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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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

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

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

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

Trumbull – Dear Braves From A Trumbull Reservation – June 11, 1944

Trumbull House with tall grass in front

The Old Homestead

Trumbull, Conn. June 4, 1944

Dear Braves from the Trumbull Reservation:

Old Ham in the Face greets you and says “How”. The Children of the Setting Sun (Lad and Marian, who have gone back to California, after a furlough) have come and gone, leaving this wigwam quite desolate at their departure. Laughter-in-her-voice (Marian) and Young Willow Tree (Jean, Mrs. Dick), my two daughters-in-law, got along very amicably and there was not even any hair pulling match staged for the amusement of the bystanders. He-who-fiddles-with-engines (Lad, a very talented mechanic) is as tall and rangy as ever and has developed no hint even, of a front porch. Pistol packin’ Mama Aunt Betty (Lizzie Duryee, known as Aunt Betty, Grandpa’s Mother’s sister, who is staying at the Trumbull House for an extended period) has been worrying all the week for fear they would not get enough to eat and return to the Land of the Sunshine and Oranges looking like shadows, but this happily was prevented partly through the generosity of the neighboring Ives Tribe Neighbors who live across the street) who bravely invited us all over to a powwow and feast Friday night, which as usual was most excellent.  Elsie of the Choo-Choo’s End (Elsie Duryee, Grandpa’s sister, who has a shop in Grand Central Station) invited them down to a matinee Saturday afternoon from which they returned in time to greet at supper time Helen ((Peabody) Human) and Dorothy (Peabody), who had come up earlier in the afternoon to look over their mother’s belongings and also to “serve” a paper on me in connection with Grandmother’s Will. Served me right, of course. By the way, the play they saw was” Mexican Hayride” ( [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mexican_Hayride_(musical) ) which apparently they enjoyed very much. Lad, during the last few days of his stay, has been using the “family car”, if that is what you can call the contraption which has been successfully abused by Dan, Dick, Dave, Ced and now Lad. Having obtained temporary markers for it and rented a battery from Dolan’s, thought he would give it a critical once over with his Santa Anita Army Eye with the result that he quickly noticed the absence of the carburetor. At first we figured Ced might have snatched it in trade with some of the natives for blubber are other geegaws, but later we concluded that some of the neighborhood “juvenile delinquents,” who have been known to steal the neighbors gas, needed a carburetor for a Chevrolet or “shrovrolet” as Marian, in an inspired moment, baptized it, and helped themselves. Lad finally was able to borrow one from Steve Kascak, but as the man said who came home one night and found his wife had run off with another man,” My God, but I was annoyed”. However as most of the boys with cars are joining up with Uncle Sam pretty soon, maybe these activities will cease and become null and void, as it were. Thanks to Ced, who cleaned up the whole top floor when he was here, Lad and Marian were comfortably (I hope) tucked away in his old room of fire smelling memories, and by the way, the two aunties raved over the way the attic looked. Never in their long association with Trumbull, and the memory of man runneth not to the contrary, had they ever seen this catch-all for discarded effects so neat and clean appearing. Who said “The evil men do lives after them”? There ain’t no attic evil interred with Ced’s bones! Or maybe I should have said “good”. Oh well, you figure it out to suit yourself. Shakespeare won’t care.

Guess I sort of got off the track, but anyway, here’s notice to the next one of you Guion upstarts, whoever he may be, who next brings home a new wife, that he’s got a mighty high standard to shoot at if he is to maintain the quality level of the first two to jump off the dock. Marian, like Jean before her, won everyone’s heart. Both seem to feel, as husband pickers, they did a little better job than the other, which puts me in a hell of a spot, so I agree with them both. If it ever came to a showdown I would have to put in a plea of non-compes mentis, corpus delicti, acqu regis or whatever it is they do under those circumstances.

Dave, bless his heart, continues to keep us supplied with reports of his progress quite regularly whether he makes any or not. He is now in Signal Center School which is supposed to be the best in the Signal Corps – – the best equipped, best life, treatment and best for ratings. “You see, a Signal Center is a clearinghouse for ALL messages from division and up. All the messages are written by an officer and delivered by a messenger to the Signal Center where they are classified as to importance, how they shall be sent (radio, pigeon, motor messenger, messenger, telephone, teletype) and then they are put into code (cryptographed). They teach message procedure, a little of all the agencies above mentioned and cryptography. If you do well in the latter I understand you may be sent to advanced Cry. School for three weeks and are graduated as a cryptographer”. This is what our youngest is aiming for and more power to him. Watch his smoke. While you others are busy bringing home attractive daughters the first thing you know he will be walking up and clanking a commission right down under your noses. And don’t say I didn’t warn you.

