Trumbull – Dear Victors – A Very Busy Week – August 19, 1945

For this week, we will stay in 1945 so I can post the letters that I could not find last week — those that were written August 19th and August 20th, telling of Lad’s return to the U.S. and other momentous news.

Trumbull, Conn.,  Aug. 19, 1945

Dear Victors:

Since my last letter to you (only a week ago as time is reckoned but judged by events, a long era ago), so many things have happened here that it seems as though the Jap surrender happened a long time ago. Already millions of dollars worth of war contracts have been canceled by the Government among Bridgeport plants, thousands of employees here have already been laid off, among them the young folks living in the apartment, who have already made arrangements to vacate next week. Marian is quitting Sikorsky Sept. 1st, unless—-ah, that is something !! Today’s paper brings news that yesterday there arrived in New York a transport caring a bunch of boys that sailed from Marseille, France on August 7th en route to the Philippines via Panama and Hawaii, who were diverted to the U.S., among which was the 142nd  O.B.A.M. This is Lad’s outfit and, in view of the fact mentioned in one of Dan’s recent letters, that upon Lad’s return from Calais he had missed sailing with his outfit, it looks very much as though Lad might be on the August 7th sailing, and may now be in Camp Kilmer, N.J., coming home on a 30-day furlough. So, we are all alerted here for a phone call either today or tomorrow from Lad telling us he is on his way home. Anyway, we have our fingers crossed.

Marian has already announced she will not go to work tomorrow, just in case. Jean wrote Marian it was not out of reason to expect that tomorrow (Monday) she would actually be in Brazil, as last Tuesday she was to move into the Government hotel to be processed, briefed and have her last typhoid shot.

Dan wrote hastily just a few days before VJ day asking me to send Paulette some clothes she had picked out from the Sears Roebuck catalog and Dave on Aug. 6th wrote:  “I’m convinced more and more each day that we will all be home a lot sooner than a lot of people think. To let up would be disastrous, of course, but I can’t see that it can take much longer. You should see the airpower on this one island that has been ours for only a short time.”

Nothing new here. Our job here has slowed way down— what’s next— who knows? Incidentally, a postal from Ted Human from Bahama says he will be back soon in New York as the road award will be delayed for months.

Dan, as soon as I got your letter, I stopped at the Sears store on Fairfield Ave., they told me not one of the dresses Paulette had on the list was any longer in stock, as this was a catalog issued in the spring and they were all sold out. They suggested I wait until the fall catalog was out about Sept. 15th, with the new offerings. Meantime, Marian is going to look around among other Bridgeport stores to see if she can find something along the line of those items Paulette has selected. As for the missing camera part, I will try to find it, but not knowing just what to look for, I am rather handicapped in my quest. Meantime, I am breathlessly awaiting news from all of you boys as to what definite news, if any, you may have had regarding your return to the U.S.A.

Aunt Elsie is here with us today, and I shall have to leave in a few minutes to take her to the Station. By the way, all gas rationing is off and you’d be surprised how many cars are on the road again. All you do now is drive in a gas station, and like old days, just say “Fill ‘er up”, only the rush has been too much for many gas stations and they quickly run out of their supply. I hope too, that before long, the quality of gas will be considerably better. Both tire and food rationing is easing up, and blue points for canned fruit and vegetables has been discontinued. Meat, butter and sugar is still rationed. By the first of the year we are promised many things that we have not been able to obtain for years. Peace has come with a bang, and it is good, always.

Tomorrow I will post the rest of this letter. On Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, another letter from Grandpa filled with more news.

Judy Guion

Special Picture (341) – Grandpa’s Children – 1914 – 1927

In this Post I am going to show group photos of the children as they were growing up.

 

Blog - Arla Mary Peabody and children - 1922 (sepia)

                           Arla Mary (Peabody) Guion with her first five children – Dan, Lad, Ced, Dick and Biss, circa 1922

 

 

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This shows some of the children playing on the dirt road in front of the house. I believe Ced is to the left, Biss is in the middle and dick is on the right. This would have been 1925 because Biss was five years old when she broke her arm.

 

Dick, Dan, Ced, Lsd and Biss

Dick, Dan, Ced, Lad and Biss circa 1927

There is another picture I have found on my computer but I can’t seem to get it in this post. I’m giving up.

