Friends – Dear Ced – A Note From Arnold and Alta Gibson – March 16, 1944

Blog - Arnold and Alta Gibson's wedding, 1939 (2) cropped

Arnold and Alta (Pratt) Gibson on their Wedding Day, September 1, 1940.

P.O. Box 175

Trumbull, Conn.

March 16, 1944

Dear Ced;

Don’t faint, it really is a letter from us. This morning I saw your father and he said last he’d heard from you, you were in Kitch Kan. (sp). So you must be back to Anchorage by now. He told how you met Lad. Luck was on your side, wasn’t it? How we envy you that trip.

You know what? We miss you, believe it or not. No Cedric to take us walking on Sunday and no Cedric to tell us stories. Yes, we really miss you.

The weekend before last we went up to New Hampshire. We’ve been meaning to go up for several winters, but we kept putting it off. Thursday we had a telegram from our friend in Boston saying he was going up that weekend. So Friday noon found us on the train. 5:15 found us in our friend’s car heading for the mountains. We were at the Pinkham Notch A.M.C. Lodge by 11:00. The moonlight on the snow-capped mountains, the fresh crisp air, made it seem like another world, then to wake up in the morning and find that the snow was real – 5 to 6 feet of it. The sun shining brightly. The temperature at 10 above. We had a grand time hiking on our snowshoes. Sunday evening came all too soon. That’s such a grand country that we don’t know why we don’t move up there and stay there. I miss it because we’re so nosy we want to see some more of the world. Well, perhaps it won’t be long before we are able to.

This is really just a note to let you know we’re thinking of you. Of course we hope you’ll answer but we hardly expect you to.

Your friends,

Alta and Arnold

P.S. Lillian says hello too. You know, I think you made quite an impression.

Tomorrow and Thursday, a letter from Grandpa to his progeny and on Friday, a letter to Ced from Rusty Heurlin, a family friend and future well known artist of Alaskan life.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Dear Patients (2) – News From the Home Front – February 27, 1944

This is the second page of a letter from Grandpa reporting on the conditions of family members and news from the Home Front.

OLD DOC GUION HIMSELF: On the basis of the old saying, “Physician, heal thyself”, I suppose this report would not be complete without a word as to the author. At present he is suffering from an extended case of painindeatus caused by too frequently sitting down to read letters from his patients that keep crowding into Box 7 with scarcely a let-up. This, however, is only during the day. He starts the morning right and ends up in a happy frame of mind before retiring by inspecting his bureau on which, side-by-side, stand photographs of his two daughters-in-law — one of them a California gift and the other a Valentine.

Hints to toilers on the Home Front. Every so often we have the urge to use the mail facilities Uncle Sam has provided to supplement the weekly letter by some little trinket as a token of our thought of you and naturally the thought pops up, “What shall it be?” And then we try to think back on what has been previously sent and how acceptable it was and the only clue we can recall are the words, “Your package arrived O.K..” Lots of help in that, isn’t there? So you can imagine my delight when letters arrived simultaneously from each of you boys giving me just the answers I wanted. I quote from Lad: “That cloth you sent to shine up my rifle and other hardware with was undoubtedly well intended but in your ignorance you didn’t know that the Army doesn’t allow us to use anything of that sort.” From Dan: “Those playing cards with my initials on them, I am sorry to say, are just cluttering up my pack. In the first place, I don’t get time to play, even solitaire, and in the second place, I wouldn’t play if I had the time. Thanks just the same”. From Dick: “Now what do you suppose a soldier could do with a dinky little round knife and nail file? That might be O.K. down Trumbull way for civilian use, but sorry, Dad, it’s pretty useless here.” Well, boys, that’s fine. Just what I wanted to know, and then when your letter continues with, “but, what I would like to have which I can’t get here is some, etc., etc.,” it just finished off with the right note. Why not make the dream come true? We all learn by experience but experience won’t help if it’s tongue-tied.

