This is the continuation of Ced’s long letter I started yesterday.
As to flying, perhaps you could find me an airplane cheap. Seriously, the more I think of it, the more I think it would be smarter for me to buy one instead of paying rental on planes here. The cheapest I can fly for is $7.50 an hour and I need at least 150 hours more. That makes $1125 and nothing to show for it but the flying time and experience. The Army is releasing some of the small ships which they used for observation purposes. If I could get an Aeronca Chief or a Taylorcraft or some such thing, I might be money ahead. I think the Army is selling them for around $750 as is. Most need repairs but some need very little. My thought is that if I could get one of these, spend a few dollars on repairs and licensing, I would not only get my flying time a little cheaper but would have something material out of it. As for purchasing wherewithal I would have to scrape up the cash somehow, as the Army, I don’t think, would like a time payment plan. If Dan would permit me, I might sell the car and use that money toward a plane paying him back on time. The biggest hitch is finding the plane as I think I could promote the money. Perhaps the fellows in the apartment could steer you onto something. There were also some good buys on the civilian market, but they are probably not quite as much for the money. If something were available back there, I could perhaps take time off, dash home to Trumbull on a flying trip, and fly the ship back up here. Then next time I wanted to go to Trumbull, it would be just a matter of packing up the plane and get going. This is perhaps all a pipe dream but I’m enjoying it and if you happen to run across something let me know, post haste. In the meantime I am looking around for whatever I can see and paying from $7.50 to $10 an hour. A plane similar to those I mentioned, in this country, would run from $2500 to $4000, which is slightly beyond my means. Ask Marian if she could get me a helicopter for $25 down and the rest when they catch me.
Marian (Mrs. Alfred (Lad) Guion), is living at the Trumbull House with Grandpa, awaiting Lad’s return from the war. She is employed by Sikorsky Aircraft in Stratford, Connecticut)
I must finish that trip history before I forget that I went on it. I’ll try to include another installment in the next issue. Dave’s moccasins will be on the way soon. I haven’t been able to get them yet but I think this coming week will turn the tide. Now as regards the much discussed touring Grandpa being able to travel after the War) , all arrangements at Trumbull should be comparatively simple. There should be someone interested in renting the house in the event you care to leave on an extended vacation after the war. They should be willing to take over the apartment care if the rent was reasonable, and of course Dave and Aunt Betty would either stay there or move into other quarters, whichever seemed the most adaptable to all concerned. At any rate, it seems to me that a trip such as you mention would be a swell one to take and maybe things can be worked out so that I can start from here and join you somewhere along the road. Perhaps I would fly on ahead and spied out a trail for you in case the highway was too bad. Seriously, it would be fun to start by car from here and go all the way down through the U.S., stopping at the National Parks and wonders which Aunt Betty and Aunt Elsie have raved about, and continuing on through Central America. Wouldn’t a house trailer be a good investment on a trip such as that? Maybe the roads wouldn’t be good enough to take a heavy trailer over, but if they were, and from what I’ve heard of trailers or tourists, it would be a most enjoyable way to go and perhaps as inexpensive as any other way and less than most. We could
page 3 of Ced’s letter
carry a tent for extra sleeping and use the trailer as a cook shack and base camp. Of course, it would be most enjoyable and a WOW of a trip if the whole caboodle clan Guion and spouses could gather together enough rolling stock and equipment to make the trip together, and I for one would be for it, but I suppose that, due to circumstances beyond our control, that would be difficult to manage. However it is something to think about and to work for. Well, I sure have wandered about in this letter and romanced plenty.
Now let’s get down to facts again. Art Woodley is again in the states to see about new planes, new routes, etc. All planes are now running again. Thursday of this coming week, the fishing season closes and again we have that mad rush evacuating the fisherman. At least we are better situated to handle the rush then we have been for a long time.
