Letter from AG at Camp Grant to LL in Ripon, 10/5/1917

Camp Grant, Ill.

Oct. 5, 1917

Miss Lora Lang

Ripon, Wis.

My dear Friend Lora:

I received your letter of the 4th in which you inquire why you have not heard from me. By the tone of your letter I can imagine how you have been feeling because you did not hear from me. I hardly can think up an excuse and in fact I have none, only that my time has been taken up with a lot of new and strange things here. Yes, I said that I would write and that your letters would be welcome, and I will renew that statement, and assure you that it is my intention to answer all letters. Do not feel that you have offended me. No, you could not offend me. Since receiving yours of the 19th of September and up to about 4 days ago I have been feeling rather miserable from the effects of the vaccination, and three inoculations for the prevention of smallpox and typhoid fever. That has had something to do with the delay in not answering your letter. I want you to feel as if you received this letter in due time, and for all this I beg your most humble pardon.

I will now answer your letter of the 19th. You are glad that I can get a position. Since writing you I have received my appointment and am now a non-commissioned officer bearing the name of Mess Sergeant. You seem to be very sympathetic and fear that we do not get enough to eat. Uncle Sam is pretty good to us and feeds us well. As far as I am concerned, I can eat what I wish as the position I hold now puts me at the head of things in the line of eats. I am boss in the kitchen and dining room and I prepare the bill of affairs or menu for the cooks. The cooks are all under me, tho I have a lot to learn from them. Yes, I have to learn to cook. The most important of my duties are in seeing that there is a supply of food on hand. I have 185 men to feed and it takes a lot of food.

Sundays we have a special dinner. Next Sunday we will have chicken and ice cream and cake for dessert. I invite you to Sunday dinner in Battery A. If you were here this evening (I am sitting in the kitchen alone and writing this) we could have a fine feed as Minnie sent me a box filled with cookies and cakes, and say they are good, – the cake also. I am again reminded of the cake deal on the way home from the Dells. Wonder when we can make another trip like that. (?) I think the next trip I take will be a long one and it will be on a boat too, but not on the Wisconsin River. It will be on a big boat and a big pond. There will be no blow outs until we get to Berlin, Germany, and there we will have a blow out at the expense of the Kaiser.

I am getting used to camp life now and do not mind it. However, there are so many things to learn for me in my new position, and I have very little time to think of where I really am. I was down town yesterday afternoon and ordered the ice cream for Sunday, and while there I also took in a show. Camp is about 5 miles from Rockford, and I am about two miles from the edge of camp. So I am about seven miles from town and to get there one must hire a taxi. In a few weeks the street car line will be completed and one can then get to town quicker than now. Taxi is quick enough but there are so many that want to go and the taxis do not go around.

When the boys all get here there will be over 40,000 boys in this camp. A regular good sized city. To give you an idea of how large it is, we’ll say, that it is six miles square, or 24 miles around the outside of camp. There are 32 miles of paved street in camp. It is laid out the same as a city with blocks and streets, electric light and water works, and steam heat in the Barracks. However the plumbing is not finished as yet and just now we have no heat. We could use a little just now, and that is the reason I am sittng at the kitchen table near the range, writing this letter.

I will close for now and trust I may hear from you again, and let me assure you that I shall try to answer sooner next time. I can see by your last letter that my delay has bro’t you disappointment for which I am very sorry. I met your acquaintance last summer and was glad indeed to do so, only I’d liked to have met you sooner. I saw you about 12 years ago.

With best wishes believe me I am

Your Sincere Friend

Albert.

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