Army Life – An Apartment and Wedding Gifts – December 7, 1943

              Lad and Marian Guion, 1943

Monday

Dear Dad –

Lad is still busy monogramming every article of G.I. clothing he possesses with G-2058 – even his sox – and I finished wrapping some of our Christmas gifts, so I can think of no better time to write you and relate the latest happenings of the very happy A. P. Guion’s of California.

First and foremost – we have finally located a place to hang our hats. Hallelujah! This business of vagabonding in the Buick has been find, but it’s going to be wonderful having our own place. It is in South Pasadena – a living room, bedroom, kitchen and bath over a garage, completely furnished – only four years old and sounds very nice. I haven’t seen it yet, but we’re moving in this coming weekend, we hope! I’ll believe it when we are actually in, and not before. The new address is 1416 Stratford Ave., South Pasadena. I hope it will be fairly permanent. Seems to me that you had quite a time wondering just where to send your letters. Hope you won’t have to think about any other address for quite a while. We are going to spend next weekend collecting our things from various parts of Southern California and concentrating them in one spot, and it’s going to be wonderful. We are actually looking forward to moving!

Secondly, the photograph of Lad has never arrived. I have inquired twice at this post office, with no positive results. They said the best thing to do would be to start checking from your post office. Perhaps by now it’s come back to you. I hope so.

–      About wedding gifts. It’s rather hard to tell you just what to say to lad’s friends- we don’t want to get too many things so that we will have a hard time moving – and not knowing where we will be after the war makes a difference, too. However, linens of any kind are very acceptable. We haven’t picked out our sterling pattern as yet, and are waiting until after the war to get our dishes – so, that’s out – our Fostoria is the candlewick pattern – we don’t have cake plates or cups and saucers in that – odd pieces of any fairly plain Fostoria would be acceptable. Vases are another thing we could use – does that help?

–      We are sending our Christmas package to you this week. Hope it arrives before Christmas. Isn’t very much, but with it comes a heartfelt wish for happiness for all of you and the fervent prayer that next year we can all be together for Christmas. Will certainly be thinking of all of you.

Mowry Addison and Marian (Rider) Irwin

    Mowry Addison and Marian (Rider) Irwin

–         Quoting from Mother’s last letter, “I received the nicest letter from Al’s father this week. I hope that we will get a chance to meet him sometime soon, for I know we will like him very much.” She also  said how startled she was to have you referred to Al as “Lad” ‘cause three or four times while we were home she started to call him that because it seemed so natural. And she has never known that Lad was his nickname. I’ve never mentioned it in any letter to them. I always referred to him as Al. Strange, isn’t it?

Lad asks me to tell you that, for the record, the pajamas, bathrobe and Christmas box have all arrived safely – and he hereby sends his thanks.

Will write again, soon,

Love to all-

Marian

Lad ads a note:

Lad writes: Thanks for your cooperation. All of the pkgs. have arrived in fine shape. As Marian mentioned, her temporary address will be 1416 Stratford Ave. I think monogram letterhead will be very nice. Something like this:Initials are M I G. More later. Love to all — Lad

Tomorrow, more of the Voyage to Venezuela. On Sunday, more of My Ancestors. 

Judy Guion

Advertisements

Trumbull – Dear Gang – The Great Guion Mystery – December 5, 1943

Trumbull, Conn., Dec. 5, 1943

Dear Gang:

Cedric Duryee Guion

The Great. Guion Mystery, unsolved to the present moment, is: “Has Ced left Anchorage en route home?” The last word from Alaska, as reported to you in a previous communication, was that our arctic explorer expected to leave for his long trip to Connecticut on December 3rd , and I have been anxiously, almost fearfully, looking for further word that would relieve the tension and let us know that nothing is intervened to prevent his leaving per schedule.

Dave has received notification that he is now class 1-A, and if rumors are to be given credence, he will leave Trumbull January 10th . The last hurdle he has yet to get over is his final physical exam. He is flirting with the idea of asking to join the Navy, probably because several of his buddies here have chosen that branch of the service, but this, I hope, will not happen.

Our guest for dinner today was Harold LaTour whom you older boys may remember. For a while he was salesman for an American concern in South America but is now with the Daily News in New York. He was one of Roger Bachelder’s college friends.

