Trumbull – To the 3 Corporals, Ced and Jean – News About the Family – April 18, 1943

trumbull-house-from-the-front-showing-the-steps-to-the-front-door

Trumbull, Conn., April 18, 1943

 

To the 3 corporals, Ced and, Jean:

Poem For the day:

Oh, what a happy world t’would be

And sure, I don’t mean maybe

If Mrs. Schickegruber

Had never had a baby.

          With this exalted thought with which to start off my weekly bugle, I shall now return to more mundane matters. First about Grandma. She writes: “Shall I say you are a peach? I wish you could know how I prayed for your answer. Your letter arrived about an hour ago. I had written to Dorothy much the same as I had written to you. She replied that Anne is now at Conde Nast’s in Greenwich as a receptionist and that Gweneth and I are to come there to stay. I prefer Trumbull but on account of Gweneth, too, leaving here, I believe I had better follow their plans for now. I am coming to Trumbull some time, if only for a visit. A thousand thanks for your goodness and of course you will hear from me soon. My love to all of you. Mother”. There is more of a personal nature to her letter, but the salient facts are as above.

California came through with the letter this week. Lad says my letter reached him on his birthday which he celebrated locally by attending a party in his honor of the occasion given by one of his lady friends. Marian, he says, resembles Babe in a number of ways, even to her occupation. Lad has resumed his diesel teaching, but has run up against lack of cooperation on the part of one of his superior officers, which takes some of the joy out of the work. This sort of thing, in my experience, is quite common. In almost every big organization there is always someone who makes life miserable.

Dan also sends a cryptic message expressing delight in the prospect of Grandmother coming here, and informing me he is going back to Lancaster for a week of bayonet training (this goes over big, as you can imagine, with Dan).

Jean (Mrs. Richard) Guion

Jean (Mrs. Richard) Guion

A postal from Jean announces that Dick is a Corporal Technician. She has acquired a coat of tan; has met a girl with whom she shares an apartment where they cook their meals.

A few highlights of local news: Elizabeth was up here one day this week and on the way home ran into Smoky with her car. He is pretty lame but otherwise seems to be O.K. Mrs. Ives is home from Florida. The Trumbull’s are staying with her. Catherine and Paul (Warden) have gone to Mass. to bring home their children. Irv. Zabel is home from the southern Pacific. He returns soon to join a crew on a newly commissioned destroyer. Art Mantle, whom he saw quite frequently, is back in service again but is on coast patrol duty. Dave has quit the state guard because of “pressure of other business”. We have been quite busy at the office for the past two weeks. I hope it continues.

Dan: As requested, I shall renew your driver’s license. Lad: Do you intend to renew your P.S. license? Dick: Better let me know about that insurance. Jean: If you have not made return reservation you had better do so at once as I understand they are booked up to the middle of May on the good trains from many places in Florida. No checks have come from you yet.

Well, so much for this week’s Clarion. Have you heard the new song in which Herr Goebbels says if they continue to lose planes at the present rate the war won’t even last for the duration.                                    DAD

Tomorrow, I’ll finish out the week with another letter from Grandpa.

Judy Guion

 

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Trumbull – Dear Kith… (2) – A Request From Grandma Peabody – April 18, 1943

This is the second half of a letter, dated April 11, 1943,  addressed to: Dear Kith (I won’t bother with the kin tonight) AND, of course, Jean. It includes a request from Grandma Peabody.

Grandma Peabody

Grandma Peabody

What struck me as one of the saddest letters I have ever received reached me last week from Grandma – – sad, not so much in what she says but in what it implies. Here it is: “Dear Alfred: I am in bed and it’s nearly midnight, and as much as I am in quite a predicament and not very good at beating around the bush, I thought I better write to you, plain as possible. I am very anxious to leave here and I wonder if I could come and stay at your house again. I could not do any more work than I did before but I would like to come if it is possible for you to let me. I went to stay with Kemper last May against my will, the same as I went with them to Vermont, against my better judgment. But at the time it seemed the only solution and Ethel told me she wanted me. These two people are very trying to live with day after day, month after month. I have kept out of their way, staying in my room hunched up in my chair, so to speak, ever since we came here. I am feeling fine now, thanks to some vitamins I have been taking regularly for many weeks. I have plenty of bedding for my use and as I am not very big, a cot bed would do me very well. Please let me know as soon as possible. This maybe, is a strange letter, but if I see you I can explain things. I have been so lonesome and you know I believe that most of my children are not welcome here. Not for a night or a meal. Do write soon and let me know. Mother.

