Trumbull – To The Guion Horticultural Experiment Stations (1) – I Have Four Flower Beds – September, 1943

This week, Grandpa’s creative juices were working overtime, if you don’t mind mixing metaphors, and he equates his sons, in their various locales, as Flowerbeds. He does put a lot of thought into his weekly missives, at least most weeks.

Trumbull Conn.  September 26, 1943

To the Guion Horticultural Experiment Stations in various parts of the world:

I have four flowerbeds labeled respectively Brazil, England, Alaska and Los Angeles, and each Sunday I plant a mental seed in each of these plots with the expectation and hope that they will in time sprout and bear abundant fruit. Then I sit back for six days and hum to myself that old hymn “What Will the Harvest Be?”

Richard (Dick) Peabody Guion

Richard (Dick) Peabody Guion

Some of these seeds seem to fall on barren ground and seldom even sprout. The soil of Brazil seems to be especially unfertile. England has lately been producing a bit better although the sprouts are usually very short and hardly get their heads above ground. Los Angeles ground seems to be pretty reliable, occasionally developing a good strong plant while Alaska, though slow bearing, usually delivers a bumper crop spasmodically.

This week the harvest was quite satisfactory, although not 100% — the good neighbor policy as far as Brazil is concerned not being in the running except by reflected

Daniel (Dan) Beck Guion

Daniel (Dan) Beck Guion

glory, so to speak. The English package, bah Jove, mentions the hope of Dan that he may be able to go to Oxford for a week of general courses offered to service men of all nations. When he returns, don’t be surprised to see him wearing a monocle and expressing his thoughts in the purest English. (An aside to Dan: the shoes got off to you marked “Christmas gift package”. The only difficulty here is that it is rumored that packages so marked are held up by the Army and not delivered until Christmas. Someone also said that packages sent from home are opened and repacked at New York. If so, I hope the re-packer will not overlook the 35mm Kodachrome film which I obtained with great difficulty and packed into the shoes along with sundry packages of chewing gum, shoe paste, etc. And while we’re on the subject, please, in your next reply, let me know what you would like to have me include in your real Christmas package. Dan concludes by saying “Everything continues to go well. I don’t find nearly enough time to do everything I want to, which is better than too much time!”

Alfred Peabody Guion (Lad)

Alfred Peabody Guion (Lad)

Southern California had a good crop this trip. On his return trip, Lad, at Chicago, worked a spell for Col. Harvey, washing innumerable dishes as 4th cook, Tuesday AM to Thursday PM, “I don’t think I ever worked so hard”. However he got good meals and an upper to sleep in as compensation. (Aside to Lad: thanks for the rationing board coupons, which will come in very handy. Alas, however, the gasoline coupons were flatly turned down by the service station who referred me to the local rationing board and also by the rationing board, who said they had discontinued honoring these coupons. Don’t worry. I think I can get by with my own coupons until the next period, And even if I can’t, I won’t regret a single drop you used because of one sentence in your letter which is one of the nicest things anyone has told me for a long while, viz: “As I look back, those five days at home were some of the most enjoyable days I’ve ever spent, but they went far too fast”. This makes me feel a lot better because I did have the feeling that all the inconvenience and tiresomeness of the journey both ways did not compensate for the very little we were able to do to make your homecoming pleasant even though we did enjoy so much seeing you once again.)

Lad, says the weather since he got back has been uncomfortably hot, so much so that desks and chairs are hot to touch. Temperature 116° and is due to continue until the middle of October. Aunt Betty says she wishes you could send some of that excess heat back here, as the last two days have been quite autumnal in character. This means tapering off of hay fever but also brings the perennial furnace problem, ashes, woodcutting, etc. Mr. Schalich filled up the oil barrels yesterday. Between Paul and myself we have 250 gallons of kerosene to start the season off with, but in spite of the fact that I have had my order for coal in since July, I have been unable to get a single ton.

Tomorrow, the second half of this letter from Grandpa to his sons, scattered around the world. On Friday, a letter from Lad with exciting news regarding his future.

Judy Guion

Army Life – Lad Arrives in L.A. – September, 1943

Lad and Marian – Pomona, CA

Now Grandpa knows that Lad arrived safely back in California. In his typical analytical style, he tells the whole story.

