Army Life – Still In Pomona – Aug., 1944

Lad and Marian in Pamona

Lad and Marian in Pamona

Monday

8/14/44

Dear Dad –

Yes – Here we are again. Still sitting in Pomona wondering what we’re going to do next. Evidentially there was too much publicity regarding the current move of the 142nd Battalion (practically everyone in Pomona knew about it!) – or maybe they were unable to get a troop train – or maybe just because. Anyway, we haven’t gone yet, although we are practically completely packed, and have gotten our gas coupons. But I refuse to unpack our things again, so as long as my last box of soap flakes holds out, we are all right. Lad’s sun-tans are receiving the best treatment of their lives – washed by hand, and in Lux, no less, but we are skeptical about sending them to the cleaners or the laundry for fear that we will move out suddenly and he won’t have anything to wear. Such a life! But we don’t mind – the longer they keep us here the better we will like it. We don’t dare get too optimistic, but the war news seems to be getting so much better that a week or even three or four days means an awful lot in the way of new developments.

Lad and I had a holiday yesterday. With another couple here at Pomona, we spent the day at Lake Arrowhead, one of the most scenic spots of Southern California. The Lake itself is at an elevation of 5125 feet, and is situated in a lovely forest. We spent a couple of hours out on the lake in a sailboat and had a perfectly glorious time. As three of us were land-lubbers from way back, Lad was the Skipper, and had to do most of the work. But he didn’t seem to mind, and in spite of the fact that we all came home with glorious sunburns, it was well worth it.

Thanks for enclosing those clippings of Ernie Pyle’s on the Ordnance Department, Dad. They were most interesting and reassuring – Lad has always said he wouldn’t be up at the front lines, if he did go across, but I’m still keeping my fingers crossed that he won’t be sent over, at least until they’ve stopped fighting over there. Is that too selfish of me? I know it would be a wonderful experience for him, but…..  !!!!

Who knows where our next letter will be mailed, but we’ll keep you posted.

All our love,

Marian

P.S. This page is supposed to be for Lad to add a word or two, but he seems to be quite busy now, working on our cameras. He says to tell you that he hasn’t forgotten you, and one of these days he’ll get around to writing you a letter – until then, he sends all of you his love.

M -

Tomorrow and Sunday, I’ll be posting Special Pictures.

On Monday we travel back to 1940 when Lsd is still working in Venezuela and Dan and Ced have been in Alaska for a few months.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Lizzie of the Klondike (4) – Aug., 1944

This is the end of this “elongated screed” with a letter from Dick and comments by Grandpa. 

“Lizzie of the Klondike” refers to the first section of this letter which quotes a letter from Ced trying to convince Aunt Betty (whose name is actually Lizzie) to move to Alaska.

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Dick has thrown down the gauntlet and challenges all of you individually and collectively to a contest to see who can invent the best reason for failure to write letters home. On Sunday, July 23rd, he had a real brainstorm. It was so overwhelming in its intensity that he immediately sat down and committed it to paper. Here it is:

“I just thought it a marvelous excuse for my not writing more regularly How does this sound? Assuming that you like to receive letters (and who doesn’t) I wait until I am sure you have given up all hope of hearing from me and then spring a surprise attack. The letter, of course, is a typical one or two page affair beginning and ending with the same old salutations but – the element of surprise!! That’s the secret. There is only one fallacy, the – – upon receipt of said “delayed action bomb”, you will probably ask yourself: “From whence comes this stray epistle, and who be the bounder that sits at the end of the pen and scratches aimlessly on this sheet. What manner of man (or mouse) is this thing that calls itself Dick? Have I ever been acquainted with it? Of course, I know what your reply will be. Why doesn’t this fellow write a little more often that we might become a little better acquainted.” I really enjoy getting your weekly letters, Dad, and think your idea of including extracts from the others is quite the thing. The latest rumor is that this base won’t last very much longer. In that event I should and probably would be sent home at least by Christmas. I feel hopefully certain that the European phase will be over by November 15th but not before November 1st. I want to thank you for buying that slip for Jean’s birthday. She certainly liked it very much and has probably told you as much. Everything goes well here. There are about 40 Army jobs I would much prefer to my present work but about 400 I would much less rather be doing, including all the jobs I have had so far. Give my love to Aunt Betty and Smoky and keep lots for yourself. My love for Jean will have to wait until I get home.”

