We are moving forward to 1942. Lan is in Aberdeen, Maryland, at the Aberdeen Proving Grounds and Dan is in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, both getting more training for their positions in the Army. Ced has been in Alaska for over two years, working as an airplane mechanic at Woodley Airfield. Dick and Dave are still in Trumbull going to school. Aunt Betty, Grandpa’s Aunt, has moved to Trumbull to help take care of the house while Grandpa runs his advertising and printing company in Bridgeport.
Grandma Arla – Arla Mary (Peabody) Guion
Trumbull, Conn., September 13, 1942
Dear Tall Son:
This is the day on which my birthday was officially celebrated and what a day it turned out to be. Before I plunge into the details, let me say there was only one of my stalwarts missing to make the day perfect. (Of course, just between you and me, there is always someone else I miss very much on all family gatherings). Even that was partly compensated for, because a few days before, a letter arrived from Alaska enclosing a photo of said missing son and that was passed around from hand to hand, as well as those of his bearded double. And by the way, Aunt Betty just came in and asked me to say to you that although she could not use the typewriter to add her message to the other round robins attached, and was also unable to write by hand, she wanted me to tell you she also missed you and was glad you had become so good-looking — and I don’t think she was thinking of the man with the beard.
Well, to return to my theme song. Of course, the 11th was the official date, and just as Dan has an attachment to his camera that in taking two pictures at one exposure adds a third dimension and thus results in a finished product far superior to either one alone, so a double celebration (probably because the increasing age of the victim could not be adequately justified by one celebration) seemed indicated. Anyway, Friday, as I came home from work with my arms full of supper, and proceeded to take off my coat preparatory to donning the chef’s apron, Aunt Betty informed me I need go no further because the whole family had been invited next door to the Wardens for supper — it being by a strange coincidence also the birthday of Paul Warden. So, in we marched to an excellent Italian spaghetti dinner with birthday cake and everything, followed by a very pleasant evening. Barbara had also been invited and Jane and Charley Hall, arriving later, made quite a little party.
With the hope that my two soldier boys might arrive for this weekend, it was decided in family conclaves that, reversing Armistice Day procedure of the First World War, the false but more exciting occasion should take place today. Both Dan and Lad were able to wangle passes, Elizabeth and her family found enough gas to pilot their chariot from Stratford to Trumbull, Barbara Plumb, Dan’s girlfriend) and Jean (Hughes), who are practically part of the family anyhow, and Catherine Warden, whose husband was away for the day, made up, not counting the little ones, a gathering of 10 with the regulars (Zeke arrived a bit late as he had gone fishing this morning) all gathered around the festive board in the old dining room which you can easily reconstruct on the canvas of your mind. (In case you are interested, tomato aspic, standing rib roast, candied sweet potatoes, cauliflower, fresh corn on the cob from Laufer’s, Brown (aunt) Betty, lemon and lime fruit drink, cake and coffee formed the menu).
Tomorrow, I will post the rest of this letter.