Army Life – Lad’s First Letter Home (2) – Conclusion of Lad’s First Letter Home – May, 1942


Lad - 1943


Due to the issue of rifles last night, I did not have time to complete this letter. And it looks as though I may not have time to finish it tonight. We are to have a lecture at 8 PM and that is only a short time distant. If anyone tells you that we are busy, just let it pass as an understatement. Boy, from 5:45 until 9:00, with the exception of about 30 minutes at noon and 1½ hours in the evening, we do not have time to even think for ourselves. To say nothing of heeding “Mother Nature”.

May 23

I was right. I could not finish it, and then since there was to be an inspection today, we spent all free time yesterday thoroughly cleaning the barracks. Outside and in. Then today for a diet we had drilling all morning, an inspection/review early in the afternoon, a rigid inspection later in the barracks, and then about 40 of us were marched a couple of miles to the infirmary, given two injections, and marched back again. Right now my right arm is so stiff that I have to use only my fingers and wrist to write. And incidentally, I don’t feel too hot. Oh! Yes. – Yesterday we were given our first rifle practice on an indoor range. I didn’t do too bad, but nowhere nearly as well as Dan.

From things that have been said at various places and by various people who should know. – Ordnance work and the Ordnance Department of the US Army rates second to none. Not even the Engineering Corps. Apparently, eight men out of 1000 get far enough to make the necessary qualifications for this department, and then, to make things even better, of those picked men, two out of 1000 get a chance to qualify for and Instructor’s rating and the Officer’s Training Course. I am among the latter few, and that really makes me feel good. I just hope that I can live up to the honor when my chance comes. I believe that if things go for me as they have been planned at present, I will be stationed here at Aberdeen Proving Grounds  (A.P.G.) (Lad’s initials – Alfred Peabody Guion) for six months or even for the duration. In any case, Ordnance men are not trained to fight except as a means of self-protection, and the main idea, roughly, is to supply the men on the lines with ammunition, and equipment for fighting. We are the men behind the men on the front. Apparently, I have been picked to act as an instructor in automotive repair and maintenance. Well, so much for Army Life, here. I received your letter O.K., but I’m afraid that it will not be as easy as you seem to think to write regularly for a few weeks anyway. I am busier than the proverbial bee. Time out.

Sunday –

Those injections plus a cold got me. I quit, planning to take a short rest, but the first thing I knew it was just 9 PM and the corporal was saying one minute before lights out, so I didn’t have time to write more.

Breakfast on Sundays is at 7:00 and then I spent the rest of the morning washing clothes and cleaning my equipment in general. Then, immediately after lunch we fell out with rifles and had an inspection of arms. Then, following this, we went on a hike of about 5 or 6 miles, with cartridge belt, first aid kit and leggins. We returned in time for supper and then – here I am.

Quarantine will be up one week from tomorrow night. Then, if I am lucky, I will be able to get a pass for the weekend.

However, in the meantime, I would appreciate very much your sending me 10 clothes hangers. Two of them, steel. It is impossible to get hangers here.

I heard from Babe (Cecelia Mullins, the girl he’s been dating back home) Sat. but have not received any other mail. And speaking of mail, can you give me Dan’s address?

APG - Aberdeen Proving Grounds insignia

How do you like the Ordnance Emblem? The department colors are yellow and crimson. The insignia is a flaming bomb.

In order to shorten the address you may use the abbreviations as shown below: – remember me to everyone and my love to Aunt Betty.

Pvt. ______(me)____

Co B – 1st Bn. – O.R.T.C.

Aberdeen Proving Grounds


Love —–


Tomorrow, another letter from Grandpa to his sons away from home. On Saturday and Sunday, more Special Pictures. Next week I’ll be posting letters written in 1943, just after Lad and Marian’s wedding.  

Judy Guion 


Trumbull – Dear Newlyweds (2) – A Few Words of Fatherly Advice – November, 1943

Grandpa concludes the letter I posted yesterday with words of advice to the Newlyweds.

