Army Life – Dear Dad From Marian – August 7, 1944

At this point, Lad is expecting to be sent overseas and Marian will drive the Buick and trailer to Orinda, California, to have a short visit with her parents and then she will head to Trumbull for a reunion with Grandpa and the rest of the family there.

Monday

(postmarked 8/7/1944)

Lad and Marian - Pomona, CA

Lad and Marian – Pomona, CA

Dear Dad: – –

I knew that the minute I put down in writing the fact that “we thought we were going to stay here for a while,” the Army would change our minds for us. Maybe I’ll learn some day that I’ll never know what the Army is planning from one minute to the next. Lad is supposed to leave here Wednesday or Thursday for Flora, Mississippi, and I am going to drive the car and meet him there – or rather at Jackson, Mississippi, for there is not much more than the Army Post at Flora. Jackson is about 20 miles away from the Post, and as it is the capital of Mississippi it can’t be too awful. Some people must live there. But every report we’ve gotten so far, from fellows who have and who have not been there, say that Flora is nothing more than a h___ hole in the very worst degree. Not very encouraging, is it, but if we go there expecting the very worst we might be pleasantly surprised. I hope so, anyway. Whether this is to be a training center or a staging area or both we don’t know. Last month the Battalion was very “hot” and practically on its way overseas, but things cooled down considerably and we heard that another Battalion had been sent across instead. So, as usual, we don’t know very much about what we are doing. But we hope for the best.

It looks as though I’m going to have to postpone my very muchly anticipated return visit to Trumbull. May I have a rain – check, however, so that I may arrive at a later date? The only bright spot in the idea of Lad’s going overseas is the prospect of being with you again – and not just because of the snow, either! Perhaps I’ll be a little late, but I might show up yet.

It is going to take all our available cash to move, Dad, so once again we are going to have to ask you to wait for another payment on our loan. We never seem to have a chance to save for these unexpected trips. They come much too suddenly and often for us to adjust the family budget! We are not sure of Lad’s new address. As soon as we know it, we will send you a card. And although we expect to move from Pomona on Wednesday or Thursday, don’t be too sure of it. Our next letter might still come from Pomona, because knowing the Army as we do, I am not leaving here until I know for sure that the fellows are on the train and on their way.

Mother’s operation was very successful. Already she can see 50% better than before, and the doctor hopes that in three months time, when she gets her glasses, that she will be able to see 100% better. So that is very encouraging, and now that the mental strain and worry are over for her, she should improve quite rapidly. I’m still planning to stop by Orinda on my way to Flora, although I won’t be able to spend very much time there.

With all our love,

Marian and Lad

The rest of the week will be devoted to a letter Grandpa wrote to his five sons scattered all over the world. They will be shorter than usual postings but the natural breaks in the letter worked out this way.

Judy Guion

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My Ancestors (33d) – Alfred Peabody Guion – Camp Santa Anita and Marian Irwin – 1943

(1) Alfred Peabody Guion; (2) Judith Anne Guion.

      Alfred Peabody Guion (Lad)

My Dad, Alfred Peabody Guion, was inducted into the Army in May, 1942.  He was sent to Aberdeen, Maryland, for 13 weeks of basic training, then 8 weeks of N.C.O. School, 3 more weeks of Teacher Training  and 11 weeks of training for  Diesel Engine Instructor, Ordinance School.

He was then sent to Flint, Michigan, for 3 weeks of training on the maintenance of G. M.  2-cycle Diesel Engine Model 2071 at the Wolverine plant.

Now that he had been thoroughly trained, he was sent to Santa Anita, California, which was still being prepared for Army use.

Excerpt from a letter home,  January 9, 1943, from Camp Santa Anita:

“The camp here – contrary to what its name implies – is far from comfortable.  No sheets or pillowcases, no heat (yes, we need heat), no hot water and no organization as yet.  It is still very much in the process of being renovated (after the Japs) and built.  In a couple of months it will, in all probability, be much better.”

At this point he was reunited with three other men who had gone through the same training in Aberdeen. The four, (Al (Alfred or Lad to family), Art Lind, Vic _____ and Vince _____, worked and socialized together.

He spent 7 months there as an instructor of Diesel Engine Theory and 4 months as an Instructor of Automotive Electricity and Engine Tune-up. During this span of time, he met Marian Irwin at the Hospitality Center in South Pasadena. She was the Executive Director of the South Pasadena Camp Fire Girls.

