World War II Army Adventure (12) – Dear Dad (2) – Finished First Week of Basic – February 27, 1944

This is the continuation of the letter I posted yesterday.


David Peabody Guion

In charge of each platoon, (a barracks – about 53 men) there is a shavetail (Second Lieutenant).  Ours is a new man, just out of O.C.S. I think, and like Cpl. Keep, isn’t quite at home leading and ordering a bunch of rookies around.  He’s an all-right guy. Lt. Wall has charge of our platoon (2nd), as I said before, then there’s Sgt. Chinn (who actually leads the platoon – I’ve seen Lt. Wall seeking Chinn’s advice on certain things) and then Cpl. McGrath, and finally Cpl. Keep – who reminds me a bit of Gary Cooper.

Saturday is a big day around here.  We have barracks, rifle (which is plenty tough), and personal and foot-locker inspection’s on Saturday.  Everything is spotless – especially that old Enfield rifle.

There’s plenty of recreation here – movies (we get a lot of these before they are released for public consumption), 3 Service Clubs, each Company has a day-room (which has a piano that gets plenty of exercise), and of course we have PX’s.

Even KP isn’t bad here.  I was on KP last Tuesday – just routine detail – not punishment of any sort.  I spent most of Tuesday in the pantry munching on cookies, dried apricots and what-have-you.

I still haven’t heard from Lad.  I do hope you can get a weekend off to come up here to pay me a visit.  I also wish that said had known where I was when he left home.  He could have gotten a train from St. Louis to Camp Crowder, and a bus from here to Texarkana.

I don’t know how much of the things I’ve told you above, I told you last week, but I can’t remember what I write from one week to the next.  For instance, I remember now that it was El (Elinor Kintop, Dave’s girlfriend and future bride) that I told about the  Sgt. catching me looking out on the road.  Or did I tell you, too? See what I mean?

Well, that’s all for today.  Remember, this week has been easy and next week may be easy to; but if you don’t hear from me, it won’t be because I’m not thinking of you all up at Ye Olde Homestead; it will simply mean that I just haven’t got the time.  My love to all – even Smoky.  Maybe someday, I’ll get around to writing Jean and Aunt Betty separately, but for now all I can do is to write to the whole bunch (all 3).

Love again,



Trumbull – To My Correspondents (2) – News From Dorothy And A Baby Blizzard – February 11, 1945

Page 2    2/11/1945

Well, I’ll tell you Dave, if the post office is open tomorrow (Lincoln’s birthday here, you know) I’ll get a package off to you. If, when you receive it, you find some of the things are wrapped in Christmas paper, don’t think I am losing my mind. The fact is that before I knew for sure you were coming home for Christmas, I began assembling some things to send to you, just in case. And the other day I had an idea you might like to get it anyway, wherever you are when it finally catches up to you, so here it goes. And Dan, there is also another package being wafted on its way to you containing some of the things you asked for and also a couple of toilet articles dear to a girl’s heart which you may want to present to Paulette. I had previously sent your shoes.

Ced, old Bean, don’t forget to let me know how the draft business comes out. Maybe there will be a letter tomorrow or sometime this week from you on the subject. And a couple of week hence I expect I’ll have some snapshots of the girls to send just for variety. They have been suffering from an attack of cameraistis lately and old Eastman has been working overtime trying to keep up with them.

Dorothy (Peabody) writes from Los Angeles: “The trip out here was really glorious. I’ve seen pictures of our mountainous west, but to actually be near enough to almost touch them, to see the panorama of endless Mountains – – miles and miles and miles of them – – not for just a few hours but for whole days – – it was the most majestic and awe inspiring sight I have ever seen. The desert was fascinating too and very weird. Altogether I found the trip very lovely. So far the weather has been fine although it’s supposed to be the rainy season. Imagine my surprise when I woke up the first morning I was here to find three enormous poinsettias and a Calla Lily peeping over my window ledge.”

Trumbull House in winter - (cropped) - 1940

Early this week we had a baby blizzard here. Snow on the driveway drifted knee-deep and transportation was pretty much crippled – – so much so the first day that there was no school although the buses ran to and from Bridgeport and both Marian and I drove our cars, leaving them, of course, at the bottom of the driveway. However, this was followed by a couple of days of really mild weather which has done much to reduce the size of the drifts. Our new tenants have not moved in yet. They brought a few of their belongings but said their car had broken down. They could not have driven up to the house anyway, as before mentioned.

