Trumbull – Dear Backsliders – Grandpa Responds to Marian – April 30, 1944

The letters I’ll be posting this week were written in the spring of 1944. Lad is at Camp Santa Anita training vehicle maintenance personnel, Dan is in London helping to plan for D-Day as a civil  engineer and surveyor, drawing maps for the invading forces, Ced is in Anchorage, Alaska, retrieving downed planes, repairing them and maintaining the fleet of airplanes for the Army, Dick is in Brazil as an MP and acting liaison between the Army and the local workers and Dave is at Camp Crowder, Missouri, finishing up advanced Basic Training.

Alfred Duryee Guion

           Alfred Duryee Guion

Trumbull, Conn. April 30, 1944

Dear Backsliders:
Save a little verse from Marian (about which more later) this is the second week that has passed without hearing a word from any of my five absentees. Now, I ask you, how can I quote from letters received if there are no letters received?
Last week about the time I was appending a little verse to my letter to you boys, Marian was indicting a little verse to me, to wit::

Dear Dad,
In the letter we received last week
there was a certain reference,
made to the fact that we had shown
a very distinct preference!
We didn’t know – (we’ve been away
from Trumbull quite a spell.)
That Dad had reached the well-known stage
that even “best friends won’t tell”!
He seems to think that a sweet sachet
will help his cause a bit.
But frankly, Dad, we think you’ll find
that there is something you forgot !
So we are sending with this note
the things we think you need,
we know your friends will all return
if only you take heed.
And use a little every day
of each and every one.
With best regards from daughter-in-law
and ever loving son.

To which the following the reply is respect fully submitted:

That’s done it. Now the lid is off.
Aunt Betty and Jean know
The reason you sent them sachet –
You think they have B.O.

And by the selfsame reasoning
The hanky, I should say
Implies they both have fevers
That flaunt the name of “hay”.

Another thing — the envelope
By Marian duly panned
Says: from “T/3 A. Guion”
As if these words would lend

An aura of great probity
And in advance, defend
Our Marian from the wrath to come
By blaming “friend husband.”

However, judgment is reserved
In my case, till receipt
Of alleged package, now en route,
I must, without deceit

Admit, as one thing not forgot —
The height of all my joys
In having safe at home again
Not friends, but all my boys.

And now this bit of doggeral
Should meet a timely end
And what more fitting that it be
The vehicle to send

To Marian, and to “T/3 (who
We best know here as “Lad”)
In spite of all we’ve said — our best.
Aunt Betty, Jean and Dad.

Now a quick glance at the meager home news of the week. Art Mantle is home. His nerves seemed to be a bit shot but otherwise is O.K. He has 30 days leave. I have not seen him yet. Biss, her two kids, Aunt Betty and yours truly went to see “Snow White” ( )yesterday.
Since eight o’clock this morning I have been as busy as the proverbial bee, clearing the back flower bed of stones, dumping several loads of raked up leaves, putting tar on the laundry roof where it leaks, replacing numbers on storm sashes to match frames where they had come off, cleaning out the furnace, besides getting dinner, etc.
We have as our guest Jean’s friend, Ann, from New Hampshire. Early yesterday morning they left for New York to paint the town red, stay overnight at a hotel and come home, sometime.
A letter from Barbara (Plumb) “somewhere in Italy” says: “I am well — gaining weight at a rate I don’t like to think about — enjoying everything I’m seeing and experiencing so very much. Overseas WACS, from all reports, are doing their jobs well. I saw Col. Hobby in North Africa and she certainly is absolutely charming — completely a woman. I’d never seen her before and didn’t know quite what to expect.”
My strenuous day in the outdoors, while but child’s play for you youngsters in the pink of condition, has made my bones a bit weary, do let’s call it a day, and hope the mailman will give me some quotable material for next week’s screed.
Creaky bones.

Tomorrow, a letter from Lad and Marian and on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, another letter from Grandpa.

Judy Guion

World War II Army Adventure (36) – A Letter From Another Friend – June 13, 1944


David Peabody Guion

6 Fayerweather Terr.

Bridgeport, 5  Conn.

June 13 – 44

Hi Dave,

I suppose you don’t remember me. I’m Fran Moore’s right hand helper. Remember? You’ve seen me gloating up Bassick. Dot Topolski gave me your address so I just had to write.

I hear you know most of my friends in Trumbull. Sayers and Millie Osterberg. They all go to my church. I had the yearbook down church and that’s when we all found out who who was.

I do hope the Army has been treatimg you ok. We had a grand time at class day exercises. We missed all you boys who could not be with us.

