World War II Army Adventure (64) – Dear Son – A Birthday Letter – September 27, 1944

Grandpa was in the habit of writing a special “Birthday Letter” to each of his sons who were far from home.  This one goes out to Dave at Camp Crowder, Missouri, where Dave has been stationed for advanced training before going overseas.


            Alfred Duryee Guion, (Grandpa)


Sept. 27, 1944

Dear Son:

This, obviously, is a birthday greeting letter from an admiring father to his youngest son.  It will have to be pretty good to come within striking distance of the one I recently received on my birthday from my youngest son.

This, to the best of my recollection, is the first birthday you will have spent away from the old home and family and to that extent it marks the end of one phase of your life and the beginning of a new and broader one – – a period still of growth, to be sure, but one in which the piloting will be done by you rather than the guiding hand of the parent.  In the background, as you know, there will still always be the readiness to help when the going is hard and while you know all you need do is reach out for it when needed, you will still be largely on your own.

And that leads me to make certain observations in reviewing the past.  So frequently we fail to let the other fellow know just how much we think of him – – how really important a place he fills.  This can best be measured by asking how difficult would it be to get along without him.  By this test you rate “tops” with me, and the day can’t come too soon when I can shift some of the problems and business worries on younger shoulders.  For the last months I’ve certainly missed you.

Did you ever stop to think that you are peculiarly my boy? (and I’m proud of it) The other youngsters, in measure according to age, had the privilege of being molded and guided by an unusual Mother’s inspiring character and influence, whereas you were too young to really have felt this benefit.  “Home” as you knew it, was minus the mainspring, it is one of those “lacks” that can never be measured.  Yet if Mother were here today on your 19th birthday I know she, too, would be proud of you, which naturally pleases me, because I promised her (and it wasn’t an FDR promise) that I would try to keep the home fires burning and bring up her children and mine so that, in passing the torch of life down through the generations to come, the flame would burn bright.  And that promise, more of a responsibility in your case than in the others, is nearing a happy fulfillment.  The small failings and habits you have (procrastination, management of money, etc.) are offset by so much that is good, that the complete picture makes me a proud and happy father.  (And even these small weaknesses I am hopeful, you will overcome as experience shows you their pitfalls.)

Feeling as I do, I would like to have you go to your P.X. & select the kind of watch you want,  letting me know the cost.  For the rough wear it will probably get in the Army I should think a sturdy rather than a more expensive “gentleman” model would be preferable, but that’s up to you.

We’ll all miss you this week-and when ordinarily we would be celebrating the event, but our thoughts and love will be yours just the same.

And now, to close on an appropriate note, suppose you procure a Bible somewhere, & turn to the 17th Chapter of St. Matthew, verse 5.

Love, Dad

Tomorrow I will be posting a Birthday card from Dave’s girlfriend, El (Eleanor Kintop).

Judy Guion 



4 thoughts on “World War II Army Adventure (64) – Dear Son – A Birthday Letter – September 27, 1944

  1. Valerie says:

    Matthew 17:5: … “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased…”

    Very touching.

    • Judy Guion says:

      Valerie, Even though Grandpa wrote special Birthday letters to each son for all the years they were away from home, each and every one was very personal, well thought out and treasured. Grandpa definitely had a way with the English language.

  2. Anne Clare says:

    What a wonderful letter, and how great that your Grandpa got a chance to tell his son how proud he was of him- that doesn’t always happen! Thanks for sharing these pieces of your family’s history.

    • Judy Guion says:

      Anne, Thank you for the comment. Grandpa knew that each of his sons was unique and had a way of writing his Birthday letters so that he never duplicated anything from one son to another. I would bet that each son felt very special on his birthday because of those letters.

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