In February 1993, I found a box of old letters at the Salvation Army store in Pasadena. The price -- $148 -- was based on the alleged value of the stamps, which were quite ordinary. The letters turned out to be a collection of carefully preserved notes between Earl Boekenoogen, a young serviceman, and Estella Bennett, a Pasadena nurse.
This is Estella's Nov. 18, 1918, description of the armistice celebration in Pasadena.
"I been sick for a week with the 'Flu.' "
"I suppose you celebrated Peace Day 'over there. ' "
"Everyone had a tin pan or something to make a noise."
"They had a big parade Monday."
"I still have an awful cough."
"Eliza went with Mrs. [illegible] to All Saints Church tonight. Do you remember the night we went there?"
"It's a puzzle to me to know what to send you for Christmas."
"I guess it has been everyplace, but they couldn't seem to find you. They even sent it to France."