Army Life – Dear Fugitives (1) – A Typical Domestic Scene – Dec., 1944

MIG - Marian and Jean bringing in Christmas Tree - 1944

Marian Irwin Guion (Mrs. Lad) and Jean Mortensen Guion (Mrs. Dick) bringing in the Christmas Tree, 1944

Trumbull, Conn., December 3, 1944

Dear Fugitives:

Having run away from home, leaving your wives – – you who have them – – to form the nucleus of your father’s harem, it devolves upon me as the patriarch of the family to set down for posterity an account of the momentous happenings at home, hoping the while that you will soon see the error of your ways and return home to feast upon the fatted calf (no reference to ladies present) which your father and O.P.A. jointly hope to supply.

And speaking of meals, I must record a momentous occasion at home here – – the inauguration of a new chefess (Dan will supply the proper French feminine word) for the Sunday cuisine in the Guion ménage – – no less a person then Marian, the wife of Alfred the Absent, who, in her own charming manner, volunteered for the task and in her own inimitable way, prepared a very pleasing and satisfying Sunday dinner, thus releasing the erstwhile cook for such household chores as fitting boards to take the place of marble slabs (sounds like a morgue) on the Walnut Bureau – – the one Ced spent so many hours scraping the paint off of (one should never use a preposition at the end of a sentence); re-hanging the dinner gong in the dining room which Butch and Marty finally succeeded in pulling off the wall; turning off the water from the laundry tubs; filling up the small round hole in the kitchen floor which you boys used to spit tobacco juice down; replacing glass in storm windows; applying a priming coat of paint to new storm doors, and other little odds and ends. Some day this week, I expect Karl Laufer to come over to fix the broken eave on the apartment roof caused by the falling tree and other jobs.

If you have by this time surmised from the above that I am having difficulty in finding some entertaining items of news to record, you will have come close to the truth. Nevertheless, let me pursue my wayward course and set down a typical domestic scene. We are all seated around the kitchen table. Outside it is dusk. I, with my back to the dining room door in my accustomed place, I’m trying to indite my weekly news sheet. At the other end of the table, Jean is busily engaged in knitting a pair of brown socks or something. Aunt Betty, on my left, has just finished preparing Christmas cards to be sent to you boys. At my right, Marian, early imbued with the Christmas wrapping spirit, with numerous boxes and packages of colored ribbon, stickers, stars and smelly pace, is industriously preparing attractive packages to go to relatives in sunny California. Smoky, in the laundry, is pushing his food bowl around the floor in a vain effort to lap the last particle of dog food from the meal his Aunt Betty has so lovingly prepared for him. And that seems to complete the status of affairs at the moment.     Elizabeth and Zeke dropped in for a few moments this afternoon. They report the children are recovering from their tonsil operation in fairly good shape. Elizabeth, I am sorry to say, does not take very good care of her own health and is not feeling too well. Aunt Betty keeps remarkably well and keeps going in great style. Friday she went down to Bridgeport and spent the day going the round of the stores for Christmas shopping and coming home alone on the bus. Marian has been helping all week at the office – – and I really mean helping. She has mastered the graphotype in good style and, as a consequence, a number of rush jobs, which were worrying me, were turned out on time, and correctly. Ethel has just reported a phone message from Carl who is in New York and will be home tomorrow or Tuesday. This means he will probably be home for the holidays.

The only “Army” mail this week is from Dave, as follows: “At long last I’m finally back to soldiering again. Ever since the beginning of Sept., when I came back from the field, I’ve been leading quite an easy life. But starting yesterday we’re doing team training. From seven A.M. to 7 P.M. I’m on the go. It makes a long day six days a week. But the reason for it, they say, is that this unit is “hot”. Of course those of us on the DD team that used to be, have heard that story before. This letter is being written in school, so you can see I don’t have much time. I can’t promise you too good mail service in the future. Our team training is supposed to go from now until the first week in January – – the last two weeks of training (Christmas and New Year’s), being spent out in the field. I haven’t spoken to the Captain yet but I’m very sure I won’t be able to get a furlough until Team Training is over in January. If we’re as hot as we’re supposed to be, we’ll leave sometime in February or March. Well, I haven’t said much but I’d better quit before I get caught.”

A letter from Larry says one of the high spots in the year for them was the visit of Lad and Marian. “We thought she was swell – – and was Alan proud of his cousin Lad! Trailed him like a shadow. Our love to Aunt Betty, Biss, and all our nephews and our wives and their cousins and our aunts in Trumbull and also to our brother in law.” Marion (Peabody) writes: “We were so happy to meet Marian and so pleased that she and Lad took the time to stop off here on their return to California. Marian is grand – – 100% – – and it doesn’t take more than two minutes to arrive at that conclusion. Lad is a fine boy, a lucky boy and a deserving boy. (Speaking of Marian, I wasn’t prejudiced by the fact that she had been a schoolteacher and that she spelled her name ian either!!) You probably know that Dorothy was out here again for about 10 days the end of August. It was so nice to have her. We wish so much that more of our “Eastern” relatives could come. My mother is in Ohio now until after Christmas. She is real well and had her 71st birthday last week. We have had a very heart-breaking summer tho. Bill, my older brother, had a cerebral hemorrhage just before Memorial Day and is still in a very pathetic condition. He became irrational and had to be removed to a mental hospital, where he still is, tho somewhat improved. Alan is fine – – in third grade this year. Larry has a “chair” or whatever you call it, in the Masonic Lodge and is busy. We really think of you all, uncle, much oftener than you hear from us. Am I glad that you and Aunt Betty have Jean and Marian with you. Our best to you all for a very pleasant Christmas. Send our love to all the boys when you write them next.”

Tomorrow I’ll post the conclusion of this letter and finish out the week with another of grandpa’s long letters to T/3, T/4, T/5, Sgt. And Chief Ski Instructor.

Judy Guion

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