Trumbull – Lad’s Visit and News From Brazil – Sept, 1943

Blog Timeline - 1941-1943

Well, Lad has come and gone. Grandpa’s first paragraph says it all. At least he has some good news to report – he’s finally heard from Dick, so now he knows where all of his sons are, even though they are getting farther and farther from home.

Trumbull Conn.

September 12, 1943

Dear Boys:

Lad's Service Record - 1942-1945

Lad’s Service Record – 1942-1945

I don’t know whether it’s old age, hay fever or a general letdown after saying goodbye to Lad (probably a combination of all three) but I’m

Lad's Service Record - Furloughs.....Leaves 1942-1945

Lad’s Service Record – Furloughs…..Leaves
1942-1945

feeling a bit low right now and not at all in the mood to write a nice, cheery letter. The week has seemed to go so quickly. It hardly seems any time at all since Lad walked into my office last Tuesday and relieved me of worry that he might have been involved in one of those severe Labor Day train wrecks. He hasn’t put on any weight and looks about the same. It was mighty good to see and talk with him, even though half (more than half in fact) of his furlough time was spent just in going and coming between the Atlantic and Pacific coasts.

I really should feel all pepped up after the pleasant birthday celebration that marked the days dinner hour. Elsie and Elizabeth joined the festive throng, Jean made a delicious birthday cake which she got up early to make, in spite of the fact she needed the sleep, having been up late the night before. Then it being a beautiful, breezy, sunshiny day we all went outside afterward fr some picture taking. Another event beside Lad’s presence to mark a high spot was the receipt of a letter from none other than Dick, and earlier in the week, the second V-mail letter Dan has written from England. He apparently is stationed not far from London, as he speaks of frequent visits there and of enjoying his visit in England.

Dick says he is allowed to state he is in Brazil. He purchased a pair of boots there. “To all appearances these boots are of average quality and the purchaser feels he has made a ‘shrewd deal’ until he starts out on a rainy day. He sets out jauntily on a short stroll with his shiny boots kicking up little sprays of sand (of which there is an abundance). After having traversed a few hundred yards of damp sand he suddenly becomes aware of a slight dampness on the soles of his feet. Not wishing to ruin his new boots he decides to return to the barracks and put on his G.I. shoes. Halfway back the dampness has definitely increased to a wetness, and by the time he reaches shelter the papier-mâché souls are trailing along behind and his toes leave neat little imprints in the sand. Feeling slightly frustrated, he consoles himself with the thought that there is a war going on and we have to be satisfied with inferior quality products. On every article in town there are two prices — one price for ”Joe’s” (American Soldiers) and another price (about 2/3d’s less) for Brazilians. All kidding aside, though, I like it pretty well. The people have accepted the American soldiers and act friendly most of the time”. Thanks, Dick, old son, for the letter and of course I am glad to know you enjoy getting my weekly efforts, poor as I know some of them to be.

Aunt Helen phoned me last night to wish me many happy returns. She is leaving for Miami the day after tomorrow and hopes to get up to see us on their next visit to New York, whenever that may be.

Grandma Peabody

Grandma Peabody

Grandma writes she has had another bad spell. She says: “Dorothy is following doctor’s orders, insisting I must have my breakfast in bed and that I must not do any kind of work that may tire me. So you see I am really good for nothing. I am more than sorry it turned out as it did with my stay in Trumbull because I really enjoyed being there with you. This letter seems to be mostly about myself but I thought I would explain as near as I can that my illness is more or less serious.” Incidentally, if any of you boys could find time to drop Grandma a card now and then, it might be something you would not regret.

She further says that Aunt Anne has given up her job with Condé Nast and wants to get work in New York and live there. Donald has been back to this country for the second time (Newport News, VA) and has probably left again. He is fine and evidently enjoying his work. Charlie Hall and Jane Mantle, as you probably know, were married. Mrs. Ives gave a party for Charlie and Jane, Carl and Ethel, and Lad and Babe (Cecelia) on Saturday night.

