Trumbull – Dear Son (1) – Grandpa Writes To Ced – Christmas Happenings – December 27, 1942

This letter is addressed to Ced alone, since Dan made it home and Lad is driving to California at this time.

Ced and car - 1940 (3)-head shot

Cedric Duryee Guion

Trumbull, Conn., Dec. 27, 1942

Dear Son:

Last letter there was mention of a cold spell that had set us all a-shivering, but that news was a bit premature because that cold spell was followed, or should I say, developed, into a still lower temperature, and if neighbors’ thermometers are to be believed, resulted in the coldest days the family ever experienced since they came to Connecticut. Mrs. Mantle told me that one day the thermometer both at the back and at the side of their home registered 24° below zero. Even well after sunup, the thermometer just outside our kitchen window registered 14 below. In any event, it can be said without any possibility of overstatement that I have never experienced a series of cold days of so low a temperature over so long a period. We had about arrived at the conclusion that it might be a good thing to journey to Alaska in order to find warmer weather. However, I am glad to say that due to the weatherproofing done last year, the installation of storm windows and the operation of the furnace at full capacity, both day and night, temperatures prevailed. I guess we can all remember that winter we spent in the apartment when pipes in the cellar froze and Ced burst forth in his vehement imitation of Bradley Kincaid. The only damage done this spell was a burst pipe in the laundry, but as that is an annual occurrence anyway, it failed to make much of an impression. My car failed to start due to the fact I had not put enough Zerox in the radiator to protect it that low, so it froze to some extent, but not enough to do any harm. However, the weather since then has been normal for this time of year, and even when the mercury crept up toward zero, everyone remarked how warm it was, being almost tempted to leave one’s overcoat at home. Well I guess that’s enough of an opening paragraph about the weather. By the way, it seems to be very popular these days to add a pint of casite to one’s oil for ease in starting.

For Christmas, Dan breezed in, but in spending Christmas Eve in the Warden’s, he evidently drank the wrong kind of wine so that the next day he felt pretty miserable and did not begin to feel like himself again until Saturday. Last night he and Barbara went to New York to see an ice show. About midnight Christmas Eve, (Aunt) Anne and Don (Stanley, her son) alighted from the bus, and Christmas morning the four Zabel’s (Elizabeth Westlin (Guion) Zabel, her husband Raymond, known as Zeke, and their two children, Raymond Jr. (Butch) and Marty) and Elsie (Duryee, Grandpa’s sister) arrived to gather around the tree for the usual procedure.

Trees this year were very expensive, small ones costing two or three dollars and four or five foot trees selling for a dollar a foot. The small ones on sale around here were so scraggly that Dave refused to have anything to do with them, and then he had a brainstorm. He had been busily engaged trimming a beautifully full, fair-sized tree in the church for their pre-Christmas party, which tree had been dismantled Christmas Eve and thrown out back of the church. With some of the base removed it made perhaps the best looking tree we have had for a number of years. The only fly in the ointment came while we were at dinner when Butch (Raymond Zabel Jr., Bissie’s oldest – 3 years old) disappeared for a moment and came back into the dining room grinning and proudly announced he had pulled over the Christmas tree with all its lights and decorations. He wasn’t kidding. He had done just that. Dave, with a great effort of will, maintained a discreet silence, thus winning a great moral victory.

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Alfred Duryee Guion (Grandpa) carving the turkey (You can see the GOOD China and I actually have that Gravy Boat, along with a Soup Bowl and two plates.)

Later the tree was restored but seemed to lack some of its pristine virginity. With Elizabeth’s help, we were able to have a big turkey and Kathryn Warden had generously donated two pies so we got by very nicely in spite of the scarcity and high prices of food.

Tomorrow, I will post the rest of this letter.

Judy Guion

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Trumbull – Dear Boys – Below Freezing Weather – December 20, 1942

If you look closely to the right of center, you can see Dick and Mack between the Packard and the shed

Trumbull, Conn., December 20, 1942

Dear Boys:

For three days the thermometer in these here parts has consistently registered below zero weather. Day before yesterday it was 8 below, yesterday around the zero mark and today, early, it was 14 below, going up to 8 below at 8 o’clock, and when, during the day, it rose to 2 below, it seemed as though it were getting warm. Tonight is cold again but how far the mercury has sunk I don’t know. With furnace going full tilt, oil stoves alight and the alcove fireplace doing its bit, we have been fairly comfortable. Maybe we would be more comfortable in Alaska. Dick has been wearing his Davy Crockett coonskin cap and Barbara bemoans the fact that the moth got into her parka. I feel sorry for the poor guys who have oil burners and have been rationed on their fuel oil. Everyone around here is kicking at the discrimination shown by the bunglers in Washington against New England and the East. Democrats and Republicans alike, if their memory lasts that long, will be apt to register their protests in a very definite manner in November of ’44.

