Friends – Lad Hears From Wolverine (1) – January 7, 1940

Lad Guion and Jim Pierce in Camp in Venezuela - 1939

Lad Guion and Jim Pierce at Knopp’s Camp in Venezuela

Lad hears from the instructor he had at the Wolverine Diesel class he took in Bridgeport before he went to Venezuela.

105 Plymouth Street

Stratford, Conn.

January 7, 1940

Dear Alfred:–

Wishing you a very happy and prosperous New Year. I was very glad to receive your last letter and hear about your new connection. I had meant to answer it sooner, but we have bought a new home in Stratford, so you will have to change your record of my address to the above. With moving and starting school, I have been pretty busy.

We were very much interested to read about the big fire you have had and I am enclosing some of the clippings from the Bridgeport Post concerning it. I thought you might be interested in reading the details as we get them here.

Business seems to be getting a little better here in New England and at the Wolverine, we have been very busy the past month and will be through February, although September to December was a very slow period. We have the crankshafts ordered for our new 8 x 10 1/2” engine and the patterns for the bases are now being made. It will probably be running in March or April. Three big engines have been purchased by an ice plant in Middletown, New York, and Mike is installing the first one tomorrow. Jacob Bros., the scrap dealers in town here, have bought a big six-cylinder engine to operate a scrap baling press, which will be the largest one East of Detroit. The concrete foundations have already been poured for this job and the building is now being erected to house the complete unit. This project will cost about $75,000, and will be the first diesel engine installation we will have installed in Bridgeport.

We are also experimenting with supercharging our two-cylinder engine and I expect to have this year’s class operating this engine next week. It will have a single intake valve in the center of the cylinder head and the valve will be mechanically operated by an overhead cam shaft. It is very problematical what we will get out of this experiment. We are using a rotary vein type supercharger. If you remember, the test we made on this engine during class showed that the base compression was slightly under 3 pounds. We are going to try and raise this to 5 pounds because of the smallness of the valve in the head. It probably will be possible to raise the Mep. to about 70 pounds. If we can do this, it may be possible to get enough more H. P. to pay for the auxiliary equipment. However, if we don’t raise the Mep. this high, we will probably have to build a new engine around the supercharger.

Yesterday, the school went to the Motor Boat Show in New York, and we had a fine time. The test engineer at Palmer Brothers in Cos Cob, Connecticut, is attending my class this year and they exhibited for the first time their new 4 cylinder, 4 cycle Diesel Engine. at the show this year. We met him there at their exhibit where he was in charge of answering questions. The Palmer Bros. bought the license to build the Russell-Newberry Diesel Engine, which is an English make. It has horizontal valves, displacer type piston, direct injection with Bosch Pump and nozzle is 51/4″ bore and runs up to 1800 r.p.m. ,

Lathrop are exhibiting their Diesel and Mack, Grey, Buda, Cummins, and Caterpillar are also exhibiting along with the usual old-line companies like F. & M., Superior, etc. It is a very good show but a tiresome one. You walk for miles and I am glad it is over for this year. We have come home with the usual number of bulletins, look them over, file them away, and never look at them again.

Tomorrow I will post the rest of this letter and on Friday,  a letter from Grandma Peabody, Arla’s Mother, to Grandpa in Trumbull.

Judy Guion

Autobiography of Mary E Wilson (21) – Another Daughter And A Move To Trumbull – 1946

1946

We still had to plan to get Mary Jean out of the city but now I was pregnant with my third child. In September, I gave birth to a lovely baby girl whom we called Beverly Joan and we now had three lovely children and felt blessed.

I joined Eastern Star at this time with Polly Griffin. Mary Jane was still under doctor Edgar’s care and still taking her  shots to keep her asthma under control (sometimes).

We bought land in Trumbull which is a suburb of Bridgeport. It was a farming community so our next ambition was to get our children out of the city and into the country, but all our money was tied up in an old two-family house we had bought. So now our goal was to really work harder to fix up the house as a step to get our little daughter out of the city and into the country.

The Griffin’s had left our apartment downstairs and we now rented to Bill and Gladys Cleary. She was a real nice girl and her mother a lovely lady but Bill, who worked with Archie, was a “kook”.

