Trumbull – Dear Comrads (2) – A Halo For Dan – June 3, 1945

The following is Dan’s personal account of what transpired in Belgium, Holland and Eastern Europe after the German armies capitulated. A vivid picture. You can easily envision it as it is transpiring.

Dan in uniform @ 1945

Daniel Beck Guion

And Dan, from Holland on May 6th, rec’d. June 1st. “The first inkling of the affair came on May 4th when I happened to be across the border in Belgium. We had just left the American Red Cross Club of an Army military Hospital where we had been killing time listening to a “jam session” of several musicians, patients, dressed in pajamas and bath robes. We were on our way to our truck, on the point of departure, when we heard the first rumors – – all the German armies in

Holland, Denmark and Western Europe had capitulated! We drove to our destination in the center of town and learned from some civilians that the report was true. But things were quiet in Belgium. They had been freed several months earlier – – and the war was not yet over! The town band, however, which happened to be practicing in a café across the square from us, staged an impromptu march through the streets, but it was already dark and no one turned out to celebrate except a few well primed GI’s, who were walking back to their billets, shouting and singing on general principles. We returned to Holland before dawn next morning and were surprised to see the streetlights turned on and small flags hung out – – this at 4 o’clock in the morning. The streets were deserted. May 5th. Saturday. “Gesloten” Every shop in town except the cafés were “gesloten” all day, which in perfectly good Dutch means “the joint is closed, Brother”. Every shopkeeper and his friends and relations were decked out in bright orange (for the Queen), and red, white and blue (for the Fatherland), in preparation for the grand Promenade in the streets – – to continue the spontaneous celebration that we had missed the previous night. As the afternoon waned, the holiday spirit waxed anew. Bands of youngsters waving Dutch flags and festooned with Orange trappings organized little parades through the streets, beating on drums which were improvised from 5-gal. gasoline tins. One group paraded an effigy of Hitler, hanged from a pole. More and more flags appeared from windows. Everyone wore orange. About 4 o’clock in the afternoon a crowd of civilians gathered about a group of German prisoners who were erecting a series of fence poles around a public square – – now serving as a parking lot for all vehicles. The prisoners were guarded by Yanks. The crowd was kept back by civilian police. No one said a word. It was strangely symbolic on a day such as this. I didn’t envy the lot of those subdued and muddied jerries. As the evening progressed the excitement fever mounted. Crowds swarmed through the streets, some strolling aimlessly, others marching arm in arm, singing Dutch songs. Their ardor was unclenched by lowering skies and spats of rain. When it began to drizzle steadily – I thought the celebration would suffer a slow drowning, but I was wrong. It seemed even that the rain was fuel that kindled even brighter flames of conviviality, for as the lights came on again the streets became crowded with merrymakers, men women and children, who almost brought traffic to a stand-still. G I trucks made progress only by incessant blowing of horns and racing of motors. Occasional rockets and flares lit up the murk of the clouds overhead. Along the main street the celebration reached its apex under the stimulation of a series of amplifiers which blared forth continual music. Crowds joined hands and danced wildly in circles. Couples waltzed, rhumba-ed and jitter-bugged according to the tempo of the varying tunes. At one time recordings were broadcast of ancient speeches made by Hitler, Goebbels and Goering, while the crowd “Seig Heiled” in mock frenzy. The interminable rain continued unnoticed by all except a few glistening umbrella tops. I returned to the convent (which is our home) about 11 o’clock and the celebration was in full swing, showing no more sign of abatement than the falling rain. Today (Sunday) our menu for dinner included fine, gaily decorated cakes, baked for us by the Sisters of the convent. On each cake they had written the words, “With greatest thanks to our liberators”. You can imagine how much we are enjoying it all.”

Alfred Duryee Guion – (Grandpa) – in the Alcove where he typed his letters

Hearsay has it that Erwin Laufer has been permanently and honorably discharged and has gone to the camp in the Adirondacks for a rest before coming back to look for a job. I don’t know what he expects to do. He never got over to meet the girls. I saw him for a few moments one afternoon in the drugstore.

