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






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.


Army Life – Lad’s First Mention of Marian – April, 1943

This letter is written from the Hospitality Center of South Pasadena. Marian Irwin was the Executive Director of the South Pasadena Camp Fire Girls and did her duty to entertain the troops at the Hospitality Center. She actually met three of Lad’s friends who arrived at Camp Santa Anita while Lad was taking a two week Diesel Engine course from the Wolverine Motor Works near Chicago. She told me that they kept telling her, “Wait until you meet Al”. Little did they know how well that would turn out.

The date appears to be April 8, 1942, but in actuality, Lad wasn’t drafted until June, 1942. By April of 1944, they were married and Marian was moving from base to base with him.


Blog - Marian Irwin - 1942April 8, 1943

Dad: –

Again too many days have gone by, but they have all been full. Even Apr. 3rd. I got a letter from you on the eventful day – thanks. It went by as usual, but the bunch of us were invited to a party in my honor at the home of one of the girls I have met here. In fact, she is so much like Babe that I have difficulty now and then in calling her Marian. She is not quite as pretty as Babe but resembles her in almost every other way. Even to occupations. Well, anyhow, the party went off fine and about 2 A.M. on Sunday we decided to go to a swing-shift dance at the Casa Manana and had a good time. Got in Camp at 6 Sun. Morn. (this is the first mention of Marian, my Mom, in Lad’s letters home.)

Due to a change in the system of paying last Wednesday, we could not get out of camp in time to see “The Drunkard”, so it is still something to look forward to.

I heard from Mrs. Lea, and everything is O.K. – sorry I didn’t or couldn’t do anything earlier, but I should have written. But that’s me.

You asked in one of your letters that I tell you something about what I’m doing. Well, Art Lind and I are working together in the same class and we have decided that the system used by the Army for teaching Diesel Engines can be greatly improved. Well, without authority, because of stubbornness on the part of one officer to listen to our story, we went ahead and ran the class for one week. It was a decided success and proved our point to a “T”, but still, since it has been general knowledge that Art and I were responsible, this same officer is not able to get credit now as having originated the idea, and has still not issued the necessary orders. It is people like he who are responsible for a great deal of the discontent prevalent in the Army. Other than that, the course is continuing as it should, and running very smoothly.

It seems that our new Battalion C.O. is from a Basic Co. and thinks that we are trainees. If this sort of treatment keeps on, there is going to be trouble in Hdq. Bn. And I won’t be lax in cooperating.

In a letter, you mentioned that Dan may be scheduled for overseas, it is beginning to look like all of we A-1’s will be replaced by “limited service” men, and then – – –? Who knows?

I’m fine, Dad, and I hope you and the rest are the same. Remember me to all.


Tomorrow, we learn more about Ced’s Coming of Age Adventure as he moves west from Chicago and the World’s Fair.

On Monday, I’ll begin a week of letters written in 1945. Dan’s wedding is getting closer and closer but it does not happen in next weeks letters. It will have taken place the next time we visit 1945.

Judy Guion

Friends – Marian Writes to Ced – May, 1945



May 17th

Dear Ced—

It certainly isn’t because I’ve forgotten you that I have neglected writing to you – but you know how it is. Dad’s letters every week seem to cover all the local news – and by the time I finish writing to Lad each night, there doesn’t seem to be much time to do anything else. So various and sundry friends and relatives get sadly neglected.

But that’s enough space for the Excuse, Please Department. Let’s see what else I can find to comment upon.

First and foremost is your darling Christmas gift. How did you know that I have a what-not shelf in my room that is practically bare and now, my little ivory figurine is the beginning of a collection. I hope to add more things to the shelf as time goes by. Thanks ever so much, Ced —

It seems as tho’ I’ve sort of annexed your room – you probably have visions of organdy frills and furbelows all over the place. I assure you that the dressing table is the only “frilly” piece of furniture – and that can be easily removed, when you are again ready to take occupancy of the room. For my stay is strictly temporary – and as soon as Lad gets home, we will be on our merry way, probably – the direction, North? East? South? or West remains to be seen.

