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

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Trumbull – Dear Sons of the North, East, South and West (1) – News From Dave and Trumbull – July 23, 1944

Grandpa (Alfred D Guion) and his sister, Elsie May Guion

Trumbull, Conn.  July 23, 1944

Dear Sons of the North, East, South and West:

Having gone to the well of inspiration for ideas to incorporate in this missive and finding it dry, I have had to resort to sort of a priming process and have turned back the pages to see what you were all doing in former years. About this time in 1942 I find Lad was just starting in teaching diesel engineering at Aberdeen; Dan was rumored to be shortly going to Hagerstown; Ced was short of tennis balls and Dick and David were both home. In late July 1943, Dick was about to sail from New Orleans, Jean had just gotten back home from Indianapolis, Ced was recuperating from his first fire burns, Dan was still in Indiantown Gap but all packed ready to go, I having recently visited him for a farewell visit. Lad was in California and had just been assigned to engine tuneup work. Marian’s name begins to appear frequently in his correspondence. Barbara was thinking of joining the WAAC.

Dave writes he has now been assigned to a new company, Co. D, 31st Sig., Trng. Bn., ASFTC. He says: “My new company is absolutely A-1 except for the chow. The food isn’t too good but I understand that it has been pretty poor recently all throughout the post. The fellows I’m with on the whole, are a much nicer bunch that any gang I’ve been with yet. Sunday I sprained my wrist and I don’t know how I did it. I’ve got it wrapped now and it is as good an excuse as any for the poor job I’m doing tonight on the typewriter. We took a long hike last night – – the first I’ve taken since that week I left for home. We walked some 12 or 14 miles with light field pack, gas mask and rifle. I don’t mind telling you that I was pretty tired when I got back. Did I go right to bed then? No. Now that it’s summer down here we have to be mighty careful of chiggers and ticks. When we’ve been out in the field now we come in and strip, take a shower and while in the shower room, we go over each other – – like monkeys in the zoo – – and take off any chiggers and ticks. All the boys in my barracks love to sing so we do quite a lot of it. We seem to have an equal number of rebels and Yankees so we go over this problem every so often.”

I’m going to interrupt this letter right here like I myself was interrupted by a broadcast over the radio predicting that the attempted assassination of Hitler this week would lead to the collapse of Germany before the end of the summer and with that of Japan six months after Germany.. Now we would like to believe that! Even if it is six months premature it is still good news.

Elsie writes she is taking a week’s vacation beginning August 14 and is heading for Trumbull. How about you boys coming home for that week to help make your visit enjoyable?

Jane was over here a while ago and said Charlie (Hall), when last heard from, was at Pearl Harbor, had been assigned to duty as assistant engineer in charge of four diesels on a big Navy tanker, the CASH. Art (Mantle, her brother)  is still up north in Washington state waiting for the new ship he has been assigned to to be finished and put in commission.

Tomorrow I’ll post the rest of this letter to Grandpa’s sons in all directions.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Dear Convalescents (3) – Extract from Dave and Grandpa’s News – July 16, 1944

This is the last section of a rather long letter from Grandpa. He does quite a job on bringing everyone up to date on the local news . The first and second parts were posted on Monday and Tuesday, the 4th and 5th.

 

DPG - with Zeke holding Butch

Extract of DPG: (David Peabody Guion) While I am waiting orders to be moved I’m working in the supply room of the company. They were short of men – – the supply clerk being on furlough – – so the first Sgt. asked me if I would mind working here instead of going to school. I said I would (or rather wouldn’t mind) and so I’m living the life of Riley, as you can see (I’ve got time to get off a few letters). I like this work – – you never know what is going to come up next. The supply sergeant is out in the company area most of the time making an inventory of all the company equipment so that leaves me in charge of the supply room.

Now for a few unexciting home commonplaces. It has been very hot and humid here for about three weeks steady, no rain, so that the grass is parched and brown like you may recall it has looked in times past in the middle of August. Today however, we had a brief windstorm with a small shower. This cools the air off but it is still humid.

I suppose you read about the terrible Barnum and Bailey fire at Hartford where the tent caught fire and because of the gasoline- paraffin waterproof mixture used in waterproofing, burned so completely and quickly that many people, including children lost their lives – – some so badly disfigured they were buried unidentified. The circus has returned to its winter quarters in Florida. I mention this because just a few weeks previously Elizabeth took her two youngsters to the same circus held in the same tent here in Bridgeport.