It must be cold. My window is completely covered with ice, but fortunately the wind is from the south somewhere so my room is warm. Dorothy’s apartment is too small for two people. I hope you can take pity on me. Mother.”

This is due notice to you all, that if or when the time ever comes when I am not welcome at my children’s homes, that is the time to drop a big load of arsenic in my coffee.

After discussing the matter with Dave and Aunt Betty, I wrote to Mother and told her to come ahead, and after she arrived we would talk over room arrangements. I told her as tactfully as I could that no changes could be considered as far as Aunt Betty’s and Jean’s room is (or are) concerned, but that, as Dave plans to sleep on the sleeping porch this summer and the attic room could be used as a spare room for the boys on furlough, if she didn’t mind the lack of privacy, the room off my room would be available. Up to this writing I have had no further word from her.

A letter from Dan, bearing evidence of manfully struggling with a post office type of pen, says: “Notice has been posted that Co. D must devote this spring and summer to training for overseas duty, and must be prepared to leave at any time. How much significance can be attached to this notice can only be conjectured. Our work has not been altered yet in any manner.”

Jean (Mrs. Richard) Guion

Jean (Mrs. Richard) Guion

Saturday brought a welcome letter from Jean. Her train arrived three hours late but model rpg-dick-in-uniform-without-mustache-1945husband Dick was there to meet her. His C.O. had given him an overnight pass, and later in the week another, so he ranks high with Jean. Dick thinks he is tops also. Jean is in a small hotel just across the street from the beach, and likes it very much. Dick has a nice tan and looks the picture of health. He seems to like Army life very much, including his C.O. (Yes, Jean dear, I shall send your check by airmail as soon as it arrives. In the meantime, however, if the family vaults can be rifle for your benefit, just say the word. And tell that lanky son of mine, will you please, to answer my letter about his insurance premium so I’ll know how he wants it handled.)

Alaska and California didn’t report last week, but here’s hoping this week may bring some news from these far Western outposts.

Catherine Warden (the tenant in the apartment) came back from the hospital today. Paul had painted the apartment and some of the furniture and the girls had put up some draperies. Barbara (Plumb) had furnished a beautiful bunch of flowers and altogether the apartment looked very attractive. The children come home next Sunday, according to plan, as the German reports have it.

Well, for a fellow with headache and bloodshot eyes, I seem to have done right by you little Nell’s as far as two pages of correspondence this evening is concerned, and now methinks I will take a well-earned rest, but I’ll be thinking of you and hoping you won’t forget to write your one and only               DAD

Tomorrow, a letter from Lad, written on Hospitality Center of South Pasadena stationery. Fridayday brings another letter from Grandpa to finish out the week..  

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Dear Kith …. (1) – The Enemy Penetrates the Front Lines – April 11, 1943

Alfred Duryee Guion (Grandpa)

Trumbull, Conn.,

April 11, 1943

Dear Kith (I won’t bother with the kin tonight)

AND, of course, Jean:

Spring draws on apace, I suppose, but from the temperature here __________ during the week, one would never suspect It. You lucky ones in Southern California and sunny Florida have escaped one week of the blustery, raw March weather, bad enough to keep the furnace going full tilt, bringing the oil stove downstairs to bolster up heat in the kitchen. Aunt Betty has been taking her hot-water bag to bed with her every night. Today when I came down, although the sun was out bright, the thermometer registered below freezing, as I timidly peaked out the kitchen window (remember where you hung it, Ced?)

However, I had foreordained that this should be Start-The-Garbage-Clean-Up Day, and to that end, had brought up from the office yesterday, 8 or 10 cartons of paper and pasteboard scrap that has been accumulating for six months and which I have vainly endeavored, time after time with dealers and Salvation Army alike, to take off my hands. As Dave had to go down to the office to turn out a rush multi-graph job he did not have time to do yesterday, I soloed on the garbage. First I got out the A. P. Guion blower patent with a few adaptations by A. Sr., and started in.

