Trumbull – Dear Dan – Thanksgiving And Churchill’s Inspiring Oratory – November 29, 1942

The Old Homestead

The Old Homestead

Trumbull, Conn., November 29, 1942

Dear Dan:

That’s done it! The “pathetically yours” on your last letter, I mean. It would be an adamantine heart indeed that could disregard so mute an appeal to one’s innate sympathies. However, if the Thanksgiving dinner provided by Uncle Sam to you was within shooting range of the one Lad captured at Aberdeen, no sympathy need be wasted as far, at least, as the dinner is concerned. Of course the home surroundings, the spiritual accompaniment of friends and family which we like to believe has something to do with the occasion, was of course missing, and we here missed that as much if not more than you did.ADG - China - the good set

        The “company” china

          The only extra we had here were Jean (Mortensen, Dick’s girlfriend, and future wife, who lives in Stratford)  and Aunt Elsie (Elsie May Guion, Grandpa’s sister). Tomato Juice cocktail, olives, cranberry jelly, turkey, beans, sweet potatoes, Mince pie, cheese, nuts and raisins, fruit and cider with spice cakes, all served in the dining room on “company” china seems to successfully satisfy the inner man.

Today Lad was home again for his last visit prior to leaving in a day or two for points west. After dinner today we all sat around Aunt Betty’s little radio in the kitchen and listened to Churchill’s inspired oratory. (The End of the Beginning November 1942) November has been certainly a big plus as far as good news from various war fronts is concerned. If favorable reports continue through December, we will reach the threshold of the new year with higher hopes than we have enjoyed for many New Years past.

Elsie heard somewhere that Austin Batchelder had finally passed on to the great adventure. Events like this give one to pause and be thankful, that with as many young folks as we have in our own immediate family, all are alive and in good health. “And when the one great scorer comes to write against your name, He’ll write not that you lost or won but how you played the game”. And remember what the old Westerner said: “Life ain’t the holdin’ of a good hand but the playin’ of a poor hand well.” So much for today’s moralizing.

Dick has been running into a spot of trouble with his car lately. I say his car but it is really Dan’s which he has registered in Dan’s name and has been driving around since his own car kicked back on him. Yesterday seemed to be a clogged gas line and all this morning in the rain he has been trying to coax it to leave its anchorage (Word reminds me of Ced), somewhere in Stratford and return peaceably home.

I am getting considerably concerned about gifts for you boys’ Christmas. I have no idea where Lad will be on that day. And have not heard from Ced as to what he may need and yet we are told that packages must be mailed by Tuesday next to reach distant points in time. To complicate the situation, not only are products scarce (outside of clothing), but those still on sale are in many cases subject to priorities and for such reason not available. Lastly their high cost and accompanying low resources are adding a few more monkey wrenches in the midst of the complicated mechanism.

To sum it all up we are beginning to have it forced home on us that there is a war going on and we can’t expect to have things as usual. The only thing that doesn’t change is the hopes and good wishes for the future of his sons that is the main spring in the existence of their                                  DAD

Tomorrow, another letter from Grandpa to his sons, now in Red Lion, Pennsylvania (Dan), Flint, Michigan (Lad) and Anchorage, Alaska (Ced). 

Judy Guion


Trumbull – Dear Dave – Business Interests and Thanksgiving Day – November 22, 1945

Trumbull, Conn., Nov. 22, 1945

          Thanksgiving Day in the morning.

This is sort of a special

in the way of a letter,

quite uninteresting to the


Dear Dave:

On the 21st I received yours of the 13th relating to your talk with Lt. Greenberger about procurement machines no longer needed by the Army. He tells you the Army hasn’t settled its policy as to who is going to get priority on the goods or just how their plans will work. As things stand now, as long as a man is in the Army he can make no tangible deals. He must wait until he becomes a civilian and then he may apply as a veteran.

It is interesting to compare this Army dope with letter just received from the Reconstruction Finance Corporation, New England headquarters, situated in Boston. I wrote asking how you could secure office machines with which to engage in business after discharge. Here is the reply:


Reference is made to your recent letter to this agency concerning surplus property. As office machines and equipment are classified as Consumer Goods, your inquiry has been referred to Consumer Goods, Surplus Property Division, Reconstruction Finance Corporation, at 600 Washington St., Boston. The Surplus Property Board has established a procedure whereby a veteran may make application for certain preferences in the purchase of surplus property at a local or regional office of the Smaller War Plants Corporation. The address of the regional office of the Smaller War Plants Corporation is given below:

Smaller War Plants Corporation

55 Tremont St.

 Boston, Mass.