Latest rumor, unconfirmed, is that Rusty is coming back to Anchorage to live. Walter Stoll told me that John Manders had a letter from Rusty to that effect. I have not written him lately nor have I heard from him for five or six weeks. The city of Anchorage has finally oiled many of the streets to keep down the dust, a move which I have felt necessary since Dan and I arrived here in 1940. There is an amusement park at the east end of town opening soon. It consists of a merry-go-round and an airplane loop-the-loop. There are now some 90 odd licenses in the city for the dispensing of retail and wholesale liquor. Whoops, my dear, what a fair city we have, hic, hic. The Community Hall has been converted into a hospital for venereal diseases, which are on the sharp increase hereabouts.
The successor to Gen. Buckner, Gen. Mittlestedt, has threatened to call “off-limits” many places in Anchorage if the condition isn’t cleared up quickly. So much for the dirt. To Jean, bon voyage and a pleasant landing. Marian, I hope such joy as Jean is experiencing will soon be yours. To Aunt Betty I promise a letter in the near future. Till then, to all a good night.
Tomorrow, Grandpa gives us the complete letter from Lad, who is somewhere in Southern France. On Thursday, letters from Dan and Dick and on Friday, a letter from Dave and Grandpa’s comments.
Grandpa hit the jackpot this week. He received letters from all five sons and he is thrilled to share the entire letters in this 6-page missive to all family members. I will be posting this one letter for the entire week. Enjoy catching up on the activities of each son away from Trumbull and the Homestead.
Copy of a letter from Ced, postmarked July 24th and addressed to M. Alfredeau de Guion, Baux 7, Trumbull, Conn.
The ski club scheduled a hike and picnic for today (Sunday) but the weather was stinko this morning, consequently the trip was called off. Lad has been doing such a wonderful job of writing and answering your letters that he puts me to shame. So in humility I shall attempt in part to make recompense. To Lad you say he is probably hardest hit by being situated as he is. Reasoning is good and I think you are perhaps right. I hope, whatever happens, that he will find it not too depressing (witness Dave’s glowing account of the beauties of Okinawa). There is always the assurance that each day is one nearer to home, no matter how you look at it. Dan – – ah, there’s a fellow – – our Monsieur Guion. I keep telling all the girls at the office that I’ll write him and Paulette one fine day – – weather sure MUST be stinko – – and for sure I will. I should also take up French but time is so scarce. Perhaps by now Chiche and Dan are probably hitched. I hope so, at any rate, as it must be heartbreaking to have to keep putting off such an important thing in one’s life. How I would like to have been there to witness the ceremony and properly welcome the bride and groom – – wouldn’t we all.
Dave mentions my flying down to Okinawa on a visit. What does he think is going to happen when I fly over Paramushiro? Of course the Japs don’t give much opposition in the air anymore, but if a poor little puddle-jumper such as I happened along, I’m afraid my gas might be so low at that point that I’d have to stop for more, and while it might be fun to steal some Jap gas, it would be a little foolhardy, don’t you think? I’d sure like to be able to do just that tho, Dave.
Cedric Duryee Guion (Ced)
Now you wonder about my future plans. They are not too definite yet but I hope to get a commercial pilot’s license. If I stay in the flying game it will be as a pilot – – of that I am quite sure. Flying is becoming safer every day and I don’t expect to get into trouble. I wish you were up here this afternoon and I’d take you up for a spin. Should we get into trouble, I expect I could land almost anywhere with little or no scratches. The plane might suffer considerable damage but occupants would be comparatively safe. For the present I am sitting tight awaiting developments up here. I’m afraid this will not satisfy your requests for information, but we have this in common. I am just about as set on what to do as the proverbial tumbleweed, which puts me in exactly the same category as yourself concerning my plans.
