Trumbull – Dear Lad and Dan (1) – A Job Possibility For Dan – March 12, 1939

Daniel Beck Guion, flanked by two peons in Venezuela

AM-10

Sunday, March 12, 1939

Dear Lad and Dan:

Last night Aunt Helen returned to our ancestral castle and let me read the letters you have written about Uncle Ted since he saw the Southern Cross and the numerous other stars that he glimpsed just before the bridge abutment jumped at him.  It is certainly good to know he is getting along so nicely.  Has Manuel learned his lesson or does he still drive as if there were no such things as speed limits.  Instead of acting as Chauffeur, I should promote him to the road gang — Manuel labor as it were.

I am sending this letter in duplicate by airmail to Lad with the idea that he may have some method of getting Dan’s copy on to him with less delay than would be occasioned by having it follow the usual channel.  The decision to send by airmail is caused by a combination of circumstances.  I want to get into touch with Dan with the least possible delay because on Friday a letter directed to him was received from Engineering Societies Employment Service, 31 West 39th St.,  N.Y.C.  Walter V.  Brown, Manager, signed by F.  J.  Rice, Office Manager.  The notice was dated 3/7/39 and asked that a special letter be written to be forwarded to the employee, referring to position Y-3996, which called for:

CIVIL ENGINEERS, ages not over forty-five, preferably single, for a highway location party.  The following men are required: One chief of party; two transitmen; two levelmen; two rodmen.  Engineers who have experience in Latin America will be given preference.  Must be able to speak Spanish.  Location, South America.

I replied at once informing Mr. Rice you are now employed by Interamerica in Venezuela as Transitman, in road survey work, age 24, single, speaks Spanish.  I gave them your Carora address and asked for further information which I hinted I might transmit to you more quickly than would be possible through the regular mail.  Rightly or wrongly, my idea was to airmail it to you, Lad, on the chance that you might be able to get it to Dan by a special messenger who might be going on company business to Dan’s camp.  I said in my letter that while you were now employed, there had been some delay in the payment of salaries and a change might prove welcome.  Aunt Helen thinks they will probably write to you direct rather than through me.  So much for Special Lesson No. 1.

Tomorrow, the second half of this letter explaining Bulletin No. 2.  On Wednesday and Thursday, letters from Lad to the home folks and on Friday, a letter from Carl Wayne, The Red Horse Service Station, with local news from Trumbull.

Judy Guion

 

World War II Army Adventure (1) – Dave’s First Letters Home – January 15th and 17th, 1944

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.

Love,

Dave

Jan.15, 1944

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 ———–

Dave

P.S. – If you think the Rangers used bad language – you ought to come up here.

Mon. – Jan. 17, 1944

6:40 P.M.

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)

Dave

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.

Judy Guion

 

St Petersberg Adventure (18) – A Proposition – May 24, 1935

 

                                                                                             Elizabeth (Biss) Westlin Guion

                                                                                              Elizabeth (Biss) Westlin Guion

Friday night

12 PM E.S.T.

5/24/1935

Dear Dad,

This may be a long letter or it may be a short one – as yet I know not. We will be sending the package up sometime at the end of next week. This is the third letter I have written to you this week so a two letter week will seem small after this.

I have a proposition to make with you. I was wondering if you would let Aunt Anne stay with us for two or three weeks until I once more get settled, for if I have her with me for my first one or two weeks at home I think it will be easier for me. It could be on the same basis as it was while you were down here at Christmas time. You could give her the apartment if Astrid has moved out by the time we get home.

I got a Good Housekeeping for June yesterday and it says to give 3 to 5 weeks notice for change of address – but to get back to my proposition – I figured it would be nice for the kid brothers to have Don and Gwen for company for a while for they are here so seldom and I also thought it would be nice for you to have a grown person to keep you company for a while. She has no place to go when she does get up there and that is one reason why we are staying on here. Of course the other reason is money. Aunt Anne is thinking of getting a job. It is now Monday and Gwen and Aunt Anne have gone down for a lesson in knitting.