September 22, 1943

South Pasadena, California

Dear Dad:

I arrived in LA at 4:10 AM and, so help me, Marion was there to meet me. In fact, I’m writing this at her house and this is her pen and ink. Here is the story. Bridgeport to New York – O.K.  –  left Grand Central at 6:30 PM and after a pretty good rest arrived in Chicago at noon. I had till 6:30 for the train to LA so I went to the Santa Fe-Harvey office. Got a job in a few minutes on a train leaving on Tuesday at 7 AM. So I went back to the Y and slept all afternoon and evening.

About 10 PM I got up, wrote a letter to Marian, had something to eat and returned to bed. Got up at 5 AM and went to the station. I was 4th cook and did nothing but dishes from 10:30 Tuesday morning until 11 PM Thursday. Boy, I don’t think I ever worked so hard. It was terrific – but, at least I wasn’t bored by the trip and I had very good meals and an upper. Slept from about 12 or one o’clock till 5:30 each night. We were five hours late arriving in LA, but she was there, with a smile, as usual, and my spirits rose perceptively. She had made arrangements for me to stay at the USO dorm, so I had something to eat and went to bed. I slept from about 6 AM till after 4 PM.

I had a key, which Marian had given me for her house, so I went there for a shower and then reported back to camp, got my pass, and took up where I had left off 16 days earlier. As I look back, those five days at home were some of the most enjoyable days I’ve ever spent, but they went far too fast. I went to the rationing board here and they gave me the ration points, but said that in the future to go to the local board at home. So take a mental note of that. It is a new O.P.A. regulation.

For two days now we have had typical Southern California September weather, hotter than hell. The air so hot, that desks and chairs or anything else is almost uncomfortably hot to touch. It was 116° today, and this is supposed to last until the middle of October. However, I really don’t mind it at all. Marian doesn’t like it too well. It has cooled off a little now, and we’re going to an open-air theater tonight to see “The More the Merrier”.

Give my love to Aunt Betty and anyone else and I’m expecting to take your suggestion and write to Grandma.

Lad

Tomorrow and Thursday, we’ll read a long letter from Grandpa to his four sons in their various locations, filled with news about each of them. Friday will be another letter from Lad .

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Dear Away-from-homers – Go west! Go west! – September, 1943

Trumbull Conn.   September 19, 1943

Dear Away-from-Homers:

Well, the back porch steps have undergone a major operation and are recovering nicely. In fact they are almost out of danger although there is always a chance of the trouble recurring, which will call for an entire new deal, if you don’t mind mixing metaphors a bit. That and some putty and nails on the cellar door and an attempt to solder the perker on the coffee pot so Jean can have for daily stimulant (she having smashed her little individual drip outfit) about sums up the news this week that comes under the heading of “thrillers”. You wouldn’t be interested in the fact that a rat ate some of my knackerbrod, or we almost ran out of toilet paper or Aunt Betty now knows how many spoonfuls of brown sugar to put on canned beans, so I won’t bother to mention them.

Dave Guion

Dave Guion

The household has been a bit livelier this weekend, however, and in fact it seemed almost like old times when you were all home and lots of young people made merry, for Jean’s friend, Audrey Switzgabel, has been a welcome guest and she and Dave have been conducting a friendly feud with the rapid exchanges of repartee that hasn’t permitted a dull moment.

Lad - 1943

Lad – 1943

I haven’t heard whether Lad is back safely in camp but not having read of any further train wrecks, I assume he behaved himself while taking Horace Greeley’s advice. An old ad flashes across memories screen:

Go West! Go West! The old man said,

He should have been more specific.

                        He should have said, “You’ll travel best

           If you go by the southern Pacific.”

Dan, I’m waiting for an answer to my letter before sending your shoes as there is a rule in the post office that they will not accept packages for soldiers abroad unless the request for them has been O.K.’d by a superior officer.

Dan Guion

Dan Guion

Gee, Ced, I didn’t know you’d get so sore at the names I have been using in directing letters to you, that

you would refuse to write anymore. It’s all in fun and anyway, I never called you a big palooka, so there.

