Trumbull – Friends, Roamers and Countrymen (3) Grandpa’s Birthday Poem – September 11, 1944

Grandpa always believed it was better to give rather than receive, so every year on his birthday, he presented his children with gifts to commemorate HIS birthday. This year, he wrote a poem about this practice and sent “trinkets” to his sons under separate cover.

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September 11, 1944

YADHTRIB

This is a topsy-turvy world

As most folks will agree

The up-side-down-ness of it all

Has much affected me

And Lad, who braves S. A.’s hot belt

And liked it hot and dusty

Now finds old Flora’s torrid heat

Makes him feel short and crusty

And Dan, who recently declared

Amid the big guns boom

From his own individual view

The war may end too soon

And Ced, too, finds things all awry

Up where the salmon run

He says he often can and

Does read by the midnight sun

Of course there’s Dick and Dave and Biss

Who are topsy-turvy too

But why go on and show them up

When all I want to do

Is show “how come” I get this way

And prove some still believe

At birthday time it is more fun

To give than to receive

So on this bright “September morn”

I send these trinkets few

And nudely say I’m glad to know

That I belong to you.

Tomorrow, I will post another edition of Lad’s Voyage to Venezuela.

On Sunday, more about Marian’s Ancestors.

Judy Guion

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Trumbull – Friends, Roamers and Countrymen (2) – From Jackson to a French Coastal City – September 10, 1944

 

Marian Irwin

Marian Dunlap Irwin

And now some late news from Marian. “Practically a week since I’ve been here in the fair city of Jackson – – and high time that I got a letter written to you. On the last day of our trip we had tire trouble – – not too bad, really, and considering the roads we went over I’m surprised we didn’t have more. One of the trailer tires went out and we had to use the spare for the car, but as it was the last day of the trip I didn’t mind too much – – I was sure we could limp in for the last hundred miles and we did. We stopped by the Camp to see if we could reach the fellows by phone to tell them we had arrived safely, and while I was waiting in the Provost Marshal’s office for the message to be put through, the fellows arrived at the gate ready to go out for the evening. We really timed that meeting well and Lad, wonderful person that he is, had already found a place for me to stay, so I didn’t have any house hunting problems the very first night. We are looking now, however, for an apartment, but they are few and far between. I have plenty of time during the day, however, and if the weather were just a little cooler it would help a lot. It is awfully hot and very humid and the nights don’t cool it off at all. There are thundershowers quite frequently and they help a little. Lad’s present training set-up consists of night classes – – he is to do part of the instructing – – so I might be able to see him just on weekends. I’m waiting to see what Lad’s hours are going to be before I look for a job. It will help if I have something to do and also keep my mind off the foul weather. Two letters from Ced last week – – one written in March which failed to reach us at Pomona. He mentions a package we were supposed to have received, which we are tracing.

Daniel Beck Guion

And another letter from La France. “It is early morning in a coastal town, and I am sitting by a window of a second rate hotel near the waterfront. A dismal rain accentuates the drab grayness of the narrow street – four stories down. Most of the windows up and down the street are still shuttered tight from last night but slowly the place is becoming alive. Across the way, the door of a stenographer’s school is opened. One of the American soldiers greets the young lady who has appeared by saying, “Bon jour” in rather bad French. The girl looks up and smiles. “Cigarettes?” questions the soldier, holding up a package for her to see. She nods, still smiling. He tosses the package down. It lands in the street in front of the door. She runs out, picks it up, says “Thank you” in equally poor English, waves goodbye and disappears into the building. A few men pass by dressed in faded blue trousers and shirts, wearing dark blue berets. They are on their way to work – – perhaps to work for the Americans who have recently arrived. They seem quite oblivious of the rain as they pause in front of a shop to exchange a few words with the proprietor who is loitering in his doorway beneath a bedraggled French flag. A few more shutters are thrown open and I can see a woman shaking out the blankets of her bed. Down the street in the direction of the docks is a hotel with a gaping hole which reveals a mass of charred beams, rubble and a bed half hanging over the edge of the remaining foundation. The destruction has been wrought perhaps by the blowing up of the harbor installations, but more probably, by an American bomb before Jerry pulled out. Back up the street the woman has finished making the bed and is standing just inside the window fixing her hair. There is electricity in town but many of the houses must wait until the wires are repaired before they can have lights again. I hear above the drizzle of the rain a sudden splash on the pavement. Someone up the street has emptied a basin of water out of the window. All this I have just seen in the rain. But yesterday noon it was quite different – – the soldiers were forming a “chow” line; the street was alive with khaki, the rattling of mess kits, the voices of many children who played or watched nearby or even canvassed the line for “souvenirs”, bonbons, chewing gum, insignia, pocket knives, etc. A small girl stood near the rinsing pan, insistent that each passing soldier should permit her to dip his mess kit into the hot water and hopeful, of course, that she would be rewarded occasionally. Older folks stood in doorways looking on with amused tolerance.”

