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


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.

On Saturday and Sunday, I’ll be posting more Special Pictures.

On Monday, I’ll begin a week of letters from the beginning of 1941, when Lad is still working in Venezuela but planning on being home sometime in May, and Dick is preparing to drive a car across the country and deliver it to Dan and Ced in Alaska.

Judy Guion


8 thoughts on “Trumbull – To My Correspondents (1) – Is I, Or Is I Ain’t Your Pappy? – Feb., 1945

  1. Mrs. P says:

    I have to admit, I have sometimes shared his thought about not hearing from offspring who are too busy living their lives to be bothered with writing or calling. Thank goodness for Facebook, otherwise I might be totally in the dark.

    I love Dave’s letter quotes!

    • jaggh53163 says:

      Mrs. P. – Fortunately my children and their families live near me, but I still feel left out of their lives some. I guess it is the opposite side of the coin, the front side being to raise your children so they can survive in the world. Sort of a Catch-22.
      Dave was always very expressive. :)

      • Mrs. P says:

        I know what you mean. If I honestly look at my younger self, I was self absorbed into raising my family and did not understand how important extended family was for me until I was much older and my own child was all frown up.

        • jaggh53163 says:

          Mrs. P. – The summer my parents moved to CA, I had already completed two years of college here in CT and I decided to stay here. I met and married my first husband during my last semester, we were married shortly after I took my first teaching job. Even though I talked to Mom and Dad every Sunday, we didn’t see each other for years at a time.Since both of my brothers and my sister ended up in CA, I really wasn’t close at all. Then my girls were grown up and I married my second husband. We traveled up and down the east coast and I saw my daughters rarely, maybe three or four times a year for the ten tears Don and I were together. I didn’t really connect with Mom until Dad died and I moved to CA to care for her. I really got to know my younger brother and his wife at that time. I miss all those years I was living my own life away from family. At least three of my girls are living close by but one is in CA now and I haven’t seen her for over four years. Sometimes I envy my cousins, Dan’s children, who all still live in and around Trumbull and see each other more often.. I guess we all make choices but sometimes it’s hard to live with them.

          • Mrs. P says:

            I know what you mean. I think in some ways it was a lifestyle pattern. My dad kept in touch with his parents *for which I am eternally gratefully -they were my true role models) but other than that we saw very little of his sister’s side of the family. She never married. I grew up thinking we were this very small family.

            As an adult, I found out that my Aunt kept in touch with both my grandmother’s and grandfather’s side of the family and there were tons of family get-togethers throughout my lifetime which I had no idea of and I didn’t even know there were people I was related to…I felt cheated! Now granted they lived in the west and we lived in the east… I’ll have to remember to make trips as often as possible to see my grandson in California so he will know of this other side of his family.

            The biggest surprise of all is that I discovered that my birth mother (who I haven’t seen since age five) had two brothers I never knew of and they still alive, raised their own families too…they knew about us but never reached out to us. I did connect with them and one of their daughters. I think I scared them and they felt like I must have wanted something from them. Though, I respect their privacy and realize there was a reason they didn’t connect, I faithfully send a Christmas card every year,…even though they won’t respond. ;)

            Sadly, I followed that same pattern and stayed isolated from a lot of family with my own daughter. Fortunately she did attend a few family reunions on her dad’s side so she is aware of having cousins…even on my side.She has a distant connection with them on Facebook. I think this is why I have enjoyed family history/genealogy so much…it made me realize that I actually have quite a large family and I have gotten to know some of them better.

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