My Ancestors (33g)- Alfred Peabody Guion – Marriage and World War II (2)

(1) Alfred Peabody Guion; (2) Judith Anne Guion.

Lad and Marian in the Irwin’s back yard, 1944

Excerpt from a letter to Grandpa from Marian, written on a Monday, with a note in Grandpa’s writing: Pomona, Calif 7/10/44:

“Wish I could report some definite plans that the “Roving Guions” have made, but so far everything is still very much up in the air.  We might be here 2 days, 2 weeks or even 2 months – we just don’t know.”

Excerpt from a letter written by Marian on Monday (Grandpa’s handwriting: Post marked 8/7/44.)

“I know that the minute I put down in writing the fact that “we thought we were going to stay here for a while” the Army would change our minds for us….. Lad is supposed to leave here Wednesday or Thursday for Flora, Mississippi, and I am going to drive the car and meet him there – or rather at Jackson, Mississippi, for there is not much more than the Army Post at Flora.”

Excerpt from a letter written by Marian on Monday, 8/14/44:

“Yes – Here we are again.  Still sitting in Pomona wondering what we’re going to do next.  Evidently there was too much publicity regarding the current move of the 142nd Battalion (practically everyone in Pomona knew about it!)  Or maybe they were unable to get a troop train – or maybe just because.  Anyway, we haven’t gone yet, altho’ we are practically completely packed, and have gotten our gas coupons.”

NOTICE OF CHANGE OF ADDRESS, dated August 16, 1944, with an address for Flora, Mississippi.

Excerpt from a letter to Grandpa from Marian, written Saturday night from Wakeeny, Kansas (Grandpa wrote 8/28/44):

“Something tells me that this letter should be a clever epistle, containing references to cross-country pioneering etc. etc., but I’m afraid I don’t have the time or energy to think of something suitable.  But I do want you to know that so far we have had a pretty good trip, we are making good time, the car and trailer are holding together, and that I am getting nearer and nearer to Jackson, Miss.  (Hallelujah !!!!  It can’t be too soon for me)”

From Life history of Alfred  P.  Guion:

Flora, Miss. – 9 weeks – Instructor, Automotive electricity;

1 week – designing plan for overseas base shop

Excerpt from a letter to Grandpa written on a Wednesday (Grandpa’s note: Jackson, 9/14/44):

“We’ve moved again, but not out of Jackson.  Our new “home” is very much nicer than the 1st 1, and we have kitchen privileges, so we don’t have to eat out.  And from what we’ve sampled of Southern cooking, we are just as glad!  Somewhere along the way I’ve been sadly misinformed about Southern cooking.  (That’s not the only a dissolution – I imagined sitting on a porch, sipping mint juleps and sniffing magnolias and honeysuckle! something is definitely wrong! Mississippi is as dry as can be, and beer is a poor substitute for a mint juleps!”

Excerpt from a letter Marian has written to Ced on it Tuesday, ( I checked the calendar and believe it was written October 2, 1944):

“We had a very pleasant weekend this last week.  (Sounds peculiar, but you know what I mean!)  After various telegrams 2 and fro, we finally made connections and were able to spend most of the weekend in Little Rock, Ark., with Dave.  He had gotten a 3-day pass from Camp Crowder, and lad had gotten a weekend pass, so as Little Rock was practically the middle point from Camp to Camp, we drove up and Dave came down on the bus……  – Now I’ve had the pleasure of meeting the 3 of the Guion boys two more to go.”

Excerpt from a letter from Marian to Grandpa on a Thursday (Grandpa wrote Jackson, 10/26/44):

“The Battalion has been issued new clothes, and they have been given until Nov. 1st to dispose of their cars, but it seems to me we went through this routine once before at Pomona, and look how long it took us to get out of there!  Nevertheless, we are re–arranging and packing as much as we can, so that I can leave here on a moments notice.  We haven’t the slightest idea which P.O.E. the fellows will be sent to, but in case it is New York, or its vicinity, I’d like to be around there as quickly as I can get there, in case Lad has a chance to get away for even a few hours.”

WESTERN UNION TELEGRAM to Grandpa dated Oct. 31, 44:

HOLD CHECK FOR MARIAN CAN YOU WIRE $35.00 IMMEDIATELY TO MARIAN I GUION 303 LONGINO JACKSON MISS FOR TRIP TO TRUMBULL DEPARTURE THIRD.

LAD MARIAN

Excerpt from another letter to Grandpa from Marian on a Wednesday (grandpa writes Jackson,11/1):

“All the wives are supposed to have gone home, and no more private cars on the post.  But lad took the car today, anyway.  He’s going to park it outside the gate, so that I can pick it up if he gets restricted……  Just to be on the safe side however, we packed the trailer last night, so that it will only take me a few minutes to put the last minute things into the car and be on my way home.

