Special Picture # 264 – Early Photo of Alfred and Arla’s First Five Children – @ 1924

 

Dick, Dan, Ced, Lad and Biss with Mack @ 1924

Tomorrow, I’ll begin posting a week of letters written in 1942. Ced is in Anchorage, Alaska, working for Woodley Aircraft Company and Dan has been drafted. He is at Ft. Belvoir, Virginia (near Washington), going through Basic Training. Lad and Dick are working in Bridgeport but both are concerned about their draft status. Lad has already been classified.

Judy Guion

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Dear Boys – Lad’s Visit and News From Brazil – September, 1943

Well, Lad has come and gone. Grandpa’s first paragraph says it all. At least he has some good news to report – he’s finally heard from Dick, so now he knows where all of his sons are, even though they are getting farther and farther from home.

 

 

 

 

Trumbull Conn.    September 12, 1943

Dear Boys:

I don’t know whether it’s old age, hay fever or a general letdown after saying goodbye to Lad (probably a combination of all three) but I’m feeling a bit low right now and not at all in the mood to write a nice, cheery letter. The week has seemed to go so quickly. It hardly seems any time at all since Lad walked into my office last Tuesday and relieved me of worry that he might have been involved in one of those severe Labor Day train wrecks. He hasn’t put on any weight and looks about the same. It was mighty good to see and talk with him, even though half (more than half in fact) of his furlough time was spent just in going and coming between the Atlantic and Pacific coasts.

I really should feel all pepped up after the pleasant birthday celebration that marked the days dinner hour. Elsie and Elizabeth joined the festive throng, Jean made a delicious birthday cake which she got up early to make, in spite of the fact she needed the sleep, having been up late the night before. Then it being a beautiful, breezy, sunshiny day we all went outside afterward fr some picture taking. Another event beside Lad’s presence to mark a high spot was the receipt of a letter from none other than Dick, and earlier in the week, the second V-mail letter Dan has written from England. He apparently is stationed not far from London, as he speaks of frequent visits there and of enjoying his visit in England.

Dick says he is allowed to state he is in Brazil. He purchased a pair of boots there. “To all appearances these boots are of average quality and the purchaser feels he has made a ‘shrewd deal’ until he starts out on a rainy day. He sets out jauntily on a short stroll with his shiny boots kicking up little sprays of sand (of which there is an abundance). After having traversed a few hundred yards of damp sand he suddenly becomes aware of a slight dampness on the soles of his feet. Not wishing to ruin his new boots he decides to return to the barracks and put on his G.I. shoes. Halfway back the dampness has definitely increased to a wetness, and by the time he reaches shelter the papier-mâché souls are trailing along behind and his toes leave neat little imprints in the sand. Feeling slightly frustrated, he consoles himself with the thought that there is a war going on and we have to be satisfied with inferior quality products. On every article in town there are two prices — one price for ”Joe’s” (American Soldiers) and another price (about 2/3d’s less) for Brazilians. All kidding aside, though, I like it pretty well. The people have accepted the American soldiers and act friendly most of the time”. Thanks, Dick, old son, for the letter and of course I am glad to know you enjoy getting my weekly efforts, poor as I know some of them to be.

Aunt Helen phoned me last night to wish me many happy returns. She is leaving for Miami the day after tomorrow and hopes to get up to see us on their next visit to New York, whenever that may be.

Grandma Peabody

Grandma Peabody

Grandma writes she has had another bad spell. She says: “Dorothy is following doctor’s orders, insisting I must have my breakfast in bed and that I must not do any kind of work that may tire me. So you see I am really good for nothing. I am more than sorry it turned out as it did with my stay in Trumbull because I really enjoyed being there with you. This letter seems to be mostly about myself but I thought I would explain as near as I can that my illness is more or less serious.” Incidentally, if any of you boys could find time to drop Grandma a card now and then, it might be something you would not regret.

She further says that Aunt Anne has given up her job with Condé Nast and wants to get work in New York and live there. Donald has been back to this country for the second time (Newport News, VA) and has probably left again. He is fine and evidently enjoying his work. Charlie Hall and Jane Mantle, as you probably know, were married. Mrs. Ives gave a party for Charlie and Jane, Carl and Ethel, and Lad and Babe (Cecelia) on Saturday night.

