Army Life – Dear Dad – Lad mentions a Friend named Marian – April 8, 1943

This letter is written from the Hospitality Center of South Pasadena. Marian Irwin was the Executive Director of the South Pasadena Camp Fire Girls and did her duty to entertain the troops at the Hospitality Center. She actually met three of Lad’s friends who arrived at Camp Santa Anita while Lad was taking a two week Diesel Engine course from the Wolverine Motor Works near Chicago. She told me that they kept telling her, “Wait until you meet Al”. Little did they know how well that would turn out.

The date appears to be April 8, 1942, but in actuality, Lad wasn’t drafted until June, 1942. By April of 1944, they were married and Marian was moving from base to base with him.


Blog - Marian Irwin - 1942April 8, 1943

Dad: –

Again too many days have gone by, but they have all been full. Even Apr. 3rd. I got a letter from you on the eventful day – thanks. It went by as usual, but the bunch of us were invited to a party in my honor at the home of one of the girls I have met here. In fact, she is so much like Babe that I have difficulty now and then in calling her Marian. She is not quite as pretty as Babe but resembles her in almost every other way. Even to occupations. Well, anyhow, the party went off fine and about 2 A.M. on Sunday we decided to go to a swing-shift dance at the Casa Manana and had a good time. Got in Camp at 6 Sun. Morn. (this is the first mention of Marian, my Mom, in Lad’s letters home.)

Due to a change in the system of paying last Wednesday, we could not get out of camp in time to see “The Drunkard”, so it is still something to look forward to.

I heard from Mrs. Lea, and everything is O.K. – sorry I didn’t or couldn’t do anything earlier, but I should have written. But that’s me.

You asked in one of your letters that I tell you something about what I’m doing. Well, Art Lind and I are working together in the same class and we have decided that the system used by the Army for teaching Diesel Engines can be greatly improved. Well, without authority, because of stubbornness on the part of one officer to listen to our story, we went ahead and ran the class for one week. It was a decided success and proved our point to a “T”, but still, since it has been general knowledge that Art and I were responsible, this same officer is not able to get credit now as having originated the idea, and has still not issued the necessary orders. It is people like he who are responsible for a great deal of the discontent prevalent in the Army. Other than that, the course is continuing as it should, and running very smoothly.

It seems that our new Battalion C.O. is from a Basic Co. and thinks that we are trainees. If this sort of treatment keeps on, there is going to be trouble in Hdq. Bn. And I won’t be lax in cooperating.

In a letter, you mentioned that Dan may be scheduled for overseas, it is beginning to look like all of we A-1’s will be replaced by “limited service” men, and then – – –? Who knows?

I’m fine, Dad, and I hope you and the rest are the same. Remember me to all.


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

Judy Guion


Trumbull – The Guion Clipping Service (1) – News From Most Of The Boys – May 7, 1944

Trumbull, Conn. May 7, 1944

Dear Subscribers to the Guion Clipping Service:

Lad GuionFor purposes of record let me here state right at the beginning that if Anchorage had come through last week, we would have marked up a score of 100%. Yes sir, even Dick contributed. Top honors however, go to California. Lad writes:

April 30. It is six o’clock here but in Conn. it is 9 PM so I imagine you have finished your weekly chore of writing to your widely separated families, by now. I have been in bed all day trying to get rid of a cold and Marian seems to have been quite successful as a nurse. I feel a great deal better than I did last night at this time. Sometime after the middle of May and possibly before the 20th, I can take a 15 day furlough with six or seven days traveling time. Or I can wait until about June 10th. However, if the battalion moves from Pomona before I take it, it might mean a cancellation of furloughs. Therefore I think it better to take it as soon as possible. We are both looking forward eagerly to seeing you-all. We’ve not had a chance to get our pictures taken, due to odd working hours but we still have hopes. If things go as we are hoping, you will see us in person before we could send you a picture anyway. Possibly you have seen something in the papers regarding the closing of the CAMA (Calif.-Ariz. Maneuver Area) of which Pomona is the general headquarters. Therefore, Pomona Ordnance Base activities have been cut to a minimum, as well as personnel. There are to be only a few men left here, and as yet we don’t know which companies they will be. Of course, we’re hoping that the 3019 will be one of those remaining, but if not, we shall be moving out in a few weeks. So far, we have not had a chance to really use our trailer and I’d just as soon not have to use it yet. (Signed) Lad

And Marian adds this: Isn’t it exciting about our “Furloughmaybe”? I refuse to believe it however until we actually arrive, but I find myself giving Marian (Irwin) Guionan extra hop, skip and a jump every once in a while just thinking about it. (Not that Jeep influence again, I hope.)

