Dear Nannoo, (Grandmother Woodruff)
I got your letter just before I left the front for my “permission” (leave) which I am now on. It is rather a welcome relief to be where things are a little quieter and your next minute is a little more certain, tho as for that matter nothing is ever quite certain.
Stanley (Metcalf of Auburn, also in the ambulance service) and I decided to stay in Paris for our permission as a great many of the boys from the section were also in at the time and altogether we could have a fine bit of a time.
I had a very nice letter from Mrs. Brown inviting me to Cannes whenever I could get off. I think if everything goes well I will go there when my time is up for a few days if for nothing else to see that part of France for although we see a great deal of the country our operations are limited to that strip of country about ten miles wide behind the lines from St. Quentin to the Vosges which as you can well imagine isn’t just now at its best. It was great of Mrs. Brown to ask me and I only hope that I can get there ultimately.
I wrote Mother yesterday telling her how the Americans or rather the American administration over here is spoiling things including the Red Cross. Have her tell you about it. Heaven only knows what is going to happen next. The inrush has also naturally bounced the prices and we are paying just about double for the same room practically as we had in May. Food however, praises be, remains nearly the same and you can get a huge meal with very few restrictions very cheaply.
The restrictions, tho, are enough to make you laugh.Tuesday and Wednesday are no cake days. Monday and Tuesday are no meat before six o’clock days. Saturday and Sunday are the only days when can have hot water baths. You can only drink alcohol at certain set hours of the day and so it goes on, the rules always changing and no one paying much attention to them but each getting and using anything that they are able. I am enclosing in this letter rather an interesting little contrast of places I have lived this last summer. It was a case of alternatives – one day we would be in the wonderful garden where the swans are and the next in the small section of hell which was once a town. I have some really wonderful photographs, all of which I will send home to you when Billy McCarthy comes home as I do not dare put them all in one letter which might be lost or stopped and the pictures are absolutely impossible to ever be duplicated.
There isn’t a great deal more to tell you now but I will write you very soon again.
With love, Paul