Pine Mountain Settlement School
Series 09: Biography
Series 19: Students & Community Residents
BILL BLAIR WWII LETTERS
William (“Bill”) Blair Jr. – PMSS Student, 1940-1944
BILL BLAIR WWII Letters
TAGS: William Blair, Bill Blair, WWII letters, William Hayes, farms, farming, cows, dairy, war, military training, work program
ABOUT THE LETTERS
The letters of Bill Blair are addressed to William Hayes who was farm manager at Pine Mountain from 1937 until 1953. Hayes assumed the responsibilities for the farm shortly before his graduation from high school at Pine Mountain in 1937. Bill Blair was one of many students who worked on the farm crew at the School and under farmer Hayes. Bill Blair left in 1944 to join the war effort and was in training when he corresponded with Hayes. The letters contain much information about the farm program at the School, the disciplines learned in the program and the application of those disciplines in military service.
The letters also capture the difficult years of World War II and the pressure it placed on the School and on the families who had children attending Pine Mountain. It records the anxiety of young men going to war and the interruption in the educational processes for young men at the School as well as the interruption in their assistance of their families.
Of particular interest is the recounting of community challenges brought on by the war. Many families saw their young men go off to war leaving the family household to manage farming, food, health issues and other major survival events. In one of his letters Bill Blair describes the breeding of a steer that the farmer provided the Blair family to get them through the war years. Today, “Heifer International,” a world wide organization that provides assistance to families in need, follows the same practice but on a larger scale. It is heartening to know that Pine Mountain used some of the same strategies employed by this later organization to assist their local community in need.
The correspondence includes letters from September 10, 1944 until June 6, 1945 (D-DAY). Also included is a letter from Bill Blair dated August 31, 2002, following the Pine Mountain 2002 Homecoming. The letter describes the correspondence.
Two additional letters are included in the Blair letters that are not written by Blair but by classmates who shared the war experience. The two students are NOEL V. WELLS and “DAN” [BUCK JONES]. A note on the reverse of the Jones letter remembers that he was from Coxton, Kentucky, the mining town where Bill Hayes was from and was an usher at the wedding of Fern and Bill and a “swimming buddy” of Bill’s. [The note is in the hand of Fern Hayes, Bill Hayes’ wife.]
GALLERY: BILL BLAIR WWII Letters
TRANSCRIPTION: BILL BLAIR WWII Letters
Sunday Eve. Sept. 10, 1944
Mr. William Hayes;
Dear Mr. Hayes
Don’t be surprised because you receive a letter from me but this place is so dry I keep
thinking of those good old school days. Texas certainly isn’t what it is cracked up to be no
matter what people say.
I just see a scrubby tree every now and then and when I do they are very scrubby at
that. Since crickets are good to fish with you should visit Texas because they are plentiful here,
but the funny part about it is that you can step out anywhere and pick up a piece of flint rock.
How are thing going in School by this time, you should be off to a good start by now. If
you have Robert Calloway there your problems of finding some one to drive the team are over
while I was there he was always talking about driving those young mules. Well if I was there
now I certainly wouldn’t be particular at what kind of a job I had just so I was in KY.
You were right when you said every thing would be “Sir” when I spoke, well that is
exactly true because there is so darn many officers and N.C.O’s that you can’t turn around
without stepping on their toes in this camp.
Who do you have as milk boys this year whoever they are should be proud of the job
and also the supervisor because if it hadn’t been for you I would ahve never accomplished what
I did at Pine Mountain. I didn’t realize what I as missing until I left there, but I can say one thing
if I had it to do over I would really dig after it.
Well I must close for this time so if you ever find time answer this letter because any
thing in the way of news coming from KY sure sounds good to me.
Bill Blair Jr.
P.S. I almost forgot to ask you if it had started raining there yet. Well they have just had two or
three shares [showers?] here since May.
Sunday Morn, Sept. 24, 1944
Dear Mr. Hayes;
Will answer your most welcomed letter after so long a time. Sorry I ahven’t answered
sooner, but this army life sure keeps me busy.
For the past week I have hardly had time to turn around. Besides our regular routine of
drilling we had three night problems. Monday night we were out until 11 o’clock Wednesday
night until 12:30 and Friday night until about 1:30 so you see they really keep you on your toes
all the time.