Dan-uniform (2)Dan is ripe for sulfur and molasses or some other spring tonic, I believe. He writes: Spring has come early this year and found me unprepared to resist its cozening wiles — so, if nearly a month has elapsed since you heard from me it is not because of any startling developments, nor is it lack of time. Call it willing indolence, tempered by intervals (such as this moment) of a rather battered conscience. And try to be content with the hope that the weather will turn “beastly”, thus breaking the spell that has bound one with a thousand subtle meshes. Life has become too pleasant to be compatible with the war that has brought it about. “Ah, to be in England, now that April is here – – and now I abandon myself again to its sweet seduction.”

The proprietor of Brazilian Stables, Inc., says his intention was to write a long letter but “I don’t feel exactly radiant radiant this evening. I am in the midst of a cold and there has been a lot of work lately.


And Dave was in a left-handed mood when he wrote on April 30th: time is going by faster than ever here. This is the last day of April. Everything here is green. I’ve seen blossoms on the fruit trees here. This is excellent farm country except for the stones. Camp Crowder is filled with apple and peach orchards that the farmers took care of until they were bought out by the government to make the camp. I think this camp is supposed to cover 90 sq. miles. The orchards have been let go since the camp was built – – the government would rather spend thousands of dollars buying fruit from the farmers (and making it so the civilians can’t get decent fruit) then spend a few hundred dollars for spray and equipment to keep up the trees which are already planted and bearing fruit. They’ve got the manpower to pick the apples and keep the trees in good condition. The idea of growing our own fruit, with everything we need for doing it right here, is far too practical for the government or the Army. So, instead, you civilians get no fruit and we get battered and bruised apples, some of which aren’t fit to eat, that had been shipped halfway across the country, taking up valuable shipping space and using up valuable gasoline. This is the Army. The end.

I am in a rut at radio school. They call it a plateau of learning. When you first go to school you start with Z speeds – – Z1 to Z6. These are all to teach the alphabet. In other words when you get through with Z6 you know the complete alphabet and a number of different signs such as a long break (between messages), repeat back, end of transmission, etc. After you pass all of the Z speeds you go to the 5W (5 words per minute), 7W, 10 W, 12 W, 15 W, 18 W. To pass the course you must be able to receive 18 W (18 words per minute) and send 13 words a minute. The course is five weeks long, four of which we have completed already. I’m on 10W and as I said before, I can’t seem to get by it. I have been for two weeks now on that one speed. I haven’t been able to pass any sending tests yet. I have only one week to get 18 W receiving and 13 W sending. This sounds bad but it’s almost average – – but then, too, there are a lot of boys being transferred to other schools. Just keep your fingers crossed – – I’ll work – – you hope and pray for me, and maybe I can make it – – O.K.?

I only received one letter all week long. I’ll bet you couldn’t guess in the thousand years who it was from. Dad? No. Eleanor? No. Jean? No. Aunt Betty? No. One of my brothers? Yes, you’re right. I got a letter from Dick! Am I proud! He wrote me that he saw Nick Halsack (Peggy VanKovic’s future husband) in S.A. He said Nick is a radio operator in a B-24 and was on his way to Scotland.

This letter is a 3-pager, with a long letter from Dave, at Camp Crowder, Missouri, for Basic Training, in the middle.Tomorrow, we’ll have the rest of the letter from Dave from Dave and Grandpa will add his two-cents worth.

Judy Guion

Army Life – Dear Dad – Lad and Mairan’s Furloughmaybe – April 30, 1944

In January, 1944, Dave, Grandpa’s youngest son, left high school after turning 18 and enlisted in the Army. All five sons are serving Uncle Sam in various capacities. Lad and his new wife, Marian, are in California where Lad is training mechanics. Dan is in London, and since he is a surveyor, I wonder if he has something to do with the preparation of D-Day. Ced is in Alaska, repairing planes and retrieving downed airplanes in the Bush. Dick is in Brazil working in the office that is coordinating with the Brazilian government, and Dave is in Missouri, taking his Basic Training.