Well I guess that about winds up this evening’s effort, so let’s call it quits for this week, with best wishes from

DAD

Tomorrow, more Special Pictures.

Next week I’ll be posting letters written in 1945. Lad and Dick are both home, enjoying time with their wives.  Dan is still in the Army but hoping to get out on points and waiting for the time that Paulette and his first child can travel to America, Ced is still in Anchorage, Alaska, and Dave is in Manila, Philippines.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Dear Ced (1) – Dick’s Homecoming and Dan’s Engagement – December, 1941

Trumbull, Conn., Dec. 28, 1941

Dear Ced:

This is one letter that I shall not have to scratch my head to think of what to say. It is intended to be a sort of report on our Christmas doings, as well as news of the week’s doings, and because the relatives will probably be interested in some of the timely topics herein after recorded, I am sending them a carbon copy.

Dick’s Homecoming

          Your airmail letter of the 14th was received on the day before Christmas and in view of your statement that the sailing of Dick’s boat of the Alaskan steamship line had been canceled indefinitely because of the war and that it would wait for a convoy to Seattle, we had given up hope of Dick’s arrival in time for Christmas. I proceeded to the office with that thought fixed in my mind which is perhaps the reason why, when I arrived and found a note on my desk to call a New York operator, I did not connect it with Dick but thought perhaps it might be Elsie telling me that, because of the rush of work, she could not come up until Christmas morning. Even when the operator asked me if I would accept a collect call from Mr. Guion I failed to get it and told her I presumed it would be from Miss Guion, but to put through the call anyway. The first words I heard were: “Hello Dad, this is Dick”. He said the boat had anchored for two or three days in the harbor, had finally sailed and a short time later put back into port again. They finally sailed in earnest, made the trip with as little light as they could show at night and finally docked at Seattle without mishap. Lad, in his car, accompanied by Dan and Barbara and Jean Mortenson, went down to Aunt Elsie’s hotel where he was spending the day. Aunt Betty and I, thinking he would be home before midnight, waited up for him, but by 2 o’clock Aunt Betty gave it up and went to bed, and three quarters of an hour later they arrived. Dick looked a little taller, no stouter and of course adorned with a little mustache.

Marriages

          Last night in my capacity as Justice of the Peace, your Dad spliced two couples in the little old alcove with the fire flickering in lieu of Mendelson’s wedding march. The men were both from Scranton, Pa. and the girls both from Conn.

Early Christmas evening the news was released that earlier in the day Jean Hughes and Chester Hayden had been married by Mr. Powell at the Hughes’ home and were on their way to New York for a brief honeymoon. He had been working at the Aluminum Company of America plant and had to be back to work Monday.

The big item of news under this general heading, however, was the display by Barbara of a solitaire diamond ring that Dan had given her that day in acknowledgment of their engagement. It is Dan’s present intention not to get married until this international mess is cleaned up and the future seems a bit more assured than it is at present. In this connection Dan has still had no further news from the draft board other than what they told him some weeks ago when he phoned them and was informed that he would be ordered into service sometime in January. It has been their custom to give selectees ten days notice but I don’t know whether the declaration of war has changed that custom or not. Dan said if he knew definitely he would quit his job a couple of weeks before hand. As it is now, starting today, he has to work Sundays also.

Tomorrow, I’ll post the rest of this Christmas letter to Ced and other family members. Something special on Thursday and Holiday cards on Friday. 

Saturday and Sunday, Special Pictures 

Next week, I’ll continue with letters written in 1943, when four boys are in the service of Uncle Sam.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Dear Sons: (and daughters Jean and Paulette) (1) – News From Jean (and Dick) – September, 1945

Trumbull, Conn., September 23, 1945

Dear Sons:      (and daughters Jean and Paulette)

Well, things have been running along here in their accustomed way. More of the boys are coming home with H.D.’s. Barbara (Plumb), I understand, has already sailed for home. Rationing is easing a bit. Gas, meat, canned goods, fuel are all easier. A few civilian goods long way off the market are beginning to appear, but strikes are mentioned more and more frequently in the daily papers – – labor demanding higher wages which of course will inadvertently result in a raise in prices and thus the vicious spiral starts again, inflation in the offing.

