I didn't go to the contra dance tonight, as I found myself thoroughly engrossed in reading the diary of my great-grandfather, Jude Riddle. My uncle Jim, the Waldon family historian, just send out another batch of CDs with scanned photos and documents of various kinds, including the diary Grandpa Jude kept for two years when he was in WWI. It's really interesting to read, though it's a bit hard on the eyes to decipher his handwriting through 85 year old ink, so it's rather slow going. It's fascinating to have a little window into the past like this. I especially enjoy the language difference, how he uses words like "dandy," and expressions like "I love him like so many rattlesnakes." Here are a few excepts I liked:
"Some of the men had never seen a plane before and they nearly twisted their necks off."
- Nov. 2, 1917
"Later in the evening we had an inspection by Col. May. As he came thru, I was standing beside the aisle, at attention. He stopped in front of me and for a moment I thought he'd recognized me and was going to extend the glad hand. Instead he said 'How long since you have had a bath?' I told him, and he walked on."
- Dec. 15, 1917 (This one struck me as rather James Thurber-like.)
"Happened to ask me a bunch of technical questions and I answered them right off the reel. Made a dandy good impression."
- Apr. 15, 1918
"About six big whiz bangs landed close to us, raising particular hell with things in general, before we had a chance to move either way."
- Aug. 6, 1918