No further word from Lad or Ced, but a letter from Dan arrived holding out just a suggestion of hope that he may be able to get home for Christmas. We’re all keeping our fingers crossed.

I have been using the bus several days lately to get back and forth, due to a combination of gas rationing and difficulty starting the car in this cold weather. The office, too, due to fuel oil rationing, has been too cold to comfortably work in, and for two days the heat was off entirely during repairs. I don’t know what the situation will be tomorrow. Both Dick and Dave were home for a couple of days last week with colds. Dave still has a cough hanging on, but Aunt Betty and I seem to be inhospitable to the little germ.

I am afraid the season will lack some of its old time zest this year due to the absence of some very important sons, but maintenance of a smiling spirit seems to be indicated, which I have tried to capture in the attached effort, in lieu of a Christmas card, I am sending out to sundry friends and acquaintances (see sample attached). (The sample is not attached. Grandpa sent out a creative Christmas card in 1926 regarding the history of the house. Then there was a large gap but in 1945 he started sending yearly creative efforts to friends and family. You can view them in my Blog Category, “Christmas Cards”)

A Christmas box loaded with much goodwill but few articles of much intrinsic value, was sent off to Flint last week hoping it would reach Lad in time, but Dan’s slight remembrances are being retained here in the hope he will come in person to claim them. Ced’s box previously started on its long journey but I have little hope, judging from the delay in letter deliveries from Alaska, that it will reach him by the 25th.

Inspiration seems sadly lacking tonight, if you can miscall anything I write in these weekly efforts by that name, and as it is about time to snatch a bite to eat and try to warm up the bedsheets, it is perhaps just as well to quote the well-remembered lines, “Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night” from one, who in your childhood days, used to pose as

Santa Claus

Tomorrow, the last letter from 1942. It wraps up news from Lad and Ced, who were not home for Christmas, Christmas guests and festivities.

On Saturday, more Special Pictures of the Trumbull House, Then and Now.

On Sunday, another Guest Post from GPCox about the role Sports played for the home folks.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Dear Foreign Legion – Bits Of Family News- December 13, 1942

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Trumbull, Conn., December 13, 1942

Pulchritudinous Al

Reticent Dan

Uncommunicative Ced

Dear Foreign Legion:

A real winter’s day here. The snow began last night and has been at it steadily all day – – those big, soft, fluffy flakes that pile high on bush and branch, putting a white cap on all familiar landmarks and a cloak of ermine on the ground itself.

My prospecting this week has unearthed only one nugget – – a letter from Flint, Mich., revealing Lad’s address as c/o Ordnance School, Flint Sec., Armory, 1101 Lewis St. It reveals no war secrets, but leaves one in no doubt as to Lad’s keen appreciation of feminine beauty. He says: “Due to the fact that Flint is such a friendly town and so full of really pretty girls that this is the first time I have had a free moment. I should really be ashamed of myself for not taking time to write earlier but I really have had such a good time and so thoroughly enjoyed every moment that I can’t honestly say that I am. But I’ll try to be better in the future.”

They left Aberdeen Wednesday P.M., arriving at Pittsburgh through a blizzard at 2 A.M. the following  morning. They started just before noon and reached Flint late that night. Seeking accommodations at the “Y”, no room there but a girl at the desk (a really beautiful blonde), told them her mother had an empty room. They spent Friday and Saturday nights there (no charge), and were invited to an exclusive formal dance Saturday night where they met Flint, Mich. “And boy, girls galore. And since that time I’ve had more fun that I have ever had in my life and I really mean that. It is wonderful here. I’ve met more beautiful girls here than I ever thought existed, and everyone is very friendly. If we did not have to stay at the Armory, the stay here would not cost us a cent. In fact, we turned down about six invitations for suppers because we can’t make them in four days, and next week and the following is all accounted for. And all kinds of dances – – most of them for the better society. The “Y” girl, Elizabeth (Lee) Duhaune, is of this set. Since then – – wow – – I just can’t imagine anything better.”

It would seem from the above that Lad is not exactly homesick and is manfully doing his best not to be overcome with ennui. Flint may sound hard to you and me but it has certainly resulted in a spark or two for Lad.

Last week I finally succeeded in getting a box off to Ced with knick-knacks of one sort or another for his Christmas stocking but decided to wait for a reply to last October’s inquiry as to what he wanted before I bought him a serious gift. Of course it will reach him late but I’d rather that than send something not particularly desired.

