Trumbull – Gentle Readers (1) – Lad’s HOME – August, 1945

Trumbull, Conn., Aug. 20, 1945

Gentle Reader:

The old boy must be slipping. Here it is Monday night and his Sunday letter isn’t written yet. Oh, of course there’s a reason. Guess what – – – LAD’S HOME ! Yes, he snook in on us Thursday night at about 10 o’clock. Aunt Betty had gone up to bed, Marian was in the kitchen indicting her daily missive to the absent Lad, and I was in my chair in the alcove just about ready to put out the light and go upstairs. I heard the back door open followed by some queer noises, but paid no attention to it as the young folks in the apartment drop in occasionally. Then Marian yelled for me and I came in to find prize package # 1 in all its glory. It put a definite end to the mental gymnastics Marian and I have been practicing since we read in the paper the announcement of part of Lad’s Bn. having landed, trying to figure out if so, when he would phone. Ever since Sunday I have slept with the door open and the sleep alerted ear attuned to the phone eill. Early in the evening when ring 2 (We had a Party Line at the time and the Guion residence was two rings.) came up, either Marian or I would rush expectantly to grab the receiver and each time experience a corresponding let-down. They almost had me fooled Tuesday. At 2:20 AM I awoke with ring 2 making the signal, and grabbing my flashlight so I could hurry down the stairs in one hand, I threw off the bed close with the other and made a flying start for the stairs. THIS IS IT, says I. It couldn’t be anything else at this time of night. Halfway down the stairs my pajama pants fell off, almost tripping me up in my haste (darn these stretchy elastic waistbands when they get old). Anyhow, I bunched them up and continued my headlong flight. A man’s voice said, “I’m phoning for a friend of mine” (Lad of course, it flashed across my mind) (who wants to get married!” Oh boy, what a let-down. I’ve heard of a fellow losing his shirt for a friend but never one losing his pajama bottoms for a friend of someone who wants to get married. From that time on I gave up expecting to hear from Lad so his arrival was all the more a surprise. He looks fine / hasn’t changed a bit as far as I can see. No evidence of deeper lines of mental stress or worry, weight about the same. Just the same old Lad that went away one and a half years ago.

But to get back to my reason for this letter being a day late. Burr Davis, Lad’s godfather, who has a summer cottage at Candlewood Lake, had invited Marian to visit them, and as this was to be Mr. Davis’s last weekend there, Lad invited us all to hop in his car and make it a family visit. We did and had a very enjoyable time, but alas it was too late when we got home to start a letter, and while I fully intended to make up for it during the day at the office, I just didn’t get the opportunity. So, here we are back to beginning. Who will be the next to upset the smooth tenor of our ways by returning home unexpectedly? Dan? Mebbe. I am waiting to hear what his next letter may have to say on this subject. Then perhaps Dick may be next although in view of the fact Jean has just joined him, it is Lad’s guess that this procedure would not have been permitted if they didn’t foresee the men being down there for a year longer. However a letter today from Jean reveals that she was practically on her way when the peace news came through. Maybe this would be a great time to quote her letter:

“Surprise, I’m here. Arrived at one (noon) on the 16th.  Dick didn’t know I was due that day so he didn’t meet me. They had quite a job locating him but when his assistant found him and told him I was here all he could say was, “Are you kidding?” He was quite worried because the officer here told him that all the wives orders had been canceled because of the end of the war. He was sure I wouldn’t be able to come. I wasn’t supposed to leave Miami until Thursday, but when I checked in to