No letter from Ced this week, but that really doesn’t matter too much as we are still reading, rereading and digesting (mentally of course) the long six page single spaced letter he wrote a couple of weeks ago. And as for news from the Anglican branch of the family in London, I am prepared any day now to be told we will receive no more letters for a while due to the fact that invasion activities have driven out every other form of activity. In fact we were all startled yesterday afternoon to have announced over the radio that advice from Gen. Eisenhower’s headquarters was that the invasion had started. This was denied a few moments later, but gee, didn’t we all get a thrill while it lasted.

Lad, I learned, is not teaching diesel anymore, but is in charge of a group of men, sort of a miniature General Motors assembly line, where defective motors from all kinds of Army vehicles situated in all parts of the world, needing major repairs, are sent back to them and re-built into first class condition. Lad’s group is concerned with the electrical end. He likes the group he is working with very much.

Dick, from what Jean tells me, is no longer an M.P. but is doing clerical work in connection with an Army transport command and is in the Provost Marshall’s office. His horses escaped the other day and as far as we know, the Brazilian police are still looking for them.

According to a letter Ethel ((Bushey) Wayne) received yesterday, Carl (Wayne, a fried of Lad’s and Ethel’s husband) who has been on a tanker taking oil to the Far East, is on his way home and expects to arrive sometime around the end of the month. He has been somewhere near Australia but just where we don’t know. Monsanto joins the Marines this week. Tiny is home. Someone said he has been put into the reserves.

The weather this week, I am glad to say, has lived up to the best traditions of even a Californian, so Marian got acquainted with Trumbull at its best. The Iris was out and also the Rhododendri (page Dan to see if that is the correct plural of Rhododendron) was in full bloom.

The only thing I regret about the newlyweds visit (I keep coming back to that subject – – the memory will undoubtedly linger for weeks and crop up at the most unexpected times and places) is the fact that there were not a number of snapshots taken to send so that you absent ones might in spirit relive with me the short but very pleasant visit. By the way, on the way back they have arranged to stop at Milan, Ohio, and see Larry’s (Peabody) place. It will be a case of when Marian meets Marian Larry’s wife, Marian). They left this afternoon on the 4:38 from Bridgeport, I, putting on a brave front and waving them goodbye in a very nonchalant manner.

The old humbug

DAD

Thursday and Friday, I will post another letter from Grandpa.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Dear Chilluns – Well, They’re Here – May 28, 1944

Lad and Marian Guion's wedding - Nov. 14, 1943 - close-up with hat and coursage

Lad (Alfred Peabody Guion) and Marian (Irwin) Guion), my Dad and Mom, on their wedding day, November 14, 1943

Trumbull, Conn., May 28, 1944

Dear Chilluns:

Well, there here! They arrived about 11 o’clock Saturday morning. I met them at the railroad station and knew at first glance what I have surmised right along: that my new daughter rated 100%, not only with her husband but with her father-in-law, and I don’t doubt with all her new brothers-in-law when you have had a chance to get acquainted. With no more than a very short acquaintance to date, I should say her two outstanding characteristics were kindness and a jolly good nature – – a happy disposition and a natural charm that makes everyone like her at once. As she will probably read this I won’t say too much on the subject here and now but I think any family reunions we have, and which of course I am looking forward to, will be all the happier for her presence. It looks as though Lad’s married life would be a peaceful and happy one.

They had an uneventful trip from Los Angeles except in that section of the country where the floodwaters delayed all travel, but stopped and had a fleeting meeting with Aunt Elsie (Elsie Duryee, Grandpa’s sister, who runs a shop in Grand Central Station) at the Grand Central, just before rushing to catch the Bridgeport train. Last night we saw some pictures of the wedding on both movie and Kodachrome slides. They were both pretty tired after so many nights traveling and trying to sleep under difficult conditions, so this morning they slept until dinnertime. Biss, (Lad’s sister, Elizabeth, Grandpa’s only daughter) Zeke (Raymond “Zeke” Zabel, Biss’s husband) and the two youngsters (Biss and Zeke’s sons, Raymond, Jr., known as Butch, and his younger brother, Marty) came over for dinner but Jean ((Mortensen) Guion, Dick’s wife, who lives at the Trumbull House with Grandpa) had been invited some weeks before to spend the weekend with her aunt, so the family circle was not quite complete.