No word from Dan except through Barbara. Apparently he is still at Red Lion (Pennsylvania). I don’t know whether to address letters to him there or at Lancaster (Pennsylvania).

Dave has been home most of the week with a cold but the rest of us are O.K.

DAD

***********************************

In order to include all of the final letters of 1942 this week, I am posting this quick Christmas greeting to Ced from the Larry Peabodys here.

CDG - Christmas Card envelope from Larry Peabody, Dec., 1942

CDG - Christmas card front from Larry Peabody - Dec., 1942

Dec. 8, 1942

Dear Ced —

         Recently we received a letter from your Dad giving details and whereabouts of each of you boys. So glad to know that you are all well and to hear about your various activities.

         You have been an Alaskan for a long time so trust you must be enjoying yourself there. When you return home remember the L.K. Peabodys are now Ohioans and stop off  to visit us! We have had a grand year (in spite of the war), in our new-old home. We had a wonderful summer gardening, etc. Alan is in school now and loves it.

          We haven’t been back to N.R. (New Rochelle, New York, where most of the Peabody’s used to live)
since we came out here two years ago. Weren’t you surprised to hear that Kemper, Ethel, Grandmother and all are now living in Vt?

          Our love and very best wishes to you for a happy Christmas —

                                                                                               Marian, Larry and Alan

For the rest of the week, I will be posting the final letters of 1942. All are from Grandpa to his scattered sons.

Judy Guion

Army Life – Dear Dad – Lad Arrives In Flint, Michigan – December 8, 1942

This week I will be posting the final letters of 1942. Lad is in Flint, Michigan, receiving Advanced Training on Diesel Tank Engines. Dan might be able to get home for Christmas and Ced remains in Anchorage, Alaska, repairing airplanes for Woodley Aircraft.

Alfred Peabody Guion (Lad)

Alfred Peabody (Lad) Guion

APG - Flint, Michigan letter, Dec. 1942

Cpl. A.P. Guion

Ordnance School –

Flint Section

Armory, 1101 Lewis

Flint, Michigan

Dec. 8, 1942

Dear Dad: –

Arrived home (?) O.K., but, due to the fact that Flint is such a friendly town and so full of really pretty girls, this is the first time I’ve had a free moment. I should really be ashamed of myself for not taking time to write earlier, but I really have had such a good time, and so thoroughly enjoyed every moment that I can’t honestly say that I am. But I’ll try to be better in the future.

Well, here is the story. Left Aberdeen as scheduled on Wednesday at 1:30 P. M. and drove through plenty of snow and exceedingly high winds (practically a blizzard) over the Penna. Turnpike (Pennsylvania Turnpike) to Pittsburgh (Ohio). Due to snow and ice we had to drive with extreme caution, and got to Pitt. about 2:00 A. M. Stayed in Hotel Henery until about 11:30 Thurs. morn., and started again. Again no trouble and we made pretty good time despite snow and ice. We ate supper about 200 miles out of Flint and continued on. We got into Flint about 11:30 Thurs. eve. Couldn’t find a decent room so we stayed in a 3rd (?) Class Hotel and even at that, we really slept. Fri. noon went to the Armory (where we are staying) and discovered that if we checked in then we would have to stand (or rather sleep) an 11:00 (P.M.) bed check, so we went off to the “Y”. No room there but the girl at the desk (a really beautiful blonde) said that her mother had a room she was renting and that it was empty. We went up there and the room was fine. The best part was that she would not accept anything. We not only spent Fri. and Sat. nights there, but had a wonderful supper Sat. night and an invitation to a formal dance given for the men in the Service. It was rather exclusive and there we met Flint, Mich. And, boy, girls galore. And since that time I’ve had more fun than I have ever had in my life. And I really mean that. It is wonderful here. I’ve met more beautiful girls here than I ever thought existed. And everyone is very friendly. If we did not have to stay at the Armory, the stay here would not cost us a cent. In fact, we’ve turned down about six invitations for suppers, because we can’t make them, in four days. Next weekend is all accounted for and the following. And all kinds of dances – most of them for the better society. The “Y” girl, Elizabeth (Lee) Dehanne (Dutch) is of this set, and Vic Bredehoeft and I fitted in perfectly. Since then – WOW —-. I just can’t imagine anything better. More later.

Because the Armory wasn’t clean this morning, everyone has to be confined to quarters tonight, that’s how come this letter, since I had a date with a good-looking nurse, and the lights go out at 10:00 P. M. That’s seven minutes, and I still have to get into bed.

Therefore, adios —

Lad

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Since this is the last communication from Lad until a telegram informing Grandpa to send further mail to Camp Santa Anita, California, I’m posting his certificate of completion of the U. S. Army Mechanics Training, on December 26, 1942, in Flint, Michigan.

