Trumbull – Dear Dick, Lad, Marian and Dan (1) – Reply to Dick – January 9, 1944

Trumbull, Conn.  Jan. 9, 1944

Dear Dick, Lad, Marian and Dan:

‘Tis only the four of you I am writing to today, but it won’t be long now before Ced and Dave will be added to the list. Dave goes Thursday, and following my usual custom, which has happened so many times now it has almost developed into a habit, I should deliver my youngest at the well-known railroad station at Shelton to swell the ranks of Uncle Sam’s Army, and two days later I shall bid adieu to 6 foot plus Ced who departs again for the far North, with full intentions of making two stops en route, one at Texarkana to catch a glimpse of his oldest brother whom he last saw as he bid him goodbye at the Grace Line here (1939), and the second stop at Los Angeles (So. Pasadena) in order to meet his new sister-in-law; two visits which the writer confesses he would like very much to be making himself.

Ced has had an active week, spending two days in New York in which he visited the Burnham’s and Grandma, driving us all down to Pegg’s in Redding, where we had supper, and last night eating dinner with the Platt’s in Westport and showing the Alaskan slides. Last Sunday night we all went up to the Plumbs where also the Alaskan and South American movies were run off. Grandma, he said, was still mentally alert but was visibly weaker.

No letters from either Lad or Dan this week, but surprise of surprises, a letter from Dick, and a nice long letter from Marian.

In reply to yours, Dick, I want you to know how much it is appreciated. I was beginning to think you had just disowned the family. Writing letters to you month after month with never a peep in return makes one realize how a person broadcasting over the radio must feel who never gets any fan mail and doesn’t know whether anyone is listening or not or moreover doesn’t care. I am glad to have your assurance that my weekly efforts do mean something to you. I suppose it must be hard for each of you to realize that I really feel I am writing to each of you individually and not the way a newspaper editor feels when he writes for his public. I often have the feeling, when no comments are ever forthcoming to any of the topics mentioned (except of course, big events like Lad’s marriage or Ced’s homecoming), that perhaps they are really of slight interest and not worth the effort, because at times it really is difficult, as you must know from your own experience, to sit down at a regular time, whether you feel in the mood or not, and try to be interesting.

Aunt Betty Durtee

Aunt Betty Durtee

Aunt Betty is very encouraging along this line. She reads every letter after I have finished and always, in a tone of great conviction, says, “That was a very nice letter. I don’t see how you do it, Alfred.” And immediately my ego goes up a point or two and I say to myself, “Well, maybe it wasn’t so bad, at that.” Good old Ced  occasionally adds a few encouraging words and Lad and Dan keep on writing, so I give you the benefit of the doubt and keep on pounding out this stuff, hoping the fact you are away from home will add a bit of the glamour not inherent in the thing itself. It’s good to have Dick’s slant, for instance, in the following quotation:  “I miss the scenes around good old Trumbull — the walks in the woods, the Brook, every room in the house and all the people whom I have known so well. I know I could walk blindfolded through the house from top to bottom without any trouble. It’s been nearly a year since I’ve been home. When I was up in Alaska it wasn’t quite so bad because I was enjoying myself and knew that I could leave for home when ever I pleased. I really don’t get to lonesome though. There is always something to occupy my time, and idleness is the chief cause of homesickness. We all work and are hoping for victory.” Aren’t we all, Dick, feeling much the same, whether at home or in the armed forces?

Tomorrow, I’ll be posting the second half of this letter Grandpa comments about a letter from Marian and possible plans for the house when all the boys are home again. Wednesday, a letter from Lad. Thursday and Friday, another letter from Grandpa to his sons.

Judy Guion

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Trumbull – To My Scattered Flock (2) – Notes 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.

Dear Lad:

Alfred (Lad) Guion in California

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 I 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?

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 Blog - Marian Irwin - 1942were 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, more Special Pictures of the Trumbull House, Then and Now.

