Home Detachment stationed at Trumbull, Conn.
October 22, 1944
Dear Army of Occupation:
(“Occupation” meaning employed, keeping busy, etc., written in the hope you will get busy and write another letter home one of these days.”)
Well, once again, armed (to the teeth) with my Sunday rapid-fire pipe, consuming more matches per hour then a B-32 does gasoline, and with my faithful Remington ready to pop away with its staccato fire, I start forth to battle those Allied foes, distance and new experiences, that would fain destroy your remembrance of “the old folks at home”.
My greatest concern at this writing (and I might as well get the worst out of my system at the start) is the lack of news lately from Dan. I don’t like that word “forward” in the latest address he sent me. Of course that may mean he is so busy chasing Heinies back to their homeland that he hasn’t time “between maps” to use the postal service. Still, I suppose maps must be prepared so that we can make our leaps forward into enemy territory (and apropos of this, at home we too are winning the war by “Jeeps and bonds”. According to the news from MacArthur this week, they are doing the leaping over in the Pacific area. However, Dan, before I drop the subject, just remember you are getting to be a big boy now. You have a birthday celebration coming up this week and you’ll be a year older since I heard from you last. That’s quite a long while between drinks, as the Governor of North Carolina is reported to have remarked to the Governor of South Carolina. And speaking of Governors, the Hon. Raymond Baldwin has once again called upon the Guion organization to help him attain leadership of the Commonwealth of Connecticut. We are supposed, within the next few days, to turn out some 20,000 multigraph letters for him, and how I miss Dave under these circumstances. I could hardly turn down the job so I finally got in touch with George Lipovsky who very kindly consented to come over, set up the letter and run at least some of them off for me. We have to fold them as well, so it looks like papa will be busy for a few days. To get ready for this job I worked until 11:30 Friday night, all yesterday afternoon (Sat.) so that “winterizing” the home has not preceded apace this week. I did get a little weather stripping down this afternoon and a few more screens taken down, but it is a long job with only one pair of hands.
The other fly in my ointment is twins – – the persisting rumors that both Lad and Dave – – the youngest and oldest – – are scheduled before the end of the year to take a trip across the big drink. I have not heard from Dave this week but Marian, my old news standby (old of course being a term of endearment and having no reference direct or implied to the age of the party aforesaid), says “that old overseas question is getting closer and closer. We had so hoped we could spend our first anniversary together, but we aren’t too sure now. In the meantime we avoid the subject like poison. Lad has secured authorization for enough gasoline for Marian to drive to Connecticut when and if, and she says: “one of these mornings (evidently she expects to travel at night) I may come blowing in with the breeze (how did she know I did not get all the chicks caulked up?). Looks as though I’m going to cash in that rain check very soon now. Also, according to her letter, Lad has reversed the theme of that song about finding a billion-dollar baby in a five and $.10 store, for she says: “now that Lad is on the day shift again and I have some spare time during the day, I’m working again. This time it is at Woolworth’s, and it is very enlightening to say the least. It keeps one hopping trying to figure out what the customer wants. A colored lady came in today and asked for what I thought was a “straight comb”. I showed her everything we had but she insisted I didn’t understand. Turns out she wanted a “straight’n” comb to take the kinks out of her hair !!! (Reference Opus 63, mamas li’l baby likes short’n Bread.) And referring to the branch meeting of the clan, she writes: “we had the grandest visit with Dave weekend before last. We spent Saturday and part of Sunday with him and wished it could have been longer. I’m so glad I got a chance to meet him. He and Lad are a great deal alike. I watched them walking down the street together and there was no question as to their being related. (Note by Editor: That remark, young lady, with its sinister implication demands further explanation). They even stand the same way with their feet crossed. See what I mean? Anyway we had a grand time together and left with the fervent hope that it won’t be too long before we meet again under more favorable circumstances”.
And good old Ced becomes the father of a three page letter with interesting detail of local happenings. There is too much to quote verbatim, to say nothing of the long letter from Rusty which he also enclosed, which if you don’t mind Ced, I will retain for a while until my business and home rush is over somewhat because I should like to copy it and send it to the boys who, knowing Rusty, would be much interested in his doings “fathest” North where the winter is frozen most of the year and cars are few. Here are some of the highlights of Ced’s news. Art Woodley is now a father of a baby boy. Ced has added a few more flying hours to his logbook and is now studying for a radio license so that he can use the aircraft communications services. At the time he wrote (please date your letters, Ced, because ofttimes the postmark is illegible) there had been some frost and it was chilly riding to work on his bike. He is now a member of the choir of the Presbyterian Church and enjoys it. Pistons for the Buick finally arrived so he will have to get busy and install them, putting the bike into winter storage. He received a package from Rusty containing an ivory letter opener, ivory buttons and a bracelet and bead set, all carefully packed in the hollow of a human skull, minus the lower jaw – – probably the skull of some ancient Eskimo or a Siberian ancestor of the same. The ski season is about to open. The snow is creeping down the mountains with every rain in the city of Anchorage. The ski club soon elects officers. Ced is on the nominating committee. Anchorage is growing. Dan and Dick wouldn’t know the outskirts of town anymore. There are three huge government housing projects underway and more to come – – new apartments, two new stores, gas stations, homes, etc., where formally were vacant lots. There is a new book out on Alaska entitled “I Got a Country”. The story takes place in the town of “Inlet” but to those who are in the know it is really Anchorage. According to official records Anchorage airport tops all others in the country as to the number of airplane operations (July, 1944) 9553. Also in the 9000 class but less than Anchorage are Columbus Ohio; El Paso, Texas; Miami, Fla; La Guardia field, N.Y.; Richmond, Va.; Sacramento, Calif; Salt Lake City, Utah.
To you, Dan, I have already sent a special V-mail birthday letter and to you as well as Dick I got off Christmas boxes containing small remembrances from Aunt Betty, Aunt Elsie and myself. There is no telling when you will receive them as in Bridgeport alone on the siding there are 20 freight cars filled with Christmas packages from this vicinity alone, 15 for shipment via New York and five from San Francisco, a total of 218,000 parcels altogether.
My bed time is drawing near with the end of this page, so until next time, a pleasant good night from DAD
Tomorrow, the last post for Voyage to Venezuela. It is Lad’s first letter from Caracas letting the home folk know about his first week in Venezuela. The story will continue next week with letters written in 1939.
On Sunday I have some more Special Pictures.
On Monday, we go back in time to 1939, when Lad and Dan are working in Venezuela and Grandpa begins writing letters to his sons, so far from home.