Life in Alaska – Dear Grande Pierre and all le Habitat de Guion (2) – May 17, 1946

Around the first of the month the company asked me to go on days to turn out the old floats for the Travelair at Merrill field. I was the only one who had worked on floats before, and so was the appointee. I started in by testing the floats, found some leaks had developed in the two years the floats have been idle and so enlisted additional help in the person of Art Dawe, one of our sheet metal men, in patching the bad portions. It was on Saturday the 11th, a week ago today, that we were working on this project

page two    May 18th

 very industriously, I inside the float, Art outside. In drilling and hammering on the surface there were particles of aluminum and other small objects floating about in the air and a good deal of it found its way into my eyes. I gave it only passing thot, as every day in Anchorage one’s eyes are continually assaulted by flying dust stirred up by passing cars and the whims of the winds. However, on the way in after work at night I felt an obstinate particle in my right eye. At home I stood before a mirror and observed a fine, shiny piece of material, square on the eyeball. I took a piece of tissue, moistened the tip of a twisted point, and deftly lifted the particle from my inflamed eye. Finding some Murine, I put a few drops in each eye, and went on about my business, forgetting the whole affair 15 or 20 minutes later when both eyes felt normal. I visited the Thorsen’s till about 1 a.m., then went home and read in bed and (tsk,tsk) till nearly 3. My eyes became a little watery, but seemed not exceptionally so under the circumstances. However I crawled under the covers and turned out the light. When I shut my eyes they both seemed suddenly painful, but I figured they were just rebelling against all the misuses of the day and night. I went to work Sunday, but from the moment I arose the light was nearly unbearable, but I soon realized that the left eye was the sensitive one, the right only sympathetic. By covering the left eye I was able to drive a little, but got anyone riding with me to do it if possible. All day on the floats they bothered me, and outdoors the strain was terrific. I decided that if the condition wasn’t improved Monday morning that I would stay off work and visit a doctor. The rest you already know, except that I didn’t mention that Dr. Romig found a small foreign body in the left eye which he removed with a knife. This particle was dug in right on the edge of the cornea, and as it was so serious, he had me eating penicillin and dropping it in my eyes also. Yesterday he sent me to Dr. Shepherd, and with the aid of the eye machine Dr. Shepherd discovered that there was some sediment left on the right cornea from the piece I had removed, and that was what he removed last night. Now there is a diminishing  ulcer on the left eye, and as I said before, all should be as good as ever within two weeks. In the meantime I am to see the doctor every two days until he knows all danger from the ulcer is over. Did I ever tell you about my operation?          I failed to find Dan’s address, so will forward the package to you for re-mailing along with a package for Dave which he never received, and which was returned to me last Wednesday. My apologies to you, Dave, but as you see, it was no fault of mine.

May 20th

          Probably better skip the refrigerator, as I have too many expenses already. The end of this month I am going into a small apartment with Chuck Halgrimson, one of the hangar fellows. There is no refrigerator in the apartment, but will get along sans that item.

Saw Romig this morning, he says my eyes are coming fine. Now it is time to go to work, so until the next chance, Adieu.

Am sending a package containing Dave’s bundle, and also the gift for the little French girl. Will you please address the package and send it on to France, letting me know the bill.

Ced

Love to A Betty, Jean and Marian

Hello Dave and Greetings to the old married stinkers.

Also included in this letter were two articles about travel over the Alaskan Highway and a poem about Helicopter Pilots called THE STUMP*JUMPERS LAMENT.

Tomorrow I’ll post more Special Pictures of the Trumbull House – Then and Now.

On Sunday, more about My Ancestors.

Judy Guion

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Life in Alaska – Dear Grande Pierre and all le Habitat de Guion (1) – May 17, 1946

 

CEDRIC D. GUION

P. O. Box 822

ANCHORAGE, ALASKA

May 17, 1946

4:35 p.m.