A postal from Ced en route, written from St. Louis, 6 PM, reports a comfortable trip that far. From my timetable he should have reached Texarkana very early Monday morning. However one of those formal Army change of notice cards from Lad dated February 20 informed me his new address was Pomona, and I am waiting to hear again from Ced as to whether or not he made it. It will also be interesting to hear from Ced and Lad and Marian as to their get together after all these years.

Time out  –  the furnace sheared a pin

2 hours later – after much effort the pin has been restored but in the meantime, the fire has gone out, so I’ll just rather abruptly bring this missive to a close, get something to eat, light the fire and then I’ll really need a bath, which I shall duly take.

So long then, from


Tomorrow, a letter from Lad  reporting their move back to California and on Thursday, a letter from Marian telling of  their brief visit with Ced – thanks to the clutch on the  Buick. On Friday, another letter from Marian telling Grandpa about their house-hunting search.

Judy Guion

Elizabeth’s Adventure in St. Petersburg, Florida (15) – Expectations and a Story – May 13, 1935

My Grandmother passed away in 1933, when her only daughter, Elizabeth (Biss), was 14. Biss took it quite hard and had difficulties at home. It was decided by her Aunts and her father that it might be helpful for her to live with Aunt Anne in St Petersburg, Florida, go to school and help Aunt Anne with her two children, Don and Gwen. Biss is just about finished with the school year and is looking forward to going back to Trumbull. She had been able to step away from the situation and see it from a different perspective. She has also matured and is in a much better place right now.

Monday afternoon

4:53 PM EST


Dear Pops,

I am truly ashamed of you! Imagine, for six months now you have been writing to me on the average, I should say, of once a week – and yet you still don’t know my address! In fact you have seen the house and lived in it for a few days. I imagine if you had put 2101 like you should have instead of 1201 like you did – I would have gotten it in time to answer it before I sent that letter to you and Dan. I have no special time to write to you so I can’t get back on any schedule – except writing to you at least once a week. You ought to put the time on your letters so I will know whether everything is as it should be at that time.

I wish I had been home for the fire – for I love excitement! Did the boys leave Tessie’s party and go to the fire? I think I would have if I had been there. It is going to seem funny not to see that old landmark – the passing of another one of Trumbull’s landmarks.

Of course we have very little rain down here – I have to stop and get dinner – I have gotten one scolding already because I did not get dinner started on time. All the work of the evening is done now so I am perfectly free to write as long as I wish. I am very sorry I sent that letter Saturday night for I see again it is causing you some worry.

I am very glad for the check this month for I have been doing some extra things, such as having my picture taken and I had hoped you could send my June money before 1 June so it was rather disconcerting to find I could not expect any at all – however I think I can get by if I watch my money like a miser would, so don’t let it worry you.

    Richard Peabody Guion                     (Dick)

I am expecting to find a healthy boy in David when I get home and a considerate Dick – am I expecting too much? They all still have plenty of time to work on their faults, for it is quite definite that we won’t be home before the end of June or the beginning of July. Perhaps the reason for my better understanding in my letter to Dave is – I have gone literacy-minded! I am writing the story of the World War and I have also written some short, short stories. Maybe I will become a good authoress after all – I sadly fear I can’t become a great singer – as much as I would like to.

Don’t forget to send me a picture of the house when the Lilacs are in bloom. Perhaps when you get this letter the first of the Lilacs will be out.

No one has told me about the play. You did, I admit, send me a program that didn’t tell the whole story. How big a success it was, what it was for, etc. and I would like to know all of these reasons and all of the details.

Right at this moment is quite cool for the window is open and the breeze is blowing across me and also blowing all my writing material off the end of the table, for I am at the dining room table. The daytime however is hotter than when I wrote to you and I haven’t gotten the least bit used to it as yet – and I don’t think I am going to. I am still gaining weight so I think you had better repair all of the furniture that needs it. I prefer to say I’m getting stout though rather than “fat”.


