Trumbull (2) – Dear Bimbos – Nov., 1940

Dan, Ced and car

Dan, Ced and car

R-102         November 17, 1940

 

Dear Bimbos:

What have I done to make you drop me from your list of correspondents?  Here I am faithfully wearing my index finger to the bone every Saturday afternoon and evening typing letters to various parts of the inhabited world whereas the record shows that the last letter I received from Dan was dated October 15th and from Ced some undated time the latter part of October (received here Nov.11th). Gosh, it’s almost worthwhile being a sweetheart so a month won’t elapse without some word from you, Dannyboy, and with Ced taking flying lessons how do I know but what he made a forced landing in the tundra someday. Then too, about a week ago, I read a notice in the Bridgeport paper that a bunch of boys at the Anchorage airbase had been seriously ill with tomaine poisoning. I’ll get gray hairs (more of them) quicker by not hearing from you than I will from hearing bad news, unless it’s too bad, so have a heart and one of you write me at least once a week even if it’s only a postal. I would also like to hear at your convenience Dan, whether Mrs. McCain did anything special for your birthday.

Dave told me that Barbara had received her parka and was much pleased with it. I forgot to ask her how her cranberries came out. I saw the can when it arrived in a much damaged condition but most of the berries looked all right although some on the top was smashed up a bit. The address tag was so smeared up that Eleanor Kurtz could not decipher it and, knowing it came from Alaska, thought it might be for me, but I could make out enough to see that it was probably intended for the Plumbs. If it does not cost too much to mail a box of these, I was thinking the other day that probably Mrs. Heurlin would greatly appreciate having some as they are, according to Rusty, very similar to the berries they get in Sweden.

I am enclosing a page from this Sunday’s Bridgeport Post about Alaska which I have read with great interest. You will be better able to determine than I how nearly true the unprovable statements are by comparing them with the statements of facts that you can verify from your own personal knowledge.

Jane Mantle is home and invited Dick out last night to some affair on a blind date. He did not say today whether the girl he went with who was said by Jane to have a profile like Hedy Lamarr, was up to expectations or not. Dick is trying to get a job but so far has been unsuccessful. I sent him over to see my friend at Ashcroft and his application is on file there and also I believe at General Electric but so far with no tangible result.

We keep going at the office, once in a while a rush job but nothing to justify the rumor of a boom. Payrolls seem to be higher according to statistics but that is mainly because a few big companies like Remington Arms, Bridgeport Brass (shells for ammunition), General Electric and Sikorsky are busy with government contracts. Sooner or later I suppose it will seep down through to industry in general and with more employment and people able to buy more, it ought to react on all manufacturing to some extent and be reflected in my little business.

This is rather an “off” week as far as local news is concerned. Everything is running along as usual on an even keel with no high spots to speak of, so I am keeping my ear close to the ground to hear anything of interest from the North countries. Lad just sent me a five page single-spaced letter telling me about his visit to make some repairs on an oil well on a little island north of Venezuela.

DAD

Tomorrow and Sunday, I’ll have more Special Pictures.

On Monday, I’ll begin posting letters written in 1942, when Dan has been drafted, Lad is on pins and needles wondering what his status is and Ced is still in Anchorage, also awaiyting word on his situation. Grandpa, Dick and Dave remain in Trumbull and Grandpa continues to produce his weekly letters.

Judy Guion

Trumbull (2) – New Buildings in Bridgeport and Dave’s Grades – Nov., 1940

Page 2 of R-101

          David, on returning from church today, reported that Mr. Bollman in his sermon this morning announced that he had accepted a call from a church in Detroit where he is to be an assistant pastor and would take his new job the first of the year. So sometime in 1941 Trumbull will have a new Yale divinity student living in the Parsonage.

