Army Life – Lad Arrives in L.A. – September, 1943

Lad and Marian – Pomona, CA

Now Grandpa knows that Lad arrived safely back in California. In his typical analytical style, he tells the whole story.

September 22, 1943

South Pasadena, California

Dear Dad:

I arrived in LA at 4:10 AM and, so help me, Marion was there to meet me. In fact, I’m writing this at her house and this is her pen and ink. Here is the story. Bridgeport to New York – O.K.  –  left Grand Central at 6:30 PM and after a pretty good rest arrived in Chicago at noon. I had till 6:30 for the train to LA so I went to the Santa Fe-Harvey office. Got a job in a few minutes on a train leaving on Tuesday at 7 AM. So I went back to the Y and slept all afternoon and evening.

About 10 PM I got up, wrote a letter to Marian, had something to eat and returned to bed. Got up at 5 AM and went to the station. I was 4th cook and did nothing but dishes from 10:30 Tuesday morning until 11 PM Thursday. Boy, I don’t think I ever worked so hard. It was terrific – but, at least I wasn’t bored by the trip and I had very good meals and an upper. Slept from about 12 or one o’clock till 5:30 each night. We were five hours late arriving in LA, but she was there, with a smile, as usual, and my spirits rose perceptively. She had made arrangements for me to stay at the USO dorm, so I had something to eat and went to bed. I slept from about 6 AM till after 4 PM.

I had a key, which Marian had given me for her house, so I went there for a shower and then reported back to camp, got my pass, and took up where I had left off 16 days earlier. As I look back, those five days at home were some of the most enjoyable days I’ve ever spent, but they went far too fast. I went to the rationing board here and they gave me the ration points, but said that in the future to go to the local board at home. So take a mental note of that. It is a new O.P.A. regulation.

For two days now we have had typical Southern California September weather, hotter than hell. The air so hot, that desks and chairs or anything else is almost uncomfortably hot to touch. It was 116° today, and this is supposed to last until the middle of October. However, I really don’t mind it at all. Marian doesn’t like it too well. It has cooled off a little now, and we’re going to an open-air theater tonight to see “The More the Merrier”.

Give my love to Aunt Betty and anyone else and I’m expecting to take your suggestion and write to Grandma.

Lad

Tomorrow and Thursday, we’ll read a long letter from Grandpa to his four sons in their various locations, filled with news about each of them. Friday will be another letter from Lad .

Judy Guion

Special Picture # 243 – South Pasadena Hospitality Center – 1943

For the next few weekends, I’ll be posting Special Pictures. These are photos that do not pertain directly to the letters I’m posting but are unique and interesting so I want to share them. Enjoy.

This is a picture I just found of the South Pasadena Hospitality Center in South Pasadena, California, where Lad and Marian met and began dating. This was taken during the summer of 1943. 

 

Tomorrow, another Special Picture.

On Monday I’ll begin a week of letters written in 1945. Lad and Dick are home. Dan is in France with his bride – and the Army. Ced is still in Anchorage, Alaska, and Dave is in Manila, the Philippines.

Judy Guion

 

 

Trumbull – A Birthday Letter to Dave (2) – Grandpa’s Advice – September, 1945

There is just one other thought that I want to get out of my system. Since your last letter I have been thinking of Sgt. Hamm and I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m sorry for him. Some folks are so built that they have to learn things the hard way. (Remember that icy morning in the car when Dick was driving and I warned him he had better go slower and we hit a tree at Beardsley Park, and later Dick had the moral courage or sense of failure or good sportsmanship or whatever you want to call it that is typical of Dick, to own up he been wrong?) The Sgt., I warrant, has learned a bitter lesson. He would give anything to have a chance to live that moment over again. How do you think he feels inside? How would you feel if you had impulsively done a foolish thing with so fatal a result? Maybe he, too, saw the Christmas tree photo. What do you suppose his thoughts are when he is alone or when he sees you or Bernie’s other buddies looking at him? His own conscience is far worse a hell than anything you can say or do to make him feel his guilt. You say you’ll never forgive him. I know you don’t mean that as it sounds. Right now he needs a friend more than you need the satisfaction of knowing the mental agony he’s going through, no matter how bold a face he may put on for the benefit of his pride. Isn’t this a good place to apply the Golden Rule? We all make mistakes – – some, like this one, are irrevocable and carry a lifetime of regret. That’s punishment enough, don’t you think? Let’s be tolerant. You can’t bring the dead back but you can extend a helping hand to the living. He’ll never need understanding or forgiveness more than he does right now. Right?