Alec had married Geraldine McDonald who had come to Bridgeport from Pennsylvania to do war work in the G.E., which is where she met Alec. Alec married Jerry and they lived with mother Wilson but she hated Jerry because she was a Catholic. Their life was very difficult while they lived with her and Jerry was very unhappy. Alec and Jerry finally built next to us and mother Wilson lived with them. I think she helped them financially from dad Wilson’s insurance in return for a  home with them. Things were a little different now because she was living in their home.

We knew our house on Edwin Street was the stepping stone to a new home on Laurel Street in Trumbull. I was really superstitious about the house on Edwin Street. The first thing we had done was to cut down a rope noose where a man had hung himself in the attic.

Archie’s ulcer attacks became worse when we moved there. He hemorrhaged and was very ill. He had just taken a new job in the Bridgeport Hardware Manufacturing Company when he became ill. The company was really very generous and paid his salary even though he was a new employee.

I blamed Mary Jean’s asthma on the house because Archie was gutting the second floor, the walls were all plaster and we created too much dust for a young child. I put wet sheets at the entrance of her room so it would curtail the plaster dust.

Archie’s dad was dying of cancer and our poor son suffered a terrible break in his arm and had to be hospitalized.

Peggy Lou, my brother’s daughter, had spent a week prior to Christmas with us so she could participate in the holiday activities. They lived in Newtown and she was a lonely little girl and loved to come and stay at our house and enjoy the companionship of her cousins. She became ill at our house and my brother took her home and she died the next morning, which was two days before Christmas, of spinal meningitis. The poor child was only six years old.

It just seemed everything bad happened in that house.

Next Sunday, we’ll read about the move to Trumbull and the family’s adjustment to country living.

Tomorrow, we’ll begin a week of letters from the spring of 1941, when Dan and Ced are working in Alaska and Lad is still in Venezuela.

Judy Guion

Autobiography of Mary E Wilson (19) – The War – 1941

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Mary E. Wilson was born in England and came to America, to escape from a difficult family situation, in 1925, when she was a young girl. She had many challenges here also, but her bright outlook and disposition, along with her strength and character, helped her survive and find happiness with Archie Wilson. They were married in 1937 and at this point in her autobiography, World War II is upon them and they have two small children to care for.

There was a war going on in Europe at this time. Hitler was really taking over countries, interning Jews and bombing other countries.

Franklin D Roosevelt was our president and when the Japs bombed Pearl Harbor in December, 1941, we declared war on Japan and Germany. Men were drafted, food was rationed and we were given ration books for everything.

Factories became busy making arms for war and women were quickly hired to produce and work on planes. “Rosie the Riveter” was the nickname for the women working in the war plants.

Archie was not drafted because he was the only draftsman working in the Bridgeport Hardware Manufacturing Company. They made tools for the Army so that was considered war work.

We had no car because we lived near a bus route. Archie and my brother Arthur bought bikes.

I went into the hospital to have my second baby. We had planned, if it was a boy, to call him Allan John. During my stay in St. Vincent’s Hospital, my brother Arthur and Archie’s brother David came to see me. They complained about my choice of names for my baby son. they both flipped a coin and after a trip to the Sisters in the hospital, my son became David Arthur.

Mary Jane loved her baby brother. She was a happy three-year-old and the doctor was really helping her. She was so brave about her shots. As she got older she asked her dad to give her shots to get relief. I could never put a needle in her arm even though I practiced on an orange like Dr. Edgar told me.

We planted a “victory garden” on Rudy Murkette’s land in Lordship. We also built a chicken coop and raised chickens. With our garden produce and chickens and eggs we were able to manage, in spite of our limited food supplies, with our ration books.

People were only allowed two gallons of gas if you lived near a bus route and clothing was scarce. Thank God my mother was clever with the needle and was able to make over old clothes.

Archie finished our attic into three rooms and we rented to male war workers which gave us extra money.

My mother rented a large house in Bridgeport and she ran a boarding house for 12 male war workers and one woman.

The factories were busy but the turnover was great because the young men were drafted so quickly.

I used to take the bus with my two children and help my mother in her boarding house. She loved what she was doing and felt very important.

