Trumbull – Dear Dave – Thanksgiving Day in the Morning – November, 1945

Trumbull, Conn., Nov. 22, 1945

          Thanksgiving Day in the morning.

This is sort of a special

in the way of a letter,

quite an interesting to the

majority.

Dear Dave:

On the 21st I received yours of the 13th relating to your talk with Lt. Greenberger about procurement machines no longer needed by the Army. He tells you the Army hasn’t settled its policy as to who is going to get priority on the goods or just how their plans will work. As things stand now, as long as a man is in the Army he can make no tangible deals. He must wait until he becomes a civilian and then he may apply as a veteran.

It is interesting to compare this Army dope with letter just received from the Reconstruction Finance Corporation, New England headquarters, situated in Boston. I wrote asking how you could secure office machines with which to engage in business after discharge. Here is the reply:

SURPLUS PROPERTY DIVISION

Reference is made to your recent letter to this agency concerning surplus property. As office machines and equipment are classified as Consumer Goods, your inquiry has been referred to Consumer Goods, Surplus Property Division, Reconstruction Finance Corporation, at 600 Washington St., Boston. The Surplus Property Board has established a procedure whereby a veteran may make application for certain preferences in the purchase of surplus property at a local or regional office of the Smaller War Plants Corporation. The address of the regional office of the Smaller War Plants Corporation is given below:

Smaller War Plants Corporation

55 Tremont St.

 Boston, Mass.

A veteran may, of course, purchase Surplus Property independently of any preference rights on an equal basis with other purchasers.

John J. Haggerty, Manager.

          Unless you see some objection, why not write Tremont St., and ask for list so you can make formal application, and thus establish a sort of priority for any possible value it may have later. I can’t see where it would do any harm even if it didn’t do any good.

In addition to the office equipment, it might be interesting to look into the matter of materials for the island, such as outboard motor, rowboat, motorboat, motor-generator lighting outfits, refrigerators, both electric and kerosene operated, building materials, etc. I will, of course, follow-through from this end.

The barn club room is going from bad to worse. Some of the young kids around here have broken the panel in the door so they can reach up and operate the Yale lock from inside and go in and make the place their own, having little if any respect for the rights of club members or the slightest feeling of obligation or responsibility toward the owner, who allows use of his property for their use. The other morning I found lights had been burning all night and a fire in the stove was still burning in spite of the fact that the smokestack has rotted and broken off, making a fire hazard. Something will have to be done.

DAD

Tomorrow and Sunday, more Special Pictures.

On Monday, I’ll begin a week of letters written in 1942.

Judy Guion

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Trumbull – Dear Dave (1) – News of Dave and Ced – November, 1945

 

Trumbull, Conn., Nov. 18th, 1945

Dear Dave:

When the renowned Florentine sculptor, Michelangelo, during the middle ages, was commissioned to do a figure celebrating the city’s deliverance from the Borgia’s, the only material he could obtain was a block of marble of wrong proportions. It was too narrow for its length. However, time being short, the young artist went to work with what he had and gave to the world one of its great masterpieces – “David”. Visitors who look upon this statue of the shepherd lad in battle against the mighty Goliath seldom realize why the right arm of the youth clings to his side as his hand reaches for the slang; or why his left arm hugs that side as his hand goes back for the stone; or why the knees been just as they do. The artist was working out his idea within the available space given him by that odd-sized block of marble. That he could create his great work within such narrow limits is astounding. One miscalculation would have meant failure. And the moral for my own “David” far away at this Thanksgiving season? Well, rough and done even are the materials handed to most of us out of which to carve our destiny. They frequently are not the ideal shape which we would have chosen. It is quite natural for us to curse the luck that makes the present state of things in evitable. The wiser ones choose to bless the fate that imposes such challenging necessities upon us, for it is the attitude we take towards life’s limitations which determines whether the outcome is to be a masterpiece or a mess.

