This is the final section of the 7-page letter Grandpa wrote to his sons in March of 1945. He never did get to the letter from Ced, but it should lead off the next missive from Trumbull.
Alfred Duryee Guion
That was doubly nice of Paulette – – first to write me so promptly and secondly to write such a nice letter. I have already written her a welcome letter in English – – unwittingly getting even with her for her letter in French before I knew it was on the way. There is one thing that bothers me about the whole thing and that is the danger that realization will fall short of expectation. You know how it is when one enthusiastically praises a book or play or movie. We are prone to build up
Page 7 3/25/45
in our minds eye an ideal, and expecting too much, that which in ordinary circumstances would be pleasing, now by comparison, falls far short of the glamorous self-painted portrait. So I am a bit fearful, Dan, that in telling Paulette of Trumbull and the people in it, and to reassure her hesitancy in taking such a big step, you might have exaggerated “how nice your father is” for instance, and when she sees just an ordinary, rather homely every day individual well past the noon of life, with perfectly good intentions, it is true, but nevertheless, with all those little faults and idiosyncrasies that all of us have that sometime can be so annoying, without our being conscious of their affect, when she sees and gets to know Papa as he really is with the glamour all washed off, there is a chance she will be just a bit disappointed even though she might never admit it, so just let’s take a bit of precaution and talk down, if anything, too great expectations, so that the reality will be even better than expected and then she will be truly happy to be with us, which, after all, is what we all desire most.That snapshot of me helping to hang up the clothes probably comes nearer to what she will discover, as far as I am concerned, than the photo I previously sent by mail. To sum it all up – psychology.
This week I completed arrangements with Davis & Hawley for the engagement and wedding rings, the former in a setting which the girls selected from a number which the jeweler showed them. The method of shipment still remains a problem. The girls are busy trying to find the white and red shoes, but these items are also hard to obtain over here. I shall see if I can locate those Arrow khaki shirts you mention and ship them over to you. By the way, would it help some others out in France if I were to send some diamond rings that have been gathering dust in the safe deposit box, and perhaps find a better market for the gold and stones than we could over here? You might make some inquiries along this line and let me know.
There is next an interesting letter from Ced, and also the arrival of a most welcome Christmas box, but seven pages has just about done me in as I have been at this steady for about five hours so if you don’t mind I’ll reserve Ced’s letter for next week’s mailing when I hope to feel a bit more chipper than I do right now. Maybe if I get a good night’s rest tonight I can still further chase these persistent germs and “live to fight another day”.
I shall now steal to my couch soothed and comforted by the thought that perhaps with the allies progress in Germany beyond the Rhine, it won’t be too long before the Japs in turn can feel the full force of the allies combined strength and then that long awaited day will arrive when I can have all my chicks under my wings again, with their lady friends, of course, and we can look forward to a period of sunshine after the storm. From how many millions of anxious fathers and mothers hearts, and wives and sweethearts too, the same thoughts are taking shape tonight. It’s perhaps too soon to expect that a week from today, when Easter day again comes with its message of cheer, the war in Europe will be over.
On Saturday and Sunday, I’ll be posting more excerpts from the Reminiscences of Alfred Duryee Guion and the childhood memories of his children.
On Monday, I’ll b egin posting letters written in 1941. Dick is delivering a car to his brothers, Dan and Ced, in Alaska and Lad is expected home after 2 1/2 years in Venezuela.