I had my first expeience in throwing real hand grenades last week and I must say I was a
little shaky at the beginning. I also found out what it is like to dig a fox hole in a hurry and in solid rock at that, boy I really worked. One of our boys got his helmet smashed in by the track of a tank as it went over his hold. The next time he will probably keep his head down.
It has really been hot here for the past week, but it gets all the more warmer when we
have practical training of sneaking up on the enemy on the ground. There is some kind of a
weed here that just about eats you up when you touch it. It and sweat don’t go very well
No I haven’t seen any of those long horned cattle yet. I think they are like a lot of other
things here in Texas, just a thing of the past.
Sorry to hear about the little incident concerning the three boys. I thought they knew
better than that, but as for the other two, they stayed much longer than I expected.
So you are having a real county fair this year, well that is just my luck, things never start
happening until I get away then things really start happening. I would give any thing to be there.
And why couldn’t you have had a new water vat, new bull pen and stanchions while I was there.
Well that is what I get for growing up to soon. But when I get back all those improvements will
look good. Which cows did you sell, hope you won’t have to cull any closer. Guess by now you
have the silo filled and started planning for the fair since Oct. 7th isn’t very far off. Hope it is a
success and you can continue having them. I might be able to attend one some time.
So Hobart and the Banks Bros. are milkers this year. It seems to me that I haven’t
milked a cow in a year I feel like I could break the record if I started milking a cow now. I haven’t
even seen one in a month. Glad to hear that Robert is doing a good job at team driving hope he
continues to do so. He tells me you are having a game of ball with Red Bird, wish I could play
first base again.
Speaking of Pine Mt. customs you are right they help me every day because the things I
took from P.M. will always be memories which I can never forget. In the army you meet all kinds
of people but never the kind Pine Mt. produces.
Well I suppose you are getting bored trying to figure this out so I will close for this time
hoping to hear from you soon. On Oct. 7th there will be a picture in my mind of a real old
country fair. Hoping it is a success and envying those who attend it. I would appreciate very
much getting some pictures of the farm especially of that new water vat & bull pen.
P.S. I almost forgot to tell you the branch of service I am in. Well at the present it is just the plain
red Infantry but after 6 weeks of training I will go to some regular outfit.
Sunday Eve. Oct. 15, 1944
Dear Mr. Hayes:
Guess it is about time I was writing you another letter since it has been nearly a month
since I last wrote. I have been kept pretty busy for the last few weeks, guess you are plenty
I have just finished six weeks of basic Infantry training hoping to get into something else,
but in spite of every thing I end up as a rifleman so I guess I will be pretty well occupied for the
next few weeks.
Well how did Fair Day turn out? Do you think it will be worthwhile to continue having
them, I hope so anyway. Guess you are having frost by this time while we still have plenty of
Well I must close for this time so if you ever find time answer & tell me all the news.
November 2, 1944
Dear Mr. Hayes:
While sitting around with a little spare time will write you a few lines hoping to find every
thing going well.
Hope you haven’t had to sell any more of the herd because of the shortage of feed.
What are you using for bedding this year? And is it hard to get now? I suppose it is cold enough
to keep the herd inside now, although it is still warm as everything in Texas yet, but I am
expecting it to begin raining most any time now. When it rains here I really get in a mess
because this mud really sticks.
Well how did Halloween go this year[?] hope everybody had a good time and by the way
just how do you rate all those Barbecues this year. After four years without them now they to
begin having country fairs and Barbecues. Guess it just takes time to change things.
Have you ever received the new Stanchions yet, guess the Dairy Barn is in tip top shape
this year with new water vat and all.
When I get back guess I will have to milk a cow or two and drive the new teams that is if
you and Robert agree, what about it? Well guess I had better close for this time and get to bed,
will write again soon.
November 11, 1944
Glad you finally beat Red Bird in Softball. I can see why the P.M. boys disagree with you playing
against them because I know what a stiff opponent you are.
Glad to hear that all the cover crops are looking good, how is the seed I put on Zande
House looking & what kind of a set was it. If you keep on you will have Barn hill in ship shape,
the new Bull Pen must help the appearance a great deal. Hope you succeed in getting drinking
cups in the Barn because that is all you like having a No1 dairy barn. Sorry to hear about
Marguerite having milk fever, hope she is ok again, how is she milking this time as for the calf,
don’t you worry because you rword is good enough for me no matter how long I have to wait.
