Gene Notes

Some random and some not-so-random thoughts on family history.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Historical Context

As I may have mentioned once or twice (chuckle), I am transcribing letters written by my grandparents to each other during the period of 1917-1919, and in 1927.

Of course, the letters written in the 1917-1919 time frame were written by my grandfather to his fiancee back home. While most of his letters say, he is busy, he is fine, the weather is fine, and Mary's (my grandmother) letters were mighty fine to receive, in some letters, he gives little details of the towns he was billeted in while in France. He resided in Nevers, Recicourt, Betoncourt, and Langres, so far in my perusal of the letters. I discovered  he did not care for either Vin Blanc or Vin Rouge. He was amazed that most of the French dwellings were made of stone with slate or tile roofs.

I was always under the impression that one could not disclose the location where one was stationed. But apparently due to the lack of censoring facilities behind the lines, if you were NOT in the Zone of Advance, you could tell your family where you were.

I think some of his opinions were definitely colored by war, but he was also in France well after the Armistice. Rumors were rampant about the company being sent home, being stationed elsewhere in France, or being sent to Russia.

There is one extremely long letter - 23 handwritten pages - in which he details everything he did since being sent to France. Another letter tells of tensions between the volunteers and the drafted men. Mostly his letters tell of the plans he was anxious to make with his fiancee when he returned home.

Mostly, his letters tell me what it was like for a man missing his girl, his family and being 4000 miles from home in a land where he didn't speak the language.

Copyright 2010, ACK for Gene Notes

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