Trumbull – Dan’s Furlough and Dick’s Physical – June, 1942

 

Trumbull, Conn., June 28, 1942

Dear Boys:

Dan-uniform (2)

The big News this week is the telegram I got from Dan Thursday telling me his 10-day furlough had just been granted and to wire him 20 smackers so that he could pay his fare home. He arrived Friday about supper time but alas, having eaten something that did not digest so well along with hot weather, lack of sleep etc., he felt rather low upon arrival, but after heaving up what remained of the causus “belli” and getting some sleep, he attained his pristine condition and has since been luxuriating in doing just what he darned pleases to do whenever and wherever the fancy strikes him. No high-pressure parties or exciting doings such as you see described in LIFE as the typical doughboy on leave doin’s, but all that is necessary is for it to satisfy him. He has to be back by reveille July 4th and there is just a bare possibility I may be able to arrange things so that I can go back with him, stopping at Aberdeen enroute to check up on my other soldier. Of course what I should like to do would be to make this trip via Anchorage and drop in on my pilot son and find out why he doesn’t write a bit more frequently, but until they get that road finished I guess I’ll have to forgo that pleasure. Dan says he has come to place little credence on the many rumors that continually float around as to where his unit might be sent, but one which he hopes will materialize is a report they might be sent to Alaska to do some mapping work.

Dick took his physical at Shelton Tuesday and apparently the doctor found no reason why he should not be acceptable to his Uncle Sammy, so I suppose hefore long I shall be driving my third boy up to the Derby railroad station. Apparently I’m supposed to keep this up indefinitely.

As for your requests, Lad old bean, don’t you know one way to make me happy is to give me something to do for any of you boys. I only regret in true Nathan Hale style that I can do so little. Perhaps I will bring down with me what you want in the way of boxes, watch and coat hangers. If I don’t go I’ll mail them to you. On the battery, I called up Remington Rand and they told me they did not handle these anymore but did give me the name of a concern in the west to whom I immediately wrote for information, prices, but have not yet had a reply. I was a bit puzzled on the razor matter. You asked if we had one we could spare. I could not dope out whether you meant a dry shaver or a safety razor. If the former and you did not have a battery I could not see how that would help it, if the latter, you said the Army had furnished you with a Gillette, so I’m kinder up a tree on that one.

Aunt Betty

 

Aunt Betty says: “Give my love to the boys and tell them I think of them often even though I don’t say anything.”

For your information, Ced, Lad is out of the hospital. His stay was brief and on return to duty he was transferred to Co. D, 8th Bn. for his second period of training. It lasts 8 weeks and he will not be able to get leave until sometime after the middle of July. He is now being trained for a non-com rating and instructorship which means a pretty heavy schedule from _ A.M. to 8 P.M.

And Lad, I have been intending in every letter to tell you that the Gladstone bag with your clothes in it arrived safely. I had the soiled things washed and put away and your woolen outerwear hung in my moth proofed closet.

DAD

*************************************

This penny postcard from Lad to his father, Grandpa, was written on June 30, 1942 and post marked July 1, 1942. It was sent to Grandpa’s business address in Bridgeport, probably because mail sent there would be delivered sooner.Notice there is no zip code. Penny postcards really did exist.

APG - Postal from Lad at Aberdeen - June, 1942

APG - Postal from Lad at Aberdeen - message - June, 1942

Tues. Aft. 6/30/42

Dear Sir:-

I am trying to put 4 years of teacher training into my head in 6 days__!  Wow!!! I shouldn’t even be taking this time, but I have 10 minutes between classes for a smoke and instead of writing my lessons, I’m trying to tell you that this is the longest “letter” you will get this week. I spent Sunday in a little preparatory reading and didn’t write at all. I got your letter this noon and sincerely hope you can find time to make a stop in Aberdeen. However, I would not be able to see you if you come before Friday, I’m afraid. Also, there is a rumor that there may be a parade in Balto (Baltimore?). Saturday, and if so, I may have to go. If so, why not wait here for me to return? Anyhow – here’s hoping. I don’t remember if I mentioned the receipt of the $5.00. Anyhow I got it. Thanks. See you soon, and there goes the whistle – Lad

Tomorrow and Sunday, more Special Pictures.

