Letters Home: Love to All from Ralston McClain

The wartime Skidmore News faithfully published letters home to Skidmore, Missouri from its soldier and sailor boys. Here’s one from Ralston McClain in the March 13, 1919 edition, page 1:

From Ralston McClain

U. S. S. Gt. Northern, Feb. 26, 1919
Dear Ones At Home:

Somewhere on the Atlantic, expect to land Saturday or Sunday.

We left N. Y. Feb. 11th, arrived at Brest, france, Feb. 19th. We took the Southern course and had a fine trip over. We passed the Azores Islands and saw some beautiful scenery.

We sure had fine chow on the way over. Had turkey, chicken, ice cream, pie, cake and everything.

We had a trip planned to Paris, but didn’t stay in France long enough to make it. We got liberty from one o’clock until five-thirty. If all of France is like Brest I don’t believe I would care to live there. The streets are narrow and the side walks are so narrow I couldn’t make any time on them, so I took the middle of the street. I had a good time while I was there, but the more I see of the foreign countries the better I like the U.S.A. I bought some handkerchiefs and post cards that I will send the first time I get ashore. I also have some French coins I will send, please put them away for I want to keep them. I hope the next trip I make I can get more liberty. I wanted to get something for myself, but I put it off until another day, but we came home the next day.

We have a load of wounded soldiers and a few who have been in the hospital. Joe Good is with us. I was up on deck last Sunday morning and I heard some one yell, “Hello, Rouser,” and when I looked around I saw Joe smiling at me. I sure was glad to see him. It has been a long while since I saw any one from home. He has been in the hospital, but is getting along alright now. I see him almost every day now. He has been telling me some of his experiences and the army has had a tough time of it. I am glad I took the navy. We have had some rough weather on our return trip, but the sea has calmed down some. I was sea sick one day, but it don’t bother me any now. I feel sorry for some of the soldiers, some of them get so sea sick that they feel like dying, but there isn’t any danger of that.

There is a Negro band aboard. It is an army band. They have been giving us some music twice a day.

I will close for this time. Will try to have more to tell you after our next trip.

Love to all,