Trumbull – Individual Letters (4) – To Dick and Dave – July, 1945


Dick in 1945 – without mustache

Page 4   7/15/45

Dear Dick:

Of course the big excitement around here these days is Jean’s forthcoming exodus to join her mustached hubby in the wilds of Brazil. Yesterday we packed the trunk still bearing an Alaska sticker on it, and toted it down to the railroad station to get a head start on its mistress. No matter how excited you are in anticipation of her visit, you cannot exceed her feelings along the same line. Between Jean and Marian, the old sewing machine has had more man-hours of activity than all the rest of its ancient life put together. It clicks its teeth like an old man whose uppers are a bit loose and it still eats up the work. I’ve already promised both girls sewing machines for wedding presents when they are on the market for civilian use again. Of course we are all going to miss her terribly around here and I solemnly charge you now to break this letter writing deadlock and keep us posted on her doings. Don’t leave it all to her to do the writing back home. She’ll be expected to write to her folks, of course, and while you’ll of course continue to get my weekly letters, just the same, remember there will be no secondhand reports of you anymore. Besides you will now have something to write about. And by the way, what plans have YOU for the future? Are you still Alaska minded? What sort of work do you plan to get into by way of an income bringer after the Army turns you loose on this hungry world? Do you plan to make your Brazilian contacts and familiarity with Portuguese the basis of some Brazilian-U.S. connection or have you some other ideas stirring about in your mind? After the excitement of getting reacquainted with your bride quiets down a bit, sit down some day with pen and paper before you and let down your hair on what you would like to do if you could just have your own way. No more letters to quote, so I’ll now proceed to hectoring.

Dear Dave:

Last but not least, although maybe it will be least as far as news is concerned, as I am pretty well wrote out. I did get to thinking the other day, as I often do, about you and the office. We are now in the midst of the summer quiet period. I still have enough to keep me busy, but I don’t have enough to need any outside help. Maybe that is just as well as George tells me he is going into the Navy, has passed his physical and is awaiting orders. So from then on I’ll be entirely on my own. When you get back I think the first thing you should plan to do is to make each day a double-header. Mornings dressed in your best bid and tucker and that winning smile, you go out making calls on prospects and customers, as the genial Dr. Jekyll, and afternoons you put on the old shop coat and as Mr. Hyde, get all smeared up with mimeograph ink turning out the orders you have collected in the morning. That for six months or so will be sufficient to keep you out of mischief. In between times you can repair machines, cut Addressograph plates, order paper and supplies, do bookkeeping, make out bills, answer phone calls, draw checks and occasionally sweep out the office. Course this will mean five nights a week at the office leaving one night to call on your girl  friends. The rest of the time will be your leisure hours. Isn’t that just ducky? When do we start? Guess I’d better stop here before I think of several other items. Good hunting.


Tomorrow Grandpa writes a rather interesting letter to Paulette, showing his creativity and sense of humor.

On Saturday and Sunday, two more reports on Ced’s Coming of Age of Adventure.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Individual Letters (3) – To Ced With News Of Lad – July, 1945

Dear Ced:

Just a note of warning. Don’t wait as long as you did last time between letters. I’m beginning now just so as to sort of keep you reminded that we enjoy hearing from our civilian brother, too. Anyway, your last letter was written June 14th, so over a month has gone by already. A while back you hinted you were “sot” (My guess would be “sort of thinking”, but I really don’t know) on making Alaska your lifelong home (by the way, I have not seen that Walt Disney picture yet). The subject intrigues me as far as you are concerned and I would like to have you develop the theme a bit. What have you in mind as to the future you would like to pursue other than coming away from Anchorage to some other part of the world via Trumbull? Is the airplane business your chosen field? Are you in this event sticking to the mechanical end or does your vision look aloft to the piloting end? Someday we might call a family Yalta meeting of our own and try to get affairs settled and as you will be the delegate from Alaska, you ought to have all your plans mapped out so that all of you can attend the conference fully prepared to settle the future of the House of Guion. You know, as I wrote last week, if I am going to chase you boys all over the world to see “how the other half lives”, I simply have got to have some idea of what you-all intend doing. All of you seem to be doing pretty well up to now in traipsing around the globe.

