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

Army Life – Camp Santa Anita – April, 1943

This letter gives you a pretty clear picture of Lad’s life right now. He’s out socializing, probably with my Mom, and teaching during the day.

apg-camp-santa-anita-april-28-1943

Camp Santa Anita

April 28, 1943

Dear Dad –

Again, weeks have passed. I just have too good a time to sit down and spend some of it writing, and I really should. However, you can rest assured that if anything of importance happens, you shall know of it. No news will be good. I have definitely decided to keep the car, but not as you suggested. I am sending you a check for $525 and will try to send you $100 more within the month.

Tonight I’m again on company duty, but instead of C.Q., I’m Corporal of the Guard. The few times I’ve been on company duty are so infrequent that I really have nothing to complain about. For instance, tonight is the first night I have stayed in camp since I got here January 9, with the exception of that first night, due to quarantine.

It seems that the course in Diesel Engine Principles has finally gotten through to the right authorities by fair or foul means, and pressure has been applied to the effect that the course is to have its first sanctioned appearance on May 3, if it can be put into workable shape by then. Art Lind and I have been working on it and it looks possible. We are hoping.

Our new showers have been opened in the camp with plenty of hot water. There are 197 of them, so we no longer have to the go to the Y in Pasadena to get a hot shower, and speaking of cleaning up – my razor finally begin to show signs of excessive wear, so I turned it in for a new Schick Colonel – eight dollars. The new one operates very nicely. If you remember, you sent me a clipping concerning the need for men with the knowledge of other languages? I had taken you on it, but nothing as yet has been heard from it.

Don’t worry about my operator’s license. I have already written to Hartford asking them to send them to me, but if they come to Trumbull, please forward them. As regards grandmother you, I believe, did the right thing. Personally, I certainly would never have even hesitated, as you probably know. My love to all, and to all a good night –

Laddie

Tomorrow and Friday, I’ll post letters from Grandpa to all the boys away from home.

On Saturday and Sunday, final words from Ced’s Coming of Age Adventure.

Judy Guion

Army Life – Easter Greetings From South Pasadena – April, 1943

Alfred Peabody Guion (Lad)

Alfred Peabody Guion (Lad)

apg-easter-greetings-from-south-pasadena-april-1943

Notice this writing paper was supplied by the U.S.O. – THE YOUNG MEN’S CHRISTIAN ASSOCIATIONS * THE NATIONAL CATHOLIC COMMUNITY SERVICE * THE SALVATION ARMY * THE YOUNG WOMEN’S CHRISTIAN ASSOCIATION * THE JEWISH WELFARE BOARD * THE NATIONAL TRAVELER’S AID ASSOCIATION

Easter Greetiings

South Pasadena

April 21, 1943

Dear Dad:-

Things have been going too-well and therefore I have not gotten around to writing. I am using my new pen. Thanks. It is O.K. I would prefer a wider point, but to get one I will also require a heavier pressure, which I don’t want. So I’ll use this as it is.

I got my three-day pass as scheduled, but the girl who owns the house on Arrowhead Lake was taken sick just before we were to leave and so we called it off. She has since undergone an operation, and is much better, so I hope that we will be able to make it on our next pass.

General Campbell came out to Santa Anita today, and we spent all afternoon in the broiling sun on the parade ground, dressed in our O.D. uniforms, helmets and no ties. Gee-the helmets are hot, even though they are two-piece (inner – fiber: outer   steel).

I am now a Sergeant and have been given the same type of job as I had in Aberdeen, chief of section, which calls for a Staff rating. Therefore, I expect that in two or three months I shall be given a chance to take the Staff exam. Nothing definite as yet, however. As to our course in Diesel Fundamentals – it is still in the air.

Last Saturday I bowled 180 – my highest game. I’m getting better, slowly but surely, and someday, before long, I hope I’ll hit better than 200, which is considered above the average.

You mentioned something in your last letter about Dan seeing a notice on his bulletin board concerning overseas. We have not heard anything definite as yet, but activities seem to point toward something of that sort for most of us. There are some, however, who are considered indispensable, and I have a very good chance of being in the latter group.

It is 10:00 Wed. eve and I’m at the Hospitality House, and my feet are just aching for a dance, so adios.

My love to all.

