A few days back I wrote a note to John J Pershing. upon his arrival he was my geometry professor
I heard that he was to come to France. I remember that he used to give fencing lessons to me when I was younger, but that
was long ago. He has been a lieutenant in the war since then. I did not know if he would remember me since it was so long
ago, so I made sure to remind him of how I knew him. I told him that his timing for a visit to France was impeccable; after
all there is only so much a person can stand during a terrible war like this one. I even found myself thanking God when I
hear he was coming.
My husband has been terribly busy with his job lately. It seems as though they need him more and more as this war goes
on. It is almost insane the amount he sees, and he is merely the ambulance driver. I don't know if I could live every day
seeing the horribly figures and destruction that he must witness. Those poor soldiers who are trying to fight for our French
beliefs and trying to do the right thing, it seem so unfair. Why must every political conflict result in the deaths of such
young boys who are trying to gain respect in this cruel world?
My geometry teacher, John Pershing, came today. He got my letter I sent and came for breakfast. The war has changed him, I
could tell from the moment he sat down at the table. While he was teaching geometry he had a certain charm, but now, after
seeing all he has seen is this miserable war, that charm seems to have disappeared altogether. His smile has faded, his laugh
is milder, and his spark of personality is no where to be found. I thought perhaps as the breakfast continued he would allow
himself to relax and my old Professor Pershing would come back, but he never did. It seemed like the only conversation that
got him out of his trance was the war, and when it came up there was only anger and frustration. It made me sad to discover
his sharp wit and sense of humor had faded as the war went on. It furthered my belief that this war was to be known as one
of the worst in history and that all the men involved would come back the same was as poor Professor Pershing.
During our breakfast, he never once brought up any hope for the future.
When I talked about an end to the war he laughed at my naive comment and said, "Child, it's just begun!" The words
hit me, I just wanted this whole ordeal to be over. I wanted my husband to come home without being solemn and I want the young
soldiers to come home before they become an empty shell with no life, no hope, and no dreams.
Days have passed since my breakfast meeting with Pershing, but the conversations he shared with me about the war ran through
my mind all day. His behavior was also a reason for concern. Where was my old peer? Who was this stern, cold, petty man and
what happened to make him that way? I imagine that most men who work under him were afraid of him, for his manner was very
judgmental and unpredictably harsh. My only conclusion for this was that the war was worse than any of us back home could
have imagined. However despite all of the horrible things I witnessed through his sad eyes and altered persona, I felt slightly
safer knowing that a stern, stubborn, and determined man like Pershing was on our side.
Maybe it was because of Pershing's visit I noticed a slight difference in my husband as well. He seemed like he was zoned
out, almost as if he had the world on his shoulders. He seemed tired, stressed, and lonely. I don&'t know what he saw
that day, but from then on I watched him closely for other changes.
Despite Pershing's words, which seem so long ago now, I can see movements towards victory. I know that I have high hopes,
but it just seems that the Germans are being "backed into a corner." I can only pray that I am right.
My husband is needed less and less as the war goes on. He is not the same man as he was before, but I am just glad that
I am not one of the women I hear about, the women who hear about deaths of their husbands and sons. I don’t know
how they do it. I feel bad for the young boys who get tricked by propaganda to join the war thinking they will come home heroes,
but in reality they will be coming home void young men with the souls of an elderly. After their experience in war, I would
not be shocked if the survivors came home with all their life and youth sucked out of them, along with any dreams they had
before the awful war even started.
I am praying for the end of the war. I have stayed here long enough and I am anxious to get home. My writings are becoming
harder now, it seems wrong to write happy books in the middle of such a dreadful war. When I go to write, I think of all the
limitations the newly blinded soldiers will have on what they can read. They will have so much trouble with tasks they used
to consider simple.
I am so thankful that the war is taking a turn in our favor, maybe it will end one day soon.
Then the boys can go home to their anxious families and maybe the world will learn from such a war. A war that they were pressured
and tricked into by false hopes and propoganda.
I have not written to you in ages. I have been so busy lately. After Pershing's visit and after the inspiration to help
in the war, I did something crazy.
After hard work I founded the Braille Press for blind French World War I soldiers.
. I was already working with blinded solders in the war and I was inspired to make a newspaper they could read so that they
could independently read about the war and allow themselves to learn Braille. I was so happy that I could help the French
soldiers who had lost their eyesight in the war. I owe a great deal to the inventor of such a wonderful idea and I am so glad
that I could do something more for these brave men.
Although it may seem wrong, I envy that they don’t have to see the horror of this war. It is truly tragic.