We took Carl and Dot out for a picnic lunch yesterday. We had loads of fun playing baseball and catch. I am going to miss them frightfully when I leave and how I wish I could bring them home with me for keeps. The only thing I can bring home is a picture of them but I am hoping that they will come up and visit me – but I doubt it for they haven’t much money. I ate dinner there yesterday and had lemon pie! How it makes my mouth water to think about it. Carl is going to graduate this year and he’s going to have a picture of himself taken in his graduating cap and gown – what a laugh I’m going to give him. Dot is only a sophomore but she looks more like a Junior. Exams commence next week. How I dread that! We have two weeks counting this one – left of school. I hope I pass – and thinking of learning how to knit. Have you seen Peggy since she has been home? How is she – I mean how sick? I have finally written to Grandma. I am hoping to get a letter from you this morning. Have you gotten any pictures of Mack? This seems to be limited to asking questions and so I had better quit and give you a chance to draw your breath and answer the questions.

Love,

Biss

This is the last letter I have found from Biss. If Grandpa agreed to the suggestion that Aunt Anne and her children stay in Trumbull for a few weeks, it would make sense that they would leave as soon as possible. There are only two more days of school this week and then exams next week. School would be finished and it would make sense for Aunt Anne to leave by May 31st to avoid paying rent in June.

Tomorrow I will begin a new adventure. Dave had his 18th birthday at the end of September, 1943, and left High School in the middle of his Senior year to join the Army. He had four older brothers who were serving the Army in various capacities around the world and he wanted to do his part. I have the letters he wrote home, recently acquired from his daughter, and will be sharing them each weekend for the foreseeable future. I hope you enjoy the written thoughts of a young man entering the war at this late date.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – To My Correspondents (2) – News From Dorothy And A Baby Blizzard – February 11, 1945

Page 2    2/11/1945

Well, I’ll tell you Dave, if the post office is open tomorrow (Lincoln’s birthday here, you know) I’ll get a package off to you. If, when you receive it, you find some of the things are wrapped in Christmas paper, don’t think I am losing my mind. The fact is that before I knew for sure you were coming home for Christmas, I began assembling some things to send to you, just in case. And the other day I had an idea you might like to get it anyway, wherever you are when it finally catches up to you, so here it goes. And Dan, there is also another package being wafted on its way to you containing some of the things you asked for and also a couple of toilet articles dear to a girl’s heart which you may want to present to Paulette. I had previously sent your shoes.

Ced, old Bean, don’t forget to let me know how the draft business comes out. Maybe there will be a letter tomorrow or sometime this week from you on the subject. And a couple of week hence I expect I’ll have some snapshots of the girls to send just for variety. They have been suffering from an attack of cameraistis lately and old Eastman has been working overtime trying to keep up with them.

Dorothy (Peabody) writes from Los Angeles: “The trip out here was really glorious. I’ve seen pictures of our mountainous west, but to actually be near enough to almost touch them, to see the panorama of endless Mountains – – miles and miles and miles of them – – not for just a few hours but for whole days – – it was the most majestic and awe inspiring sight I have ever seen. The desert was fascinating too and very weird. Altogether I found the trip very lovely. So far the weather has been fine although it’s supposed to be the rainy season. Imagine my surprise when I woke up the first morning I was here to find three enormous poinsettias and a Calla Lily peeping over my window ledge.”

Trumbull House in winter - (cropped) - 1940

Early this week we had a baby blizzard here. Snow on the driveway drifted knee-deep and transportation was pretty much crippled – – so much so the first day that there was no school although the buses ran to and from Bridgeport and both Marian and I drove our cars, leaving them, of course, at the bottom of the driveway. However, this was followed by a couple of days of really mild weather which has done much to reduce the size of the drifts. Our new tenants have not moved in yet. They brought a few of their belongings but said their car had broken down. They could not have driven up to the house anyway, as before mentioned.

