Army Life – Dad – Lad to Dad Concerning his Stock – November, 1943

 

Mon.    22.11.43

Dad:-

In answer to your various questions concerning our financial status via Ven. Pet:–: (Venezuelan Petroleum Stock)

1st – should you pay Investors Syndicate installment from Ven. Pet. proceeds?

ans: Until I know more about the purpose of the Investors Syndicate (length of or number of installments or maximum total; percentage of loss by sale; etc.; etc.) I shall follow your advice and continue on with the installments; using some of the proceeds from Ven. Pet. for this purpose.

2nd – If you decide to sell (and you have my permission) – yes, by all means clear up your own back balance as well as

3rd – the balance due the Bank so that you can clear your name as well as unfreeze your collateral.

4th – For the moment sell only enough to meet current obligations (Inv. Syn.; Bank Balance; A.D.G. Bank Balance; and retain the remainder of them until further notice.

As to Marian’s and my address — Who knows? Apparently you haven’t gathered from what I have written, that Marian has had to give up her apartment, and for the moment we are living from night to night anyplace we can find a room. We’ve been looking now for almost 2 mo. with still no luck, so we have no address we can use as a residence. Mailing can be to me, at

I don’t seem to have the rest of this letter. Tomorrow I’ll post two announcements concerning my Mom and Dad wedding. On Wednesday, Dads description of the wedding. On Thursday and Friday, a long letter from Grandpa to the Captains of Industry.

Judy Guion

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Army Life – Lad’s First Letter Home (2) – Conclusion of Lad’s First Letter Home – May, 1942

 

Lad - 1943

Wed.

Due to the issue of rifles last night, I did not have time to complete this letter. And it looks as though I may not have time to finish it tonight. We are to have a lecture at 8 PM and that is only a short time distant. If anyone tells you that we are busy, just let it pass as an understatement. Boy, from 5:45 until 9:00, with the exception of about 30 minutes at noon and 1½ hours in the evening, we do not have time to even think for ourselves. To say nothing of heeding “Mother Nature”.

May 23

I was right. I could not finish it, and then since there was to be an inspection today, we spent all free time yesterday thoroughly cleaning the barracks. Outside and in. Then today for a diet we had drilling all morning, an inspection/review early in the afternoon, a rigid inspection later in the barracks, and then about 40 of us were marched a couple of miles to the infirmary, given two injections, and marched back again. Right now my right arm is so stiff that I have to use only my fingers and wrist to write. And incidentally, I don’t feel too hot. Oh! Yes. – Yesterday we were given our first rifle practice on an indoor range. I didn’t do too bad, but nowhere nearly as well as Dan.

From things that have been said at various places and by various people who should know. – Ordnance work and the Ordnance Department of the US Army rates second to none. Not even the Engineering Corps. Apparently, eight men out of 1000 get far enough to make the necessary qualifications for this department, and then, to make things even better, of those picked men, two out of 1000 get a chance to qualify for and Instructor’s rating and the Officer’s Training Course. I am among the latter few, and that really makes me feel good. I just hope that I can live up to the honor when my chance comes. I believe that if things go for me as they have been planned at present, I will be stationed here at Aberdeen Proving Grounds  (A.P.G.) (Lad’s initials – Alfred Peabody Guion) for six months or even for the duration. In any case, Ordnance men are not trained to fight except as a means of self-protection, and the main idea, roughly, is to supply the men on the lines with ammunition, and equipment for fighting. We are the men behind the men on the front. Apparently, I have been picked to act as an instructor in automotive repair and maintenance. Well, so much for Army Life, here. I received your letter O.K., but I’m afraid that it will not be as easy as you seem to think to write regularly for a few weeks anyway. I am busier than the proverbial bee. Time out.

Sunday –

Those injections plus a cold got me. I quit, planning to take a short rest, but the first thing I knew it was just 9 PM and the corporal was saying one minute before lights out, so I didn’t have time to write more.

Breakfast on Sundays is at 7:00 and then I spent the rest of the morning washing clothes and cleaning my equipment in general. Then, immediately after lunch we fell out with rifles and had an inspection of arms. Then, following this, we went on a hike of about 5 or 6 miles, with cartridge belt, first aid kit and leggins. We returned in time for supper and then – here I am.

Quarantine will be up one week from tomorrow night. Then, if I am lucky, I will be able to get a pass for the weekend.

However, in the meantime, I would appreciate very much your sending me 10 clothes hangers. Two of them, steel. It is impossible to get hangers here.