Our tenant, Bill Cleary, was the Air Raid Warden in our district and he was very difficult. He took his job very seriously. We had to have “blackout” curtains and drapes and I was continually reported to Air Raid headquarters because he said I was careless with my curtains.

The tension and insecurity was terrible but our family, thank God, was not affected because we had no one fighting in the war.

I worked with the Red Cross at night and helped in the old people’s hospital.

Tomorrow, we’ll find out what went on between 1942 and 1946. 

Next week, we start a series of letters written in the middle of 1945, while Grandpa is holding down the fort in Trumbull, CT. 

Judy Guion

Autobiography of Mary E Wilson (18) – Another Child – 1941

1941

In 1941, I was pregnant again. I had waited my three years and we both wanted another baby.

Archie was doing well in the G.E. but he had a terrible boss who made his life miserable (he later killed his wife in Stratford).

We were also having difficulty with Mary Jean and after taking her to several doctors, we found out she was suffering from bronchial asthma. Our poor little girl was so ill and we were advised to take her to Arizona but we discovered a lady doctor called Dr. Edgar from New Haven Hospital. She specialized in asthma and we had to take her for weekly shots which continued until she was in her late teens. She seemed to be allergic to almost everything but her worst allergy was smoke and dust.

We realized we had to get her out of the city and into the country, but when Mary Jean was a year old, Archie wanted to take a trip to Birchcliff in Canada where he lived as a boy before he came to the states. He made plans to make the trip with his father and two brothers. I knew they would not want a woman and baby with them so I decided to go to New Hampshire with my mother to visit with the David Webb family.

Uncle David was my Grandma Ellen’s brother and their brother Matthew was the first man to swim the English Channel. Uncle David ran a dairy farm with his wife Henrietta, his daughter and two sons.

We had a lovely visit with Uncle David, he was a hard-working, contented dairy farmer. His daughter, Henrietta, was married and had a baby girl the same age as Mary Jean. While we were there, Aunt Hetty came to visit, she was the mother of Uncle David’s wife. She sure was an energetic old lady and she lived in Philadelphia and she had another daughter who lived in Cape May, New Jersey.

I had visited the Cape May family when I was single and they were very aloof and cool towards my father. Aunt Hetty was the only person I knew who could tell my father what she really thought of him and her opinion of him was not very nice. She told my mother she was a fool to stay with him and I silently agreed with her.

The following year Archie wanted to make another trip to Birchcliff with his brothers. I protested and we had our first real argument. We did not talk to each other for a week. Needless to say he did not go to Canada.

Next week we’ll be jumping forward to 1945  with Grandpa keeping everyone informed about the lives of their siblings and friends.

Judy Guion

 

 

Autobiography of Mary E Wilson (17) – Their First House – 1939

(Please look at Thursday’s post, https://greatestgenerationlessons.wordpress.com/2017/04/27/trumbull-a-page-from-the-book-of-trumbull-personalities-july-1943-2/,  for some additional information on the Rev. Elijah Guion, the Episcopal Priest at St. Paul’s, in New Orleans, during the Civil War.)

 

 

1939

Archie, at this time, decided that $17 a month rent was too much to pay out so we sold our car for $350 and used the money as a down payment on an old two-family house at 68 Edwin Street in Bridgeport. The house was a mess and needed so much work done on it. This was the same house I had rented when I kept house for my two brothers.

Our mortgage was with the Home Owner’s Loan Corporation and our first job was to clean up the first floor so we could rent it. The first tenant was Polly Griffin’s younger brother but he really causes problems because he was a heavy drinker and not dependable.

Archie really should have continued his education with the Bridgeport Engineering School but he chose to work on the house. His foremost ambition seemed to be to make a comfortable home for us. He worked long, hard hours after work on the second floor which we had for our home. We worked very hard but were very proud of the results.

Our neighbors were Millie and Joe Stumpf and we became very good friends. Millie and I had been in the hospital when we had our babies at the same time. The children were the same age and became good playmates.

Tomorrow, more on the story of Archie and Mary’s early married life.

On Monday, I’ll begin posting letters from 1945. Dan and Paulette are married but can’t see each other as often as they’d like. Grandpa continues to keep everyone informed about life fro the Guion menage.