Today I had to go to Bridgeport to join in wedlock two young things, the man, in the Navy, having to go back to duty tomorrow. His “best man” said: “Didn’t you have a son that went to Connecticut State College? I thought I recognized the name. Well, I used to drive back and forth with him occasionally. Didn’t he have an old Plymouth? When you write, mention Henry Beigert to hear. I’m now in the Air Force stationed at Mitchell Field.

Tomorrow, being Lincoln’s birthday, I have to relate an anecdote. As you know he married into the rather snooty Todd family. Someone asked Lincoln whether they spelled their name with one d or two. He said one d was good enough for God but they had to have two. I’d like two letters myself.

DAD

Tomorrow I will be posting the final letter from the St. Petersberg Adventure. On Sunday, I will begin a new series entitled A Recruit’s Army Adventure. This series will be based on the letters Dave wrote home after his induction into the Army in January, 1944. I have recently received these letters from Dave’s daughter and will be reading them along with you. I hope you enjoy this new perspective on the war through the eyes of an 18-year-old recruit.

Why not share this blog with a friend or two. They might really appreciate it.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – To My Correspondents (1) – Is I, Or Is I Ain’t Your Pappy? – February 11, 1945

 

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Trumbull, Conn., February 11, 1945

To my correspondents:

Of course, I’m just kidding when I call you that – – some of you at least. Dave is the only one this week who has broken literary silence. To Lad and Dick I am tempted to ask; “Is I or is I aint your pappy?” It’s all very well to have a wife, but once in a blue moon you might recall you have a father who occasionally likes to hear from you too. To paraphrase Shakespeare, “Hath not a father eyes, hath not a father hands, organs, dimensions, senses, affections, passions? Fed with the same food, hurt with the same weapons, subject to the same diseases, healed by the same means, warmed and cooled by the same winter and summer as a wife?” No, it’s not just a sense of ego that feels slighted by receiving only the crumbs that fall from the rich man’s table (and I’m not blaming the girls, either, you understand), but it is not pleasant to have to ask be read quotations or to be continually seeming to pry into others’ affairs to ask what the news is from France or Brazil. Just put it on the basis of your brothers. You like to have me occasionally quote their letters and what they are doing, don’t you? Well, by the same token, they like to hear about your doing, also. Remember too, a letter to Dad always conveys news to your sweetie as well, which is not the case the other way around; so all in all, it seems as though you might occasionally write home a “quotable” without disturbing domestic tranquility to any large extent. Of course, if I really felt you ceased to write the old man because you disliked to write to him, the trace of Spanish pride in my blood would rise up pronto and make it the last thing in the world I would do, to ever ask you to do such a thing. So, put your old Dad on the shelf if you must, but don’t let him become aware of the fact. The last letter I received from Lad he asked me to be kind to Marian. It sort of looks he thinks I fell down in so doing, and Dick, wasn’t it the middle of last year when I last heard from you? And if you wonder why I have gone to such lengths in his opening paragraph, maybe I’m trying one of Jean’s stunts. She says when, after patiently waiting for a letter from Dick, she gets fed up and writes a scathing call down, the very next mail is sure to have two or three letters from Dick, telling her how he enjoys her letters, how much he still loves her, etc. (I don’t know this of course from visual knowledge) which makes her feel sorry she wrote. Well, I’m not sorry for anything I’ve said above but the formula may work just the same.