Of course you will see in this allegory just another attempt by “the old man” to take some of the bitterness out of the present pill you are swallowing. Fortunately, from personal experience, I know it works.

Ced is now on his way to alliance, Ohio, to check up on the progress of his plane, stopping enroute at Pittsburgh where there is in progress and annual convention of the Federal Union enthusiasts. I am hoping that tomorrow there will be some word from him as to what progress he is making. In any event, whether he flies back here and lands at the Monroe field or comes back by train, he expects to be with us for Thanksgiving. Whether Dick will also be with us is at the present moment somewhat uncertain. He is right now toying with the thought of going back to his South Carolina base as ordered, starting tomorrow, hoping that in tomorrow’s mail he might receive word which will make that unnecessary.

And Marian writes: “back to Army routine — no matter where we move the routine seems exactly the same. We have a very nice room with private bath and separate entrance in an apartment building — more or less. I that I mean there are about four apartments (ours is the only single room) all attached to the main house. The hallway is about 2 ½ feet wide. We like it but if we are going to be here much longer, we will look for a real apartment because eating all our meals out is much too expensive. Lad is being transferred into a new co. so will know a little more about our plans in a day or two. We learn he will remain in this new holding company until the 50-point deal gets straightened out, when he would get his discharge. The Army picked yesterday to give him an influenza shot so he didn’t feel much like doing any anniversary celebrating. We went to a USO dance but came home early. At least we were together, for as it worked out, he could not have come home on a pass.”

I hope they will be able to get home for Thursday’s dinner.

Tomorrow and Wednesday, the rest of this letter, on Thursday, news from Marian and on Friday, another short letter from Grandpa.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Dear Dan and Dave (4) – A Morale Booster Shot – November, 1945

 

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Dear Dave:

Got your letter this week, old son, dated Nov. 1st and wish I could say something that would lift the morale a bit, but I guess it will take more than words to accomplish this. Only a trip home apparently would be the effective remedy for your trouble, although the fact remains that all the concentrated love and affection combined from all of us and our sympathy in your predicament and the fight we know you must be putting up to do your job right anyway, may help to let you know we are with you in spirit. Disappointments such as you are facing now do come to us all from time to time through life and the best way I have found to meet them is with a smiling face, hard as it may be to smile, and resolutely look at the pleasanter phases of the matter rather than let yourself dwell on the darker side and feel sorry for yourself. This is one of the times your character is being tested and how you meet the challenge this time successfully will make others that may come later easier to bear. I know this sounds a bit preachy but there is truth they are nevertheless. I am going to try to see what I can do to start something here along the line of your suggestion but it would be far safer for you not to count on any favorable result from my effort. One of the things that will help, and for which I am glad, is that you are busy. I hope you will continue to be so because that will give you not much leisure to brood over your enforced stay in Manila. Bring up that sunny good nature and sense of humor you have in reserve. The sun always shines sooner or later, no matter how violent the storm. When you feel too low, count over the things you have to be thankful for (which incidentally, is a good Thanksgiving Day exercise) and you will conclude that things might be a lot worse at that. We want you and need you just as much as you want to come home but we are trying to carry on cheerfully and make the best of it and in the old Guion spirit, we expect you to do the same. Don’t let the Army or the Signal Corps down but keep on keeping on so that in the days to come you can look back on this time and say to yourself that in spite of everything that got even older men down, you “fought the good fight”. Of course it is quite obvious I am trying to give you a moral shot in the arm as it were, but just the same, I believe it all and know from my own experience it is true, trite though it may sound.

You have been so good about writing that I will understand if your job keeps you from sending home letters as frequently as in the past. Last week I mailed you a box with a few eatables in it, which I hope will reach you before Christmas. The camera situation is still bad. Ced has brought back with him a bunch of shots he took in Alaska, which we have not seen yet, but he says they are pretty good.

Well, it’s pretty near my bedtime (10:30) and I haven’t yet had any supper, so I’ll close with Happy Thanksgiving Day wishes to you.

