Trumbull – Dear Sons of the North, East, South and West (1) – News From Dave and Trumbull – July 23, 1944

Grandpa (Alfred D Guion) and his sister, Elsie May Guion

Trumbull, Conn.  July 23, 1944

Dear Sons of the North, East, South and West:

Having gone to the well of inspiration for ideas to incorporate in this missive and finding it dry, I have had to resort to sort of a priming process and have turned back the pages to see what you were all doing in former years. About this time in 1942 I find Lad was just starting in teaching diesel engineering at Aberdeen; Dan was rumored to be shortly going to Hagerstown; Ced was short of tennis balls and Dick and David were both home. In late July 1943, Dick was about to sail from New Orleans, Jean had just gotten back home from Indianapolis, Ced was recuperating from his first fire burns, Dan was still in Indiantown Gap but all packed ready to go, I having recently visited him for a farewell visit. Lad was in California and had just been assigned to engine tuneup work. Marian’s name begins to appear frequently in his correspondence. Barbara was thinking of joining the WAAC.

Dave writes he has now been assigned to a new company, Co. D, 31st Sig., Trng. Bn., ASFTC. He says: “My new company is absolutely A-1 except for the chow. The food isn’t too good but I understand that it has been pretty poor recently all throughout the post. The fellows I’m with on the whole, are a much nicer bunch that any gang I’ve been with yet. Sunday I sprained my wrist and I don’t know how I did it. I’ve got it wrapped now and it is as good an excuse as any for the poor job I’m doing tonight on the typewriter. We took a long hike last night – – the first I’ve taken since that week I left for home. We walked some 12 or 14 miles with light field pack, gas mask and rifle. I don’t mind telling you that I was pretty tired when I got back. Did I go right to bed then? No. Now that it’s summer down here we have to be mighty careful of chiggers and ticks. When we’ve been out in the field now we come in and strip, take a shower and while in the shower room, we go over each other – – like monkeys in the zoo – – and take off any chiggers and ticks. All the boys in my barracks love to sing so we do quite a lot of it. We seem to have an equal number of rebels and Yankees so we go over this problem every so often.”

I’m going to interrupt this letter right here like I myself was interrupted by a broadcast over the radio predicting that the attempted assassination of Hitler this week would lead to the collapse of Germany before the end of the summer and with that of Japan six months after Germany.. Now we would like to believe that! Even if it is six months premature it is still good news.

Elsie writes she is taking a week’s vacation beginning August 14 and is heading for Trumbull. How about you boys coming home for that week to help make your visit enjoyable?

Jane was over here a while ago and said Charlie (Hall), when last heard from, was at Pearl Harbor, had been assigned to duty as assistant engineer in charge of four diesels on a big Navy tanker, the CASH. Art (Mantle, her brother)  is still up north in Washington state waiting for the new ship he has been assigned to to be finished and put in commission.

Tomorrow I’ll post the rest of this letter to Grandpa’s sons in all directions.

Judy Guion

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Trumbull – Dear Convalescents (3) – Extract from Dave and Grandpa’s News – July 16, 1944

This is the last section of a rather long letter from Grandpa. He does quite a job on bringing everyone up to date on the local news . The first and second parts were posted on Monday and Tuesday, the 4th and 5th.

 

DPG - with Zeke holding Butch

Extract of DPG: (David Peabody Guion) While I am waiting orders to be moved I’m working in the supply room of the company. They were short of men – – the supply clerk being on furlough – – so the first Sgt. asked me if I would mind working here instead of going to school. I said I would (or rather wouldn’t mind) and so I’m living the life of Riley, as you can see (I’ve got time to get off a few letters). I like this work – – you never know what is going to come up next. The supply sergeant is out in the company area most of the time making an inventory of all the company equipment so that leaves me in charge of the supply room.

Now for a few unexciting home commonplaces. It has been very hot and humid here for about three weeks steady, no rain, so that the grass is parched and brown like you may recall it has looked in times past in the middle of August. Today however, we had a brief windstorm with a small shower. This cools the air off but it is still humid.

