Trumbull – Dear Dave (2) – A Birthday Letter – Grandpa’s Advice – September 23, 1945

There is just one other thought that I want to get out of my system. Since your last letter I have been thinking of Sgt. Hamm (who caused the death of Dave’s good friend, Bernie, by kicking an unexploded “dud” while a group of men were walking during a break) and I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m sorry for him. Some folks are so built that they have to learn things the hard way. (Remember that icy morning in the car when Dick was driving and I warned him he had better go slower and we hit a tree at Beardsley Park, and later Dick had the moral courage or sense of fairness or good sportsmanship or whatever you want to call it that is typical of Dick, to own up he’d been wrong?) The Sgt., I warrant, has learned a bitter lesson. He would give anything to have a chance to live that moment over again. How do you think he feels inside? How would you feel if you had impulsively done a foolish thing with so fatal a result? Maybe he, too, saw the Christmas tree photo. (Bernie with his wife and child in front of the Christmas Tree that Bernie always carried with him)  What do you suppose his thoughts are when he is alone or when he sees you or Bernie’s other buddies looking at him? His own conscience is far worse a hell than anything you can say or do to make him feel his guilt. You say you’ll never forgive him. I know you don’t mean that as it sounds. Right now he needs a friend more than you need the satisfaction of knowing the mental agony he’s going through, no matter how bold a face he may put on for the benefit of his pride. Isn’t this a good place to apply the Golden Rule? We all make mistakes – – some, like this one, are irrevocable and carry a lifetime of regret. That’s punishment enough, don’t you think? Let’s be tolerant. You can’t bring the dead back but you can extend a helping hand to the living. He’ll never need understanding or forgiveness more than he does right now. Right?

Well, things look increasingly better for you to be getting home much earlier than the Christmas of 1946 that you have set as the deadline. It’s too much to expect you home for this Christmas, but who knows but what you may see the lilacs blossoming this spring. Anyway, we can hope. There was no letter from you last week but you’ve been so good about writing that this doesn’t bother me.

As for your letter putting in very convincing terms the reasons why you boys should be sent home soon, this idea has made so much progress nationwide, since you wrote, that it almost seems superfluous to send it. The enclosed newspaper clippings day by day will give you the way we at home here feel about it. I read the other day that so many letters similar to yours had been received that a special department in the war office had been established for the sole purpose of opening and reading letters to Congressman on this subject. Perhaps it will be better to wait a few weeks to see what comes out of this, and then, if more fuel is needed for the fire, you can send your letter on then, when it will perhaps have even more effect than it would now when so many others dilute the force of one more.

Well, happy birthday, old son, keep well and come home soon to

Your affectionate,

DAD

Tomorrow and Sunday, I’ll be posting more from The End of an Era.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Dear Dave (1) – A Birthday Letter – “A Father’s Letter To His Son” – September 23, 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.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Dear Turkey Eaters (3) – News From Ced in Alaska – November 26, 1944

Cedric Duryee Guion

Now Ced, heartless Ced, with no regard at all for the feeling of new postmistresses, addresses a letter to:

The publican Guion

Do we Rose Ave

which by some miraculous chance was delivered to the undersigned. There is something wrong with that boy. While the postmark on the envelope is November 17th, his letter is dated October 16th and still he has the effrontery to ask right under the date “(Is that better?)”. I’ve have asked him to date his letters and now I begin to understand why he neglects to do so – – he simply doesn’t have any idea of time. He told us a while ago Big Ben was failing, but I did not realize he’d flirt with the international dateline in such a manner. I suppose the antics of the midnight sun is rather hard on the tempis fugit cells in his brain, if any. However, Ced goes on to say: Ski season is now in high gear. The temperature today is up around 40 but it has been down as low as 12 out at the airport and while a little snow has fallen on a couple of occasions, not enough to ski here in town, but one more good storm and we’ll have it. The trip to the mine two weeks ago was a grand success with 56 people out and enjoying themselves. I skied down to Fishhook at the end of the day and only fell twice. The rally last Friday went over with a big bang. Following movies of the ski competition last year when I was in Trumbull, there was dancing and a skit depicting a group of comically garbed novice skiers, all on barrel staves, taking lessons from a mock Norwegian ski instructor. One of the students, the dud, wore a pair of white silk gym shorts, a huge fur muff tied around his waist, resembling an old-fashioned bustle, a stupid looking pack on his back, and bare legs. Twice during the evening a wheel was spun and the person holding the new membership card with a number corresponding to that at which the wheel stopped, was the winner of a $2.50 award. Liquor, contrary to other years, was totally absent, due mainly to the fact that we had a different hall where no liquor was sold. Crackers and cheese and an excellent punch was supplied by the club. The punch was made in two big dairy milk cans. Each one was filled with about 5 pounds of sugar, six or eight dozen each of oranges and lemons, and about that many jars of cherries all sliced and mixed with ice cut by some of the members at Lake Spenard. Just before serving time we carried the cans out to the ladies room, and attaching a rubber hose to the faucet, filled the cans and then mixed the mass by pouring back and forth many times. It turned out as fine a fruit punch as you ever tasted and when it was gone, we poured the residue back into one of the cans, added another three or 4 gallons of water, mixed and mashed it with a hammer handle and there was so much fruit left that the flavor was as good as the original. This process was repeated once more, later on, but at some cost to flavor.” He mentions also working on the Buick while Art Woodley is a way in an effort to sell one of their planes, the fact that the people he is living with now intend to leave Anchorage, which will make it necessary for him to find other living quarters, and the list of Christmas needs for which I am very grateful.