Dan         And that’s all this week. DAD

Tomorrow, a Birthday Poem written by Grandpa. Judy Guion

Trumbull – Friends, Roamers and Countrymen (1) – A Family Christmas in 1945 – September 10, 1944

Alfred Duryee Guion - summer, 1946

Trumbull, Conn., September 10, 1944

Friends, Roamers and Countrymen:

Lending me your ears won’t help much – – what I need is a new nose – – one with a sneezeless attachment. However my eyes are still functioning in spite of my advanced age – – sufficient at least to read the interesting letters you boys contribute to the weekly Guion letter exchange.

This week Dave climbs up into first place along with the other top-notch ace correspondents, which now makes it unanimous – – probably inheriting your letter writing ability, according to Aunt Betty, from your father, who of course is too modest to admit the truth of any such statement.

But before I get into the Quotables Dept., let me briefly say that everyone was so anxious to see me make the 60th milestone that they anticipated it by a day and celebrated the gruesome occasion today in the traditional Guion manner, candles, cake and everything. Following my usual custom, I passed out a few little items myself, with the accompanying “apology”, but of course, such were not to be compared in any measurable degree with the thoughtful and generous remembrances which came my way. Indeed, the only circumstance which would have made the occasion a perfect one was your absence in person. Biss, Zeke and the two youngsters, along with Jean and Aunt Betty, lent color to the festivities and material evidences of goodwill such as a shirt, necktie, pajamas, after-shaving lotion, book, box of candy and Aunt Betty’s traditional greeting card with its green accompaniment kind of took the edge off the idea of advancing years.

Today’s paper announces the fact that Col. Chas. A. Lindbergh and wife will this month become residents of Fairfield, Conn., having rented a house there. Nothing new to report regarding the post office affairs here. Things temporarily are going along the same as ever. Even if and when they move from Kurtz’s, I don’t anticipate that any of the box numbers will be changed from present holders and that P. O. Box 7 will still indicate the portals through which news of the world is received here.

Now to get to the part you have been waiting for. Dave’s four-page single-space masterpiece is too long, or perhaps I’d better say I still lack sufficient energy to quote it in full, but I shall pull out juicy portions here and there in which you may sink your mental teeth.