  David Peabody Guion (Dave)

Tell Dick and Dave that I don’t think much of them as brothers for they never write to me to let me know that they still exist. I was beginning to think that perhaps there wasn’t a David for no one ever spoke of him and he was there when I left anyway – so you had better warn him to write if he wishes to keep in my good graces – the same for Dick.

Oh, I have some very good news to change the subject – I got my English report today and I had an 85 – if I get my French mark up to 80 – if – and I keep all my other marks where they are, then I will come home with second honors – for the first and last in other words only time in my life.

I am almost sure that I am going to go to the Junior-Senior prom now – the only trouble that I can find with it is that I will have to wear an evening gown.

We made root beer a week ago – I think it was a week ago – and over half is gone already so we are planning to make more. It isn’t very good this time – too much water I think but we hope for better luck next time. I am going to write a paragraph or two of my story to get you interested and then leave off.

Autobiography of a War Dog

My mother, as I remember her, was a thoroughbred collie. My father, she told me, had been a mongrel. I hated my mother’s master although she loved him. He was a drunkard who would beat her unmercifully if she was in his way or if things weren’t quite right with him. My eyes had been opened for three days when my mother was killed – it was a tragic death. Mr. Alcost, the drunkard, came staggering home one morning and as soon as he came into sight, my mother ran to him. He swore at her and kicked her swiftly. She did not seem to understand. He took a board and struck her over the head. She looked at him still wagging her tail and then fell – that is as far as I will go with the story now. Is it okay so far?



Tomorrow, I’ll be posting letters written to her brothers a little later and enclosed with this letter to Grandpa. She is getting closer to the end of school and closer to coming home.

Judy Guion

Elizabeth’s Adventure in St. Petersburg, Florida – (11) – Letters to Dick and Dave and the Dog Races – April 12, 1935

My Aunt Biss (Elizabeth) was staying in St Petersburg, Florida with her Aunt Anne and going to school while helping Anne with her children, Don and Gwen. She tried to write to her father every week but she wasn’t as faithful in writing to her two younger brothers back in Trumbull. She wrote to all three of them and stuffed the letters into one envelope to save money. The letter to her father was posted last Sunday and today we get to read the letters to her brothers.

Monday evening

6:18 PM

Dear Dick:

It certainly has been a long time since I last wrote either you or David. I wasn’t going to write to you and Dave tonight, because I didn’t have time. I was going to mail the letter about 15 minutes ago but Aunt Anne said she would mail it when she went downtown tonight for then it would leave St. Petersburg tonight so of course I consented. Therefore, I have to steam this letter open so I can put in yours and David’s. I only have one stamp on now but I will of course have to put on a second one for it can’t possibly get to Trumbull for three cents. I’m still not positive that I can get in both letters before Aunt Anne goes out. We’re going to eat in about five or 10 minutes so I don’t think I will be able to finish this letter.

            Don Stanley

           Gwen Stanley

The other night I went to the dog races. The dogs were greyhounds and were, of course, perfect beauties. There is an electric rabbit that runs around the side of the track and all the dogs chase it. The rabbit of course is never caught for the officials pull a curtain across the pathway when the dogs have gone around and the first dog to pass the winning line wins. People place their bets before the race and it costs two dollars to place a bet and if your dog wins you gain. Different dogs are worth different prizes, so of course it is nicer to have a better dog win. One dog, rather two dogs together, brought in $42 and some odd cents. Tonight is the last night for the races and I wish very much that I could go but I was up late Saturday – at the dog races last night – ask the boys – I don’t know which one I told it to and Aunt Anne hasn’t had a chance to see them so she is going to go tonight and someone has to stay with Don and Gwen so I am going to. If there weren’t all those reasons – besides the reason that there is school tomorrow – why perhaps I would consider going tonight for it is the biggest night. Well I have to eat now so I will finish it after supper. Aunt Anne is getting ready to go to the dog races so I am afraid I won’t be able to write a letter to Dave or have time to steam the envelope open either so this will have to go separately – if it does go with the bunch you will know it is because I had time.