A veteran may, of course, purchase Surplus Property independently of any preference rights on an equal basis with other purchasers.

John J. Haggerty, Manager.

          Unless you see some objection, why not write Tremont St., and ask for list so you can make formal application, and thus establish a sort of priority for any possible value it may have later. I can’t see where it would do any harm even if it didn’t do any good.

In addition to the office equipment, it might be interesting to look into the matter of materials for the island, such as outboard motor, rowboat, motorboat, motor-generator lighting outfits, refrigerators, both electric and kerosene operated, building materials, etc. I will, of course, follow-through from this end.

The barn club room is going from bad to worse. Some of the young kids around here have broken the panel in the door so they can reach up and operate the Yale lock from inside and go in and make the place their own, having little if any respect for the rights of club members or the slightest feeling of obligation or responsibility toward the owner, who allows use of his property for their use. The other morning I found lights had been burning all night and a fire in the stove was still burning in spite of the fact that the smokestack has rotted and broken off, making a fire hazard. Something will have to be done.




10 A..M.     Jean was the first one up this morning and the turkey is already in the oven, the aroma from its roasting wafting in here to the alcove where I am dashing off this report to you.  It is raining hard and steadily outside – – has been doing so all night, as a matter of fact, and the radio says it will continue until about noon.  Aunt Anne ((Peabody) Stanley, Grandma Arla’s younger sister) phoned last night that she was just recovering from a bad cold and if the weather permitted, she would be up this morning.  If it was rainy she would not.  That’s the way it stands at present.  Elsie Aunt Elsie Duryee, Grandpa’s sister) arrived last night loaded down with three Thanksgiving pies.  Sometime in the wee small hours of the morning Lad and Marian arrived with Bob (Marks), having all driven up from Maryland.  Marian just came down a few minutes ago with the good news that Lad has been granted a three-day pass and that the Tuesday following his return he will go to a separation camp to be processed for discharge, which should be completed sometime about the first of the month, and will take place either at Mead or Indiantown Gap (page Dan) (Dan was stationed at Indiantown Gap, Pennsylvania, during his first months in the Army.).  Last word from Ced was that he intended to leave Pittsburgh from Alliance, Ohio, to pick up his plane but alas he reports by letter that they have failed to get the radio and messed up the extra wing tank, and while he ended his note with the words ” See you Tues. or Wed.” he has not yet put in an appearance.  If he held over with the idea of flying back here this morning, it looks as if the weather might make this an unwise proceeding.  Reminds me of election day, wondering which candidate will make the grade and be elected in time for Thanksgiving Dinner, if you don’t mind mixed thoughts.  (Signing off at 10:30 — will report further news as received over this network).

8:30 P.M.     I expected to go on with this report long before this.  A lot has happened since the above was written. (Aunt) Anne phoned that because she had been in bed for several weeks with the bad cold, almost threatened with pneumonia and had two relapses when she had started too early to return to her regular occupations, and in view of the bad weather, she thought she had better not try to come up for dinner.  So that made two more definitely accounted for.  By two o’clock no Ced yet and no word from him, and not knowing when he would show up, we decided to go ahead with dinner.  We sat down at 2 and just when we had finished with dessert and were taking the dishes off, in walked Ced.  The plane was not yet ready and he intends to go back for it starting Sunday night when Lad also starts back.  While Ced was eating his dinner in walked Red Sirene and his bride to be.  They expect to be married Christmas day.  Incidentally, being reminded of it by the mention of pneumonia, Mr. Powell of the church up here reported yesterday that his wife, who for a few days before was not expected to live, was now out of danger and on the way to recovery.  She had had a cerebral hemorrhage followed by pneumonia.  While Red was still here, Elizabeth (Guion) Zabel, Grandpa’s only daughter), Zeke (her husband) and the two children (Raymond Jr. (known as Butch, and his younger brother, Marty) came in.  Later Ced showed some new colored slides he had recently taken of Alaska.  I had to leave in the midst of the showing to go to Bridgeport to marry a couple.  Soon after I returned, Chet and Jean (Hayden) (nee Hughes) walked in and in fact are here now.  Bob has left to go back to Maryland (Aberdeen Proving Ground, Aberdeen, Maryland, where he and Lad are presently stationed) and Elsie also left a few minutes ago.  Maybe it will make you feel a little less frustrated, Dan, but we were unable to get any Burrough’s cider this year, the first time in a long series of thanksgivings when this has occurred.  Reason, shortage of apples this season.  We had had a very dim hope that Dick might have been able, by some miracle, to get his discharge overnight and fly back in time for dinner but of course that was too much to expect.  We thought of you all, of course, and will also miss you even more on Christmas and New Year’s.  With the holidays over we can then look forward to the next ones with all of you back home.                               DAD