To Jean and Dick it must be a lovely world just at the moment. I am interested in Dick’s answer to your question as to whether or not he is still expecting to come to Alaska. It might be that I could do something for him in the event he is still serious about it. As to your plans for Dave at the office, I suspect he is going to stoop to a little subversive activity to prolong the war. Certainly the easy life of a soldier stalking through swamps, sleeping on tree stumps, guns firing near misses now and then, nasty officers asking and requiring the impossible, would be a picnic beside the task of upholding a schedule such as you line up. Just because you lean to the Superman-style is no reason you must expect it from your youngest son. Dave’s letter about being in Okinawa was a little worrisome for a while but he came through with flying colors. Incidentally, neither he nor you seem to have realized that Gen. Simon Bolivar Buckner, killed just a few days before the end of the Okinawa campaign, was Commanding General of the Alaska Defense activities, stationed here at Fort Richardson from 1940 through 1944. He was credited with saving Alaska from the Japs, owned land here on which he intended to build and it was here he planned to live after the war. He resided in a house in Anchorage for some time prior to the outbreak of hostilities, along with his wife and family. Rusty has been
Page 2 of Ced’s letter
at several parties at which he was a guest and knew him quite well. I never met him but have seen him many times on the street and at civic and Army gatherings. Dave’s mention of having seen him a few days before his death interested me, and more so, the remarks on his popularity. While here in Alaska he was quite well-liked, both in and out of Army circles. I suppose there were many who didn’t like him but the vast majority seemed quite taken with him. He was a heavy drinker but held it well.
Tomorrow I’ll post the rest of Ced’s very long letter (two and a half typed pages from Grandpa. (I don’t have Ced’s original). Letters from the other sons will appear later in the week.
This is another letter from Rusty to Ced, mailed in Barrow while Rusty was staying there.
Sept. 2, 1944
Winter came yesterday with strong N.W. wind and snow. Ice, which had left, formed up to shore again. USN freighter Spica with part of ship’s company at oil base is at PT Lay. Skdaddled in time to duck crushing ice. First freighter of season which everyone is waiting for left Nome two weeks after we did. It comes from Seattle with years supply of grub and fuel (1400 tons) for Barrow. Got as far as Wainwright and had to go back to PT Lay. Most unusual summer here since Charly Barrow ever remember.
Last Sat boys got three walrus and one 12 foot polar bear. By Sunday they went out and got seven more walruses. Sorry I missed both hunts. If ice drifts north they will go out soon for whale. Have been promised two hunts and to fire whale gun. Natives will have plenty to eat, if whale is brought in, for the winter.
Sending you some ivory buttons for woman’s coat – one knife and mukluks and blanket. Paid sick boy at Nome $15 to carve latter for me. It is not very good work. Got it to help poor kid out. He was in bad way and don’t think he will pull through.
Morry Danford said he was not much of a salesman. Sent him a few things to sell as a tryout. Said he would turn them over to you if he could not dispose of them. Bought them when they were salable through Bureau of Indian Affairs. It was this work of natives I was going to get for you, however, when you sent money I went back only to find they had shut down on selling them – all went to Juneau after that for prices to be upped down there. Get them from Morry first chance you have and keep them for yourself or do what you wish with them. The two seals should be kept together, old man that made them would not sell them unless they were kept together ________ ________________.
Am picking up a basket or two for you soon – whalebone baskets, only place where they are made is here.
How did bracelet turnout or have you not received it yet? Asked to have walrus head joining piece made solid without head out away from ivory as Alec Melik has been making. Let’s hear when you receive it.
Did you also receive your pictures – Kodachrome? Your letter in mail first chance I get.
Bye now or cheerio!
As the “Rawshian” men of the mighty Soviet Union have taken Romanian airfields there is no necessity for drive through Dardanelles – hence turning point of war has already come, however, not as I expected. Should have figured on Russian ability to get there first, for not doing so I lose the bet.
Yours till Moscow falls, and best to everyone.
Here’s a different link to learn more about Rusty Heurlin, a family friend for all of his adult years.
Here’s another link to see some of his work.
Tomorrow and Friday, two letters from Marian to the family in Trumbull letting them know what is going on with the Lad Guions.