Speaking of the photo you sent of Anchorage’s Main and Fairfield, I am reminded of the news item in last week’s papers to the effect that sometime next year the Meigs building will be torn down to be replaced by a new one housing a 5 and 10 cent store (Woolworth’s, I believe). This week the new Klein Memorial Auditorium will be officially opened. The new building on the site of the old Atlantic  Hotel on the corner of Fairfield and Water is now open.  A & P and Carroll Cut Rate Perfumer and a few smaller shops occupy it.

I have again been elected Justice of the Peace in Trumbull which is now the only public office I hold. I am glad to say that Trumbull went overwhelmingly Republican, but this failed to keep Governor Baldwin in office. Alas, Connecticut as a whole went strongly Democratic due I suppose to the large industrial element.

Aunt Betty (Lizzie Duryee), summer, 1946

Aunt Betty writes: Since seeing you I have made up my mind to go to New York for the winter. I will leave here on November 16th and take a room at the St. George Hotel, Brooklyn. It is a very nice room and will be more comfortable than here. It has hot and cold running water and a bath and lavatory right opposite my door, a larger closet than here, a telephone in my room and plenty of heat. I can also enjoy all the entertainment given by the hotel at no extra cost. The price of this room is $10 a week and by getting my breakfast and lunches in my room and a good dinner out for $.50 I feel I can live as reasonably as I do here and be more contented. I can see Miss Hackmeister as often as I like.

Under the circumstances I think I shall invite Elsie and Aunt Betty up here for Thanksgiving which we celebrate in this state on Nov. 28th.

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Dick is trying to get a job and has an application in at Ashcroft (Manning, Maxwell and Moore). They turned him down when he applied to the Hydraulic Co. for a job on the Easton Reservoir. He would much prefer outside work but if this cannot be found he is willing to take anything that will bring him in some cash to enable him to follow through on the Alaskan trip plan. The only fly in the ointment as far as he is concerned is the fact that there are so few girls up there. He offered to take Barbara (Plumb) along with him if she would promise to go around with him instead of with Dan. Meantime, he is doing some work around the house here like burning leaves in the yard, varnishing the kitchen linoleum, putting up storm windows, getting junk ready for the rubbish collection this week, etc. Tonight Donald has taken him and Jean (Hughes) down to see Red (Sirene) in Brooklyn. I saw Charlie Chaplin’s picture of the Great Dictator last night. It was good but not worth relatively the $1.10 charge.

Will call it quits now as I have several other letters to write. No more news anyway. Don’t forget to send me promptly a list of the things you want for Christmas. I am planning to do my Christmas shopping early and I want what little I shall spend to count in getting you things you will really enjoy, hence this plea for aid.

DAD

P.S. David brought home his first report card the other day, with the following marks: History 70, Algebra 90, English 80, Latin 85, Singing 85.

I’ll finish the week with another letter from Grandpa to his three oldest children as they live and work far from home.

Saturday and Sunday I’ll have new Special Pictures for you.

On Monday. I’ll begin a week of letters written in 1942. Dan has been drafted, Lad has just gotten a deferment and Ced remains in Alaska.

Judy Guion

Trumbull (3) – Building Flurry in Bridgeport – Jan., 1942

ADG - Grandpa about 1945 or 1946 near a tree in winter

Page 3    1/11/1942

 

The speed limit on the Merritt Parkway has been reduced to 40 miles with the threefold purpose of saving tires, gas and lives.

What Dan means by moom pictures I leave it to you to guess but it does give me a chance to remark “don’t laugh at others mistakes, the banana peel may be under your own foot”.

Don Whitney has received his summons to appear before the draft board for physical examination so how long he will be figuring the profits and losses for the Stratfield is anyone’s guess. The Laufer’s have not heard from Erwin since he reached the Pacific coast. Dick Christie I understand has been down with pneumonia but is getting along nicely. It is reported that Jack Philmon tried to join the Marines but was turned down.