Well, things look increasingly better for you to be getting home much earlier than the Christmas of 1946 that you have set as the deadline. It’s too much to expect you home for this Christmas, but who knows but what you may see the lilacs blossoming this spring. Anyway, we can hope. There was no letter from you last week but you’ve been so good about writing that this doesn’t bother me.

As for your letter putting in very convincing terms reasons why you boys should be sent home soon, this idea has made so much progress nationwide, since you wrote, that it almost seems superfluous to send it. The enclosed newspaper clippings day by day will give you the way we at home here feel about it. I read the other day that so many letters similar to yours had been received that a special department in the war office had been established for the sole purpose of opening and reading letters to Congressman on this subject. Perhaps it will be better to wait a few weeks to see what comes out of this, and then, if more fuel is needed for the fire, you can send your letter on then when it will perhaps have even more effect than it would now when so many others dilute the force of one more.

Well, happy birthday, old son, keep well and come home soon to

Your affectionate,

DAD

Tomorrow and Sunday, I’ll be posting letters written in 

Next week, I’ll be posting some letters from 1941. I’ll also have a special treat on Thursday, June 1st.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – A Birthday Letter to Dave (1) – “A Father’s Letter To His Son” – September, 1945

Trumbull, Conn., Sept. 23, 1945

A Birthday Letter to Dave.

My dear Son:

On the 30th of this month you will be entering upon your 21st year. Little did I suspect during all these years that you would be celebrating your 20th anniversary on Manila, and of course I am hoping that before the year is out you will be back in the same place that you first looked out upon.

Most of us have had the experience of some time reading a passage that has made us exclaim, “That is exactly what I think but did not have the ability to put into words.” Such is the following “Letter from a Father to His Son”, which I ran across one day and which, if I remember rightly, I quoted to Lad on his 21st (or thereabouts) birthday. Anyway, here it is, saying what I want to say better than I could say it myself.

Yesterday a man talked to me about a father who wrote an entire history of mankind in order to guide his son on his march through Life. There must be thousands of ways which the fathers of the world take to bring their sons the wisdom and the truth which they want them to feel and to understand.

I, too, my boy, have felt this urge. From the first day you came into the world, life took on a richer meaning. There was something more to live for – – to fight for. Men thought that I was after dollars. How little they knew! Why, I would rather earn one honest hour of your faith and your trust than decades of the world’s pomp and glory.

In every waking minute of my life there is one great urge – – that you shall know me. Not as a neighbor nor even as a husband. Each of these is a different world. In these other worlds even good men must often be something other than their real selves. Father’s take on masks. There is so much they want to be – – so much they want to say and yet dare not say. But in your world, here, surely, a father may be real. Here he may grope forward. Here he may reach out for his boy to hold him, to touch him, to talk to him.

Time and again, how I have hungered for this. I wanted to tell you the truth about life as I have come to know it. Time and again, alone in the sacred recesses of my heart, I have carved words for you. Carefully, earnestly, sacredly, I have carved them – – and yet when I came to speak them they were not the words I wanted to say. The sacredness was gone from them. They were dull and lifeless. A wall seemed to come between us – – a wall created by a greater power than yours or mine, and it seemed to say: “Yes, you want to be part of your boy – – a limb of his limbs; to speak for him; to fight for him; to take for yourself the blows which the world is waiting to aim at him. But no! It is not to be. Alone he must fall, and creep and climb and bleed and hunger. Alone, even as you did; even as he learned to crawl and walk. By his own desperate sorrows – – by the crashing of his own dreams, by the leap of ambition when it fires him, and by the flames of defeat when they scorch him – – out of these he must learn.

Yes, perhaps this is as it should be.

Listen, my boy. I cannot write you a History of Mankind. Live your own life in your own way. I cannot put out tomes of wisdom and reason. But this much I can do. This much I can say: March out on life. Live it according to the truth as you see it – – not as other men do. According to the dreams you dream – – not those other men dream. March out on life. Come to grips with it. Seek out your birthright and fight for it. A thousand men will come to talk of fear and defeat and failure. A thousand others will frighten you by the futility – – the emptiness – – the miserable emptiness of their lives. A thousand lies will seek to deafen the song of courage and truth in your ears. But go on. Go on and keep going on – – so that I may see in you the hopes – – the yearnings I sought for my own life. Your Father.”