Paulette Van Laere
Page 2 7/15/45
Well you fading bachelor, what’s the latest news about your double harness prospects? We are all on pins and needles over here waiting for something definite. Meantime, why don’t you feed our hungry souls with some back information about Paulette, whom we are all hungry to know better though it be by proxy. What do you suppose I took the time and effort to ask a lot of questions for in a letter now long forgotten, about Paulette and her likes and dislikes, if we didn’t want to know? One of the things we are all living for over here is the prospect of having you and Paulette with us. I even tried to get a book from the library so that I could learn to speak French and Marian gave me a French English dictionary, but I’m afraid I can’t report much progress. I also sent you a list of things I thought she might like to have, to which you paid no attention. I would like to send her something direct from time to time just to prolong as long as possible until she faces the reality, the idea that we are awfully nice people. So to one of your welcome but cryptic messages soon, add a real long letter about Paulette, etc. I found your tripod and head in your trunk and will send it along with the three-dimensional device which I ordered from Seniors. I also found in the trunk a yellow “Austin lens hood to fit series 6 filter holder”, as well as what appears to be a flash outfit with mirror. I did not include this, or rather will not, because I take it if you wanted them you would have asked for them. Hope you can get films for your camera as they are unobtainable here without a special order from the President.
This is followed by Dave’s letter comparing his trip to the one Dan reported in a previous letter. which was quoted completely in Dave’s World War II Adventure a short time ago.
Just a note of warning. Don’t wait as long as you did last time between letters. I’m beginning now just so as to sort of keep you reminded that we enjoy hearing from our civilian brother, too. Anyway, your last letter was written June 14th, so over a month has gone by already. A while back you hinted you were “sot” (My guess would be “sort of thinking”, but I really don’t know) on making Alaska your lifelong home (by the way, I have not seen that Walt Disney picture yet). The subject intrigues me as far as you are concerned and I would like to have you develop the theme a bit. What have you in mind as to the future you would like to pursue other than coming away from Anchorage to some other part of the world via Trumbull? Is the airplane business your chosen field? Are you in this event sticking to the mechanical end or does your vision look aloft to the piloting end? Someday we might call a family Yalta meeting of our own and try to get affairs settled and as you will be the delegate from Alaska, you ought to have all your plans mapped out so that all of you can attend the conference fully prepared to settle the future of the House of Guion. You know, as I wrote last week, if I am going to chase you boys all over the world to see “how the other half lives”, I simply have got to have some idea of what you-all intend doing. All of you seem to be doing pretty well up to now in traipsing around the globe.
The latest comes from Lad whose letter to Marian I am quoting, here and now, to her courtesy. “One day toward the end of June I went into Marseilles with a couple of fellows and by previous arrangement we had reservations through the A.R.C. (American Red Cross) on “La Vanaquez”, a chartered fishing boat, for a trip to the Château d’If. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ch%C3%A2teau_d’If) If you remember much about history, you will recall that it was a medieval prison on a rock outside the port city. (It was also the scene of the Count of Monte Christo) It still stands but is much battered, since it has been used numerous times to defend the port. However, no serious damage has been done. I had my camera along and did get quite a few pictures of the Château and also of Marseille. I’m having them developed and printed now and if they are any good I’ll send them to you. We came back to Marseille about noon and went up to the transient mess for lunch. Afterwards, I went to the Times Square Club to try to buy some films (no luck), then to the U.S. Army theater Capitole where we saw “Keep Your Powder Dry” (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Keep_Your_Powder_Dry) and it was pretty good. After that we went to a park which is built around a very elaborate memorial erected in honor of the completion of the canal which supplies the city water and terminates at this park. It is quite beautiful and we spent nearly an hour there. Then back to mess and camp. In all, a very pleasant day.”
Tomorrow, letters to Dick and Dave from Grandpa.
August 26, 1945
Dear Dad –
You’re no more surprised to find I’m in the Manila that I am to be here. It all happened so suddenly that it’s still hard to believe. I’ll take it from the beginning and follow through.
