May 18, 1917

Friday, May 18, 1917
Friday, May 18, 1917

Letter from Erle to Laura’s sister, Bertha Huckleberry, a schoolteacher in North Vernon, Indiana:

Editorial Rooms

Western Newspaper Union

Newspaper Service

210 So. Desplaines St.

Chicago, May 18, 1917

My dear Miss Huckleberry, --

Laura and her hospital unit left Chicago for France at 11 o'clock Wednesday night. She thought you might be interested in the newspaper accounts of the departure, so I am sending those which appeared yesterday morning.

As departures go, this event was an unintentional comedy of high quality. The unit was composed of about 350 persons, and think each had a separate following of, say, 500 friends, relatives and enemies on hand to perform the ceremonies of farewell. When all were assembled it made quite a considerable foregathering, and it sounded like the bird house at the zoo.

Too, there were among those present a number of kind old ladies who went thither and yon distributing to the brave Red Cross lassies little bunches of wilted flowers, small flags and books. Laura received her volume just as she squeezed through the gate to the train shed. It was really handsomely bound and led to great expectations. After she had reached the coach and found her berth, she turned eagerly to an examination of the tome. All was revealed in the title page; it said: “Rob Roy.” Ever hear of the story? Neither did we. But you never can tell what kind old ladies will do.

One of my kinswomen sent me a clipping about myself which she had lifted from the North Vernon Plaindealer. It was certainly a monument of misinformation and a vast libel on my patriotism. I am not going any where as a special correspondent; but I hope to start for France soon with my hospital unit and I trust I shall be given an opportunity to perform as a private. I believe I'd do any thing to get into this fight. It is unlikely, though, that unit eleven, of which I am a member, will leave Chicago before the latter part of June.

Surely you will forgive the commercial aspect of this letter when I tell you I was unable to find a single sheet of polite stationery in the whole works.

Sincerely –

J Erle Davis