Sunday, June 28, 2009

Harry Buzzell's World War I Story, Part 3

Time to start thinking about and getting ready for the 4th of July. Harry Buzzell, my grandfather's brother, automatically comes to mind as he is the one in our family who made the ultimate sacrifice in 1918 during World War I in France. His story was captured in his own words in 60 letters that he wrote home from 1914 to 1918.
I've written about him before some and even presented a speech once. But now I want to look at it again and thought that I would create a series about him in anticipation of the upcoming holiday weekend.

Some Impressions

I reread the letters this week and made a few notes about things that impressed me this time through. In one early letter, he talks about his job “firing line cars” and how he did not like doing this. He rode on the train car loaded with potatoes and had to keep a fire going in the woodstove so the potatoes wouldn’t freeze.
He writes about visiting with his Connecticut cousins and spending Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays with them. Uncle Fred Buzzell was Colby’s brother and had a family of seven girls.
He begins his letters with “Dear Mother” and frequently ends with “Your ever loving son Harry Buzzell.” He often asks about the farm at home and the many close and extended family members. At one point he asks for his family picture to be sent to him. (Here it is, with Harry on the back right. The inset oval is brother Clyde who was away at war when the photo was taken.)

He tells about the church services he attends and asks for news of the Colby church at home. He makes comments about many of the local people that his mother must have given him news about in her letters. He philosophizes about the war and his fears and hopes for the future. He tells about his daily routines, the food and clothes in the army, and his homesickness and his wish for a furlow. He tells his mother not to worry about him. He hopes his brothers won’t end up in the war.

to be continued