APG - GM Certificate, Flint, Michigan, Dec., 1942

Tomorrow, I will post a Christmas Card to Ced from the Larry Peabodys and I will be finishing out the week with letters written by Grandpa to his boys who will not be home for Christmas (Lad and Ced) and Dan, who might be able to make it. We’ll find out on Thursday and Friday with the last letter from 1942.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – R-85 (2) – Dear Polar Bears – July 21, 1940

About June 12th or 13th, Dan and Ced left Trumbull, driving the Willys, bound for Seattle. They were going to ship the car to Alaska, but if that turned out to be costly, they would sell the car in Seattle and board a ship for Anchorage, where they were planning on seeing the Stolls, who, Rusty Huerlin had told them, was hiring. 

Dan, Ced and car

Daniel Beck Guion and Cedric Duryee Guion with the Wyllis.

R-85                                                                                                                          Trumbull, July 21, 1940

Dear Polar Bears:

And I don’t mean Pall Bearers, as you might infer from the number of funerals I have attended lately. (This reminds me of Billy Parks telling us one day that his father had been a polar bear at a funeral.)

Dick has been a very busy boy during his first week at Columbia Phonograph. He worked overtime every night save one until 9:30, and presumably he will be paid time and a half for overtime. He did not have to work Saturday however. I saw Mrs. Kermode the other day and she told me young George was working very hard at the aluminum company plant in Fairfield and is getting about $35 a week. He is saving most of it to go to college with the idea of taking up medicine.

To come back to Dick again, he has brought home a Krupa ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gene_Krupa )  ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cHr4XQ9SEcg )
hot record which one of the men at his plant gave him, and can purchase any records he wants at 40% discount, so that I suppose from now on my life will be hectored with hot music from these modern jazz orchestras, and you know how I’d love that.

Don (Stanley, son of Anne (Peabody) Stanley, who invited himself to Trumbull for an indefinite stay, because his mother was in the hospital and his father had a new wife and there were no young people where he was living) has been alone most of the week with both Dave and Dick working during the day, but is kept fairly busy cutting lawns. We all went to the movies Saturday afternoon, I seeing “Earthbound”   ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Earthbound_%281940_film%29 ) and the boys, Judy Garland and Mickey Rooney in “Andy Hardy Meets Debutante” ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andy_Hardy_Meets_Debutante ).

I am enclosing, in the hope that they will help you get jobs, the following material:

newspaper report of Dan’s Venezuela and experience.

C.C.C. certificate of merit of Dan’s survey work

letter of recommendation from the Tilo Company, (in Bridgeport, where he had been working)  for Ced

( I haven’t found a copy of any of these documents)

I see there is a New Federal Writers Project book out on Alaska, a guide to Alaska, I think it is called, which the Bridgeport library has not yet received but which I have requested when it arrives.

Your airmail letter, Ced, written on the 7th came through pretty promptly and was very interesting. The “great expectations” based on Rusty’s and the Stolls promises sort of dissolved in thin air. Reminds me of my story about not trusting anybody, even your own father. It speaks well, either for the stuff that is in you fellows or the favorable relation between the law of supply and demand in the labor market in Anchorage, that you fellows so promptly got work, even though, temporarily, it is not the choicest sort of jobs you might prefer. In your case, Ced, I think the Stolls have lost out on a good bet. I am not sure Dan would have liked that sort of work well enough to have stuck to it very long anyway. It should give you a safer feeling to know that there are funds back home you can requisition if you need them. Dick, from now on, will be paying me five dollars a week for your car and of course Dan has funds to his credit he has not yet requisitioned, and there is still more to come when we get paid by Ashcroft for his stencil cutting work.

I am rather surprised, after what I read, that milk does not cost more than it does here ($.10 a glass) as I understood dairying in Alaska is not much of an industry.

Have seen or heard nothing from Rusty, but from what Bruce said when I saw him last, Rusty is evidently still with Brita (his sister), and probably will remain there if he is depending on selling a story before earning enough funds to take him to Alaska.

I have not heard anything from the Huerlins regarding the camp (the Island in New Hampshire) and the necessary permission for the Boy Scouts to go up there the last two weeks in August. Dr. Shattuck asked me about it the other day, and thought it might be a good stunt if he got a phone connection someday and put me on to talk to them about it. Will keep you posted as to developments.

Don’t forget in writing that what may seem commonplace happenings to you is still very interesting news at home. And if each of you depend on the other fellow writing, we are apt to lose out on some of the things we would like to hear about. I still don’t know anything about the sale of the Willys.

Would you like me to send you a check next time I write just to tide you over the starting period?