Jean (Mrs. Richard) Guion

Jean (Mrs. Richard) Guion

COMMENT: Jean has been too busy this week with her vacation to miss your love. After giving the whole place a thorough housecleaning, with incidental jobs like putting up new curtains as a sideline, preparing the meals even to the extent of doing the shopping, you can all see that she is having a very lazy vacation. Aunt Betty has therefore had leisure to smoke in many of her cigars and when I come home nights I find her butts lying all over the house.

The weather here, to revert to a very complacent subject, the past week has been as hot as I have ever seen it for so long a stretch since coming to Trumbull.

Perhaps it is just as well I didn’t hear from Dave this week, as if this letter had to be extended over to a sixth page to include his quotation your eyes would probably give out. However, I cannot bring this to a close without passing on a bit of local news. The Trumbull post office, which for 26 years has been located in Kurtz’s store with Emanuel Kurtz as postmaster, will soon have to seek a new location. The President of the United States, in his great wisdom, has appointed a new acting postmaster – Mrs. Mary Ann Pimpinelle (daughter of Micky Langdon), as of August 1st. Mr. Kurtz, as you may have realized, is a Republican. Everyone is speculating as to where the new post office will be.

It is about time, don’t you think, that I brought this elongated screed to a timely end. Anyway, Jean is waiting to have me set up the projector to show some of the slides, and of course we should not keep ladies waiting, so with a hearty ta ta, I still remain,

Your loving

DAD

Tomorrow I’ll be posting a letter from Marian with the latest news from California.

On Saturday and Sunday I’ll post Special Pictures.

On Monday, my posts will be of letters written in 1940 while Lad is still in Venezuela and Dan and Ced have gone to Alaska.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Lizzie of the Klondike (3) – Aug., 1944

Next we have the pleasure to present a Southern California message, from that place redolent of fruits and sunshine called Pomona. Marian says: “Here we go again! Life in the Army is very much like sitting on the time bomb. We never know whether we will go off in the next minute or whether our precarious seat will prove to be a dud. The fellows have been told that they should have some technical training, so beginning tomorrow, Lad is going to be teaching a course on the finer points of the electrical system of diesel engines. This should last about two weeks. Actually it means absolutely nothing beyond the fact that it will keep the fellows busy. So the way things stand now we should be here for another two weeks, but just as soon as I put that in writing the Army will change our minds for us. Consequently, you now know just about as much of our future plans as we do, and as to their definiteness, your guess is as good as ours. Life goes on pretty much the same these days in all other respects. Lad is back at the Pomona base now and doesn’t have to report for work until 5:45. He’s keeping busy but does not have to work as hard or as long as he had to when he was at Camp Haan.

We thought we were going to be able to send you another addition to your Rogue’s Gallery, but we were not satisfied with the finished product so the photographers are going to see what they can do about it. But it will take another two weeks to get the pictures back. You have waited this long for a picture of both of us together so it shouldn’t be too hard to wait that much longer. (Here follows a request for Lad’s flashlight.).

Aunt Betty, I’m sure Ced has been using his most persuasive powers to get you to Alaska. But don’t forget that there might be some question about your being able to smoke those cigars of yours up there. Families, you know, understand these things and make the necessary allowances, but strangers are apt to raise their eyebrows at such goings on. And I’m sure the natives wouldn’t understand at all. They might think you were on fire and bury you under an avalanche of snow. So don’t say I didn’t warn you. Besides, who is going to help me shovel a path to the garage if I come to Connecticut this winter?

COMMENT: By gorry, Aunt Betty better be making a list of folks who “didn’t warn her” — that’s to already recorded in this letter. And while Ced has introduced a new factor in the equation with his barrel of rum, you will note, Dan, the cigar episode which you were the first to recognize and record, has, like the proverbial snowball, rolling down hill, is getting bigger, or perhaps we had better liken it to the likewise proverbial stone thrown into the still water which makes ever widening circles. Careful where you throw stones, young man. Your Aunt Betty now is beginning to fear she will never live this down. As for the flashlight, armed with your keys, my Ansoutiguey importation, I mounted wearily the attic stairs after a torrid day at the office to be met with a blast of hot air. After moving several tons of boxes and cartons which my Alaskan giant had successfully piled on top of your trunk, I, at  length, heaved up the lid, ransacked the tills, peeked under the bottles of iodine, etc. all to no avail, until, thoroughly blinded by the honest sweat pouring from my manly brow, I closed the lid, had just enough strength to press the lock into place, and without replacing the boxes, had just enough to stumble downstairs in an exhausted condition with the bitter sense of frustration and failure. After recovery, I phoned Babe (Lad’s girlfriend) and found she did have your flashlight, in fact it was right there handy, so as soon as I can get it from her, probably early next week, I shall send it along with the other things you wanted with the sole exception of the Boy Scout knife which I have been unable to find, even the genuine or a reasonable facsimile.

