Trumbull Hospital, Clinic and Sanatorium – Case History of Miss Marian Irwin – Oct., 1943

This week’s letter includes a large portion of Grandpa’s dry wit as he tells the boys all about Lad’s fiance and asks quite a few questions, as he does quite often.

Trumbull Hospital, Clinic and Sanatorium

A.D. Guion, Chief Butcher

October 17, 1943

To members of medical staff

Everywhere, Just Everywhere


Last week we sent you a new package of our famous Cupid Serum specially developed by Dr. A. P. Guion of California. It is now time for a follow-up treatment. This one is stronger and more potent than the last. In fact, its effect is said to be permanent. It has been aging in the wood (my head) for about a week and is now ready for administering. Hold your chair, brace yourself. The needle, Dr. Watson. “Arrangements have been made, so far as is possible for a soldier, for us to be married at her home near San Francisco, on November 14th. We may have to suddenly changed plans but to date everything looks O.K.” Marian has an apartment in South Pasadena which they will continue to occupy, which, though small, will do, because neither of them will be there during the day. Indeed, its small size will be a convenience in that housekeeping problems will be simplified. Now I suppose you will be interested in the

Case History of Miss Marian Irwin

Marian Rider Irwin and Marian Dunlap Irwin - 1915

Marian Rider Irwin and Marian Dunlap Irwin – 1915

She was born some 27 1/2 years ago on the West Coast, and is a college graduate. She taught school for a few years, after which she did some traveling, but whether she got as

 Marian Dunlap Irwin - Berkley High School - 1933

Marian Dunlap Irwin – Berkley High School – 1933

far as Connecticut the record fails to say. She then accepted the position she now holds as Executive Secretary of the Campfire Girls, and presumably, like Boy Scouts, can start fires without matches, so that Lad will not suffer from lack of hot meals. She has one sister (married, so you bachelors need not let any false hopes arise) and a married brother. Her father, whom the prospective bridegroom has not yet met, is a factory distributor for Westinghouse (did somebody mention an electric toaster for a wedding present?). In spite of the fact that

Marian Dunlap Irwin - SFSU - 1937

Marian Dunlap Irwin – SFSU – 1937

Marian is in an electrically minded family, Lad writes “things have been running like a well-built turbine — direct connected, I assume.

P.S. to Marian: under separate cover last week I mail you a photo of my eldest son, so you can see what you are getting, through the camera’s eye. Object, matrimony. (That gives me an idea — perhaps I’ll start a matrimonial bureau for my other unmarried sons).

Lad: you did pretty well in covering some of the high spots, but to complete the record, here are a few questions that occur to one: Will it be an afternoon or evening wedding? Would you wear your uniform? As long as I cannot officiate as Justice of the Peace in California, I assume it will not be a “justice” wedding but at her home by a clergyman. (Episcopal or some other denomination?) Can you secure a long enough leave to permit any sort of honeymoon, and if so, what and where? Are you driving to Frisco in the Buick or going by train? Do you need any money? (Foolish question). How much? What did you do about an engagement ring? Will Marian be entitled to the $50 wife allowance monthly from the Army, or does this happen only when the soldier is married before he starts working for Uncle Sam? What would you like for a wedding present? (Better let Marion answer about 75 % of this one).  Would you like me to send you any of your belongings? What are your plans, or perhaps we had better say, hopes, after the war is over? And by the way, while we have that small photo of Marian. I don’t know whether she is short or tall, blonde or brunette, plump or slim (I know your answer to this one – “just right”). Whether she has voted for Roosevelt all her life, and still intends to do so the rest of her life, and whether she likes a father-in-law with Hay Fever? Oh I could go on and on, but real generous answers to these few questions as a starter will do for now. You can think of a lot of other things I’d like to know. There is one thing I do know and that is one month and one week from today I am going to feel like a very distant relative. In my wildest dreams I have never envisioned the fact that anyone of my boys would be married without my being there to help shove him off the dock into the sea of matrimony. That just shows to go you, that you can’t count on anything for certain in this old universe — a runaway married daughter, A hand-tied son and now this one by remote control. I know how busy you both will be from now on until the big day, but if you, one or both, can seek a few minutes to write more it will do somewhat in taking the disappointment out of the fact we can’t be on hand to throw a few handfuls of rice.