Well I guess that about winds up this evening’s effort, so let’s call it quits for this week, with best wishes from

DAD

Tomorrow, we’ll have another “Tribute to Arla”, probably with some memories of her young children. Then on Monday, a special Tribute and on Tuesday, we’ll go back to Venezuela to find out what Lad is doing in 1939. At least he’ll be the only one away from home for a while.

For FREE copies of New Inceptions Magazine, an e-magazine, with several articles and stories based on letters and memories of my family, prior to and during World War II, you can click the following links.

Issue 1   Click Here

Issue 2   Click Here

Issue 3   Click Here

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Grandpa’s Natal Day – Sept, 1940

1934 - 1940 Timeline

1934 – 1940 Timeline

This is the first installment of a very long letter Grandpa writes to his sons, Dan and Ced in Alaska and Lad in Venezuela, following his birthday. This section covers all of the happenings involving Grandpa’s birthday – September 11 – when he turned 56. He has followed the strange custom of sending presents to his sons on HIS birthday, maybe his way of giving back.

September 15, 1940

Dear Partners in Crime:

Gosh, but you boys certainly did make me feel good on my natal day! It started before I was up on the morning of the 11th. I had my radio going as I lay in bed trying to

Alfred Duryee Guion

Alfred Duryee Guion

learn what had occurred in the intervening 12 hours in the way of war news and thus did not hear the phone ring, but long-legged Dick, clad in his pajamas and with sleep still in his eye, said Western Union wanted me on the phone. And this was the message: A nite letter from Anchorage Alaska for A.D. Guion. Congratulations to O D A. birthday greetings we joyously sand, to pop on whom we can always depend, to see to it we are always presented, with swell birthday gets – kinds not resented. The man who the deep in troubles steeped, has always thought just of our welfare replete. (Signed) Sourdoughs, Dan and Ced.”

This was getting off to a good start. With a warm glow in my heart I shaved (without cutting myself), H my usual frugal breakfast, started the old Plymouth, which quite surprisingly started without the usual trouble, sailed down the drive and made my first stop at the store. P.O. Box 7 was bursting with mail. Yes sir, believe it or not, letters awaited me from Aunt Betty, lad, Dan and Ced, all with birthday greetings right on the nose. (And this has no reference to hay fever).Aunt Betty the usual card with the usual dollar bill parked underneath the first sheet, lad with a nice letter accompanied by a blank check, as it were, to get me something for myself, Dan with a $25 money order together with a letter and verse, and Ced with a four-page letter willingly his entire bank balance here. Dick offered to blow me to the movies, which offer I could not accept because I had a job I had brought home from the office which had to be completed by the morrow and Dave donated his service in getting supper and also with a birthday greeting card. As soon as I poked my head in the office door George and Miss Denis burst out singing ”Happy Birthday To You” , and Mr. Coville dropped in during the day and left his solicitations and asked to be remembered to Dan. I splurged a bit on the supper which consisted of a thick, juicy beefsteak, delicious green asparagus (a frosted food), potatoes and apple pie à la mode. All in all, a most momentous day. My little contribution took the form of a box of writing paper each to the Alaskan contingent, a photo album to Lad, a waterproof, windproof jacket made of airplane cloth to Dick and a book of complete Gilbert and Sullivan operas for Dave. I hope the parcel post packages reach you “Outsiders” promptly and in good shape.

Lad in Venezuela

Lad in Venezuela

Lad’s three-page letter, just to hit the high spots, mentions the fact that because of high costs of everything done there, he is losing his perspective on the cost of things and the value of money, and sites as an instance, the fact that his watch, which Arnold had repaired here in Bridgeport for him cost six dollars, whereas down there it would have cost $16-$17 for the work. The smallest denomination in paper money down there is 20 bolivars (about 6.50). The movies he gets down there are two or three years old. He has seen Robin Hood and Juarez. It looks now as though at long last, some of the oil wells they have drilled our coming through in the Guario field and they are starting another —  the fourth  —  in the same location. His two years under contract with S.V. is up May 31st but that does not mean necessarily that he is coming home at that time. His boss, Chris, may be leaving early in November when his contract expires and Lad will probably get his job. Lad and the new airplane mechanic have struck up a friendship and he spends quite a bit of his spare time at the airport. He is thinking of the possibility of buying himself a small plane when he gets home and says they can be run more economically than even my little Willis that was.