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I believe this is the picture that they weren’t very pleased with.

Now for photographs. We now know that Lad’s is in the works. Dave had some taken a while ago which were AWFUL. They don’t look any more like him than the average passport photo. I wouldn’t give them space on my bureau. Dan promised to send me one from London which I surmised he had taken but if it ever was mailed it must have fallen victim to a Nazi U-boat. May I remind you that my birthday is in September, Christmas comes the latter part of December and Father’s Day follows several months thereafter. My gallery is still incomplete.

Tomorrow, the final paragraphs of this very long letter.

On Friday, a letter from Marian. Maybe she’ll have some more information.

Saturday and Sunday will be Special Pictures. Next week, we go back to 1940 when Lad was still in Venezuela.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Lizzie of the Klondike (2) – Aug., 1944

Dan-uniform (2)

Page 2       8/6/44

Did I ever tell you the story of the three divinity students at Yale, a Protestant, a Catholic and a Jew were comparing how far each might eventually get in their chosen professions. The Protestant said he could start as a curate, become rector of a large parish, advance to Archdeacon and eventually become Bishop. The Catholic snorted and said in his church after becoming a priest, Monsignor. and a Cardinal in tern he might eventually become pope, which is right next to God himself, and what could be higher than that! The Jew shrugged his shoulders and said, “Well, one of our boys made it”.

And so I am pleased to report to you today that “one of our boys made it”. Dan is in France, as evidence of a v-mail letter written from “an orchard in Normandy”. “I am sitting at home in front of my tent while around me a Normandy farmer and his entire family from little Josette (who carries their cider and black bread) to le grande mere (who wields the rate) toiled to gather the hay for the winter fodder. It is a far cry from London, which city we were quite ready to leave, as you must realize. Only distant rumbling of guns keeps us from forgetting the war which seems so out of place here in the peaceful countryside. The channel crossing, although significant, was effected without incident. Our experience with the local folks thus far has been gratifying. We have been able to buy fresh eggs and cherries, which was virtually impossible in London. The people have treated us with the utmost cordiality. My French studies are bearing a bumper crop of fruit now. Please send me as soon as possible a small pocket dictionary (French – English). Also please send some soap. It is scarcer here even then it was in England”.

COMMENT: Once, long years ago, I took your mother, before we were married, to a performance of a light opera called “The Chimes of Normandy”. Little did either of us realize at that time that one day our son would be where he could hear those same chimes, perhaps peeling out the Angeles at close of day. Dan’s words recall Longfellow’s Evangeline:

          Sea fogs pitched their tents and mists from the mighty Atlantic

Looked on the happy Valley, but ne’er from this station descended

There, in the midst of its farms, reposed the Acadian village.

Strongly built were the houses, with frames of oak and Chestnut

Such as the peasants of Normandy built in the reign of the Henry’s

Thatched were the roofs, with dormer windows; and gables projecting

Over the basement below protected and shaded the doorway

There in the tranquil evenings of summer, when brightly the sun set

Lighted the village street, and gilded the vanes on the chimneys,

Matrons and maidens sat in snow white caps and in kirtles

Scarlet and blue and green, with distaff’s spinning the golden

Flax for the gossiping looms, whose noisy shuffles within doors

Mingled their sound with the whir of the wheels and the songs of the maidens

Solemnly down the street came the parish priest, and the children

Paused in their play to kiss the hand he extended to bless them.

Then came the laborers home from the field, and serenely the sun sets

Down to his rest and twilight prevailed. Anon from the belfry,

Softly the Angelus sounded, and over the roofs of the village

Columns of pale blue smoke, like clouds of incense ascending

Rose from a hundred hearths, the homes of peace and contentment.

But to return to the practical, a box containing your French – English dictionary, which has been reposing in the bookcase here patiently awaiting your summons, together with five takes of ivory soap and a tube of lather less shaving cream which I have found be very good for a quick, shape, all packed in a box is already on its way to your new APO number.

Dan, next time you write have your secretary jot down somewhere in fine print whether or not you ever received the box of soap, toilet articles and smoking materials I sent you so long ago. I read somewhere the mosquitoes in Normandy were pretty bad. How about flies? Would you like a flyswatter for your tent? In case you run short of soap, I should think some of your lathering shaving cream would do as a substitute. Anyway, I hope the package reaches you promptly. It was mailed about August 4.

Tomorrow, I’ll post the next installment of this long letter. We’ll hear from California and Grandpa’s additional comments.