    Alfred Peabody Guion and Marian           Dunlap Irwin Guion, Nov. 14, 1943

Well, I suppose a few words of fatherly advice are in order. There are mighty few young people who go into marriage with any real idea of what it means. They get their notion of it from the clouds where they live while they are engaged, and naturally about all they find out there is wind and moonshine; or from novels which always end just before the real trouble begins, or if they keep on, leave out the chapters that tell how the husband finds the rent and the wife how to make over last year’s coat to look stylish for this season. But is quite easy to get all the facts about matrimony; part of them are right in the house where you spent your childhood, and the neighbors have the rest. Someone has said that you’ve got to have leisure to be unhappy. Half the troubles in this world are imaginary and never happened, but it’s oftener these than the real troubles that break a young wife’s or a young husband’s heart. There are a few folks who can be happy idle when single but married, they have to have something to do or there’s trouble. A woman can find fun from the cellar to the nursery in her own home but with nothing to do but gad around the streets and she’ll find discontent. A man can ride 3 miles on a bus to his job in the morning and find happiness at the end of every trip but he can chase it all over the world in a steam yacht without ever catching up with it. There is usually an idle man or an idle woman in every divorce case. As some wag once remarked “when the man earns the bread by the sweat of his brow, it’s right that the woman should perspire a little baking it.” It’s good to have money and the things money will by, but it’s good too, to check up once in a while to make sure you haven’t lost the things that money won’t buy.

I guess that’s enough of that for this letter which according to the rules, should be just full of sweetness and joy, but marriage is not so much the fulfillment of all one most fondly desires as the beginning of a sacred and serious relationship that in union, can become far bigger than either one can accomplish alone, and it is that bigger fulfillment that, of course, I am hoping you will attain together.

There, I haven’t written at all the kind of letter I should have liked to have turned out on this important day, but there is a lot of truth in the saying “too full for utterance “, and you will both have to read between the lines all the good things that I have left unsaid.

Of course, when you have had time to get the ricin confetti combed out of your hair, would all like to know the details of the wedding itself, if and where you went on your honeymoon, what future plans are as far as Uncle Sam will let you plan, and anything else you think we would be interested in hearing. A surrealistic picture of us here would be a lot of big ears all turned in your direction and listening for all we’re worth.

Yours for good sound effects,


Tomorrow and Sunday, I’ll be posting more Special Pictures.

On Monday, I’ll begin a week of letters written in 1945.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Dear Newlyweds (1) – Thoughts About the Day – November, 1943

Mowry Addison and Marian Ryder Irwin, Alfred Peabody and Marian Irwin Guion

November 14, 1943

The BIG Day: Let’s go a step farther and simply

call it THE day, otherwise known

to just ordinary folks as Nov. 14th

Dear Newlyweds:

We have been thinking of you all day home here and wishing we had a long-range telescope so that we could focus it in on the Little Chapel of the Flowers in Berkeley and fix in

our memory for all time the setting for so important an event in the archives of the Guion family. With none of our clan present, Lad, I hope you maintained your noted calm and placid mien, and while no one pays much attention to the groom on such occasions anyway, he is apt to forget that fact and feel as though the eyes of everyone were focused on him alone, much as I felt on that Easter so many years ago when I first donned my pair of long pants, and as I walked the few blocks to Sunday school, I was sure the neighbors in every house along the street were crowding to the windows and behind the curtain, peeking out to look at my pants. I didn’t dare look to verify the fact because I didn’t want them to have the satisfaction of knowing I was aware of their scrutiny.

At dinner time today, Aunt Betty decided there ought to be some sort of celebration, so she got down her bottle of port wine, and we all drank a toast in your honor. Did you both feel the surge of good wishes that went speeding over the airwaves on your wedding morn?

It is being borne upon my consciousness that the 14th must be my lucky day  —  my daughter acquisition day  —  for on  February 14th, just nine months ago, I acquired my first daughter-in-law, and you know, I like it. And I don’t doubt I’ll like it still better when I get better acquainted with the latest blossom from the Little Chapel of the Flowers.

Another bit of evidence that I was thinking of you today is the fact that I went looking for pajamas and bathrobe. I found the former together with a shoe holder I gave you some years ago which I am including in the package with the pajamas on the theory that in your small apartment any device which will aid in saving room will be welcome. I have one more place to look for the terrycloth bathrobe and I am pretty sure it is the right place, so shortly after receiving this first package you can be looking for another. Unless you had a most particular reason for asking that they be sent to you at camp, I’m going to disregard your request and ship them to Bushnell Avenue, because, while there is a limit to the size and weight of packages that is permissible to send to a boy in the armed services, there is no such limitation on shipments to civilians; and I while I haven’t measured the pajama package to see if it exceeds the permissible dimensions, I won’t have to bother with this limitation at all if I mail it to you at a civilian address.

After two weeks in succession hearing from my scattered correspondents, it is perhaps quite understandable that this last week I received nothing at all through Uncle Sam’s mail service. Of course that is not the reason I am ignoring in my salutation all the rest of you to whom a copy of this letter is being sent, but merely that the importance of the occasion overshadows all else and warrants centering the spotlight on “the happy couple from South Pasadena”.


Tomorrow, the conclusion of this letter, with a few words of Fatherly advice.

