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

Ced’s Coming of Age Adventure (20) – A Letter From Grandma Peabody – September, 1934

 

Grandma Peabody

Grandma Peabody

September 13

Dear Cedric

Your welcome letter came several days ago. I am so glad you are home again because I could not help worrying about you.

I would certainly like to see you and hear of your visits and all about the relatives you visited. You must have had a great time

Did you like haying and threshing? I know all about such things. You should have seen us (the Westlins) carrying lunches out to the men haying, and to the threshing crews when that work started usually late in September, sometimes as late as October. The wind would blow and it was cold. The men were always so glad for the hot coffee, sandwiches and cake.

I believe I told your father I am moving to New York City in a short time to live with Aunt Dorothy. I am wondering if it will be easier for you to come to New York to make a visit rather than Ossining. We are all anxious to hear any news.

No news from here, everything seems to go jogging along as usual.

Lovingly,

Grandma

My love to all of you.

CDG - Ced's Rides by Date

CDG - Ced's Rides By Date - Part 2

Autos I rode in, Part 1 and Autos I rode in, Part 2. They are listed by date.

CDG - Ced's rides by Make

This is Ced’s report on all of the cars and trucks he caught a ride in, both going out and coming home.

Next weekend I’ll have a couple of quick notes to bring this adventure to a close. What an amazing adventure for a 17 year old, traveling by himself. I wouldn’t allow that to happen in this day and age. 

Tomorrow I’ll start posting letters written in 1943. This will be a very important year for Lad, as we shall see.

Judy Guion

Ced’s Coming of Age Adventure (19) – September 1, 1934

Chagrin Falls, Ohio

Sat. Sept. 1

Dear Dad:

I saw Vivian and Aunt Anna before I left Star Prairie and they gave me five dollars to “have a good time on”. I got good rides all the way down to Madison Monday and Tuesday headed for Chicago and found cousin Rudolf there where he is staying. I spent Wednesday at Chicago with him and we went to the fair Wednesday night and saw The Black Forest and the “Standard Oil Line Power Show” and then went to the Ford building and saw their movie which was excellent and then we heard the Ford Symphony band.

I started for Cleveland Thursday morning expecting to get there by night but I didn’t get a ride until four o’clock in the afternoon. I had a terrible day of it and first went to bed on the road at 3 AM. I made Cleveland at three o’clock yesterday and here I am at Chagrin Falls. We are going to the air races tomorrow and I will leave for home on the third or fourth and probably won’t arrive home until the seventh or eighth or maybe the ninth.

I am anxious to get back home again and see you all and am glad to hear that Alfred is going back to school.

On the trip from Madison to Chicago I rode in 1934 Packard, what do you think of that? I have lots of things to tell you when I get back and hope I can remember them all. There are so many that I’m afraid many of them have gotten lost back in my mind but I guess they’ll come out in the wash. It will certainly be nice to get home and until next week, goodbye.

Lots of love to you and the kids.

Ced

The line about the 1934 Packard makes me wonder if the Packard that Lad drove was a 1934. This might have been a ’37 or ’39 Packard. I know the family had at least those three. Here’s a picture of one of the Packards, I think. Can you tell? If you have any information, please leave a comment.

Packard and Mack

A Packard and Mack (short for Mackenzie, named after the river in Alaska.)

Tomorrow, another letter as Ced moves closer and closer to Trumbull and the old homestead.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Dear Twiddledum and Twiddledee – October 5th, 1941

adg-twiddledum-and-twiddledee-october-51941

In the upper right of this letterhead is the title PROSECUTOR & CLERK,

with the name of ALFRED D. GUION below it.

