Trumbull – To The Guion Horticultural Experiment Stations (1) – I Have Four Flower Beds – September, 1943

This week, Grandpa’s creative juices were working overtime, if you don’t mind mixing metaphors, and he equates his sons, in their various locales, as Flowerbeds. He does put a lot of thought into his weekly missives, at least most weeks.

Trumbull Conn.  September 26, 1943

To the Guion Horticultural Experiment Stations in various parts of the world:

I have four flowerbeds labeled respectively Brazil, England, Alaska and Los Angeles, and each Sunday I plant a mental seed in each of these plots with the expectation and hope that they will in time sprout and bear abundant fruit. Then I sit back for six days and hum to myself that old hymn “What Will the Harvest Be?”

Richard (Dick) Peabody Guion

Richard (Dick) Peabody Guion

Some of these seeds seem to fall on barren ground and seldom even sprout. The soil of Brazil seems to be especially unfertile. England has lately been producing a bit better although the sprouts are usually very short and hardly get their heads above ground. Los Angeles ground seems to be pretty reliable, occasionally developing a good strong plant while Alaska, though slow bearing, usually delivers a bumper crop spasmodically.

This week the harvest was quite satisfactory, although not 100% — the good neighbor policy as far as Brazil is concerned not being in the running except by reflected

Daniel (Dan) Beck Guion

Daniel (Dan) Beck Guion

glory, so to speak. The English package, bah Jove, mentions the hope of Dan that he may be able to go to Oxford for a week of general courses offered to service men of all nations. When he returns, don’t be surprised to see him wearing a monocle and expressing his thoughts in the purest English. (An aside to Dan: the shoes got off to you marked “Christmas gift package”. The only difficulty here is that it is rumored that packages so marked are held up by the Army and not delivered until Christmas. Someone also said that packages sent from home are opened and repacked at New York. If so, I hope the re-packer will not overlook the 35mm Kodachrome film which I obtained with great difficulty and packed into the shoes along with sundry packages of chewing gum, shoe paste, etc. And while we’re on the subject, please, in your next reply, let me know what you would like to have me include in your real Christmas package. Dan concludes by saying “Everything continues to go well. I don’t find nearly enough time to do everything I want to, which is better than too much time!”

Alfred Peabody Guion (Lad)

Alfred Peabody Guion (Lad)

Southern California had a good crop this trip. On his return trip, Lad, at Chicago, worked a spell for Col. Harvey, washing innumerable dishes as 4th cook, Tuesday AM to Thursday PM, “I don’t think I ever worked so hard”. However he got good meals and an upper to sleep in as compensation. (Aside to Lad: thanks for the rationing board coupons, which will come in very handy. Alas, however, the gasoline coupons were flatly turned down by the service station who referred me to the local rationing board and also by the rationing board, who said they had discontinued honoring these coupons. Don’t worry. I think I can get by with my own coupons until the next period, And even if I can’t, I won’t regret a single drop you used because of one sentence in your letter which is one of the nicest things anyone has told me for a long while, viz: “As I look back, those five days at home were some of the most enjoyable days I’ve ever spent, but they went far too fast”. This makes me feel a lot better because I did have the feeling that all the inconvenience and tiresomeness of the journey both ways did not compensate for the very little we were able to do to make your homecoming pleasant even though we did enjoy so much seeing you once again.)

Lad, says the weather since he got back has been uncomfortably hot, so much so that desks and chairs are hot to touch. Temperature 116° and is due to continue until the middle of October. Aunt Betty says she wishes you could send some of that excess heat back here, as the last two days have been quite autumnal in character. This means tapering off of hay fever but also brings the perennial furnace problem, ashes, woodcutting, etc. Mr. Schalich filled up the oil barrels yesterday. Between Paul and myself we have 250 gallons of kerosene to start the season off with, but in spite of the fact that I have had my order for coal in since July, I have been unable to get a single ton.

Tomorrow, the second half of this letter from Grandpa to his sons, scattered around the world. On Friday, a letter from Lad with exciting news regarding his future.

Judy Guion

Army Life – Lad Arrives in L.A. – September, 1943

Lad and Marian – Pomona, CA

Now Grandpa knows that Lad arrived safely back in California. In his typical analytical style, he tells the whole story.