Meigs new store at the corner of Main and Wall – – where the A & P Market used to be – – is now just about completed and they will probably move about the 1st of February. Their old building I understand will be torn down for a new Woolworth store. There has also been a new building erected opposite Read’s where the parking lot used to be and I understand Singer’s will erect a new building near the corner of Fairfield and Broad between the old telephone building and where the church used to stand. The old building back of my office has been torn down and the space thus provided has been turned into a parking lot for customers and employees of the Bridgeport Peoples Savings Bank. So, when that glad day comes when you will be back in this neck of the woods again you will see quite a few changes in the old burgh.

As you may discern there is evidence of my news fund tapering out and inquiries of Dick and Dan not resulting in any fresh spurt to my imagination, if such it can be called, leaves me the sad alternative of bringing this momentous epistle to a close, with the usual hope that the coming week will again bring a letter with more news from my Alaskan pilot.

Give that jovial old pal of mine, Rusty, greetings from his old sidekick, and tell him to write me as soon as he gets any interesting news.

DAD

Tomorrow, another letter from Grandpa filled with bits and pieces of news from Trumbull – all about friends and family.

On Saturday and Sunday, more Special Pictures.

On Monday, I’ll begin posting letters written in 1944, when all the boys are working for Uncle Sam. Dick’s wife is living in Trumbull waiting for his return and Marian is getting closer to that move east as well.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Dear Ced And Rusty (2) – Office Developments – Jan., 1942

Alfred Duryee Guion (Grandpa)

Alfred Duryee Guion
(Grandpa)

Page 2 0f 1/4/1942

If you have not already done so by the time this letter reaches you, Ced, old scout, will you please be sure to let me know what packages you have received so that I can follow through from this and if anything I sent has not yet arrived. I sent a stainless steel sauce pan to Rusty to start housekeeping with, your watch which you sent home by Dan to be repaired, sealed beam headlights from Sears Roebuck, a box of Christmas knickknacks and a sweater from Forster Besse. While the total was far less that I wanted to send, perhaps it is all the more important that what did go should arrive safely. I did not renew subscription to the Sunday Post, first, because I did not know how much you cared for it (according to Dick he enjoyed the funnies from Seattle more), and second, your future movements seemed so uncertain that I thought I had better wait and ask you what you wanted done. Even if you go into service and are stationed at Fort Richardson, I suppose the mail would be forwarded to you from Box 822 anyway. Just say the word and I will do the necessary at this end.

Aunt Betty has just piped up and asked to have her love sent to you both.

At the office things are going a bit better or have for the past month or two. I am still having labor troubles but so far Dave has managed to get out what multigraphed letters we have had to produce and I am also able, with outside help, to keep up with the mimeographed jobs. Addressograph work has been quite heavy and I do have a girl that is doing this work very satisfactorily. During the year we have been able to pretty nearly clean up on our old debts, and, unless the nation at war throws another monkey wrench into the machinery, it looks as though we would continue. In this connection, the organization which Miss Platt left me to join, called the ADCRAFTERS, with offices just across the street, composed of the letter shop, run by Miss Platt, Art service (commercial) maintained by Mr. Thorpe, and commercial photography handled by the third member of the organization, has been having hard sledding. They originally had a printer in with them, but he proved to be no good so the rent that had been divided among the four of them had to be shared by three along with the other running expenses. It now develops that the photographer has been called into service and along with that fact, the bottom lately has been knocked out of the demand for artwork, so that Mr. Thorpe is seriously considering getting a job with some of the Bridgeport manufacturers who need his sort of service. This may throw Miss Platt on her own but with the doubtful course of future business in our line, it might be that she will be open for some arrangement whereby she will throw her little business in with mine and again be part of the Guion organization. If this happens, I may be content to let her carry on while I seek a job myself with some of the war industries here who are badly in need of men, due to the fact that so many are leaving to join up with Uncle Sam. All this, however, awaits the course of events.