On Thursday we will have the final section of the letter.

On Friday we have another letter from Marian.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Lizzie of the Klondike (1) – Aug., 1944

Aunt Betty

Aunt Betty

COMMUNICATION CENTER 42928

DFR TR C/O POB-7

6 August 1944

GREETINGS…..

From the ex-mayor of Trumbull:

Copy of communication

Addressed to “Lizzie of the Klondike, Igloo?”

From C.D. Guion, Alaska.

“I can’t begin to tell you how disappointed I am in you for not packing up and running on up here. Why, the weather is so nice here that it is only on the rarest of occasions that I am prevented from basking in the sun all day long. The temperature stays at a comfortable 15° above zero all summer long, and only slightly cooler than that in winter, which is only nine months long anyway. I do hope you will reconsider immediately, and if you feel you don’t want to cook or drive taxis, I’m sure you would enjoy mining or fishing, and the pay for either is excellent. You could work at fishing for just the short three months season and live on your earnings for the balance of the year. If you chose to mine you could probably get a job “mucking” (digging out the ore) on the graveyard shift and have the whole day to run around the country and hunt bear or go sightseeing to your hearts content. You could probably grab a couple of cat naps on the job when the boss was away and so not get too tired. As an added inducement you might always remember that a gal up here has every opportunity to go out with nice fellows to dances, nightclubs, etc., and  then you might even find the man of your dreams! Who knows? There was a woman up here (Rusty Dow) whom I have mentioned as a friend of mine in a previous letter, who just recently drove a 10 wheel truck over the new Alaskan military Highway with a full load. (Query by editor –  the girl or the truck?) She reports the road as good, and if you can disguise yourself as a service men you might be able to get onto the road which is close to civilians. Perhaps Dad would let you take the Chevy which seems to be idle since Lad and Marian and Dave are again away from home. I am sure you could get gas enough by buying at black market stations, although you would have to pay a little extra. I’d advise bringing along a few spare tires as you might have to make repairs along the way. Extra supplies of gas would also probably be necessary. A good sleeping bag and some grub, a rifle and axe will complete your dear, and I’ll buy you a barrel of rum when you get here. Another advantage to this country is that women are more likely to smoke pipes and cigars here than back in the East, and your between the acts cigars would entail less embarrassment than back there. Another thought just occurred to me. You are there near the Sikorsky airplane plant. Why don’t you see Mr. Sikorsky and get the Alaskan franchise distribution ship for the helicopter and then fly one up here yourself. That might be more exciting then the Chevy. Of course all this is just a suggestion, and you could do what ever you like, even trying a rocket were jet propulsion. There is good future in trapping, as in almost any other occupation you desire to try. The sky’s the limit, but if you just want to stay in that dreadful old stuffy East where they have those horrid toilets inside the house and messy faucets and sinks that can’t be put outside when not in use – space well, then I’m sorry for you, and don’t ever say you didn’t have the opportunity. “There is a tide in the affair of men, which taken at the flood leads on to fortune”. And don’t turn your deft here at me! How is be acoustic on working. What a pleasant low we feeling it gave me to open up my little box number822 just before my birthday a month or so ago the find of good old “Aunt Betty” card and the famous old portrait of a Pres. Should have acknowledged your thoughtfulness long ago, but I am as much a dreadful correspondent, as you well know.

Did I ever tell you the story of the three divinity students at Yale, a Protestant, Catholic and a Jew, were comparing how far each might eventually get in their chosen professions. The Protestant said he could start as a curate, become rector of the large parish, advanced to Archdeacon and eventually become Bishop. The Catholic snorted and said in his church after being a priest, a Msgr. and a cardinal, and in turn he might eventually become pope, which is right next to God himself, and what could be higher than that! The Jews shrugged his shoulders and said, “well, one of our boys made it”.

This is only the first quarter of this five-page letter from grandpa to his boys in Alaska. This particular portion is a letter from Ced to Aunt Betty giving her numerous possibilities for jobs if she were to move to Alaska.

On Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, I’ll post the other three parts of this letter.

On Friday, will have a letter from Marian.

Judy Guion

Special Picture # 72 – Chicago World’s Fair – 1934

CDG - 1934 Chicago Fair Postcard - The Enchanted Island

This is a postcard from the 1934 Chicago Worlds Fair. It shows the Enchanted Island. Ced spent four days at the Fair on his hitchhiking trip from Trumbull to North Dakota and Wisconsin to meet the Peabody relatives in the place where his Mother grew up. You can read about his Coming of Age Adventure by clicking on that category.