Incidentally, Dad, I’m really looking forward to living there at Trumbull.  It seems to me to be the best place of all, other than actually being with Lad, and think of the extra nice company I’ll have…..

I’m leaving here tomorrow or Friday, at the very latest.  When Lad comes home tonight, he’ll know a little more about their coming restriction, I think, so that he’ll have an idea whether or not he will be able to get home tomorrow night.  If he can all stay until Friday, but I’m pretty certain I’ll leave then.  So if everything goes according to schedule, I should be home sometime Sunday, probably late in the evening.”

Note added to the end of this letter by Lad:

“Marion is a wonderful girl, Dad, so please take care of her for me.  My happiness, and practically my life, is wrapped up in her.  I know you will, tho’, even without my asking.”

From Life history of Alfred P.  Guion:

Nov, 1944 – shipped over

 

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Trumbull – Dear Sheiks (3) – News From Dave – August 13, 1944

This is the next section of a letter written by Grandpa to the boys away from home.

From Dave:

Next Saturday – – the 12th – – we will all move from this company over to some company in the 34th Battalion. And then on Monday we will go out to the field for our final phase of training. CPX (command post exercises) is a sort of small scale maneuvers. The boys in cook school go out there and cook for us. Signal center clerks run signal centers. Radio boys completing their course run radios. Field linemen set out and maintain their wires. Poll linemen do likewise. The same is true for the teletype operators, motor mechanics, chauffeurs, truck drivers, engineers and anyone else I might not have mentioned. This final phase of training is three weeks long – – three weeks of Missouri woods, ticks, chiggers, rattlers and various other species that don’t hold too much interest in my mind, but I think it will be fun and anything would be better than school. You see, after I got back here from my furlough, although I still liked signal center clerk, I felt as though I knew all that they had to teach me in school (conceited) and I still feel that this last four weeks has been a waste of time. After CPX – – who knows? All I can do is to make a few wild guesses which would be based upon nothing but the Army’s ceaseless rumors – – which are more prevalent than ever before right now. The most likely thing that will happen is that they ship us out of here to a port of embarkation (maybe Reynolds in Pennsylvania, but more likely Beal in California) where we will be prepared to get on a boat and “see the world through the carbine gun sites”. If this is the case I may get a delay–en-route, and I may not – – who can tell? The other night I was on guard duty when a sergeant came out of his barracks with another man and called me over to him. He told me he had seen this man come into his barracks and pick up the sergeants pants. We questioned the fellow and he told us that he had moved into the company that morning and as he wasn’t thinking, due to the fact that he had had a few drinks in Neecho — he got in the wrong barracks. His story was very impressive and the Sgt. told me to let him go. The culprit left and I once again started walking my post. On an impulse, as I passed the barracks where the accused claimed to actually live, I decided to take a peek in to see if he were in bed. I went in to see and much to my dismay found that he wasn’t in there. I went back and told the Sgt. about it and then when I got to the guardhouse I told the Corporal of the Guard about it. The next day I found out that he was a crook and doing pretty well in the business throughout the whole post. For the offense which I committed (not turning him in) they could have court-martialed me – – not a pretty thought. As yet the culprit has not been located again.”

This sort of thing seems to be rather prevalent in this man’s Army. When I visited Lad in Aberdeen they had just had an incident of the same sort; and both Lad and Dick have lost valuable personal belongings. They should have a Sherlock Holmes detachment connected with each battalion.

Tomorrow, the final portion of this letter.

Judy Guion

Army Life – Dear Dad From Marian – August 7, 1944

At this point, Lad is expecting to be sent overseas and Marian will drive the Buick and trailer to Orinda, California, to have a short visit with her parents and then she will head to Trumbull for a reunion with Grandpa and the rest of the family there.

Monday

(postmarked 8/7/1944)

Lad and Marian - Pomona, CA

Lad and Marian – Pomona, CA

Dear Dad: – –

I knew that the minute I put down in writing the fact that “we thought we were going to stay here for a while,” the Army would change our minds for us. Maybe I’ll learn some day that I’ll never know what the Army is planning from one minute to the next. Lad is supposed to leave here Wednesday or Thursday for Flora, Mississippi, and I am going to drive the car and meet him there – or rather at Jackson, Mississippi, for there is not much more than the Army Post at Flora. Jackson is about 20 miles away from the Post, and as it is the capital of Mississippi it can’t be too awful. Some people must live there. But every report we’ve gotten so far, from fellows who have and who have not been there, say that Flora is nothing more than a h___ hole in the very worst degree. Not very encouraging, is it, but if we go there expecting the very worst we might be pleasantly surprised. I hope so, anyway. Whether this is to be a training center or a staging area or both we don’t know. Last month the Battalion was very “hot” and practically on its way overseas, but things cooled down considerably and we heard that another Battalion had been sent across instead. So, as usual, we don’t know very much about what we are doing. But we hope for the best.