Now Dave – – ah, there’s a boy for you. Two letters. One on Jan. 29th and one on Jan. 30th, supposedly from somewhere on the Pacific coast. The first says: “Well, this is it. It came so fast I still don’t believe it myself, but as you can see by the address, it’s true (The address referred to is T/5 DPG, ASN 31409102, APO 18397 c/o P. M., San Francisco, Calif.) naturally I can’t say anything. A little over a year in the Army now – I’ve learned more in the past year than in any other year of my life, and now they tell me I don’t know a thing. I don’t know where I’ve been, where I am or where I’m going, but all kidding aside, I don’t feel any dumber.” The second letter: “Yesterday we went to a class where they told what we could and could not write. They spent the whole time telling us what we could not write and then we found out there was something we CAN write. This is it: “I’m somewhere on the West Coast.” It occurred to me, Dad, that now you can use V mail in your correspondence, seeing as how we’ll ALL be out of the country (can’t write V mail to Ced, Dave, and how clear do you think the fourth carbon would come out on heavy paper?) I haven’t had any mail for a week now and I guess maybe I won’t get any for some time – – but it will all catch up to me eventually.”

Tomorrow I’ll have the conclusion of this letter.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Dear Dave (3) – Bits and Pieces of Trumbull News – February 4, 1945

 

Trumbull House - (color) all three sections from little driveway

The “apartment” is the smaller section to the right

Page 3    2/4/1945

 

And speaking of rent of the apartment, Catherine, as you probably recall, is leaving tomorrow or next day to join Paul in Oklahoma. This morning, Ag. Ives called up and said she knew a young fellow, now working in Chance Vought in Stratford and living at home in Weston, where he had to drive 50 miles each day to and from work, who with a young married friend of his, were looking for a place to live nearer Stratford, and asked if the apartment were available. I told her Catherine had decided to leave all her furniture to save storage charges and because “afterward” they wanted to come back to Trumbull, and if these young folks, all in their early 20s (men were deferred classes on account of eyes) wanted the place under the circumstances, with the understanding that when the weather permitted, Carl Laufer would come over and do some minor necessary repairs, they could come and look it over. So this afternoon they did come, liked the place a lot and asked if they could move right in next Saturday without waiting for repairs, and if I didn’t mind, they could do some things themselves in the repairing and decorating line. As Catherine also had told them they could do anything to the furniture they wanted to, they seemed quite pleased with the whole idea. They have a little cocker spaniel and how he will get along with Smoky remains to be seen. They impressed us all as being exceptionally nice youngsters and with Mrs. Ives recommending them, it seems that we are as pleased as apparently they are. However, it is wise to reserve judgment in view of the old saying about the proof of the pudding being in the eating.

I heard a few more details about the Strobel “missing in action” business and it doesn’t sound too good. You may have read of on American transport having been recently sunk with a number rescued and a number unaccounted for. Your Strobel was one of the latter. Mr. Powell’s son was in the 1st Cavalry, the outfit reported a while ago as having taken Manila. When I see him he’ll be giving me an earful. The new post office was opened and we still have Box 7 but this time, instead of twirling a knob, you open it with the key. A postal card from Dorothy (Peabody) from Ogden, Utah, en route to California, promises a letter from Los Angeles. A letter from Helen (Peabody) Human) mentions that the deal Ted was interested in a while ago is off. A letter from Red Sirene thanks me for a pamphlet I had sent him, says that while he has lost almost all contact with architecture, he’s getting “experience” in construction. He says: “I hope your scattered seeds are all happy, healthy and that you are in good spirits (after shoveling all that snow a little spirits wouldn’t hurt anybody). I received a letter from the youngest embryo who modestly cast off his new rank with the statement that “one was left over”. I took pains to explain to him that it was probably the urgent need of the high command for his talents that prompted his “leaving the ranks”. I’m still in hopes of running into Dan here. I know that he is in the same area. I simply have to sift him out of 3 million people.” So long, Dave, old scout and good luck, from

DAD

Tomorrow and Friday, I’ll post another letter from Grandpa to his correspondents.

