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"Hezzie" Goes to War: World War I through the Eyes of a Mid-Missourian

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Daily Life

Paris Encounters


French Friends

On Leave

From Hezzie's Scrapbook:
[links below open in new windows]

scrapbook page
page from scrapbook

view of Monte Carlo
view of Monte Carlo

playing cards
tiny playing cards

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On Leave: My First Leave

March 11, 1918

After having worn the uniform for ten months, most of this time living a rather strenuous and not always a most pleasant life, I was in a position to enjoy the eleven days leave which came to me recently.

I chose the southern coast of France as the place to spend my vacation for two reasons. I the first place one's leave does not start until the soldier reaches his destination and, secondly, this section of France is most interesting (with the one exception, of course) especially at this time of the year.

However, travel in France just now must be undertaken with a stout heart. I had made quite a journey before reaching Paris and from Paris to Nice at this time is a trip of from 30-36 hours - if you have no mishaps. There are few diners, no sleeping cars, and in fact you may consider yourself fortunate indeed to secure even a seat. At this time of the year seats even must be reserved eight days in advance, of which fact I was not aware until I reached Paris. However a few francs came to the assistance of the most persuasive French I could command and I found myself the proud possessor of a seat, even tho it was a second class seat and beside a fat lady too. However, I never mind fat ladies, they are always good natured, besides later I found this particular benevolent partner of mine could make most delicious cookies.

But, even after 34 hours riding in a chair car, I soon found, upon arriving at Nice, that it was well worth the effort. I found the Mediterranean coast from Marseilles to the Italian border a close rival of our own southern California in climate and even surpassing in many ways the scenery of our fair Hawaiian Islands in blending in one view, snow covered mountains, and high rugged coast covered with a high tropical verdure, before which stretches an ocean of the deepest blue. Coming from section of France in the throes of winter and everything covered with heavy snow, I found myself, over night, in a country of blooming flowers, singing birds, with the almond trees in blossom and the olive and orange trees bearing their ripe fruit.

Read the full letter in pdf. >>

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A Joint Exhibit
of the
University of Missouri
Western Historical Manuscript Collection-Columbia
and the University of Missouri-Columbia
Museum of Anthropology

Acknowledgments and World War I Links