This is the first installment of a letter Grandpa penned to his sons and daughter-in-law during the first month of 1944.
Trumbull, Conn., January 16, 1944
Now that you have become eligible for membership in the “Veterans of Foreign Wars”, and this is the first letter you will have received as a rookie from
me, it is quite appropriate that this week’s news sheet should be addressed to you alone. With your kind permission, however, we will allow other Guion members of the armed forces and their “appendages” to peak over your shoulder, so to speak, and thus glean what few bits of information they may from this screed.
While we did not receive the expected postal from you up to the last mail Saturday, a little bird whispered that internally you were humming a theme song which had a slight resemblance to the old saw: “Be it ever so humble, there’s no place like home”. But cheer up, all your big brothers went through the same experiences and got over it without any permanent scars. It’s always the beginning that is the most difficult and beginnings never last.
After saying goodbye to you at the Shelton Town Hall Thursday, clutching in your little hands the booklet donated by the American Legion on how to act as a soldier, the little package of cigarettes, chewing,, etc., we drove down to Bridgeport and Aunt Betty took the bus home. I admit I felt a bit lonesome all by myself in the office but having found from past experience that plunging into work is the best antidote for brooding, I tried a full dose of the remedy and held the enemy at bay, if you don’t mind mixed metaphors. I will say however that we all miss you a great deal and every so often someone says: “I wonder what Dave is doing now?”. (If they only knew, huh?)
Every week over this station we call in our correspondents from distant points. We will now hear from Ordnance in Texas. Come in Texarkana. (Pause) We regret that conditions beyond our control interfere with proper reception, but here is a report as of Jan. 9th:
Lad opens up with the shot amid ship: “I’m sorry, my first thoughts and letters are now to Marian and you all have sort of slid down a peg in line of importance.” (Which is quite proper as long as you don’t back the old man off the map entirely, Lad. I know you won’t do that and even if you felt like it I don’t think Marian would let you, so there) These faithful daughters-in-law of mine do have such a struggle at times trying to get their new husbands lined up. It’s an awful task, girls, I know. I’ve been at it longer than you, sometimes with fair results but many times with but meager returns. All this, of course by way of an aside, because Lad reassuringly goes on to temper the broadside by adding: “However, that doesn’t mean that my affections have in any sense decreased. I still think of all of you constantly but time has been lacking. In fact, I had to skip writing to Marian two nights last week.
On December 18th Lad was given advance notice he was to be shipped out. On the 21st he learned he had to go to Texarkana, Texas and must be there by December 25rd. Some Christmas present! By noon of the 21st he was on his way in the Buick. Two flat tires and being forced into the ditch on an icy road were the only troubles other than getting gasoline. He arrived on Christmas Day and until January 3rd worked in getting a group of men ready to start training. If the 23 men under Lad’s charge successfully pass their examination, they are scheduled for overseas sometime in the early summer, but due to the type of work they are trained for, they should always be at least 300 miles from the front.
Lad doesn’t like the weather there at all – snowy, cold and damp. Marian is planning to come out by train about February 1st, and will come to Trumbull with Lad when (?) he gets his furlough.
Incidentally, just to show up thoughtful, generous minded Jean, just as soon as she learned the above, she immediately said, “When they come they can
have my room.”, and as admittedly hers is the most attractively furnished room in the house, it’s rather significant. And while I am at it, I might as well tell on her some more. Zeke asked Elizabeth to go out with him to some affair last night, but they could find no one to take care of the children, and in spite of the fact that she was not feeling top-notch, Jean packed her little overnight bag and took the double bus journey over to Stratford. I don’t suppose she will like me publishing these facts but I believe these little kindnesses should not go unacknowledged.
We now switch to Southern California where Mrs. A. P. has a message for us.
Marian writes on some new stationary with her initials and address embossed in green which I sent her at Lad’s suggestion. And now, young lady, stop around at the 5 and 10 on your way back from lunch and pick up a bottle of green fountain pen ink, just to put the finishing touch on this Irish Symphony. Enclosed with her letter were some highly prized photo prints from the Kodachrome slides, showing Marian, Lad, the cake and other members of the wedding party. And there is a promise of more to come later. They were very much appreciated, as you may well surmise. Marian has officially terminated her work with the Camp Fire Girls as of February 1st , and is looking forward to soon being “down in the heart of Texas”, clap, clap or however the song goes. Thanks, Marian, for keeping us so well posted. You’re a great girl, as Lad has remarked once or twice.
Tomorrow, I’ll be posting the rest of this four-page letter from Grandpa to his scattered family, in all their locations around the world.
On Thursday and Friday, Grandpa writes a stirring tribute to Grandmother Peabody upon her death and writes letters to Dan and Marian.