Trumbull – To Members of Medical Staff, Everywhere, Just Everywhere (2) – News From Dan in London – October, 1943

This  is a continuation of the letter I posted yesterday from Grandpa to his sons, scattered around the world.

From our London maternity branch, Dr. Daniel Guion reports the successful delivery of a new infant (or will within nine days) in the shape of an additional year to his young and growing family. I am open for congratulations myself in view of the good job along this line I helped your mother do so many years ago. Incidentally, there must be something psychic in his composition, for before he received my former letter with its epic California news, he starts his last note home with the words: “Neath the shade of an imported redwood tree in the famous (deleted by censor), I met a free French soldier whose home and family are in Paris. We spent an interesting afternoon, paying more attention to a discussion of languages and customs then to the imposing vistas of myriad trees and representative flora of the world’s most distant corners. Later in a tea shop in (Censor again) he described the occupation of Paris by the Germans in 1940, and his own escape, first to unoccupied France, then to North Africa. Any wonder I find England fascinating? I have spent literally hours at (darn that censor) with religious fanatics, socialist speakers, salvation army song fests, humorists to speak for the pure joy of pleasing listeners, malcontents who lampoon everything — a melee of people listening, heckling, talking — like a sort of intellectual Carnival. All this has occurred while on pass of course.

There is nothing to report from our First Aid Outpost Station near the Arctic Circle, nor from our Deaf, Dumb and Blind Clinic in Brazil. Intern Richard seems still unable to communicate with any regularity with any of his family but his wife. Guess I’ll have to study the sign language. It is quite evident he still loves her and keeps telling her so from start to finish of each letter. How do I know? The deduction is simple. She passes on to us any items of interest, but day by day the answer comes back “There ain’t no news”. (Am I going to suffer for this when Jean reads this paragraph! Whew.)

Dan, there is a little gift coming to you, if the P.O. will allow packages to be sent after the 15th deadline. It is not a Christmas gift but a wee birthday token, but whether the government will make the distinction, I know not. It was not send sooner because I have not been able to get delivery of what I ordered due to (so they say) the manpower shortage, so while it may not arrive by the 26th it will serve whenever it does put in appearance as a very inadequate token of love and affection that grows in profusion back here in old Trumbull.

DAD

Tomorrow, another letter from Grandpa to his sons scattered all over in service to Uncle Sam.

Saturday and Sunday, more Special Pictures.

On Monday I’ll begin a week of letters written in 1945. Dan is still in France, our of the Army but working with the Graves Registration Department and getting to see Paulette whenever they can arrange it.

Judy Guion

Special Pictures # 242 – Lad in France – 1945

For the next few weekends, I’ll be posting Special Pictures. These are photos that do not pertain directly to the letters I’m posting but are unique and interesting so I want to share them. Enjoy.

Lad wrote on the back:

A contrast –

A.P.G. and French “Borliet”

Nancy – 21 May 1945

 

Lad wrote on the back:

A.P.G. at Chateau d’If,

France – 1 July 1945

Tomorrow, I’ll begin a week of letters written in 1943. We learn about the activities of Grandpa and members of the family. Everyone is anticipating Lad’s furlough.

Judy Guion

 

Autobigraphy of Mary E Wilson (23) Only in America – 1948 and Conclusion

Mary and Archie Wilson with their children about 1957.

Back – Mary Jean and Beverly Joan

Front – Mary and David Arthur

1948

So our initiation to rural living was hectic but everything turned out OK. Looking back on those years, Archie and I were very busy but we were very happy because we were able to give our children a healthier, happier life than we had.

Mary Jean’s asthma attacks were less severe and she was now able to go into Bridgeport alone to get her shots. She was an even-natured, shy girl even though most of the neighborhood children were boys. She sure could hold her own on the baseball field when she played with them.

David was really an outdoors boy and loved fishing, hiking and swimming in the river near the house. He helped his dad with the garden but his greatest pal was his collie dog, Lassie. How those two used to roam the woods!

Beverly was lucky because she had little girls her own age, went to a Catholic preschool, and her best friends were Elena Bonitati and the Guion family.

I was involved in the usual things when you have small children: den mother, brownies, Girl Scouts, and teaching Sunday school. I became active in the P.T.A. putting on dinners, yard sales and concerts.

I still worked nights at Briarwood’s but I finally got a job at the Trumbull hot lunch program. The children did not even realize I worked because my working hours were the same as their school hours and I had all summer off with them.

I finally got my driving license much to Archie’s displeasure. I guess he did not approve of women drivers.

We joined Grace Church in Long Hill. We were Episcopal, so decided that the children should continue as such. I became active in church activities and renewed our friendship with the James Flahertys, whom we had known in St. Luke’s when we were young.

Archie worked hard on the Laurel Street house. He had a huge vegetable garden and seemed content and happy. He was also active in the Masonic order and I in Eastern Star. It seemed we had all adjusted to our new home and country living.

Archie and I felt very fortunate and blessed to have been able to accomplish what we did. We came to America as immigrants: Archie from Scotland and Canada and I from England. We both had similar backgrounds and a lot in common which I think helped our marriage to be such a happy one. We both had worked hard together and our goal had been to make a living better for our children and ourselves.