Tomorrow I will begin a weekend series about a trip taken by Ced, Cedric Duryee Guion, when he was only seventeen years old.

He decided that he wanted to learn more about his Peabody relatives and see the place where his Mother, Arla Mary Peabody, had spent her childhood. He hitchhiked from Trumbull, Connecticut to North Dakota and Wisconsin and back, taking most of the summer in 1934.

Judy Guion

Special Picture # 362 – Thanksgiving at the Trumbull House – 1963

Obviously these pictures were over-exposed but I wanted to share them anyway. I believe they were taken at a Thanksgiving Dinner at the Trumbull House, probably in 1963. It appears that the Daniel and Paulette Guion family as well as the Elizabeth and Raymond Zabel family joined my family and Grandpa at the Big House for dinner. My Mom did the cooking.

APG - Thanksgiving - 1963 - Adults

Clockwise from the lower left: Marian (Irwin) Guion, Alfred Peabody Guion, Raymond (Zeke) Zabel, Elizabeth (Guion) Zabel and Alfred Duryee Guion, (Grandpa). Missing from this picture is Daniel Beck Guion (probably the photographer) and his wife, Paulette (Van Leare) Guion. This table was set in the dining area of the large kitchen.

APG - Thanksgiving - 1963 - Teens

Clockwise from lower left: My twin brother Doug, my younger brother Greg, me, cousin Marty Zabel, cousin Raymond Zabel Jr. (Butch), Dan’s oldest son, Cedric. Missing from this picture is Dan’s oldest daughter Arla. This table was set up in the enclosed screen porch next to the old dining room.

APG - Thanksgiving - 1963 - (kIDS)

Left to right: Dan’s middle son Bruce, Dan’s youngest daughter Wendy, cousin Arla Zabel, Dan’s middle daughter Michele, my sister Marian Lynn.  This table was set up in Grandpa’s living room.

Tomorrow I will begin a week of letters written at the beginning of 1940. Lad is working in Venezuela for the Socony-Vacuum Oil Company as a mechanical troubleshooter for their vehicles and deisel-powered Oil Pumps. Dan, Ced, Dick and Dave are all living at the Trumbull House with Grandpa and Elizabeth (Biss) is busy with her house and the care of her new son, Raymond Zabel Jr.

Judy Guion

Special Picture # 360 – The First Thanksgiving and Ancestors – 1621

Years ago I had seen this print at the Plymouth Plantation Museum but they were sold out and I could not get one.  I was recently reminded of it and went online to search for it. I found it and ordered it from the Plymouth Plantation Museum and had it framed to show my daughters and grandchildren on Thanksgiving.

The First Thanksgiving - 1621

The First Thanksgiving - 1621 (cropped 2)

                                                   1            2                                                              3

1 – Directly above the number, at the head of the table, is Governor William Bradford, an ancestor of mine (and my daughters and their children) from my mother’s side of the family.

2 – Above the number, behind the woman in white and the children, with his back to us and in a brown jacket, offering a platter of food, is George Soule, an ancestor of my daughters (and my grandchildren), from their father’s side of the family.

3 – Above the number, with his back to us wearing a grey jacket and pants, talking to some Indians, is Richard Warren, an ancestor of my daughters (and my grandchildren), from their father’s side of the family.

The First Thanksgiving - About the Painting

Needless to say, it was a big hit. One thing I am grateful for is the faith, bravery, fortitude, stamina and perseverance of these men, because without them, my family and I would not exist.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Dear Santa Claus (4) – A Letter From Dan About an Adventure – December 3, 1939

This letter from Dan to his older brother is typed on the back of Grandpa’s 3-page letter.

