Trumbull – Dear Boys (1) – Lad Is Driving to California – January 3, 1943

Grandpa begins 1943 with a 3-pager, a page each to Lad, Dan and Ced, the only boys away from home at this time.

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TRUMBULL, Conn., Jan. 3, 1943.

Dear Boys:

Notice the date? No erasures, which means that I hit it right the first time this year I have written the date, indicating mental acuteness in spite of advancing years, war weariness, income tax woes, offspring uncertainties or what have you. Just to start the new year right, I shall write each of you a letter, trying not to duplicate on material so that you may each have the doubtful, clandestine satisfaction of snooping into the other fellow’s letter when he’s not around to see what you are doing.

Dear Lad:

Well, that’s a nice way to end the old year! And how hard-hearted of you. Here I have been saving pennies all the year, even robbing baby David’s piggy bank in order to have enough funds to purchase bourbon, Scotch, Irish and gin to go on a little binge all by myself to properly usher in the new year when you have to spoil it all by wiring me on Dec. 31, as follows: “No news was good news. Radiator trouble. Send $30 care Western Union, Tulsa, Okla.” As you did not specify whether the radiator in trouble was the cars or yours, my imagination is left full play. What became (stern voice) of all the alcohol you once had in the radiator? I only hope you will not be reduced to eating sterno with a spoon. However, as you may now have learned (I hope), I duly dispatched to the 30 simoleons with what was intended to be a cheery New Year’s greeting, hoping your head would have cleared sufficiently by that time to be able to read the message without seeing it double. By the way, as an extra precaution to aid in proper identification, I requested they ask your army number, and in less you see some reason why this is not a good idea, I think I shall follow this procedure in the future with any of you boys who ask for funds by wire. A bi-product of your message was the news that you were on your way, and quite possibly you have already arrived at your destination as these words are being written. If you don’t have another attack of girl trouble in as virulent a form as the epidemic that hit you at Flint, perhaps we may hear a bit more of the growth and progress of Corp. Guion. At present, I am sorry to say I cannot reply to any of your unanswered letters. Since Christmas, when Dan staged a bout with old man Barleycorn and used the alcove divan as a first aid dressing station, he has been back in the clutches of the Army, and speaking of clutches, he and Barbara, so the latter informed me, have decided to become dis-engaged, arriving at the decision by mutual agreement. I had a nice letter from Ethel in which she expresses regret that she sort of moved out on us without warning, due primarily to the tremendous task of getting the whole outfit moved so far and so quickly. She says: “We like it so much here and everyone is well and happy. You know how six people eat and there is no domestic help here. We just can’t wait for things to be so you can all come and visit us.” A letter from Roger Batchelder says he is out of the Army and in the Reserve. He says he made the slightest mistake of remarking to the adjutant (a 1st Lieut. who went to the Academy), “Pardon, sir, but when I was carrying a rifle around, you were in diapers”. He told the general about it, resulting in three weeks leave with pay and transferred to the Reserves. I imagine he had a few under his belt when that happened. Some people never learn. He said the only notification of Austin’s death came to him when a hotel clerk showed him the obit in a newspaper.

Dad.

Tomorrow, a letter addressed to Dan and on Wednesday, a letter addressed to Ced. Thursday and Friday, another letter from Grandpa to all his boys away from home.

Judy Guion

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10 thoughts on “Trumbull – Dear Boys (1) – Lad Is Driving to California – January 3, 1943

  1. Most men, at least back then, didn’t like to write or even knew how… your grandfather sounds like a “pistol” in those letters in the way he speaks/writes to his sons. Such treasures to be able to delve into his life… seeing his soul! My grandfather couldn’t read and could just about write his name, but he did know figures and kept track in a little book I have of his cotton bales and pricing. LOL

  2. morganwerhen says:

    I love this. I love that the letters are verbatim. It was divine to read this.

    • jaggh53163 says:

      morganwerhen – Thank you. I sometimes find myself wanting to add periods or commas because Grandpa can write a very, very long sentence – what with all his thoughts running wild. I do not because these are his thoughts and I want those who read them to understand who he was. The best way to learn about a person is to read things they write. Their personality comes through clearly. Comparing letters from Lad, Dan, Ced and Dave also help explain who they were – each one with a different perspective. Grandpa wrote in one letter, encouraging Dick to write from Alaska hen he was there with both Ced and Dan – that 3 painters could paint the same still life but it would look completely different for each one. He was so right.

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