From your reports upon the lack of snow this year, I imagine that your skiing activities are somewhat curtailed – or has Winter finally caught up to you, (We are trying to have winter all over again here in Conn.) so that you were able to get in some good skiing – I really envy you – being so close to such wonderful skiing country. It must be loads of fun. And I imagine your Ski Club has really been a lot of fun, too. The pictures you sent looked as tho’ they were all a lively bunch – and good sports, too.

You are not the only one in the family in the airplane business. My branch, however, is quite a bit different from yours – and probably much less interesting. I’m working at the Sikorsky Aircraft – doing very routine office work – but I don’t mind – Somehow, I’m quite satisfied not having to think too hard! Must admit that that is a heck of a rut to be in, but until Lad gets home, I’m just sort of marking time anyway –

Isn’t it exciting news about Dan and Paulette? We are really anxious to meet her – when this d___ war is over we might have a chance. Dan is keeping his fingers crossed, hoping to get a furlough in July – at least long enough time off to be married. So far he and Lad haven’t met but they are still trying –

Don’t work too hard – write to us when you have a chance –

As always –


For the next three days, I’ll be posting a long letter from Grandpa to “YOU”. On Friday, a letter from Lad in Langres, France.

On Saturday and Sunday, I’ll begin a new series of letters (written in 1934-35) from Elizabeth (Biss) to her Father, while she is living with Aunt Anne Stanley and her two children, Donald and Gweneth, in St, Petersberg, Florida. Biss was having a hard time dealing with the loss of her Mother, high school and the expectations of her Father (Grandpa) during this extremely trying time for the whole family. Grandma Arla’s sisters and Grandpa decided that a move away from Trumbull might help Biss cope with her life.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – From GHGHF (4) – News of Family and Friends – May, 1945

Alfred Duryee Guion - (Grandpa) - in the Alcove where he typed his letters

Alfred Duryee Guion – (Grandpa) – in the Alcove where he typed his letters


Your ultimate success in getting a plane ride reminds me of the slogan of the largest advertising agency in the U.S. – N.W. Ayer and Son of Philadelphia – “Keeping everlastingly at it brings success”. “Keep on keeping on” is another thought with the same root.

This week’s mail also brings a letter from Aunt Dorothy (Peabody) in San Carlos, Calif., and also one from Uncle Kemper (Peabody). From them we learn that Franklin (Peabody) is in Dell Monte, Calif., studying radio and still has a few months to go before finishing. Dorothy has invited him to come to San Carlos for a visit. In Vermont, the farm and creamery, as two separate businesses, are going along fairly, although some of the people working for them drive the management nuts at times. “When writing to your sons will you say for me what everyone wants to say to them: respect, gratitude, affection, fortune.”

Jim Smith, who is visiting his wife in Los Angeles, writes:

We had a pleasant trip out to this part of the country – – came by bus, not tiresome at all, but a lot of swell people and lots of time to see things. This is a great country out here but we don’t know if we would like to live here or not – – maybe because the weather is “screwy” even tho’ the sunshine is wonderful. I am working with a cousin here at the Warner Bros. movie studio in Hollywood – – a good job with good money. Very interesting to be on the inside to see how they do things.”

ADG - Grandpa (Alfred Duryee Guion), Aunt Elsie (Elsie May Guion), Aunt Betty (Lizzie Duryee) - Oct. 1945 in Trumbull

Grandpa, Aunt Elsie and Aunt Betty

          And from above stairs, there comes the following message:

Hello, “Brave Men”. I’ve been reading Ernie Pyle’s book by that name and his descriptions of the various battle areas certainly show up the American “GIs” as not only good soldiers but boys of inherent honesty, good nature and desire to be liked; in other words, downright nice kids through and through. Well, from those I know, how right he is! I am beginning to feel I could lead this indolent “life of Riley” continuously except I want to get back on my own two feet and do my stuff. I never did hear how long the life of Riley lasted. Are there any more birds where you are? The birds here at this time of year have the loveliest songs. I noticed them because all I hear in New York are sparrows. Now that the European area is changed it will be interesting to know the changes in the lives of Dan and Lad. By the way, Dan, congratulations. She looks like a very interesting girl, and I’ll be another to welcome her to the U.S.A. I still remember two or three French words. (From Aunt Elsie, Grandpa’s sister, who is a part-owner of a shop in Grand Central Station)

MIG - Jean Mortenson Guion and Marian Irwin Guion, June, 1945

Jean (Mrs. Dick) and Marian (Mrs. Lad)…/only-a-stage-set-but-this-apartment-works-voice...