On Monday, I’ll begin posting a week of letters from 1943. It is December and the is coming to a close.

Judy Guion

 

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Special Picture # 263 – Marion Irwin’s First Teaching Job – @ 1940

 

 

 

Can you find Marian Irwin? She is 4th from the right in the back row. I believe this was taken in 1940 because she graduated from San Francisco State with her teaching certificate in June of 1939.

Autobiography of Mary E Wilson (7) – 1926 – 1927

Mary E. Wilson

Mary has settled in to life in America and truly enjoys school. That is the one high point in her life.

NOVEMBER, 1926

I had to go back to school as I was only 15 and my brothers and I were ridiculed because of our accent and dress. My poor brothers got into a lot of fights.

Because my father had spent the “landing money”, my mother could not buy us new clothes for a while. She worked in the Stratfield Hotel in the cafeteria and my Uncle Arthur got my father a job as a painter, which he hated.

I loved my school and adored Miss Blood, my teacher, because she was so helpful and kind to me. I was not used to boys and girls being in the same class because in the past I had always attended schools for only girls, so I was very shy and insecure. I did make a nice friend, however, named Polly Griffin, who lived next door to us and she was the one who really helped me adjust to a new country. She was going into nurse’s training in Bridgeport Hospital and she begged me to go into training with her. I still had my old ambition to be a nurse and at that time you were paid a small amount of money plus books and uniforms but my Mother would not allow it.

MARCH, 1927

On my 16th birthday, my Mother took me out of school and brought me to the General Electric Company. They gave me a job on one condition …. I pin up my hair. My Mother also got a job at General Electric and we worked from 7 AM to 5 PM for 5 1/2 days at $.25 an hour.

So ended my childhood, of which I had virtually none at all, as it was taken from me at an early date. Responsibility had been forced upon me at a very young age. I had never learned how to play and I felt cheated and angry because I so wanted to be a nurse.

I had joined the Christian Advent Church with Polly and our Sunday school teacher was named Lena Hilt. She was so nice and friendly to me.

There was so much quarreling in our home between my Mother and Father that we were not a happy family. Mother was a very dominating woman and my father, a weak man.

I started going to night school to lose my English accent and get used to American money. I learned how to type and was fascinated with American history. I think I attended evening school all my unmarried years and I really loved it. I took a practical nursing course which was conducted by Dr. Sprague. I loved it and was so proud the day I graduated.

Tomorrow, the next segment in the life of Mary E Wilson, an English girl who came to America as a child but grew up to achieve “the American Dream”.

Next week I’ll begin a week of letters from 1941. Lad has come home from Venezuela and is working at Producto in Bridgeport, Dan is dealing with the Draft Board in Alaska and Bridgeport, Ced and Dick are both still in Alaska but are concerned about their own draft status. Dave keeps Grandpa company in the Old Homestead in Trumbull.

Judy Guion

Autobiography of Mary E Wilson (2) Early Memories – 1917 – 1918

This is the second installment of Mary E. Wilson’s Autobiography. She is still quite young and not sure exactly what is going on in her family and is quite confused.

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1917-1918

RETURN TO BISHOP AUCKLAND

My first heartbreak was when my adored Grand-da was killed driving an ammunition train. This happened in 1917 and I do remember the elegant funeral that was given for my Grand-da. After the funeral, we returned to 29 Blue Row in Bishop Auckland, England. My mother was able to get a job at Doggart’s which was a department store in the village.

We were enrolled in church schools. Mine was St. Anne’s, a school for girls. My brothers were in Barrington School for Boys. The education was very good but the teachers were very strict. We spent long hours in school, because, due to the war, our mothers were all working. The teachers were very quick to ”cane” us for any minor problem, which meant being hit very hard on the hand with a ruler.

I suppose life was difficult but everyone lived the same way; so if food was scarce and life hard, we really did not dwell on it, as every family who had their men fighting in the war, were in the same predicament.

The men were still away and the casualties were enormous. My father spent most of his four years in the Far East so he had no leaves at all.

The flu epidemic broke out and between 1917 and 1918 it was awful. Every day, it seemed, there was a funeral taking place and my mother worked very hard with Dr. Wardell, the village doctor. He made his rounds on a three-wheeled bicycle with a sidecar. There seemed to be illness in every home. My brothers and I constantly wore camphor cubes around our necks because it was supposed to ward off the flu germs.