September 22, 1943

South Pasadena, California

Dear Dad:

I arrived in LA at 4:10 AM and, so help me, Marion was there to meet me. In fact, I’m writing this at her house and this is her pen and ink. Here is the story. Bridgeport to New York – O.K.  –  left Grand Central at 6:30 PM and after a pretty good rest arrived in Chicago at noon. I had till 6:30 for the train to LA so I went to the Santa Fe-Harvey office. Got a job in a few minutes on a train leaving on Tuesday at 7 AM. So I went back to the Y and slept all afternoon and evening.

About 10 PM I got up, wrote a letter to Marian, had something to eat and returned to bed. Got up at 5 AM and went to the station. I was 4th cook and did nothing but dishes from 10:30 Tuesday morning until 11 PM Thursday. Boy, I don’t think I ever worked so hard. It was terrific – but, at least I wasn’t bored by the trip and I had very good meals and an upper. Slept from about 12 or one o’clock till 5:30 each night. We were five hours late arriving in LA, but she was there, with a smile, as usual, and my spirits rose perceptively. She had made arrangements for me to stay at the USO dorm, so I had something to eat and went to bed. I slept from about 6 AM till after 4 PM.

I had a key, which Marian had given me for her house, so I went there for a shower and then reported back to camp, got my pass, and took up where I had left off 16 days earlier. As I look back, those five days at home were some of the most enjoyable days I’ve ever spent, but they went far too fast. I went to the rationing board here and they gave me the ration points, but said that in the future to go to the local board at home. So take a mental note of that. It is a new O.P.A. regulation.

For two days now we have had typical Southern California September weather, hotter than hell. The air so hot, that desks and chairs or anything else is almost uncomfortably hot to touch. It was 116° today, and this is supposed to last until the middle of October. However, I really don’t mind it at all. Marian doesn’t like it too well. It has cooled off a little now, and we’re going to an open-air theater tonight to see “The More the Merrier”.

Give my love to Aunt Betty and anyone else and I’m expecting to take your suggestion and write to Grandma.

Lad

Tomorrow and Thursday, we’ll read a long letter from Grandpa to his four sons in their various locations, filled with news about each of them. Friday will be another letter from Lad .

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Dear Away-from-homers – Go west! Go west! – September, 1943

Trumbull Conn.   September 19, 1943

Dear Away-from-Homers:

Well, the back porch steps have undergone a major operation and are recovering nicely. In fact they are almost out of danger although there is always a chance of the trouble recurring, which will call for an entire new deal, if you don’t mind mixing metaphors a bit. That and some putty and nails on the cellar door and an attempt to solder the perker on the coffee pot so Jean can have for daily stimulant (she having smashed her little individual drip outfit) about sums up the news this week that comes under the heading of “thrillers”. You wouldn’t be interested in the fact that a rat ate some of my knackerbrod, or we almost ran out of toilet paper or Aunt Betty now knows how many spoonfuls of brown sugar to put on canned beans, so I won’t bother to mention them.

Dave Guion

Dave Guion

The household has been a bit livelier this weekend, however, and in fact it seemed almost like old times when you were all home and lots of young people made merry, for Jean’s friend, Audrey Switzgabel, has been a welcome guest and she and Dave have been conducting a friendly feud with the rapid exchanges of repartee that hasn’t permitted a dull moment.

Lad - 1943

Lad – 1943

I haven’t heard whether Lad is back safely in camp but not having read of any further train wrecks, I assume he behaved himself while taking Horace Greeley’s advice. An old ad flashes across memories screen:

Go West! Go West! The old man said,

He should have been more specific.

                        He should have said, “You’ll travel best

           If you go by the southern Pacific.”

Dan, I’m waiting for an answer to my letter before sending your shoes as there is a rule in the post office that they will not accept packages for soldiers abroad unless the request for them has been O.K.’d by a superior officer.

Dan Guion

Dan Guion

Gee, Ced, I didn’t know you’d get so sore at the names I have been using in directing letters to you, that

you would refuse to write anymore. It’s all in fun and anyway, I never called you a big palooka, so there.

Dan is the family’s best threatener.  C’mon, Dan, give over entertaining one of those English lassies long enough to write that long exciting account of your adventures.

And Dick, you long-legged Benedict, I see you’re back in the ranks of the T-5’s, like your brother Daniel.