Monday evening

7:03 PM

Dear Dave:

It was Uncle Burton’s birthday for you know his birthday comes on April Fools’ Day. Did you meet Sewell Nelson while you were down here? Well he goes to military school now and at present is home on vacation. He has to go back to the school tomorrow. Well, of course, he knows all about the signals and since he has been home on his vacation we have been playing firing squad. Yesterday I was a bad man and I had to be killed. They marched me to the front of the house and shot me. I landed a little too hard and got a headache and full of sand spurs.

It was so much fun though that they marched me out into the alley (so I could have a soft spot to land) and asked me what my last request was. “I regret that I have but one life to give for my country” was my answer. They then shot me. We tired of that soon so I started marching with the rest. Bill Garlington came along to take me to church but I didn’t feel like stopping so I let him wait while I finished playing. We went by the porch where Aunt Anne was sitting and she asked me if I had seen Bill – she was quite disgusted that I would leave a guest standing doing nothing while I finished playing.

I turned around and was talking to her when Sewell – the commander – said “Halt, one, two”. I was turning back as he said that but hadn’t been listening so I kept on walking and banged right square into Donald’s gun. < The gun went off because I saw stars and it cut my eyebrow off so that today I have only one eye – the other is the size of a football.> Where those marks are I began to use my imagination. To tell you what really happened – I banged into the stick (Don’s gun) which was on his shoulder, I mean, over his shoulder and I hit my eyebrow. It’s quite sore today although it doesn’t show one speck. I’m glad I didn’t get a black eye for everyone in school would be asking me who I had a fight with. I’m going to steam the envelope open – ask Dick how it is done – because I have time. Aunt Anne is getting ready to go so I had better hurry up – don’t forget to answer this letter – tell Dick not to forget to answer his either.



Tomorrow, another post about Elizabeth’s Adventure in St. Petersburg, Florida.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – A Letter From A Father To His Son – March 17, 1940

In yesterday’s post, Grandpa ended with an introduction to this post. He wrote:

I suppose this letter will reach you before your birthday and that being the case, I wonder if I can begin to get across to you just how a father feels about birthday greetings to his oldest boy so far away that he has not seen for so many months. Have you ever run across something in print that seems to say in the masterly way something that you have felt but seemed to lack the ability to express in words? Some time ago I ran across a thing of this sort – a letter from a father to his son, and if I may, I will let this sort of substitute for some of the things one would like to say himself if he had the gift of expression.


My boy:

Yesterday a man talked to me about a father who wrote an entire History of Mankind in order to guide his son on his march through life. There must be thousands of ways which the fathers of the world take to bring to their sons the wisdom and the truth which they want them to feel and to understand.

I too, my boy, have felt this urge. From the first day you came into the world, life took on a richer meaning. There was something more to live for — to fight for. Men thought that I was after dollars. How little they knew! Why I would rather earn one honest hour of your faith and your trust then decades of the world’s pomp and glory.

In every waking minute of my life there is one great urge. That you shall know me — not as other men think they know me; not as a neighbor, nor even as a husband. Each of these is a different world. In these other worlds even good men must be something other than their real selves. Fathers take on masks. There is so much they want to be and yet dare not be — so much they want to say and yet dare not say.

But in your world, here, surely, a father may be real. Here he may grope forward. Here he may reach out for his boy to hold him, to touch you, to talk to him. Time and again how I have hungered for this. I wanted to tell you the truth about life as I have come to know it. Time and again, alone in the sacred recesses of my heart I have carved words for you.

Carefully, earnestly, sacredly I have carved them, and yet when I came to speak them they were not the words I wanted to say. The sacredness was gone from them. They were dull and lifeless. A wall seemed to come between us — a wall created by a greater power than yours or mine, and it seems to say:

“Yes. You want to be a part of your boy — a limb of his limbs; to speak for him; to fight for him; to take for yourself the blows which the world is waiting to aim at him. But no, it is not to be. Alone he must fall and creep and climb and bleed and hunger. Alone, even as you did — even as he learned to crawl and walk — by his own desperate sorrows, by the crashing of his own dreams, by the leap of ambition when it fires him, and by the flames of defeat when they scorch him – out of these he must learn.”

