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.
David Peabody Guion
DAVE – On August 25th, I think, we were all watching a film in a kind of natural amphitheater and one of the guys was from Brooklyn and had a buddy, whowas also from Brooklyn, and I remember this just as if it were yesterday, he came running over – we had gotten some rumors that the Japs were going to quit – and this guy came running over and said, “The signing has been confoimed.” I never forgot that.
The time between August 25th and September 7th when they signed the Treaty, I left Okinawa and went down to Manila. Here I am now – the war is over – all I have to do is go home and they are shipping me out in a plane to Manila. The pilot spent about twenty minutes, maybe, trying to start one engine and I said to myself, “I’m going to die in the ocean and the war is over.” Anyhow, we got to Manila. That was quite a sight – buildings where the first floor was completely gone and five or six or seven stories would be on top of it, canted, all kinds of destruction. If you went to the City Hall and looked up you would see a room with curtains on the windows. That was MacArthur’s headquarters. So he had curtains on his windows and the Philipinos were watching dead bodies float down the river.
I would say I was in Manila probably about six months. It would have been August, September, October, November, December, January, February, March, eight months. I came home in March 1946. I got out of the service the day Chiche (Paulette) gave birth to Arla, Danielle, as the case may be. (Dan and Paulette’s daughter was named Danielle Arla Julien Andre Guion but the family always called her Arla.)
I had a friend who had a friend who was MacArthur’s driver, chauffeur, and this guy said that whenever MacArthur went in someplace, he’d always get one of those Oriental houses where there was a porch all the way around the building. He’d have his staff come up and sit in chairs around the building. He got up to the first staff member and he would say, “Give me your report.” It might be a question, it might be a problem, or it might just be a report. Then he would walk around the whole building, see the whole staff, each giving him these questions. Then he would get in his car and tell his friends friend, “Drive me”. They would drive around and pretty soon MacArthur would say, “OK”, let’s go back.” Then he’d say, “you, — blah, blah, blah. You — blah, blah, blah.” He went all around the whole building telling each one of his staff members what to do about his problem. What a brain. There shouldn’t be enough room in there for an ego, but there was.
Tomorrow, Day Six of Lad’s Voyage to Venezuela. He arrives in Guayra and writes of his experience.
On Sunday, more about My Bradford Ancestors, Caleb Rider and Hannah McFarland.