Trumbull – Dear Children – A Momentous Week – August, 1945

 Trumbull, Conn.,   August 12, 1945

Dear Children:

What a momentous week this has been! The atomic bomb – – the Russian declaration of war – – the Jap offer to quit (on condition) – – the full account of Dan’s wedding. Both internationally and personally, what untold future possibilities are opened up for you all! Almost overnight the whole aspect of things changes and the long hoped-for day when you can all be home again draws appreciably nearer. One has to sort of pause and think and even then is unable to visualize the endless changes in present outlook and future potentials of these stirring days. Of course the big thing that is most obvious is the time when you will be coming back, but big as this seems to us now, the harnessing of the atom for man’s service for peace-time use is almost too big for man’s mind to grasp its fullest significance. We are truly living in a great age, and while I may not live to see its maximum development, you boys have a wonderful prospect before you.

Meantime, to get back to earth, I don’t suppose you boys individually know any more about what the next few weeks have in store for you that we do here. Here are a few of the many questions that step on each other’s heels. Will Dave stay in Okinawa? Will he be part of the Jap army of occupation? Will he be home for Christmas? Will the end of the war affect Jean’s permit to go to Brazil, or is that a permanent enough base so that Dick may be expected to stay there for some time yet. If so, how long? Has Lad already left for the Pacific? If so, how far has he gotten and will he continue or will the Army cancel, with VJ day, all shipment of further men to CBI area? How soon will they lower the point release figures so that Dan can qualify for discharge and when can he and Paulette come home? Will Ced stay in Anchorage or come home? Will a lot of planes now be thrown on the market so he can pick up one very cheap, either around here or up there? Anyone finding the answer to any of these questions may earn a generous reward by communicating with the writer. (I can’t forget I’m an advertising man).

As to Dan’s wedding, which refuses to be blacked out by international developments and which we have been all waiting for so long to hear about in detail, I am attaching collateral accounts of the event by one of the victims and a sympathetic spectator. We will lack the feminine touch (what the bride wore, etc.) which, in truly masculine manner, the eyewitnesses have failed to record, but maybe Paulette will supply these details so dear to the feminine heart, for Marian’s and Jean’s benefit, to say nothing of the sisters and the cousins and the aunts. I have received a most friendly letter from M. Senechal written in quaint English, which I prize most highly and in which he speaks in glowing terms of Dan. (This note will be quoted in Grandpa’s next letter.)

Telegrams and letters from Jean announced safe arrival at Miami. She says: “The plane trip was quite wonderful, except from Washington to Columbia, where it was really pretty rough. We ran into such a thick fog I couldn’t even see the wing of the plane, and we had many air pockets making the plane drop and rock and roll. That’s when my stomach did a few flip-flops and my heart skipped a few beats. I was more than a little scared. After we left Columbia, tho, it was really beautiful. The weather was clear and I could look down and

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see all the cities. Then I relaxed and concentrated on my magazines. Why, I feel just like an old timer at flying. They served us lunch after we left Washington – – stew, mashed potatoes, frozen peas, radishes, olives, hot rolls, butter, tomato salad, peach tart and coffee. It was so good I ate every bit of it. When we left Jacksonville they gave us our dinner – – fried chicken, beets, string beans, roles, melon and cherry salad, coffee, pudding and cookies. It’s pretty wonderful, the things they can do on a plane. Of course they don’t cook these things on it – – they are put on the plane at a stop nearest the time were supposed to eat and then kept warm in containers. We got to Miami a little after 9 and the Danby’s met me. They have a darling house about 7 miles from the city. It’s nice and cool out there – – not at all as I had expected it. Wednesday I reported. They gave me two shots, one in each arm, for typhoid and yellow fever. I have to have three more, so I’ll be here for a while yet, and then, when my passport comes, I can be on my way. (Later letter said the passport had come).

Ced, Just a few minutes ago Ted Southworth came in and told me that last week he had been hired to fly a ship back from Georgia to Mass. and that down there were from 3 to 4000 planes of every description that the Army is selling (the bigger ones on time) and that Art Woodley, if he hasn’t already covered his needs, might write, as you could also, to the R.F.C., Bush field, Augusta, Ga., and ask for a list of the planes for sale. Taylorcraft, Aeronca and Pipers such as you are interested in, and of which there are hundreds, sell from 550 to 1150, while the larger biplanes such as the Fairchild (open job) sell from $850 to 1275. The 1-2’s, he says, seem to be in excellent condition. Art might be interested in the Lockheed transports they have, Lodestar, Ventura, Hudson or possibly the Twin Beaches. What they can’t sell they will probably scrap or burn.

