This week I will be posting letters written in December, 1944. All five sons are scattered around the world and Grandpa is holding down the fort in Trumbull with his two “Army Widows”, my Mom, Marian, (Mrs. Alfred Peabody Guion (Lad), who is in France), and Jean, (Mrs. Richard Peabody Guion) who is in Brazil.)
Trumbull Conn., December 17, 1944
“Let us flee”, said the fly. “Let us fly”, said the flea; so they fled through the flaw in the flue.
There, having gotten a good start with a bit of profound wisdom appropriate to the season, my thoughts can now be released to deal with more practical and homely things, such as:
One thing I can promise with great assurance and that is that, aside from Dick and Dan, who’s Christmas boxes left about a month ago, in accordance with Government regulations, you others will NOT get your boxes by December 25th, for the simple reason that they have not yet been sent (and there is a grave doubt in my mind whether even Dick and Dan will get their boxes by that date, which will make it unanimous). And being pressed for an explanation of being so remiss, I would depose and say that due to the shortage of labor in the huge Guion organization, plus the fact that customers are insistent that their addressograph plates be completed promptly in order to take care of their Christmas mailings, it has transpired that the Lord High Executioner of said organization has been forced to stick so close to his job that he has not even had time to go out for lunch, but must forsooth take down a thermos bottle of milk and nibble a few biscuits, instead of going out lunch time to see what Santa Claus has to offer. Result: no greeting cards this year, shopping by proxy through the courtesy of my daughters-in-law. However, if you wait patiently there will eventually arrive a small package containing sundry modest gifts, hardly more than token remembrances from the usual triumvirate, Aunt Betty, Aunt Elsie and Dad, limited by the limited requirements imposed by military life for you boys in the service, plus the distinct shortage of available items to be found currently in the stores. Some of the items, to be sure, are chosen with hope that the thought, in some cases little short of inspiration, will justify the senders earnest hopes – – as, for instance, a wee alcohol stove which your native Guion ingenuity may find many uses for, and in Ced’s case, to keep at the hangar to warm something hot on the cold days when he has to eat his lunch indoors on cold days. But there, no more ideas as to contents of the package, we can now turn to the:
HOUSEHOLD HINTS DEPARTMENT
Guion’s Great Shaving Discovery: try this one, you with stubborn beards. First wet the face with warm water (in fact washing with soap and warm water will be even better). Then a quick application of brushless shaving cream (I have found Krank’s about the best), and then (here’s the trick) over this apply a regular old-fashioned lather shaving cream with a brush. Sounds like a lot of trouble but in my case, at least, it results in a nice clean shave which leaves the face smooth and not the usual aftershave rash. Maybe it won’t work with you as “one man’s face is another man’s poison”, but a trial will show.
Hint on one item in winterizing your car. During the summer, condensation in the tank, moisture in the air, etc., results in a certain amount of water accumulation in the gas line, carburetor, etc. Therefore, to a tank fairly full of gas add 1 gallon of alcohol, which in theory will absorb water out and itself be burned out in the running of the car. Or perhaps I will get an argument back from Alaska or southern France which will result in throwing this valuable hint out of the window, out there it is, for what it is worth.
Page 2 12/17/1944
(Time out to change carbons) and incidentally, if this letter seems to lack coherence, it is interspersed here and there with hints of dress patterns, the shape of collar best suited for Elizabeth’s particularly shaped neck, etc., you have to blame it on my chatterbox daughters-in-law who are sewing here at a great rate while I am trying to concentrate on this my weekly blurb. They are going to read this later and that is when I shall have my revenge.
However, there is little besides small talk to report. A letter from David still expresses hope of getting home for Christmas, but there is still nothing definite. Carl (Wayne) is home, as I reported last letter. He came over for a while today for a few moments, after we had finished an excellent meal prepared by Marian’s capable hands. I was thus enabled to get several needed things around the house done. All of us here in the house, except Marian, have been hosts to a pesky little cold germ which indeed seems to have been traveling the rounds in Stratford, Bridgeport and Trumbull, attacking the digestive track and causing vomiting and diarrhea. Besides us here, Elizabeth’s family and now the Mortensen’s and Jean reports several in the Harvey Hubble office (The Harvey Hubble Shirt Factory in Bridgeport where Jean is working). Much to Marian’s disgust, we have had no real snowstorm but there is still time to get it before Christmas.
I am now pleased to report that we have two tastefully decorated rooms in the old home – – Marian’s and Jean’s. Following the blue and white motif of the wallpaper, Marian has completed tastefully furnishing her boudoir in feminine style was new white paint on the furniture with blue drapes, etc. it is really surprising what she has been able to do with so little to start with. Very versatile, that lady, and while I am putting down things to be thankful for, I must put the top of the list the good judgment of my two married sons in their selection of my daughters-in-law. Altogether we are a very happy family here and it is just too bad the rest of you can’t be here to enjoy it. Although, of course, if you were, like the flea and the fly mentioned in my opening paragraph, you would probably spoil it all by fleeing somewhere else.
Gosh, here it is almost 10:30, besides which I cannot think of anything more to write about, so in spite of the paper shortage, we’ll just have to let the rest of this page go blank, and only pausing long enough in this closing paragraph to say that I am sorry you will not be here a week from tonight to hang up your stockings as you used to do in the days before Hitler. We can all look forward to next Christmas, and hope.
For the rest of the week, I will be posting a 4-page letter from Grandpa to his “dear little boys”.