Right now Marian and Lad are looking over our famous log telling of the famous cruises of the Helen, and from the laughter that bubbles out frequently, it seems as though there must have been quite a few funny incidents. I guess I’ll have to look over it myself again to refresh my memory.

The only note this week is a letter from Dave in which he is hopeful of making legal matters in connection with Grandma’s (Grandma Peabody, who passes away in January, 1944) Will, to be an excuse for catching a furlough in June. He is now completely recovered from the Mumps, which I guess was a light case, and is now back in the regular routine. I am waiting to find out if he will continue in radio where he left off.

Mr. and Mrs. Gibson stopped in after church today to see Lad and said Arnold and Alta  (Arnold Gibson, Lad’s best friend, and wife Alta (Pratt)) had started on their motorcycle for San Francisco where he is to be stationed a few days before final acceptance under the contract he had arranged for work at Pearl Harbor. Alta cannot go out there with him immediately but hopes eventually to line up for some sort of job that will permit her to join him later. He sold his Packard, his canoe and the trailer within a day after advertising them in the paper.

Lad, who talked with Aunt Dorothy (Peabody, Grandma Arla’s youngest sister) for a few minutes, says Ted and Helen ((Peabody) Human, Grandma Arla’s sister, and her husband Ted, the uncle who hired Lad and Dan for work in Venezuela)  expect to be in New York this week, that Anne ((Peabody) Stanley, Grandma Arla’s younger sister) has gone to Vermont presumably for Gweneth’s (Anne’s daughter) graduation. Aunt Dorothy (Peabody), Grandma Arla’s youngest sister)  is not feeling yet quite up to the strain of wartime train trips but hopes before long to be able to make a visit to Trumbull. Meantime Lad and Marian plan to go to New York someday this week to see them all.

Summons for supper, combined with lack of further news, induces me to forgo starting a second page, so ta ta from

DAD

For the rest of the week, more letters from Grandpa to his scattered flock, attempting to keep everyone quite knowledgeable about family events. 

Judy Guion

Life in Alaska – Dear Ced – Distinguished Service Citation – May 24, 1944

This week, I have moved forward to 1944, a time when all five of Grandpa’s sons are serving the war effort in one way or another. Lad is in California, with his new bride, Marian, training vehicle mechanics for the Army; Dan is in London, with trips to Paris, probably drawing maps for the coming Army invasion; Ced is working as an airplane mechanic at an airfield which has been taken over by the Army; Dick is in Brazil, working as an M.P. and acting as a liaison between the Army and the local workmen; Dave has been in the Army for about six months and is at Camp Crowder, Missouri, for further training before being sent overseas. 

Rusty Heurlin, taken in Alaska (2)

Magnus Colcord Heurlin (Rusty)

Nome, Alaska

May 24, 1944

Dear Ced,

Sure wish to thank you for taking care of frames for me. Will someday show appreciation for lifts you’ve given me. But plans have taken a change with me on these frames being sent here. May have you deliver them later on to someone in Anchorage who may take care of selling my work, as then would only need 2 frames — one gold and one silver to show paintings in — judge type of frame best for pictures I sent to this person in Anchorage — send picture without frame and tell him which kind to use. This is a more practical arrangement. So hold on to them until you hear from me on this score.

Cashed your money order and went to Bureau of Indian Affairs Office to pick you up some ivory. In same mail came a check from Harry Olson of Anchorage for whom I was going to do some work. But come to find out that they are sending all their ivory over  to office in Juneau. Next best thing I can do is to pick up stuff direct from natives on trips to Pt. Barrow. Will stop at Diomede where Indian Affairs got ivory, was in hopes of getting here so I will get the jump on them here over there. But what may be of greater value are whale bone baskets made farther north, as the art is slowly passing away and most all this work is real art.

Ice is still reflecting into sky blinding light. Looks like you were going to lose but Army on turning point of war with regard to invasion. We had invasion pool here – month by month — but will not take any chance until month of July. For some reason or other I peg July 5th but who cares what I think anyway. I could be wrong on this psychological analysis. That means — look it up in the dictionary!

You wouldn’t like it here — grapefruit 90 cents apiece — lemons 20 cents apiece. Why should I eat them just because they are not to be had during winter time up here? Never went in for them much before says I to greedy storekeepers so can wait till I get back on the farm someday where fruit will be a carrot (for the eyes) then pounds of tomatoes for the gut.