Excerpt from a letter home, April 8, 1942, from the Hospitality Center of South Pasadena:

“Again too many days have gone by, but they have all been full.  Even April 3rd, (Lad’s birthday). I got a letter from you on the eventful day – thanks.  It went by as usual, but the bunch of us were invited to a party in my honor at the home of one of the girls I have met here.  In fact, she is so much like Babe (Lad’s girlfriend in Trumbull) that I have difficulty now and then in calling her Marian.  She is not quite as pretty as Babe but resembles her in almost every other way.  Even to occupations.  Well, anyhow, the party went off fine and about 2 a.m. on Sunday we decided to go to a swing-shift dance at the Casa Manana and had a good time.  Got in camp at 6 Sun. morning.”

                    Lad and Marian, So. Pasadena, CA

Lad and Marian continued to spend quite a bit of time with each other.  In September, Lad returned to Trumbull on a furlough, then returned to Camp Santa Anita.

Excerpt from letter dated September 22, 1943 written from South Pasadena:

“Arrived in L.A. at 4:10 A.M. and, so help me, Marian was there to meet me.  In fact I’m writing this at her house and this is her pen and ink.”

Excerpt from letter written at the end of September, 1943, from the Hospitality Center of South Pasadena:

                              Lad Guion and Marian Irwin – 1943

“Dear Dad:- Since I arrived things have progressed rapidly.  I have had a complete reversal of more or less personal ideas, and Marian has consented to be my wife.  I never thought I was capable of such strong emotions, but they are certainly present.  When I have had a chance to calm down and think more clearly, I’ll right again and give you more in detail.  Lots of love, Lad    P.S. I personally think that she can top Jean without a great deal of trouble —”

 

Next Sunday I will continue Lad and Marian’s story with their wedding and numerous Army re-locations before Lad shipped out for France.

Tomorrow, I’ll begin with five more sections of the Beginning – Reminiscences of Alfred D Guion.

Judy Guion

Army Life – Dear Dad, Aunt Betty and Jean – A Change In Plans – July 31, 1944

Lad and Marian - Pomona, CA

         Lad and Marian – Pomona, CA

Monday

Dear Dad, Aunt Betty and Jean,

Here we go again!  Life in the Army is very much like sitting on a time bomb. We never know whether we will go off in the next minute, or whether our precarious seat will prove to be a dud.

The fellows have been told that they should have some technical training, so beginning tomorrow,  Lad is going to be teaching a course on the finer points of the Electrical System of Diesel Engines. This should last about two weeks. Actually, it means absolutely nothing, beyond the fact that it will keep the fellows busy! So, the way things stand now, we should be here for another two weeks, but just as soon as I put that in writing, the Army will change our minds for us! Consequently, you now know just about as much of our future plans as we do, and as to their definite-ness – your guess is as good as ours!

Life goes on pretty much the same these days, in all other respects. Lad is back at the Pomona Base now, and doesn’t have to report for work until 5:45 AM. He’s keeping busy, but is not working as hard or as long as he had to when he was at Camp Haan.

We thought we were going to be able to send you another addition for the ”Rogue’s Gallery”, but we were not satisfied with the finished product, so the photographers are going to see what they can do about it. But it will take another two weeks to get the pictures back. But you’ve waited this long for a picture of us together, so it shouldn’t be too hard to wait that much longer.

On the next cool Sunday, when you have nothing else to do, will you look in the top shelf of Lad’s trunk that is in the attic and see if his flashlight is there? It has a black, hard rubber case, with the red tab on it which says, “Approved by Underwriters Laboratory” on it. It is a gas proof and waterproof one, and Lad would like to have it with him if it is there. If you can’t find it in the trunk, contact Babe Mulllins, and see if she knows where it is.

Aunt Betty, I’m sure Ced has been using his most persuasive powers to get you to Alaska. But don’t forget that there might be some question about your being able to smoke those cigars of yours up there. Families, you know, understand these things and make the necessary allowances, but strangers are apt to raise their eyebrows at such goings on. And I’m sure the natives wouldn’t understand at all. They might think you were on fire, and  bury you under an avalanche of snow. So don’t say I didn’t warn you. Besides, who’s going to help me shovel a path to the garage if I come to Connecticut this winter?

With all our love,

Lad and Marian

Tomorrow, an excerpt from a letter written by John Jackson Lewis to his family back in New York. He is writing from San Jose but includes more details about his first few days in San Francisco.

On Sunday, another post about my Ancestors, this one about my Dad, Alfred Peabody Guion. 

