Army Life – Dear Dad and Assembled Members of the Guion Family – Moving Without a Car – January 30, 1944

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Marian (Irwin) Guion

1416 Stratford Ave.

South Pasadena, Calif.

Sunday

Dear Dad and assembled members of the Guion family,

I’m afraid that I’ve neglected you this past week – not in my thoughts, however – tho’ very definitely in regards to letter writing.

This business of packing sort of has me stumped. Here to fore,  Mother has always been on hand to forward anything I happened to forget, or take care of the many things I didn’t know what to do with. This time, however, I have to figure it out by myself – and not being able to move in a car is another handicap. Now I have to wrap everything or put it in a box or suitcase instead of just throwing it in the back of the car! It’s been so long since I’ve tried to move without a car that I don’t know how to act.

We were so sorry to hear about Ced. It must be very nice to have him home for a longer time than you expected, but I wish it were under more favorable circumstances. I sincerely hope that everything will work out just the way he wishes.

What a very interesting person Lad’s Grandmother must have been. I wish that I could have met her. Your lives have been just that much richer, haven’t they, by having her with you for as long as she was here.

I also received a very interesting letter from Aunt Elsie last week. She spoke of having been to California some years ago and having liked it very much. I’m looking forward to meeting her, and I hope it will be very soon.

Thank you Aunt Betty for your letter – I am glad the sweater meets with your approval, and Lad is the one who deserves the credit for the right size.

I’m surprised that I can get anything done this week. I’m so excited about finally being able to join Lad that I’m practically in a daze! Did I tell you that he has found a place for us to stay? Not too fancy, but that makes absolutely no difference.

With love to everyone,

Marian

P.S. You see, I took your suggestion about the green ink, Dad. I like it very much.

M

I believe this writing paper was a Christmas gift from Lad to Marian, but Grandpa actually printed it from Lad’s design suggestion.

Tomorrow another letter from Grandpa and on Friday, another one from Marian with a note from Lad. Judy Guion

Trumbull – Grandma Died Last Tuesday (2) – Comments to Family Members January 23, 1944

This is the conclusion of a letter I started yesterday. 

Dear Dan:

Two letters from you this week, the last by airmail, were truly welcome. I am glad you spent so pleasant a Christmas Day with the Heath’s. I don’t know why I am reminded of this, unless it be the “Christmas Spirit”, but did you ever read “The Story of the Other Wise Man” by Henry Van Dyke? (http://www.classicreader.com/book/593/1/)  It’s short and well written and I think you will enjoy it.

May I also tell you how satisfactory it is for you to let me know from time to time about the things you would like to have me send you. With all you boys every so often I have the urge to send you some little thing that will be useful, but unless you’re wants are made known as you have done, one never knows what to send and if a wild choice is made, whether such things are really welcome. And dismiss from your mind any thought of obligation as to remuneration. You already have to your credit far more than the cost of the few things I occasionally send you.

It was quite thrilling to read your enthusiastic account of your weeks course at Oxford. I hope your luck will continue and that you will be able also to get to Cambridge. When Kit (Katherine Warden, who rents the apartment in the Big House with her husband, who is also in the service) read your letter she asked if you had ever mentioned visiting the Savoy Hotel in London. She suggested that next time you are in that vicinity you look up Caroll Gibbons, who directs the Savoy Orchestra and tell him you are a friend of Katherine O’Toole (from Clinton, Mass.).

I am sorry about the pipe sans filter. Yes, you asked for a filter pipe in the first place but in view of the fact that filters were absolutely unattainable and still are over here, it seemed better to send what I did rather than what you asked for minus the parts that would make it usable. Pipe cleaners are also unobtainable so you can picture my elation when I was able to obtain the few which I believe I sent you.

Dave is home for his first weekend furlough from Camp Devens. He gets quite a kick out of Army life and so far is quite enthusiastic over his treatment. He is on a special detail involving clerical work which lets him out of KP and other disagreeable tasks which falls to the lot of his buddies. He has a chance to get into the Air Corps which will involve about 15 months of college training, which he is seriously thinking of entering.

Dear Marian: Thanks for your letter with the good news that definite plans are now made to join Lad the first week in February. Even if you couldn’t spend Christmas with him you can celebrate his birthday together. Which reminds me, what date marks the anniversary of your appearance in this naughty world? I want to enter this in my archives. Ced is still making us happy by his continued presence, not having heard anything more from the draft board in Anchorage, nor from his employer as to efforts to obtain a deferment. Of course his plans to visit you and Lad are also in abeyance pending the momentous decision as to whether to return to Alaska to continue his work or is drafted into Uncle Sam’s Army, in which case he will go from here (if that is permissible) instead of returning for induction from Anchorage.