The young people in the apartment are very pleasant and friendly. There is not the same amount of visiting back and forth that there was with the Wardens. Ted Southworth and his wife Marj. (21 and tall for her age) and Jimmy Watson are their names. The boys both were in aviation but were discharged on account of their eyesight. They are still interested in flying, in fact have been giving lessons when opportunity permits. They have redecorated the entire place, kitchen walls and floor and living room walls, and trim. The bathroom is next on the schedule as soon as they can be sure Carl has fixed all the leaks. They either didn’t like the oil stove or couldn’t make it burn properly. In any event, they took the whole business down and carted it down into the cellar and consequently when the balmy March was followed by a raw April and May, they have practically chopped up all the smaller pieces of fallen trees I had so laboriously gathered in one place, leaving only the bigger trunks to be operated upon by the proprietor or his sons. I think you boys would like them after you got acquainted. This in answer to Dave’s question. By the way, Signaler, did you ever get a watch, either as part of your equipment from Uncle Sam or on your own?

Lad, I suppose you and Dan have both figured out your points but you have said nothing in your letters to me on the point. Of course, Lad, when you get time it will be interesting to hear more about your trip over. Dan’s pen picture of the Dutch celebration was quite vivid and was next best to being there to see it with our own eyes.

For many weeks now we have been enjoying (?) a very spasmodic supply of hot water furnished by the old, coal-stove heater, but next week, I believe, a Sears Roebuck automatic oil water heater will be installed, and according to Elizabeth, will give satisfactory service at much lower cost than the electric heater. Tanks for the latter have not been made since the war started. And so, for today, nighty-night.    DAD

This weekend, two more letters from Dave’s World War II Army Adventure.

Judy Guion

Army Life – Dan’s Trip Abroad (5) – (July, 1943 – May, 1945) – Buzz Bomb Bombings and Close Calls – May 13, 1945

This concluded Dan’s first-hand account of action from 1943 to 1945 when he first arrived in London, traveled to France and several other places in Europe.

Daniel Beck Guion on the job in Venezuela @ 1939

Daniel Beck Guion on the job in Europe – 1945 – 1946                           

Continuing from yesterdays end:

But from that night on, never a moment of the day or night was free from the threat of the V-1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/V-1_flying_bomb

I saw my first one on Wimbledon Common where we went to practice surveying on that first morning. Anti-aircraft began firing. Quickly flashing across the sky appeared an unusual-looking plane, making a very loud roar. Puffs of AA fire followed harmlessly in its wake. Suddenly a flash of fire lit up its tail and the motor conked out. The plane drove straight to earth. A loud explosion and a pall of smoke marked the precipitate conclusion, and the AA battery on Wimbledon claimed a direct hit. They had seen the fire in the tail! But when every strange plane went through the same tactics it became clear that the “planes” were robot bombs and that night, upon seeing them flash across the sky, you realized that they were jet-propelled. There began a night-mare of nervous tension that became worse as the buzz bombs increased. A fire bell system in the billets chimed every time a buzz bomb came near, keeping us awake all night and keeping us nervous all day. Added to the local din was the roar of the approaching bomb, sounding like a whole fleet of heavy bombers passing close and shaking the air. Then the motor would speed up, cut dead, and shortly thereafter would come the distant (or close) boom and the characteristic pall of smoke drifting upwards. Things got so bad after a few days of this that we were sent out every day to assist in moving bombed-out families. We saw damage at first hand, and it wasn’t pretty. In the movies, whenever the soundtrack omitted a noise resembling a roar, people would become fidgety, wondering if it might not be a buzz bomb on his way. Richmond was hit. Wimbledon was right in line, as was all of South London. That was why we were glad to set off for the peace and quiet of the Normandy bridgehead. Later we learned that a buzz bomb had made a direct hit on the Kew billets, killing three and wounding many.

