Trumbull – Dear Son: Preparations For Christmas – December 17, 1944

 

This week I will be posting letters written in December, 1944. All five sons are scattered around the world and Grandpa is holding down the fort in Trumbull with his two “Army Widows”, my Mom, Marian, (Mrs. Alfred Peabody Guion (Lad)), who is in France,  and Jean, Mrs. Richard Peabody Guion) who is in Brazil.

Marian Irwin Guion (Mrs. Lad)

     Marian Irwin Guion (Mrs. Lad)

Jean (Mrs. Richard) Guion

Jean (Mortensen) Guion (Mrs. Richard)

Trumbull Conn., December 17, 1944

DearSon:

“Let us flee”, said the fly. “Let us fly”, said the flea; so they fled through the flaw in the flue.

There, having gotten a good start with a bit of profound wisdom appropriate to the season, my thoughts can now be released to deal with more practical and homely things, such as:

CHRISTMAS BOXES

          One thing I can promise with great assurance and that is that, aside from Dick and Dan, who’s Christmas boxes left about a month ago in accordance with Government regulations, you others will NOT get your boxes by December 25th, for the simple reason that they have not yet been sent (and there is a grave doubt in my mind whether even Dick and Dan will get their boxes by that date, which will make it unanimous). And being pressed for an explanation of being so remiss, I would depose and say that due to the shortage of labor in the huge Guion organization,  plus the fact that customers are insistent that their addressograph plates be completed promptly in order to take care of their Christmas mailings, it has transpired that the Lord High Executioner of said organization has been forced to stick so close to his job that he has not even had time to go out for lunch, but must forsooth take down a thermos bottle of milk and nibble a few biscuits, instead of going out lunch time to see what Santa Claus has to offer. Result: no greeting cards this year, shopping by proxy through the courtesy of my daughters-in-law. However, if you wait patiently there will eventually arrive a small package containing sundry modest gifts, hardly more than token remembrances from the usual triumvirate, Aunt Betty, Aunt Elsie and Dad, limited by the limited requirements imposed by military life for you boys in the service, plus the distinct shortage of available items to be found currently in the stores. Some of the items, to be sure, are chosen with hope that the thought, in some cases little short of inspiration, will justify the senders earnest hopes – – as, for instance, a wee alcohol stove which your native Guion ingenuity may find many uses for, and in Ced’s case, to keep at the hangar to warm something hot on the cold days when he has to eat his lunch indoors on cold days. But there, no more ideas as to contents of the package, we can now turn to the:

HOUSEHOLD HINTS DEPARTMENT

          Guion’s Great Shaving Discovery: try this one, you with stubborn beards. First wet the face with warm water (in fact washing with soap and warm water will be even better). Then a quick application of brushless shaving cream (I have found Krank’s about the best), and then (here’s the trick) over this apply a regular old-fashioned lather shaving cream with a brush. Sounds like a lot of trouble but in my case, at least, it results in a nice clean shave which leaves the face smooth and not the usual aftershave rash. Maybe it won’t work with you as “one man’s face is another man’s poison”, but a trial will show.

Hint on one item in winterizing your car. During the summer, condensation in the tank, moisture in the air, etc., results in a certain amount of water accumulation in the gas line, carburetor, etc. Therefore, to a tank fairly full of gas add 1 gallon of alcohol, which in theory will absorb water out and itself be burned out in the running of the car. Or perhaps I will get an argument back from Alaska or southern France which will result in throwing this valuable hint out of the window, out there it is, for what it is worth.

Page 2    12/17/1944

(Time out to change carbons) and incidentally, if this letter seems to lack coherence, it is interspersed here and there with hints of dress patterns, the shape of collar best suited for Elizabeth’s particularly shaped neck, etc., you have to blame it on my chatterbox daughters-in-law who are going here is a great rate while I am trying to concentrate on this my weekly blurb. They are going to read this later and that is when I shall have my revenge.

