Army Life – Dear Lumbermen (4) – “Bolivering with the Guions” – Sept., 1944

A little background information. Ted Human married Helen Peabody, Grandma Arla’s sister. He was a Civil Engineer, I believe. He is the uncle who hired both Lad and Dan to work for him and the Inter-America Oil Company in Venezuela, Lad as a mechanic for all their vehicles and Dan to to help survey the route the road would take from Caracas to Maracaibo.

A one act play, entitled:

THE ‘HUMAN’ EQUATION’

Or

Bolivering with the Guions

SCENE – Headquarters of huge American engineering organization in LaPaz, Bolivia.

TIME – Late 1945.

Curtain rises on luxurious offices with Chief Engineer Human seated at his desk, busily engaged in looking over reports. Three doors shown opening out from main office – LEFT, marked “Labor – Richard Guion; CENTER – “Survey and Map Division – Daniel Guion; RIGHT – Correspondence and General Office – David Guion. Overhead is heard the hum of airplane motors, interspersed with sharp, irregular discharge from diesel motors, which suddenly assume an even hum as Chief Operator evidently adjusts them to perfect running condition. Human glances up from papers to push buzzer on his desk. Office boy appears.

Human – “Tell the men I’m ready for their daily reports.”

Boy – “Yes, sir.”      (exit)          (Enter promptly five men who stand at attention in front of desk.)

Human – “Report!”

Lad – “Pleased to report, sir, all diesel-electric installations in perfect working condition.

Dan – “Maps and profiles for “Central cut job” completed and ready, sir.”

Ced – “Sorry to report, sir, we had a little fire trouble with the Sikorsky 12 seater job this morning but she’s now running O.K. New propellers on the Curtis transport will be completed this noon.

Dick – “Complete new gang hired and ready to start on the trestle job in accordance with your orders, sir.”

Dave – “New report forms you ordered printed yesterday now completed and already in use.

Human – “Good. Dismissed.        (Exit men as office boy enters)

Boy – “The President of Bolivar, with a group of high government officials, waiting in the reception room to see you, sir.”

Human – “What’s Bolivar want now?”

Boy:  “He says the Bolivan Congress has voted the highest award in the country for your outstanding achievement in roadbuilding and they want to make an official presentation – it’s a solid tin metal.”

Human – “Tell them to wait. I’m busy right now. Will let ’em know when I’m at leisure.”

Boy – (hesitatingly) – “There’s another party just came in – – says his name is Guion. An elderly lady (Aunt Betty) with him is sewing a button on his coat. They have a dog named “Smoky” – – says you hired him to coordinate all business departments and take charge of all paperwork, bookkeeping, payroll, reports, etc.”

Human: “Well, what are you waiting for? Show him in at once so he can get to work.”

(CURTAIN)

Army Life – Dear Lumbermen (3) – Dave’s Birthday Letter – Sept., 1944

DPG - with Zeke holding Butch

(copy)

September 11, 1944

Dear Dad:

You usually write each of us a special letter each time our individual birthdays roll around. So I said to myself: Why not follow in your good father’s footsteps, and do the same for him? So, here I am.

I thought of this day many times during the last month and a half, but never once in that time – – I’m ashamed to admit it – – did I think of sending something home to you. I had thought of telephoning you or sending a telegram, but never once did I think of sending a box of cigars or something else as a reminder to you of how proud I am to be able to have you for my father. In view of the fact that I had already written you that I may be home, I decided that to phone you would be a bad policy because your first thought on hearing my voice would probably be that I am at the Bridgeport R.R. Station. This thought would probably come to you before I could explain that I am still in Crowder; and that – pardon my conceit – – would only be a disappointment rather than glad tidings. I may send you a telegram yet – – I don’t know. At any rate, I’ll send the letter.

Since coming back from CPX I thought time and time again that I may be able to bounce in on you on September 11th, but Saturday I finally abandoned all hope because I would have had to leave Saturday night to make it.