3 – Beachhead bombing. While we were near Isigny, the field next to ours was hit by a bomb one night. A fire was started but soon extinguished. No one was killed. We all settled back to sleep. Some minutes or hours later, while it was still dark, I was startled by a loud explosion from the same field across the road. We learned next morning that the belated explosion was a delayed-action bomb which killed several men.

Those are the only times I have been in danger.Some of our outfit were near Liege during the Arnheim Bulge last winter and suffered from a great number of buzz bombs, but none of our company has been killed by enemy action. I saw one of our officers killed in a truck accident back in Normandy. I believe he is our only loss by death. As is so frequently the case, he was our best-liked officer.

At this point in 1945, Dan is working for the Army surveying American Cemeteries throughout Europe. He will be marrying Paulette Van Leare of Calais, France, in July. The family is getting quite involved in the whole process.

At the present we are living in Maastricht in southern most Holland. Our billet is a Franciscan school — part of a convent. Our work takes us to Belgium and Germany quite frequently.

During the past two days many Dutch “slave laborers” have come to Maastreicht from Germany. For the most part they are from Amsterdam and Rotterdam, which cities are so badly damaged that they cannot yet handle their displaced citizens. Truckload after truckload of dirty and decrepit but cheering and smiling man, and even women and children, have arrived in our neighborhoods to be billeted temporarily until homes can be found for them.

Dan

Tomorrow and Sunday, more of Dave’s World War II Army Adventure as his embarkation moves closer.

Judy Guion

Army Life – Dan’s Trip Abroad (4) – July, 1943 – May, 1945) – Bombings of London – May 13, 1945

Dan’s long letter of his early experiences in London and France continues in this next segment. 

Dan in uniform @ 1945

Apropos of narrow escapes, here is a list of the dangers your little Dan has run (from) during the war:

1 – Bombings of London. When we first came to London we had raids on the average of about once or twice a week, I generally happened to be in a section of London which was far from the bombing, but it is an odd feeling to hear a plane passing directly overhead carrying bombs and the question, “Has the bombardier released his load yet?” There is nothing to do but wait. For that reason I never liked to be at the billets in Kew during a raid. I would rather be in a pub or on a bus or on the underground. At the billets we had to put on our helmets and gas masks, go to the shelters, and wait — just sit and wait — till the all clear sounded. Suddenly, in February 1944, the Luftwaffe lunged out again at London. It was compared to the blitz in ’41 and ’42. That week or so in February was the closest I ever came to fear of death — particularly on a night when a string of bombs fell right in line with Kew billets. In quick order we could hear the explosions coming closer to us – boom, boom, Boom, BOom, BOOm, BOOM. — Then silence — only the din of anti-aircraft and plane motors, but we welcome “silence” at that! The most terrifying noise is the sound of a heavy bomb dropping. It has been described as the roar of a speeding locomotive, but it seems to me that there is a suggestion of vacuum in the roar that renders it all the more horrible — as if cosmic forces were romping through the vaults of hell. The most beautiful site I saw during the bombings was on Friday night of that fateful week in February. I was on fire guard and had to stand out in the open to watch for incendiaries. The night was cloudy. Suddenly a silvery liquid stream appeared falling from a point in the clouds, then another, then several, then hundreds of them, as if molten metal were being poured through a celestial sieve. Fortunately none fell in Kew but the sky was soon lit up by fires in the direction of Barnes and Wimbledon. I think it was a new type of incendiary bomb – probably Phosphorus that burned on contact with the air. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r6Bi5SypPmM

2 – Buzz bombs. Towards the end of June we were alerted one night by the air raid signals, then the “Raiders near” sirens blew, but there was no evidence of planes. We went to the shelters and waited. Nothing happened. No all clear — no sign of a raid. Once in a while we heard sporadic gunfire. We were mystified, angry, a little frightened. The all clear blew shortly after daybreak but the alert sounded again almost immediately. We knew something unusual was happening — perhaps the Normandy bridgehead was being wiped out – perhaps Jerry was using poison gas. Rumors began to trickle in. Robot planes, radio controlled, rockets —. But from that night on, never a moment of the day or night was free from the threat of the V-1.