On Sunday, another Guest Post from GPCox. about the role of women in World War II.

Judy Guion

Army Life – Dear Dad – Marian Writes to Grandpa – January 7 and 11, 1944

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

1416 Stratford Ave.

South Pasadena, Calif.

Friday – 1/7/1944

Dear Dad –

As you can see, my stationery arrived and I can’t start using it soon enough. I think it is darling, Dad – thank you so very much.

Lad Guion and Vern Eddington, his Best Man

Marian Guion and her sister, Peg 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

*************************************************

 

Marion at Pomona - smiling - in color- 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

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 Friday, another letter from Grandpa.

On Saturday more Special Pictures of the Trumbull House, Then and Now. 

Judy Guion

Army Life – Dear Ced – How wonderful to be Home – January 1, 1944

Lad and Marian have been married for about six weeks. They celebrated Christmas on Dec. 21 because Lad was sent to Texarkana, Texas, 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, you 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, forLad 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 gotten anything yet, may we have a rain 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 light 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 to his scattered flock in Alaska, California, London, Brazil and Texarkana. He just keeps using more carbon paper and making more copies ! I will finish out the week with another letter from Marian to Grandpa. 

Judy Guion

Trumbull – A Box of Cigars (2) – March 19, 1944

And there you have it, Marian dear, as complete an exhibit of the wild ravings of an unbalanced mind as one could find anywhere. Since the secret can no longer be kept you have probably already concluded that there must be a touch of insanity in the family to which you have recently united. It is too bad that poor old Dan is going so rapidly “off the deep end”, as they say in jolly old London. But then the other children have also exhibited like tendencies from time to time. I am really the only sane one in the family. Lad at times has shown traces of irrationality, one time choo, chooing and saying “all aboard”, Ced early developed the habit of jumping out of second-story windows. Elizabeth tried walking a tightrope on the back fence falling off and breaking her arm, while Dick and Dave developed glass breaking complexes, Dick picking out country clubs for his activities and Dave kicking in stair windows claiming it was unintentional, that he was just wiggleing his toe and it wiggled too far. Dan, even as a child exhibited clear tendencies, taking such forms as painting his little baby brother Cedric’s face with black shoe polish, almost scaring his aunt to death, breaking eggs by the half-dozen lots on the kitchen floor, deciding to sleep out-of-doors on a summer’s night and then rushing in the house after dark with tales of being chased by bears. We of course tried to overlook these things and hope for the best, the years showing no improvement, as you can see from his letter, his mind seems rapidly going to pieces. I will mention just a few instances, as I might as well make a clean breast of the whole thing while I am at it. You will notice Dan puts no year on his letter, never knowing what year it is, as can readily be seen from his opening paragraph. Then after admitting the Christmas package was definitely received his irrational mind jumps to the conclusion that the package is still traveling as he says in the same breath “you should hear about it before it goes too far.” See what I mean? And of course it is quite untrue about Aunt Betty smoking cigars as you will realize when I tell you that for the last 20 years she has invariably smoked a corncob pipe, and being quite consistent, uses only corn silk. The farmers in the neighborhood look charitably upon this peculiarity, and it is a frequent occurrence of summer evenings in Trumbull to see Aunt Betty with a small wicker basket on her arm and a blue sun bonnet on her head trudging through the cornfield gathering corn silk for her winter humidor. Then that reference to Aunt Betty sitting on the stairs and blocking my way is a pure figment of the imagination. As you well know, I always slide down the banisters.

Perhaps we should excuse these harmless little aberrations on Dan’s part, but one thing I cannot overlook is his habit, when at home, of scattering snuff here and there throughout the house to make me sneeze, in the hope that I will think I have hay fever.

