Friends – Barbara Writes to Ced – Sept., 1942

This letter was written by Barbara Plumb, Dan’s girlfriend, to Ced in Alaska. In the body of the letter, Barbara explains the timeline quite well. 

The round robin was posted on May 9, 10 and 14.

CDG - Barbara Plumb Writes to Ced - Sept., 1942 - front

CDG - Barbara Plumb Writes to Ced - Sept., 1942 - back

Notice seal on the end of the envelope, Examined By 13833

CDG - Barbara Plumb Writes to Ced - Sept., 1942 - l1st pageMonday – September 14

9:00 A M

Law offices –

Miller, Bent & Smith

(Note:

As you know, yesterday a round robin was written to you – but because of the numerous participants etc., I didn’t write a single word – so will have to write you a special edition or rather addition)

Dear Ced:

We certainly missed you at the birthday gathering yesterday – but the pictures helped out considerably, even though that bearded fellow doesn’t look much like Old Ced. But I like the beard – must try one myself some time. (Maybe I’d enjoy circus life.)

My occupational status is still the same – working, not too hard, for four very nice men.

I have had one weeks vacation – when Dan was home on furlough at the end of June and have another week coming. I’ll probably take it in another two or three weeks and visit Lancaster. If I have as nice a time as when I went to Roanoke Rapids, N.C., it will be O.K. Dan and I are going to see the ice show in NY too. I’ve been trying to get to see it for at least three years. I’ve been down twice for the express purpose of seeing it and both times something happened.

Doesn’t the time go fast though?! You’ve been in Alaska for over two years – Dan has been home one year, minus 2 weeks, – I’ve been out of high school for six years – Butch is nearly 3 – it doesn’t seem possible – I’ll be happy if the time continues to race, at least until the war is over – then I can go very slowly please.

I like your house a lot – especially the corner windows. I wish Dan and I lived right next door. I studied the picture of Anchorage which you sent and asked Dan “What’s this? – Where’s so-and-so?” Until now I feel that if I were dropped in front of the P.O., I could find you without asking directions. I want very much to see Alaska – someday – but that’s as far as plans can go just now.

I seem to have plenty to do always – in fact there are always two or three things “I’m going to do this week”, which I never get to – such as practicing piano exercises or reading – But all I do is knit and play bridge – go to choir rehearsal and church and just buzz around doing nothing much. Lately I’ve been going over to Bissie’s about once a week right after work and stay all night –

Well, as it’s almost 10 o’clock, and as I haven’t done anything in the line of work so far, I better close this and try to look busy anyway. Give my regards to Rusty. Judging from the picture, he’s looking younger than ever – Dan said – “He looks like a big kid!” – Almost 21.

As you can see, I enjoy your letters to your family, so that I really owe you a letter or two – I like to write when I get started – In fact, when I do get started I ramble on and on and don’t know when to stop – so, abruptly,

Love,

Barbara

P.S. Color of paper means absolutely nothing.

Tomorrow, I’ll post a letter from Grandpa, on Thursday, a letter from Lad and on Friday, another from Grandpa.

Judy Guion

Grandpa’s Duty During World War II

DUTY

Duty refers to conduct required by one’s sense of moral or legal obligation.

ADG - Grandpa, when I know him, early 1960's

Alfred Duryee Guion

Sending Sons Off to War

In January, 1942, Grandpa’s second oldest, Dan, writes from Anchorage, Alaska, where he had been living with Ced, his next younger brother.

Uncle Sam feels he needs me to save the world for Roosevelt… When I left Anchorage I made several promises to keep the boys posted about how I made out with the Army….I tried valiantly but the Anchorage draft board tried harder, so into the Army I go, perhaps to fertilize some exotic orchid in the jungles of Sumatra, or fill out the lean feathers of some scrawny African buzzard…. saving America, of course, from the Japs, the Huns and the Wops, every one of whom has only one aim in life… to make every U.S. citizen a slave.

 

Later that month, my grandfather writes:

Every week the war gets closer to home. Last Wednesday, Lad received notice of reclassification to A-1….And this of course is Dan’s last week home. He leaves Wednesday from Shelton to begin working for Uncle Sam and that, at present, is the extent of our knowledge on the subject.