I hope this birthday is a happy one, but I KNOW next year’s WILL BE a happy one. By that time at least part of your scattered family will be home under the shaded roof of our old house – – business will be much improved with the Bridgeport war plants once again turning or turned back to fluorescent lamps, brass fixtures, rivets for peace time use and organizations and clubs once again throwing their anniversary parties and the like, without being hampered by gas or food shortages. They’ll all turn back to the Guion Advertising Company for their ads, business letters and announcements. There’ll be the old customers and there’ll be new ones in a better and bigger Bridgeport. Right now it may seem like a dream but by Sept. 11, 1945, it will be far more than a dream.

Maybe by that time I won’t have to be telling my buddies about the business I’m going back to, about all my brothers who are scattered all over the world, about my father who pulled his small company through the hard times and who, in spite of losing his wife, brought all of us up so he could be proud of us. Maybe I won’t have to lie on my Army cot and wish I were home with my father who brought me up just the way a kid would like to be brought up – always advising, seldom laying down the law, letting me think things out for myself, hardening me to the world, being a brother rather than a Lord over me. Maybe I can be back appreciating it rather than just remembering what used to be.

I started this letter and it was going to be a “happy birthday” letter, but it has turned out to be a letter of hope and thankfulness. I AM thankful, Dad, and I always will be – – and maybe that will make you happier knowing it’s true, then just having me say in a lot of words HAPPY BIRTHDAY, DAD. I hope so, anyway. Love, DAVE

Tomorrow, Grandpa’s One Act Play, entitled “Bolivering with the Guions”.

On Saturday and Sunday, I’ll have more Special Pictures.

Next week, I’ll be posting letters written in 1940, when Lad was working in Venezuela and Dan and Ced had been in  Alaska for about six months.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Dear Lumbermen (2) – Quotes From Marian And Ced – Sept., 1944

Judy_0003

Nature must have handed your Uncle Ted a “roving commission” (On second thought, nobody handed him anything – – he’s won what he has by his own ability and effort). Be that as it may, he’s now headed for Bolivia, and by the time this letter is in the mail he will probably be winging his way over the continent to the south of us. He and Aunt Helen came up to Bridgeport Wednesday where I was able, fortunately, to be of some aid in straightening out a passport technicality, thus permitting Aunt Helen later to join Ted in Bolivia. It seems a big American engineering firm, backed jointly by the big Import-Export Bank and the Bolivian government, has about concluded negotiations for the building of some 500 miles through Bolivia of a Pan-American section of the super highway, and Ted was elected to act as sort of a John the Baptist in the matter, to go down there now and prepare the way for the final act before they get down to actual excavation. He estimates that it may turn out to be an eight year job but in any event, there will undoubtedly be openings for quite a bit of American skill and labor before it is finished. In fact, Ted asked me when I wrote Lad to say that he, Ted, would like to get Lad down there as soon as possible on diesel electric or similar work, and would like to have any suggestions as to how this could be made possible right now – – even to seeing if some wire pulling in Washington could be undertaken. He also hinted that later, there might be additional openings for some of you other boys. And that gave me an idea. You may recall that in one of my letters some time ago, I let my fancy have free reign and had you all in Alaska, Lad in charge of a big diesel electric power plant, Dan in some engineering or surveying or prospecting activity, Ced as a holder of his U.S. licensed airplane mechanic certificate (and now with his pilots operating license), Dick, who by the way wrote recently that besides paying the soldiers and making monthly reports, he has to make out the civilian payroll, prepare rosters of all Brazilians hired and fired. Because he now seems to have acquired enough Portuguese at school down there and in actual practice, he says his new boss, the Major, has ideas of putting him in complete charge of hiring, firing, sick leave, payroll, records, etc., of all our 500-odd Brazilian employees, and lastly Dave, running the business and in addition, producing on the spot, all those sundry business forms, printed matter, etc., with yours truly as the boss who sat at the top and looked important but made you fellows do all the work. Well, Ted’s remarks have inspired Act 2 of the Guion Saga, which I have attempted to set forth for your amusement in the attached.

