Trumbull – Birthday Letter to 31324665 – August, 1943

Blog Timeline - 1941-1943

Trumbull Conn.

August 15, 1943

Dear 31324665:

THAT, dear children, may be just a number to you, but translated into Uncle Sam Army language it spells Richard Procrastinator Guion, the

Richard (Dick) Peabody Guion

Richard (Dick) Peabody Guion

middle name having been earned at birth and as far as correspondence to the home front is concerned, has been reaffirmed weekly since that time with an i\Ivory Soap score – 99 and 44/100 pure, (In view of my chosen profession I just have to get in these little advertising ideas in my correspondence, you know).

Is that, you may well ask, the approved method of having a letter addressed to one? No, NO, perish the thought! It isn’t even in spite of that fact. But by this time you may have guessed. In just a few days now we will celebrate a birthday but it will be a party without the main guest. We can’t even send him greetings, much less a gift because we don’t know in what corner of the globe he is hiding from Adolph. So we have unanimously adopted the theme song for the occasion: ”I Can’t Give You Anything But Love, Baby”. Of course there is lots of that from each and all of us, although we know full well it won’t buy baby a new pair of pants.

What a lot of accumulated celebration we will have to celebrate when this mess is finally settled. Now, there’s a thought. What is your prescription for a suitable method of rendering due honor to the occasion? How about that auto trip down to Mexico and Central America with enough cars to accommodate the whole family, with Lad and Dan as official interpreters? Ced could entertain and charm the natives with imitations of Bradley Kincaid, Dick and Jean might do a rumba or two, Dave would probably make a beeline for the best looking native girls, while I could profitably employ my time sniffing the native flora to see if it produces I hay fever sneeze.

Incidentally, I read recently an article on how nearly completed this Pan-American road was south of Mexico City, and ran across the following incident: the advanced survey party sometimes encountered situations for which neither engineering texts nor guidebooks had any solution. The disappearing surveyor’s stakes are a good example. In the rural sections, clear, straight-grained, sawed wood is in great demand to patch chairs, to reinforce plows and for 1000 other purposes. The surveyor’s stakes of clean new wood, 1 1/2 in. square by 14 inches long, driven into the ground 100 feet apart to mark the route of the highway, were a treasure trove to the country people who pulled up at night all the stakes placed during the day. Both U.S. and native engineers explained often and at length that the markers were necessary. The people listened, nodded, and the next morning the stakes were gone again. After all, if the yanqui senores valued the little pieces of wood so highly, why would they stick them in the ground and go away and leave them? Gringo foolishness. Finally one of the engineers hit upon the simple idea of nailing a short piece to each stake just below the top at right angles, making a cross. Not a stake disappeared from that day until the end of the survey.

Jean has a new name for me – “Marryin’ Sam”. This week, one marriage at my office, the week before, two; the week before that also two. It all came about in this way. I usually have my ad in the yellow section in the back of the Bridgeport phone directory. A few weeks ago when the salesman called for a renewal for the new edition, I happened to notice that in the New Haven directory several names appeared under the heading “Justice of The Peace”. I told him they could include my name under that heading in Bridgeport, thinking of course, the other Bridgeport “justices” would be included, but when the darn thing appeared a few weeks ago, low, like Abou Ben Adam (May his tribe increase) my name not only led all the rest, but, believe it or not, it was the only name under that heading in the yellow section. So, if the angle of incidence maintains (I have to get these engineering boys into thinking their Dad is not a back number) I may accumulate enough fees to pay the expenses on that Central American tour above referred to.

And speaking of marriages, this week, at the Trumbull Church, Jacqueline French was united in holy wedlock to Mr. John J. Schwarz, son of the Bridgeport lumber dealer. No wisecracks now about little chips off the old block, etc.

I want an answer from someone, Dan or Dick, regarding the Chevrolet out in back. I think it belongs to Dan although Dick may have made some arrangement with Dan about it. Anyway, it is not doing anyone any good standing out unused month after month. I have asked Harry Burr to give me a figure on how much it will cost to fix it up in running condition, and then, depending on the owner’s wishes, I will try to sell it or keep it against the time you boys return and want a car to run around in (and they are getting very scarce now in the East). Please, one of you write me about it.

Dave and some of the boys that forgather in the Clubhouse in the barn have an idea they can fix the old Waverley Electric car up to run either by battery or with a motorcycle motor and have been busy today working on it. I am adopting a “show me” attitude on whether they can accomplish their purpose or not.