Four months later he writes:

Last Wednesday, Lad woke me up a little before 5 am and after a hasty breakfast we started off in my car to the railroad station in Derby from which I saw my engineer son off to the Army camp.  This time, however, there was much more of a crowd, the station yard being pretty well filled with cars. I learned later there were about 80 men in the group. We learned that Lad had been appointed a leader and would probably be busy so I said goodbye as the train pulled into the station. I have not heard from him since but the plan was for the boys to go to Hartford for their final physical examination then to Camp Devens and parts unknown.

The war continued and in February, 1943, in a letter to Lad, my grandfather writes:

You will recall, as will Dan also, that early morning trip to the Derby railroad station and my dutifully surrendering into Uncle Sam’s care, my two oldest boys. Well, that performance was repeated again with Dick as the sacrificial lamb. Dick and Dave (the youngest) had both set alarm clocks, heard them go off and immediately went back to sleep. At 10 to five, conscientious Dad, with the matter weighing on his subconscious mind, awoke, roused the two slackers, had a hasty breakfast and started on our way by bright moonlight at about 5:15. We arrived at the station at about 5:45 and most of the boys were already on the train. Unlike your case, Dick had been granted a 9-day leave so after going through the routine at Hartford, he returned last night …and does not have to go to report until next Monday.

Dave dropped out of high school after turning 18 and enlisted. In January, 1944, my grandfather writes:

Dear, Lad, Dan and Dick, It is only the three of you I am writing to today but it won’t be long now before Dave will be added to the list. Dave goes Saturday, and following my usual custom which has happened as many times now it has almost developed into a habit, I shall deliver my youngest at the well-known railroad station in Derby to swell the ranks of Uncle Sam’s army.

As a citizen we have a duty every day to our family and as citizens, to our country. The Greatest Generation took this obligation very seriously, without complaint and with forbearance.

On Memorial Day, we honor all those, over the years, who have pledged everything, including their lives, so that we may enjoy the freedom and security that we have each and every day. This is a debt we owe all members of our military.

 Judy Guion

Early Memories of Trumbull (15) – Young People

The following are memories that Ced, Dick and Dave have about things they did with other young people in town and how many activities revolved around the Trumbull House.

DAVE – in Trumbull, behind MacKenzie’s (Drug Store) and a bunch of other stores, there used to be an open lot we used to play football and baseball there. We had a team called the Trumbull Rangers. We would play basketball and – – I say we – – they would play basketball football and baseball. We had a regular club and I was the President. I wasn’t worth a darn as an athlete so… Besides: we used to meet in the barn at the Big House. I became the President. That ran for several years. We played other Trumbull teams, we played Bridgeport teams. For a lot of years we never got together. Now, on the first Wednesday of the month we get together.

We had one fellow, of course this was during the war, we had one fellow who usually was the pitcher and he so badly wanted to go into the Air Force. Whenever a plane flew over, he would stand there holding the ball until the plane got almost out of sight, then he resumed the game. It was kind of like commercial breaks, I guess.

Unfortunately, this same fellow – – three years before that – – was up at the Trumbull reservoir. There was a cliff up there. He and a couple of other fellows were at the bottom of this cliff. Some kids from Bridgeport – I say this because kids from Bridgeport were bad – either accidentally or on purpose threw or kicked a rock off the top of the cliff and it hit him in the head, so he had a metal plate in his head. When it came time for him to go into the service, he wanted to fly and of course, they wouldn’t let him. So he left in the Navy. I got a letter from him when I was in Okinawa and it had been written maybe two or three days before that, so I said, “My God, he’s got to be here.” As soon as I got a chance, I went down to the Harbor Master and found out that his ship had just left, so I missed it.

Dick, Ced and I, when I could get them to drag me along… There was a whole gang that used to do things together. I couldn’t understand why they didn’t want to bring me along all the time. Now, I don’t know how they put up with me at all, any time. I used to go do things with them. Sometimes we’d go for a walk in the woods, we go to Helen and Barbara Plumb’s house and play tennis. One of the fellows that was part of the gang was a guy by the name of Don Sirene. His father was an architect and he lived in the house that my older siblings went to school in. I remember one day, we were at his house, and we were having hot chocolate. I guess it was Don Sirene who was sitting right across from Dick. Somebody said something funny and Dick had a mouth full of chocolate. Whether it was Don or someone else, I don’t remember, but whoever it was across from Dick got really sprayed. Dick could you hold it in.