Dear Grande pierre and all le habitat de Guion

Received the news of Danielle yesterday, and can imagine what excitement it must have caused back in quiet Trumbull. I’ll guess that there was much supper table talk on the night the cable was received, oui?

I made a trip into a cute little shop in Anchorage today, and purchased a bit of frillery for our new relative. I expect I’ll mail it tomorrow if I can find the address to which it should be mailed. I’m dying to meet the three Frenchies, and share the suspense along with the rest of you while we wait to hear when they will arrive at the feet of Miss Liberty down battery way.

May 18th

          The doctor says I can go to work tonight. No doubt you are now learning what killed the dog. You see, he removed the patch from my right eye this afternoon. It seemed necessary to have it covered as long as the operation had been performed. The right eye being bad was a surprise to all of us, as everyone thot it was only my left eye which was affected. The operation (the last one) was performed by a specialist on the post, as the local city doctor was a little worried about the left eye upon which he had operated last Monday. He sent me to Dr. Shepherd at the post hospital for observation and advice. Dr. Shepherd seemed to think my left eye was progressing OK, but discovered the trouble in the right eye. Now, as I type, my left eye is doing most of the work is I can’t even see the letters on the keyboard with my right eye. There is a slight ulcer in the left eye, but if all goes well it should clear up within two weeks. When the pupil in the right eye becomes normal again the vision should be good. Right now it is about the size of a large pea due to the fact that Dr. Shepherd used a solution to dilate it last night, just before he operated. Of course all this is rather expensive, but I will probably come out fairly well, as the insurance is supposed to cover all doctor bills and a percentage of the lost salary (about 60%, less the wages for the first and last day lost.) The cost of medicine (now up to $12) will have to be borne by myself I suppose. Really I am very fortunate I’m told. There is only one specialist in the territory, Dr. Shepherd, and he has out at the station hospital, the only eye exploration machine in the territory, and it is one of very few in the U.S.

I have been off work since last Monday. I worked Sunday but was very miserable doing it. Of course I should explain that I was working days all last week, and therein lies the tale.

Tomorrow, the tale of how this all came about.

On Saturday, I will begin a new series, the Diary of John Jackson Lewis from January 28, 1851 to March 11, 1851 and his story, Journal of a Voyage to California, during those same dates.  

Judy Guion

Trumbull – My Dear Little Pills -News From Ced – January 31, 1943

???????????????????

Same old place

Usual day, Jan. 24, 1943

Same three boys:

Once upon a time there were three little bears, a Laddie bear, old man river bear and a ceddie (not teddie) bear. And it came time for them to leave the old cave and go out into the cruel world and fight for Uncle Sam. So they all went off and left a little bear behind (of course they left more than that but then that would spoil the joke). So off they chugged in their little gas wagons, being modern bears, and one went race- tracking where Japanese beetles had once bored (Lad is at Camp Santa Anita, California where the horse racing track is now being converted from a Japanese Internment  camp to an Army Base) and another went up to see his aunt aureora borealis (Ced is in Anchorage Alaska) and the third into a lion Den of his own choosing (in Lancaster, Pennsylvania) training for surveying and map-making). What happened is still unwritten history and will be continued in our next installment. Meanwhile Dan is home on a 10 day furlough and airing, hanging his close on the proverbial hickory limb to get rid of the odor of soft cold gas with which his army quarters are permeated due to heating fuel.

My other two boys have joined the ranks of strong, silent man, emphasis on the silent part, but that hope that springs eternal in the human breast buoys me up so that with unabated zeal, I will hie me to box 7 tomorrow with the usual, expectant enthusiasm and peer into its depths for the well-known envelope.

Tomorrow most of the stores ann public buildings in Bridgeport will be closed following the proclamation of the new governor urging one day a week closing of buildings to conserve fuel. Not such a bad idea going to Alaska, Ced, to keep warm. Dick severed his connection yesterday with Producto (a manufacturing plant doing war work in Bridgeport) and is now a gentleman of leisure until the Shelton draft board summons him to partake of its plentiful beef steaks, butter and other delicacies which we civilians once used to enjoy.

