Trumbull – Dear Jack Armstrong, The Aaaaaal American Boy (1) – Trumbull Gossip – October 8, 1944

Trumbul house - Maple Tree taken down in Huricane of 1944 (front porch steps

Trumbull, Conn., October 8, 1944

Dear Jack Armstrong, the aaaaaal American Boy:

Of course if you haven’t been listening to the radio lately and followed the adventures of this wonderful youth who accomplishes so much on a diet of Wheaties, you will fail to get the full implication of the compliment being paid to you in being so addressed. Be that as it may, you may rejoice that the blood of pioneers flows in your veins and you may hand down to posterity that your sire at the age of sixty swung a lusty axe, and un-dismayed by hurricanes that back in these days visited the section known as New England, and in spite of blisters, tackled the job single-handed with such vigor that he even hit himself on the forehead with an axe (fortunately it was the broad end) due to swings so mighty that he literally fouled electric light wires (you needn’t mention that they had been brought low by a tree falling on them). However no harm was done either to wire, forehead or axe, save perhaps a little injured dignity. In other words, much of the brush has been cut away from the smaller limbs and what now remains is the sawing of the big trunks which would probably be accomplished much more satisfactorily with the aid of certain soldiers now in the U.S. Army or an Alaskan pilot-mechanic. The next step would then be an S O S for a certain technical expert who already has in his mind the plan for mounting a circular saw to be operated by an auto motor and thus make short work of the ten foot pile of logs and branches that still have to be sawed to length – – thus adding home improvement #3 to #1 Method for flattening tin cans, and #2 Blower for outdoor incinerator. Up to this point however I must confess it is Dan whose services I have missed most, and hearing his cry of T-i-m-b-e-r as another denizen of the forest succumbs to his well-placed strokes, might even be surprised by the stamina, initiative and sustained devotion to the job that Dick and Dave might evince after working a while for Uncle Sam. However, I guess that’s enough of this which might be entitled “much ado about nothing”.

Now e’ill move over into the subject of hometown gossip. Lad’s friend, Myron Whitney is, or was a short while ago, in a Bridgeport Hospital where he was taken for treatment of some bad burns when a steam line burst in the plant where he is working and scalded him. Dan will be interested to know that there is a young man who met Barbara in Italy and seemed enough smitten with her to come to Bridgeport to meet the Plumb family and stayed there several days (perhaps the entire time of his furlough) as I understand his father and mother are both dead. I have not been informed whether the feeling on Barbara’s part is mutual. Carl, I am informed, Ced, is now on a transport. Charlie Hall is somewhere south of the equator in the Pacific area, which is about as much as Jane (Claud-Mantle, neighbor and friend to the older boys) knows about it. This morning, Dave, Bob Jennings, McClinch and Ed Young, all in sailor outfits, came to call on Catherine. (Catherine Warden, who lives in the apartment in the Trumbull House with her two children, Skip and Susan, her husband currently in the Armed Forces) Bob says he will be in Sampson for about six months, McClinch has sailing orders for the 18th of this month and Young is at Sheepshead Bay in Brooklyn. The club has all but passed out. The place is a wreck. It looks like what I imagine a gambling joint looks like after being raided by the police. Broken glass scattered all over the floor, playing cards strewn in every direction, furniture out of place. It is probable that not all this mess is attributable to the members, as I came home one day and found Skip and Susan in there having a most delightful time, throwing things around, down the stairs and in general having a riotous time. It seems that a couple of boards in the little cubbyhole door at the back had been ripped off and the children had gotten in that way and were playing “the wreck of the Hesperus””, the Sacking of Rome, or maybe to be up to date, the bombing of Berlin.

Tomorrow I will post the rest of this letter.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Dear Fugitives From A Lumber Camp – The Trumbull Communications Exchange – October onth, 1944

Trumbull House - Grandpa and kids - 1928 (2) Little Driveway view - 1928

The Trumbull House prior to 1950

Trumbull, Conn.  October onth, 1942

(The date IS NOT a typo)

Dear Fugitives from a lumber camp:

It is difficult to estimate how many board feet of maple Zeke and I worked on today (I also did some cutting yesterday afternoon alone), but we made a good start on clearing away some of the fallen trees. However there is much yet to be done so if any of you boys were making plans to come back and give me a hand don’t let the above statement deter you. Last week Zeke took my axe home with him to put a good edge on it and brought it back this morning along with his wife and offspring. I had started dinner so at once Elizabeth took over and I thereupon doffed my chef’s cap and donned lumbermen’s pacs, figuratively speaking. We made a good start on the Apple tree near the old chicken house and on the big old Maple tree on the front lawn but where we really went to work was on the Maple tree near Ives’s fence and the big trunk that split off and fell on Warden’s roof. We have been at it pretty steadily all day, both before and after dinner and we are both pretty tired and blistered, so again this letter may be somewhat abbreviated. Incidentally, enclosed are some snapshots showing the hurricane damage.

