Sunday, May 20, 2018

Grandma's First Husband - "I hope to get a nice long letter from you in a few days"

The sporadic steam of letters written by James Calhoun to his wife, Anna Bell Barnhart, continued in May. Again, these letters on average were taking a month to get to her

Anna received the following letter on May 28

Somewhere in France
May 2, 1918 (May 5 postmark)

My dear Anna;
I am writing you another brief note to tell you that I am well and all O.K.
I am anxiously awaiting a letter from you and feel that I shall hear from you now before so very long a time.
I am bearing the work well and feel as good as any time in my life.
I am sending a letter to those on the old homestead, one to mother and one to Cora.  They will begin to feel that I am very tardy in writing to them.
It seems hard to realize that time is passing so rapidly yet time seems to have passed slowed when I cast my mind in the past and take account of happenings. 
I expect that my car is sold.  The car season will be on in earnest.  I am wondering who is operating “Jerusha.”
This is all for today. You perhaps think I write but little but you know that there is but little to write at this time.  I will make up for lost time when I see you.
Your most loving husband, James
F.S. Long, 1st Lt, 7 Inf [name of censor]

The following letter was written over two days and received June 4.  It had a part II, dated May 5, which wasn’t received until June 7. 

Somewhere in France
May 4, 1918 (postmark May 8)
Chap I

My dear Anna;
Have received your two most welcome letters written but a short time after I came away.  It surely was a real treat to get them.  The contents of this letter will be mainly in answer to the two received from you.  The majority of my letters will be brief I expect; we can call them ‘Hooverized” letters quite fittingly.
At this writing I am feeling as fine as at any time of my life which is surely worth a good deal and it does me a host of good to know that you are very well but am sorry you cannot stop that worry.  You better rest assured as I feel there is no reason for feeling uneasy.

May 5
Here I am at the Y again awaiting the beginning of services; will write as I wait.
I think you realized nearly my feelings as I wrote my last letter from there and judging from your answer think your feelings were very similar. 
It was very fortunate under the present circumstances that you did not continue beyond the city of K[ingston]. with me.  I surely would not have urged you to go back had I not thought it better that way. 
You will find the continuation of this in another Hooverized letter.  Your most loving husband James. 

Somewhere in France
May 5, 1918 (postmarked May 19)
Chap II

My dear Anna;
Services are over so I will write again.  You said the harder you work the better you thought it would be for you.  Perhaps work will help to keep your mind occupied but please take my advice and do not become over ambitious.
I am very grateful indeed to you for writing to mother.  I know she was very disappointed because we could not get to visit her; she could not but realize that such a visit was utterly impossible however, I wish you were nearer to her so you could see her often.  Father’s death was very hard for her.
I know you did not feel at all like going to the social but I sometimes think it better if you could go out oftener and enjoy social gatherings.
Your people surely have a bountiful supply of maple syrup which will bring a goodly sum at the price you are to receive for it.
I am glad that our faith is strong.  It does help so much doesn’t it.
There is but little to write today.  I am well and hope this may find you as well.
Your most loving husband, James
F.S. Long [censor]

The following letter came the same day as the May 5 and Apr 29 letters.

May 12, 1918
Somewhere in France

My dear Anna;
I will take this opportunity to write another letter.  This leaves me quite O.K. as are all of the boys.
This is a cool cloudy day.  Yesterday was warm but a thunder shower has cooled the air.
I am waiting for dinner as I write.  Came down from my billet thinking that dinner would be ready to serve but since it was not I am making good use of my time.
We enjoyed a fine church service at the Y.M.C.A. this a.m. led by our Y manager the Rev Metcalf.  These services are surely a great privilege to us although a few of the boys are careless of their spiritual welfare.  This is Mother’s day and the boys were urged to each write a letter to their mother or at least ones home.  I am going to write to mother. 
I presume that you are at church today as is your usual custome.  I love to think of our services over there if I cannot be there.  I can picture in my mind just how everything is there and can recall so many faces of those I knew.  I have many sweet memories of past times in our good old Bovina Center.  Everyone was very nice to me there so how could I help but think of them.  Certain people up Pink Street were especially kind and some little body with whom you are intimately acquainted has my heart there right now.  Don’t forget to look into the future with fond hopes and you may rest assured that I shall not forget.
You will have gotten the fifteen I sent you and hope to soon be able to send more in a short time.  You know I like to save as much I can so we can have it to use as I fondly hope we will have the opportunity.
This is all I can write today but you can gather from this that I am alright.  Please write.  Your most loving husband, James.

The next letter was received June 25.