Dear Ced:

In view of the fact that my campaign to obtain a decent electric refrigerator has resulted in absolutely no result whatever, I guess Fate will decide the question for us. It is getting rather late in the season anyway to ship to the frozen North, which fact was bothering me a bit. As I wrote you last week I did credit $10 to Dan’s account and I did receive your most welcome birthday remembrance. It was well worth waiting for and is one of my most prized possessions.

Don Whitney stopped in at the office the other day to pick up the latest mailing addresses of you boys. His address is AGF Replacement Depot #1, Armored School, Fort Meade, Md. He expected to leave for that place yesterday.

Oh, I haven’t told you about our Thanksgiving party. The girls were debating the other day which was best, to tell you boys about the things we had to eat and make you homesick or to say nothing about it and make you sore. To be or not to be: that is the question: whether ‘tis nobler in the mind to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune or to take arms against a sea of troubles and by opposing, end them. I don’t know what Dick and Lad have learned from their respective spouses, but for the rest of you there were present four fe and one he male (me), if we might exclude Butch and Marty who were suffering the aftermath of a tonsil operation and didn’t feel so hot. Aunt Elsie was unable to get up. Marion made two delicious pies. Biss contributed two chickens, and of course we had Burrough’s cider. (I can hear Dan’s groans). Most of all, we missed you boys. Oh dear me, here’s the end of the page. Anyway, that’s about all.

DAD

On Saturday and Sunday I will continue posting The End of an Era.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Dear Reader – The End of an Era (3) – July 21, 2021

The Trumbull House has been sold.  From what I understand, the new owner plans to create nine one room Studio Apartments in the main house, two more apartments in the barn and to add on to the Little House to form a home for his family.

I will be devoting at least the next few weekends – maybe many more – to a Memorial of the house that has been an anchor for my family for almost 100 years and to the people who made it a HOME.

I find it especially hard to decide what to post because I have been writing about this house and the people who lived there, daily, for almost 9 years. Do I want to focus on the individuals – special events – everyday events – pictures – I just cannot decide which direction to choose. This weekend I am going to focus on pictures of the six chidren who spent their childhood there – Lad, my Dad (Alfred Peabody); Dan (Daniel Beck); Ced (Cedric Duryee); Biss (Elizabeth Westlin); Dick (Richard Peabody) and Dave (David Peabody).

Last weekend I posted the earliest pictures taken of the children. This weekend, I will post some more pictures of them through the years in Trumbull.

Lad @ 1922

                            Lad @ 1923

SOL - Dick, Dan, Ced, Lad & Biss with their dog

                                       Dick, Dan, Ced, Lad and Biss @ 1925

It appears that Patsy, their dog, has found something that interests all of the children.

Guion Kids on side porch - @ 1928

Guion children on side porch about 1928

Dan, Dave, Lad, Dick, Ced, Biss

Guion kids as adults - posed as 1928 photo - 1992

This picture is out of order but it was taken at our Family Reunion in 1992. They posed in the approximate position of the 1928 photo above. This was the last time all six children were together.

Standing – Lad, Seated – Dan, Dave, Dick, Ced and Biss.

Trumbull House - Grandpa and kids - 1928 (2) Steps and Landings, steps and landings - @1928

This picture was probably taken in the spring of 1929.

Back row: Grandpa and Lad; Middle row: Dick, Ced, Aunt Dorothy

Front row: Don Stanley (cousin), Dave, Biss, Gwen Stanley (cousin)

Tomorrow I will post more about the Trumbull House.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Dear Network Stations (2) – More Quotes From Dave – September 16, 1945

This post continues quotes from Dave, with insights and observations from a 19 year old.

Trumbull - Dave Is In Okinawa (3) - June 7, 1945

This is the Water Works building in downtown Manila where Dave works on one of the upper floors.

