Trumbull – Dear Son (1) – Grandpa Writes To Ced – Christmas Happenings – December 27, 1942

This letter is addressed to Ced alone, since Dan made it home and Lad is driving to California at this time.

Ced and car - 1940 (3)-head shot

Cedric Duryee Guion

Trumbull, Conn., Dec. 27, 1942

Dear Son:

Last letter there was mention of a cold spell that had set us all a-shivering, but that news was a bit premature because that cold spell was followed, or should I say, developed, into a still lower temperature, and if neighbors’ thermometers are to be believed, resulted in the coldest days the family ever experienced since they came to Connecticut. Mrs. Mantle told me that one day the thermometer both at the back and at the side of their home registered 24° below zero. Even well after sunup, the thermometer just outside our kitchen window registered 14 below. In any event, it can be said without any possibility of overstatement that I have never experienced a series of cold days of so low a temperature over so long a period. We had about arrived at the conclusion that it might be a good thing to journey to Alaska in order to find warmer weather. However, I am glad to say that due to the weatherproofing done last year, the installation of storm windows and the operation of the furnace at full capacity, both day and night, temperatures prevailed. I guess we can all remember that winter we spent in the apartment when pipes in the cellar froze and Ced burst forth in his vehement imitation of Bradley Kincaid. The only damage done this spell was a burst pipe in the laundry, but as that is an annual occurrence anyway, it failed to make much of an impression. My car failed to start due to the fact I had not put enough Zerox in the radiator to protect it that low, so it froze to some extent, but not enough to do any harm. However, the weather since then has been normal for this time of year, and even when the mercury crept up toward zero, everyone remarked how warm it was, being almost tempted to leave one’s overcoat at home. Well I guess that’s enough of an opening paragraph about the weather. By the way, it seems to be very popular these days to add a pint of casite to one’s oil for ease in starting.

For Christmas, Dan breezed in, but in spending Christmas Eve in the Warden’s, he evidently drank the wrong kind of wine so that the next day he felt pretty miserable and did not begin to feel like himself again until Saturday. Last night he and Barbara went to New York to see an ice show. About midnight Christmas Eve, (Aunt) Anne and Don (Stanley, her son) alighted from the bus, and Christmas morning the four Zabel’s (Elizabeth Westlin (Guion) Zabel, her husband Raymond, known as Zeke, and their two children, Raymond Jr. (Butch) and Marty) and Elsie (Duryee, Grandpa’s sister) arrived to gather around the tree for the usual procedure.

Trees this year were very expensive, small ones costing two or three dollars and four or five foot trees selling for a dollar a foot. The small ones on sale around here were so scraggly that Dave refused to have anything to do with them, and then he had a brainstorm. He had been busily engaged trimming a beautifully full, fair-sized tree in the church for their pre-Christmas party, which tree had been dismantled Christmas Eve and thrown out back of the church. With some of the base removed it made perhaps the best looking tree we have had for a number of years. The only fly in the ointment came while we were at dinner when Butch (Raymond Zabel Jr., Bissie’s oldest – 3 years old) disappeared for a moment and came back into the dining room grinning and proudly announced he had pulled over the Christmas tree with all its lights and decorations. He wasn’t kidding. He had done just that. Dave, with a great effort of will, maintained a discreet silence, thus winning a great moral victory.

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Alfred Duryee Guion (Grandpa) carving the turkey (You can see the GOOD China and I actually have that Gravy Boat, along with a Soup Bowl and two plates.)

Later the tree was restored but seemed to lack some of its pristine virginity. With Elizabeth’s help, we were able to have a big turkey and Kathryn Warden had generously donated two pies so we got by very nicely in spite of the scarcity and high prices of food.

Tomorrow, I will post the rest of this letter.

Judy Guion

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Trumbull – Dear Boys – Below Freezing Weather – December 20, 1942

If you look closely to the right of center, you can see Dick and Mack between the Packard and the shed

Trumbull, Conn., December 20, 1942

Dear Boys:

For three days the thermometer in these here parts has consistently registered below zero weather. Day before yesterday it was 8 below, yesterday around the zero mark and today, early, it was 14 below, going up to 8 below at 8 o’clock, and when, during the day, it rose to 2 below, it seemed as though it were getting warm. Tonight is cold again but how far the mercury has sunk I don’t know. With furnace going full tilt, oil stoves alight and the alcove fireplace doing its bit, we have been fairly comfortable. Maybe we would be more comfortable in Alaska. Dick has been wearing his Davy Crockett coonskin cap and Barbara bemoans the fact that the moth got into her parka. I feel sorry for the poor guys who have oil burners and have been rationed on their fuel oil. Everyone around here is kicking at the discrimination shown by the bunglers in Washington against New England and the East. Democrats and Republicans alike, if their memory lasts that long, will be apt to register their protests in a very definite manner in November of ’44.

No further word from Lad or Ced, but a letter from Dan arrived holding out just a suggestion of hope that he may be able to get home for Christmas. We’re all keeping our fingers crossed.

