The following article was printed in the Wilkes-Barre Record, Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania on Monday, February 19, 1945.
The following article was printed in the Wilkes-Barre Record, Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania on Monday, February 19, 1945.
Obviously Grandpa addressed postcards for Dave to take with him.
Dear Dad, I expect to come home soon.People go home in a week. Two people were sick during the time I have been here,I finished Little Boy Blue this morning. Please b ring the Balsam wood if you come up. I am eating well.After lunch we take a two hour nap and we take showers. I have cod liver oil. Love, Dave Thursday, July 26
Finally I spotted one between two high ridges, and having no choice I skittered down in and landed. I learned it was “Roulette” (appropriate name under the circumstances) and was no longer an approved airport. Having no idea where Roulette was I got out my map and had the fellow show me. It some 15 miles south of the N.Y. border and about 35 miles north of where I should have been flying. I had misjudged the wind and so set out again in a better direction, and just before dark I arrived at Oil City, Pa. — A mere 345 miles from Monroe and still 12 miles north of what should have been my flight path. I must have flown over 400 miles. The next day the weather reports were OK and I set off again in a happy frame of mind which soon became not so happy being squelched by some more of those “light” snow squalls. I did keep pretty close watch of the route and remain quite on course until I approached Cleveland. There the squally became so thick I decided to make a landing even if I had to land in the field. Not seeing an airport at the next village not seeing an airport at the next village I passed over, and a good field appearing at the edge of town, the little Taylor craft soon bounced over the deep snow covered field and again rested on the good Earth. I remained at a farmhouse across the road and learned that the Chagrin Falls airport was a scant 3 miles from there. More later.
Ced also includes a more or less intimate and personal account of conditions at the Woodley airfield which I will not quote. He says his work on Tuesdays and Thursdays starts at 4:30 AM, and Sunday, Monday, Wednesday at 7 AM. Saturday is his day off.
O.K. Ced, will be glad to do what we can for Leonard and Marian but from all reports housing conditions all over the East are terrible and returning servicemen are said to be living in tents in Central Park. The auto situation is a little better, BUT we will of course do the best we can. The enclosed snapshots were all Lad was able to get — no movies. Your suggestion about Mother’s picture is a good one. That is going to see what he can get from those old movies — the bum ones I took when we first got the camera. The miniature on the stand by my bed schoolgirl picture of your mother before we were married and is not as you remember her.
Next week maybe they’ll be something from Dave. Ta-ta. DAD
Tomorrow, more Special Pictures.
On Monday, we’ll jump back in time to 1942 when Lad and Dan are just going through their Army training. The War has just begun.
All went comparatively well and so I came into the mountainous regions of the Alleghenies. Here, somehow, I missed my landmarks and was soon in a quandary as to where Wilkes-Barre, I first intended gas stop, might lie. After a brief but fruitless search in the vicinity of where I thought it should be, I determined to go on to Williamsport, as my guess was sufficient, and I didn’t see the use of using it all up in one spot looking for W-B. I flew for some time and I thought I had my bearings established again, but after a little bit I began to wonder, and as the visibility was getting poorer all the time, I determined to turn in a southerly direction sure of intersecting the Susquehanna River somewhere before getting to Williamsport. Well, that I did at a point about 2 miles northeast of Sunbury although I didn’t know where I was until I flew over Sunbury and saw the name on the roof of the hangar. I was about 20 miles south of 15 miles east of Williamsport. I was glad to see an airport and wasted no time landing on the sod runway. I had the ship gassed, checked the weather and found there were local light snow falls do. As this was not a bad report I went down to the end of the runway and took off. A cub took off right behind me with the two mechanics who had gassed my plane. They were going up for a little practice. We were hardly off the runway when the snows came, and BROTHER, it wasn’t exactly “light” snow. I circled around to get above the bank of the river and figured I’d break out of it soon, but after five minutes flying it became so thick I could barely see the ground they turned back onto the river and headed for Sunbury. By that time I was between the riverbanks and couldn’t see either one half the time. By guests and by golly I finally got back
Page 3 1/13/46
field and landed. Weather reports had changed and now the prediction was for an all-day snow. Resignedly, I sat and talked to the men the field and at noon I went into town and grabbed a lunch. As soon as I sat down to eat the snow tapered off and by the time I had finished it had stopped completely. Not waiting for my ride back to the airport I set out on the run and was cranking up and took off, still hoping to make Norwalk by nightfall. Flying over mountainous country was low ceiling and scattered snow flurries is rather uncertain business, and when the wind is changing direction as it was that day, it is really a nuisance. Landmarks are few — always seem to look the same as at least 10 others, and to make a long story short, it wasn’t long before I was once again in a quandary. The trouble was that my compass correction was incorrect for the wind, which had shifted, and as a result I flew In NW in relation to the ground instead of due W, which it should have been. At one time there was a particularly heavy snow flurry and for about three minutes I never saw thing but the windshield and the side windows outlined in white. That was a hell of a long three minutes. Also, the snow had blocked off the vent on the reserve tank and when I pulled the valve, no gas ran into the maintaining. There I was with probably an hour’s gas at the most, not sure where I was, not positive that I had over half an hour’s gas, and over the mountains, and snow flurries. Well, I kept a weather eye peeled, and each time I passed over a community I searched the surrounding countryside for an airport.
