Letters Home: Ralston McClain

We would imagine that some of the letters shared with the editors and readers of the Skidmore News brought comfort to the home folks when the soldier boys were able to report seeing the sights instead of battle, but as this letter shows, thoughts of the war were never far from anyone’s mind.  The home folks worried about their boys, and the boys worried about the home folks worrying about them.  From the May 9, 1918 Skidmore News:

Ralston McClain Writes to Home Folks

April 29, 1918

Dear Ones at Home: —

I will try to write you a few lines to let you know that I am still well and having a good time.

I had another forty-eight hour leave Saturday and Sunday.  Was in New York most of the time.  Went to Bronx Park in the afternoon and had a fine time.  Yesterday was sure a fine day to be out; just like spring in Missouri.

I sure would love to see you, but I am not homesick.

I like the ship fine, so far.  I guess we are going to leave soon, but I don’t know where we’ll go, so if you don’t hear from me for a while, don’t worry about me for I am alright, and I am not the least bit uneasy about going to sea, in fact I am anxious to go.  And I am still a Christian, so there’s nothing to fear.

I will write to you just as soon as I can again, but there won’t be any chance to send mail at sea, but whatever you do, don’t worry, but be glad that I am able and old enough to go, for it is for a good cause and I go willingly.

We sure are a happy bunch this morning.  There are several on the ship who have never been to sea and we are crazy to get a taste of it.

Now, don’t believe everything that you hear, for there are lots of people who make it a business to kill the joy in one’s life, but don’t let them fill you full of hair-raising tales about the horrors of the sea, but thank God you had some one to send.

Well, I will close as there isn’t any news.  Let me tell you again not to worry about me, but remember that I am Christian and not afraid to go anywhere when God is with me.  No matter where I go, I will always think of you and live the life you want me to.

Love to all,


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