This is the third installment of a long letter from Grandpa to the boys away from home this Christmas.
This is from Thanksgiving, 1945, but the location and layout would be the same for Christmas. (L to R: Aunt Betty Duryee, (Grandpa’s Aunt), Lad, Marian (Irwin) Guion, (Mrs. Lad), Grandpa and Jean (Mortensen) Guion, (Mrs. Richard))
Dining Room Table set for Christmas Dinner, 1947
By 4 o’clock the spiritual part of our being having been filled to repletion we then turned to the more practical of ministering to the inner man, and there in the dining room, with the holiday setting much like old days, with a luscious turkey done to a turn, a welcome and generous gift from the Vermont Peabody’s, a festive air lent by the candles supplied by Aunt Elsie and topped off with delicious plum pudding with hard sauce illuminated by the eerie blue flame of burning brandy, it was an event worthy of a place with past memories. During the meal,
Christmas Report page 4
Naturally, you boys were frequently in our thoughts and at Aunt Betty’s suggestion, we toasted Dan and Paulette, Dave and Ced, and hoped that this time next year would see us all together gathered around the table. We recalled that Christmas 10 years ago in St. Petersburg, Florida, wondered if Dan was able to get to Calais to spend the day with Paulette, tried to imagine what Dave was doing and conjectured on just how far Ced had gotten on his daring flight to Anchorage.
Cedric Duryee Guion and his Taylorcraft airplane, at this point winging his way back to Anchorage, Alaska, after having been home for about a month.
Incidentally, we received an airmail letter from Ced, postmarked Grand Prairie, Alberta, dated 10 P.M., December 23rd, written on a dismembered airmail envelope, decorated with pencil drawing of Santa Claus and his reindeer, and bearing the command, “Don’t open until December 25th”, which said: “May use anything for paper from now on. I’m getting back into God’s country. Stayed over last night in Edmonton, spent all yesterday afternoon and most of this morning trying to promote some Army cold weather equipment. Finally succeeded in getting, on a loan basis, a sleeping bag, flying boots, jacket and pants, all fleece lined. Expect to make an early start tomorrow A.M. and possibly make Watson Lake tomorrow P.M. (weather permitting). Actually this is a town I am in (Grand Rapids) but in spite of boasting a nice hotel there is no stationary and I didn’t think to buy any. Probably I’ll see no other town until I hit Alaska. There are one or two on the route but I’ll most likely miss them on gas hops. Well, don’t expect to hear from me too frequently for a while as mail will probably be slower through Canada. Everything fine so far except I’m spending lots more money than I had expected to. Did it ever miss? Well, I’ve enough to make Anchorage and then I’ll rob a bank or grab a tin cup and some pencils. Fervently, Ced.”
I have been following Ced’s progress with just a bit of anxiety, not relieved any with the formidable attack of weather we here in the East have been experiencing practically ever since he left, and while I have every confidence in his flying skill and good judgment and common sense, I also realize the flying hazards with an un-seasoned plane, a strange territory and unfavorable season, so it was with profound relief and a lifting of spirit that I received over the phone this afternoon a wire from Western Union, being a night letter from Anchorage, as follows: “Arrived Anchorage December 28th, 1 P.M. Leonard and Marian met plane at airport. Everything fine. Go to work Monday for Pacific Northwestern Airline, formerly Woodley Airways. Located room in very nice private home – 30 a month. May take an apartment in February. Good to be back here running again. Signed “Buick”. Congratulations with a big C, Ced, old bird. You have accomplished a difficult task well, and there is in one father’s heart not only a deep thankfulness for the outcome so favorable but also quite a bit of justifiable pride and respect. I hope you will have time to give us a day by day account of all your adventures, disappointments and pleasant happenings, dangers, etc., and any snapshots you may have taken en route. Also where you spent Christmas Day. It would also be interesting to hear from Dan and Dave as to just how they spent December 25th.
Because this is a 7-page letter, this week’s posts will be longer than usual but I certainly think you will enjoy them.