page 2   8/20/45

the Army hotel Tuesday morning, they started rushing me through briefing classes and my last typhoid shot. They told me late in the afternoon that I would be leaving about 6:30 that night. We were out at the airport at seven when the news of the Jap surrender was announced. We took off at eight in a C-47–the same one they flew Gen. Mark Clark back to the US in. We were very lucky to get such a nice one, as most of the planes were just plain transport ships with bucket seats and very uncomfortable. There were seven girls, one child and myself, +5 crew members. Our first stop was Puerto Rico, 2:30 A.M. Wednesday. They gave us breakfast and we sat around in the post lounge waiting for a minor repair to be made until 4:30 A.M. We flew until noon when we stopped at British Guiana. There we were treated like Queens–met us in the staff cars, took us to a restroom to get cleaned up, then to the officer’s mess hall for lunch and from there to a cottage where we took showers and slept until 6 PM, then dinner, after which two officers took us to the officers club for a highball. We took off at eight P. M. Our next stop was at Belem, Brazil, at four A.M. Thursday. After breakfast we took off again, arriving at Natal at 10:45 A.M. Everyone but me and the crew got off—I was the only passenger back to Forteleza.

Dick couldn’t get the house he wanted but he got a cute place in a very nice section, about the same size as the other place, four rooms, bath and a separate servants home on the side. So, we have a garden. Dick is having the yard all fixed up. The man starts work at seven A. M. And works until about 4:34 P.M. for $.50 a day. Can you imagine working in the hot sun for that? I can’t either. It is spring here now. I don’t know what the temperature is but it’s just comfortable and there is always a strong breeze. Dick looks wonderful. He says he’s lost some weight the past week, though, worrying about me and trying to get the house cleaned up. He even bought a table cover for our dining room table.”

Dick adds a P. S. “I want to thank you for having taken such good care of Jean, Dad. I’m happier now than I have been since I was drafted. I don’t mean to insinuate that I was happy they drafted me. She’s the difference between existing and living. My love to all. Dick”.

So we see that maybe if Jean had been a few hours later in getting started, orders might have come through for cancellation. Incidentally, this might cause Lad to revise his opinion that allowing the wives to go down probably means Dick will be there for some time yet. Would like to know what the prospects are as they look to you down there, Dick. Do take some snapshots of the house and send them home as we are all eager to see what the Guion Brazilian home looks like.

Tomorrow I’ll be posting the rest of this letter, and after that, another 5-page letter I’ll squeeze into 3 posts. Enjoy.

Judy Guion

Army Life – March Field – July, 1943

Today’s post is very short because Lad just doesn’t have much time to write and he’s quite tired. I think that condition was quite common with anyone in military service.

Lad's letter from Camp Santa Anita, July, 1943

Lad’s letter from Camp Santa Anita, July, 1943

C.S.A.

Wed nite

Dear Dad;-

I have just finished spending a few days at March Field where, with six others, we were doing some checking on the general condition of ordnance equipment.(It was in fair condition.) March Field is a Bomber Base, and therefore I had a pretty good chance to see a number of different U. S. airships close up. Some of them are surprisingly large, and all of them seem to be well built and maintained.

I’m on C. Q. right now and do not have any of your letters with me, so I’ll just have to answer the things I can remember.

I got the bathing suit O. K., but you addressed it Co. “A” and not “D”, so it took about four days longer than it should.

I made some inquiry again about the check, and it seems as if it should be all straightened out now. However, if not, let me know, and I’ll not stop inquiring until I know something very definite about it.

Things down here have been going on much the same as usual, and everything here is, as usual, all messed up. The days have been pretty warm lately, but it is cool and even cold, at night, which makes it nice sleeping.

I’m a little too tired to write a very comprehensive letter, if I go on, so I’m going to call it quits right now, at 4:15 AM. Remember me to Grandma and Aunt Betty– etc.

Laddie

Army Life – Camp Santa Anita – A Bet and a Band – June, 1943

Grandpa finally receives a letter from Lad with quite a bit more news about Marian Irwin, his main social companion. Things seem to be moving along quite nicely.