Today I had to go to Bridgeport to join in wedlock two young things, the man, in the Navy, having to go back to duty tomorrow. His “best man” said: “Didn’t you have a son that went to Connecticut State College? I thought I recognized the name. Well, I used to drive back and forth with him occasionally. Didn’t he have an old Plymouth? When you write, mention Henry Beigert to hear. I’m now in the Air Force stationed at Mitchell Field.

Tomorrow, being Lincoln’s birthday, I have to relate an anecdote. As you know he married into the rather snooty Todd family. Someone asked Lincoln whether they spelled their name with one d or two. He said one d was good enough for God but they had to have two. I’d like two letters myself.


Tomorrow I will be posting the final letter from the St. Petersberg Adventure. On Sunday, I will begin a new series entitled A Recruit’s Army Adventure. This series will be based on the letters Dave wrote home after his induction into the Army in January, 1944. I have recently received these letters from Dave’s daughter and will be reading them along with you. I hope you enjoy this new perspective on the war through the eyes of an 18-year-old recruit.

Why not share this blog with a friend or two. They might really appreciate it.

Judy Guion

St. Petersburg Adventure (15) – More Letters to the Family – May, 1935


This is a continuation of the letter posted yesterday. It’s later that night and Biss writes a note to Dick. 


                 Don Stanley


                 Gwen Stanley

Monday evening

9:16 PM

Dear Dick,

Boy, what a “D” that is in ”Dear”, hey what? I am going to get orange juice in a few minutes but I am going to try to finish it before I go. Tell Dad that the fruit man’s son, who broke his neck, got pendicitis (acute at that) but that he pulled through and is now at home for he did not enjoy the hospital. Tell Jane that I will write to her as soon as possible.

I told Dave that I felt sure all three of us (or four if Peggy will come back only I’m afraid I have lost her for she seems to be so happy where she is) but I will try to take her place and play with you more and go out into the woods, we could have lots of fun and I will have lots and lots of stories to tell you and you will have lots and lots to tell me, I hope. Well, we can tell the stories while doing our work as it won’t take long at all to do it.

I am getting more and more anxious to see Trumbull again. I passed everything and am I glad! Those two hour (each) exams were nightmares!

Donald at last has a new friend so he doesn’t have to go around with Billy so much anymore. He still goes around with him somewhat though. Save the football and baseball until I get home. Do you still have skiing? How is skating? Tell me all about these things in a letter to me and make it snappy! Donald and I tried playing some duets on the guitars and they sounded quite nice. Gee, if I don’t give the guitar any rest it will be all worn out before I can show it to all of you up there. Be sure and not tell anyone about it and I miss the family again.



P.S. Hurry up and write!

P.P.S. I couldn’t write two sheets because the envelope is too full!

I think this is a third installment to her letter to her father, but since she doesn’t address it to anyone, I’m guessing.

Friday – 4:36 PM

I received your letter yesterday, and the check, and the letter from Parents Magazine, and the news from Trumbull, and Dan’s second installment. Are you going to have my magazine a free installment? I would like it, if it is all right with you for then I would have no fear of its expiring at the end of the year the way I have been and next year I will be able to ask for “Good Housekeeping” instead and thereby get the two magazines I like best. I wanted “Good Housekeeping” this year but felt that you didn’t have the money for it so I didn’t bother to ask for it.

I got my geometry report today and got 85 – my average is only 76%. It looks as though Ced has the upper hand. I am getting my guitar either Monday or Thursday so you will see me with a guitar when I get home. I am going to put on 3 3-cent stamps so it should get there O.K. There is something wrong if it doesn’t.

Gwen has “water on the knee” and Aunt Anne took her to the doctor today. I think one thing but my hand keeps writing another – I was going to say doc tonight instead of Doctor and today my hand wrote correctly where as my mind didn’t think as it should.

Don has a steam engine just like Alfred’s steam boiler. The one we fooled with so much last year. Well I want to reel off a number of things to Ced so I guess I’ll say goodbye to you four, if I keep on going I won’t stop and then I can’t send the letters for I’ll still be writing and I’ll starve because I’ll be writing instead of eating and then the letter will never be finished because I’ll die of starvation and fatigue before I finish it – soooo, goodbye until the next time.