The wind blew gustily and strong, but unfortunately in the wrong direction, so that all smoke, dust, sparks, etc., came right back” in de fuhrer’s face”. I cried impartially from nose and eyes, but manfully stuck to the job. “I am the task force”, says I to myself. I can’t let my boys down on the fighting front, so amid imaginary shot and shell, I went doggedly on and to position after position, “according to plan”.

Mess Call intervened, and clad in my fatigue uniform, I sat down for a few moments relaxation. In the midst of it all, Paul came bursting in to inform me that evidently some enemy sparks had penetrated the front lines and were making a blitz on flank and rear, so armed with brooms, rakes, etc., Red (Sirene), Paul (Warden, the tenant in the apartment), Charlie Hall and myself went to it, subdued every enemy outpost in short order and restored the lines.

Alas, however, all my stores of fuel, piled on the lawn in what seemed a safe distance from the fire, had all caught fire. A shovel, which I had laid across the top of one box to keep the papers from blowing around the yard, had its entire handle consumed, a bowl of water which I had thoughtfully set by for emergencies, between two of the cartons, was broken by the heat and the wires to operate the blower had been completely burned in half. However, the engineer contingent went to work and repaired the wires and then, bravely tossing masses of flaming paper on the fire with a pitchfork, we succeeded in finishing the day successfully, if bloodshot eyes, a headache and lame muscles merit that term.

Tomorrow, I’ll continue with the rest of this letter,including a request from Grandma Peabody. During the rest of the week, I’ll post a letter from Lad, one from Grandpa and another from Lad.

Judy Guion

Life in Alaska – Dear Dad and all – Short Note From Ced – August 28, 1946

 

CEDRIC D. GUION

P. O. Box 822

ANCHORAGE, ALASKA

28 Aug. 46

Dear Dad & all:

I now hold and A & E mechanics license, but still not a commercial pilot. I have done a lot of flying tho’, and should have nearly enough hours. Have to find a place to move to by Sunday of this weekend, so am frantically searching for any thing which will suffice. Car is in need of repairs also, and I have to do work on it before then so we can use it to move with, then must cut this very short. Rusty came into Anchorage for a few days – looks fine and I think the Barrow stay did him good. Leonard and Marian send regards. I sent more promises of future and better letters.

Must close now as time and tired feet (?) try on the wild winds.

Oh yes, I may be in the armed forces of uncle Sammy by the middle of next month unless the company is able to gain another deferment for me.

My love to all – and wish I could be there to slap Aunt Betty on the back and spar around with the Junior members of the  A.P. Guions. Kick Dick in the pants for me.

Ced

Thanks again dad for the pan but am glad you were not able to get one at those other Reynolds 27 pens.

Tomorrow, a letter from Dave to his father on the Island, reporting on the weekly business.

On Saturday, another installment of the Voyage to California by John Jackson Lewis.

On Sunday, another of My Ancestors.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Dear Sons – News From Dan – August 25, 1946

Trumbull, Conn., August 25, 1946.

Dear Sons:

Well, hay fever (or something) has caught up with me at last. In other words right now I’m feeling pretty low and such is my frame of mind at present that I’m not even enthusiastic about taking off for New Hampshire, which act I promised myself to do a long time ago as a ruse to foil my faithful little annual visitor. If I can get up ambition enough to take off this week you will hear from me next from the Lake.