Blog - Lad's Army Life - A Bet and a Band - June, 1943

Camp Santa Anita

June 14, 1943

Dear Dad:

This is Monday afternoon. I’m so terribly busy that I’ve had no time to write this morning, and so I have to do it now. (Apparently the ribbon is pretty shot so I shall write in red. Hope you can read it without too much trouble). It is a shame for the past four weeks or more I have done practically nothing, one week I spent out on the range, shooting for record, but even that was not too much of a success. Out of a possible 220 I pulled in only 165. Other than that I have done very little. No instructing, to speak
of, and most of the time I’ve devoted to “goldbricking”, and designing. The basic diesel principles course of which I wrote still has not received the final sanction from Washington, but the office is expecting daily. (And I don’t mean the secretaries – of which there are many, some very good-looking too). Therefore I’ve been making an injector test stand. It has been a lot of fun, but the thing is still only on paper, I won’t know just how well it will work for about a week. Art Lind has been put into the service so I’m in full authorized charge of the tentative class. That means that I’m in line for a staff rating and Art has a bet with me that by the end of August I shall have received the rating. Since the bet is worth winning, I hope that he will sort of give things a little help whenever he can, now that he has the opportunity. I definitely will not be sorry to receive it.

No further news on my furlough. However there has been no chance as yet, concerning the approximate date, and therefore I’m still expecting it to be toward the end of August. And that brings up another matter. I may need a little money in order to get home by plane if possible, and if not, by train. In any case I don’t think that it will be more than $50 or $75. Now if you will be in a position to help, fine and dandy, but if not, fine also. I can get money out here rather easily.

On the $525, I have not been able to find out much. It all amounts to the fact that the check is being handled by a bank here and not an individual.

Lad and Marian, So. Pasadena, CA

Lad and Marian, So. Pasadena, CA

My social life has, if anything, been stepped up. It has also been pretty much concentrated, as far as companionship is concerned, on one girl. I believe I wrote you something about Marian Irwin previously, and she is the subject of concentration. You may hear more about her in the future. Every Thursday evening about 12 or 15 of us, in mixed company, go bowling, and a couple of weeks ago I sort of missed the boat, got off the beam, you know, was behind the eight ball, or in any case I took a couple of bets with Marian, and lost both of them. One game was for a bottle of her favorite perfume against a carton of cigarettes, and the other was for the admission to the play “Firefly”. I pay off Wednesday, and am sort of looking forward to it. Tomorrow night there is to be a swim party and picnic afterward at the Hospitality Center,  sponsored by the Senior and Junior hostesses of the South Pasadena Hospitality House. I expect that it will be a lot of fun. However it reminds me of something you can do for me. In my trunk, I think in the right hand corner, under two or three layers, is my bathing suit. Please dig it out and send it to me here at Camp Santa Anita. The keys for the trunk are in your drawer in the dresser in your room. And continuing on the social life, tonight I am supposed to attend a surprise birthday party for one of the Junior hostesses at her house. She is a friend of Marian’s and has really been awfully nice to all of us. In fact, the four of us, (Vic is no longer a part of our gang), are invited. That is Art, Jr., Vince and myself, and ever since we first started going to the Hospitality House regularly, we have just about taken over the place. Everyone there knows us by our first names, and we are always being invited to something, or someplace. We all expect to have a good time, as usual. That is a sample of just how our free hours are spent, week after week, and on into eternity, I hope. Last night, Art, Marian, and a girlfriend of Art’s and myself went to Hollywood and spent all evening dancing to Woody Herman at the Palladium. Woody is one of the Swing Band Leaders that I don’t like particularly, but he does have a good orchestra and plays some sweet music now and then. Marian is not a jitterbug and neither am I, but she is a very good dancer and we get along very well, dancing to almost any type of music, so we had a perfect time.

I said that Vic is no longer here. He has been accepted by the Army to attend college where he is to study electrical engineering. That means that he will, in all probability, be part of the Army of Occupation that is being built up now. However we do not know just yet to which school he will be sent.

This afternoon, before starting this, I took the machine apart and cleaned it and it is working quite well. There goes the siren which means there are 5 minutes to go until quitting time, so if I want to get supper before it is too late I had better finish this up quick.

So long.

