Trumbull – Dear Son (2) – News From Dave and Lad – January 14, 1945

This is the conclusion to the letter posted yesterday. This week, Grandpa has heard from four out of five sons, which results in a longer letter.

Page 2     1/14/1945

David Peabody Guion (home on leave, December, 1944)

From Signalman Dave a “5 Jan. 45” letter says: “Naturally I just couldn’t break off at home and come back to camp without leaving a little something behind me to remind you all of the four days I spent with you, but now I find I must have the very article that I left at home. It seems that the G.I. procedure is that every soldier wears what is known commonly as dog tags. So if one of you good souls would be so kind as to locate the missing articles and send them to the address here before they Court Martial me, I sure would appreciate it.

My furlough ended Monday at midnight. The Jeffersonian was only eight hours late, forcing me to miss TWO connections out of St. Louis. Naturally I was slightly AWOL!! – – Only 12 hours late coming in. But in the eyes of the C.O. our reason was a good one (there were three of us on the Jeffersonian). It seems that all of the trains were late and most of the boys were AWOL for a few hours. Some even came later than I did. This week I’m working from 12 midnight until eight in the morning in the code room at shantytown (tar paper barracks in camp now being used as operations buildings). I “sleep” in my own bed during the day. Either Sunday or Monday we go into the field for a week’s training. Don’t be surprised if by the end of the end of next week I’m writing from the hospital.”

APG - Langeres, France - 1945

Alfred Peabody Guion (Lad) in Southern France

Through courtesy of the recipient we are privileged to hear now a few words from Ordnance in Southern France:

“Things are getting better here. The sun shone almost all day and practically dried out the high spots. We got a stove for our room, so I keep fairly comfortable. There were eight of us in this room, about the size of half of our kitchen and there are four double-decker beds made of unfinished wood with 6”  to 8”  slats spaced about an inch apart. A mattress filled with straw which, believe it or not, is fairly comfortable. On December 13 he writes “All of us are sitting around here in our warm room with a bottle of beer. We all feel better tonight since we got paid. Due to rationing of practically everything in the PX, a maximum of that 80 francs ($1.60) per week is about all you can spend. Every cent we had, excluding good luck pieces, had to be changed to francs and we are paid in francs as it is a military offense to have American money on your person here. For easy calculating one franc is worth approximately two cents but it is still a little funny to try to buy something.”

He is now very happy to be working on the diesel electric plant and is now on the night shift. He is also trying to get in touch with Dan and if there is any way of the latter letting him know where he is, by all means set the wheels in motion. On December 22nd: “A few of the boys went out the other day and brought back a big Christmas tree which is been decorated by a bunch of very ingenious men using practically nothing but discarded paper, tinfoil from cigarette packages, and by hanging evergreen bows from wire strung around the room, the day room has been quite nicely fixed up. We expect to have a company party there this week.”

Page 3     1/14/1945

Marian Irwin Guion (Mrs. Lad)

Marian (Irwin) Guion (Mrs. Lad)

Jean (Mrs. Richard) Guion

Jean (Mortensen) Guion (Mrs. Dick)

There is a report that Ray Wang has been wounded although not seriously. Catherine Warden is preparing to leave here somewhere around the first of the month for Oklahoma. I don’t expect there will be much difficulty in finding a new renter but it will leave us seriously handicapped regarding the laundry problem, which she has been doing for us every week on her washing machine. Jean and Marian are willing to tackle the job after I get our washing machine put in order (Ced fixed the electric ironer when he was home a year ago). I figured however, that with them both working all day, five days a week, they might not have the time, so I took our wash down to Crawford Laundry which used to do it and was told that, as a special favor to me, they would take it this week, but only the de-luxe expensive service was available, that they were not taking on any new customers in fairness to their old steady customers and that in any event, they could not promise the return of any wash inside of a month. That, coupled with the fact that it is impossible to buy any sheets (they had to call the police at a recent sheet sale at Read’s, one of the officials at the store was knocked down in the scramble and two women tore a sheet in half, each grabbing one end and claiming it was hers), sort of settles the matter for us. Either we wash our own stuff or go without, or wear dirty clothes. Reminds me of my cousin Dud’s test to determine whether his socks were dirty enough to go to the laundry. he threw them against the wall, and if they stuck, they were.

