It’s 1943, late summer, and Grandpa’s four oldest sons are all in the service of Uncle Sam around the world. Lad, the oldest, is in California training vehicle and diesel mechanics for the Army. He met Marian Irwin at the South Pasadena Hospitality Center when he arrived in January. They have become a social couple. Dan, second oldest, has been in Pennsylvania, but the rumor has been that they will be shipping out soon. Grandpa has not had word from Dan in a while so he doesn’t quite know where he is or when he will arrive wherever he is going. Ced is still in Alaska working at the Woodley Airfield, which has been taken over by the military, working as an airplane mechanic, retrieving crashed planes and flying as a Bush pilot to various locations. Dick, who was in Miami with his wife, Jean, while receiving training, was shipped to Indianapolis, prior to being shipped out to no one knows where, and Jean has returned to Trumbull. For the next few days I’ll be posting letters from Grandpa telling us what has transpired in the lives of family members.
Trumbull, Conn. August 1, 1943
If “no news is good news”, the entire country from Alaska to California is unquestionably contributing largely to Trumbull’s happy circumstances. Dan was the only Santa Claus during the week who opened his sack for the Trumbull children. A letter from the St. Nicholas Club at Rockefeller Center, N. Y. C., revealed that on Thursday he was still “somewhere on the eastern seaboard”. By now, however, he may be on the high seas and bound for parts unknown to anyone but the General Staff. As for Dick, he has just dropped out of the picture. Even his wife doesn’t know a thing about him – – yet.
The change in Ced’s status raises two questions which are much in my thoughts and which Ced may answer when his next letter arrives. First, will he be able to secure further
occupational deferments and thus continue in his civil status, or will he be inducted into the Army; and second, in either event, what effect will that have on his present hope of making a flying visit home before 1944.
I suppose being sons of your father, you all have inherited, in some degree, that quality of temperament (troublesome at times) which, for lack of a better word, is termed “idealism”. The other day I ran across a poet’s attempt to put on paper what a father feels as he regards his infant son, as I have, in like circumstances, with each of you boys. A copy is enclosed. I can’t say I go along all the way with the author. He’s a bit too gloomy about it and I don’t agree that no one ever has a clear sight of his goal, and may, at rare times, for a few moments at least, reach the heights, but it is enough thought provoking to make it interesting. My own idea is that even if ideals are sometimes uncomfortable bedfellows, they are good to have. Remember what someone said about
Tobacco is a dirty weed, I like it.
It satisfies no normal need, I like it.
It makes you thin, it makes you lean,
It takes the hair right off your bean.
It’s the worst darned stuff I’ve ever seen.
I like it.
The alternative, I suppose is to be a moron, and I have a verse for this, too.
See the happy moron,
He doesn’t give a damn,
I wish I were a moron –
My God, perhaps I am.
If someday you felt in the mood it would be interesting to get your reaction on this Father’s soliloquy.
There is a little news. Jean starts work tomorrow with her old employee, Harvey Hubble, Inc. I have just paid Dick’s life insurance premium and in a few days will have to renew Lad’s note at the bank. Last Friday we were all invited to Jean’s grandparents for supper and had a very enjoyable visit. Marilyn, Jean’s youngest sister (aged eight) had dinner here with us today. Lad’s suitcase is on its way, insured. Dan, you didn’t tell me what you wanted done with your old car, or does Dick now own it, in which case, Dick, you tell me. Anyway it’s about time you wrote a letter to your Dad. You needn’t be so snooty just because you are married. I was married once myself and I still write letters. You should be guided by nature and outside my door at the present moment I hear a voice which says “Katy did”. So go thou and do.
The poem, TO MY SON, by John Weaver, enclosed with this letter, is quite long so I will save that for tomorrow’s post.