Lad

P.S. the correct phrase is Buenas Noches and not as you wrote it, just in case you didn’t know.

AG

Tomorrow, Wednesday and Thursday will be letters from Grandpa. On Friday, another from Lad.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Dear Victors – A Very Busy Week – August, 1945

Trumbull, Conn.,  Aug. 19, 1945

Dear Victors:

Since my last letter to you (only a week ago as time is reckoned but judged by events, a long era ago), so many things have happened here that it seems as though the Jap surrender happened a long time ago. Already millions of dollars worth of war contracts have been canceled by the Government among Bridgeport plants, thousands of employees here have already been laid off, among them the young folks living in the apartment, who have already made arrangements to vacate next week. Marian is quitting Sikorsky Sept. 1st, unless—-ah, that is something !! Today’s paper brings news that yesterday there arrived in New York a transport caring a bunch of boys that sailed from Marseille, France on August 7th en route to the Philippines via Panama and Hawaii, who were diverted to the U.S., among which was the 142nd  O.B.A.M. This is Lad’s outfit and, in view of the fact mentioned in one of Dan’s recent letters, that upon Lad’s return from Calais he had missed sailing with his outfit, it looks very much as though Lad might be on the August 7th sailing, and may now be in Camp Kilmer, N.J., coming home on a 30-day furlough. So, we are all alerted here for a phone call either today or tomorrow from Lad telling us he is on his way home. Anyway, we have our fingers crossed.

Marian has already announced she will not go to work tomorrow, just in case. Jean wrote Marian it was not out of reason to expect that tomorrow (Monday) she would actually be in Brazil, as last Tuesday she was to move into the Government hotel to be processed, briefed and have her last typhoid shot.

Dan wrote hastily just a few days before VJ day asking me to send Paulette some clothes she had picked out from the Sears Roebuck catalog and Dave on Aug. 6th wrote:  “I’m convinced more and more each day that we will all be home a lot sooner than a lot of people think. To let up would be disastrous, of course, but I can’t see that it can take much longer. You should see the airpower on this one island that has been ours for only a short time.”

Nothing new here. Our job here has slowed way down— what’s next— who knows? Incidentally, a postal from Ted Human from Bahama says he will be back soon in New York as the road award will be delayed for months.

Dan, as soon as I got your letter, I stopped at the Sears store on Fairfield Ave., they told me not one of the dresses Paulette had on the list was any longer in stock, as this was a catalog issued in the spring and they were all sold out. They suggested I wait until the fall catalog was out about Sept. 15th, with the new offerings. Meantime, Marian is going to look around among other Bridgeport stores to see if she can find something along the line of those items Paulette has selected. As the missing camera part, I will try to find it, but not knowing just what to look for, I am rather handicapped in my quest. Meantime, I am breathlessly awaiting news from all of you boys as to what definite news, if any, you may have had regarding your return to the U.S.A.

Aunt Elsie is here with us today, and I shall have to leave in a few minutes to take her to the Station. By the way, all gas rationing is off and you’d be surprised how many cars are on the road again. All you do now is drive in a gas station, and like old days, just say “Fill ‘er up”, only the rush has been too much for many gas stations and they quickly run out of their supply. I hope too, that before long, the quality of gas will be considerably better. Both tire and food rationing is easing up, and blue points for canned fruit and vegetables has been discontinued. Meat, butter and sugar is still rationed. By the first of the year we are promised many things that we have not been able to obtain for years. Peace has come with a bang, and it is good, always.

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Dan has just forwarded to me a letter written by Paulette’s father last June, which is such a friendly message and so courteously written in English that I thought you would all be pleased to read it.