Dave, there is nothing new about the camera. The Rangers did not hold any blowout here for Johnny Vichieola last Saturday.

Dan, I am wondering if you received the package containing your tripod. What happens if you have sailed for the states? Do they follow you back home or return to sender?

Dick, I asked Jean if she would ask you to send me another box of Brazilian cigars. Let me know the cost and I will remit. If this gets to you before your birthday, many happy returns I’ll be thinking of you and hoping and wishing all good things.

Lad, thanks for sending me the maps of Paris prepared for servicemen. I tried to locate Drancy but the maps were not on a large enough scale, showing Paris only. It was interesting to see the location of various places one hears so much about.

How would you boys like to have some nice homemade rhubarb pie, rhubarb from our own garden baked by Marian’s masterly hand? We had some for dinner today. In our present frame of mind, I’ll gladly pick some more and she’ll gladly bake if you’ll promise to drop in before the month is out. Are you on? Meanwhile, atomically yours,

DAD

Tomorrow, another letter from Grandpa letting us know what has been going on in Trumbull for the past week. Things are moving fast right now and it is hard to keep up.

On Saturday and Sunday, more installments of the Autobiography of Mary E Wilson.

Next week, we’ll jump back to 1941 as the war moves closer to Trumbull and Grandpa’s sons.

Judy Guion

Army Life – The Gospel According to St. Lad – August, 1945

The Gospel According to St. Lad.

(Because Dan had not been able to locate a Scottish friend of his in Calais, he had not been able to locate a place for me to sleep, so with the aid of a feather mattress and blankets on the floor, I’ve slept since I’ve not slept since I left the states. It was wonderful!)

On the day of the wedding Dan came in about 8 o’clock and woke me, suggesting that I get up right away. That I did and after folding the blankets and straightening up the room a bit, I went out to the kitchen for breakfast. That consisted of a cup (chipped in with no handles) of coffee and a piece of bread and butter. That was the extent of the variety but I could have all of it I wanted. I just had one of each. One at a time the others showed up and by nine everyone had eaten if he desired. Then the rush for the bathroom began but I succeeded in getting a shave about 10 or a little after while the girls were helping Paulette get dressed in her room up on the third floor. All this time there were last-minute preparations being made by the male members of the household, as well. Shoes to be shined, last-minute mending of buttons, etc., on old clothes and general sprucing up. The house was hectic and Mme. Senechal said that next time she would never have an

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American as a son-in-law. (As Paulette is her last daughter she shall have her wish. By eleven someone realized what time it was and an uproar started. The wedding was scheduled for 11:30 and Dan and Paulette, plus close relatives of each, had to go to the City Hall to sign certain papers beforehand, so we all dashed out to the hired cars and took off. The signing of the papers was rather a formal procedure in itself and we were marched in, in procession, like the wedding ceremony itself. The official, a friend of everyone there, had just gotten his appointment a few days before he was rather happy, but everything went off O.K. (by “happy” I mean pleased at the office”.) We each, after taking an oath, which I didn’t understand, but upon which I was enlightened by Dan, signed our names to three or four papers and then, following custom, Paulette, starting with Dan and going the rounds, passsed a plate for contributions for the poor. It seems that it happens at every gathering, the bride-to-be passed it at the paper signing conference. After that we marched formally out again and got back into the cars.

The church was almost across the street from the Senechal pharmacy-home, so the cars drove away after leaving us at the church. Incidentally, this was the first time an American had been married in Calais so there were crowds everywhere we went, just gazing. The church, from the street, looked just like somebody’s home or a business building, as do all the houses in French cities and it is hard to tell which is which until you get out of the business district. Inside, however, it looked like a rather nice place, but not a very prosperous one. At least it was clean. Just a few minutes late the ceremony started as a small organ played the wedding march and after we all were in our places, the priest began the longest oration I’ve ever listened to. For about 45 minutes he talked, very very frequently saying “je suis avec vous, tontes les jours”. He repeated it so much that later in the afternoon someone asked me if I’d like to have him with me, like he was apparently going to be with Dan and Paulette.

