Army Life – Dear Dad – Back to California – February, 1944

Blog - Lad's new address in Pomona, CA - Feb., 1944

Blog - Lad's telegram with new address and new insignia with four stripes - Feb., 1944

1416 Stratford Ave.

South Pasadena, Calif.

Box 491

Dear Dad –

Your “Valentine” has arrived safely and is a most welcome addition to our household belongings – and just think – no laundry problem! Such attractive paper towels are

Marian Irwin

Marian Irwin

really a big help and I’m a firm believer in using the placemats any chance I get. Thanks very much for thinking of me, Dad.

Lad’s package arrived, too, just in time for St. Patrick’s Day – and matching the day beautifully. He’d send his thanks in person, if he had time to write any letters, but Uncle Sam keeps him so busy that he only has time to eat and sleep when he’s at home. So I’m saying “thank you”, from him, this time.

We are still house hunting – but not very successfully. Last Sunday we combined house hunting with the picnic – it was a beautiful day for it – cloudy and a drizzle that was very much like rain! But we didn’t let that stop us. The house we were looking at was about 10 or 12 miles from the Pomona, and if it were on a more traveled road we would have taken it. It was really a weekend cabin – not too modern, but clean and quiet. No electricity nor hot water, but we wouldn’t have minded that. The only drawback was that if anything happened to the car, Lad would have practically no way of getting to Camp. And Uncle Sam is sort of particular about his being there on time and when he is supposed to. So we very regretfully had to say “No”. We have now acquired a trailer, so the next time we moved it won’t be quite so hard on the car. This isn’t the house variety, although we’ve threatened to get one of those, too. But our trailer is a two -wheel kind, about 6 feet long and 2 feet high and about 4 feet wide. It is very sturdily built, and is good-looking, too.

Remember my saying that I was having my allotment check sent to you and that you could forward it to us? Well it must take time to change the address in their files, for I’m still receiving it at South Pasadena. But you will probably receive the next one.

Love to everyone.

Lad and Marian

Tomorrow I’ll post a letter from Grandpa bringing everyone up-to-date on what has been happening with various members of the family.

Judy Guion


Army Life – Marian Writes to the Home Folks – I Took a Civil Service Exam – February, 1944

Marian Irwin Guion (Mrs. Lad)

Marian Irwin Guion (Mrs. Lad)

Wednesday –

Dear Dad, Aunt Betty and Jean – Ced, too – ‘cause I imagine he’s there also—

Life in Texas seems very serene these days. Not too much excitement, and Uncle Samuel has been keeping Lad so busy that he hasn’t had time to think, but he has gotten home every night so far, so I’m not complaining in the least – for that is much more than I expected. Don’t know how long this will continue, but just being near enough that I can see him occasionally is all I ask.

Valentine’s Day being our third (month) anniversary, we were going to celebrate, but Uncle Sammy stepped in and decided that Lad should work until 9 PM that evening. However, we did have dinner together, slightly rushed, I will admit. – but that in itself is an occasion! Just think of all the celebrating we are going to be able to do when this is all over!

Dad, we are sending you one of our wedding gifts that we would like to have you put in Lad’s safe deposit box. It is a $25 War Bond, and we don’t want to carry it around with us.

I took the civil service exam yesterday, so if I passed the test and they still need office workers, I may be working at the Red River Ordnance Depot. I should know the results the first of next week, so perhaps our next letter will tell whether or not I have a job. Being a lady of leisure has been very nice so far, but with no house to take care of, I’m hoping to be able to work at least part of the time, so that I’ll have something to keep me busy during the day.

I’m going to wait to mail this letter, and also one to Dan, in case Lad gets home early enough to add a few lines to them. He’s had to work every night this week, so far, so I’m not sure whether he will even get home – needless to say – I hope so – .

Love to all



P.S.   Sorry, Dad, but I better get this in the mail before you think a Texas tornado has done away with the Lad Guions! Received your letter yesterday – we were glad to hear that Ced has been deferred and are waiting in hopes that we will be able to see him before he returns to Alaska. If he left immediately, I guess he couldn’t stop off in Texas, for he would have been here by now, but if he couldn’t get a reservation until later this week, perhaps we will see him after all. Needless to say, we certainly hope so!

Lad has been working so hard he hasn’t had time to think, let alone write letters! Maybe next time – and that roast beef you mentioned had us practically drooling! How we would have loved to be there! In fact we got so hungry that we had a late evening snack. The best Texas had to offer was crackers spread with peanut butter and one lone candy bar! A far cry from delicious roast beef!

Love —


Tomorrow, a long letter from Grandpa, on Wednesday, another letter from Marian and on Thursday and Friday, another letter from Grandpa.

Judy Guion


Special Picture # 314 – Marian Ryder Irwin with Marian Dunlap Irwin and Homer Addison Irwin – 1917


This picture was taken about 1916 in Marysville, California. My Gradmother, Marian Ryder Irwin with her daughter, Marian Dunlap Irwin (my Mom) (2-yrs-old) and her brother, Homer Addison Irwin (6-mos-old)

Tomorrow a week of letters written in 1946. Both Lad and Marian and Dick and Jean are out of the Army, living in Trumbull and finding work, Dan and Paulette are still in France, Dan is out of the Army but working as a civilian surveying and documenting American Cemeteries in Europe. Dave is still in Manila but hopes to get home in a few months. Ced continues his work as an airplane mechanic and bush pilot in Alaska.

Judy Guion


Army Life – Hello! Everyone at Home – Birthday Gifts For Lad – February, 1944


Hello! Everyone at Home –

Here we are “deep in the heart of Texas”, and altho’ it isn’t a place that we would choose to build our own home, at least it isn’t too bad. I know that it is quite disconcerting to Lad, but I’ve taught school for three years in a place in California that is exactly like this, so I know what to expect. And as long as it is possible, I intend to stay with Lad, no matter where he is sent.

