My Ancestors (33h) – Alfred P Guion – Marriage and World War II (3) – Lad to France and Marian to Trumbull

(1) Alfred Peabody Guion; (2) Judith Anne Guion.

 

From Life history of Alfred  P. Guion:

Nov. 1944 – shipped over

Marian drove the Buick with the trailer in tow from Jackson, Mississippi, to Trumbull, Connecticut, where she planned to live with Grandpa, get a job and wait for Lad’s return.  We know Marian was still in Jackson on November 1st and grandpas letter of November 12th tells us she is in Trumbull.

“Yesterday was not only Armistice Day but also Marian’s birthday, and following the usual custom, we celebrated it today.  Elizabeth, who came to dinner with her two boys, was able to get through her butcher a nice ham, quite a rarity these days, and that with some of Burrough’s cider of sainted memory, baked sweet potatoes, cauliflower, topped off with Guion’s celebrated prune whip, was followed with the opening of gifts amid the soft glow of candlelight — in the dining room of course.  Lad had sent me a bottle of Marian’s favorite perfume earlier in the week and this happened to be the last gift she opened which topped off things with an unexpectedly pleasant surprise for her.

Yesterday Lad wrote from “somewhere in the United States”, and was unable to give the slightest inkling of what is planned, but at least it is clear he did not sail Tuesday…”

Excerpt from Grandpa’s letter written November 19, 1944:

“From a significant lack of any definite word from Lad, we are all pretty sure he is now on the high seas or has already arrived at his destination, whatever that may be….. We are pretty sure he will go to the European sector rather than the Pacific, but even that is merely conjecture and a rationalization from what few facts we have.”

Excerpt from Grandpas letter written November 26, 1944:

”It was a real Thanksgiving week for us here in the main as far as letters from you boys were concerned.  Lad was the only one we did not hear from and that wasn’t his fault.  From “somewhere in France” the following very welcome message arrived: “Roughing it again!  A good excuse to write a letter!  I am sitting on an Army cot in an abandoned Nazi barracks, somewhere in France.  The pale light of a kerosene lamp acts as a monitor to my flailing pencil.  In the corner, a wood stove adds its pungency to the heavy odor of kerosene fumes, while a group of the boys are playing cribbage on an improvised table in the center of the room.  On the door Jerry has left “Conchita”,a  hard looking  Spanish beauty, smoking a cigarette and staring impersonally toward the doorknob.  Standing beside the stove is a burlap sack, plump with coke which we found near an abandoned gun site.  It will keep the chill from our slumber about 2 o’clock in the morning.  After I have such finished writing this letter I shall pay a visit to the café half a kilometer down the road.  We shall sit in the kitchen talking to the proprietress whose husband is a prisoner of the Germans.  We shall sip a glass of rather innocuous beer and lament the departure of more exciting spirits which accompanied Jerry back to Germany.”

From Life history of Alfred  P. Guion:

Langres, France:  6 months – operator – 1000 kva Diesel-Electric power plant.

Marseilles, France: 10 weeks –

While Lad’s Batallion was in Marseilles, he was able to obtain a weekend pass to Paris.  His brother Dan was getting married in Calais, sixty miles north of Paris.  Lad had been told that he was not allowed to go further north than Paris.  He took a train to Paris, left his duffel bag in a room at the hospitality center, slipped a comb and toothbrush in his pocket and headed north.  Very quickly he discovered the local train had too many stops and was moving much slower than regular street traffic, so he got off the train and started to hitchhike.  A British soldier on a motorcycle stopped and asked where he was going.  When Lad told him Calais the soldier said he would take him and actually dropped him off in front of the pharmacy that Paulette’s father owned.  Lad spent a long weekend getting reacquainted with his brother and getting to know his new sister-in-law and her family.  There is actually quite a bit more to this story but that will unfold in my regular blog posts.

From Life history of Alfred  P. Guion:

Aug., 1945 – returned to U.S.

Trumbull, Conn., – 7 weeks – recuperation furlough

Aberdeen,Md., – 7 weeks – waiting for discharge orders.