No word from Dick or Lad this week. Jean has achieved several cake masterpieces this week, making us all fuller but happier. We all of us send our community love to each of you, severally and individually.

DAD

Tomorrow a letter from Marian, and a quick note from Lad, on Thursday another letter from Grandpa and on Friday, a second letter from Marian to “everyone at home”.

Judy Guion

A Tribute to Those Who Served – DUTY – Sending Sons and Daughters Off to War – 1942 – 1946

         Alfred Duryee Guion (Grandpa)

On this Memorial Day, I would like to dedicate my post to Alfred Duryee Guion, my Grandfather, who took very seriously his DUTY to send all five of his sons off to make their contribution to the American effort to end World War II. It is also a tribute to those sons, Alfred Peabody, (my Father), Daniel Beck, Cedric Duryee, Richard Peabody and David Peabody. Each of the boys did their duty to their country and served with honor.

Daniel Beck Guion

In January, 1942, his second oldest, Dan, writes from Anchorage, Alaska:

Uncle Sam feels he needs me to save the world for Roosevelt… When I left Anchorage I made several promises to keep the boys posted about how I made out with the Army….I tried valiantly but the Anchorage draft board tried harder, so into the Army I go, perhaps to fertilize some exotic orchid in the jungles of Sumatra, or fill out the lean feathers of some scrawny African buzzard…. saving America, of course, from the Japs, the Huns and the Wops, every one of whom has only one aim in life… to make every U.S. citizen a slave.

Dan, as a Surveyor and Civil Engineer, was in London and Paris before D-Day and was in Normandy shortly after the invasion.

        Alfred Peabody (Lad) Guion 

Later that month, my Grandfather writes:

Every week the war gets closer to home. Last Wednesday, Lad received notice of reclassification to A-1 …. And this of course is Dan’s last week home. He leaves Wednesday from Shelton to begin working for Uncle Sam and that, at present, is the extent of our knowledge on the subject.

Four months later he writes:

Last Wednesday, Lad woke me up a little before 5 am and after a hasty breakfast we started off in my car to the railroad station in Derby from which I saw my engineer son off to the Army camp. This time, however, there was much more of a crowd, the station yard being pretty well filled with cars. I learned later there were about 80 men in the group…We learned that Lad had been appointed a leader and would probably be busy so I said goodbye as the train pulled into the station. I have not heard from him since but the plan was for the boys to go to Hartford for their final physical examination then to Camp Devens and parts unknown.

Lad, a large machine Mechanic, trained mechanics for the Army and eventually was sent to France. Then, on his way to Okinawa, Hiroshima was bombed and his ship was diverted to New York. (This is another story.)

Richard Peabody Guion

The war continued and in February, 1943 in a letter to Lad my 

Grandfather writes:

You will recall, as will Dan also, that early morning trip to the Derby railroad station and my dutifully surrendering into Uncle Sam’s care, my two oldest boys. Well, that performance was repeated again with Dick as the sacrificial lamb. Dick and Dave (the youngest) had both set alarm clocks, heard them go off and immediately went back to sleep. At 10 to five, conscientious Dad, with the matter weighing on his subconscious mind, awoke, roused the two slackers, had a hasty breakfast and started on our way by bright moonlight at about 5:15. We arrived at the station at about 5:45 and most of the boys were already on the train. Unlike your case, Dick had been granted a 9-day leave so after going through the routine at Hartford, he returned last night …and does not have to go to report until next Monday.

Dick served in Santeliza, Brazil, as an interpreter and liaison to the local population.

David Peabody Guion

Dave dropped out of high school after turning 18 and enlisted. In January, 1944, my Grandfather writes:

Dear, Lad, Dan and Dick, It is only the three of you I am writing to today but it won’t be long now before Dave will be added to the list.
Dave goes Saturday, and following my usual custom which has happened as many times now it has almost developed into a habit, I shall deliver my youngest at the well-known railroad station in Derby to swell the ranks of Uncle Sam’s army.

Dave, with a number of skills, including typing, Morse Code and telegraph operator, Radio operator and Signal Corps, was attached to a 4-man unit that travelled and worked together at the Communication Centers, first at Okinawa and then Manila, Philippines.

Cedric Duryee Guion

Although Ced actually missed being drafted by one day (That is another story), he served the military as a civilian. The Army took over the airfield he was working at in Anchorage, Alaska, He was employed as a civilian and  repaired planes, went out to the tundra to repair and bring back downed airplanes and, as a bush pilot, flew supplies all over Alaska.