DICK – Lad did some wrestling for a while… He was extremely proficient… He could beat guys older and heavier than he was.

Art Mantle, Biss and Lad Guion, with Model T - 1932

I don’t know who’s car this is but I can picture driving it around with a tire tied to the back.

The people are Art Mantle, Biss and Lad Guion

Lad and Gibby had an old model T Ford. They’d tie a rope to the differential, tie a tire on 10 or 15 feet back, and ride it like a surfboard or sled.

CED – We used to play the piano. We had a player piano, we got it from Aunt Anne, she had it in new Rochelle. They didn’t use it anymore so we got it.

Player Piano - Purchase order - 1913

This purchase Order shows Grandpa buying the Player Piano in 1913, the year he married Arla and set up their own apartment in the Bronx.

DAVE – The big draw was the player piano. Each one of us, as we got to a certain age, would have people over and we’d stand around the piano, play a few songs and sing to them, singing to the music.

CED – The Young People’s Group at the church was led by Doug and Emily Chandler. Long after Chandler left, we kept on with the Chandler Chorus. The only two people who ever directed the Chandler Chorus were Doug Chandler and Laura Brewster. He was good, very good with young people. It must’ve been 17 or 18 kids. He played the piano beautifully and we’d have these meetings once a week. He played really jazzy music for us, too. He was very fond of music, good music, and started the Chandler Chorus. We had everywhere from 10-year-olds to 60-year-olds, maybe higher. Maybe not 10-year-olds, but we had young people. We sang quite frequently. We went all over the place, up to Shelton. We were good. In fact that’s where Fannie and I bet.

The Gang at the Trumbull House - 1934

The Gang at the Trumbull 
House – @ 1936

Anyway, then there was this young group, as I said, our house was the center of activity all over town and practically everyone in the town of Trumbull. Mother said every Tuesday night we could have an open house for all the young people. We played the piano, and we’d sing. We just had a ball, and then we’d have cookies and cocoa or something. That was so much fun.

Tomorrow, I’ll be posting letters from 1942. Lad and Dan are in the Army and close enough to come home on many weekends.

Judy Guion

Early Memories of Trumbull (14) – Some of Dave and Dick’s Memories

These are some of the early memories of the two youngest children in the family. Dick is five years younger than Lad and Dave is ten years younger. Their memories are quite different from those of  the older children.

 

Dick

Dick

Dave

Dave

DAVE – I remember one day, Dick and I used to fight all the time and he did or said something that made me annoyed and I picked up a box of matches… Now a box of matches was probably 100 little wooden matches in a very thin wood box. Anyway I picked up the box and threw it at him. Unfortunately my aim was good that day and I hit him in the forehead. He started to bleed. Again, I don’t remember what happened after that but I’m sure it wasn’t anything good for me.

DICK – Dave was argumentative: he loved to argue with Dad… With anybody. I used to tease the hell out of him because he’d react. A used to needle him just to make him lose his temper.

DAVE – How did I get along with my siblings, aside from Dick? That aside is because Dick used to push my buttons and get me going, on purpose. Although I have to say, it did me a big favor, because I have since learned to laugh at myself, to let things – as people say – roll off my back, and Dick would turn over in his grave if he knew this, but he was the one who set me on that path. By the time I was eight or 10, Al, Lad, whatever… By the way, if I had been nicknamed Lad, I would’ve put an end to it immediately. But anyway, Al and Dan were already in the CCC camp, and I just didn’t have much of a relationship because of the difference in years.

DICK -Ced was a thorn in my side; he kept trying to make me a more refined person.

Once, Ced spent his hard earned money to buy me a tinker toy truck.

DAVE – We had a dog, which came from Rusty, named Mack, when I was a kid. Mack was named after the Mackenzie River up in Alaska. Rusty is a whole other story. My main remembrance of Mack was one day, we were out playing in the yard and I had a stick. I held it up in the air for him to go get it and he jammed his fang into my thumbnail and it HURT.

I remember doing something to my sister one day and she threatened me with something and I said, “You can’t catch me!” And took off and ran into the yard. I was making pretty good headway but she eventually caught up to me. I don’t remember what she did to me, but I just remember that I got caught.

