This is a Message Board Post that is gatewayed to this mailing list.
Message Board URL:
Message Board Post:
Nebraska City News, July 30, 1918
UTTERBACK IN FRANCE.
Learning to Speak French and Talk With His Hands
Outside of the fact that there is one man in Uncle Sam's army who never felt better
in his life, who is getting plenty to eat and a nice field of Kentucky blue grass to sleep
in, who lives in happy anticipation of a [looks like] rough-royal some time later on,
there is "little to write about," was the cheerful forerunner in a letter from
First Lt. William G. UTTERBACK, with the 130th [ or 136th?] infantry, 33rd division,
American Expeditionary forces in France.
The letter was written to his father, Lucien C. UTTERBACK, general salesman for the Byrne
& Hammer Dry Good company, and was the first written by Lieutenant Utterback since his
arrival in France. The remainder of the letter, in part, was as follows:
"This is without doubt the most beautiful country I have ever seen, and the people
are simply fine to us. I have been learning French rapidly and can carry on quite a
protracted conversation by using both shoulders, my head, both hands and one foot. These
people think the Americans are tres bon.
"We have a sergeant that goes out every night and buys up all the eggs he can find.
The conversation between him and the lady of the house sounds like this:
"He - Woof-woof?"
"She - Wee-Wee. And then they make change by adding on their fingers.
"The lady of the house was very much interested in the machine and monsieur came
along and we held a four-corner conversation, the dictionary being the fourth party. I
showed them the pictures of you all and they went wild over them. All of you made a hit,
but mother was the prize winner. I'm afraid I fell a little in their estimation when I
shoed them pictures of Hannah - and Polly - and got the words for best girl and wife mixed
up. The maiden has offered me a room in her house and it's a beauty. Three feather
mattresses and a canopy over the top, draped down from the ceiling. I never hope to meet
up with finer people than they are. I've acted my prettiest and been as polite as I
never was before, but I'm still a kilometer behind and gasping for breath." -
Note: William Utterback's portrait and biographical sketch can be found at
The author of this message may not be subscribed to this list. If you would like to reply
to them, please click on the Message Board URL link above and respond on the board.