It is Jean’s birthday tomorrow but we celebrated it here in the usual manner, today, Biss being in attendance with her two little boys. (Zeke was attending a company outing).

Barbara (Plumb) has recently had a furlough in Italy and is now a Corporel.

Jean (nee Hughes) is home again in Trumbull.

I recently disemboweled the extracting mechanism of the furnace Stoker and found the two worms that eject the ashes have worn down to such an extent that the spiral fins are almost nonexistent being worn practically flush with the axle which turns them. I have ordered new worms but your guess is as good as mine whether I’ll be able to obtain them at all, or at least in time for the winter season. Toward the last of the season the firebox was continually filled with ashes and if the worst comes to worst I may have to put back the old grates and use the blower again.

Carl is on a big new tanker that has just taken a load of oil or gas to the far Pacific (Australia or New Zealand) and is on his way home again. The Bushey’s have moved into the little house opposite the Green where Danny Wells used to live. Coming down the hill approaching the Merritt Parkway overpass on Reservoir Avenue the other afternoon on my way home, and rolling at about 35 or 40 my right front tire suddenly blew out, twisting the wheel sharply to the right, so that I almost hit two posts guarding a culvert. Unfortunately I had no jack, so I had to walk some distance before I could find a phone and ask Ed Dolan to send his emergency car to the rescue. Now I am applying for a new tire. No jacks seem to be for sale anywhere in Bridgeport and the ones I have evidently are beyond repair, so California or Mo. P.X., please take notice.

Aunt Betty sends love, so does Jean, and as for me, well, you might know what to expect from                                        DAD

Tomorrow and Friday, another letter from Grandpa to his absent sons and daughter-in-laws.

Judy Guion

Special Picture # 339 – “The Gang” at the Trumbull House – 1934

This is a photo of many of the young people who congregated at the Trumbull House. This photo was taken in 1936 on the side porch.  A few of them are mentioned in Grandpa’s early letters regularly.Those include Barbara Plumb (who was actually engaged to Dan for a while); Jane Claude-Mantle (who married Charlie Hall and is the mother of a great childhood friend); Ethel Bushey (very good friend of Elizabeth (Bissie) Grandpa’s only daughter); and Arnold Gibson (Lad’s best friend). Lad is in the back row, 4th from the right, Dan is in the  front row, 1st from the right, Dave is in the front row, 2nd from the right.

Trumbull – Dear High School Graduate (1) – Dave’s Graduation and News From Dan – June 25, 1944

David Peabody Guion – (Dave)

Trumbull, Conn., June 25th, 1944

Dear High School Graduate:

There are certain recurring events in the life and progress of my children that serve as steppingstones, aside from birthdays — such as turning you over to the Shelton draft board, and, what I have immediately in mind, graduation. I saw the youngest of my sons receive his diploma last night and it brought back memories of that same occasion for each of you. As far as I can recollect, however, the whole affair as managed the other night at Bassick (High School in Bridgeport, CT) was arranged and conducted in a more satisfactory manner than any of the previous ones — and that opinion has nothing to do with the fact that Dave had any part in it. To be sure he was one of three, out of a total of 26 who had joined the Armed Forces, who was on hand to receive his diploma, and thereby caused a little special ceremony to be enacted. Most of these affairs are too long. This was not. There was no tedious reading of each name and waiting for that person to come forward to receive his parchment to the accompaniment of reiterated and tiresome applause. Each received his diploma in silence as they walked out. All names were printed on the program given to each of the audience. Speeches were not overlong. The whole affair, with a very satisfying aftertaste, was ended by 9:30. So Dave became the “last of the Mohicans”.

Dave got home much earlier than we expected him. He walked into my office Monday, his army uniform plastered to his body by a naughty shower that hit him walking from the station. He looks about the same, healthy but with no additional weight. He seems much interested in the Signal Corps work and hopes, but is not banking on it, of getting a chance at O.C.S. He goes back Tuesday. Red Sirene is also home on furlough and he too goes back Tuesday. Jean’s (Mortensen, Dick’s wife) married brother, in the Marines, is also on furlough and he too goes back Tuesday.