Fort Meade, Md. – 3 days – DISCHARGE

Next Sunday I will attempt to give a very condensed version of Lad and Marian’s married life in Trumbull, including the birth of their children.  Tomorrow I will begin posting a week of letters written in 1943 when all 5 sons are serving Uncle Sam in one way or another.  Judy Guion

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My Ancestors (33g)- Alfred Peabody Guion – Marriage and World War II (2)

(1) Alfred Peabody Guion; (2) Judith Anne Guion.

Lad and Marian in the Irwin’s back yard, 1944

Excerpt from a letter to Grandpa from Marian, written on a Monday, with a note in Grandpa’s writing: Pomona, Calif 7/10/44:

“Wish I could report some definite plans that the “Roving Guions” have made, but so far everything is still very much up in the air.  We might be here 2 days, 2 weeks or even 2 months – we just don’t know.”

Excerpt from a letter written by Marian on Monday (Grandpa’s handwriting: Post marked 8/7/44.)

“I know that the minute I put down in writing the fact that “we thought we were going to stay here for a while” the Army would change our minds for us….. Lad is supposed to leave here Wednesday or Thursday for Flora, Mississippi, and I am going to drive the car and meet him there – or rather at Jackson, Mississippi, for there is not much more than the Army Post at Flora.”

Excerpt from a letter written by Marian on Monday, 8/14/44:

“Yes – Here we are again.  Still sitting in Pomona wondering what we’re going to do next.  Evidently there was too much publicity regarding the current move of the 142nd Battalion (practically everyone in Pomona knew about it!)  Or maybe they were unable to get a troop train – or maybe just because.  Anyway, we haven’t gone yet, altho’ we are practically completely packed, and have gotten our gas coupons.”

NOTICE OF CHANGE OF ADDRESS, dated August 16, 1944, with an address for Flora, Mississippi.

Excerpt from a letter to Grandpa from Marian, written Saturday night from Wakeeny, Kansas (Grandpa wrote 8/28/44):

“Something tells me that this letter should be a clever epistle, containing references to cross-country pioneering etc. etc., but I’m afraid I don’t have the time or energy to think of something suitable.  But I do want you to know that so far we have had a pretty good trip, we are making good time, the car and trailer are holding together, and that I am getting nearer and nearer to Jackson, Miss.  (Hallelujah !!!!  It can’t be too soon for me)”

From Life history of Alfred  P.  Guion:

Flora, Miss. – 9 weeks – Instructor, Automotive electricity;

1 week – designing plan for overseas base shop

Excerpt from a letter to Grandpa written on a Wednesday (Grandpa’s note: Jackson, 9/14/44):

“We’ve moved again, but not out of Jackson.  Our new “home” is very much nicer than the 1st 1, and we have kitchen privileges, so we don’t have to eat out.  And from what we’ve sampled of Southern cooking, we are just as glad!  Somewhere along the way I’ve been sadly misinformed about Southern cooking.  (That’s not the only a dissolution – I imagined sitting on a porch, sipping mint juleps and sniffing magnolias and honeysuckle! something is definitely wrong! Mississippi is as dry as can be, and beer is a poor substitute for a mint juleps!”

Excerpt from a letter Marian has written to Ced on it Tuesday, ( I checked the calendar and believe it was written October 2, 1944):

“We had a very pleasant weekend this last week.  (Sounds peculiar, but you know what I mean!)  After various telegrams 2 and fro, we finally made connections and were able to spend most of the weekend in Little Rock, Ark., with Dave.  He had gotten a 3-day pass from Camp Crowder, and lad had gotten a weekend pass, so as Little Rock was practically the middle point from Camp to Camp, we drove up and Dave came down on the bus……  – Now I’ve had the pleasure of meeting the 3 of the Guion boys two more to go.”

Excerpt from a letter from Marian to Grandpa on a Thursday (Grandpa wrote Jackson, 10/26/44):

“The Battalion has been issued new clothes, and they have been given until Nov. 1st to dispose of their cars, but it seems to me we went through this routine once before at Pomona, and look how long it took us to get out of there!  Nevertheless, we are re–arranging and packing as much as we can, so that I can leave here on a moments notice.  We haven’t the slightest idea which P.O.E. the fellows will be sent to, but in case it is New York, or its vicinity, I’d like to be around there as quickly as I can get there, in case Lad has a chance to get away for even a few hours.”