Thursday afternoon I was told that I had been taken off the old five-man team under Mendendorp. Friday afternoon I was told to pack my stuff and be ready to leave Okinawa by 5 A.M., Saturday morning. I only got one hour’s sleep Friday night. In the morning we went up to Kadena Airport, boarded a C-46 “Commando” Transport Plane and in 5 1/2 hours found myself in Manila.
It was my first real plane ride and I was scared and felt a little sickish from nervous tension. As soon the plane started to move up the runway I lost all fear and became intent on watching the ground below fade away. All of a sudden it just became a big thrill. I acted like a kid on his first train ride. I glued my nose to the window until I couldn’t see Okinawa anymore.then every once in a while, I’d look out to see if we might not pass over an island. Then in almost no time, I began seeing the northern-most of the Philippine Islands. I watched every one of them fade away in the distance far below. Finally we got to Luzon. I was sitting up forward near the Navigators position and by way of conversation, I said, “this is my first time.” I could tell he knew it anyway because of my eagerness to see everything below. When he finished a plot on his map, he handed it to me and asked if I’d like to follow our progress as we went along. We were flying at about 8,500 ft. and the coast-line looked just like the map. I could see the rivers, and inlets, and bulges along the coast-line just as they were on the map. We passed over Lingayan Gulf where the American Navy had come in to re-take Luzon. Then we cut inland, and finally landed at Nichols Field, about 6 miles outside Manella. After waiting for about two hours (spent that time in a Canteen, gaping at all the comparatively beautiful Filipino women) we got on a truck and started toward Manila.
Manila City Hall
We passed through what was once a beautiful residential district. There were remains of large and magnificent homes. We passed a ballpark that I had seen in the newsreels. The movie showed American boys cleaning the Japs out of the bleachers, and an American tank pitching shells from the pictures box. Now it was just a quiet, torn-up mess. We passed well-to-do Filipinos living like the ignorant Okies. When we entered Manila, we saw large public buildings, half rubble and half gutted concrete frames. Manila seems to be about the size of Bridgeport – possibly larger. Can you picture the Klein Auditorium strewn all over Fairfield Avenue, the stage alone standing? Or Central High with its façade all bashed in and the rest of the school gutted – the City-Trust Building reduced to four or five stories – City Hall just a pile of red brick? You can’t imagine how heart-breaking it is – or how lucky we were this war turned out as it did. The City Hall here was built in 1939. You can see it was a beautiful structure – but now it’s full of shell and bomb holes. The people are trying to keep their businesses going – but they don’t have much to do it with. You can see where there was once a beautiful night-club, there is now a makeshift affair with a makeshift band looking like a side-show at Coney Island. That about explains the whole city – just a bunch of concessions on the sidewalks of a gutted Ghost-city – another Coney Island. The only difference is that Ed Coney Island you expect to see it – in a city such as this must have been, you don’t.
I’ll tell you more next time. This address will do for the time being until we can find out a little more.
P.S. – Will you please call Eleanor and tell her where I am and give her the change of address?
Thank you –
Tomorrow and for the rest of the week, I will be posting two long letters written by Grandpa on June 24th and July 1st. Each is filled with lots of news.
