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

Trumbull – Dear Network Stations (1) – More News From Dave – September, 1945

Trumbull, Conn., September 16, 1945

Dear Network Stations:

Might as well start in with quotes at once this week as otherwise I might be accused of not doing my part in conserving paper. Maybe you have noticed that the quotes tail now wags the letter dog so to speak. Clever of me to work it this way, wasn’t it? I now don’t have to do anything but sit like a big spider in the middle of my web and merely act as a clearinghouse or central station (Dave would probably have the right descriptive adjective or term for this sort of communication center) for the messages you boys send in of interest to all the rest of the family (when I say “boys” of course that includes the girls too), making it unnecessary for me to use my brain, if any, to try to think up interesting and clever things to write so that you boys will all exclaim in chorus, “Oh, isn’t he wonderful! I don’t see how he does it!” You notice, don’t you, how we get to the quotes at once. Oh well, then, here’s one from Dave:

“Someday I’ll write you a long letter on St. Augustine’s Church in the Intramuras and some of the other things I’ve seen and heard here. One night at St. Augustine’s I talked to a Spanish woman that had lived near there. She told me some pretty gruesome things that she had actually seen. One thing I got a laugh about was her account of the first Americans she saw returning to Manila. She said she looked at them from a distance and decided that they were awfully nice looking Japs, but when one of them said Okay, sister, move along”, she knew they were Americans taking back the city. The Japs have turned many of these “flips” into robbers. The only food they had was what they could steal and it became a habit. Now we have to watch carefully every time one gets near. Of course they aren’t all that way, some are really very nice and respectable people. They love MacArthur and seemed to be better Americans than some of the people whose homes are in the States. There seems to be some resentment on MacArthur’s seemingly “glory getting” attitude among the men in the Pacific, but you won’t find very many guys who express satisfaction with those that are over them. It just gives them something to moan about. Remember I said they didn’t like Buckner too well? – The same thing. However I’ve never heard anyone say anything about not liking Stillwell— he seems to be an all-right guy.

And another from Dave dated Sept. 4th: “Today they stopped censorship on the mail which gives me a chance to say some things which until now I have hesitated to mention. The first you have probably already guessed – – I was put in the harbor on L-Day at Okinawa. That was Easter Sunday—a day I’ll never forget. The feint on the east side of the island came off at dawn and then at 8:30 the real invasion went ashore. It was a beautiful clear day and we stood on the deck watching the barges go by with the Marines in them. On shore we could see the little dots advance up the beach and into the brush. Later on, we watched the vehicles, tanks, etc., go in. In the air over the island we watched American planes dive straight down out of sight and then come up again in a matter of seconds. There was a haze over the spot— they were dive bombing Yontan Airport. The other important thing I want to tell you is far more saddening to me. A group of the boys went down to Shuri — I think it was the last Sunday in July — souvenir hunting. There were about nine of them. Shuri was a scene of hard but swift fighting. Naturally there were a lot of explosives left there by the swift advancing army. Minefields weren’t cleared and duds were still left lying around without being detonated. The supply sergeant, who is a wild sort of guy, saw a Jap dud and raised his foot to kick it. Al Rundel, who was in my class