Tomorrow, the final segment of this letter from Dan, written in 1945 which included a letter he had written in 1943, but was returned by the censor.

Judy Guion

 

 

Army Life – Dan’s Trip Abroad (2) – The Trip to France – (July, 1943) – May 13, 1945

This is the second part of a very long letter Dan wrote in May of 1945 recounting his initial trip to Europe during World War II. He was a Civil Engineer and Surveyor who probably worked on the creation of maps that were critical for D-Day.

 

Dan-uniform (2)

This is the second portion of a letter written by Dan in May of 1945 which includes a letter returned to him by the Censor concerning his trip from London over the English Channel to Normandie.

(The trip to France is told in the letter I wrote last summer in Normandie. The Censor sent the letter back to me, but I have saved it and here it is only a year late) –

No, I am not writing from a muddy foxhole but our living conditions are quite different from those we enjoyed in London. I am in fact, writing from an orchard surrounded by newly-raked piles of hay while the farmer and his entire family from little Josette to la Grand’mere, toil through long hours to gather hay for winter fodder. About a five minutes walk down the hill a brook winds through the fields and each evening after supper, curious passers-by can see a cluster of American soldiers performing their customary ablutions, almost “au natural”.

The saga of our journey from London is not marked by any outstanding event, although the mere circumstances sufficed to make the trip a kaleidoscope of thrills, ennui and hectic intervals. We were rather glad to leave London as you can rapidly imagine (buzz-bombs). We went first to a marshaling area where final preparations were made for the channel crossing. Two days later we were sent to the port of embarkation (Southhampton). The crossing was calm and the beach landing (Cannes) was effected without getting our feet wet. It was just another routine crossing for the Navy but to us it represented one of the biggest events of our lives. We saw many of the places that had played a role on D-Day, and even the fact that a contingent of WACS came across on the same convoy did not destroy the significance of it all.

From the beach we went to a “clearing area” where we “feasted” on K-rations while awaiting transportation to our new quarters. It was dark when we finally set out and we could see flashes and hear guns from the front. We arrived at our destination when it was still dark and curled up on the dew-soaked grass until dawn. Now we are well met up in our orchard home and next time I write I shall tell you how we get along with our new French friends.

Tomorrow, another segment of this long letter dealing with his activities from landing in July to the middle of August. The rest of the week will include segments  on various dangers “your little Dan has run (from) during the war”.

Judy Guion

Army Life – Dan’s Trip Abroad (1) – The Atlantic and England (July, 1943) – May 13, 1945

 

This is a copy of a carbon copy of a letter typed on airmail (onionskin) paper and extremely difficult to read. Context helped with most things except the spelling of the various towns and villages he visited.

 

Dan in uniform @ 1945

Daniel Beck Guion

 

DBG - Letter about Atlantic trip (July, 1943) - 5.1945

Manstricht, Holland, Sun., 13 May, 1945

 

Enfin, ___, sopino! (?)

The censor has deigned to whisk aside certain drapes which have been canceling our actions, although VE day is only a step in the right direction. I propose then, to start this letter with a “flash back” to the last days in America, nearly 2 years ago —

Toward the end of July we left Indiantown Gap for the “staging area” at Camp Shanks, N.Y. here we stayed a few days getting our clothing and equipment into shape and taking care of all our financial, physical and moral problems. We learned how to descend from a ship by the use of rope ladders. We went on hikes and we did calisthenics. On the eve of our departure we were given passes to go into New York City. I had sprained my ankle that morning going through an “assault” course, but I hobbled my way through a rather bibulous and quite hilarioous evening in the vicinity of Times Square. So long, America!