Several of the girls went on a manless spree last night, including our own Marian, Jean and Elizabeth. They went to New York and after dinner at a Swedish restaurant, saw a performance of the Voice of the Turtle, the turtle being a turtledove, sort of pigeon to you, and based on a quotation from the Bible which you wouldn’t know about. They ordered the tickets many months ago. Elizabeth put hers in her pocketbook and then promptly proceeded to lose her pocketbook, including also her operator’s license and some three dollars in currency. An ad in the Bpt. Papers brought no response but the theater management were considerate and, no one occupying the seat, she had no trouble.

Dave, right at this moment, I miss you. Reason? The Young People are pounding away on the old pianola and singing, the piece being your old favorite, “The Donkey’s Serenade”. Quite like old times and I can almost see you walking in the doorway while I am pounding out this letter. Every once in a while it goes off key as of old.

Erwin Laufer is still at home, as far as I know, but he has not yet put in an appearance. I guess he’s kind of bashful about meeting the girls (Jean and Marian, who are living with their father-in-law while waiting for their men to come home). He could probably brave one alone, but with two of them ganging up on him, he would probably rather charge a Jap foxhole then take the dreaded step.

Aunt Betty, for the past week or so, has been a very devoted nurse, carrying up meals to Elsie and waiting on her hand and foot (or should I say leg), in addition to cooking supper for us all. She has really become a very good cook, but doesn’t believe it when we tell her, thinking that “we are only saying that to please her”. She doesn’t enjoy the job, but carries on with it valiantly just the same – – all the more to her credit.

Sparked into action by a question from Marian the other night, I got out the Atlas to try to locate the Florida Islands which Dave mentioned in his last letter, and found it close to Guadalcanal, but as a byproduct, we are much surprised to see, with the map of the wide expanse of the Pacific before us, how much progress we had made since Gen. MacArthur started in the Pacific. Cheer up, Dave, maybe the higher ups in the Jap government will see the uselessness of fighting on and give up to save what is still left instead of going Germany’s way. Here’s hoping anyway. Meanwhile, to you all, boys of mine, keep well and come back to your old dad, safe and sound.   DAD

Tomorrow, I’ll be posting a letter written by Lad to his father on the same day this one was written, but wasn’t received until May 24th.

On Saturday and Sunday, two more segments of a Tribute to Arla.

Judy Guion

Early Memories of Trumbull – Odds And Ends

Spring Island - low water at the Point and Bathtub RockLAD – Sometime around 1945, we were going to the Island and we stopped at the Heurlin’s house. During the conversation they mentioned that they would like to get rid of the island it was just costing them money and they weren’t using it. Dad was interested in it and found out that they owed about $300 in back taxes. Dad paid that and they gave him the deed to the Island.

BISS – When dad bought the Island from the Heurlin’s, I was married and had two children. I tried to talk Zeke into going up there. He wanted no part of it, he wasn’t interested. I figured it would be good for the kids, it would be a vacation and it wouldn’t cost more than food and supplies. But seek wouldn’t go. After five or six years, I finally convinced him to try it. Then I could never keep him away. Now, if only I could have gotten him to try traveling once. I’m sure it would’ve been the same way. Then I would’ve had my dream of traveling all over. I got the van, the mattress, the gas lantern and gas stove, and then we never went anywhere, no matter what I say. I figured when we retired, we’d just start out with no particular destination; we could bring his guns and his fishing gear. Anyplace we found a spot, if we liked it, we could spend two or three days there; if we didn’t like it, we could go to another place.

Spring Island - Transportation @ 1960s - Utility Barge, rowboat (Lad)

CED – The Barge was used to move the cook cabin. Your father (Lad) and some of his friends went to the mainland and bought a garage. They sawed it in half, put it on the barge and brought it to the Island. They made it into the kitchen shack.

DAVE – Later on, when my kids were young, when we went to the Island, I’d put a piece of plywood on the back seat and they would be there. I use to get going pretty fast, you know, up near Lebanon, New Hampshire, where nobody was around. I used to get up to about 80 miles an hour with the kids in the back. Of course, I was only thinking about the fact that there were no cars around. It never occurred to me that I might hit a deer or a moose.