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back at Crowder, told him not to kick the dud, and when he saw him doing it anyway, he dropped to the ground. The dud went off throwing shrapnel all over the place. Bernie Arnold was in front of Sgt. Hamm, the guy who kicked the dud, and caught most of the shrapnel right in his stomach. He screamed and fell to the ground. He died about an hour later. There were three of us who were quite good friends — Hensley, Bernie and myself. Hensley was there and saw the whole thing. He gave me the complete story which wasn’t very pretty. I’ll never forgive Sgt. Hamm for the damned-fool thing he did. If we’ve seen one training film about leaving duds and charges alone, we’ve seen fifty. He escaped with the damaged fort. Leg injury to one of the cooks, complete paralysis to the arm of one of the clerks and other cuts and bruises were some of the other damage done. But as usual, it was the best man of all that had to die. Naturally I felt terrible about the accident and loss of Bernie. I want to church that night and that helped, but not enough. I felt pretty bad for a number of days. All I could think of was the picture he had shown me so many times of himself, his wife and his three-year-old daughter sitting in front of their Christmas tree the year before last. To top it all off, about two days later I got a letter from Ellie asking me to thank Bernie for the bracelet he had made from a Jap plane, which I had sent her. Bertie was no longer there to thank. He had missed the end of the war only by a few months. He was 38 and would probably be on his way home now. I’m doing crypt work here or at least I will be when our co. get set up in Korea in a few days. We will handle the communications between GHQ and the co. I think the rest of the co. will be in Korea. We are no longer a monitoring co. and now have reverted back to a plain service co. When the rest of the co. landed on Okinawa, Lieut. Greenberger intended to give me the T/4 that was open on our team. At that time he didn’t know how good Salamone was, and was more deserving of the rating and been in grade longer than I. So Sallie got the rating but Lieut. G. told me that when the chance permitted, he would see if he could promote me. As he is in charge of the group here in Manila, my chances are fairly good I think. All I’ve got to do is stay on the ball. The only trouble is it’s been so long since I’ve worked in a code room, as up in Okie I was working in the compilation section.

Tomorrow and Friday, I’ll post the rest of this long letter. The posts will include more news from Dan and also news from Brazil.

Saturday and Sunday, I’ll continue the story of Mary E and Archie Wilson as they move to Trumbull.

Judy Guion

 

Trumbull – Dear Chillens (2) – News From Dave in Manila – September, 1945

Now Dan, as for that camera part. Lad seems to know exactly what you want and he spent the better part of an afternoon this past week going all over Bridgeport’s camera stores to try to locate the missing ring. I do not recall your sending it with the other parts, and Lad has looked for it in the trunk where I put your parts that you sent home, but he is having Zeke hand make something that Lad things will do the trick and we shall try to get it off this week with some of the things for Paulette which Marion went shopping for in Bridgeport last week, before we received your later lists. I am very much afraid the coat will exceed the weight limit. As for the Schick razor, Lad says he has one he will give you. In looking for the adapter ring in your trunk, he came across a Rolls razor and was sorry he had not asked you to buy him one when you were in London. I told him I didn’t think you would mind if, as long as you were sending you his Schick, he took your Rolls. If you have to fight it out I’ll be the referee. As for the wristwatch, that’s too indefinite for so important an item. Refer again to the Sears catalog, and based on the three models illustrated on page 473, give me some idea of style, size, shape and approximate cost so we will have some idea to shoot at. As a hasty and much belated answer to your question asked long ago, you say tea, coffee, cocoa and soap are always welcome. I assume you referred to the Senechal’s, as I did. You may recall I asked if they wanted coffee in beam (if they have their own grinder) or if desired ground, how fine and for what type of coffee maker? Do they like Black, Green or Oolong tea? As to soap, laundry or toilet? I quite agree with you in regard to Paulette’s wardrobe. Tell her— no, send her in here and I’ll talk to her myself. See here, girl, don’t ever get the idea it is imposing on us to have Dan give us a list of the things you want. It is a real pleasure to do little things for others, particularly when one has the satisfaction of knowing they are really things the other fellow wants and needs. It shows a fine feeling on your part not wanting to put other people to trouble on your account, but Marian, upon whom falls most of the brunt of choosing with her women’s taste, the clothes for you, enjoys shopping, and particularly for you, and the funds are Dan’s, which he has thriftily, in months past, sent on to me to keep for him. So, everything considered, it would be quite a disappointment if we couldn’t do these little things to show just how much we think of “our little French girl”. And if that new hubby of yours doesn’t write me an answer about the things your family would like to have, and which I would like to send from there American friend, just to show our happiness in having acquired a new daughter, just write me another letter yourself. Why not try something in English, just to get in practice, like Papa Senechal did and which I