Marian writes: “Our new home is very much nicer than the first one and we have kitchen privileges so we don’t have to eat out – – and from what we’ve sampled of “Southern cooking” we are just as glad. Somewhere along the way I’ve been sadly misinformed about Southern cooking (that’s not the only dissolution – – I imagined sitting on a porch, sipping mint juleps and sniffing magnolias and honeysuckle! Something is definitely wrong. Mississippi is as dry as can be and beer is a poor substitute for the mint julep). The couple who own the house where we are staying are working so we have the house to ourselves during the day. Lad’s classes are from 3:00 in the afternoon to 12:30 at night. He gets home about 1:30 and doesn’t have to report back to camp until to the next afternoon. Our new address is 303 Longino, Jackson, Miss., but your weekly morale builder-uppers, if sent to Lad, are certain to reach him that way. In case you are still wondering, the “we” referred to in my previous letter were two of the wives who came with me and a two-year-old boy. We all lived in the same place in Pomona so we decided to stick together and come here, too.”

A letter addressed to “Sneezy Guion, Ragweed, Conn.” from you-know-who in Alaska, arrived on the morning of September 11th, which shows pretty good timing, and started the day off right. It’s worth having a 60th birthday to find out what one’s boys think of their old man. Ced writes: “Once again I see by the calendar that the natal anniversary date of pater Guion approaches. This being most likely the last letter from an admiring son to be received in Trumbull before that date, must convey a message of thanks for all you have been to us all, and the very best wishes for you in the ensuing year. I wish that all of us could join you at the dinner table on the eventful day in body as well as in spirit. Be it a comfort to you to know that few up here can rival my record of one letter a week from home. One has the feeling that no matter what happens he can always fall back on Dad and be sure of the best that Dad can offer in the way of assistance. A token of appreciation is en route from the sourdough via carrier pigeon, underground telegraph or some other means of transportation but may not reach you until after your birthday. Last night and today have been a definite prelude to winter. Snow fell quite low in the mountains last night while a cold rain and accompanying wind hit town. I am of the opinion that this winter will be early, with lots of snow but not too severe. Some of the Buick parts have arrived and I start tomorrow putting the transmission together. (Ced next gives an interesting account of his watch repairs, and goes on to say) Now I can fly and keep track of my minutes in the air. The ship I am soloing in is the most luxurious of small planes but to operate the radio one must have a radio operators license so that too I must study for and obtain. In the meantime, I use the lights from the control tower. Eleanor Burnham is doing library work in New York with little children. Helen has gone to Syria on missionary schoolwork. Brad is in the Marines in the Pacific. Rusty (Heurlin) is at Pt. Barrow.” He writes he has completely quit drinking.

DAD

P.S. I found Dave’s letter in my car. See attached copy. This reminds me of the famous Sears Roebuck letter: Gentlemen: I git the pump witch I by from you, but why for Gods sake you doan send me no handle. Wats the use of a pump when she don have no handle, I lose to me my customer. Sure thing you don treat me rite.  I wrote ten days gone and my customer he holler like hell for water from the pump. You no he is hot pumper and the win he no blow the pump. She got no handle so wat the hell I goan to do with it. If you doan send me the handle pretty quick I send her back and I order pump from Myers company.                       Goodby.

Yours truly,

Antonio

Since I write I find the dam handle in the box. Excuse to me.