The death toll was awful and because so many people died, they were buried in mass graves in St. Anne’s Church Cemetery. When the flu epidemic finally ended, my mother was given recognition because of her endless work with old Dr. Wardell. It was a miracle that our family escaped the deadly flu germs.

In 1918 my father came home and that was the beginning of a very unhappy time in my life.

The return of the man should have been a joyous event but the men had been changed by the horrible war and the local pub was filled every night, as they like to congregate with each other. They seemed to resent restrictions of family ties and were cruel and insensitive to their wives and children.

I was the oldest and now I was seven years old. My mother depended on me to help. My father started to drink very heavily but he did get a job with a local brewery. I remember he drove a huge brewery wagon pulled by four, large, Clydesdale horses. He had been a horse soldier in the Army so he was familiar with them.

My father did not like my two brothers and me as we got on his nerves. I learned later that he had been shell-shocked and gassed while he was fighting in France trying to get a gas mask on his horse. The Army orders were that you put the mask on the horse first and then you put on your own. At that time, mustard gas was used and it was lethal.

The population started to increase. It was so good to see “new babies” on Blue Row. Poor Dr. Wardell was again very busy delivering babies.

My mother never had any more children because after her delivery of my youngest brother, Arthur, the doctor told her she would not be able to conceive, as she was so badly torn during delivery. Frankly, I think my mother was relieved she could not have any more children. My father had developed into a very bad tempered man with a violent disposition.

A good percentage the man in Bishop Auckland worked in the coal mines and they would all congregate around the water pump on Blue Row to clean up. They seemed to be more relaxed with each other than with their own families.

My father was still with the brewery and we tried to keep out of his way when he was home. My mother still did the laundry for “Durham School for Young Ladies”.

Tomorrow, I’ll begin posting letters from 1941. Lad is in Trumbull, working a Producto, in Bridgeport, where 100 % of their production was war-related. He is concerned about his Draft Status. Dan, Ced and Dick are all in Fairbanks, Alaska, worrying about their Draft Status also. Grandpa and Dave are keeping the home fires burning.

Judy Guion

Army Life – Lad’s First Mention of Marian – April, 1943

This letter is written from the Hospitality Center of South Pasadena. Marian Irwin was the Executive Director of the South Pasadena Camp Fire Girls and did her duty to entertain the troops at the Hospitality Center. She actually met three of Lad’s friends who arrived at Camp Santa Anita while Lad was taking a two week Diesel Engine course from the Wolverine Motor Works near Chicago. She told me that they kept telling her, “Wait until you meet Al”. Little did they know how well that would turn out.

The date appears to be April 8, 1942, but in actuality, Lad wasn’t drafted until June, 1942. By April of 1944, they were married and Marian was moving from base to base with him.

apg-first-mention-of-marian-hospitality-center-april-8-1943

Blog - Marian Irwin - 1942April 8, 1943

Dad: –

Again too many days have gone by, but they have all been full. Even Apr. 3rd. I got a letter from you on the eventful day – thanks. It went by as usual, but the bunch of us were invited to a party in my honor at the home of one of the girls I have met here. In fact, she is so much like Babe that I have difficulty now and then in calling her Marian. She is not quite as pretty as Babe but resembles her in almost every other way. Even to occupations. Well, anyhow, the party went off fine and about 2 A.M. on Sunday we decided to go to a swing-shift dance at the Casa Manana and had a good time. Got in Camp at 6 Sun. Morn. (this is the first mention of Marian, my Mom, in Lad’s letters home.)

Due to a change in the system of paying last Wednesday, we could not get out of camp in time to see “The Drunkard”, so it is still something to look forward to.

I heard from Mrs. Lea, and everything is O.K. – sorry I didn’t or couldn’t do anything earlier, but I should have written. But that’s me.