Trumbull House - Maple tree taken down in Hurricane of 1944 - view towards litle drive way

Trumbul house - Maple tree taken down in hurricane of 1944 - loking towards road

Trumbul house - Maple Tree taken down in Huricane of 1944 (front porch steps

David Peabody Guion

The Trumbull Communications Exchange announces a letter from Marian and two from Dave, written on the 22nd and 25th respectively. The first announced his transfer to the 847th  S.T.B.  (Co. F) and told of numerous current rumors. The second, written three days later, told of his company being scheduled for six weeks team training when the officers assigned to the job arrive, thence to a port of mobilization, joining with a unit for three weeks more training, then to a POE (Port of Embarkation) for the boat ride, bringing this date possibly sometime in December. He adds: “You can’t be really sure what’s going to happen from one minute to the next (Ask Marian) so as usual we’ll just have to sit tight, make no calculations or plans and see what happens. After reading your quotations from Ced’s letter it occurred to me that right along I’ve been taking your weekly letters for granted, never realizing how much they’d be missed if even one week should go by without at least a note. Every time someone else writes they seem to take it for granted that I (and I suppose everyone else) already knows all the home news, so without your “News Events of the Week” written in your pleasant “Oh, Alfred, how do you do it?” style, we’d never know anything about the old home style. I for one want to feel at home when I get back there so I don’t want every change to be new and foreign when I get home.” Someday soon, Dave, why don’t you drop Mac a line and tell him you would like to see a recent issue of News to Youse — that he must have overlooked putting your name on the subscription list, etc., I have several times offered my help but I guess he doesn’t get around to it.

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

Marian Irwin Guion

As for  MtF (Marian the Faithful), she writes that things go on just as usual. Lad is working hard at his instructor’s job, the promised photos will be on the way soon as packing facilities can be obtained. The hot spells make sleeping difficult. She recommends our seeing “Going My Way” with Bing Crosby, which we all had seen, Jean having heard it was good, and it certainly was. I think this inter-family movie recommendation is a very good idea. Marian said some very nice things about Dave’s reminiscent contribution, “And to think it came from an ancient 18-year-old!”

The war news about the Arnhem setback this week sort of puts a damper on the unbridled optimism. I have an idea Eisenhower is using the time that seems to mark a sort of lull to gather men and material for one great big push, one of those big doses of medicine he handed the Jerries when they broke through the Normandy front, a sort of Patton medicine, so to speak. And with that last as sort of a last expiring effort I shall take my weary bones off to bed although the clock says it is only 8:30. So, toodle loo for now.

DAD

Tomorrow and Sunday, more letters from Dave’s World War II Army Adventure.

Judy Guion

World War II Army Adventure (119) – Dear Dad (2) – January 11, 1946

This is the second half of the letter I posted on Saturday. I thought I had scheduled this, but obviously I didn’t. 


World War II Army Adventure (119) Dear Dad (2) - January 11, 1946

WHOOPS ! Made a mistake! Pages 5 & 6 are inside. This is page 7 and 8 is on the back.

_________________________________________

7

May be you could get a hold of Johnny Vichiola and asked him what he wants to do.  He was our original President.

Sure I remember George Nurse.  Tell him I wish him a lot of luck, but that he can expect some keen competition when I can get my hands back into printer’s ink.

Milford Rivet’s change sounds like quite a blow. Gee, how I wish I could

8

get back there.  Try to hang on to everyone we’ve got now, Dad.  We can worry about new customers later.  How is the quality of our work now?  Are all our customers satisfied?  I’ve been thinking and have come to the conclusion that after the war started and labor was so hard to get, that we allowed the quality of our work to drop off.  Don’t you think it’s better to make a customer wait if you have to, but to make sure he’s satisfied with the completed job.  You had years and years more experience

9

then I hhave.  What do you think along those lines?

You’re right about its being important for me (or someone) to get out and dig up business, but it won’t do any good to get business unless we are sure we can handle it.  I would welcome the chance to test my ability and make Salesmanship.  I feel I’ve learned an awful lot about human nature, etc.  In the past two years, and I’d like to test my knowledge.  But I can’t help but feel the importance of knowing, before I leave the

10

office every morning to try my luck, that we can handle well – no – better than anyone else in town, any job that may be thrown at us.

