Special Picture #338 – Trumbull House – Then and Now – Side of the Barn – 1943 – 2018

 

View of the side of the barn

 

Photo of Lad (Alfred Peabody, my father) standing on the side of the barn, probably on his furlough in September, 1943.

 

Tomorrow another post about one of my ancestors.

On Monday, I’ll begin posting letters written in 1943, a momentous year for Lad in California.

Judy Guion

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Friends – Biss Writes to Ced and A Quick Note From Lad – March 31 and April 2, 1944

Elizabeth (Biss) Guion Zabel

            Elizabeth (Biss) Guion Zabel

Friday afternoon

2:07 P.M.

3/31/44

Dear Ced: —

I am going to do a mean thing to you and write a very short note, as it is well into the PM already and I have touched nothing at all in the house. Besides I have just finished writing five other letters and am beginning to get tired. I wrote Alfred, Aunt Dorothy, Uncle Burton, Peg and Viv. Viv was disappointed because she didn’t get to see you while you were home. I am writing mainly to find out how you made out with your deferment and whether or not this new law, of all under 26, will spoil your deferment for you – I hope you will be able to hold off until June and maybe you will be able to keep out altogether.

I got a letter from Aunt Dorothy this morning and she is up and around again – that is what started me on this writing spree. I had been meaning to write her ever since I found out she was laid up. I am beginning to feel like my old self again, thank goodness. Butch is supposed to be in bed with a cold but I think he is out more than in – I have told him to get back to bed so far about 100 times at least. Marty just came in from outside with wet feet and pants so he has to go to bed as soon as he is through  in the bathroom. They’re going to have their pictures taken tomorrow night in their sailor suits. I wish it would get nice and warm out – we have had a couple of warm days so far and it just makes one inpatient for more of them. Marty is calling so I guess I had better close here.

Love,

Biss

P.S. – My arm is so tired it is stiff and sore – that is my real reason for stopping.

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

Because this note from Biss  is so short, I am also going to add a short note from Lad.

Lad Guion

Lad Guion

Sun., April 2, 1944

Dear Dad, Aunt Betty, etc.: –

Tomorrow is the big day. I shall be 30. Getting along in years, eh ! Got your gift and letter also. Thanks, Dad, and when we have a few spare moments we shall write an answer to your letter enclosing the checked suggestions.

Our mailing address still remains the same (491, Pomona) but we have moved into an apartment in a town called Ontario, about 2 1/2 miles east of Pomona. It reminds me of the Ives’s place as it was before Fred Stanley bought it. We only have a couple of rooms, but we have worked all day today and it is not even half completed. Gee, there are so many things to be done, you wonder if they will ever be finished. In our case it is almost futile, since just about the time we have it fixed to our satisfaction, Uncle Sam will move me to some other camp, as has been the case ever since we were married. The place is at 3132 W. A. St., Ontario. It is on the main road to Los Angeles and the trucks keep Marion awake still, but I guess I’m used to lots of noise or I’m too tired at night not to sleep. Anyway, I sleep. It is a couple of minutes after nine, but since I have to get up at 4:30 AM, nine o’clock is my bedtime, and I sure can use one tonight. Give my love to Aunt Betty and the rest and I’ll see you all sometime soon.

Laddie

Tomorrow, another letter from Grandpa covering news of Trumbull family and friends. 

Judy Guion

Army Life – Dear Dad – Southern California as seen from Arcadia, Pasadena, LA, Hollywood and Beverly Hills – January 9, 1943

It’s 1943 and we have followed Lad from home to Aberdeen Maryland for Ordnance Training School where he and his best friends, were chosen to have further training as  instructors of vehicle mechanics and maintenance, My father was sent to  Flint Michigan for a week of further training in diesel mechanics, while his buddies traveled to Santa Anita, California, their next destination, by various routes. After he completed his training, Lad drove on to Santa Anita, California by himself.  This is Lad’s first letter home.

Alfred (Lad) Guion in California

January 9, 1943

Dear Dad:

Well, even if you have not heard much of my progress across from Chicago, I’m here and according to my speedometer, 4200 miles have been successfully manipulated. Other than a bad condenser just outside of Pittsburgh on the Turnpike and a clogged radiator somewhere between Flint and Chicago, the car performed admirably.