I miss you both, and send lots of love, as you must know without my writing it every time.

Dad

Tomorrow, I will finish off the week with a glimpse of what Grandpa thinks about the Chicago Convention with an extract from Julius Caesar, Act I. 

Judy Guion

Trumbull – R-85 (1) – Dear Lad – Heat Wave Across America – July 21, 1940

Lad - Anzoategui Camp -Jan., 1940 (2) Lad's bureau and desk

Lad’s bureau and desk at a camp in Venezuela

A cartoon sent to Lad with a quick note: “Lad, this is July 21.The last letter I received from you was dated June 24th. Dad”  (Notice Lad’s face glued on to the male character)

R-85

Trumbull, Conn. July 21, 1940

Dear Lad:

There is a rumor that Dave just brought in that Cecelia (Mullins – also referred to as Babe,  Lad’s girlfriend ) has had another crack up. No details, only that Charlie Hall (neighbor and friend of the boys, but especially Dick) saw her car smashed up in a repair shop. She may furnish you with details. Mr. Mullins, (owner of the local Funeral parlor) I understand, is going to erect a new two-story modern building at the corner of Main and Golden Hill adjoining his present location, but evidently from a paragraph I noticed in the newspaper there is some legal trouble on the thing because Morris Shumofsky, the Bamby Bread owner, is suing the bank, from whom Mr. Mullins bought the property, because they sold the lot to Mullins after Shumofsky had offered a higher price for it.

The last two days have been scorchers as far as heat is concerned. In fact I just listened to a radio report that a heat wave was general throughout the United States. It is hot and humid right now at 4:30 PM although there is a nice breeze stirring and is not really uncomfortable in the house. Poor old Mack seems to feel it as much as anyone.

Enclosed is an article appearing in Bridgeport Life based on an interview their reporter had with Dan at my suggestion. It seems quite interesting to me, but of course, being the father, I am apt to be a bit prejudiced. You need not return it as I obtained several copies. Besides, sending one to Dan who has not himself seen it yet, I thought I would also send one to Ted. (Uncle Ted Human, who hired Lad and Dan for the job in Venezuela)

There is really very little news this week regarding the little home town. As to national affairs, I am sending an extract from Shakespeare’s play, Julius Caesar, which strikes me as being quite amusing.

Neither Barbara (Plumb, Dan’s girlfriend) or I have received any news from the Alaskans, so there is nothing on that score to pass on to you. No, I am wrong. Since writing you last I did get a nice two-page letter by airmail from Ced, telling of their arrival in Anchorage just before the Fourth of July, their temporary quarters in Anchorage’s best hotel at three dollars a day for two of them, with prospects of getting a room with double bed in a house occupied by a young man and his two sisters whom they met on the boat. They met Mr. Stoll and Walter (Rusty Huerlin, a family friend, had suggested to the boys that they contact the Stoll’s because they were hiring.) the day they arrived and were told he was sorry but they had all the men they needed. They registered at the employment office, sought jobs at the airport, but could not qualify because of the year in Alaska requirement. They could have secured jobs as laborers on the Alaskan railroad but as this would mean sending them to out-of-the-way locations where they could not look for permanent jobs they decided against it. Dan got a job as a clerk and delivery boy in a grocery store and Ced as a service station attendant. Eventually Dan hopes to get a surveying job and Ced into aviation. As this all happened on the 5th of July, it would seem as though a man willing to work at anything would not starve to death. I am waiting interestedly to hear what has happened since.

Mr. Heath died very suddenly last week. I went to the funeral Saturday. It was the first Christian Scientist funeral I had ever attended. See other letter for further news, if I can think of any.

DAD

Tomorrow I will post the letter to the Polar Bears and on Friday, Grandpa’s take on Shakespeare’s comments on the Chicago Convention.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Dear Cheechakoes – An Asylum For The Peabodys (2) – July 14, 1940

Dan, Ced and car

Daniel Beck Guion and Cedric Duryee Guion, probably just before they are leaving for their epic drive, ending in  Anchorage, Alaska in mid-June, 1940