Tomorrow, I will begin  posting written in 1944. All five of Grandpa’s sons are engaged in the War Effort and scattered around the world. Grandpa’s endeavors as a clearing house for family news are invaluable to each one. It is their only connection with the rest of the family.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Dear Dick, Lad, Marian and Dan – Thoughts About the Trumbull House – 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 Pogg’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 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 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?

                  Marian (Irwin) Guion

And as for my newest daughter, Marian, the more I hear from her the tougher my luck seems that we haven’t had the privilege of really knowing her. She always writes such generous, effortless letters, cheery and bright. I rather think she is the sort of person who always sees the best in everybody and makes the best of everything. Her last letter says Lad holds out their prospects of their getting some place to live in Texarkana and Marian is making plans now to arrange her affairs so that she can possibly join Lad sometime in February.

January 6 was Elizabeth’s birthday, so we all piled into the old Buick, with the cake (I tried to get some cider from Boroughs but they have discontinued making it for the season), some presents, including those recently received from South Pasadena for Elizabeth and the kids. Zeke has quit working on the night shift at Singer’s so he was home also. The kids had gone to bed but they both came hurrying down the stairs in their Dr. Denton’s, and a good time was had by all.

Dick’s remarks about the old house here at Trumbull remind me of something I have thought of from time to time but never got so far as putting it down on paper. I look on this place not exclusively as my home, if you get what I mean, but as belonging to Lad and Marian, Dick and Jean, Dan, Ced and Dave (and it would be Elizabeth’s too, if she didn’t have a home of her own), sort of a community owned affair, a place that is really theirs for as long as they want to make it so, a place they can come back to after this war is over, not in the spirit of coming home to Dad’s so much is coming back to their own home, permanently if desired, but in any event, just as long as they need to find what they want to do in the future peace economy, using it perhaps as a springboard to launch off into some new effort, with that feeling of security in knowing that they can always come back to try another spring if the first doesn’t pan out as expected. When you are all settled permanently in what ever and where ever you want to be and do, only then will I feel that the old home will have achieved its final function. I don’t know whether I have put across the idea in the back of my mind, but the idea is to build up a sense of possessive ownership and a feeling of security from a firmly fixed anchor, particularly at the time after the war when the confusion of thoughts and circumstances naturally attendant upon readjustment from war to peace activities, is apt to upset one’s tempo. What fun it would be if we could all live together here for a while, anyway. Then the Psalmist’s words might come true, “Behold, how good and how well pleasant is it for brethren to dwell together in unity.”       He doesn’t say anything about the sistren, and while that is generally conceded as more of an understanding, I guess we could manage that, too. Anyway, let that be the thought for the day, and make your plans accordingly. Here’s to the day when Brazil, London, Alaska, South Pasadena, Texarkana and (Camp Devens ?) all rally around the Trumbull banner, with the war only a memory and long years of peace and happiness and prosperity ahead for all.

With that cheerful note with which to start the new year, add a father’s love and blessing, and you’ll have a suitable message from    DAD


Tomorrow, a letter from Lad to Grandpa and on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, a very-long letter from Grandpa to his scattered flock.  

Judy Guion

Memories of Arla Mary (Peabody) Guion (2) – The Marriage – 1892 – 1933

In yesterday’s post, Grandpa tells the story of when he first realized that he was in love with Arla Peabody. He continues:

Afred Duryee Guion about 1913


                Arla Mary Peabody about 1913

I got up the nerve a few weeks later to ask my mother, timidly, what she thought of her and was immensely gratified when she answered favorably. I suppose like lovers the world over, before and since, things followed a regular pattern, but it was a long time before I could believe anyone since the world began could love a girl as I loved her, simply because there had never been anyone as perfect as she. I suppose she knew how I felt long before I told her. I used to make up all kinds of excuses to visit her home, using her brothers and sisters, who were all likable youngsters, as reasons on matters concerning church, choir, Sunday school, etc. The more I saw her in her home and noticed the tactful and gentle way in which she handled her little brothers and sisters, the willing help she gave her mother around the house, the dependence and trust her mother showed her, all convinced me, aside from viewing her with the lovers eye, that she would be an ideal wife and mother, and in this, as was afterwards proven, I was right.

Some nights, even when I knew her whole family would be in bed I would walk my dog, Spot, the long distance over to her house just so I could look at the place where she lived. There was only one girl I would ever want as long as I lived. I was a “one girl man” and would remain so all of my days.