DBG - Dan (cropped) fron Ced, Dan and car - 1941

Daniel Beck Guion

ye El pueblito de Trumbull

Dec. 3

Que tal. chico,

Tenga una amiga en Valencia qui  escribe a mi de quando en quando. En la ultima carta yo le dije a me ella que si usted _ra a Valencia se puede visitarla. Ella se llama Carol Ravell. Su direccion esta Auto Mundial, Valencia. Es muy amiga mia. Le encontre a ella en el vapor Santa Paula en Julio.

 On Thanksgiving Day, while nuestro padre busied himself en la cochina, Ced, Barbie (Plumb, Dan’s girlfriend), Jean (Mortensen, Dick’s girlfriend), Don Whitney y yo set out in your Packard for Greenfield Hill.Every Thanksgiving Day the Fairfield Country Hounds dress up in their round just bowlers and mount their most stalwart steeds for a bit of tally-ho before dinner. I have enclosed some actual photographs of the affair clipped from the Sunday Post.

They started from the Green, led by the hounds who, I am told, were pursuing a real fox.  We dashed from road to road in a perpetual attempt to intercept the hunt as it wandered from hill to veil in pursuit of the elusive animal.  It was quite a colorful affair.  All the officials were in red coats.  The rest wore Derby hats, held on by black silk ribbons clipped to the back of the brim.

In an excess of spirit we set off on a rough dirt road and were rather surprised when the front spring (not the one which I had noticed earlier!) was completely severed.  We could go forward, but not in reverse.  We parked in the road while we made a last attempt to locate the horseman before starting for home.  I became conscious of a desire to perform a natural process (liquid), and, to avoid the embarrassment of pardoning myself from the two gals present, I wandered absently I head on the old dirt road as if I were looking for the horses ….. A sort of (“see a man about a horse”) proposition with more truth than usual.  As my crank-case drained I became aware of a pattering of pause approaching along the road, but I could not see until it flashed interview from behind the convenient privet hedge that I was (and I swear this is the truth, so help me, and I have witnesses) the Fox! it was going like the much-expressed hammers of hell, only more so.  It glanced neither to the right or left.  There was no sign of pursuit, but that Fox was laying down its feet in the most purposeful manner possible, and it was heading straight toward the Packard! 

I started running after it, yelling to the rest of the gang who were standing near the car, “Here comes the Fox! Here comes the Fox!”, and just before Reynard reached the car, he caught sight of them, for he swerved suddenly, cleared the low stone wall which bordered the road in a single bound, then sped across the field out of sight.

Two Horsemen, cantering slowly along the road from the direction from which the fox had come, evidently on their way home from the hunt, passed us, and I said, “We have a broken spring, and we just saw the fox go by!”

“Oh, yea?” one of the man replied, and I suddenly realized that my story might receive the same treatment everywhere.  But all the gang saw clearly that it was a genuine fox, and, although he did not tarry (the fox, I mean) long enough to tell us whether or not he was THE fox, or merely a casual chicken killer from the surrounding countryside, we were satisfied that, since we had come to see a Fox-Hunt, we had not come in vain.

The spring replacement cost $17.49.

                                                                            Bueno, pues,


Tomorrow I will be posting a letter from Aunt Betty Duryee, with some information regarding the Duryee ancestors and her account of Thanksgiving.

Judy Guion



Trumbull – Dear Santa Claus (1) – Thanksgiving – December 3, 1939

We have jumped back to December of 1939 and Grandpa is bringing Lad up to date on local happenings in Trumbull.


Grandpa presiding at a holiday table – either Thanksgiving or Christmas

Being Vol R-52 of Dec. 3, 1939

Dear Santa Claus,

Maybe you haven’t got a long white beard and a 47-inch waist but as far as the inmates of P.O. Box 7 are concerned, you are the realest Santa Claus that ever drove a herd of reindeers.  And as for keeping the pot boiling, well, the fire was just about emitting its last spark when you’re cord and a half arrived.  It is too bad no method has yet been invented of weighing or measuring the exact amount of happiness, joy, goodwill, contentment, and the like, so that you could gauge in some tangible manner just how much your generous gift means to all of us.  Time and time again you seem to pick just the right time when the need is most acute, and then when the end of the corridor seems to be reached, lo, you open an unseen door and there is opened up a new vista.  It is rather hard to get across to another with the use of an ordinary vocabulary just how much one feels, but I know you have enough imagination and romanticism in your nature to supply what words cannot convey.