Next week I’ll be continuing posts from The Beginning – Reminiscences of Alfred D. Guion.

Judy Guion

Army Life – Dear Dad – Still Don’t Know Anything – July 24, 1944

 

Marion at Pomona - smiling - in color- 1943

Marian (Irwin) Guion

Monday

7/24/44

Dear Dad,

Another week has gone by and we still don’t know anything definite. The Army gets us all keyed up, thinking we are going to move within the hour, practically, and then just let’s us wait, literally holding our breaths. But you can be sure that when we do move, it will be in a hurry.

Did I tell you that mother was scheduled for an operation for a cataract on her eye? She was operated on last Tuesday and the doctors are very encouraging and optimistic about her receiving her eyesight back. Both eyes have been affected, so that for the last six months she has had practically no vision from either eye but the doctors feel sure that she will have a good percentage of her vision restored, and although we haven’t received the final report, we are very hopeful. She had only one eye operated on this time. I believe she has to wait about three months before she has the second operation. In the meantime Dad has been the chief cook and bottle washer around the house. His two week’s vacation was scheduled for last week and this, so that he could be home while mother was at the hospital. Some vacation, I’d say, but he seems to be getting along very nicely. We got a very nice letter from Dave last week. He seems to feel as badly as we do about not being able to see him. Seems as though we just miss him each time. Maybe the next time we will be more successful. I certainly hope so. If Jean is around would you ask her if she knows the recipe for the mocha frosting that Biss makes? Lad maintains that it is delicious, so it sounds like exactly what I need to cover my meager attempts at cake baking. Perhaps you know the recipe. And incidentally, Jean might also include the recipe for that delicious tomato soup cake of hers.

Love to all,

Marian

                    Lad Guion

Dear Folks: –

I’m not feeling too well, having eaten something yesterday that did not agree with me too well. Hope that by tomorrow it will be a better behaved stomach.

I believe I told you when I was home, that if you could do anything for me I’d let you know. Here is something you can do. I would like you to try to get me a Boy Scout knife or one very similar (not too bulky), two tubes of Molle shaving cream, a couple of “T” shirts, white, size 38, a pair of tennis shoes, size 8 1/2 C (white if possible) and if shoe stamps are necessary, don’t bother, and some stamp pad ink, permanent. (Like the laundry uses). I understand that if we go overseas, we should have saltwater soap with us, so maybe, if you can find 6 bars, you might send them along also.

Since our permanency here is limited, please send it to me at camp – 3019 Co., 142 O.B.A.M. Bn., Camp Pomona, Ponoma, Calif. In that case, if we move, it will be sure to follow me for ever or until it reaches me.  That is one nice thing about Army mail.  It will eventually reach its destination.  On second thought, that also has its bad points.  One can’t ship unpaid bills.

Well, as Marian said, Our love to all.

For the rest of the week, a long letter from Grandpa and another letter from Marian.

Judy Guion

Army Life – Lad Writes Home – Marian’s Influence – July 27, 1943

Lad finally finds time between teaching classes and socializing to write home a little more than a quick telegram.

Marian Irwin and Lad Guion - 1943

 

South Pasadena Hospitality Center

July 27, 1943

Dear Dad:

This pen is no good – time out while I look for another. Time in. Not much better, but at least it doesn’t force as many holes in the paper. Another, and this seems to be the best here.

This letter you can lay to Marian’s influence. It has been hot (to everyone else “terrifically hot“) and we were just dancing. We stopped because of the uncomfortable temperature down here and she made me promise to write. The rules in effect here state that the hostesses may not leave the premises in the company of any man in the

services, so she has gone out to sit on the lawn and cool off – and here am I, doing something I should have done three weeks ago.

As I cabled, I have been and am fine, and apparently California agrees with me. Quite frequently it reminds me of South America.

The bathing suit arrived okay, thanks, but it was addressed to company “A”, instead of “D”, which caused a few days delay, but I’ve had no chance to use it yet. But if tomorrow is as hot as today, I expect to try to find a spot in the pool here in South Pasadena.

Sunday, with Marian as company, I finally got to Santa Anita Army Air Base, where Larry Sieck, one of the fellows I met in South America, is stationed. He arrived five or six weeks ago and I’ve tried each weekend to get there. It is only 35 miles away – he is well and we spent a quiet Sunday afternoon discussing the Army and South America.