However, there is little besides small talk to report. A letter from David still expresses hope of getting home for Christmas, but there is still nothing definite. Carl is home, as I reported last letter. He came over for a while today for a few moments, after we had finished an excellent meal prepared by Marian’s capable hands. I was thus enabled to get several needed things around the house done. All of us here in the house, except Marian, have been hosts to a pesky little cold germ which indeed seems to have been traveling the rounds in Stratford, Bridgeport and Trumbull, attacking the digestive track and causing vomiting and diarrhea. Besides us here, Elizabeth’s family and now the Mortensen’s and Jean reports several in Harvey Hubble office. Much to Marion’s disgust, we have had no real snowstorm but there is still time to get it before Christmas.

I am now pleased to report that we have two tastefully decorated rooms in the old home – – Marian’s and Jean’s. Following the blue and white motif of the wallpaper, Marian has completed tastefully furnishing her boudoir in feminine style was new white paint on the furniture with blue drapes, etc. it is really surprising what she has been able to do with so little to start with. Very versatile, that lady, and while I am putting down things to be thankful for, I must put the top of the list the good judgment of my two married sons in their selection of my daughters-in-law. Altogether we are a very happy family here and it is just too bad the rest of you can’t be here to enjoy it. Although, of course, if you were, like the flea and the fly mentioned in my opening paragraph, you would probably spoil it all by fleeing somewhere else.

Gosh, here it is almost 10:30, besides which I cannot think of anything more to write about, so in spite of the paper shortage, we’ll just have to let the rest of this page go blank, and only pausing long enough in this closing paragraph to say that I am sorry you will not be here a week from tonight to hang up your stockings as you used to do in the days before Hitler. We can all look forward to next Christmas, and hope.

DAD

For the rest of the week, I will be posting a 4-page letter from Grandpa to his “dear little boys”.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Dear T/3, T/4, T/5, Sgt. and Chief Ski Instructor (1) – December 10, 1944

 

Trumbull House in winter - (cropped) - 1940

Trumbull, Conn., Dec. 10, 1944

Dear T/3, T/4, T/5, Sgt. And Chief Ski Instructor,

Your Dad greets you, your wives greet you, your Aunt Betty greets you and even Smoky wags his greeting spelling out in dog.dot and dash system, which perhaps Dave, with his specialized signal training, might be able to interpret as Christmas good wishes from those whom Ced addresses in his last letter as the “Inhabitants of the house by the side of the road”. And while it is a bit difficult, without Rusty’s imagination, to achieve the full Christmas spirit with all Daddy’s little candles scattered to the four winds, there is an event in the offing which presages the advent of some real Christmas cheer, to wit, the following letter from Dave:

“This time I’m not going to make the fatal mistake. All I’m going to say is that it looks very much as if I’m going to be home for Christmas. But you will not be sure till I get there. If I pop in on you Christmas morning don’t be surprised. But on the other hand, if I don’t – – you’ll know that I couldn’t get off for Christmas but that I’ll be home sometime in the near future. Last night, I got a call from the Western Union saying that the $50 are still waiting for me, so I picked them up today. I’m going to keep the money so that I can get home when (and if) I get my furlough. Winter has set in at Camp Crowder. It’s pretty cold and the fog is so thick you can hardly see the barracks next door. We have an eight hour night problem tonight and it’s so soupy out I think I’ll have to get “lost” and come back to the barracks.”

Evidently, Dave, keeping my fingers crossed DID do some good. I’ve got two fingers crossed now, and shall have until the 25th and while it interferes a bit with running the graphotype and pecking the typewriter it will have full compensation if it works.

As to your P.S., Jean, Biss and Zeke all prefer Camels, which, as you surmise, are unobtainable here and would be right welcome. Jean’s second choice would be Luckies, which is also what Marian would like to send to Lad (she doesn’t smoke cigarettes), and while I have tried to convince her you don’t want to give her something to send to someone else, even though it is her husband and your brother, she insists that they would be welcome. Jean would also like a Sgt. pin (see sketch). Aunt Betty would like toothpaste, (Phillips Milk of Magnesia preferred but not mandatory) or a bottle of Listerine. If they had any ordnance insignia of any kind at your PX, maybe Marian would like that. A bottle of hair tonic (Pinaud’s Eau de Quinine or a reasonable facsimile thereof, unobtainable here, would suit me fine). And now the inevitable counter question – what do YOU want? Of course it is superfluous to add that the finest gift of all will be your appearance in person, but you know that without any need to mention it.

