Army Life – Dear Dad – Plans for Christmas – December 21, 1943

 

Marian (Irwin) Guion

Tuesday

December 21, 1943

Dear Dad, Aunt Betty, Jean, Dave and anyone else of the Guion clan who is present —

Last Wednesday Uncle Sam gave us a Christmas present that we find rather hard to take. Lad has been transferred from Camp Santa Anita to Texarkana, and he left this morning to drive there in the Buick. It isn’t an embarkation depot (Thank God) but as far as we know now, he is in a cadre that are being organized and trained for overseas duty. This shouldn’t happen right away, however, ‘cause it’s supposed to take from 6 to 8 months to get the company ready for overseas work. He is going to wire you his new address (the one I have may not be right) and will probably be able to explain a little more in detail just exactly what the setup really is. For the present, until he sees what the post is like and what housing conditions are, I am going to stay here. As soon as he can find a room, a tent or a packing box, I’m going to join him! We should be used to this business of being anywhere we can- after all, we’d only been in the apartment 12 days, so we shouldn’t be too much in a rut, and too used to domestic life. Somehow, we haven’t quite been able to see the funny side of the situation as yet, altho’ we should be able to very soon. Everything has been so perfect and so wonderful so far, that we are sure everything will be all right in the very near future.

In the meantime, we try not to think about the time we are separated, and are looking forward to the day when I can meet him in Texarkana.

Somehow, we hated to take time out to finish our Christmas cards (we are making them this year), but I’ll get them out to everyone even if they don’t arrive until the 4th of July! Our Christmas box to you also, was delayed a little, so we’re not too sure it will arrive in time for Christmas. However, we know you’ll understand, and we want you to know that the lateness of arrival in no way dims our Christmas wishes for you.

I find that I’m not as good a soldier’s wife as I thought I was so I’m trying to get a reservation home. I’ll know tomorrow morning whether it’s possible or not, but I rather think I will get there.

Lad and I had a wonderful Christmas celebration last night. We had our tree and gifts then, and although it wasn’t quite the way we had planned, at least we celebrated our first Christmas together, in spite of the fact that it was a little earlier than is customary.

I seem to have rambled on quite a bit. I hope you won’t feel that I am too blue or depressed. You do know of course, how disappointed we both are, but we have known all along that it might happen this way and that we would just have to take it and no questions asked. It’s particularly hard for Lad, though. They did the same thing to him last year and moved him just at Christmas time. I guess, however, that Uncle Sam can’t afford to be sentimental, and as his nieces and nephews, we all have to take things as they come and be cheerful about it. It can’t last forever!

I sincerely promise that my next letter to you will be much more cheerful. With love to all of you–

Marian

P.S. We both enjoyed your Christmas box, Dad. You do things just the way I like – (specifically- the little Christmas tree, candy and raisins enclosed with the gifts), Lad took them with him to eat along the way. (The food, I mean, the gifts will be used in appropriate places).

M

We also got a chance to play your Christmas record, Dad. Enjoyed it very much —

 

Tomorrow, a letter from Lad on board the Santa Rosa and mailed in Curacao.

On Sunday, more Special Pictures. Next week, letters written in 1944.

Judy Guion

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Trumbull – Dear Gang – Ced Has Arrived – December 19, 1943

 

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Cedric Duryee Guion

Trumbull, Conn., Dec. 19, 1943

Dear Gang:

Well, if old Ponce de Leon had ever found the Fountain of Youth and imbibed a draught of the elixir of life, I would have known just how he felt when, after sitting up last Sunday night figuring out when Ced might possibly arrive home after receiving an airmail letter dated Calgary, in he walked about eight A.M. Tuesday morning, having stepped off the Montréal train at Bridgeport at 7:45 and hopping in a taxi (which incidentally couldn’t make our driveway). The candle, which as per my promise, I had kept burning for him the night before, was badly guttered in the holder as it stood on the electric stove just inside the back door, as he marched in with his hands full of baggage — the same old towering Ced. He looks about the same except that we all agreed he has filled out a bit, at least as far as his face is concerned. His trip from Seward to Seattle was uneventful except for the blackout Friday and Saturday (the first and second days out) after five P.M., and the gulf being a bit rough. Stops at Juneau, where, as usual, it rained and at Ketchikan where, for a wonder, it was clear and sunshiny, were enjoyed. On his arrival at Seattle chances for a plane trip East were so indefinite that he finally decided to retrace his steps as far as Vancouver and take a Canadian Pacific train to Montréal, which he did. It was bitterly cold at Montréal – much colder than in Alaska, but as related he reached Trumbull safe and sound and weren’t we glad to see him! Needless to say, I was late to work that morning. Since then we have been learning all about Anchorage first-hand. We were all invited over to Ives for dinner Thursday night and had a most enjoyable evening, supper followed by movies of their Hatian trip and scenes from Trumbull. What a comfort to have Ced home again and to know he will be here about a month. His plans are to leave here around the middle of January and return via Los Angeles in order to visit the newlyweds. Carl came home last night for a short visit and Ced went over to see him this morning. Tomorrow Ced is going to Bridgeport with me and plans Tuesday, to go to New York with Aunt Betty to see Grandma, etc. He brought a host of things from Alaska in the way of gifts for us all, which of course we are eagerly awaiting to open on Christmas.

No letters this week from either Lad, Dan or Dick, which may not mean they have not written but merely that the Christmas mail is slowing things up. Oh, yes, this morning for breakfast we had real Alaskan sourdough pancakes prepared by Alaskan Ced himself, with enough of the batter left over to form the nucleus of another batch for later consumption.

We have not shown yet any of the Alaskan or South American movies, none of which Ced has seen, but probably will, if not tonight, soon, as Ced also has some slides which he sent home and are now, according to reports, awaiting him at the railroad station.

There is much more to write, but I’ll cut this letter short here as there is so much to do and hear and talk about and right now they are awaiting me in the kitchen (I hope). Anyway, I’m sure you’ll be charitable and forgive my not writing more under the circumstances. I only wish you were all here too.

DAD

Tomorrow and Thursday, another letter from Grandpa. I’ll finish out the week with another letter from Marian to The Gang in Trumbull.

Judy Guion

 

Army Life – Dear Dad – The Lost Has Been Found – December 9, 1943

It is December, 1943. Grandpa is excited about the coming visit from son # 3, Ced, from far-off Anchorage, Alaska. Lad and Marian have been married for only a few weeks and Uncle Sam has a Christmas surprise waiting for them.

 

Alfred (Lad) Peabody Guion

             Alfred (Lad) Peabody Guion

Wednesday

12/9/43

Dear Dad –

The lost has been found! Lad’s picture finally caught up with us at – of all places – the Hospitality Center. It had evidently been there for quite a while, but no one knew about it, ’cause it was put away in a drawer. And we haven’t been up there as much as we used to be either, so that probably accounts for the fact that I didn’t get it.

I’m so glad it finally got to me and I’m just as pleased and thrilled with it as I can be. It’s an awfully good picture of him, I think, and 100% better than the only one I have of him that was taken out here in his uniform. Thanks so much, Dad, for your thoughtfulness in sending it to me. His baby picture is darling, and he had light hair, too, didn’t he? I commented on that fact to Lad and he said, “Yes, I’ve been lightheaded all my life, too!” See whats happened to him? But he’s mighty nice to have around, nevertheless.

Received a letter from my sister yesterday saying that the pictures of the wedding have come back and that they’re very good. We are very anxious to see them, of course, and  are planning on having some of the Kodachrome slides developed into regular pictures. Will send them to you as soon as we get them developed. Wish you could see the movie films. Peg says they are very good too.