Saturday and Sunday will be more Special Pictures.

Judy Guion

Army Life – Lad Writes a Note to Grandpa – Only 13 More Days – November, 1943

Today, we have a really short note from Lad with the latest details – very practical – except for Dan Cupid. and an announcement of a Tea to inform Marian’s friends of her upcoming wedding. We also have a second letter from Lad discussing some more practical matters.

Lad and Marian in Pamona

Mon. – Nov. 1, ‘43

Dad: –

Only 13 more days ‘til —–  !!!!  With only one exception (no rent, yet)  everything has been running very, very smoothly.

Naturally, the news about Venezuela Petroleum is most welcome, but at the moment I really don’t know just what is the best course to follow. Maybe it might be wise to sell Blog - (letter) Rings and Dan Cupid - Nov, 1943some of them and take care of the balance at the bank right away. Then whatever we can realize on Marion’s car, we can use as a starter, in a bank account, which is something we should have. Maybe you can suggest something better or more practical, but one of the first things which should be taken care of is the bank, regardless of how it is done. You still have some securities tied up in that deal, too, haven’t you?

We have been trying to find a suitable silver pattern – but it is quite a job, and lots of nice ones are not being manufactured at present. Last Thursday afternoon I got a pass from camp and Marian and I spent a couple of hours looking at rings. We finally found a very pretty one for her and then it wasn’t too hard to find one for me which would match up fairly well. So now, we at least have the rings. That same afternoon we both had our medicals and blood tests, too. We are all set — I think.

I am (we’re) sorry you will not be present, but Dan Cupid didn’t take you into consideration I guess, when he took aim and drove his arrows so deeply through our hearts. But, at the first possible chance, you’ll see us, and until that moment, give my love to Aunt Betty and the rest, and the best of luck to you all-



From the South Pasadena Review:

Romance Revealed at Sunday Afternoon Tea

Miss Marian Irwin, Camp Fire Girls Executive Director of South Pasadena is the bride elect of Sgt. Alfred Guion of the United States Army. This news was made known to 25 friends who were entertained at a tea on Sunday afternoon at the home of Mrs. J. Randall Irvine of 1751 La Senda Place.

Little scrolls, bearing the names of the betrothed couple, were attached to Gardenia corsages, which were given to each guest. Pouring at the tea table decorated with pink and white flowers, were Mrs. Irvine and Mrs. James S. Whitcott,  Ms. Betty Irvine assisted in greeting the guests at the door.

Miss Irwin, who was attired in black skirt with powder blue blouse with sequined trim, wore a Gardenia and Guwahati corsage. She is the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Mowry A.  Irwin of Orinda, California, and is a graduate of the San Francisco State College. Before coming to South Pasadena a year ago to serve as the Campfire Girls Executive, she taught in the schools of Bakersfield.

Sgt. Guion is the son of A. D. Guion of Trumbull, Connecticut, and was graduated from high school in Bridgeport, Connecticut. He is stationed at the Santa Anita Army Ordnance Training Center.

The wedding will take place on November 14th at Orinda, after which the couple will return to South Pasadena to make their home. The future bride will continue with her Camp Fire work.

Mon.   22-11-43

Dad: –

In answer to your various questions concerning our financial status via Venezuela Petroleum – :

1st – Should you pay Investors Syndicate installment from Venezuela Petroleum proceeds?

Ans. Until I know more about the purpose of the Investors Syndicate (length of or number of installments or a maximum total; percentage of loss by sale; etc., etc.) I shall follow your advice and continue on with the installments; using some of the proceeds from Venezuela Petroleum for this purpose.

2nd – If you decide to sell (and you have my permission) yes, by all means clear up your own back balance as well as

3rd – the balance due the bank, so that you can clear your name as well as unfreeze your collateral.

4th – For the moment sell only enough to meet current obligations (Inv. Syn; bank balance; A.D.G. back balance; and retain the remainder of them until further notice.

As to Marian’s and my address – Who knows? Apparently you have gathered, from what I have written, that Marian has had to give up her apartment, and for the moment we are living from night to night anyplace we can find a room. We’ve been looking now for almost 2 months with still no luck, so we have no address we can use as a residence.

Mailing can be to me, at Co. D, Hdq. B__, C.S.A. – Arcadia or to Marian at 2007 Edgewood Dr., South Pasadena. We have six places in mind, but in order to get one, the present occupants have to move out and as there are no available apartments for them either, it’s just a vicious circle and we seem to be at the outer end of the radius. Our friends out here, tho, are wonderful, and we have many rooms in which we could stay if the worst came to the worst. And Marian says – “We still have a car and I’ve slept in worse places. My car is only a Chevy.”  We really aren’t very worried. I guess we are just too happy and confident in ourselves to take it very seriously.