I suppose you read about the terrible Barnum and Bailey fire at Hartford where the tent caught fire and because of the gasoline- paraffin waterproof mixture used in waterproofing, burned so completely and quickly that many people, including children lost their lives – – some so badly disfigured they were buried unidentified. The circus has returned to its winter quarters in Florida. I mention this because just a few weeks previously Elizabeth took her two youngsters to the same circus held in the same tent here in Bridgeport.

It is Jean’s birthday tomorrow but we celebrated it here in the usual manner, today, Biss being in attendance with her two little boys. (Zeke was attending a company outing).

Barbara (Plumb) has recently had a furlough in Italy and is now a Corporel.

Jean (nee Hughes) is home again in Trumbull.

I recently disemboweled the extracting mechanism of the furnace Stoker and found the two worms that eject the ashes have worn down to such an extent that the spiral fins are almost nonexistent being worn practically flush with the axle which turns them. I have ordered new worms but your guess is as good as mine whether I’ll be able to obtain them at all, or at least in time for the winter season. Toward the last of the season the firebox was continually filled with ashes and if the worst comes to worst I may have to put back the old grates and use the blower again.

Carl is on a big new tanker that has just taken a load of oil or gas to the far Pacific (Australia or New Zealand) and is on his way home again. The Bushey’s have moved into the little house opposite the Green where Danny Wells used to live. Coming down the hill approaching the Merritt Parkway overpass on Reservoir Avenue the other afternoon on my way home, and rolling at about 35 or 40 my right front tire suddenly blew out, twisting the wheel sharply to the right, so that I almost hit two posts guarding a culvert. Unfortunately I had no jack, so I had to walk some distance before I could find a phone and ask Ed Dolan to send his emergency car to the rescue. Now I am applying for a new tire. No jacks seem to be for sale anywhere in Bridgeport and the ones I have evidently are beyond repair, so California or Mo. P.X., please take notice.

Aunt Betty sends love, so does Jean, and as for me, well, you might know what to expect from                                        DAD

Tomorrow and Friday, another letter from Grandpa to his absent sons and daughter-in-laws.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Dear Convalescents (2) – Extracts From Ced and Marian – July 16, 1944

In this weeks missive, Grandpa has gathered extracts from the letters he has received and presented them to all those away from home. This is the second portion of the letter.

(continuation of Ced’s extract)

I received a letter from the Reader’s Digest telling me that my subscription had expired and going on to say that they had a little stencil with my name on it which had been directing my copies to me and that before they threw it out they just wanted to remind me that the subscription had expired and let me know that it (the stencil) was in fine company – – MacArthur, Sinclair Lewis, Gen. Marshall and a host of others. There was a lot of other dribble which I don’t recall, but it kind of burned me, so I sat down and wrote them a letter explaining that it seemed a little odd that two weeks after sending a gift card from my Dad, and promising me so much, they now tell me the subscription has expired and didn’t I think it good to renew it? I also suggested that my father probably really intended that I get 12 copies of the magazine, not just a gift card. Then I flattered them by saying that I wasn’t surprised that MacArthur, etc., subscribed to the Digest, but that I didn’t give a damn who read it and took it just because I happen to like its contents – – no doubt the same reason the celebrities would profess, and that I was surprised that Roosevelt wasn’t listed, “didn’t he take the Digest, or was it an intentional slight.” I rambled on at length concerning the rest of the letter, but I did have fun writing it. In closing I said to remember me to Sidney Bagshaw if he was around, and signed the thing. I am curious to see what kind of an answer I’ll get, if any. The first copy (June) arrived today. I hope they don’t strike me from the records. In today’s mail there was also a copy of “Federal World Union” and the “Union Now” paper. The more I see the more I am encouraged. You ought to get on the bandwagon yourself. There are more and more people with political power joining the movement every month and I wouldn’t be surprised if it is heard from in some measure in the fall elections. I wish to heck Stassen had been nominated by the Republicans instead of Dewey, and could get the Presidency. He is back of the idea to a large extent and I feel would try to work it out. I don’t know about Dewey although he may be leaning that way too, for all I know. I think he could certainly improve on what we’ve got, anyway. I was reclassified 1-A three days ago and I think I can beat the rap again.

