(Stationery is YMCA On Active Service with the American Expeditionary Force)

LaRochelle, France

Feb 9, 1919

Hello Folks:

How's every little thing? Ok with me. I tell you it's fine to have a warm country like France where you never see it any colder than 10 below the keyhole and don't stay there any more than two months at a stretch, ha! Wow, but she was a frosty one this AM. I rolled out from under the old blankets and the steam just rolled like I was on fire, ha! And they say it doesn't get cold in LaRochelle.

I've had a devil of a time today. These guys have all been in today (Sunday) and they would form a circle around the stove and you might just as well be out on the ocean banks as to be outside of that circle. When the fire burns down they crowd closer so it is finally about 5 or 6 men right up close to the stove and the rest out in the cold. Then I chop a load of pine boards up for wood and throw them on the fire and go to shoveling coal. Pretty soon you could see them clearing out and the old stove would get red from the floor to the roof. So I've kept it that way ever since noon and she is still as red as a beet. They are widening the circle now, the closest man to the stove is a guy about six feet away and he has to turn his head and face away to get up that close!

I don't have anything to do only blow calls, and there is boocoo wood and coal, so believe me, I can keep up the fire. You all know my firing ability. I was put in Bugler about 5 days ago and I can blow all the calls but 4 or 5 and I will soon have them down pat. There is about 14 or 15 Buglers in this Regiment. Each company is supposed to have two but I am the only one in this company now.

We soon won't have much of a regiment here. They are shipping out a bunch every day or two and they tore up two companies and put them in others. They moved us in the barracks where Co. F used to be. It's a lot nicer place here but a devil of a sight colder place.

The flu paid us another visit for about a couple or 3 weeks. Sent several of the boys over the road. My bunkie is in the hospital now and two or three boys just got back to their company today. They have it pretty well checked now again. There was only 4 or 5 went on sick report this AM from Co. H compared with 31 a week ago today. I don't even have a cold now.

I am the first guy in the company to get up in mornings and the last to bed, and have no work to do at all only blow calls. First Call of morning at six AM wakes the camp and 6:25 I blow Assembly and Reveille, put up the flag, and then "Guard Mount" and "Mess Call" three times a day, then "Call to Quarters" at 9:30 PM and "Taps" at 10 PM. Some of the boys said they would be apt to sleep all day if they had to depend on me to wake up first, but they always find me on the job, right on the spot, every AM. I just concluded that I'd blow First Call inside the barracks tomorrow morning. I'll bet I'll have one of the nicest assortments of hob nail shoes around me that there is in the A.E.F. They will be coming from every direction. Hope I get a pair to fit, ha!

Well, I don't know much to write, only the latest issue of the S________Gazette says we're here for 3 months, ha! Some dope, I know.

Well, I just imagined old James L. would come down to it someday. I bet him and Milt make a good pair if they make any money it will be ditto which one gets the most. If either one keeps it long enough to spend it, they will have to sleep on it or the other guy will pick his pockets!

Well, I must close so answer soon. As ever your son,

Same old address