Trumbull – Dear Lumbermen (1) – The BIG Storm – Sept., 1944

Trumbull House - Maple tree taken down in Hurricane of 1944 - view towards litle drive way

Trumbul house - Maple tree taken down in hurricane of 1944 - loking towards road

Trumbul house - Maple Tree taken down in Huricane of 1944 (front porch steps

Trumbull, Conn., Sept. 17, 1944

Dear Lumberman at large:

Return immediately. Poppa needs you. The wind she blow like hell in Trumbull and the place formally yelept (I have no idea what he meant by this) Babbling Brook seemed to be right in the path of the storm. Anyway, this morning, inspired by the good neighbor policy, Messrs. Laufer, Reynolds, John Kurtz and A.D.G. with ax, saw, crowbar, block and tackle, plus Buick horsepower lifted several tons of maple tree off the roof of the apartment, after a big section of the big maple tree in the back of the house ripped off and crashed down on our domicile. What internal damage was done I have not yet been able to ascertain, but here is a brief review of the other tree damage on the property;

1 – The aged maple tree between the barn and the old chicken coop was entirely blown down over the electric wires leading to the cottage.

2 – The top of the pine tree just outside the barn door had the top entirely blown off where it extended above the barn roof.

3 – At last the little old half Apple tree outside the back door which lost half its life in the last storm in 1938, has now been completely uprooted and lies partly across the driveway.

4 – The middle sized apple tree near the fence between the east side of our property and Ives corner lot, about opposite the big dining room window, was completely snapped off about 5 feet from it’s base so that it now parallels the driveway on top of the rhododendron brush and practically up to the stone gateway.

5 – The big old Maple tree on the front lawn near the screened porch, which was pretty hollow at the base anyway, had a big section toward the street broken off.

6 – The top of one of the big fir trees, or whatever it was, on the west side of the front entrance cement steps, as completely wrenched off.

Of course the whole place was littered with leaves and twigs and broken branches. It looked as if Eisenhower’s men had just finished a bombardment of enemy territory and this was it. There is plenty of potential firewood available this winter if I have the time and strength and endurance to saw it all up. Catherine took some pictures of the damage done to the place and as soon as prints are available I will send you some.

It’s the big fish that always gets away, they say, so it follows that one of the most appreciated letters that it has ever been my privilege to receive – – a birthday message from Dave – – which I intended to preserve and reread from time to time as a bracer and moral tonic when ere I got to feeling out of sorts, was lost in the big storm that visited us. The letter arrived on the same day during a heavy downpour and a few hours before the big wind hit. I took it with me after I left the office that night to go over to Elizabeth’s for supper. When I arrived I showed it to Elizabeth and Aunt Betty. Just before leaving for home, Zeke read it, handing it back to me just as I went out the front door into the driving rain with Aunt Betty toward the car. I thought I put it in my inside pocket where I generally carry such things but I had several packages in my hand and was guiding Aunt Betty. When I reached home a search through all my pockets failed to reveal it and I pictured it being blown over the fair state of Connecticut at the rate of 70 mph. Oh well, it’s good to note Dave feels like he does to his pater, anyway.

You know the kind of glass they sometimes have on bathroom doors that lets light through, but is rippled and clouded so you can’t see through it? Well, that’s just about the visibility through the windshield of my car on the way home except for the immediate instant as the wiper was making its quick pass back and forth. Repeatedly we were engulfed in small ponds in low places on the road, invisible a few feet ahead through the storm, sprayed walls of water to each side just like the prow of a speeding boat (Remember that day in Hartford, Ced?) After a few such experiences the car began to buck a little and miss and the brakes began slipping, but we finally made port in the old barn, dropped anchor and reefed all sails to prepare for the coming hurricane, which the radio promised would increase in violence until reaching its peak at midnight. As the hours wore on, gradually the gale increased. Powerful gusts again and again would make the old house shiver. An occasional snap or thud made one wonder what was going on and what would happen next, but as the streetlights were all out, it was as black as pitch and you couldn’t see a thing. Jean, who was a bit on edge with it all, stayed up until 3 AM, writing all about it to Dick – – a sort of blow-by-blow description, one might truthfully say. On Friday morning, alas, the bright sun showed the havoc. The old Guion place had literally had its face lifted. We were without electric current until late Saturday afternoon and thus were without radio news, lights, hot water, or stove, and to cap it all, the oil burner in the kitchen range acted up so we had no cooking means at hand and had to avail ourselves of Catherine’s offer use her gas stove. The telephone is still out.

