Arla Mary Peabody Guion – portrait
R-115 Trumbull, Conn., Feb. 9, 1941 (Mother’s Birthday)
To you who are old enough to have the privilege of really knowing Mother, with a gentle patience and easy to live with temperament inherited by you Lad; with her tireless energy and directness of purpose in getting things done, that you Dan, seem to have fallen heir to; and her high idealism, impatience with sham and courage of her convictions which you, Ced, reflect in your personality, and with all the other more tender, more intimate and personal things that make her memory part of my present life, it may come as somewhat of a shock as it did to me the other day when Dave told me he could hardly remember his mother at all. How much he has missed and to varying degrees according to age, how much the other two younger ones who were hardly old enough to appreciate her at their ages, have also missed.
Well, that wasn’t the way it all that I intended to start this letter when I sat down at the typewriter.
Not much news to report this week. Carl’s reporting date has been changed again, this time to the 26th. Until he knows just what the result is he has deferred further plans as to his marriage.
Received a short letter from Lad this week asking me to get some more prints of his passport photo due to the fact that the American Consul has asked that those whose passports have expired, Lad being among the number, furnish them with necessary photos so he can take care of renewals. It would be just too bad, if after looking forward to coming home for two years, one would have to “miss the boat” because of passport irregularities, wouldn’t it? Anyway, I got them and sent them off promptly, to the tune of $2.50, which incidentally Dan, was also exactly the mailing charge including insurance for the package of Cortina records which I also got off promptly to you, by parcels post.
I notice you do not seem to be able to obtain at the Anchorage post office government stamped airmail envelopes, so in a burst of generosity I am enclosing a few for your use.
In addition to the shipment of records in Spanish referred to above, I have also mailed to other packages to you, one containing the Spanish grammar which I failed to send some months ago, and in the same package another Spanish book which I picked up while browsing through a book counter one day; and the other also containing two other Spanish books in the same series from the same place after learning of your continued, if not augmented, interest in this language. If they are of little or no interest there will not be much harm done as they were inexpensive. The latter package also contained the Cortina textbook. I hope they reach you promptly and in good condition. I enjoyed the snapshot showing you in the guise of a Nimrod. I learned from the Alaskan railway book which Ced so thoughtfully sent me in lieu of the air view of Anchorage, that your city is the base of an extensive big game region, the source from which many hunting safari start. From the size of your “bag” you must have had an exhausting chase. Thank you also for the money order. This last payment leaves very little more to bring the new car payments to the balancing point, unless you want me to insure it. I wrote Ced a while ago about rates but have received no authorization from you since as to how he wants me to proceed in the matter of insurance. My last contact with the local Travel Bureau reveals that up to the present no spring sailing schedules have yet been published. I take it you expect me to forward Fred’s letter on to Ted. I don’t mind in the least doing so but at the same time feel you might have taken the opportunity of cementing friendly relations by sending it directly yourself. I think you once remarked that making enemies was a very foolish thing to do as a practice, and conversely any opportunity one can take to make friends to my way of thinking is not only pleasant but wise. That was a very satisfactory answer to my inquiry regarding the weather and I thank you for it.
Yours written on January 20 arrived February 4 in his usual was interesting reading. Hope your visit to the maternity ward of the hospital was not intended as a hint that you are again in an “interesting condition”. I shall have to check up with Dan on this point as he was the one who previously supplied me with details. Perhaps amazingly modesty on your part has delayed the sending of your diary which would supply possibly some of the details of your adventures since you left the paternal roof.
Now a few questions about the car. How long before sailing time would be wise for Dick to count on arriving at Seattle? Does he have to drain out the gas after driving it onto the dock under its own power? Does it have to be crated? When it arrives at Seward, if that is where Burger’s Boats land, will it have to be shipped by train to Anchorage or is there a road from Seward to Anchorage? That Alaskan railway book is very interesting. I would strongly urge you to obtain another copy (they do not seem to be available here) and send it to Dr. Andras E. Laszlo, Mill Hill Road, Southport, Conn., as he is intending to come to Anchorage and promises to look you boys up. The book, I notice, contains some facts he would probably be interested in knowing regarding big game hunting grounds.
“Know Your Own Car” series, Chapter 1
Negative - You have to slam doors hard to close them
Horn button does not readily respond to touch
Positive - Starts instantly at the touch of the starter, even being in the coldest weather
after being in the barn all night. It is even better than my little Willis which
was the best car I ever had in this respect.
Well, dear Draft Termites, that was quite a blast from the bleak Alaskan tundras contained in your last letter. I hope from a financial standpoint, you may not be called for service, but I can imagine many things from other angles that may have advantages. Don’t let you strong feelings warp your good judgment. Preparedness for defense if attacked is not at all the same thing is training to aggressively make war on the other fellow. At present we are in the former stage only, and from what Churchill said today we are not apt to go further unless Hitler licks England and the Germans come over here.
Tomorrow I’ll post a letter from Aunt Betty (Duryee, Grandpa’s mother’s sister) to Lad telling him about a fantastic birthday party she went to and the work she is doing for the British war effort.
On Friday, we’ll have a letter from Grandpa to his three boys, Lad in Venezuela and Dan and Ced in Alaska, covering various topics and some questions he has for them.
On Saturday I’ll post another episode of the Autobiography of Alfred Duryee Guion, covering his attempt to better himself by attending New York University to earn a B.C.S. (Bachelor of Commercial Science) degree.