Trumbull – Dear Boy Backsliders (2) – October, 1941

Page 2    10/18

Things at the office are still hectic and are adding to my stock of gray hair. George’s sister comes in after school afternoons to take care of what mimeographing jobs have come in and Dave does the same in an effort to take care of the multi-graphing jobs. George comes in when asked to do so at night, when we get in a jam and Miss Denes comes in once a week to take care of bookkeeping and billing. I have another new girl, a Mrs. Papineau, who spends most of her time on the graphotype trying to catch up on an accumulation of Addressograph work, but she is rather slow. I got a letter from a man named Hoffman last week who says he understands letter shop work and I have asked him to call Monday. In consequence of all this, I don’t get home to get the supper started until about six, which makes it 7:30 or eight before we are through. This sort of spoils the evening for the boys, which bothers me, although they put a cheerful face on the whole affair. I am also concerned about Dave not having sufficient time for homework after working all afternoon at the office, having no time for recreation unless he neglects his studies. Added to all this, I don’t hear from you boys in a month (there he goes again) and you have a resume of a worried father’s problems. Offsetting this, Aunt Betty sets so good an example of cheerfulness under all circumstances that we all get by cheerfully and in good spirits. However, don’t let that stop your letters home. (I think it was Cato in ancient Rome who, in speaking in the Senate on any or all subjects, always ended with the words, “Carthage must be destroyed”). Get it?

Zeke, I understand, is working nights now and earns $80 a week. (And the hunting season has just started also)

Charlie Kurtz and Jess Woodhull were here this afternoon trying to sell me on the idea of having the attic floors insulated, claiming it will

Richard (Dick) Guion

make an unbelievable difference in the ease of heating the house. They measured up the place and will give me an estimate. Dan has just purchased a new projector for his kodascope stills, claiming it is a birthday present to himself from Dan. It certainly has a wonderful set of Alaskan views, sunsets, etc. and they make a very interesting evening showing.

I forgot to tell you in last week’s letter, Dick, that your Annapolis friend, I learned from his parents, has been in an Army hospital for several months, having been in an automobile accident after enlisting, which resulted in a fractured skull. He is getting along all right now.

There comes a point in every letter when one runs out of news and one sits and drums with his fingers on the table thinking, trying to think of something else to say. I have now reached that point and drum as I will, nothing seems to materialize, so even though the page is not full up, circumstances force me to bring this dark and haunting epistle to a close. Summing it all up, there is one thought I want to leave with you (there he goes again), and that thought I shall not put in words but shall leave in your fertile imagination to guess.

DAD

Tomorrow I’ll be continuing the story of Mary E Wilson as she wrote it. Quite an interesting story.

Next week, I’ll be posting letters written in 1943 as the relationship between Lad and Marian continues to develop.

Judy Guion

 

Trumbull – Dear Boy Backsliders (1) – October, 1941

Trumbull, Conn., October 18, 1941

Dear boy backsliders (but dear nevertheless):

Judy_0003This is getting to be a very one-sided correspondence. Do you realize that I haven’t heard from either of you since Dan left? That was, what? Sept. 18th? Just a month today, if so. Dan says: “That just shows what happens without ?????????????????????me there to keep them lined up in the matter of letter writing regularly.” I think Aunt Betty is getting a bit concerned because every night when I come home she asks if I have heard from the boys yet. I do hope there will be something in the mailbox tomorrow. You didn’t even fill in my questionnaire which would be a simple thing to do and would only take a few minutes. I will even send you a stamped, addressed envelope if that will help. I hate to start in every letter in this vein but it is a matter quite close to my heart and I do wish you both would exert a little willpower and grab off a few spare ten minutes here and there so that so long an interval will not elapse. Why don’t each of you make it a rule to write every other week, even if it is only a few lines. Surely this will not be a hardship. If I should stop writing for a month (which I don’t intend to do) wouldn’t you get the least bit anxious? Or wouldn’t you? Someday I suppose you will sit down and write, “Cut out this letter complaint. You ought to have learned by this time it does not accomplish any results anyway.” So be it, and I’ll go on with what meager news there is.

?????????????????Aunt Betty is coming along finely. All this week she has been down in the kitchen the better part of the day. Miss Pack, the visiting nurse, comes in the morning, gets Aunt Betty fixed up and down stairs for lunch. I have brought the nickel pipe armchair in the kitchen and she spends most of the afternoon and that until we get home at night. She then has supper with us after which I take her up to bed. She is gradually, but definitely, getting back the use of her hand. The doctor did not come at all this week. The nurse tells her she is making real progress.