Dear Sir and friend:

Since a long time I intended to write you but I was nearly shamefully of having so much my English language forgotten. 31 years past I went in England for the last time and I had rarely the opportunity to maintain myself and refresh my vocabulary. Therefore I beg you to excuse me. I hope that you will even though understand me. At first, I wish to say you very sincerely and cordially, you may and you must be the proudest father (proud in the good sense), only when considering the most precious qualities of intelligence, of education and chiefly of heart, of your son Daniel. The most loving son will be surely the most loving husband. As for his future, we are not disquieted, and confidingly,  we canfide the happiness of Paulette to Daniel without the least fear. Since the first day when making his acquaintance, a current of sympathy, the largest, the warmest, the most heartily, streamed between us. It was soon a real affection and he has become for us a new son which we love alike our other children. Paulette has communicated us your letters and those of her future sisters. I should not know to explain you how much we have happily been affected when reading. We are sure that Paulette shall find, landing in the U.S., the most cordial and affectionate welcome in her new family. I care particularly about not to forget to thank you all for the splendid gifts that you have offered to Paulette and for those that we have ourselves received. Paulette has truly a new Dad who loves her well. You are too kind. How to thank you enough? We would fix the date of marriage to the 4th August next, at Calais. Do you agree this date? Daniel will be intermediate between us for fixing it. I halt and I ask you for saying lovely things to your family, and shaking heartily your hand, I am, yours truly and affectionately, Maurice Senechal.

Carl has quit the Merchant Marine and is looking around for some business of his own, possibly in the Marine field. Mr. Gibson has opened up a gas station near the Merritt Parkway at Oronoque, Conn. My hay fever has started. Happy birthday to Dick and the hope that Jean was able to be with him to suitably celebrate the day. It is Elsie’s birthday on the 22nd.

And that’s about all my excited brain can think of to say at present. Anyhow, I don’t want to write half as much as I want to hear from you all with your reaction to the big news and your ideas about homecoming. I took a part holiday Wednesday and all day Thursday celebrating by taking Marian and Aunt Betty for an all day auto ride visiting the Lees and the Kirchers. It was a beautiful, sunshiny day and we all enjoyed it. When the news broke in Trumbull it was recognized by the blowing of the fire siren, peeling of the church bell, tooting of auto horns with sundry yippeeees and bangs, with Marian, in between times, jumping up and down and clapping her hands in ecstasy. However, if Lad’s voice comes over the phone within the next few hours, her past actions will be mild compared to what will happen then. I hope, I hope, I hope. Well, we shall see. In any event, it won’t be long now when some of you will make this old place live again.

DAD

 

Tomorrow and Sunday, I’ll continue the story of Mary E Wilson and her early years here in America. Next week I’ll begin posting letters written in 1941. Both Lad and Dan are facing the real possibility that yhey will be drafted soon. The pressure isn’t quite as strong for Dick or Ced and, fortunately, Dave is still in high school. Judy Guion

Army Life – The Gospel According to St. Lad – August, 1945

The Gospel According to St. Lad.

(Because Dan had not been able to locate a Scottish friend of his in Calais, he had not been able to locate a place for me to sleep, so with the aid of a feather mattress and blankets on the floor, I’ve slept since I’ve not slept since I left the states. It was wonderful!)

On the day of the wedding Dan came in about 8 o’clock and woke me, suggesting that I get up right away. That I did and after folding the blankets and straightening up the room a bit, I went out to the kitchen for breakfast. That consisted of a cup (chipped in with no handles) of coffee and a piece of bread and butter. That was the extent of the variety but I could have all of it I wanted. I just had one of each. One at a time the others showed up and by nine everyone had eaten if he desired. Then the rush for the bathroom began but I succeeded in getting a shave about 10 or a little after while the girls were helping Paulette get dressed in her room up on the third floor. All this time there were last-minute preparations being made by the male members of the household, as well. Shoes to be shined, last-minute mending of buttons, etc., on old clothes and general sprucing up. The house was hectic and Mme. Senechal said that next time she would never have an

