AD Guion – 1959 Christmas Card – A Trip to Africa



ADG - 1956 or 1957 Christmas Card - Africa - cover

ADG - 1956 or 1957 Christmas Card - Africa Trip - inside cover

(On preceding page is a view of Pretoria looking westward through one of the arches of the government buildings)

Inherent in Christmas is the spirit of goodwill.

It prompts the sending of greeting cards to those who we especially cherish. It disregards all color lines and geographical boundaries. It underlies our whole Christian faith.

So, now that I have returned from a visit to Africa – – Cairo to Cape Town – – I want to emphasize that in no place in this world where it has been so far my privilege to visit, have I found so great a manifestation of “goodwill toward men” as in East Africa, the Rhodesians and the Union of South Africa. It abundantly manifests itself at slightest opportunity in courtesy, sincerity, honesty and cheery on selfishness. “White Africa’s” Christmas spirit, prevalent here the year ’round, is an outstanding memory I bring back from my five months’Safari among these friendly folks “down under”.

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All my life I have had an urge to travel. But bringing up six children through two world wars and depressions, fulfilling business obligations, etc., All have conspired to make time and money for travel unavailable until arrival of the “calmer year”.

A trip to England and the continent in 1954 encouraged a more ambitious trip to Africa this year; but “Why Africa?” Is  frequently asked. the mountain climbers answer, “because it’s there” is as good as any.

As a confirmed freighter traveler I left New York January 20 on a new region ship making its maiden voyage to the Persian Gulf – – first stop Genoa, Italy. Black line shows route from Cairo to Cape Town.

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(Top Note): My camel driver, on the short ride from hotel to the Sphinx of the great pyramid, confided to me that his beast was “the real McCoy – – his name Pepsi Cola”.

(Bottom Note): The Great Mosque of Cairo as seen from the Citadel. Cairo, Africa’s largest city, the metropolis of the Nile, traces its origin not to the ancient Egyptians but to Arab invaders.

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Flooding of a portion of the Sudan upon completion of the proposed Aswan dam may endanger this 3000-year-old Temple built by Ramses III, — “Farrow of the Exodus”. Notice the small carved figures between his feet, depicting wives – – quite unimportant factors by ancient Egyptian standards.ADG - 1956 or 1957 Christmas Card - page 4

A Maasai lion killer wearing headdress made from the main of a lien indicates he has killed a lion with his own spear. Designs on Shield designates hunters clan. These are one of the fiercest tribes in Africa.ADG - 1956 or 1957 Christmas Card - Africa - page 5

A plane flight over the equator from Khartoum in the Sudan brought me to Nairobi in Kenya (pronounced Kenya). While within just a few miles of the equator, the city enjoys ideal “June” weather because of its 5500 foot elevation. A superior grade of coffee and Sissel fiber for twine, mats and bags are important products of this region.

The much-publicized amount now troubles caused by a comparatively few of the fanatic native population a few years ago have now been practically wiped out. Ports in American newspapers of native unrest in Africa I believe are greatly exaggerated, as also reports in African papers of our own Little Rock troubles.

These boys are not worrying about it.

ADG - 1956 or 1957 Christmas Card - Africa - centerpiece

One of the charms of Victoria Falls is its unspoiled natural beauty. No hot dog stands, motels or souvenir shop Mart its appearance.

It was discovered by David living stone in 1855 and probably looks today just as it did then. It is more than a mile wide and from 256 to 343 feet high – – from 2 to 3 times the size of Niagara it is said to be the only place in the world where one can see a rainbow by moonlight when the moon is full. The rising cloud of missed make taking photos difficult except at low water. Readers of Rider Haggard’s books will be interested to know that the scene of his King Solomon’s Mines was located nearby.ADG - 1956 or 1957 Christmas Card - Africa - page 8

“treetops”, situated on the perimeter of a huge game preserve, was where I watched from a 50 foot balcony of heard of 32 elephants dispute with a single ornery rhinoceros possession of a combination salt lick and waterhole. The elephants, while exhibiting no fear, concluded it was not worth battling the ugly, cantankerous rhino, so they all stood in a semi circle for perhaps an hour watching the interloper take possession of their salt lick, until, with a snorting contemptuous departure, he strolled off to allow his bigger cousins to resume their interrupted feast. The other animals gathered here, baboons, wart hogs, water buffalo, wildebeest, all accorded the rhino a healthy respect and gave him plenty of room.