It’s been snowing here all afternoon, in spite of which fact, two young things journey up here in the bus to get married this afternoon, reminding me of another 14th only a month later, when I performed another marriage ceremony here in the house and then the groom shortly thereafter ran away to Brazil, and, personally speaking, hasn’t been heard from since, – – well, hardly ever.

I spoke forniest (? not my typo) in this letter, about your possibly inheriting some of your parents characteristics. There is one thing you did not inherit from me and that is a, what for the lack of a better term, I shall call “money sense”. I suppose it is largely my fault that most of you are not more thrifty. When you were born, I started for each of you a bank account but fell down somewhere along the line in inculcating the idea of saving for the rainy day that invariably comes with the change in life’s weather. Later, this fund was transferred (small as it was) to the Home Building & Loan here in Bridgeport, and none of you have added a cent to it, as far as I know, since that time. In Ced’s case I suppose the atmosphere of Anchorage makes it particularly difficult to develop the habit of laying by for future needs. I religiously saved for him the money he sent home from time to time, thinking he was paying me back for some fancied debt he owed me, and then when he came home last year, he spent it out of his generous heart. He gets a bonus from Woodley’s and immediately thinks about buying Christmas gifts in spite of the expense of fixing up his car. If you boys can’t save something from the small amount you are being paid, just for the mental discipline and good habit formation, then bolster your good intentions by sending me something REGULARLY to put aside for you. I speak out of the experience and observation of sixty years and know someday you are going to thank me for it, if you heed these words now, and it will make me face your future more confidently also. This is not something you married ones can push off onto your spouses. It’s your job. Sorry to end on so somber a note.

DAD

Tomorrow and Sunday I will be continuing the story of Biss in St. Petersburg, Florida, helping her Aunt Anne (Peabody) Stanley with her two children, Don and Gwen.

If you are enjoying these letters about the home front during the war, why not spread the news and tell some friends? They may thank you.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Dear Son (1) – News From Dan and Ced – January 14, 1945

!945 has just begun and Grandpa has heard from four of his five sons – quite an improvement over last week. 

Trumbull, Conn., January 14, 1945

Dear Son:

Table of Contents:

                                  A Christmas Poem…Dan Guion

                                  Alaskan Diary…Ced Guion

                                  Report From So. France…Lad Guion

                                  30 Seconds Over Camp Crowder…Dave Guion

                                  Odds and Ends…by the Editor

Dan in uniform @ 1945

        Daniel Beck Guion 

           It is a blessing that you boys have acquired a sense of humor, or maybe, and I say it in all humility, you have inherited a bit from your parents. Anyway, amid the stress and storm of war and amid all the hardships of life at the  front, lodged in abandoned German block houses, etc., it is mighty reassuring to know that you can see the funny side, as witness the following in a V-mail written on December 24th by Dan. It reminds me of a reply an old darkey, who in spite of having his share of life’s troubles, always remained cheerful, once made when asked how he managed to remain so cheerful and calm, “Well, ah’l tell yo’”, said Uncle Joe, “Ah’s jist learned to cooperate wid de inevitable”. Now for Dan’s contribution:

‘Twas the day before Christmas when all through the house

All the world was astir here, especially a mouse

And the flea bitten bastard with rodent-like gall

Dragged a bar of my chocolate out into the hall

And there in a corner with indecent haste

The candy became gastronomical paste

He was heard to remark as he slunk toward his nest

“Merry Christmas to all, and to you, boy, T.S.”

All of which is by way of meaning that, although Christmas is Christmas, it is not always possible to spend it as we wish – – because of the rats and lesser mice and sech like. However, (I said it last year and I’ll say it again) Next Christmas things will be different.   Dan.