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Extract of MIG.  (Marian Irwin Guion) Wish I could report some definite plans that the “roving Guions” have made but so far everything is very much up in the air. We might be here two days, two weeks or even two months – – we just don’t know. However we have tried to make a few tentative plans, subject to immediate change if necessary. 1.  If it is at all possible I am going to drive the Buick by way of Orinda (Her parent’s home)  back East to our new destination. We have received permission from the C.O. to get gasoline for the trip. 2. I would love to come and stay at Trumbull. I really love it there and could think of no nicer place that I would like to be. One is not supposed to up apply for gasoline for a move any oftener than once every six months so I may be with you longer than you anticipated. In that case I would probably get a job in Bridgeport. It remains to be seen just what will happen but maybe I’ll have a chance to spend a winter where it snows, yet. 3. One of the other wives is planning on going East with me, and before we get started there may be more. But at least I know I’ll have company. With two such recommendations as yours and David’s, we decided that we must see “Between Two Worlds” so we went yesterday. It was a very unusual picture, wasn’t it? We both enjoyed it very much. Lad is still in Camp Haan and although he gets home for dinner every night, this business of getting up at four o’clock every morning is no fun.

Tomorrow, the final section of this letter with an extract from Dave and Grandpa’s local news. On Thursday and Friday, another of Grandpa’s weekly letters including news from family and friends.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Dear Convalescents (1) – Extracts From Dan and Ced – July 16, 1944

 

This letter from Grandpa to his scattered flock contains excerpts from letters he has received in the last week. It is quite a collection and it will take two days to finish the letter. Enjoy.

 

Trumbull, Conn., July 16, 1944

Dear Convalescents:

As your medical advisor I am recommending this week a full dose of extract of Guion, consisting of vitamins DBG, CDG, MIG a substitute for APG, (at the moment unobtainable) and DPG, to be taken with a little water, before, after or between meals.

Extract of DBG. (Daniel Beck Guion) (July 3, London) Gone completely is the idyllic lull about which I wrote so enthusiastically a few weeks past, and in its place has come a period which keeps us too much on our mettle to indulge in languid philosophy. Now we are engulfed in a realism which focuses war in sharp, unmistakable images, exciting… significant… decisive. The none too subtle curtain of the sensor must set as a haze filter to your perception, but one day soon I shall entertain you all with tall tales of “what Dan did in the war” – – and I promise it won’t be too boring. Thoroughly hail and equally hearty, Dan

 

Extract of CDG: (Cedric Duryee Guion) Anchorage almanac. Weather today clear, Sun rises before I get up, sun sets about bedtime. Hours of darkness, practically none. Temperature, good for swimming. Hospitalization notice: One 37 Buick seriously ill of spinal meningitis and requiring extensive surgery for return to active health. Medicines unobtainable in Alaska due to shortage of equipment as of war necessities. An emergency requisition has been placed requesting necessary herbs and tonics. The transmission, after a long and quarrelsome disturbance, accompanied by groans of pain for the last three months, finally had a hemorrhage and was partially paralyzed. Low, second and reverse suffered complete collapse of the motovaty nerves and left poor high badly overburdened, thus affecting composure of chauffer. While injury seemed trivial at first, treatment proved unobtainable and a major catastrophe developed. Patient was unavoidably retired from active service and in lieu of treatment, it was determined that further long-standing elements must be treated and so the heart was removed for observation and repairs. Tragically enough, this disclosed more faults that required unobtainable replacements. Now patient is interned in isolation ward until Pistons, transmission parts and other odds and ends can be obtained. Another birthday come and and gone with a very pleased recipient of gifts from home. McDonald’s had a little supper party with cake and candles. My burns (ha ha) have nearly disappeared (all signs of them, I mean). They turned out not half as bad as the other ones did, and I lost only three days work. I finished my course, took the CAA test and made an average of 86 which was up near the top of those grades received by the other students. Now I just need flying time and lots more of it. Can’t you picture me up high in the sky peeking around behind a cirrus cloud to see if the dew point is anywhere near the base of the cloud, or flying blind into the side of the next mountain only to discover I’d forgotten to correct for easterly deviation, and neglecting at the same time to consider the wind drift. Ah. Me, I wonder if I’ll ever get to use any of your laboriously gleaned aeronautical knowledge. Incidentally, if you want to get a good education in meteorology, as it is affected by weather, and get it in an easy to take form, get the book “STORM” from Mrs. Ives, or from the library. It has humor, pathos, drama, suspense and human interest all woven around the birth, growth and passing of a storm and its effects on men and their puny works.