From where I started to talk about George Nurse to hear is all in answer to yours of Dec. second.  Your letter of December 9th says that Ced will leave tomorrow for Alaska, Peggy Van Kovics called (I’ve written her), Dick would soon be out (old news now), you are sending candy, etc. in a box (I’ve received it.  Thanks.  It has been well disposed of).  Those

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are the only comments I have on that subject.

The December 16th writing of your much-looked-four letters contained both good and bad news.  The bad being that you had a cold.  I’d give anything within reason to be there in the bitter cold – you’d give equally as much to be here in our 85° temperatures (and that’s just average).  The good things are humorous – Ced’s safe departure for Alaska, Dick’s arrival and his last departure before he dons those blessed “Civies”, Paulette’s letter to you, etc.  The only comment on

12

this would be for me to say that the T/4 that I mentioned in the letter you quoted is still hanging fire.  A second request has gone in from GHQ to Korea to our parent outfit, but GHQ is closing up here and moving to Tokyo.  If the advance doesn’t go through fairly fast, it will be again it canceled until they put me in for one at AFWCSPAC which is where it is rumored we are to go.  So maybe I’ll be discharged as a T/5.  Who cares so long as I’m discharged?

Love,

Dave

Tomorrow I will begin posting a week of letters written

Trumbull – Dear Lad (2) – Dan’s Old Wreck – September 17, 1939

EWGZ - Dan and Raymond, Jr. at baptism - 1939

Raymond Zabel Jr. (Elizabeth’s new son) and Daniel Beck Guion

Dan has been driving his old wreck of a car 14 miles to work each day and home again and has managed to make it work the three weeks or so he has been working for the Bridgeport Hydraulic Company, without serious difficulty. But yesterday the gas line apparently got clogged (no, it was Friday night on the way home) and he dropped in at my office in the town hall to borrow my car, pick up Dick and see if they could manage to fix it up enough to drive it home. They found the gas line had not been properly put together at a joint and had leaked. So they left it near the Merritt Parkway and Ced spent all day yesterday trying to repair it only to find that in addition to the gas line leak, it had evidently skipped and was out of time. They did get it home but it is not in running condition. Today, as luck would have it Dan heard he could get a job on the Merritt Parkway with his old gang, work which he likes better than he does the reservoir job and has accordingly made arrangements to be off with the old and on with the new, so the lack of a car won’t mean much under the circumstances.

Dan thought you would be interested to know that Benedict, Nelson and Meyers are now all back in the states. Stephenson has gone to the dogs. Nelson and Benedict were the last to see him and that was in Panama. He was drunk then and had no plans. Jim Shields has a job on the new superhighway they are building in Pennsylvania.

Chris Wells, a few weeks ago, had a smashup in which his car was mixed up with two others. I guess it was the other fellow’s fault. Chris had some slight cuts on his head, surface wounds only, but the car was pretty well smashed up.

Mr. Zabel came down this morning and asked me if I wanted to sell him my deep well pumping outfit that Zeke had told him I was not using. He went down and looked at it. I told him I did not know what it was worth but would try to find out. Have you any idea what I should ask for the head, the rods and foot valve?

Looking over some of my papers the other day I ran a cross a birthday card addressed to you, postmarked Columbus, Ohio, March 30, which I carelessly neglected to send.

Ced got another raise the other day and is now on a $.55 rate. Barbara was in a short time ago with Dan and told me to tell you she had written you a letter last Thursday and would probably mail it within a week or so.

Now that’s all the news my brain can cudgel up this afternoon and it’s pretty good with nothing to start on. Oh, yes, there’s one other thing I did think of the other day, and that was something for your Christmas. How would it do for me to send you, with the next shipment of books, some small gift of some sort smuggled in the same box. Do you think we could get by with it, and if so, what thing or things that would not be as big as a grand piano would you like from the dear old U.S.?

There was another newspaper clipping I am enclosing commenting on the need for oil, which I thought you the boss might be interested in reading. Well, xxxxxx, here’s your daddies good night kiss, and write without letting too much time go by or I’ll disinherit you lock, stock and barrel.

DAD

Tomorrow, I’ll post the last piece of this letter, containing the political news and Grandpa’s involvement.