It was Tuesday that the draft arrived with your letter and it was Thursday at the table after we had done away with the Thanksgiving dinner that the news became known to all present.  Aunt Betty (Duryee) and (Aunt) Elsie were our only guests. (I believe Dan, Ced, Dick and Dave were also present.) As usual, I presided at the kitchen range.  The menu was as follows;

Cranberry juice Cocktail

Wine (Mr. Plumb)     Cider a la Burroughs (cider from Mr. Burrough’s Cider Mill)

Roast Turkey with whole canned apricots

Sweet Potatoes a la lemon      Cauliflower

Olives      Pickles      Celery       Radishes

Polka Dot pudding

Nuts and Raisins


We had a paper tablecloth and napkins to match and Dave had prepared an attractive center decoration with a cornucopia, apples, grapes and nuts.  We wondered about you and what you are having and if you, too, were eating just about the same time we were.  When later I read your letter we all agreed we did indeed have much to be thankful for — YOU.

The fifty bucks you insist I shall use for myself is giving me lots of fun.  Every night before I go to sleep I spend it another way, each better than the one before.  I did go out and spend some of it right away on some shirts, as the boys have been laughing at me lately because two of my shirts have torn quite badly under the arms, and while the collars and cuffs look all right, when I doff my coat to get supper I seem rather nude between breast and shoulder blade.  Well that’s a good start anyway.

If you can imagine how we all appreciate your big-hearted act perhaps you can also imagine how we here feel at our inability to get back at you in some corresponding manner as a Christmas greeting — you, so far away from the old home and we with so many kind wishes for you that sort of need to be expressed in some tangible way and yet cannot be practically done.

Tomorrow I will post the second portion of this letter to Lad, so far away in Venezuela,  from Grandpa.

Judy Guion

St. Petersburg Adventure (4) – Thanksgiving Was Awful! (2) – December 6, 1934-

This is the rest of the letter written to Grandpa on December 6th about a Thanksgiving Biss just could not enjoy. I’m sure she was homesick for Trumbull and was having a difficult time adjusting to this new life.

Art Mantle, Biss and Alfred (Lad) 

The next day we started for St. Pete at about 10 AM and we got back around 11. I drove about halfway. Then we changed into our bathing suits and went to St. Pete Beach. I stayed on the beach for about an hour then went up to the car and took a nap. We came home about six o’clock. I think we went into town for dinner.

The next day Mr. Bailey and the Farmers came and stayed overnight and we went to the beach the next day. I stayed for about three hours then got in the car and took a nap. In other words every weekend we go to the beach and I get into the car. That last one was a mistake. I got into the car and stayed for a half hour just thinking, when they came up after me and told me to come fishing with them. We fished for about two hours and caught eight fish.

Then we came back and ate on the beach. Mr. Bailey had brought some steaks. We didn’t cook the fish there because it was late and would take too much time to cook.

Is the furnace fixed? I gather that Alfred is the caretaker for the furnace?

I should think you would have saved some money by buying your overcoat now instead of dyeing your spring coat – seeing as you have to buy one anyway. That was like saving $.50 and spending a dollar. Aunt Anne does realize what you are up against because she’s up against the exact same thing.

She suggested $10 and I just added more and didn’t have room to explain the whole thing. That ten was for all my extra expenses including dental work. I have all the books I need at present. Later on I have to get another book for English and one for French.

I will see about the Chamber of Commerce – you know we have no phone, otherwise, I would have given you the number long ago.

Tonsillitis is catching so I don’t think it wise for David to play with her or else you’ll have another doctor bill on hand. It rained a few drops last evening. Cloudy half the day today.

School closes the 21st and opens the 7th. Don and Gwen like anything that Dick or Dave would – Anne – you know. I don’t know what I want although I would like a Hawaiian guitar, fairly good – if possible.