About 1:30 we got out of the church and went across the street to the house. There, preparations had begun for a sumptuous feast, and about 2:30 or 3:00, after extensive picture taking, the meal got underway. What we had to eat you have to ask Paulette, I imagine, but it consisted of eight or 10 courses, and as I was not informed beforehand, I could only do justice to about 3. And anyway, I wasn’t feeling too good. My stomach was acting up a little, but after drinking quite a few varieties of wine plus some good cognac that Dan had gotten from where, I felt better and had a fairly good time.

At 4:00, Dan and Chiche had an appointment with the photographer, so while they were gone things were practically at a standstill. But upon their return, the party resumed. About eight or nine we got up from the table and the room was cleared of all “debris”, while everyone got ready for a dance. A two piece orchestra, accordion and saxophone, came in plus all the Senechal’s friends and their friends and we danced (frog-hop mostly) until about 2 A.M. The party broke up when, much to everybody’s consternation, Dan and Paulette made a break, assisted by myself and two of her sisters. For about 30 seconds we were able to hold off a few of the more aggressive, giving them time to get to Paulette’s room and lock the door. The next day Dan told me he was worried, fearing that they were going to break the locks, but other than finding and trying from 20 to 30 different keys, they left them alone. Right after that the party broke up and everyone went home.

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During the day, Dan’s Scottish friend came in, so he had told me where to sleep, and a Canadian, Jack, another friend, had suffered (?) with me. At the table there was quite a representation. Friends of the Senechals made up the French representation. There were also people from Scotland, England, Canada, Denmark, Belgium and the U.S. — seven countries.

Next morning after breakfast I went back to the Senechals. There I also had some coffee and went out to sit on the back porch. The Sears Roebuck catalog was the only reading material so I read that until the household got up. Although I failed to mention it earlier, everyone, with the exception of Paulette and “Papa”, thought at one time or another that I was Dan. I never thought we resembled each other but the people there were always calling me “Dan”. Anyway, while I was sitting on the porch, “Maman” got up and seeing “Dan” out there alone thought, “Already they’ve had a fight”, so she came all the way over to the chair before she realized. Upon recognition she was so happy she broke into laughter and woke up the rest and they all went in to breakfast.

Tomorrow and Friday I’ll post another letter from Grandpa with updates on the entire family.

On Saturday and Sunday, I’ll be continuing the Autobiography of Mary E. Wilson.

Judy Guion

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)

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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

Trumbull – Dear Offspring – Messages and Sundry Answers – August, 1945

Trumbull House in summer

Trumbull, Conn., August 5, 1945

Dear Offspring:

Well, we hit the jack-pot this week. The wheel stopped on the right number – – five it was. So I’ve just spent this Sunday afternoon and evening copying letters for your enjoyment from every single one of you.  (These letters were posted during the week of February 27th – March 3rd)  In consequence, my typewriter finger is kinder frayed and weak but I’ll try to dash off a few more lines before it fails entirely.

First, about Jean. She got off alright Thursday from LaGuardia field. Marian went down with her, as did also Pa and Ma Mortensen. Aunt Elsie (Duryee, Grandpa’s Aunt) joined them at Grand Central and all went over to see Jean take off. She wired she had arrived safely and perhaps tomorrow we shall get more details by letter.

Still no definite word about Dan’s leap off the dock. There is a neck and neck race on as to whether Dan will come through first with an account of the nuptials or Lad will furnish his version. Marian has received letters from Lad written before and ten days after but the one in between, with the real dope, has not yet arrived. Here’s hoping.

To come back to Jean. Monday before she left we were able to obtain some meat and had over for dinner, Mrs. Ives and a friend who was staying with her, Ethel, Southworth’s (Ted and Marge) and Watson from the apartment, and altogether it was a very pleasant party.

Now messages and sundry answers. Lad. No, Bissie never got back her pocketbook or its contents. Ethel says Carl is not enjoying his course at all. He is doubtful of passing as it is given at high pressure and has much mathematics, in which he does not like and always had trouble with in school. Dan. As you have probably already heard, the Army is said to have decided not to lower the point total for the present, which leaves you in the same spot as Lad, except that he evidently is not going to get a furlough in the states. If there is any justice in things however, it seems to me that the boys who are sent to the Pacific without first coming home should be the first to be sent back after the Japs fold up. Ced. The boys in the apartment are going to keep their eyes and ears open and if they hear of a plane that looks suitable, will let you know at once. Dick. Don’t want to rub it in at all, but we had corn on the cob for dinner today and Aunt Betty recalled how you once had consumed 14 ears at one sitting. Dave. The young folks, who are here now, are planning some sort of a blowout here next Saturday to present Vichiola with some sort of gift. He is home from the Pacific and may be discharged. I will see what I can do about lining up a used camera although everything in this line is scarcer than butterflie’s eyebrows.