Mrs. Warden and her new baby are back from the hospital. Paul has changed the location of the stove to the other side of the mantel. Dan is working at a machine in the Producto Co., which requires his constant dipping his hand in kerosene which has resulted in sort of a skin burn similar in its result to sunburn in that the skin peels from his hands. There is a rumor that he will be given another job this next Tuesday. He has now a driver’s license and in consequence, he planned to go to New York this afternoon for his trunk. His first intention was to take my car but he finally persuaded Lad to drive down in his car with Cecilia (Mullins, Lad’s girlfriend) and Dan with Barbara (Plumb, Dan’s girlfriend) and after getting the trunk loaded on, I suppose they will have supper somewhere and make a night of it – – possibly taking in some show. I have recommended Fantasia ( http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0032455/ ). They started from here about 2:30 in order to make this possible and still have Cecelia in the party (The Mullins were planning on a 3 o’clock dinner today) we invited Cecelia over here to dinner.

In the town the drive for the ambulance fund is on. Saturday night’s paper reported the collection of $800 of the $3000 goal. The drive ends next Wednesday and they are counting on doing quite a bit of soliciting today, so I’m waiting to see what total will be reported tomorrow night. I composed and processed the letter which was sent out in advance of calls and naturally I am interested in what results they bring.

Last night, Dan and Dave and the gang went bowling in Long Hill.

Tomorrow I’ll post the rest of this lettr, including more news from Trumbull, to Ced and Dick, both still in Alaska.

Over the weekend, more from the Autobiography of Nary E Wilson.

Judy Guion

Army Life (4) – Letters From Dan and Dick – July, 1945

In Grandpa’s all-inclusive letter, we now come to one from Dan and another from Dick. Dick’s letter is rather short, but since he is rarely heard from, all the more noticeable. 

Dan in uniform @ 1945

Daniel Beck Guion

Letter from Dan dated Drancy, July 9th

I received the money order the day before yesterday. It came too late for direct action but I was able to borrow enough to buy a camera (German) at a bargain and sell it at an amazing profit. My conscience almost bothers me! I have sent home two money orders during the last two months and another is enclosed herein. I cannot send it all at once because of suspicious Army regulations that cry “black market” at the drop of a peddler’s cart. The Sears Roebuck catalog arrived and already has been eagerly perused by all my roommates and it has wrought  on me the mischief of avarice – – or to say it more in my favor – – acquisitiveness – – a condition that has been chronic with me ever since my delicate little hands first violated the pages of Sear’s 1922 catalog. I expect that the reactions in Calais will be even more violent, since these European natives have, during the past five or six years, lost any natural immunity they might have had to sales aggression. My moments of protoplasmic functioning, and even my less lucid (the word is “lucid”, not “lurid”, see?) moments are monopolized these days by the approaching wedding, at which I am billed for one of the two major roles. I shall leave Drancy on July 12th, planning (with the connivance of the Army) to spend a week in Calais. The wedding will be on the 17th. We are still in

page 5 ( continuation of Dan’s letter)

Category II and planning to return to U S A before setting out for China.  Personally, I should rather stay here for a while. “Chiche” won’t be able to travel to the U.S. for a matter of months at least, unless commercial travel is resumed, so I would do better to occupy Germany until Hirohito loses his shirt. As soon as I am safely married, I shall suggest a transfer to an occupational unit. Incidentally, being in Category II automatically bars me from attending the special university courses. I am not even eligible to apply. What a “sale guerre”! But with that almost pristine optimism that has always been my particular charm  (well, waddaya know!) I close this letter with the hope and faith that everything is going to be so oh-so-frightfully O.K.

rpg-dick-in-uniform-without-mustache-1945

Richard Peabody Guion

Letter from Dick dated July 24th

I just received your weekly news letter in which you devoted a page or so to each of us individually. Evidently, it has inspired me to unaccustomed effort. (Here he describes his office personnel as shown on a snapshot which accompanies the letter, and which would be meaningless to quote without the picture to go with it). He also encloses a print of himself, and writes: I am wearing a pair of pants that were issued to me in Miami more than two years ago. I am also wearing the same face that was issued to me in N.Y.  more than 24 years ago. That explains absolutely nothing and might even lead to your asking, or better still, passing a harsh remark at some later date, concerning the addition under my nose. That definitely was not issued but came to be very near and dear to me. That squint in my eyes is not a pose but a necessary or unavoidable reaction from the bright sun. I’m quite well, Dad. I don’t gain much weight but neither do I lose it. The job I have with its responsibilities has given me a sense of confidence in myself – – a feeling in me that was always a little slow in developing. It’s a wonderful feeling to know that you are doing a good job  – – that people are depending on you. Give my love to Aunt Betty and say “hello” to all the rest.