R-84

Trumbull, July 14, 1940

Dear Cheechakoes:
Which I understand is the Alaskan term for tenderfoot, pronounced Cheechalker. You are not a sourdough unless you have been in Alaska continuously since 1898. I picked up at the library the other day “The Lure of Alaska” by Harry Franck, which I read with some interest under the circumstances. He reports the following conversation: Tourist: “Say, what’s a sourdough, Mister?” “Well, son, to be a sourdough a man must have done three things: shot the Wild Horse Rapids, killed a moose and lived with a squaw.” “Are you a sourdough Mister?” “Naw, I never did shoot a moose.”
Dan, while I think of it. I came across a certificate of honorable discharge in your name from the C.C.C. camp giving you a first-class rating as surveyor. You might bear this in mind and send for it if you think it will help you in landing a job. And Ced, I have a very nice letter from the Tilo Company, in the shape of a recommendation. When I know your permanent address I will forward both these documents.
Before you left, Uncle Ted (Ted Human, husband of Helen (Peabody) Human, Grandma Arla’s next younger sister. Uncle Ted took Lad and Dan to Venezuela when he was hired by Interamerica, Inc. to oversee the construction of a road between Caracas and Maricaibo.) gave me the names of members of the A.S.C.E. now in Alaska, which he thought it might be well for you to look up in case you were looking for a job, telling them they could refer to Mr. Brown in New York for references. They are: Anchorage, A.M. Truesdale; College, W. E. Duckering; Juneau, M.D. Williams, L.W. Turoff, C.F. Wyller, (the two latter associate members) and R.N. Cruden, a Junior; Kodiak, E.W. Davidson, Jr., Naval Air Station; Sitka, W.J. Stribling, Naval Air Construction. Among Junior members there is at College, T.H. Campbell and at McKinley Park, A.F. Ghiglione.
Ced, I have been letting Elizabeth take the Packard every other week to take the baby to the doctors, but have not let Dick use the car. Now with his job at Columbia Phonograph starting Monday, I told him he could use it getting back and forth to work but not for joy rides. He now tells me he thinks he will buy it and asked had you left any papers home to be signed or already signed for motor vehicle transfer. I told him he had better write to you as to prices, terms, payments of money in installments, etc. He starts in at $16 a week and plans to pay me $5 board a week, get some clothes and pay for the car with the balance. By the way, I took care of your insurance premium yesterday, so that’s out of the way for the next three months.
Did I tell you or did you already know that Donald Whitney (a friend up the street) is working at the Stratfield Hotel? He acts as bellboy next week at a salary of $10 per week, PLUS TIPS, which sometimes, in the busy season or during conventions, amounts to four times that sum. He and Red (Don Sirene, a good friend) and Don Stanley (see yesterday’s post for more on Don Stanley) were all here last night and when I called “Don”, all three answered.
There is nothing to report from Lad this week as I received no letters from Venezuela.
I learned from talking to Don (Stanley) that the real trouble with his mother (Aunt Anne (Peabody) Stanley, Grandmother Arla’s younger sister) is that she has ulcers of the stomach. Both Larry (Laurence Kane Peabody, Grandma Arla’s youngest brother) and Dorothy (Peabody, Grandma Arla’s youngest sister), have, from time to time, complained of their stomach being affected and having to be careful of their diet, so I am beginning to wonder if there is not a tendency towards ulcers in the Peabody family, probably on grandpa’s (Kemper Peabody) side, as he too had trouble before it developed into cancer of the intestines.
That’s all for now, and hopefully next week will bring some more news from both Northwest and Southeast.
DAD

Tomorrow, I’ll post the first half of another letter written by Grandpa to Lad in Venezuela and to Dan and Ced in Alaska.

Why not share these interesting stories with a friend?

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Dear Lad – An Asylum For Peabodys (1) – July 14, 1940

This is the first half of a letter written by my Grandfather to his oldest son, my father, who is working in Venezuela for the Socony-Vacuum Oil Company. Tomorrow, I’ll post the rest of the letter to his next oldest boys, Dan and Ced, who have just driven across the country and sailed to Anchorage, Alaska, in search of better wages and an adventure.