Page 3 of the Gospel

American as a son-in-law. (As Paulette is her last daughter she shall have her wish. By eleven someone realized what time it was and an uproar started. The wedding was scheduled for 11:30 and Dan and Paulette, plus close relatives of each, had to go to the City Hall to sign certain papers beforehand, so we all dashed out to the hired cars and took off. The signing of the papers was rather a formal procedure in itself and we were marched in, in procession, like the wedding ceremony itself. The official, a friend of everyone there, had just gotten his appointment a few days before he was rather happy, but everything went off O.K. (by “happy” I mean pleased at the office”.) We each, after taking an oath, which I didn’t understand, but upon which I was enlightened by Dan, signed our names to three or four papers and then, following custom, Paulette, starting with Dan and going the rounds, passsed a plate for contributions for the poor. It seems that it happens at every gathering, the bride-to-be passed it at the paper signing conference. After that we marched formally out again and got back into the cars.

The church was almost across the street from the Senechal pharmacy-home, so the cars drove away after leaving us at the church. Incidentally, this was the first time an American had been married in Calais so there were crowds everywhere we went, just gazing. The church, from the street, looked just like somebody’s home or a business building, as do all the houses in French cities and it is hard to tell which is which until you get out of the business district. Inside, however, it looked like a rather nice place, but not a very prosperous one. At least it was clean. Just a few minutes late the ceremony started as a small organ played the wedding march and after we all were in our places, the priest began the longest oration I’ve ever listened to. For about 45 minutes he talked, very very frequently saying “je suis avec vous, tontes les jours”. He repeated it so much that later in the afternoon someone asked me if I’d like to have him with me, like he was apparently going to be with Dan and Paulette.

About 1:30 we got out of the church and went across the street to the house. There, preparations had begun for a sumptuous feast, and about 2:30 or 3:00, after extensive picture taking, the meal got underway. What we had to eat you have to ask Paulette, I imagine, but it consisted of eight or 10 courses, and as I was not informed beforehand, I could only do justice to about 3. And anyway, I wasn’t feeling too good. My stomach was acting up a little, but after drinking quite a few varieties of wine plus some good cognac that Dan had gotten from where, I felt better and had a fairly good time.

At 4:00, Dan and Chiche had an appointment with the photographer, so while they were gone things were practically at a standstill. But upon their return, the party resumed. About eight or nine we got up from the table and the room was cleared of all “debris”, while everyone got ready for a dance. A two piece orchestra, accordion and saxophone, came in plus all the Senechal’s friends and their friends and we danced (frog-hop mostly) until about 2 A.M. The party broke up when, much to everybody’s consternation, Dan and Paulette made a break, assisted by myself and two of her sisters. For about 30 seconds we were able to hold off a few of the more aggressive, giving them time to get to Paulette’s room and lock the door. The next day Dan told me he was worried, fearing that they were going to break the locks, but other than finding and trying from 20 to 30 different keys, they left them alone. Right after that the party broke up and everyone went home.

Page 4 of the Gospel

During the day, Dan’s Scottish friend came in, so he had told me where to sleep, and a Canadian, Jack, another friend, had suffered (?) with me. At the table there was quite a representation. Friends of the Senechals made up the French representation. There were also people from Scotland, England, Canada, Denmark, Belgium and the U.S. — seven countries.

Next morning after breakfast I went back to the Senechals. There I also had some coffee and went out to sit on the back porch. The Sears Roebuck catalog was the only reading material so I read that until the household got up. Although I failed to mention it earlier, everyone, with the exception of Paulette and “Papa”, thought at one time or another that I was Dan. I never thought we resembled each other but the people there were always calling me “Dan”. Anyway, while I was sitting on the porch, “Maman” got up and seeing “Dan” out there alone thought, “Already they’ve had a fight”, so she came all the way over to the chair before she realized. Upon recognition she was so happy she broke into laughter and woke up the rest and they all went in to breakfast.

Tomorrow and Friday I’ll post another letter from Grandpa with updates on the entire family.

On Saturday and Sunday, I’ll be continuing the Autobiography of Mary E. Wilson.