There are probably a dozen other things I will think about tomorrow that I might have included in this letter but right now I’m sort of washed up on ideas – – probably the shock of hearing from you all within so short a space of time has sort of unseated my mentality for the moment (I hope). Anyway, I am willing to undergo the same sort of thing again. In time I might even get used to it. Try it and see.

In a happy fog,

Dad

Trumbull – A Ticket To Heaven and Sikorsky – June, 1943

At this point, as Grandpa says in the salutation, his boys are scattered. Ced is still in Alaska, Lad is in California, Dan is in Pennsylvania and Dick in in Indiana. Dave is the only one left at home since Biss is married and has two sons of her own.

Trumbull     June 13, 1943

To my Trumbull Boys

in far places:

This is one of those quiet, sunshiny, June Sundays when it is hard to realize that the peace which comes stealing in with the rustling leaves, the murmur of the brook and the play of the sunshine through the dancing leaves of our old Maple tree is not typical of the whole world. Iris and rhododendrons are now in full bloom. From where I sit now on the cement terrace, so much is reminiscent of you boys. For one thing, there is the iron pipe set between the two Maple trees near the driveway which you used to use as a chinning device. It is perhaps unusually quiet for a Sunday because the ban on gasoline has greatly reduced the number of cars passing on the road.

This morning, as usual, I donned old clothes and weeded and hoed in Mr. Laufer’s potato field, stonily watched all the while by two grotesque scarecrows set up in the neighboring cornfield, clad in old straw hat and coat. After an hour of this back bending exercise I hurried home, took a shower and arrayed in my Sunday-go-to-meeting clothes, hied down to the church.

There were two reasons for this unusual religious fervor on my part. One was the fact that this being “Children’s Sunday”, Dave had been asked to conduct the morning service; and second, my youngest grandson, Marty, was to be baptized along with eight or 10 other young sprouts.

The church service was unusually well attended. Dave presided in a dignified, reserved and unhurried manner, on which I heard many favorable comments afterwards from members of the congregation. The little ones were baptized by Mr. Powell, starting with the tiniest babies and ending with Marty. All the babies received their tickets to

admission to the Kingdom of Heaven with humility and quiet acceptance, but when Marty’s turn came, and Elizabeth and Zeke, accompanied by Butch, started up from the pew, Marty set up a howl, increasing in tempo and volume and rising to a great crescendo as Mr. Powell did his stuff, and gradually tapering off but continuing until sometime after they were again seated.

Dave then came forward to resume conduct of the service, and amid the hushed expectancy, as he was mounting to the platform,Butch, who seemed to have been a quiet spectator of this — a new experience for him —  recognized Dave, and broke the stillness by saying in a loud, surprised and cordial voice “Hello, Dave”. The ripple of laughter throughout the congregation which followed did not ruffle our boy here. He merely smiled casually and went on with the program.

I referred a while back to the decrease in auto traffic. This seems to have been offset with a surprising stepping up of airplane activity. Even at night as I lay in bed I can frequently hear the whirr of motors. Sikorsky is building a new plant in Bridgeport for the construction of helicopters but I have seen none in operation over Trumbull yet.

Uncle Kemper has just sent us a generous gallon can of maple syrup from his own place in Vermont, and with Grandma’s toothsome griddle cakes and waffles to go with it, I could just picture you all gathering around the kitchen table this morning ready to start action. Yesterday we had the first luscious strawberries from Mr. Laufer’s garden; but perhaps I had better lay off this line or you will be tempted to go A W O L.

Jean, the only one who wrote this week, reports being in Indianapolis where Dick is now stationed. She found a nice clean room in a private home and is now looking for a job. Jean says Dick is having a taste of the real Army now. They have to leave camp every morning at two and don’t get home until eight and they can’t have every night off either.

Grandma, as usual, is doing a splendid job on the culinary end and Aunt Betty is getting to be quite a horticulturalist. Both are well and apparently are good company for one another. At least I have had no complaints. It is so pleasant to get home nights now and find dinner already instead of immediately having to take off my coat and start to get supper.