Of course I wouldn’t for the world let him know we realize his mental condition and it might be well therefore for you to humor him to the extent of a bolt or so of pink ribbon which you can secure from your department store for his monocle, cautioning him, of course, not to trip over it; also while you’re at it, you might send him some shoelaces with little tassels on them, as I know this would touch him deeply. We’ll just have to make the best of it, hoping he doesn’t reach the stage where he thinks he’s Joe Stalin and goes around ordering caviar, vodka and borsht at Kurtz’s store.

This family confession has completely exhausted me and I shall now have to close this letter as I have to try catching my thumb.

Lovingly yours,

Napoleon

I’ll finish this week spent in 1944 with another letter from Rusty Huerlin sent to Ced in Anchorage.

Judy Guion

 

Trumbull – A Box of Cigars (1) – March 19, 1944

This letter is quite long so I broke it up. Grandpa’s family confession to Marian will be posted tomorrow. To lay the whole story out like this was exhausting for Grandpa and I’m sure he felt tired but completely unburdened after the fact. I hope you enjoy this with “tongue in cheek”.

Alfred Duryee Guion (Grandpa)

Alfred Duryee Guion
(Grandpa)

Trumbull, Conn.  March 19, 1944

Dear Progeny:

No less an authority than the Bard of Avon is responsible for the statement that “All the world’s a stage and all the men and women merely players. They have their exits and their entrances and one man in his time plays many parts.” For instance, take one of my days last week and you will find me betimes in the morning donning the costume of a businessman Buicking to his office and there performing tasks anywhere from sweeping out the workshop to interviewing a star salesman from New York; then home at night garbed swiftly as a chef preparing the evening meal. The phone rings. Two young couples at the Town Hall desire a Justice of the Peace to marry them. A quick change to a Cupid magistrate dress. The knot is quickly tied and immediately after supper I assume the cap and apron of a nursemaid and “mind” Catherine’s children while she takes supper at the Ives, and finally you see me in my cute little Dr. Denton’s sleeping garment crawling between the sheets in time to listen to Raymond O. Swing’s nightly comments on the current war picture.

A most welcome letter from Marian, with an addendum from Lad, tells of her working part-time in a department store. She encloses a letter Dan wrote her, about which more later.

Another note from Dave (by the way, Lad tells me I reported Dave’s number wrongly — it should be 31409102) finds him this week at Joplin, Mo., whither he has gone on a Class C pass. He reports rifle target practice, score yet undetermined. Now acting as right guide in his platoon, he hopes this might lead eventually to a chance at Cadre School but warns there is no assurance yet of this developing. You will be interested to know, Dave, that I received your three additional photos from the Loring Studios this week, and knowing your financial circumstances, I talked them down so that the three cost only $6.30 and in some ways are better than the first lot. What disposition do you want made to them outside of the one I retain as commission?

I had thought I might hear from Ced this week but I guess there has not been enough time yet for a letter to reach here from Anchorage. I am wondering how secure his last deferment is, what with all this talk of the president’s directive to draft everybody under 26, irrespective of occupational deferment.

Now I must undertake the painful duty of making a confession to Marian regarding the horrible skeleton in our family closet and in order to adequately cover the subject, it will be necessary to quote the pathetically revealing letter Dan wrote to his new sister-in-law. It is dated February 9th (no year) and is as follows:

“Your Xmas greeting card arrived today, and with my customary acumen I decided it was probably for either 1943 or 1944. I am right, am I not?

In the same mail I heard from Dad about your Xmas package to Trumbull, and I feel that you should hear about it before it goes too far. It all came about through your negligence (I am sure, at least I hope, it was unintended) in labeling the individual articles. In the bundle was a box of White Owl Cigars, as you probably remember. It seems that Aunt Betty decided that they were intended for her, which put Dad into a towering rage. Aunt Betty explained that he, Dad, had his noisy old pipes to suck on and smell up the house with, so she didn’t see why he should make a fuss over a few old rolls of tobacco. This argument didn’t seem to sooth Dad much, and he finally imposed on poor Aunt Betty to be satisfied with half of the cigars. This turned out to be rather an unfortunate compromise because now Aunt Betty insists on smoking one every night before she goes to bed. She just sits on the stairs puffing away on a White Owl, and won’t move out of the way when Dad wants to go upstairs. You can be sure that this causes no end of complications! Perhaps on future Xmases it would be more diplomatic to send two boxes of White Owls, with labels.