We had never had much money but we realized an ambition that only in America could it be possible.

It has been an honor to share Mary E. Wilson’s Autobiography with you. I hope you enjoyed this life story of a strong woman, the man in her life and how they overcame daunting situations to achieve all that they had hoped for.

Army Life – The Gospel According To St. Dan – August, 1945

The Gospel, according to St. Dan, Drancy, Aug. 5, 1945

To follow the somewhat erratic history of Dan, it is perhaps more feasible to follow through chronologically, beginning on or about the 9th of July, at which time he was planning to leave Drancy for Calais on the 12th.

July 10 – At breakfast, Lt. Shirk casually asked if I were ready to “parti” to Calais. “When?” “Today!” “But I thought it was to be the 12th.”  “We’ll leave today. Are your clothes packed?” Thus began a week of hectic preparations and worries. I had to send a telegram that A.M. to Calais, notifying them of the change of plans; then I had to get my laundry from the laundry; then I had to get my official papers from the C.O.’s office; that I had to get my cigarette and candy rations from the PX, then I had to pack; then I had to eat early lunch —-. We arrived at Calais about five PM — half an hour after the telegram. The Lieutenant and his chauffeur left for Ghent almost immediately, leaving orders that I was to wait there until a truck came to take me back to Paris. By a curious coincidence, Robert and Maurice (Chiche’s brothers) arrived that same evening from Algeria, relegating yours truly to a position of an all-but-forgotten kibitzer, while emotion rained after four years of frustration.

July 11 to 16. Feverish preparations, trying to get the necessary papers in order and church arrangements settled. I had to hitchhike to Lille and back to have a seal affixed to certificates. The same day Chiche went to Boulogne for other papers, only to learn that she needed my papers too. The church arrangements broke down very soon because the Catholic Church frowned on a “mixed” marriage. The day before the marriage we were still in doubt. Chiche and I went to Bologne that morning and got the final papers. In the meantime it developed that no marriage can take place in France until ten days after all the papers are in order and the banns have been published! No banns were in evidence at the City Hall. But the fault was not ours so everything smooth out at the last minute – – even the church arrangements, because we decided to be married at the Protestant Temple after the civil ceremony at the City Hall. Late that night a dusty traveler Lad) arrived from Marseille – unexpectedly — he having already written that it was impossible to come. It was a thoroughly pleasant surprise, after two and half years of separation.

July 17. Ah, fateful day! 2 knots were tied – – both by men who took a personal interest in our marriage. All of Calais seems to have turned out for the occasion, for it was the first Franco-American wedding in that area. The first ceremony took place in the marriage hall at mairie. Mr. Hubert Desfachelles performed the ceremony as mayor, altho’ he was deputized for the affair as his own request. I think he was as nervous as we. It was “the first time” for all three of us! We drove to the Temple immediately afterward, where the Rev. Dubois officiated at a double ring ceremony. He said later that he had never seen the church so crowded for a marriage ceremony. There were many more who waited outside the door for a glimpse of “les espoux” as we came out. No rice was thrown, partly because there was no rice to be had, and partly because it is not the custom here to waste good food in such prodigal fashion. After the church ceremony the public was invited to the “vin donneur” which is the French equivalent of a reception, during which time wine and cookies are served to all who can get in. Fortunately, the Senechal home is across the street from the Temple (hence the name “rue du Temple” for the street on which they live)

Page 2 of the Gospel

so we were quickly embarked on this ceremony. Later, when the public had left we were served a sumptuous feast which represented hours of preparation and diligent searching in the black market for such luxuries as chicken and wine and a multitude of other dainties that no longer exist on the open market. That night there was dancing. “Chiche” and I heard that there was horseplay afoot, and we escaped upstairs shortly after midnight to our room. We locked both doors and kept vigil during an hour or so, during which time “they” tried to find a way to enter.

July 18 two August 1. An idyllic existence, during which time there was no worry or care save the possibility that the truck might come to take me back to Paris. For two full weeks I lived like a civilian on vacation, altho officially, I was in Calais on “Temporary Duty”. Furloughs are not authorized by the American Army to visit Calais, as it is part of the British sector – – but in order to permit the marriage, the 1st Sgt. arranged to send me on T.D. I suspect I am the only American on record whose solel “duty” during three weeks was to get married and enjoy a honeymoon! The truck came one afternoon about 3 P.M. while I was playing ping-pong with “Bob”, my new brother-in-law. Departure was mercifully swift. We had to leave immediately for Ghent where we spent two days.

Now, back in Drancy, I await the day (perhaps tomorrow) when Chiche will come to spend several days with me. The Army has not announced anything new about future plans. We are waiting to be “alerted” from day to day, but no new indications are manifest that such a move is near.

Lad arrived back in Marseille just in time to miss the boat! He is with the rear detachment and has left already for the Pacific, I presume. He doesn’t know just what route he will take, but usually the troops pass through CZ (Panama) and stop off a while in Hawaii. Love. DAN

Tomorrow I’ll post Lad’s account of the festivities.  Thursday and Friday, a letter from Grandpa posting updates on family members for family members, a quite comprehensive missive.

Judy Guion