Grandpa was fortunate that all his sons came home from the War, but today, I honor him, my Father and Uncles, and all the families and their sons and daughters, who served this country to aid in the “War To End All Wars”. Their sacrifices are immeasurable.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Dear Boys – News About Everyone Except Ced – May 24, 1942

APG - Postcard post mark from Ayers, MA the day of induction, May, 1942

APG - Postcard to Dad the day he was inducted - May, 1942

5/14/42

As you can see by this postmark (Ayer, Massachusetts), I am now a member of Uncle Sam’s Army. However I haven’t the faintest idea, as yet, what will happen, or where I will go. We got into Hartford about 7:20 and almost immediately to pass through (no info) the physical. I passed OK. At present, we are enroute from Hartford and boy, it sure is a rough track. More later.   AP

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         Alfred Peabody Guion

Trumbull, Conn., May 24, 1942

Dear Boys:

A postal card from Lad reveals that he is, and expects for the next six or eight weeks, to be at Ordnance Replacement Center, Aberdeen Proving Grounds, Maryland, Co. B, 1st Ordnance Training Battalion. I am awaiting further details to learn whether this was his choice, based possibly on the fact that his experience with moving heavy equipment with Socony-Vacuum or possibly the use of diesels in transporting big guns, or whether he was just sent there willy-nilly. I asked Harry Robinson one day how he became deaf and he told me that during the first World War, they sent him to Aberdeen and the concussion from the firing of the big guns was what destroyed his hearing.

Dan in uniform @ 1945

Daniel Beck Guion

No news from Dan, merely a request to have Barbara (Barbara Plumb, his girlfriend)  bring down with her his Alaskan slides which he had promised to show to several interested parties in Roanoke Rapids. Barbara left Thursday night and expected to arrive Friday morning, returning to Bridgeport in time for work Tuesday morning. I hope to receive, even though it be secondhand, more detailed information from this tantalizing individual who merely writes he now has a specialist’s rating carrying with it a boost of $20 in his pay, but what the rating is for, how obtained, etc, is left to the imagination. He also refers to the possibility of making application to Officer’s Candidate School, but beyond that bare fact no more information is vouchsafed. He does mention that he has applied for a furlough early in July, which he will not know definitely can be granted for some time, and announces he has definitely decided not to use his car down there.

ADG - Dick atThe Chandler's - Group on steps (cropped) - 1939

Richard Peabody Guion

Dick has just received card notification from Draft Board that he is in Class 1. He informed me today he has decided to see what can be done about transferring him to a day shift again. He is losing weight due to lack of sleep, which is harder to get in summer day times, and the reflection of artificial light from the pieces he works on affects his eyes. He still spends most of his spare time at Stratford (where Jean Mortensen lives) in spite of the gas rationing restrictions.

DPG - with Zeke holding Butch

David Peabody Guion

Dave, for some time, has been hopeful of making the grade as President of his sophomore class, but finally lost out. He took his defeat in the sporting spirit. Lately he has been seeing a great deal of Natalie Slawson, at whose house he calls, whenever the parental discipline is a little off guard.

Aunt Betty (Lizzie Duryee), summer, 1946

Aunt Betty (Lizzie) Duryee, Grandpa’s Aunt

Aunt Betty manages to put in a pretty full day divided up between caring for her flowerbeds, darning socks, washing dishes, cleaning house, etc. She says she is not over-doing things but I would rather she took it a little easier.

EWGZ - Bissie and Raymond Jr. (Butch) at baptism - June, 1940

Elizabeth Westlin (Guion) Zabel and her son, Raymond Jr. (Butch)

Elizabeth, due to gas rationing restrictions, won’t be able to use the car as much as formerly, so probably will not visit us as frequently.

The sewer drain, under the cellar stairs, sprung a leak and backed up in the cellar and I spent as much time as I could spare from dinner chores this morning and after dinner this afternoon, in digging up the ground to find  where the break occurred and trying to fix it, with only partial success.

DAD

To0morrow and Sunday, more of Elizabeth’s Adventure in St. Petersburg, Florida, when she was 16 years old.

Judy Guion

Army Life – Lad’s First Letter Home (1) – Trumbull, Connecticut, to Ayer, Massachusetts, to Aberdeen, Maryland – May 18, 1942

This is the first page of 11, a long letter to Grandpa telling him of all of his adventures after leaving Grandpa at the Railroad Station in Shelton/Derby, CT, on May 14, 1942.