Peg Irwin, Maid-of-Honor and Marian Guion, Nov. 14, 1943 - with hats and coursages

Margaret Irwin and Marian (Irwin) Guion

 

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

Mr. and Mrs, Alfred Peabody Guion

 

Lad and Marian Guion's wedding, with her parents - Nov. 14, 1943

My Mom’s parents, Mowry Addison Irwin, Edith (Rider) Irwin, Marian (Irwin) Guion and Alfred Peabody Guion

 

Lad and Marian Guion's wedding, Nov. 14, 1943 (both standing)

Al (Lad to family and friends) and Marian Guion

 

We’re hoping to get up to Orinda for Christmas but won’t be sure until the last minute whether or not we can make it. At any rate, Lad and I will enjoy our first Christmas together, and will be looking forward to the time when we can all be “Home for Christmas.”

This office stationery isn’t too good, but I knew you’d want to hear about the picture right away.

Love to everyone –

Marian

The next three days will have letters from Grandpa and I’ll finish out the week with another from Marian to The Guion Clan.

Judy Guion

Army Life – Dear Ced – The Lost Has Been Found – October 2, 1944

Marian Irwin

Marian (Irwin) Guion

Tuesday

(10/2/44 – JGH)

Dear Ced: –

The lost has been found. After collecting dust in the Pomona Railway Express Office for about eight months, your Christmas gift to us was forwarded here last month. And nonetheless welcomed and appreciated in spite of the long delay. Lad’s cigarette case was put into immediate use, and although the weather has been terrifically hot up to now, the last few days have cooled off sufficiently for me to believe that very soon now I can put my slippers to work. They are a little big, sad to relate, but I don’t walk out of them, so I intend to put them to use as soon as we have a frosty morning. Incidentally, do they soften up with use? And what are they made of? They look and feel as tho’ they would last a lifetime.

We had a very pleasant weekend this last week. (Sounds peculiar, but you know what I mean!). After various telegrams to and fro, we finally made connections and were able to spend most of the weekend in Little Rock, Ark. with Dave. He had gotten a three-day pass from Camp Crowder, and Lad had gotten a weekend pass, so, as Little Rock was practically the middle point from camp to camp, we drove up and Dave came down on the bus. We toured the town of Little Rock Saturday, Saturday night, and Sunday until now, when we had to leave to get back to Jackson. Now I’ve had the pleasure of meeting three of the Guion boys – two more to go. I could see more of a resemblance between Lad and Dave than I could see between you and Lad. I think I could pick them out as brothers from any crowd, but I’m not so sure about the rest of you. I hope it won’t be too long before you can all be together once more and I can line you all up to see who’s who.

MIG - Letter to Ced re Christmas gifts and Dave at Little Rock - Oct., 1944

Our life is still as unsettled as ever, but Lad’s hours are pretty swell so we don’t do too much complaining. Lad has been spending most of his spare time working on the car. Remember when we had to have the clutch fixed in Texarkana? Well, they didn’t do a good job of reassembling it. Consequently, the gears have grated and clashed for the last 12,000 miles. So Lad finally found the time and a garage where he could work so he took the whole thing apart and fixed it. She works like magic, now, and what a relief not to have all the noise every time we shift gears. The only reason we would like to go back to Texarkana would be to tell those garage mechanics what we think of them!

How’s the flying coming along? When we were at Little Rock, we went out to the airport for a while. Dave is most enthusiastic about planes and flying – and Lad always has been, too – so in that happy post-war time, you are going to be busy teaching your brothers to fly! Possibly me, too!!!

Thanks again for your Christmas gifts. If you can find the time, write and let us know what you are doing.

As always,

Marian,

P.S. Me too —-

Lad

Tomorrow I will be posting Dan’s impressions of his trip from Curacao to the Base Camp before beginning work on the road they will build between Caracas and Maracaibo in Venezuela. Sunday, I will be posting Special Picture # 339 from Grandpa’s early years in Mount Vernon, New York.