For some years now, we have been needing a feminine touch around these here diggins’ and it looks very much as though Jean is the answer to this long felt need. She spent most of the day improving the appearance of the music room, with a bit of help from me, and the result is something to write away about. So we are profiting by Jean’s homemaking instinct, and this is fair warning now that the rest of you will have a high standard to match in presenting me with any other daughters in law.

The supper call is about to sound, so I’ll bring this peculiar birthday letter to a close with many good wishes to my boy “who wears a pair of silver wings”, with many happy returns of the day from all of us and most earnest hope that next August 19th there will be no empty chairs around the table as we sit down to celebrate the occasion. So, Dick old son, here’s more love than you know from your old

DAD

Life in Alaska – Dan’s Questions – in Spanish ! – Sept, 1940

Blog Timeline - 1941-1943

This letter and the one I posted yesterday were both sent to my father in Venezuela at the same time, the cost of postage being what it was! There are actually very few letters between the brothers, mostly they relied on Grandpa’s “clearing house of news” to keep them informed of everything going on in the family. If Grandpa knew about it, so did everyone else, very quickly!

Wednesday

September 11, 1940

Anchorage

Saludo Ladito.

It is with the utmost confidence that I undertake this letter….because it is apparent that you, too, miss-spell words in the heat and hurry of typing! So when you fnid wordsxxxxx that look funny, you will redliez that maybe I’m not so hot, but neither are lots of other guys!

I still cherish a latent desire to pay a visit to Venezuela again, e’re long. What sort of wellcome would be my lot if I were to drop into camp some afternoon? Would I have the bridal suite at my disposal, with the band and the Alcalde to greet me Would I have my choice of the finest arepas and cochy, and a caja de chimo for my very own? Platanos fritos? Un cafecito? Or would I have to put up with lamb, and peas, and ice cream, clase de los Yanquis? Shall I bring my chinchorro, hecho de coquisa? Or shall I have to be content with a Beauty-rest mattress? Ever since I got as far as Palenque (I think that was the name of the place… several kms. south of San Juan de los Morros) I have had a feeling of frustration that must be alleviated.

Please give my regards to the Williams-es. It is with gratification that I learned of Martin’s arrival back in the Pariaguan country. Ever since he

Martin and Flor Williams - Trumbull

Martin and Flor Williams – Trumbull

broke his leg and they failed to shoot him, I have been under the impression that he was settled permanently in Caracas! The first day I saw him, in October, 1938, I was disillusioned. Instead of hobbling about in bed with a pair of crutches, he breezed into the office (the old office) with the grace and stamina of a gazelle! And when I left for home in July, 1939, he was still in Caracas, figuring out the best place to dig for the water and silt of which, I have been told, you have produced plenty! If you can get past the 19th hole, tho’, it will go down in the annals of golfing history. But now, with Martin back on the old stamping grounds, I suppose it will just be a matter of time until he gets his divining rod to functioning, or breaks another leg! I’m sorry I didn’t meet Mrs. “Flor” Williams. I heard on good authority that she was one of the most stunning women living, but Martin hit her light under a bushel so well that I didn’t have a chance to meet her! I really have no excuse, because they were both still in the states when I got home (I think), but I didn’t drive down to Norwalk to find out. Que virguenza!

Una cosa mas…. Usted me dijo que luego me esorobire una carta complemente en Espanol. Temo que me tome el pelo! Verdad? De Missourri yo soy! X ahora, espero.

Dan Guion

Dan Guion

Dad’s clearing house of news has probably informed you that I am no longer working on a wage basis… I am now employed by the Army under a ”per annum” basis, involving a cut in pay, but the acquiring of several advantages, such as sick leave, vacation with pay, Army Commissary privileges, etc. $2300 per year is my salary… If I work a year without being laid off! I have heard a rumor to the effect that there will be an airbase constructed in Columbia under the Pan American auspices. It would be a great thing if I could tie up with that! Have you heard about it?

No puedo mas! Escribame pronto… en Espanol.

Dan

Tomorrow, I’ll  be posting another Guest Post by gpcox providing lots of information on entertainment for the troops, even here at home. The research is outstanding and I know I learned quite a bit. I think you’ll enjoy it.

On Wednesday, we’ll hear from Grandpa, the first of a two or three part post. It’s a very long letter and I’m not sure where I’m going to split it up.

For FREE copies of New Inceptions Magazine, an e-magazine, with several articles I’ve written 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