APG - First letter to Grandpa from Aberdeen Proving Grounds - May 18, 1942

Pvt. A.P. Guion

Co. B 14 Bn ORTC

Aberdeen Proving Ground

Md.

May 18, 1942

Dear Dad: –

We left Derby on time and stopped at Ansonia. Here a second car was filled, and after a stop at Waterbury the third car was filled and our next stop was Hartford. Here we detrained at a few minutes before nine and walked about 1 ½ blocks to the Induction Center. There were so many of us that the complete inspection was not over until 2:45. The actual inspection per person was not more than 30 or 35 min., if that much. At 3 PM the 88 who had passed the examinations out of 169, were put into a separate car and in a few minutes a train coupled onto the car and we were off. The train stopped nowhere until it got to Worchester, Mass. Here a switch engine hooked onto our car and while the train went on, we were switched back and forth, and ended up on the track going in the opposite direction. Here another train picked us up and again we were off. Our next stop was in Ayer, Mass., where there is no platform of any kind. The tracks run through the backyard of Camp Devens. Here, with our baggage, we were again given a short march and after a little discussion concerning behavior in the camp we were issued raincoats and a barracks bag, another hike to Co. B, 1st Bn., and we were issued blankets. Incidentally, we detrained at Fort Devens at 5:40, 30 minutes ahead of schedule. Then came supper and bed making instructions and we were more than glad to turn in at 9:00.

Friday we rose at 5:45 A.M., policed the barracks and fell out for breakfast. Immediately after that we were taken to Q.M.C. and issued our uniforms. What a system. It takes about four or five minutes from the time you start, stark naked, til you emerge at the other end very well fitted from the skin out, and in six complete uniforms with two complete changes of everything else. Then came an Aptitude test – lunch – and a private interview. Back to the theater to be shown a film on the evil side of sex, a couple of short welcome speeches – supper – a couple of fallout calls to advise some of the men that they were leaving early Sat. morning and then to bed.

Sat – up at 5:45 and out for reveille where 10 fellows and myself were told we would be ready to leave at 7:15. A rush to breakfast, again to the medical section for injections and a vaccination, back again for clothes and we fell out at 7:21 for the trip to wherever it was. We were marched out to the same lot at which we detrained when we first arrived and here we were told to wait for further orders. We waited until 8:30 and then were assembled and marched back to the road again, a distance of a couple of hundred yards and were put onto a truck. By truck we were taken a few miles to Fitchburg where we again waited and at 9:21 a train pulled in. At the rear was a special car and we were loaded into this. By now we numbered 44. A sergeant was in charge. He would give us no information as to where we were going, not even if it were a long trip. However with spirits undaunted, we had a good time. At Greenfield, Mass., we were shunted again and changed direction of travel from west to south. Our next stop was at Springfield where we were put onto a siding and taken into the station for lunch. After lunch we boarded the car again and in a couple of minutes another train backed up and again we were off. We stopped at Hartford, New Haven, Bridgeport, Stamford and Penn Station. We were ordered not to mail anything or make phone calls until we arrived at our destination, so I could not write anything to you. A half hour stop in Penn. Station, while a Penn. Engine was put on in place of the New Haven, during which time we ate a box lunch, and then began a real ride. On the New Haven road we had made good time, and only a few stops, but the track was quite rough and I don’t think we traveled better than 45 or 50 M.P.H. The first stop on the new leg was at Newark and then began a fast non-stop trip. The only times we slowed down below 75 M.P.H. (according to my figuring – the mile posts were going by every 44 or 45 seconds) was when we switched from the local track to the express or vice versa. On this trip we passed two freight trains, two locals and one express. All of them moving. It took about 2 ½ or 3 miles to pass the express, but we did it. Our next stop was Philadelphia, then Wilmington and then Aberdeen. Here, to our surprise, we all got off and were taken by truck, in the rain, to our present location (see the letterhead). We were issued blankets, assigned to barracks and were glad to go to bed even though it was only 9:30.

Sunday we had nothing to do, and also being in quarantine for a two-week period, we could do nothing. I acquainted myself as well as I could with in our limited grounds, about 2000 x 1000 feet, and made a few purchases at the PX (Camp store – Post Exchange) which we are lucky enough to have within grounds and again retired.

Monday began our training and was spent in learning marching fundamentals.

Today, Tuesday, we heard from a few of the Big Shots on the duties of the Ordnance Dept., and this afternoon, more drilling. Just now we are having an inspection of all equipment issued to us. And so will end today. And, believe me, we are all glad to hit the hay at 9:00 P.M. when the lights go out.