Tomorrow I will begin posting the last few letters in 1944 and the beginning of 1945. All five of Grandpa’s sons are helping Uncle Sam win the War. Both Lad and Dan are in France, Ced is in Alaska, Dick is in Brazil and Dave is in Okinawa. Jean (Mrs. Dick) and Marian (Mrs. Alfred or Lad) are helping Grandpa keep the home fires burning while waiting for their husbands to come home.

Judy Guion

St. Petersburg Adventure (3) – Thanksgiving was Awful! (1) – December 5 and 6, 1934


Having had a New England Thanksgiving dinner her whole life, Biss can’t quite accept spending the day at the beach. It just doesn’t feel right!

Elizabeth Westlin Guion and Mack

Wednesday, 3:45

Study Hall

December 5, 1934

Dear Dick,

You forgot to tell me about the Shrine Circus your teacher took you to see. What is your teacher’s name? I am still in seventh period. I was half a minute late yesterday so I

Elizabeth (Biss) Westlin Guion

have to stay one whole hour. Isn’t that the dumbest luck? I have been writing all afternoon and my hand is tired. That is why my writing looks so funny.

What became of that hut out by the playhouse? What were your marks in school? Marks close Friday down here, I think.

Thanksgiving was awful! We went to see Mr. Bailey but I don’t like him and then he took us to the beach. I don’t like the beach either. I saw a peachy collie at the hotel where Mr. Bailey stays. Mr. Bailey is going to spend Christmas with us too. Darn it. If Alfred would come down, which he wants, it would be all right for us kids and I suppose we must make the best of it because he likes Aunt Anne. She is going to see if Uncle Fred won’t come down. I only have 5 minutes of my seventh period left. Aunt Anne is going to call for me and then we are going to the movies. Dave can tell you what one we are going to see. I am sorry my reply has been so tardy but it takes time to write to each one of you and answer your letters. I want to glance over your letter and it is at home – please don’t call me Bets. How was Dick and Mrs. Boyce. Methinks I better write to them.




Thursday, 4:20 PM

December 6, 1934

Dining room

Dear Dad:

You certainly wrote a letter and a half. I will try to answer it fully. Right now Don and Billy are out in back playing marbles. Billy is a little boy who lives across the street. Gwen is out riding on her bicycle. Aunt Anne is over in Tampa at the Farmer’s. She is going to stay overnight so I am chief cook and bottle washer.

I wished that I was home for Thanksgiving. It didn’t seem at all holiday-ish to me. We got up early – 8:15 AM – and got the work done and took baths. At about 10:45 AM we got into the car and drove over to Tampa to Mr. Bailey’s hotel. We arrived at 11:15 and got into our bathing suits.

Then we drove over to the Farmers and waited while Mrs. Farmer and Mr. Bailey got ready. We waited there for about 15 minutes then went down to pick up Mr. Farmer who had to work at his office for a while. We then went to Clearwater to swim. Mr. Farmer changed into his bathing suit there. No one went in until Mr. Farmer was ready for everyone was tired and wanted to rest.

We stayed there until 5:30. I stayed on the beach until 3:30 and then went to the car and took a nap. I don’t like salt water and I don’t like Mr. Bailey so I had more fun in the car.

We went back to the hotel to change and Mr. Bailey took Mr. and Mrs. Farmer home and they changed. They got back in about half an hour. We then ate dinner – which was pretty good considering where we ate it – down in the dining room of Mr. Bailey’s hotel. In the middle of the dinner an old man came in with a collie and stayed for a minute – that was the best part of the whole meal.

By then it was about 7:30 PM so Don and Gwen went to bed or at least lay down on Mr. Bailey’s bed. They all went up two stories and had a get together. I stayed until 10 then went down to the lobby where a girl was sitting. I talked to her for a few minutes and then a boy came and took her out – thank goodness.  At 11 Aunt Anne decided to stay over so we registered and went to bed.

Next Saturday I’ll finish the letter Biss is writing to her Father concerning other happenings in Florida.