I heard from Babe (Cecelia Mullins, the girl he’s been dating back home) Sat. but have not received any other mail. And speaking of mail, can you give me Dan’s address?

APG - Aberdeen Proving Grounds insignia

How do you like the Ordnance Emblem? The department colors are yellow and crimson. The insignia is a flaming bomb.

In order to shorten the address you may use the abbreviations as shown below: – remember me to everyone and my love to Aunt Betty.

Pvt. ______(me)____

Co B – 1st Bn. – O.R.T.C.

Aberdeen Proving Grounds

Md.

Love —–

Lad

Tomorrow, another letter from Grandpa to his sons away from home. On Saturday and Sunday, more Special Pictures. Next week I’ll be posting letters written in 1943, just after Lad and Marian’s wedding.  

Judy Guion 

Army Life – Lad’s First Letter Home (1) – Lad’s First Week in the Army – May, 1942

 

This is the first page of 11, a long letter to Grandpa telling him of all of his adventures after leaving Grandpa at the Railroad Station in Shelton/Derby, CT, on May 14, 1942.

APG - First letter to Grandpa from Aberdeen Proving Grounds - May 18, 1942

Pvt. A.P. Guion

Co. B 14 Bn ORTC

Aberdeen Proving Ground

Md.

May 18, 1942

Dear Dad: –

We left Derby on time and stopped at Ansonia. Here a second car was filled, and after a stop at Waterbury the third car was filled and our next stop was Hartford. Here we detrained at a few minutes before nine and walked about 1 ½ blocks to the Induction Center. There were so many of us that the complete inspection was not over until 2:45. The actual inspection per person was not more than 30 or 35 min., if that much. At 3 PM the 88 who had passed the examinations out of 169, were put into a separate car and in a few minutes a train coupled onto the car and we were off. The train stopped nowhere until it got to Worchester, Mass. Here a switch engine hooked onto our car and while the train went on, we were switched back and forth, and ended up on the track going in the opposite direction. Here another train picked us up and again we were off. Our next stop was in Ayer, Mass., where there is no platform of any kind. The tracks run through the backyard of Camp Devens. Here, with our baggage, we were again given a short march and after a little discussion concerning behavior in the camp we were issued raincoats and a barracks bag, another hike to Co. B, 1st Bn., and we were issued blankets. Incidentally, we detrained at Fort Devens at 5:40, 30 minutes ahead of schedule. Then came supper and bed making instructions and we were more than glad to turn in at 9:00.

Friday we rose at 5:45 A.M., policed the barracks and fell out for breakfast. Immediately after that we were taken to Q.M.C. and issued our uniforms. What a system. It takes about four or five minutes from the time you start, stark naked, til you emerge at the other end very well fitted from the skin out, and in six complete uniforms with two complete changes of everything else. Then came an Aptitude test – lunch – and a private interview. Back to the theater to be shown a film on the evil side of sex, a couple of short welcome speeches – supper – a couple of fallout calls to advise some of the men that they were leaving early Sat. morning and then to bed.

Sat – up at 5:45 and out for reveille where 10 fellows and myself were told we would be ready to leave at 7:15. A rush to breakfast, again to the medical section for injections and a vaccination, back again for clothes and we fell out at 7:21 for the trip to wherever it was. We were marched out to the same lot at which we detrained when we first arrived and here we were told to wait for further orders. We waited until 8:30 and then were assembled and marched back to the road again, a distance of a couple of hundred yards and were put onto a truck. By truck we were taken a few miles to Fitchburg where we again waited and at 9:21 a train pulled in. At the rear was a special car and we were loaded into this. By now we numbered 44. A sergeant was in charge. He would give us no information as to where we were going, not even if it were a long trip. However with spirits undaunted, we had a good time. At Greenfield, Mass., we were shunted again and changed direction of travel from west to south. Our next stop was at Springfield where we were put onto a siding and taken into the station for lunch. After lunch we boarded the car again and in a couple of minutes another train backed up and again we were off. We stopped at Hartford, New Haven, Bridgeport, Stamford and Penn Station. We were ordered not to mail anything or make phone calls until we arrived at our destination, so I could not write anything to you. A half hour stop in Penn. Station, while a Penn. Engine was put on in place of the New Haven, during which time we ate a box lunch, and then began a real ride. On the New Haven road we had made good time, and only a few stops, but the track was quite rough and I don’t think we traveled better than 45 or 50 M.P.H. The first stop on the new leg was at Newark and then began a fast non-stop trip. The only times we slowed down below 75 M.P.H. (according to my figuring – the mile posts were going by every 44 or 45 seconds) was when we switched from the local track to the express or vice versa. On this trip we passed two freight trains, two locals and one express. All of them moving. It took about 2 ½ or 3 miles to pass the express, but we did it. Our next stop was Philadelphia, then Wilmington and then Aberdeen. Here, to our surprise, we all got off and were taken by truck, in the rain, to our present location (see the letterhead). We were issued blankets, assigned to barracks and were glad to go to bed even though it was only 9:30.