We set off one evening from Camp Shanks, laden with _____ (anti-gas) clothing and carbines and gas masks and cartridge belts and barracks bags and helmets and a thousand other items that an imaginative Army had thought up for us. We boarded a train that took us to a ferry terminal, possibly on the Jersey side. We loaded ourselves on the ferry and set forth for the docks. We passed the Normandie, lying on its side like a sick white elephant. It was dark on the Hudson but a glow of lights from the two shores reminded us that New York could carry on after we left and would be waiting for us when we came back. We arrived at the docks and stood in long queues while Red Cross girls passed out lemonade, donuts and cigarettes. We could see a huge ship at dock but we didn’t know if it was destined to be ours. About nine P.M. we went aboard. It was the “Aquitania”. We were crowded into every available place. In my room some of the men were without bunks and slept on the floor. In the evenings the heat was intolerable because the portholes remained closed for security reasons until lights out. We were not allowed on deck that first night. It was early in August and very hot. We left next A.M. and we were allowed on deck. It was the first time I had seen a ship cross the ocean which was not bid adieu by bands, crowds and confetti,diluted by 50% alcohol.

Our escort for the first day was a Navy blimp and several planes. Our recreation consisted of stepping over, around and through the masses of G.I. flesh and equipment that crowded the decks, for a breath of fresh air. Our plane escort left us after the second day. We were on our own. The big ships (Queen Mary, etc.) never traveled in convoy because they could out run the U-boats. Our only danger was being interrupted from our bow by a lucky torpedo or a floating mine. Later, as we neared England there was the Luftwaffe with which to reckon, but the sky over the Atlantic, even back in August, 1943, was allied domain, and the only excitement we had was a practice run that broke out suddenly on deck one afternoon — cannon and machine guns shooting and stuttering defiance at an empty sky.

As we approached Ireland we saw a plane dropping depth bombs, but we were several miles from the scene and never knew what it was all about. We reached the Clyde on (I think) Aug. 13 (right here the “13” was crossed out and 11th substituted “by courtesy of the censor”) we disembarked on Scottish soil in the little town of Coureek (?) (This could very possibly be Gourock, Scotland. http://“US 5th Division Infantry arrives at the harbor in Gourock, Scotland”I have to thank reader Valeris for this additional information which makes sense to me.) That night we traveled the length of England — the Midlands were reached about dawn — Manchester, I think, where we had tea and sandwiches served to us in the station. People seemed glad to see us despite the fact that thousands of G.I.’s must have passed through already. In Scotland on the previous evening, everyone had waved to us from the streets and windows as we rumbled by in our troop train (Continental coaches, not boxcars). Here in England the welcome was less spontaneous, but we were excited by our first night of barrage balloons. We left the train at Richmond Station, west of London. We hiked to our billets at Kew, where we stayed up to the time we left for France.

For the rest of the week, I will continue with pieces of this letter covering Dan’s original trip overseas.

Judy Guion

World War II Army Adventure (67) – Training Days Fast Drawing to a Close – October 4, 1944

The old house on the hill.

Oct. 4, 1944

Dear Dad– –

It looks now as if my training days are fast drawing to a close.  We were briefed by two of our team officers today – and although there’s still no direct orders on us – they told us we’d better not harbor any thoughts of spending Christmas or even Thanksgiving at home.  So there it is.  Now it’s just a matter of time – probably no more than a few weeks.

I got a telegram from Lad yesterday.  He’s going to meet me in Little Rock this weekend.  At long last I’ll get a chance to meet my second sister-in-law.

Your package arrived yesterday.  The candy is gone (by way of my buddies) and some (what’s left) of the nut bread is being saved for this afternoon when I’ll go over to the P.X. and buy a milkshake and have myself a feast!

I haven’t had time to look for a watch but I’m thrilled at the expectation – especially with the new turn of events.  I don’t believe I asked you for a Boy Scout knife.  But in one of your letters, you told Lad that you couldn’t find any.  When you mentioned it I visualized to myself how handy one of those contraptions might be.  So you can imagine how pleased I was to see one sitting in that box.