Now a brief message from the sponsor to individual members of my far-flung audience:

Jean: I have taken care of your income tax as requested. Aunt Betty has done up your blanket in moth balls and put it away for the summer. In looking for a job, it just occurs to me that the Bridgeport Brass Company have quite an active plant in Indianapolis and you might find an opportunity there. I am enclosing the Book-of-the-Month. The July books are by Stephen Benet and Walter Lippmann respectively. The first is a literary essay on American settlers and the second on America’s foreign policy.

Dick: Bobby Kascak is married. I don’t know the details.

Lad: Mrs. Jimmy Smith was very anxious to have me tell you, when next I wrote, that Jim’s brother is in Los Angeles, works as a guard at Warner Brothers pictures, and would be delighted to see somebody from Trumbull. She thinks you also would enjoy yourself if you looked them up.

Dan: Dick Christie is home for a few days. He is still a civilian.

Ced: Have not forgotten the Sunrise Service program, but so far Dave has been unable to locate it.

Well, with Mussolini getting a good swift kick in the pantalleria, I am hoping, like millions of others, that Germany and Japan, before long, will get bombed into a submissive frame of mind and you boys can be back safe and sound in this old Trumbull home of yours. THAT will be the day! Meanwhile, borrow a few minutes from Uncle Sam, and write soon to your expectant and lonesome

DAD

This weekend I’ll be continuing the story of Mary E Wilson, who was born in England, had a hard life but eventually arrived in the United States and was able to achieve the “American Dream”.

Next week, I’ll be posting letters from 1945. We’ll read about Dan’s wedding to Paulette from several sources and different viewpoints.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Dear Absentees – Ced Misses His Party – June, 1943

This weekly missive from Grandpa catches up on the doings of all his children, Lad (California), Dan (Pennsylvania), Ced (Alaska) and Dick (just left Miami Beach for Indiana), all in the service of their country. Ced’s (Alaska) birthday is June 1st, and his family remembers, as Grandpa mentions in his usual tongue-in-cheek manner. Elizabeth (Biss) is married with two sons, Butch(4) and Marty (2).

Trumbull, Conn.      June 6, 1943

Dear Absentees:

With all this talk about the naughtiness of absenteeism, it seems to me it’s about time some of you stay-away-from-homer’s would take the lesson to heart and come back

Alfred (Lad) Guion in California

Alfred (Lad) Guion in California

once in a while and help me mow the lawn. But there is this — after working my fingers to the bone and staying up until the small hours of the morning sewing on your pinafore’s, you up and away, leaving me to shovel snow in winter and chase moths out of your clothes in summer, which reminds me, Lad, to report the sad news that even after what I thought was sufficient precaution those pesky little insects did get one pair of your gray pants and ate some ventilation holes in them. Unless they come with a blowtorch next time, however, I don’t think mama moth will lay any more eggs in your clothes this time.

Daniel (Dan) Beck Guion

Daniel (Dan) Beck Guion

Dan and his General don’t hit it off very well, it seems. He didn’t get home this week either end of the slice of Grandpa’s pie I have been saving for him now for five weeks is beginning to look a little green around the gills. Three more weeks of this delay and we will have to make it into a pudding. Anyway, he keeps me posted regularly once a week which is a lot better than neither hearing from him or seeing him. As the old saying goes, “It’s a long lane that has no ash barrel”, and sooner or later he’ll nonchalantly drop in and ask how the crops are coming. Which reminds me: instead of taking my daily walk, I have been grasping a hoe these mornings and aiding Mr. Laufer hoeing potatoes.

No letters from either Lad or Ced this week, but Jean (Dick’s wife) sent two excellent snapshots which I was very glad to get, and says in the letter accompanying them that Dick has finally departed for Indiana along with the husbands of the two other girls Jean has been living with in Miami Beach. As soon as they learn more definitely as to destination, the three of them will pack up their duds and will trail their fleeing husbands to their lairs, their present plans being to make the trip by bus for economy’s sake.

Your youngest brother, in company with two girls and Howard Mehigan spent yesterday in New York, devoting most of their time to Radio City. Elizabeth reports Marty will

Elizabeth (Biss) Guion Zabel

Elizabeth (Biss) Guion Zabel

have to have his tonsils out. Next Sunday she plans to have Marty baptized at the Trumbull church. In order to have it “take” she has had his head shaved so that he looks positively bald.