Judy Guion

World War II Army Adventure (111) – Dear Dad – Things Happen Every Day – September 4, 1945

September 4, 1945

Manila

Dear Dad –

Here I am again.  Things happen every day which make it wise for me to keep you up on the news.  Today they stopped censorship of mail which gives me a chance to say some things which, until now, I’ve been afraid to mention.

The first you have probably already guessed.  That is that I was out in the harbor on L-Day at Okinawa.  That was Easter Sunday, a day I’ll never forget.  The fleet on the east side of the island came off at dawn and then at 8:30 the real invasion went ashore.  It was a beautiful, clear day and we stood on the deck watching the barges go by with the Marines in them.  On shore, we could see the little dots advance up the beach into the brush.  Later on, we watched the vehicles – tanks, etc., go in.  In the air over the island we watched American planes dive straight down out of sight and then come up again in a matter of seconds.  There was I haze over the spot.  They were dive-bombing Yontan Airport.

The other important thing I want to tell you is far more saddening to me.  A group of the boys went down to Shuri – I think it was the last Sunday in July – souvenir-hunting.  There were nine of them, I think. Shuri was the scene of hard, but swift, fighting.  Naturally there was a lot of explosive stuff left there by the swift advancing army; minefields weren’t cleared, and duds were still left lying around without being detonated.  The supply sergeant, who is a wild sort of guy, saw a Jap dud and raised his foot to kick it.  Al Rundel, who was in the class back at Crowder with Hensley, Zimet, Arnold, myself, and a lot of the other guys who were still with us up till the time we left for Manila, told him not to kick the dud, and when he saw him starting to kick it anyway, he fell to the ground.  Well, the dud went off, throwing shrapnel all over the place.  Bernie Arnold was in front of Sgt. Hamm, the guy who kicked the dud.  Bernie caught most of the shrapnel right in his stomach, and he screamed and fell to the ground.  He died about an hour later.  There were three of us who were quite good friends – Hensley, the one that I told you about who had been in a traveling show, Bernie, and myself.  Hensley was there and saw the whole thing.  He gave me the complete story which wasn’t very pretty.  I’ll never forgive Sgt. Hamm for the damned-fool thing he did.  If we’ve seen one training film on leaving duds and charges alone, we’ve seen fifty.  He escaped with a battered-up foot.  Some of the other damage done included leg injuries to one of the cooks, complete parallelization to one arm of the supply clerk, and other cuts and bruises to some of the others.  But, as usual, it was the best man of all that had to die.  Hensley was on a path just below the spot on the hill where the explosion occurred and saw the whole thing.

-2-

Naturally, I felt terrible about the accident and loss of Bernie.  I went to church that night and that helped, but not enough.  I felt pretty badly for a number of days.  All I could think of was the picture he had showed me so many times of him, his wife, and three-year-old daughter together sitting in front of the Christmas tree the year before last.  To top it all off, about two days later, I got a letter from Ellie, asking me to thank Bernie for the bracelet he had made from a Jap plane which I had sent to her.  Bernie was no longer there to thank.  He missed the end of the war only by a few months.  He was 38 and probably would be on his way home now.

I’m doing Crypt work here, or at least I will be when XXIV Corps get set up in Korea in a few days.  We will handle the communications between GHQ and XXIV Corps. I think the rest of the company will be in Korea.  We are no longer a monitoring company and now have reverted back to a plain service company.

When the rest of the company landed on Okinawa, Lt. Greenberger, officer in charge of message center (he’s the same one that had the DD team back in F-847 last summer), was going to give me the T/4 that was open on our team.  At that time he didn’t know how good Salamone was, and Mendendorp told him that Salamone was more deserving of the rating (which was very true – he’s really brilliant and anyway, he’d been in grade longer than I).  So Lt. Greenberger gave Sallie the rating and told me that when the chance permitted, he’d see if he could promote me.  That chance hadn’t come as yet, but right now I’m sweating out a T/4 on this team. Lt. Greenberger is in charge of this group here in Manila, so my chances are fairly good, I think.  All I’ve got to do is stay on the ball.  The only trouble is, it’s been so long since I’ve worked in a code room.  Up in Okie I was working in the compilation section – far from any code machine.  All I can do is to keep my fingers crossed.

Well, I guess this is enough for tonight – in fact, by this time, you should have enough for me to last two weeks.

All my love to your Aunt, daughter and yourself,

Dave

Tomorrow, I will be posting a week of letters written in 1944. Lad and Marian are in Jackson, Mississippi. Dan is in France, Ced is still in Anchorage, Alaska, Dick in Santeliza, Brazil and Dave is at Camp Crowder in Missouri. I will post letters from Rusty Huerlin to Ced about an adventure he had and two letters from Marian to Grandpa, telling of their recent activities in Jackson.