To Rusty:

It was certainly good to get your letter. You don’t know how much I enjoyed hearing from you. Congratulations on the Dr. Romig painting. Please be sure to let me know about the result of the Court House petition, particularly if you get it. I’m keeping my fingers crossed. It will certainly mean the opening up of bigger things for you, which you richly deserve. Naturally I shall also be much interested to hear what results from the plans to seek other quarters. I suppose this depends somewhat on what happens in Ced’s case. It is good to know you are together. I hated to think of his being all alone so far from friends and home. As to your own personal affairs I have a hunch things are going to come out O.K. And if I can help, you know the offer still stands, to any extent within my power. I would be very happy if I could do anything that would help things to come out of the way you want them.

To Ced:

Write when you can, old son of mine. I’ll be listening.

DAD

Trumbull – Dear Lumbermen (2) – Quotes From Marian And Ced – Sept., 1944

Judy_0003

Nature must have handed your Uncle Ted a “roving commission” (On second thought, nobody handed him anything – – he’s won what he has by his own ability and effort). Be that as it may, he’s now headed for Bolivia, and by the time this letter is in the mail he will probably be winging his way over the continent to the south of us. He and Aunt Helen came up to Bridgeport Wednesday where I was able, fortunately, to be of some aid in straightening out a passport technicality, thus permitting Aunt Helen later to join Ted in Bolivia. It seems a big American engineering firm, backed jointly by the big Import-Export Bank and the Bolivian government, has about concluded negotiations for the building of some 500 miles through Bolivia of a Pan-American section of the super highway, and Ted was elected to act as sort of a John the Baptist in the matter, to go down there now and prepare the way for the final act before they get down to actual excavation. He estimates that it may turn out to be an eight year job but in any event, there will undoubtedly be openings for quite a bit of American skill and labor before it is finished. In fact, Ted asked me when I wrote Lad to say that he, Ted, would like to get Lad down there as soon as possible on diesel electric or similar work, and would like to have any suggestions as to how this could be made possible right now – – even to seeing if some wire pulling in Washington could be undertaken. He also hinted that later, there might be additional openings for some of you other boys. And that gave me an idea. You may recall that in one of my letters some time ago, I let my fancy have free reign and had you all in Alaska, Lad in charge of a big diesel electric power plant, Dan in some engineering or surveying or prospecting activity, Ced as a holder of his U.S. licensed airplane mechanic certificate (and now with his pilots operating license), Dick, who by the way wrote recently that besides paying the soldiers and making monthly reports, he has to make out the civilian payroll, prepare rosters of all Brazilians hired and fired. Because he now seems to have acquired enough Portuguese at school down there and in actual practice, he says his new boss, the Major, has ideas of putting him in complete charge of hiring, firing, sick leave, payroll, records, etc., of all our 500-odd Brazilian employees, and lastly Dave, running the business and in addition, producing on the spot, all those sundry business forms, printed matter, etc., with yours truly as the boss who sat at the top and looked important but made you fellows do all the work. Well, Ted’s remarks have inspired Act 2 of the Guion Saga, which I have attempted to set forth for your amusement in the attached.

Marian writes: “Our new home is very much nicer than the first one and we have kitchen privileges so we don’t have to eat out – – and from what we’ve sampled of “Southern cooking” we are just as glad. Somewhere along the way I’ve been sadly misinformed about Southern cooking (that’s not the only dissolution – – I imagined sitting on a porch, sipping mint juleps and sniffing magnolias and honeysuckle! Something is definitely wrong. Mississippi is as dry as can be and beer is a poor substitute for the mint julep). The couple who own the house where we are staying are working so we have the house to ourselves during the day. Lad’s classes are from 3:00 in the afternoon to 12:30 at night. He gets home about 1:30 and doesn’t have to report back to camp until to the next afternoon. Our new address is 303 Longino, Jackson, Miss., but your weekly morale builder-uppers, if sent to Lad, are certain to reach him that way. In case you are still wondering, the “we” referred to in my previous letter were two of the wives who came with me and a two-year-old boy. We all lived in the same place in Pomona so we decided to stick together and come here, too.”