Tomorrow, I’ll be posting the middle section of this letter with excerpts from Ced and Marian. On Wednesday, excerpts from  Dave along with Grandpa’s usual home town news. On Thursday and Friday, another letter from Grandpa.

Judy Guion

Family – Dear Ced – Biss Writes to Ced in Alaska – July 10, 1043

 

Elizabeth (Biss) Guion Zabel

This is a detail of the monogram in the corner of Bissie’s writing paper.

The internal white area is actually cut out. (How fancy is this?) I’m sure Grandpa designed and printed it. Writing paper was a usual gift from him.

9:39 P.M.

7/10/43

Dear Ced: –

          I wrote to you just one week and one day ago at 11:55 P.M. while Barby (Barbara Plumb) was taking a bath and setting her hair. I wrote it on paper from a  pad which I keep on top of the radio. Everything went along fine until I folded it to put in an envelope at which time it cracked and fell apart in my hands. Sooo this time I am doing everything Emily Post style in pen and on the proper paper. I told you of Ethel’s baby which was news at the time but no longer is.

          Zeke went up to Kenotia fishing last weekend so Dot M. (Mackenzie)  and Lois H. (Henaghan) came down to spend the night (Sat.) with me. We had a grand time and Sun. Morning I picked up Aunt Elsie at the station and went to Dad’s for dinner. Aunt Dorothy was there too. Grandma hasn’t been feeling very well this past week so Aunt  D. came up again this weekend. Barby has joined the Waacs or Wacs – whichever spelling you prefer altho’ Wacs is the proper spelling now – and expects to leave at the end of this month. Edna and Frank Heigelmann had a baby boy and so did Johnny and Dot H. (Heigelmann). Bill Henaghan and his wife expect to have their third child at the end of this month also. I guess it’s my turn now. Helen S. and Bill are expecting one next January. Anna Rakowski ( one of the younger girls) died this morning. Barby saw Dick Christie  (A close friend of Lad’s) and they had their first wedding anniversary last Sunday. Donald Whitney’s wife had to come home – either here or to her own home – because all of the service wives had to leave. I told Barby I wish you would come home and marry her because I had my heart set on her being my sister and Dan – damn him – put the kibosh on it.  (Dan and Barbara had been engaged but made a mutual decision to end it) Maybe I’ll get her to marry Irv (Irvin Zabel, Zeke’s brother) – Heaven forbid. When she read that she said I sounded very insulting.

          Someday I’ll sit down and write you a whole letter about the children and their antics. I am listening to Scheherazade on the radio while I am writing this so if I am incoherent in spots it is because I get to interested in the story – it is pretty good. I called up Barby to let her know it was on because she likes the story and the musical background  very much. Zeke is going fishing with Frank tonight and they have just come in from catching nightcrawlers – you know big worms – they are talking too so I’m really getting into a muddle. Now to get down to business – the birthdays are as follows: Marty – Jan. 25th; Zeke is May 12th; Butch is October 20th; Biss is Jan. 6th; and Ced is June 1st. – is that enough birthdays  for you or should I continue?

          Dave has an infection in his leg and Dr. Z. doesn’t know what or why it is but he told Dave to keep his leg in the air – it is improving so I guess it wasn’t anything serious. I am finishing your letter at the same time the story is finishing. How is the food situation up there? Is it as bad as down here? You made us all homesick for old times when you mentioned driving  for a picnic – our battery is going sour from lack of use – speaking of tires – we need one too – but so far have been unsuccessful because our tire has to be vulcanized and Zeke says it is too expensive so they won’t give him the other tire he needs until that one is done. No more room so good-bye for now. Love, Biss

P.S. I hope you will write even tho’ I didn’t as often as I should. I got the bracelet and show it off every once in a while.  Biss

On Saturday the next Diary and Journal entry of John Jackson Lewis on his Voyage to California.