A review of incoming correspondence this week reveals the following:

A card announcing the arrival of Donald Robert Whitney, Jr., on November 25th , wait 8 pounds ten and a half ounces.

              Lad and Marian Guion – 1943

Another nice letter from Marian expressing the expectation of drinking a Thanksgiving toast to the “Guion clan and the fervent wish that another year will find us all together”. She also reports receiving a congratulatory telegram from Ced bemoaning the fact that he would not be around to tie tin cans to the car. It seems that the newlyweds waited so long before starting away for their home trip that all the guests got tired of waiting for them to leave, and in consequence, they escaped the horseplay that usually accompany affairs of this sort.

A letter from Dan enclosing signed registration certification which makes Dave happy in that he will now have about a month in which to drive around a car of his own (provided he can get it running). After a typical Danielesque description of English weather in lieu of the real news he hints he may write about, were it not for the limitations of censorship, he goes on to say his expected studies at Oxford or Cambridge have not yet materialized. He ends with the words: “Hurrah for Lad. I shall write to her personally.”

It is many weeks now, Dan, since a package of Rum and Maple, Kleenex, shampoo, etc. has been sent to you, but if I can secure anymore of that brand of tobacco (they told me it was not being made anymore and what I got was the last of their stock), I shall get off another shipment with the hope that sooner or later one of them might escape Hitler’s U-boats.

Thank you, Marian, for your welcome letter. I hope next time you or Lad write, you will be able to say that you have found a cozy little house or apartment. I’m going to miss you all here Christmas, but I hope Ced will be here to partly compensate. Jean and Dave anyway will save the day and I expect Bissie and her two hopefuls will be on hand. Jean is a way with her Aunt this week and visiting friends in New Milford.

Aunt Betty, Dave and Smoky all send their best, and as for me, you all know what to expect from                               DAD

Tomorrow, I will finish the week with another letter from Marian.

On Saturday, more on the Voyage to Venezuela in 1939. OnSunday, more of My Ancestors. Judy Guion 

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Dear Absent Ones (2) – Wishful Thinking – November 28, 1943

This is the second page of a letter from Grandpa to his sons – and daughter-in-law) letting them know what has been going on in Trumbull the past week.

page 2    11/28/43

        Jean (Mortensen) Guion

Just so that you will know Dick is still alive and kicking, I asked Jean to extract a few lines from his letters to her, which she very kindly consented to do, as follows: He is permitted to tell where he is now – in Natal, Brazil, but of course no mention of this fact is to be made on any letters you may write him. The camp where he is staying has a day room equipped with a radio phonograph, books, magazines, ping-pong table, horse shoes, boxing gloves, baseball and basketball equipment. They have built a tennis court and he has played on it several times. He is learning to ride a motorcycle but doesn’t have too much time to devote to it.

I spent most of the day on storm windows. Remember the weather stripping you put around the inside kitchen door, Lad? Well, one night last spring one very bold rat got in the laundry in an effort to get into the kitchen gnawed portions of the weather stripping away and this too, I repaired. Dan, do you recall the good job you did last year in chinking up the spaces between frame and storm windows? Some of it was still in place this year. Ced, do you recall the day you gave me a set of hardware for my bathroom window? Due to warping or settling or something, the storm sash this year was considerably out of whack, so that, too, I remedied today. About half the windows on the ground floor are now completed and I’m hoping, before the weather gets too cold, I can complete the balance.

Dave is away today – he went up to Hartford to visit his friend Howard Mehegan, who is going to school up there at Uncle Sam’s expense. Tomorrow night Dave presides at his first formal dinner, formal not in dress but in the fact that as President of the Trumbull Rangers, who are holding their first annual dinner at the Algonquin club, no less, he presides as Toastmaster.

We have had one storm so far this season which however was neither very deep nor did it last very long. Most of the weather we have had lately has consisted of beautiful cool, but mainly sunshiny, days. Due to the coal shortage we have not yet started the furnace, keeping the real chill off by generous use of oil stove. Up to the present, we have been able to get by without too great discomfort, and as soon as I get all the storm windows up, or in case of a particularly cold spell, we will start up the old ash maker.