Well guess I had better close for this time so answer soon.
November 13, 1944
Dear Mr. Hayes
While I have a little free time will write you a few lines. We go out on some night
problems beginning tonight and stay out for two nights so I have to get a little sleep & catch up on my letter writing during this free time.
I am wondering if we are ever going to have any winter here in Texas because it is still
warm. Guess you are having frost ever night back home aren’t you. I guess it will start raining
here soon and I had rather see it snow any time than rain because you can’t imagine how
sloppy it gets. This Texas mud is as sticky as glue.
Well I suppose you are preparing for Thanksgiving by now, I would like to be there for
another Ball, but guess I will be drilling like every thing on that day and night.
As our basic training gets shorter they make it tougher for us. So far we have been
learning to put into action and fire the Browning Automatic Rifle 30 cal. Machine Gun and the 60 M.M. Mortar. That is just about the heaviest weapons the Infantryman trains to use. The
Infantryman’s chief weapon is the 30 cal. M1 rifle and they are really honey’s to shoot. They try
to get me to use elevation and windage but the only windage I can get any where with is good
old try windage, just by estimation.
How is the dairy now, are you still having trouble getting feed? I can’t figure out what
they feed the long horned cattle here in Texas it is so dry. The only thing that does really grow is
the sandburr and cactus & every time you hit the ground you come in contact with one of the other.
Have you ever got the bull you want yet are is nonsuch otherwise Jr. still hanging
around. Well I must close for this time & try to get a little sleep, hoping to pay you a visit before long.
Bill Blair Jr.
P.S. Have the new stanchions arrived yet [?]
November 16, 1944
Dear Mr. Hayes:
After waiting so long will answer your most appreciated letter, sorry I haven’t answered
sooner, but I just received the letter today.
Yes I guess I am accustomed to the army by now, but not this Texas weather. I hope
you have had some rain by this time, wish I could give you some of the rain we are having. It
has rained for the last three days and is raining now. I guess Texas winter is coming at last. The
mud is ankle deep already. I come in every night wet & muddy to the waist so I am hoping this rain will discontinue soon.
Hope your forest fires are letting up by now then you can rest up a bit.
How many ducks have you killed yet, wish you could get a crack at them here. They go
over by the hundreds every day. So you have the technique on barbecues now eh; well maybe I
will be lucky enough to drop around sometime when one is in progress. Speaking of soft ball I am …
Monday Eve, Dec. 4, 1944
Dear Mr. Hayes:
After to long a time I will write you a few lines hoping to find everything going smoothe at
Guess by this time you have had some winter weather. It is plenty cold here now and to
make matters worse it rains all the time. We spent all last week out in the field and it was plenty
cold. I never had my clothes off but one time during the whole week.
I hope that your water shortage problem is solved by now and the boys have stopped
complaining. If they were here that would get wet every day whether they liked it or not. This
army does the craziest thing sometimes. They take us out for lectures on things we have had a
dozen times and make us sit in bleachers and listen again. Just as soon as we get good and
wet then we go inside and freeze to death. I suppose that is the army for you though.
How is the dairy coming along now? Have the new stanchions arrived yet? Mac write me
that Floyd was in the other day, and that he is going over seas soon. I guess before this thing is
over quite a few more of us will be over seas. How is Margurite milking now. Quite a few
dairymen and farmers from Iowa are stationed here. They don’t agree with me when I tell them
how Fyne produces.
I do my own laundry since I came into the army so I must close for this time and get
Tuesday Night, Dec. 19, 1944
Dear Mr. Hayes & Family:
Received the Christmas card from you Mrs. Hayes and the kids. I appreciated it very
much. Steve and Helen look quite contented in the snow, especially Steve, bet he is hard to
keep inside now!
This is the 10th night that we have spent in the field and the weather has been very
good. The nights get rather cold, but the hardest part of it all is getting up with frost all over the
ground. From the looks of the Christmas card the frost could be snow, then I guess I would have something to complain about.
By this time the Nativity Play should be drawing near & all Pine Mt. students have the
spirit of Christmas. I hope all your Christmas holidays including Open House Day are
successful. Those are the days that I will never forget. This is the first time that I can ever
remember that Christmas hasn’t been a part of me & I haven’t looked forward to it. I can’t make myself believe that it is so close. When people don’t inform you of things & the environment surrounding you doesn’t remind you things seem rather easy to forget so I guess that is why.