Yet, perhaps, this is as it should be.

Listen my boy. I cannot write you a History of Mankind. I cannot pour out tomes of wisdom and reason; but this much I can do, this much I can say: March out on life. Live your own life in your own way — according to the truth as you see it — not as other men do. According to the dreams YOU dream, not those other men dream. March out on life. Come to grips with it. Seek out your birthright and fight for it. A thousand men will come to talk of fear and defeat and failure. A thousand others will frighten you by the futility, the emptiness, the miserable emptiness of their lives. A thousand lies will seek to deafen the song of courage and truth in your ears. But go on — go on and strive and endeavor to find your dreams and your yearnings that I sought for in my own life.


On Wednesday, a letter, written in Spanish, from Dan to Lad, on Thursday, a letter from Grandma Peabody and on Friday, an Easter letter from Grandpa.

Judy Guion

Army Life – Hello! Everyone At Home – Birthday Gifts For Lad – February 1, 1944

Lad ad Marian Guion


Hello! Everyone at Home –

Here we are “deep in the heart of Texas”, and altho’ it isn’t a place that we would choose to build our own home, at least it isn’t too bad. I know that it is quite disconcerting to Lad, but I’ve taught school for three years in a place in California that is exactly like this, so I know what to expect. And as long as it is possible, I intend to stay with Lad, no matter where he is sent.

For the time being we are staying at a fairly nice Auto Court – The Blue Streak! (Room and bath, if you please!) And have our application in at the Federal Housing Tract which is near. We could move in right away, if we had furniture, or wanted to buy it, but we don’t want to get anything right now, so we have to wait until they can furnish some more of the houses.

We are about five miles from Camp, and except when he has a night hike or C.2. (?) scheduled, Lad can get home practically every night. Just so that I will have something to do during the day, I am going to try to get some kind of a job. Exactly what, I don’t know, but am going to see about it in a few days.

Lad’s training is really strenuous, and what with the wet, rainy weather we have been having, is none too pleasant. He doesn’t complain however and I’m so glad to be here that the water could be a foot deep outside and I wouldn’t even notice. It rains in California, too – the Chamber of Commerce, notwithstanding!

We don’t know what our mailing address will be, so for the time being continue to send those very interesting letters of yours to Lad’s address at Camp.

I forgot to warn you, Dad, that I was sending some of Lad’s things home – they are things that can just be stored until he gets there to sort them out.

We think your suggestion about a picture is an excellent one – in fact, we had it in mind to do as soon as we were settled – so we will send one to you as soon as we can.

Needless to say, I’m extremely glad Marian is here. It makes Texas quite a bit nicer, and she apparently likes it better than I had dared hope. Now, you all may get a little more attention from me again. Since Marion wrote, we have acquired a mailing address. It is Box 154, Hooks, Texas.

Our basic training should end this Saturday and on Monday we will begin our 11 weeks of technical training. I am to help out with the instruction, along with 8 or 10 others. I’m supposed to sort of cram automotive electricity into the already cluttered brains of the trainees. It seems that this post is slightly understaffed for a Bn. (Batallion) as large as this. But everyone is glad Basic is nearly finished. We have our inspection tomorrow, and to be on the ball I’ve got to get some sleep so —– Laddie

Dad – I have a Valentine for you, but until we can get suitable packing material I shall have to wait to mail it to you. But it is coming –

With all our love,



P.S. – Fellow conspirator –

I received your letter in the mail tonight and I honestly don’t know what to tell you to get Lad for his birthday. Everything in the way of clothes that he needs is issued to him – and the Army has specific ideas about the type they should be. He does need some plain white (no initial) handkerchiefs – the kind that don’t have much of a border on them. And he wants a small sewing kit – and I do mean small. No bigger than the size of a spool of thread – with needles and pins and tiny spools of black, white or khaki colored thread. I have been unable to find one here. He can always use cigarettes (Luckies) if you are able to get a carton of them – And some plain white stationary – (rather lightweight paper)

Practically the only things he uses outside of things issued by the government are his electric razor (still in good condition) and his fountain pen – (he has two of those).