And that about closes up the session for this evening. Maybe by next week I will be able to tell you more about the news from the scattered points where the Guion boys are holding up Trumbull prestige. Until then, spare a thought occasionally for all of us back here in the hills of Connecticut, and especially one who now and again describes himself as

DAD

Tomorrow, another letter from Grandpa and on Friday, another letter from Marian.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Dear Absent Ones (1) – Wishful Thinking – November 28, 1943

 

Trumbull, Conn., Nov. 26, 1943

Dear Absent Ones:

The days speed on, bringing nearer the time when Ced pulls up his anchor at Anchorage; Lad and Marian, homeless now, come to the end of a long cross-country journey to their Trumbull home, when Dick, returning to his adoring wife and still un-discouraged father, makes his verbal report on all the things he has failed to write about; and Daniel, now in the Lion’s Den of London, is released from his not un-enjoyable bondage; and Dave slays his Goliath in the shape of Uncle Sam’s Army training routine and eventually returns to the fellowship of his family. Then, we can have a real Thanksgiving again. Holidays without you boys and girls are like Thanksgiving without Turkey — which is just what we had this year — Thanksgiving without Turkey. We stay-at-homes have been told that you boys had “the bird” on that day which left us rather short. If the former is true, we don’t object to the latter one bit. And now the fire in the hearth in the alcove sputters and crackles as I write the above as if mentally in agreement with my frame of mind and having you all so far away from the ancestral home at this season.

Jean went to her grandparents for the family’s annual get together while Elsie came up from New York and Elizabeth and her two sprites were with us.

“Old Faithful” Lad was responsible for the “foreign” mail this week. Marian has had to give up her apartment because the landlady’s friends had a prior claim which leaves the newlyweds to leave a rather nomadic existence. They have been searching for a place for almost 2 months now, with no luck. He says: “We have six places in mind but in order to get one, the present occupants have to move and there are no available apartments for them either, so it’s just a vicious circle and we seem to be at the outer end of the radius. Our friends out here, though, are wonderful, and have many rooms in which we could stay, and as Marian says, ‘We still have a car and I’ve slept in worse places — my car is only a Chevy.’ We really aren’t very worried, I guess, we just too happy and confident in ourselves to take it very seriously.”

Marian Dunlap (Irwin) Guion

And now, Marian, just come aside with me for a moment where the others can’t hear what we’re saying, as I want to ask you a few questions. Lad, as you may surmise, has a number of friends back home here and many have asked me what I think they should send you as a wedding gift. That, as you may imagine, is a rather difficult question for both of us to answer under present circumstances, but more so for me then you; so just sit down soon, when you have a breathing spell, and make a list of things you would like, so that I will not be so much on the spot as I am right now. I also am interested to know if you ever received that photo yet. I am in a quandary as to whether packages addressed to soldiers get preference over civilian parcels post or not, but last week before getting Lad’s letter, I mailed his bathrobe to your old address, as soldier packages are quite limited as to size, weight, etc. I have also been saving a Christmas box which I packed up some time ago for Lad, finally mailing it last week to Edgewood Drive.

Thanks, Lad, for your definite instructions. The way is cleared now and I know just where I stand. I will wait a while before selling your Venezuela Petroleum, as, due to stock market fluctuations, the price went down to $9, but my broker thinks it will go higher than it was before, as it has good value behind it. Meantime, I am renewing the bank note and will (Oh darn, I just noticed that all my carbon copies are backwards. Sorry, but you’ll just have to borrow a mirror and read it that way. Another way would be to hold it up against a strong light, wrong way to), or rather, I have already paid the Investors Syndicate installment and will later write you the whole story so that you can determine whether you wish to continue it or not.

Tomorrow, the second half of this letter. Then another letter from Grandpa and finally, a letter from Marian to finish off the week.