Judy Guion

 

 

 

 

 

Special Pictures (340) – The Peabody Women – 1889 to 1956

This Post is a tribute to the Peabody women who played a large part in raising the generation that form the basis of this Blog. The Peabodys go back many, many generations but I will begin with Kemper Peabody, born in 1861 and his wife Anna Charlotta Westlin, born in 1865. they were married in June of 1889.  They had seven children: Burton Westlin, Arla Mary (my Grandmother), Kemper Francis, Helen Perry, Anne Westlin, Laurence Kane and Dorothy Westlin.

 

Blog - Peabody Girls - scouts

        The Peabody girls – Anne Westlin, Arla Mary, Helen Perry, Dorothy Westlin 

 

Arla Mary Peabody c. 1911

                    Arla Mary Peabody c. 1911

Arla Peabody as the Virgun Mary

Arla Peabody as The Virgin Mary, in costume, as she appeared to Alfred Duryee Guion on that fateful night. 

Alfred Duryee Guion: “I was also actively interested in a dramatic society which every year for a number of seasons gave amateur plays in which I was frequently given the lead and in some of these plays an attractive young girl named Arla Peabody occasionally played parts.  She also sang in the choir and the more I saw of her, the better I liked her in a mild way.  She was modest and dignified but very popular with boys and girls alike.  She had big brown eyes, a sweet smile, full of life in a quiet way and kind to everybody.  I  suppose I was starting to fall in love but had no realization of it at the time

*************

Then one Christmas season the church or Sunday school staged a religious play with a Nativity scene and Arla Peabody was chosen to play the part of the Virgin Mary.  She wore a soft white scarf over her head and carried a doll for the infant Christ.  That night as I watched her holding the child with tender contentment and a placid dreamy look in her soft brown eyes, something inside me suddenly exploded.  I had read about “love at first sight”, but this wasn’t first sight.  Here was a girl I had known and seen for several years, but apparently I had not seen her at all.  This couldn’t be the same girl!  Had I been blind?  Here was the most enchanting person anywhere in the world.  I didn’t know what had happened to me.  I was in a daze.  The room was crowded with people I knew but I didn’t see anyone else.  I didn’t speak to anyone else.  I didn’t dare speak to her: she was too far above me.  Somehow I found my hat and groped my way out the door and on my way home.  It may have been cold outside.  I didn’t know.  All I could think of on my way home was how I could be worthy of even speaking to her.  One moment I would be hugging myself with the thought that I knew her and perhaps she would notice me, the next moment I was in the depths of despair knowing that everyone who had ever seen her must have appreciated what I had been too blind to see and that I would stand a poor chance when such a wonderful girl had so many potential husbands to choose from.  I knew how St. Paul felt on the road to Damascus when a bright light transformed him.  In a word, quite suddenly, I was head over heels in love with Arla Peabody.

Arla Mary Peabody and Alfred Duryee Guion were married in March 1913.

 

ADG - Arla and Alfred Guion - @ 1913

I believe this  picture was taken shortly after Arla and Alfred learned that she was to have a child.

 

 

Four Generations - 1914

Four Generations – Anna Charlotta (Westlin) Peabody, ________ Westlin holding Alfred Peabody Guion, Arla Mary Peabody Guion, 1914.

ADG - holding Dan, Arla Peabody Guion with Lad in her lap - 1917

Alfred Duryee with young Daniel, Arla Mary with Lad

 

Blog - Arla Mary Peabody and children - 1922 (sepia)

Daniel Beck, Alfred  Peabody, Cedric Duryee, Richard Peabody in Grandma Arla’s lap, Elizabeth Westlin, 

I believe this picture was taken as a Christmas family photo in 1922 at the Trumbull house. Dave was not born until 1925.

Arla Mary Peabody Guion, portrait

Arla Mary Peabody Guion — portrait — painted after she passed away in 1933 at the early age of 43 from a long illness.

Grandma Peabody at her home  - cropped

Grandma Peabody (Anna Charlotta Westlin) Peabody) 

APG - 1947 Christmas - Aunts Helen, Anne and Dorothy

Helen (Peabody) Human – married to Ted Human, who hired Lad and Dan to work for him in Venezuela,

Anne Westlin (Peabody) Stanley, mother of Donald and Gwenewth, the only Peabody cousins

Dorothy Westlin Peabody

These women, along with her mother, Anna Chrlotta (Westlin) Peabody, were a tremendous help to Grandpa after his wife passed away.

Tomorrow I will be posting another special picture but I doubt it will be as extensive as this Post.  Judy Guion

Trumbull – Dear Benedicts and Bachelors (4) – V-J Day Celebrations in Anchorage – September 2, 1945

This is the final segment of a five-page letter from Grandpa to his sons who remain away from home.