        Daniel Beck Guion – (Dan)

I don’t suppose any of you have had the experience of a 300-pound object resting on your chest, but perhaps you can imagine the relief when he gets off. In that case you may have somewhat of an idea how I felt when I received a V-mail letter from London dated June 6th, as follows: “Today the war seems much nearer to its conclusion than only yesterday. For so long have we been working towards this day that it began to seem that it would never really happen — that it was just a distant “certainty” which we all took for granted — but never quite visualized! This morning I heard the first “rumor” third-hand, by word-of-mouth, ‘Allied paratroops have landed in France’. But false reports had already been spread days ago, and a glance out of the window at the streets of London failed to reveal any abnormality. No church bells, no horns blowing, just the normal traffic — both vehicular and pedestrian. London was characteristically undisturbed on the surface, but by noon-time when I went out to eat, I found that the newspapers had been sold out immediately and the invasion was the predominant topic of discussion. At the Red Cross Club I listened to the radio over which the BBC was broadcasting recordings of the opening stages. Later in the evening the radio was the center of interest. Never have I seen so many of the boys so interested in a news- cast. I suppose each of us realizes how, by a stroke of fate, we might have been one of the men going into France on ‘D’ Day! I am on duty tonight which prevents my finding out how London is spending the evening but I suspect there will be little hilarity because most of the people have friends and relatives in the invasion armies. The fall of Rome created hardly a ripple of excitement, and the staid BBC announced that item in its regular laconic fashion. The newspapers permitted themselves rather large headlines, but certainly not in the manner you could call sensational. I believe today marks the great speeding of the tempo that will carry this degenerate martian symphony to a brief but perhaps terrible coda. Then – peace! and home! and a convalescent world turning toward the healing sun of hope.”

Trumbull – Dear Sons (2) – Looking for News – June 18, 1944

page 2    6/18/44

The only episode which disturbed the serenity of our communal life was the wedding yesterday at the Serene’s estate of Jean’s sister. Outside of Jean working herself into a frazzle (and perhaps because of it) she reports everything went off smoothly, the weather was kind and reportedly a good time was had by all. The bride is nearing her 40s and the groom his 50s, so they was some good-natured kidding about young people rushing into matrimony, etc.

Last time I talked to Elizabeth she said time was approaching when she and her two kids would make a wholesale job of going to the hospital and having the family tonsils removed. No date has yet been set.

The big event we are looking forward to now is Dave’s return to the ancestral fold. Just what day that will be is still shrouded in mystery, but I shall be on the DPG - with Zeke holding Butchalert to see my youngest bursting into the office Wednesday or earlier, thus driving all thoughts of business (for a minute or so, at least) from my head. He will find the old car still in the same decrepit condition it was when it performed during the latter part of Lad’s stay, still without license plates for 1944. I imagine Dave will get a great kick out of greeting his friends in the graduating class at Basssick and will be one of comparatively few there in uniform to receive his diploma.

No word from any of my progeny this week in the shape of letters. I am waiting to hear from Dan to learn whether he is still in London dodging the Nazi new secret weapon, from Ced whether he is still a civilian or not, from Lad and Marian as to the details of the return trip, from Dick on what his new duties are and how he likes them, and Dave will “speak for himself”. I have acquired this Father’s Day the first picture of one of my boys in uniform – that of Dick taken at Miami. Others I understand are in the process of evolution.

Both my young office helpers gave me noticed this week that they are taking jobs at better hourly rates, so I’ll be alone for a while – a one man Corporation, as it were. A Robinson Crusoe of business without even a man Friday. As President I shall come to the office in the morning, tell the office boy to sweep out the office, instruct the graphotype operator to punch out some stencils, see that the mimeograph operator turns out the few jobs that come in, write a few trade paper adds as an advertising man, spend a few minutes as required as telephone operator, dictate a few letters to myself, as bookkeeper I shall make out a few bills and entries in the ledger, and simultaneously at the end of the day we’ll all quit together, each one of us slamming the office door in unison and making much noise clattering down the office stairs. We will all then pile in the old Buick, and loaded down with the entire office personnel, head for Trumbull. What a life. The Dionne triplets have nothing on me. Quintuplets, I mean.