You haven’t heard anything from Fran, or the gang, have you? Fran is supposed to be coming home this week from college. I hope so.

The swimming has been good though the water is quite cold. I bet Pine Brook is just great this time of year.

Every thing around here is just about the same, except, as you might have guessed, Jack and Barbara Young, in 1954, will have twins. At least according to the prophesy. They made a grand jumble out of the seniors.

The picture of you in the year book is very cute. When you get home, you’ll have to put your John Hancock to it.

I’m afraid I’m a punk one for writing. I don’t know what you’d like to hear. The kids are all over so it’s hard to keep taps on them.

If you get a spare moment, drop me a line and let me know how things are with you.

Best of Every Thing,

Ethel Sjoberg

Can you read it?

P.S. Fran just called. Sends her regards.

Tomorrow, I will begin a week of letters from 1944. All five of Grandpa’s sons are serving Uncle Sam in one capacity or another.

Judy Guion

World War II Army Adventure (35)- Letter From Jim McClinch, United States Navy – June 15, 1944

My uncle, David Peabody Guion, enlisted in the Army and was sworn in on January 15th, 1944. He is currently at Camp Crowder, Missouri.  It seems that Dave will have missed seeing Jim McClinch and Stanley Feller when he gets to Trumbull.

David Peabody Guion

Thursday    15-44

Dear Dave,

Well, I left dear old Sampson and got myself 5 days delayed orders. I had a hell of a time for 5 whole days, and here’s why, Stanley Feller was home.First time in 17 months and I was out with him for 5 whole days.

I’m telling you, Dave, I saw more women in those 5 days than I did in my whole life. God Damn, but Stan has turned to be an awful wolf. And he is funnier than all hell.

This place is a hell hole and don’t let anyone tell you any different. We hav to take more shit here than we had to take at Sampson for 6 months. And it also is a filthy place. The damn walls are alive with cock roaches and other undesirable insects.

In about 5 minutes I’ll have to go out anad run my ass of ragged for about 2 hours. — Physical Marching, you know. I’ll be a physical wreck before I leave this place. — believe me.

Give a little prayer that I get assigned to a ship and to hell off thhis base — it’s driving me batty.

There goes that damn bugle so I’ll have to “shove off” for now, but I’ll be “cruising in” again soon. Write soon, will you, “Salty”?

Your Sailing Buddy,


Tomorrow, another letter from Ethel Sjoberg.

Judy Guion


Venezuelan Adventure (20) – Lighting the Fire (4) – April 3, 1939

My grandfather is fed up with the way his sons are being treated in Venezuela so he’s decided to do something about it. He shoots off a barrage of letters to  government officials in Venezuela to light a fire under someone.


    Alfred Duryee Guion – (Grandpa) – in the Alcove                           where he typed his letters

April 3, 1939

Mesars Solhuster and Feudillo

Edificio Venezuela

Caracas Venezuela

Attention of Mr. Traviero


My two sons Alfred P and Daniel B Guion are, and have for some months, been employed by Inter-America, Inc. in Venezuela. Up to March 30th when I last heard from them, they have not been paid any salary whatsoever for their services, which in Daniel’s case covers a 5 1/3 months period.

I have been in frequent touch with the New York office of Inter-America, Inc. and have been able to obtain only in definite promises of payment “sometime in the future”. I have finally decided they are too unreliable to deal with, in fact it looks to me as though the company is insolvent, and there is grave doubt that they will be able to pay even the fare of their employees back to the United States.

As I have been informed that you are legal representative and agent of Inter-America, Inc. in Venezuela, I am writing to ask if you will inform me definitely what the situation is. It seems only fair that I should take this step rather than start any formal proceedings with the federal authorities in Washington.

Will you please, therefore, write me as to what assurance I can rely upon that my sons will not be left stranded in Venezuela by Mr. Maxudian’s company.

Very sincerely yours,

Alfred D Guion


On the back of a copy of this letter sent to Lad, Grandpa as a personal note:

Lad – As a friendly act I am passing on canceled Ven. stamps on your letters to stamp collector.  If you can very of the denominations occasionally to make up the total postage I would have more stamps and a greater variety. ADG

Tomorrow and on Sunday I will be posting more of the World War II Army Adventures of my Uncle Dave, who is at Camp Crowder in Missouri for training.

Judy Guion

Venezuelan Adventure (19) – Lighting the Fire (3) – April 3, 1939

My grandfather is fed up with the way his sons are being treated in Venezuela so he’s decided to do something about it. He shoots off a barrage of letters to  government officials in Venezuela to light a fire under someone.