DAD

Tomorrow a note from Marian as they re-enter military life.

On Saturday and Sunday, more Special Pictures.

Judy Guion

Dear Remnants of a Widely Scattered Family (3) – News From Dave – November, 1945

Last week I bought for you, Dan, a dozen t-sleeve undershirts and shall ship them to you during the week. They will, however, come to you in the regular way via APO 887, as I learn that unless I can continue to send you things at this address, I cannot send at all except at exorbitant rates (airmail is $.30 a half ounce). The Railway Express rumor was false as to shipments to France. They will send to England and Ireland (one dollar a pound, I believe is the rate) but not to the continent, so, unless being a civilian, I cannot send service men’s boxes to your army address, we will have to watch shipping expense, as the fund you have is being rapidly diminished. For instance, on the camera business, when they again become available, which apparently is not this year, the thing you should do is to write me specifically just what you want, let me order it, sell your old camera and forward me the money, as I don’t think you want your war bonds cashed, or do you? I also can’t quite get through my head what your status is now. You say you are a civilian and are addressed as Mr., yet you still have an APO army address. You are employed by the civil service and yet you say you are a war dept. employee; that you have to wear an army uniform while you are on the job. If you are a civilian, why the Army uniform? If in the Army, what office do you hold — private, your former rank or are you an officer? In any event, why the Mr.? And how can you be working for the war dept. and still get paid by the civil service? It is all rather confusing to a layman!

I showed Elizabeth Paulette’s circular about baby bottles and she said, based on the experience of those she has talked to who have used this type, Paulette is likely to be disappointed in that the bottles seem to leak out the wrong hole and get things wet and stained. And by the way, tell Chiche I have sent to all the publishers I can find listed of baby magazines and have asked for sample copies, which I will send her to look over and if there is one or two she particularly likes, I can subscribe to them for her. No, I have not sent any additional knitting wool, but shall do so. And by the way, Marian and I are not alone responsible for the purchase of the things you have received for Paulette. Jean also spent time and effort, and I was just a wee bit concerned that I had not made this clear to you and Paulette. Both girls have given willingly and enthusiastically of their time and interest and deserve far more credit than I. Maybe it’s a good thing you didn’t need your suits because I don’t know just what the moths have left. In spite of the good care Jean has given to Dick’s things, the moths have been busy and Dick, since this experience,

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has been moved to construct a moth-proof closet in the corner of Lad’s old attic room (of fire days memory), which he has been working rather steadily on since he has been home. Just had a letter from the Burnett’s, Dan, in answer to my announcement, which I will enclose.

Now let’s turn to Dave, who has been waiting patiently on the sidelines here for a chance to be heard. Most of his letter concerns some interesting, and to my mind intelligent, comments on the island proposition which I will not quote here but will take up at a later time when all of you have had an opportunity to comment. He says: “Apologies are in order. We both apologize — MacArthur and myself. I apologize because I haven’t been able to write regularly and MacArthur apologizes because he and others under his command have kept me so busy that I have not been able to write. No kiddin’, I’ve been busier since the war ended than I ever was during the war. We are handling all sorts of traffic now — a good part of it is messages to and from the Red Cross in Korea concerning guys that are trying to pull deals to get out of the Army. Seeing those messages sure are tempting. I keep thinking I ought to try to get out by claiming that I was needed to help you run the business. It’s funny, it was easy to think of maybe two or three years over here while the war was on, but now it’s awfully hard “sweating it out”. As to Dick and Lad, it’s beginning to look as if everyone will be home and possibly gone again by the time I get home. In one of your letters you enclosed some articles about the men getting out. We get the same stuff in the papers here but the fact remains that there are scores of 90-pointers here in the repple depples. Joe Bohn in our outfit has 81 points and he hasn’t heard anything yet. The morale is getting worse and worse all the time. It’s beginning to bother me now, because the longer the high pointers stay here, the longer it will delay my getting home. I figured sometime in late spring or early summer, and I sure don’t want to spend any longer — that’s plenty long enough to wait for a boat. Well, so much for our woes. Oh, one more thing. The next time you see a union man, tell him that he better get labor back in line because the servicemen are apt to give them one hell of a time when they all get back. I’ve had several Filipinos asked me about the strikes in the states. It must look awfully bad to these other countries to see the U.S. so torn as soon as the war is over. We were talking the other day and have come to the conclusion that the people of the U.S. are the only ones who actually feel that the war is over. The people of Europe, Russia, China, England and Japan are all licking their wounds. Those of us who are still out here see very little difference now than when the war was going on — the fighting is over but we aren’t home. So it’s just about the same. But in the states it’s all over — now they can slide back to their petty problems and forget the war. In the eyes of the rest of the world, this, the strongest country of all, must look pretty weak under all this upheaval over wages. We can almost smell the stench of it all out here.”