Tomorrow, I’ll post the rest of this letter from Lad to his Dad, my Grandpa, all about his first experiences in and with the Army after his induction. Friday, another letter from Grandpa to his three sons away from home: Ced in Anchorage, Alaska, working as an airplane mechanic; Dan, being trained as an Army surveyor in Pennsylvania and Lad, who has just been inducted and is at the Aberdeen Proving Grounds in Aberdeen, Maryland.

Judy Hardy

Trumbull – Dear Tripartate (2) – Bits and Pieces of Trumbull News – May 17, 1942

page 2     5/17/42

ADG - Gas Rationing Card - 1945

 Sample Gas Rationing Card

Well, gas rationing days are over here. Dick, (Paul) Warden and I each obtained a ?-? card but Zeke could only get an A-3, so Elizabeth will not be visiting Trumbull so frequently as of yore.

Red (also known as Don Sirene)  came home this weekend and informs me he was turned down by the Naval Reserves and the Marines, so he, too, will be in the Army. Charley Hall however, he says, made the grade, due presumably to his engineering training. Red’s roommate received some notice asking if you would like to work in Alaska, and immediately Red sent to the same source for a similar application.

1938 Kurtz (2)

“The Good Times” – 1939 Arnold Gibson (Gibby), Charlie Kurtz and Carl Wayne – The Red Horse Station

The Ives and Carl and Ethel (Wayne), are intending to take a trip up to the Adirondacks and get in some fishing. Carl has not decided whether he will try to keep the station going under all the new handicaps, or not.

No words of cheer to the old base last week from either of the three absent sons, so I am much in the position of the radio announcer who keeps on broadcasting without knowing whether his message is getting across to his audience or even whether he has an audience.

My business continues in the doldrums, some weeks the expense of doing business exceeding the income and some just enough over to make me feel it might be worthwhile to hang on until things take a turn for the better. I’ve just got enough tenacity of purpose in my makeup so I don’t easily give up, I guess.

Cora Beach died last week. Mrs. Burr Beach is now running the library. Jimmy Smith has been ill in the hospital but I understand is home again and better. Lad went down to see the New Rochelle relatives just before he left and reports all well.

Enclosed with this note, Ced, old dear, is a birthday card from Aunt Betty, which she asked me to address and send for her. Dick is over getting Dan’s car filled up with gas in the hope and expectation he might come back with Bar (Barbara Plumb, Dan’s girlfriend)  who goes to visit him on the 22nd. Dick just finished and sent in his questionnaire last week and has now received a card to fill in as sort of an occupational guide to enable the Army authorities, I suppose, to fit him in where his experience and training would seem to promise best results. He spends about half his time in Stratford (where Jean Mortensen, his girlfriend, lives) these days, although from now on, the gas rationing may possibly cramp his style a bit.

Lilac Bush

Lilac Bush

This will probably be the last week for the lilacs but the iris are coming along nicely, and is also the grass, particularly after last night’s rain.

The news stream got down to a trickle in the last paragraph with a few drops left for this one and has now ceased entirely as I shall also, with the usual greetings (I shall forbear saying anything about writing soon, as being entirely superfluous). So with best wishes from the home folks, I shall sign off, as usual, from

DAD

Tomorrow and Thursday, Lad’s first letter to Grandpa, telling him of his experiences since saying good-bye to his Dad at the Derby Railroad Station. I’ll finish out the week with another letter from Grandpa to the three boys, all in service to Uncle Sam. 

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Dear Tripartate (1) – Lad Joins the Army – May 17, 1942

This week, my posts will be about Lad’s introduction into Army life with a little bit about other members of the family.

Alfred Duryee Guion (Grandpa)

Trumbull, Conn., May 17, 1942

Dear Tripartite:

Spring Bulletin No. 1 – Saw mosquito, sank same.

Yesterday afternoon, my entire remaining army of sappers and Miners (accent on the sap), being awol, I had the alternative of cutting grass or cleaning oil stove burner in the kitchen, and, as it seemed to be threatening rain, I selected the latter job which I finished and then lit the fire. About 10 o’clock it really started to rain, not a little sissy sprinkle but a steady business-like downpour, distinctly audible from where I sat in the kitchen listening to Raymond Grame Swing. The drumming beat of the raindrops continued, accompanied by gurglings as it rushed down the leaders, and to its obligato, I went off to dreamland, being rudely awakened at ten minutes to three by the sound of the Trumbull fire siren, accompanied, a few minutes later, by the arrival of the apparatus itself right in front of our house. Beams of light stabbed the rain and darkness, car after car arrived, smoke drifted in through the window, men shouted outside. My oil burner flashed into mind. Was this history repeating itself?  A light appeared under Dave’s door. Light blasted out from Warden’s apartment. A crowd seemed gathering in front of the house all the way from Laufer’s to Pack’s. Dave and I peered out of the windows. There was a light also in the cottage, but Dave finally discerned a ladder up against Pack’s house, which solved the mystery. Apparently they got whatever fire there was under control quickly, and about half an hour later the neighborhood returned to its wonted quiet.