Dan is the family’s best threatener.  C’mon, Dan, give over entertaining one of those English lassies long enough to write that long exciting account of your adventures.

And Dick, you long-legged Benedict, I see you’re back in the ranks of the T-5’s, like your brother Daniel.

Dick Guion

Dick Guion

It’s about time he took an upward step. Dave got out the projector last night and entertained Audrey by showing some of Dan’s and Dick’s colored slides. Dan says the bulb on the movie projector is shot. I wonder if there’s a priority on that too. We shall certainly have to get that fixed up in time to entertain little Siwash Ced when he pays

Ced Guion

Ced Guion

us his Christmas visit. It will seem pretty much like the Santa Claus myth coming true when he drops in from Alaska, pack or no pack. And with this happy thought, let us close tonight’s chapter, to be mentally tucked into your several beds with a good night kiss from your

DADDY

For the rest of the week, I’ll be alternating letters from Lad and Grandpa. On Thursday, Lad gives Grandpa some exciting news about his future.Stay tuned !!

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Dear Ced (1) – Ced Needs His Birth Certificate to Fly? – January, 1942

Ced and car - 1940 (3)-head shotTrumbull, Conn., Jan. 11, 1942.

Dear Ced:

Once again letter writing time rolls around. As I glance out of the kitchen window, the kitchen being our living room for the last few days, particularly because of the cold spell, it reveals a typical winter landscape with the white mantle of snow on the ground and the sun valiantly striving to peer through masses of dark clouds which told a threat of more snow. Last night was bitterly cold, perhaps as much as 10 below zero here. The paper yesterday predicted 20 below in northern New England, so you see Alaska and Conn. are somewhat akin at times.

Your welcome letter of December 28th reached here on the7th, which, while not equaling the speed with which some of my letters have reached you by airmail, is still pretty good time compared with what it was this time last year. Perhaps the importance of Anchorage in the war picture has caused a speeding up of communications. At any rate I hope it will continue to be good as you do not seem quite so far away when only 10 days off.

I have written Kemper in Mount Vernon (his office) asking him to obtain your birth certificate from the City Hall and forward it on to you by airmail, as I figured this method would save time writing back and forth, forwarding necessary fee, etc. I have asked him to let me know the total cost and will take care of reimbursing him from here. I have also taken care of paying your life insurance premium which is due in a few days. And while we are on the financial aspect, I am enclosing income tax blanks in duplicate – – not that I think you will have difficulty in obtaining these blanks locally, but it is my experience the tendency to put such things off until the last moment generally means a wild rushing around trying to meet the deadline with the possibility of error and consequent additional expense, so the possession of blanks may induce a more leisurely attention to this disagreeable task.

Why is it you have to have your birth certificate before you can fly again? Is that a new regulation or is there more behind this than meets the eye? You said nothing in your letter about the draft status. Has Woodley been able to do anything about your deferment beyond the indefinite February date you mentioned some time ago as the time when you would cease to be a civilian? I suppose this will have some bearing on any arrangements you make as to taking a cabin with Rusty after leaving Walshes.

I suppose you will be one of the crew that goes out to rescue Don’s stranded plane. This should prove an interesting experience. Incidentally I should think this might be a dramatic subject for a Heurlin picture of a typical Alaskan experience. Does the idea appeal to Rusty?

It was good to know you spent an enjoyable Christmas day. Your caroling  stunt was one of those things you will look back on in years with interest and “fond recollection”. Aunt Betty has just chirped up again, “Give my love to Ced and Rusty”.

Dan got his summons this week and is to report for active duty on the 21st. He quit working for Producto and is now a man of leisure. Knowing Dan, I don’t know how much leisure there will be in his activities. Dick is working at Producto on a lathe at a $.50 an hour rate and seems to like the job. He of course, will register next month.

Tomorrow, the middle of this letter, which is from Dan to Ced and the last bit from Grandpa.

Tomorrow and Sunday, more special pictures.

Next week, I’ll be posting letters written in 1943 about Lad’s furlough in Trumbull and his developing feelings for Marian. 

