It is March, 1945, and the entire family is involved, in one way or another, with the upcoming wedding of Dan and Paulette in way off France.
This week, all of the letters are going to be very long because the next one is 7 typed, single-spaced pages long and I will post all of it this week.
Trumbull, Conn. March 18, 1945.
The Top of the mornin’ to ye, me hearties,
and it is just after bein’ a fine St. Patrick’s
Day yisterday mornin’:
It is now 7:00 P.M. here. Now just what are you doing at this moment in your various hideouts? For Ced, if my figuring is correct, it is just about 2 P.M. today and he has presumably recently finished his Sunday repast and is preparing possibly to do a little skiing this afternoon. We peek in on Dick, however, and find it is 9 o’clock tonight and unless he has changed his habits from former days, he is NOT getting ready for bed at the present moment. In France it is midnight, Lad has already hit the hay (maybe) and Dan, for the last 15 or 20 minutes, has been saying good night to Paulette. How long this “saying good night” will continue is anybody’s guess. And for Dave, presumably somewhere in Hirohito’s backyard, low and behold it is 9 A.M. Monday morning and he is just beginning to feel awake and ready for the day’s doings, planting telegraph poles or whatnot. And that’s you. As for me, for the last few hours, prior to your doing the things imagined above, I have been trying to make the backyard look a little more as if someone lives in the adjoining house and said house was not a low class tenement, and while raking, thought how nice it would be if Paulette could spare Dan for a while so he could do some of his yearly springtime labor, while Dick grabbed the axe to make a dent in that piled up bunch of hurricane wrecked tree branches and Ced could give me a hand in cleaning up the accumulated mrss in the incinerator and Lad, either rigging up a saw or inventing some gadget for flattening cans or breaking old glass bottles or something, and Dave, well, Dave could entertain us all by talking, in which diversion Dick stops work to argue a few points, Ced, meanwhile, working in silence until he can stand it no longer and then reminding his two younger brothers there is work to do. Yes, just a happy family party while Dad struggles trying to get down the storm windows and put the screens up instead. The three girls and Aunt Betty are off in a corner talking a blue streak, each one trying to get a word in edgewise, Paulette now and then puzzling them by interjecting a French word, the subject being clothes or food or babies or husbands or any one of a thousand other things that girls talk about. Come on, Pop, cut it out and get back to your letter writing.
Well, the trouble is there is only one letter to qualify for the quotes dept. this week (from Dick, wonder of wonders) and that won’t fill up a whole letter, so I got to do something, haven’t I? Well, then, cut out the nasty remarks. Besides, it’s me writing the letter so you’ll have to take it and like it.
The girls, emboldened by St. Patrick’s example of chasing the snakes out of Ireland, went to New York yesterday to chase Ireland out of New York, but themselves got chased by an Irish cop two or three blocks out of their scheduled route. One of the objects was to do the Little Black Sambo act and buy Paulette some beautiful red slippers, in which quest they were only partially successful, not being able to secure the right size but locating a probable source of supply. And while we’re on the subject of our new sister-daughter, you have not begun to give us, Dan, anywhere near as
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much get acquainted information as we would like to have about Paulette, for instance, just a few of the things I think of to ask about offhand are what her hobbies are, is she found of candy, if so, what is her favorite kind, is she particularly interested in animals, does she prefer dogs or cats, does she smoke cigarettes, is she especially fond of children, music, jewelry, does she play any musical instrument or sing. What is her favorite color, perfume, country (outside of France), boyfriend. With your vivid imagination, you can enlarge on these few hints and give us all the necessary information so that when she arrives here, we can make her feel right at home.
Local news of boys in the Iwo Jima battle is beginning to come in. Bob Thornton was in the fight I am told, as was also Monsanto, but the latter, I learned, was wounded in both arms with shrapnel. How seriously, I don’t know.
Dick, very appropriately writes on green paper — it must be his Irish coming out. He says: “My job, as you already know, is office work, which I dislike. Everything has its good points, tho’, and this is no exception. I take great liberty as regards my working hours. The five Brazilians do most of the work — the typing of payrolls, keeping time records and making reports. I have developed my ability to “get along” with people to such an extent that I am on good terms with even my Capt., who, incidentally, is a hard man to get along with. The first two weeks that he was in Civ. Pers. Off. (Civilian Personnel Office), I had almost decided to ask for a transfer to some other dept., But after having thought about it for a while, I decided it would be better if I learned to fathom his wishes and whims and take it on the chin. Without being insubordinate, I took all he had to give, agreed with him and then endeavored to point out calmly my viewpoint. It worked wonders. He now has quite a bit of confidence in me and once again the C.P.O. has little to do with this dept., other than signing his name about 40 times a day. I get enough exercise to keep me in fair physical condition – horse riding, tennis, ping-pong, walking, dancing, etc. I have gained a little weight but not enough to be noticeable. I miss the states (which includes you and all the people I know well) very much at times, but Brasil is not a bad place in which to be stationed if one must be sent overseas. I should have many interesting things to recount when I get back. I have missed, so far, the bloodshed and killing, the living in filth and slime. This is the nearest thing to stateside duty any soldier overseas has seen in this war. I would appreciate very much your sending me a picture of the Guion coat of arms.”
Comments: I have been called several things, good and bad, during my career, but this is the first time I have been referred to as one of the states in this glorious union. What, one may ask, are the boundaries of the State of Guion? As for the coat of arms, one is enclosed as requested, and that leads me to a general question, which all please answer pronto. For your next birthday present which one would like a gold seal ring with the Guion coat of arms thereon engraved? Send ring size if interested.
The rest of the week will be devoted to a 7-page letter from Grandpa to his sons away from home.
Why not share these war experiences with a friend or family member? They might really appreciate it.