Aunt Betty is now resplendent with a new set of teeth and smilingly asks to be remembered to you each individually. David is busy at this moment with preparations for a farewell party to be given here by his young people’s group for Elliott Knecht, who leaves the paternal home for induction tomorrow.

I forgot to mention in last week’s letter that I went to New York to see Sylvia married to her English aviator husband, at the church of or rather Cathedral of St. John the Divine, where in my boyhood, I had seen her mother married. I got there early and found there was going on a great funeral in some foreign language (I believe Czech) by the Greek Orthodox Church for the noted scientist and inventor Tesla. At the reception afterward I saw Mount Vernon folks I had not met for 30 years or more. Sylvia’s husband goes back to Canada to teach young aviators and may later go to England and take his new wife with him.

Next week, after the Russians capture a few more towns, MacArthur sinks a few more ships and planes, and MacArthur  chases a few more of Rommel’s Army (and we lose a few more ships to Hitler’s submarines), I will continue this missive and try to answer all the questions in the letters I expect to have received by that time from youse.

DAD

Tomorrow more Special Pictures of the Trumbull House – Then and Now.

On Sunday, another post about My Ancestors – Ella Duryee Guion.

Judy Guion

 

Trumbull – Same Three Boys – Once Upon a Time… – January 24, 1943

???????????????????

Same old place

Usual day, Jan. 24, 1943

Same three boys:

Once upon a time there were three little bears, a Laddie bear, old man river bear and a ceddie (not teddie) bear. And it came time for them to leave the old cave and go out into the cruel world and fight for Uncle Sam. So they all went off and left a little bear behind (of course they left more than that but then that would spoil the joke). So off they chugged in their little gas wagons, being modern bears, and one went race- tracking where Japanese beetles had once bored (Lad is at Camp Santa Anita, California where the horse racing track is now being converted from a Japanese Internment  camp to an Army Base) and another went up to see his aunt aureora borealis (Ced is in Anchorage Alaska) and the third into a lion Den of his own choosing (in Lancaster, Pennsylvania) training for surveying and map-making). What happened is still unwritten history and will be continued in our next installment. Meanwhile Dan is home on a 10 day furlough and airing, hanging his close on the proverbial hickory limb to get rid of the odor of soft cold gas with which his army quarters are permeated due to heating fuel.

My other two boys have joined the ranks of strong, silent man, emphasis on the silent part, but that hope that springs eternal in the human breast buoys me up so that with unabated zeal, I will hie me to box 7 tomorrow with the usual, expectant enthusiasm and peer into its depths for the well-known envelope.

Tomorrow most of the stores ann public buildings in Bridgeport will be closed following the proclamation of the new governor urging one day a week closing of buildings to conserve fuel. Not such a bad idea going to Alaska, Ced, to keep warm. Dick severed his connection yesterday with Producto (a manufacturing plant doing war work in Bridgeport) and is now a gentleman of leisure until the Shelton draft board summons him to partake of its plentiful beef steaks, butter and other delicacies which we civilians once used to enjoy.

Aunt Betty is now resplendent with a new set of teeth and smilingly asks to be remembered to you each individually. David is busy at this moment with preparations for a farewell party to be given here by his young people’s group for Elliott Knecht, who leaves the paternal home for induction tomorrow.

I forgot to mention in last week’s letter that I went to New York to see Sylvia married to her English aviator husband, at the church of or rather Cathedral of St. John the Divine, where in my boyhood, I had seen her mother married. I got there early and found there was going on a great funeral in some foreign language (I believe Czech) by the Greek Orthodox Church for the noted scientist and inventor Tesla. At the reception afterward I saw Mount Vernon folks I had not met for 30 years or more. Sylvia’s husband goes back to Canada to teach young aviators and may later go to England and take his new wife with him.