Judy Guion

Autobiography of Mary E Wilson (16) – The Newlyweds – 1937-1938

Mary E Wilson

We returned to our lovely apartment. Archie had to go to work on Monday. He had just started a new job in the General Electric in the drafting department but I took the whole week off. I really wanted to show my new husband what a good cook I was but poor Archie came down with a bad ulcer attack. I had to learn how to cook all over again because he had to go on a special diet for ulcers.

We had only been married a week when my mother fell at work and was taken to the hospital. That took a lot of joy out of being newly married because I went from work to my mother’s house to cook and clean for Doris and Arthur then to the hospital at night to see my mother.

When she finally came home, I did the same thing and did not realize I was neglecting my new husband. We had our first quarrel because Archie said Doris was 15 and Arthur could do more to help out. He said they were taking advantage of me. I realized he was right. I helped my mother but insisted they do more to help around the house until she was well again.

Our first Christmas came so soon after we married that we did not have much money but were able to buy gifts for everyone.

English people love Christmas and traditions run deep and they make a lot of it. This year we included Archie’s parents and brothers and they loved it. The boys ate most of my mother’s Christmas cake and plum pudding to her horror – the cake is supposed to be relished in small portions.

We were both working in the G.E.. I quit Dr. Nastri but Archie got a promotion in the drafting department as a designer on small electric appliances. The General Electric was very slow at this time so they made a new rule that husband and wife could not both hold jobs because the plant was slow.

I knew by now I was pregnant and it was important that Archie keep his job so I resigned. I had worked in the G.E. for over 12 years.

Things were getting rough so we moved into a cheaper flat on Williston Street in Bridgeport for $17 a month, no bathroom and no hot water. Archie made the cheap little flat look pretty comfortable.

We were invited to Archie’s parent’s home for supper during the summer and I ate my first clams. Alec and I were the only two who would eat them. I really enjoyed them because I had never tasted them before. We both became desperately ill from food poisoning and I was only a month away from my baby’s birth. I was rushed to the hospital. Dr. Heedger was so angry because I had been so stupid.

I had a rough delivery giving birth to a breech birth baby girl. My poor baby was so scarred from the instruments and I was so ill I stayed almost 3 weeks in the hospital. Dr. Heedger said I could not have any more babies for at least three years. Careful manipulation of my poor baby’s head while she was in the hospital made it possible for us to bring home a beautiful baby girl. Archie was really delighted as his family had been all boys and the little girl was really welcomed. Archie’s brothers could not keep their hands off her. It was amusing to watch two young men carefully handling a little girl as if she was a doll.

Archie and I were so happy. After all, I was 27 and he was almost 30 so we were mature enough to enjoy parenthood. I always thanked God there had been no children from Archie’s first marriage.

She really was a beautiful, good-natured baby and it was at this time that Archie became interested in photography.

Ed Swartz worked in the G.E. with Archie and he taught Archie a lot and Mary Jean was used as a model and she was a well photographed little girl. She was named after me and Archie’s mother and our baby girl was a joy to us.

Tomorrow I’ll be posting letters written in 1943. Lad is in California and he has become quite interested in a particular woman. Grandpa keeps the rest of the family informed about what everyone else is doing.

Judy Guion

Autobiography of Mary E Wilson (15) – Planning a Wedding – 1936-1937

1936

          Archie and I were quietly planning our marriage but it was difficult to deceive my mother.

Arthur, Doris, my mother, and myself were all home but Arthur was dating a pretty girl who worked as a waitress where my mother worked at the D. M. Read Company. My mother introduced them and they seemed to hit a it off perfectly.

October, 1937

          I will never forget that day in October, 1937. It was on a Saturday morning and I was not working. Archie came to the house, which was unusual, his divorce had finally become finalized and he was a free man.

I had just gotten out of a hot tub and I was as red as a lobster and he had bought me an engagement ring the same day he got his divorce. I was so happy but now I had to tell my mother.

How do you explain to your mother that you are suddenly engaged to be married? But I did tell her and her only comment was, “If he can’t get along with one woman, what makes you think he can make you happy?”