Judy Guion

L.K. Sieck – A Request for Lad – January, 1942

APG - L.K.Sieck letter, Jan., 1942 Ames,Iowa

January 17, 1942

Dear Al:

Many momentous things have happened since I received your letter. I am still learning trigonometry, descriptive geometry, etc., but expect that Uncle Sam will be needing me in other places. I have done well in military here at college, having gotten an excellent rating and a promotion.

I never did get around to look up Charles Hall. I had planned on coming down to Connecticut for a few days during Xmas vacation. Those plans had to be discarded as my family wanted me home. I see now that we will have no spring vacation so I don’t know when I’ll be able to see you.

My brother (the day after the Japs attacked Pearl Harbor) went for a physical test for entrance in the Air Corps. He now has passed everything but lacks two years of college. The Elks Club is giving him classes to prepare him for the final educational test. Of course the latest is that they have lowered the requirements.

I still have hopes of seeing those films. I have moved and am now living at 2901 Oakland St. It is a professor’s home and he says he can get me an 8 mm or 16 mm or 37 mm from the college. If you think they would be safe let me know and I will pay for sending them. I wouldn’t need them but a very short time and I am sure they would return to you in the best of condition.

As I mentioned previously, I don’t know when I will be able to see you. I hope to make a trip down there before I go marching off to Asia, Africa, Europe or some new front. I have never been east of New York as you know?????

Yours truly,

L.K. Sieck

2901 Oakland St.

Ames,Iowa

I believe this is the second request from L.K. Sieck for the films Lad shot in Venezuela. I don’t know if he ever got to see them because I have them. Tomorrow and Friday, another letter from Grandpa to Ced.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Dear XXX – Questions for Ced and Dan – October, 1945

page 2    10/14/45

I hope it speeds you both on your way back to the good old U.S.A. in fact, it would be the occasion of quite a celebration if we could commemorate your birthday by having you here in person. By the way, the old Chevy, which has been down in Steve’s direlict car graveyard for so long, has now been retrieved and after an hour and a half of waiting and red tape, I was able to get it registered again in Dan’s name and now Dick and Jean have a car (?) to run around in. Rumor has it that a week from next Saturday, they plan to take a trip up to the island and give it the once over. And while I’m still talking to Dan, I might mention that the Railway express, I believe, has announced the resumption of air express service to France, so that we may be able to send the things for the Rabet’s by air as soon as all finally arrive from Sears, Roebuck; that is, of course, if I hear from you promptly instructing me to send them by this channel rather than the regular overseas box method to you. It will, of course, be more expensive but quicker. Another thing I am hoping to hear from you about by tomorrow, which is supposed to be the last day Christmas packages can be sent to boys overseas, is what your latest plans are, if any, for a return here by that time, so we can know what to do regarding gifts for you and Paulette. And please, be so kind and considerate as to send us a list of things both of you would like to have us send you from the states for Christmas gifts. Then I should like to have Paulette begin to think about a suitable wedding gift from Dad. Marian’s and Lad’s (he’s of course delighted with it) is a Singer sewing machine; Jean and Dick may also decide on the sewing machine but they want first to settle their future plans more definitely before deciding. I should prefer, naturally, to have it some sort of gift that will last a long time, that no one else would be apt to give, the cost to be at least $100. Give it some thought, Paulette, my dear, and don’t be too bashful about expressing your thoughts.

Now turning to Dave. That was quite a little blow out they had back in your old camping place, wasn’t it? I was certainly glad you were in Manila. In the Readers Digest for last May, which I just got around to reading the other day, I ran across the enclosed article on “Stop, Look and Listen! Before Starting Your Own Business”, and I agree so whole-heartedly with everything he says in it that I am sending it on to you for careful consideration.

   Ced, me heartie, I received through the mail this week a book by Thurber from Alaska, which looks to me like very good bedtime reading and I assume it comes from my tall Alaskan lad. As mentioned previously, I am waiting to hear from you that I am right in this, as well as to be brought up to date on your airplane news, your doings in general, ski club, Rusty, Buick, airways news, future plans, etc., and later when you have time, your complete reaction on the island affair.

And that’s about all I can think of at present outside of the fact that Barbara Lee Rubsamen’s engagement is announced in the paper today. The man’s name is S. C. Whiteside, Jr., of Old Greenwich, Conn.

