This is the third piece of a very long letter, written by Grandpa, in March, 1945. It includes quotes from Lad, Dave, Dan, Paulette, Ced as well as news of Trumbull.
Well, let’s get on with the other quotes.
The second is from Dave, envelope postmarked March 20th, no sending place mentioned. “Well, here’s another note from your long lost son. I haven’t neglected you – – I write when I can, which isn’t very often. The Army hasn’t figured any way to get mail off of ships at sea every day, so we have to wait till we land someplace. But it works both ways. I haven’t had any mail since I left Crowder. I’ve been across the states now and my impression of most of it is pretty favorable. I’ve seen Hawaii (from the back of an army truck) and my impression of it is that it is one of the most beautiful places I’ve seen. I crossed the equator but my impression there wasn’t so hot (my mistake, it was so hot). We were initiated in true Navy style. I am now a shellback and no longer a pollywog. But in order to become a shellback I had to get splotches of my hair cut off, undergo electric shocks, get my Fannie paddled, get good old Baptist submersion in equator water, become well massaged in grease and drink some vile tasting medicine. I am now applying for the Purple Heart and Soldier’s medal. I’m well and happy and learning a hell of a lot. Love, Dave.”
And were we all glad to hear from that former pollywog. When I came home from the office yesterday I heard a great chorus of peepers, and guess who it made me think of? Things are going right along at the office, Dave. You’re going to be a busy boy when you get back. I’m too busy for my own good now. I had to send three big embossing orders to Mailers Service this week because I couldn’t possibly take care of them and when I go back tomorrow I expect a 5000 letter job from Mercer, 500 pages twice from our friend Monahan, Wednesday afternoon musical club bulletin, another Joan Danko, a job someone called up about Sat., all this besides the regular stuff that comes piling in by mail. I have had Jean’s sister Natalie coming after school when she could and George has been coming in every other night to help with the mimeographing. Milford is increasing their trade paper business and I have had a couple of other advertising agency customers, so all I can tell you boy is to get busy and string up those signal poles to Tokyo so you can get back here and do some signaling of our own.
Dan is next on the list, or menu, I should say. He has for an entrée a most delicious French specialty – a letter in French to Cher Monsieur Guion, but I’ll let Dan tell the story. (3/6/45) “I translated for her benefit the paragraphs in your letter, for Paulette, and next time I dropped in to see her she gave me the enclosed letter to send to you. I have written a very literal translation between the lines, but I shall write another translation below to convey the nuances of meaning that are too frequently lost by two literal a treatment.
Dear Mr. Guion:
Right at the start let me say that I am sorry that I cannot write to you in English to tell you how happy I am to have read that nice letter about me that you sent to Dan. I am quite touched by the fine sentiments that you have already shown towards me and I can assure you that I feel the same sentiments towards you. Without actually knowing you I have already become exceedingly fond of you – – Dan having spoken often of how nice you are. I am certain that I shall be very happy with you. I shall bestow on you all the love that I should have given to my parents if I should have remained in France. I shall do my best to merit the place you have offered me so kindly in your home. I love Dan with all my heart. He is so good – – so kind. He is well-liked by everybody here. My parents have adopted him unreservedly as one of the family. I am certain to find the greatest of happiness with him and with you all in Trumbull. Dan has told me all about his brothers and sister and about the wives of Alfred and Richard and the husband of Biss. Already I think of them as my brothers and sisters – – to replace my own family here. The photo that you sent to Dan belongs to me now and I am proud to show it to my friends and saying “This is Mr. Guion and soon he will be my father”. I should like very much to have a photo all of all the rest of the family. I hope that I shall make Dan very happy, and I might add that I adore children. Dan has just left after having spent the afternoon with us. I am disconsolate when he is not with me. He means everything to me, you know. I love him so much. But I think I have babbled on enough for today. I take my leave of you in sending my nicest thoughts loaded with my most affectionate kisses both for you and for all your family. Paulette.”
Dan continues: “Chiche is remarkably affectionate. She has even taken to kissing the photo you sent! You will have to be prepared for plenty of attention. Incidentally, she has asked me to find her some white shoes for the wedding. It seems that they can no longer be found in France. She prefers shoes with a built-up heel rather than the small heel type. The bedroom slippers I asked for (red) should be the same style. Also please send me two khaki (Arrow) shirts – – I don’t recall whether or not I asked for them in a previous letter. I haven’t heard yet from Lad though I wrote to him some time ago. Dan.”
Tomorrow, I’ll post the last section of this letter.
On Saturday and Sunday, I’ll be posting more excerpts from the Reminiscences of Alfred Duryee Guion and the childhood memories of his children.