Incidentally, both stock transfer blanks were received, duly signed. Thank you both.

Dan’s letter, enclosing the money order was a lollipaloosa. It starts:

Dan in Alaska

Dan in Alaska

Father dear, I sadly fear, this letter will come late.

But what the hell! You can’t foretell the vagaries of fate.

Uncle Sam don’t give a damn if ponies can’t express,

The tidings here, of luck and cheer, your natal day to bless.

Chorus

Sing hey to oats and barley,

And give this cheque to Farley,

The old fifth wheel

To Frank’s new deal

Will cash it without parley.

After that it is up to you and may it bring you as much fun as it is bringing me to send it to you.

Well spoken, me lad. It will.    (Note by the editor)

He mentions going to Matanuska for the Colonist’s Fair on Labor Day and enjoyed himself in spite of the rain.

Ced in Alaska

Ced in Alaska

Ced’s long Labor Day letter was quite interesting. He gave quite a detailed account of his first ride over Anchorage and vicinity with the boss in one of their big 5 ton ships, which experience makes him all the more eager to learn to fly. This he has a chance of doing if one of the members of the local flying club gives up his membership as he is apt to do if present plans to leave Alaska materialize. This will cost said about $200 cash. They have invested member’s money in a jointly owned Aeronca Chief (four-cylinder, 65 h.p., air cooled, Continental engine, two passenger, dual control, a year-old). He related several interesting anecdotes of the dictator-like manner in which Col. Olson manages the affairs of the Alaskan R.R., and also on the crime situation. Because of the cost of prosecution, most murders are labeled suicides. Robbery is practically nonexistent. Cars are left by the roadside for two days with keys in the glove compartment, untouched; gasoline, in 50 gallon drums, left in airway ramps unguarded, is untouched; houses are seldom locked and the two banks in town have stored type plate glass windows, no bars.

I finally learned that the Willys brought about $190 on a forced sale, but under the circumstances they were facing, it was undoubtedly the wise thing to do. Both Dan and Ced are thinking of joining a ski club and also a singing group.

Tomorrow, the letter will continue with local news of boiling politics and what he plans on doing with his birthday money.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Oil Speculation and Properly Sober, Sept, 1939

1934 - 1940 Timeline

1934 – 1940 Timeline

It’s 1939 and Lad has been working in Venezuela for about nine months. Grandpa is thrilled because he has finally gotten a letter from Lad, and a long one at that. I don’t have that letter but Grandpa gives us an idea of what Lad has been up to since we last heard from him.

September 3, 1939

Dear Adolph:

You and Hitler have one thing in common as far as I am concerned and that is the faculty of keeping the other fellow guessing. For three weeks, up to a couple of days ago, I had not heard from you and was beginning to wonder what it was all about. However, as I write on this sunny Sunday afternoon, with war clouds gathering darkly in Europe, and read over again your short letter in lead pencil written August 15 from Iguana # 2, I think I have discovered the reason for the delay. Enclosed you will find the envelope in which the letter came. You will note that the extra postage represented by the stamps on the back were not canceled, due to the fact that probably some careless postal clerk only glanced at stamps on the front, figured there was not enough postage for airmail and sent it by regular mail. You therefore have three good stamps to use over again. I hope this means that someday soon I will be likely to get two letters during one week.