DICK – When I was in Brazil, I road bareback on a small horse with a broad back, feeling very macho. There were five of us going up this gentle hill, hell-bent for leather. All of a sudden, I was standing on the ground. The horse had stepped into a hole and somersaulted under me. If I’d had a regular saddle, I’d have had my shoes in the stirrups.

Alfred Duryee Guion

Grandpa, Marian & Lad Guion, Jean & Dick Guion, Aunt Betty

One time, Lad was driving Marian, Jean and I back to Trumbull from the movies. The car in front of us pulled over and parked. The driver threw open the door, and Lad shouldn’t have missed it but he did. Then he started looking around and patting himself…. He said, “I had a cigarette..”

BISS – Dad was very determined to beat the Stock Market because it had done him in. He was out for revenge. He’d sit up there in his bedroom and follow the charts. He did a lot of investing on margin. He had an estate worth over $100,000 when he died, only 10 years after he got out of debt.

This ends the REMENINISCENCES Of Alfred Duryee Guion (And his Children).

Tomorrow I will begin a series,  published a few years ago, entitled A Tribute to Arla. This is the story of my Grandmother, Arla Mary Peabody Guion, her marriage to my Grandfather, memories about her from, her childten and her death, in 1933, probably from Cancer. Two segments will be published each weekend. Enjoy.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Dear Banqueters (2) – Quote From Lad And Comments From Grandpa – March, 1945


2/18/45. Dave certainly doesn’t let you down, does he? That should be a very interesting trip he is going to have, I’d like to be with him. His job, as he explained it to me, sounds interesting and closely related to inactivity as far as infantrymen are concerned, and far enough back so that he is in continually dodging artillery shells – – very similar to mine in that respect, and I might as well include Dan, Ced and Dick in the same category.



page 3     3/25/45

Thanks to you, your sons’ interests are too varied and practical for the Army to use as infantry soldiers. Ced still seems to be on the hop, as it were, concerning rooms. Hope he comes out of his present set-up still a man. From what we over here can glean from the papers, Anchorage, with its plenty, sounds quite intriguing. Comments on Dan are withheld until a later date, pending —–. 2/25/45. This one I see I have already answered, but a few more comments. On second glance, I see have not answered it so here goes. Among other things of worthy note you mention, in the first paragraph, the various “fronts”, your wishes seem to have become a reality, and even yet it is not Spring. So Uncles Sam and Joe and the other two equally important men are really “mixing it” with the enemy. Developments have been very surprising and rapid on all fronts and particularly the Rhine Crossing. That news was so important that it was even announced in the movies in the middle of a picture. But it was heralded with no unusual display of rising good cheer. Just now the news broadcast on the radio on the desk here says that the entire west bank of the disputed sector of the Rhine, just a short time ago, fell to the allies. And gains are apparent on all Allied fronts. It sounds almost too good. I have managed to ward off any cold bugs of any size since the worst I’ve had so far this winter, was a cough of a couple of days duration with no ill effects, and a very slight sore throat once in a great while, for which I do nothing because it goes before I’ve had breakfast. They seem to come usually the morning following a shower and don’t reappear again. That marriage you speak of concerning the handicapped groom (I assume) must be the oddest you have yet performed. That is just another of the scenes that will be forever hidden within the walls of the house. What a host of things have gone on within it! Wouldn’t it be wonderful if you could uncover the episodes year-by-year which it has witnessed? Dave, you say, has run into a Robert Guion. If what Dave says is true, he should hang on to him. “Good eggs” are hard to get in the Army. I’d like one or two now and then myself. But that is quite a coincidence and I imagine you are following Dave’s suggestion about checking histories. And that reminds me. The sailing point of our ancestors, La Rochelle, is still in German hands, and I sure as hell don’t intend to visit there while that condition exists. I’m glad Dave doesn’t get seasick. I surely do, but not too seriously. If I keep on, Dad, I won’t get this by for less than $.18 so I’d better stop now. I’ll write again. Love to all at home and my regards to the rest. LAD”

Now, that’s a letter worth waiting for. Am certainly glad that diesel kept running smoothly for so long a stretch. Before I go on to the other interesting quotes, let me slip in a few comments. You’re a good boy, Lad. Of course I always knew it but it did seem hard to understand why, with Marian getting two or three letters a day, day after day, week after week, and treasuring them as good wives do, that you could not find time to squeeze in just one tiny message now and again for Dad, who, in his own different way, and with memories stretching back to your babyhood days, did feel you occupied a big enough space in his heart to deserve a bit more than to be utterly ignored over so many months.