Ced Guion

Cedric Duryee Guion

Ced, from up near the Arctic Circle, reports on December 29 as follows:

The Buick is again performing its long neglected duties and does pretty well at it. There are a few bugs to be chased out of it yet and the way it looks, I may have to take up on the bearings a little later on, but I think I’ll wait until warmer weather. It seems that somehow or other, either from incorrect fitting or by misuse in some way, one of the rods loosened up a tiny bit in the first 100 miles. I didn’t drive fast but I had the spark set a little late and it tended to overheat a little. That, added to the fact that we had nearly 2 feet of snow at just the time I started running it, made the going very tough for a new engine. There is nothing serious at all about it but it was very disappointing after doing the job so thoroughly. It still lacks 285 miles of being run in. I installed the Stuart Warner heater which I bought from Carl and it really is swell on these cold days.

We have had a couple of extremely cold snaps down to 25 below on a couple of days, but for two weeks preceding yesterday, weather and temperature have been extremely and unusually kind to the Arctic dwellers. For some time now the frost peculiar to this section has been building up each night and gradually, completely shrouding all that is exposed to the elements in a gorgeous a blanket of lacy white. Right now when the sun comes out to peek briefly at Anchorage in its hurried course across the southern section of sky, I am privileged to look upon what I believe to be the most beautiful formations of this frost which I have seen in my four odd years up here. Everything, however ugly in the nude, is now resplendent in its new white drapings. Later however, the wind came up and blew most of the frost away. Christmas Eve I spent at the Morgan’s open house and at the Church, singing a Christmas concert with the Presbyterian choir. Christmas dinner was at Jerry Keene’s. The shortest day of the year has finally come and gone and now the days are lengthening again, although I haven’t noticed it as yet. I figured on calling you on the phone from here on Christmas day, around five a.m., catching you at ten, but found there was no openings until Thursday, and again New Year’s Day with the same report. At the night rate of $20 for five minutes and four or five dollars more on day, I decided it wasn’t worth it unless I could get the right time.

Tomorrow, the rest of the letter.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Dear ASF – A Bit of News From Lad and Dick – January 7, 1945

Yesterday’s letter wrapped up 1944 and  as 1945 begins, I’m sure Grandpa is praying fervently that this war will come to a conclusion and by Christmas of 1945, his boys will be home for good.

The Summer Porch at the Trumbull House

Trumbull, Conn., January 7, 1945.

Dear Members of the A S F: (American Service Force, of course, to all of you except Ced, who rates his own designation, as Art’s Stationery Flyer, possibly Anchorage’s Sinister Firebug, Alaska’s Skeeing Favorite, or it might even be Anyone’s Steadfast Friend – – write your own.

Well, here it is with 1945 one week old, the Christmas tree and decorations have been laid away in camphor balls, winter has returned with a steady snowfall, income tax is drawing near and we’re not yet in Berlin.

News this week is conspicuous by its absence on the Trumbull home front. About the only item of note is that Paul (Warden, who lived in the apartment with his wife and children) has definitely received his appointment permanently locating him in Oklahoma for the duration and has sent for Catherine and the children. She has already sold her car, but as he was not able to find living accommodations there until February 1st, they are planning to stay here throughout this month. Catherine prefers to leave her furniture here, so that I may rent the apartment furnished. She is taking her washing machine and sewing machine along with her, but at present she feels she would like to come back to Trumbull when things again come back to normal.

Marian (Mrs. Lad) and Jean (Mrs. Dick)

Both Marian and Jean have heard from their respective lords and masters, but the old man, being only a father, has not heard from any of his tribe this week. I suppose Dave got back to camp safely and that Ced is still percolating as usual, but those assumptions are but due to my vivid imagination. Special message to the Benedict’s of the family: isn’t there some he-man information you can write about once in a while to your paternal ancestor. Of course I know your first obligation is to your wife but I figured once in every few months I might rate a few lines. Not that I would have you do so from a sense of duty, but merely on the basis that being still a member of the family, your other brothers and sister would enjoy hearing from you just as you, I hope, enjoy hearing from them through the medium of Trumbull headquarters, and this quite understandably is not possible in the letters you sent to your wives and sweethearts (one and the same thing, of course), because the letters they get from you are the one slender thread that unites you and they assume an importance and practically a sanctity which is not to be commercialized and spread, broadcast, for all eyes to see. I can quite appreciate this feeling and you will too, if you ponder it a moment and try to view it from the feminine viewpoint. The net consequence is that, while verbal comments of interesting news is passed on, it is not the same as having something down in black and white before one to quote in these weekly blurbs of mine. Save the love and kisses for your sweeties but get expansive once in a while and include the whole family in on your broadcasts. Lad, for instance, writes Marian, if we can read behind the few deleted words of the censor has destroyed, that he is evidently located on some old French castle and that Lad has something to do with running the diesels which supply the juice, enough at least to run his electric razor. The walls of the edifice in which they live our thick and their quarters are cold and damp. Jean reports that, for Dick, the rainy season has started and for about three months it will continue to rain harder each day and then will taper off again for another three months. Right now it is oppressively hot where he is.

