Monday, December 21, 2015

WWI Correspondence

A letter published in the Lawrence County newspaper during WWI:
A young lady in Lawrenceville, who was very active in working for the Red Cross, placed her name and address on a card and fastened it to a sweater that was delivered to the local Red Cross early last spring. Last week she received the following letter of thanks from the recipient of that sweater.

Michael N. Laganelli
Buxiers, France
November 30

Dear Friend:
I have received a gift from the Red Cross and being one of the lucky ones to get your sweater that you made for us boys and also your card, Miss, I thank you very much, Miss, for the kindness that you girls do for us boys and hoping that we will be back in the dear old USA in a short while. So I thought I would drop you a few lines, Miss, while I have time. In the Army we are always doing something if not fighting or drilling. We boys have done the jobs for liberty.

Dear Miss, my home is in Pennsylvania, the city of Altoona, and I am a young man aged 22, height 5'7", brown eyes, black hair, fair complexion, tonsorial artist*, but at present time doughboy fighting for Uncle Sam.

Dear Miss, we are both strangers and I would like to know something about yourself and like to have one of your pictures for my picture. I have none here, because we have had no time while we were in France. Miss, we have been on the lines for six months, so you see what it is to be in the Army, but I have done my bit for Uncle Sam and I am proud of it. I have been in service one year and five months, and it will not be long till we get back home to see our dear mothers and all.

Miss, you ought to see the towns we have gone through. It is an awful sight. People are coming back to their old home, but it is a mass of ruins. Am sending you a postal of a place in France.

Well, Miss, I have no more to say to you and I will write to you pretty often if I get an answer from you. Please excuse writing, for I am not a very good writer. And a Merry Christmas with best luck in the world for you. We will try and have a good Christmas over here.

So I remain your unknown friend,
Pvt. Michael N. Laganelli
Co. G 110 US Inft. AEF

The young lady was never identified and it is not known whether there were any further correspondence.

Ed Note: Michael N. Laganelli was born May 10, 1895 in Italy. His family came to the United States when he was seven years old. After the war Michael returned to Pennsylvania and married Carmella Grassi and they had two sons and a daughter. Michael continued his occupation of tonsorial artist* until his retirement. Michael N. Laganelli passed away on June 14, 1976 in Pennsylvania at the age of 81.

*Barber or barbering: often used humorously: a tonsorial artist; From Latin tonsor, "barber"