Tomorrow, a letter from the youngest son, Dave, in Okinawa,  full of news and personal opinion.

On Saturday and Sunday, I’ll begin the autobiography of Mary Ellum Wilson, born in England. She came to this country as a young girl but eventually achieved “the American Dream”. She was the mother of a good childhood friend so I knew her personally but never realized how difficult her life had been until I received this from her daughter. It is my honor to share her story with all of you. Enjoy.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Dear Kith… (2) – A Request From Grandma Peabody – April, 1943

This is the second half of a letter, dated April 11, 1943,  addressed to: Dear Kith (I won’t bother with the kin tonight) AND, of course, Jean. It includes a request from Grandma Peabody.

Grandma Peabody

Grandma Peabody

What struck me as one of the saddest letters I have ever received reached me last week from Grandma – – sad, not so much in what she says but in what it implies. Here it is: “Dear Alfred: I am in bed and it’s nearly midnight, and as much as I am in quite a predicament and not very good at beating around the bush, I thought I better write to you, plain as possible. I am very anxious to leave here and I wonder if I could come and stay at your house again. I could not do any more work than I did before but I would like to come if it is possible for you to let me. I went to stay with Kemper last May against my will, the same as I went with them to Vermont, against my better judgment. But at the time it seemed the only solution and Ethel told me she wanted me. These two people are very trying to live with day after day, month after month. I have kept out of their way, staying in my room hunched up in my chair, so to speak, ever since we came here. I am feeling fine now, thanks to some vitamins I have been taking regularly for many weeks. I have plenty of bedding for my use and as I am not very big, a cot bed would do me very well. Please let me know as soon as possible. This maybe, is a strange letter, but if I see you I can explain things. I have been so lonesome and you know I believe that most of my children are not welcome here. Not for a night or a meal. Do write soon and let me know. Mother.

It must be cold. My window is completely covered with ice, but fortunately the wind is from the south somewhere so my room is warm. Dorothy’s apartment is too small for two people. I hope you can take pity on me. Mother.”

This is due notice to you all, that if or when the time ever comes when I am not welcome at my children’s homes, that is the time to drop a big load of arsenic in my coffee.

After discussing the matter with Dave and Aunt Betty, I wrote to Mother and told her to come ahead, and after she arrived we would talk over room arrangements. I told her as tactfully as I could that no changes could be considered as far as Aunt Betty’s and Jean’s room is (or are) concerned, but that, as Dave plans to sleep on the sleeping porch this summer and the attic room could be used as a spare room for the boys on furlough, if she didn’t mind the lack of privacy, the room off my room would be available. Up to this writing I have had no further word from her.

A letter from Dan, bearing evidence of manfully struggling with a post office type of pen, says: “Notice has been posted that Co. D must devote this spring and summer to training for overseas duty, and must be prepared to leave at any time. How much significance can be attached to this notice can only be conjectured. Our work has not been altered yet in any manner.”

Jean (Mrs. Richard) Guion

Jean (Mrs. Richard) Guion

Saturday brought a welcome letter from Jean. Her train arrived three hours late but model rpg-dick-in-uniform-without-mustache-1945husband Dick was there to meet her. His C.O. had given him an overnight pass, and later in the week another, so he ranks high with Jean. Dick thinks he is tops also. Jean is in a small hotel just across the street from the beach, and likes it very much. Dick has a nice tan and looks the picture of health. He seems to like Army life very much, including his C.O. (Yes, Jean dear, I shall send your check by airmail as soon as it arrives. In the meantime, however, if the family vaults can be rifle for your benefit, just say the word. And tell that lanky son of mine, will you please, to answer my letter about his insurance premium so I’ll know how he wants it handled.)

Alaska and California didn’t report last week, but here’s hoping this week may bring some news from these far Western outposts.

Catherine Warden came back from the hospital today. Paul had painted the apartment and some of the furniture and the girls had put up some draperies. Barbara (Plumb) had furnished a beautiful bunch of flowers and altogether the apartment looked very attractive. The children come home next Sunday, according to plan, as the German reports have it.

Well, for a fellow with headache and bloodshot eyes, I seem to have done right by you little Nell’s as far as two pages of correspondence this evening is concerned, and now methinks I will take a well-earned rest, but I’ll be thinking of you and hoping you won’t forget to write your one and only               DAD

Tomorrow, a letter from Lad, written on Hospitality Center of South Pasadena stationery. Thursday brings another letter from Grandpa and on Friday, another letter from Lad.  