Judy Guion


Trumbull – Dear Turkey Eaters (1) – News From Dan – November 26, 1944

Trumbull, Conn.,    Nov. 26, 1944

Dear Turkey Eaters:

“I see by the papers” that you boys, who are temporarily in Uncle Sam’s employ, all enjoyed a traditional Thanksgiving with all the fixin’s, and by the way, was going us one better at home as we were unable to get either turkey or cranberry sauce, which is quite satisfactory if our lack means that you all really did “get the bird”. I have not yet heard the details of Ced’s holiday repast but if his last letter is any criterion, he too, gets things in Alaska we cannot get in Connecticut. For instance, he writes of a punch made from lemons. Now you may recall that in my last I plagiarized Lewis Carroll a bit in that memorable passage where the Walrus said it was time to talk of ships and shoes and sealing wax and cabbages and Kings. Well, there is just as strange an assortment of items that are unobtainable here. There is the aforementioned lemons, which have been entirely unobtainable here for several months. Some attribute it to the black market, some to the fact that most of our former supply has come from California and the shipment from that point in refrigerator cars ties up so many of these limited supply  specialized railway equipment needed for men of the service that they simply have not been shipped. Then two, the recent hurricane destroyed the Florida crop, although Friday I was able to get a few Texas lemons that had just arrived. There is also a shortage of such diverse items as clothes pins, safety matches, linen sheets (cotton), canned salmon, cigarettes, canned corned beef, camera films, refrigerators and candy. There are of course many others, supplies of which appear on sale for a day or two, are bought up rapidly and again disappear for long periods. It gets so now that when you see anything on sale that you have formerly needed or may need in the future, unless you immediately buy it, you’re out of luck, when during the next day or so, you return again to make the purchase. Right now there is a shortage of anti-freeze. I should have bought a few, weeks ago, when I had the chance. All I have in the car now is what was left over from last year and it needs to be strengthened for very cold weather. Oh well, time will cure all these things.

Dan-uniform (2)

It was a real Thanksgiving week for us here in the main as far as letters from you boys were concerned. Lad was the only one we did not hear from and that wasn’t his fault. From “somewhere in France” the following very welcome message arrived: “Roughing it again! (In a manner of speaking, that is) a good excuse to write a letter! I am sitting on an army cot in an abandoned Nazi barracks, somewhere in France. The pale light of a kerosene lamp acts as a monitor to my flailing pencil. In the corner, a wood stove adds its pungency to the heavy odor of kerosene fumes, while a group of boys are playing cribbage on an improvised table in the center of the room. On the door Jerry has left “Conchita”, a hard looking Spanish beauty, smoking a cigarette and staring impersonally toward the doorknob. Standing beside the stove is a burlap sack, plump with coke which we found near an abandoned gun sight. It will keep the chill from our slumber about 2 o’clock in the morning. After I have finished writing this letter I shall pay a visit to the café half a kilometer down the road. We shall sit in the kitchen talking to the proprietor whose husband is a prisoner of the Germans. We shall sip a glass of rather innocuous beer and lament the departure of more exciting spirits which accompanied Jerry back to Germany. We shall hear of the interminable air raids which, until recently, have been the daily lot of these French villagers for months before D-Day – – air raids launched by the British by night and the Americans by day – – bombings which brought both hope and despair with each explosion. In this café kitchen, our illumination will be the bright jet of a carbide lamp, with a useless electric bulb hibernating in its socket waiting the day when current will again course through it’s filaments. At about 10 o’clock we shall bid good night to our hosts and return to our barracks – – return to our bunks where we shall slumber until the cook awakens us in time for breakfast. I have finally received one of the packages you sent last August. It was the one containing a French grammar, some hard water soap, chocolate, tobacco and Kodachrome film. I am continually amazed by the uncanny knack you have of sending me precisely the things I most appreciate. Each item mentioned above is priceless in this part of France were even our army rations are monotonous and sketchy. We dream of visions of such rarities as fresh milk, ice cream, fresh eggs, bananas, lettuce salad and a hundred and one other things that used to be commonplace and taken for granted – – a bathroom with hot and cold water and plenty of light for shaving, a bed with a mattress and two sheets, and a radio beside it, plenty of clean clothes and a place to keep them, an automobile to drive and freedom to go where you wish and stay as long as you want – – no checking out on “pass” and returning for bed check! Oh well, as the Frenchmen say, “Ca viendre!” which means in literal Yankeenese, “It won’t be long now.”