You see what I mean? I realize that I’m not much help, Dad, but this is absolutely all I can offer. Perhaps you have a few ideas on the subject that would be most acceptable. I think you do remarkably well as it is.

Love –


Tomorrow and Sunday I will continue Elizabeth’s Adventure in St. Petersburg, Florida, living with her Aunt Anne (Peabody) Stanley and helping with housework and the children.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Dear Lad – The Worst Ice Storm (1) March 10, 1940

Blog - Lad in Venezuela walking in field (cropped)

Alfred Peabody Guion (Lad) in Venezuela

A 66    March 10, 1940

Dear Lad:

I don’t know whether you pay any attention to my form numbers at the top of my letters intended as a method of checking up to see that none of them go astray in transit, but if you do, you will notice that this is an “A” prefix for airmail instead of the regular “R”. By a coincidence, as I look back over the schedule, I find that the last “A” letter sent to you was on March 11, 1939. What the reason was (the urgency) I fail to recall. In the present instance, it is occasioned by your letter which arrived yesterday, or rather Friday the 8th , making it in record time, if your date is correct, as it was dated Pariaguan March 4 — four days in transit. You don’t seem so far away on that basis.

Starting from the last paragraph in your letter and the proposed trip to Trinidad for Easter, yesterday I went to the bank to get a draft for the $50 you asked for and learned that the only basis on which they would issue it, because of war conditions, was that I should sign a waiver absolving the bank from any responsibility and assume the entire risk. They added however, that up to the present time, they had had no trouble with foreign drafts. The charge was $1. So enclosed you will find a draft on the Royal Bank of Canada at Caracas, which I take it is negotiable at Pariaguan. I thought at first of having it made payable to Puerto de Espanna, Trinidad, but assumed that if you had wanted it that way, you would have said so. By the way, a dividend check for $5 on your Fairbanks-Morse stock was received during the week and added to your account.

I have not yet made by contemplated trip to New York that I mentioned in one of my former letters, but if I can make arrangements, when I do, to have someone at the SVOC N.Y. office who is going down to your camp, take some things with him for you, I will make up a package, and for this purpose won’t you please in your next letter to me, make a list of the things you would like to have, such as an itemized list of toilet articles, toothpaste, shaving supplies, hair tonic, Listerine, talcum powder, perspiration deodorant, skin lotion, insect bite salve, sunburn lotion, dark glasses, grease remover, aspirin, headache powder, shoe polish (white?), Shoe brush or polisher, strap for watch, articles of clothing, leather shoelaces, gloves, belt, garters, razor blades, fountain pen ink, pads and pencils. That is quite a list !!) And be sure to send me the size of your Agfa camera and the makers model number so I can get the proper kind of developing outfit. Make the list as large as you can, not with the idea of my sending everything, God forbid, but so as to give me a wide choice. However, I wouldn’t count too definitely on getting them promptly to you, as there are too many uncertainties involved.

Early this week we have had one of the worst ice storms that have visited this section in years. It can only be compared in the extensive damage done to trees, etc., to last year’s hurricane. I drive to Danbury Friday and was appalled at the amount of damage done to trees. It seems to me that every single tree had lost some limbs as the streets were literally lined, like a stone wall, with dead limbs that had been removed from the roads. The rain, as it fell, froze on the limbs, and while a very beautiful site, the weight was so great that many trees were bowed down so far that when they did not break they were bent out of shape. In some places it looked as if some giant had taken a huge telegraph pole and used it like a sythe on the tops of trees, the same as you or I, in walking through a field, would, with a cane, slash off the tops of weeds. Our own trees suffered comparatively small damage. Two fair-sized branches were broken off the big Maple tree outside the screened porch, the Maple growing near Ives’s fence had a big limb broken off and the Apple tree outside of the apartment had the limbs sticking out toward Laufer’s broken off — you remember the branch that I rigged up a swing for you kids on when you were little tykes? The Lilac bush outside the kitchen window was bent way over and may be permanently harmed.

