France, October 22, 1918
Friend Editor and Folks at Home:
Just a note which I hope reaches you still with the warmth of a good old Minnesota town in the big U.S.A., which I once left for Uncle Sam who shall soon bring us back again if we’re fortunate enough to be able to fight it through a few more weeks, as the end is close at hand, and I’ll miss my guess if every road has not an end, no matter how long it is.
Well, I would like to take a chance going home in an aeroplane, otherwise I won’t be lonesome for them when I do get away from their noise as they sound like shells coming over, and you can imagine what a funny feeling it may be when there are about 100 whizzing through the air. But that’s nothing – just a trifle of the real fireworks in this part of the battle.
I surely miss lots of things over here, though I look forward to the Standard and those letters which I know are on the way, and which I haven’t gotten yet, because I have been paddling ever since I have been over here. I guess nothing will ever catch me from the rear until I am back in the States, as the Yanks never retreat.
I have parted from every Minnesota pal I have had, am with strangers, but they are Yanks from our sister states.
As I managed to get in one of the Divisions that has been over here the longest, we are all in hopes of having one of the first chances to take the big boat home, as it will take some time to send us all back.
Wouldn’t mind eating Xmas dinner at home, or at least have my feet under the table, as I know everything is scarce and high prices, and only 2 lbs. of sugar must be just like none or just a teaser. Something like a can of jam I got hold of a few days ago. It wasn’t long before we had a hole in the hold, as we made sauce of it – although it might have been plum pudding, who knows.
Then one morning just before going over the top, some good friend who helped to hold the lines the day before left me a fresh can of carp, which made my mouth water as I was opening it with my bayonet, but just as I had my fork in it the command came to go forward and I even left my fork. Just so I had my gas mask which is supposed to be your best friend, then your rifle and ammunition. But I also carried a blanket with all our other equipment, making a lot of extra weight, but it sure came in handy even if we couldn’t sleep and it sure was a friend of mine, and I made lots of friends with it just by letting loose of one end of it. We were supposed to have overcoats like most of the men had, but it seems ours couldn’t catch up with us but if we can’t keep warm we’ll make it mighty warm in front of us.
I sure want to thank the Red Cross, Y.M.C.A., K.C. and Salvation Army as they all have been a great help; and thanks to their helpers.
The French treat us mighty nice, They think we are American wonders, or millionaire soldiers as they sure get what money we may happen to have as the Yank lets it go easy.
Well I must close wishing you all the best of health and prosperity and Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. I am sure it will be happier than the last one. I know it has made me so already. I am, Your Friend, Wilbert Lamers, Co. E. 23 Inf., A.E.F., France
P.S. Thought I would slip this in: They say the Kaiser is the only one who ever bought a round trip ticket to Paris. But he has used the last half first, so I am waiting from him to use the first half before I visit Paris. Paris is about the only place of importance over here that I haven’t been to. I have been in the south, traveling back and forth east and west, as I worked north. W.L.