The latest comes from Lad whose letter to Marian I am quoting, here and now, to her courtesy. “One day toward the end of June I went into Marseilles with a couple of fellows and by previous arrangement we had reservations through the A.R.C. (American Red Cross) on “La Vanaquez”, a chartered fishing boat, for a trip to the Château d’If. (’If) If you remember much about history, you will recall that it was a medieval prison on a rock outside the port city. (It was also the scene of the Count of Monte Christo) It still stands but is much battered, since it has been used numerous times to defend the port. However, no serious damage has been done. I had my camera along and did get quite a few pictures of the Château and also of Marseille. I’m having them developed and printed now and if they are any good I’ll send them to you. We came back to Marseille about noon and went up to the transient mess for lunch. Afterwards, I went to the Times Square Club to try to buy some films (no luck), then to the U.S. Army theater Capitole where we saw “Keep Your Powder Dry” and it was pretty good. After that we went to a park which is built around a very elaborate memorial erected in honor of the completion of the canal which supplies the city water and terminates at this park. It is quite beautiful and we spent nearly an hour there. Then back to mass and camp. In all, a very pleasant day.”

Tomorrow, letters to Dick and Dave from Grandpa. On Friday, a very thoughtful letter from Grandpa to Paulette.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Individual Letters (2) – To Dan With Quotes From Dave – July, 1945

DBG - Paulette on Bike @ 1945 in France

Paulette Van Laere Senechal

Page 2    7/15/45

Dear Dan:

Well you fading bachelor, what’s the latest news about your double harness prospects? We are all on pins and needles over here waiting for something definite. Meantime, why don’t you feed our hungry souls with some back information about Paulette, whom we are all hungry to know better though it be by proxy. What do you suppose I took the time and effort to ask a lot of questions for in a letter now long forgotten, about Paulette and her likes and dislikes, if we didn’t want to know? One of the things we are all living for over here is the prospect of having you and Paulette with us. I even tried to get a book from the library so that I could learn to speak French and Marian gave me a French English dictionary, but I’m afraid I can’t report much progress. I also sent you a list of things I thought she might like to have, to which you paid no attention. I would like to send her something direct from time to time just to prolong as long as possible until she faces the reality, the idea that we are awfully nice people. So to one of your welcome but cryptic messages soon, add a real long letter about Paulette, etc. I found your tripod and head in your trunk and will send it along with the three-dimensional device which I ordered from Seniors. I also found in the trunk a yellow “Austin lens hood to fit series 6 filter holder”, as well as what appears to be a flash outfit with mirror. I did not include this, or rather will not, because I take it if you wanted them you would have asked for them. Hope you can get films for your camera as they are unobtainable here without a special order from the President.

In a letter received this week from Dave, he refers to your trip account. I suppose here is as good a place as any to quote it. Dave says: “Dan’s letter was quite interesting. I couldn’t help but notice how much his trip was like mine. The payoff was when I read that a Jerry had come over and bombed his area one night – – coming pretty close to his tent and putting  shrapnel holes in the tarps and tents. If you will recall, the same thing happened to me, and I was as scared as Dan (naturally). I’m glad to hear Dan has so many points. Rumor has it that the points may soon be dropped to 78 for discharge. That would bring him to within a few points below discharge status. At the same time I can’t help but wish he were here. I know he would get a big kick out of studying the customs of the people here. They’re so different from the people of the Western world. Europeans and Americans have a little more in common than do the Orientals. I never had any desire to see any part of the Orient but now I’m hoping to move on. We may never go any further than here, but if we do, I’ll be ready to move. Another reason I’d like to get out of here is that now that summer has set in, it’s unbearably hot and muggy. This place would be hot enough for Lad, I’m sure. I’m taking notes so that someday I can sit down and bang out a few shorts on Okinawa. I’m getting my material from what I’ve seen myself and from some articles that Bernie Arnold wrote and is writing. As a fellow in our tent who is very bitter against the Japs. He’s got a very simple mind and doesn’t see very far. His theory is to destroy the Japanese race. I’ve had long arguments with him, my theory being that as long as you try to keep peace with force, you’ll always have wars. I keep telling him that the solution is to teach the Japs our way of living – – to teach them Christianity. He can’t see it, or rather, won’t see it. It’s for this reason that I was quite interested in Dan’s disapproval of the non-fraternization policy in Europe. I didn’t know it existed but I agree wholeheartedly with Dan. A directive came out of 10th Army headquarters that we were not to give the native children any candy or cigarettes, but that wasn’t because we were not to associate with them; it was just that the Okinawans were getting spoiled, and like dogs, wouldn’t do anything without payment in candy and smokes. On the whole, we’re trying to build the good-will of the people here. It sounds like a much better idea to me.