Judy Guion

Family – Birthday Wishes To Ced From Biss – June 7, 1945

Elizabeth (Biss) Guion Zabel

Elizabeth Westlin (Guion) Zabel

ewgz-birthday-letter-to-ced-june-1945

Sunday Aft.

4:40 P.M.

6/2/1945

Dear Ced —

Just a short note to wish you a Happy Birthday. I thought (Butch was pestering me there, I made a mistake) of you yesterday and was going to write you a note then but I got busy washing the walls here in the kitchen and didn’t get the time. I should be washing this floor right now but I don’t feel ambitious enough at present so I’m not going to bother. I got a letter from Barby (Barbara Plumb) this past week and she mentioned that she had gotten a letter from Dan in which he said he only needs 71 points so I don’t know what they will do with him. She has only 41 and is longing to come home on a furlough and then get to another theater of war. That must mean the Pacific. She said she wouldn’t want to be kept in the states. I also got a letter from Dave, which I have to answer this afternoon and they cut half of it out so it didn’t make much sense. He was talking about morals. Zeke went up to get his physical this past Thursday and his papers were stamped with “general service” but I doubt very much that they will take him as the quotas are very light from his board. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see what happens – it’s pretty late for him to go in now tho’.

Jean (Mortensen) Guion (Mrs. Dick)

I guess Jean is pretty thrilled about going to S.A. (South America) to join Dick – I imagine she will go around Aug. or Sept. Dad has probably told you about it in a letter to you. Another thing he probably mentioned is that it is a horribly disagreeable day today. We had snow flurries here this past week. Mrs. Zabel lost all her string beans, two tomato plants, her strawberries, and I believe her grapes. Imagine having freezing weather in June! So is it as bad up there too? We had some flatfish for dinner this noon that Zeke caught this morning. He is going to go out again next Sunday. I think I’ll cut this letter short as the kids are slowly driving me nuts! They have had two fights already since I started this letter and they are being a general nuisance – they keep hitting my arm and touching the ink etc. I wish it were nice out so I could kick them both outside. They have been heckling both Zeke and myself to go up to Trumbull but Zeke took a snooze and neither one of us feels like going out. Zeke just suggested going down to Tomlinson’s for a hotdog but I don’t want to go unless he goes too. It’s raining and I don’t feel like standing in line for 15 minutes just to get a hotdog. I weigh 117 ½ pounds now and am feeling much better as a whole than I did back in January. The kids haven’t been sick once since I had their tonsils out last Nov. Of course they have had one or two slight colds – but no fever or anything. Well, I’ll write you again sometime when I have the time and when I have something to say – which isn’t very often.

Love,

Biss

P.S. I had a swell time when I went to New York with the girls or did I tell you that in my last letter?  B

Tomorrow and Sunday, two more letters from Biss while she was living in St. Petersburg in 1934-35. Next week I’ll be posting letters written in 1941

World War II Army Adventure (88) – Dear Gang – Still Alive and Happy – May 14, 1945

MAY 14, 1945

OKINAWA

Rec’d 6/22

Dear Gang –

This will be short seeing as how it’s way after my bed-time.  All I want to do is to let you know I’m still alive and happy.  My latest experience is my first swim in the Pacific ocean.  There’s the most beautiful beach here – almost as nice as you’d find on the New England coast-line.

Dad, you’re always asking for requests for packages.  Well, out here food goes well – candy, gum, canned goods – almost anything you can think of in the way of “chow” – that wouldn’t parish in transporting.  One thing I do want is a pair of moccasins or low-cut sneakers.  I think the size would be about 7.  I’m getting tired of lugging combat shoes all over during nice weather.

I got a letter from Kit (Katherine Warden, who lived in the little apartment with her husband, Paul, and their two children before Paul entered the service. They moved to Oklahoma to be near him.) today in which she says that it’s dull where she is now – and that she’d like to be back in Trumbull and then she adds that she knows quite a few of us that would like to be back there so she won’t gripe.  She really writes a nice letter.

This damned typewriter always prints the letter I hit.  Someone should invent one that spells things right the first time.  Think of all the mimeo stencils I could cut without using any correction fluid.

Well, now I filled up the page pretty well so I guess I can quit.  I’m sorry this isn’t a better letter, but in the first place it’s late and in the second there isn’t much to write about.

Love,

Dave

Tomorrow, another letter from Dave to A.D. & Harem, Inc.

Judy Guion