WESTERN UNION TELEGRAM to Grandpa dated Oct. 31, 44:

HOLD CHECK FOR MARIAN CAN YOU WIRE $35.00 IMMEDIATELY TO MARIAN I GUION 303 LONGINO JACKSON MISS FOR TRIP TO TRUMBULL DEPARTURE THIRD.

LAD MARIAN

Excerpt from another letter to Grandpa from Marian on a Wednesday (grandpa writes Jackson,11/1):

“All the wives are supposed to have gone home, and no more private cars on the post.  But lad took the car today, anyway.  He’s going to park it outside the gate, so that I can pick it up if he gets restricted……  Just to be on the safe side however, we packed the trailer last night, so that it will only take me a few minutes to put the last minute things into the car and be on my way home.

Incidentally, Dad, I’m really looking forward to living there at Trumbull.  It seems to me to be the best place of all, other than actually being with Lad, and think of the extra nice company I’ll have…..

I’m leaving here tomorrow or Friday, at the very latest.  When Lad comes home tonight, he’ll know a little more about their coming restriction, I think, so that he’ll have an idea whether or not he will be able to get home tomorrow night.  If he can all stay until Friday, but I’m pretty certain I’ll leave then.  So if everything goes according to schedule, I should be home sometime Sunday, probably late in the evening.”

Note added to the end of this letter by Lad:

“Marion is a wonderful girl, Dad, so please take care of her for me.  My happiness, and practically my life, is wrapped up in her.  I know you will, tho’, even without my asking.”

From Life history of Alfred P.  Guion:

Nov, 1944 – shipped over

 

Trumbull – Dear Sheiks (2) – A Note From Marian – August 13, 1944

This is the second section of a letter from Grandpa to his boys – wherever they are.

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Now for some extracts:

Marian writes: “I knew that the minute I put down in writing the fact that we thought we were going to stay here for a while, the Army would change our minds for us. Maybe I’ll learn some day that I’ll never know what the Army is planning from one minute to the next. Lad is supposed to leave here Wednesday or Thursday for Flora, Mississippi. I am going to drive the car and meet him there – – or rather at Jackson, Mississippi, for there is not much more than the Army post at Flora. Jackson is about 20 miles away from the post, and as it is the capital of Mississippi, it can’t be too awful. Some people must live there. But every report we’ve gotten so far from those who have and have not been there says that Flora is nothing more than a h___ hole in the very worst degree. Not very encouraging, is it, but if we get there expecting the very worst we might be pleasantly surprised. I hope so, anyway.

Whether this is to be a training center or a staging area or both, we don’t know. Last month the “Battalion” was very “hot” and practically on its way overseas, but things cooled down considerably and we heard that another battalion had been sent across instead. So, as usual, we don’t know very much about what we are doing, but are hoping for the best. It looks as though I am going to have to postpone my very muchly anticipated return visit to Trumbull. May I have a rain – check, however, so that I may arrive at a later date? The only bright spot in the idea of Lad’s going overseas is the prospect of being with you again – and not just because of the snow, either! Perhaps I’ll be a little late, but I might show up yet. We are not sure of Lad’s new address. As soon as we know it, we will send you a card. Although we expect to move from Pomona on Wednesday or Thursday, don’t be too sure of it. Our next letter might come from Pomona, because knowing the Army as we do, I am not leaving here until I know for sure that the fellows are on the train and actually on their way. Mother’s operation was very successful (for cataract) already she can see 50% better than before and the doctor hopes that in three months time when she gets her glasses, she will be able to see 100% better. I’m still planning to stop at Orinda on my way to Flora although I won’t be able to spend very much time there.”