Tomorrow, I’ll be posting the second half of this letter. Grandpa has some additional advice for Dave.

On Saturday and Sunday, I’ll be posting letters written in 

Next week, I’ll be posting some letters from 1941. I’ll also have a special treat on Thursday, June 1st.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Dear Sons (and daughters Jean and Paulette) (3) – More News From France – September, 1945

 

Rather than be separated from her for the better part of the year, I am taking steps to ensure that I remain over here as long as possible. I have applied for one of the university courses which will consume two months from its beginning date. Further, I understand that men eligible for discharge are allowed to volunteer for additional service Up to Feb. 14, 1946, if they so desire. In the meantime I shall investigate the facilities of private transport in the hope that she will be able to get to America soon. She is still staying with Mr. and Mme. Rabet at 9 Rue Cuvier — a five minute walk from our billet. I have never met a couple more generous or kindly than these two elderly people. I have asked them to select a few items from the Montgomery-Ward (he means Sears-Roebuck) catalog. Mme Rabet, a nurse by profession, has just cured me of a badly infected throat, which I dared not entrust to the Army doctors for fear that I would be restricted to quarters, and as a result, would not be able to see “Chiche”. In every respect both have treated us as if we were their own children.

(Comment. Of course you should stay with “Chiche”, but what I want is for you to stay with her here. Leave no stone unturned to bring her home at the earliest possible moment, unless under the circumstances, she would prefer not to come until afterward. We shall get as much as possible of the list you sent. Are you sure of Mme’s bust measurement? Marion things it is extremely large.)

I needn’t tell you how much I am disappointed at having to postpone my homecoming, but time has a rather chronic habit of shuffling along, eilly-nilly, (I believe he meant to type “willy-nilly) and one day, not too far distant, I shall stumble over the milk bucket on the back porch as I groped my way toward the kitchen door. “Chiche” sends her love in hopes that you will all continue to write to her. She asks me every day if I have received a letter from home.

(Comment. Tell your little girl, Dan, how delighted I am at the news of the expected arrival, which would be doubly good if you could now writes that all arrangements had been made for all three of you to stumble over said milk bucket. In the famous words; “Don’t give up the ship”, means either the airship or an ocean liner, whichever can get you over here in the best, quickest and safest way. In other words I am not taking your decision is final. The only thing that will make me bow to what will be considered in this instance as in evitable, is Paulette’s wishes in the matter, but outside of that, that neither of us quit struggling. I WANT YOU HOME BY CHRISTMAS. I want this year to put on a combination French-American Christmas celebration and she has got to be here to help with it)

I trust from the few hints I have given above that you may surmise I will stop at nothing that is legally and humanly possible to reverse your again quote stay in France” decision for the new Guion family, and I shall expect you to call upon me, in case I have not already made that fact clear, to do anything I can to make such a denoument possible.

For your information, I am attaching two additional copies of the American addition of the Guion wedding announcement. It never entered my head to send one to the Senechal’s although I should have done so, I can now see very plainly. I asked you for a list of people, friends of yours rather than of the family, to whom you might wish a copy sent but this along with other questions I have asked from time to time has been blithely overlooked. I have a few more copies left. To whom do you wish them sent? Respond se vou plais. – Or words to that effect. And I still don’t know whether the Senechals like their coffee ground, course or fine or underground in been form— third request. You will just have to get daughter Paulette to write me in American to give me these Monday and details which a person who has attended Oxford and is a candidate for the Sorbonne, scorns to mention. Next you will be writing me you are taking a course at Leipzig instead of attending courses at the University of Trumbull. Es weiss nicht was sol les bedauten das Ich so trauig bin. There, that will hold you for a space.

Well, children, that’s the story for this week. The whole Guion family affairs laid out flat like the contents of Colgate’s toothpaste tube— comes out like a ribbon, lays flat on the floor. I wish I could get some order out of this post-war chaos. When will Dick and Jean be home, or won’t they? What’s going to happen to Lad’s furlough? How soon can MacArthur spare Dave? When is Ced flying home? Will I have a French or American grandson? Any information leading to the arrest of any of the above rumors, dead or alive, if stretched end to end, by the authority vested in but the state of Connecticut, you man and wife. I don’t know— I’m all mixed up. When somebody please straighten me out?

