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Dere Mable

Edward Streeter

Book Overview: 

Bill is in training camp, preparing to go off to World War I. This book is a collection of love letters written to his sweetheart, Mable. The letters are humorous, mis-spelled, and have many stories of life in an army camp – all from Bill’s unique perspective.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .Before you can get settled comfortable they make you get down again. It looks like they didnt know just what they did want you to do.

I dont like the Sargent. I dont like any sargent but this one particular. The first day out be kept sayin "Prepare to mount" and then "Mount." Finally I went up to him and told him that as far as I was concerned he could cut that stuff for I was always prepared to do what I was told even though it was the middle of the night. He said, Fine, then I was probably prepared to scrub pans all day Sunday.

I dont care much for horses. I think they feels the same way about me. Most of them are so big that the only thing there good for is the view of the camp you get when you climb up. They are what they call hors de combat in French. My horse died the other day. I guess it wasnt much effort for him. If it had been he wouldnt have done it.

They got a book they call Drill Regulations Field and Light. Thats about as censible as . . . Read More

Community Reviews

I recently read
The Haunted Bookshop
, and in it many titles were referenced—among them, Dere Mable, as the popular book du jour in 1919. Recalling that I had said book from my parents’ collection, I scurried up my step ladder and pulled down the 1918 tome, cleaned the dust off, and opened it.


Bill would have liked text-speak, since it is spelled much the same as his letters. A mildly amusing inside look at life in the training camp for a less-than-stellar soldier.

Letters from semi-literate soldier Bill to his girl back home, full of delusional boasting ("I been made an officer," he writes when he's promoted--briefly--to corporal), digs at Mable's family ("They have been learnin us a lot about gas attacks. These are not the kind your father has"), and French

Dere Mable: Love Letters of a Rookie by E. Streeter and illustrated by Bill Breck, published in 1918, was a book I inherited from my Aunt Mable, who died before I was born. Since I have had it for many years, I decided to read it, and either keep or toss. I am still not certain which to do. It is fu

Quaint corn-pone humor from a simpler time. Comparable as an American (and apolitical) Good Soldier Svejk.