The camp here – contrary to what it’s name implies – is far from comfortable. No sheets or pillowcases, no heat (yes, we need heat) , no hot water and no organization as yet. It is still very much in the process of being renovated and rebuilt after being used as a Japanese holding area. In a couple of months it will, in all probability, be much nicer.

Now, I’ll tell you a little about Southern California as seen from Arcadia, Pasadena, LA, Hollywood and Beverly Hills. Here is how things have gone. I got into Arcadia early on Monday the fourth and since I was not due to report until the seventh I just used my special orders to get into camp to leave some of my stuff and then went out again. While in camp, I looked for and found Art Lind and Vern Eddington  (both from Aberdeen and Flint) and tried to borrow some money from them. No luck but I learned where there were USO houses and left.

In Pasadena I found one, had breakfast and then cleaned up in a house maintained for servicemen for just that purpose. Then I went into Los Angeles. Not much doing there so I came back to Arcadia, left some clothes at the cleaners and again when into Pasadena. I spent the rest of the afternoon and evening dancing, playing bridge and snacking.

That night I spent in the car on the front seat. I discovered that when California is advertised – the land of sunshine or sunny California – they mention only the times when the sun is shining. During the day it is always quite warm but – – – the nights – – –. I have been told that antifreeze is not needed here, but observation and records show that the temperature during the early morning at this time of year usually drops to somewhere below 37° but never lower than 30°. Well, that is mighty cool when the days are so warm. There have been days when I have perspired as I drove along with the windows open.

Well, to get on with my narrative. Wednesday morning it was nearly noon and I went to the Y and cleaned up and then went into LA for lunch. I wandered around a little but it is too big to get very far on foot so I went back to the car and was just driving aimlessly toward camp went four soldiers asked me if I was going to Hollywood. I had not thought of that, so I said “Sure” and off we went.

At the USO there I talked with some of the hostesses and found out what I could about the town and then decided to go out to the Beverly Hills Hotel where there was another USO. I tried to get someone to go out with me and show me some of the prettier places and views, but was unsuccessful.

I went back to Hollywood to the Hollywood canteen and stayed there the rest of the night dancing and snacking (new word here in LA and vicinity) until the place closed at 12. With a fellow I met there, I went to the Palladium and did some more dancing to Tommy Dorsey, he really is very good.

That night I drove way up above the Beverly Hills residence section and again spent the night in the car. The view was gorgeous and I spent quite some time just sitting in the sun and looking. Then back to the Beverly Hills Hotel USO to clean up and eat. I spent the early afternoon there reading and talking with various women and soldiers and then went back to Hollywood and saw “Random Harvest” ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Random_Harvest_(film) )  ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6QmgB0zB2BY )which I enjoyed just as much as the book.

Then I went back to the Hollywood canteen until 12 and then to Florentine Gardens for more dancing. After a cup of coffee at about 2:30 I drove back to Arcadia. I had to report here on Friday but at that hour of the morning there was nothing doing so I slept, again in the car.

I reported yesterday morning and spent all afternoon getting arranged. The camp is in quarantine for the “Flu” so I did not go out yesterday evening but went to a show put on here at the post by a bunch of Hollywood stars. It was very good.

Today I spent all morning getting acquainted with the camp here and trying to get my car registered on the post. I ate just before starting this letter. So that brings the past week up to date. Oh no, one more thing. Tell Dick that if he heard Harry James on the Chesterfield Program Tuesday, I was one of those fellows doing the clapping after each piece. I rather enjoyed it, even though I don’t particularly like Harry James.

Well I still have more to do in order to complete the car registration so I think that I’ll be on my way now, and until the next letter I shall remain

Lad

I am well, still, and I’m hoping the quarantine will be lifted this afternoon. Give my love to Aunt Betty and the rest (and even the dog).

AG

I’ll finish out the week with three more letters from Grandpa.

Judy Guion

Army Life – Dear Everybody – Lad Arrives in Texarkana – January 9, 1944

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

As you may remember, Lad received orders to report to Taxarkana, Texas before Christmas and only one month after getting married to Marian in California. They had a quiet and early Christmas just before he left on the 21st. This is his first letter to the Home Guard, and his father, in Trumbull.