It looks as though I’m going to have to postpone my very muchly anticipated return visit to Trumbull. May I have a rain – check, however, so that I may arrive at a later date? The only bright spot in the idea of Lad’s going overseas is the prospect of being with you again – and not just because of the snow, either! Perhaps I’ll be a little late, but I might show up yet.

It is going to take all our available cash to move, Dad, so once again we are going to have to ask you to wait for another payment on our loan. We never seem to have a chance to save for these unexpected trips. They come much too suddenly and often for us to adjust the family budget! We are not sure of Lad’s new address. As soon as we know it, we will send you a card. And although we expect to move from Pomona on Wednesday or Thursday, don’t be too sure of it. Our next letter might still come from Pomona, because knowing the Army as we do, I am not leaving here until I know for sure that the fellows are on the train and on their way.

Mother’s operation was very successful. Already she can see 50% better than before, and the doctor hopes that in three months time, when she gets her glasses, that she will be able to see 100% better. So that is very encouraging, and now that the mental strain and worry are over for her, she should improve quite rapidly. I’m still planning to stop by Orinda on my way to Flora, although I won’t be able to spend very much time there.

With all our love,

Marian and Lad

The rest of the week will be devoted to a letter Grandpa wrote to his five sons scattered all over the world. They will be shorter than usual postings but the natural breaks in the letter worked out this way.

Judy Guion

Army Life – More Details About Lad’s Thoughts – October 6, 1943

 

Lad Guion and Marian Irwin - 1943

         Lad Guion and Marian Irwin – 1943

Camp Santa Anita

Oct. 6, 1943

Dear Dad:-

Some time having elapsed since I last wrote you, I think I can say that, although I’m still way up in the clouds, I at least can think logically.

During my time on furlough I realized that I missed Marian quite a good deal, as I think I told you, but the feeling got stronger and stronger as I came closer to LA, and not a thing could have pleased me more than having Marian, as she did, meet me. I realized then that I really loved her, and I also, as I think I told you, realized that she not only liked me very well, but very definitely loved me. We spent quite a good deal of time discussing all angles of marriage, realizing that this was a rather poor time to undertake anything so serious, and permanent, and although she wanted me to ask her, she didn’t press her point at all. We had both agreed, many months before, in an argument with another couple, that it was pretty foolish to marry during the present war, but here I am sticking my neck out, or rather jeopardizing her life (possibly) by asking her to marry me. Arrangements have been made, as far as is possible for a soldier, to be married at her home near San Francisco on November 14th . We may have to suddenly changed plans, but to date, everything looks O.K. We have gone very seriously into the financial end, and even being slightly extravagant, we will still have a sufficient income to save about 20%. As to my car, she has a lot older car and it’s reaching the point where it needs constant small repairs, so we shall sell her car, and use some of that to pay the $500 still owing the bank. At the moment we shall have no particular need for two cars, and she should have a more reliable one anyhow. She has an apartment which we shall continue to use, and although it is small, neither of us will be there during the day, and its size will facilitate cleaning during the few hours we are at home.

There are two things I regret, however, about the proceedings. (1) You have never met Marian, and don’t know her, so you’ll have to rely on my judgment to bring you a good daughter-in-law, and (2) her parents have never met me so therefore they will have to rely on her to pick out a worthwhile husband and son-in-law. I think I’m getting the better bargain, and she thinks she is, so we’re completely happy. Oh! Dad – she really is wonderful. I wish you could know her now, instead of having to wait. She has one sister and one brother, both married, and her father is a factory distributor of Westinghouse, with a very large warehouse, and serving, I think, the state of California. I wrote to him tonight telling him a little of myself, so he won’t be too much in the dark, but it was quite a hard letter to write, and I don’t think I did as good a job as I could have, had I known him, or at least met him previously. I have asked her to write to you, but here is a little about her. She is 27, and was born here on the West Coast. She has completed her education through college, and for four or five years she taught school near San Francisco and then Bakersfield. Last year she quit teaching and spent some time (a month or so) on the East Coast, as she had done previously, and then accepted the position she holds at present as an Executive Secretary in the Camp Fire Girls. She has charge of the South Pasadena-San Gabriel group. She enjoys it and when the subject of marriage was broached to the Board, they said that it was a good idea, provided she did not intend to leave them. So that fitted right in with our plans, and so far, everything is been going so smoothly I’m beginning to expect some serious reversal. Things have run like a well-built turbine. I’m getting leery.