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thought was a very considerate and courteous thing for him to do. You ought not mind writing in English even if you make some mistakes. We would have no right to laugh at such mistakes knowing very well we could not do nearly so well if we tried to write you in French. (Then, too, we could write each other little secret notes which wouldn’t have to pass through the hands of the interpreter). And let me thank you right here and now for that very lovely letter. I wish you were here right now so I could tell you how much I appreciate it. You can’t get here soon enough to please me. Leave Dan behind if you have to and I’ll meet you at the dock with a French dictionary in one hand and a French flag draped around my waist so you won’t mistake me for the Statute of Liberty. I’d even go so far as to have our dog Smoky trimmed to look like a French poodle if that would help. I couldn’t promise to have any real Camembert cheese, of which I am very fond, on the table for your first meal, as we are able only to get the imitation over here, but I might get hold of a loaf of French bread and cook up some French fried potatoes. What other inducements can I hold out to hasten your departure?

Dave, the old smoothie, has written me such a flattering birthday letter, that I feel like the old Irish woman at the wake of her husband, while the priest was extolling the virtues of the departed, said to her son, “Jimmy, look in the coffin and see if it’s your father who really is in there.” In fact, I am just too modest to quote it, so I’ll have to fall back on the old advertising gag and say “details furnished on request”. It’s nice to have you feel that way anyway Dave, and I suppose I can justly take some pride in being the father of a son like you.

I’ll have to condense Dave’s other letter a bit so as not to run over on a 5th, page. He says: Everyone seems to be here in Manila except MacArthur and a few of his boys, who left a couple of days ago for Tokyo. Some of the boys here saw MacArthur the day after he landed, standing on a balcony without his hat. They claim he’s bald. Perhaps that’s why we always see pictures of him with his hat on. Why I should mention this I don’t know— there’s certainly no crime in being bald. Ever since I got your letter quoting Dick’s, I have been trying to figure out what made Dick write to you. I think now I’ve got the answer. Jean was about to join him and he figured she would ball the daylights out of him for not writing you for so long, so to avoid any trouble, he wrote you a short note to clear himself. Some one of these days I’m going to write you a letter, Dick, to tell you what I really think of your correspondence in the past. You ask, “Will Dave stay in Okinawa?” You have the answer to that one now. Yes, I’ll be part of the Jap occupation in a roundabout sort of way. We don’t know but it looks as if we would sweat out the rest of my Army career in Manila. I’ll be home for Christmas, but it will be ’46, just as I predicted some time ago. I’m disappointed in Jean. I had a magazine I could have read during my plane ride to, but there was too much to see below, especially over land. Both Dan’s and Lad’s letters on the marriage were very interesting. It was nice to have had Lad there for the ceremony. It looks now as if your French daughter-in-law will soon be in America with her husband. The way I see it, with Dan’s 75  points, he should be home before Christmas.    Dave.

And now a couple of sneezes a piece for each of you, and a bleary but loving glance from your sniffling     DAD

For the rest of the week, I’ll be posting another 4-page letter from Grandpa, with quotes from letters received from Dave, Dan and Jean.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Dear Benedicts and Bachelors (1) – Dave Sent to Manila – September, 1945

Same old Trumbull, but a new Sept. 2nd, 1945.

otherwise known as VJ Day

Dear Benedicts and Bachelors:

Well, the dawn of a tomorrow is at last a reality, and the “land of the rising Sun” is indeed facing a new day. When you read this however, the event will have passed on into history, and so fast is the pace these days that new events may have already crowded it into the background. There are great days ahead. Huxley once said that the most difficult time in which we live, but also the most rewarding, was in those occasional dark valleys between two peaks of vision when one system had lost its grip on men’s minds and the new system was not yet crystallized. Which seems to describe this present generation. Maybe that is why having lived through the recent dread days there is such a thrill in anticipating the days ahead which you boys, in the strength of your manhood, are facing. History shows us that man’s eternal struggle towards the heights has often been retarded and even halted, but never turned back. Problems the world is now facing will be solved. Nations will find their souls, a new and better world will emerge. You boys are truly at the threshold of great things I truly believe. So much for that, now let’s get down to earth.