Your distracted

DAD

Tomorrow and Friday, a Birthday letter to Dave from his ever-loving father.

On Saturday and Sunday, a new series of letters written in 

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Dear Sons (and daughters Jean and Paulette) (2) – News From France – September, 1945

 

Oh Kay, Jeannie, old kid, we’ll do that little thing. And while I think of it, Dick, your insurance premium notice arrived the other day. Unless I hear from you to the contrary, I shall take care of it by my check in the regular way before it comes due. You’ll be interested, Jean, to know I received a nice letter from Marge (Mrs. Ted Southworth) the other day announcing their safe arrival at “Crosswinds, RFD West Sand Lake, N.Y.”. She says: “We want you to know we thoroughly enjoyed our stay in Trumbull under the Guion roof and thank you for putting up with us. Ted has already started classes at R.I.P. in Troy and finds it a little strange to be a student again. We will be living with Ted’s folks for a while as there is not much hope of finding anything in Troy at present. We have sort of a private apartment with “kitchen privileges”. I haven’t found any gainful employment yet but am working on it. I hope it won’t be too long before all the members of the Guion family will be together again. We certainly enjoyed reading their letters and meeting Lad. “Spintail” was overjoyed to see us again and is leading a very happy life here on the farm, free from strange dogs to fight with. He gets his exercise by chasing rabbits and woodchucks.”

Alaska was silent this week but I haven’t forgotten that threat: “Some time I may drop in unexpectedly at your office”, after landing, I suppose, in a Piper or something that he has just acquired, and hitchhiking in from the Stratford airport. Oh well, it doesn’t hurt to dream!

 

And now let’s turn the spotlight on the French theater of action. A Sept. 13th letter arrived on the 20th (regular mail, it says here) and one dated the 5th arrived on the 22nd. The composite result is somewhat as follows: The whole Senechal family is spending a few days in Drancy. They asked me to send their best regards to you all – – especially to Lad who, they know, is home at last. I no longer expect to be home this year.

(Comment. This is a bitter disappointment to me Dan, as you must realize, and I am not giving up without a struggle. I want to see my son – – I want very much to know my new daughter and I had very much hoped my little grandchild would open his little eyes first in good old Connecticut. Having stated that with all the sincerity and fervor of which I am capable, I must add that no matter how strong my wishes, or yours, Dan, might be, it is, after all, Paulette’s wishes that must, under the circumstances, come first. I can understand she might want to have her baby born among familiar surroundings rather than in a foreign country, yet I wonder if judging from the economic conditions in both countries, she wouldn’t be better off from every other standpoint if she were here. As for getting home, I understand the airlines have already started transatlantic service, and I imagine the fare is not out of reason. I am also going to make inquiries as to the resumption of steamship service. I understand some of the liners have already been returned by theGgovernment to the steamship companies and regular service will soon be resumed.)

But to go on with the quotation. “The explanation is somewhat involved. “Chiche”, being pregnant, cannot travel by government transport until three months after the birth of the child, unless she leaves before her pregnancy has advanced more than four months. But with shipping as crowded as it is these days, even assuming that her visa could be hastened by political pressure from you back home, the chances are remote that the Army could find room for her before next year. She is expecting the child in April or May. Thus she will not be eligible for travel by government transport until July or August, 1946!

(Comment. I should hate to rely on any governmental pressure I could exert these days with all the red tape that would be necessary, although I would not hesitate to try, but I should think the best thing would be to forget the Army transport method and make it as a civilian, and that, as soon as you can be discharged, and she can find accommodations. And don’t let the expense deter you, because this is important enough to transcend any consideration of this sort just as long, at least, as you have a Dad to fall back on.)

Tomorrow, the final section of this letter with more information from France. Thursday and Friday I’ll post a Birthday letter to Dave from his Dad.

Judy Guion

Army Life – Lad’s Army Life at Camp Santa Anita – August, 1943

Grandpa finally gets a letter from Lad telling of his furlough plans and his daily schedule. Grandpa is happy to get the news.