“Well, here I am back in Camp Crowder again after a three – weeks sojourn with all of the Missouri rocks, chiggers and ticks that I promised you I would meet up with. It’s good to get back to Camp, but it will be so much “gooder” to get out of here entirely. I’ve spent six months in this place and I’m getting pretty tired of it all. But alas, there are no shipping orders for any of us. I’ll let you know what goes on as soon as I find out. Applying for OCS at this late date would mean nothing but a commission in the Army of occupation or possibly combat duty in the South Pacific. Either of these outlooks would be all right if I were planning to stay in the Army as originally intended; but with the possibility of having my own letter shop, and in later years, my own advertising company all set, established, etc., Why should I waste valuable years in the Army? Well, here it is September 3rd. According to the radios the war is still going on over in Europe. In fact from reports about all that’s going on anywhere is the war. At least that’s all anybody seems to be talking about. I mention this because some time ago, in an optimistic mood, I made the statement that it looked like the war would be over by August 15th, but that date has come and gone and still the Germans are fighting (sort of). Now I won’t make any estimates as to when it will be over. Who cares when it will be over? It is so damn close to the finish now that all I do is sit and think about what a good feeling it is and I don’t bother wondering about any specific date. But I still say that we all should be home by Christmas of ’45. At least that’s what I’m planning on. My brothers can think what they want but I’m looking forward to a Christmas dinner in a little less than 16 months at our “big white home in the East”, with the smell of Evergreen permeating the house, a fire in the fireplace, maybe with the added discomfort of having it fill the dining room with smoke, a tree decorated either in the music room or the living room, Butch and Marty (and maybe more of a new Guion generation), to pull down the tree after they have gotten tired of holding their eager eyes wide open with the joy and wonder of that most important day of the year. I’m looking forward to being there with ALL my brothers and my sisters (all three of them, and more if the case should be) and maybe even all my cousins, uncles and aunts – – but come now, maybe along about now I’m asking for too much. Anyway let’s hope for a complete Christmas in 1945. It will be the first in many years if we’re all their together.

Dad, I guess you’ve been reading stories on what a varied supply the Army PX carries for its soldiers. One thing the Army seems to have slipped up on our jacks for automobiles. Maybe you should write to your friend Franklin. Ask him to have some sent to PX 8 in Camp Crowder. Tell him it’s very urgent because you don’t know how long your son might remain in above mentioned camp. Of course you could have him arrange some deal with the officials so that it could be sent directly to you, but you know Franklin and his boys – – they’d much rather make it complicated. After all, if it took some time to get to you, you might not have any use for it when it does arrive and then you could put it out in the backyard and let it rust. That way, you could do your part in this war like a lot of other executives who are helping to win the war by letting a lot of valuable things rot in their “backyards” – – My, aren’t I bitter today?

And lastly about my mention of “virgin blood”. Don’t tell me you have any shady ideas about your youngest son, who has had such a sheltered life, having been brought up by a good and wise father – – and we mustn’t forget to mention all the other sons who stuck their fingers in the pie to help to bring up this last of the present generation of Guions. Lad, although he tried to help me with various things and explained very interestingly many things (one of which was a four hour discourse on oil well digging) nevertheless told me more than once – – and I can vividly remember the time and inflections of his voice: “Don’t do that, David.” Then there was Dan. He tried SO hard to get little Davey to go swimming, spending many hours with me up at Ye Olde Swimming Hole – – he who tried to get me outdoors to get some tan on my back – – also to try to get me to play tennis (in this last attempt he succeeded a little anyway). One other thing, he also spent a summer yelling “Hefalump” at me – – our own secret code word meaning “You look like hell – – straighten out your shoulders”. Then there was Ced, who insisted that I stop palling around with the boys who were my friends. Ced, who very quietly made me feel like less than nothing when he found out I had been “borrowing” from his collection of pennies. This, by the way, is something that up till now, as far as I know, has been a secret between Ced, Dick and myself. I hope, Dad, that you and all the rest don’t think too harshly of me. I learned my lesson OH SO WELL from Ced – – although I don’t remember now just how he cured me. Then there was Bissie. The most vivid thing in my mind as to her part in bringing me up was the day I was raising a little hell around the house while she was trying to clean it up. “Do you want me to spank you?” (I still hear her say it now when I’m home, to her too cute little Muchachos). Anyway, my answer, seeing as how she was a girl and couldn’t run as fast as I, was “Yes”. They’re off! I tore out of that old house of ours and around to the lawn over by the screened porch, where, as I remember, fear and exhaustion overcame me and I went down immediately so that she would feel sorry for me and not spank me. But alas, I didn’t know enough about human nature, I guess, for there, out on my own front lawn, in sight of the street, my own sister BEAT me. Oh, the shame of it all! Of course, I may have had it coming to me. Then there was Dick. I could write 20 pages on the way Dick helped to bring me up by hardening me up to the mean people of this world. The idea was a good one – – but I didn’t like his system of teaching. I guess he believed in the “experience is the best teacher” theory. Anyway, he led a happy teenage life teasing the pants off of his kid brother. Come to think of it, we should mention here my good cousin Donald Stanley, who, when with Dick, really did a bang up job of making both Gwyneth and me enjoy their visits. Thinking back on it now – – it was probably the best part of my life – – so far – – but at the time I didn’t think I did anything from the time Dick and Don got together, but cry because they were picking on me. Of course the prize experience was the night that has been so often mentioned in later years, when we were all out on the screened porch raising a little too much commotion for the older set, until finally we were threatened to be split up if we made any more noise. Of course, my version of the story is a little different, and basically it is the same, we all agree that I kicked out the window on the stairs, and we all agree that I took a good tanning from my riled father. But one thing I can say. No one remembers quite so vividly that spanking (my last one, by the way), as I do. Unless, as the old saying goes: “This is going to hurt you more than it does me, son”. Anyway, Dad, if it did hurt you, you didn’t cry like I did. Golly, when I started off I didn’t know I was going to write anything like this. There are no hard feelings left now, of course, and it’s a lot of fun thinking back to those terrible days when nobody liked me and the whole world was against me. Poor Dave. Damn, I’m still but a kid, I guess, but I’d like to live over again all those days that I thought at the time were so terrible. Oh, tell Bissie I grew a mustache while I was out in the field. I’ve still got it. I’m going to try to get some snaps taken of it today and then shave it off. I don’t like it. One of the boys told me it looked “sexy” and I guess that’s about the best description of it.