Dick Guion

Dick Guion

It’s about time he took an upward step. Dave got out the projector last night and entertained Audrey by showing some of Dan’s and Dick’s colored slides. Dan says the bulb on the movie projector is shot. I wonder if there’s a priority on that too. We shall certainly have to get that fixed up in time to entertain little Siwash Ced when he pays

Ced Guion

Ced Guion

us his Christmas visit. It will seem pretty much like the Santa Claus myth coming true when he drops in from Alaska, pack or no pack. And with this happy thought, let us close tonight’s chapter, to be mentally tucked into your several beds with a good night kiss from your

DADDY

For the rest of the week, I’ll be alternating letters from Lad and Grandpa. On Thursday, Lad gives Grandpa some exciting news about his future.Stay tuned !!

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Dear Ced (2) – Moom Pitchers and Exotic Orchids – January, 1942

This is the rest of a letter I first posted yesterday from Grandpa to Ced, the only son away from home now, but that is about to change.

Blog - 2015.05.13 - Trumbull (2) - Moom Pitchers and Exotic Orchids - Jan., 1942

 

Page 2     1/11/1942

Time out for a message from Dan who has just come in and wants to say something to you about taking 1/2pictures. Here’s Dan.

Cedirk, dear,

I don’t rightly know why fayther wrote 1/2pictures unless he feels that our results are only 1/2lf satisfactory, which is what I aim to tell you. The moom pitchers we took show an unfortunate tendency toward over-exposure on one edge and not on the other! Lad says changing over at twenty-five feet, taking out the film…… says it probably becomes loose on the real, allowing the light to penetrate. Solution: change film only in very subdued light and do not allow the film to loosen on the real.

Uncle Sam feels that he needs me to save the world for Roosevelt, especially since the dirty stinking yellow bastards have the idiotic nerve to grab the U.S. property called the Philippines after we went to so much trouble to save them from the nasty old Spaniards a few decades ago. Imagine their wanting to get some islands that don’t even belong to them! And they even talk of invading the U.S., just because we refused to sell them a few little staples like iron and machinery and raw materials and because we stopped buying a little silk from them!

Of course we could easily win the war if we just sent 10 more bombers to the Dutch….You can’t expect little countries like U.S. and England to beat Japan without some help. That is why the Dutch have to sink two extra Jap ships for every one they sink for themselves….one for us, one for England. If things get worse, maybe Joe Stalin can withdraw his troops from Berlin long enough to help the Dutch win our war.

Gawd! When I think of those filthy Japs having the nerve to Bomb our Navy! They are nothing but savages. And they even sink our freighters. But we will get even. We are going to start building guns and things and in about 10 years we are going to say to the Dutch and Ciang Kai Shek, “O.K., boys, we’ll take a round out of those little yellow Aryans!” And then they’ll be sorry. Of course, there won’t be anything left in U. S. by that time except taxes, but we will get those cowardly Mongolians! We’ll just take their little trousers down and paddle their pink rising suns.

New topic: When I left Anchorage I made several promises to keep the boys posted about how I made out with the Army. I have failed to do so, but there is still time. Meanwhile, if you see Fred Crowl or Don Tyree, or Hal Reherd, or any of the Air Base boys, tell them I tried valiantly, but the Anchorage draft board tried harder, so into the Army I go, perhaps to fertilize some exotic orchid in the jungles of Sumatra, or fill out the lean feathers of some scrawny African buzzard….saving America, of course, from the Japs, the Huns, and the Wops, every one of whom have only one aim in life….to make every U.S. citizen into a slave.

Dan

ADG - Grandpa about 1945 or 1946 near a tree in winter

Page 3    1/11/1942

The speed limit on the Merritt Parkway has been reduced to 40 miles with the threefold purpose of saving tires, gas and lives.

What Dan means by moom pictures I leave it to you to guess but it does give me a chance to remark “don’t laugh at others mistakes, the banana peel may be under your own foot”.

Don Whitney has received his summons to appear before the draft board for physical examination so how long he will be figuring the profits and losses for the Stratfield is anyone’s guess. The Laufer’s have not heard from Erwin since he reached the Pacific coast. Dick Christie I understand has been down with pneumonia but is getting along nicely. It is reported that Jack Philmon tried to join the Marines but was turned down.

Meigs new store at the corner of Main and Wall – – where the A & P Market used to be – – is now just about completed and they will probably move about the 1st of February. Their old building I understand will be torn down for a new Woolworth store. There has also been a new building erected opposite Read’s where the parking lot used to be and I understand Singer’s will erect a new building near the corner of Fairfield and Broad between the old telephone building and where the church used to stand. The old building back of my office has been torn down and the space thus provided has been turned into a parking lot for customers and employees of the Bridgeport Peoples Savings Bank. So, when that glad day comes when you will be back in this neck of the woods again you will see quite a few changes in the old burgh.