Alfred Peabody Guion (Lad)

Wednesday last, Lad woke me up a little before 5 A. M. and after a hasty breakfast we started off in my car for the w.k. rail road station in Derby, from which I saw my engineer son (Dan left in January, 1942, just 5 months earlier) off to the army camp. This time, however, there was much more of a crowd, the station yard being pretty well crowded with cars. I learned later there were about 80 men in all in the group. A voice said: “May I have your attention for a minute, please”, and then went on to announce that he was the leader of the local draft board, gave them a brief talk, introduced the mayor of Derby, an ex-service man himself, who also gave them a little pep talk. It was then announced that booklets will be distributed to each trainee, and to expedite delivery the two leaders who had been appointed were asked to assist. Mr. so-and-so and Mr. Gwo-yon were asked to step forward. I looked at Lad but he said it was not intended for him as he was not a leader. However, when the booklet was passed out with his name on it, the same pronunciation was given, and when later, Lad went into the station to get his ticket, the girl informed him he had been appointed a leader. His duties were to see that the men were properly entrained, etc. The only way I could figure it out was that probably, in going over Lad’s questionnaire, they noted that he had been in charge of a group of men in Venezuela and had also taken the police training course, both of which would qualify him for the job. As this seemed to indicate he would probably be busy and the absence of a father would relieve him of one additional burden, I said good-by as the train pulled into the station. I have not heard from him since, but the plan was for the boys to go to Hartford for their final physical exam, thence to Camp Devens and parts unknown. Lad did not sell his car. The Buick people would not give him even six hundred dollars for it so it now reposes in the barn awaiting more favorable days.

Tomorrow, I’ll finish this letter from Grandpa to Ced, Dan and Lad, all away from home now. Wednesday and Thursday, a letter from Lad to Grandpa with his version of his first weeks in the Army. I’ll finish the week with another letter from Grandpa to his boys away from home.

Judy Guion

Army Life – Dear Everybody – Lad Arrives in Texarkana, Texas – January 9, 1944

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

Mr. and Mrs. Alfred Peabody Guion (Lad and Marian)

As you may remember, Lad received orders to report to Texarkana, Texas, before Christmas and only one month after getting married to Marian in California. They had a quiet and early Christmas just before he left on the 21st. This is his first letter to Grandpa and the Home Guard in Trumbull.

Sun. Noon  Jan. 9, 1944

Dear Everybody:-

I’m sorry, but my first thoughts and letters are now to Marian, and you all have sort of slid down a peg in line of importance. However, that doesn’t mean that my affections have in any sense, decreased. I still think of all of you, constantly, but time has been very lacking. In fact I’ve had to skip writing to Marian two nights last week. Here is the reason, en todo:-

Lad - 1943

Lad, my Father

On December 18th I was told that I was to go to Texarkana or Flora, Miss. On the 21st I learned definitely that it was Texarkana and that I had to be there by December 25th. Some Xmas present. By noon on the 21st I was on my way via the Buick. Two flat tires and being forced into the ditch on an icy road were the only troubles other than getting gasoline. As I wired, I got in on Sat., December 25th and that’s ”B.S.” in the message should have been “By”. The Texarkana W.U. (Western Union) also made a mistake in the one to Marian. Until Jan. 3rd we worked hard getting a group of men ready for basic training, which really amounted to nothing of consequence and we really didn’t need to arrive here until Jan. 2nd. That first week was just a waste of time. Then on the 3rd we started training our men in earnest. From Santa Anita 25 good men were sent here as the parent cadre for the 3019th Co. 142 Bn. We are an engine rebuild company attached to the 142 Bn. which contains two engine rebuild Cos., one powertrain rebuild Co., one Hq & supply Co. and one base depot Co. We will work as a unit, always, the five companies being in close contact at all times and performing 5th echelon or Base Ord. work. I am one of the barracks sergeants and am responsible to see that my 23 privates passed a P.O.E. examination. If they pass, we are scheduled for overseas shipment sometime in June or July, and there seems to be no kidding about that. Due to our type of work we should always be at least 300 miles from the front lines. That, at least, is one consolation. This past week (and I imagine that the next five also) has been the toughest one I’ve spent since my induction in May, 1942. I am teaching these boys (most of them have at least one child, some three or four or five) the same training I received during my first five weeks in the Army. They have all been in the Army less than one month, and all were inducted just a few days before Christmas. I’ll never understand why the Army does some of the things it does. It is very disheartening, and produces a lot of resentment, even in myself.