Tomorrow I will post the rest of this letter from Grandpa to Lad and on Thursday and Friday, letters from friends who were visiting at the time this letter was written.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Dear Boys (1) – Lad is in the Army – May 10, 1942

Trumbull, Conn., May 10, 1942

Dear Boys:

Lad is in the Army.

At least that is what he announced after coming back from a trip to New York in which he applied successively but unsuccessfully for enlistment in the Naval Reserves, the Marines and the Coast Guard, failing in each to meet eyesight minimum requirements, so Wednesday he is off for Derby to see what happens.

Well naturally I am sorry for Lad’s sake that he did not get into the branch of the service he felt would interest him most. As I think the whole thing over, I believe I would rather have it the way it is. Speaking from the viewpoint of a parent whose uppermost thought these days is the welfare of his sons, it would seem as though the Army is the best bet.

I reach this conclusion along the following line of thought. As the basic premise, this country is all out to win the war. We must put into this effort everything we have – – both men and materials. However at the present time, the outstanding need and our foremost contribution is, and for some time must be, not so much man as materials – – planes, ships, guns, tanks, ammunition for all the allies, and secondarily men to use such proportion of these war materials as we reserved for ourselves.

But of all the manpower fighting on the side of the Allies I should surmise that the U. S. proportionately would expect to have the least number of men engaged in actual fighting.

The main objectives for victory, in order of their importance, seem to me to be the destruction (1) of Hitler’s Army, (2) the Jap Navy and (3) the Jap Army.

To accomplish the first would seem primarily the job of the Russians, aided by the British flyers, Navy and perhaps later their Army.

Number two seems to be our meat, the brunt of losses falling on our naval and flying forces.

Number three just naturally falls to the lot of the Chinese.

If and when the invasion of the continent is decided upon, and in Australia, Africa and China, our Army will undoubtedly have a part, but on account of geographical location, shortage of shipping and less shortage of manpower among our allies near the scene of conflict, and then of materials, it seems as though demands on our army would be far less than that of our other services such as navel and flying personnel, with consequently smaller losses.

That is the way things look today, and unless the character of the war changes considerably (and I suppose we must expect surprising changes with the world at war), I would expect our losses in manpower to be in the following order: Navy, flying service (both Army and Navy) and Army ground forces. Theoretically, then, the best chance of survival would seem to be with those in the US Army. You can understand therefore why the selfish part of me is glad to have my boys serving in the Army rather than in the Navy or flying forces.

Did you boys listen to Churchill’s inspiring talk this afternoon? As an orator I think he has our own chief executive beaten to a frazzle.

Tomorrow, page 2 of this letter. On Friday, the Induction Booklet, “FALL IN”, given to Lad by the American Legion on the day of his induction, May 14th, 1942 at the Shelton Railroad Station.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Dear Lad (2) – Advise Concerning Lad’s Future – February 11, 1940

This is the second half of a letter written by my Grandfather to Lad, his oldest son, who is in Venezuela working for the Socony-Vacuum Oil Company so he can send money home to help support his younger siblings.

Page 2 of R-62

David was glancing over some of your old letters the other day and noticed that statements that you have not seen or heard of Mack for some time. It evidently made an impression on him with the enclosed result.

In one of Ibsen’s plays one of the chief characters spends most of his time studying books and dreaming of what he will do and say sometime when the opportunity comes. The opportunity does come to him unexpectedly. The crowd calls upon him to give his wisdom. Because he has not been in the habit of giving, because all his life he has been taking in and never giving anything out, he stood before that vast throng with nothing to say that would help them. He realized too late that the best preparation for living a rich life is to live experimentally, to try things out, to plunge into contests with other men, to take risks, to adventure, to expose oneself to opportunities.