page 3   7/15/45

So Ced finally broke down and wrote, huh? Well, that letter was worth waiting for. Boy, how I’d like to be up with him now. Okinawa is slowly losing some of It’s charm. It’s hot, I’ve seen most of the island and it’s no longer a wonderland to me it’s getting more and more like the Army in the states, which I don’t like as much as the field life. Too many rules and inspections for me. But as I’ve already stated I’m on top of the world and really don’t have cause for complaint. Maybe Ced can take a run down here to see me someday, if he can get past the airplane patrols without identification. There is certainly enough land to put a plane down on here now. I read today that Okinawa-based planes hit targets in Japan a couple of nights ago. Sounds good. We are only 350 miles from Kyushu Island. Did I tell you that Radio Okinawa’s motto is “a stone’s throw from Tokio”. Very appropriate. Well, it’s July 4th now – – being 20 minutes to one, so I guess I’d better get to bed. Good night and all stuff like that there. Dave”

Tomorrow, Grandpa’s letter to Ced and on Thursday, letters to Dick and Dave. On Friday, a very thoughtful letter to Paulette from Grandpa.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – 2017.01.16 – Indlvidual Letters (1) – This One to Lad – July, 1945

APG - Marian on side porch in June, 1945.

Marian Irwin Guion in Trumbull

   Trumbull, Conn., July 15, 1945


(Just for a change, I think this week I’ll write to each of you individually. I really  do this each week but it may sometimes seem in addressing you collectively that I am sort of broadcasting impersonally although the fact remains that if you, son, who is reading this letter now, were the only one away from home, I would still be writing this same letter to you and saying practically the same thing to you that I am writing to yous.)

Dear Lad: I suppose no one of you in the armed services is more fed up with the whole thing then you. I have not dwelt on the matter in any of my letters because it can do no possible good. We all except the fact as unavoidable and part of war necessity and it does no good to grouse over the fact. That does not alter the fact that there exists here at home a deep sympathy and understanding of the wretchedness of it all, if that is any comfort. I know how patient you are by nature but even you probably get disgusted at times with the whole idea. I have found that when you come to some mental obstruction that must be faced, it is useless to rant and rave at the thing. It is far better to dismiss the unpleasant aspects from your mind and replace it with some hopeful thoughts. Back home here the papers are mentioning from time to time how educational opportunities will be available to the returning soldier, not only the youngsters who have had to quit before going to high school but the older men also, who want to follow up specialized lines. It is all quite vague at present but considerable thought seems to be given the subject of educators who have by war’s demands, been jolted out of their old routine and challenged to meet this new demand by newer and up-to-date methods of adult education. So it means to me that what you wrote to me a while ago about your desire to look over the field a bit before making a definite decision is not only wise, but far more likely to be possible of ending in some practical method of fulfillment educationally than would otherwise be possible if not so many were not in the same boat and the obligation of the country were not so widely recognized in the way of responsibility to you men. The fact that you are a bit older than many of the drafted men also has its advantages. You are much more sure to know what you want than the youngster who is not so mature in his thinking. I don’t mean that things stand out crystal clear as to your future path but I do mean that it will take far less to pierce the fog to see your goal that it will be for the younger ones. It may surprise you how quickly a catalyst will clear up the whole mess, if such, it seems to you to be at the present time. As Marian has undoubtedly told you, and a wise feeling it is, too, she would rather see you in a job doing this sort of thing you like at a moderate income than grabbing the first thing that comes along with a good stipend but not work you would enjoy.

My Buick clutch is getting worse and worse and very shortly I will HAVE to do something about it. And that reminds me, you wrote me some time ago telling me what to instruct the repair man to do in making the change. I have looked back among your letters to find it but cannot locate it. Can you recall what these hints were and give them to me again? Stopped in at George Knapp’s yesterday to get some ethel. (Ethel is very scarce around here these days. Ed Dolan has not had any for three weeks, and one has to stop at 6 to 8 stations before you can find one with any and sometimes not even then. As usual, he asked about you and always wants me to give you his regards when I write.

I don’t suppose you know any more than we do here but we are hoping that you’re being shipped to the south of France does not necessarily mean that you were going direct to the Eastern theater of war via the Mediterranean instead of coming home first. Anyway, we all have our fingers crossed, hoping for the best, while mentally preparing for the other. The more time passes, with current Pacific news, the nearer the end does seem.


Ced’s Coming of Age Adventure (10) – Uncle Kenneth Peabody’s Farm in Star Prairie, Wisconsin – July 1934

The following pictures are of Uncle Kenneth’s farm (Arla’s Uncle, her father’s brother, Ced’s Great-uncle) in Star Prairie, Wisconsin. Ced traveled to the farm after his four days at the Chicago World’s Fair. I believe these pictures were taken when Ced and his older brother, Dan, were on their way to Alaska in 1940. The last one, showing Muriel as a young girl, was definitely taken at that time because she was only 7 months old when Ced made his first stop there. I don’t think things have changed much in the years since Ced’s first visit.