ADG - Grandpa in San Francisco - 1960

Alfred Duryee Guion, Grandpa

I presume the celebrations were as hilarious back there as here, perhaps more so, as we only celebrated the cessation of hostilities, while for you poor ration plagued individuals, it speeded the unshackling of so many of the restrictions with which you have been forced to put up. Well it looks as if it’s all over now and I look for a lot happier and more prosperous period  for a while at least. In Anchorage, the horns, sirens, whistles and bells all sounded out the glad tidings and the streets were alive with people. It brought to mind Dan’s description of the celebration in Holland, even to the rain which pattered down steadily all night long which, just as in the case of Dan’s mention, failed to dampen in the slightest the glowing spirits which prevailed.

The report is that there were 10,000 gallons of liquor consumed on that first night on 4th Ave. in Anchorage! What headaches there must have been the next morning. The police were out, as were the M.P.’s, but the order was to apprehend no one unless the violations were severe. Of course there were lots of arrests – – a bunch of soldiers and civilians stormed the South Seas Club and walked out with half the furniture from the place, damages running to about a thousand dollars over the days gross receipts. There were many fights but most of it was just good friendly fun. Servicemen appeared in bright neckties, suit jackets, army pants, sailor hats or any other outlandish mixture which came their way. One M.P. accosted Bob Barnett while he was en route to the house here and said: “Hey soldier, unbutton your collar.” That was typical of the type of feeling which prevailed. Officers insignia were a dime a dozen and there must’ve been lots of fraternizing between enlisted men and their officers, judging from the number of privates who blossomed out major and colonel clusters. There was a 2-day holiday to go along with the celebration, although it, of course, didn’t affect me. We worked right along just as we would any other day.

For Dan’s benefit, Harold Rheard, with whom he used to work and ride to work and who is now Anchorage’s City Engineer, ran  in to me at one of the bars (no, I wasn’t there to drink) and yanked a handkerchief out of my jacket pocket and threw it to a soldier and shouted, “Here, soldier, here’s a civilian handkerchief for you.” The handkerchief was one of those nice ones which Aunt Elsie gave me when I was leaving to come back up here a year ago last February, but under the circumstances I willingly let it go.

One of the more bawdy incidents of which I only heard was the case where a girl in an upper window of the Anchorage Hotel did a striptease, throwing her clothes out of the window one at a time while she stood in full view and the crowd cheered her on. I questioned the fellow telling the story as to how far she got and he said, “All the way”.

Woodley’s is in an extreme state of flux again, the shop men are fighting among themselves, all telling their troubles to me. There is a new man who is going to take over the operations, leaving Art free to run the Washington D. C. end of the business, and to make new financial contacts – – I think he has tied up with Mr. Boeing of Boeing Aircraft and United Airlines in some way or other – – and other executive duties. The Anchorage-Seattle run is still not out of the frying pan but rumor has it that we are going to get two new DC-3’s (C – 47 Army designation) in 4 to 6 weeks anyway. We started the Kodiak run last week and it looks as though it would be a good one. I am still flying when I can – – put in an hour and a half today. Love to Marian and Aunt Betty. CED

I share the doubt that is evidently in the back of your mind as to the advisability of joint ownership. There are so many unforeseen circumstances that might occur, conditions change, people apparently change and what looks favorable today may tomorrow become a headache. I don’t mean to be pessimistic and in your case, everything may work out, but my observation and experience teach me that a situation of this sort has potentialities for unpleasant development. So, if you can swing it,  it is better to be all on your own. One thing about this plane business to my mind is of paramount importance and that is no economy should be practiced at the expense of safety. Guard against “familiarity breeding contempt” lest your knowledge of airplane mechanics lure you into taking a chance that a less confident person would avoid. “There speaks the cautious father”, I hear you say. All right, I’ll admit it but who has a better right. After all, I’ve only one Ced, and you’re it.

The apartment is again vacant and while three or four have looked at it, for one reason or another each has found it not suitable.  Meantime Catherine has written and phoned that she must leave where she is, wants to get back to Trumbull and would very much like to have the apartment again.  Because of Aunt Betty and the children, lack of prideful upkeep, child nuisance, etc., I would prefer childless tenants but my conscience would bother me if, under the circumstances, I turned her down.  And of course the financial aspect of not bringing in the usual income along with other recent changes here is an important and quite necessary consideration.  I have been holding off making a final decision hoping that over this weekend someone would definitely take the place but here it is early Monday morning and no takers.

