A gift from the past


Recently I received a large envelope in the mail from my aunt. Curiosity filled my eager mind so I tore it open to find a wonderful treasure.

This treasure was part of my family history. My uncle transcribed letters that my great-grandfather had written to his sister during WWI. The letters begin in 1913 when he was a student/cadet at Texas A&M. The last letter was written in 1919 while he was still in France.

In 1917, my great-grandfather was assigned to the Sanitary Detachmentof the 8th Cavalry in Camp Marfa, TX. He writes this was a branch ofthe Red Cross and their purpose was to take care of the wounded fromthe 8th Cavalry.

I have not read through all of the letters yet, but it has been fascinating for me. I read about his emotions regarding heading off to war "some day..." and his love for his sister. He writes about riding a new York subway and describes it to his sister. He talks about seeing "moving picture shows" and what a treat it was for him. He writes about being a First Class Private and receiving $36/month pay. Can you imagine?! These letter have been a true treasure for me and will be wonderful to pass along to my children.

As military spouses we all wonder about the "what ifs." Like, what if my service member doesn't come home? Many of us have experienced anticipatory grief, which Andi vividly wrote about here on SpouseBuzz. I often wonder what goes through the minds of our loved ones who ARE deployed. Do they experience something similar?

In one of my great-grandfather's letters he writes to his sister: "Now don't you worry, everyone has just so long to live and I might as well go as anyone. I've never amounted to anything anyway, but I might over there." I wonder how much of what he said was for his own comfort, as well as his sister's.

I could probably write volumes about how these letters have impacted me, but I won't. I want to know if any of you have these treasures of family in past wars. What goes through your mind when you read letters or look at pictures (my great-grandfather was a handsome man, I must say). Please share your stories...

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