Mail Tribune 100, July 13, 1918 Continued
The following news items were drawn from the archives of the Mail Tribune 100 years ago.
BOYS AT THE FRONT SERVING UNCLE SAM
(The Mail Tribune will publish in this column each week interesting letters from our soldiers and sailors and news items concerning their movements.)
Sunday afternoon, Somewhere in France.
Dear Father and Mother: I will write you again, this time at some greater length if possible. As we are not located in any one place for any length of time will try to tell you about this country and the people here.
To begin with we had a fairly good trip considering the time of year. The water was not very rough and everything went fine and dandy. Some of the boys were sea sick and could not eat or keep anything on their stomachs. As for myself and Ed Faucett, we were on the deck most of the time enjoying the trip and eating three meals every day.
The afternoon land was sight it was not long before the shores of France came into view. Such a contrast, not much room for comparison in judging France with the good old U. S. A. Most all of the cottages, villas, barns, etc., are made of plaster and stones and even some of the older places consist of skeleton frame work with mud and straw.
One of the farms where we billeted last week was built in the 16th and 17th centuries, still standing in fairly good order. Another place was erected in 1849; I remember so well because it was the year father was born. The country here is very pretty, consisting of hilly land with every space that is tillable under cultivation. There is lots of clover, alfalfa, grass and vetch grown here, but not very much grain as I expected to see. Wheat is not grown here very much for some reason.
There is one serious drawback to this country, and that is the water supply. Water here is very scarce and very hard to get. Some of the wells here vary from 200 to 500 feet in depth. Then the water has a flat taste and does not satisfy one’s thirst. The French people rely on their wines for their drink and it is not an uncommon sight to see men and women drinking in the open street. Even the kids enjoy the same privilege. They seem to think it strange that we drink water, but such is the case, and good or bad we have to make the best of it.
Wood is a scarce article. They all burn brush such as we trim off the pear trees at home, and it is quite a serious offense to cut down a tree here, even a very small one as the French people are very careful of their trees and when one dies they plant another in its place.
Well, father and mother, I don’t know any more news to write about. I hope you are both enjoying better health than when I last heard from you. When you see any of my friends or neighbor’s give them my best regards.
I am in good health and feeling fine so don’t worry about me if you don’t hear from me regularly. I will close for this time. Lots of love. Your son, SHERMAN HAYNES
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