Next week, after the Russians capture a few more towns, MacArthur sinks a few more ships and planes, and MacArthur  chases a few more of Rommel’s Army (and we lose a few more ships to Hitler’s submarines), I will continue this missive and try to answer all the questions in the letters I expect to have received by that time from youse.

DAD

Tomorrow, one more letter from Grandpa.

On Saturday more Special Pictures of the Trumbull House, Then and Now.

On Sunday, another post about My Ancestors – Ella Duryee Guion.

Judy Guion

 

Trumbull – Bringing the Guion Family up to Date – January 16, 1943

January 10, 1943

Bringing the Guion family up to date

Alfred  (Lad)   28 years old last April. Corporal, Ordnance Dept. of Army, up to the  middle of last month was stationed in Aberdeen, Md., where he has been teaching an advanced course in diesel engineering, — a subject with which he is thoroughly familiar and likes. Was sent to Flint, Mich., to observe Gen. Motors teaching methods in same subject, to resume his                   instruction work there. Address:

Cpl. Alfred P. Guion

Camp Santa Anita

Arcadia, Calif.

Daniel            27 last October. Has technical rating as corporal of Engineers, now doing  surveying work for U. S. Army near Lancaster, Pa. Gets home frequently  and is enjoying Army life. Address:

Cpl. Daniel B. Guion

Co. D, 30th Engineers

Lancaster, Pa.

Cedric           25 last June. Rated 1-A in draft but up to present still a civilian. Is mechanic in Alaskan airplane transportation company for almost 2 years. Holds airplane mechanics license and is learning to fly. Address:

Cedric D. Guion

P.O. Box 822

Anchorage, Alaska

Elizabeth        24 this January 6th. Married, two fine little sons – – Raymond (3) and Martin (1½). Own their own home. Husband works in Singer Sewing Machine factory. Address:

Mrs. Raymond Zabel

142 Cornwall St.

Stratford, Conn.

Richard (Dick) 22 last August. In class 1-A but up to yesterday has been deferred because of work as machinist in Bridgeport factory. Next Tuesday takes his physical examination for induction. Wants to get in Signal Corps. Lives at home.

David           17 last September. A Junior in high school where he is taking a commercial course, enjoying it and doing well in his studies. Works at my  office every afternoon where he is of considerable help in these days of  labor shortage. Singing in local church choir.

(As far as the old man himself, outside of time spent in making out multitudinous government forms and reports, he is trying to earn enough to buy a quarter pound of butter occasionally when there is any for sale, and still have sufficient remaining for an occasional package of pipe tobacco. Address:

                   (Home) P.O. Box 7, Trumbull, Conn.

                     (Office) Alfred D Guion & Co., Inc., 871 Main St., Bridgeport, Conn.

Tomorrow, a letter from Lad in California. I’ll finish out the week with three letters from Grandpa.

Judy Guion

Army Life – Dear Dad – Southern California as seen from Arcadia, Pasadena, LA, Hollywood and Beverly Hills – January 9, 1943

It’s 1943 and we have followed Lad from home to Aberdeen Maryland for Ordnance Training School where he and his best friends, were chosen to have further training as  instructors of vehicle mechanics and maintenance, My father was sent to  Flint Michigan for a week of further training in diesel mechanics, while his buddies traveled to Santa Anita, California, their next destination, by various routes. After he completed his training, Lad drove on to Santa Anita, California by himself.  This is Lad’s first letter home.

Alfred (Lad) Guion in California

January 9, 1943

Dear Dad:

Well, even if you have not heard much of my progress across from Chicago, I’m here and according to my speedometer, 4200 miles have been successfully manipulated. Other than a bad condenser just outside of Pittsburgh on the Turnpike and a clogged radiator somewhere between Flint and Chicago, the car performed admirably.

The camp here – contrary to what it’s 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 and rebuilt after being used as a Japanese holding area. In a couple of months it will, in all probability, be much nicer.