Lad’s 30-day furlough is practically up. He and Marian start out in the car tomorrow for Devens (Ft. Devens, Massachusetts), the idea being that if his leave is extended, as one newspaper report said was going to be done on the authority of Gen. Henry, then perhaps they can drive back together. On the other hand, if Lad has to go back from there to Aberdeen, as was the original intention, then Marian will drive back alone and we will then wait to hear from Lad as to what the Army’s future plans are for him. Personally, I do not expect they will send him to the Pacific area where the rest of his outfit is now and where he would be, if he had not gone to Dan’s wedding and thereby “missed the boat”. This week they toured New England, visiting the old Lake Winnipesaukee island of fond memories. No one is inhabiting it now but the cottage on the shore has been rebuilt. They visited Ingrid and Anna in Melrose and saw Lars Erik. They then toured through the White Mountains (Mt. Washington, the Notches, etc.), and Sunday reached St. Albans where they found Larry, Marian and Alan on a visit, then to Colchester and Burlington (unable to locate Fred), crossed Champlain on the ferry (remember the big pig?), Ausable Chasm, Saratoga (which they reached too late to look up the Osbournes) and home. Last night they had a final blowout in New York and right now Marian is doing some ironing and Lad is wrapping up packages to send to Dan with some clothes that Paulette needs and which I shall try to get off this week.

A letter from Jean (bless her heart) Correction. Letter is signed “Dick and Jean”, but if so, Dick’s handwriting has changed quite a bit – – must be the Portuguese influence. Anyway the letter says: “First of all, Dad, I want to wish you a belated birthday wish from Dick and myself. I meant to write sooner so it would reach you on your birthday, but I just didn’t get around to it. Poor excuse, isn’t it! “Happy Birthday” just the same, Dad, and we’ll be thinking of you. Dick sent you a box of cigars. Did they reach you on time? (Yes, thank you.) Well, Dick and I have been two very busy people this past week. We went two dances, a party, two movies and a USO show. That accounts for six of the days and the other one we entertained the Polish couple at our home! We had lots of fun but this week we’re going to try to get home early and catch up on some of our sleep. By the way, we’ve been gadding about since I got here. You’d think we were trying to make up for two years of separation in a few weeks. We aren’t – – it’s just that everything happens at once. It’s a lot of fun but a little tiring after a while. We haven’t had any pictures taken of our little house yet but as soon as we do, will send some to you. Dick’s assistant said he’d take some for us but he hasn’t had a chance to come out yet. I have a camera and films in my trunk but it is still someplace between here and New York. By the time it gets here, we’ll probably be ready to go home. That’s the Army for you – – slow motion.

The base is closing. They say everyone will be out of here by the end of the year. The fellows with the highest amount of points leave first, than the ones who have two years or more of overseas service – – that includes Dick, and he’s not sure he will go because I’m here. He wants to go home but he’d rather stay at this base than one in the states. They aren’t very strict so it’s really wonderful. We really don’t know what will happen, so you may be seeing us soon, or it may be a few more months. As you already know, you can’t depend on the Army. The fellows who have only a few months overseas will be sent to another base in this wing. All this business about the base closing has us in kind of a stew, though, we have two rooms of furniture that Dick bought and would like to sell it before we leave. Once Dick gets his orders we won’t have much time. Then again, if we were going to stay, we want to get a refrigerator. There is just no way of telling what’s going to happen so I guess we’ll just hang on to our furniture and continue eating at the base. Gosh, I’ll be so glad when this Army life is over and we will know what we can do. I’d like to ask another favor of either you or Marian. Would you take my beige wool dress and my green spring coat, that I sent home from Florida, to the cleaners?                                    Jean (and Dick)

Tomorrow and Wednesday, I’ll be posting the rest of this letter. Thursday and Friday will be the two parts of a Birthday Letter to Dave.

Judy Guion

 

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