Cedric Duryee Guion
Page 2 Ced extract
This year, Woodley rode into the Bay business full speed ahead – – an Electra, a Boeing and a Stinson, with the Travelair also available, if needed. The only handicap was that we had no float ship to get the man up to the Army base (this being the only airfield suitable for large ships in the whole Bristol Bay region). This, however, wasn’t too bad a handicap, as the Army barge brings the man from Naknek to the base on their regular scheduled trips twice a day. Things looked pretty good for a banner year. On one of the first trips of the Stinson, however, the left engine “blew up”, and pilot Booth had to land at Kenai. Art (Woodley) went down in the Boeing and brought in the passengers and Booth, and that afternoon, Frank, Roland and I went to Kenai with our tools and another engine and installed it, getting back to Anchorage in the Stinson the following evening. That was two weeks ago tomorrow night. We went home and ate our suppers, went back and worked till 5 AM Tuesday morning, getting the final adjustments corrected and giving the other two engines a routine check. Since that time, work has been nigh on to a nightmare. We never know whether it will be day or night work – – and so it goes. We do get our sleep pretty well, but quite often take two sessions at once trying to catch up. There have been no other failures but little things keep popping up along with the necessary routine servicing and maintenance, and the ball never seems to stop bouncing and is always a half a jump ahead of us. However, we are doing a bigger percentage of the business than ever, and if we can just limp along until the work down there is finished, it will be a job well done. We hope it will be over by this time next week, but the way it looks, I don’t want to plan on it. (Editor’s note: As far as I can figure it, this letter was written August 2nd or 3rd). Some days we send the three big ships down several times each and the Travelair twice, but then again, the fisherman get a couple of drinks or something and fail to board the barge for the Army Base and our planes and pilots sit at the Base and twiddle their thumbs. Today was typical. We mechanics worked till 11:30 last night getting everything ready for today. The Boeing, with Art and a new copilot, and the Stinson with Booth, both took off at 6 AM this morning for the Bay. The Travelair took off around 9:30 just as I arrived at the field after a short sleep. It was on the “Milk Run” to Kenai, Ninilchik, Kasilof and Homer. This run is steady, twice a week, hence the name. The Electra took off at 9:45 for the Bay. The Boeing returned to Anchorage around 11 and was serviced for another trip. When that was completed, the Travelair came in from the “Milk Run” and was ready for another trip just about the time the Stinson arrived from Naknek. We serviced the Stinson and by that time the Electra had arrived and they brought word that there were 18 men due in tonight at the Naknek base. As all ships weren’t needed for 18 men it was hoped that all could stay in Anchorage overnight, but Art said, “No”, and so all four took off for the Bay again and we went home to grab some rest so that we could service them around eight or 9 o’clock this evening when they started straggling in again. But – – it seems that the barge arrived at the Bay empty, and so the whole works remained overnight and we got to sleep a normal shift again. Tomorrow they may all have to make a couple of trips each and then one of them will have to be on hand Tuesday for the regular Juneau run.
I am now classified 2-B and deferred until February 2nd, 1945. Once again, I’ve taken stick in hand and have gone into the ozone, bird fashion. I flew with an instructor Thursday and Saturday of last week and today for a while and then soloed out for one landing. I did fairly well but am still pretty rusty. I had to ask for a duplicate license as I never found the old one.
Dick’s theory on why one should not write too often is a lulu and for a better suggestion, I pass, bowing in defeat first crack off the bat. To him goes the ring-nosed Amazon.
Tomorrow, Marian tells us about part of her trip from Pomona, California. to Jackson, Mississippi.
On Friday I’ll post a letter Marian wrote to Grandpa after she had been in Jackson for about a week.
On Saturday and Sunday, I will post two letters from Dave about his World War II Army Adventure.
Cedric Duryee Guion
EXTRACT of Ced
Rx One daily before retiring.