Lad and Marian Guion's wedding - Nov. 14, 1943 - close-up with hat and coursage

April 30, 1944

Dear Dad:-

It is 6 o’clock here, but in Conn. it is 9 PM. So I imagine you have finished your weekly chore of writing to your widely separated families by now. I’ve been in bed all day trying to get rid of a cold and Marian seems to have been quite successful as a nurse. I feel a great deal better than I did last night at this time. We got your last week’s letter last night at the P.O on our way home. Your letters are really ever so welcome even though we don’t keep such a regular schedule as you.

As you may have suspected, there is something behind this letter, and here it is this, and I want an honest answer from you. Sometime after the middle of May, and possibly before the 20th, I can take a 15 day furlough with six or seven days traveling time. Or, I can wait until about June 10th. However, if the Bn. moves from Pomona before I take it, it might mean a cancellation of furloughs. Therefore, I think it is better to take it as soon as possible. However – “the catch”. In June we can possibly finance the entire trip alone, but before June 1, to make it, I shall need about $150. We have estimated that we can make the trip on $300, which gives us a leeway of about $35 for spending, exclusive of traveling expenses. Now what I would like to know is will it be possible for you to advance me the money, to be paid back at the rate of $30-$50 per month? If you can’t do it just say so, please, reasons not necessary, and I’ll try somewhere else or wait hopefully until June. We are both looking forward eagerly to seeing you all.

The weather here has been unusual for California, (it says here in small print), and we have had three days of wet, rainy weather, but it was nice yesterday afternoon and the same this afternoon. With the exception of the cold I’m just getting rid of, Marian and I have been very well. We’ve not had a chance to get our pictures taken due to odd working hours, but we still have hopes. But, if things go as we are hoping, we will see you in person before we could send you a picture anyway.

Possibly you have seen something in the papers regarding the closing of the California – Arizona Maneuver Area (CAMA) of which Pomona is the general headquarters. Therefore, Pomona Ord. Base activities have been cut to a minimum as well as personnel. There are to be only a few men left here, and as yet we don’t know which companies they will be. Of course we’re hoping that the 3019 will be one of those remaining, but if not, we shall be moving out in a few weeks. So far, we’ve not had a chance to really use our trailer, and I would just as soon not have to use it yet. Incidentally, that is one of the reasons I need help to come to Trumbull.

Marian wants to write a little note so I’ll say so long for a couple or three weeks, we hope. My love to all –


P.S. As you can see I received the stationary and it is very nice. Thank you very, very much. And also thanks for the sewing kit. It may come in handy, but I hope I won’t need it. L


Hello, Dad, and fellow Trumbullites

How is everyone? Seems to me it has been a long time since I’ve written, but no matter how we slip up, Dad, we can always count on your entertaining letters arriving every week, come h___ or high water! And we do enjoy them so much.

Isn’t it exciting about our “Furloughmaybe”? I refuse to believe it, however, until we actually arrive, but I find myself giving an extra “hop, skip and a jump” every once in a while just thinking about it. (Not that Jeep influence again, I hope!)

Anyway, I’m really looking forward to seeing every one of you, and hope it won’t be too long a time before it happens.

Till then, with love –


Tomorrow and Friday, another letter from Grandpa.

Judy Guion

Army Life – News From Lad at Camp Santa Anita – Dick is Now Married – March 21, 1943

Alfred Duryee Guion

Camp Santa Anita

March 21, 1943

Dear Dad: –

Well, seems that again, a couple of weeks have gone by before I’ve gotten around to writing. I’m just not conscientious enough I guess, and the conditions here are far from conducive to writing. It is pretty hard to write in the camp itself because of lack of facilities, and once away from camp, who wants to sit down in someone’s home or where you are expected to be enjoying yourself and write? I know I don’t, and as you have seen, I haven’t.

But, nevertheless, I’m perfectly well and really enjoying myself as well as could be expected under the circumstances

I should have done something about this before, but I had practically forgotten it. Tell Mrs. Lee to carry on with the insurance. By the time you receive this, she should have received $10 by telegram, which should take care of it for a short period, anyway, and I’ll write to her for an account. Thank you for your gentle reminder.

And Dick is now married. Well, well, well. By the time I got your letter saying that he was to be called into service, but would be married first, he had already gone. The time required for mail from back east is getting longer and longer. In fact, some of your letters have taken almost 2 weeks to reach me. It is normally, 6 to 9 days. Once in a while 5 or 6.