Lad in Venezuela

Alfred Peabody Guion, Lad, in Venezuela

R-84                                                                    Trumbull, July 14, 1940
Dear Lad:
Tuesday of this week I received a letter from Donald Stanley (The son of Anne (Peabody) Stanley, Grandma Arla’s younger sister, probably a few years older than Dave) informing me that he would arrive the next day for an indefinite stay. Upon arrival he said his father wanted me to write him regarding board, etc., that Fred did not want him to stay with him in view of the fact that he had a new wife, and that there were no youngsters of his age up there in St. Albans that he wanted to pal around with, so he told his father the place he would prefer to be was Trumbull. With Ced’s board, which he paid regularly while employed by Tilo stopped, and the considerable amount of food Donnie is able to put away between meals, the financial burden of this additional mouth to feed is not too good; besides we had planned, with only two boys left, to make numerous weekend visits to friends and relatives which I did not feel as if I ought to do with a big flock of kids in the past, and these plans have been knocked into a cocked hat. I so wrote Fred but have not had time to get his reply. Another thing that bothers me a bit is that Don has been subject to fits. Still another angle to the situation is that Dick, on Saturday last, received a call from the Connecticut Employment Bureau about a job for an Addressograph operator being opened at the Columbia Phonograph. He went over and interviewed the employment man and starts in Monday at $16 a week. Dave has a two-weeks job at the office enclosing Ashcroft blotters, and this will leave Don at home alone here all day. With his mother in the hospital and naturally inclined to worry about him, and not wanting to hurt the poor lad’s feelings, I suppose the only thing for me is to accept the situation with a smile. This house seems to be an asylum for Peabody’s who have nowhere else to go. I am of course glad to be able to do it but as it is partly your monthly contribution that is keeping us going, it doesn’t seem quite fair to you to be too charitable.
I had to go down to New York Wednesday on business so we got out the old Plymouth and the three boys and myself drove down and back. They went to the movies while I did my stuff.
For a long time I have been behind in my rent at the office, but Miss Denis has gradually been getting caught up with it so that now we are just about square. As the landlords have not done anything to my shabby looking place since the beginning and as we have a very unwholesome heating system, I have been looking around for some other quarters. Last week, on Main Street, just south of State Street, and next to the Bridgeport Land and Title office I located the entire third floor of a small building owned by the Bridgeport City Trust Company, the two lower floors of which are occupied by a law firm. The rent is only $25 a month including heat in winter. To be sure it is up two flights of stairs and there is no elevator, but there is a parking place right next door. I am seriously thinking of making the change.
During the week the only mail received from my absent ones was a letter from Ced dated June 30th, or rather a picture postcard showing the boat they sailed in and indicating on it the location of their stateroom. He says they had seen many miles of virgin forest, small icebergs, whales, a shark, numerous fish and porpoises. By this time I expect they are at Anchorage but it takes so long for letters to cover the distance that it may be a week or two before I know anything definite. I will of course keep you posted.
I noticed in today’s paper that Mr. Cronin’s father and Bob Peterson’s father both died last week.
See attached letter to Dan and Ced for other home doings.
DAD

Tomorrow, I’ll be posting the second half of this letter, written to Dan and Ced in Alaska. 

Judy Guion

Early Years – Memories of David Peabody Guion (6) – 1930 – 1946

David Peabody Guion

We got down to Ulithi, which was a weird-sounding name, and they started talking about someplace called Okinawa.  They said, “we’re going to Okinawa and were going to invade Okinawa.”  At dawn they were going to send in a flotilla at the center of the island but the real invasion would be on the other end of the island, further up.  I said to myself, “What kind of outfit would do something as stupid as this?  Why did they think the feint would work?”  I was attached to Army Headquarters at this point, at least our company would be when they got there. What happened was that the feint worked so well that we were supposed to go in, I think it was the third day, we were supposed to land.  We didn’t land for ten days because the Americans went through so fast that they left snipers behind and they couldn’t afford to have us valuable people in Army Headquarters get shot.  So, we didn’t get in for some time. (Dave and his group spend those days on a ship in the harbor.)

When we were ready to go in, my Sergeant, who was a buddy of mine, came up to me and he said, “Dave, I have a special assignment for you.”  And I said, “What’s that?” He said, “When we get on land your job is to bunk with and take care of Marvin.”  Now Marvin King was a guy who was so stupid he wasn’t bright enough to get a Section 8 and get out.  I can remember when ever we were on the ship and they called out the anchor detail, he would run to the side and start throwing up.  We hadn’t even moved yet, and he was already seasick.  My job was to take care of him.  When we got to Okinawa, finally landed, we dug ourselves a little two-man foxhole.  I was bunking with Marvin.  My job at that point was to go and get water and the mail – – ho, ho, ho … there was no mail – and bring it back to the company.  Now some time had gone by and Marvin and I were in close quarters.  Needless to say there was not a lot of friendship between the two of us.  So anyway, one night, near dawn, a plane came over and obviously was hit.  It was a Japanese plane, he was hit and so he was jettisoning his bombs which were small twenty-five-pound anti-personnel bombs.  One guy didn’t believe in being in a hole, so he was in a hammock.  When he woke up in the morning, he looked up, put his hat on and realized that half of the visor was gone.  So, needless to say, he decided he was going to sleep in a foxhole.  That morning, when I went to get water, I went alone.  I usually went alone. When I came back the hole that we had dug was now two levels – – one level where I was and one deeper level where Marvin was.  It was very, very easy to dig, like clay, no stones like we get in Connecticut, so it was easy to dig out but he wasn’t about to dig me a place, so I was one level above him.

