Lad’s Army Life – California by Train – Sept., 1943

Blog Timeline - 1941-1943Now Grandpa knows that Lad arrived safely back in California. In his typical analytical style, he tells the whole story.

September 22, 1943

South Pasadena, California

Dear Dad:

I arrived in LA at 4:10 AM and, so help me, Marion was there to meet me. In fact, I’m writing this at her house and this is her pen and ink. Here is the story. Bridgeport to New York – O.K.  –  left Grand Central at 6:30 PM and after a pretty good rest arrived in Chicago at noon. I had till 6:30 for the train to LA so I went to the Santa Fe-Harvey office. Got a job in a few minutes on a train leaving on Tuesday at 7 AM. So I went back to the Y and slept all afternoon and evening.

About 10 PM I got up, wrote a letter to Marian, had something to eat and returned to bed. Got up at 5 AM and went to the station. I was 4th cook and did nothing but dishes from 10:30 Tuesday morning until 11 PM Thursday. Boy, I don’t think I ever worked so hard. It was terrific – but, at least I wasn’t bored by the trip and I had very good meals and an upper. Slept from about 12 or one o’clock till 5:30 each night. We were five hours late arriving in LA, but she was there, with a smile, as usual, and my spirits rose perceptively. She had made arrangements for me to stay at the USO dorm, so I had something to eat and went to bed. I slept from about 6 AM till after 4 PM.

I had a key, which Marian had given me for her house, so I went there for a shower and then reported back to camp, got my pass, and took up where I had left off 16 days

Lad at Camp Santa Anita

Lad at Camp Santa Anita

earlier. As I look back, those five days at home were some of the most enjoyable days I’ve ever spent, but they went far too fast. I went to the rationing board here and they gave me the ration points, but said that in the future to go to the local board at home. So take a mental note of that. It is a new O.P.A. regulation.

For two days now we have had typical Southern California September weather, hotter than hell. The air so hot, that desks and chairs or anything else is almost uncomfortably hot to touch. It was 116° today, and this is supposed to last until the middle of October. However, I really don’t mind it at all. Marian doesn’t like it too well. It has cooled off a little now, and we’re going to an open-air theater tonight to see “The More the Merrier”.

Give my love to Aunt Betty and anyone else and I’m expecting to take your suggestion and write to Grandma.


Tomorrow, we’ll read a long letter from Grandpa to hos four sons in their various locations, filled with news about each of them. Friday will be another letter from Lad . On Saturday A Tribute to Arla and on Sunday, another installment of Mary E. Wilson’s Autobiography, giving us the perspective of a child growing up on England during World War I.


6 thoughts on “Lad’s Army Life – California by Train – Sept., 1943

  1. Mrs. P says:

    116 degrees is very hot…even for California!

    • Judy Guion says:

      Mrs. P. – Very, very hot, even without as much humidity as we get here on the east coast. The interesting thing is that Marian was born and raised in CA, Lad in CT. Marian hated the heat and Lad loved it. Mom did like CA so they decided fairly early in their married life in Trumbull, that when their children were out of high school, they would move to CA, which they did. They were very happy there for almost 40 years. I was the only one of their 4 children who was, and always will be, a Connecticut Yankee. My siblings live on the west coast.

  2. gpcox says:

    Busy, busy bee, that Lad.

    • Judy Guion says:

      gpcox – I think it was his ultimate goal to get a free ride to California, which he did. I think it was not unusual for soldiers to travel this way, since it didn’t take Lad more than a few minutes to get hired!

  3. Gallivanta says:

    Wonderful the way Lad managed to work his passage back to the East Coast!

    • Judy Guion says:

      Gallivanta – My father always looked for the most efficient and least expensive way to get things done, in this case, get himself back to California… it worked – literally and figuratively!!

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