Here also at Treetops in 1952 was in acted a modern fairy story. The van Princess Elizabeth and her husband Philip stayed overnight to view the wild animals. Next morning a royal messenger arrived announcing that her father, the King, had died overnight and she had awakened to find herself Queen Elisabeth of England.

Incidentally, a few years later the mom mouse burned treetops, later rebuilt as pictured.ADG - 1956 or 1957 Christmas Card - Africa - page 9

Lake Tanganyika is said to be the longest lake in the world. Assuming it to be situated in the U. S., with one and in Bridgeport (Connecticut) it would find the other and halfway down the coast of North Carolina

On the two day journey from Kigoma to Moulunga the shore on both sides was visible on clear days.

Lake steamer on which I traveled was built in Germany before World War I, dismantled in pieces small enough to be transported through the African jungle on the backs of natives and reassembled on the shore of the lake. When, during the war, things were going poorly for the Germans, they thoroughly greased it and sunk it in the lake so that just the tops of the smokestacks showed above water. There it remained for four years. By treaty at wars and written acquired the territory, the boat was raised and reconditioned and these same engines were used to propel me to my destination.

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A Zulu village which I visited about a days bus ride from Durban, consisted of six kraals (the chief had six wives) . Each wife has her own round hot or kraal (pronounced crawl).. The chief himself as we arrived was washing his feet from a quart size tin can. This fact did not seem to bother him nor his wives who seemingly had no urgent domestic chores. Everyone, including a horde of youngsters, soon lined up and went through several native dances, even the two-year-olds taking part, while a puppy to goats watched nonchalantly from the sidelines.

A chief, I am informed, can acquire a good-looking wife for 20 cows, holier ones for as low as 60. Quite some negotiations are necessary before the headman can acquire a wife. Her family are all called into conference – – uncles, aunts and even grandpa gets into the act. The girl herself has little to say in the matter.

If after the lapse of two years however, there are no little Zulus running around, the girl isn’t back to her folks and efforts made to get the purchase price back, often unavailingly.

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Both Johannesburg (Jo-Burgfor short) and Durban, judged by American standards, are prosperous and progressive cities. Woolworth stores, supermarkets, frozen foods, etc., rank them ahead of most European cities in this respect. The people one sees on the streets are stylishly dressed, neat and clean looking – – one might indeed think he was on Fifth Avenue in New York.

American autos are numerous – – Chevys seem most popular and gas stations are almost exclusively Socony, (While Lad was in Venezuela, he worked for the Socony-Vacuum Oil Company)  Atlantic  (He had an Atlantic Service Station in the middle of Trumbull)  and Shell, with their familiar signs. Highway markings – – solid and dotted white lines are the same – – the only difference being that everyone here drives on the wrong side of the road.

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Here are a few statistics which may be interesting.

Total time of trip, one for one days

Average cost, $15 per day

Freighter service excellent but not recommended for those who must rely on tight time schedule.

The Orient still remains to be explored. Perhaps someday I may qualify as a seasoned world traveler.

A frequent site in Africa is the huge aunt Hills. This spire in Kenya was 35 feet high when the picture was taken. Some tribes relish aunts as a delicacy.