A letter addressed to “Sneezy Guion, Ragweed, Conn.” from you-know-who in Alaska, arrived on the morning of September 11th, which shows pretty good timing, and started the day off right. It’s worth having a 60th birthday to find out what one’s boys think of their old man. Ced writes: “Once again I see by the calendar that the natal anniversary date of pater Guion approaches. This being most likely the last letter from an admiring son to be received in Trumbull before that date, must convey a message of thanks for all you have been to us all, and the very best wishes for you in the ensuing year. I wish that all of us could join you at the dinner table on the eventful day in body as well as in spirit. Be it a comfort to you to know that few up here can rival my record of one letter a week from home. One has the feeling that no matter what happens he can always fall back on Dad and be sure of the best that Dad can offer in the way of assistance. A token of appreciation is en route from the sourdough via carrier pigeon, underground telegraph or some other means of transportation but may not reach you until after your birthday. Last night and today have been a definite prelude to winter. Snow fell quite low in the mountains last night while a cold rain and accompanying wind hit town. I am of the opinion that this winter will be early, with lots of snow but not too severe. Some of the Buick parts have arrived and I start tomorrow putting the transmission together. (Ced next gives an interesting account of his watch repairs, and goes on to say) Now I can fly and keep track of my minutes in the air. The ship I am soloing in is the most luxurious of small planes but to operate the radio one must have a radio operators license so that too I must study for and obtain. In the meantime, I use the lights from the control tower. Eleanor Burnham is doing library work in New York with little children. Helen has gone to Syria on missionary schoolwork. Brad is in the Marines in the Pacific. Rusty (Heurlin) is at Pt. Barrow.” He writes he has completely quit drinking.

DAD

P.S. I found Dave’s letter in my car. See attached copy. This reminds me of the famous Sears Roebuck letter: Gentlemen: I git the pump witch I by from you, but why for Gods sake you doan send me no handle. Wats the use of a pump when she don have no handle, I lose to me my customer. Sure thing you don treat me rite.  I wrote ten days gone and my customer he holler like hell for water from the pump. You no he is hot pumper and the win he no blow the pump. She got no handle so wat the hell I goan to do with it. If you doan send me the handle pretty quick I send her back and I order pump from Myers company.                       Goodby.

Yours truly,

Antonio

Since I write I find the dam handle in the box. Excuse to me.

Trumbull – A Trip To Mt. Joy Pl. – Nov., 1941

Trumbull, Conn., November 30, 1941

Dear Silent Ones:

Ten o’clock in the evening is the time. Lad (driving), Dan, Barbara (Plumb, Dan’s girlfriend), Aunt Betty and myself left here about 1 o’clock with our movie equipment and motored, I believe that is the word, to Mt. Joy Pl., New Rochelle, there to partake of a very nice meal. It was the first real Sunday dinner I had not cooked myself for months, and I did enjoy it. Later, (Aunt) Dorothy, Burton (Peabody) and Grandma (Peabody) came over. Dan showed his stills first and then Lad followed with the movies. I tried to find out from Grandma what Anne’s plans were for Christmas but she had not heard from Anne for some time and could give me no information on that score. Babe (Cecelia Mullins, Lad’s girlfriend) was supposed to go along with us today but she called up this morning and said she had a cold and did not feel like going along. Dave had his Young People’s meeting to attend so he did not go along, though I suspect the real reason was his dislike of having to be questioned by Aunt Dorothy as to the progress of his school work.

Dan has about decided to purchase a 1933 Chevrolet coupe which Carl has had for sale since August. I think it is one which he bought from Mr. Powell. I know little about it except that the price is $75. He has decided that he needs some means of getting back and forth from work. Since the shop has become unionized, he has to be at work by seven and quits at three in the afternoon, and as Lad does not have to report for work on his job until 9 AM, and leaves when his work is done, which may be anywhere from 5 to 7, it leaves Dan without timely transportation. He plans to get his markers tomorrow.

