31 Boulevard Haussmann,
April 16- 1917
Dear brother Julius, Mary & Osmond:
It is now about nine P.M. If you had been with me the last few hours you would have gotten a chance to see a very interesting part of my living here.
You would have seen me leave the bank about 6 P.M., walk liesurely [sic] in the direction of my room by going thru [sic] little narrow streets which are not on my direct route, but which I often take to gaze at the little shop windows and to get acquainted with the various parts of the city, finally arriving in the region of my room, going into various shops, coming out of a bakery shop with a two foot stick of bread under my arm, getting a couple of eggs, some fruit-jam, prepared beans, a little cheese, etc., in a dairy shop and then mounting to my room which I rent from one of the employees of the bank who has an appartment [sic] here, getting out my little gasoline stove which I had at the front for heating water, and then preparing a little repast which I enjoyed very much, after which when the dishes (?) were all cleaned and cleared away, taking my mandolin and playing a few of the college songs and old home melodies. That you would have seen me do if you had been with me.
Saturday afternoon I left the boarding house where I was and moved into this room with the intention of living within my salary or as nearly so as possible. This room is on the fifth floor of a building, situated not in the swellest part of the city, but in a very interesting part nevertheless. Although once in a while I get my dinner here in my room after I come here in the evening, it is my intention to get my breakfast here, take lunch near the bank some place as I do not have time to come here to lunch and then take my dinners at some little restaurant in this vicinity where I can eat at a moderate price. It is very interesting eating a round in these little French places, where one comes into contact with the French common people. I enjoy very much my associations in this way with the middle class of French people.
My work at the bank is coming along very nicely. I have now been transferred to the cash department, where I am behind the counter and I am just beginning to wait on customers which is a ticklish job until one gets well practiced in it, for to tell at a glance whether or not a check is made out according to all the rules & regulations here takes a little experience. But I think I will get on very well, and I don’t know of any place where I might have been where I might have started in so soon waiting on customers and coming in contact with them as I have done here. When I came over here to France last June I did not think I would be engaged in civil life, so I did not take all my clothes, although I took most everything worth anything. I took over my green double breasted suit and before I left Sam gave me an old grey suit of his, which I have been wearing here, but which looks almost too shabby. The green suit I had worn at college quite a good deal, but it still is in pretty good shape, except that after having been at the front, it is now so small for me, that in order to wear it I have to put on light underwear. Consequently, in the course of a month, I think I will get a suit here, because for the small difference it would not pay to risk sending one over here from the States.
A week ago I wrote Mary inclosing [sic] a note for you in which I acknowledged reciept [sic] of frs. 145 draft on Chicago. A letter from you recieved [sic] ten days ago said you were going to send from Slayton $25 more, which as yet has not turne dup, but which I trust I will see in the next few days. Now that I have this cheaper room and by economising [sic] on my meals I think I can get along much cheaper. My life insurance of $1000 on N.W. Nat’l Mpls, comes due about this time to the about [sic] of about twenty-five dollars which I would thank you to have tended to, and next year at this time I not only expect to be able to meet it myself, but also to begin to pay you some of the debt I owe you.
I was over to the American embassy but they had recieved [sic] no instructions as to the development of the ambulance work in the American army. Since there ought to be no lack of men for the U.S. Army at this time, I think it alright that I continue in my work here.
Yesterday (Sunday) afternoon I was out to tea with an English and four American nurses, whose company I have enjoyed when it has been possible to have it.
Trusting that you are all in the best of health, with very best love to all, may I remain,
Title: Letter 18, Luther Nelson to Mary, Ossie, and Julius
Date: 1917 August 3
Collection: RG1/051, Luther Nelson Collection, 1916-1918
Repository: Archives of the American Field Service and AFS Intercultural Programs
Creator: Nelson, Luther
Publisher: Digitized by AFS staff in 2016.
Rights Statement: This item cannot be reproduced outside the guidelines of United States Fair Use (17 U.S.C., Section 107) without advance permission of the Archives of the American Field Service and AFS Intercultural Programs. In the event that this letter becomes a source for publication, a credit line indicating the Archives of the American Field Service and AFS Intercultural Programs is required.
Digital ID: 1_051_18