You asked in one of your letters that I tell you something about what I’m doing. Well, Art Lind and I are working together in the same class and we have decided that the system used by the Army for teaching Diesel Engines can be greatly improved. Well, without authority, because of stubbornness on the part of one officer to listen to our story, we went ahead and ran the class for one week. It was a decided success and proved our point to a “T”, but still, since it has been general knowledge that Art and I were responsible, this same officer is not able to get credit now as having originated the idea, and has still not issued the necessary orders. It is people like he who are responsible for a great deal of the discontent prevalent in the Army. Other than that, the course is continuing as it should, and running very smoothly.

It seems that our new Battalion C.O. is from a Basic Co. and thinks that we are trainees. If this sort of treatment keeps on, there is going to be trouble in Hdq. Bn. And I won’t be lax in cooperating.

In a letter, you mentioned that Dan may be scheduled for overseas, it is beginning to look like all of we A-1’s will be replaced by “limited service” men, and then – – –? Who knows?

I’m fine, Dad, and I hope you and the rest are the same. Remember me to all.

Lad

Tomorrow, we learn more about Ced’s Coming of Age Adventure as he moves west from Chicago and the World’s Fair.

On Monday, I’ll begin a week of letters written in 1945. Dan’s wedding is getting closer and closer but it does not happen in next weeks letters. It will have taken place the next time we visit 1945.

Judy Guion

Life in St. Petersburg (18) – The Last Letter – May, 1935

Elizabeth (Biss) Westlin Guion

Elizabeth (Biss) Westlin Guion

Friday night

12 PM E.S.T.

5/24/1935

Dear Dad,

This may be a long letter or it may be a short one – as yet I know not. We will be sending the package up sometime at the end of next week. This is the third letter I have written to you this week so a two letter week will seem small after this.

I have a proposition to make with you. I was wondering if you would let Aunt Anne stay with us for two or three weeks until I once more get settled, for if I have her with me for my first one or two weeks at home I think it will be easier for me. It could be on the same basis as it was while you were down here at Christmas time. You could give her the apartment if Astrid has moved out by the time we get home.

I got a Good Housekeeping for June yesterday and it says to give 3 to 5 weeks notice for change of address – but to get back to my proposition – I figured it would be nice for the kid brothers to have Don and Gwen for company for a while for they are here so seldom and I also thought it would be nice for you to have a grown person to keep you company for a while. She has no place to go when she does get up there and that is one reason why we are staying on here. Of course the other reason is money. Aunt Anne is thinking of getting a job. It is now Monday and Gwen and Aunt Anne have gone down for a lesson in knitting.

We took Carl and Dot out for a picnic lunch yesterday. We had loads of fun playing baseball and catch. I am going to miss them frightfully when I leave and how I wish I could bring them home with me for keeps. The only thing I can bring home is a picture of them but I am hoping that they will come up and visit me – but I doubt it for they haven’t much money. I ate dinner there yesterday and had lemon pie! How it makes my mouth water to think about it. Carl is going to graduate this year and he’s going to have a picture of himself taken in his graduating cap and gown – what a laugh I’m going to give him. Dot is only a sophomore but she looks more like a Junior. Exams commence next week. How I dread that! We have two weeks counting this one – left of school. I hope I pass – and thinking of learning how to knit. Have you seen Peggy since she has been home? How is she – I mean how sick? I have finally written to Grandma. I am hoping to get a letter from you this morning. Have you gotten any pictures of Mack? This seems to be limited to asking questions and so I had better quit and give you a chance to draw your breath and answer the questions.

Love,

Biss

This is the last letter I have found from Biss. If Grandpa agreed to the suggestion that Aunt Anne and her children stay in Trumbull for a few weeks, it would make sense that they would leave as soon as possible. There are only two more days of school this week and then exams next week. School would be finished and it would make sense for Aunt Anne to leave by May 31st to avoid paying rent in June.

On Monday I’ll start posting letters written in 1945. Dan and Paulette’s wedding is getting closer the war continues to effect everyone else in the family.

Judy Guion

Life in St. Petersburg (17)- Letters to Dave and Pops – May, 1935

Biss (Elizabeth), Grandpa’s only daughter, has been living in St Petersburg with her Aunt Anne taking care of Anne’s children, Don and Gwen, for the past school year. She was having trouble at home, struggling to adjust to the death of her Mother and her Father and three Aunt’s felt a change of scenery might help her to adjust. The school year is practically over and she will be heading home soon, she just isn’t sure when.

