Background: WWI has been over for almost 3 months. United States officials are mustering all available resources to bring its army home from France. But it’s taking a while. Poppa, who is back with his unit in Dax, France, is anxiously awaiting his turn while trying to keep busy at company headquarters in Dax France. Here are the journal entries he wrote one hundred years ago this week.
From the Journal of John Rodney Jamieson
Sunday February 2, 1919– Pay day today. Tom returns greatly enthused about the Pyrenees. He had a weekend at Lourdes and now wants to put in for a leave in that area. I prefer it to most any other place as there is snow, cold weather and not much travel in this leave area.
Monday February 3– Have a new position as captain of sports here at hdq. Am trying to organize a basketball team to play at Bordeaux in the A.E.F meet.
Tuesday February 4– Played Co “C” in basketball today. Just a practice game trying to pick out a team for the meet. Today’s paper says Gen. Pershing has permission to fill vacancies. This may mean we get commissions. For me I prefer to go home. Mail came today bringing one letter from Marion. This relieved my unnecessary worries.
Wednesday February 5– Rain all day. Am to have a new job soon. Much better than keeping mileage reports.
Thursday February 6– Started my new job today as driver for supply house Dodge light delivery. Think I have the best job in the detachment. It is a new car, runs nice and will probably keep me busy nearly all the time.
Friday February 7– Went to St. Avit after supplies. Shorty and Johnny went along. We had dinner in Tartas(?) with other stops at Mont De Marseu (?) and Pointex so enjoyed the trip very much before we arrived home.
Saturday February 8– Drove another 100 miles today up and back to St. Avit. The river is again very high. Higher than ever since we have been here. The Gauge reading tonight is 5 M 10 CM. They tell us the top is here (?). Hope so as it is now above the ground of our camp but the good dyke of dirt holds well.
For a soldier who wants to get discharged from the army and return home Poppa seems to be enjoying himself. He claims that his job is ‘light delivery’ . It seems more like an excuse to drive all over southern France in a Dodge Car seeing the sights. Apparently his mood was also lifted by a letter he received from his love, Marion Clarkson Brown.
HIs friend Tom also had a nice weekend in Lourdes which is about 75 miles southeast of their camp. Today Lourdes is second only to Paris as a popular tourist attraction in France.
The Pyrenees Mountains are on the border between France and Spain. When Poppa first arrived in Dax in 1917 he commented that he could see the mountains from his camp on a nice day.
Tuesday February 4– “Today’s paper says Gen. Pershing has permission to fill vacancies. This may mean we get commissions. For me I prefer to go home.”
Poppa left Engineers Training School before competing all of the classes. At the time it was thought that his unit would be heading home before the classes ended and he preferred to go with them. As a result he still does not know if he will receive his commission as an officer.
Friday February 7th
The towns Poppa visited on February 7th- St. Avit, Tartas, Mont De Marsan and Pointenx are all within 100 miles of Dax.
In 1919 Tartas had a population of about 2,800 residents.
Meanwhile, Back Home
According to an article in the February 7th, 1919 edition of the Wisconsin State Journal (Madison) The Wisconsin Curling association “honored one of their members in France when they elected Rodney Jamieson, of Poynette, president of their association”.
Were they really “honoring” him? Or was it one of those situations where the committee member who doesn’t show up to the meeting gets stuck with the job?
Next Week: Some of our captains just want to go home!
“Lourdes.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 19 Nov. 2018, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lourdes. Accessed 1 Feb. 2019.