These are the memories of my Father and his siblings, recorded over several years. When my Uncle Dan passed away, I realized that I had better get started recording the memories of Dan’s siblings before they were also gone. I was able to have two recording sessions with my Father, Lad in California; two with Uncle Ced in New Hampshire, a three-day cruise in our boat with Aunt Biss; one session with Uncle Dave in Stratford, CT and one hand-written session (I forgot my tape recorder going up to the Island in New Hampshire, where Uncle Dick lived) with Uncle Dick. I transcribed them once exactly as they were spoken, again removing the ums, ahs, half sentences started over, etc. I then produced a final copy that was easier to read, but it still needs work getting the chronological order correct. Memories are not recorded with a date stamp. I created 75 binders for family members which include all three translations, pages and pages of photos and memorabilia and the actual recording. Now family members can actually heat their ancestors speaking. It was my first project with all the material my Father saved for me and a true Labor of Love. I hope you enjoy these memories of A Slice of Life at a different time and place.
Lad in uniform at the Trumbull House on leave
LAD – (During the War) Dan was in France. He was a surveyor and was coordinating between England and France, I guess helping to make arrangements (before D-Day). Ced was working at Elmendorf Airfield when it was taken over by the military. He was then employed by the government as a mechanic. Later on, he was willing to do it, or was crazy enough to do it, but he would take a tractor and an AT Wagon (a little wagon with tracks on it so it stayed on top of the snow) and go out and bring back downed planes. Sometimes it would take a number of days before he found the plane and was able to bring it back. Dick, I know very little about. He went to Brazil and was able to converse with Portuguese civilians. He spent a couple of years there. I know nothing about Dave except that he was in the Philippines.
David Peabody Guion
DAVE – on December 23 (1944) I was sworn into the Army and on January 16th I went off to Ft. Devin’s to begin my training. One of the deals in the processing up there was a situation where you could sit down and some guy with a typewriter and a form would ask you questions and then type the answers. Well, one of the questions further down the line was, “What would you like to do while you are in the service?” I said, “I’d like to get to talk to people. I’d like this job.” A few days later – George Knecht (a friend and neighbor from Trumbull) and I went into the service at the same time – a few days later they called me down to processing and said, “We can keep you for, we don’t know how long, it depends on how you orders are written, but we can keep you on this job doing this typing.” And I said, “Yes.” I could see some weekends home with my new girlfriend, so that’s fine with me. A couple of days later George shipped out and went to Europe and slogs through mud and muck during the whole war.
I got home three weekends; it was a pretty nice job at Fort Devens. Of course at the time I said I’d like to do this job I didn’t realize that it was done by people who were just recruits as I was once. Anyhow, the guy behind me – there were four of us who were doing this job – was telling me about his brother who was in the Signal Corps in New Jersey. So I figured that was a good deal. I’ll joined the Signal Corps and from New Jersey, get home some more weekends. What I neglected to say is that they told us, “When they ask you this question of what you would like to do, nobody ever reads that. At this point, we are just filling a quota, but those who work here, we actually do try to put them where they want to be.” So that’s when I said, “New Jersey. I’d like to go into the Signal Corps.” So I went into the Signal Corps. After I got into the Signal Corps I found out that New Jersey was the advanced training for radar or something and I ended up in Missouri, but at least I was in the Signal Corps.
I was sent to radio school and radio school was – what you had was earphones on your head and there were all these dits and dahhs, dit-dit-dahh-dit, all this business, and you were supposed to write down these letters as they came out. I found out they were random letters. I didn’t want to be a radio operator, didn’t want to hear all those dits and dahhs in my head, in my ear. What I used to do – it’s tough to beat the service, they’ve seen everything – but I managed to get away with this. I don’t know how, but there was a key that you could send messages, I guess that was advanced training, and I found out that the messages, the letters, came through that key. So I used to take a little piece of paper and stick it in a spot where it broke the connection and then when the instructor went by I would sit and write any letter that happened to come into my head because they were all random letters. When he moved on, I would switch papers and write a letter to my girlfriend. Roundabout that time I got the mumps. I was in the hospital and when I came back out ….. I guess it was maybe before I went to radio school I got the mumps; I guess that’s what it was. I remember my finest hour I begged and pleaded with the officer to let me stay in radio school even though I wanted desperately to get out and he didn’t buy my act so they sent me off to cryptography school. That was a better deal. I was encoding and decoding messages and I had to get an FBI clearance and people back home were interviewed, a big fuss made, but at eighteen, how much trouble could I have gotten into in my life. So I got into Cript School and that’s where I stayed and although I didn’t do a lot of encoding and decoding, I was officially a cryptographer.
For the rest of the week I will be posting more of the recorded Childhood Memories of Trumbull.