Just for old times sake I strolled down to the carnival Saturday night.  Things were much as you can picture them from past memories except on a smaller scale and instead of knowing 50% or more of the people, one occasionally spotted one or 2 one knew of old.  I chatted with a few — Charlie Kurtz, Bert Searles, Lewis Pack from across the street, Herman Strobel, Monsanto, whose hand is getting better, and a few others known by sight but not by name and then as it started to sprinkle a little,  I took a few chances on the main prizes and went home.

Jimmy Smith came in yesterday afternoon and entertained us in his inimitable manner relating his experiences in getting into the ARC for overseas duties.  Apparently he made it although he is going first to Washington for a few weeks special service.

Well, if this is to go into the morning’s mail I suppose I had better quit right here and now and then hope there is something waiting for me in the mailbox that will give me some quotable material for next week.  Come on, Dan, it’s your turn.

DAD

Last weekend I posted the final letters from Dave about his World War II Army Adventure.  I still had a few letters in Dave’s Binder but I just noticed they were written in 1957 and 1958.

On Saturday and Sunday, I will post some Special Pictures, ones that do not fall into the timeframe of these letters but are worth sharing.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Dear Benedicts and Bachelors (3) – News From Ced – September 2, 1945

This is the next portion of a 5-page letter from Grandpa to his four sons away from home. Lad has been discharged from the Army and is home in Trumbull with Marian.

CDG - Alaska - reading LIFE Magazine - August, 1941

This is a new picture of Ced I became aware of while while I was in New Hampshire attending a Memorial Service for Ced’s wife, Fannie Mildred (Pike) Guion, the photo was taken in Alaska. Ced is reading the August 25, 1941 issue of LIFE Magazine. I know this picture was taken a few years before this letter, but I wanted to share this new picture. I was actually able to obtain an original issue and have been enjoying the articles.

And from Ced, bless his heart, comes the following under date of August 23rd. “Last week I wrote up the missing link of the Farwell trip, included with this letter. Next week I’ll try to get off a new chapter in the adventures of the three invincibles, or should I say, “Three men on a cat”. Since you have been so patient in waiting I shall try to finish the balance soon.

Now, the last letter you sent mentioned a great many planes down in Georgia and I have mailed the R. F. C. a request for information on these ships. In the meantime, I learned that the new planes will be out very soon and so I am looking into that angle also. I have made tentative arrangements to go on a 50-50 basis in buying the plane with Leonard and Marion Hopkins. They’re the people who have the clothing and sporting goods store in Anchorage at which I got those clothes just before going home two years ago. They are both ski club members and I think you have pictures of them in that ski club rally set of pictures. Marion was the head of the membership committee who stood behind the desk. They have given me absolutely free rein in getting the plane but I think they rather favor a new one. The new Aeronca will sell for approximately $1800 f.o.b. Ohio. They will be available around the first of Sept., and just how soon after that I could get my name on the waiting list is problematical. The Aeronca is the most likely choice at present. The Hopkins are extremely generous people, and I have no qualms about going in with them on this deal. Fact is, Leonard really bends over a little backwards on this deal, although I suppose he figures that a mechanic is a good one to tie in with, just for the purpose of maintenance. At any time either of us want, we can either buy or sell to the other, whichever is most agreeable. The upkeep will be jointly carried with my biggest share being in the labor while his will be capital. Felis, the radio operator at Woodley’s, is co-dealer with another local man for the Anchorage Aeronca Agency, and he could probably get me some extra considerations. I am still waiting to hear from the R. F. C. before taking any definite action. In any case, I hope to get out fairly soon to pick something up and fly it back to Alaska. Don’t be surprised if I dropped in on you at the office one of these days.

Enjoyed the dual blow-by-blow account of the Guion nuptials and hope I can soon meet both the major parties. I have now three wedding gifts (Dick and Jean, Lad and Marian and Dan and Paulette) to present after the family’s return to a home somewhere. Incidentally, I am looking forward to seeing Marian again – – our meeting was so brief and under such turbulent circumstances, with she and Al about to take off for California when the clutch was repaired on the Buick and I hastily grabbed the proverbial last rail on the observation car as I beat a hasty retreat from Texarkana in my whirlwind scamper across the country.

Think what all this war will mean in experiences as we look back.  All the hardships and headaches and for much too many, heart aches.  I feel especially privileged in looking back and realizing that to the best of my knowledge there have been no members of our immediate family, relatives or close friends who have had to undergo the real hardship which has been the misfortune of so many.  We are indeed a lucky family as we not only came out virtually unscathed but acquired to find additions to the family (and Jean) in the persons of Marian and Paulette.  On top of that I get 1/2 reduction in my January rent due to a bet with Chuck Morgan that I took the side that the war with Japan would be over by the first of the year.  It certainly is wonderful to realize that the war is apparently finished, if only we can avoid any more.