Well I must close for this time and get the candle out since all things are tactical & no
light at all is allowed. Here’s hoping that you have a very nice Christmas and a Happy New
P.S. Hope your Christmas is white.
Saturday Morn, February 3, 1945
Dear Mr. Hayes:
Will answer your most appreciated letter right away. Sure was glad to hear from you.
Maxine told me about the death of Dick Baker [Richard Baker, son of Rev. Richard and Lutrella Baker at Line Fork Settlement] and it certainly was a surprise. I guess you are
right, things can happen fast. THe last time I saw Dick he was a healthy looking boy.
It seems that Pine Mt. is having it share of operations here of late. Almost ever time I
hear from school somebody is having an operation done.
Sorry to hear about Frank and Avis. I think they are making a big mistake by quitting
Speaking of milking cows I believe I could take the whole herd on now and milk them by
myself if I were back at P.M.
Hope during your vacation that all your hunting wasn’t in vain. I guess those rabbits I use
to see in School House Field when I went after the cows of a morning are still there I saw some
morning before daylight.
I am sure all your new ideas will prove to be a big help. Wish I was there to help you put
them into effect but guess you have more than enough farm help. Guess I was worse than Pug
to hunt you up and tag along.
Well I must close for this time so here’s hoping the new year proves to be a good farm
Friday Evening February 16, 1945
Dear Mr. Hayes:
While I have the time will write you a short note. Sorry I waited so long before writing but
will try to write more often in the future.
How is the weather with you now? I see these Italians with their oxens out plowing and I
really get homesick.
Speaking of Italian Rye Grass, that is just about all they have for cover crops. The soil
looks just like that at the Tool House, real black with hardly any rock at all, bet it would grow
most any thing. The Hogs they have here really have me puzzled. Maybe you can tell me what
kind they are. Most all of them are black and they don’t have any hair on them anywhere. But
the most peculiar part about them is that they have little tits about an inch and a half long
hanging down on each side of their jaws, that is what I want you to explain.
Well guess that is just about all I have seen that really got me, so I won’t bother you with
any more of the freaks I have seen except a donkey that could crawl between my legs & pulling a cart at that.
I must quit telling you what I have seen & go get chow so answer when you find time.
January 4, 1945
Dear Mr. Hayes:
Just a line while I have a few spare moments of my own.
They sure have been pushing us through the Belt line since we arrived. I have been
issued new clothing all together so they must mean business around here.
Hope you have had a nice vacation. I think the next vacation I get if I get one soon will
be spent at P.M. & not a five minute stay as the last one was.
Well I must close for this time but will write more just as soon as I receive my A.P.O. No.
but if you find time to write it will probably reach me by the address on this envelope.
Wednesday Eve, January 10, 1945
Dear Mr. Hayes:
While I have a little free time will write you a few lines and let you know my new address
or rather my temporary address for the present.
How is the weather with you now, guess you are seeing plenty of snow.
Just now we are having a shakedown inspection. It seems that all the army ever has is
inspections anyway so I guess before my army career is over I will be use to them. Do you hear
from your Brother Jery often? The news doesn’t look to bad just now so maybe he won’t be
gone across to long.
Well I can’t seem to think of much to write about so I will close for this time. Tell Mrs.
Hayes & the kids hello. The next time I visit you maybe I won’t disappoint her like I did before making her think I was some one else.
Saturday Eve, January 20, 1945
Dear Mr. Hayes:
Guess you think that I have forgotten you and gone back on my promise about writing
when I got settled. If I waited until I got settled I am afraid that you would never hear from me
because things will never be as they once were.
I didn’t realize so much could happen to anyone in so short a time, but guess I still have
a lot to learn before this is over.
How often do you hear from your Bro? I haven’t received mail from anyone since I left
home but guess that is something else I must get use to, although mail is about all I look
When I get back, if nobody objects I think I will just take Joe Wilsons’ job and work with
you on the farm since that is about the only place I seem to be satisfied.
How often does Mrs. Hayes hear from Pat? I guess the Senior class is pretty well
scattered out. George F. bought a farm in Ohio & I think Walker is with him instead of going to college. If I can ever find time I will start a Round Robin letter to all the Senior Class just to see if it ever gets back to me.