Tomorrow, the final piece of this letter.

On Saturday and Sunday, more Special Pictures.

Judy Guion

Dear Dave, Dan and Paulette and Ced (2) – Business Prospects – October, 1945

 

 

But to get back to your letter: “Now I shall take you for a tour to a few spots in Manila. I’ll start with St. Augustine’s Church. It is probably the best preserved structure of any in all of Intramuras. Almost every other building is without any sort of roof – – just the walls. It stood through five earthquakes. All of the other churches in Intramuras were destroyed by one of the five. It also survived the English invasion of Luzon in 1762. Either way, the structure was started in 1599 and completed in 1606. I talked to a Spanish woman in front of the church one night and she said they lived inside the church for six days. When the Americans approached, the Japs lined up the women and children in the court in front of the church, the Japs standing behind them. This was supposed to have protected them from Jap (American?) bullets. She showed me where she was standing. She said they didn’t dare move for fear the Japs would shoot them. They stood for three hours, she beside a dead body which she said smelled badly. When we tell the people here we were in Okinawa, they seem to be very interested because the fight was so rough up there, but I didn’t see one-eighth of what these people did of war and suffering. Almost all of the families have lost at least one member – – some, three out of five. Today I went down to the seawall south of the city. Some beautiful homes along the shore, some burned but most still in fairly good condition. Passed the Manila Hotel. Saw a schooner out in the bay. Got a big kick out of the surf and salt air.

Now coming to Dave’s letter received this week (dated Oct. 8th) from Manila, he mentions how slow they seem to be in sending boys home, even one with as high as 81 points. He asks if things at the office have improved any. Can you get help? Are orders increasing? What of the chances of getting new machinery?

Now, of course I could take up the rest of the evening and my available supply of paper answering in detail all of these questions but then I would not have a chance to tell you the interesting news about Dan, and the disappointment that goes along with it. However, will try to hit a few of the high spots on the business angle.

No, things at the office are just about the same as they have been for the past few years – – enough to keep me busy going all day with usually jobs left over for the following day. When I have more than I can handle myself or that the young fellow named George, who comes in two or three nights a week can handle, I farm it out, some to New York, some to Miss Platt, some to my printer. I do this rather than turn down the customer, sending him elsewhere, and while there is little profit in this farmed-out business, it forms a backlog for the future when we can take care of it ourselves.

Just one example. Wheeler Wire, yesterday sent in an order for 20,000 carton labels. These we used to turn out on the multi-graph and number them, keeping all the profit in the office. Now I turn them over to the printer and instead of making a good portion of the $5 per 1000 charged, we have to be satisfied with $1 per 1000. When an order for several thousand addressograph plates to be cut comes in, at a cost of $4.95 per 100, I send the list to the Mailers Service in New York who embossed the plates only, returning to us where we put them into frames, make out the card insert plates in frames, etc., and thus retain about half the profit that we would otherwise make, but, keep the customer. Of course every now and then we lose a customer, they install their own machines, change type of business, go out of business, change personnel, etc., but we seem to get enough new customers so that there is still all one man can do to run things alone without getting swamped and worried and harassed and on the other hand, not too little so that he always has something that needs to be done.