Laddie

This weekend I’ll post more of Ced’s Coming of Age Adventure.

Next week, I’ll begin posting letters from 1945. We will finally hear about Dan’s wedding to Paulette.

Judy Guion

Army Life – Note From Hospitality Center of South Pasadena About More Restrictions – April, 1943

apg-note-from-so-pasadena-hospitality-center-about-more-restrictions-april-1943

HOSPITALITY CENTER OF SOUTH PASADENA

______________________________________________________________________________________

435 FAIR OAKS AVENUE

SOUTH PASADENA, CALIFORNIA

Dear Dad: –

Here I am again. – And also, much time has elapsed my last epistle and this, but I will try to cover everything that has elapsed, which is getting easier. Camp regulations are becoming worser by the day.

First, however, an answer to your note. This friend of mine, here, purchased a certified check for $595.00 from a bank, and instead of mailing it to me, here, it was sent to Bridgeport by Airmail, special delivery (according to available information). Immediately upon receipt of this info, I sent you the remainder, and you should know the rest, better than I.

We are being further and further restricted. In fact, it is very hard to get off every other weekend now. [And rumor has it that very shortly we will be no longer associated with O.T.C. but with S.C.U. (Service Command Unit) which will, in all probability, mean six hour passes once every 3 or 4 days, and one weekend out of every 7 or 8 – Oh, me]

I have heard from Hartford direct, so forget about the licenses. Thanks.

 

Lad and Marian in Pamona

Lad and Marian in South Pasadena, 1943 

We went to the beach last Sunday, but the wind blew too much sand around to make it pleasant. However the weather is perfect. I may get a furlough sometime in July or August, but nothing definite as yet. My love to all.

Laddie

Trumbull – Individual Letters (3) – To Ced With News Of Lad – July, 1945

Dear Ced:

Just a note of warning. Don’t wait as long as you did last time between letters. I’m beginning now just so as to sort of keep you reminded that we enjoy hearing from our civilian brother, too. Anyway, your last letter was written June 14th, so over a month has gone by already. A while back you hinted you were “sot” (My guess would be “sort of thinking”, but I really don’t know) on making Alaska your lifelong home (by the way, I have not seen that Walt Disney picture yet). The subject intrigues me as far as you are concerned and I would like to have you develop the theme a bit. What have you in mind as to the future you would like to pursue other than coming away from Anchorage to some other part of the world via Trumbull? Is the airplane business your chosen field? Are you in this event sticking to the mechanical end or does your vision look aloft to the piloting end? Someday we might call a family Yalta meeting of our own and try to get affairs settled and as you will be the delegate from Alaska, you ought to have all your plans mapped out so that all of you can attend the conference fully prepared to settle the future of the House of Guion. You know, as I wrote last week, if I am going to chase you boys all over the world to see “how the other half lives”, I simply have got to have some idea of what you-all intend doing. All of you seem to be doing pretty well up to now in traipsing around the globe.

The latest comes from Lad whose letter to Marian I am quoting, here and now, to her courtesy. “One day toward the end of June I went into Marseilles with a couple of fellows and by previous arrangement we had reservations through the A.R.C. (American Red Cross) on “La Vanaquez”, a chartered fishing boat, for a trip to the Château d’If. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ch%C3%A2teau_d’If) If you remember much about history, you will recall that it was a medieval prison on a rock outside the port city. (It was also the scene of the Count of Monte Christo) It still stands but is much battered, since it has been used numerous times to defend the port. However, no serious damage has been done. I had my camera along and did get quite a few pictures of the Château and also of Marseille. I’m having them developed and printed now and if they are any good I’ll send them to you. We came back to Marseille about noon and went up to the transient mess for lunch. Afterwards, I went to the Times Square Club to try to buy some films (no luck), then to the U.S. Army theater Capitole where we saw “Keep Your Powder Dry” and it was pretty good. After that we went to a park which is built around a very elaborate memorial erected in honor of the completion of the canal which supplies the city water and terminates at this park. It is quite beautiful and we spent nearly an hour there. Then back to mass and camp. In all, a very pleasant day.”

Tomorrow, letters to Dick and Dave from Grandpa. On Friday, a very thoughtful letter from Grandpa to Paulette.

Judy Guion