Lad, of course, is the big fact still in our conscious thoughts. He and Marian, with the help of the Buick, seem to find plenty doing in these here parts. Yesterday morning we gave Elizabeth a few hours breathing spell by kidnapping Butch and Marty for an auto trip to Bronx Zoo. After returning, they went to a dance in Candlewood Lake as guests of Burr Davis and tonight they are having supper with George Knapp. Elsie just arrived so tomorrow promises also to be not without incident.

And turning to the Quotes Dept., we also have some interesting items there. Dave writes from Manila: “You are no more surprised to find I’m here than I am to be here. It all happened so suddenly that it still hard to believe. Take it from the beginning and follow through. On August 23rd I was told that I had been taken off the old five-man team, and Friday afternoon I was told to pack my stuff and be ready to leave Okinawa by 5 AM Saturday morning. I got only one hour sleep Friday night. In the morning we went up to Kadena Airport, boarded a C-46 Commando transport and in 5 ½ hours found myself in Manila. It was my first real plane ride and I felt a little sick-ish from nervous tension. As soon as 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 northernmost 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 navigator’s 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 8500 feet and the coastline looked just like the map. I could see the rivers and inlets and bulges along the coastline just as they were on the map. We passed over Lingayen Gulf where the American Navy had come in to retake Luzon. Then we cut inland and finally landed at Nichols Field about 6 miles outside Manila.

After waiting for about two hours (spent that time in a canteen gaping at comparatively beautiful Philippine women) we got on the truck and started towards Manila. 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 newsreel. The movie showed American boys cleaning the Japs out of the bleachers and an American tank pitching shells from the pitcher’s box. Now it was just a quiet, torn up mess. We passed well-to-do Philippines 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 the facade 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 bricks? You can’t imagine how heartbreaking 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 is 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 nightclub. It is now a makeshift affair with a makeshift band looking like a sideshow at Coney Island. That about explains the whole city – – just a bunch of concessions on the sidewalks of a gutted ghost-city. http://rogue.ph/18-photos-that-show-manila-before-and-after-world-war-ii/

The following quote is from an interview I had with Dave about his childhood memories and growing up in Trumbull:

On August 25th, I think,  we were all watching a film in a kind of natural amphitheater and one of the guys from Brooklyn had a buddy, who was also from Brooklyn, and I remember this just as if it was yesterday,  he came running over – we had gotten some rumors that theJaps were going to quit – and this guy came running over and says, “the signing has been confoimed.” I never forgot that.

But anyhow,  between the time of August 25th and September 7th when they signed the Treaty, I left Okinawa and went down to Manila. Here I am now – the war is over – all I have to do is go home and they’re shipping me out in a plane to Manila. The pilot spent about 20 minutes, maybe, trying to start one engine and I said to myself, “I’m going to die in the ocean and the war is over.” Anyhow, we got to Manila. That was quite a sight – buildings where the first floor was completely gone and five or six or seven stories would be on top of it, canted,… All kinds of destruction. If you went to the City Hall and looked up, you’d see a room with curtains on the windows. That was MacArthur’s headquarters. So he had curtains on his windows and the Filipinos  were watching dead bodies float down the river.

I would say I was in Manila probably six months. I came home in March 1946.

I’ll tell you more next time. The address will do for the time being until we can find out a little more. Dave

Yes, Dave, I called up Eleanor and she was of course interested to hear about your latest move. She asked what we all have been asking each other, “What does this mean?” in terms of your homecoming? And of course the answer is a large lettered WHO KNOWS? Your birthday is not so far off and so far I have not been able to hear a thing about the camera so I am afraid it won’t get to you for your birthday. We’ll be waiting for your next installment to see if it throws any light on this new move. Does it mean a promotion, part of the Army of occupation on Japan, a visit to China to aid in their communication system, or what? At least it means you are seeing another part of the world and that is interesting.

Tomorrow and Friday I’ll post the rest of this long letter, including a very interesting letter from Ced.

hJudy Guion