Trumbull, October 5th, 1941

Dear Tweedledum and Tweedledee:
DPG - Dick on IslandWell the great day has come and gone, or perhaps I had better say has come and is still with us. Dan arrived onCed and car - 1940 (3)-head shot Friday as per schedule. I don’t know why it is that the weather man always plans a juicy return for my boys. We met Lad in a pouring rain and, in spite of the fact that September has been a phenomenally dry month, having established a record in these parts for a minimum of rainfall for a number of years, it decided Friday to make up for lost time. Dan’s telegram, if you recall, said the train was due at the Penn. station at 2 o’clock. Remembering that we were tardy in meeting him at the boat I determined that this procedure would not be repeated this time, so I allowed three hours for the trip, leaving the office a bit after 11, picking up Dave at Bassick (High School), making a delivery in Fairfield, and proceeding onto the Merritt Parkway. After riding around a bit to find a parking place near the station we finally disembarked at 1:20. We picked up a hasty snack at an automat nearby, telephoned to Elsie to tell her how Aunt Betty was getting along and arrived inside the waiting room at 1:40. The train was scheduled to arrive at 1:50 but when we finally reached the exit gate we were informed the train had arrived 10 minutes early and everyone was out. Then began a search through the big station, Dave on one side, I on the other. After a great deal of peering into ladies rooms, telephone booths, etc. I finally espied our long-lost son and brother and great was the joy thereof. Barbara had been looking forward to going down with us, but, because the only other clerk had to be away, Barbara couldn’t make arrangements with her office. We got Dan’s bags and drove home in the rain. Later Don and Barbara drove in and I invited them to supper. Then they hopped in Don’s car and picked up Jean M, Jean H, Chet, Evelyn, Biss and her two kiddies and Lad and ran off to the movies, both north and south wings. Last night (Carl and Ethel came in Friday also) Don and Barbara and Dick Christie and the home gang spent a very pleasant and entertaining evening looking at the enlargements of Dan’s colored 35mm stills. It certainly brings a warm feeling around the heart to have three boys home. I would like to make it five. Tell Dick, Jean and I got together and comforted one another on the absence of letters from Dick. We all agreed that Dick was all cockeyed in his wrong idea that he does not write an interesting letter. (Just a minute, Dick, and I’ll get out my little poem and read “it’s all in the state of mind” to you).Aunt Betty seems to be coming along fine. She has been very good about following the doctor’s orders and in consequence is showing much improvement. This is not only my opinion from observation but both the doctor who came again yesterday, and the nurse, say the same thing. In fact the doctor let her sit up today and as she improves, this will occur over longer periods until she can get around again. She will just have to take it easy for a while.

Mr. Warden is finally a mother, his wife having giving birth to a little girl last Thursday.

Tomorrow is Election Day in Trumbull and I suppose Mr. Bailey will again be returned to the office of First Selectman.

Dan said something about going down with Lad tomorrow and seeing about a job at Producto.

Aunt Betty likes to look over my letters to you boys before I send them and as I do not want to worry her, I am not showing her this page.

Yesterday, George told me he had received a telegram from the War Department in Washington assigning him to work as a draftsman at Remington Arms, and to report there Monday. This leaves me high and dry because he is the only one I have had since Miss Denes left, with Dave coming in afternoons to do graphotype work. Life hands us these rude jolts from time to time, and even though you get hardened to it after a while, it does slow one down for a while. I haven’t the least idea what I can do. I have asked Miss Platt if she can take care of jobs temporarily until I can locate someone else but the trouble is that everyone that has my ability at all has a job at defense work at a good salary, and experienced multi-graph operators are few and far between even in normal times. George has promised to come in nights temporarily to take care of rush jobs. If things were not the way they are at home here, what with the necessity of getting the boys supper and taking care of Aunt Betty, I could go back to the office nights and try to learn running the multigraph myself from George. Of course, right now I’m feeling pretty low in spirits but I’ll get over it and find some way out. With only George and myself taking small salaries, and with the low rent we have been paying, we are not doing so poorly financially. In fact, for the last few months we have been able to catch up quite a bit on old debts, and I was looking forward to really getting caught up in being a lot better off than we have for some years. I have asked Estelle to come in tomorrow to help out, but this added to Aunt Betty’s illness and the added burdens at home because of it, ought to get my fighting spirit up. Dan’s homecoming is the one sweet spot that helps brighten things up. I don’t know why I am unburdening myself on you boys except that it perhaps eases the pressure a bit at your expense, but it’s a mean stunt anyway.