“I have become so very English by now that you would hardly know me — even if you did! I am thinking of wearing a monocle, but I cannot decide between a rose-colored affair with yards of pink ribbon or a horn-rimmed glass on which are etched a few lewd French pictures. Which would you suggest? As you can see money is no object.

“Nor is there any particular object to this letter other than to say “cheerio” for the nonce, and my fervent hope for a speedy post war reunion for us all.”

Tomorrow, Grandpa’s confession to Marian and final thoughts.

On Friday, a letter from Rusty Huerlin to Ced.

Judy Guion

Army Life – Dear Dad – Marian Writes – Basking in the California Sunshine – March, 1942

 

Marion at Pomona - smiling - in color- 1943

Friday

Dear Dad –

While I’m basking in the California sunshine, (not the liquid variety !) and trying to dry my hair, I thought I’d better catch up on my letter writing to the members of the family on the East Coast. I received a notice from the post office at Hooks saying that there was a package there for me, so I hurriedly dispatched the few stamps needed to have it sent out here to California. It should arrive any day now, and my curiosity is aroused as to what it might contain.

I can very readily sympathize with you, Dad, when you try to buy any sort of a gift for these “G.I. Caballeros”. It is awfully hard, I know, ‘cause there is so very little that they can use, and what they can use they can usually get right on the Post. With Lad’s birthday coming up, I am in a dither. Of course, I might hold out on the sweater that I’ve knit? Knitted? Nuts! – finished for him, but as it was sort of promised to him when I reached Texarkana – and then as a Valentine gift – I guess I’d better hand it over pronto, or he’ll begin to doubt my word! If I’m right here with him and don’t know what to get him, I can just imagine what you must be trying to think of when you can’t even see him. But I assure you it wouldn’t do any good so far as gifts are concerned. He has no ideas on the subject, so is none too helpful on that score.

As a passing thought, you asked when my birthday was. It is November 11th – almost the same as our anniversary – so what a wonderful present I received last year – and being three days late made absolutely no difference. US Mails (and males) are unpredictable these days, anyway!

Did I tell you that we received a perfectly delightful letter from Dan, dated February 9th – in which he reveals a certain family dispute over one box of cigars which we neglected to label at Christmas time. I know both you and Aunt Betty will appreciate the letter so I’m enclosing it with this letter. Wish we could see your expression when you read it! (More on this subject in Grandpa’s letter I’ll be posting on Wednesday.)

Lad had an unexpected holiday yesterday so we went into Pasadena, took care of a couple of business matters – stopped by the Hospitality Center in South Pasadena to say “Hello” and then went in to LA for dinner. These spur of the moment holidays are one of the many reasons why I’m glad I’m not working at a steady job, ‘cause I can go right along with him at a moment’s notice – and it’s always fun.

I am working two or three days a week at a department store, and altho’ I’ve never done this type of work before, I find it lots of fun and just enough work to keep me out of mischief.

My love to all –

Marian

Hi folks,

Just a note to let you know that I’m still able to keep going. In your “Universal” letter of February 27th you gave Dan’s serial number wrong. It should have been 31 – etc. instead of 13 – as you wrote. Got a letter from Dave yesterday and he really seems to be enjoying the Army. I’m glad. Well – toodle-oooooo, and love to all. Laddie

Tomorrow, a letter from Alta Gibson (Mrs. Arnold – Gibby – Lad’s best friend from Trumbull) to Ced. On Wednesday and Thursday, a letter from Grandpa to his sons, and daughter-in-law Marian, and on Friday a letter from Rusty Huerlin to Ced.

Judy Guion