Sunday we had nothing to do, and also being in quarantine for a two-week period, we could do nothing. I acquainted myself as well as I could with in our limited grounds, about 2000 x 1000 feet, and made a few purchases at the PX (Camp store – Post Exchange) which we are lucky enough to have within grounds and again retired.

Monday began our training and was spent in learning marching fundamentals.

Today, Tuesday, we heard from a few of the Big Shots on the duties of the Ordnance Dept., and this afternoon, more drilling. Just now we are having an inspection of all equipment issued to us. And so will end today. And, believe me, we are all glad to hit the hay at 9:00 P.M. when the lights go out.

Tomorrow, I’ll post the rest of this letter from Lad to his Dad, my Grandpa, all about his first experiences in and with the Army after his induction. Friday, another letter from Grandpa to his three sons away from home: Ced in Anchorage, Alaska, working as an airplane mechanic; Dan, being trained as an Army surveyor in Pennsylvania and Lad, who has just been inducted and is at the Aberdeen Proving Grounds in Aberdeen, Maryland.

Judy Hardy

Trumbull – Dear Tripartite (2) – Bits and Pieces of Trumbull News – May, 1942

page 2     5/17/42

ADG - Gas Rationing Card - 1945

 Sample Gas Rationing Card

Well, gas rationing days are over here. Dick, (Paul) Warden and I each obtained a ?-? card but Zeke could only get an A-3, so Elizabeth will not be visiting Trumbull so frequently as of yore.

Red came home this weekend and informs me he was turned down by the Naval Reserves and the Marines, so he, too, will be in the Army. Charley Hall however, he says, made the grade, due presumably to his engineering training. Red’s roommate received some notice asking if you would like to work in Alaska, and immediately Red sent to the same source for a similar application.

"The Good Times" - 1939 Arnold Gibson (Gibby), Charlie Kurtz and Carl Wayne The Red Horse Station

“The Good Times” – 1939
Arnold Gibson (Gibby), Charlie Kurtz and Carl                                         Wayne
                 The Red Horse Station

The Ives and Carl and Ethel (Wayne), are intending to take a trip up to the Adirondacks and get in some fishing. Carl has not decided whether he will try to keep the station going under all the new handicaps, or not.

No words of cheer to the old base last week from either of the three absent sons, so I am much in the position of the radio announcer who keeps on broadcasting without knowing whether his message is getting across to his audience or even whether he has an audience.

My business continues in the doldrums, some weeks the expense of doing business exceeding the income and some just enough over to make me feel it might be worthwhile to hang on until things take a turn for the better. I’ve just got enough tenacity of purpose in my makeup so I don’t easily give up, I guess.

Cora Beach died last week. Mrs. Burr Beach is now running the library. Jimmy Smith has been ill in the hospital but I understand is home again and better. Lad went down to see the New Rochelle relatives just before he left and reports all well.

Enclosed with this note, Ced, old dear, is a birthday card from Aunt Betty, which she asked me to address and send for her. Dick is over getting Dan’s car filled up with gas in the hope and expectation he might come back with Barbara who goes to visit him on the 22nd. Dick just finished and sent in his questionnaire last week and has now received a card to fill in as sort of an occupational guide to enable the Army authorities, I suppose, to fit him in where his experience and training would seem to promise best results. He spends about half his time in Stratford these days, although from now on, the gas rationing may possibly cramp his style a bit.

Lilac Bush

Lilac Bush

This will probably be the last week for the lilacs but the iris are coming along nicely, and is also the grass, particularly after last night’s rain.