Now, I’ll tell you a little about Southern California as seen from Arcadia, Pasadena, LA, Hollywood and Beverly Hills. Here is how things have gone. I got into Arcadia early on Monday the fourth and since I was not due to report until the seventh I just used my special orders to get into camp to leave some of my stuff and then went out again. While in camp, I looked for and found Art Lind and Vern Eddington  (both from Aberdeen and Flint) and tried to borrow some money from them. No luck but I learned where there were USO houses and left.

In Pasadena I found one, had breakfast and then cleaned up in a house maintained for servicemen for just that purpose. Then I went into Los Angeles. Not much doing there so I came back to Arcadia, left some clothes at the cleaners and again when into Pasadena. I spent the rest of the afternoon and evening dancing, playing bridge and snacking.

That night I spent in the car on the front seat. I discovered that when California is advertised – the land of sunshine or sunny California – they mention only the times when the sun is shining. During the day it is always quite warm but – – – the nights – – –. I have been told that antifreeze is not needed here, but observation and records show that the temperature during the early morning at this time of year usually drops to somewhere below 37° but never lower than 30°. Well, that is mighty cool when the days are so warm. There have been days when I have perspired as I drove along with the windows open.

Well, to get on with my narrative. Wednesday morning it was nearly noon and I went to the Y and cleaned up and then went into LA for lunch. I wandered around a little but it is too big to get very far on foot so I went back to the car and was just driving aimlessly toward camp went four soldiers asked me if I was going to Hollywood. I had not thought of that, so I said “Sure” and off we went.

At the USO there I talked with some of the hostesses and found out what I could about the town and then decided to go out to the Beverly Hills Hotel where there was another USO. I tried to get someone to go out with me and show me some of the prettier places and views, but was unsuccessful.

I went back to Hollywood to the Hollywood canteen and stayed there the rest of the night dancing and snacking (new word here in LA and vicinity) until the place closed at 12. With a fellow I met there, I went to the Palladium and did some more dancing to Tommy Dorsey, he really is very good.

That night I drove way up above the Beverly Hills residence section and again spent the night in the car. The view was gorgeous and I spent quite some time just sitting in the sun and looking. Then back to the Beverly Hills Hotel USO to clean up and eat. I spent the early afternoon there reading and talking with various women and soldiers and then went back to Hollywood and saw “Random Harvest” ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Random_Harvest_(film) )  ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6QmgB0zB2BY )which I enjoyed just as much as the book.

Then I went back to the Hollywood canteen until 12 and then to Florentine Gardens for more dancing. After a cup of coffee at about 2:30 I drove back to Arcadia. I had to report here on Friday but at that hour of the morning there was nothing doing so I slept, again in the car.

I reported yesterday morning and spent all afternoon getting arranged. The camp is in quarantine for the “Flu” so I did not go out yesterday evening but went to a show put on here at the post by a bunch of Hollywood stars. It was very good.

Today I spent all morning getting acquainted with the camp here and trying to get my car registered on the post. I ate just before starting this letter. So that brings the past week up to date. Oh no, one more thing. Tell Dick that if he heard Harry James on the Chesterfield Program Tuesday, I was one of those fellows doing the clapping after each piece. I rather enjoyed it, even though I don’t particularly like Harry James.

Well I still have more to do in order to complete the car registration so I think that I’ll be on my way now, and until the next letter I shall remain

Lad

I am well, still, and I’m hoping the quarantine will be lifted this afternoon. Give my love to Aunt Betty and the rest (and even the dog).

AG

I’ll finish out the week with three more letters from Grandpa.

Judy Guion

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

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

As you may remember, Lad received orders to report to Taxarkana, 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 the Home Guard, and his father, 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 – 1943

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 saw 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.

On Saturday, more Special Pictures of the Trumbull House – Then and Now.

On Sunday, Post # 2 of My Ancestors – Anna Charlotta (Westlin) Peabody, wife of Kemper Foster Peabody. Information about him was posted last Sunday.

Judy Guion