Judy Guion

 

Trumbull – Dear Hart, Schaffner and Marx (2) – Questionnaires – September, 1941

Dan in white jacket in Alaska

D A N

(To  be filled in with adequate detail, and returned promptly to  ADG)

What has become of your Spanish class and typewriter instruction course? Are you now taking any other education courses? WHY?

Are you devoting any time to cultural activities, such as reading, study, church, music, etc. Give details.

What are your principal recreations? Give example of typical week.

What is state of your health? Are you troubled with irregular bowel movements, colds, headaches, anything else (No wisecracks — this is serious) are you taking care of your teeth and eyes?

A you putting aside a definite sum of money in bank or other savings depository? Do you budget your money? If not, will you?

Name three articles you would like as Christmas gifts. (Give details)

What would you suggest as a wedding gift for Rusty?

Do you want your auto driver’s license renewed in Connecticut?

What became of your Home Building and Loan book?

Other remarks:

Judy_0003

C E D

(Please fill out and return promptly)

Are you eating in restaurants or have you located another regular eating place?

How many solo hours have you now to your credit Western Mark (Saw Dive Bombers, a new movie, yesterday, and would just as leave have you on the ground)

Did you ever receive the shoe holder I ordered sent to you?

Would you boys like any of the following: a portable shower outfit, heating pad, small electric fan for steering wheel of car?

Name three gifts you would like for Christmas (no kidding)

What wedding gift would you suggest for Rusty?

How much money are you able to save over living expenses and what you sent me Western Mark how are you investing it?

What are your regular hours of work? Do you have much over time?

Give example of typical week as far as recreation is concerned.

Have you continued in any of your singing activities or church affiliations ?

Do keep fairly free from colds? Do you have sneezing spells up there like you did here? Are you troubled with headaches, indigestion? Have you had your teeth looked over recently ?

Did you pass your flying exam without any reservations ?

Remarks:

?????????????????????

D I C K

(Please fill in promptly and fully and return at once to A.D.G.)

Refer to my letter of July 13 asking for details about your job. Please give full details below.

What are you doing about selling my old movie camera?

What became of your Home Building and Loan deposit book?

Please tell me what packages of birthday gifts you received as several shipments were made at different times as I want to be sure you received them all.

Name three articles you would like as Christmas gifts.

What would you suggest as a wedding gift for Rusty?

Have you a budget and are you making regular planned savings as you intended to do?

In such leisure time as you have what are your recreations?

Are your teeth or eyes troubling you? You have trouble with your bowels? Headaches? Indigestion? Colds? Anything else?

Please give a description of what happened on your birthday.

Other remarks:

Tomorrow, I’ll be posting a newspaper article about Dan’s Labor Day trip to the Kenai Peninsula.The article includes excerpts from Dan’s letter to Grandpa about his impressions, in Dan’s unique style of writing. On Thursday and Friday, another letter from Grandpa to the Trio in Alaska.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Dear Hart, Schaffner and Marx (1) – Grandpa’s Letter – September, 1941

 

Dan in white jacket in Alaska

Trumbull, Sept. 7, 1941

Dear Hart, Schaffer & Marx:

Today I have the ambition of a louse. If you have ever been a louse you will know exactly how I feel. Loosing one ambish with each sneeze for the last 10 days leaves the score minus something, so that it has been difficult indeed to lash up enough energy to get started on this miserable piece of English composition.

There was a rift in the clouds this week occasioned by receipt of a letter from Dan and a letterette from Dick, but such is the ingratitude and insatiable appetite of man, that already I am hoping for more this week in order to even up the score which is been so one-sided for so long a period.

As to Dan’s comments about cigar smoking, it seems to me it was just about a year ago next week that you wrote me about another cigar smoking episode involving a Rossi that you and one Swanson donated to your boss Bud Johnson. Is this cigar yearning a recurring annual event such as hay fever? Does it help you to write inspired letters? If so, I shall be tempted to send you a box. (I do not refer to the w.k. pine box). It may be your vacation trip to the peninsular villages would loosen a flood of descriptive waterfalls, some of which might get diverted to P.O. Box 7. The check you sent is being credited to your account. Thanks also for the pictures. These together with the others you have sent I have turned over to Barbara, as she has so many more that we and anyway, it is not possible to see them properly without the use of Helen’s projector. Which reminds me, if you want to know what I would like to have for Christmas, that’s it. I mean a projector with which to display some of the wonderfully colored little art gems you have sent home. They are really exceptionally beautiful. You will know if you have seen them projected on a screen, but cannot appreciate their beauty otherwise. The consensus of opinion seems to be that for scenic views and still life they are better than the colored movie films. Some of your shots were really of a place alongside the paintings of Corot or Turner. With two movie cameras up there and funds with which to purchase films I am surprised we have not received more Alaskan films recently.

