hope you receive all my mail and that the censor has not cut out half.

War news is really exciting now, patiently waiting for peace. May be tomorrow this time we will know – if not, from what we see and hear it seems to me it won’t be long. Every once in a while, someone starts and exciting peace rumor and within a few minutes it has spread throughout the camps and the cheering and yelling has everyone and everything in an uproar. It certainly is a thrilling feeling even though it is for a few minutes only and you know it is not true. But we do know that it cannot be a great way off. It is coming to remove the fear that burdens so many hearts to restore happiness to a world of sorrow. How little we realized what war really was. How little we realized the strain borne by these nations so long engaged in this war. How little we knew of the sacrifices made by the solider, (and nurses) – loss of everything, loved ones, liberty, and even possible life itself. No one can understand or will understand who has not been in it. Oh, I’m glad that I am here – and don’t mind any sacrifices on bit.

We have been very, very busy. Influenza is as bad over here as in the States. Have it fairly well under control in this camp now. Think our work will be a bit easier hereafter.

The weather remains about the same, damp and cloudy, we have an honest-to-goodness stove in our shack now, and almost makes this bare, rough room quite cozy – at any rate it renders great comfort.

The other day while returning from mass (by the way had mass out of doors but expect to have a Red Cross hut for that purpose soon) I met rather one of the boys walked up to me and called me by name. I knew him not but he told me he was a Thurmes from Fairfax. He has been in the hospital quite a while. Fred Bregel is in one of the Base Hospitals here. Haven’t been able to see him.

Mother I only wish you could see all the wonderful things the Red Cross is doing for the boys. Of course you are making the things, but if you could only see how the boys enjoy and appreciate every bit of it. I wish some slackers, or people who haven’t any time, could see, I know they would soon change. There are two Red Cross workers with each unit who take care of and distribute the things among the boys.

The other day when ordering a sweater for one of my patients I found it was made by a girl in Renville, Minn. The note was dated Jan.1917.

Am feeling fine now. Had an abscessed tooth and had to have it extracted. Old age is beginning to show.

Had a letter from Ed today. Also one from Maime. I do enjoy getting mail but I do hope they understand that I write just as often as I possibly can find time to do so. Will try and send you some of our papers.

Love, and love to all, Alma H. Kienlen, A. N. C., B. H. 56, A.P.O. 785; American Exp Forces, Via New York

Editor’s Note: We do not have a photograph of Alma Kienlen.