Tomorrow, the conclusion of Ced’s travails so far, and the end of this letter.
On Saturday and Sunday, more Special Pictures.
“What the hell” is correct, Danny, old son, the bother is all in your own mind. It wouldn’t be much fun if we couldn’t feel we were being useful to someone, it’s about the only way we at home can gratify the urge to help, and it’s particularly pleasing to know it really is a worthwhile service. This week I shall try to get off to you some of the layette items. And thanks for the photos of Paulette. Enclosed, in return, some snaps Lad took of Ced and his plane,
Page 2 1/13/46
print which, incidentally, Lad graciously worked until 3 o’clock this morning so that I might send them off to you in today’s mail.
And that quite properly brings us to the other long letter I received this week from Ced. He mentions the fact that Leonard and Marian Hopkins are leaving Anchorage on Jan. 15th for a trip to the East, with the possibility of their calling at Trumbull. As to his (Ced’s) return flight, he says: “Presumably you are curious to hear details of the plane trip up here. I made no notes, took very few pictures and all that I have to go on is a rather vivid memory of the high points of the trip. On this letter item I am toying with the idea of perhaps trying a fling at an article or story. Perhaps nothing will come of it but we shall see. The rough details I should now narrate for your edification only. I left Monroe Airport on Dec. 10 amid a show of field “buzzing” in a farewell salute to members of the family who had turned out to bid me Godspeed and to give Lad an opportunity to take some movies. (I trust he got some good ones). Having climbed to about 1000 feet I faced the nose the ship to the West in the gray dawn of an overcast day, and visit myself with instruments, maps, etc., likely to be needed at the start of a long cross-country trip. This activity I failed to know for quite an extended. The course of my craft over the terra firma below and soon I realized I had lost sight of familiar landmarks. I compass had swung far around to the north and east and so I tried to make corrections. The next thing I knew I was winging serenely westward across the Housatonic at Stevenson Dam, and that, dear family, is why you heard my engine for such a long interval. Actually I made a big circle to the east while I was lining up my maps. Well, my embarrassment and chagrin somewhat soothed by again coming on course I settled down to a more alert contemplation of the ground under me and was presently passing over Bethel, Lake Mahopac and points west, and that, by the way did include West Point.
I’ll be posting the rest of this letter throughout the week.
Trumbull, Conn., Jan. 13, 1946
Dear fugitives from the home fireside:
There is nothing much to report so far this year as far as eventful happenings at home are concerned. Lad has been busy all week devising and putting into practice ideas for burning garbage accumulations in our open air incinerator, Dick goes tomorrow for his aptitude test in Bridgeport, Jean for the past week has been valiantly fighting grippe germs (she is better now, in fact the four of them have gone skating this afternoon to the Shelton Rink), Marian keeps well, as does Aunt Betty and yours truly. Paul (Warden, he and his family rent the small apartment) is expected home this afternoon; I have been busy getting my new file into shape. The cold spell gave place last week to some milder weather which melted most of the snow but today it is colder again with “very cold” promised for tomorrow.
Dan Guion surveying cemetaries in France
As to incoming mail, three days in succession this week have witnessed letters arriving from Dan, not in order of their dispatch, however, — 20th of Dec. from Paris, 27th from Passy, 11th from Aix-en-Provence. For the sake of continuity I shall quote them in order of sending rather than receipt. After expressing desire to have a fur coat ordered from Sears as a Christmas gift for Paulette, which I am not sure can be sent because while it is within the weight limit of 11 pounds there is a question as to whether it might exceed the limit imposed by the post office on size of package, which fact I am looking into before ordering, Dan goes on to say: “This is the famous “Midi” of Southern France, but you can’t prove it by me. Ever since we arrived the weather has been quite cold. It snowed three days ago and the sun, shining each day since, has only half melted the inch or so that felt. We are pushing on today for Sraguignan.”
Second letter answers letters asking sundry questions from which I learned all parcels should be sent as before to Army address, it is doubtful whether stamp collection clippings should be continued, and persons for whom wedding and engagement rings were desired are already married, material desired is to trim outside of bassinet. He also asks for civilian clothes, which I shall dig up and send provided the moths have not claimed them first.
The last letter says: Christmas at Calais! One year ago I was just falling in love. We ate dinner on Xmas eve last year at the home of Hubert Desfachelle, not dreaming at the time that it would be he who would marry us and never realizing that he would be Mayor of Calais! He is quite active in the Communist Party and was swept into office unexpectedly last fall. His impersonation of “Monsieur le Maire” for our wedding was prophetic. Chiche and I were his guests this year (Dec. 23rd) in his private loge at the municipal theater. The days in Calais (Sat. to Wed.) flew by incredibly fast. We thought of you all in Trumbull — wondered if we’d be there next Christmas. Papa Senechal says he’s going to write you another letter. Big excitement on the finance front. The rate is suddenly halfway normal — hard to get used to the new value of the Franc. Next survey job will be after Jan. 1st at Epinal, not far from Nancy. My conscience has just given me another lecture on the old “abusing father’s kindness” theme — but what the hell!