The weather continues quite mild. We have yet had no real cold days and not a speck of snow. Some of the trees have still not shed their leaves and we noticed today on the Parkway, that the Dogwood trees still carry leaves that have not entirely changed from green to brown. I

I have been a waiting anxiously for a letter from you last week to tell me what the latest news is about your deferment. I hope there will be a letter either from you or Dick in the mail tomorrow.

Again there seems little noteworthy of transmission to you under the general subject of news. After recovering from his attack of flu, Kemper was informed by the doctor that he had a mild case of diabetes and, while he does not have to take insulin, he does have to diet.

ADG - China - the good set

ADG - China - detail

 

Ethel (Bushey) presented me with a dinner plate exactly matching that gold bordered set of dishes (the good set) that we inherited from Aunt Mary Powers. She said she was in an antique shop in Mamaroneck and happened to notice this one dish and recognized that it was exactly like our set and she bought it for me. She said it was the only one they had.

Last week, very suddenly, the Times Star folded up. They had been losing money for some months but nobody expected it to discontinue so abruptly. Even the employees did not know anything about it when they came to work that morning. At 10 o’clock orders went around to write a swan song for the addition just going to press and at noon all employees were paid a week’s salary and dismissed. That leaves the Post-Telegram Cock of the Walk although there is a rumor that the Harold is going to put out a daily edition. I hired one of the girls temporarily that had been in their editorial department.

DAD

Trumbull – Dear Awayoffs (2) – Thanksgiving – Nov., 1941

Page 2 of 11/15/41

Biss - with Butch and family - 1940Dan, this morning, about finished up getting up the storm windows. This, with the insulation and furnace ought to keep us comfortable this winter. We still have had no cold weather.

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DPG - with Zeke holding Butch

Between Lad and Dave at the office we have now put the old automatic feed in condition and are turning out Wheeler labels in fairly good shape. Lately we have been busy with mimeograph work on architect’s specifications, 50 to 100 pages, each run off from 40 to 50 stencils.

There is some talk about the Remington-Rand dry shaver building a factory in Trumbull in that big empty field opposite Rakowski’s store, running from the railroad by Iron Ledge back to the rear of Noyes house, provided the Zoning Board will grant the necessary permission.

I took some more chances for you, Ced, on a 1942 Nash to be raffled off last night but as I did not receive a phone call by midnight telling me you were the lucky man, I guess we’ll kiss that goodbye also.

Next Thursday is supposed to be our Thanksgiving this year. I have already ordered a turkey from Kurtz’s and have invited Biss and her family over to dinner. Elsie writes it is very questionable as to whether she will be able to get up on that day and Sylvia will also be working, so I guess we won’t have to put a couple of extra leaves in the table as we have on some occasions in the past. There is one thing you can be sure of and that is that we will be thinking very much of you two boys and wishing you were home with us.

My car is not running as well as I would like it to at present. When I slow down in high and step on the gas it has a tendency to buck, and this morning I found most of my antifreeze had leaked out. Carl had put in new hose connections and I guess they were not tight. Otherwise we’re doing pretty well.

As you may surmise from the rambling tone of the foregoing, there is again not much news of interest, but I am writing it anyway for what interest it may have, as I know from experience how disappointing it is to look, week after week, for the expected letter and not have it materialize. This has been the case here for the past two weeks but I am hoping the spell will be broken on the morrow when I twist the dial on P.O. Box 7.

Aunt Betty has asked me to send her love to both of you. As far as the writer is concerned, you probably know what to expect along this line from your    DAD

Tomorrow, I’ll be posting two post cards from Helen (Peabody) Human from Guatemala and on Friday, another letter from Grandpa to his two boys in Alaska.

Saturday and Sunday will be more Special Pictures.