Tomorrow I will post the rest of Ced’s letter all about the celebrations in Anchorage and finish up with some bits and pieces of Trumbull news from Grandpa.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Dear Benedicts and Bachelors (2) – News From the Chandlers – September 2, 1945

Doug Chandler was the founder and director of the Chandler Chorus, a musical group formed from members of Trumbull and the surrounding towns. Lad, Dan, Ced and (maybe) Dave were all members at one time or another, both prior to and after the war.  Doug Chandler and his family moved to Maryland where Doug worked at the Westminster Theological Seminary. Grandpa and some members of the family visited the Chandlers there.

Yes, Dave, I called up Eleanor and she was of course interested to hear about your latest move. She asked what we all have been asking each other, “What does this mean?” in terms of your homecoming? And of course the answer is a large-lettered WHO KNOWS? Your birthday is not so far off and so far I have not been able to hear a thing about the camera so I am afraid it won’t get to you for your birthday. We’ll be waiting for your next installment to see if it throws any light on this new move. Does it mean a promotion, part of the Army of occupation on Japan, a visit to China to aid in their communication system, or what? At least it means you are seeing another part of the world and that is interesting.

ADG - Chandler

A visit to the Chandlers: Grandpa is in the front row all the way to the left, Ced and Dick are in the back row on the left.  I’m not sure  if Dave is in this picture.

And here is a letter from be Westminster Theological Seminary.  This is to thank you, belatedly I know, for the letters from Dan and Dave and furthermore recent announcement of the wedding.  I am sorry I have not reported to you soon about this and about the doings of the Chandlers but here I am now with enough brass to face the music.  The memory of the Guion deluge upon us some several Christmases ago is a classic note sounding out of a rather nondescript past.  We are hanging on stubbornly to the hope that we may get together again when the hurly burly’s done, etc.  I expect that there will be some changes in all of us but never enough to break the continuity.  My own gray hairs and sagging “chest” are evidence of passing years and when I see my six-foot sons I find myself on the verge of panic — just for a moment.  Then I start muttering, as we always do about “the best is yet to be — the last of life for which the first was made”.  I think that Emily must have given you the knot-too-low-down about us when she came by your office early in June.  I enjoyed her account of her trip to Trumbull and Bridgeport.  We match in New York and “helled” around a little — two timid souls up from the provinces expecting the wrath that fell on Sodom to hit us any minute.  I am afraid I enjoyed some of the theater more than I really should have.  Last night as we sat under the apple trees in the backyard we agreed that it would have to be done all over again soon.  Teaching is still fun — most of the time.  There is a breathing spell, I will not say vacation, just here before school opens the 18th of September.  We are spending this weekend in Washington, as I have done each week-and in August.  But Washington isn’t a place for vacationing anymore, if it ever was, which I doubt.  I had the interesting experience two weeks ago of meeting a man who had been born in Washington, D. C.,  I hadn’t thought of it but there must be others too who have been born there Our August is going out in a blaze of heat.  Still the thin air and the thinner shade on many of the trees speak of fall, just another “hair-cut away” as my brother says.  By the way, Chan (possibly his son) and his family are still at the home place at moors. Joel, his son, is just 18 and waiting.  Anytime you can find your way down here you will find us ready to kill the “fatted calf” in your honor.  Let us have the fun of a visit with you soon, will you?  Greetings and best wishes to you and all the family — and it is getting to be quite a family, isn’t it? Doug Chandler

Tomorrow a letter from Ced and I’ll finish out the week with local news from Grandpa. 

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Dear Bachelors and Benedicts (1) – Dave Sent To Manila – September 2, 1945

Same old Trumbull, but a new Sept. 2nd, 1945.

otherwise known as VJ Day

Dear Benedicts and Bachelors:

Well, the dawn of a tomorrow is at last a reality, and the “land of the rising Sun” is indeed facing a new day. When you read this however, the event will have passed on into history, and so fast is the pace these days that new events may have already crowded it into the background. There are great days ahead. Huxley once said that the most difficult time in which we live, but also the most rewarding, was in those occasional dark valleys between two peaks of vision when one system had lost its grip on men’s minds and the new system was not yet crystallized. Which seems to describe this present generation. Maybe that is why having lived through the recent dread days there is such a thrill in anticipating the days ahead which you boys, in the strength of your manhood, are facing. History shows us that man’s eternal struggle towards the heights has often been retarded and even halted, but never turned back. Problems the world is now facing will be solved. Nations will find their souls, a new and better world will emerge. You boys are truly at the threshold of great things I truly believe. So much for that, now let’s get down to earth.