Well I must close for this time & write the family & see if I can scare up an answer from them.
Saturday Morn, January 27, 1945
Dear Mr. Hayes:
Well since I am about to get my bearings will write a few lines. While I am writing this
letter you are probably still sleeping becuase when it is 12:00 o’clock with you it is 6 o’clock
I think I will be safe in saying that I am some where in Italy. I had a chance to see the
remains of Naples after the bombing and it is just as I had it pictured. Just a lot of stone and
brick buildings all jammed together with real narrow streets running through the middle.
I had all my money changed into Italian currency and every time I buy any thing I feel
that I am getting cheated. One penny of our money equals one Lire [check this] in Italian
money. You can get most anything from the Italian people for cigarettes. They can be sold for
as high as $8.00 to $10.00 dollars each. I’m glad I don’t smoke. Well I am about out of paper so
I must close.
April 12, 1945
Dear Mr. Hayes:
While I have some free time will drop you a line hoping to find every thing going
smoothe. I suppose the campus is white with Dogwood trees now.
Mr. Hayes, Dad and I seem to mis-understand each other about the calf. I must have
gave him the impression that it was already waiting and he is making plans to take it–when I
just don’t know. I wrote him tonight telling him to fix it up with you so I won’t have the both of you wondering about the other. I haven’t heard from you since you told me you had one in mind & if it was a heifer I could have it.
What I am trying to do is to explain to you what to do if it isn’t too much trouble. Just
write Dad & tell him when you will have the one you want me to have.
Guess you think I am in a hurry for the calf but I was afraid I had gave Dad the idea that
it was ready. Well I guess that is one load off my mind so I will close for this time. Write when
you have time.
Monday, April 23, 1945
Dear Mr. Hayes,
While wondering how every thing is going at Pine Mt. will drop a few lines hoping to find
every thing running along smoothly.
By this time every thing on the campus must be green and full of life. I suppose Mrs.
Keith has worn out all the Barn Brooms again this year cleaning out the Pool.
How did your fishing trip turn out, hop the Ford stood up long enough to get you there
Guess I told you about being transferred into the mountain troops. I have completed two
weeks of mt. training and as far as I know I am a [words blocked out] for the us.
Maybe if I once hit an outfit a lot of this rookie stuff will stop.
I read the article Bert U. wrote about the herd. He must think the cows are very
dangerous the way he referred to them. I hope Jo isn’t as bad as he said. He said no one dared
to go inside his pen. I think it would take a better bull than Jo to bluff you the way Prine Flog
stood around when you were anywhere near.
Well I must close for now so answer when you have time.
Monday, June 11, 1945
Dear Mr. Hayes;
While I have some time at leisure will write a few lines. Sorry I haven’t written before
now, but have been pretty much on the move.
At present I am situated just on the outskirts of the city of Bologna. The city itself is very
quiet now except for a few patriots still wandering around with their knives & guns but most all of them have layed down their fire arms.
I am still in a repl. Depot but if I ever ship from here it will be to an outfit I hope because
as long as I stay a replacement my chances of getting any where in army life are pretty slim.
The army must have privates though for K.P. & guard duty.
How does every thing look on the farm now, plenty of beans & tomatoes I suppose.
Hope you have enough manpower to keep things going. I am hoping to receive a Conifer
soon to find out how every thing came out Graduation Day & I suppose the farm output & outlook will be included. We have been having so hot weather here of late but had a fine rain last evening. Things were getting plenty dry.
Well how does the war in the far East look to you. Now that things are finished here we
don’t follow the news quite so close. You know more about the happenings there than I do.
I better close for now so tell Mrs. Hayes & family hello. I almost forgot. I never receive[d] a
letter from Dad that doesn’t say something about that calf. He gives it about 8lbs of milk for feed plus a little dairy feed.
Italy-Sunday March 4, 1945
Dear Mr. Hayes:
Guess it is about time I was writing you a few lines so here goes.
If you get a letter from me that has been censored completely out don’t be disappointed.
I wrote it a few weeks ago asking you a few questions and telling you some of the strange
things I have encountered. After I had written it I wondered just how much of it would be cut out.
Maybe it went through ok, but since they are pretty strict on censoring I was sorta doubtful.