On Saturday and Sunday, more Special Pictures.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Dear Dave (2) – Words of and Wisdom and Advice – February 4, 1945

 

ADG - Grandpa about 1945 or 1946 near a tree in winter

Page 2   2/4/1945

 

But to get back to you personally. Of course I would have liked to have had your departure delayed as long as possible for obvious reasons, and then I would have preferred to have you sent to the European area where the fighting seems to be nearer over than in the Far East, but on the other hand, I can, without much effort, think of some very favorable aspects of the present situation without calling too much on the Rusty imagination formula. In the first place, if it is true you go to Seattle as an embarkation point, you probably thrilled to the novelty of a trip across the broad expanse of the U. S. In a troop train with glimpses during daylight hours of our continent in wintertime – – something which the average tourist seldom witnesses. Perhaps on arrival at Seattle you recalled this as the end of the journey under Guion ownership of the little old Willys, of the starting point for Alaska of Ced, Dan and Dick. This also was the same city that Rusty told about were a girl in a restaurant referred to bixits instead of biscuits. Then you have to look forward to what none of your other widely traveled brothers have ever experienced – – a trip across the Pacific with possibly a stop off in Hawaii. If so, you might have time to look up Arnold who, the last I heard, was working there for the government, possibly in Perl Harbor. Seeing the world at Uncle Sam’s expense will be something literally “to write home about”, which I hope you will, copiously. All my lifelong I have wanted to visit the Orient, and now I can do so by proxy, which is better than not at all. You are young enough and alert minded enough to get both a big kick and some very interesting impressions of this entirely different world then we in the West only know from hearsay and I know you will get out of it enough interesting memories to last a lifetime. I imagine too that your morale has been stepped up. The long uncertainty is past. You are definitely on your way. No more threat in the background that perhaps you would be switched to the infantry as I read in the papers recently some 50,000 boys had been, from the aviation and other branches. Of course, it’s too early yet to say whether you will still be operating with your old gang at Crowder which you like so much, but even here, I will venture to say that this is not an unrelieved evil. These men you know and like so much and they you, will always be pleasant memories and continuing friends, while if I know you, you will, among your new buddies, find congenial souls with whom you will strike up just as warm friendships as among the old. So you will be but widening your circle of friends, and this, from where I sit on the long flight of years, is a mighty good thing. Bernie, in his letter, mentioned the fact that you did a good job of taking care of yourself. I noticed that from two or three little incidents when you were home on your Christmas furlough. You seemed alert, quick reacting and competent, so I’m not going to worry too much about you, although I will be grateful of frequent letters, as you well know. I, on my part, will pledge a continuation of my weekly letter writing, so even if you do not get letters regularly, you will know at least that they are on the way. Meantime, I’m keeping not only the home fires but also the office fires burning until the time you can take over the stoking, and I’ll do my best to keep things running so that you can come back to take over something worthwhile, even though I have to do a solo job like I am at present. We’re managing to get by without disappointing any customers so far, particularly as I find most people are willing to make allowances under present circumstances. Every so often a new customer pops in without of course any solicitation on my part, other than the ads in the phone directory, which leads me to wonder just how far we could go if someone with a friendly approach like yourself devoted only a few hours a week to actively going out after new customers. Financially, we are in the most healthy condition we have been for several years and considerably better than when you were here a year ago. (Maybe you better stay away, eh?) The increase in trade paper service, the low rent, the lack of wage payroll, in view of the fact that I am my own machine operator with occasional night help from George, are responsible for this. To be sure I am still paying myself a ridiculously small salary compared to what a person of my experience and ability, ahem, ought to be getting, but we’re getting by at home, even with the big income tax, due in part to the rent of the cottage, the apartment and the board contributions by the girls and Aunt Betty, although it is true that the house, both interior and exterior, is fast approaching the point where a couple of major operations are indicated. With labor and materials the way they are at present, however, there is little prospect of much being possible, even if funds were available.

Tomorrow, I’ll post the conclusion of this letter with bits and pieces of local and family news. Thursday and Friday will be devoted to another letter from Grandpa, to his correspondents. 

Judy Guion