Camp Santa Anita

Wednesday

Aug. 11, 1943

Dear Dad:

Today I got word to report to the personnel section to verify my request for a furlough, and it is to start on Friday, September 3, and is good for 14 days, which means that I will have to be back at camp here on September 17. It looks as though I will have to travel by train, which means that it will take about four days or a little more to get home, and the same returning. However to make things different, I believe that I can work on one of the dining cars on one of the Santa Fe crack trains, and in that way will not only get to Chicago as fast as possible, but will be paid for going there. Then the trip from there to New York is much easier since there are many trains leaving per day, and the fair is only about $20. So, if things go as planned at present, I shall be home Monday night or sometime Tuesday, either September 5 or 6. I have checked no schedules as yet, but everything points in this direction. If there will be any changes, I shall notify you as soon as possible.

Things here have been going along fairly smoothly, but somebody, probably Washington, decided that we were having life a little too easy, and last week we started getting up at 5 AM. Incidentally, that means that at the same time as you are thinking of getting up, so am I. Along with that change, came a stiffening of regulations here. We fall out for reveille at 0515 and then have until 0630 to eat breakfast, clean house and get everything ready for the daily inspection of the barracks. At 0630 we fall out and March to the drilling area where we spent half an hour doing calisthenics and then an hour alternately drilling one day and listening to lectures on the next, which pertain to some phase of military life. At 0800 we return and again fallout to march down to the section where we start teaching at 0815. At 1000 we have a 10 min. break and then continue until 1145. Chow (lunch) is at 1145 and from then until 1250 we are free to do as we please. At 1250 we again fallout and march to the section and begin classes at 1300. Again at 1515 we have a 10 min. break and then school is over at 1730. Altogether that makes 12 1/2 hours that we are on the go for Uncle Sam. Then of course, we start on our own time and spend until 2200 or 2300 gallivanting around for ourselves then to bed until 0500. What a life, but it isn’t so bad if you don’t weaken.

A few weeks ago you asked me for a picture of Marian, and all that she can find is one taken some time ago, when she was looking for a job and

Lad and Marian, So. Pasadena, CA

Lad and Marian, So. Pasadena, CA

needed a picture to put on employment blanks. The picture is fairly good except that her eyes in the picture are too far apart and it looks as though she can’t keep her eyelids completely open. We are keeping pretty steady company. She is a fine girl, and I like her a great deal.

Tonight I am asst. Bn. C.Q. and apparently that is a better deal than C.Q. in that I get off at 1030 while the C.Q. is on until 1200 (2400). I have been on since 1730, and so far have run four errands and done a lot of talking with various of the other boys who have walked in or some of the guards. There goes the phone, and from the conversation, I guess that I’ll have another errand to run. Yep – just a minute. Well, that’s done.

The bag arrived O.K. and it will suit the purpose perfectly. Thanks Dad, and as usual, things that you do are usually done completely and well. However, I have a suggestion that may or may not be worthwhile. The condition of the bag, due to rough handling by the shipping companies, is in pretty poor shape as far as looks are concerned. I don’t think that the bag is actually hurt very much. But to at least help against being crushed, why not fill the bag quite tightly with crumpled newspaper. I think that the procedure will prevent a great deal of the crushing that occurred.

That diesel course that I was supposed to start teaching never did materialize, and at present I am instructing in a new course called “Engine Tune-up”. It is all right, but not as interesting as the diesel course would have been. Art Lind tells me that the diesel course has not yet been thrown out of the window, but I’m beginning to think that it has gotten just about as far as the frame, it is waiting for some wind to either blow it back in again or on out. I hope the wind blows from the outside. I’m really not too interested in this present course that I am connected with.

Well, I seem to be running out of thoughts, and since I do not have any of your letters with me here, I cannot look them over for further suggestions, and therefore I shall call it quits, and with love to all, I’ll sign this as

Laddie

In tomorrow’s post, one more letter from Grandpa to his sons.

On Saturday and Sunday, the two final posts from the Autobiography of Mary E Wilson. I have enjoyed sharing this story of the parents of Bev, a childhood friend living in the neighborhood. Her parent’s story is rather unique and inspirational.

Do you know of anyone who would like to take a trip down memory lane and relive what a family was going through during the late 1930’s and 1940’s? Why don’t you pass along this link so they can enjoy the stories also?

Judy Guion