We are extremely happy and seemed to be perfectly fitted for one another. It is probably still pretty early in the game to say anything very definite, but it seems as if it was something that was meant to be, right now. We haven’t had a single setback yet, and things have run very, very smoothly, right from last January, when I first met her.

I hope this letter gives you a little something definite to work on, Dad, but in any case, you are in a better position than I to know just what is better. I have no regrets about selling, since the profit is extremely large in any case. I’m sleepy – so — good night.

Love to all,


I’ll finish the week with two letters from Grandpa.

Judy Guion

Army Life – Dear Family – Marian and Lad Find an Apartment – November, 1945



Dear Family –

Our status is no clearer now than it was last week, altho’ there have been a number of changes. Lad is in a new company — a perfectly foul one that treats their men worse than the basics. He has no definite job to do, because he has over 50 points, but he can’t get out as they are just holding him there. He has to report on the post at 5:45 — can get a pass every night, except Friday night (Don’t ask us why — even they don’t know. It’s just a company policy.) You have to be in the company four months (Heaven Forbid !!) before you can get a three-day pass, so we probably won’t be home very often. Because he’s in a holding company, he can’t apply for rations off the post — can’t have his laundry done on the post — can’t buy things at the commissary — can’t —— oh!, The list is endless. Now that I’ve presented the worst side, there are a few encouraging items. One — he hasn’t been sent to classification as yet, so that might make a difference, we hope. Two — because he’s a T/3 he won’t draw any company duties except C.2 — and that shouldn’t come up too often. Three — they are off duty by 11 o’clock Saturday morning, so we do have a fairly long weekend. And they usually get off at 4 o’clock on Wednesdays. Otherwise it is 5:30 before he can leave.

So – if Lad doesn’t pull C.2 on Thursday (or Wednesday night) we will drive up Wednesday night and be home for Thanksgiving dinner anyway. Bob is in the same Company but is hoping to be moved today or tomorrow, so he might not be coming with us. I guess one place more or less won’t make too much difference, will it?

Dad, please call Jean and ask her to get an extra pound of butter for us? Butter is a very scarce item down here, so I’d like to bring some back with us. Also, tell her that we will bring olives, pickles, nuts, candy (if we can find it) and anything else along that line that I might think of. They won’t be perishable, and we should be able to get them down here.

We have found an apartment such as it is — which isn’t too bad (We’ve been in a lot worse). It has a fairly large living room and bedroom and a fairly nice kitchen — good gas stove — icebox — and dishes and silver furnished. We share the bath with the couple in the other half of the duplex. Ice and milk are delivered four times a week and we are only five blocks from town. It really isn’t bad at all and it’s ever so much better than eating out all the time. We just hope we won’t be here very long.

Went to see the Chandlers yesterday. Took us forever to find the place but we finally made it. Only the two boys were home, however. Mike is 6 feet tall — Dave 6’3” !! Lad could hardly believe it. Mrs. Chandler’s step-mother had died, so she was in Kentucky — was expected home tonight. Mr. Chandler was speaking to a Young People’s Group in a town about 12 miles away (on our way home) so we stopped there and said “Hello”. Didn’t have time for much more. We hope to get back there again.

Hope we see you late Wed. night or early Thursday morning.

Love –

Marian and Lad

Tomorrow, another letter from Grandpa.

Saturday and Sunday, more Special Pictures.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Dear Dave (2) – Letters to Lad and Marian and From Dan – November, 1945


Page 2   11/18/45

Dear Lad and Marian:

Thought of you several times on the anniversary day and was tempted to send you a wire didn’t know whether it would reach you in time if sent to your camp address, even though of sending Marian flowers by wire, so you see that nothing tangible resulted, you were at least in mind.

Dick has been busy as the proverbial bee, tinkering away at this thing and that, much to the improvement and comfort of all concerned. He doped out a complete and comprehensive fuse plan for all the light outlets, installing new lights the apartment bathroom, replace one light socket (fixture) in the old bathroom. Between you and Ced and Dick a lot of mechanical things that have needed to be fixed up for some time have been completed. Jean cooked the dinner today, Marian, and did a right good job, too. We had a roast of lamb (page Dan), baked sweet potatoes, string beans, shoelace beets (canned) and prune whip. Last week another bunch of delayed letters arrived which I sent on to you at Lad’s address so you could have something to do besides knitting while Lad was put helping Uncle Sam. I am enclosing another letter for Marian which arrived since.