I was now 26 years old, very much in love and determined to marry Archie. We saw no reason to wait and planned our wedding for December 10, 1937, so we had a busy two months to plan our wedding.

Archie had saved money because now he was the manager of the Shell Station so he was able to completely furnish our lovely rent on Fifth Street in Bridgeport, and it was all paid for. We had a ball picking everything for our apartment together.

I decided to have a traditional wedding, white dress, veil, the works. My mother seemed to be angry and even though she was a great seamstress, refused to take any active interest in my wedding.

My first disappointment was that I could not be married in the Episcopal Church because Archie was a divorced man. I decided on the Methodist Episcopal Church on Stratford Avenue in Bridgeport and Fred’s dad asked if he could play the organ at our wedding. Alex was Archie’s best friend and Celso was my matron of honor. Jim gave me away and Arthur, David, Doris and Shirley were the attendants at our wedding.

My mother finally had a change of heart and planned the reception at our house, made me a wedding cake, and was great and gave us a nice wedding and reception.

We only had a weekend honeymoon so we went to the Hotel Commodore in New York City on the train. I never remember such a cold weekend. The weather was awful. I guess being newly married and very much in love, the weather was not important.

Tomorrow, I’ll be posting more about the changes that happen quickly in the lives of Archie and Mary Wilson. 

On Monday I’ll begin a week of letters written in 1943. The story of Lad and Marian is progressing and Grandpa keeps everyone informed.

Judy Guion

Autobiography of Mary E Wilson (13-2) – Mary Meets Archie Wilson – 1935

Mary E. Wilson

We really had a marvelous time in New York and somehow Archie managed to be able to drive me home alone in his car. I don’t know how he arranged it but we did not get home until 4 AM. The Perkins were furious because they stayed right with us on our drive home. I hate to mention what my mother said when I arrived home. She made it her business to call Mrs. Perkins to find out if she had really been with us in New York. I was very angry, I was 24 years old and we have been closely escorted even though we were in separate cars.

But Archie and I talked on our way home. He hated his wife and was waiting for his divorce to be finalized. He worked in New Haven for the Shell Oil Company. He lived with his parents and two brothers on Bond Street across from the G. E.. Archie was born in Scotland but had lived in Canada prior to moving to the states.

We started to see each other for a few minutes at the G.E. gates while I was en route to work and I also saw him at dances. He started attending church at St. Luke’s so we smiled at each other from a distance. Fred was not stupid, he knew what was going on, so he told my brother, Arthur. I was not dating Fred anymore but Arthur told me I should not see Archie but he did not tell my mother. We finally did start to date very discreetly with the help of Francis, Celso, my two brothers, and Archie’s two brothers.

It was evident by now we were in love with each other and we started to plan a life together when he got a divorce.

Alec, Archie’s younger brother, would come to the house to take me horseback riding. He was so handsome, he reminded me of Tyrone Power and my mother told me I was robbing the cradle because he was so young. Alec and I truly became good friends and we both loved horseback riding and I really think Archie encouraged Alec to take me out while he was working.

In spite of Archie’s impatience waiting for his divorce to become final, we really had a nice courtship. I would take a day off and we would spend it at the beach. Archie’s good friend,  Bill, and we would double date, but Bill would have to come to the house to get me.

Archie and Bill both worked for the Shell Company and I often wondered what Bill’s girlfriend thought about it all.

My mother thought Bill was really nice and I really think she was having hopes again for her spinster daughter because by now I was 25 years old.

Next weekend, we’ll find out what 1936 and 1937 have in store for Mary. Will she marry Archie or will they have to continue to wait?

On Monday, I’ll start a week of letters written in 1941. Lad, Dan, Ced and Dick are all very concerned about the draft and what it will mean for each of them.

Judy Guion

Autobiography of Mary E. Wilson (13-1) – Mary Meets Archie Wilson – 1935

Mary E. Wilson

1935

          I was now 24 years old and my mother was beginning to worry I was not going to get married. It was at this time I had gone to a dance at the Ritz Ballroom with Francis and I met a good-looking man who asked me to dance. He was with Herbert Perkins, the brother of Ted. Herb formally introduced us and his name was Archie Wilson. I think we were attracted to each other the moment we met. We danced every dance together that night and a very popular dance tune at the time was “When I Grow Too Old to Dream”. He took me home. I really don’t know who took Francis home, maybe Herbie but Archie was cute.

