Army Life – A Birthday Celebration And News From Aunt Elsie – Aug., 1942

Elsie May Guion, summer, 1946

Aunt Elsie, Grandpa’s sister

Trumbull, Conn., August 23, 1942

Dear Sons:

It gives me great pleasure to lead off this evening with a broadcast from our guest artist, Miss Elsie M. Guion who had, this day, had the honor of entertaining in connection with a joint (cut out those remarks about “some joint”, etc.) celebration of birthdays.

Miss Guion:

Thank you, Mr. Guion, and how do you do, Sons o’ Guns. We, the celebrants, have had a great day, and speaking for myself, I am enjoying a rare Sunday both from the standpoint of a workless Sunday and also a Sunday at Trumbull. I’ll not dwell on the birthday, because, oh well, I’ve had too many of them, although they’ve always been swell. Today’s brought an odd assortment of gifts, but I asked for it. Some luscious big ripe tomatoes such as we don’t get in the big city, a loaf of unmatchable Soderholme’s Swedish rye bread. The rest I didn’t order: A bottle of delectable domestic Port Wine, a box of all American licorice candy and some coconut cupcakes. Aunt Betty’s gift was a birthday card with an appropriate message and a dollar bill tucked almost out of sight – but I found right soon. I’m quick that way.

Dan, I’m responsible for the Cookie Wookies. I hope it didn’t taste as wacky as it sounds but I didn’t have a chance to sample it. It’s a poor substitute for letters and my resolutions to write even a postal that never materialized. I’m slow that way.

ADG - Elsie's Shop Christmas Flyer - cover, 1941

Christmas Brochure for the Shop

          The Shop (inside Grand Central Station) goes on – for better for worse. The Station seems to be filled most of the time now that automobiles are not used so much. Constantly, uniforms, singly and in bunches, pass through. Yesterday seemed busier than usual. But you should see the Station and also any part of New Your City in a Blackout. Any city street, utterly black, is a most interesting “site”. The Waiting Room in the station has to go completely black because it has windows high up that evidently can’t be blacked out.

Now I’m done except to send an affectionate hello to Ced, and to wish that, like the rest of us here, that we could grasp his hand and say “It’s great to see you again.” So long.

Thank you, Miss Guion. You refer to a “rare” Sunday. Now, that’s too bad. I did so try to have it “well done”. But then, as in most meals, one gets his just desserts. Dick, shy, modest and retiring as usual, “can’t think of anything to say”, so he is passing up this golden opportunity to hurl a few verbal bombshells at his absent brothers.

We had eleven round the festive board. Starting at my right and making the circle were: Lad, Elsie, Aunt Betty, Elizabeth, the two grandsons (spasmodically), Dave, Zeke, Dick, Jean and yours truly. The vegetables were fresh from Mr. Laufer’s garden and consisted of lima beans, raw tomatoes and sweetcorn. The two chickens were also native Trumbull products. Katherine made the cake from Guion ingredients and it was right good. Naturally, as on all similar occasions, we missed Alaska and North Carolina. A hard shower sprang up before the meal was over which gave the lie to the sunshine with which the day had started. Lad is out calling but will be back before long and he and Aunt Elsie will entrain together for New York later this evening.

Page 2  8/23/42

I am sorry to have to report to you that Mr. Ives has for some time been suffering from a malady called Hodgkin’s disease, which as far as I have been able to learn, is a somewhat rare disease which seems to be sort of a cancer of the lymphatic glands. The treatment is by x-ray, but apparently is rather severe. In fact, Mr. Ives told me the treatment was worse than the disease and leaves him prostrate for weeks after. It apparently is incurable and is said to cause death within two or three years. Tomorrow he and Mrs. Ives start for the Mayo Clinic to see if this famous Institute can do anything for him.

Lad is now a Corporal (acting corporal until it is officially confirmed). He is now to be addressed as Corp. Co. “C”, 2nd Bn., O.R.T.C., Aberdeen Proving Grounds, Md. He still continues as an instructor of diesel engines, looks fine and seems to be happy in his work.

Another letter from Dan this week gladdens our hearts but we are hoping the persistent rumors that the outfit will be removed further north will soon materialize so that he can gratify his oft expressed wish (and ours, likewise) of getting home more frequently.

Dick Scanlon asks to be remembered to you, Dan. He called up on the phone the other day to give us an order for some Addressograph work and mentioned that he went to school with you and Lad, and recalled he had been up to Trumbull one time years ago and took part in a ballgame of some sort out near the house. He is married and has two children but nevertheless feels that he may soon be in the Army himself.

My old Ceddy boy is still giving me the runaround. In spite of large and earnest wishes twice each day as I approach P.O. Box 7, no red, white and blue-bordered envelope has peeped out at me and, gritting my teeth, I hope that there will be something different next time, as I’m still in that frame of mind, for, as the poet tells us, “hope springs eternal in the human breast”.

One day last week as we sat at supper, the sky gradually darkened and finally became black as it does in heralding a severe windstorm. The air was still. It became darker and then the wind started and drove the rain in gusts against the windows. At the height of the storm a crack was heard – – not alarmingly loud, but enough to exercise curiosity and investigation, and what do you think? The old apple tree, that for as long as we all can remember, dropped little green apples in season on the lawn and driveway just outside the apartment and annoyed innumerable bees as they approached their hive up near the chimney, finally succumbed and lay in ruins completely blocking the driveway. Paul and Dave got out with axes and cleared a path for the cars. The one compensation is that we will have a new source of firewood for the coming winter. From all we hear, the houses with fireplaces will be called upon to do a Yeomans service this winter with the transportation bottlenecks making fuel supply very uncertain.

And that about winds up the list for this evening, except to say that Lad is now learning to drive tanks. (No reference to the humankind, now that he is a corporal). With this poor attempt to amuse you I sign off as usual

DAD

Tomorrow and Sunday I’ll be posting more early childhood memories of Trumbull which I recorded with Lad and some of his siblings.

On Monday, I’ll begin a week of letters written in 1945 as the family prepares for the wedding of Dan and Paulette in France.

Judy Guion 

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