Editors note: Sue Hicken of Meeker found this article from the Meeker Herald. It originally appeared June 15, 1918. It’s a letter from her grandfather Ralph Hicken to his brother William “Ray” Hicken.
As I have arrived safely in France and settled in a camp, I thought that I would write a few lines to say “hello.” We made the trip across the water in fine shape without so much as seeing a submarine, and outside of being a little seasick, had a fine trip.
France is a pretty nice country with lots of queer sights and plenty of rain. It has rained pretty near every day that we have been here.
I have been transferred back into the cavalry and feel a little more at home now as I have a horse to take care of.
I suppose you are pretty busy with the cattle now as the snow must be pretty well gone out of the hills. I sure do wish that I was there to help you, but will have to wait until “Kaiser Bill” has had enough.
Lyle Wing is here with me and we are in a good troop and have some fine officers.
We are kept pretty busy taking care of the horses and drilling, but that beats hiking 12 to 15 miles a day with a heavy pack.
I might tell you something about the country over here, but don’t know hardly how to explain it. Everything is so much different from what it is in the States. The streets are just about wide enough to drive a wagon and that is about all. They work anything over here from the dogs and goats to cows and horses.
The French are a fine people, but it is hard for most of us to understand them. It sure makes a fellow feel for them to see the women doing all of the work, as all of the able-bodied men are at the front.
Well, Ray, I hope this finds you well, as it leaves me feeling fine.
Tell everybody “hello” and that I hope I will see you all before long. Will try to write more next time.
Ralph C. Hicken
Somewhere in France May 5, 1918