CDG - M.B.Peabody Cottage - 1934

MB Peabody’s Cottage

CDG - Paul - Uncle Kenneth Peabody's Bull, Star Prairie, Wisc. - 1934

Paul, Uncle Kenneth Peabody’s Bull

CDG - Stanley's Team - (son of Douglas Peabody) - 1934

Stanley’s Team (son of Douglas Peabody)

(Douglas is another of Arla’s Uncles)

CDG - Uncle Kenneth Peabody, Aunt Nora, Allan, Joyce and Muriel c. 1942

Allan, Uncle Kenneth, Joyce, Aunt Nora, 

Muriel in front

Tomorrow I’ll start a week of letters from 1945. Dan’s wedding is on everyone’s mind but it hasn’t happened yet.

Judy Guion

Ced’s Coming of Age Adventure (9) – A Letter From Grandpa – July, 1934

The year is 1934. It has been a little over a year since Arla passed away. Grandpa is buried in financial debt because of the duration of Arla’s illness and the boys want to help.We haven’t had much to say about any of  the children during this time except that in the fall Biss goes to St. Petersburg, Florida, to help her Aunt Anne Stanley take care of her two children, Donald and Gweneth.

I’ll try to fill in the holes.

LAD and DAN are both working at CCC (Cuvilian Conservation Corps) Camps, Lad in the New London, Conn area and Dan in Willimantic. Lad has a motorcycle and uses it to come home on weekends and Dan tries to hitch a ride with other young men who come from the Trumbull area.

CED has taken off in his Coming of Age Adventure and Grandpa is writing this letter to him, although it takes a while to catch up to Ced.

BISS is 16 and having a fun summer with friends and not really listening to Grandpa.

DICK will be 14 in a month or so and is getting ready to go to Camp.

DAVE is 9 years old and away at camp right now. It sounds like the family paid him a visit while he was there,

Trumbull, July 30

Dear Ced,

Monday night, dishes are washed and Elizabeth and Peg are out in Irwin’s (Laufer) truck and Dick is just putting the finishing touches on his packing. He leaves for camp at 8:30 tomorrow.

But to go back. A week ago yesterday Aunt Helen and Dorothy came up and told of your visit at New York and Ossining. Dan and Lad came home. Lad of course spent most of his time on the motorcycle. During the week Arnold took off the generator which I left with Mr. Page and I also had the battery rebuild by Carr. Cost $3.75. Lad came home Friday PM, having first stopped at Page’s and retrieved the generator. We had a rush job Saturday at the office, so the whole gang, including Lad, went down and finished up a 5000 mimeograph job, run both sides – 10,000 impressions. We then got Lad’s battery. Saturday afternoon Rusty came up to get me to help him on an idea for a Lucky Strike advertising series. Dan did not come home at all this weekend and I have not heard from him. Sunday was uneventful.

Tonight I stopped at the store and got your letter from Chicago – which brings us up to date. Incidentally, here is a cartoon from today’s telegram which amused Dick. It might also be interesting to show to some of those, like the man in the Auburn who related his story about his hitchhiker experience, who seemed a bit hesitant.

One day last week we had a severe rainstorm, with wind, which evidently dislodged a chimney Swift nest in the dining room chimney. When we got up in the morning we heard a very queer noise and found two baby Swift’s who had fallen down the chimney into the dining room. In spite of Dick’s and Elizabeth’s efforts at feeding them, they expired within a day of one another and were buried under the Lilac bush near the back door.

We have been pretty busy at the office this week. George had the automatic going today, imprinting 10,000 letterheads for Mercer.

David is still at camp. After supper one day last week (ink has run out of pen) we all took a trip up to the Hemlocks (on same road as Huntington’s junk place) and paid him a visit. While he did not admit it, he seemed happy and cheerful enough, is eating better and looks well. He may come home next week. Here is a card I received from him. The little boy blue he refers to is a wooden door stop which he made up there under their direction.

That’s all the home news I can think of right now. It is certainly good to know you are so nicely fixed at the YMCA. Inside rooms are often quieter and better to sleep in than outside. I’m also glad you had a chance to visit with the Draz’s and renew old family contacts. Will be much interested to hear all about them in detail when you get back.

