Life in Alaska – Dan Writes to Lad (2) – July, 1940

Because Lad has only gotten news of Dan and Ced in Alaska through Grandpa’s letters, Dan and Ced both decide to write to Lad and put his own perspective on their early days in Alaska. I posted the first portion of the letter yesterday, this is a very interesting story about meeting an old friend from Trumbull in Seattle.Tomorrow I’ll finish up Dan’s letter.

DBG - Dan in Alaskan doorway-1940

(In Seattle)  There is a nightclub on Second Avenue called “MUSIC”. It is a beer and dance joint with no cover, no minimum, an orchestra, two floor shows nightly, and the large percentage of sailors on shore leave. I was sitting at a table, brazenly sipping a glass of beer and watching the dance. One of the sailors who drift past looked just like Art Mantle! I had heard, just before leaving home, that Art was in Honolulu. Further, I knew that most of his time in the states was spent in San Diego. So I figured it must be a coincidence that a sailor looking like Art, was in Seattle. The dance ended, and that sailor walked over to his table, nodding of greeting to one of his buddies sitting near me. I leaned over, saying, “Pardon me, but what is the name of the fellow who just waved to you?” “Claude Mantle”, was the startling reply. “God!” I muttered, “I know him well!” Then, rising, I picked up my glass of beer and walked over to Art’s table. There were two girls there, one of them just staring off into space, the other, the one Art had been dancing with, was listening to something Art was confiding to her.

Art Mantle, Biss and Lad Guion

Art Mantle, Biss and Lad Guion

“I guess you know me, Art!”  I said mysteriously. “No I don’t”, he replied truculently. “Yes you do”, I continued, unabashed. “The hell I do”, he growled, giving me a hostile stare. I was a trifle discomfited by this time, thinking I must have changed considerably since I had seen him last. “Ced and I are on our way to Alaska”, I said pleasantly. A look of puzzlement and bewilderment turned to consternation. “Jesus Christ!” He stood up. “I ought to be shot!” He grasped my hand. “Jesus, Dan, I didn’t know you. I ought to be taken out and shot!” He stared at me, worried lest I resent his earlier attitude. He turned to the girl at the table. “Can you imagine that?” He asked her “This is an old pal of mine. He is a good egg. He’s not like you.” She ignored him. He turned to me again. “Christ, Dan, I was just going to take a sock at you!” He laughed a little. Art was quite put out about the whole thing, admitting that he had been drinking too much beer, and taking time out, now and then, to insult the girl at the table, he asked about everybody, particularly Biss and Zeke, expressing surprise and annoyance to think that they, of all people, had been married. He gave me some lurid stories of the lives the sailors lead, and later we went to the YMCA hotel where Ced and I were staying, to waken Ced out of a sound sleep. We talked until nearly 12:30, then went back to the ”MUSIC”, had another beer and parted.

Tomorrow I’ll finish up Dan’s letter. On Friday, I’ll post Ced’s letter to Lad, written a day later. Although it may be a bit long, I want to finish this “Slice of Life” this week. I hope you don’t mind.

On Saturday I’ll be posting more Early Memories of Trumbull and on Sunday, more of Ced’s Coming of Age Adventure.

Judy Guion


2 thoughts on “Life in Alaska – Dan Writes to Lad (2) – July, 1940

  1. gpcox says:

    You have such a great new batch of photos now to accompany your letters. That’s great, it helps to add perspective.

    • jaggh53163 says:

      GP – This is a continuing adventure as I find new items or they are given to me by other members of the family. It really excites me and I’m glad you like them too.

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