My mother and father used to enjoy having parties and, when they got to know Rusty, he was always welcome at their parties because he was a lot of fun. Invariably, now this was when I was very small, he would take me into the other room and show me a nickel. Now, a nickel in those days was probably like two dollars today. He’d say, “Now if you go into that other room and say what I tell you to say, I’ll give you this nickel.” Then he’d tell me what to say and I’d walk into the room and stand in the middle of the crowd, and I’d say, “Daddy’s car is a piece of junk!” And I’d get my nickel – and Daddy’s car was a piece of junk.

We had a Dodge Coupe, it had for a heater a little opening that had a cover on. When you removed the cover, the heat from the exhaust pipe would come up and heat you – yeah, some heat! It had a space, probably a foot wide, that ran behind the front seat, and whenever we went someplace that was my spot. Of course, today, he’d be thrown in jail, not just arrested, but thrown in jail, for having a kid riding up there, with no sea  belt on.

Tomorrow, I’ll be posting some more early memories of Trumbull, taken from the recorded childhood memories of Lad and four of his five siblings.

Next week, I’ll be posting letters from 1942. Lad and Dan are both in the Army getting training in areas of experience they had before the war. Lad is at the Aberdeen Proving Grounds in Aberdeen, Maryland, getting trained as a vehicle maintenance instructor. Dan is in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, learning more about surveying and map-making.

Judy Guion

Life In Venezuela – 1939-1941

Grandpa’s next letter to his sons is a three-pager, so I decided not to post it this week but to save it. Instead, I’m posting pictures of Lad and Dan’s time in Venezuela. Enjoy.

Alfred (Lad) Peabody Guion

Alfred (Lad) Peabody Guion

Alfred Peabody Guion in Caracas @ 1939

Alfred Peabody Guion in Caracas @ 1939

Alfred Peabody Guion in Venezuela in 1939

Alfred Peabody Guion in Venezuela in 1939

Alfred Peabody Guion (Lad) in Venezuela

Alfred Peabody Guion (Lad) in Venezuela

Daniel Beck Guion in Venezuela

Daniel Beck Guion in Venezuela

Dan in Venezuela - 1938

Dan in Venezuela – 1939

Lad in Venezuela

Lad in Venezuela

Lad Guion and Jim Pierce in Camp in Venezuela

Lad Guion and Jim Pierce in Camp in Venezuela

Lad in Venezuela

Lad in Venezuela

Lad in Venezuela with his car

Lad in Venezuela with his car

Lad Guion - Pariaguan - 1940

Lad Guion – Pariaguan – 1940

Lad Guion in Pariaguan, Venezuela

Lad Guion in Pariaguan, Venezuela

Triaga Venado - Guario - April, 1940

Triaga Venado – Guario – April, 1940

Lad's Bureau and Desk

Lad’s Bureau and Desk

Cabins for Two 1 - Paul Dutton - Bob Jones 2 - Stanley Barnes - Frank Borgon 3 - Herb Hadley - Al Guion 4 - The Mess Hall

Cabins for Two
1 – Paul Dutton – Bob Jones
2 – Stanley Barnes – Frank Borgon
3 – Herb Hadley – Al Guion
4 – The Mess Hall

APG - Flor Wiliams with snakeskin - 1945

Some kind of BIG snake….

DBG - Dan in Venezuela with two peons - 1940

Dan Guion surveying in Venezuela with two helpers

APG - Pool at San Tome Camp, Venezuela, Lad on high dive

Lad Guion on the diving board

APG - Pool at San Tome Camp, Venezuela

The swimming hole at one of the camps

APG - Pool at San Tome Camp, Venezuela - sitting on the dock

The swimming hole at one of the camps

APG - Pool at San Tome Camp, Venezuela - floating Dock and High Dive

The swimming hole at one of the camps

Just a small glimpse of what life was like for Lad and Dan Guion while they worked in Venezuela.

Tomorrow, I’ll be posting more childhood memories about growing up in Trumbull during the 1920’s and 1930’s.

Judy Guion

 

Trumbull – Lad’s Sailing Date Postponed (2) – April, 1941

Page 2 of R – 127

APG - The Gang at the Clubhouse in Pariaguan - 1940

“The Gang” on the steps of the Clubhouse in Pariaguan, Venezuela

Dear Lad:

That was a very powerful, high explosive, air torpedoes you dropped on our unsuspecting head and if you must have the truth, you made a direct hit. There wasn’t even time to get to an air raid shelter and we are just now getting our breath back.

