Trumbull, Conn., September 10, 1944
Friends, Roamers and Countrymen:
Lending me your ears won’t help much – – what I need is a new nose – – one with a sneezeless attachment. However my eyes are still functioning in spite of my advanced age – – sufficient at least to read the interesting letters you boys contribute to the weekly Guion letter exchange.
This week Dave climbs up into first place along with the other top-notch ace correspondents, which now makes it unanimous – – probably inheriting your letter writing ability, according to Aunt Betty, from your father, who of course is too modest to admit the truth of any such statement.
But before I get into the Quotables Dept., let me briefly say that everyone was so anxious to see me make the 60th milestone that they anticipated it by a day and celebrated the gruesome occasion today in the traditional Guion manner, candles, cake and everything. Following my usual custom, I passed out a few little items myself, with the accompanying “apology”, but of course, such were not to be compared in any measurable degree with the thoughtful and generous remembrances which came my way. Indeed, the only circumstance which would have made the occasion a perfect one was your absence in person. Biss, Zeke and the two youngsters, along with Jean and Aunt Betty, lent color to the festivities and material evidences of goodwill such as a shirt, necktie, pajamas, after-shaving lotion, book, box of candy and Aunt Betty’s traditional greeting card with its green accompaniment kind of took the edge off the idea of advancing years.
Today’s paper announces the fact that Col. Chas. A. Lindbergh and wife will this month become residents of Fairfield, Conn., having rented a house there. Nothing new to report regarding the post office affairs here. Things temporarily are going along the same as ever. Even if and when they move from Kurtz’s, I don’t anticipate that any of the box numbers will be changed from present holders and that P. O. Box 7 will still indicate the portals through which news of the world is received here.
Now to get to the part you have been waiting for. Dave’s four-page single-space masterpiece is too long, or perhaps I’d better say I still lack sufficient energy to quote it in full, but I shall pull out juicy portions here and there in which you may sink your mental teeth.
“Well, here I am back in Camp Crowder again after a three – weeks sojourn with all of the Missouri rocks, chiggers and ticks that I promised you I would meet up with. It’s good to get back to Camp, but it will be so much “gooder” to get out of here entirely. I’ve spent six months in this place and I’m getting pretty tired of it all. But alas, there are no shipping orders for any of us. I’ll let you know what goes on as soon as I find out. Applying for OCS at this late date would mean nothing but a commission in the Army of occupation or possibly combat duty in the South Pacific. Either of these outlooks would be all right if I were planning to stay in the Army as originally intended; but with the possibility of having my own letter shop, and in later years, my own advertising company all set, established, etc., Why should I waste valuable years in the Army? Well, here it is September 3rd. According to the radios the war is still going on over in Europe. In fact from reports about all that’s going on anywhere is the war. At least that’s all anybody seems to be talking about. I mention this because some time ago, in an optimistic mood, I made the statement that it looked like the war would be over by August 15th, but that date has come and gone and still the Germans are fighting (sort of). Now I won’t make any estimates as to when it will be over. Who cares when it will be over? It is so damn close to the finish now that all I do is sit and think about what a good feeling it is and I don’t bother wondering about any specific date. But I still say that we all should be home by Christmas of ’45. At least that’s what I’m planning on. My brothers can think what they want but I’m looking forward to a Christmas dinner in a little less than 16 months at our “big white home in the East”, with the smell of Evergreen permeating the house, a fire in the fireplace, maybe with the added discomfort of having it fill the dining room with smoke, a tree decorated either in the music room or the living room, Butch and Marty (and maybe more of a new Guion generation), to pull down the tree after they have gotten tired of holding their eager eyes wide open with the joy and wonder of that most important day of the year. I’m looking forward to being there with ALL my brothers and my sisters (all three of them, and more if the case should be) and maybe even all my cousins, uncles and aunts – – but come now, maybe along about now I’m asking for too much. Anyway let’s hope for a complete Christmas in 1945. It will be the first in many years if we’re all their together.
Dad, I guess you’ve been reading stories on what a varied supply the Army PX carries for its soldiers. One thing the Army seems to have slipped up on our jacks for automobiles. Maybe you should write to your friend Franklin. Ask him to have some sent to PX 8 in Camp Crowder. Tell him it’s very urgent because you don’t know how long your son might remain in above mentioned camp. Of course you could have him arrange some deal with the officials so that it could be sent directly to you, but you know Franklin and his boys – – they’d much rather make it complicated. After all, if it took some time to get to you, you might not have any use for it when it does arrive and then you could put it out in the backyard and let it rust. That way, you could do your part in this war like a lot of other executives who are helping to win the war by letting a lot of valuable things rot in their “backyards” – – My, aren’t I bitter today?
