OCR Interpretation


The Rio Grande rattler. ([McAllen], Hidalgo County, Tex.) 1916-1917, April 13, 1918, Image 13

Image and text provided by New York State Military History Museum

Persistent link: http://www.nyshistoricnewspapers.org/lccn/sn87030234/1918-04-13/ed-1/seq-13/


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GAS ATTACK Let the Punishment Fit the Crime! “PLEASE, OUIJA, TELL ME.” Hitherto the fellows had contented them­ selves with ordinary diversions, each whil­ ing away his spare moments—-which are spare, indeed, in the army—in some way best suited to his own particular style or temperament. No one means of recreation appealed to all. Our methods of seeking amusement were legion. A great many among us viewed baseballing and boxing as the most sensi­ ble and satisfying of pastimes; others, blessed with a certain elasticity of funds, chose the more confining entertainment de­ rived from cards or dice; others were hap­ pier going to the “Big Tent,” the Y. M. €. A., or wherever Mary Bickford, Douglas Fairbanks or W. S. Hart might be billed; and still others, many others, seemed con­ tent w ith letter w riting or checkers or chess or dominoes or reading. Then came the day when Herb Winslow, one-time photoplay director and son of a well-known playwright, introduced to the boys the strange little toy that has had ’em all guessing, arguing and wondering ever since. They buzz about it like Broadway buzzes about each successive new and dar­ ing ballet. Herb had imported a ouija board! Guija wasn't out of the mails five min­ utes ere two husky . soldiers, nervously eager and expectant, sat opposite each other with the question-answering $1.50 oracle across their knees. Grouped round behind them were a dozen others, grinning or frowning in a “Show me” attitude. Then one of the players popped the first question, proving then and there the wisdom of the poet who rhymed something about Spring and a young marks fancy. The soldier won­ dered if the young lady of his dreams loved hi m. “Y-e-s,” the ouija spelled out. The sol­ dier loosed a howl of joy. The onlookers fidgeted. “W hat’s her name, Ouija?” the soldier .asked. “R-o-s-a-l-i-n-cl,” said the ouija, and it was right. “Will we go to France, Ouija?” said the soldier. “Y-e-s,” said the ouija. “When will we go to France, O uija?” “ ----- - — •— ------ — The tiny three-legged table spun over the board in a way that made those doughboys gape, and it spelled out its answer without the slightest hesita­ tion. The censor won’t let us disclose the elate given, but cheer up: you won’t grow .grey here. Since that first night ouija has had but little rest. It has alternately delighted, surprised, frightened and disappointed every member of the company, and a num­ ber of fellows drawn from other companies, as well. It has breathed of romance, mar­ riage and heroism one minute and of death, injury and forlorn heart hopes the next minute. “That thing has got the dope,” says one group. “If there ain’t anything to it how- inell do you explain this * * * and * * * that * * * ? “Lotta hooey,” says another crowd— “damn fake!” “Subconscious mind’s influence, that’s all,” argues a third faction. But the fact rem ains: No matter what the men think, as individuals about this queer device, you’ll see all of ’em bent over it a t one time or another, asking it every­ thing, from the name of the parson who will do the nuptial knotting, down to the whereabouts of a lost sock. It’s a psychologist’s job to explain why soldiers should take so to such an odd method of amusing themselves—or, if they so regard it enlightening themselves. Maybe soldiers, as a class, have some of the superstition usually found among act­ ors, gamblers, Southern darMes and others. Maybe it’s because they are so darn hard- put sometimes to find an agreeable way of making up for the things they left behind them. At any rate, if you are curious, corne over to ' L Company’s apartments sometime— anytime—and you’ll see square-toed men o’ war, with none of the earmarks of spook- believers, beseeching a small, square board to help ’em peer into the future. CORP. HARRY T. MITCHELL.

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