Tomorrow, another section of this letter. By Friday, I will have posted the entire letter.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Dear Dave, Dan and Paulette and Dick (1)- Dave’s First Letter – October, 1945

Trumbull, Conn., October 21, 1945

Dear Dave

Dear Dan and Paulette

Dear Ced:

The above are the extent of my “foreign correspondence” this week in view of the fact that Lad came home again last night – – or rather Friday night – – on another six-day furlough and of course Dick’s furlough is not yet up, and as Marian and Jean are still living with their respective husbands and neither has yet “gone home to mother”, my world has considerably shrunk and is now rounded merely by Manila, Alaska and France. Further, the order of the names salutated (how’s that for a $64 word?) above is determined by the dates when respective letters were received during the week, except for the last-named, who still is suffering from paralysis of the typewriting finger. So, in an orderly way, let’s take them as they come.

Dear Dave:

First, let’s go back to yours of September 12th which I previously did little more than acknowledge. Events, however, move so swiftly that it takes only a few weeks to make a letter quite obsolete. For instance, your step-by-step instructions as to how Lad is to find your Manila office will probably not be needed, for although he has not yet been discharged, the chances are pretty good he will not be sent to the Pacific theater. Actually, he knows no more about the Army’s plans for him then you do. So, we just quit guessing and hope.

Next, and I quote: “I’ll tell you one of the D.P.Guion  postwar plans, submitted here for your approval. I am sending home $50 per month, but I won’t have enough to buy a car when I get home – – even if I wanted to spend my money on getting one. So I thought that I might take your car off your hands, use it during the day for business and at night for – – well, use it at night. You don’t like to drive, so I would do the driving and pay for the entire upkeep on it – – tires, gas, repairs, grease jobs, etc. what do you think?”

Well, here’s what I think. You are submitting the idea for my “approval”. Sort of a one-way street, isn’t it? If I don’t approve it isn’t submitted, I take it. In passing, I might remark, Dick has been flirting with the same idea. For instance, the other night he asked me how much I would sell the car for. The Buick people told Lad the other day that it would be approximately two years before the buyers they now had on their books could be supplied with cars (and that was before the strike). If we use the car for business for a while, which I think we will, the company stands the running costs, as part of the legitimate cost of doing business, and if the boss takes an occasional day off along the line of your previous suggestion, to make up for the 10 or so years he has kept his un-pretty nose close to the w.k. grindstone without vacations, he might want to use said car to go to the island for weekends, visiting friends or relatives, etc. In fact, looking ahead to just such a situation as seems to be developing, I, some years ago, at the time that fabulous prices were being offered for used cars for sale to Western war workers (and the used car market is still very good) decided that instead of selling Dan’s old Chevy, I would have Steve fix it up, knowing you boys would want some sort of transportation when you got home and that not a thing would be available except Dad’s car. That is what Dick is using now, and while it is nothing to get enthusiastic about, it runs and is a lot better than nothing. So, I think I shall retain title to the Buick for a while. Incidentally, it has just come home from the A.L. Clarke place (they now occupy the old Packard place on Fairfield Avenue., Ced, which you will doubtless recall) with a new clutch, tailpipe, etc. – – $50 worth of tinkering – – and with a few other things that Lad says can be done by himself or at the gas station, it will come pretty near being as good as new except for dented mud guards, etc. It is getting a real tri-out now, however, as Saturday morning early, Dick and Jean, Marian and Lad and Audrey pointed its nose toward Lake Winnipesaukee and right now, at 7:15 Sunday night, they have not yet returned. The autumn foliage right now is at its best, we are having a spell of Indian summer weather, and altogether it ought to be a very enjoyable trip for them all.

For the rest of the week, I’ll be posting additional sections of this very long letter.We’ll cover news from two of Grandpa’s sons who are away from home right now.

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