With the three years college ordeal behind me and the girl of my choice looking upon me with favor, the future looked promising. Two main objects were to be achieved. I now had a promising job with a respectable company – St. Nicholas Magazine – and a definite incentive for making good. My job was to solicit advertising for this leading high-grade children’s magazine. It seemed a natural that children in better high-class homes and pedigreed pets belonged together, so I proposed starting a “Pet Department” in the magazine. The idea was approved and I was made Manager.

Of course nothing but the best in a diamond engagement ring was good enough for my girl, so on June 1, seated side-by-side alone on the lower deck of an excursion boat then running to and from New York City, I slipped the ring on her finger. It apparently came as no surprise and was evidently quite acceptable. For many years, when circumstances permit it, we celebrated June 1st by taking a boat ride of some sort.


Certificate of Marriage Alfred Duryee Guion Arla Mary Peabody

                                      Certificate of Marriage
                                         Alfred Duryee Guion
                                          Arla Mary Peabody

We chose Bermuda for our honeymoon and there we spent a delightful two weeks, marred only by an accident Arla had on a bicycle caused by the fact that she was not familiar with the operation of the coaster brake with which the rental machine was equipped, so she did not know how to slow speed at the end of a long downhill grade and chose crashing into a stone wall by the roadside in preference to smashing into a horse-drawn vehicle which was blocking the road. Outside of skinned hands when she was thrown over the handlebars onto the rough stone and a few bruises, no damage resulted, but the bike was pretty badly smashed.

Back home again, we spent the first few days fixing up an apartment I had rented in the Bronx for my bride. With my savings we bought some substantial dining and living room “Craftsman” furniture and there we lived for about a year, little Lad having arrived in the meantime to add to our happiness.

Tomorrow, I will begin posting a week of letters written in 1943. Lad and Marian have been married for only about a month and the holidays are upon the Guion Clan. 

Judy Guion

My Ancestors (40) – Marian Dunlap Irwin – (1915 – 2004)

Last June I read about a Challenge, 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks, and I was intrigued. I decided to take up the challenge. Some Ancestors may take more than one week, but I still intend to write about 52 Ancestors. I hope you enjoy reading about My Ancestors as much as I am looking forward to researching and writing about them.

 (1) Marian Dunlap (Irwin) Guion; (2) Judith Anne Guion

Marian Edith Rider was born 15 Oct 1888 at Santa Cruz, CA

She married Mowry Addison Irwin on 28 July 1914 in Watsonville, CA

Mowry Addison Irwin was born in Erie, PA on 16 Oct 1888

They had the following children:

1.  Marian Dunlap Irwin, born 11 Nov 1915 in Sacramento, CA

2.  Homer Addison Irwin, born 24 April 1917 in Marysville, CA

3.  Margaret Edith Irwin, born 28  May 1920 in Oakland, CA

4.  Donald Mowry Irwin, born 3 July 1925 in Albuquerque,NM

Marian Dunlap Irwin and her great-grandmother, Edith May (Lewis) Rider


Marian Dunlap Irwin in a satchel – 1 1/2 months old

Marian Dunlap Irwin, my mother, was born in Sacramento, California on November 11, 1915. Three other children joined the family. She had a happy childhood surrounded by a large extended family of siblings, cousins, aunts and uncles.

Homer Addison Irwin and Marian Dunlap Irwin

Marian graduated from Berkeley high school and continued her education at San Francisco State University, graduating in 1937 with a degree in Elementary Education.



                  Marian, Don, Margaret and Homer Irwin – 1938                    


         Marian Dunlap Irwin – SFSU – 1937



Marian Irwin’s first teaching job – Arvin, CA – 4th, 5th and 6th grades

She exhibited her adventurous spirit by driving with a friend from Oakland to New York City during the summer of 1939 to visit the World’s Fair. 

Later, he was hired by the Camp Fire Girls Organization and became the Director of the South Pasadena area, a position she held until she married.

While living in South Pasadena in 1942 and 43, Marian served as a hostess at the South Pasadena Hospitality Center, where servicemen came to relax when they were off duty.  In January, 1943, Alfred Peabody Guion (Lad) arrived at Camp Santa Anita to begin training automobile and truck mechanics for the Army.  At some point he met Marian Irwin. 