We are course hoping you both can get here for Thursday’s event. Was Bob transferred to the new company too? Was he able to get a pass to enable him to go home for Thanksgiving?


Dear Dan:

Yours of Nov. 8th from Paris. The letter in which you say: “Just like old Finnigan, I’m off again — this time to Luxembourg. We arrived back from Leige Tuesday evening and the next two days have been a hurricane of activity getting enough survey equipment to make up two crews. My crew is going to Luxem., And another  to Holland. The job this time is rather like the last, i. e. a topo., survey of a military cemetery.”

(Later on in the letter you say you haven’t received any mail lately so of course you didn’t answer any questions I have asked you lately to attend to clear up such points as to what position do you occupy in these survey teams what exactly is your work? How do you like your boss and then work with?)

You go on to say: “ Chiche is still at Calais. She asks for a few more items from S.R. (Sears Roebuck) back to last summer, hence are listed in the old catalog. Reasonable facsimiles will suffice. In addition to the items listed she wants to give her sister Renée a raincoat similar to the one you sent her– same size. And I promised to ask for a third raincoat for a friend– small size — not the same style as Paulette’s. Incidentally I have told Chiche that she is not to promise anything more to her friends because it is an abuse of your and Marian’s willingness, and a hell of a bother.”

Tomorrow, the conclusion of this letter. On Thursday an note from Marian and on Friday, another letter from Grandpa.

Judy Guion

Army Life – Dear Dad – Marian Writes about Apartment Hunting – November, 1943

Marian writes to Grandpa - Nov. 1, 1943

Marian writes to Grandpa – Nov. 1, 1943


November 1, 1943

Dear “Dad”,

Don’t know where the time has gone since I wrote you last, but believe me, just because I haven’t found the time to write to you before this, doesn’t mean that I haven’t been thinking of all of you back in Connecticut. I do so wish everyone of you could be out here on the 14th. That would make a very lovely day simply perfect! But surely it won’t be too long before we can meet each other and become acquainted!

Our plans are coming along very nicely, we think. All we do now is keep our fingers crossed, hoping things will continue to run smoothly. We got our rings last week, every time I look at mine, I almost cry! It is so beautiful! And I’m the one who has always said that weddings were a time to be exceptionally gay and cheerful. I’ll probably weep buckets!

I believe Marian is writing about this picture.

One of your recent letters stated that you were sending me, or rather, had sent me, a picture of Lad taken in civilian life. It’s been about three weeks since then, and it hasn’t arrived as yet. Do you suppose it could have gotten lost? I inquired at the post office here, but no package has arrived. Is there any way we can check up on it to see if it has been waylaid along the way? It was very thoughtful of you to think of sending me a picture. I would love to have it, and hope it hasn’t gotten lost.

We are still hunting for an apartment, and every one of our friends is frantically looking, too. But we are sure we’ll find something before the 12th of this month.

Don’t know where to continue in this installment of my life. Would you like a personal touch? I’m very fond of anything that has to do with one Sgt. A.P. Guion . I love Christmas, birthdays, family traditions and am inclined to be rather sentimental, I fear. I love meeting people, having friends who don’t wait for invitations to come over, seeing the snow does something to me that I can’t explain, but it really gives me a thrill. Al says that if I had to live in it for one winter I wouldn’t be so enthusiastic! But nonetheless, I think it’s wonderful. My favorite color is green, with red and blue running close seconds. I very rarely get angry, and when I do, I go out and walk around the block! It helps a lot. I am not a good cook or housekeeper (poor Lad!), but am very willing to learn. I have no particular phobias of any kind – I admire efficiency in other people, but am definitely lacking in that respect. Spur of the moment happenings intrigue me much more – I am not a mathematical genius nor financial wizard – as long as I have money, I love to spend it, and if I don’t have it, it doesn’t bother me one bit!

I don’t know what else you would like to know about me. Ask some more questions if you have any that are bothering you. I’d love to try to answer them for you.

Thank you for including me in your very interesting letters to your scattered family. I have enjoyed reading your letters very much, and am glad that you and I agree as to policy regarding their sharing.

My love to you and Aunt Betty. Tell Jean that I know we could get along beautifully. After all, we have a common interest that is really wonderful, don’t we? And I understand she enjoys interior decorating. Another common interest!



Tomorrow and Sunday, more Special Pictures.

On Monday, I’ll begin a week of letters written in 1945. Dan and Paulette are in France, Ced is in Alaska and Dave is in the Philippines. Lad, Marian, Dick and Jean are all living at the Trumbull House with Grandpa and Aunt Betty.

Judy Guion