Will somebody please tell me whether any of you were able to contact Dr. Laszlo. I know he was looking forward to seeing you. Possibly I was too enthusiastic in my build up with the corresponding letdown if none of you could spare the time to get away to meet him at the station or dock or what not.

Grandma and Dorothy left Wednesday and are now installed in a new apartment. The visit did Dorothy lots of good.

As questionnaires seem to be a popular national pastime these days, I am enclosing one for each of you boys, which will be one method of getting answers to some of the questions that arise in one’s mind from time to time.

Maybe I’ll feel more like writing next week. Right now I can’t think of any news anyway, other than the usual Aunt Betty sends love, Dave has started back to school and likes his teachers, Carl received a letter from Ced, Dad sneezes and wheezes, etc. So with a hail (Spelled Hell) to the lowly ragweed, this is station D A D signing off.

Tomorrow, I’ll be posting the questionnaires for each son.

On Wednesday, I’ll be posting a newspaper article about Dan’s trip to the Kenai Peninsula which includes excerpts from a letter he wrote to Grandpa telling of his experiences and impressions.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Individual Letters (4) – To Dick and Dave – July, 1945

rpg-dick-in-uniform-without-mustache-1945

Dick in 1945 – without mustache

Page 4   7/15/45

Dear Dick:

Of course the big excitement around here these days is Jean’s forthcoming exodus to join her mustached hubby in the wilds of Brazil. Yesterday we packed the trunk still bearing an Alaska sticker on it, and toted it down to the railroad station to get a head start on its mistress. No matter how excited you are in anticipation of her visit, you cannot exceed her feelings along the same line. Between Jean and Marian, the old sewing machine has had more man-hours of activity than all the rest of its ancient life put together. It clicks its teeth like an old man whose uppers are a bit loose and it still eats up the work. I’ve already promised both girls sewing machines for wedding presents when they are on the market for civilian use again. Of course we are all going to miss her terribly around here and I solemnly charge you now to break this letter writing deadlock and keep us posted on her doings. Don’t leave it all to her to do the writing back home. She’ll be expected to write to her folks, of course, and while you’ll of course continue to get my weekly letters, just the same, remember there will be no secondhand reports of you anymore. Besides you will now have something to write about. And by the way, what plans have YOU for the future? Are you still Alaska minded? What sort of work do you plan to get into by way of an income bringer after the Army turns you loose on this hungry world? Do you plan to make your Brazilian contacts and familiarity with Portuguese the basis of some Brazilian-U.S. connection or have you some other ideas stirring about in your mind? After the excitement of getting reacquainted with your bride quiets down a bit, sit down some day with pen and paper before you and let down your hair on what you would like to do if you could just have your own way. No more letters to quote, so I’ll now proceed to hectoring.

Dear Dave:

Last but not least, although maybe it will be least as far as news is concerned, as I am pretty well wrote out. I did get to thinking the other day, as I often do, about you and the office. We are now in the midst of the summer quiet period. I still have enough to keep me busy, but I don’t have enough to need any outside help. Maybe that is just as well as George tells me he is going into the Navy, has passed his physical and is awaiting orders. So from then on I’ll be entirely on my own. When you get back I think the first thing you should plan to do is to make each day a double-header. Mornings dressed in your best bid and tucker and that winning smile, you go out making calls on prospects and customers, as the genial Dr. Jekyll, and afternoons you put on the old shop coat and as Mr. Hyde, get all smeared up with mimeograph ink turning out the orders you have collected in the morning. That for six months or so will be sufficient to keep you out of mischief. In between times you can repair machines, cut Addressograph plates, order paper and supplies, do bookkeeping, make out bills, answer phone calls, draw checks and occasionally sweep out the office. Course this will mean five nights a week at the office leaving one night to call on your girl  friends. The rest of the time will be your leisure hours. Isn’t that just ducky? When do we start? Guess I’d better stop here before I think of several other items. Good hunting.

DAD

Tomorrow Grandpa writes a rather interesting letter to Paulette, showing his creativity and sense of humor.

On Saturday and Sunday, two more reports on Ced’s Coming of Age of Adventure.

Judy Guion