Marian is “doing her bit” for the war and starts working tomorrow for Sikorsky, something to do with helicopters. We’ll know more about it later. And that’s about all right now. Meantime, keep your chin up.

DAD

Tomorrow and Friday, I’ll be posting another letter from Grandpa to his five sons away from home.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – To My Dear Little Boys (4) – A Poem About Stocking Stuffer Jokes – December 25, 1944

Grandpa got quite creative this year while filling Christmas Stockings. Each person got a joking gift to go along with this poem he composed.

ADG - Poem About Christmas Stocking Gifts - Dec. 1944

Aunt Betty, once known as “Aunt Lizzie”

Keeps warm through the day while she’s busy

But at night, as a treat

And to warm her cold feet

Here’s some coal, which will make her toes frizzie.

*****

Here’s Elsie from New York’s great shop

She daily is kept “on the hop”

But without paper or string

She can’t do a thing

Take this, so your business won’t flop.

*****

Here’s our prize from the far Golden West

California has sent us her best

Though out there, as you know,

They don’t have much snow

So right here she ends her long quest.

*****

Now Jean is the star girl from Hubble

She’s afraid she’ll get round like a bubble

So a mirror will show

As you girls too will know

When her chin shows up signs of its double.

*****

And there is Dave, our young soldier from Crowder

Whose memory for hats takes a powder

Here’s a string for your thumb

To remind you, by gum

That your memory should be getting stouter.

*****

Little Biss is as lean as a poll

One would think she had been on the dole

So to her goes some fat

With the fond hope that that

Will make her get round like a roll.

*****

There was a young fellow named ZEKE

Who keeps Singer’s production at peak

He can turn out a screw

That is equaled by few

He does a month’s work in a week.

*****

Key to Christmas Jokes in stockings: Aunt Betty – piece of coal; Elsie – a paper ba;, Marian – artificial snow; Jean – pocket mirror; Dave – piece of string; Biss – piece of suet; Zeke – old coupling.

Tomorrow and Sunday I will continue the St. Petersburg Adventure about Biss living in Florida with her Aunt Anne (Peabody) Stanley and Anne’s two children.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – To My Dear Little Boys (3) – Christmas Day – December 25, 1944

 

ADG - Grandpa about 1945 or 1946 near a tree in winter

Page 3    12/24/44

Now the Christmas is all over. What a Christmas! Marian and Jean have spent hours and hours preparing the presents and decorations and tree. The presents were done up each with a different color wrapping and the name of the recipient spelled out with gummed letters, some in a single color, others with each letter a different color, with  ribbon ends all curled up or gummed strips of colored paper gaily decorating the box and gummed stars appearing scattered over the box. Under a beautifully shaped tree, with the usual lights and not too many trimmings, the whole ensemble made a striking appearance when the rather small clan gathered. Of course we spoke of each of you and recalled many instances which took place at former Christmases. Now our stomachs are very full and we are not very ambitious to do anything – you know how we feel!