Today is been unseasonably warm and humid. The leaves are beginning to turn and a few have fallen but we have not yet had a real frost.

Guess that’s about all I can think of at this time.

DAD

This weekend, two more letters from Ced’s Coming of Age Adventure.

Next week, we begin a week of letters from 1943. Lad is in California and has been socializing with Marian Irwin, my Mother and the woman who would become his wife in about 6 months.Grandpa fills us in on the happenings of other family members.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Dear Old Reliable (3) – Summer Plans are Nebulous – July, 1941

This is the final piece of a letter written by Grandpa to Ced in Alaska in July of 1941.

pp pic 1

Today I came across one of the old dollar bills they used to use and I am sending it along for Dick’s birthday so that he may put it in his folder on his 21st birthday and keep it there as a souvenir and also so that he may never be without a dollar on his person.

I got quite a thrill, Ced, out of your plane trip to Farewell Lake, and particularly the trip back where you piloted the ship after you got through the pass, I was hoping you would land the ship, but I suppose that would not have been proper under the circumstances. Can you credit the hour or so you flew to your record as so much more flying time? And it was a coincidence that this was on your year’s anniversary.

Maybe you will have the same good luck as you did last time finding a place to eat. I’d like to hear more from Rusty. Ask him if I can do anything in the East here regarding his girl, making any arrangements, for her or doing anything at all.

I appreciate your inquiry about my hay fever. No, it has not bothered me much so far, but the real time comes about August 20th when ragweed pollen begins to float around in the air.

At the office things are going along fairly well. We are doing quite a lot of label work for Wheeler Wire at a good profit. George has rigged up the multi-graph so that instead of turning orders over to the printer we are turning out labels on our own machine, and as they are very busy turning out parts for florescent lights which are very popular now, we get orders several times a month for various labels from 10,000 to 60,000 at a clip. Then too, there seems to be considerable call for Addressograph stencil cutting lately. We have just finished cutting 5000 plates for Bridgeport Brass and have another order for 4500 waiting to be done for the Boy Scouts, besides the regular orders for Lee Brothers, and the smaller lots of various clubs and organizations. Dave is working in quite well on this. What I really need more than anything else is someone on the selling end and Dave said tonight he would be interested in tackling that.

Plans for the summer are rather nebulous. Lad’s status is really the determining factor. If he gets a job with United Aircraft or some other defense industry, that will exempt him from the draft. On the other hand he may get his call anytime, which again will be definite. I had some idea we might take a trip to see Anne, perhaps calling on the Chandlers or relatives in Washington en route, and possibly coming back through Morgantown, West Virginia, where Ruth Noer and her mother are (Rudolph’s mother) but there is nothing definite.

Lad said what he would really like to do would be to go to Alaska to see you boys, but time and expense make that inexpedient.

We have had a fair share of rain this summer and in consequence, without you fellows to keep everlastingly at grass cutting, it has gotten ahead of us, particularly in front and especially outside of our dilapidated hedge.

If Lad gets called into the Army, what are the chances of your Dad coming to Anchorage and getting a job, renting the house here meanwhile? That would be Dave’s dream.

DAD

Tomorrow and Sunday I’ll post letters Bissie has written to her Dad while she is living in St. Petersburg, Florida with her Aunt Anne (Peabody) Stanley and her two children.

Judy Guion

Early Memories of Trumbull (19) – Lad, Dan and the CCC

DAVE – I remember Rusty (Heurlin) picked on Dick a lot. I don’t know why. I guess Dick was at the age, 15, 16, 17, and Rusty didn’t have much patience. Rusty was a man’s man. He wasn’t too much for kids. I just remember he picked on Dick a lot. It should have been a very joyful time in my life but I don’t remember. I just remember feeling sorry for Dick.