I have been using the bus several days lately to get back and forth, due to a combination of gas rationing and difficulty starting the car in this cold weather. The office, too, due to fuel oil rationing, has been too cold to comfortably work in, and for two days the heat was off entirely during repairs. I don’t know what the situation will be tomorrow. Both Dick and Dave were home for a couple of days last week with colds. Dave still has a cough hanging on, but Aunt Betty and I seem to be inhospitable to the little germ.

I am afraid the season will lack some of its old time zest this year due to the absence of some very important sons, but maintenance of a smiling spirit seems to be indicated, which I have tried to capture in the attached effort, in lieu of a Christmas card, I am sending out to sundry friends and acquaintances (see sample attached). (The sample is not attached. Grandpa sent out a creative Christmas card in 1926 regarding the history of the house. Then there was a large gap but in 1945 he started sending yearly creative efforts to friends and family. You can view them in my Blog Category, “Christmas Cards”)

A Christmas box loaded with much goodwill but few articles of much intrinsic value, was sent off to Flint last week hoping it would reach Lad in time, but Dan’s slight remembrances are being retained here in the hope he will come in person to claim them. Ced’s box previously started on its long journey but I have little hope, judging from the delay in letter deliveries from Alaska, that it will reach him by the 25th.

Inspiration seems sadly lacking tonight, if you can miscall anything I write in these weekly efforts by that name, and as it is about time to snatch a bite to eat and try to warm up the bedsheets, it is perhaps just as well to quote the well-remembered lines, “Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night” from one, who in your childhood days, used to pose as

Santa Claus

Tomorrow, the last letter from 1942. It wraps up news from Lad and Ced, who were not home for Christmas, Christmas guests and festivities.

On Saturday, more Special Pictures of the Trumbull House, Then and Now.

On Sunday, another Guest Post from GPCox about the role Sports played for the home folks.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Dear Foreign Legion – Bits Of Family News- December 13, 1942

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Trumbull, Conn., December 13, 1942

Pulchritudinous Al

Reticent Dan

Uncommunicative Ced

Dear Foreign Legion:

A real winter’s day here. The snow began last night and has been at it steadily all day – – those big, soft, fluffy flakes that pile high on bush and branch, putting a white cap on all familiar landmarks and a cloak of ermine on the ground itself.

My prospecting this week has unearthed only one nugget – – a letter from Flint, Mich., revealing Lad’s address as c/o Ordnance School, Flint Sec., Armory, 1101 Lewis St. It reveals no war secrets, but leaves one in no doubt as to Lad’s keen appreciation of feminine beauty. He says: “Due to the fact that Flint is such a friendly town and so full of really pretty girls that this is the first time I have had a free moment. I should really be ashamed of myself for not taking time to write earlier but I really have had such a good time and so thoroughly enjoyed every moment that I can’t honestly say that I am. But I’ll try to be better in the future.”

They left Aberdeen Wednesday P.M., arriving at Pittsburgh through a blizzard at 2 A.M. the following  morning. They started just before noon and reached Flint late that night. Seeking accommodations at the “Y”, no room there but a girl at the desk (a really beautiful blonde), told them her mother had an empty room. They spent Friday and Saturday nights there (no charge), and were invited to an exclusive formal dance Saturday night where they met Flint, Mich. “And boy, girls galore. And since that time I’ve had more fun that I have ever had in my life and I really mean that. It is wonderful here. I’ve met more beautiful girls here than I ever thought existed, and everyone is very friendly. If we did not have to stay at the Armory, the stay here would not cost us a cent. In fact, we turned down about six invitations for suppers because we can’t make them in four days, and next week and the following is all accounted for. And all kinds of dances – – most of them for the better society. The “Y” girl, Elizabeth (Lee) Duhaune, is of this set. Since then – – wow – – I just can’t imagine anything better.”

It would seem from the above that Lad is not exactly homesick and is manfully doing his best not to be overcome with ennui. Flint may sound hard to you and me but it has certainly resulted in a spark or two for Lad.

Last week I finally succeeded in getting a box off to Ced with knick-knacks of one sort or another for his Christmas stocking but decided to wait for a reply to last October’s inquiry as to what he wanted before I bought him a serious gift. Of course it will reach him late but I’d rather that than send something not particularly desired.

No word from Dan except through Barbara. Apparently he is still at Red Lion (Pennsylvania). I don’t know whether to address letters to him there or at Lancaster (Pennsylvania).

Dave has been home most of the week with a cold but the rest of us are O.K.

DAD

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In order to include all of the final letters of 1942 this week, I am posting this quick Christmas greeting to Ced from the Larry Peabodys here.

CDG - Christmas Card envelope from Larry Peabody, Dec., 1942

CDG - Christmas card front from Larry Peabody - Dec., 1942

Dec. 8, 1942

Dear Ced —

         Recently we received a letter from your Dad giving details and whereabouts of each of you boys. So glad to know that you are all well and to hear about your various activities.