Judy Guion

Army Life – Dear Dad – Marian Writes A Quick Note From Jackson – September, 1944

 

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Dear Dad: –

I’m afraid this won’t be a very lengthy letter this week. We don’t have very much to report. Life goes on just about as usual – night classes continue – and the weather remains as hot as it ever was. We had three downpours today, but they didn’t cool us off very much. The natives tell us that this weather won’t last too much longer. By the time it changes, we’ll be transferred I guess, so in any case, we shouldn’t get a change of weather.

Did we tell you that the long-lost package from Ced finally arrived? It has been reclining in the Pomona Railway Express Office for lo these many months. It was none the worse for wear, however – and the presence of Christmas wrapping in September didn’t faze us one bit. It was still fun to open the package. I received a furry pair of slippers – real Alaskan models, and just a trifle too big, but I don’t mind in the least. They are very comfortable, and the fur lining will be wonderful in winter – and Lad received a wooden cigarette case, with a propeller-like top which swings around to reveal the cigarettes.

We were a little worried about Lad’s being able to get gasoline to drive back and forth each day – they are most particular, here, and give out very little extra gas – But due to Lad’s persuasiveness and the fact that he refused to believe them when they said “No” the first time, we now have a “C” book and one less worry.

Sorry this is so short. Maybe we can do better next time.

All our love,

Marian and Lad

Tomorrow,a letter from Grandpa and I will finish off the week with a thank you a letter from Marian to Ced regarding the lost Christmas presents. On Saturday, more about Lad’s Voyage to Venezuela.

Judy Guion 

Family – Dear Caric – Butch Asks Biss to Write to Ced – September and October, 1944

 

Elizabeth (Biss) Guion Zabel

Elizabeth (Biss) Guion Zabel

Sunday Night,

9:39 P.M.

9/24/44.

Dear Caric,

You can thank Butch for this unexpected letter from me. You see he and Marty were having an argument the other day over who was going to wear a pair of slippers that Butch received from one of you boys up there in Alaska about two winters ago and I told Butch that they fit Marty so let him have them as he had no other pair and Butch did have an extra pair. Well Butch let Marty have the slippers but very grudgingly and he told me to go down town and buy him another pair just like those so I had to explain to him that I could not buy another pair like that as they had come from Alaska and they did not sell slippers like that around here so he told me to write to Ced—-right now, mother! I told him I would write to you and see if you could get another pair for him so can you? Here is a description of the slippers if you can find another pair similar to the ones here. They have three “A” markings on the front in colored beads. It seems to me that there were some other beads on it too but I wouldn’t be sure now. He wears a size 12 children’s shoe if you do happen to find a pair.

I have to stop now just as I am getting started as Zeke wants to get to bed early tonight and I have to take a bath. We have all been sick this week so that is the urgent reason for getting an early start to bed but I will tell you more about that tomorrow when I continue this letter to you. Good night for now from me and Zeke too.

Sunday Night,

9:23 P.M.

10/1/44

Well, here I am again! I put down the ”9“ and then looked around at the calendar to see what day it was only to find that another month had crept up on me unawares. I think I will send Dave a note tonight too to wish him a happy birthday.

I suppose Dad has told you by now that Bob Peterson died this past week from a Tumor of the brain. It was a surprise to us here as we hadn’t even heard he was sick. Dad probably mentioned how long he was sick.

Zeke and I started bowling this last week and I am proud to state that I had the honor of bowling high score for the night with a score of 126. We bowl with the Singer dept. That Zeke works in. Johnny and Dot Heigelmann bowl with us. They give a prize for high score for women at the end of the season and if the scores had counted that night I probably would have had a good chance to win it right then and there.

Did Dad tell you that Aunt Betty fell last week and hurt her knee? I guess she had one of her dizzy spells as she didn’t trip on anything but just felt. I greatly doubt that she will last the winter out as I can see her failing more and more every time she comes down here for a visit, I believe she is losing weight too. We were talking about Christmas today and trying to find out what the different people wanted and aunt Betty said she thought having somebody else do the cooking would be the best Christmas she ever had in her life. I felt awfully sorry for her at the time and thought what a shame it was that she had to do all the cooking.