Many years ago while on a lecture tour for the Bridgeport Brass Company, I went to Jackson, Mississippi and was not very much impressed with the country. As I recall it, the country was flat and uninteresting. There was of course a large Negro population  which made a portion of the town seem squalid and dirty. It was also very hot which is to be expected. I don’t know Flora but I think you are right in not expecting too much. Incidentally, I am holding this letter until I know where to send it, which applies also to the package I had all ready to ship to Lad. That was great news about your Mother, Marian, and I know how glad she will be to SEE you. And you don’t need any rain check for Trumbull. You are down in the records as one of the charter members.

Thursday and Friday I will post the last two portions of this letter.

Judy Guion

Army Life – Dear Dad From Marian – August 7, 1944

At this point, Lad is expecting to be sent overseas and Marian will drive the Buick and trailer to Orinda, California, to have a short visit with her parents and then she will head to Trumbull for a reunion with Grandpa and the rest of the family there.

Monday

(postmarked 8/7/1944)

Lad and Marian - Pomona, CA

Lad and Marian – Pomona, CA

Dear Dad: – –

I knew that the minute I put down in writing the fact that “we thought we were going to stay here for a while,” the Army would change our minds for us. Maybe I’ll learn some day that I’ll never know what the Army is planning from one minute to the next. Lad is supposed to leave here Wednesday or Thursday for Flora, Mississippi, and I am going to drive the car and meet him there – or rather at Jackson, Mississippi, for there is not much more than the Army Post at Flora. Jackson is about 20 miles away from the Post, and as it is the capital of Mississippi it can’t be too awful. Some people must live there. But every report we’ve gotten so far, from fellows who have and who have not been there, say that Flora is nothing more than a h___ hole in the very worst degree. Not very encouraging, is it, but if we go there expecting the very worst we might be pleasantly surprised. I hope so, anyway. Whether this is to be a training center or a staging area or both we don’t know. Last month the Battalion was very “hot” and practically on its way overseas, but things cooled down considerably and we heard that another Battalion had been sent across instead. So, as usual, we don’t know very much about what we are doing. But we hope for the best.

It looks as though I’m going to have to postpone my very muchly anticipated return visit to Trumbull. May I have a rain – check, however, so that I may arrive at a later date? The only bright spot in the idea of Lad’s going overseas is the prospect of being with you again – and not just because of the snow, either! Perhaps I’ll be a little late, but I might show up yet.

It is going to take all our available cash to move, Dad, so once again we are going to have to ask you to wait for another payment on our loan. We never seem to have a chance to save for these unexpected trips. They come much too suddenly and often for us to adjust the family budget! We are not sure of Lad’s new address. As soon as we know it, we will send you a card. And although we expect to move from Pomona on Wednesday or Thursday, don’t be too sure of it. Our next letter might still come from Pomona, because knowing the Army as we do, I am not leaving here until I know for sure that the fellows are on the train and on their way.

Mother’s operation was very successful. Already she can see 50% better than before, and the doctor hopes that in three months time, when she gets her glasses, that she will be able to see 100% better. So that is very encouraging, and now that the mental strain and worry are over for her, she should improve quite rapidly. I’m still planning to stop by Orinda on my way to Flora, although I won’t be able to spend very much time there.

With all our love,

Marian and Lad

The rest of the week will be devoted to a letter Grandpa wrote to his five sons scattered all over the world. They will be shorter than usual postings but the natural breaks in the letter worked out this way.

Judy Guion

My Ancestors (33f) – Alfred Peabody Guion – Marriage and World War II (1)

(1) Alfred Peabody Guion; (2) Judith Anne Guion.

Alfred Peabody Guion and Marian (Dunlap) Irwin were married on November 14, 1943 in Berkeley California, with a reception at Marian’s home afterward.  About 5 weeks later, Lad received an early Christmas present from Uncle Sam.

Excerpt from a letter written December 21st from Marian to the family in Trumbull:

“Dear Dad, Aunt Betty, Jean, Dave and anyone else of the Guion clan who is present — Last Wednesday Uncle Sam gave us a Christmas present that we find rather hard to take.  Lad has been transferred from Camp Santa Anita to Texarkana, and he left this morning to drive there in the Buick.  It isn’t an embarkation depot (Thank God) but as far as we know now, he is in a cadre that are being organized and trained for overseas duty…..