On Sunday, another post entitled My Ancestors. This one is about my great-grandfather, Alfred Beck Guion. He was the ninth child and fifth son of Elijag and Clara Maria de los Dolores Marina de Beck Guion. He was also the father of Grandpa.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Extracts from the Diary of Alfred D. Guion (2) – July 18, 1943 – The Mountain Went to Mohammed

This is the second half of a letter from Grandpa to his four sons who are all in service to Uncle Sam.

Daniel (Dan) Beck Guion

Daniel Beck Guion

Thursday, July 15.

Up betimes this morning – a bit after 5 AM to be exact, because this was to be the day when the mountain went to Mohammed. Dan has been consistently evading accepting furloughs that his C. O. has been trying to force upon him on numerous occasions lately, and I made up my paternal mind that I wouldn’t let him get away with it any longer but would seek Daniel in his den, so off I goes to Lancaster. From 1:34 until 7:00 I tramped the country surrounding Lancaster without even seeing one lion, even less Dan, finally learning that his whole outfit had been moved, bag and baggage, to a rumored place about 40 miles distant. With tired heart and sinking feet (or vice versa), but with the old Guion spirit which refuses to be licked, I started to trail T-5 and at 9:30 that night, after sampling bus transportation in Pennsylvania, I arrived at a Service Club in Indiantown Gap (an exact replica, Lad, of the Service Club in Aberdeen) and was tapped on the shoulder and a level (or transit) voice inquired if my surveying of the premises indicated I was searching for anyone in particular. And who do you suppose it was? Right! We never decided who was the more surprised, and I guess we’ll never know. I stayed in his barracks that night by permission of the Sgt., ate a  soldier’s breakfast at six something and after a nice long talk, in which I forgot to ask several things I had come down to find out about (one was what disposition Dan wanted made of his auto which is standing unused in the backyard), I took the 10 AM bus on my return journey (Dan’s time was up anyway), and after transportation delays and journeys in air-conditioned cars which weren’t conditioning, finally arrived back home a bit after 8 PM. Dan expects to be shipped out soon, but when or where is a deep, dark secret.

Saturday, July 17.

Aunt Anne phoned to ask if it would be all right for her and Gwen to come up to stay over with Aunt Dorothy. Gwen, it seems, is with her mother in New Rochelle for the summer but expects to go back to school in Vermont in the fall. Today was Jean’s birthday, which she spent with her family in Stratford.

Sunday, July 18.

Due to being back on the old kitchen detail, I have to divide my Sunday time now, once again, to getting dinner and trying to do odd jobs around the house. Today

I wanted to do some repairs on the old washing machine and also get the laundry tubs in working condition, but had time only for the latter. And I didn’t get the grass cut either. (Dave was busy praying for his father who failed to keep holy the Sabbath day). Carl is now in the Merchant Marine, but can’t land the kind of job he wants because of his colorblindness, so he says he may be peeling potatoes or doing any other job where it won’t matter if things are pink or purple. Barbara is being given a farewell party tonight by the young people. I was invited and intended to go, but it was so late when the Aunts finally got away and I needed a shave and had not written my weekly blurb (even now it is 10:20 and the shave is still to be) and I haven’t had any supper, and it’s getting near the end of the page so I’ll end this now.

Your faithful

DAD

Tomorrow, a letter from Bissie to her older brother, Ced, in Alaska.  On Saturday, the next installment of the Diary and Journal of John Jackson Lewis and his Voyage th California. On Sunday, in my series, My Ancestors, a post about Alfred Beck Guion, my great-grandfather. 

If you are enjoying these letters from an earlier time, please share them with others you think might also enjoy them. If you click FOLLOW VIA EMAIL and enter your email address, each post will automatically be delivered to your inbox. Now how easy is that???