Maxine was telling me that you were having another barbecue for the Washington Ball,
hope it turned out as good as the previous ones.
How is the herd milking now, nobody ever believes me when I tell them that Tyne has
given 36 lbs of milk, for the farmers from Iowa that is just to much milk for one cow.
I guess by this time that you have started making plans for the coming farm year. I wish I
could be there to do some of the spring plowing for you but guess I will wait awhile for that. The
way the news looks now maybe it won’t be to long.
Hope you are having some nice weather now, it has been trying to snow here all day. I
must close for now so here’s hoping that Spring Vacation is dry for your plowing.
Italy, March 23, 1945
Dear Mr. Hayes;
Now that Spring has begun I suppose every thing at Pine Mountain is fresh and green.
Things look pretty fresh here but the dust gets worse every day when it rains the mud becomes
Maxine mentioned something in her letter about one of the herd dying. She said it was
Alice but I thought it was a mistake since Alice was one of the heifers I decided it must have
been Ellen instead.
I hear the citizenship committee really got the works the other day. I can’t figure out just
what Robert means by taking chances like that.
When have you heard from your Brothers [Silven, John, Paul Hayes]I suppose they have seen plenty of action by now.
I guess I can consider myself quite lucky by not seeing action before now.
Well I must close for now since it is almost chow time. Tell Mrs. Hayes and the kids
Italy, March 29, 1945
Dear Mr. Hayes:
Will answer your most welcomed letter I just received. My mail service gets better every
day. I received your letter in seven days.
I think I understand why you said you were getting lazy when it came to letter writing.
With Spring here you must be very buisy so I won’t be disappointed if I don’t hear from you very
I guess I did sound rather crazy trying to explain the peculiar hog but they are funny
looking. If I had a camera I would send you a snapshot of it but we aren’t allowed to take very
Glad you had nice weather during vacation. You must be pretty well up with your work. It
seems that every time Spring arrives Pine Mt. has its share of trouble in the way of broken plow
parts. I think I still hold the record as breaking the most plow points. Guess that tractor is pretty
well shot any way. Maybe you will have a new one before long.
Mr. Hayes if it isn’t asking too much I think I would prefer holding off a while longer
before taking the calf. Since I don’t know just when I will ever reach the States again, things
might work out later on if we hold off for awhile unless Dad thinks he would like to take care of it now. If not there is no hurry so you may decide which one I am to have later on. I will write Dad & let you know as soon as possible.
Here’s hoping Polly’s next calf is a heifer even though I don’t decide to take it.
Glad to hear that you are having such good luck with the chicken[s] hope it continues.
Hope the Ford stayed together long enough for you and Brit to complete your fishing trip.
I must close for now so answer when you find the time.
P.S. I was reading in the paper were some had already celebrated the ending of the war with
Germany, hope we will all be able to soon & it won’t be a false alarm.
Saturday Eve, May 5, 1945
Dear Mr. Hayes:
I guess you wonder why the interval between my letters is so long but for the past few
weeks I just couldn’t get a chance to write.
I really had a laugh when I read the article entitled “My Day” by Ray Cox which came out
in the April issue of the Pine Cone.
He seems to be having quite a time with his daily problems.
I think is one dis-like is working on the farm, where he thinks you are pushing him. From
my point of view I think he needs quite a bit of pushing around.
Speaking of the farm how does every thing look. Dad was telling me what a fine bunch
of chickens you have.
How many hogs do you have now, the meat supply the past winter was plentiful I am
sure. I seem to be a bit uncertain about the mother of my calf which I keep thinking is Polly. Am
I correct or is it Margarette. Old Jenny wasn’t Margarette’s mother though was she.
Well changing the subject a bit how does the war news look now. If you had any
Brothers in Germany they might get a rest now. I hope so any way because the boys who have
been over seas for quite some time deserve first chance to go home.
I must close for now so here’s hoping we all get home soon.
As Ever I Remain,
Sunday Eve, May 20, 1945
Dear Mr. Hayes;
It has been quite sometime since I last wrote you so I will write a few lines now hoping to
find every thing going ok.
Dad has been telling me what a fine calf I have. I still feel that I owe you something for it
yet so maybe some day I can present you one of its calves in return.
