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Letter From Marcus Huff, Renville Star Farmer, 10-3-1918

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Sept. 6, 1918, 14th Co., 2nd Motor Mechanics Reg. Sig. Corps, A.E. F. France

Dear Mr. Reid:

I have been planning on writing to you for a long time but it is hard to do very much writing outside of the letters to the folks at home. As the length and number of letters are restricted, also there is very little that we are allowed to write about so letter-writing is a little hard for us when the “Lid” is on so tight. Our company is attached to the French army and we work in the French shops right with the French workmen. We are on French rations and Colonel over our officers, so you see we are “French.” We have to live up to both the “U.S. and French army laws, so have to watch our “step” so to speak. But we get along very nicely. We are fortunate in being located close to Paris. We can go there every Sunday if we like. The electric train runs though the place which we are to. So we are about as conveniently located as we could be.

Paris is a great city with lots of very interesting places. I have visited a number of them, but there are lots that I have not seen. The street car system is poor but the subway is very good. There are surely some wonderful window displays in some of the large stores.

I am sure the women folks at home would “Rave” over the beautiful gowns and hats. The French women are surely very stylish dressers; all classes dress very neat and tastie.

I am getting so I can find my way around Paris as well as I could around Minneapolis. I would not believe that to be possible a year ago. I celebrated the 4th of July there. It surely was a “Big” day. The parade was grand. “Our Boys” that were in it were nearly all brought right from the trenches to march in the parade that day. They surely were a determined looking bunch of boys and made a fellow proud that he belonged to the U.S. Army. The French people just went wild. They decorated every American soldier with flowers. They sure treat us fine. They can’t seem to do enough for us when they get acquainted. We have great times trying to understand then also trying to make ourselves understood. But it is lots of fun trying anyway. It surely is a tongue-twister of a language. Don’t know as I will ever learn to speak it well.

We just received our first 6 months Foreign service stripe Sept 4th. It hardly seems possible that we have been over here that long. Since we landed in this place we haven’t moved, and hardly believe we will while we are over here. We are all “raving” to get to the front but they won’t let us go as the mechanical work is very important so we must be contented where we are.

I have not seen any of the boys from home since I left Kelly Field, Texas, Dec. 26th and don’t know where a single one of them are. I mean the bunch of 15 that left when I did. I have heard from Manley Alsaker and John Lambert, but they are nowhere near me. We have a very fine bunch of fellows in the company. Every state in the union is represented. There are nine of us in my barracks, all from different states, namely: Massachusetts, Rhode Island, North Carolina, Alabama, Oregon, Montana, South Dakota, Minnesota, Pennsylvania.

The Y.M.C. A. is surely doing a wonderful work for the army. The Y.M.C.A. workers are doing as much for their country as any soldier possibly can, as entertainment is very necessary for the army. I get the home paper quite regular now and surely enjoy reading it. We all sure enjoy getting our mail. We are getting good service considering everything. We get mail nearly every week. I surely enjoy getting the Epworth League letters. I am getting along just fine, I weigh 25 pounds more than I did when I joined the army and never felt better in my life. I enjoy my work, and while I am in the army would rather be in France. Crops are good here. The grape crop is very good. The weather has been fine here all summer. Hardly any hot weather, and nights are always cool. Wishing to be remembered to all of my friends, I remain.

Sincerely yours, Corporal M. J. Huff