Sun. Noon  Jan. 9, 1944

Dear Everybody:-

I’m sorry, but my first thoughts and letters are now to Marian, and you all have sort of slid down a peg in line of importance. However, that doesn’t mean that my affections have in any sense, decreased. I still think of all of you, constantly, but time has been very lacking. In fact I’ve had to skip writing to Marian two nights last week. Here is the reason, en todo:-

Lad - 1943

Lad – 1943

On December 18th I was told that I was to go to Texarkana or Flora, Miss. On the 21st I learned definitely that it was Texarkana and that I had to be there by December 25th. Some Xmas present. By noon on the 21st I was on my way via the Buick. Two flat tires and being forced into the ditch on an icy road were the only troubles other than getting gasoline. As I wired, I got in on Sat., December 25th and that’s ”B.S.” in the message should have been “By”. The Texarkana W.U. (Western Union) also made a mistake in the one to Marian. Until Jan. 3rd we worked hard getting a group of men ready for basic training, which really amounted to nothing of consequence and we really didn’t need to arrive here until Jan. 2nd. That first week was just a waste of time. Then on the 3rd we started training our men in earnest. From Santa Anita 25 good men were sent here as the parent cadre for the 3019th Co. 142 Bn. We are an engine rebuild company attached to the 142 Bn. which contains two engine rebuild cos., one powertrain rebuild Co., one Hq & supply Co. and one base depot co. We will work as a unit, always, the five companies being in close contact at all times and performing 5th echelon or Base Ord. work. I saw one of the barracks sergeants and am responsible to see that my 23 privates passed a P.O.E. examination. If they pass we are scheduled for overseas shipment sometime in June or July, and there seems to be no kidding about that. Due to our type of work we should always be at least 300 miles from the front lines. That, at least, is one consolation. This past week, and I imagine that the next five also, has been the toughest one I’ve spent since my induction in May, 1942. I am teaching these boys (most of them have at least one child, some three or four or five) the same training I received during my first five weeks in the Army. They have all been in the Army less than one month, and all were inducted just a few days before Christmas. I’ll never understand why the Army does some of the things it does. It is very disheartening, and produces a lot of resentment, even in myself.

The weather here is terrible after Southern California. Today is the fourth day of sunshine we’ve seen in over two weeks. It is cold enough to freeze and we had snow for two days. It is impossible to keep warm and well in the cold, wet rain we’ve had here. I’ve got a very slight cold, but other than that and cold feet, I’m well.

Marian is coming out by train, I think, soon after February 1st and will come to Trumbull with me when (?) I get my furlough. Please keep your fingers crossed.

Christmas, naturally, was quite a quiet affair, and the same with New Year’s Eve, and not being able to wire anything I had to use “the best of everything” in my telegram. However, the thoughts to you all were there nonetheless.

I got your gifts, thanks, via Marian and the mail, and was extremely pleased with everything. This is my last sheet of paper until I go to the PX so I’ll quit with the very best wishes for the new year and a sincere desire that your numerous wishes come true.

Lots of love, etc.

Laddie

Tomorrow and Friday, Another letter from Grandpa to his sons.

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

On Sunday, Post # 2 of My Ancestors – Anna Charlotta (Westlin) Peabody, wife of Kemper Foster Peabody. Information about him was posted last Sunday.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Dear Leaders of Tomorrow (2) – Notes to Lad and Ced – January 10, 1943

ADG - Grandpa, when I know him, early 1960's

Page 2     1/10/43

To Lad:      I know darn well you didn’t get the Christmas box I sent to Flint because it was returned to Trumbull the other day and is now on its way again to Arcadia. The amount of postage to and from and to again bids fair to equal the value of the contents of said box. I hope it reaches you this trip. I suppose you are now installed at the Santa Anita racecourse, will refrain from any horseplay and with the Flint experience in mind, now know your oats better than ever. Incidentally, the only report on Flint from you had to do with female activities, leaving chapter 2 to come on the business accomplishments. Then there is the account of your Christmas activities, the report of the trip west and all about your present set up. Yes, indeed, a long letter (or series) is indicated. I am enclosing a little celluloid card I had printed up for one of my local customers in the hope it might be useful. The report of “An actual oil shortage” gives rise to the thought that it is about time some of those wells you and S-V (Socony-Vacuum Oil Company) drilled in Venezuela might very well be made to come in and the refined product from Aruba be sent by a considerably shorter haul to north Africa instead of denuding the eastern states of the Texas and Oklahoma accumulation we need here for heating and cars and production. Maybe the stock you hold in your friend’s company will amount to something. The other clipping you might send to Ced, as I think he too, will be interested in it.