         You have been an Alaskan for a long time so trust you must be enjoying yourself there. When you return home remember the L.K. Peabodys are now Ohioans and stop off  to visit us! We have had a grand year (in spite of the war), in our new-old home. We had a wonderful summer gardening, etc. Alan is in school now and loves it.

          We haven’t been back to N.R. (New Rochelle, New York, where most of the Peabody’s used to live)
since we came out here two years ago. Weren’t you surprised to hear that Kemper, Ethel, Grandmother and all are now living in Vt?

          Our love and very best wishes to you for a happy Christmas —

                                                                                               Marian, Larry and Alan

For the rest of the week, I will be posting the final letters of 1942. All are from Grandpa to his scattered sons.

Judy Guion

Army Life – Dear Dad – Lad Arrives In Flint, Michigan – December 8, 1942

This week I will be posting the final letters of 1942. Lad is in Flint, Michigan, receiving Advanced Training on Diesel Tank Engines. Dan might be able to get home for Christmas and Ced remains in Anchorage, Alaska, repairing airplanes for Woodley Aircraft.

Alfred Peabody Guion (Lad)

Alfred Peabody (Lad) Guion

APG - Flint, Michigan letter, Dec. 1942

Cpl. A.P. Guion

Ordnance School –

Flint Section

Armory, 1101 Lewis

Flint, Michigan

Dec. 8, 1942

Dear Dad: –

Arrived home (?) O.K., but, due to the fact that Flint is such a friendly town and so full of really pretty girls, this is the first time I’ve had a free moment. I should really be ashamed of myself for not taking time to write earlier, but I really have had such a good time, and so thoroughly enjoyed every moment that I can’t honestly say that I am. But I’ll try to be better in the future.

Well, here is the story. Left Aberdeen as scheduled on Wednesday at 1:30 P. M. and drove through plenty of snow and exceedingly high winds (practically a blizzard) over the Penna. Turnpike (Pennsylvania Turnpike) to Pittsburgh (Ohio). Due to snow and ice we had to drive with extreme caution, and got to Pitt. about 2:00 A. M. Stayed in Hotel Henery until about 11:30 Thurs. morn., and started again. Again no trouble and we made pretty good time despite snow and ice. We ate supper about 200 miles out of Flint and continued on. We got into Flint about 11:30 Thurs. eve. Couldn’t find a decent room so we stayed in a 3rd (?) Class Hotel and even at that, we really slept. Fri. noon went to the Armory (where we are staying) and discovered that if we checked in then we would have to stand (or rather sleep) an 11:00 (P.M.) bed check, so we went off to the “Y”. No room there but the girl at the desk (a really beautiful blonde) said that her mother had a room she was renting and that it was empty. We went up there and the room was fine. The best part was that she would not accept anything. We not only spent Fri. and Sat. nights there, but had a wonderful supper Sat. night and an invitation to a formal dance given for the men in the Service. It was rather exclusive and there we met Flint, Mich. And, boy, girls galore. And since that time I’ve had more fun than I have ever had in my life. And I really mean that. It is wonderful here. I’ve met more beautiful girls here than I ever thought existed. And everyone is very friendly. If we did not have to stay at the Armory, the stay here would not cost us a cent. In fact, we’ve turned down about six invitations for suppers, because we can’t make them, in four days. Next weekend is all accounted for and the following. And all kinds of dances – most of them for the better society. The “Y” girl, Elizabeth (Lee) Dehanne (Dutch) is of this set, and Vic Bredehoeft and I fitted in perfectly. Since then – WOW —-. I just can’t imagine anything better. More later.

Because the Armory wasn’t clean this morning, everyone has to be confined to quarters tonight, that’s how come this letter, since I had a date with a good-looking nurse, and the lights go out at 10:00 P. M. That’s seven minutes, and I still have to get into bed.

Therefore, adios —

Lad

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Since this is the last communication from Lad until a telegram informing Grandpa to send further mail to Camp Santa Anita, California, I’m posting his certificate of completion of the U. S. Army Mechanics Training, on December 26, 1942, in Flint, Michigan.

APG - GM Certificate, Flint, Michigan, Dec., 1942

Tomorrow, I will post a Christmas Card to Ced from the Larry Peabodys and I will be finishing out the week with letters written by Grandpa to his boys who will not be home for Christmas (Lad and Ced) and Dan, who might be able to make it. We’ll find out on Thursday and Friday with the last letter from 1942.

Judy Guion

Early Years – Memories of David Peabody Guion (6) – 1930 – 1946

David Peabody Guion

We got down to Ulithi, which was a weird-sounding name, and they started talking about someplace called Okinawa.  They said, “we’re going to Okinawa and were going to invade Okinawa.”  At dawn they were going to send in a flotilla at the center of the island but the real invasion would be on the other end of the island, further up.  I said to myself, “What kind of outfit would do something as stupid as this?  Why did they think the feint would work?”  I was attached to Army Headquarters at this point, at least our company would be when they got there. What happened was that the feint worked so well that we were supposed to go in, I think it was the third day, we were supposed to land.  We didn’t land for ten days because the Americans went through so fast that they left snipers behind and they couldn’t afford to have us valuable people in Army Headquarters get shot.  So, we didn’t get in for some time. (Dave and his group spend those days on a ship in the harbor.)