Somewhere in France
May 18, 1918

My dear Anna;
Your most welcome letter regarding the sale of the car is here and has been thoroughly enjoyed.
The sugar crop (if it can be thus named) has been a good one indeed.  Your mother was very thoughtful of us in doing as she did; I hope we shall not be obliged to disappoint her.  One of the boys from up state said his people were getting almost a two spot per for their sweet.
You did right in making an investment of our spare cash.  Although it is not much it will help some and the interest is sufficient.
Did you not over do the matter a little on that bucket job?  It evidently brought no bad results.  I think your medicine is a wonderful cure all.  I am envious of your ambitions.
Helen Thomson knows very well who to pick when she wants a good teacher. It is well that what you told me of Cora has proved to be a false alarm.
I am very glad that mother and Peter were able to come.  Am glad to know she is well.  Peter surely made a good sale of the car.  If I could be there I should collect those notes as they become due and put them out at an increased rate.  Does Charley get as good use of the horse as he did earlier in the year?
I should have enjoyed hearing Rev. Galloway’s series of sermons.  He choose peculiar titles for his talks but they sound interesting. [Galloway was the pastor of the Bovina U.P. Church.]
I know not where the boys of my acquaintance are located but is a possible that I may know more of them someday.
I hope you attended the party at Miller’s although I doubt if you did.  You need to represent our family but I know just how you feel about the whole affair. [This is a reference to a family squabble involving Anna's uncle John Miller.]
The new tester has too much nerve for the good of himself.  I cannot see how he could have the face to ask Harold for the use of a horse.  Doesn’t he have a horse?
I am quite O.K. at this writing.  We are having some warm weather.
I scarcely know what to write and feel that my letters are not interesting. You have a perfect right to be disappointed with them.  I cannot tell you how well you told me the news from home.
Although you are far away I can rest assured as long as your letters bring me as good news as they have to date.  That early to bed plan is a good one.  I use that method myself.
You will have had several communications from me by now.  Give my best regards to all of our people and acquaintances.
Your most loving husband, James.

James May 30th letter also was received on June 25.

Somewhere in France
May 30, 1918

My dear Anna;
I have been thinking of you very much today and wondering what you were doing on this Memorial Day.  How much I should have liked to have been with would be hard to express indeed.  No doubt the day was fittingly observed back in good old Delaware.  There is plenty of memories to make me realize what this day stands for.
I have had no word from you for sometime and I surely am anxiously awaiting a message.  I hope you are all very well and as O.K. as I am.  Mother or the others of our people have not written a word; expect maybe they would rather receive than write letters.  I had hoped to get a letter from Mother but you are the only one that has sent me a line and you can never know how much I appreciated your letter.
The weather is nice and pleasant.  The country is beautiful with growing plans and trees.
We are all feeling fine and surely have no reason to complain.  I have been doing a different line of work for a few days but will soon be at my old job again.
I thought perhaps you could use a little change so I sent you all I could spare which was $15.  It was started a short time ago.  You should have the first I sent by this time.  You see I have no use for it and love to be able to give it to you and hope it may bring you many joys.  Do not scrimp yourself but use as much as you need.  I should pay my fees for Rev Forbes salary for the coming year.  I usually gave $10 or $12 besides missionary fees.  There is not hurry but I should be pleased if you would pay it for me.  You will think I am giving you too many duties but it is hard for me to attend to those things from here. 
I can imagine very much how things are looking in good old Bovina.  This is about the time of year I went fishing for eels when at your home.  It was later in the season the time I came down from Gene’s, Harold C- and I used to go fishing when I was up there.  How well I remember when Ralph, Wilfred and I caught eels or rather when they caught the eels and I was along with them.  Bryson and I talked of going but we never did get to go. 
What do you hear from Hugh’s - I understood he was planning to perform his work without help this year and that Mae would be without help in the house.  Mother will be a great help to her especially in caring for the children.  It was good of Hugh to be so prompt in sending the interest [piece torn off].  I wish they would all do that way don’t you?
The YMCA manager held communion services [piece torn off] sabbath and I expected to take part but [piece torn off] not as I was called out that morning and was unable to be present.  How often does Rev Galloway hold communion services?
I can see in my mind just how Mr. Davison looks driving the car.  I think when he first commenced driving that he would think ‘Jerusha’ to be of an unruly spirit.  I felt that way at first myself but I soon became accustomed to her gait and actions.  Perhaps you would have to show him how to operate her for a few drives.  I should have liked the job of putting him wise.  Has many new cars come to town?  You said Mrs. Thomson was afraid to ride with Bryson.  I never thought that he would make a fast and furious speedshark.  How nice for the young ladies to go driving with him and enjoy a swift ride.
Give my best regards to mother B, Edith, Ralph and Wilfred and all of our people and wish I might see you all.
I hope to get a nice long letter from you in a few days and will send one in reply very soon.  Your most loving husband, James.

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