Alfred Peabody Guion

Alfred Peabody Guion (Lad) in his Passport photo

And that brings me to a suggestion I had in the back of my mind for some time — an idea as to how we may make possible and practical this matter of helping to make the opportunity which you were fitting yourself to meet. At the library the other day I came across an article written back in 1937 which told how much diesel engine use had progressed and listing the leading makers, particularly of the bigger units. I tried to figure out how you could capitalize on this to your own advantage, and concluded that if you were to write to each of these concerns from Pariaguan, telling them of your experience in diesel work in South America, based on your background with the Wolverine in Bridgeport, it would expose you to any possible opening they might have for a man of your capability either in South America or elsewhere. The idea of course, is not that you were dissatisfied or intend to leave or anything of that sort, but that with the possibility that the oil well might not come through in six months time and that you would then be out of a job, you are justified now in making plans against that contingency, but even more in that as diesel is your chosen field, you are justified in seeking experience in that particular field. You wouldn’t expect to develop anything overnight, but it might be just as well for future developments to put yourself on record with leading manufacturers, so that when, if and as the time comes for them to seek a man of your qualifications, they will know where to find him. If you haven’t time to write the letters yourself and like the idea perhaps we can multi-graph a number of duplicates with the salient facts that I can send you to be mailed out from there. The leading companies mentioned in this article were: Nordberg, Worthington, de la Vergne, McIntosh and Seymour, Busch-Sulzer, Winton, Caterpillar, Fairbanks, Morse, National Supply Company of Delaware (Superior Engine Division). Atlas Imperial Diesel Engine Company of Oakland, California, Hercules Motor Corporation, Western Engine Corporation, Cummins and Allis-Chalmers.

Tomorrow being Lincoln’s birthday, it seems appropriate to quote from an article which tells of the difficulties which preceded Mr. Lincoln’s election to the presidency. When Mr. Lincoln was a young man he ran for the legislature of Illinois and was badly beaten. He then entered business, failed, and spent 17 years of his life paying off the debts of a worthless partner. He fell in love with a beautiful girl to whom he became engaged. She died. Later he married a woman who was a constant burden. Again entering politics he ran for Congress and was badly beaten. He then tried to get an appointment to the US Land Office but failed in that. He became a candidate for the U.S. Senate and was badly defeated. In 1856 he became a candidate for the vice presidency and was again defeated. In 1858 he was beaten by Douglas. His life up to the time he became President was one failure after another; a series of great setbacks.

There comes a time in every man’s life when he gets a knock-down. He may be going along fine when something turns up which discourages him tremendously. It may be the loss of a job, or failure of plans he has worked on for months or years. He may either give up, sulk, become upset and let it ruin his health or, if he has got the right stuff, he will grit his teeth and work harder than ever.

And now just a touch of humor from my advertising files and I will call it a day: Mark Twain, in his early days, was the editor of a Missouri newspaper. A superstitious subscriber wrote to him saying that he had found a spider in newspaper and asked whether that was a sign of good luck or bad luck. The following answer was printed in the paper:

“Old subscriber: Finding a spider in your paper was neither good luck nor bad luck for you. The spider was merely looking over our paper to see which merchant is not advertising so that he can go to that store, spin his web across the door, and live a life of a disturbed piece ever afterwards”.

I hope those pictures you sent by regular mail will be coming along pretty soon now. I will have to remind Dan or Ced to take some other snaps around here for your enjoyment.

Until next, then, auf wiedersehn.


Tomorrow, you’ll see the letter written by Mack, the family dog, written to Lad – through the youngest child. David.

If you are enjoying these letters about family life in the 1940’s, why not pass along the link to a friend or two who might also enjoy this look back at history through the eyes and words of those who lived through it?

Judy Guion