Judy Guion

Friends – A Letter to Lad From A Friend From Venezuela – October, 1941

APG - The bunch at Pariaguan - 1940

The bunch at Pariaguan – 1940

L.K. Sieck

3222 West Street

Ames, Iowa

Oct. 12, 1941

Dear Al;

If Chris hasn’t already informed you, I have now removed to the U.S.A. I decided to enter school here at Iowa State College. My third week of classes has already passed and I find it very much to my liking. I am taking up civil engineering.

How are you doing? Fine I hope. Chris said he was sure you were married as you didn’t find time to write. Married or not, I’ll be around for a visit sometime. If you aren’t living in the U.S.A., the world isn’t so big that you just disappear.

I had a swell trip up from Venezuela. I traveled all the way by air. Had a little delay getting started though. When we left Guario it was clear but when we arrived in Maiquetia, fog had the airport covered. We cruised around until we had to return or run out of gas. Red went back to Guario, filled up with a little from the Pan-American and then we went to Pariaguan. Woody finished filling her up and that afternoon we got into Maiquetia. Some start, eh !

I stopped over two days in the Canal Zone. They really are busy there with all the lock construction, the new airports and naval bases and also a new road that they are building across the Isthmus. The road had always been delayed as the railroad belongs to the U.S. government and they were afraid it would take away business. Some boost for a Pan American highway when the U.S. doesn’t even have a road connecting the two ends of the canal.

Going north from there we landed in every Central American country. We spent about 16 hours in Guatemala City. The city is high and really cool. In fact I went out walking at night and it was cold. I spent 24 hours in Mexico City also. There I went out to see the pyramids about 60 kilometers away. Those Aztecs certainly built those pyramids for all time.

The scenery kept my neck stretched all the time. Volcanoes in Nicaragua in the lake, and the one that we flew by in Guatemala, evidently blew out the side. It was just a mountainside of smoking ashes. I was sure mad at myself for not having a camera.

Now we get to the real purpose – seeing as how I was once a good friend of yours? I want to find out if I could rent some of your movies for a showing here. Boy, they would sure go over good. I am joining the student branch of the American Society of Civil Engineers and a few scenes of crossing the Orinoco or the trip to El Callao shown at a meeting would be mighty interesting. That time the well was blowing off at El Tigre would be pretty good too. I will do almost anything to get on the waiting line for some of those scenes. I wonder if I could have duplicates made of some of them. Well, let me know if you get this letter.

Getting back to the trip; I set foot in 10 countries, Venezuela, Colombia, Panama, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Honduras, San Salvador, Guatemala, Mexico, and the good old U.S.A. I left Guario the 15th of August and landed in Omaha, Nebraska the 25th of August. 10 days and 10 countries, boy was I happy. When I landed in Brownsville they hailed me off to the side to have a check up and take my temperature. There were mostly American schoolteachers on the plane from Mexico City and you could hear them wondering what I had. When they released me I had to prove to those schoolmarm’s that I wasn’t sick and didn’t have yellow fever or malaria or something.

If you ever cross Iowa, don’t forget to drop in on Ames. Our hospitality won’t make you rush off right away.

With best regards to you and your movies, I am,

Yours truly,

______________

L.K.Sieck

3222 West Street

Ames Iowa

P.S. – In that seventh paragraph, I also want to remain a good friend of yours.

Later today and tomorrow I’ll be posting a letter from Grandpa to  his two remaining sons in Alaska.

On Saturday and Sunday, more from the Autobiography of Mary E. Wilson.

Judy Guion

Blog – Army Life (3) – A Letter From Lad in France – July, 1945

Grandpa’s letter continues with a copy of Lad’s letter from somewhere in Southern France.