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 comfoimed.”  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 twenty 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 in to 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 for probably six months.  Well it would’ve been August, September, October, November, December, January, February, March, eight months.  I came home in March of 1946.  I got out of the service the day Chiche (Paulette (Van Laere) Guion, who married Dan wile he was in France) gave birth to Arla, Danielle, as the case may be . (Dave got out of the service on May 6, 1946.)

In my Blog Category, World War II Army Adventures, you will find all the letters dave wrote to Grandpa. He was as outspoken as only an eighteen year old can by.

Tomorrow, I will begin a week of letters written in 1940. Lad is working in Venezuela for the Socony-Vacuum Oil Company as a mechanic, working on their vehicles and Diesel engines that run the pumps to get the oil out of the ground. Dan and Ced have travelled to Anchorage, Alaska, where they have found jobs. All three boys  are sending home money to help Grandpa, who is raising the three younger children.

Judy Guion

Early Years – Memories of David Peabody Guion (3) – 1930 – 1946

After my Uncle Dan (Daniel Beck Guion) passed away in 1997, I realized that first-hand accounts of this particular “Slice of Life” would only continue to diminish over time. I needed to record the memories of my Aunt Biss and her brothers and share them with the family. This culminated in the idea of a Blog so that I could share these memories with anyone who would be interested in the personal histories of some members of The Greatest Generation.

Over a period of several years, whenever possible, I recorded the memories of my Dad and his siblings. 

In July of 2004, I sat down with my Uncle Dave and recorded his memories. With the other siblings, the memories were recorded in a somewhat chronological order, but with Dave, after a few early memories, he went right to his Senior year in high school when he made the decision to enlist in the Army. The conversation continued through his service, from Basic Training and his posts in Okinawa and the Philippines until he came home after World War II was over. I then led him back with questions about his childhood. I will present his memories as they were recorded.  

DPG - Dave in uniform nexct to barn - Dec., 1944

David Peabody Guion on furlough before going to Camp Crowder in Missouri

After Missouri, I got shipped out.  We went over to … Oh, I got another little story.  I was sent to radio school and radio school was – what you had was earphones on your head and there were all these dits and dahs, dit-dit-dah-dit, all this business, and you were supposed to write down these letters as they came out.  I found out they were random letters.  I didn’t want to be a radio operator, didn’t want to hear all those dits and dahs in my head, in my ear.  What I used to do – it’s tough to beat the service, they’ve seen everything – but I managed to get away with this.  I don’t know how, but there was a key that you could send messages, I guess that was the advanced training, and I found out that the messages, the letters, came through that key.  So I used to take a little piece of paper and stick it in a spot where it broke the connection and then when the instructor went by, I would sit and write any letter that happened to come into my head because they were all random letters.  When he moved on, I would switch papers and write a letter to my girlfriend.  Roundabout that time I got the Mumps.  I was in the hospital and when I came back out … I guess it was maybe before I went to radio school I got the Mumps; I guess that’s what it was.  I remember my finest hour – I begged and pleaded with the officer to let me stay in radio school even though I wanted desperately to get out and he didn’t buy my act so they sent me off to Cryptography school.  That was a better deal.  I was encoding and decoding messages and I had to get an FBI clearance and people back home were interviewed, a big fuss was made, but at eighteen, how much trouble could I have gotten into in my life.  So I got into Crypt school and that’s where I stayed and although I didn’t do a lot of encoding and decoding, I was officially a Cryptographer.

So when it was time to leave … We were a company – I can’t get away from radio – we were a company that, when we got overseas, we were supposed to police the other nets, conversations between one company and another or one unit and another.  The guys that were radio operators really hated that. The guys really hated doing that because they felt like they were spying on their fellow soldiers.  

For some reason or other they decided to send an advance party so there were twelve of us +3 officers.  We shipped out quickly – very short notice – and went up to Ft. Lewis outside Seattle.  We went from there to Hawaii.  We were on a different ship after we left Hawaii – and we went down across the Equator.  I got the full initiation when we crossed the Equator.  A tank of water was set up on deck.  You would be dunked over and over again until you yelled, “Shellback”.  A Shellback is one who has crossed the Equator.  Now, I’ve always, even to this day, been afraid of the water.  That was an ordeal for me.  After the dunking, you had to run down a long line of Shellback’s that had paddles or rolled towels and they whipped you as you went by.  I forgot to say you had nothing on but underpants.  So that was my initiation into being a Shellback after having crossed the Equator.

You can read Dave’s letters home, which tell a more complete story of his time at Camp Crowder. They are in the Category World War II Army Adventure. Dave wrote home fairly regularly and was quick to express his opinion of life in the Army.

Tomorrow, more of the Early Years with the Memories of David Peabody Guion.

Judy Guion