We have had lately some of the rare June days immortalized by the poets, some of them have been pretty hot in Bridgeport, but the shade trees in Trumbull make the house delightfully cool, as perhaps you may recall from the long-ago days when you used to live here. Both Aunt Betty (Duryee, Grandpa’s Aunt) and Grandma (Peabody, his Mother-in-Law) seem to be thriving and enjoying themselves. As usual they asked to be remembered to you all. We celebrated Ced’s birthday by burning incense before his picture, discussing all his faults and eating a good dinner on his behalf, but somehow or other it didn’t go over so big with the main guest absent.

As by now you must have discovered there is not much news to write about, so there is no use my bluffing any longer. Moreover my bathtub beckons, so I’ll toddle off to my trundle bed and dream of my pretty toys — boys.

Hasta luego and buenos notches, as usual, from

DAD

Tomorrow, another letter from Grandpa, reporting news from Trumbull for his sons in far off places.

Saturday and Sunday I’ll post two more segments of the Autobiography of Mary E Wilson.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Dear Decorations – May, 1943

This weekend, some family members and two neighbors join Grandpa and his household for a Sunday dinner outside to celebrate Decoration Day, known as Memorial Day now. The weather is beautiful and Grandpa waxes poetic about his “Little Flowers” away from home.

Alfred Duryee Guion

May 30, 1943 at Trumbull, Conn.

Dear Decorations:

Surely that’s an appropriate salutation for today’s letter. And how are all of Daddies Little Flowers?

Excuse, please. This is me – – your Aunt Dee – – I feel like a brute since your Dad had to get out of his comfortable chair so I could take my turn at the typewriter. And when I say take my turn it sounds easy. But this is work! – – Not writing you (Daddy’s Little Flowers), that is a delight – – but doing it on this machine. Doubtless you have all taken a “turn” yourselves,, one time or another, and you will understand what I mean. And in case you don’t – – I mean this particular machine isn’t streamlined. Catch? (in case you haven’t seen your cousin Gweneth in the last couple of years you may not know that that is one of her favorite expressions.) By the way, Donald is back on these shores from his maiden voyage – why, please, do they call a man’s trip his maiden voyage? Unless it might have something to do with Donald’s stay in Ireland –for details of which please contact him yourself. Anyway, he said the girls in Ireland were alright! I’d better stop and give Dad a chance — much love to you all – – I think of you often – – and we all missed you muchly today. Your ears must have burned plenty for you and your far-flung stations took a good bit of our conversation time. Love again to all – – and my best to Jean (if Dick dares let her read what Donald has to say about traveling.) Aunt Dee

Hi ho, it’s me again. I was just developing the flower thoughts when Dorothy volunteered to add bits of variety to the weekly bugle, for of course you know there is the bugle plant. Yes, we really have quite a little family garden. There is Lad who stays up dancing until all hours of the night – my Night Blooming Cereus; and Dan used to be so good about going to bed early nights (used to be, I said) and up bright and early – our Morning Glory; Ced in the far North typifies Snow on the Mountain; Dick with his leading towards jazz bands is our Red Hot Poker, and Jean with her 17 pairs of shoes, well, what more appropriate than Lady Slipper. Of course, given time, I could work up something about the Honesty Plant, the Forget-Me-Not for those that don’t write and the Angels Trumpet for those that do, and if I felt mean I could bring in the Lily somewhere. As it is I’ll end this little digression by admitting that I am very happy to have so many son flowers.

The weather has been grand and glorious both yesterday and today. Elsie and Dorothy both trained up from New York, Elizabeth and her two mischiefs came over for dinner, which we held out under the old half apple tree, in which we were joined by Mrs. Ives, who we called away from a weeding job in her Victory Garden, and Mrs. Warden. Paul has just purchased an 18 foot sailboat which he and Dave brought up here on Walter Mantle’s trailer for repainting. Carl is rushing repairs to his boat so that it will be in good shape for sale as he has just received word from Uncle Sam to report Tuesday. He hurt his finger a while ago and has had it bandaged for a couple of weeks so that may possibly delay his induction. It is pretty near time for young Carl to put in an appearance, so it may work out that instead of Carl missing seeing his new baby by a foot he will make it hand-ily. Joke.

Dan has written quite regularly once a week lately, and we did so hope he might be able to get home this weekend. Jean, too, has been faithful and conscientious about writing. Her letter this week says that Dick has been moved to another hotel preparatory to leaving for Indiana or Ohio.

Love,

DAD

Two more letters from Grandpa will finish off the week.

On the weekend, more of the Autobiography of Mary E Wilson.

Judy Guion