This is the second in a series of 14 letters I will be posting—letters which were written by WWI Private Allen Lee Millard (“Nig”) Gooch to his family back home in Duncan, Arizona.
We will follow Pvt. Gooch from his first week in boot camp to his last letter from France at the close of the war. Readers will catch a glimpse of his fears, girl troubles, concern for his family, and his duties as an MP, as he grows from a young man who doubts he will see the trenches to a soldier on the front lines of the final offensive of an epic WWI. So follow along as this story unfolds…
[Letter from Allen Lee Millard Gooch (Nig) to his family, 12 May 1918 from Camp Funston, Kansas. Transcribed by Dayna Gooch Jacobs. Slashes indicate page breaks. Original spelling and punctuation.]
May 12. 18
Mother and All:
Just received/ your letter of interest/ which cheered me so/ much. Am so proud/ you all are getting/ along alright. I cant/ write much tonight/ for I am just about/ all in from another/ knoclalation [inoculation] taken this/ morning. This makes/ three knoclalations/ and two vaxinations/ and this one was a/ [p2] hard one to stand/ as the needle was/ so large and they/ stuck it so deep/ didn’t hurt so bad/ untill about an hour/ afterwards then it made/ me sick and my/ arm sure is sore.
I don’t feel like writing/ much but want to/ send you all another/ picture of me and a/ friend of mine in/ the same tent./
This is Sunday and/ [p3] my first day off/ but don’t feel like/ running around. Wish/ I was with you all/ but know I cant be/ for some time,/ but am sure I will be/ some time. No one/ here seems to think/ we will ever see the/ trenches.
Ma I have no/ one I knew except/ the ones came with/ me. Jinnie Pittman/ and Josh Clark and/ some boys from/ [p4] Clifton including/ Edd Bonita they are all in this Co. I/ think Ross went/ to California, Believe/ me we sure had/ some dinner today./ Chicken and noodles/ with strawberry short/ cake and ice cream./ We have plenty of/ eats all the time and/ believe me I sure do/ eat too.
I just sent you a letter explaining my insurance/
[remainder of letter missing]