The weather here is terrible after Southern California. Today is the fourth day of sunshine we’ve seen in over two weeks. It is cold enough to freeze and we had snow for two days. It is impossible to keep warm and well in the cold, wet rain we’ve had here. I’ve got a very slight cold, but other than that and cold feet, I’m well.

Marian is coming out by train, I think, soon after February 1st and will come to Trumbull with me when (?) I get my furlough. Please keep your fingers crossed.

Christmas, naturally, was quite a quiet affair, and the same with New Year’s Eve, and not being able to wire anything I had to use “the best of everything” in my telegram. However, the thoughts to you all were there nonetheless.

I got your gifts, thanks, via Marian and the mail, and was extremely pleased with everything. This is my last sheet of paper until I go to the PX so I’ll quit with the very best wishes for the new year and a sincere desire that your numerous wishes come true.

Lots of love, etc.

Laddie

Tomorrow and Friday, another letter from Grandpa to his sons.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Dear Dick, Lad, Marian and Dan (2) – Thoughts About the Trumbull House – January 9, 1944

This is the second half of a letter I started posting yesterday.

Marian (Irwin) Guion (Mrs. Lad)

And as for my newest daughter, Marian, the more I hear from her the tougher my luck seems that we haven’t had the privilege of really knowing her. She always writes such generous, effortless letters, cheery and bright. I rather think she is the sort of person who always sees the best in everybody and makes the best of everything. Her last letter says Lad holds out their prospects of their getting some place to live in Texarkana and Marian is making plans now to arrange her affairs so that she can possibly join Lad sometime in February.

January 6th was Elizabeth’s birthday, so we all piled into the old Buick, with the cake (I tried to get some cider from Boroughs but they have discontinued making it for the season), some presents, including those recently received from South Pasadena for Elizabeth and the kids. Zeke has quit working on the night shift at Singer’s http://wikimapia.org/32447173/Singer-Sewing-Machine so he was home also. The kids had gone to bed but they both came hurrying down the stairs in their Dr. Denton’s, and a good time was had by all.

The Trumbull House (circa 1928)

The Trumbull House (taken in 2015)

Dick’s remarks about the old house here at Trumbull remind me of something I have thought of from time to time but never got so far as putting it down on paper. I look on this place not exclusively as my home, if you get what I mean, but as belonging to Lad and Marian, Dick and Jean, Dan, Ced and Dave (and it would be Elizabeth’s too, if she didn’t have a home of her own), sort of a community owned affair, a place that is really theirs for as long as they want to make it so, a place they can come back to after this war is over, not in the spirit of coming home to Dad’s so much as coming back to their own home, permanently if desired, but in any event, just as long as they need to find what they want to do in the future peace economy, using it perhaps as a springboard to launch off into some new effort, with that feeling of security in knowing that they can always come back to try another spring if the first doesn’t pan out as expected. When you are all settled permanently in whatever and whereever you want to be and do, only then will I feel that the old home will have achieved its final function. I don’t know whether I have put across the idea in the back of my mind, but the idea is to build up a sense of possessive ownership and a feeling of security from a firmly fixed anchor, particularly at the time after the war when the confusion of thoughts and circumstances naturally attendant upon readjustment from war to peace activities, is apt to upset one’s tempo. What fun it would be if we could all live together here for a while, anyway. Then the Psalmist’s words might come true, “Behold, how good and how well pleasant is it for brethren to dwell together in unity.”       He doesn’t say anything about the sistren, and while that is generally conceded as more of an understanding, I guess we could manage that, too. Anyway, let that be the thought for the day, and make your plans accordingly. Here’s to the day when Brazil, London, Alaska, South Pasadena, Texarkana and (Camp Devens ?) all rally around the Trumbull banner, with the war only a memory and long years of peace and happiness and prosperity ahead for all.

With that cheerful note with which to start the new year, add a father’s love and blessing, and you’ll have a suitable message from    DAD

NOTE: The Trumbull House, bought in 1922, stayed in the family for 99 years and was sold in July, 2021. It was indeed a place where we could all live together. After World War II, Dick and Jean lived there until they bought a house in New Hampshire, Lad and Marian (plus the four children they had)  lived there until 1966, when Lad and Marian moved to California with their youngest, Lynn, after she graduated from High School, both boys, my twin Doug and younger brother Greg, were in the Army and I was away at college), Dan and Paulette (and the six children they eventually had) lived there for the rest of their lives, buying the house in 1964, after Grandpa passed away, and Dave and Eleanor (and the two children they had) lived there until buying a house in Stratford. 