Judy Guion

The Beginning (57) – Childhood Memories of Trumbull – End of the War For Dave

These are the memories of my Father and his siblings, recorded over several years. When my Uncle Dan passed away, I realized that I had better get started recording the memories of Dan’s siblings before they were also gone. I was able to have two recording sessions with my Father, Lad in California; two with Uncle Ced in New Hampshire, a three-day cruise in our boat with Aunt Biss; one session with Uncle Dave in Stratford, CT and one hand-written session (I forgot my tape recorder going up to the Island in New Hampshire, where Uncle Dick lived) with Uncle Dick. I transcribed them once exactly as they were spoken, again removing the ums, ahs, half sentences started over, etc. I then produced a final copy that was easier to read, but it still needs work getting the chronological order correct. Memories are not recorded with a date stamp. I created 75 binders for family members which include all three translations, pages and pages of photos and memorabilia and the actual recording. Now family members can actually heat their ancestors speaking. It was my first project with all the material my Father saved for me and a true Labor of Love. I hope you enjoy these memories of A Slice of Life at a different time and place.

David Peabody Guion

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

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Manila_(1945)

The time between 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 are 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 to the City Hall and looked up you would see a room with curtains on the windows.  That was MacArthur’s headquarters.  So he had curtains on his windows and the Philipinos were watching dead bodies float down the river.

I would say I was in Manila probably about six months.  It would have been August, September, October, November, December, January, February, March, eight months.  I came home in March 1946.  I got out of the service the day Chiche (Paulette) gave birth to Arla, Danielle, as the case may be. (Dan and Paulette’s daughter was named Danielle Arla Julien Andre Guion but the family always called her Arla.)

I had a friend who had a friend who was MacArthur’s driver, chauffeur, and this guy said that whenever MacArthur went in someplace, he’d always get one of those Oriental houses where there was a porch all the way around the building.  He’d have his staff come up and sit in chairs around the building.  He got up to the first staff member and he would say, “Give me your report.”  It might be a question, it might be a problem, or it might just be a report.  Then he would walk around the whole building, see the whole staff, each giving him these questions.  Then he would get in his car and tell his friends friend, “Drive me”.  They would drive around and pretty soon MacArthur would say, “OK”, let’s go back.”  Then he’d say, “you, — blah, blah, blah. You — blah, blah, blah.”  He went all around the whole building telling each one of his staff members what to do about his problem.  What a brain.  There shouldn’t be enough room in there for an ego, but there was.

Tomorrow, Day Six of Lad’s Voyage to Venezuela. He arrives in Guayra and writes of his experience.

On Sunday, more about My Bradford Ancestors, Caleb Rider and Hannah McFarland.

Judy Guion

 

 

The Beginning (56) – Childhhood Memories of Trumbull – Dave and World War II

 

These are the memories of my Father and his siblings, recorded over several years. When my Uncle Dan passed away, I realized that I had better get started recording the memories of Dan’s siblings before they were also gone. I was able to have two recording sessions with my Father, Lad in California; two with Uncle Ced in New Hampshire, a three-day cruise in our boat with Aunt Biss; one session with Uncle Dave in Stratford, CT and one hand-written session (I forgot my tape recorder going up to the Island in New Hampshire, where Uncle Dick lived) with Uncle Dick. I transcribed them once exactly as they were spoken, again removing the ums, ahs, half sentences started over, etc. I then produced a final copy that was easier to read, but it still needs work getting the chronological order correct. Memories are not recorded with a date stamp. I created 75 binders for family members which include all three translations, pages and pages of photos and memorabilia and the actual recording. Now family members can actually heat their ancestors speaking. It was my first project with all the material my Father saved for me and a true Labor of Love. I hope you enjoy these memories of A Slice of Life at a different time and place.

David Peabody Guion

The Beginning (56) Childhood Memories of Trumbull(56) – Dave and World War II

DAVE – After Missouri, I got shipped out.  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 (networks), conversations between one company and another or one unit and another.  The guys that were the operators really hated that.  The guys really hate 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 plus three 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 have water dumped over you again and again until you yelled, “Shellback”.  A Shellback is one who has crossed the equator for the first time.  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 would hit you with them 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.

We got down to Ulithi, (https://www.warhistoryonline.com/world-war-ii/hidden-ulithi-naval-base.html) which was a weird sounding name, and they started talking about someplace called Okinawa.  They said, “We are going to Okinawa and we are going to invade Okinawa.”  At dawn they were going to send in a flotilla to 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 plan for ten days because the Americans went through so fast that they left us behind.  They couldn’t afford to have us valuable people in Army headquarters get shot.  So, we didn’t get in for some time.  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 that he wasn’t bright enough even to get a Section 8 and get out.  I can remember whenever 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 25-pound anti-personnel bombs.  One guy didn’t believe in being in a foxhole, 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, I was one level above him.