To Ced:      With undaunted spirit I have undertaken the job of getting the portable radio batteries. I have visited one after another of the retail radio stores, even trying a wholesaler. Reports: “Haven’t a one and won’t get anymore.” “They’re not making them anymore for civilians.” “Out for the duration”. “Burgess is best in any country but I doubt if you get any make in Bridgeport”. Finally in desperation I went back to Sears Roebuck who had two “A” And two “B” batteries which they thought would fit only their own sets, which was the only reason they had these few sets on hand, and thinking that even batteries that didn’t fit inside your case would be better than none at all and at least could be made to work even if you could not take advantage of the portable feature by reason of having to hook them up outside the case, I bought them and am sending them to you as my Christmas gift. I am also going to see if I cannot secure the indoor serial gadget I saw in one of the stores, which the fellow said were unobtainable anymore when his present stock was exhausted. Aunt Betty’s little portable radio she keeps in the kitchen has not been working right, so I got one of these for her with the money you sent on for Christmas gifts, and it seems to be much better. Incidentally, she wants me to thank you for her. You gave Dave a pair of shoes he wanted very much and Elizabeth a kitchen apron. I am waiting as far as Dick is concerned to see if he gets into the service and will be guided as to the character of his gift from you accordingly. I have not heard from Dan and Lad yet as to what they would like. Of course I am eagerly awaiting news as to what the Juneau Board decided in your case and where you finally get located in living quarters. Along with the radio batteries I am including in the box a few items to help in your housekeeping activities – – not much, but enough to remind you to write me what else along the same line you would like that you cannot obtain already in Anchorage. I hope the first Christmas box has now reached you and that some of the bicycle gadgets are not too superfluous.

DAD

Tomorrow and Sunday, more Special Pictures of the Trumbull House – Then and Now.

On Monday, I’ll begin posting a week of letters written in 1944 when all the boys are working for Uncle Sam.

Judy Guion 

Trumbull – Dear Boys (1) – Lad Is Driving to California – January 3, 1943

Grandpa begins 1943 with a 3-pager, a page each to Lad, Dan and Ced, the only boys away from home at this time.

??????????????????????????

TRUMBULL, Conn., Jan. 3, 1943.

Dear Boys:

Notice the date? No erasures, which means that I hit it right the first time this year I have written the date, indicating mental acuteness in spite of advancing years, war weariness, income tax woes, offspring uncertainties or what have you. Just to start the new year right, I shall write each of you a letter, trying not to duplicate on material so that you may each have the doubtful, clandestine satisfaction of snooping into the other fellow’s letter when he’s not around to see what you are doing.

Dear Lad:

Well, that’s a nice way to end the old year! And how hard-hearted of you. Here I have been saving pennies all the year, even robbing baby David’s piggy bank in order to have enough funds to purchase bourbon, Scotch, Irish and gin to go on a little binge all by myself to properly usher in the new year when you have to spoil it all by wiring me on Dec. 31, as follows: “No news was good news. Radiator trouble. Send $30 care Western Union, Tulsa, Okla.” As you did not specify whether the radiator in trouble was the cars or yours, my imagination is left full play. What became (stern voice) of all the alcohol you once had in the radiator? I only hope you will not be reduced to eating sterno with a spoon. However, as you may now have learned (I hope), I duly dispatched to the 30 simoleons with what was intended to be a cheery New Year’s greeting, hoping your head would have cleared sufficiently by that time to be able to read the message without seeing it double. By the way, as an extra precaution to aid in proper identification, I requested they ask your army number, and in less you see some reason why this is not a good idea, I think I shall follow this procedure in the future with any of you boys who ask for funds by wire. A bi-product of your message was the news that you were on your way, and quite possibly you have already arrived at your destination as these words are being written. If you don’t have another attack of girl trouble in as virulent a form as the epidemic that hit you at Flint, perhaps we may hear a bit more of the growth and progress of Corp. Guion. At present, I am sorry to say I cannot reply to any of your unanswered letters. Since Christmas, when Dan staged a bout with old man Barleycorn and used the alcove divan as a first aid dressing station, he has been back in the clutches of the Army, and speaking of clutches, he and Barbara, so the latter informed me, have decided to become dis-engaged, arriving at the decision by mutual agreement. I had a nice letter from Ethel in which she expresses regret that she sort of moved out on us without warning, due primarily to the tremendous task of getting the whole outfit moved so far and so quickly. She says: “We like it so much here and everyone is well and happy. You know how six people eat and there is no domestic help here. We just can’t wait for things to be so you can all come and visit us.” A letter from Roger Batchelder says he is out of the Army and in the Reserve. He says he made the slightest mistake of remarking to the adjutant (a 1st Lieut. who went to the Academy), “Pardon, sir, but when I was carrying a rifle around, you were in diapers”. He told the general about it, resulting in three weeks leave with pay and transferred to the Reserves. I imagine he had a few under his belt when that happened. Some people never learn. He said the only notification of Austin’s death came to him when a hotel clerk showed him the obit in a newspaper.