Toward the end of July and the first part of August in the region known as Bristol Bay in Alaska, there comes each year the close of the fishing season. There are perhaps some thousand persons at that time who are desirous of obtaining transportation immediately to Anchorage and thence to Seattle. In former years, prior to the war, there were many boats which took a good share of these people from the fishing grounds to the states, and the rest paid their own way, for the most part, in any one of perhaps a half dozen airline’s planes, one of the big three being Woodley Airways. Naturally, with the war so close to the fishing grounds, the boat transportation was discontinued, and the bulk of the fishermen transportation business fell on the airlines. Competition was always keen in the Bay region and the short period over which it is possible to benefit by this “prize of the year” business, puts an airline to the supreme test. Management, pilots, personnel at hangar and equipment must cooperate to the fullest extent if full benefits are to be realized. It has always been a source of some pride to Woodley Airways that ours has always been a choice slice – – but only by expending a great deal of out–of–the–ordinary effort. This return business, along with the moving of the same men the other way at the beginning of the season – – around June 1st – – is far and away the biggest single source of profit over the entire year. Now, with that introduction and with you perhaps already forming opinions as to what I’m leading up to, I’ll give you a brief discourse on what happened and still is happening at the Woodley Airways. But first, a little on the humorous or tragic, however you choose to accept it, of the life of a fisherman. He is usually Scandinavian, more often than not, Norwegian. He leaves Seattle and has his way paid to the fishing grounds via boat and plane (Union intervention forced this last). He boards the boat at Seattle after a winter of slim pickings at any job he may choose and at which he is probably not too good or conscientious, preferring a good drink and a saloon any day of the week that he can afford it. He is, of course, well fertilized with good spirits for the trip and has probably had a bang up farewell party and is poured onto the ship. At Anchorage, his company has arranged transportation by plane (Woodley has the majority of these contracts) and, while waiting for the plane to take him to the Bay, he usually has from a day to two weeks, during which time he quickly exhausts any remaining finances which he may have been fortunate enough to retain that long, and when boarding the plane he usually clutches what is left of a last bottle in a grimy hand. When the ship returns to it’s base, after letting the men off at Naknek, his seat is in terrible shape, he having been affected by air nausea encouraged by that bottle. There is a cup handy for such emergencies, but how can a stewed, sick drunk know that? Then there is that pungent odor of men’s clothing not too often washed, hanging in the cabin of the plane. While at the fishing grounds, he works almost constantly, grabbing sleep when he can and living on the boat from which he fishes. He has no money, nor time to drink, and is so busy he wouldn’t think of it anyway. Then comes the final run, final tally and the prize check (for a good man it might run to three or four thousand for two months work). By borrowing against the check (no way to cash it until he gets to a bank) he is able to get some more of the good old “comforter” again and he then is told to board the plane for Anchorage. Again the dirty seat, the odor of clothes, and then a “short one” at Anchorage at which time he may lose all of his two months earnings by being “rolled” by bartenders or sharks or just from plain gambling. On his return to Seattle he will go on an extended drunk until he either loses or spends what his wife doesn’t get of the balance, and again goes to work for wages, thinking always of the next season and how much more he will do with the opportunity.
Tomorrow I’ll be posting the second part of this “Extract”.
On Thursday and Friday I’m posting two letters from Marian to Grandpa. The first was written while she was on her way to Jackson, Miss. from Pomona, Calif. The second was written after she had been in Jackson for about a week.
Cedric Duryee Guion
Page 3 6/24/45
Skiing is done. Summer hikes are coming up but I put in very little time on them. I am singing regularly in the choir when I’m not working Sunday (average once a month). Flying. There we have a little surprise for you. I am the proud possessor of one private pilot’s license with authority to fly any plane from 0 to 80 HP., as of last Wednesday. The inspector told me I did a good flight test. Now I’m anxious to put in more time and get a commercial, but oh, the cost.
Dan’s coming nuptials are considered much as you in Trumbull view them. Does Dan need to make a request for a package to be sent him, and if so, can you get me one from him as I’d like to mail something to him. Paulette is certainly a knockout on looks, isn’t she? I certainly enjoy hearing from Lad and Dave via you and am pleased that Dave is so happy with the whole thing. Sounds as though he’s being a good sport. I don’t intentionally cut out Dan and Dick but lately your quotes haven’t included much from either of them. (Wait to get last week’s eight pager, Ced, about Dan’s experience). I enjoy all the quotes – – particularly enjoyed Lad’s description of the plane trip. Let’s have more descriptions of European experiences – – this for Lad and Dan’s benefit. I finally heard from Rusty. His latest flame is Ann Berg. He has been corresponding with her and trying to get her to come up to Barrow to become his spouse. Rusty is still crazy about Barrow and its inhabitants. Has just returned from a whale hunt and says he has material for two years painting. Love to all the gals. Ced
Now to answer some of your questions. Whether or not a request is needed before sending packages to boys overseas seems to depend on the local postmaster. I know it is required sometimes in Bridgeport but not in Trumbull. Suggest you inquire of your own post office. Above I have quoted a letter from Dave asking for serviceable, not fancy, moccasins. Perhaps that will do. In back letters you will also find quotations from Dan asking for this or that. Perhaps that will be sufficient. I still think I’d like to give you a ring rather than the other items you mentioned. How would a smaller ring for your “pinkey” go? If that, what size would this be? At last I have a picture of you in uniform but I didn’t see any stars on the collar. CONGRATULATIONS in big letters on the pilot’s license. I’m glad for you but I’m just old-fashioned enough, particularly after getting the news in the letter telling of narrow escapes and planes, to wish it were something the insurance companies would consider less of a hazardous occupation. However, the compensating thought is that your mechanic experience must have impressed on you the wisdom of taking no chances with imperfect workmanship, carelessness, etc. I have no fear as to your good judgment or quickness in emergencies. In fact I would feel the same way about you that you do about Ernie and Bill.