Tomorrow, the rest of the letter. Thursday, the birthday letter from Dave and on Friday, a One-Act Play, written by Grandpa.

Saturday and Sunday, more Special Pictures.

On Monday, I’ll begin posting letters written in 1940. Lad is still working in Venezuela for the Socony-Vacuum Oil Company, Dan and Ced have been in Alaska for about 6 months. Dick, Dave and Grandpa are holding down the fort in Trumbull.

Judy Guion

Army Life – Two From Marian In Jackson – Sept., 1944

MIG -Two From Marian In Jackson -  Meeting Dave - Sept., 1944

Tuesday –

Dear Dad: –

We had the grandest visit with Dave weekend before last. We finally made connections and were able to spend Saturday and part of Sunday with him. We wished that it could have been longer, but we had to get back to Camp. Dave was the plutocrat and if connections had been better, he would have come back with us (He had a three day pass.) But bus and train connections were simply foul, so we left him Sunday afternoon at the bus station where he got a bus to Fort Smith, and we drove back to Jackson.

Don’t you dare tell him I said so, – I don’t think he’d forgive me – but I think Dave is as cute as he can be. I’m so glad I got a chance to meet him. He and Lad are a great deal alike, aren’t they? I watched them walking down the street together and there was no question as to their being related (Was there ever????) That last remark of mine sounds most peculiar, but you know what I mean!) It just seems to me that the family resemblance is very strong between them. (They even stand the same way with their feet crossed! See what I mean??) Anyway, we had a grand time together and left with the fervent hope that it won’t be too long before we meet again under more favorable circumstances.

That old overseas question is getting closer and closer – we had so hoped that we could spend our first anniversary together, but we aren’t too sure now. But it gets closer and closer, so we might make it. In the meantime, we avoid the subject like poison, and talk of more frivolous things!!!!

Lad has applied for (and received) gasoline for me to drive to Connecticut, so one of these fine mornings I may come blowing in with the breeze. I’ll let you know more specifically exactly when I’ll arrive. (Looks as though I’m going to cash in that rain check very soon now).

Now that Lad is on the day shift again, and I have some spare time during the day, I’m working again. This time it’s at Woolworth’s and it is very enlightening,to say the least. It keeps me hopping trying to figure out what the customers want. Piece goods, for instance, or a shoe spoon. (Yardage and a shoehorn) And one customer (a Negro) came in today and asked for what I thought was a “straight comb.” I showed her everything we had, and even repeated it after her, but she still insisted that I didn’t understand. Turns out she wanted a straightening (straightn’) comb – to take the kinks out of her hair (Well, how was I to know!??)!!! Chalk it down to the liberal education I am receiving traveling over the countryside with my beloved husband.

Mom’s eyes are coming along just fine, Dad. When she first got her glasses she had difficulty distinguishing depth, and sometimes the walls seemed to be coming toward her, but she reports that she is getting used to them now, and every letter makes a reference to how much nicer it is to be able to really see again.

Love to all –

Lad and Marian

P.S. Last Sunday was such a beautiful fall day here. Lad remarked, “Gee, I’d like to be in Trumbull now.” Are the leaves turning color, or did the hurricane ruin them?

M

 

MIG - Two From Marian In Jackson - On The Swing Shift - Sept., 1944Wednesday –

Jackson 9/14/44

Grandpa’s writing

Dear Dad: –

We’ve moved again, but not out of Jackson. Our new “home” is very much nicer than the first one, and we have kitchen privileges, so we don’t have to eat out. And from what we’ve sampled of Southern cooking, we are just as glad! Somewhere along the way I’ve been sadly misinformed about Southern cooking. (That’s not the only dissolution – I imagined sitting on the porch, sipping mint juleps and sniffing magnolias and honeysuckle! Something is definitely wrong! Mississippi is as dry as can be, and beer is a poor substitute for a mint julep!)