For the present, until he sees what the post is like and what housing conditions are, I am going to stay here.  As soon as he can find a room, a tent or a packing-box, I’m going to join him.”

From “Life history of Alfred P.  Guion, dated April 11, 1946:

Santa Anita, California – 7 months – Diesel Engine Theory Instructor,

4 months – Instructor, automotive electricity, engine tune up

Texarkana, Texas – 8 weeks – N.C.O. – activation of 142 Ordinance Base Automotive Maintenance Battalion

Excerpt from a letter written by Marian to Grandpa Aunt Betty and Jean, on a Monday in January, 1944:

“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 Feb. 2nd to join Al in Texarkana.  Isn’t that wonderful !?!”

Excerpt from a letter by Lad to “Everybody”, dated Jan. 9th, 1944:

“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 co., one powertrain rebuild co, one Hq. & supply co. and one base depot co. we will work as a unit, always, the 5 companies being in close contact at all times and performing 5th echelon or Base Ord. work.”

Excerpt from a letter written by Marian on a Tuesday in February:

‘Here we are “deep in the heart of Texas”, and altho’ it isn’t a place that we would choose to build our own home, at least it isn’t too bad….. And as long as it is possible, I intend to stay with Lad, no matter where he is sent.”

NOTICE OF CHANGE OF ADDRESS, dated February 20, 1944: Lad’s new address is in Pomona, California again.

From “Life history of Alfred P.  Guion”:

Pomona, Cal. – 26 weeks – setting up and operating base shop electrical department

Excerpt from letter to Grandpa from Lad, dated April 30th, 1944:

“Sometime after the middle of May, and possibly before the 20th, I can take a 15-day furlough with 6 or 7 days traveling time.  Or, I can wait until about 10th of June.  However, if the Bn. moves from Pomona before I take it, it might mean a cancellation of furloughs.  Therefore, I think it is better to take it as soon as possible.  However — “the catch”.  In June we can possibly finance the entire trip alone, but before June 1st, to make it, I shall need about $150.00.  We have estimated that we can make the trip on $300, which gives us a leeway of about $35.00 for spending, exclusive of traveling expenses.”

A note at the end of the letter from Marian:

“Isn’t it exciting about our Furloughmaybe”?  I refuse to believe it, however, until we actually arrive, but I find myself giving an extra “hop, skip and jump” every once in a while just thinking about it.”

Excerpt from Grandpa’s letter, dated June 4, 1944:

Dear Braves from the Trumbull Reservation:

“Old Ham in the Face greets you and says “How”.  The Children of the Setting Sun have come and gone, leaving this wigwam quite desolate at their departure.  Laughter-in-Her-Voice and Young Willow Tree, my two daughters-in-law got along very amicably and there was not even one hair pulling match staged for the amusement of the bystanders.  He-Who-Fiddles-with-Engines is as tall and rangy as ever and has developed no hint even, of a front porch.  Pistol Packin’ Mama Aunt Betty has been worrying all the week for fear they would not get enough to eat and returned to the Land of Sunshine and Oranges looking like shadows, but this happily was prevented partly through the generosity of the neighboring Ives Tribe bravely invited us all over to a cow-wow and feast Friday night, which as usual was most excellent.”

Even though I kept the excerpts as short as possible, the adventures of the “Roving Guion’s” from November, 1943 until November, 1944, when Lad shipped over, my post was over four and a half pages.  Therefore, I have divided it and will post the second part next Sunday.

Tomorrow I will begin posting letters written in August 1944.  The letters include much more detail regarding the travels of Lad and Marian Guion, as well as other news of the family. 

Judy Guion

Army Life – More Details About Lad’s Thoughts – October 6, 1943

 

Lad Guion and Marian Irwin - 1943

         Lad Guion and Marian Irwin – 1943

Camp Santa Anita

Oct. 6, 1943

Dear Dad:-

Some time having elapsed since I last wrote you, I think I can say that, although I’m still way up in the clouds, I at least can think logically.