One man told me of a stunt some boys did in getting to the Pacific coast by your method. They would go to some leading hotel, clean-shaven, neatly dressed, shoes shined, hair brushed, etc. and ask the clerk if they might look over the register for names of people from their hometown who were checking out that day. When any were located, they would waylay them at the desk as they were leaving and briefly explain just what they were doing, where they were going, etc. and if it would be convenient if they had room in their car etc. Very often, in the case of traveling men, they were glad for the company and they liked it better than picking some unknown up on the road. The conversation I suppose would run something like this: “Pardon me, but aren’t you Mr. Smith from Bridgeport? I saw in the hotel register your name listed as from my own hometown and I wondered if you happen to be going in the direction of St. Paul, and could conveniently let me bum a ride. I came out here to see some relatives by hitchhike method and stopped to see the fair.”

I just noticed that your letter mailed Thursday at 7:30 PM from Chicago did not reach me until Monday PM. Even assuming it arrived last mail Saturday, if you stay only the four days, you are leaving today and this note, which can’t be mailed until Tuesday a.m., Wednesday noon is probably the earliest it will reach the YMCA and I’m wondering if you’ll be there.

You haven’t said anything in any of your letters as to how the finances are holding out. Have you tried to cash in any Travelers checks yet?

I’m awfully glad you are making this trip. It’s something you will always look back on with pleasure. While I hadn’t any fear whatsoever about your being able to take care of yourself, it will broaden your knowledge of human nature, affording additional opportunities of practicing self-reliance and add another interesting chapter to your journey through life. The kind of thing I wish I had done when I was your age. Just the same, I miss you, old standby, and I’ll be really glad to see you march up the driveway soon.



Tomorrow, some pictures of the farm that Ced stayed at for a short time, although I believe the pictures were taken several years later.

Next week, I’ll be posting letters written in 1945. Dan’s weddin g is getting closer althoough he doesn’t get to see Paulette very often.

Judy Guion

Army Life – Lad’s First Mention of Marian – April, 1943

This letter is written from the Hospitality Center of South Pasadena. Marian Irwin was the Executive Director of the South Pasadena Camp Fire Girls and did her duty to entertain the troops at the Hospitality Center. She actually met three of Lad’s friends who arrived at Camp Santa Anita while Lad was taking a two week Diesel Engine course from the Wolverine Motor Works near Chicago. She told me that they kept telling her, “Wait until you meet Al”. Little did they know how well that would turn out.

The date appears to be April 8, 1942, but in actuality, Lad wasn’t drafted until June, 1942. By April of 1944, they were married and Marian was moving from base to base with him.


Blog - Marian Irwin - 1942April 8, 1943

Dad: –

Again too many days have gone by, but they have all been full. Even Apr. 3rd. I got a letter from you on the eventful day – thanks. It went by as usual, but the bunch of us were invited to a party in my honor at the home of one of the girls I have met here. In fact, she is so much like Babe that I have difficulty now and then in calling her Marian. She is not quite as pretty as Babe but resembles her in almost every other way. Even to occupations. Well, anyhow, the party went off fine and about 2 A.M. on Sunday we decided to go to a swing-shift dance at the Casa Manana and had a good time. Got in Camp at 6 Sun. Morn. (this is the first mention of Marian, my Mom, in Lad’s letters home.)

Due to a change in the system of paying last Wednesday, we could not get out of camp in time to see “The Drunkard”, so it is still something to look forward to.

I heard from Mrs. Lea, and everything is O.K. – sorry I didn’t or couldn’t do anything earlier, but I should have written. But that’s me.

You asked in one of your letters that I tell you something about what I’m doing. Well, Art Lind and I are working together in the same class and we have decided that the system used by the Army for teaching Diesel Engines can be greatly improved. Well, without authority, because of stubbornness on the part of one officer to listen to our story, we went ahead and ran the class for one week. It was a decided success and proved our point to a “T”, but still, since it has been general knowledge that Art and I were responsible, this same officer is not able to get credit now as having originated the idea, and has still not issued the necessary orders. It is people like he who are responsible for a great deal of the discontent prevalent in the Army. Other than that, the course is continuing as it should, and running very smoothly.

It seems that our new Battalion C.O. is from a Basic Co. and thinks that we are trainees. If this sort of treatment keeps on, there is going to be trouble in Hdq. Bn. And I won’t be lax in cooperating.

In a letter, you mentioned that Dan may be scheduled for overseas, it is beginning to look like all of we A-1’s will be replaced by “limited service” men, and then – – –? Who knows?

I’m fine, Dad, and I hope you and the rest are the same. Remember me to all.


Tomorrow, we learn more about Ced’s Coming of Age Adventure as he moves west from Chicago and the World’s Fair.

On Monday, I’ll begin a week of letters written in 1945. Dan’s wedding is getting closer and closer but it does not happen in next weeks letters. It will have taken place the next time we visit 1945.

Judy Guion