Summer 1915 Town of Farmhouse Indiana 18 year old Mark Smith is on his way to his Girlfriend Mary Beth's house for their weekly supper date. After walking the 4 miles from his Grandparents Farm to her house, he arrived at her front door.
After knocking on the front door politely Mary Beth opened the door and she invited Mark inside.
After some small talk the young couple went into to the kitchen and after saying grace they ate their supper.
Which consisted of Homemade Fried Chicken, mashed potatoes, homemade biscuits and Marybeth's famous cherry pie for dessert.
When they finished eating dessert the young couple washed and dried the dishes together Then Mark walked back home.
Every Friday night for the next two years Mark Smith would walk the 4 miles to Mary Beth's house, no matter what the weather was like he would go see his beloved Marybeth.
Then on the morning of April 2nd 1917 Mark was plowing the field behind the very stubborn family mule named Mabel when he had an epiphany.
"I love Mary Beth and I want to spend the rest of my life with her. Yes her father hates my guts but I love her."
That evening over supper he talked it over with his grandparents, Midway through their evening meal Mark got his thoughts gathered then he began to speak.
"Grandma and Grandpa as you know I have been dating Marybeth for the last two years and I have fallen in love with her, and I have decided to propose marriage to her what do you think?"
Grandma took a drink from her coffee cup then she began to speak to her grandson.
"Mark Marybeth is a very nice young lady and she would make a great wife I think you should propose marriage to her."
When Grandma finished speaking grandpa spoke. "Mark I agree with your grandma Marybeth is a wonderful young lady and she makes you very happy."
"But on the other hand her father does not like you so when you propose to her make sure he is not around."
The next morning Tuesday April 3rd 1917, he counted his meager life savings which totaled to exactly $250 then he walked the 10 miles into town, and he purchased the nicest engagement ring that he could afford.
After purchasing the ring he walked out of town, and straight to Mary Beth's house, when he saw her father's vehicle on the property, he began to panic, and he thought about returning home.
But instead of doing that He took a few deep breaths, and then he quietly walked onto their property and to the back door.
When the young man reached the farm house's back door, he knocked carefully while he waited for Mary Beth to open the door and come out of the house.
After he had been waiting for a while he started to get bored so the young farm boy reached into the pocket of his overalls and he removed his pocketknife.
A Victorinox Swiss Army Knife called the Officers Knife, it was sent to him by his distant cousin Heidi who lived in Switzerland, with her husband Karl an officer in the Swiss Army.
He opened the large cutting blade then he retrieved a small piece of wood out of another pocket and he began to whittle.
After whittling for several minutes the door finally opened, and Mary Beth came outside and onto the porch.
Mark put his knife and the piece of wood away.
The young couple hugged for several minutes, when they were done hugging Mary Beth looked into Mark's eyes and she said to him.
"Mark what are you doing here? If my father catches you he will lose his temper and throw you off of our property, and that is not a figure of speech, he will actually pick you up and throw you off of the property."
Mark looked at Mary Beth and he said to her.
"Mary Beth I realize that your father hates me I also realize that he thinks I am Not good enough for you and frankly my dear beloved Mary Beth I don't care what he thinks of me.
"I love you very much and I have a very important question to need to ask you."
"Mary Beth will you marry me please"?
Then he removed the ring from his pocket and held it in his hand, Mary Beth looked at the ring then she looked at Mark, and she burst into tears. After crying tears of pure joy she composed herself then she said.
"Mark my answer is yes I will marry."
Then she slipped the ring onto her finger and kissed Mark very passionately.
Unfortunately for this young couple, their happiness would not last very long.
3 Days later on Friday April 6th 1917 president Woodrow Wilson declared war and the United States became involved in World War One.
On Monday April 9th 1917 Mark went down to the nearest U.S. Army recruitment Office and he enlisted in the U.S. Army.
On April 19th 1917 it was time for Mark to board the train and report to Camp Jackson in Columbia South Carolina for Basic Training.
Mark his grandparents and his fiancée traveled together to the train station to say goodbye to Mark before he left for basic.
They sat together on the same small bench in the train station until it was time for Mark to board his train.
When the time came they all went out to the train platform so that they could say goodbyes, grandma went first, then grandpa and last but not least his fiancée Marybeth she took her time saying her final goodbye, she showered his face with kisses and cried her eyes out.
Just before the final boarding call Marybeth reached into one of the many pockets on her dress and she took out a beautiful blue scarf, and she handed it to Mark, and with tears streaming down her cheeks she said to him.
"Please take this with you, for good luck". So Mark took the scarf and placed it neatly into his pocket.
Then Marybeth showered Mark's face with a few more kisses then Mark grabbed his stuff and he boarded the train.
A few moments later it began to travel down the tracks, Mary Beth watched train until it disappeared from her sight.
After a very long train ride Mark Smith and the other army recruits that where on the train with him, arrived at Camp Jackson in Columbia South Carolina to begin basic training.
An for the next several weeks Private Mark Smith and his fellow recruits trained and they trained, and when they thought they were done with their training, they trained some more.
After completing basic training, Mark and several other soldiers that he trained with were assigned to the U.S Army's 28th infantry division, 11th Regiment H company, and they were shipped out to camp Hancock a recently established Army Base, where they underwent further training.
Then in Late April 1917 they boarded a troop ship for their journey to France. 4 days into their journey Mark retrieved his Padfolio which is a portable case that opens in the manner of a book to reveal a note pad.
Mark opened the Padfolio removed the pencil that was inside of it and began to write another letter to his Beloved Marybeth who was back home in farmhouse Indiana, waiting for him.
"My Darling Marybeth it has been 4 days since we boarded our troopship the U.S.S. Duck for our journey to France, your care package came in the mail the day before we boarded the ship."
"Thank you for the writing paper, stamps and envelopes, I was almost out of those things."
"Thank you for the Oreo cookies homemade biscuits, candy bars, tootsie rolls and last but not least the moon pies."
"The members of My Infantry Company really enjoyed those things very much."
"Speaking of the men, several of them are very seasick and are currently out on the ship's deck vomiting their brains out."
"So far I have not gotten seasick but it is only a matter of time before it happens to me."
"In your last letter you asked me if we had church service here on the ship and how was the food."
"Yes as a matter of fact we do have church services. Our chaplain is a very good his name is Jeff brooks He is a 2nd Lt in the U.S. Army he was born and raised in Iowa he is married and has 5 children."
"I wish you could hear him speak he is a wonderful chaplain."
"Regarding our food situation here on the ship to be honest with you my dear it's not great and at times it down right terrible if it weren't for your care packages I think we would all starve."
"The cooks on board do the best they can with the limited food supplies they have but the food still tastes terrible with the exception of the coffee of course.
"At least that tastes good, I really miss your cooking and Grandma's cooking very much."
"Well its almost time for supper here on the U.S.S. Duck transport ship."