Pages That Need Review
Ann Preston Bridgers Papers
On April 10 I was given my first real assignment. (begin mark through) Ruth, my partner, had as little experience as I. (End mark through) Ruth, my partner and I (begin mark through) we (end mark through) were taken to rail head at Beaumont to serve the 29th as they [detached?](begin mark through) by an unsympathetic Y man, (end mark through) we were deposited in an open tent. (begin mark through) open on 2 sides (end mark through) whose floor was 6 inches deep in mud, & told that (begin mark through) altho there was no detail, we were expected to serve a thousand men "toot sweet." Later we became adept in the art of obtaining detail. We walked out in the mud & smiled around awhile we saw soldiers until we found some boys who weren't busy & could help us. (end mark through) When the train pulled
I looked at Ruth in dismay. I knew the words of the soldiers' favorite songs, I knew the ideals & history of Y work in France, I knew (begin mark through) recipes (end mark through) all the rules & regulations about our uniforms, I knew what military courtesy meant - and (begin mark through) discipline (end mark through) that we had been sent to France to work for the enlisted men but I had never (begin mark through) seen a caterer's boiler (end mark through) had never made one gallon of hot chocolate much less eighty, (begin mark through) Ruth my partner, was in the same predicament (end mark through) neither had Ruth. The Y man cranked his Ford & departed. We looked out on the waste of mud for a friendly Doughboy face. Then we (begin mark through) walked out (end mark through) [z_lked?] up to the few soldiers in sight & smiled our bravest smile - to no avail.
themselves detailed to the Y. (begin mark through) & we had no trouble after that. Their [longest?] red [?] badges & cheery good fun (end mark through)
Mon. made filled our tent with sunshine in [enjoy?] of the outside. (begin mark through) Earlier Sunday we arrived in Batton with 1400 men to serve in the afternoon. (end mark through)Our kitchen was on the side of the hill on which the town is built, overlooking the beautiful valley of the Sarthe. All down the sides of the hill were little French gardens in terraces with the fruit trees in bloom. It was beautiful beyond description. But we had no wood, no coal, no stove, no detail. I went to Headquarters
On May 1 we left Le Mans in a big Army truck on our way to Paris to serve the M.P.'s & detached troops along the way. On both sides of our trucks we had huge red & yellow signs. Rolling CanteenLe Mans to ParisMP Special(begin mark through) We had a moving picture outfit (end mark through) We also carried apples, cigarettes, chewing tobacco, chocolate which I had bought with some of the money given me by the [South?] unit. We had a moving picture outfit, a victrola, magazines, equipment to
the hotel closed at (begin mark through) 10:30. (end mark through) 10. The (begin mark through) French (end mark through) inkeeper (begin mark through) refused to let them in (end mark through) had answered their knocks, only to refuse them entrance. That first night was (begin mark through) memorable (end mark through) unforgettable. Montfort was a dump of a little old town, containing (begin mark through) besides the French inhabitants, (end mark through) about 125 desolate ['Arn?] soldiers who thot that they had been forgotten by everybody in the world. The Y hut was a dreary deserted place with nothing in it but a damp floor & a very chilly atmosphere. (begin mark through) The (end mark through) We discovered there were no needles with our
had been called in the day before.We advertised our show at 8 in the village theatre. The boys began coming at 6:30. Magazines & the victrola kept them amused until the machine was set up. When they discovered there were smokes & apples in the room where we were preparing chocolate, the whole 250 wanted to help. Some of them had not seen an apple or an [Aur?] cig. for months, & they raised a howl of joy over the chewing tobacco. After the picture was over they lined up (begin mark through) to go by (end mark through
(page) 10aged 5 1/2, one of Sandy's 7. He gave us the money to go shopping & we bought Roger a cunning little sweater & cap which was most becoming & a picture book. His mother was almost as pleased as Roger. Sandy is an angel if there ever lied one on earth.Farewell dance for him tonight. A damper was cast on the party by the accident. Col. [Holl?] had his leg broken - and by the fact that it was the last party. My partner, Lt. Tiernien was a wonderful dancer & very amusing. After I thought I'd been missing such a hit with Lt. [Laylde?], he pulled out pictures of his twins! These married men are gay deceivers!
to whom "beaucoup de l'eau chaude" meant more than 1 pint of water in a quaint little water pitcher. The pitchers were always quaint & always of a size. And the [bonnes?] were always ___tions and always very firm. I refuse to record the number of weeks my search was unrewarded. One becomes amazingly efficient at sponge baths in France. One day in Le Mans I ran into Polly Hayes. She looked refreshed & refreshing. "You've had a bath," said I."Yes," said she."Where?" said I."In oiseau-le-Petit," said she. My heart sank. And then she told me about that bath.In the garden just outside the window of her billet was a very spacious bath tub. It was filled with water each morning & the sun beat down & lent its heat to that water. By afternoon the chill was taken off it & she who had no modesty might bathe. There was a curtain, but it hung only on 1 sidde. Two sides were left free through which the breezes of the
& the cafe is very popular & very noisy. (begin mark through) Since we were at (end mark through) We went to Vion (begin mark through) [?] were leaving next day we went __ first (end mark through) after we set up our lemonade stand, given out (begin underscore) all (end underscore) our magazines, & had the victrola playing gayly, we learned that a rolling canteen for 'Sable' was just around the corner, serving hot chocolate (begin mark through) with the (end mark through) for men. Having promised lemonade it was too late to retire. I don't know when the men ate mess, for it seemed (begin mark through) the (end mark through) we had the whole 400 going around our (begin mark through) lemonade stand (end mark through) GI cafes in circles for an hour. Then a very nice officer came over & invited me to dinner with them. In the little back yard of the mess tent we sat on boxes & ate American steak, Craft cheese, commisary jam & army bread & butter. A delectable repast. The girls from Sable (begin mark through) asked (end mark through) begged us to come over to an enlisted men's dance, for they needed girls. That (begin mark through) argument (end mark through) plea always won my consent. [paper is creased, words are illegible.?] I very rashly and unexpectingly promised to be there. Louailles, our next town, proved to be at city of tents housing about 500 men. We
MalicorneTues. June 3 - After many faithful promises from Mr. [Lutes?] that I was to be given a permanent partner with a sense of humour, Helen Coates & I started for La Suze. Helen could drive much better than the Sergeant but he seems a good natured soul. We sat around the office of the Y in La Suze all day. (begin mark through) They havent [?] that Rolling Canteen before. (end mark through) Finally a Miss Dunskil arrived, very pleasant but vastly ignorant on the subject of Rolling Canteens. Pending a final decision - they billeted us in La Suze for the night. We are praing we won't have to stay. Our billet isn't clean, & the tanneries give the town a most ungodly odour. Wed. June 4 - We were sent to Malicorne, a beautiful, clean little village. (begin mark through) I never want to see La Suze again. (end mark through) A very attractive young Corporal from the Four Major's office gave us a wonderful kitchen. (begin mark through) It was used to be the officer's mess & before that (end mark through) one of the town's finest cafe's. It has mirrors on both sides of the dining room & plush mats (begin mark through) every thing (end mark through) along the mirrors. The kitchen has cobwebs (begin mark through) from (end mark through) that date before the war. I think they grew them to put on the wine bottles. We had to stay in the Hotel until the corporal could find suitable billets. I say suitable with intention. The entrance to the Hotel is through the café.