Your birthday letter was – as always – excellent.  But it deserves special mention for its qualities of uplift.  You make me very happy – and even more proud.

I’m sorry to have to write you of my impending overseas shipment – but after all, that’s what we’re here for.  I wanted to come into the Army – I’ve found it tough sledding at times – mostly because of being homesick.  But I nevertheless would rather be here then home where thoughtless people could give me the “Why aren’t you in the Army” look.  Now I feel the same as I did in December.  I find that being in the Army isn’t enough – you need to go overseas to feel right.  I know it’s going to mean more hardships – more homesickness – more danger – than I ever have felt before.  But how terrible I’ll feel if in later years (This letter was written in pencil and the next three lines are so faded that I cannot read them.)  I might as well go over – I know I’m coming back – so what’s the sense of worrying?  It will only serve to make me love the old house on the hill and the people in it more.

’til the next time.

Dave

Tomorrow, I had planned on posting The Island – Stories and Pictures, but my computer is still giving me problems so I’ve decided to get back on schedule and post a week of letters from 1945.  I hope – and pray – that I will be able to post the Island Stories after that. 

Judy Guion

World War II Army Adventure (66) – Some Sad News – September 29, 1944

David Peabody Guion

Dear Dad –

I’ve got some sad news to impart to you – and also – as a result of the bad news – some words omen’s.

First of all – we’ve been made into a Signal Center Team – to train possibly in the U.S. – but maybe overseas.  All man on the team who had furloughs in May or before then, are leaving for a fourteen-day furlough on Monday.  Of course that doesn’t include me.  That’s the bad news.  Now here is what it all looks like to us.  We know we’re in a team.  We know that a team similar to ours is leaving at the same time for the same length furlough as hours – we also know that as soon as possible those boys in the other team come back, they are shipping out.  As their life here so closely parallels hours – we figure that we’re likely to keep on going along parallel lines.  More important – we know that the Army doesn’t just all of a sudden say all you men can have a furlough – without first having someone ask for one – unless they contemplate shipping them.  Individuals usually get delays-en-route – but units (as in our case) get regular furloughs before they leave.  I wouldn’t especially care if I thought I could get home before I left for overseas – but it’s it’s beginning to look bad.  Of course – as I’ve said before – I won’t give up hope until the U.S. starts fading from view as I stand on the stern of a troop ship.

I was awfully sorry to hear about Bob Peterson.  I’ll never forget him as he stood in the middle of the Bingo stand – making enough noise so that I could hear him as I lay in bed on the screened porch.  He and I made a date to capture Tokyo together.  He spoke of it the last time I was home when I met him in the drugstore.  He was one of the few people who saw the good in the gang that comprised the Trumbull Rangers.  We can’t afford to lose men like Bob.  I can hardly believe he’s dead.

I knew Ric Joslin too – but not very well.  I think Dick knew him best.

As far as my owing you money is concerned – please don’t think that I’ve forgotten.  I’ve been saving my money for the furlough I was expecting – and now I find it’s a good thing because we missed signing the payroll this month and I’ll need it to tide me over.  Especially if I get down to see Lad sometime within the next two weeks.  The C.O. has promised me a three-day pass while the rest of the boys are on furlough.  I feel like there’s more to tell you – but I don’t know what it is.  I guess this will have to suffice for tonight.

Love,

Dave

P.S. now I remember what I wanted to say and I’m awfully ashamed to have forgotten it temporarily.  I got a letter from Dick addressed to M/Sgt. David Guion.  He didn’t say much – most of it was G.I. wit.

Just another note before I seal the envelope –

one of the fellows here lives in Hartford.  The name is Rick pack.  He says he’ll call you – and maybe even stopped in to see you.  I doubt that he’ll stop and he may not even call – but I figured that if the letter gets there before he does take any action – you’d at least know who he is.

He’s an insurance man – John Hancock I think – he worked in the home office in Hartford

Got a booster tetanus shot today – and I can feel it – two.

