Blog – Army Life (3) – A Letter From Lad in France – July, 1945

Grandpa’s letter continues with a copy of Lad’s letter from somewhere in Southern France.

APG - APG at D_____ ______ a_____, 25 June, 1945

Alfred Peabody Guion (Lad), in France

Copy of letter from Lad, Southern France, rec’d July 31

Due to restrictions, just where I am is a secret. I have gone swimming in the Mediterranean, but where we are allowed to swim, there are numerous jellyfish of the stinging variety and the wind has a habit of blowing most of the time, so that you get stung in the water and chilled out of it. And besides, I prefer fresh water. We do have a canal near enough to go in for a dip, so that is where I go. Speaking of canals, there is a system of them here, like roads. They probably were built long, long, years ago when wheeled vehicles were unknown or at least scarce, and by the use of gates, reach almost all cities and towns of any size at all – – quite complex and complete. Due to the constant tread of feet and trucks, the sparse vegetation here is even scarcer, and in conjunction with gusty winds, the dust which is almost always present in some degree is very, very bad. At times it is hard to see the person just a few feet from you. There is a cloud of dust, like fog, which the wind keeps in the air so that it never disappears. I don’t think we have had even one day without sun and it sure is hot. Very similar to Venezuela except that it is warmer at night, and not so pleasant. I would rather be in S. A. than here.

And now your letters.

May 13th. In answer to a question of Aunt Elsie’s, there are birds here, but nothing like in Trumbull. Maybe in other parts of France they are more plentiful. They are very scarce here and very limited in “makes and models”. Did Biss ever get her pocketbook? And Aunt Betty as Aunt Elsie’s nurse sounds just like her – – never happy unless she’s helping somebody else regardless of self-inconvenience. And tell her, as I used to tell her, before I went into the Army, she really is a good cook.

May 20th. Dan’s comment upon Holland as “like the City Trust Co.” is very descriptive, isn’t it? Just the same I’d like to see it.

Page 4 (continuation of Lad’s letter)

I hope Dan answers at least some of those questioned you referred to. I inserted the word “honestly” in the question about your health for just the reason you reached. Thanks for your answer, and don’t try to “beat an auto at its own game”. Of course you are bound to worry, but as you’ve told us innumerable times, worry doesn’t accomplish anything except the ill effect on the worrier, so please try to keep it at a minimum.

May 27th. You mention only four flowers. Did you leave out tiger lilies and skunk cabbage purposely, not wishing to cause Biss and myself undue embarrassment? And I owe Ced a letter, so thank you for the reminder of his birthday. I’m still “too damned healthy” to suit me and about as happy as I could be here. There’s no reason for being otherwise.

Now back to your letters. In the many years which have passed since the “goat days”, I wondered once in a while just why you bought those goats, and at last I found the reason. It is possible that you’ve told me before, but if so, I’ve forgotten it. In the same letter you have a quote from Dave which is really rather humorous in a couple of spots, now that you know he is actually in Okinawa. I understand that one Al. Peabody (Lad himself) may be there too. Maybe Dave will be able to look him up.

Alfred Duryee Guion

Jean (Mortensen) and Dick Guion

June 3rd. Dick and Jean are very fortunate. That is one of the reasons I wanted to be a part of the occupational forces over here. The prospects of getting out of the Army were very slim. Here is my set up on discharge points as of May 15th – – the end of the time for calculation. 36 months in the service, six months overseas and one battle star, (36, 6 & 5) a total of 47, just a little over half of the 85 points necessary. Dan’s vivid description is very good. I wish I could have been someplace in a little larger town then Langres at the time. I ‘d have enjoyed it immensely, I’m sure.

June 10th. Not much to comment on here.

June 17th. Tops all others as far as news is concerned. It is really nice to receive a letter written with no thought of censorship and it must be even more fun to write. I never do so without thinking of the regulations, which greatly curtails the little interesting things which make a letter so much fun to read. Those letters of Dave’s and Dan’s have been read by a number of the fellows here and are still in circulation. With the exception of the end of the Japanese war on July 15, all the other predictions have passed unnoticed. As far as I’m concerned, any day, whether predicted or not, will be a good one for the war to end – – the sooner, the better.

Tomorrow, I’ll continue with Grandpa’s copies of letters from Dan and, will wonders never cease, Dick. On Friday, a letter from Dave and Grandpa’s final comments.

Judy Guion

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