Was over to the flying preacher’s house at a little gathering tonight and we all turned to pages this and that and sung hymns. Find it rather difficult at times to sing with tongue in the cheek. But soon he is taking me on a trip to ___________  in the Piper Cub. Went down to Solomon with him few weeks ago and attended church with him there. Getting to be quite religious these days and seeing as much of Seward Peninsula as I can. Attended Catholic services at Nulato on way over and was invited to dinner at rectory where I had a delightful repast with Father Band and interesting evening with the 3 sisters. It is nice or good to see how the different men of the different clergy live.

How goes the flying? And how is your daffy boss treating you these days? Nothing new here — marking time only for the breakup. Old Hankus Morgenthau put his hand and seal to distinguished service citation on behalf of War Finance Program whereupon beautifully centered and over pale blue lithograph of Minute Man is this number, name, with “Rusty” written between C. H. It is a neat little tidbit of parchment but I did so want to get a Purple Heart. Feel wounded as it is, so I think that I should – Enuff stuffy stuff so’ll be writing you anon – when I have something interesting to tell you.

Best to all friends in Anchorage as ever and thanks again for taking care of the frames.

Rusty

For the rest of the week, two more letters from Grandpa to his scattered family.

Judy Guion

Early Years – Memories of David Peabody Guion (2) – 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.  

Dave - 1938

David Peabody Guion

I never liked school.  I started in Center School.  That wasn’t too bad.  The family name meant something in the immediate vicinity of Trumbull Center.  We had a Principal there whose name was Carson and I thought he treated me fairly.  I don’t know if he was trying to make points with my father or what.  We had a court, in school, and whenever there was some kind of infringement the culprit was dragged before the court.  For some stupid reason, Mr. Carson decided that I should be the prosecutor.  I was never very good at it but I made it through.

Anyhow, I graduated and that was fine, but then after having been noticed and having a name that meant something in Trumbull, I went to Whittier Junior High School in Black Rock in Bridgeport, and I was absolutely nothing there.  I absolutely hated the teachers.  I hated the school building.  Most of all, I hated the Principal.  I took Latin two years.  Understand, that’s Latin I that I took for two years.  I flunked it royally the first year and the second year, I still managed to flunk it.  I was going to be a lawyer, and so I wasn’t going to be a lawyer.  That was one year.  Then all the kids from up in the hills went to Bassick High School and things were a little better there.  Finally, I turned eighteen, and at that time, the war was on and they were taking people, even people out of school, kids out of school, when they turned eighteen, so I left my senior year in December.  December vacation.  Never went back.  Did go back to get my diploma.  For some reason, I think my grandmother was dying, I was home for the graduation, and those of us who were in the service got our diplomas at graduation.  I think that I would still be in school till this day if I hadn’t got my diploma because I was in the Army.  I was anxious to go into the service only so I could get through high school.

I have an interesting story about that; at least I think it’s interesting.  On December 23rd I was sworn into the Army and on January 16th I went off to Ft. Devins (in Massachusetts) to begin my training. one of the deals in the processing up there was a situation where you would sit down and some guy with a typewriter and a form would ask you questions and then type the answers.  Well, one of the questions further down the line was, “What would you like to do while you are in the service?”  I said, “I’d like to have your job.  It looks pretty good to me.  I sit here and I know how to type and I’ll get to talk to people.  I’d like this job.”  A few days later – George Knecht  and I went into the service at the same time – a few days later they called me down to processing and said, “We can keep you for, we don’t know how long, it depends on how you orders are written, but we can keep you on this job doing this typing.”  And I said, “Yes.”  I could see some weekends home with my new girlfriend, so that was fine with me.  A couple of days later George shipped out and went to Europe and slogged through mud and muck during the whole war.

I got home three weekends; it was a pretty nice job at Fort Devens.  Of course, at the time I said I’d like to do this job, I didn’t realize that it was done by people who were just recruits, as I was.  Anyhow, the guy behind me – there were four of us that were doing this job – was telling me about his brother who was in the Signal Corps in New Jersey.  So I figured that was a good deal.  I’ll join the Signal Corps and from New Jersey, get home some more weekends.  What I neglected to say is that they told us, “When they asked us this question of what we’d like to do, nobody ever reads that.  At this point, we are just filling a quota, but those who work here, we actually do try to put them where they want to be.” so that’s when I said, “New Jersey.  I’d like to go into the Signal Corps.”  So I went into the Signal Corps.  After I got in the Signal Corps, I found out that New Jersey was the advanced training for radar or something and I ended up in Missouri, but at least I was in the Signal Corps.

Next weekend, I will post more of the Early Years with Memories of David Peabody Guion.

Tomorrow, I will begin posting a week of letters written in 1944.

Judy Guion