Posts Tagged ‘World War 1’

The Draft is looming. The war in Europe has intensified as Germany resumed unrestricted warfare on the open seas (Germany refrained from such an all-out attack after the sinking of the Lusitania in 1915). Further, Russia is in the throes of the Bolshevik Revolution and is about to pull out of the war on the Eastern Front. Dale alludes to the possibility of “taking a longer trip” in his letter of early May:

Eugene, Ore. May 4, ’17

Dear Mother and Dad,

     This is great weather now. At last everything is getting a good start. Things have been growing ever since January but now it begins to be really noticeable.

     I got a letter from Andy a day or two ago. He sent me the money that he owed me, and a few dollars more to pay for my trouble in waiting. He is a pretty good kid if he is a darned fool.

    About that conference: I would rather stay here and work than go on that trip even if it would be good. I can use $25.00 to pay up my board during summer school, because my job will not extend that far. then, I may go on a longer trip than that if things don’t straighten up pretty soon. I thought for a while that this wouldn’t amount to much, but I am becoming more convinced every day that something pretty bad is going to come out of this business.

     The submarines are raising the devil with everything. The Germans are sinking more than they said they would. They figured on 600,000 tons per month, but in last week alone they sand 400,000 tons. I think the war will last for two years more at least. If I am not drafted before August, perhaps I had better get in. I am not as much use to the nation as a farmer, mechanic or an electrician and I can be spared better than many that are going now.

Sat: I see there is trouble in Russia. The people want to conclude a separate peace. If they do, we are done for. Germany would have just what she needs, if Russia quits. She could take a few million soldiers and throw them at the west front, and get all the supplies she needs from Russia. Germany could never be be beaten if that happens. Even is this revolution fails, Russia will be in a condition like Mexico and not able to do any more good.

     Things look bad anyway. I hope the atmosphere clears up soon, because I don’t want to fight.

      Your son

          Dale D.

P.S. Your letter came just now and so I will write a little more.

   I couldn’t get out of the draft by marriage if I wanted to, because every man that has married since war was declared is subject to draft just like the rest of us. They are in worse shape than ever now.

    Mildred got a job here in the library. She has been working there ever since she came to college and will have a full time job beginning to first of July. That is good for her. She knows everything here about the work and is well acquainted with people.

    I fear a physical exam couldn’t find any trace of asthma in me now. The Life Insurance M.D. couldn’t find it, and anything I could say would sound like a “slacker’s” talk.

~~~I want to interject here that Mildred is not Dale’s love interest. I’m not sure what her relationship is to the Melrose family, but Great Grandmother must have inquired after her. Dale did have a love interest although he has not mentioned her in his letters to date. Her name was Norma Harvey and she wrote Dale’s mother a beautiful missive in September of 1944. Norma never married.


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