Alfred Peabody Guion (Lad)

Alfred Peabody Guion (Lad)

Daniel Beck Guion

    Daniel Beck Guion

LAD – In about 1932, Dad saw an ad in the newspaper about a Diesel Engine class that was starting. He told me about it and I was quite interested. I made out an application and was accepted. Dad paid the tuition and I went to school in East Bridgeport (Connecticut) at the Wolverine Motor Company. They had a reputation for building very reliable and long-lasting engines. The instructor, their Chief Engineer, did a very good job of teaching and gave us all some excellent material in a loose-leaf binder. In fact, there were three binders that we received during the length of the class. When the attic of the Trumbull house was being cleaned out, they were discarded, to my great sorrow. I’ve been sorry ever since because there have been many times when I could have used that material. The instructor gave us formulas for making various materials and metals, and taught us how to make various engines. It was a very complete course. Each student was given a list of people who were looking for Diesel Engine Mechanics, and I think most of them got jobs. I received a request from a guy named Windsor, a high up government official in Washington, but I never followed through on that.

The gasoline engine training is something that I picked up on my own. I used to work for Steve Kascak, who owned the garage. He wasn’t enthusiastic about my work because he always said, “If it’s not broken, don’t fix it.” But I was always making it better, even if it wasn’t broken. I worked for him for a couple of years.

Dan and I both applied for and got into the CCC (Civilian Conservation Corps) because Dad was badly in debt. His wife, my mother, had developed cancer and spent a lot of time in Bridgeport hospital. At Bridgeport Hospital they made a very bad error with the intravenous feeding…. One of the nurses had put a saline solution in, and Mom went to a hospital in Pennsylvania where her cousin, Randolph Noet, was a doctor. She was in the hospital for quite a while. All of this is very vague in my mind. Helen and Dorothy, her sisters, were in Trumbull taking care of us kids. They were very restrictive as far as letting us know anything about Mother. So, we knew very little about what was going on or anything else.

Because of the expenses of Mother’s illness and death, Dad was in considerable debt. Dan and I joined the CCC and send him money. Both of us had assigned him to get the money we were paid. I don’t know what it was, maybe $70 a month or something like that. I was in Niantic, a town just outside of New London and Dan was in Willimantic. I was maybe 75 or 85 miles from home. There were three or four of us from the Bridgeport area at the camp. I could frequently get a ride from one of the fellows who had a car, but it was always a lot of trouble trying to arrange transportation to get there on time and be home on weekends. So I decided, after talking it over with Dad, to buy a motorcycle to get me back and forth. I used that motorcycle for a couple of summers, and then the CCC camp was over. It was a 1925 Harley Davidson, model 74. One of the fellows across the street, Erwin Laufer, bought a motorcycle and we used to ride together. He had what was known as a 45 Harley, and we raced a couple of times. I had one cylinder and he had to, but both machines almost stayed together, even at top speed, so we never decided who had the advantage. That didn’t last too long. I went to Venezuela and then the war came along.

Tomorrow, I’ll start a series of letters written in 1941. Lad will be coming home soon from Venezuela and Dick has moved to Anchorage,Alaska, after delivering a car to Dan and Ced.

Judy Guion

Intermission (12) – Veterans of Tuskegee

This is such an excellent post, I thought you might enjoy an extra one today. The history on this blog is very well researched. If you are interested in WWII history, follow pacificparatrooper.wordpress.com

Pacific Paratrooper

Tuskegee-Airmen

Charles McGee was an accomplished World War II fighter pilot and Army Captain, was one of the most decorated pilots in the Tuskegee Airmen, the nation’s first all-black aviation unit. Their record during the war was one of the reasons Harry Truman decided to desegregate the U.S. military in 1948. McGee’s wartime record, however, did little to change his treatment when he returned home.

Aircraft engine lessons Aircraft engine lessons

“Segregation still existed across the country,” he recalls. When he couldn’t get a job as a civilian, he decided to remain in the military. He ended up flying a record 409 combat missions in World War II, Korea, and Vietnam. Today, he’s not concerned about his personal legacy. “It’s not the personal recognition that I seek,” he says. “I want to pass on to the young people of today that you can’t let your circumstances be an excuse for not achieving.”

Tuskegee pilots Tuskegee pilots

 McGee and…

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