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Extracts from the Diary of Alfred D. Guion (1) – July 18, 1943 – The Circus and a Medal

Grandpa’s creative juices were again flowing freely and this week’s letter takes the form of a Diary, including all the interesting things that happened during the week. He actually ends up including just about everyone in the family – and even one that isn’t yet!

Extracts From The Diary of One Alfred D Guion

of Trumbull Connecticut For The Week

Ending July 18, 1943

Monday, July 12.

Little did I realize when the sun peeked into my bedroom window that this was to be circus day for me, but such it proved, for just before noon Elizabeth phoned to say she planned to take Butch and Marty to “The Greatest Show on Earth”, and was seeking someone to accompany her as assistant child tender. The Big Top was stifling hot, Marty was restless and during the lull between acts fell through the seats to the ground about 2 feet down, injuring his pride, which fact he boldly proclaimed to one and all. While no lady clown was on hand to search for the missing Alfred (This sounds like a reference to an event that took place when my father was a child, but sadly, this is the only reference I have found and there is no one to verify what happened.), many of the acts were reminiscent of those other times when my own little tots laughed at the antics of the clowns, the fire and the men perched atop of innumerable tables and chairs who swayed back and forth until the laws of gravity intervened. After the show nothing would do but the boys must each have a balloon, which, filled with gas, floated appealingly in the air at the end of a string. Not 2 seconds after Marty received his and before Elizabeth could grab the string, Marty shoved his balloon upward. It went sailing gaily up over the telegraph wires and on its way over towards Lordship to cavort with Sikorsky helicopters. Marty was so surprised he didn’t even cry. A replacement was at once secured which we then tied to each youngsters waist.

 

Cedric Duryee Guion

Tuesday, July 13.

PO Box 7 this morning disgorged a letter from Jean – terse but newsy: “Just a line to let you know I’ll be home Wednesday, July 14. Dick was shipped this morning”. Later a postcard came from “private” (if you please) Richard, APO 4684, Miami Florida. Jean told me afterward that he had been demoted, temporarily she believed, because one morning he overslept, and his C. O. felt it was necessary, for the sake of discipline, to make an example of someone and Dick was elected.

But there was another letter in the box, all in red from arson Ced, telling of his method of celebrating Independence Day in Alaska, recalling the fact that this was the first time a fourth of July celebration had been held since the 12 days after he and Dan arrived in Anchorage. Woodley is running in a streak of hard luck. A new pilot just cracked up another of their planes.

 

       Jean (Mrs. Richard) Guion)

Wednesday, July 14.

Jean appeared with a coat of Indianapolis tan, and found awaiting her in Trumbull, a reception committee consisting of her mother, Marilyn, Natalie, (her two sisters) Grandma and Aunt Betty. Since then Jean has been getting her room to rights and getting used to her life as an Army widow.

 

Alfred Peabody Guion (Lad)

While the great transportation arteries of the country were doing their duty by Jean, Postmaster Walker was doing his stuff in the way of a letter from Lad. As the fellow who invented “near-beer” was said to be a poor judge of distance, so Lad seems to have difficulty getting his time right. He writes as of Wednesday night, but on the next page says it is 4:15 AM. Back to your old tricks again, hey, you night hawk! It was mighty good to hear from you just the same, Sgt., and I hope you’ll start a bit earlier (or later) next time and enlarge a bit more on what you are doing. You have a way of writing about things, giving details that make very interesting reading. If Marian knew what nice people we were back here in Trumbull, she’d grant you an hour or so of grace. This isn’t to be construed as complaint because you have been mighty good at writing. I have sons who do lots worse. The following is quoted from a column appearing in the Bridgeport paper headed IN UNIFORM: (I don’t know where they get the information.)

GUION GETS MEDAL

Sgt. Alfred P Guion, son of

                        Alfred D Guion of Trumbull Connecticut,

              won a Marksman’s Medal for rifle

                              shooting recently at Camp Anita, California.

Tomorrow I’ll post the rest of this letter about other family members.

Judy Guion