Well, now to get back to the previous paragraph. So Dick is now married. Well, well, well. That move sort of leaves me writeless. But I’ll try to continue, nevertheless. In the first place, I have absolutely no available cash that I can use for a wedding present, so I think I’ll write Jean and ask her to “take a rain check” on it. As is very often the case – I knew pretty much about the affair, long before it happened. In fact, sometime around October, Dick asked me about it, and I told him what I thought about getting married before or during this war, and I can see he took my advice – and threw it out the window, or some such place but anyhow, I believe he really has a wonderful wife. I like her very much. I just hope that knowing that she is there waiting for him will sort of change some of his lackadaisical ways. (Maybe I had better get married.) I can think of lots more to say, but they are better said to Jean or Dick directly, so that’s that.

As customary, I’ve been having a Hell of a good time. About two weeks ago I went on what is commonly called “the wagon”. Vince, Vic, Art and I (Junior doesn’t drink) were all doing some pretty heavy drinking. Quite often we would drink one and a half or 2 quarts of whiskey in an evening and I believe that for about a month never one night went by that we didn’t “kill” a quart. So, as I said, I’m on the wagon, and it seems to have had a slight effect on the others. At any rate, we, or rather, they, have had very little to drink. I wanted to find out for myself if I needed to drink or if it was just because of the association, and I find that it was the latter. The boys made me promise that on Wednesday, March 31, I would take a drink. We are all going to see “The Drunkard”, and part of the show consists of drinking beer and eating so I’ve consented. That will be the first drop of anything alcoholic in my system since March 7th. Last Saturday – Vic, Art and Al – went to L. A. To see “Hi Rookie”. It is a “scream”, and we thoroughly enjoyed the whole production. It is put on by the boys from Fort MacArthur, just south of L. A. proper and they seem to enjoy doing it as well as the audience enjoys seeing it. It has been running since the latter part of 1942 and the house is still crowded at each performance. It really is good. “The Drunkard” must be good, too, since this is its 10th year.

Now, a little business. Selling the car here will be an easy matter, but I would not be able to get another since prices are just about double those in the East. But I have finally located a person who has more money than he knows what to do with, and it looks as though you will have enough to straighten out with the bank in a short while. One of the factors which make it more difficult to sell it, is that there are five of us together. So it will be a decided inconvenience to not only me, but the rest, were I to sell it. (As you can see, I wrote so fast and furious that my pen couldn’t keep up with me, and I’ve got to put it away until I can get something more to eat.) So, if the bank says anything, ask for 30 days more, and you shall have it.

Well, there goes the bell for starting work, so give my love or regards to all, and keep well.


I’ll continue the week with another letter from Grandpa, then a letter from Jean to Ced and finish the week with another letter from Grandpa.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Dear Audience – Dick the Horse Trader – April 23, 1944

Trumbull, Conn., April 23, 1944

Dear Audience:
We open our vaudeville show this evening with a little sketch:
Tme – 1946
Scene: a comfortable little home furnished in green.
Characters: Mrs. Marian Guion and little Alfred, Junior
“Mama, why do I jiggle so,
from my toes to my solar plexus?
Hush, child, your father long ago
Rode a Jeep in the heart of Texas.”

(The absolutely amazing thing is that this was written in 1944 and in the middle of 1946, June 28th, Marian did give birth to little Alfred (Douglas Alfred, not Alfred, Jr. )  but the biggest surprise to all, including Marian, was that she also gave birth to a daughter, ME (Judith Anne Guion), on the same day. He was right about little Alfred but I fooled them all !)

Next, we introduce our educated dog, Smoky. Step this way, ladies and gentlemen, and see the dog who follows the progress of the war and also correctly pronounces Polish. “Smoky, what Polish city will the red Army capture next?”
Smoky: “Lwow, Lwow.”
We are sorry to announce that the great magician, Señor Guionne, having mislaid his wand and was not able to produce any rabbits out of his hat, to say nothing of his inability all this week to produce any letters from his five absent sons out of box 7 during the entire week just past. He hopes to find his wand very soon now, maybe tomorrow ???
So much for nonsense. Art Mantle is due home very soon from the Pacific theater for a month’s furlough. With practically all of his former pals in the war, I am wondering what he will find to do? Paul (Warden, the tenant) came back home Tuesday for a week’s rest before he goes back to find what the Navy is planning for him to do next.
None of the N.Y. Peabodys were able to get up to Elizabeth’s last week, so just the Trumbull bunch served as extras. Not much in the way of local news to report.
Weather has been cloudy and raining all week. In spite of that fact I did manage to get the back yard looking as if Dan was home, but there’s still much to do on sides and front.