APG - APG at D_____ ______ a_____, 25 June, 1945

Alfred Peabody Guion (Lad), in France

Copy of letter from Lad, Southern France, rec’d July 31

Due to restrictions, just where I am is a secret. I have gone swimming in the Mediterranean, but where we are allowed to swim, there are numerous jellyfish of the stinging variety and the wind has a habit of blowing most of the time, so that you get stung in the water and chilled out of it. And besides, I prefer fresh water. We do have a canal near enough to go in for a dip, so that is where I go. Speaking of canals, there is a system of them here, like roads. They probably were built long, long, years ago when wheeled vehicles were unknown or at least scarce, and by the use of gates, reach almost all cities and towns of any size at all – – quite complex and complete. Due to the constant tread of feet and trucks, the sparse vegetation here is even scarcer, and in conjunction with gusty winds, the dust which is almost always present in some degree is very, very bad. At times it is hard to see the person just a few feet from you. There is a cloud of dust, like fog, which the wind keeps in the air so that it never disappears. I don’t think we have had even one day without sun and it sure is hot. Very similar to Venezuela except that it is warmer at night, and not so pleasant. I would rather be in S. A. than here.

And now your letters.

May 13th. In answer to a question of Aunt Elsie’s, there are birds here, but nothing like in Trumbull. Maybe in other parts of France they are more plentiful. They are very scarce here and very limited in “makes and models”. Did Biss ever get her pocketbook? And Aunt Betty as Aunt Elsie’s nurse sounds just like her – – never happy unless she’s helping somebody else regardless of self-inconvenience. And tell her, as I used to tell her, before I went into the Army, she really is a good cook.

May 20th. Dan’s comment upon Holland as “like the City Trust Co.” is very descriptive, isn’t it? Just the same I’d like to see it.

Page 4 (continuation of Lad’s letter)

I hope Dan answers at least some of those questioned you referred to. I inserted the word “honestly” in the question about your health for just the reason you reached. Thanks for your answer, and don’t try to “beat an auto at its own game”. Of course you are bound to worry, but as you’ve told us innumerable times, worry doesn’t accomplish anything except the ill effect on the worrier, so please try to keep it at a minimum.

May 27th. You mention only four flowers. Did you leave out tiger lilies and skunk cabbage purposely, not wishing to cause Biss and myself undue embarrassment? And I owe Ced a letter, so thank you for the reminder of his birthday. I’m still “too damned healthy” to suit me and about as happy as I could be here. There’s no reason for being otherwise.

Now back to your letters. In the many years which have passed since the “goat days”, I wondered once in a while just why you bought those goats, and at last I found the reason. It is possible that you’ve told me before, but if so, I’ve forgotten it. In the same letter you have a quote from Dave which is really rather humorous in a couple of spots, now that you know he is actually in Okinawa. I understand that one Al. Peabody (Lad himself) may be there too. Maybe Dave will be able to look him up.

Alfred Duryee Guion

Jean (Mortensen) and Dick Guion

June 3rd. Dick and Jean are very fortunate. That is one of the reasons I wanted to be a part of the occupational forces over here. The prospects of getting out of the Army were very slim. Here is my set up on discharge points as of May 15th – – the end of the time for calculation. 36 months in the service, six months overseas and one battle star, (36, 6 & 5) a total of 47, just a little over half of the 85 points necessary. Dan’s vivid description is very good. I wish I could have been someplace in a little larger town then Langres at the time. I ‘d have enjoyed it immensely, I’m sure.

June 10th. Not much to comment on here.

June 17th. Tops all others as far as news is concerned. It is really nice to receive a letter written with no thought of censorship and it must be even more fun to write. I never do so without thinking of the regulations, which greatly curtails the little interesting things which make a letter so much fun to read. Those letters of Dave’s and Dan’s have been read by a number of the fellows here and are still in circulation. With the exception of the end of the Japanese war on July 15, all the other predictions have passed unnoticed. As far as I’m concerned, any day, whether predicted or not, will be a good one for the war to end – – the sooner, the better.

Tomorrow, I’ll continue with Grandpa’s copies of letters from Dan and, will wonders never cease, Dick. On Friday, a letter from Dave and Grandpa’s final comments.

Judy Guion