Tomorrow, I will finish the week with one more post of The Beginning, Childhood Memories of Trumbull.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – The Beginning (55) – Childhood Memories of Trumbull – The Guion Boys at War

These are the memories of my Father and his siblings, recorded over several years. When my Uncle Dan passed away, I realized that I had better get started recording the memories of Dan’s siblings before they were also gone. I was able to have two recording sessions with my Father, Lad in California; two with Uncle Ced in New Hampshire, a three-day cruise in our boat with Aunt Biss; one session with Uncle Dave in Stratford, CT and one hand-written session (I forgot my tape recorder going up to the Island in New Hampshire, where Uncle Dick lived) with Uncle Dick. I transcribed them once exactly as they were spoken, again removing the ums, ahs, half sentences started over, etc. I then produced a final copy that was easier to read, but it still needs work getting the chronological order correct. Memories are not recorded with a date stamp. I created 75 binders for family members which include all three translations, pages and pages of photos and memorabilia and the actual recording. Now family members can actually heat their ancestors speaking. It was my first project with all the material my Father saved for me and a true Labor of Love. I hope you enjoy these memories of A Slice of Life at a different time and place.

Lad in uniform at the Trumbull House on leave

LAD – (During the War) Dan was in France.  He was a surveyor and was coordinating between England and France, I guess helping to make arrangements (before D-Day). Ced was working at Elmendorf Airfield when it was taken over by the military.  He was then employed by the government as a mechanic.  Later on, he was willing to do it, or was crazy enough to do it, but he would take a tractor and an AT Wagon (a little wagon with tracks on it so it stayed on top of the snow) and go out and bring back downed planes.  Sometimes it would take a number of days before he found the plane and was able to bring it back.  Dick, I know very little about.  He went to Brazil and was able to converse with Portuguese civilians.  He spent a couple of years there. I know nothing about Dave except that he was in the Philippines.

David Peabody Guion

DAVE – on December 23 (1944) I was sworn into the Army and on January 16th I went off to Ft. Devin’s to begin my training. One of the deals in the processing up there was a situation where you could sit down and some guy with a typewriter and a form would ask you questions and then type the answers.  Well, one of the questions further down the line was, “What would you like to do while you are in the service?”  I said, “I’d like to get to talk to people.  I’d like this job.”  A few days later – George Knecht (a friend and neighbor from Trumbull) and I went into the service at the same time – a few days later they called me down to processing and said, “We can keep you for, we don’t know how long, it depends on how you orders are written, but we can keep you on this job doing this typing.”  And I said, “Yes.”  I could see some weekends home with my new girlfriend, so that’s fine with me.  A couple of days later George shipped out and went to Europe and slogs through mud and muck during the whole war.

I got home three weekends; it was a pretty nice job at Fort Devens.  Of course at the time I said I’d like to do this job I didn’t realize that it was done by people who were just recruits as I was once.  Anyhow, the guy behind me – there were four of us who were doing this job – was telling me about his brother who was in the Signal Corps in New Jersey.  So I figured that was a good deal.  I’ll joined the Signal Corps and from New Jersey, get home some more weekends.  What I neglected to say is that they told us, “When they ask you this question of what you would like to do, nobody ever reads that.  At this point, we are just filling a quota, but those who work here, we actually do try to put them where they want to be.”  So that’s when I said, “New Jersey.  I’d like to go into the Signal Corps.”  So I went into the Signal Corps.  After I got into the Signal Corps I found out that New Jersey was the advanced training for radar or something and I ended up in Missouri, but at least I was in the Signal Corps.

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 dahhs, dit-dit-dahh-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 dahhs 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 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 made, but at eighteen, how much trouble could I have gotten into in my life.  So I got into Cript School and that’s where I stayed and although I didn’t do a lot of encoding and decoding, I was officially a cryptographer.

For the rest of the week I will be posting more of the recorded Childhood Memories of Trumbull.

Judy Guion