Lad and Marian Guion, 1943

Marian has heard from Lad. He is “somewhere in Southern France”. It is colder there than he expected it would be. His trip across was uneventful for a wartime passage, good weather. Incidentally, Dave, Lad says he will be unable to do anything about your watch, so evidently you will just have to wait until a new supply arrives at your PX.

A letter from T/5 Donald F. Sirene, 31333518, 1661 EUD, APO 837, C/o PM, New York. (Note Dan, he has the same APO number as you have, does that mean he is stationed anyway near you?) Like Dan, he got to Paris on Armistice Day. He also expected to visit Paris on Thanksgiving and intended to inquire of the Red Cross where he could locate Dan. He says that while Paris is a very beautiful city of parks, monuments and statues, there are none of the latter that can compare with that statue in New York Harbor.

Judy_0003

Page 2    12/10/44

Ced surprised us by writing another letter which arrived within a week of the last. He mentions first that the Buick repair job is about completed and at a ,total cost of about $300, plus labor which he generously donated himself, including a practically new engine, transmission, brakes, etc. which he estimates will make the old boat give service for about two years more, at least. He made another ski trip to Independence Mine, finishing up by skiing all the way downhill to Fish Hook.

He says: “I saw some prints from original negatives found on a Jap soldier in the Aleutians. The scenes were quite like any an American soldier might have, except that the subjects were all Japanese. There were views of buddies all smiling at the camera, Jap planes on the beach, some on skis, etc. No doubt most of them are now dead, along with many Americans they have killed. Yet actually the individuals have no quarrels with the other except those brought on by imaginary and state sponsored propaganda. I suppose the day will come in the future, perhaps after our time, though I hope sooner, when people will be judged as individuals, not by race or color. That day will almost necessarily have to come after an economy encompassing the whole sphere of the earth has been arranged to the mutual benefit of all peoples, and why not? I don’t know how I get off on these tangents so much, but I can’t seem to help it. Better I should do something about it and talk less.”

He asks if Jane and Jean have become maternity cases yet. (Don’t get excited about the Jean part – – it’s the other Jean). And that reminds me I seem to have been remiss in reporting that both have increased the population of Trumbull with little girl babies. Both doing fine, thank you.

“Anchorage continues to grow by leaps and bounds and soon it will be too big to tolerate. At every trip through a section of the city not visited recently there is a new building of some sort going up or already finished. Poor Rusty will be a complete stranger when he comes into town again. There are a lot of new people here as well. One continually meets new people and says goodbye to old acquaintances. There is a feeling that the territory will grow quickly after the war, and it does seem ripe for a big influx of people looking for the new frontier, and while a lot of them will be disappointed, lots more will stay. As for it remaining a frontier, with all its vastness, I think, due to the airplane, it will soon get out of that stage in the habitable spots. There will always be rugged and wild sections to which one could go to get away from civilization, but I don’t think one could very well live in them. When that day comes, if not before, I shall probably leave the territory. The Alaska that Dan and I first saw in 1940 is already greatly changed. Rusty went to Pt. Barrow to get away from civilization and now the Army is sending in a large crew of men to run mining and survey camps, and I suspect Rusty is a little disappointed, although I haven’t heard from him for over a month now”.

Tomorrow  I’ll be posting the rest of this letter.

On Saturday and Sunday, more Memories of Arla Mary (Peabody) Guion..

Judy Guion

Army Life – Lad’s First Letter Home From Texarkana, Texas – 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:-

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 25 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 power train 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, I’ll be posting the next installment of a four-page letter from Grandpa to his scattered flock across the world. The letter will conclude on Friday. 

Judy Guion

Army Life – Marian Writes to the Folks in Trumbull – Going to Texarkana – January, 1944

                  Marian Guion, 1943

1416 Stratford Ave.

South Pasadena, Calif.