I remember telling my mother about a nice young man I met and as usual my mother asked, “What is his nationality?”, “What is his religion?”, And, “What did he do for a living?”. I had not asked and did not know.

I thought about him often. I had to go to a Sunday school meeting at Mrs. Saul’s house and believe it or not she was discussing her godchild and saying how sorry she was for him. He and his wife had separated and they were getting a divorce. She was referring to Archie, he had been married less than a year. I felt really disappointed but figured you can’t win them all but we had seemed to be mutually attracted to each other.

I started to see him in charge and as I said he was friendly with the Perkins’. I saw him again and the dance but did not go home with him. He was a nice person and I loved dancing with him. He seemed to be showing up at places I attended. I very discreetly started to question Fred about him but he said nothing nice about Archie.

About two or three weeks later Archie was waiting for me outside of the G. E. gates and he asked me to accompany him to a Shell Company dance at the Commodore Hotel in New York. He carefully explained we would be well chaperoned by Mrs. Perkins, Ted and Herbie, her sons, and their dates. I accepted the date but did not tell my mother about Archie’s marital problems. I remember I splurged on a beautiful white coat with a rhinestone belt and silver shoes. I really felt elegant but a little uneasy about dating a married man even with plenty of chaperones.

I sensed that Mrs. Perkins did not approve because she knew I dated Fred and she was friendly with the Williams’s. I had spoken to Fred about a week before and he had given me an ultimatum… I refused to go with RT to New York for we were through seeing each other. I decided to go to New York with Archie.

Tomorrow, I’ll continue the story of Mary and Archie.

I interviewed my Dad and some of his siblings to have a record of their childhood memories. Dave told me about his trip from Okinawa to Manila. I have updated the post from earlier this week. You can use this link to read his memories of that fateful trip. https://greatestgenerationlessons.wordpress.com/2017/04/12/trumbull-dear-benedicts-and-bachelors-dave-sent-to-manila-september-1945/

Next week, I’ll be posting letters from 1941. Lad is working at Producto in Bridgeport. Dan has left Alaska and is back in Trumbull. Ced and Dick remain in Anchorage, but the Trumbull house is filling up.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Gentle Readers (1) – Lad’s HOME – August, 1945

Trumbull, Conn., Aug. 20, 1945

Gentle Reader:

The old boy must be slipping. Here it is Monday night and his Sunday letter isn’t written yet. Oh, of course there’s a reason. Guess what – – – LAD’S HOME ! Yes, he snook in on us Thursday night at about 10 o’clock. Aunt Betty had gone up to bed, Marian was in the kitchen indicting her daily missive to the absent Lad, and I was in my chair in the alcove just about ready to put out the light and go upstairs. I heard the back door open followed by some queer noises, but paid no attention to it as the young folks in the apartment drop in occasionally. Then Marian yelled for me and I came in to find prize package # 1 in all its glory. It put a definite end to the mental gymnastics Marian and I have been practicing since we read in the paper the announcement of part of Lad’s Bn. having landed, trying to figure out if so, when he would phone. Ever since Sunday I have slept with the door open and the sleep alerted ear attuned to the phone eill. Early in the evening when ring 2 (We had a Party Line at the time and the Guion residence was two rings.) came up, either Marian or I would rush expectantly to grab the receiver and each time experience a corresponding let-down. They almost had me fooled Tuesday. At 2:20 AM I awoke with ring 2 making the signal, and grabbing my flashlight so I could hurry down the stairs in one hand, I threw off the bed close with the other and made a flying start for the stairs. THIS IS IT, says I. It couldn’t be anything else at this time of night. Halfway down the stairs my pajama pants fell off, almost tripping me up in my haste (darn these stretchy elastic waistbands when they get old). Anyhow, I bunched them up and continued my headlong flight. A man’s voice said, “I’m phoning for a friend of mine” (Lad of course, it flashed across my mind) (who wants to get married!” Oh boy, what a let-down. I’ve heard of a fellow losing his shirt for a friend but never one losing his pajama bottoms for a friend of someone who wants to get married. From that time on I gave up expecting to hear from Lad so his arrival was all the more a surprise. He looks fine / hasn’t changed a bit as far as I can see. No evidence of deeper lines of mental stress or worry, weight about the same. Just the same old Lad that went away one and a half years ago.