Well, Zeke wants to go to bed early again and is almost finished with his bath so I had better cut this short if I want to get that birthday note written to Dave tonight. Love,

Biss

P.S. The rest send their love too.

Tomorrow, a quick note from Marian to Grandpa, then another letter from Grandpa to his boys (and Marian) and I will finish out the week with a thank you  note from Marian to Ced.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – The Book of the Week (1) – The Great Record Mystery – October 10, 1943

In this weeks letter, Grandpa announces Lad’s engagement to Marian to the brothers who are so far from home. 

Lad and Marian in Pomona, CA

Lad and Marian at Pamona, CA

October 10, 1943

THE BOOK OF THE WEEK

Being Trumbull’s Refuse of Refuse

Translated from the original by A. D. Guion

CHRISTMAS BOXES:      How much moral fortitude have the boys in the service? Can the Trumbull contingent resist temptation? Have the Guion draftees willpower strong enough so that they can delay opening their Christmas boxes, being sent sometime during the coming week, until December 25th, no matter how much before that date said box arrives? These are the questions that the inmates of BABBLING BROOK are asking themselves, instead of the outmoded question: “Is there a Santa Claus?” Time alone will afford the answer. To be sure, the contents of the boxes are nothing to write home about (which, following the usual custom, you will not do). We have tried to inject a little local color in the shape of certain products found locally on trees in the vicinity, while daughter-in-law Jean, has, with loving care, prepared a few toothsome bits on which you may contentedly munch (this is not a cow product add).

THE GREAT RECORD MYSTERY:     For some weeks Read’s have been advertising how thrilling it would be for “your boy or girl in the service” to receive a Christmas greeting in your own voice, and to this end they set up a recording service where, under competent supervision, one could go to their store and speak your little piece on both sides of a metal photograph record which could then be sent in one’s overseas Christmas box. Yesterday (Saturday) Howland’s announced a similar service and on my way to deliver the Liggett’s menus, I stopped in and made my little speech three times on records to go to Dan, Dick and Lad. After completing my creation the operator told me I could also use the other side of the record and rather than extemporized on the spur of the moment, I told him I would come back later after giving a bit of thought to what I wanted to say. I did so and was greeted with the sad news that orders had just come through from the War Department to the effect that such service had to be discontinued and that no records made would be allowed to be sent. Read’s had already made some 400 recordings. The only one they would allow to be sent was the one to Lad, as he was not overseas. I don’t see the sense of the ruling any more than I do some of the other queer edicts that issue from New Dealers in Washington, but there is nothing much to do about it, so that idea is bust.

Editor’s Note: I have the recording that was sent to Lad (and have put it onto a CD) and it is wonderful to hear Grandpa’s voice talking to his sons, even though only one got the message.

THIS WEEK’S FEATURE STORY:     (replacing the usual column “Advice to the Lovelorn”). So as not to spring this startling news to suddenly on our indulgent readers, mention is made that under a Stratford dateline last week the Bridgeport Post ran an item captioned “Laddie Ignores War Department”! Be that as it may, the only letter received from any of the absentees last week was one from California announcing the engagement of one Sgt. Guion to Miss Marian Irwin, or to put it in his own words: (oh, damn, I just recall having left the letter in the office). But anyway, he mentioned having been hit quite hard and when he had time to get his breath he promised to send more details. SO, you Dan and Ced, look out for Cupid! Who knows but that he has two arrows left in his quiver tagged with your names! Come on, now, who will be the next? Remember I have, for a number of years, had only one daughter and five sons and the sooner I acquire more daughters by proxy, the better, so step right up, gentlemen, and place your bets.

Tomorrow I will finish off the week with the rest of this letter.

Judy Guion