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

Page 2 9/15/45

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

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Dear Network Stations (1) – Start In With Quotes – September 16, 1945

We are in the fall of 1945. All the boys are serving Uncle Sam in their unique ways. Lad is home from France and he and Marian are very happy. Dan is still in France, seeing Paulette whenever he can and waiting anxiously for the day he will be discharged. Ced remains in Anchorage, Alaska, working for the Army at the airport, repairing and recovering planes. Dick, with his wife Jean, are in Fortaliza, Brazil and Dave in now in Manila, the Philppines, and fulfilling the role of a clerk in the Army Communication Center.

The Homestead in Trumbull

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:

DPG - Dave in uniform

David Peabody Guion

“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.

Tomorrow and for the rest of the week, I will be posting the rest of this 4-page letter.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Dear Chillens (5) – News From Dave – September 9, 1945

This section of the letter begins with a final request from Grandpa to Paulette for another letter. It ends with a condensed version of letters from Dave.

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

Page 4, 9/9/45

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.

DPG - Dave in uniform

David Peabody Guion

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

Tomorrow and Sunday, more special pictures. 

Judy Guion

Special Picture (341) – Grandpa’s Children – 1914 – 1927

In this Post I am going to show group photos of the children as they were growing up.

 

Blog - Arla Mary Peabody and children - 1922 (sepia)

                           Arla Mary (Peabody) Guion with her first five children – Dan, Lad, Ced, Dick and Biss, circa 1922

 

 

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This shows some of the children playing on the dirt road in front of the house. I believe Ced is to the left, Biss is in the middle and dick is on the right. This would have been 1925 because Biss was five years old when she broke her arm.

 

Dick, Dan, Ced, Lsd and Biss

Dick, Dan, Ced, Lad and Biss circa 1927

There is another picture I have found on my computer but I can’t seem to get it in this post. I’m giving up.

Judy Guion

 

 

 

 

 

Trumbull – Dear Bachelors and Benedicts (1) – Dave Sent To Manila – September 2, 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’s still hard to believe. I’ll 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 the Japs 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 May, 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

For the rest of the week I’ll be posting the rest of this long letter, including a very interesting letter from Ced.

Judy Guion

World War II Army Adventure (127) Dear Gang – April 9, 1946

DPG - Dave in uniform

David Peabody Guion

Manila, P.I.

April 9, 1946

Rec’d. 4/16/46

Dear Gang –

Yep, still here.  Rumors still say we are to leave here April 13 – but the Gen. Heinzelman still hasn’t arrived.  I have three letters here which I shall answer.  The first is one written on Feb. 6 and send to Dan by mistake.  As this is all about the office, I’ll wait till I get home before I answer it.  I was glad to get a report on how things are shaping up, though.  The second was written on St. Patrick’s Day.  It contained little news but was nevertheless important.  A letter is a letter – even if it’s a short one.  I hope you all enjoyed yourselves in New York with the Stanley’s.  Wish I’d been there.

This third letter quotes a letter of mine in which I tell of being relieved of duty.  This one, I presume, is to be the last I received.  It was written March 24 and said that you are sending a copy to Aunt Dorothy in case I didn’t get it here.  By the way, thank you for Aunt Dorothy’s new address.  She sure does get around.  I probably wouldn’t have been able to find her if I hadn’t gotten this letter.  This brings me to your predictions on my arrival date in Trumbull.  The day before I received your letter, I set a date in my mind – a goal so to speak.  Figuring on leaving here Saturday (the 13th), and taking seventeen days across the Pacific (April 30), seven days across the country (May 7), three days in Fort Devens (the 10th) and one day to get home (May 11 – say 3:30 or 4:oo P.M.), my guess would be the same day as Lad’s.  The only trouble is that with this plan I’m allowing no time for the inevitable delays in Army transportation.  I’m figuring on no time in Calif. And I don’t think seven days ‘cross country is particularly slow for an Army troop train.  If I leave Saturday, though, I most certainly should be home sometime during the week of May 12 to 18.

My thanks to Lad for any and all work done at the office. I know you’ve been up to your neck, Dad, and I guess you had real need for the help.  Anything Lad does now will make it easier for me, too – so “Thanks, again, Lad.”

It looks to me as if Dan is having as much trouble getting to England as I am having trying to find a ship with my bunk on it.  I hope Dan’s nerves aren’t taking the beating mine are.  I’ll have had three weeks in the Depot next Saturday.  The usual wait is three to five days.  And to top it all off there’s no shoulder to cry on.

Guess this does it for this time.  When I get definite news that I’m leaving Saturday I may not have time to write – but I’ll try to say something even if it’s just – “I’m leaving”.  So – “till we meet again” –

Dave

Tomorrow I will begin posting a week of letters written in nineteen forty-five.  On Monday I’ll post a quick V-Mail from Lad to Dan.  The rest of the week will be devoted to a five-page letter from Grandpa to Benedicts and Bachelors. Judy Guion