During my time on furlough I realized that I missed Marian quite a good deal, as I think I told you, but the feeling got stronger and stronger as I came closer to LA, and not a thing could have pleased me more than having Marian, as she did, meet me. I realized then that I really loved her, and I also, as I think I told you, realized that she not only liked me very well, but very definitely loved me. We spent quite a good deal of time discussing all angles of marriage, realizing that this was a rather poor time to undertake anything so serious, and permanent, and although she wanted me to ask her, she didn’t press her point at all. We had both agreed, many months before, in an argument with another couple, that it was pretty foolish to marry during the present war, but here I am sticking my neck out, or rather jeopardizing her life (possibly) by asking her to marry me. Arrangements have been made, as far as is possible for a soldier, to be married at her home near San Francisco on November 14th . We may have to suddenly changed plans, but to date, everything looks O.K. We have gone very seriously into the financial end, and even being slightly extravagant, we will still have a sufficient income to save about 20%. As to my car, she has a lot older car and it’s reaching the point where it needs constant small repairs, so we shall sell her car, and use some of that to pay the $500 still owing the bank. At the moment we shall have no particular need for two cars, and she should have a more reliable one anyhow. She has an apartment which we shall continue to use, and although it is small, neither of us will be there during the day, and its size will facilitate cleaning during the few hours we are at home.

There are two things I regret, however, about the proceedings. (1) You have never met Marian, and don’t know her, so you’ll have to rely on my judgment to bring you a good daughter-in-law, and (2) her parents have never met me so therefore they will have to rely on her to pick out a worthwhile husband and son-in-law. I think I’m getting the better bargain, and she thinks she is, so we’re completely happy. Oh! Dad – she really is wonderful. I wish you could know her now, instead of having to wait. She has one sister and one brother, both married, and her father is a factory distributor of Westinghouse, with a very large warehouse, and serving, I think, the state of California. I wrote to him tonight telling him a little of myself, so he won’t be too much in the dark, but it was quite a hard letter to write, and I don’t think I did as good a job as I could have, had I known him, or at least met him previously. I have asked her to write to you, but here is a little about her. She is 27, and was born here on the West Coast. She has completed her education through college, and for four or five years she taught school near San Francisco and then Bakersfield. Last year she quit teaching and spent some time (a month or so) on the East Coast, as she had done previously, and then accepted the position she holds at present as an Executive Secretary in the Camp Fire Girls. She has charge of the South Pasadena-San Gabriel group. She enjoys it and when the subject of marriage was broached to the Board, they said that it was a good idea, provided she did not intend to leave them. So that fitted right in with our plans, and so far, everything is been going so smoothly I’m beginning to expect some serious reversal. Things have run like a well-built turbine. I’m getting leery.

It’s getting late, Dad, so with the report that I’m extremely happy, I wish you and the rest lots of love, and remain

Laddie

Tomorrow, another excerpt from John Jackson Lewis with his adventures in California.

On Sunday, the continuing story of My Ancestor, Alfred Peabody Guion and his life with Marian (Irwin) Guion during the war.

Judy Guion

Army Life – Dear Dad – Surprise – September, 1943

 

Lad has arrived back at Camp Santa Anita , California after  traveling home to Trumbull on furlough. He has done some serious thinking and has made a decision which he shares with Grandpa.

Marian Irwin

Dear Dad:

Since I arrived things have progressed rapidly – I have had a complete reversal of more or less personal ideas, and Marian has consented to be my wife. I never thought I was capable of such strong emotions, but they are certainly present. When I have had a chance to calm down and think more clearly, I’ll write again and give you more in detail.

Lots of love,

Lad

P.S. I personally think that she can top Jean without a great deal of trouble –

Tomorrow, I’ll post the next letter from Lad to his Father, which explains quite a bit more about his thinking and the plans he shares with Marian fr their future.

On Saturday, another excerpt from a letter written by John Jackson Lewis to family and friends back in the states.

On Sunday, we shall see if this is the last post about my Ancestor, Alfred Peabody Guion. I will try to condense his life after the war into one post, but it might go another week. You (and I) will just have to see how it goes.

Judy Guion