So, the 16th of October passes into the great past and we look forward to the atomic future (and Dan’s birthday), with I hope, some new and interesting news next writing from your reporter, who subscribes himself as

Your loving          DAD

Tomorrow and Sunday, more Special Pictures.

On Monday, I’ll begin posting a week of letters written in 1942. The year is just starting and the older boys are quite concerned about what the Draft Boards are deciding – about them!

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Dear XXX – News About Family -October, 1945

Trumbull, Conn., October 14, 1945

Dear XXX (supply your own name here)

My thoughts this Sunday are errant ones, or to speak brutally, I am scatter-brained tonight and it’s too bad, too, because I must rely on myself and cannot resort to quotes to make the letter appear interesting. So here goes and if my topics appear like the nimble mountain goat that it jumpeth from crag to crag, just put it down to the turmoil of thought incident to the rapid coming and going of soldier boys, here today and gone tomorrow. Lad, for instance, who leaves Wednesday night for Devens (Ft. Devens in Massachusetts), driven thereto by Marian (physically, not mentally), presumably for transshipment to Aberdeen, (Aberdeen Proving Grounds in Aberdeen, Maryland, where he started his training over three years ago) following a 15-day extension of his original 30-day furlough. Marian returns alone, which translated in Guionese means that he has actually departed for Aberdeen. But lo, and behold, as his train passes Bridgeport, off he hops for another visit home, because Army orders read he does not need to report definitely to Aberdeen until tomorrow. So off he goes again this afternoon, to return – – – (write your own ticket.)

Meantime, we’re getting used to seeing Dick around again, and between Lad and Dick, there are a number of things around the house here that are getting done on rapid order, that have been vying for “doing” for some years. The furnace Stoker  regulated, the oven control on the kitchen (electric) stove fixed, the north slide on the kitchen table fixed, arm on the small maple chair in the alcove (the latter two by Dick), and in course of building a moth proof closet in the attic (also I Dick). Lad has also done a number of other mechanical repair jobs and both boys have helped sawing and chopping wood, etc. By the way, did I tell you that, in a small size windstorm the other day, another great branch or section of the north side of the Maple tree in the back of the house, split off about opposite where the other part fell off on the apartment roof, which leaves this particular tree, which I always admired for its symmetrical shape, looking rather anemic. But to ramble on, I’ve just had my car fixed up with new clutch, body bolts tightened, new muffler pipe, shock absorbers refilled, rubber bumper block installed, etc., so that it runs better than it has lately. How’s your Buick, Ced? I haven’t heard you say lately; in fact, I haven’t heard much from you about anything. Careful now, or I’ll begin to get up pressure again and explode right in P.O. Box 822, (and a few days after following usual custom, get a most contrite letter from you acknowledging that you should have written before, etc.). It’s about time also I heard again for Parisian Dan. Dave writes pretty regularly although I didn’t hear from him last week.

Jumping  now to the island proposition, which is the next thing that pops into my wondering mind, I am eagerly awaiting comments on the numerous questions I raised in my last letter and your several suggestions on the whole business. I know Lad and Marian have something in the works and Dick and Jean have something in contemplation. Elizabeth has not referred to the matter on the one or two occasions I have been in touch with her since, so I don’t know how enthusiastic she is about the thing. What do you think of the idea of planting, at some suitable spots on the island, a cherry tree, maybe some nut trees, fruit trees (apple, peach, pear, plum) possibly some grapevines, and how about an asparagus patch?

Aunt Betty Duryee

It was Aunt Betty’s birthday Thursday, and as that was our regular day for visiting Elizabeth, Dick and Jean also came over (Lad and Marian were enroute to Devens) we celebrated over there. And speaking of birthdays, one is coming up pretty soon for Dan. And in that connection, Dan, I neglected to mention in my last letter that a week ago Tuesday, I did receive your birth certificate from Mount Vernon with its assurance that you actually had been born, and this was sent on the same day to the government office requesting it at Philadelphia.

Tomorrow, the second half of this letter from Grandpa to Dan, Ced and Dave – Lad and Dick both being home.

On Saturday and Sunday, more Special Pictures.

Judy Guion