Dan’s letter, which arrived this week, luckily furnishes substance for this screed, as otherwise not much in the way of interest would arise from the present state of my mind; Dan encloses two interesting snaps of Chiche (Paulette) and the baby, and writes: “It has been quite some time since I last wrote, during which time I have been to Nancy, where Chiche came to spend a week with me, and to Metz where Chiche and I found a hotel with bedbugs, to Longuyon to survey another cemetery, to Calais for the long-awaited baptism which was celebrated quite successfully, albeit somewhat less bibulous than is usual in France, to Languyon again to finish the job, to Paris and Versailles, to Calais for a week’s leave where we were alone for the better part of a week, the rest of the family being away, also on vacation, to Liege (where you found me this morning) enroute to Holland where two more cemeteries will be put on the map. Also during this long period without word from me I have decided (and abandoned the idea) to buy a Jeep. Once again we are planning to come home in the fall, but I have not yet ironed out the details. Speaking of ironing, the G.E. iron arrived, but being 1,000 watts is a little too powerful for Calaisian fuses although the voltage is O.K. I have taken three movies (8 mm) of Chiche and Arla and some of the family. Please continue to send me cigarettes. I shall be needing extra money before we sail to fill out my currency control book which keeps track of American dollars to which each American is entitled. I have credit for $500 for which I have no French francs to convert. I have several additional photos of Chiche and Arla, some in 3rd dimension color. I shall send them to you if I can pry them loose from Calais. That is all for now except we think of you all more and more — and Arla is wonderful. It’s Love. Dan”

I’ll start in sending cigarettes to you again, Dan. Probably five boxes of 10 cartons each, weekly, beginning next week. This will be a total of 500 packages in all which at $1 a pack should give you the requisite $500. Perish the thought, but if you don’t come home this fall, send me the proceeds and I’ll simply have to hop on one of these reconverted liners and visit you. Speaking of photos (and we were certainly delighted to get the two you sent) I am enclosing, with Lad and Marian’s cooperation, some recent views of our two little tykes. They continue to gain and had to have their formula increased just recently, both in quantity and strength. A card from Jean says: The Gibsons are leaving today (19th) so this will be the last mail for a few days. We are looking forward to seeing you soon. The weather has been pretty awful — not too much rain but cloudy and cold.”

Well, another Trumbull Fireman’s Carnival has passed into history. I must be getting old. I didn’t even go down there one night. It wouldn’t seem the same with Bob Peterson gone. Things are running along about the same here, except that we have been exceptionally busy at the office. I really ought not to go away and leave Dave to handle it alone but he says he likes it (bless his heart) and maybe in my present state I wouldn’t be much help anyway.

Sincerely yours,

DAD

Tomorrow, a letter from Ced and on Friday, a letter from Dave to “Mr. Guion”, (his father and my Grandpa) who finally made it to New Hampshire.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Dear Sons (2) – Fatherly Advice – August 18, 1946

 

 

Aunt Betty Duryee, Grandpa and Aunt Elsie Guion, summer, 1946

Page 2    8/18/46

I got to thinking the other day what changes the year has brought to the family, so for just a sort of check-up, let’s turn back the pages and see what the status was a year ago – in August, 1945.

This was the month of the first atomic bomb, of the Russian declaration of war, of Japan’s offer to quit. Ced was seriously thinking of buying a plane of his own and was in the market for a secondhand Army ship. Jean was all agog over her first planned trip to far off Brazil to join Dick. Lad, attending his brother’s wedding in Calais had “just missed the boat”, and instead popped in on us on the 16th. Marion quit working for Sikorsky in consequence. Dave received the surrender news at Okinawa and a short time after took a plane ride to Manila. Dan was enjoying a French honeymoon and home here, we were enjoying buying tires and gas and canned goods without ration tickets.

Just a year before that Dave was at camp Missouri complaining of chiggers, etc. Lad traveled from S. Calif. to Jackson, Miss., in a car with a hot box and Marian followed in the Buick and trailer. Dan made his first crossing of the English Channel and wrote from an orchard in Normandy. Dick was in Brazil saying very little and Ced wrote his classic account of fishing procedures in Alaska.

Some months have passed since I have directed any moral bombshells at you, but don’t surmise I have ceased to campaign for my favorite topic of finding what you want to do and going after it. The recent death of H. G. Wells recalls a book he once wrote in which there was a man who is tired, as he says, of following little motives which are like fires that go out by the time you get to them. All about us, these days, are men and women without any great meaning or momentum. These people move by fits and starts and are easily stalled in the muck of their own aimlessness. So was Mr. Wells’ man. “I do not deserve to be called a personality. I cannot discover even a general direction. I am much more like a taxicab in which all sorts of aims and desires traveled to their destination, and get out”. There it is – – little motives, so many of them worthless, marginal destinations, so many of them unimportant. The most majestic thing in creation – – human personality – – reduced to the status of a hackney bus, taking on and letting off a conglomerate of impulses, wishes, half-hearted purposes, half-baked ideas. Aimlessness should be called the “occupational disease” of the unoccupied. The cure is to agree with one’s self on at least one great consuming  purpose which gathers up all lesser motives just as a general gathers his armies into a unified command. “He who keeps one end in view”, says Browning, “makes all things serve.”