Love again,

Dave

Tomorrow I will be posting another letter from Dave’s World War II Army Adventure. 

Judy Guion

The Island – Pictures and Stories (1) – Slave Ring – September, 2020

I am back home now – actually had an extra day – and I had so many memories while I was there. I thought I would share them for this week. I hope you enjoy them.

 

These pictures are of a ring firmly attached to a rock on our family Island. I do not know the actual history of the ring but the story that I heard was that slaves or convicts were working not that far away and at night they were brought to the Island and chained to this rock. I was a pretty secure place for them to be at night because non of them knew how to swim. 

I need to do some research to see if I can find out the truth about this ring, but it is an interesting story.

 

Slave Ring, September, 2020

 

Slave Ring (close-up), September, 2020

I will be posting more pictures and stories when I have more time later today.

Judy Guion

World War II Army Adventure (65) – Happy Birthday, Dave – September 29, 1944

This is a birthday card sent to Dave from his girlfriend Eleanor, known as El to friends.  She signs it “Your dollink”.

 

 

 

 

Tomorrow, 

Judy Guion

 

 

World War II Army Adventure (64) – Dear Son – A Birthday Letter – September 27, 1944

Grandpa was in the habit of writing a special “Birthday Letter” to each of his sons who were far from home.  This one goes out to Dave at Camp Crowder, Missouri, where Dave has been stationed for advanced training before going overseas.

 

            Alfred Duryee Guion, (Grandpa)

 

Sept. 27, 1944

Dear Son:

This, obviously, is a birthday greeting letter from an admiring father to his youngest son.  It will have to be pretty good to come within striking distance of the one I recently received on my birthday from my youngest son.

This, to the best of my recollection, is the first birthday you will have spent away from the old home and family and to that extent it marks the end of one phase of your life and the beginning of a new and broader one – – a period still of growth, to be sure, but one in which the piloting will be done by you rather than the guiding hand of the parent.  In the background, as you know, there will still always be the readiness to help when the going is hard and while you know all you need do is reach out for it when needed, you will still be largely on your own.

And that leads me to make certain observations in reviewing the past.  So frequently we fail to let the other fellow know just how much we think of him – – how really important a place he fills.  This can best be measured by asking how difficult would it be to get along without him.  By this test you rate “tops” with me, and the day can’t come too soon when I can shift some of the problems and business worries on younger shoulders.  For the last months I’ve certainly missed you.

Did you ever stop to think that you are peculiarly my boy? (and I’m proud of it) The other youngsters, in measure according to age, had the privilege of being molded and guided by an unusual Mother’s inspiring character and influence, whereas you were too young to really have felt this benefit.  “Home” as you knew it, was minus the mainspring, it is one of those “lacks” that can never be measured.  Yet if Mother were here today on your 19th birthday I know she, too, would be proud of you, which naturally pleases me, because I promised her (and it wasn’t an FDR promise) that I would try to keep the home fires burning and bring up her children and mine so that, in passing the torch of life down through the generations to come, the flame would burn bright.  And that promise, more of a responsibility in your case than in the others, is nearing a happy fulfillment.  The small failings and habits you have (procrastination, management of money, etc.) are offset by so much that is good, that the complete picture makes me a proud and happy father.  (And even these small weaknesses I am hopeful, you will overcome as experience shows you their pitfalls.)

Feeling as I do, I would like to have you go to your P.X. & select the kind of watch you want,  letting me know the cost.  For the rough wear it will probably get in the Army I should think a sturdy rather than a more expensive “gentleman” model would be preferable, but that’s up to you.

We’ll all miss you this week-and when ordinarily we would be celebrating the event, but our thoughts and love will be yours just the same.

And now, to close on an appropriate note, suppose you procure a Bible somewhere, & turn to the 17th Chapter of St. Matthew, verse 5.

Love, Dad

Tomorrow I will be posting a Birthday card from Dave’s girlfriend, El (Eleanor Kintop).

Judy Guion