Reminiscences, Dave, are very appropriate for one’s birthday, and I’m sure all your big brothers will enjoy reading it as much as I have. And speaking of birthdays, won’t you please write us soon after you get this as convenient and give me a list of the things you would like to have to commemorate the day which falls on the last Saturday of this month. Do a good bang up job now, there’s a good fellow.

Tomorrow and Friday I will post the rest of this letter and a Birthday Poem written by Grandpa which was included in this letter.

Judy Guion

 

Army Life – Dear Dad – Marian’s Arrival in Jackson, Mississippi – September 4, 1944

 

MIG - letter to Grandpa after arrival at Jackson, Miss., Sept, 1944

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Monday

Dear Dad: –

Practically a week since I’ve been here in the fair city of Jackson – and high time that I got a letter written to you. On the last day of our trip we had tire trouble – not too bad, really, and considering the roads we went over, I’m surprised we didn’t have more. One of the trailer tires went out, and we had to use the spare one for the car on the trailer, but as long as it was the last day of our trip, I didn’t mind so much. I was sure that we could limp in for the last hundred miles, and we did. We got our signals mixed and came into Jackson a different way than we had planned, so we stopped by the camp to see if we could reach the fellows by phone so that they would know we had arrived safely. While I was waiting in the Provost Marshal’s office for the message to be put through, the fellows arrived at the gate, ready to go out for the evening. We really timed that meeting well, and Lad, wonderful person that he is, had already found a place for me to stay – so I didn’t have any house – hunting problems the very first night. We are looking now, however, for an apartment, but they are very few and far between. But I have plenty of time during the day to hunt, and if the weather were just a little cooler, it would help a lot. We certainly can’t say very much for the weather down here. It is awfully hot and very, very humid, and the nights don’t cool it off at all. They do get thundershowers quite frequently, though, and they help a little.

Lad’s present training set up consists of night classes – he is to do part of the instructing – so I might be able to see him just on the weekends. So far he has gotten out of camp every night, but he has to be back there by 1 AM. We think that after the training program gets going, these rules might be changed – we hope! Lad probably told you about the camp set up here. If it weren’t for so many trivial rules and regulations it wouldn’t be a bad place. But as long as we are in the Army we take what is handed us without too much griping or fussing. It doesn’t do too much good, anyway, but it sometimes helps a little.

I’m waiting to see what Lad’s hours are going to be before I see about a job, but it will help during the week if I can have something to do. And maybe it will keep my mind off the foul weather.

