December 1, 1944
Epinal, France

No. 70

Dear Folksies,

            It’s again with mixed emotions that I write, but let me begin where I left off with my last letter where we were still in the throes of hard and constant work. And then, bingo!  Came a lull, adequate sleep one night when I should have been working, and promises of at least a few such nights.  And soooo, what do I do but make sure that the Old Man is in good spirits.  I luckily was talking to my friend Sgt. Maddox the head of the Motor Pool (and though at times their place may look like a swimming pool, I do not mean that), when he told me that the Old Man was going to take a jeep out by himself for a couple of days to go visit supposedly Bill Reilly.

            Sooo, when I approached the Old Man I did not let on that I knew his plans (which were supposedly sort of secret), and asked if ‘twere true that we would have no need for anesthesias for a couple of days.  To that he replied, “Yes.”  So, naturally, the next question was whether, if I could get some transportation somehow, if I could get off a couple of days to visit my cousins in Lyon and Grenoble. He debated with himself for a minute and then decided that he might not enjoy driving himself all that distance alone, and that he would be glad to have me come along with him, and that we would probably get to go to both places O.K. Yippee!!!!  I just about walked the rest of the way back to my room on my hands, I was so happy!

            And sooooo, we piled that afternoon into the jeep (thank goodness the boys have put up curtains with washed x-ray-film windows all around our jeeps) and away we went.  Had our time cut down considerably by some tough driving through pea-soup fog, but made it to the place where Bill Reilly is hospitalized O.K. in time for supper at a local big hotel – for Generals and Colonels only. Then went out to see Bill and to get a bed at the hospital there for me to sleep in, as the Col. was naturally going to stay at the hotel. Saw Bill and despite the fact that he was up in traction he looked fine, and actually looked 10 years younger than he had been looking the last 6 to 8 months. He is happy at the prospect of going home. He hopes to be able to be sent to Letterman after he arrives in the U.S.

            While talking to Bill, who should come up looking for me than Sgt. Roth, who had heard my name mentioned in the office as desiring a bed for the night, and had come to find me. He told me then about having had supper at a home in Aix about a month and a half before and having there met Jacqueline Marx who was just passing through apparently, but which way she was passing he knew not.

            For the benefit of those who did not know the Sgt., when he told her that he was from San Francisco was asked by Jacqueline to write to his brother to phone to RB Sr. to have the latter tell her brother – Pierre Horvilleur that she was alive and well – which whole procedure was carried out. The Sgt. was very nice and all concerned appreciated his letter.

                                                                                       Loads of love,



Next letter…

The “Old Man” – Colonel Oral Bolibaugh, was in good spirits, so René asked if he could go with him on his jeep trip to Lyon and Grenoble.

The first stop for the Colonel and René was to visit Dr. Bill Reilly who was now a patient in a hospital in Dijon. See the excerpt from Dr. Phil Westdahl’s journal below to find out why Bill was in the hospital.

According to Dr. Phil Westdahl’s journal, “Bill Reilly, Chief of our medical service, was pretty badly shaken up in an accident while riding in one of our government vehicles. He fractured his femur and tibia on the same leg and was taken to a General hospital in Dijon. We later learned that his femur was plated and he was to be returned to the good old U.S.A. Those who were able to get away and see Bill in the hospital, could see that he was quite broken up about leaving the unit at this time. I liked Bill Reilly – he has a tremendous heart and very rarely did I ever hear him say an unkind word about anyone.”