The news stream got down to a trickle in the last paragraph with a few drops left for this one and has now ceased entirely as I shall also, with the usual greetings (I shall forbear saying anything about writing soon, as being entirely superfluous). So with best wishes from the home folks, I shall sign off, as usual, from

DAD

Tomorrow and Thursday, Lad’s first letter to Grandpa, telling him of his experiences since saying good-bye to his Dad at the Derby Railroad Station. I’ll finish out the week with another letter from Grandpa to the three boys away from home.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Dear Boys (2) – Lad is in the Army

page 2     5/10/42

It’s too bad you boys can’t claim exemption on account of paralysis of your writing fingers. As far as I know secondhand, Dan is too busy planting flowers to write, no word having come from him this week. This could be born with more fortitude if the phone had run last night and a voice said, “this is your son, Dan, at the Bridgeport railroad station”. I must say he is impartial in his neglect as Barbara is considerably burned up about her inability to get letters also.

I did get a postal from a Mrs. Beckwith of Roanoke Rapids, who very kindly wrote what she calls a “keeping -in-touch” card to me telling me she had met Dan, was inviting him to supper and had a son of her own about his age in the Army.

Ced @ 1945          And I seem to have lost my pulling power with you, too, Ced, for in spite of my splendid example of invariably writing to you backsliders once a week, come hell or high water, I can’t seem to get either of you on a weekly schedule. I hope Lad will do better because it will be pretty tough having three boys away and not hearing from any of them regularly. I know it’s tough to have so exacting a father, but that also you can blame on the war. Maybe I’ll stop writing for a month or so and wait for you to ask some questions. It’s too easy having home news sent to you without any effort once a week. Maybe you wouldn’t mind it so much at that, and then where would I be?

And speaking of asking questions, Dick was asking today if Ced wouldn’t write him what the labor situation was at present at the airbase, if they still needed men and was still paying the same salaries. From a few remarks he has dropped I surmise jobs and salaries here do not compare favorably with his Alaskan experience. In your next (?) letter home, Ced, tell us a bit about how you are getting along with your flying, which you haven’t mentioned for months. Was your boss successful in getting a deferment for you? Have you filled out your questionnaire yet?

This week I managed to get three packages off to you which I hope will arrive in time for your birthday. Two of them are from Read’s — not much but just to let you know you are not forgotten. I also sent direct a box of miscellaneous junk. A couple of small items will gladden Rusty’s heart when he is confronted with an overdone batch of apricots cooking on the stove all night. Be sure to let me know when they arrive so I can put in claims for them if they are lost in transit.

Among news briefs are these: A new gray line bus now runs to Trumbull, up Reservoir Avenue, as far as Ray King’s place just beyond the Merritt Parkway. Wardens have a washing machine, his present to her for Mother’s Day. Next month she has to go to the hospital for a minor operation.

Blog - Lilac Bush

Speaking of Mother’s Day (today) Aunt Betty thoughtfully arranged a bunch of lilacs (which are now in bloom) on the dinner table today in memory of your mother. Yesterday at the Town Hall I united a couple in matrimony. Lad is trying to sell his car. He is trying to get $750 for it. He paid $900. On account of tire and gas rationing the market is none too good. If he can’t get $700 for it he will store it for the duration.

The following letter from Grandma: “I have been on the half and half sick list since February 16th. The first two weeks Dorothy had to stay out of school to care for me. It made it pretty hard for her because she wanted to keep up with her studies along with doing the housework. I am feeling much better. My heart was quite bad for a while. You may be surprised to know we are both staying at Kemper’s, who have moved into this lovely large house which they are renting. They are renting their own house. Last Sunday Kemper and Ethel left for Vermont to be gone until next Tuesday. I would like very much to make you a visit and enjoy the lilacs but it may be some time yet before I can and by then the lilacs will be gone. What an experience Ced is having.”

Tomorrow, The Induction Booklet presented to Lad at the Shelton Railroad Station on May 14th, 1942. 

Special Pictures on Saturday and Sunday.

Judy Guion 

Trumbull – Dear Boys (1) – Lad is in the Army – May, 1942

Trumbull, Conn., May 10, 1942

Dear boys:

Lad is in the Army.

At least that is what he announced after coming back from a trip to New York in which he applied successively but unsuccessfully for enlistment in the Naval Reserves, the Marines and the Coast Guard, failing in each to meet eyesight minimum requirements, so Wednesday he is off for Derby to see what happens.

Well naturally I am sorry for Lad’s sake that he did not get into the branch of the service he felt would interest him most. As I think the whole thing over, I believe I would rather have it the way it is. Speaking from the viewpoint of a parent whose uppermost thought these days is the welfare of his sons, it would seem as though the Army is the best bet.

I reach this conclusion along the following line of thought. As the basic premise, this country is all out to win the war. We must put into this effort everything we have – – both men and materials. However at the present time, the outstanding need and our foremost contribution is, and for some time must be, not so much man as materials – – planes, ships, guns, tanks, ammunition for all the allies, and secondarily men to use such proportion of these war materials as we reserved for ourselves.