In my buffeting about the world, receiving, as most of us do during the course of a lifetime, a share of good and bad, I have learned to try to turn the slings and darts of outraged fortune about so that I can see some of the good mixed in with the bad (if you don’t mind a mixed simile). So, pending receipt of your letter which will explain more in detail what is behind the postponed return, let’s see what we can salvage from the wreckage.

The first thing that occurs to me is that there is that much less danger of your being called in the draft. There is a chance that when you register (within five days of landing, I think you said) you might be assigned a number which has already been called which would mean that you would be done out of your vacation and would have to report at once. There’s been some talk in the newspapers, although I have since heard it was shelved, that about July 1 they will change the draft ages to 18 instead of 21 and 28 or possibly 25 instead of 35 on the upper limit. No immediate prospect any way of seeing how you would look in a uniform.

Number 2 concerns your income tax. The rate for this year, after Congress gets through trying to raise 3 1/2 billion dollars, is going to be pretty stiff, particularly for unmarried folks.By June 1 half of the year will be gone and as long as you are in a foreign country you are not subject to the tax, so you will be that much to the good anyhow.

Three, it will give me a chance to accumulate in your savings account a sum more nearly what you said you would like to have available when you get home, which would not be so easy if you arrived in New York on May 1.

Four, it will give you an opportunity to get busy with all zeal and go after a diesel job hard, which you can do much better, from a physiological standpoint, writing from Socony-Vacuum Oil Company in Venezuela, then you could as a private citizen in Trumbull. Please write me a detailed account as to just what you have done along this line, what results, if any, have been secured, and if I can do anything here to help you speed up the work. Some time ago I sent you a list of the leading diesel manufacturers. Did you write to them all? If not, do you want me to write to them from here? If so, send me a sufficient number of SV letterheads and envelopes and the approved form of letter and we will multi-graph and mail it from Bridgeport.

In this connection I spoke to Ted a while ago and told him what you were interested in doing and he said that with his influence you could get a rating with the Engineering Society, with his help very easily, and this, it seems to me, would be a big help as with your listing on their books, they could probably refer you to many good jobs that you would not otherwise hear about. If the idea looks good why not write to Ted, care of Engineering Societies, N.Y.C. and asked him how you can enroll and put yourself in line for the sort of job you want.

I am eager to hear about the El Callao trip and also what happened on your birthday, if anything.

Have been working outside of the flowerbeds all day today and am now ready to go to bed, so good night until next week.

DAD

This is a joke Grandpa included with this letter, one in the letter mailed to Alaska and another mailed to Venezuela.

The hotel Astor hired a new bus driver and instructed him to go to the depot and announce in a loud voice as incoming trains were discharging passengers: “FREE BUS TO HOTEL ASTOR”. On his way to the depot on the occasion of his first trip he kept repeating to himself, “Free bus to Hotel Astor” until he had memorized it perfectly.

Upon arriving at the depot, however, he became confused and began to shout:

Free Hotel to Buster Aster

Free Ass to Hotel Buster

Freeze Your Ass at Hotel Astor

Squeeze Your Butt at Hotel Faster

I mean, bust your ass at the Hotel freezer.

Oh Hell, take a trolley car.

Intermission (12) – Veterans of Tuskegee

This is such an excellent post, I thought you might enjoy an extra one today. The history on this blog is very well researched. If you are interested in WWII history, follow pacificparatrooper.wordpress.com

Pacific Paratrooper

Tuskegee-Airmen

Charles McGee was an accomplished World War II fighter pilot and Army Captain, was one of the most decorated pilots in the Tuskegee Airmen, the nation’s first all-black aviation unit. Their record during the war was one of the reasons Harry Truman decided to desegregate the U.S. military in 1948. McGee’s wartime record, however, did little to change his treatment when he returned home.

Aircraft engine lessons Aircraft engine lessons

“Segregation still existed across the country,” he recalls. When he couldn’t get a job as a civilian, he decided to remain in the military. He ended up flying a record 409 combat missions in World War II, Korea, and Vietnam. Today, he’s not concerned about his personal legacy. “It’s not the personal recognition that I seek,” he says. “I want to pass on to the young people of today that you can’t let your circumstances be an excuse for not achieving.”

Tuskegee pilots Tuskegee pilots

 McGee and…

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