When we were ready to go in, my Sergeant, who was a buddy of mine, came up to me and he said, “Dave, I have a special assignment for you.”  And I said, “What’s that?” He said, “When we get on land your job is to bunk with and take care of Marvin.”  Now Marvin King was a guy who was so stupid he wasn’t bright enough to get a Section 8 and get out.  I can remember when ever we were on the ship and they called out the anchor detail, he would run to the side and start throwing up.  We hadn’t even moved yet, and he was already seasick.  My job was to take care of him.  When we got to Okinawa, finally landed, we dug ourselves a little two-man foxhole.  I was bunking with Marvin.  My job at that point was to go and get water and the mail – – ho, ho, ho … there was no mail – and bring it back to the company.  Now some time had gone by and Marvin and I were in close quarters.  Needless to say there was not a lot of friendship between the two of us.  So anyway, one night, near dawn, a plane came over and obviously was hit.  It was a Japanese plane, he was hit and so he was jettisoning his bombs which were small twenty-five-pound anti-personnel bombs.  One guy didn’t believe in being in a hole, so he was in a hammock.  When he woke up in the morning, he looked up, put his hat on and realized that half of the visor was gone.  So, needless to say, he decided he was going to sleep in a foxhole.  That morning, when I went to get water, I went alone.  I usually went alone. When I came back the hole that we had dug was now two levels – – one level where I was and one deeper level where Marvin was.  It was very, very easy to dig, like clay, no stones like we get in Connecticut, so it was easy to dig out but he wasn’t about to dig me a place, so I was one level above him.

On August 25th, I think, we were all watching a film in a kind of natural amphitheater and one of the guys from Brooklyn had a buddy, who was also from Brooklyn, and I remember this just as if it was yesterday, he came running over – we had gotten some rumors that the Japs were going to quit – and this guy came running over and says, “The signing has been comfoimed.”  I never forgot that.

But anyhow, between the time of August 25th and September 7th, when they signed the treaty, I left Okinawa and went down to Manila.  Here I am now – the war is over – all I have to do is go home and they’re shipping me out in a plane to Manila.  The pilot spent about twenty minutes, maybe, trying to start one engine and I said to myself, “I’m going to die in the ocean and the war is over.”  Anyhow, we got to Manila.  That was quite a sight – buildings where the first floor was completely gone and five or six or seven stories would be on top of it, canted … all kinds of destruction.  If you went in to City Hall and looked up, you’d see a room with curtains on the windows.  That was MacArthur’s headquarters.  So he had curtains on his windows and the Filipinos were watching dead bodies float down the river.

I would say I was in Manila for probably six months.  Well it would’ve been August, September, October, November, December, January, February, March, eight months.  I came home in March of 1946.  I got out of the service the day Chiche (Paulette (Van Laere) Guion, who married Dan wile he was in France) gave birth to Arla, Danielle, as the case may be . (Dave got out of the service on May 6, 1946.)

In my Blog Category, World War II Army Adventures, you will find all the letters dave wrote to Grandpa. He was as outspoken as only an eighteen year old can by.

Tomorrow, I will begin a week of letters written in 1940. Lad is working in Venezuela for the Socony-Vacuum Oil Company as a mechanic, working on their vehicles and Diesel engines that run the pumps to get the oil out of the ground. Dan and Ced have travelled to Anchorage, Alaska, where they have found jobs. All three boys  are sending home money to help Grandpa, who is raising the three younger children.

Judy Guion

Early Years – Memories of David Peabody Guion (3) – 1930 – 1946

After my Uncle Dan (Daniel Beck Guion) passed away in 1997, I realized that first-hand accounts of this particular “Slice of Life” would only continue to diminish over time. I needed to record the memories of my Aunt Biss and her brothers and share them with the family. This culminated in the idea of a Blog so that I could share these memories with anyone who would be interested in the personal histories of some members of The Greatest Generation.

Over a period of several years, whenever possible, I recorded the memories of my Dad and his siblings. 

In July of 2004, I sat down with my Uncle Dave and recorded his memories. With the other siblings, the memories were recorded in a somewhat chronological order, but with Dave, after a few early memories, he went right to his Senior year in high school when he made the decision to enlist in the Army. The conversation continued through his service, from Basic Training and his posts in Okinawa and the Philippines until he came home after World War II was over. I then led him back with questions about his childhood. I will present his memories as they were recorded.  