Dad.

Tomorrow, a letter addressed to Dan and on Wednesday, a letter addressed to Ced. Thursday and Friday, another letter from Grandpa to all his boys away from home.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – My Dear “Poor Dogs” – St. Patrick’s Day – 1946

St. Patrick’s day in the mornin’, 1946

My dear “poor dogs”:

No disrespect intended of course. And besides, it is generally admitted I believe that the dog is man’s best friend, but even this implies designation of you as my best friend is not the meaning I had in mind in the usual salutation. It is rather based on the old childhood saga. When this here Father Hubbard went this week to the mailbox cupboard he found it entirely bare of quotes and so you have none. Q.M.D. of course I might have called you snakes, again in no sense of disrespect but hoping in view of the day that you in turn would be driven out of your respective “islands” and shipped back to the mainland of the U.S. anyway, it is St. Patrick’s Day in the morning here or glancing at my gold watch and chain I see it is but nine A.M. – – an unusually early time for me to be indicting my weekly Clarion, but you see I have already been up hours applying a coat to tar to the laundry roof – – that and the driveway seem to be perennial jobs. And the reason for all this unseemly early morning activity? Well, Friday evening the phone rang and Aunt Anne (Anne Peabody Stanley, Grandma Arla’s younger sister), after the usual inquiry as to the state of my health, thought it might be a good thing if the six of us (Grandpa, Aunt Betty, Lad, Marian, Dick and Jean) should motor down today and visit them at her apartment. I consulted the various oracles and as all the auguries seemed favorable, I gave an affirmative answer and in an hour or so we start for the big city; AND not wanting to let the day go by without the usual letter you have learned to expect on this day, it seemed best to get started with it early, and there you have the whole thing laid bare before you. It took me a long time to say “I’m writing you early because we are going to N. Y. this afternoon”, but I have to fill up the page with words of some sort and news this week is confined to Joe Stalin’s blasts, Winston Churchill’s flowing measures and news of the settlement of the General Motors and General Electric strike settlement.

There is a little of local moment. Paul (Warden, the apartment tenant, along with his wife and two children), with the aid of Walter Mantle, is putting a new wall on the apartment bathroom. Jean went shopping in New York Thursday with Marion Hopkins (one of her objects being to see if, in the big city, she could find some suitable dress material for Paulette, unsuccessfully, I might add). Dick and Jean went horseback riding yesterday morning from the Madison Avenue Sables, it being a beautiful spring day, and later came back and did some cleaning up work around the yard.

Dave, I forgot to mention in last week’s letter that I received a note from Herman R. Semenek of Chicago, enclosing a five dollar bill and asking me to thank you for your trust in him. You will regret to learn that your Alaskan brother Ced has been insulted by the Bridgeport City Trust Co. They read his signature and addressed him thereupon as Pedric D. Tucon. It cannot be that his handwriting is a bit illegible.

Surprise. Dick is up. He just came from this cellar where he has been coaxing the old coal water-heating stove into activity. The oil burner installed eight months ago burned out apart and for several weeks now we have been waiting for the replacement part to arrive. Meanwhile we have sort of a local ration allotment for hot water. Today everyone will want to take baths and get all dolled up before going to visit so the little old stove will be working overtime.

Aunt Betty has just called me into breakfast, so leaving with the hope that the coming week will bring news from Alaska and abroad to liven up next week’s screed, I remain, respected Sirs,

Your doting father

familiarly known as

DAD

Tomorrow and Friday,  I’ll be posting pages 2 & 3 of a letter Grandpa wrote to his far-way family. I did not have a copy of page 1 so I went to my original letters and page 1 is missing from there also. 

Judy Guion