My Uncle Dave , David Peabody Guion, left high school after his 18th birthday and enlisted in the Army. This decision may have been influenced by the fact that his four older brothers were all serving Uncle Sam, in one way or another. His oldest brother Alfred, known as Lad to family and friends – and my father – was an instructor, teaching truck and Diesel engine systems and maintenance in California. His next oldest brother, Dan – Daniel Beck Guion – was a civil engineer stationed in London, with many trips to Paris, working behind the scenes preparing maps for D-Day and beyond. His next oldest brother, Ced, Cedric Duryee Guion, continued to receive exemptions for his vital work as an airplane mechanic and bush pilot at an Army Airfield in Anchorage, Alaska. Dick, Richard Peabody Guion, closest in age to Dave, was a liaison between the Army and the local peons working for the Army, stationed in Brazil. Dave’s daughter has recently given me his extensive collection of letters written by him to family and friends as well as many letters to him from members of the family and his numerous friends.
Each Saturday and Sunday, for the foreseeable future, will be devoted to posts featuring all these letters as well as pictures and copies of some of the letters. I will probably include letters from his Father, Alfred Duryee Guion – Grandpa to me. His letters, written every Sunday, to his sons who were away from home, from late 1938 until October, 1946, when Ced came home from Alaska, are the basis for this Blog.
Grandpa probably continued to write to Dan, who had married in France and was awaiting the day when his wife and new daughter were allowed to travel, but I do not have copies of these letters. Dan and his little family arrived in Trumbull on December 29, 1946.
David Peabody Guion
Excerpt from Grandpa’s letter dated January 9, 1944:
Dear Dick, Lad, Marian and Dan:
“Tis only the four of you I am writing to today, but it won’t be long now before Ced and Dave will be added to the list. Dave goes Thursday, and following my usual custom, which has happened so many times now it has almost developed into a habit, I shall deliver my youngest to the well-known railroad station at Shelton to swell the ranks of Uncle Sam’s Army, and two days later I shall bid adieu to six feet plus of Ced, who departs again for the far north, with full intentions of making two stops en route, one at Texarkana to catch a glimpse of his oldest brother whom he last saw as he bid him goodbye at the Grace Line pier, (Lad left Trumbull in December, 1938, to travel to Venezuela to meet his brother Dan and Uncle Ted Human, who were already there working for Interamerica, Inc., building a road from Caracas to Maracaibo) and the second stop at Los Angeles (So. Pasadena) in order to meet his new sister-in-law; (Lad’s wife, Marian – my Mother – who married on November 14, 1943 and will be following Lad to Texarkana as soon as she can) two visits which the writer confesses he would like very much to be making himself.
Jan. 15, 1944
Dear Dad, Aunt B., & Jean —
“Be it ever so humble, there’s no place like home.” I really okay here – I just miss home a little – in spite of my not being there much when I had the chance. I’m sorry now that I have a girlfriend friend. I miss her too along with the family, friends, etc.
Our clothes were issued to us today and we took some tests. It’s 6 PM now and I’ve been on the go since 4:45 this morning.
I’ll be here at the very least ’til late Monday, and it probably be later on in the week that I get shipped out – so you can write me.
There is material for the latest “News to Youse” in my car in a big envelope. Please turn it over to Mac for me.
If I’m here next weekend and don’t have any detail, I’ll be home.
Dear Dad —
It’s 2:30 Saturday afternoon – you’re probably reading — or maybe you’re cutting wood — I don’t know — all I know is that I’m doing nothing — waiting for this mission so that I can get dressed for detail. Am I lucky — we (ten of us) have to go up to the service club and patrol the dance floor, pretty good, huh?Well, I gotta go now — I’ll finish this later.
I just went down to the PX with George Knecht and I have to go on detail in a little while so I’ll close now. Enclosed are some pictures of you-know-who, which I brought along by mistake. Did my clothes get home yet? Love to all ———–
P.S. – If you think the Rangers used bad language – you ought to come up here.
Mon. – Jan. 17, 1944
Dear Dad —
I’m in bed. Nothing serious — just a slight fever from the shot in the arm I got about 3 P.M. today. We got up at the usual 4:45 this morning — made our beds — swept and mopped the floor — then I went to Chow (this is all daily routine). When we came back from Chow — we sat around all morning and then went to noonday Chow (waited about 4 1/2 hrs). After that we had an interview — shots — and a picture on sex. I didn’t go to the show tonight but came back to barracks and went to bed instead.
At the interview I was told that I could qualify for the Air Corps if I gained 8 lbs. It will mean going to college for fifteen months (basic is only seventeen weeks). What do you think? I will have to take more tests if I try to get in — but I probably won’t pass them anyway. I’m writing to see how you feel about it.
IF I don’t get shipped — IF I’m not put on detail — I MAY be home this weekend (Saturday night)
I believe all three of these letters arrived in the same envelope to Grandpa. they give us a glimpse of the first few days of Basic Training.
Next weekend, I will be posting much longer letters from Dave, one dated January 19th and the second on January 20th. I hope you will enjoy this series of letters beginning with these three and ending in April of 1946.
Tomorrow I will begin a week of letters written in March 1939 when Lad and Dan are in Venezuela.