Oh yes, Marian, Aunt Betty has asked me to write a note of acknowledgment on her behalf to thank you for the little cigars. She is somewhat puzzled as to the significance of the name. Why Between The Acts”? And what happens between them? Knowing your deeply religious nature she is wondering if it has something to do with the Acts of the Apostles, and then knowing you went to the theater just before you left New York, she wondered if it had anything to do with the play. Well, as Lady Godiva said toward the end of her ride, I am nearing my close.

DAD

Tomorrow a letter from Marian and  Lad to the family.

On Saturday, another segment about the Voyage to California written by John Jackson Lewis in 1851.

On Sunday, the story of Josephine, Clara Maria de los Dolores Marina de Beck Guion. 

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Dear Brigands Large and Brigands Small (2) – News From Ced and Dave – June 11, 1944

page 2    6/11/44

We will have to re-baptize Ced “Arson the Second”. He’s been playing with fire again, the naughty thing. He says: “This time I picked on the poor, defenselessJudy_0003 Fleetster, which, however, refused to bend to my will as readily as did the hangar last June. (Instead of June weddings, Ced seems to prefer fires). For myself I fared about the same as before though a little less severely. It all came about through mixing gasoline and static electricity on a warm sunny day (yesterday). Incidentally, the letter is dated May 29th, received June 5th. “Here was I nonchalantly gassing the Fleetster for a trip to Naknek, finishing filling the first tank and starting to move the gas funnel when, wham, here’s me skidding in colossal haste to the ground amidst flaming gas hose, funnel and a loud explosion from the gas tank and sheets of flame. As luck would have it, the danged wing is plywood and wouldn’t catch like fabric, so I lost my chance – – besides my eyebrows, half my mustache, a good handful of hair, and my composure. From now on I think Woodley’s gassing operations will be done only when hose, funnel and plane are grounded. Really, my listeners, you have no idea how fast it can happen. It recalls the time when Pete Linsley had the same thing happen to his old Franklin. Moral: when gassing, see that at least the metal nozzle of the hose touches the edge of the gas tank.” His school lasts two weeks longer and then comes the test. The pre-induction physical proves his good health and it only remains for Art (Woodley, his boss and the owner of the airfield)  to use his influence, or else…

Yes, Ced, you are right about the source of my information being that Kiplinger newsletter, but didn’t you notice at the bottom of their letter where it says “No quotations”, so of course I had to make it sound original. Why do you show up your old Dad in his harmless little mind wanderings? I am sure the Pamonaites did not receive your package from Tacoma, or they would have mentioned it. Make a note to ask me to send you an asbestos suit for Christmas.

I don’t know who is the more delighted, Dave or his sire, but the fact remains that he is coming home on an emergency furlough June 21st, the reason being, from an Army viewpoint, that the legal matters in connection with the settlement of Grandma’s estate will be up for consideration at that time. The fact that his class at Bassick graduates two days later, of course, is just incidental good luck. His account of the matter is rather interesting:

DPG - with Zeke holding Butch“It WORKED!!! I guess I don’t need to say any more than that, but I think you might like to hear the details. I got your letter and was even more relieved than happy – – and I was plenty happy – – you can see I must’ve had quite a conscience. It still doesn’t seem quite right to me to use Grandma’s will as an excuse to get home. Anyway, this morning I went to see the Captain. He was very informal, gave me the “at ease” right away and I stated my business. I showed him your letter and the documents from the lawyer and at the same time said, “Sir, I don’t know if the Army will consider this of enough importance to grant me a furlough because of it, but my father seems to feel that it is. I thought there would certainly be no harm in trying.” He picked it up and started to read it to himself. There I was hopes high, but common sense telling me: “you’re wasting your time, Dave”. It seemed like a whole night of guard duty before he finally looked up and said: “Yes, we’ve granted emergency furloughs for these things before. I’ll see the Colonel about it and see if we can get one for you.” It was then I realized I had done a good job of holding myself back because I was actually surprised when he said “Yes”. But the surprise quickly led to “sweet ecstasy”. So, even if it isn’t anywhere near definite I think tonight I’m the happiest of all your sons – – yes, even happier than Ced who is celebrating his birthday today, and even happier that Lad, who has the best of wives from all reports, and a furlough besides.

What it is to be young and get such a big kick out of life !

Well, I guess I’ll hobble off to bed.

DAD

Tomorrow and Thursday we’ll hear from Grandpa, and on Friday, a letter from Marian  and Lad to the family.

Judy Guion