I will be posting each day, for the rest of the week, portions of this letter from Grandpa to family members still away from home.
Trumbull, Conn., January 6, 1946.
Dear Veterans: (yes, that includes Ced, who has earned the title
by his recent flight to Alaska)
Even if the laws of compensation did not indicate that a 7-page letter one week should be followed by a skimpy one the next week, the fact remains that the holiday let-down leaves little happening to make news. The only quotation is a letter from Ced written Dec, 27th from Fairbanks, Alaska: “Just one more hop and I’m home in Anchorage. Spent last two days in Northway just over from the Canadian border on the Alaskan side. Landed they are about 3:55 p.m., after dark and as I taxied up toward the CAA building I aimed between two field boundary lights and headed for the station. Just as I went between those two lights there came a jolt and something flew past the right side of the ship, the engine weazed weakly and quit. Right between those two lights the Army had placed a marker made of light wood, painted to show in the daytime but virtually invisible at night. Well, of all places to put it they had it right where I wanted to taxi. It shattered the propeller but otherwise did no serious damage. I had to wait, tho, until noon today to get a new propeller from Fairbanks flown in. I haven’t done anything yet about fixing the blame but when I get back to Anchorage I’m going to look into the situation and see if I have any grounds for collecting damages. I’m afraid it’s useless altho I don’t feel it was my fault at all– negligent placing of the marker as far as I can see. Cost will be approx. $35 for the new prop. Was at Teslin on Christmas Eve and got in on a wonderful turkey dinner with all the fixins. Paid a $1.15 per gallon of gas at Watson Lake. Saw a P-80 jet job take off at White Horse. They make a terrific roar — sounds like a huge blower running full speed. He went from W.H. (White Horse) to Fairbanks in 1/3 the time it took me to go from W.H. to Northway, which is about half as far. Fairbanks checked the speed at 368 mph elapsed time. Expect to get an early start in the morning, weather permitting, and should be in Anchorage by noon time. Will write and tell you about the whole trip later on– one of those now-it-can-be-told reports. Fairbanks is pretty much a hole in the wall and once again Alaskan prices have hit me square between the eyes. Paid one dollar for an ordinary roast beef dinner in a mediocre café tonight. Some difference from Canada where one rarely has to pay over 50-60 for a darn good meal and at low value Canadian money at that. One cashes $20 travelers check and gets back $22 Canadian. Try and change it back and you get $8.50 for a $10 Canadian.”
Today as you may recall is Elizabeth’s birthday and they all came over to dinner. In fact, they have just left. Jean was not feeling too well, had a headache and cold and did not feel equal to coming down for dinner. She is feeling a bit better now, however.
Ced. Thanks for your pleasant surprise Christmas gift from Great Falls. I’m looking forward to that account you promise because I really feel it was an unusual accomplishment. I still get a thrill every time I think of it and a buoyant feeling of relief at your safe arrival and in such good condition as regards both you physically and the plane materially.
Dan. It’s about time we had a report about your married life and all the things you have been doing, to say nothing of comments on some of the news I have been dishing out to you for several months past with nary a peep from you in comment. Let’s know what you think of the Island idea, where you spent Christmas, the details of your work, news of Paulette, Homecoming arrangements (if any, yet), receipt of packages, what places you have visited, etc.
Happy 1946 to you all. Dad.
I will devote the rest of the week to another letter from Grandpa.
The heavens are telling the glory of God; and the firmament proclaims His handiwork. Psalms 19:1
The thing is...
Every day, I write and publish a new tale for you to share and enjoy.
Welcome to my Art Blog and follow my adventure. Bohemian artist who loves to travel and draw.
inspired by ingredients, smells and Travels, vegan & vegetarian
LOOKING INTO THE PAST ....
~ it feels good to be lost in the right direction
(...and some I have)
Making family stories from the past, relevant today
Doing History After Leaving the Classroom
Sophie Masson's writing blog
Kevin Brennan Writes About What It's Like
The Blog of St Chrysostom's Church, Manchester UK
Fun With Genealogy
The SDFHS helps people, wherever they live, to research their family history and to help add local context and connections to the basic information they may already have found. Website: www.sdfhs.org
My family history in Australia and overseas and related migration research
Poetry From the Heart!
Life after the Care Farm
The official bulletin of the artist IMPREINT created to repost excerpts from 'En plein air'.
Exploring creativity and beauty across different media. Scholarly and journalistic. Lushly illustrated. Passionately global.
Just another blog about music.
If you can, you must not delay!
i owe it to the sea!
A lifestyle blog about all things Scandinavian
“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sailaway from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” ~ Mark Twain
As I navigate through this life ...
Every Heart Has A Story.
A multifaceted blog for multifaceted people
life & travel / vida & viajes
By Dan Sims
Scribbles on Cocktail Napkins
Frederic Sealey is an American entrepreneur and investor with an extensive experience in capital investment, commercial real estate development and venture capital management. carl frederic sealey
Recipes for instant noodles
Aspire to inspire others & the universe will take note