Hello there, fellows! It is nice to know that even tho’ you are scattered practically over God’s green earth, with the help of the well-known  A.P.O. and the Alaskan Airways, we are able to send to you a small part of our Christmas celebration. Purely a vicarious participation on your part, but you know darn well that we were thinking of every one of you all day long, and wishing, of course, that you could have been with us. But just watch us make up for lost time when all of you do get home! In the meantime, rest assured that Santa hasn’t forgotten how to maneuver the intricate Guion chimney, and managed to leave more than a goodly share of gifts for every one of us. And in his usual discerning fashion he managed to leave “just exactly what I wanted!” Of course, the very obvious lists of “what I want Santa to bring me”, which have been lying around in very conspicuous spots for the last three weeks might have had something to do with his selection, but we won’t let him know that we suspect anything quite so obvious as that. The weatherman, naturally, had to be a little contrary. He very grudgingly gave us a White Christmas, but due to the fact that is been raining since very early this morning, the white part looks slightly moth-eaten. But who are we to complain! Besides it’s a darn sight more snow than we have ever had in California! (You might know that I would have to bring that in somehow – – – the California part, I mean). Nevertheless, we have no complaints to offer at all – – it really was a very wonderful Christmas (except for that very definite defect which I mentioned earlier in this paragraph but which we are trying our best to ignore! You can see how well we are succeeding!) Anyway, the very best of holiday greetings to each and every one of you (with a special emphasis on Lad’s, of course). Best of luck. We hope to see you soon …. As always, Marian

Above, you have heard from Elsie and Marian. Jean has gone to her Mother’s or we would have her contribution also. Well as you may have surmised it is now Christmas evening and the days hectic doings have been succeeded by comparative quiet. “The tumult and the shouting dies, the captains and the Kings depart. Still stands Thine ancient sacrifice, A humble and a contrite heart”. And I may add, a hopeful heart that next year may see my brood gathered around this here old rooster. Thanks to the daughters-in-law, not only was this Christmas particularly enjoyable (under the circumstances), but in my own case, it was attended with much less stress and rush and responsibility than in many years past, leaving me in a mental frame of mind to enjoy the peace (what there is left of it on earth) that is symbolic of the season. Peace be with you soon, sons.

DAD

Tomorrow, the final segment of this holiday letter featuring a poem written by Grandpa about the small stocking gifts for the family.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – To My Dear Little Boys (2) – Christmas Greetings – December 24, 1944

 

Trumbull House in winter - (cropped) - 1940

Page 2   12/24/44

As usual, Christmas cards have been arriving with their various messages, some of which I shall quote below:

From the Burnham’s – (17 E. 84th St., N.Y.C.) Love to all the Guion’s where ever they are from all the Burnham crew at sea on the Pacific and Mediterranean and Harlem River!

From Brita: (Rusty’s sister) (Bagshaw, Milhouse, Bedgord Village, N.Y.) Aren’t you ever up this way? I’d just love to see any of you that could come – – any time. And I’d like to know how each and every one of you are. My love to everyone.

Mrs. Ives: A very Merry Christmas to you. I, too, wish all your boys were home at this time of year.

From Rudolf Noer’s wife: In lieu of a word from Rudolf himself, let me say that his unit was transferred from Italy to France in August and that they are in or near Dijon. He is well but holds out no hopes for being home in the near future, as once I had thought he might be. Best wishes. Anita.

The Chandlers: Are the Guion’s still covering the face of the earth? And are you still covering the Trumbull waterfront? We are still living in hopes of seeing you again. What a host of good memories come with Christmas! We are about the same – – just a year older – – a very little wiser. Please be the connection again between us and your boys and Elizabeth. And I hear that there are more daughters-in-law, and of course they are o.k. Emily and Douglas Chandler. Courage for today. Faith for tomorrow. Happiness always.

Of particular interest to Ced: from Nan and Stan Osborn. Love from all of us to all of you. I am terribly tired and worn out taking care of mother but will feel better in a few days when Connie will be home.

Christmas greetings also from the following: Harold Latour, Mrs. Beebe, Peggy (Sanford), the Mortensen’s, Corinne Flaniken, Gwyneth, Ethel and Carl, Virginia and Roy Rowland, Astrid, Axel and Florence Larson, Helen Plumb, Mildred and Stacy, Mrs. Munson and the Draz’s, Uncle Burton and a note from Dorothy (Peabody, Grandma Arla’s youngest sister) with the news that she expects to take a trip to Los Angeles and is going to try to get up to Trumbull before the first of the year to see us all.

From Elsie M. Guion – Well, here I am again and glad I am to be here at the scene of so many good times and each time the same and each time different – this time again the boys represented by one, Dave. Last year by Ced, and next year?