As you may discern there is evidence of my news fund tapering out and inquiries of Dick and Dan not resulting in any fresh spurt to my imagination, if such it can be called, leaves me the sad alternative of bringing this momentous epistle to a close, with the usual hope that the coming week will again bring a letter with more news from my Alaskan pilot.

Give that jovial old pal of mine, Rusty, greetings from his old sidekick, and tell him to write me as soon as he gets any interesting news.

DAD

 

Saturday and Sunday, more Special Pictures.

Next week, I’ll be posting letters written in 1945, when all of Grandpa’s boys are “In The Army Now”.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Dear Ced (1) – Ced Needs His Birth Certificate to Fly? – January, 1942

Ced and car - 1940 (3)-head shotTrumbull, Conn., Jan. 11, 1942.

Dear Ced:

Once again letter writing time rolls around. As I glance out of the kitchen window, the kitchen being our living room for the last few days, particularly because of the cold spell, it reveals a typical winter landscape with the white mantle of snow on the ground and the sun valiantly striving to peer through masses of dark clouds which told a threat of more snow. Last night was bitterly cold, perhaps as much as 10 below zero here. The paper yesterday predicted 20 below in northern New England, so you see Alaska and Conn. are somewhat akin at times.

Your welcome letter of December 28th reached here on the7th, which, while not equaling the speed with which some of my letters have reached you by airmail, is still pretty good time compared with what it was this time last year. Perhaps the importance of Anchorage in the war picture has caused a speeding up of communications. At any rate I hope it will continue to be good as you do not seem quite so far away when only 10 days off.

I have written Kemper in Mount Vernon (his office) asking him to obtain your birth certificate from the City Hall and forward it on to you by airmail, as I figured this method would save time writing back and forth, forwarding necessary fee, etc. I have asked him to let me know the total cost and will take care of reimbursing him from here. I have also taken care of paying your life insurance premium which is due in a few days. And while we are on the financial aspect, I am enclosing income tax blanks in duplicate – – not that I think you will have difficulty in obtaining these blanks locally, but it is my experience the tendency to put such things off until the last moment generally means a wild rushing around trying to meet the deadline with the possibility of error and consequent additional expense, so the possession of blanks may induce a more leisurely attention to this disagreeable task.

Why is it you have to have your birth certificate before you can fly again? Is that a new regulation or is there more behind this than meets the eye? You said nothing in your letter about the draft status. Has Woodley been able to do anything about your deferment beyond the indefinite February date you mentioned some time ago as the time when you would cease to be a civilian? I suppose this will have some bearing on any arrangements you make as to taking a cabin with Rusty after leaving Walshes.

I suppose you will be one of the crew that goes out to rescue Don’s stranded plane. This should prove an interesting experience. Incidentally I should think this might be a dramatic subject for a Heurlin picture of a typical Alaskan experience. Does the idea appeal to Rusty?

It was good to know you spent an enjoyable Christmas day. Your caroling  stunt was one of those things you will look back on in years with interest and “fond recollection”. Aunt Betty has just chirped up again, “Give my love to Ced and Rusty”.

Dan got his summons this week and is to report for active duty on the 21st. He quit working for Producto and is now a man of leisure. Knowing Dan, I don’t know how much leisure there will be in his activities. Dick is working at Producto on a lathe at a $.50 an hour rate and seems to like the job. He of course, will register next month.

Tomorrow, the middle of this letter, which is from Dan to Ced and the last bit from Grandpa.

Tomorrow and Sunday, more special pictures.

Next week, I’ll be posting letters written in 1943 about Lad’s furlough in Trumbull and his developing feelings for Marian. 

Judy Guion

L.K. Sieck – A Request for Lad – January, 1942

APG - L.K.Sieck letter, Jan., 1942 Ames,Iowa

January 17, 1942

Dear Al:

Many momentous things have happened since I received your letter. I am still learning trigonometry, descriptive geometry, etc., but expect that Uncle Sam will be needing me in other places. I have done well in military here at college, having gotten an excellent rating and a promotion.

I never did get around to look up Charles Hall. I had planned on coming down to Connecticut for a few days during Xmas vacation. Those plans had to be discarded as my family wanted me home. I see now that we will have no spring vacation so I don’t know when I’ll be able to see you.

