Monday, 8 Jan. 1945 Belgium

 

Dear Folks,

Surprise! Iím no longer in France as of a few hours ago. It all came as a surprise to me, they didnít even tell me I was "alerted" for shipment until the evening before I left. Luckily I was nearly ready anyhow so once I started packing if wasnít long till I had finished. To my surprise we didnít travel in a 40j et 8 railroad car as before but came in high style - in a truck. It was somewhat warmer there, with the help of a blanket, but we were a little more cramped for space than in a 40 et 8 car, so we couldnít lie down, nevertheless, we managed. Too, we had a better view of the towns and country because we didnít travel through backyards as the railroad does. Almost before we started it began to snow as it has been doing for sometime and we made the entire trip in that kind of weather. Even now, the sky is overcast and a light snow is falling, blown about by the wind as in Western Oklahoma. However, it isnít so very cold, and we sleep in warm quarters.

Iím staying with two other officer friends in a private home and our hosts are like a prince and princess to us. We arrived here in the middle of the night, but in spite of the fact that it was after midnight, we were treated to some good coffee and apple pie. Say, I like the way their pies are made over here - this one was about sixteen inches in diameter, but unfortunately had little filling. But it tasted swell-elegant after a few meals of "K" rations, cold. We sleep in our bed rolls, on the floor in the dining room, and there is a good little stove to keep us warm. Iím so amazed at all this I hardly know what to say. Coffee is always waiting for us and offered us many times a day. Whenever we feel like it, we can go to the kitchen, take off our shoes, and warm our feet by the stove.

Well, after a time, during which I have begun learn a bit of Flemish language and have eaten, I will try to pick up my train of through as before.

The people here go out of their way to help a person, especially one of the soldiers. The "prince" of the house (father") came in to fire the stove and I began talking with him. After I had exhausted my small vocabulary of Flemish, and he could no longer make me understand him, he called his young son, about 15 years of age, in to talk with me and try to teach me a few more words. So far I have fairly well learned to count and to name various parts of my body (hand, foot, etc.) and clothing. It seems this Flemish is a mixture of French, English, and Dutch, but Iím not for sure. At any rate it is quite interesting, and I wouldnít give anything for this experience, nor would I want to re-live it.

I am having what might be called fun, but yet it gives me the good old army "gripe" to do some of the things I have to do, When we came in here we first wondered nearly all over town trying to locate "House 23" where I sty. Finally after about three hours we knocked at the door, and had one devil of a time trying to awaken them. Then we had to return to the original point to get our duffel bags and bedrolls. You should have seen us trying to

stagger up here under that load; the road was icy and covered with snow, and it was pitch dark; all this combined with the fact we were traveling over unknown ground, caused a good many upsets. Oh! My____! If you could only have seen me then!!

I just found out that thereís a movie "Babes on Swing Street" showing at Battalion Hq. at seven p.m. and itís 25 minutes till now, so Iíll close and write again in a few days. Note my new address on the outside of the envelope. Iíll be here until I go someplace else -probably to a unit. As yet I havenít received any mail but hope to about the middle of next month; Iíve been jumping around so much it canít keep up with me.

Keep yourselves well and happy and Iíll do the same.

Love,

J.Clyde