For the time being we are staying at a fairly nice Auto Court – The Blue Streak! (Room and bath, if you please!) And have our application in at the Federal Housing Tract which is near. We could move in right away, if we had furniture, or wanted to buy it, but we don’t want to get anything right now, so we have to wait until they can furnish some more of the houses.

We are about 5 miles from Camp, and except when he has a night hike or C.2. (?) scheduled, Lad can get home practically every night. Just so that I will have something to do during the day, I am going to try to get some kind of a job. Exactly what, I don’t know, but am going to see about it in a few days.

Lad’s training is really strenuous, and what with the wet, rainy weather we have been having, is none too pleasant. He doesn’t complain however and I’m so glad to be here that the water could be a foot deep outside and I wouldn’t even notice. It rains in California, too – the Chamber of Commerce, notwithstanding!

We don’t know what our mailing address will be, so for the time being continue to send those very interesting letters of yours to Lad’s address at Camp.

I forgot to warn you, Dad, that I was sending some of Lad’s things home – they are things that can just be stored until he gets there to sort them out.

We think your suggestion about a picture is an excellent one – in fact, we had it in mind to do as soon as we were settled – so we will send one to you as soon as we can.


Needless to say, I’m extremely glad Marian is here. It makes Texas quite a bit nicer, and she apparently likes it better than I had dared hope. Now you all may get a little more attention from me again. Since Marion wrote, we have acquired a mailing address. It is Box 154, Hooks, Texas.

Our basic training should end this Saturday and on Monday we will begin our 11 weeks of technical training. I am to help out with the instruction, along with 8 or 10 others. I’m supposed to sort of cram automotive electricity into the already cluttered brains of the trainees. It seems that this post is slightly understaffed for a Bn. as large as this. But everyone is glad Basic is nearly finished. We have our inspection tomorrow, and to be on the ball I’ve got to get some sleep so —– Laddie


Dad – I have a Valentine for you, but until we can get suitable packing material I shall have to wait to mail it to you. But it is coming –

With all our love,




P.S. – Fellow conspirator –

I received your letter in the mail tonight and I honestly don’t know what to tell you to get Lad for his birthday. Everything in the way of clothes that he needs is issued to him – and the Army has specific ideas about the type they should be. He does need some plain white (no initial) handkerchiefs – the kind that don’t have much of a border on them. And he wants a small sewing kit – and I do mean small. No bigger than the size of a spool of thread – with needles and pins and tiny spools of black, white or khaki colored thread. I have been unable to find one here. He can always use cigarettes (Luckies) if you are able to get a carton of them – And some plain white stationary – (rather lightweight paper)

Practically the only things he uses outside of things issued by the government are his electric razor (still in good condition) and his fountain pen – (he has two of those)

You see what I mean? I realize that I’m not much help, Dad, but this is absolutely all I can offer. Perhaps you have a few ideas on the subject that would be most acceptable. I think you do remarkably well as it is.

Love –



Army Life – Dear Dad and Assembled Members of the Guion Family – Moving Without a Car – January, 1944



1416 Stratford Ave.

South Pasadena, Calif.

Dear Dad and assembled members of the Guion family,

I’m afraid that I’ve neglected you this past week – not in my thoughts, however – tho’ very definitely in regards to letter writing.

This business of packing sort of has me stumped. Here to fore,  Mother has always been on hand to forward anything I happened to forget, or take care of the many things I didn’t know what to do with. This time, however, I have to figure it out by myself – and not being able to move in a car is another handicap. Now I have to wrap everything or put it in a box or suitcase instead of just throwing it in the back of the car! It’s been so long since I’ve tried to move without a car that I don’t know how to act.

We were so sorry to hear about Ced. It must be very nice to have him home for a longer time than you expected, but I wish it were under more favorable circumstances. I sincerely hope that everything will work out just the way he wishes.

What a very interesting person Lad’s Grandmother must have been. I wish that I could have met her. Your lives have been just that much richer, haven’t they, by having her with you for as long as she was here.

I also received a very interesting letter from Aunt Elsie last week. She spoke of having been to California some years ago and having liked it very much. I’m looking forward to meeting her, and I hope it will be very soon.

Thank you Aunt Betty for your letter – I am glad the sweater meets with your approval, and Lad is the one who deserves the credit for the right size.

I’m surprised that I can get anything done this week. I’m so excited about finally being able to join Lad that I’m practically in a daze! Did I tell you that he has found a place for us to stay? Not too fancy, but that makes absolutely no difference.

With love to everyone,


P.S. You see, I took your suggestion about the green ink, Dad. I like it very much.


I believe this writing paper was a Christmas gift from Lad to Marian, but Grandpa actually printed it from Lad’s design suggestion.

Tomorrow I’ll post a letter from Grandpa to the Gang, then another letter from Marian (and Lad), and I’ll finish off the week with two letters from Grandpa.

Judy Guion


Special Picture # 309 – Early Pictures of Marian Dunlap Irwin – 1916 and 1917


Looking for something else, I just came across these early pictures of my Mom.

This picture of my Mom was taken in 1916 (she was born in November of 1915).


This picture was taken in 1917.


Tomorrow, more Special Pictures.

On Monday we’ll look at letters written in 1942. Both Lad and Dan are in training with Uncle Sam. Grandpa continues to hold down the fort in Trumbull.

Judy Guion


Army Life – Dear Everybody – Lad From Texarkana – January, 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.


Tomorrow, I’ll be posting the first installment of a four-page letter from Grandpa to his scattered flock across the world. I’ll post the rest of the letter throughout the week.

Judy Guion