Dear Dan:

It is difficult for you to measure the amount of thrill the arrival of a letter from you carries with it. Perhaps this feeling is more highly colored by the fact that of all my soldier boys, you are nearer the danger point than any of the rest and nerves are stretched a bit taught here by the passing of time without a message from you, than in the case of the others who are not quite so close to the firing line. It also affords me considerable satisfaction to know that you have at least received one of the packages even though it took so many months to reach you. Our hearts are so anxious to do so much for our absent sons that the limited packages we finally get together with the feeling of its inadequacy, and sometimes with difficulty due to the shortage of goods here, we feel ought to arrive pronto to bear evidence of our goodwill, and then to have months go by in adding insult to injury. However, your letter is dated October 25th and bears a postmark of the 29th, so it has been almost a month en route, which may mean that by this time you may have received some of the other packages. As to my uncanny knack, my natural modesty compels me to admit (as you did in the case of the metal you were awarded) that the things you received were just those items you yourself expressed a desire to have, only it was so long ago you have probably forgotten it. Anyway, the bouquet must be returned to you for having foreseen so long ago just how welcome these items would be to you on that distant day when you first set foot on French soil. There is just one note missing from your letters and that is an answer to some question or at least some comment on the items in my letters to you so that I may know whether or not you are getting the home news which is regularly dispatched to you each and every week, with occasionally a V-mail letter in between. I hope you are far enough back so that Jerry’s artillery, air bombs or robots, are not too threatening. And the entire absence of any personal reference to your health, etc., leaves the door wide open for bothersome imaginings. With Lad probably overseas and Dave sooner or later to take the same trip, they too ought to take note of an anxious family’s natural desire to know how you all are faring. Dick, thank heavens is far removed from shell craters and Ced has only Jack Frost to contend with, but just the same, a reassuring note now and again will not be unwelcome, as concerns your physical well-being.

Tomorrow, I’ll complete this letter with news from Dave and Ced, and Grandpa’s usual comments.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Dear Absent Ones (2) – Wishful Thinking – November 28, 1943

This is the second page of a letter from Grandpa to his sons – and daughter-in-law) letting them know what has been going on in Trumbull the past week.

page 2    11/28/43

        Jean (Mortensen) Guion

Just so that you will know Dick is still alive and kicking, I asked Jean to extract a few lines from his letters to her, which she very kindly consented to do, as follows: He is permitted to tell where he is now – in Natal, Brazil, but of course no mention of this fact is to be made on any letters you may write him. The camp where he is staying has a day room equipped with a radio phonograph, books, magazines, ping-pong table, horse shoes, boxing gloves, baseball and basketball equipment. They have built a tennis court and he has played on it several times. He is learning to ride a motorcycle but doesn’t have too much time to devote to it.

I spent most of the day on storm windows. Remember the weather stripping you put around the inside kitchen door, Lad? Well, one night last spring one very bold rat got in the laundry in an effort to get into the kitchen gnawed portions of the weather stripping away and this too, I repaired. Dan, do you recall the good job you did last year in chinking up the spaces between frame and storm windows? Some of it was still in place this year. Ced, do you recall the day you gave me a set of hardware for my bathroom window? Due to warping or settling or something, the storm sash this year was considerably out of whack, so that, too, I remedied today. About half the windows on the ground floor are now completed and I’m hoping, before the weather gets too cold, I can complete the balance.

Dave is away today – he went up to Hartford to visit his friend Howard Mehegan, who is going to school up there at Uncle Sam’s expense. Tomorrow night Dave presides at his first formal dinner, formal not in dress but in the fact that as President of the Trumbull Rangers, who are holding their first annual dinner at the Algonquin club, no less, he presides as Toastmaster.

We have had one storm so far this season which however was neither very deep nor did it last very long. Most of the weather we have had lately has consisted of beautiful cool, but mainly sunshiny, days. Due to the coal shortage we have not yet started the furnace, keeping the real chill off by generous use of oil stove. Up to the present, we have been able to get by without too great discomfort, and as soon as I get all the storm windows up, or in case of a particularly cold spell, we will start up the old ash maker.

And that about closes up the session for this evening. Maybe by next week I will be able to tell you more about the news from the scattered points where the Guion boys are holding up Trumbull prestige. Until then, spare a thought occasionally for all of us back here in the hills of Connecticut, and especially one who now and again describes himself as


Tomorrow, another letter from Grandpa and on Friday, another letter from Marian.

Judy Guion