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A Yankee in the Trenches R. Derby Holmes

Suggestions For "Sammy"

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For the wealthier people, I would suggest that good things to send are silk shirts and drawers. It is possible to get the cooties out of these garments much easier than out of the thick woollies. There are many other things that may be sent, but I have mentioned the most important. The main thing to remember is not to run to bulk. And don't forget that it takes a long time for stuff to get across.

Don't overlook the letters,--this especially if you are a mother, wife, or sweetheart. It is an easy thing to forget. You mustn't. Out there life is chiefly squalor, filth, and stench. The boy gets disgusted and lonesome and homesick, even though he may write to the contrary. Write to him at least three times a week. Always write cheerfully, even although something may have happened that has plunged you into the depths of despair. If it is necessary to cover up something that would cause a soldier worry, cover it up. Even lie to him. It will be justified. Keep in mind the now famous, war song, "Pack up your troubles in your old kit bag and smile, smile, smile." Keep your own packed up and don't send any over there for some soldier to worry over.

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Just a few words to the men themselves who may go. Don't take elaborate shaving tackle, just brush, razor, soap, and a small mirror. Most of the time you won't need the mirror. You'll use the periscope mirror in the trenches. Don't load up on books and unnecessary clothing. Impress it upon your relatives that your stuff, tobacco and sweets, is to come along in small parcels and often and regularly. Let all your friends and relatives know your address and ask them to write often. Don't hesitate to tell them all that a parcel now and again will be acceptable. Have more than one source of supply if possible.

When you get out there, hunt up the Y.M.C.A. huts. You will find good cheer, warmth, music, and above all a place to do your writing. Write home often. Your people are concerned about you all the time. Write at least once a week to the one nearest and dearest to you. I used to average ten letters a week to friends in Blighty and back here, and that was a lot more than I was allowed. I found a way. Most of you won't be able to go over your allowance. But do go the limit.

Over there you will find a lot of attractive girls and women. Most any girl is attractive when you are just out of the misery of the trenches. Be careful of them. Remember the country has been full of soldiers for three years. Don't make love too easily. One of the singers in the Divisional Follies recently revived the once popular music-hall song, "If You Can't Be Good Be Careful." It should appeal to the soldier as much as "Smile, smile, smile", and is equally good advice. For the sake of those at home and for the sake of your own peace of mind come back from overseas clean.

After all it is possible to no more than give hints to the boys who are going. All of you will have to learn by experience. My parting word to you all is just, "The best of luck."

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A Yankee in the Trenches
R. Derby Holmes

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