ADG - 1956 or 1957 Christmas Card - Africa - inside back cover


Special Picture # 97 – 1959 Christmas Card – Africa


This is another Christmas Card Grandpa designed and printed, but the date isn’t clear. I don’t remember what year he went to Africa although I have a few reminders of that trip. Enjoy Grandpa’s view of Africa. ADG - 1956 or 1957 Christmas Card - Africa - cover


ADG - 1956 or 1957 Christmas Card - Africa Trip - inside cover


ADG - 1956 or 1957 Christmas Card - page 1


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ADG - 1956 or 1957 Christmas Card - Africa - page 5


ADG - 1956 or 1957 Christmas Card - Africa - centerpiece


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ADG - 1956 or 1957 Christmas Card - Africa - inside back cover

Trumbull – Fair Blossoms – May 23, 1943

The time is getting closer for both Dan and Dick to be shipped overseas but as Jean says, “it could be weeks or months” until it happens. Grandpa is  surely missing his sons and all the work they used to do around the old homestead. At least with two venerable ladies living there, he doesn’t have to deal with fixing the meals and cleaning up after dinner.

Trumbull, Conn.

The Old Homestead

The Old Homestead

May 23, 1943

Fair blossoms of my fading years:

That reminds me of the story. Prof. Huxley once gave his class in biology the question: “What is a lobster?”, to which one student replied: “a lobster is a red fish that moves backwards”. The good professor retorted that that was a very good answer except for three points: first, a lobster wasn’t red; second, it wasn’t a fish; and third, it didn’t move backwards. None of you are fair (Jean, you’re out of this), you are not blossoms, and I am not fading – – but why go on? “Years” is the only thing left and I have plenty of them.

(There were) three ingredients for the correspondence melting pot this week. Jean (substituting for Dick, as usual) says there is no further news about Dick being shipped, but they have started to crate their supplies for shipment which doesn’t sound very good, but you never can tell. It may be weeks or months before they are shipped. I’d give anything if Dick and I could be in Trumbull right now. If I had my choice between Trumbull and Florida, I’d take Trumbull. It’s so nice and peaceful and everyone is so friendly. Florida is all right but it’s getting too warm for me. (Later) Dick came home Saturday night and told us they were being shipped to another camp. All Miami Beach has to be evacuated to make room for the wounded soldiers from Africa (Just the soldiers have to leave). They are going either to Toledo, Ohio, or Indianapolis, Indiana. So I guess I’ll be moving again but I don’t mind. I like to travel. We wives decided we would stay here until we hear from our husbands which probably won’t be until the end of the month. I started working today at Sears Roebuck, Electrical Appliance Department.

Dan writes: a new company is being formed to fill out the new battalion of which we are a part. There are vague promises of intensive training for overseas service. As a consequence we are reminded that AWOL offenses are now equivalent to desertion. Papers and furloughs will ultimately be granted “to finish up personal affairs at home”, which means that I must wait my turn. I don’t know when that will be.” Well, Dan, whenever it comes we’ll have Decoration Day,he soup kettle on the fire. It used to be an old family custom, if you recall, to have a family get-together on Decoration Day, so if you can get leave for next Sunday, it will be in the best Guion tradition.

A letter from the family’s only Sergeant (Lad) says camp regulations are becoming stiffer with fewer passes for shorter periods. Weather is perfect. He may get a furlough in July or August.

No word this week from the midget of the tundra but he wrote a nice long newsy letter last week so I can’t kick until next week.

Not much local color to report. Flowerbeds and storm windows have occupied my attention yesterday afternoon and today. Have had the lawnmower sharpened but the rain every day last week has made the grass look as bad as Dave’s need for a haircut. The two venerable ladies send their love (by request). They both have numerous bloodless scrapes over who shall do the dishes while insisting the other sits down, etc. I seldom have to referee – – just let them fight it out by themselves because I know it will end in a draw and leave them free to start all over again after the next meal. Until next time,

Your loving           DAD

Tomorrow’s post will mark the end of May, 1943, or Decoration Day, as it was called back then, and then we’ll check up on Biss in St Petersburg (1935), Lad in Venezuela (1939)  and the boys in Alaska (1940). I promise that it will be easier keeping track of everyone once we get to 1942. Would love to read your thoughts on this blog.

Judy Guion