Lad, of course, is the big fact still in our conscious thoughts. He and Marian, with the help of the Buick, seem to find plenty doing in these here parts. Yesterday morning we gave Elizabeth a few hours breathing spell by kidnapping Butch and Marty for an auto trip to Bronx Zoo. After returning, they went to a dance in Candlewood Lake as guests of Burr Davis and tonight they are having supper with George Knapp. Elsie just arrived so tomorrow promises also to be not without incident.

And turning to the Quotes Dept., we also have some interesting items there. Dave writes from Manila: “You are no more surprised to find I’m here than I am to be here. It all happened so suddenly that it’s still hard to believe. I’ll take it from the beginning and follow through. On August 23rd I was told that I had been taken off the old five-man team, and Friday afternoon I was told to pack my stuff and be ready to leave Okinawa by 5 AM Saturday morning. I got only one hour sleep Friday night. In the morning we went up to Kadena Airport, boarded a C-46 Commando transport and in 5 ½ hours found myself in Manila. It was my first real plane ride and I felt a little sick-ish from nervous tension. As soon as the plane started to move up the runway, I lost all fear and became intent on watching the ground below fade away. All of a sudden it just became a big thrill. I acted like a kid on his first train ride. I glued my nose to the window until I couldn’t see Okinawa anymore. Then every once in a while I’d look out to see if we might not pass over an island. Then in almost no time I began seeing the northernmost of the Philippine Islands. I watched every one of them fade away in the distance far below. Finally we got to Luzon. I was sitting up forward near the navigator’s position and by way of conversation, I said: “This is my first time”. I could tell he knew it anyway because of my eagerness to see everything below. When he finished a plot on his map he handed it to me and asked if I’d like to follow our progress as we went along. We were flying at about 8500 feet and the coastline looked just like the map. I could see the rivers and inlets and bulges along the coastline just as they were on the map. We passed over Lingayen Gulf where the American Navy had come in to retake Luzon. Then we cut inland and finally landed at Nichols Field about 6 miles outside Manila.

After waiting for about two hours (spent that time in a canteen gaping at comparatively beautiful Philippine women) we got on the truck and started towards Manila. We passed through what was once a beautiful residential district. There were remains of large and magnificent homes. We passed a ballpark that I had seen in the newsreel. The movie showed American boys cleaning the Japs out of the bleachers and an American tank pitching shells from the pitcher’s box. Now it was just a quiet, torn up mess. We passed well-to-do Philippines living like the ignorant “Okies”. When we entered Manila we saw large public buildings, half rubble and half gutted concrete frames. Manila seems to be about the size of Bridgeport, possibly larger. Can you picture the Klein Auditorium strewn all over Fairfield Avenue, the stage alone standing? Or Central High with the facade all bashed in and the rest of the school gutted, the City Trust Building reduced to four or five stories, City Hall just a pile of bricks? You can’t imagine how heartbreaking it is or how lucky we were this war turned out as it did. The City Hall here was built in 1939. You can see it was a beautiful structure but now it is full of shell and Bomb holes. The people are trying to keep their businesses going but they don’t have much to do it with. You can see where there was once a beautiful nightclub. It is now a makeshift affair with a makeshift band looking like a sideshow at Coney Island. That about explains the whole city – – just a bunch of concessions on the sidewalks of a gutted ghost-city. http://rogue.ph/18-photos-that-show-manila-before-and-after-world-war-ii/

The following quote is from an interview I had with Dave about his childhood memories and growing up in Trumbull:

On August 25th, I think,  we were all watching a film in a kind of natural amphitheater and one of the guys from Brooklyn had a buddy, who was also from Brooklyn, and I remember this just as if it was yesterday,  he came running over – we had gotten some rumors that the Japs were going to quit – and this guy came running over and says, “The signing has been confoimed.” I never forgot that.

But anyhow,  between the time of August 25th and September 7th when they signed the Treaty, I left Okinawa and went down to Manila. Here I am now – the war is over – all I have to do is go home and they’re shipping me out in a plane to Manila. The pilot spent about 20 minutes, maybe, trying to start one engine and I said to myself, “I’m going to die in the ocean and the war is over.” Anyhow, we got to Manila. That was quite a sight – buildings where the first floor was completely gone and five or six or seven stories would be on top of it, canted,… All kinds of destruction. If you went to the City Hall and looked up, you’d see a room with curtains on the windows. That was MacArthur’s headquarters. So he had curtains on his windows and the Filipinos  were watching dead bodies float down the river.