DPG - Dave in uniform nexct to barn - Dec., 1944

David Peabody Guion on furlough before going to Camp Crowder in Missouri

After Missouri, I got shipped out.  We went over to … Oh, I got another little story.  I was sent to radio school and radio school was – what you had was earphones on your head and there were all these dits and dahs, dit-dit-dah-dit, all this business, and you were supposed to write down these letters as they came out.  I found out they were random letters.  I didn’t want to be a radio operator, didn’t want to hear all those dits and dahs in my head, in my ear.  What I used to do – it’s tough to beat the service, they’ve seen everything – but I managed to get away with this.  I don’t know how, but there was a key that you could send messages, I guess that was the advanced training, and I found out that the messages, the letters, came through that key.  So I used to take a little piece of paper and stick it in a spot where it broke the connection and then when the instructor went by, I would sit and write any letter that happened to come into my head because they were all random letters.  When he moved on, I would switch papers and write a letter to my girlfriend.  Roundabout that time I got the Mumps.  I was in the hospital and when I came back out … I guess it was maybe before I went to radio school I got the Mumps; I guess that’s what it was.  I remember my finest hour – I begged and pleaded with the officer to let me stay in radio school even though I wanted desperately to get out and he didn’t buy my act so they sent me off to Cryptography school.  That was a better deal.  I was encoding and decoding messages and I had to get an FBI clearance and people back home were interviewed, a big fuss was made, but at eighteen, how much trouble could I have gotten into in my life.  So I got into Crypt school and that’s where I stayed and although I didn’t do a lot of encoding and decoding, I was officially a Cryptographer.

So when it was time to leave … We were a company – I can’t get away from radio – we were a company that, when we got overseas, we were supposed to police the other nets, conversations between one company and another or one unit and another.  The guys that were radio operators really hated that. The guys really hated doing that because they felt like they were spying on their fellow soldiers.  

For some reason or other they decided to send an advance party so there were twelve of us +3 officers.  We shipped out quickly – very short notice – and went up to Ft. Lewis outside Seattle.  We went from there to Hawaii.  We were on a different ship after we left Hawaii – and we went down across the Equator.  I got the full initiation when we crossed the Equator.  A tank of water was set up on deck.  You would be dunked over and over again until you yelled, “Shellback”.  A Shellback is one who has crossed the Equator.  Now, I’ve always, even to this day, been afraid of the water.  That was an ordeal for me.  After the dunking, you had to run down a long line of Shellback’s that had paddles or rolled towels and they whipped you as you went by.  I forgot to say you had nothing on but underpants.  So that was my initiation into being a Shellback after having crossed the Equator.

You can read Dave’s letters home, which tell a more complete story of his time at Camp Crowder. They are in the Category World War II Army Adventure. Dave wrote home fairly regularly and was quick to express his opinion of life in the Army.

Tomorrow, more of the Early Years with the Memories of David Peabody Guion.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Dear Brigands Large And Small (2) – Ced’s Fire And Dave’s Furlough – June 11, 1944

This is the second half of a letter started yesterday.

Cedric Duryee Guion

                            

We will have to re-baptize Ced “Arson the Second”. He’s been playing with fire again, the naughty thing. He says: “This time I picked on the poor, defenseless Fleetster, which, however, refused to bend to my will as readily as did the hangar last June. (Instead of June weddings, Ced seems to prefer fires). For myself I fared about the same as before though a little less severely. It all came about through mixing gasoline and static electricity on a warm sunny day (yesterday). Incidentally, the letter is dated May 29th, received June 5th. “Here was I nonchalantly gassing the Fleetster for a trip to Naknek, finishing filling the first tank and starting to move the gas funnel when, wham, here’s me skidding in colossal haste to the ground amidst flaming gas hose, funnel and a loud explosion from the gas tank and sheets of flame. As luck would have it, the danged wing is plywood and wouldn’t catch like fabric, so I lost my chance – – besides my eyebrows, half my mustache, a good handful of hair, and my composure. From now on I think Woodley’s gassing operations will be done only when hose, funnel and plane are grounded. Really, my listeners, you have no idea how fast it can happen. It recalls the time when Pete Linsley had the same thing happen to his old Franklin. Moral: when gassing, see that at least the metal nozzle of the hose touches the edge of the gas tank.”

His school lasts two weeks longer and then comes the test. The pre-induction physical proves his good health and it only remains for Art (Woodley, his boss and the owner of the airfield)  to use his influence (in obtaining another deferment) , or else…

Yes, Ced, you are right about the source of my information being that Kiplinger newsletter, but didn’t you notice at the bottom of their letter where it says “No quotations”, so of course I had to make it sound original. Why do you show up your old Dad in his harmless little mind wanderings? I am sure the Pamonaites (This refers to Lad and Marian, in Pomona, California) did not receive your package from Tacoma, or they would have mentioned it. Make a note to ask me to send you an asbestos suit for Christmas.