It’s getting late, Dad, so with the report that I’m extremely happy, I wish you and the rest lots of love, and remain

Laddie

Tomorrow, another excerpt from John Jackson Lewis with his adventures in California.

On Sunday, the continuing story of My Ancestor, Alfred Peabody Guion and his life with Marian (Irwin) Guion during the war.

Judy Guion

Army Life – Dear Dad – Surprise – September, 1943

 

Lad has arrived back at Camp Santa Anita , California after  traveling home to Trumbull on furlough. He has done some serious thinking and has made a decision which he shares with Grandpa.

Marian Irwin

Dear Dad:

Since I arrived things have progressed rapidly – I have had a complete reversal of more or less personal ideas, and Marian has consented to be my wife. I never thought I was capable of such strong emotions, but they are certainly present. When I have had a chance to calm down and think more clearly, I’ll write again and give you more in detail.

Lots of love,

Lad

P.S. I personally think that she can top Jean without a great deal of trouble –

Tomorrow, I’ll post the next letter from Lad to his Father, which explains quite a bit more about his thinking and the plans he shares with Marian fr their future.

On Saturday, another excerpt from a letter written by John Jackson Lewis to family and friends back in the states.

On Sunday, we shall see if this is the last post about my Ancestor, Alfred Peabody Guion. I will try to condense his life after the war into one post, but it might go another week. You (and I) will just have to see how it goes.

Judy Guion

Army Life – Dear Dad – Lad arrives in L.A. – September 22, 1943

     Lad and Marian – Pomona, CA

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

September 22, 1943

South Pasadena, California

Dear Dad:

I arrived in LA at 4:10 A.M. and, so help me, Marian 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 P.M. 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 A.M.. So I went back to the Y and slept all afternoon and evening.

About 10 P.M. 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 P.M. 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 A.M. till after 4 P.M..

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 Wednesday, we’ll read a long letter from Grandpa to his four sons in their various locations, filled with news about each of them. Thursday a quick note from Lad and a longer letter on Friday.  

Judy Guion

Army Life – Dear Dad, Aunt Betty and Jean – A Change In Plans – July 31, 1944

Lad and Marian - Pomona, CA

         Lad and Marian – Pomona, CA

Monday

Dear Dad, Aunt Betty and Jean,

Here we go again!  Life in the Army is very much like sitting on a time bomb. We never know whether we will go off in the next minute, or whether our precarious seat will prove to be a dud.

The fellows have been told that they should have some technical training, so beginning tomorrow,  Lad is going to be teaching a course on the finer points of the Electrical System of Diesel Engines. This should last about two weeks. Actually, it means absolutely nothing, beyond the fact that it will keep the fellows busy! So, the way things stand now, we should be here for another two weeks, but just as soon as I put that in writing, the Army will change our minds for us! Consequently, you now know just about as much of our future plans as we do, and as to their definite-ness – your guess is as good as ours!

Life goes on pretty much the same these days, in all other respects. Lad is back at the Pomona Base now, and doesn’t have to report for work until 5:45 AM. He’s keeping busy, but is not working as hard or as long as he had to when he was at Camp Haan.

We thought we were going to be able to send you another addition for the ”Rogue’s Gallery”, but we were not satisfied with the finished product, so the photographers are going to see what they can do about it. But it will take another two weeks to get the pictures back. But you’ve waited this long for a picture of us together, so it shouldn’t be too hard to wait that much longer.

On the next cool Sunday, when you have nothing else to do, will you look in the top shelf of Lad’s trunk that is in the attic and see if his flashlight is there? It has a black, hard rubber case, with the red tab on it which says, “Approved by Underwriters Laboratory” on it. It is a gas proof and waterproof one, and Lad would like to have it with him if it is there. If you can’t find it in the trunk, contact Babe Mulllins, and see if she knows where it is.

Aunt Betty, I’m sure Ced has been using his most persuasive powers to get you to Alaska. But don’t forget that there might be some question about your being able to smoke those cigars of yours up there. Families, you know, understand these things and make the necessary allowances, but strangers are apt to raise their eyebrows at such goings on. And I’m sure the natives wouldn’t understand at all. They might think you were on fire, and  bury you under an avalanche of snow. So don’t say I didn’t warn you. Besides, who’s going to help me shovel a path to the garage if I come to Connecticut this winter?

With all our love,

Lad and Marian

Tomorrow, an excerpt from a letter written by John Jackson Lewis to his family back in New York. He is writing from San Jose but includes more details about his first few days in San Francisco.

On Sunday, another post about my Ancestors, this one about my Dad, Alfred Peabody Guion. 

Next week I’ll be continuing posts from The Beginning – Reminiscences of Alfred D. Guion.

Judy Guion