But to get back to my reason for this letter being a day late. Burr Davis, Lad’s godfather, who has a summer cottage at Candlewood Lake, had invited Marian to visit them, and as this was to be Mr. Davis’s last weekend there, Lad invited us all to hop in his car and make it a family visit. We did and had a very enjoyable time, but alas it was too late when we got home to start a letter, and while I fully intended to make up for it during the day at the office, I just didn’t get the opportunity. So, here we are back to beginning. Who will be the next to upset the smooth tenor of our ways by returning home unexpectedly? Dan? Mebbe. I am waiting to hear what his next letter may have to say on this subject. Then perhaps Dick may be next although in view of the fact Jean has just joined him, it is Lad’s guess that this procedure would not have been permitted if they didn’t foresee the men being down there for a year longer. However a letter today from Jean reveals that she was practically on her way when the peace news came through. Maybe this would be a great time to quote her letter:

“Surprise, I’m here. Arrived at one (noon) on the 16th.  Dick didn’t know I was due that day so he didn’t meet me. They had quite a job locating him but when his assistant found him and told him I was here all he could say was, “Are you kidding?” He was quite worried because the officer here told him that all the wives orders had been canceled because of the end of the war. He was sure I wouldn’t be able to come. I wasn’t supposed to leave Miami until Thursday, but when I checked in to

page 2   8/20/45

the Army hotel Tuesday morning, they started rushing me through briefing classes and my last typhoid shot. They told me late in the afternoon that I would be leaving about 6:30 that night. We were out at the airport at seven when the news of the Jap surrender was announced. We took off at eight in a C-47–the same one they flew Gen. Mark Clark back to the US in. We were very lucky to get such a nice one, as most of the planes were just plain transport ships with bucket seats and very uncomfortable. There were seven girls, one child and myself, +5 crew members. Our first stop was Puerto Rico, 2:30 A.M. Wednesday. They gave us breakfast and we sat around in the post lounge waiting for a minor repair to be made until 4:30 A.M. We flew until noon when we stopped at British Guiana. There we were treated like Queens–met us in the staff cars, took us to a restroom to get cleaned up, then to the officer’s mess hall for lunch and from there to a cottage where we took showers and slept until 6 PM, then dinner, after which two officers took us to the officers club for a highball. We took off at eight P. M. Our next stop was at Belem, Brazil, at four A.M. Thursday. After breakfast we took off again, arriving at Natal at 10:45 A.M. Everyone but me and the crew got off—I was the only passenger back to Forteleza.

Dick couldn’t get the house he wanted but he got a cute place in a very nice section, about the same size as the other place, four rooms, bath and a separate servants home on the side. So, we have a garden. Dick is having the yard all fixed up. The man starts work at seven A. M. And works until about 4:34 P.M. for $.50 a day. Can you imagine working in the hot sun for that? I can’t either. It is spring here now. I don’t know what the temperature is but it’s just comfortable and there is always a strong breeze. Dick looks wonderful. He says he’s lost some weight the past week, though, worrying about me and trying to get the house cleaned up. He even bought a table cover for our dining room table.”

Dick adds a P. S. “I want to thank you for having taken such good care of Jean, Dad. I’m happier now than I have been since I was drafted. I don’t mean to insinuate that I was happy they drafted me. She’s the difference between existing and living. My love to all. Dick”.

So we see that maybe if Jean had been a few hours later in getting started, orders might have come through for cancellation. Incidentally, this might cause Lad to revise his opinion that allowing the wives to go down probably means Dick will be there for some time yet. Would like to know what the prospects are as they look to you down there, Dick. Do take some snapshots of the house and send them home as we are all eager to see what the Guion Brazilian home looks like.

Tomorrow I’ll be posting the rest of this letter, and after that, another 5-page letter I’ll squeeze into 3 posts. Enjoy.

Judy Guion