Monday

Hello Dad, Aunt Betty and Jean –

I am so excited that I don’t know whether or not this is going to be a legible letter – but I know you’ll understand when I tell you that I have my train ticket and am leaving on February 2nd to join Al in Texarkana. Isn’t that wonderful !?! That’s all I’m living for now, practically, and so, of course, time is just dragging by. I’m sure they’ve put some extra days in the month of January, too, this year. I haven’t heard from Lad about a definite place to stay – he just got my letter saying when I was coming so I’ll probably hear about it this week. I don’t care if we have to live in a barn, or park in the Buick! At least I can talk to him, and see that wonderful smile of his, and see him – period. Even though we are so much luckier than so many others, I still miss him terrifically, and I’m practically ready to take off from our highest mountain peak, all by myself! But I wouldn’t leave before I had a chance to see Ced. I am so glad he is planning to stop here on his way north. I’m really looking forward to meeting him very much, Dad, I know I’m going to like him.

And incidentally, Dad, I look forward to those weekly letters of yours as eagerly as Lad does. Believe me, a very nice part of my week would be missing if I didn’t hear from you.

A matter of business, Dad. I have written to the War Dependencies Commission asking them to send my allotment check to you – when it comes will you forward it to us, please? We might be moving quite often so I wanted a permanent address to give them.

My love to all of you,

Marian

This letter will be posted at a later date but I wanted to show the stationery Marian is talking about – complete with her initials in the corner.

By the way, Dad – my husband tells me he sent me this stationery for Christmas – but I know you must have had something to do with it too – anyway, I like it very, very much.

Tomorrow and Sunday, more Memories of Arla Mary (Peabody) Guion.

Judy Guion

Army Life – Marian Writes to Grandpa – Pictures of Their Wedding – January 7, 1944

Blog - 2013.10.31 - Lad and Marian's Army Life - Wedding Pictures - Jan., 1944

1416 Stratford Ave.

South Pasadena, Calif.

                   Marian (Irwin) Guion

Friday – 1/7/1944

Dear Dad –

As you can see, my stationery arrived and I can start using it soon enough. I think it is darling, Dad – thank you so very much.

      Marian Guion and her sister, Peg Irwin

 

         Lad and Marian Guion, Mowry and Marian Irwin ,Nov, 14, 1943

 

                       Mowry Addison and Marian (Rider) Irwin

I’m enclosing some of the pictures we took on the day of our wedding. These were printed from Kodachrome colored slides – that’s why there is such a definite contrast of black and white – but it will give you a little idea of how we looked on that very momentous occasion.  All the pictures haven’t gotten back from the printers yet. We have some of Mom and Dad with us that I’d like you to see. As soon as we get them I’ll send them to you –

Lad forwarded one of your letters to me this week, Dad. In it you mentioned that Ced was planning to go back via Los Angeles so that he could stop by and see us. Is he still planning to do so? Lad isn’t here, of course, but I’d love to have Ced stop by and say “hello” anyway. We don’t have a phone here at our house. Our landlady could take my message however, she lives right in front of us – Sycamore 9 – 5588 or my office phone is Sycamore 9 – 1333 if Ced wants to phone. I’d love to hear from him.

We had a board meeting Thursday night and I asked to be released from my contract. They were simply swell about it so I am leaving Camp Fire Girls on February 1st. I don’t mind in the least. My main objective is to get to Lad just as soon as I possibly can – ‘cause I’m sort of lost without him, Dad. A very important person in my life just isn’t here so I don’t like it here anymore!

I enjoy your letters so much Dad. I’m almost certain I know every one of you. My love and best wishes to everyone –

As always,

Marian

Tomorrow, I will finish the week with one more letter from Marian.

Judy Guion

 

 

Trumbull – To My Scattered Flock (2) – Letters to Lad and Marian – January 2, 1944

 

The first half of this letter was posted yesterday and included news of Grandma Peabody and a trip to New York to visit her,news from Dan and also from Marian and Lad.

page 2    1/2/44

Dear Lad:

Alfred (Lad) Guion in California

Christmas seems to be your moving day — at least it was last year and again this Christmas. Well, there is a good precedent. As recall the Christmas story there were three wise men also from the East who were doing some traveling during the Christmas season some 2000 years ago, which ended up at a lovely manger, the only difference being that they had their star ahead of them all the while whereas you left your star back in Los Angeles. And I’m coming to the definite conclusion that she is a star of the first magnitude. In spite of her disappointment at not being able to spend her first married Christmas with her new husband,  a circumstance which would mean even more to her than it would to many people, she takes it with chin up and a smile on her lips that feel like trembling. And as far as that goes, you’re some soldier yourself. I think I know how bitter the pill is that they handed you but I can find no word of complaint, only the intention to look on the bright side, plus a thought of others. And that brings me to a prediction, which is customarily indulged in by certain privileged persons at this season of the year, and that is that too young folks with the sort of outlook on life that both you and Marian have, meeting reverses and disappointments as they come through life, with a smile, have one of the surest recipes for a long and happy life journey together, and that is what I am predicting for you both right now. In the years to come you will look back on this time with a quiet smile and take deep satisfaction in the fact that you were both good sports about it. Perhaps I am dwelling on this topic too long, but its significance to one who has reached years of discretion is very real. “What are years of discretion?” asks little Johnny, which his father replies, It’s when you’re too young to die and too old to have a good time”.

(Everyone will now get out there address book and record Lad’s new address to wit: Co. 3019, 142 OBAM Bn., OUTC, Red River Ord. Depot, Texarcana, Texas.) What do these initials stand for: OBAM – OUTC?

 

Blog - Marian Irwin - 1942

Dear Marian:

Of course there wasn’t any doubt from the beginning that you were just the right kind of daughter-in-law, because you were Lad’s choice, but now you’ve earned that position in your own right and your last letter puts the finishing touches on it. That’s the real kind of courage that shows just what sturdy stuff you are made of, and I’m proud of you, and glad for Lad and for the future that you are the sort of girl you are.

And before we go any farther I must right here and now record how very pleased and surprised we were to receive your Christmas packages which arrived during the week. They were also attractively done up, but best of all, they seemed to reveal a surprisingly deep insight into the needs and desires of us all. I needed a pair of gloves, but I did not expect that anyone would give me such a nice pair, and I think Ced felt just the same about his. Aunt Betty is delighted with her woolen jacket and asked me to say that as soon as she feels equal to it (she has been under the weather with a cold lately) she will write you a note. Dave was not around when we opened the box so he opened his present later and Elizabeth has not been here since the box came so she still has that pleasure before. There was no card on the box of White Owls but I didn’t need to puzzle it out. Here’s a BIG 1944 to you all.

DAD

Tomorrow and Friday, two more letters from Marian to the folks in Trumbull., 

Judy Guion

Army Life – Dear Ced – A Letter From Marian – Janary 1, 1944

 

Lad and Marian have been married for about six weeks. They celebrated Christmas on Dec. 21 because Lad was sent to Texarkana, leaving Marian back in South Pasadena, CA. She plans on moving to join him as soon as possible.

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

Saturday 1/1/1944

Dear Ced –

How wonderful it must be to be home again, after three years isn’t it? I know that it has been grand for your Dad to have you home, particularly at this time of year, and we envy you the good time you must have. But not too much, however, we certainly deserve it.

Lad and I enjoyed your telegram and letter so very much. It is going to be a grand day for me when I can meet all of you in person, for lad has spoken of you so many times that I feel as though I’ve gotten a partial start toward knowing you. And your friendly letter helped, too.

Your letter mentioned that you would like to have suggestions for a wedding gift for us. If you haven’t got anything yet, may we have a range check on that request until we know a little more definitely what our future plans are to be? I haven’t the slightest idea what Texarkana is like but I imagine that when (and if) I go to join lad, that I will put our things in boxes and send them home for mother to keep until after the war. At that time will be able to make our plans a little more definite. Thanks, though, for your offer and good wishes. All of you have made me feel so much “at home” that I feel as though I’ve known you for years. Best of luck to you, Ced, on your trip back to Alaska. Hope it won’t be so long next time before we see you again. Write to us occasionally, if we liked long enough for a letter from way up there to catch up to us!

Very sincerely,

Marian

Tomorrow and Wednesday, , we’ll have a letter from Grandpa then another letter from Marian I will finish thweek with another letter from Marian to the family in Trumbull.

Judy Guion