Jean (Mrs. Richard) Guion

Jean (Mrs. Richard) Guion

Through Jean’s (Mrs. Dick Guion) courtesy, I am privileged to quote from one of Dick’s recent letters (Dick is stationed in Brazil and working as a liaison for the local workers on the base.): “I’m still making out per diem for transient plane crews. The Post Commander’s Adjutant came into the office the other day and remarked that the finance department has told him that I was doing very well — turning out more work then anyone else who had been on the job. However, I’m still a lowly T/5. I’m supposed to have from noon to 1:30 for lunch but if there are a lot of men waiting for per diem, I only take 20 or 25 minutes and several times I have worked 2 1/2 to 3 hours overtime at night. Most of them appreciate what I can do for them. That helps.

Richard (Dick) Guion

Richard (Dick) Guion

Incidentally, you are now the wife of a horse trader, extraordinary. Maybe I shouldn’t say horse trader, but the proud possessor of a beautiful 129 bouncing horse. Accent on the bouncing. But that’s not all. He is also the rightful owner of the Adjacento Riding Academy, with 2 1/2 horses to the credit. Another soldier owns half of one of the horses. (He owns the half that eats. He has to feed his half. Need I go further?) Oh, well, there’s nothing like a little manual labor at the end of a shovel to give one an appetite (Note by editor: I thought you said that was a one horse town you were in?) I plan to rent the horses to the transients at $.50 to a dollar an hour. So far I have spent $57 for horseflesh and $18.25 for feed and care. Now all they have to do is ship me home before I can hock the transients for $75.25.

Maybe my muse will supply more inspiration next week. Or it might be that one of you will substitute for the muse. Anyway, cheerio for now.

Tomorrow we have another letter from Rusty to Ced and we finish the week with Grandpa’s response to Marian’s little ribbing.

Judy Guion

Army Life – Marian Writes to Grandpa – Tongue in Cheek – April 22, 1944

The following note from Marian is in direct response to the section of a letter written by Grandpa on Easter Sunday, 1944. I will quote;
“And Marian sent me a little Easter card which arrived in Saturday’s mail. I’m quite jealous though because both Aunt Betty and Jean got pink handkerchiefs with sachet bags enclosed which were omitted in my envelope.”
Marian sent the following note on April 22, 1944 in response.

Marian's note about the sachets - April, 1944
Dear Dad,

In the letter we received last week
there was a certain reference,
made to the fact that we had shown
a very distinct preference!

We didn’t know – (we’ve been away
from Trumbull quite a spell.)
That Dad had reached the well-known stage
that even “best friends won’t tell”!

He seems to think that a sweet sachet
will help his cause a bit.
But frankly, Dad, we think you’ll find
that there is something you forgot !

So we are sending with this note
the things we think you need,
we know your friends will all return
if only you take heed.

And use a little every day
of each and every one.
With best regards from daughter-in-law
and ever loving son.

Tomorrow, a short (for Grandpa) letter, and on Friday, another letter from Rusty to Ced.

Judy Guion

Army Life – Marian Writes to Grandpa – A Lovely Gift – April 10, 1944

Marian Irwin Guion at Trumbull - 1945 (cropped)


Dear Dad –My Easter plant is so lovely – it is a green and white Coleus (Spelling ???) and matches the decorations in our “apartment”. Thank you so very much, Dad. Lad and I spent a very quiet Easter Sunday. Slept late and spent the rest of the day finishing up a few of the odd jobs that we needed to do around the house. Our apartment is such a “dilly” that we are trying our best to make it a little more presentable. Curtains and a few colorful pictures do help a little – and the fact that we have our own kitchen is so wonderful that we overlook all the other drawbacks. Eating our meals “out” every night was getting mighty tiresome, and was a little too expensive for us.
I wish we could tell you how much we enjoyed your letter which reveals a few of the “crazy streaks” in the Guion family. That letter was really a masterpiece, Dad, and we laughed so hard we cried! We are saving it and any time we feel the need of a “lift” all we need to do is read it again. I certainly wish the Guions and the Irwins were not so far apart, for we are “crazy” in the same way and I know we would all enjoy “catching our thumbs” together.
Thanks again, Dad, for your thoughtfulness.
All my love,

Tomorrow, a new series detailing  the journey of John Jackson Lewis from New York to Santa Clara, California in 1851.

On Sunday, another ancestor from Nantucket, Massachusetts, Rev, Stephen Bachiler. 

 Judy Guion