From our London maternity branch, Dr. Daniel Guion reports the successful delivery of a new infant (or will within nine days) in the shape of an additional year to his young and growing family. I am open for congratulations myself in view of the good job along this line I helped your mother do so many years ago. Incidentally, there must be something psychic in his composition, for before he received my former letter with its epic California news, he starts his last note home with the words: “Neath the shade of an imported redwood tree in the famous (deleted by censor), I met a free French soldier whose home and family are in Paris. We spent an interesting afternoon, paying more attention to a discussion of languages and customs then to the imposing vistas of myriad trees and representative flora of the world’s most distant corners. Later in a tea shop in (Censor again) he described the occupation of Paris by the Germans in 1940, and his own escape, first to unoccupied France, then to North Africa. Any wonder I find England fascinating? I have spent literally hours at (darn that censor) with religious fanatics, socialist speakers, salvation army song fests, humorists to speak for the pure joy of pleasing listeners, malcontents who lampoon everything — a melee of people listening, heckling, talking — like a sort of intellectual Carnival. All this has occurred while on pass of course.

There is nothing to report from our First Aid Outpost Station near the Arctic Circle, nor from our Deaf, Dumb and Blind Clinic in Brazil. Intern Richard seems still unable to communicate with any regularity with any of his family but his wife. Guess I’ll have to study the sign language. It is quite evident he still loves her and keeps telling her so from start to finish of each letter. How do I know? The deduction is simple. She passes on to us any items of interest, but day by day the answer comes back “There ain’t no news”. (Am I going to suffer for this when Jean reads this paragraph! Whew.)

Dan, there is a little gift coming to you, if the P.O. will allow packages to be sent after the 15th deadline. It is not a Christmas gift but a wee birthday token, but whether the government will make the distinction, I know not. It was not send sooner because I have not been able to get delivery of what I ordered due to (so they say) the manpower shortage, so while it may not arrive by the 26th it will serve whenever it does put in appearance as a very inadequate token of love and affection that grows in profusion back here in old Trumbull.


For the rest of the week, , we’ll continue with letters from October and November, 1943, as the big day gets closer and closer. We’ll also find out the answers to Grandpa’s questions and even have a few words from Marian herself.

Judy Guion


Oakland, CA – Welcome From the Irwins – Oct., 1943

Mowry Addison and Marian (Rider) Irwin

Mowry Addison and Marian (Rider) Irwin

Lad had written a letter to Marian’s parents introducing himself and giving them a resume of sorts. Each of them wrote to Lad (they knew him as Al) welcoming him into the family.


Dear Al,

Marian knows that whomever she chooses for a husband would be welcome in her family, but I thought you might like a very special greeting all your own. We are very humorous, but not at all formidable, so don’t be dismayed at the prospect.

Being one of a fairly sizable family yourself you should know something about them.

Naturally, we would have liked knowing you before the wedding but it isn’t essential – it is just a pleasure awaiting us. Like most parents we want our children to lead healthy, normal lives, and feel that marriage has a very definite place in that program. After you try it for 20 or 30 years I hope you’ll be as much in favor of it as I am. There is some chance about practically everything in life; but I feel your chances for happiness without marriage are far greater than with it. I have a feeling this is not actually what she meant !)

This won’t be a very long letter because I have many things urgently requiring attention and our mail collection is about due: but the welcome extended is not in accordance with the size of the letter – it is just a sort of “filler in” until I can extended it in person.

Very sincerely,

Marian Irwin


Thursday night

October 14th, 1943

Dear Al:

Thanks fellow, for your letter. I enjoyed the resume of your life very much. And it gave Mom and I a good opportunity to know you better. Now, if you can dig up a picture, we would appreciate that. However don’t put yourself out because after all, Sis has put her life in your hands, Don and Peg liked you very much when they met you in South Pasadena and that is plenty good enough for us! We naturally think we have a pretty fine family and will welcome you into it and bestow upon you the same love and appreciation.

You must secure the marriage license in the county in which you are to be married. In talking to the County Clerk today, I find that they are closed from Saturday noon until Monday morning. This means, in order that you may be married on Sunday, November 14th, that you both will have to arrive here by noon on Saturday. This makes it appear to me that you will have to be extra nice to your commanding officer that grants leaves and arrange to leave South Pasadena on Friday night and drive through. Otherwise the day of the wedding will have to be changed and we will have to know as quickly as possible, because we have arranged for the chapel for Sunday afternoon at 1:30 PM. It is a very popular place and a months advance notice is advisable. This explains why I am take it up with you and ask that (my pen ran dry and had to stop to refill) you let us know as quickly as possible. The troubles of the groom to be. Things have been running to smoothly for you both, so a couple of things like finding an apartment and arranging for a change, or additional leave, will do you good. Good luck in both tries. We will continue to make our plans for the 14th until we hear to the contrary from you.

