Richard Peabody Guion
Trumbull, Conn., July 30, 1944
If this were intended to be just an ordinary letter, you know, it might have started off with “Dear Dick”, but as this is a communication of a very “special occasion”, we naturally have to observe some formality. Of course it is a bit ahead of time, I know, but the 19th will roll around fast enough and I would much rather have this reach you a bit ahead of time than a bit late. But to forgo further preamble, here, as you may already have surmised, is what is intended to be a very special birthday letter.
By this time, you will say, he ought to have had enough experience to write a bang up birthday letter. Let’s see. Between you all, 151 birth days have come and gone, and while it is true only a small portion have occasioned letters, there have been quite a number at that; and yet with all this practice it is just as difficult as ever to say the things one feels deep down inside and to give voice to all the thankfulness and well wishing and great expectations for the future which anniversaries like this stir up in one’s heart.
Perhaps the predominant thought is a feeling of deep satisfaction for the kind of son you have turned out to be. So many times in a family of our size there is likely as not to be at least one who, in spite of all the hope and care and good intentions of the parents, go off at a tangent causing heart aches and worry and disappointments, or even if not anything so definite, there is at least an ill feeling or resentment among brothers and sisters that brings disunity to the family unit. And unfortunately it takes only one to cause the rift.
So my heart is full of thankfulness that we are a congenial family. (And that goes for the new daughters-in-law, too). It is a circumstance I know from what she has so often said, that would greatly please your mother if she were here to share it with me. And of course you, as one unit, must take full satisfaction in doing your share to make the sum total what it is.
Then there is the personal (and somewhat selfish) satisfaction I feel, in you, my son, as an individual. Somehow your being away for so long has made me appreciate all the more those little traits of character that go to make up one’s personality – your even-tempered and good nature, your whimsical ideas and comical way of expressing them, your artistic urgings to self-expression that never really have had an adequate outlet or chance for full flowering – your pride in doing well the things you undertake, your possession of high ideals and early start in married life with an attractive loyal mate, with like ideals, all bring a feeling of certainty that whatever the future may hold for both of you, it will be good. Someday I hope it may be your privilege to watch a little son or daughter, or both, grow up from babyhood through childhood to adult years and that you may have occasions to take the same full measure of joy and satisfaction in the result as I have and have had in you.
There, I still have not been able to get across the sort of birthday greeting I had hoped to accomplish when I started this letter, but for the rest, you will have to read between the lines. Right now, I want most of all to have you back home again, safe and sound, all the better, mentally and physically and spiritually for this horrid war interlude, but until that time comes, you’ll just have to imagine the love and boundless goodwill you deserve and command from your loving
Tomorrow I’ll post a letter from Marian and on Friday, a very interesting and informative letter from Dan who is in Normandy following the D-Day Invasion.