That was quite a trip you made, but I can imagine just how disappointed you must’ve been upon finding that Dan had departed. But I’m very glad you took the bull by the horns, and continued in the eventually successful hunt. I’m sorry to hear that both Dan and Dick have shipped or will shortly. I would have liked to talk to both of them before departure. Things here still look fairly hopeful, but you can never tell at what moment something may happen. I hope that no one tries any treachery until after my furlough, if they intend to try at all.

I never told you, I guess, that my camera and all equipment (about $600) and my portable radio were stolen. I sort of miss both things. My car, however, is O.K., except that a couple of weeks ago I had to put in a new front-end since it was beyond adjustment ($23) and as soon as I can get $38 more, I’ll put in a new clutch.

Art Lind is home in Washington state, on a furlough at present, and Vic has been sent to Oregon State College for a years study in Electrical Engineering. Junior is going to Maryland in three or four weeks on his furlough, and I shall, I hope, be along right after him.

We have had nothing but sunshine out here, now, since sometime in February, and since Friday, it has been quite warm, close to the 100° mark.

Monday, yesterday, I was assigned to a course called “Engine Tuneup” which I don’t like to well, but I’m still hoping to get that Diesel Principles course going. When that happens, I’ll be satisfied for a short while, anyway.

Well Dad, good luck and my love to everyone.

Lad

The following was mailed to Lad at Camp Santa Anita. It is from The University of Southern California, Engineering, Science, and Management War Training Program, certifying that Alfred Peabody Guion has satisfactorily completed the war training course in INTERNAL COMBUSTION ENGINE TESTING, dated July 19, 1943.  

Tomorrow, another letter from Grandpa  (only page 1, the rest of the letter is missing). On Friday, a poem titled “To My Son” by John Weaver, which was included in this letter to his sons.

Judy Guion

 

Trumbull – A Page From The Book of Trumbull Personalities (1) – Family – July 25, 1943

Every once in a while, when there doesn’t seem to be much local news to report, Grandpa composes an update of what is going on and where each of the boys are located. In this addition, he also adds news of friends too.

A Page From the Book of Trumbull Personalities

Compiled July 25, 1943

RICHARD GUION.

When last heard from was in New Orleans, and may still be there in the absence of any news to the contrary. It was in this city that your paternal great grandfather, in the days just preceding the outbreak of the Civil War, at that time a chaplain in the US Army, insisted on saying the prayer in the regular Episcopal service for “the President of the United States”, and in consequence found half his congregation walking out on him.

( I received the following note from another descendant of this great-grandfather, Rev. Elijah Guion:

Is there anyway that you can edit today’s letter or add for tomorrow that Elijah was the  interim Priest at the cathedral in New Orleans when they had been informed that they could only pray for the south.  He wrote Lincoln saying he wanted to pray for both north and south and keep the church open.  No reply.  He prayed as he felt led and left the church to join the army  as a chaplain.
I had not heard that the congregation walked out, which I do not question.  Everything I ever read was he joined the army after he closed the church. Small detail!
From the book “Colonial Origins of the California Guion’s, and Informal Genealogical Study, by Ernest Jerome Hopkins, I add the following information:
“Guion was a very able man,  scholarly, fanatical in his devotion to his Church,  with a rock-like firmness of conviction and character. If you have wondered why a Northerner of unswerving principle and black-and-white judgments as to right and wrong ever selected the New Orleans of that day as his field of work, the answer is perfectly plain – – no more sinful spot could be found, no environment more in need of a flatulent crusade against Satan and all his works. I think of this grimly combative man, who never knew the meaning of the word “compromise”, as a throwback to his Huguenot ancestors of the sentries of the Great Persecution and the years of the Seizure of Law Rochelle. Certainly he was a flaming sword in exotic New Orleans, and he commanded a following, as his long tenure proves. Then, in the end, they repudiated him, it was over a matter of principle as to which he wouldn’t yield. He cared not a comma for public relations – – that was his wife’s concern – – and he never yielded a point in his life. You could follow such a man, or you could hate and fear him, but in either case, he would have your deep respect.”

 

JEAN GUION.

Is now a (de-) MOTHER, at least she claims to have spent most of the week past cleaning up her room and spraying her clothes. Tomorrow she starts her quest for a job in Bridgeport, having given Harvey Hubble, Inc. a weeks opportunity to lure her back to her old work.

CEDRIC GUION.