If you don’t like these occasional bursts of fatherly advice, I can point one way out – keep me so busy quoting letters from France and Alaska I shall be so occupied in so doing that I shall not have to write something like the above to fill up the space. I’m sure you would far rather hear from your brothers then get a dose of Dad’s morality. But there, be of good cheer, when I leave Trumbull for New Hampshire the letters will probably be few and far between. Meantime, happy days to you both and the speedy return to Old Trumbull.

DAD

Tomorrow, another letter from Grandpa to his sons, Dan and Ced, the only ones still away from home.. Then a letter from Ced and one from Dave to his father, on the Island, about business doings. Judy

Guion

Trumbull – Dear Sons (1) – Hay Fever, Vacation and Possible Trip to France – August 18, 1946

Trumbull, Conn.,  August 18, 1946

Dear Sons:

Summer approaches it’s end, as announced by the katy-dids who mightily have have their age old argument as to whether she did or didn’t, making no more progress towards a definite decision than the meetings of the United Nations. The coming of fall is also presaged for me by the advent of the hay fever season although thus far only a few vagrant sneezes have so far served as a reminder of what is to come. I am still in Trumbull, not having yet escaped to the Island. This delay in carrying out my vacation plans is due to the fact that, for the mid-summer business let-up we have been exceptionally busy at the office and I don’t like to leave Dave head-over-heels in work, and also, as above mentioned, the ragweed pollen has not yet made it’s presence objectionable. Also I am somewhat beset by problems of the house. It seems we must have a new roof, and materials and especially labor add to the difficulties of the problem and also to the expense. The winter heating problem also bothers me. I started back in June to see what I could do about installing an oil burner and here again shortage of equipment and Labor put the prospective buyer in the position of a supplicant. Dealers have so many requests they cannot take care of that they pay no attention to what, in ordinary times, would be the occasion for keen competition. Cost of re-roofing runs about $500, and in addition I shall either have to spend several hundred dollars additional to rebuild the front porch and replace roof timbers or tear down the front porch entirely and build a small front door vestibule. But enough of my home worries.

Jean and Dick are still at the Island and apparently enjoying themselves. Arnold Gibson and his wife are up there with them and from a postal just received from Jean, she is becoming a seasoned camper, fisher woman, etc. and plans to stay there until they are forced to return.

No letter from Dan last week, which circumstance is beginning to bother me a bit. In my more gloomy moments I have visions of him in the hoosegow by reason of his father having sent him several shipments of cigarettes for sale on the black market. Incidentally my passport arrived O.K. last week, so that hurdle is out of the way. Of course, I really have not decided to visit France, as there are still a number of “ifs” in the way. If Dan does not come home in October, if home expenses do not make the trip impossible from a financial standpoint, if work at the office does not make it unwise to leave the country for an indefinite stay, etc., etc.

My car, I believe I told you, has a new motor which has to be coddled a bit for the first 500 miles. I have not yet decided when I shall take off for New Hampshire but when I do I shall go by way of Claremont so that the service station that installed the motor can give it the 500-mile check. I am afraid the 500 mile limit will be exceeded by the time I make the 200 mile trip to the Buick place.

Tomorrow is Dick’s birthday and of course I cannot let the occasion pass without the usual mental recognition of the event. We celebrated it in absentia today, the menu for today’s dinner consisting of roast smoked ham, corn on the cob, ice cream (donated by Aunt Betty) and as a special guest, Dave invited Eleanor Kintop. (The woman he married in 1947.)

Doug – August, 1946

Judy – August, 1946

The twins (6 weeks old) make steady progress, keeping both their father and mother and at times, Aunt Betty, pretty busy with the feeding schedule, to say nothing of the laundry.

Tomorrow, I’ll post the rest of this letter, which is a look back at the lives of family members one year ago, in 1945.

Judy Guion