I’m looking forward to seeing you, meeting you and extending a hearty hand clasp of welcome into the family.

Sincere regards,

Your Dad (to be)

Tomorrow, I’ll be posting another Tribute to Arla and on Sunday, another installment of Mary E. Wilson’s Autobiography.

On Monday, we’ll have a wrap-up of events in 1939 before moving to the first letter from Grandpa, written in 1940.

Lad’s Army Life – Surprise, Dad – Oct., 1943

Blog Timeline - 1941-1943

Lad has arrived back at Camp Santa Anita , California after  traveling home to Trumbull on furlough. He has done some serious thinking and has made a decision which he shares with Grandpa.

Dear Dad:

Since I arrived things have progressed rapidly – I have had a complete reversal of more or less personal ideas, and Marian has consented to be my wife. I never thought I was capable of such strong emotions, but they are certainly present. When I have had a chance to calm down and think more clearly, I’ll write again and give you more in detail.

Lots of love,


P.S. I personally think that she can top Jean without a great deal of trouble –

I will not make you wait. I’ll take Lad’s next letter out of order to add to this post.

Lad Guion and Marian Irwin - 1943

Lad Guion and Marian Irwin – 1943

Camp Santa Anita

Oct. 6, 1943

Dear Dad:-

Sometime having elapsed since I last wrote you, I think I can say that, although I’m still way up in the clouds, I at least can think logically.

During my time on furlough I realized that I missed Marian quite a good deal, as I think I told you, but the feeling got stronger and stronger as I came closer to LA, and not a thing could have pleased me more than having Marian, as she did, meet me. I realized then that I really loved her, and I also, as I think I told you, realized that she not only liked me very well, but very definitely loved me. We spent quite a good deal of time discussing all angles of marriage, realizing that this was a rather poor time to undertake anything so serious, and permanent, and although she wanted me to ask her, she didn’t press her point at all. We had both agreed, many months before, in an argument with another couple, that it was pretty foolish to marry during the present war, but here I am sticking my neck out, or rather jeopardizing her life (possibly) by asking her to marry me. Arrangements have been made, as far as is possible for a soldier, to be married at her home near San Francisco on November 14th . We may have to suddenly changed plans, but to date, everything looks O.K. We have gone very seriously into the financial end, and even being slightly extravagant, we will still have a sufficient income to save about 20%. As to my car, she has a lot older car and it’s reaching the point where it needs constant small repairs, so we shall sell her car, and use some of that to pay the $500 still owing the bank. At the moment we shall have no particular need for two cars, and she should have a more reliable one anyhow. She has an apartment which we shall continue to use, and although it is small, neither of us will be there during the day, and its size will facilitate cleaning during the few hours we are at home.

There are two things I regret, however, about the proceedings. (1) You have never met Marian, and don’t know her, so you’ll have to rely on my judgment to bring you a good daughter-in-law, and (2) her parents have never met me so therefore they will have to rely on her to pick out a worthwhile husband and son-in-law. I think I’m getting the better bargain, and she thinks she is, so we’re completely happy. Oh! Dad – she really is wonderful. I wish you could know her now, instead of having to wait. She has one sister and one brother, both married, and her father is a factory distributor of Westinghouse, with a very large warehouse, and serving, I think, the state of California. I wrote to him tonight telling him a little of myself, so he won’t be too much in the dark, but it was quite a hard letter to write, and I don’t think I did as good a job as I could have, had I known him, or at least met him previously. I have asked her to write to you, but here is a little about her. She is 27, and was born here on the West Coast. She has completed her education through college, and for four or five years she taught school near San Francisco and then Bakersfield. Last year she quit teaching and spent some time (a month or so) on the East Coast, as she had done previously, and then accepted the position she holds at present as an Executive Secretary in the Camp Fire Girls. She has charge of the South Pasadena-San Gabriel group. She enjoys it and when the subject of marriage was broached to the Board, they said that it was a good idea, provided she did not intend to leave them. So that fitted right in with our plans, and so far, everything is been going so smoothly I’m beginning to expect some serious reversal. Things have run like a well-built turbine. I’m getting leery.

It’s getting late, Dad, so with the report that I’m extremely happy, I wish you and the rest lots of love, and remain


Tomorrow we have another Tribute to Arla, on Sunday, the next installment of Mary E. Wilson’s Autobiography and on Monday, we’ll go back on time to 1939 when Lad is the only son away from home and working in Venezuela, while his pay is being sent to Grandpa in Trumbull to help support his siblings.

Judy Guion