Friday, July 20, 2018

Grandma's First Husband - "There is much that I should like to write of but you know how I am situated."

James Calhoun continued to write from France to his wife, Anna Bell Barnhart Calhoun in July 1918. After July 11, he stops writing for almost three weeks, not writing again until early August. Likely, he was making his first major foray into battle.

The next two letters James wrote to his wife were received on August 7.

July 4, 1918

My dear Anna;
Have had no letters from you since I last wrote but will send you a few lines to let you know that I am getting along nicely and all is O.K.  I must beg your pardon at once because I have gotten a letter since I last wrote you.  The letter containing our pictures came and I cannot tell you how glad I was to get the picture.  I think it the best of any we have and I shall surely carry it with care. 
Just think this is July 4th.  I am not celebrating as much as I sometimes used to at home but now I am rather enjoying the rather quite day.  I expect you wonder if I have been in the lines and feel that I must tell you I have been there and out again.
This is a beautiful day and one of many that we have had since late in May.  It has not been very warm and always cool at night.
The picture surely brings back to my memory many happenings of the near past and so many memories of home and dear ones.  I can well remember the day it was taken and all that took place at the time.
It was strange that so many accidents should happen almost at once in town.  By good luck none of them were serious although painful for a time. 
I have forwarded another (3rd) installment of money.  The sum of $10. this time.  I wish I might send you more.  Every little helps you know and I know that you can enjoy its benefits even if I am not there to enjoy it with you. I am so glad that I can at least do this little service for you.
I was very sorry to hear of the death of Beatrice Forbes.  Rev Forbes will take her death very hard I know because there was a deep bond of love between them.  She always such a helpful person.
I am wondering how you are spending this 4th day of July 1918.  I can not imagine what you will be doing but I know that when your letter written on this date comes I shall know all.
Cora wrote me a beautiful letter; tell her please that I received it and was very grateful and hope to answer it before many days. Tell her for me that she must not wait until I write before writing again but to write real often.  It is sometimes difficult for me to write as many letters as I should like.  Then I must always see that you first of all gets letters from me.
Please write real often and I know you do and your letters are a real help and comfort to me.  God bless you.
Your most loving husband, James
PS - I am so glad that you sent a picture to mother.  JDC

July 8, 1918 (this letter is typed)

My dear Anna;
I have not heard from you for a few days but no doubt will receive more than one letter when I do get word as has been almost invariably the case. 
Our beautiful weather continues.  During the past month we have had but one or two light showers and the temperature has been right for comfort.  Our weather is no contrast to the warm rainy weather had in the states.
Bovina did fine on the “fund” proposition and I must say that as a town she is always ready when called upon for any service.  It seems as though you always get the soliciting work for the street and it because they know that the work is going to be performed if you are in charge and very few people seek such unpleasant tasks.  It is fine indeed that people responded so generously to the great work and it is now an assured success without a doubt.  As time passes the necessity of the work is going to be more fully impressed on the minds of the people than it ever has before in fact it is now coming home to them.
I am grateful to Eddie and his people for remembering me and I wish you would give them my kindest regards.  Also give my best regards to the people I know in good Bovina.
Am glad to know that your April check came OK.  You have been quite fortunate in receiving funds on time.  If I remember correctly this one has been delayed a trifle longer than those of pervious months.  You wrote that you received an order from me.  Did you get two orders of 15 dollars each, one made about April 23 and the second one May 23?  I sent an order for 10 dollars on July 4 but of course you will not have gotten that yet.  Please write the date that orders were made and the amount of each so I can know that you get all the money I send.
I can imagine those showers you are or rather have bene having over there.  They are certainly not pleasant to experience.  I do not at all blame Edith for the way that she felt about them but I do feel sorry for her.  Perhaps there will not be so many of them later. What we are doing here has nothing to do with it in the way that you mentioned, at least I do not think it does.
I am glad that you are finished house cleaning which must be a great responsibility removed.  With everything clean, spick and span and with your newly polished floors you surely must be quite in order.  Anna I know how you felt about taking down the arch.  I should have liked very much to have seen it again myself but of course you could not leave it there longer.  However I have a very strong mental picture of it and there are many fond memories attached to it that I shall not forget.  I pray that the day may soon come when we can lay some definite plans.  You are indeed appreciated by your people and I know that you are doing all you can to help them.  The time is coming when we can co-operate in helping them.  I wish we might have the opportunity to give them a good vacation and we surely will.  It would be just grand if we could. 
It will be nice and also convenient to have a good supply of apples.  Be sure and save a few for me just enough to make an apple pie you know.
I remember “Bluie” quite distinctly.  Hope the trad proves to be a good one.  I will say that the grain proposition is a hard one under the circumstances for Wilford.  As the eggs are hatching so very poor it is much better that you did not try to raise any chickens.
Please write as often as you can.  I must draw this brief note to a close,
Your most loving husband, James

The next letter was received two days after the previous two on August 9.

July 11, 1918

My dear Anna;
Your most welcome letters of June 13 and 16 came to me today.  They surely do help to make one keep cheered up.  I was glad indeed to get so many good news from home.  You may as well have written those news that you wished to talk to me of and Edith and Wilford can just as well write a note as not if all that is keeping them from writing is the fact that you mentioned.  My letters from you have always reached me just as you mailed them I feel that I owe both Wilford and Edith an apology for not having written to them and can scarcely expect them to write me when I have sent them no letters.
I received a letter each from Herbert, Archie, and Jas. Boggs.  Anna’s letter contained the pictures of the youngsters and was a good picture indeed.  Baby Grace surely must have grown wonderfully since I saw her.  James Boggs letter was surely fine and he is indeed a royal good fellow and a character that one can consider a great privilege to call a friend.  He surely has our sympathies.  I wish you might has(sic) his letter. 
It must have seemed good to have the cool weather, of which you have written after the very warm thundery weather which you endured. It remains cool here and the past two days have been cloudy with a little rain. 
Clark Miller’s death was a great blow to his people, no doubt. I know now how he could have received his wound.  It is fine that Fletcher keeps well.  I am O.K. to date and have hopes that the better days soon will come.
I was glad the policy came O.K. and that you have received your money O.K.  No, Anna, it doesn’t matter if my pay here is raised, the allotment to you remains the same.  I can save more money here than I did in America and if luck favors me I hope to save more to send home.
I am not surprised to learn of Hazel and Frank.  Yes it is quite right that we should open our pocket book and my only regret is that I can not be there to go with you.  Wish them the greatest happiness for me.
I do hope you will be able to get over and stay with Florence a few days but she would not expect you to work.  It will be nice for you both to get each others company and talk over affairs.
I am quite relieved that the order of things is changed this election and it will be a great responsibility removed from our men to have the help of the ladies to get the votes cast for the best results.
How I would like to get one square meal of that shortcake.  I did like to pick berries when I was a kid and I feel that I could succeed pretty well at it now if the opportunity should offer itself.
I am enclosing a souvenir postal that actually was made to order with the rude tools the native had in his possession.  I am not the native.  It is pretty good I think.  I will write more in a few days.  There is much that I should like to write of but you know how I am situated.  Give my best regards to our people.  I think of you a good deal and may Good’s blessing be with you . 
Your most loving husband James

This was the last letter James would write for three weeks. 

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