My brother (the day after the Japs attacked Pearl Harbor) went for a physical test for entrance in the Air Corps. He now has passed everything but lacks two years of college. The Elks Club is giving him classes to prepare him for the final educational test. Of course the latest is that they have lowered the requirements.

I still have hopes of seeing those films. I have moved and am now living at 2901 Oakland St. It is a professor’s home and he says he can get me an 8 mm or 16 mm or 37 mm from the college. If you think they would be safe let me know and I will pay for sending them. I wouldn’t need them but a very short time and I am sure they would return to you in the best of condition.

As I mentioned previously, I don’t know when I will be able to see you. I hope to make a trip down there before I go marching off to Asia, Africa, Europe or some new front. I have never been east of New York as you know?????

Yours truly,

L.K. Sieck

2901 Oakland St.

Ames,Iowa

I believe this is the second request from L.K. Sieck for the films Lad shot in Venezuela. I don’t know if he ever got to see them because I have them. Tomorrow and Friday, another letter from Grandpa to Ced.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Dear Ced and Rusty (2) – Business Developments – January, 1942

Alfred Duryee Guion (Grandpa)

Alfred Duryee Guion
(Grandpa)

Page 2 0f 1/4/1942

If you have not already done so by the time this letter reaches you, Ced, old scout, will you please be sure to let me know what packages you have received so that I can follow through from this end if anything I sent has not yet arrived. I sent a stainless steel sauce pan to Rusty to start housekeeping with, your watch which you sent home by Dan to be repaired, sealed beam headlights from Sears Roebuck, a box of Christmas knickknacks and a sweater from Forster Besse. While the total was far less that I wanted to send, perhaps it is all the more important that what did go should arrive safely. I did not renew subscription to the Sunday Post, first, because I did not know how much you cared for it (according to Dick he enjoyed the funnies from Seattle more), and second, your future movements seemed so uncertain that I thought I had better wait and ask you what you wanted done. Even if you go into service and are stationed at Fort Richardson, I suppose the mail would be forwarded to you from Box 822 anyway. Just say the word and I will do the necessary at this end.

Aunt Betty has just piped up and asked to have her love sent to you both.

At the office things are going a bit better or have for the past month or two. I am still having labor troubles but so far Dave has managed to get out what multigraphed letters we have had to produce and I am also able, with outside help, to keep up with the mimeographed jobs. Addressograph work has been quite heavy and I do have a girl that is doing this work very satisfactorily. During the year we have been able to pretty nearly clean up on our old debts, and, unless the nation at war throws another monkey wrench into the machinery, it looks as though we would continue. In this connection, the organization which Miss Platt left me to join, called the ADCRAFTERS, with offices just across the street, composed of the letter shop, run by Miss Platt, Art service (commercial) maintained by Mr. Thorpe, and commercial photography handled by the third member of the organization, has been having hard sledding. They originally had a printer in with them, but he proved to be no good so the rent that had been divided among the four of them had to be shared by three along with the other running expenses. It now develops that the photographer has been called into service and along with that fact, the bottom lately has been knocked out of the demand for artwork, so that Mr. Thorpe is seriously considering getting a job with some of the Bridgeport manufacturers who need his sort of service. This may throw Miss Platt on her own but with the doubtful course of future business in our line, it might be that she will be open for some arrangement whereby she will throw her little business in with mine and again be part of the Guion organization. If this happens, I may be content to let her carry on while I seek a job myself with some of the war industries here who are badly in need of men, due to the fact that so many are leaving to join up with Uncle Sam. All this, however, awaits the course of events.

To Rusty:

It was certainly good to get your letter. You don’t know how much I enjoyed hearing from you. Congratulations on the Dr. Romig painting. Please be sure to let me know about the result of the Court House petition, particularly if you get it. I’m keeping my fingers crossed. It will certainly mean the opening up of bigger things for you, which you richly deserve. Naturally I shall also be much interested to hear what results from the plans to seek other quarters. I suppose this depends somewhat on what happens in Ced’s case. It is good to know you are together. I hated to think of his being all alone so far from friends and home. As to your own personal affairs I have a hunch things are going to come out O.K. And if I can help, you know the offer still stands, to any extent within my power. I would be very happy if I could do anything that would help things to come out of the way you want them.

To Ced:

Write when you can, old son of mine. I’ll be listening.

DAD

Tomorrow, a letter to Lad from a friend from Venezuela, who is now back in the states. Thursday and Friday, another letter from Grandpa to Ced.

Judy Guion