And lastly about my mention of “virgin blood”. Don’t tell me you have any shady ideas about your youngest son, who has had such a sheltered life, having been brought up by a good and wise father – – and we mustn’t forget to mention all the other sons who stuck their fingers in the pie to help to bring up this last of the present generation of Guions. Lad, although he tried to help me with various things and explained very interestingly many things (one of which was a four hour discourse on oil well digging) nevertheless told me more than once – – and I can vividly remember the time and inflections of his voice: “Don’t do that, David.” Then there was Dan. He tried SO hard to get little Davey to go swimming, spending many hours with me up at Ye Olde Swimming Hole – – he who tried to get me outdoors to get some tan on my back – – also to try to get me to play tennis (in this last attempt he succeeded a little anyway). One other thing, he also spent a summer yelling “Hefalump” at me – – our own secret code word meaning “You look like hell – – straighten out your shoulders”. Then there was Ced, who insisted that I stop palling around with the boys who were my friends. Ced, who very quietly made me feel like less than nothing when he found out I had been “borrowing” from his collection of pennies. This, by the way, is something that up till now, as far as I know, has been a secret between Ced, Dick and myself. I hope, Dad, that you and all the rest don’t think too harshly of me. I learned my lesson OH SO WELL from Ced – – although I don’t remember now just how he cured me. Then there was Bissie. The most vivid thing in my mind as to her part in bringing me up was the day I was raising a little hell around the house while she was trying to clean it up. “Do you want me to spank you?” (I still hear her say it now when I’m home, to her too cute little Muchachos). Anyway, my answer, seeing as how she was a girl and couldn’t run as fast as I, was “Yes”. They’re off! I tore out of that old house of ours and around to the lawn over by the screened porch, where, as I remember, fear and exhaustion overcame me and I went down immediately so that she would feel sorry for me and not spank me. But alas, I didn’t know enough about human nature, I guess, for there, out on my own front lawn, in sight of the street, my own sister BEAT me. Oh, the shame of it all! Of course, I may have had it coming to me. Then there was Dick. I could write 20 pages on the way Dick helped to bring me up by hardening me up to the mean people of this world. The idea was a good one – – but I didn’t like his system of teaching. I guess he believed in the “experience is the best teacher” theory. Anyway, he led a happy teenage life teasing the pants off of his kid brother. Come to think of it, we should mention here my good cousin Donald Stanley, who, when with Dick, really did a bang up job of making both Gwyneth and me enjoy their visits. Thinking back on it now – – it was probably the best part of my life – – so far – – but at the time I didn’t think I did anything from the time Dick and Don got together, but cry because they were picking on me. Of course the prize experience was the night that has been so often mentioned in later years, when we were all out on the screened porch raising a little too much commotion for the older set, until finally we were threatened to be split up if we made any more noise. Of course, my version of the story is a little different, and basically it is the same, we all agree that I kicked out the window on the stairs, and we all agree that I took a good tanning from my riled father. But one thing I can say. No one remembers quite so vividly that spanking (my last one, by the way), as I do. Unless, as the old saying goes: “This is going to hurt you more than it does me, son”. Anyway, Dad, if it did hurt you, you didn’t cry like I did. Golly, when I started off I didn’t know I was going to write anything like this. There are no hard feelings left now, of course, and it’s a lot of fun thinking back to those terrible days when nobody liked me and the whole world was against me. Poor Dave. Damn, I’m still but a kid, I guess, but I’d like to live over again all those days that I thought at the time were so terrible. Oh, tell Bissie I grew a mustache while I was out in the field. I’ve still got it. I’m going to try to get some snaps taken of it today and then shave it off. I don’t like it. One of the boys told me it looked “sexy” and I guess that’s about the best description of it.
Reminiscences, Dave, are very appropriate for one’s birthday, and I’m sure all your big brothers will enjoy reading it as much as I have. And speaking of birthdays, won’t you please write us soon after you get this as convenient and give me a list of the things you would like to have to commemorate the day which falls on the last Saturday of this month. Do a good bang up job now, there’s a good fellow.
Tomorrow and Friday I will post the rest of this letter and a Birthday Poem written by Grandpa which was included in this letter.