The couple who own the house where we are staying are very nice, and the house is furnished very nicely – Both of them work so we have the house to ourselves during the day.

For we are on the swing shift. Lad’s classes are from 3:00 in the afternoon until 1230 at night. Consequently, he gets home at 1:30 or so and doesn’t have to report back to Camp until to the next afternoon. Although night classes are a little hard on the fellows, the day schedule would be worse, for he wouldn’t get off until 5:30 or 6 and would have to be back at Camp at 1 AM. So we are hoping the present schedule continues. He gets home every night and has from 12:30 Friday night until 2 PM Monday afternoon off. So far, at least – which is very nice indeed.

Our new address is 303 Longino, Jackson – but I think you might as well continue to send your weekly “morale – builder – uppers” to Lad at Camp. They are certain to reach us that way.

In case you are still wondering, the “we” I referred to in my letter written coming across the country were two of the wives who came with me and a two-year-old boy. We all lived at the same place in Pomona, so we decided to stick together and come here, too. We are living in a different part of town than they are, but it is very convenient to hop a bus now and go see them. ‘Cause afternoons and evenings give us a lot of spare time.

You are probably wondering what happened to the photograph we promised you. We have it with us and are sending it on to you. We’re sorry to say that they did too much re-touching, and that the proof was really a much better likeness than the finished product. But maybe you can hide it in some dark corner – at least, we tried – but we are not satisfied as yet – and will continue to try to get a better one taken – some time. And that’s a promise!

With all our love –

Marian and Lad

P.S. Lad tells me that September 11th was a very special day in your life. Please forgive our tardiness. Our best wishes for you are just as sincere and heartfelt as if we had been there to wish them in person.

M

Special Picture # 122 – Christmas Flyer For Elsie’s Shop 1941

This Holiday Flyer for (Aunt) Elsie’s Shop in the Grand Central Station Concourse was actually a Tri-fold.  If you took a piece of heavy paper, 8 inches high and 15 inches long, placed it on a table and folded the right third in, and then folded the left third in on top of that, you would have a mock-up of the flyer.

 

ADG - Elsie's Shop Christmas Flyer - cover, 1941

(cover)

 

ADG - Elsie's Shop Christmas Flyer - inside left, 1941.jpeg

(inside left)

ADG - Elsie's Shop Christmas Flyer - inside center, 1941.jpeg.jpeg

(inside center)

 

 

ADG - Elsie's Shop Christmas Flyer - inside right, 1941.jpeg.jpeg

(inside right)

 

ADG - Elsie's Shop Christmas Flyer - inside fold, 1941.jpeg.jpeg

(inside fold)

 

ADG - Elsie's Shop Christmas Flyer - back, 1941.jpeg.jpeg.jpeg

(back)

Tomorrow, I’ll begin posting letters written in 1944, when Grandpa is writing to five sons and a daughter-in-law. The posts this week are going to be longer than usual, because we have 2 letters from Marian, and a 3-page letter from Grandpa which also includes a letter from Dave to his Father on his birthday and a One-Act play written by Grandpa. Enjoy them all and share with a friend or two.

Judy Guion

Special Picture # 121 – Dan With Two Helpers In Venezuela – 1940

DBG - Dan with two helpers in Venezuela - 1940

 

Tomorrow, another Special Picture.

On Monday, I’ll begin posting letters written in 1944, when Grandpa is writing to five sons and a daughter-in-law. The posts this week are going to be longer than usual, because we have 2 letters from Marian, and a 3-page letter from Grandpa which also includes a letter from Dave to his Father on his birthday and a One-Act play written by Grandpa. Enjoy them all and share with a friend or two.

Judy Guion