Next week maybe I’ll have a letter from Lad to quote but the Censor hasn’t taken the lid off as in Dan’s and Dave’s case. Until then, good night and good luck to you all, until we meet again.
Tomorrow and Friday, another letter from Grandpa to all his boys in the service.
Page 2 6/24/45
Now for Ced’s quarterly statement. After the expected apology and the discovery that he can forecast the weather in Connecticut by telling us two weeks before we get it what is happening in Anchorage, quite overlooking the fact that if he writes only once in two or three months the information will be a bit late when received here. However, we’ll let that pass. They have had trouble securing competent help (as who hasn’t) leaving him with much work to do alone. Just as they thought they had things in hand, trouble started.
First the Travelair landing gear, then pilot and copilot of the Boeing took off for Juneau one morning. “10 minutes later the radio operator, Chuck, and I were eating breakfast over at the airport café when someone behind us said “Surprise”. It was the pilot himself and a ghost wouldn’t have been more disconcerting. It seems he had just gotten headed for Juneau when both engines stalled simultaneously. By switching gas tanks and manipulating throttles he was able to get the engines going again. There were some 5 gallons of water in the tank when we drained it. Water had apparently leaked under the gasket in a new funnel and we had used a hose which had lain idle for over a month, which had apparently been a full of water. No harm was done other than a scare and lost time. That was Friday.
On Sunday the same two started for Naknek, got to Kenai when the right engine went sour. They returned to Anchorage on the left engine. Trouble – cracked cylinder head.
On Tuesday the same two, returning from the regular run to Juneau, when about 10 minutes out from here and about 6000 feet up, they noticed a smell. A radio operator was watching their approach and listening to their request on the radio for clearance to land. They saw what appeared to be the landing light turned on for a few seconds. A minute later the pilot reported he was in serious trouble and to stand by for an emergency landing. Suddenly the right engine burst into furious flame and while the copilot turned on the fire extinguisher, Ernie prepared for a crash landing at Turnagin Arm. He dove from 6000 to 2000 feet in the time it took the fire to go out (thank the Lord). In the meantime, he had opened the passenger door and told all passengers to fasten on their safety belts. He was afraid they would either panic and start jumping out the door or come forward and try to get into the pilot’s compartment. However, they behaved beautifully, the fire was out and at 2000 feet the pilot was set for a dunking in the Arm with all on board, right engine inoperative, when he suddenly realized the ship might limp into the field. He leveled off and started to strain the left engine to pull into the field. Landing was made without further mishap to the relief of all concerned. Incidentally, I would fly anywhere with these two. They show excellent presence of mind and judgment. The fire burning less than a minute nevertheless did terrific damage under the cowling. The main gas line, due to defective installation at L.A., had broken and had spewed high test aviation gas directly out of the pressure pump into the open engine nacelle at the probable rate of more than 2 gallons per minute, some of which had undoubtedly run out under the bottom of the wint. (A nacelle, in case you haven’t a dictionary handy, is the covered seat for the pilot of a plane).
I’ll continue Ced’s letter later today. On Thursday and Friday, another letter from Grandpa to his five sons.