Next week, I’ll be posting letters from 1944 when all the boys (and Marian) are dealing with Uncle Sam.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Far North Division, Greetings – Nov. 9, 1941

Alfred Duryee Guion (my Grandpa)

Alfred Duryee Guion (my Grandpa)

Trumbull, Conn.,   Nov. 9, 1941

To section 2 of

the Guion Family,

Far North Division,

Greetings:

The shadows lengthen, the evening comes, a busy day’s work is over and the time is now for my weekly chat with my two absent boys.

This week there is little to relate. The weather has been mild – – no cold spells as yet, somewhat rainy, grass still green, leaves mostly brown.

The new gas station being built just this side of Sperling’s is about finished and I suppose Carl takes over in a few days, as they have offered him a much better proposition selling Atlantic gas and oil. I don’t know whether Socony has obtained anyone yet to take over Kurtz’s station. I have told Karl I will patronize his new station for the present. I have never believed Socony gas to be exceptionally good anyway, in which opinion Lad concurs. He says he has been mixing special with regular and finds it gives him better results than straight special. I should think using aviation gas all the time, as I understand you do, would not be too good for your engine.

Monty is back from the hospital and is apparently feeling O.K. after his operation. I have not seen any of them since, but Aunt Betty tells me they all came over to visit her one afternoon during the week and the three boys, Barbara and Babe went over there Thursday night. Last night, at the Klein Memorial, where Fredric March, Alan Reed and Florence Eldridge starred in “Hope For A Harvest”, Dan and Barbara, Lad and Babe, Dave and Evy Hughes splurged on $2.50 orchestra seats and enjoyed it much.

The ambulance drive went over the top in good shape. Several hundred dollars over the 3000 mark assured the town of a good ambulance.

I invited Sylvia up here for Thanksgiving but she says she has to work at the British Consulate that day and at Christmas she is going over to Long Island to take charge of her former wards, so I guess it will be Aunt Betty and Elsie, as usual.

McLevy has again been reelected mayor for two more years. Bridgeport continues to beem and in spite of numerous parking meters, the traffic problem, particularly at closing time, is acute.

Today Dave went to Church and sang in the choir, Lad worked on the heater in his car and Dan took down screens and put up some storm windows. I got dinner and for the first time tried your lemon meringue pie, with the boiling flour. It was my first attempt at a pie and while I would not call it an unqualified success as far as the meringue top went, it was good enough so most of them had two helpings and there is only one small section left.

I doubt if you will find this letter of much interest but there seems to be a dead space in the news and no letters from you to reply to. Aunt Betty sends love and is coming along nicely. Hoping you are the same, love from your old

DAD

The rest of the week will include two letters from Grandpa and two post cards from Helen (Peabody) Human.

On Saturday and Sunday, I’ll be posting more Special Pictures.

Next week, we’ll move forward to 1944, to a time when all five sons are involved in war work for Uncle Sam.

If you are enjoying this “slice of Life” from the 1940s, why not share this blog with a friend or two, who also might enjoy this look into the past.

Judy Guion

Army Life – Lad’s Introduction To The Army (1) – May, 1942

 

My friend, GP Cox, writes a blog called pacificparatrooper, a tribute to the 11th Airborne Division in the Pacific during World War II. That story line has come to the point where Alaska is being invaded in June of 1942. You’ll find GP’s blog at https://pacificparatrooper.wordpress.com .

GP and I are writing blogs about the same time period from two very different viewpoints. GP will be writing about the invasion of Alaska and other war news. My blog, based on 7 ½ years of letters written by my grandfather to his sons who were scattered around the world, will present the viewpoint of an ordinary family, trying to live an ordinary life, during the same time frame. In the next few weeks, I’ll be posting letters written by my grandfather and my father. You will notice that there is no news about Alaska being invaded. This was overshadowed by other war news. 