I suppose that with radio what it is today you are receiving foreign news as quickly as we get it here. There is not much use therefore in my commenting on the situation because it is hourly changing so rapidly that two weeks hence, when you receive this, the foreign lineup will be entirely different. There is one aspect regarding this war situation however, as far as you are concerned, that gives rise to some interesting speculations. Oil products are a very important war commodity, and while the US may adopt measures in the interests of neutrality that will prevent American companies from directly selling oil and its derivatives two nations at war, your company is producing oil in a foreign country and some way may be found to supply the undoubted demand for oil from the fighting nations that will cause a great increase in demand for production, which in turn, I should surmise, would step up your activities in drilling, which in turn might mean that those already engaged in this work, who have had some experience, would be given additional opportunities to forge rapidly ahead. There is another phase of the thing which has interesting speculations for you. If greatly

Alfred Peabody Guion (Lad) in Venezuela

Alfred Peabody Guion (Lad) in Venezuela

increased gallonage of oil is to be shipped abroad there must be a correspondingly greater number of tankers to carry it, and if these new tankers are powered by diesel engines,there might well be an increased demand for men with diesel engineering experience. This, of course, is a longer range proposition, and it may be the war will not last long enough to permit the building of enough tankers in time to make the demand for diesel operators acute. I confess I don’t altogether like the idea of a boy of mine on board a ship during wartime carrying so important a war material and so naturally a target for enemy subs.

If the war does last and the nation’s production of machinery and metal products is speeded up, I assume that as before, New England and specifically Bridgeport, would have another boom, which will be good while it lasts, no matter what may happen afterwards. In this case I may be able to climb back a little bit from an income standpoint and not have to depend so much on the generosity of my loyal sons even though I appreciate the willingness and the great spirit that is back of it all.

For three days now Mr. Smithson has been working here, taking off old wallpaper and applying a fresh coat of paint. The upper and lower hall ceilings are being painted white and the side walls a very light green. Tomorrow we will tackle the living room and the music room and will paint these walls a light creamy tan.

Aunt Anne says Grandma is getting along very well. Larry and Marian are spending Larry’s vacation time in Vermont with the baby, of course, at Munson’s, and will probably be back shortly after Labor Day (which is tomorrow).

Aunt Betty is sitting on the sofa in the living room as I sit in my big chair, looking over your scrapbook. She just asked me to give you her love. She says she wrote you a letter some time ago but if you replied to it, she never received it.

The Trumbull Fireman’s Carnival ended last night. We went down for a short time. There was not much of a crowd for Saturday night. I don’t know who won the Chevrolet car but I heard it was someone from Southbury. Dan Ced and Dick went down to New York last night to have a fling at the big city. They went to a nightclub, but evidently all remained properly sober. Don Whitney and Redd and another chap from Westport went with them. Rusty, from all reports, is back in Wakefield with his folks. Ced has a new kind of work at the Tilo Plant, night work at that. It has something to do with heating up the tar and asphalt in huge kettles to prepare the mixture for the next day’s run. At present he does not get more money but that is likely to come later.

Dan got a letter from McCarter this week telling him he could put through his check for collection as the money was now on hand. I therefore started the check through the bank Friday and we’ll see what happens. If this gets through all right there is the balance of his pay still due which he will have to wrangle out of Maxy in some way. Am anxious to know what you did about collecting your back wages and what you did about the tools. I am also looking forward to hearing about your trip to Ciudad Bolivar, and what you think of the Orinoco. Saw Mr. Page again yesterday. He asked to be remembered to you and said he thought Marie would be getting married within the next six months. Yesterday’s paper carried the announcement of the death of William Vincent Judge, after a short illness.

Just a few minutes ago a man drove up in an auto and asked if Dan were home, and then if Mr. Human were here. He said he was Myers who had just arrived from Caracas. I immediately telephoned Dan, who was at Plumb’s (you might have guessed it) and for the last 20 minutes they have been chatting about affairs at InterAmerica. Myers plans to see Uncle Ted tomorrow and then start war against Maxy, or perhaps I might say, will join up with the reinforcements. He says that Benedict and Nelson are both back in the states now. He is going back in a few weeks on another job which will take him either to Caracas or to Pariaguan with a construction company, so you may run across him sooner or later. And that’s about all I can scratch up, in the way of news right now. So, toodle do and don’t forget to write more and oftener.

DAD

Tomorrow we’ll have another post from Trumbull with some interesting tales of what has been going on there during the past week. We’ll then check up on the boys in Alaska during 1940. I hope the timeline is helping you keep track of where everyone is at the time of each letter so you aren’t totally confused.

Judy Guion