On the way here, we drove right past the main gate of Camp Crowder, and I wished that I had had time to stop to see Dave. I wasn’t too presentable, but thought maybe he would excuse me. However, we were a little late so I didn’t stop – maybe it was just as well I didn’t as Dave was out on maneuvers then so I couldn’t have seen him anyway.

We received a letter from Ced last week, in fact, two of them. One was written in March sometime and failed to reach us at Pomona. He mentioned a package we were supposed to have received, so we have started tracing the missing link. Maybe it will turn up the way the picture did.

It’s almost time to meet Lad for dinner downtown so I’d better close – until next time.

All our love,

Lad and Marian

For the rest of this week, I’ll be posting a long letter from Grandpa to family members far from home.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Dear “Offspring of a Small Explosion” – Advice From Grandpa – September 3, 1944

Alfred Duryee Guion (Grandpa)

Trumbull, Conn., September 3, 1944

Dear “Offspring of a Small Explosion”:

Well, why not? That’s the definition of “pop”, isn’t it, and anyway there is justification in the term due to the fact that I have just been sneezing away at accelerated tempo by reason of the fact I have been wandering through fields and brush for the last hour on a child hunt. Sometime late this morning Skipper and Susan disappeared and not having shown up by 2 PM, their mother scoured the immediate vicinity by car and “mother calls”, which proving ineffectual, the neighbors gradually joined in the search, still to no avail. Finally Kit decided to call the police, and being just a big Boy Scout at heart, I decided to brave the naughty pollen and put in my little two cents worth of searching. I chose for my particular territory Reynolds sandpit and thence both sides of the stream and neighboring woodland from there down as far as Levy’s. After an hour the pollen definitely won and here I am jabbing downwards between teardrops with an occasional sneeze for punctuation. However it was a vicarious sacrifice on my part for I learned after returning home that a few minutes after I had left, the two children came nonchalantly strolling in, having been spending the time in a study of animal life watching the horse in Reynold’s barn. If Sue grows up to be a second Rosa Bonheur I shall feel reconciled to the price.

You will be cussing me, I suppose for a bothersome hair shirt, but here goes for another whack at the desirability of knowing where you want to go so that you can set an intelligent course for your goal – – this time it is an editorial from the Bridgeport Post: “It is characteristic of youth to live for the moment, grabbing the fleeting hours with little thought of the morrow. But the theory that life is brief at best and that it is up to the liver to have the best time he can while he may, is not a fancy confined to youth. Among the world’s most dismal failures are those whose schooling, skill, mental power and discipline of will were all invested for a short life and a gay one (My friend, Roger comes to mind). Therefore, one of the best tests of maturity is the capacity of looking far ahead and of realizing that “the road passes on through the long afternoon and stretches away in the night”. Paradoxically, shortsighted people discover that life is not short, but long, much too long. For the day’s work they have insufficient training, capital or experience. For the fullest enjoyment of the sunset of the years they have insufficient health and nerve – force. So, in life planning, as in other issues, the longest way ‘round is often the shortest way home.”

Dan-uniform (2)

Daniel Beck Guion

Personally, I think this view is a bit too austere, but I do sincerely believe that while we can and should snatch enjoyment from life as we go along, there is nothing to prevent us at the same time knowing where we are headed for and having our fun while traveling this particular road. Dan, for instance, seems to have the capacity of getting a great kick out of whatever he is doing, as witnessed the last V-mail letter which has just arrived from “somewhere in France”. And by the way, note his new address. Co. A. 660th Engr. Topo. Bn., Hq. Communications Zone (Forward European Theatre of Operations) APO 887 C/o PM, New York, N. Y. He writes: “Observe our new address! Terse, eh? Mail service is abominable these days, but the war makes up for it. I am finding less and less leisure time as you no doubt are well aware. I am constantly exposed to what I consider to be the greatest enjoyment of life, i.e., the observance of (and participation in) exotic customs, habits, sites and languages. However heretic it might seem, I am almost disappointed to realize that the war is nearly over! It is amazing how quickly one can lose contact with the past. I have no idea what goes on in the U.S. — the latest songs — movies, politics, business trends — even London seems distant now. The other day I was talking to a couple of WACS. I was shocked and disappointed in the way they talked. After becoming accustomed to the English girls the American girls seem vulgar – loud. I realize those WACS were average Americans but I cannot help feeling that those of us who have been in Europe for a year or so will find America a bit difficult at first — and wonderful, too.”