Has recently been the object of an investigation by the F.B.I. One of their G-man, a very likable chap, has recently called on Police Chief Beckwith, EX-scouter Shaddick, Papa Guion, Mr. Hughes and probably Rev. Douglas Chandler, and from what I am told, the quality of the reports are such as to make a person with only the rudiments of modesty blush violently. During the last week, just before the deadline of the agents report date, a letter from Alaska arrived from the principal, which, while still indicating his adherence to his ideals, proclaimed the practical, common sense of the necessity of force under the world conditions that have developed. I assume this means he will not be classed as a “Conscientious Objector” and have to be included among the bunch of religious fanatics and extremists that constitute the majority, and to which he does not of course belong at all. Whether this now means that his occupational deferment will still enable him to work at Woodley’s, or whether he will join the three other brothers on Uncle Sam’s payroll, is the next question on which an answer is most anxiously awaited. The answer too, will have a bearing on what home visit plans he might have up is long sleeve.

DANIEL GUION.

No word this week from our special Topo. Engineer, which I take it to mean, indicated he is still at Indiantown Gap (Pennsylvania). Incidentally I wish both he and Dick would give me some information as to how much quicker the mail would reach them than letters written the regular way.

ALFRED P. GUION.

Has now resorted to the telegraph to keep us home folks posted, “No further news about furlough but just the same send along my valise” is the optimistic message it conveyed. I’ll do just that Lad, if I can locate one that seems to be yours. I hate to send it empty but don’t know what to fill it with. The only reason it will not be on its way to you soon will be a post office regulation limiting size of packages that may be sent to boys in the service without special permission from the commanding officer. You might inquire about this from your end.

Tomorrow, I’ll be posting the rest of this letter with news from and about friends, Peabodys and Duryees.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Dear Sons of the North, East, South and West (1) – News From Dave and Trumbull – July 23, 1944

Grandpa (Alfred D Guion) and his sister, Elsie May Guion

Trumbull, Conn.  July 23, 1944

Dear Sons of the North, East, South and West:

Having gone to the well of inspiration for ideas to incorporate in this missive and finding it dry, I have had to resort to sort of a priming process and have turned back the pages to see what you were all doing in former years. About this time in 1942 I find Lad was just starting in teaching diesel engineering at Aberdeen; Dan was rumored to be shortly going to Hagerstown; Ced was short of tennis balls and Dick and David were both home. In late July 1943, Dick was about to sail from New Orleans, Jean had just gotten back home from Indianapolis, Ced was recuperating from his first fire burns, Dan was still in Indiantown Gap but all packed ready to go, I having recently visited him for a farewell visit. Lad was in California and had just been assigned to engine tuneup work. Marian’s name begins to appear frequently in his correspondence. Barbara was thinking of joining the WAAC.

Dave writes he has now been assigned to a new company, Co. D, 31st Sig., Trng. Bn., ASFTC. He says: “My new company is absolutely A-1 except for the chow. The food isn’t too good but I understand that it has been pretty poor recently all throughout the post. The fellows I’m with on the whole, are a much nicer bunch that any gang I’ve been with yet. Sunday I sprained my wrist and I don’t know how I did it. I’ve got it wrapped now and it is as good an excuse as any for the poor job I’m doing tonight on the typewriter. We took a long hike last night – – the first I’ve taken since that week I left for home. We walked some 12 or 14 miles with light field pack, gas mask and rifle. I don’t mind telling you that I was pretty tired when I got back. Did I go right to bed then? No. Now that it’s summer down here we have to be mighty careful of chiggers and ticks. When we’ve been out in the field now we come in and strip, take a shower and while in the shower room, we go over each other – – like monkeys in the zoo – – and take off any chiggers and ticks. All the boys in my barracks love to sing so we do quite a lot of it. We seem to have an equal number of rebels and Yankees so we go over this problem every so often.”

I’m going to interrupt this letter right here like I myself was interrupted by a broadcast over the radio predicting that the attempted assassination of Hitler this week would lead to the collapse of Germany before the end of the summer and with that of Japan six months after Germany.. Now we would like to believe that! Even if it is six months premature it is still good news.

Elsie writes she is taking a week’s vacation beginning August 14 and is heading for Trumbull. How about you boys coming home for that week to help make your visit enjoyable?

Jane was over here a while ago and said Charlie (Hall), when last heard from, was at Pearl Harbor, had been assigned to duty as assistant engineer in charge of four diesels on a big Navy tanker, the CASH. Art (Mantle, her brother)  is still up north in Washington state waiting for the new ship he has been assigned to to be finished and put in commission.

Tomorrow I’ll post the rest of this letter to Grandpa’s sons in all directions.

Judy Guion