I would say I was in Manila probably six months. I came home in May, 1946.

I’ll tell you more next time. The address will do for the time being until we can find out a little more. Dave

For the rest of the week I’ll be posting the rest of this long letter, including a very interesting letter from Ced.

Judy Guion

Army Life – Lad Sends A V-Mail To Dan – July 20, 1945

Lad sent this V-Mail to Dan five days after Dan and Paulette’s wedding in Calais, France.  Lad returned to his Base in southern France and discovered that the Battalion had left without him.  More on this story later.

Army Life - Lad Send A V-Mail to Dan - July 20, 1945

S. France – July 20, 1945

Dear Dan: –

While I was gone it happened and I’m part of the rear detachment, so you had better not plan to try to see me.  I’m sorry but there’s nothing I can do about it.  Better luck next time.  Will probably see you after this is all over.  Had no trouble getting back at all.

I think Paulette is swell, and I really had a lot of fun even if it was a little bit hectic.

Hope you get a chance to go home before long and that Paulette can follow you soon.  I think she’ll be able to adjust herself in a few months, but will probably miss France for quite a long time.  She will be well liked at Trumbull, anyhow, I know.

If you get a chance will you drop Marian a line?  She’d be interested in knowing about Al’s plans, at least as much as you know.

Give my love to “Chiche” when you see her and I’ll be seeing you both sometime soon.  Be careful.  Lad

This is the last communication from lad.  The next letter I have in sequence is a letter dated September 2nd from Grandpa addressed “Dear Benedicts and Bachelors”. During this time frame Lad came home to Trumbull.  There is no letter explaining how this happened so I’m going to let Lad  tell you in his own words, which I recorded on one of my trips to California.

LAD – Dan and I were both in France in 1945.  I had been corresponding with Dan and I knew he was going to be married on a particular day, I’ve forgotten what it was, I think it was in mid-summer.  I talked my Captain into a three-day pass but it was limited to Paris.  That was as far as I should go.  So I went to Paris and checked into the (Hospitality) Hotel.  I left my duffel bag there and put a little sack in my pocket with a toothbrush and that’s about it, I guess, maybe a comb, too.  I decided to try to get to Calais (where Dan was to be married).  I didn’t know how far it was, maybe 50 or 60 miles from Paris, north of Paris, up on the coast.  I got a ticket on a train and the train went about 5 or 6 mph  for about 10 or 15 minutes, then it stopped.  It stood there for a long, long time, then it went a little further and it stopped again.  I was noticing that cars kept going by so I got off the train and hitchhiked.  I beat the train by a day.  I didn’t have much trouble hitchhiking.  An English soldier came along on a motorbike and asked me where I wanted to go.  I told him Calais.  He said, “That’s not far.  I’ll take you up there.”  So that’s how I made the last two thirds of the trip to Calais.  I had no trouble finding the house; it was Chiche’s mother’s house, her mother and father’s house.  He was a pharmacist.  It was fairly late in the afternoon when I got there.  I stayed the night and the wedding was the next day. The third day, my pass was up but I didn’t hurry to get back.  I went back to Paris on the train, and this time, it went pretty well.  I grabbed all of my equipment out of the Hospitality Hotel and checked out.  I took the usual bus to go from Paris to Marseille, but by this time, I was one day over my pass.  When I got back to camp there was nothing there, just damaged grass and fields.  Everything was gone!  I finally found an officer who was walking around and asked him what had happened.  He said that everybody had shipped out, Saturday, I guess it was, or Sunday.  I told him my name and he said, “Oh, yeah.  They tried to get a hold of you but the Hotel said they couldn’t find you.”  So he told me where to go and what to do.  I went to the location he told me about and they knew all about me.  There was another fellow there, Bob Marks.  I was with the 3019th and he was with the 3020th.  He had been left behind to gather all the equipment.  I said, “That’s what I’m supposed to do.”  So Bob and I got together and found our equipment, we both belonged to the 149th Battalion.  We got all the equipment rounded up, got it to the dock and finally were able to get a ship that would take it to Okinawa.  I think it took us close to a week to get everything ready and get aboard.  We started out but when we were about 200 miles from the Panama Canal, the word on the PA system was that the US had dropped a bomb on Hiroshima.  We got the message in the afternoon, and the next morning the ship turned around, went back out to the Atlantic and up the coast to New York.  After I returned to New York I was stationed at Fort Dix.  I didn’t know how many months, a couple or three months.  They didn’t know what to do with me.  I went home every weekend and came back on Monday.  Finally they said to me, “We don’t know what to do with you so you might as well go home and get discharged.”  So that’s what finally happened.