Tomorrow, a letter from Lad to Grandpa and on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, a very-long letter from Grandpa to his scattered flock.  

Judy Guion

Army Life – Lad’s Induction Into the U. S. Army – May 14, 1942

For the Greatest Generation, it was an honor and a privilege to serve and defend their country. The following excerpts are taken from a pamphlet called “FALL – IN”,” “Greetings to the men who serve today from your comrades of 1917 and 1918”. It was presented by the American Legion to my father, Lad, on May 14th, 1942, the day he reported for duty.

APG - FALL IN, May 14, 1942  (cover)

APG - Fall In... Induction date, 5.14.1942

APG - FALL IN - May 14, 1942 (Contents)

 WHAT YOU ARE DEFENDING

Life….. Liberty….. Pursuit of Happiness

Right to Hold Property

Brotherhood of Free Peoples….. Equality of Man

The Constitution, Including the Bill of Rights

American Way of Life

THE FOUR FREEDOMS

“Ye shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free”

  1. Freedom of speech and expression
  2. Freedom for everyone to worship according to his own faith
  3. Freedom from want – poverty is a crime today
  4. Freedom from fear – “Sic Semper Tyrannies”

FOREWARD

This booklet could properly be titled, “Letters from a sailor father to his son.” It is a welcome to comradeship from the members of the American Legion to those young men who are now entering upon the greatest experience of their lives. They have become Service Men in the Armed Forces of the United States.

Members of the American Legion, without exception, wore the uniform of the United States with outstanding honor during the great war, now sometimes termed World War I. They were honorably discharged after the emergency but they have never ceased to serve their country. They have displayed great interest in the problems of their country; they have manifested that interest at all times by serving in peace as they served in war.

But now we are at war. Our nation has been attacked. We are starting NOW to build – to build for the preservation of freedom and the homes we love:

Therefore at a time when these forces are being expanded, trained and made ready to defend our beloved country, at any cost necessary, the American Legion greets these men and women who are now defending the same things for which we fought and for which we offered all that we were and all that we hoped to be.

We want to be the Big Brothers, the Pals and the close friends of those young defenders. We want to serve as advisers when they seek advice; it is our desire to attempt to make their road just a little smoother, their great task a little easier, and above all, to make the success of their accomplishment secure.

For these reasons we offer you this information culled from our own memorable experiences of 23 years ago.

(Signature)

Lynn U. Stambaugh

National Commander

THE SERVICE FRATERNITY

You are, or soon will be, a fraternity brother in the oldest fraternity on earth, a fraternity of men who have served their country. There is no closer brotherhood on earth, there never has been.

No one can explain it, no one can define the comradeship that exists among men who have served; it is an active, living brotherhood. Money cannot buy membership; preference finds no place on its rolls. It’s the service that counts. It’s service that pays your initiation and secures your membership. No one can take it away; nothing can take its place.

Your service is your initiation into the fraternity of all serviceman. That initiation may be a bit tough in places but it brings to the surface the fine characters of men; it also shows up the other side in some. It brings everything to the surface. There is nothing hidden during that initiation. We can visualize your experiences. We went through it and therefore we hope that we can make things better for you by giving you a brief outline of what may be ahead for you.

WHAT YOU CAN EXPECT

First, you are an individual worthy to defend liberty and freedom. You have chosen to preserve that for which many have died to obtain and to defend. You are to wear the uniform and the insignia of the grandest organization on earth.

Second, you are now a comrade of every man and woman who has served, or is serving under the flag of United States; of Washington, Jackson, Grant, Lee, Custer, Roosevelt, Pershing, and all the rest. After your service is completed you will find no rank or preference among your comrades.

Third, you are going to have a lot of new experiences, many of which will seem very hard and burdensome as you pass through them but which will appear some time later as interesting and amusing experiences.

Fourth, you are entering upon a new life and it will be somewhat difficult to make adjustments. The service has its regulations and traditions. They are sacred to the service so do not try to change them. They are older than you and each regulation exists for some good reason. Their worth has been proven by experience – and hard experience at that. So accept them as they are and conform yourself to them.

“The service is just what you make it.”

Tomorrow and Sunday, I will begin posting Elizabeth’s Adventure in St. Petersburg, Florida.

Judy Guion