To set the stage, in January, 1942 my Uncle Dan, number two son, was drafted and at this point is in North Carolina for training. In June of 1942, my father, Lad, son number one, was drafted and sent to The Ordnance Training Center at the Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland. My Uncle Ced, son number three, has been in Alaska since June, 1940. He is working at the Woodley Airfield as an airplane mechanic and is living with a family friend, Rusty Heurlin, who became one of Alaska’s most famous landscape and wildlife artists. You can read the first week of letters by clicking on the category Alaska in the War.

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

 

Pvt. A.P. Guion

Co. B 14 Bn ORTC

Aberdeen Proving Ground

Md.

May 18, 1942

Dear Dad: –

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tomorrow, I’ll post the rest of this letter. I’ll be continuing this story line for the next few weeks while GP is writing about the Invasion of Alaska.  The contrasts may surprise you.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Alaskan Cranberries and the Draft (2) – Nov., 1940

Dan, Ced and car

Dan, Ced and car

R – 102    November 17, 1940

 

Dear Bimbos:

What have I done to make you drop me from your list of correspondents? Here I am faithfully wearing my index finger to the bone every Saturday afternoon and evening typing letters to various parts of the inhabited world whereas the record shows that the last letter I received from Dan was dated October 15th and from Ced some undated time the latter part of October (received here Nov. 11th). Gosh, it’s almost worthwhile being a sweetheart so a month won’t elapse without some word from you, Danny boy, and with Ced taking flying lessons, how do I know but what he made a forced landing in the tundra someday. Then too, about a week ago I read a notice in the Bridgeport paper that a bunch of boys at the Anchorage airbase had been seriously ill with tell tomaine poisoning. I’ll get gray hairs (more of them) quicker by not hearing from you than I will from hearing bad news, unless it’s too bad, so have a heart and one of you write me at least once a week, even if it’s only a postal. I would also like to hear, at your convenience Dan, whether Mrs. McCain did anything special for your birthday.

Dave told me that Barbara had received her parka and was much pleased with it. I forgot to ask her how her cranberries came out. I saw the can when it arrived in a much damaged condition but most of the berries looked all right although some on the top were smashed up a bit. The address tag was so smeared up that Eleanor Kurtz could not decipher it and knowing it came from Alaska thought it might be for me, but I could make out enough to see that it was probably intended for the Plumbs. If it does not cost too much to mail a box of these, I was thinking the other day that probably Mrs. Heurlin would greatly appreciate having some as they are, according to Rusty, very similar to the berries they get in Sweden.

I am enclosing a page from this Sunday’s Bridgeport Post about Alaska which I have read with great interest. You will be better able to determine, then I, how nearly true the unprovable statements are by comparing them with the statements of facts that you can verify from your own personal knowledge.

Jane Mantle is home and invited Dick out last night to some affair on a blind date. He did not say today whether the girl he went with, who was said by Jane to have a profile like Hedy Lamarr, was up to expectations or not. Dick is trying to get a job but so far has been unsuccessful. I sent him over to see my friend at Ashcroft and his application is on file there and also I believe, at General Electric, but so far with no tangible result.

We keep going at the office, once in a while a rush job but nothing to justify the rumor of a boom. Payrolls seem to be higher according to statistics that is mainly because a few big companies like Remington Arms, Bridgeport Brass (shells for ammunition), General Electric and Sikorsky are busy with government contracts. Sooner or later I suppose, it will seep down through to industry in general, and with more employment and people able to buy more, it ought to react on all manufacturing to some extent and be reflected in my little business.

This is rather an “off” week as far as local news is concerned. Everything is running along as usual on an even keel with no high spots to speak up, so I am keeping my ear close to the ground to hear anything of interest from the North country. Lad just sent me a 5-page single spaced letter telling me about his visit to make some repairs on an oil well on a little island north of Venezuela.

DAD

Tomorrow and Sunday I’ll post more Special Pictures.

On Monday, we’ll go back to Alaska in the War and June of 1942.

Judy Guion