David Peabody Guion

I don’t know who is the more delighted, Dave or his sire, but the fact remains that he is coming home on an emergency furlough June 21st, the reason being, from an Army viewpoint, that the legal matters in connection with the settlement of Grandma’s estate will be up for consideration at that time. The fact that his class at Bassick (High School in Bridgeport) graduates two days later, of course, is just incidental good luck. His account of the matter is rather interesting:

“It WORKED!!! I guess I don’t need to say any more than that, but I think you might like to hear the details. I got your letter and was even more relieved than happy – – and I was plenty happy – – you can see I must’ve had quite a conscience. It still doesn’t seem quite right to me to use Grandma’s Will as an excuse to get home. Anyway, this morning I went to see the Captain. He was very informal, gave me the “at ease” right away and I stated my business. I showed him your letter and the documents from the lawyer and at the same time said, “Sir, I don’t know if the Army will consider this of enough importance to grant me a furlough because of it, but my father seems to feel that it is. I thought there would certainly be no harm in trying.” He picked it up and started to read it to himself. There I was hopes high, but common sense telling me: “you’re wasting your time, Dave”. It seemed like a whole night of guard duty before he finally looked up and said: “Yes, we’ve granted emergency furloughs for these things before. I’ll see the Colonel about it and see if we can get one for you.” It was then I realized I had done a good job of holding myself back because I was actually surprised when he said “Yes”. But the surprise quickly led to “sweet ecstasy”. So, even if it isn’t anywhere near definite I think tonight I’m the happiest of all your sons – – yes, even happier than Ced who is celebrating his birthday today, and even happier that Lad, who has the best of wives from all reports, and a furlough besides.

What it is to be young and get such a big kick out of life !

Well, I guess I’ll hobble off to bed.

DAD

Tomorrow  and Sunday, I will post more of the Early Years, with Memories of David Peabody Guion.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Dear Brigands Large And Brigands Small (1) – Dan In A Vicious Mood – June 11, 1944

Trumbull, Conn., June 11, 1944

Dear Brigands large and Brigands small:

It was a dark and stormy evening. Gathered around the campfire were Brigands large and brigands small. The Captain said to his trusty lieutenant: “Antonio, tell us one of your famous stories”. And Antonio began, as follows:

All right, all right, that’s enough. Don’t want to hear any more of that, hey? Don’t like to be reminded of your cheerless childhood days, Mary Morey, etc. Very well, if you’re so uppity about it we’ll come down to the present.

Surprise, got a v-mail letter from Dan last week, just when I had given up all hope of hearing further from him until the invasion stress was over. And guess what! He’s a T-4 now, which, according to the only way I can figure it, must be a cross between a Corporal and a Sergeant. The letter is dated May 21st, postmarked June 7th, received on the 9th. They evidently waited that long for the letter to cool off, but even at that, there were a couple of blisters on the envelope, and here’s why:

Daniel Beck Guion

“Today I am in a vicious mood because of circumstances beyond my control. The immediate cause: my being restricted over the weekend for something over which I had no control. We were invited to a dance on Friday night. The Special Service office sponsored the affair and allotted transportation to and from the dance. In good faith we accepted the invitation, but the trucks were late in returning to the Post and we were all restricted. I don’t understand how any of us, as individuals, could have gotten back earlier, no one, as far as I can determine, was put in charge. We had to return with the trucks and that they were late was not the fault of those of us who went as guests under the premise that ‘transportation would be furnished’. It seems doubly unjust during these trying days when we have so little time for relaxation and amusement”

I admit it sounds monstrously unfair the way you tell it, Dan, but this seems to be part of Army training and I’d like to bet you that each one of your brothers in the service has had similar experiences, if that is any compensation. It has its brighter aspects for me, however, because, were it not for this enforced idleness, do you think I would have gotten that letter? NO, chorus they all in loud voices. What a weight off my harried mind to know that you were well, if not particularly happy, on that date. I see you are still with the topo. bn., (Topographical Battalion) which has been of immeasurable comfort since D-Day, in the hope, mistaken or not, that such duties as you have been trained for will not be of such nature as to expose you to Nazi shot and shell. I suppose that is selfish, but if so, I admit it unblushingly. If you were my only boy I couldn’t want you safe and sound home again any more than I do right now. I’m glad you’re so near to “history in the making” but I also have that niggling feeling, “River, stay away from my door”.

The newlyweds, in flitting from roost to roost (After their visit to Trumbull, they travelled to Marian’s parent’s home in California, so Lad could go through the same process of meeting the family, as Marian had just concluded in Trumbull), have been too busy traveling and getting acquainted with the other in-laws to find time to write this week but I expect we’ll be hearing from them before long.

Tomorrow, the rest of this letter.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Dear Braves From A Trumbull Reservation – June 11, 1944

Trumbull House with tall grass in front

The Old Homestead

Trumbull, Conn. June 4, 1944

Dear Braves from the Trumbull Reservation:

Old Ham in the Face greets you and says “How”. The Children of the Setting Sun (Lad and Marian, who have gone back to California, after a furlough) have come and gone, leaving this wigwam quite desolate at their departure. Laughter-in-her-voice (Marian) and Young Willow Tree (Jean, Mrs. Dick), my two daughters-in-law, got along very amicably and there was not even any hair pulling match staged for the amusement of the bystanders. He-who-fiddles-with-engines (Lad, a very talented mechanic) is as tall and rangy as ever and has developed no hint even, of a front porch. Pistol packin’ Mama Aunt Betty (Lizzie Duryee, known as Aunt Betty, Grandpa’s Mother’s sister, who is staying at the Trumbull House for an extended period) has been worrying all the week for fear they would not get enough to eat and return to the Land of the Sunshine and Oranges looking like shadows, but this happily was prevented partly through the generosity of the neighboring Ives Tribe Neighbors who live across the street) who bravely invited us all over to a powwow and feast Friday night, which as usual was most excellent.  Elsie of the Choo-Choo’s End (Elsie Duryee, Grandpa’s sister, who has a shop in Grand Central Station) invited them down to a matinee Saturday afternoon from which they returned in time to greet at supper time Helen ((Peabody) Human) and Dorothy (Peabody), who had come up earlier in the afternoon to look over their mother’s belongings and also to “serve” a paper on me in connection with Grandmother’s Will. Served me right, of course. By the way, the play they saw was” Mexican Hayride” ( [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mexican_Hayride_(musical) ) which apparently they enjoyed very much. Lad, during the last few days of his stay, has been using the “family car”, if that is what you can call the contraption which has been successfully abused by Dan, Dick, Dave, Ced and now Lad. Having obtained temporary markers for it and rented a battery from Dolan’s, thought he would give it a critical once over with his Santa Anita Army Eye with the result that he quickly noticed the absence of the carburetor. At first we figured Ced might have snatched it in trade with some of the natives for blubber are other geegaws, but later we concluded that some of the neighborhood “juvenile delinquents,” who have been known to steal the neighbors gas, needed a carburetor for a Chevrolet or “shrovrolet” as Marian, in an inspired moment, baptized it, and helped themselves. Lad finally was able to borrow one from Steve Kascak, but as the man said who came home one night and found his wife had run off with another man,” My God, but I was annoyed”. However as most of the boys with cars are joining up with Uncle Sam pretty soon, maybe these activities will cease and become null and void, as it were. Thanks to Ced, who cleaned up the whole top floor when he was here, Lad and Marian were comfortably (I hope) tucked away in his old room of fire smelling memories, and by the way, the two aunties raved over the way the attic looked. Never in their long association with Trumbull, and the memory of man runneth not to the contrary, had they ever seen this catch-all for discarded effects so neat and clean appearing. Who said “The evil men do lives after them”? There ain’t no attic evil interred with Ced’s bones! Or maybe I should have said “good”. Oh well, you figure it out to suit yourself. Shakespeare won’t care.

Guess I sort of got off the track, but anyway, here’s notice to the next one of you Guion upstarts, whoever he may be, who next brings home a new wife, that he’s got a mighty high standard to shoot at if he is to maintain the quality level of the first two to jump off the dock. Marian, like Jean before her, won everyone’s heart. Both seem to feel, as husband pickers, they did a little better job than the other, which puts me in a hell of a spot, so I agree with them both. If it ever came to a showdown I would have to put in a plea of non-compes mentis, corpus delicti, acqu regis or whatever it is they do under those circumstances.

Dave, bless his heart, continues to keep us supplied with reports of his progress quite regularly whether he makes any or not. He is now in Signal Center School which is supposed to be the best in the Signal Corps – – the best equipped, best life, treatment and best for ratings. “You see, a Signal Center is a clearinghouse for ALL messages from division and up. All the messages are written by an officer and delivered by a messenger to the Signal Center where they are classified as to importance, how they shall be sent (radio, pigeon, motor messenger, messenger, telephone, teletype) and then they are put into code (cryptographed). They teach message procedure, a little of all the agencies above mentioned and cryptography. If you do well in the latter I understand you may be sent to advanced Cry. School for three weeks and are graduated as a cryptographer”. This is what our youngest is aiming for and more power to him. Watch his smoke. While you others are busy bringing home attractive daughters the first thing you know he will be walking up and clanking a commission right down under your noses. And don’t say I didn’t warn you.

No letter from Ced this week, but that really doesn’t matter too much as we are still reading, rereading and digesting (mentally of course) the long six page single spaced letter he wrote a couple of weeks ago. And as for news from the Anglican branch of the family in London, I am prepared any day now to be told we will receive no more letters for a while due to the fact that invasion activities have driven out every other form of activity. In fact we were all startled yesterday afternoon to have announced over the radio that advice from Gen. Eisenhower’s headquarters was that the invasion had started. This was denied a few moments later, but gee, didn’t we all get a thrill while it lasted.

Lad, I learned, is not teaching diesel anymore, but is in charge of a group of men, sort of a miniature General Motors assembly line, where defective motors from all kinds of Army vehicles situated in all parts of the world, needing major repairs, are sent back to them and re-built into first class condition. Lad’s group is concerned with the electrical end. He likes the group he is working with very much.

Dick, from what Jean tells me, is no longer an M.P. but is doing clerical work in connection with an Army transport command and is in the Provost Marshall’s office. His horses escaped the other day and as far as we know, the Brazilian police are still looking for them.

According to a letter Ethel ((Bushey) Wayne) received yesterday, Carl (Wayne, a fried of Lad’s and Ethel’s husband) who has been on a tanker taking oil to the Far East, is on his way home and expects to arrive sometime around the end of the month. He has been somewhere near Australia but just where we don’t know. Monsanto joins the Marines this week. Tiny is home. Someone said he has been put into the reserves.

