January 21, 1944
Just a line
in return of the Vmail letter I received a day or so ago. Just written the girls
and want to write one to that part of the country as I plan to see a movie tomorrow
night or a stage show. Had a couple of late Xmas greetings tonight and a letter
of Dec. 14 from Mother.
Nothing very important to write so I will just mention a typical day. Like--starting out by crossing the old stone bridge over the river-I don't know what and couldn't spell it if I did, but going down the valley between the stone fences and hedges on either side, past neat stone cottages of the Silas Marner type and an occasional Squire Cass manor house. Hills rising steep on either side of the roads, the ever-present hedges making a perfect jigsaw pattern, all either green or brown, dotted with few Herefords or shorthorns and always a herd of sheep. Then to the village of ___ I can't spell it either, but it might be "The Deserted Village" as not many people are seen. The streets are narrow. Buildings practically in the street. The ever-present pub-I haven't seen the "Rainbow" yet. Then the church with the spire and the very crowded churchyard where Gray could have easily written his Elegy. Then a right turn, up a steep hill, the wind hits a mite sharper and before you lie the downs. The nearest thing we have to them probably is the western prairie; only they aren't level in any place for long, but a succession of hills, valleys, dales, etc. The down country can best be described as "wild" perhaps. No ponies are around, but the sheep have taken over and range profusely. A lot of it is very green with sections covered with deep brown heather, I call it. A deserted farmhouse is seen occasionally in a valley. Miss Vye no longer roams the fields or builds the fires, but I am good at dreaming you know. It is most often with Hardy that I associate the country, though today, I touched a valley up a bit and once again the Doones were in full possession, something was lacking so I am in the wrong neck of the woods I guess. To really appreciate the above you gotta see it. And I took the long route. In peace time what a thrill it would be. But I'm doing O.K. and as long as I see the poetic side I will continue to do so.
I wrote Mother of the large town I visited. The old castle etc. Real lovely time and a serviceman can get a great big welcome in any of the numerous canteens for His Majesty's Forces-tea, crumpets, chips or most anything good to eat. I spent an evening there and hope to go back for a look over. Met one Miss Doreen Allsopp that was strictly on the level. I've seen only three American girls in quite a while; still the English girls are quite all right. Conversation is easy, they want to hear all about America and very ready we are to talk about the place.
Tuppence-happenny says you can't be bothered or interested with above but here it is. I don't keep a diary so I will preserve some experiences in this manner. I hope it isn't such a bad exchange for a little U.S. news and views.
now. Give my love to Dot and the boys. Tell Mother I will write her later. Insist
that Dad take care of himself.
W.O.S. (William Odell Stricklin)
Note from Mrs Williams: Once again there are many references to English literature- Silas Marner, Squire Cass, Hardy, Gray's Elegy, Miss Vye, the Rainbow, the Deserted Village, and the Doones. The one name he mentions that is a real person is Doreen Allsopp