A young chap came into the Shop the other day and said to me he guessed I didn’t know him but his name was Dan Rowland and he was asking news about Dan Guion. So I told him all I knew about Dan as well as the other boys. He was not in uniform, said he was classified 4-F which he regretted, said he was working in New York in an advertising concern. He sent a Hello to Dan which I said I would relay in this Weekly Letter.

We have just finished a successful Holiday business. For months we had been trying to get some help in the Shop as there was more work in the Shop than the two of us could do, and we were getting desperate when a nice young girl appeared before Mrs. Burlinggame one morning and asked where the Shirley Shop was, that they had advertised for help. Mrs. B. told her and said if she didn’t connect with them to come back. In five minutes flat she was back and the next morning she was working for us. Two days later another young girl came in and said she had casually mentioned to her friend that you would like to get a Christmas job and her friend said to come see us, and the next morning she was working with us too. So it worked out fine and they did a swell job for us.

Fkrmck,epx;503kforlcvksdjvd,    This is Susan’s (Susan Warden, the youngest child of the young couple renting the apartment) Merry Christmas to you!

Tomorrow I’ll be posting the happenings of Christmas day and on Friday, a poem written by Grandpa to go along with small stocking gifts.

Judy Guion

 

Trumbull – To My Dear Little Boys (1) – Christmas Preparations – December 24, 1944

 

MIG - Marian and Jean bringing in Christmas Tree - 1944

Marian (Mrs. Lad) and Jean (Mrs. Dick)

Trumbull, Coon.,  Christmas Eve, 1944

To my dear little boys:

My, what memories this day stirs in the dusty attic of the past! The visions of little Alfred, Dan, Ced, Biss, Dick and even baby Dave, with their eyes big and wide with anticipation, romping in to open the stockings and later, all athrill stealing downstairs to see the glittering tree with its candle light softly shining on the piles of mysterious looking packages and boxes, or that time in the attic, when I rigged up some sort of affair behind the curtain with strings attached to your presents. Marty and Butch were here this afternoon, and for a moment, I recaptured that old time spirit, when, with delighted gurgles and shouts, they hung up their stockings in anticipation of Santa Claus’ visit tomorrow. I am looking forward to the time when this war interlude ends and I may, perhaps, watch you boys play the role of Santa Claus for your own little tots.

While it is far from ideal with you boys so far from home, my native optimism rises to the challenge and I realize it could be lots worse. Speaking selfishly, if Aunt Betty and I alone had to go through tomorrow, it would not be much of a “merry” Christmas, but with the girls here with their enthusiasm and energy, it begins to take on much of the old time feeling, and to the climax, DAVE CAME HOME THURSDAY and stays until New Year’s Day. Then too, the weather is doing its part, for we have had the first real snowstorm of the season, and Marian is thrilled. And as an added dividend of cheer, a V-mail letter from Dan arrived yesterday, written on December 13th, reporting all well with him. And today Aunt Elsie arrived on the scene so it begins to take on a real holiday atmosphere.

Perhaps your Constitution is strong enough to stand an account of just how things are progressing on this day before Christmas, 1944. Marian and Jean were up betimes this morning, all prepared for a visit to the woods to find some Christmas greens. Their first thought was to go up along the old railroad tracks but they finally decided to go over to the woods in back of Mantle’s. Fortunately, they ran across Walter and he showed them just where to find some ground pine, Princess pine, hemlock branches, long needle pine and Laurel, which they have used in most tastefully decorating the house. I think it is as attractive as it has ever been. Dave started for church but because he could not get the Buick up the slippery driveways, my Buick had been left until late yesterday out in front of Laufer’s, but with no gas in the tank we had a little trouble getting the car started so as to get gas, enabling me to go to Bridgeport for a wedding which was scheduled for noon today. As the girls were busy with their decorating job I started the dinner, got my wedding out of the way. Then dinner. While Aunt Betty was washing the dishes, Zeke and Biss and the two youngsters arrived, then Bob Shattuck to see Dave, then Carl, and while all this was going on, the phone rang to announce that Aunt Elsie was at the station in Bridgeport, so Dave and Aunt Betty went down to fetch our  Yuletide guest.

Tomorrow’s post will be Christmas Greetings to the family, Thursday will be events of Christmas Day and on Friday, a special poem with messages and stocking gifts for most of the family.

Judy Guion