The weather this week, I am glad to say, has lived up to the best traditions of even a Californian, so Marian got acquainted with Trumbull at its best. The Iris was out and also the Rhododendri (page Dan to see if that is the correct plural of Rhododendron) was in full bloom.

The only thing I regret about the newlyweds visit (I keep coming back to that subject – – the memory will undoubtedly linger for weeks and crop up at the most unexpected times and places) is the fact that there were not a number of snapshots taken to send so that you absent ones might in spirit relive with me the short but very pleasant visit. By the way, on the way back they have arranged to stop at Milan, Ohio, and see Larry’s (Peabody) place. It will be a case of when Marian meets Marian Larry’s wife, Marian). They left this afternoon on the 4:38 from Bridgeport, I, putting on a brave front and waving them goodbye in a very nonchalant manner.

The old humbug

DAD

Thursday and Friday, I will post another letter from Grandpa.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Dear Chilluns – Well, They’re Here – May 28, 1944

Lad and Marian Guion's wedding - Nov. 14, 1943 - close-up with hat and coursage

Lad (Alfred Peabody Guion) and Marian (Irwin) Guion), my Dad and Mom, on their wedding day, November 14, 1943

Trumbull, Conn., May 28, 1944

Dear Chilluns:

Well, there here! They arrived about 11 o’clock Saturday morning. I met them at the railroad station and knew at first glance what I have surmised right along: that my new daughter rated 100%, not only with her husband but with her father-in-law, and I don’t doubt with all her new brothers-in-law when you have had a chance to get acquainted. With no more than a very short acquaintance to date, I should say her two outstanding characteristics were kindness and a jolly good nature – – a happy disposition and a natural charm that makes everyone like her at once. As she will probably read this I won’t say too much on the subject here and now but I think any family reunions we have, and which of course I am looking forward to, will be all the happier for her presence. It looks as though Lad’s married life would be a peaceful and happy one.

They had an uneventful trip from Los Angeles except in that section of the country where the floodwaters delayed all travel, but stopped and had a fleeting meeting with Aunt Elsie (Elsie Duryee, Grandpa’s sister, who runs a shop in Grand Central Station) at the Grand Central, just before rushing to catch the Bridgeport train. Last night we saw some pictures of the wedding on both movie and Kodachrome slides. They were both pretty tired after so many nights traveling and trying to sleep under difficult conditions, so this morning they slept until dinnertime. Biss, (Lad’s sister, Elizabeth, Grandpa’s only daughter) Zeke (Raymond “Zeke” Zabel, Biss’s husband) and the two youngsters (Biss and Zeke’s sons, Raymond, Jr., known as Butch, and his younger brother, Marty) came over for dinner but Jean ((Mortensen) Guion, Dick’s wife, who lives at the Trumbull House with Grandpa) had been invited some weeks before to spend the weekend with her aunt, so the family circle was not quite complete.

Right now Marian and Lad are looking over our famous log telling of the famous cruises of the Helen, and from the laughter that bubbles out frequently, it seems as though there must have been quite a few funny incidents. I guess I’ll have to look over it myself again to refresh my memory.

The only note this week is a letter from Dave in which he is hopeful of making legal matters in connection with Grandma’s (Grandma Peabody, who passes away in January, 1944) Will, to be an excuse for catching a furlough in June. He is now completely recovered from the Mumps, which I guess was a light case, and is now back in the regular routine. I am waiting to find out if he will continue in radio where he left off.

Mr. and Mrs. Gibson stopped in after church today to see Lad and said Arnold and Alta  (Arnold Gibson, Lad’s best friend, and wife Alta (Pratt)) had started on their motorcycle for San Francisco where he is to be stationed a few days before final acceptance under the contract he had arranged for work at Pearl Harbor. Alta cannot go out there with him immediately but hopes eventually to line up for some sort of job that will permit her to join him later. He sold his Packard, his canoe and the trailer within a day after advertising them in the paper.

Lad, who talked with Aunt Dorothy (Peabody, Grandma Arla’s youngest sister) for a few minutes, says Ted and Helen ((Peabody) Human, Grandma Arla’s sister, and her husband Ted, the uncle who hired Lad and Dan for work in Venezuela)  expect to be in New York this week, that Anne ((Peabody) Stanley, Grandma Arla’s younger sister) has gone to Vermont presumably for Gweneth’s (Anne’s daughter) graduation. Aunt Dorothy (Peabody), Grandma Arla’s youngest sister)  is not feeling yet quite up to the strain of wartime train trips but hopes before long to be able to make a visit to Trumbull. Meantime Lad and Marian plan to go to New York someday this week to see them all.

Summons for supper, combined with lack of further news, induces me to forgo starting a second page, so ta ta from

DAD

For the rest of the week, more letters from Grandpa to his scattered flock, attempting to keep everyone quite knowledgeable about family events. 

Judy Guion