Page 4     3/25/45

But happily, you and the diesel, with one stroke of the cylinder, have wiped this right off the slate, if I can be permitted to mix my metaphors a bit, and knowing your conscientiousness and hesitancy to make promises without being almost certain of keeping them (I wonder where you get that trait?), I can look forward to hearing from you fairly frequently from now on, as circumstances will permit without affecting Marian’s rights. And that is all to the good. And, while I shall not take the space to quote it in this letter, your remarks resulted in Marian giving me your letter about the trip to Marseille, which I shall send on to you boys someday when there is not so much to write as there is tonight. On further in your letter, you mention the good news about the Rhine Crossing. Gosh, how fast we are moving these days. That Rhine Crossing is old news. Since then, Patton is also gotten over this great water barrier, and over the weekend, the big Crossing by Montgomery’s forces at the North. Deterred by what has happened in the past from becoming over optimistic at this juncture, it is a fact that the next few weeks will reveal pretty well whether the Nazis are utterly licked or whether they still intend to continue a hopeless struggle. In any event, I am wondering what that will mean to you boys in France? I should think it likely that both Dan and Lad would be moved up nearer to the fighting front – perhaps across the Rhine into some main American base in Germany, and in that event, would Lad get to see Dan and Paulette and indeed, would Dan be situated where he could see Paulette himself? And how would this affect their hopes and plans?

During the rest of the week, I’ll be posting more of this letter. Tomorrow, I’ll be continuing Grandpa’s comments to Lad.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Marian Writes To Paulette – March, 1945

This is the first letter Marian writes to her perspective sister-in-law, telling Paulette that she was in a similar situation. She encourages Paulette and tells her she shouldn’t worry about the family.

MIG - First letter to Paulette, March, 1945


March 4, 1945

Dear Paulette,

We have been so thrilled and excited ever since we received Dan’s letter saying that you have said “Yes!” All we can think of is, “When can we meet her?” – “How can we make her understand how very glad we are to have her join the Guion family?” And “Will she like us?”

As I am a fairly recent addition to the Guion family, I can understand your feelings about wondering if all of Dan’s brothers and his sister and sister in-laws too, will like you. I felt exactly the same way when I met Lad, and it was six months after we had been married before I met any of the family. Believe me, I was just as upset as you evidently are, but I certainly shouldn’t have been. They are all quite wonderful, and even though I’ve never met Dan, I know he is as nice as all the rest. You, of course, are sure that he is the very nicest of them all, but I think you might be a little prejudiced. I know I am about Lad.

We’d love to get a letter from you, Paulette, written in French if it would be easier that way. I’ll try to recall the two years of high school French that I have had, and with a trusty French and English dictionary handy, I think we would be able to translate it all right. I only wish that I could write to you in French, but I know I could never make you understand how glad we are that we are to have a new sister-in-law – and such a good-looking one too!

I hope that you will be able to meet Lad before very long. He has written to say that he is doing his best to get a pass so that he can come and visit your parents. But as you know very well by now, the Army has first and last say as to what any of us do right now. Surely it won’t be too long before this war will be over, and all the boys will be home again.

We are so anxious to know what your future plans are – or if you have even tried to make any. Will you be married right away, or wait until the war is over? Are you coming here to Trumbull before Dan does so that you can meet him when he arrives, or will you wait at home until he can send for you? I get so excited, Paulette, when I think about having you here that I can’t even talk straight. Please hurry and come over here, so we can become really acquainted.

Needless to say we wish you and Dan all the happiness in the world, and hope it won’t be very long before we are wishing it to you in person.



Every weekend, I will be posting my Grandfather’s story, as written by him in his Reminiscences. When the time comes, I’ll add the memories of his children and other groups of letters pertaining to a particular “Slice of Life”.

Do you know of anyone who is interested in life here in the United States during the 1920’s, 1930’s and 1940’s? Why not share this blog with them. They might really appreciate it.

Judy Guion