(Query – am I to give thought to the possibility of having an English, or possibly French, daughter-in-law?)

Carl was over here just before dinner time and he read Dan’s letter. His experience with the English girls is at variance with Dan’s. His months leave is up tomorrow and he now goes down for another assignment – – where or on what kind of ship is of course unknown. He told me of meeting a Capt. John Trunk in Cartagena, Colombia, S.A., which he thought Ced might be interested in hearing about. It seems the captain is associated with a branch of Socony-Vacuum known as the Andean National Corporation and is a flying instructor. Carl went out with him to the airport and looked over their 12-seater seaplane.

Alfred Peabody Guion (my Dad)

Both sides of the APG branch have been heard from, and when you realize that Marion wrote en route, from Kansas, and Lad from a place where he says “perspiration is running off me as I write worse than it did in South America, and that is H O T”, it really means they made a big effort to keep us posted, and by the same token it is very much appreciated. Lad’s trip was attended by a hot box on his train, causing a couple of hours delay until they could transfer to another car. They were en route from Monday to Thursday. After diligent search, Lad finally located a place in Jackson which is about 19 miles south of his camp at Flora. Lad hopes his stay will not last more than five or six weeks as the combination of humidity and hot sun makes it extremely uncomfortable. He also speaks of receiving an absentee ballot from Helen Plumb, which I asked be done in the case of each of you (except infant Dave). He’ll love that infant part. Naturally, I haven’t heard from him, and incidentally Marian, if you had been able to stop at his camp you would not have found him as he was out on a hike.

Marian Dunlap (Irwin) Guion (my Mom)

Marian says the trip as far is Wakeeny, Kansas, from which she wrote, was accomplished without more than the necessity at the start of having to have a couple of small part replacements. There is someone with her because she says “we”, but I don’t know whether one or two are along beside herself. “We have been through some beautiful country. The Salt Lake desert was very hot and dry but the past two days have been cool and comfortable. In fact this morning we were downright cold. We were going through the Rockies and at one time were at an elevation of 11,315 feet.

Your insurance, Ced and Lad, is due this month and I shall, of course, take care of the premium as usual.

And that’s about all, except that Aunt Betty and Jean send their best, being wafted on to you on a couple of sneezes from

DAD

Incidentally, according to the radio, today is the 1000 day of the war.

Tomorrow I’ll post a letter from Marian to Grandpa from Jackson, Mississippi. Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, another letter from Grandpa.

Judy Guion. 

Voyage to Venezuela (4) – Trip on Grace Line Ship, S.S. Santa Rosa – December, 1938 – January, 1939

This is the  beginning of a series of posts concerning Lad’s Voyage to Venezuela, taking a similar route as John Jackson Lewis during the first portion of his journey, about 88 years later. Lad and Dan had been hired by their Uncle Ted Human (husband of Helen (Peabody) Human, Aunt Helen), sister of Arla Mary (Peabody) Guion, Grandpa’s wife who had passed away in 1933 after a long illness.

The following are documents my Dad had to obtain and/or deliver before he even set foot on the ship that would carry him to Venezuela. Dan had gone through this same process in September and October of 1938.

Here are some documents regarding Lad’s trip on a Grace Line ship, the S. S. Santa Rosa, from New York to Curacao, Venezuela, in 1939.

SUMMARY OF EXPENSE ACCOUNT, TOOLS ORDERED, ETC.