On April 8th, Lad writes home with some news:

“Again too many days have gone by, but they have all been full.  Even Apr. 3rd.  I got a letter from you on the eventful day – thanks.  It went by as usual, but the bunch of us were invited to a party in my honor at the home of 1 of the girls I have met here.  In fact, she is so much like Babe that I have difficulty now and then and calling her Marian.”

Things progressed predictably and very quickly, Lad and Marian were married on November 14, 1943.  For about the next year, as lad was transferred from base to base, Marian followed him.  When the time came for his battalion to be sent overseas, Marian decided that she would drive to Trumbull and stay with Grandpa, so that she would be closer to Lad when he came home. 

The marriage of his younger brother Dan, to Paulette, in Calais, France, created a situation where Lad was away from his battalion when they shipped out for Okinawa.  When Lad shipped out after gathering all the equipment left behind, again Fate intervened, the U.S. bombed Hiroshima, Japan surrendered and Lad’s ship returned to New York City instead of going on to Okinawa.  Lad was stationed at Fort Dix, New Jersey, but they really did not need an instructor of auto and truck mechanics.  He was able to go home to Trumbull every weekend and was discharged in the fall of 1945.  Marion was thrilled.

By December, Lad and Marian were expecting their 1st child – which turned out to be twins – Douglas Alfred and Judith Anne, born June 28, 1946.  They were quickly followed by Gregory Alan in August 1947 and Marion Lynn in December, 1948. when it was time to register Doug and Judy for kindergarten, Marian was shocked to learn that Trumbull did not provide kindergarten classes for their youth.  She and her best friend, Jeanne (Hughes) Hayden, decided to start a kindergarten and use the Trumbull Congregational Church Sunday School Building as their location.  They began operations in September, 1953.  They continue to grow, adding more students and teachers until the town of Trumbull decided to include kindergarten classes in their elementary schools.

While stationed in California, Lad fell in love with the state and Marian was all too happy to move back to the San Francisco Bay area where she had grown up.  They made the move in the summer of 1966, after their youngest graduated from high school.

Marian continued her career in education, 1st by teaching kindergarten, and after retiring, training other young teachers in the ins and outs of managing a successful classroom.  She and Lad joined the Marin Power Squadron, a national organization focusing on safe boating, and the Marin Amblers, an RV group that traveled to outings throughout California and Oregon once a month.  Although Marion’s health issues sometimes limited what they could do, both Lad and Marian relished their Golden Years. 

Their family grew as grandchildren and then great-grandchildren arrived.. Marian had a knack for decorating and their home was always filled with a festive air, no matter the season.  She also possessed strong organizational skills which were put to use by the Power Squadron, the Gamblers and also there condo association.  Marian was an avid reader and regular swimmer.  She loved doing things that were fun for everyone.  Even after a couple of strokes, her bright outlook continued I never heard her raise her voice in anger when she passed away in 2004 it became evident that she would be missed by hundreds of friends.

Next Sunday, more of My Ancestors. Tomorrow, I will begin a week of letters written in 1943.

Judy Guion


Voyage to Venezuela (2) – More Red Tape – 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.

Report from Lad’s doctor that he had examined Lad and there was no evidence of leprosy, trachoma, insanity or epilepsy.


A statement from his doctor that he had been vaccinated.


The VISA Application Form


A letter from Lad’s employer, INTERAMERICA, INC. to the Venezuelan Consulate in New York reporting Lad’s employment and his intention to travel to Venezuela.


FBI, Department of Justice, document identifying Alfred Peabody Guion with his picture


The back of the FBI, Department of Justice, document identifying Alfred Peabody Guion with his finger prints.


A list of regulations to be complied with by aliens entering Venezuela


A NOTICE TO BEARERS OF PASSPORTS with Lad’s signature on it.



Section 15a. Special documents required for visas for certain Latin American countries, including Venezuela.  Three documents are listed as being required by Venezuela: (1) Vaccination certificates,, (2) Health certificates and (3) Police certificates (good conduct certificates.


Next Saturday we hear more from INTERAMERICA, Inc. including their contract with Lad and employment regulations.

Tomorrow, I’ll be posting some information about Marian (Dunlap) Irwin’s ancestors. Next week I will be continuing the Helen Log Book, with vivid details about Grandpa’s trips with his three older boys on the Helen.

Judy Guion