For the rest of the week I will be posting Grandpa’s letters to the Benedicts and Batchelder’s.

Judy Guion

World War II Army Adventure (127) Dear Gang – April 9, 1946

DPG - Dave in uniform

David Peabody Guion

Manila, P.I.

April 9, 1946

Rec’d. 4/16/46

Dear Gang –

Yep, still here.  Rumors still say we are to leave here April 13 – but the Gen. Heinzelman still hasn’t arrived.  I have three letters here which I shall answer.  The first is one written on Feb. 6 and send to Dan by mistake.  As this is all about the office, I’ll wait till I get home before I answer it.  I was glad to get a report on how things are shaping up, though.  The second was written on St. Patrick’s Day.  It contained little news but was nevertheless important.  A letter is a letter – even if it’s a short one.  I hope you all enjoyed yourselves in New York with the Stanley’s.  Wish I’d been there.

This third letter quotes a letter of mine in which I tell of being relieved of duty.  This one, I presume, is to be the last I received.  It was written March 24 and said that you are sending a copy to Aunt Dorothy in case I didn’t get it here.  By the way, thank you for Aunt Dorothy’s new address.  She sure does get around.  I probably wouldn’t have been able to find her if I hadn’t gotten this letter.  This brings me to your predictions on my arrival date in Trumbull.  The day before I received your letter, I set a date in my mind – a goal so to speak.  Figuring on leaving here Saturday (the 13th), and taking seventeen days across the Pacific (April 30), seven days across the country (May 7), three days in Fort Devens (the 10th) and one day to get home (May 11 – say 3:30 or 4:oo P.M.), my guess would be the same day as Lad’s.  The only trouble is that with this plan I’m allowing no time for the inevitable delays in Army transportation.  I’m figuring on no time in Calif. And I don’t think seven days ‘cross country is particularly slow for an Army troop train.  If I leave Saturday, though, I most certainly should be home sometime during the week of May 12 to 18.

My thanks to Lad for any and all work done at the office. I know you’ve been up to your neck, Dad, and I guess you had real need for the help.  Anything Lad does now will make it easier for me, too – so “Thanks, again, Lad.”

It looks to me as if Dan is having as much trouble getting to England as I am having trying to find a ship with my bunk on it.  I hope Dan’s nerves aren’t taking the beating mine are.  I’ll have had three weeks in the Depot next Saturday.  The usual wait is three to five days.  And to top it all off there’s no shoulder to cry on.

Guess this does it for this time.  When I get definite news that I’m leaving Saturday I may not have time to write – but I’ll try to say something even if it’s just – “I’m leaving”.  So – “till we meet again” –

Dave

Tomorrow I will begin posting a week of letters written in nineteen forty-five.  On Monday I’ll post a quick V-Mail from Lad to Dan.  The rest of the week will be devoted to a five-page letter from Grandpa to Benedicts and Bachelors. Judy Guion

World War II Army Adventure (126) – Dear Dad – Neglecting to Write – April 5, 1946

My Uncle Dave is getting impatient to get back to Trumbull.  This letter explains his frustration.

World War II Army Adventure (126) Dear Dad - Neglecting to Write - April 5, 1946

Manila, P.I.

April 5, 1946

Rec’d. Apr. 15

Dear Dad –

I’m truly sorry for neglecting to write at such an important time.  I left for the Depot on schedule just as I wrote.   But there wasn’t room for me on the boats that were here at the time.  I’ve been waiting at the Depot ever since.  As things stand now, I will leave here sometime around the middle of the month, getting into Frisco the first week in May.  I should be home around the middle of May.

The ship I’ll probably sail on is the General Heinzelman.  It’s arrival in Manila and it’s estimated time of arrival in the states is not yet definitely known because of storms in the Pacific.  But you can be pretty sure of seeing me is sometime between the fifteenth and twentieth of May.

I am well and unhappy – this business of waiting three weeks for a ship isn’t easy.

Don’t be surprised if I’m a little thin when I get home – hot weather never did agree with me, and I had fourteen straight months of it.  But it’s nothing that a little of your cooking won’t fix up in a short time.

See you soon –

Dave

P.S. Written in a hurry – hope you can read it.

Tomorrow I will be posting another letter from Dave to the Gang in Trumbull. 

Judy Guion