Maxine said they were getting plenty of milk on the table now so I guess grazing is
How does every thing look on the farm? Hope the cold weather I have been hearing
about hasn’t hurt your vegetables any. The weather here in Italy is plenty hot a present.
Have you heard any news from your Brother yet? I suppose he has enough points for
discharge by now. Speaking of points that seems to be the chief subject now. As for me I have a
grand total of 13 to my credit so I guess I will earn my other 72 over in China somewhere.
I suppose graduation went off successfully & without rain this year or were you taking
care of this Babies this time.
Mrs. Hayes said that was what you were doing last graduation.
Well I must close for now and do some more writing. Tell Mrs. Hayes and the kids hello.
[BUCH JONES] BUD
Mar 2, 1945
If it isn’t another married man, and a daddy, at that. Congradulation Old Boy. Yes I know
you are thinking who in the world has given me the low down on you. Well pal your mother has
written me a couple times; send me a xmas card–Your Bro Silvan, is in the Same Regiment. I
only in different campsites. I haven’t as yet been off to locate him but will some time soon also
she wrote Paul’s and John’s address.
Bill I am glad you didn’t have to come into service, and away from home your wife and
children as its hello. All I do is think of my wife in Knoxville, Tenn. Yes–I decided I had roamed around to[o] long by my self and married Elizabeth Lema Hogue from Chattanooga, Tenn on May 19, 1944. I entered Service in June 1942. Been over seas 8 months, going on 9. When did you get married? No doubt you married one of the Pine Mountain Settlement girls. Yes I know there was some swell girls there. Bill I still remember the old folks dance, the worth dance; May
Dance that you put on, in all Gemnasium, at Harlan High were I was playing football for the
Green Dragons. It was a thrill indeed to watch. Say old Boy why not send a picture of your self;
wife and 2 children. Gee how I wish I was there at Pine Mt. Settlement–to enjoy the breeze from
the pine trees–and give the old place a once over again.
Things looks very good over here. Have been getting pretty lukcy, had a few Buildings to
blow up–just after I had left them. Few Bombs dropped with 20 yds of me, while in a bld. Also
several shells landed pretty close. But look for this war to end soon. Hope so anyway, at least
maybe get a leave for home a while before going to South Pacific, if I have to after Germany
Defeat. I have been in England, France, Luxembourg, and Now somewhere in Germany. A few
of the other well thought of places I can’t remember. Well I am going to write Paul [Paul Hayes] and Tinsey Jones [“Dan” Buck Jones] . So I thought I would let you know. I still exist in this war and haven’t forgotten you and the Boys of yesterday. Tell all Hello–and answer soon.
Goodnite as always.
TRANSCRIPTION: Other Students’ Letters
Italy, March 17, 1945
Dear Bill & Family,
I imagine this will be quite a surprise to you hearing from me. I received your very nice
[Christ]mas card. I have been going to write you for a long time but never could seem to get around to it.
Sure has been a long time since I have seen you. I think about five years isn’t it? The
last time I remember was when you were going or coming, but I don’t remember which for your
honeymoon at your Mothers house, do you remember? So much for the reminiscing.
I see by the snapshot that you have yourself a very nice family started a boy & a girl.
The girl is very cute & the boy is a typical Hayes as I can remember. Hope your wife Fern [Hall] is getting along very nice. I can still faintly remember her.
How about the death situation? Still I don’t guess though it would touch you if you are
still touching [teaching?]. I hope not but think you would probably do more there than over here.
About myself. I am getting along very fine in my good health. We get just about anything
we need over here, they do pretty good by god. I am not having to work very hard, which is ok
by me. I spend much of the nights either going to the show they have one every night.
Sometimes a USO show from the States, also listening to the radio.
I have been over here now, quite a long time, two-and-one-half years to be exact. I am
sure ready to go home I think I might in a few months too. I have a girl friend back there in St.
Louis I want to get back to (I met her 4 years ago though). She is still waiting for me. (Mary
Mom is in Monroe Mich. visiting with Grady who is working for Basil (husband) is in the Navy at Philadelphia.
Well, Bill drop me a line to let me know about you & your family & every one. So until I see you good luck.
Dan [Buck Jones]
HARLAN COUNTY Soldiers in WWII
DANCING IN THE CABBAGE PATCH War and PMSS
PUBLICATIONS PMSS How Beautiful Are the Feet of Youth Upon the Mountain
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