Wednesday afternoon

3:59 PM E.S.T.

5/22/1935

Dear Dave,

I enjoyed your letter very much. I hope that scene you put on the back of the letter won’t come true but it will let you go to bed when I tell you to. That word, scene, up

Dave

Dave

above means picture. I hope you will be able to read this letter, I have no hard words to write, I don’t think, so you should be able to understand all of it. What is Ardith’s sister’s name? I suppose you play with Tubby quite a lot, don’t you? I was naming your past girlfriends as well as your present one. I bet a lot of other boys like Evelyn besides you, don’t they?

You should always make it a capital I when you are referring to yourself, like “I went to the store when I was home.” instead of “i went to the store when I was home.” Do you see what I mean? I am very glad that Miss D’Alier is all well now. How long was she out of school? You better get your marks up in school or I will…. I don’t know what I will do. I am glad that Miss Grabber is a good teacher. What is the matter? Don’t you like her when she isn’t teaching? I knew you would like Miss Shiffron more. I think she is very nice and I have had a lot of nice times with her. Will you send her my best regards?

It seems to me that you have a pretty long tongue! I was just studying the picture on the back. It is supposed to be a picture of you and myself? Is it in the past or in the future? I hope I will hear from you again very soon for I enjoy your letters very much. Tell Dick to write to me please – I’ll send the story some other time.

Love,

Biss

Wednesday afternoon

4:13 PM E.S.T.

5/22/1935

Dear Pops !

I get a great kick out of your letter today but wish to tell you that it isn’t the first time that I have written twice in one week nor is it going to be the last time. Why is it that the lilacs out by the kitchen are always the first ones to come out? We are studying very hard for exams and it is hard to find time to write however, I skipped today consequently have found some time to write. I have been trying to straighten my clothes out.

There was a dress I saw which I wanted to get for a dollar 59 but I have decided to save my money instead. I have been fighting with myself all morning trying to decide and I still haven’t come to any conclusion! Avid feeling that my brothers are going to cooperate with me quite a bit more than they did and I feel sure that we can make a go of it. I feel sure that I will be able to make the great – because, ”I’m a Guion.”  It will certainly take a lot to trim me down to any kind of size, I’m afraid.

Richard (Dick) Peabody Guion

Dick

I am glad Dick and Dave are well but I do think that Dick could have written me while he was in bed. I enjoyed Dave’s letter immensely and have

already answered it  – I hope you will give me just an immediate answer is I have given him. I am glad Mr. D’Alier liked me for I simply adore the whole D’Alier family and expect to go down and see them the very first night I am home – unless I get home at night, then I will wait until the next day. My writing is very uneven this evening, have you noticed? Maybe it is my change of thoughts.

If you see Carl tell him to write to me although I haven’t written to him – maybe I will before you see him again – it all depends on how much time I have. I loved that “Town of Trumbull” writing paper which you used last time. I thought it quite aristocratic. I hope you expect to see “Les Miserables”. I saw “Mississippi” and thought it was very uninteresting. How did the boys like it? I imagine Grandma liked that quite a lot.

I have a picture of the gang but thanks for a glimpse of them in the enlarged – I only have the small. As for my photographs – I have decided as the senior one and as yet have not received them from the studio. I will bring one or two of them home with me for I promised Ced one. Tell Dan you will never know how I appreciate that dollar and those stamps. I am going to break my rule and by a popsicle this afternoon with a nickel of that dollar for I am boiling over.

I went to Tarpon Springs but I’d don’t like Bill – I like Carl and Dot Roughgarden – you will probably hear plenty about them in the future. The reason why I wanted to write to Good Housekeeping and Parents is I haven’t the address and I don’t know how to word the letter – will you do it? If you don’t mind I would like to use the stamps for personal letters. I’ll hold onto them until I receive your answer.

Send Mack down here. I won’t mind one speck! Tell him I miss him and hope he misses me too. He wags his tail – it means he does. Well I have to close now because I have no more room.

Love,

Biss

Tomorrow, I’ll be posting Biss’s last letter from St. Petersburg. After that, we jump to 1939 with politics in Trumbull and Lad, the oldest, living and working in Venezuela, sending his pay home to Trumbull to help support his younger siblings.

Judy Guion