But of all the manpower fighting on the side of the Allies I should surmise that the U. S. proportionately would expect to have the least number of men engaged in actual fighting.

The main objectives for victory, in order of their importance, seem to me to be the destruction (1) of Hitler’s Army, (2) the Jap Navy and (3) the Jap Army.

To accomplish the first would seem primarily the job of the Russians, aided by the British flyers, Navy and perhaps later their Army.

Number two seems to be our meat, the brunt of losses falling on our naval and flying forces.

Number three just naturally falls to the lot of the Chinese.

If and when the invasion of the continent is decided upon, and in Australia, Africa and China, our Army will undoubtedly have a part, but on account of geographical location, shortage of shipping and less shortage of manpower among our allies near the scene of conflict, and then of materials, it seems as though demands of our army would be far less than that of our other services such as navel and flying personnel, with consequently smaller losses.

That is the way things look today, and unless the character of the war changes considerably (and I suppose we must expect surprising changes with the world at war), I would expect our losses in manpower to be in the following order: Navy, flying service (both Army and Navy) and Army ground forces. Theoretically, then, the best chance of survival would seem to be with those in the US Army. You can understand therefore why the selfish part of me is glad to have my boys serving in the Army rather than in the Navy or flying forces.

Did you boys listen to Churchill’s inspiring talk this afternoon? As an oratory I think he has our own chief executive beaten to a frazzle.

Tomorrow, page 2 of this letter. I’ll be posting other news and letters about his induction into Uncle Sam’s Best. On Friday, the Induction Booklet, “FALL IN”, given to Lad by the American Legion on the day of his induction, May 14th, 1942 at the Shelton Railroad Station.

Saturday and Sunday, more Special Pictures.

Judy Guion

 

Trumbull – Dear Newlyweds (2) – A Few Words of Fatherly Advice – November, 1943

Grandpa concludes the letter I posted yesterday with words of advice to the Newlyweds.

    Alfred Peabody Guion and Marian           Dunlap Irwin Guion, Nov. 14, 1943

Well, I suppose a few words of fatherly advice are in order. There are mighty few young people who go into marriage with any real idea of what it means. They get their notion of it from the clouds where they live while they are engaged, and naturally about all they find out there is wind and moonshine; or from novels which always end just before the real trouble begins, or if they keep on, leave out the chapters that tell how the husband finds the rent and the wife how to make over last year’s coat to look stylish for this season. But is quite easy to get all the facts about matrimony; part of them are right in the house where you spent your childhood, and the neighbors have the rest. Someone has said that you’ve got to have leisure to be unhappy. Half the troubles in this world are imaginary and never happened, but it’s oftener these than the real troubles that break a young wife’s or a young husband’s heart. There are a few folks who can be happy idle when single but married, they have to have something to do or there’s trouble. A woman can find fun from the cellar to the nursery in her own home but with nothing to do but gad around the streets and she’ll find discontent. A man can ride 3 miles on a bus to his job in the morning and find happiness at the end of every trip but he can chase it all over the world in a steam yacht without ever catching up with it. There is usually an idle man or an idle woman in every divorce case. As some wag once remarked “when the man earns the bread by the sweat of his brow, it’s right that the woman should perspire a little baking it.” It’s good to have money and the things money will by, but it’s good too, to check up once in a while to make sure you haven’t lost the things that money won’t buy.

I guess that’s enough of that for this letter which according to the rules, should be just full of sweetness and joy, but marriage is not so much the fulfillment of all one most fondly desires as the beginning of a sacred and serious relationship that in union, can become far bigger than either one can accomplish alone, and it is that bigger fulfillment that, of course, I am hoping you will attain together.

There, I haven’t written at all the kind of letter I should have liked to have turned out on this important day, but there is a lot of truth in the saying “too full for utterance “, and you will both have to read between the lines all the good things that I have left unsaid.

Of course, when you have had time to get the ricin confetti combed out of your hair, would all like to know the details of the wedding itself, if and where you went on your honeymoon, what future plans are as far as Uncle Sam will let you plan, and anything else you think we would be interested in hearing. A surrealistic picture of us here would be a lot of big ears all turned in your direction and listening for all we’re worth.

Yours for good sound effects,

DAD

Tomorrow and Sunday, I’ll be posting more Special Pictures.

On Monday, I’ll begin a week of letters written in 1945.

Judy Guion