 

 

S.S. Santa Rosa Passenger List – cover

 

SS Santa Rose Passenger Booklet – inside first page

 

GRACE LINE Passenger Statement

 

Various forms and receipts from the S. S. Santa Rosa

 

Curacao coast with message to Grandpa on back

 

MESSAGE: “Dear Gang:- Making our well. Fine weather all the way. On to Curacao tonight. More from there. Laddie”

 

Curacao Harbor

 

Native District of Curacao

Next week I’ll be posting forms that were filled out or filed after Lad reached Curacao, along with a picture of Lad in Curacao in his light weight tropical suit, as suggested.

Tomorrow more information on Marian’s Ancestors.

Next week, a week of letters written in 1944. All five sons are helping the war effort, four are in the Army and our one, Conscientious Objector, is working on a Military base in Alaska. as an airplane mechanic and retriever of downed planes in the Bush.

Judy Guion

 

 

 

 

 

Trumbull – Dear Halloween Pranksters (2) – News From Dan and Lad – October 31, 1943

This is the second half of a letter written by Grandpa to his four sons scattered all over the place.

page 2   10/31/43

The next letter in chronological order is from Dan. He starts out by saying it seems like his lot to miss the most interesting parts of the air raids — he has not yet even heard a piece of flak fall. “But the other day I witnessed another type of “warfare”. Two men and two ferrets were exterminating a rabbit colony in Wimbledon common. For the occasion the men were dressed in riding habits complete with black “Bowler” hats. They were armed with several nets and two ferrets — these animals look like white rats with a long wheel base. The nets were staked down over all the entrances and exits of the rabbit colony. Then the ferrets were given the signal to advance. Down the holes they went. Minutes passed. Suddenly one of the nets bounced up in the air with a flurry of brown fur. One of the men sprang toward it and seized it in his hands. Deftly he extricated a rabbit from the meshes, broke its neck and thrust the limp form into a sack. Soon a ferret reappeared and was promptly introduced into another hole. A questioning of the pseudo-nimrods revealed the following facts. Ferrets are raised by breeders who “bring out the beast in them” to be most effective in flushing rabbits. Finished products cost from 15 “bob” (shillings) to L 1. Naughty ferrets sometimes bite the hand that picks it up. Other undisciplined characters commit mayhem on its victims underground, leaving the exasperated hunter tapping his foot impatiently for an hour or two while the ferrets enjoys a subterranean banquet (or as one of the salacious Yanks suggested, the ferrets having heard of the reputation of rabbits, as he approaches his victim, “Put out or get out, rabbit!” thus explaining the long delay). Ferrets, while not on active duty, consume chicken heads or bread and milk, better results being obtained by the chicken heads. I learned later that the practice of ferreting is illegal, but, what with the scarcity of meat, officials are prone to overlook infractions of this law.

Lad’s letter is dated October 25th. He writes that he and Marian (spelled with an “a”) are to be married at the ”Little Chapel of the Flowers” in Berkeley on the afternoon of November 14th. He will, of course, wear his uniform. A Presbyterian minister of Marian’s choice will tie the knot. Lad is trying to secure a 7-day leave but thinks it will more likely be a 3-day pass. Financially, with their combined income and a budget, they expect to get by in good shape (at the time Lad wrote he had not received my letter telling him his Venezuelan Petroleum stock, which I had bought in 1940 for $75, skyrocketed, so that it is now worth $1100. Ain’t that sumpin’?)

To complete the record, I may as well give you Dick’s address, but if you don’t have any better luck hearing from him than I do, it won’t be much use writing him with any hope of a reply.

As Lad’s wedding date draws near, I have to fight a rising desire to throw caution to the wind and depart for Berkeley. It would mean closing the office (which, in the present circumstances, would mean going out of business permanently), leaving Aunt Betty with the entire burden of shopping, cooking, etc., to say nothing of the difficulties of civilian travel these days (and of course, the cost). So I’ll let my brain rule my heart and stay home.

DAD

Tomorrw, more Venezuelan Red Tape for Lad’s Voyage to Venezuela.

On Sunday, more about Marian’s ancestors, the Lewis, Rider and Irwin families.

Judy Guion