Daniel Beck Guion working in Venezuela

April 3, 1939

To the Honorable Enrique Aguerrevere

Minister of Public Works

Edificio Espana

Caracas Venezuela

Honorable Sir:

May I ask your aid in behalf of my son, Daniel B Guion, who is employed as transit man by Inter-America, Inc., and who on October 21, 1938 sailed from New York on the Grace Line to work on a Venezuelan road survey.

The written contract called for the payment of a stipulated salary plus all expenses while in the company’s employee. From that date up to the present time, in spite of repeated promises from the company’s New York office, no salary whatsoever has been paid for his services. On March 31st there was due him on back salary a sum representing 5 1/3 months work.

He informs me that his fellow workers are also unpaid. I have reason to believe the company is insolvent. I know they have frequently been forced to supply their own food.

I feel sure that you would not knowingly permit conditions of this sort to exist, particularly as I learn that the very highest standards are maintained in the management of public works under your direction, and that your labor laws are excellent and are strictly enforced.

Otherwise, I would not presume to bother you with so small a matter from a governmental standpoint, even though it is of serious concern to the individuals concerned.

As I am considerably concerned as to my son’s welfare, any action you may feel warranted to remedy this situation will be much appreciated.

Very sincerely yours,

Alfred D Guion


Tomorrow I’ll post the final letter with a personal note from Grandpa to Lad.

Judy Guion


Venezuelan Adventure (18)- Lighting the Fire (2) – April 3, 1939

My grandfather is fed up with the way his sons are being treated in Venezuela so he’s decided to do something about it. He shoots off a barrage of letters to  government officials in Venezuela to light a fire under someone.


Daniel Beck Guion and two peons working in Venezuela

April 3, 1939

To the Honorable Luis G. Pietri

Minister of the Interior

Caracas, Venezuela

Hon. Sir:

May I ask your indulgence in what may seem to be merely a personal matter?

My only excuse for so doing lies in the fact that Inter-America, Inc. is apparently insolvent, and that being the case, as they have secured an exemption from making the customary deposit, their American employees are apparently left stranded in the interior of Venezuela without means of support.

May I sight my son as an example of the conditions applying to other employees of Inter-America, Inc., now engaged in road survey work somewhere between Carora and Lake Maracaibo.

Daniel B Guion entered the employ of Inter-America, Inc. on October 21, 1938. His contract called for a monthly salary plus all expenses. Up to March 31, 1939, a lapse of 5 1/3 months, he has been paid nothing.

I am informed that the labor laws of Venezuela are exceptionally fine and are rigidly enforced, and that your government would not knowingly permit them to be disregarded as they apparently have in this instance.

May I therefore ask for your investigation into the affairs of this company? Your interest will be greatly appreciated.

Very sincerely yours,

Alfred D. Guion


Tomorrow and Friday I will be posting the other letters grandpa mailed to Venezuelan government officials. 

Judy Guion

Venezuelan Adventure (17) – Lighting the Fire (1) – April 3, 1939


My grandfather is fed up with the way his sons are being treated in Venezuela so he’s decided to do something about it. He shoots off a barrage of letters to  government officials in Venezuela to light a fire under someone.

            Alfred Duryee Guion  (Grandpa)

April 3, 1939

Mr. S. E. McMillan

American Consul

U.S. Consulate

Caracas, Venezuela

Dear Sir:

Enclosed please find copies of letters written to two officials of the Venezuelan Government, which letters I believe are self-explanatory.

Anything you can do to expedite the straightening out of this mess will be appreciated by an anxious parent.

I will, of course, be glad to supply you with any further details in my power to obtain, if you will let me know what is needed.

My son, Daniel B. Guion, is at present stranded somewhere between Carora and Lake Maracaibo. Another son, Alfred P. Guion, who left New York December 30 in the employ of Inter-America, Inc. can undoubtedly supply you with further details. He is located at the Hotel Aleman in Caracas.

If you think I ought to start inquiries through our own State Department in this country, please suggest what steps I should take. I am acquainted with some of the higher officials in Washington and might be able to stir up some quick action if you think it advisable. Meanwhile I will rest the matter in your hands.

Your cooperation will be gratefully accepted.

Very sincerely yours,

Alfred D. Guion


Enc. 2

Tomorrow, Thursday and Friday I will be posting the rest of the letters Grandpa has sent off to Venezuela to try to expedite straightening out the mess with Inter-America. 

Judy Guion