Trumbull – Dear Sons (and daughters Jean and Paulette) (3) – More News From France – September 23, 1945

This is the final portion of Grandpa’s letter to his scattered family, wherever they are.

DBG - Dan andPaulette (Paulette - cropped) - 1945

Paulette (Van Laere) Guion

Rather than be separated from her for the better part of the year, I am taking steps to ensure that I remain over here as long as possible. I have applied for one of the university courses which will consume two months from its beginning date. Further, I understand that men eligible for discharge are allowed to volunteer for additional service up to Feb. 14, 1946, if they so desire. In the meantime I shall investigate the facilities of private transport in the hope that she will be able to get to America soon. She is still staying with Mr. and Mme. Rabet at 9 Rue Cuvier — a five minute walk from our billet. I have never met a couple more generous or kindly than these two elderly people. I have asked them to select a few items from the Montgomery-Ward (he means Sears-Roebuck) catalog. Mme Rabet, a nurse by profession, has just cured me of a badly infected throat, which I dared not entrust to the Army doctors for fear that I would be restricted to quarters, and as a result, would not be able to see “Chiche”. In every respect both have treated us as if we were their own children.

(Comment: Of course you should stay with “Chiche”, but what I want is for you to stay with her here. Leave no stone unturned to bring her home at the earliest possible moment, unless under the circumstances, she would prefer not to come until afterward. We shall get as much as possible of the list you sent. Are you sure of Mme’s bust measurement? Marion things it is extremely large.)

DBG - Dan and Paulette - Dan ( cropped) - 1945

Daniel Beck Guion

I needn’t tell you how much I am disappointed at having to postpone my homecoming, but time has a rather chronic habit of shuffling along, eilly-nilly, (I believe he meant to type “willy-nilly) and one day, not too far distant, I shall stumble over the milk bucket on the back porch as I grope my way toward the kitchen door. “Chiche” sends her love in hopes that you will all continue to write to her. She asks me every day if I have received a letter from home.

(Comment: Tell your little girl, Dan, how delighted I am at the news of the expected arrival, which would be doubly good if you could now write that all arrangements had been made for all three of you to stumble over said milk bucket. In the famous words; “Don’t give up the ship”, means either the airship or an ocean liner, whichever can get you over here in the best, quickest and safest way. In other words I am not taking your decision as final. The only thing that will make me bow to what will be considered in this instance as inevitable, is Paulette’s wishes in the matter, but outside of that, let neither of us quit struggling. I WANT YOU HOME BY CHRISTMAS. I want this year to put on a combination French-American Christmas celebration and she has got to be here to help with it)

I trust from the few hints I have given above that you may surmise I will stop at nothing that is legally and humanly possible to reverse your again  “stay in France” decision for the new Guion family, and I shall expect you to call upon me, in case I have not already made that fact clear, to do anything I can to make such a denouement possible.

For your information, I am attaching two additional copies of the American addition of the Guion wedding announcement. It never entered my head to send one to the Senechal’s although I should have done so, I can now see very plainly. I asked you for a list of people, friends of yours, rather than of the family, to whom you might wish a copy sent but this, along with other questions I have asked from time to time, has been blithely overlooked. I have a few more copies left. To whom do you wish them sent? Respond se vou plais. – Or words to that effect. And I still don’t know whether the Senechals like their coffee ground, course or fine or underground in bean form— third request. You will just have to get daughter Paulette to write me in American to give me these mundane details which a person who has attended Oxford and is a candidate for the Sorbonne, scorns to mention. Next you will be writing me you are taking a course at Leipzig instead of attending courses at the University of Trumbull. Es weiss nicht was sol les bedauten das Ich so trauig bin. There, that will hold you for a space.

Well, children, that’s the story for this week. The whole Guion family affairs laid out flat like the contents of Colgate’s toothpaste tube— comes out like a ribbon, lays flat on the floor. I wish I could get some order out of this post-war chaos. When will Dick and Jean be home, or won’t they? What’s going to happen to Lad’s furlough? How soon can MacArthur spare Dave? When is Ced flying home? Will I have a French or American grandson? Any information leading to the arrest of any of the above rumors, dead or alive, if stretched end to end, by the authority vested in me by the State of Connecticut, I pronounce you man and wife. I don’t know— I’m all mixed up. When somebody please straighten me out?

Your distracted

DAD

Tomorrow and Friday, a Birthday letter to Dave from his ever-loving father.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Dear Sons (and daughters Jean and Paulette) (2) – News From France – September 23, 1945

This is the second portion of this letter from Grandpa to his scattered family.

Jean and Dick Guion

Oh Kay, Jeannie, old kid, we’ll do that little thing. And while I think of it, Dick, your insurance premium notice arrived the other day. Unless I hear from you to the contrary, I shall take care of it by my check in the regular way before it comes due. You’ll be interested, Jean, to know I received a nice letter from Marge (Mrs. Ted Southworth) the other day announcing their safe arrival at “Crosswinds, RFD West Sand Lake, N.Y.”. She says: “We want you to know we thoroughly enjoyed our stay in Trumbull under the Guion roof and thank you for putting up with us. Ted has already started classes at R.I.P. (I believe Grandpa meant to type R.P.I, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, NY) in Troy  and finds it a little strange to be a student again. We will be living with Ted’s folks for a while as there is not much hope of finding anything in Troy at present. We have sort of a private apartment with “kitchen privileges”. I haven’t found any gainful employment yet but am working on it. I hope it won’t be too long before all the members of the Guion family will be together again. We certainly enjoyed reading their letters and meeting Lad. “Spintail” was overjoyed to see us again and is leading a very happy life here on the farm, free from strange dogs to fight with. He gets his exercise by chasing rabbits and woodchucks.”

Alaska was silent this week but I haven’t forgotten that threat: “Some time I may drop in unexpectedly at your office”, after landing, I suppose, in a Piper or something that he has just acquired, and hitchhiking in from the Stratford airport. Oh well, it doesn’t hurt to dream!

And now let’s turn the spotlight on the French theater of action. A Sept. 13th letter arrived on the 20th (regular mail, it says here) and one dated the 5th arrived on the 22nd. The composite result is somewhat as follows: The whole Senechal family is spending a few days in Drancy. They asked me to send their best regards to you all – – especially to Lad who, they know, is home at last. I no longer expect to be home this year.

(Comment. This is a bitter disappointment to me Dan, as you must realize, and I am not giving up without a struggle. I want to see my son – – I want very much to know my new daughter and I had very much hoped my little grandchild would open his little eyes first in good old Connecticut. Having stated that with all the sincerity and fervor of which I am capable, I must add that no matter how strong my wishes, or yours, Dan, might be, it is, after all, Paulette’s wishes that must, under the circumstances, come first. I can understand she might want to have her baby born among familiar surroundings rather than in a foreign country, yet I wonder if judging from the economic conditions in both countries, she wouldn’t be better off from every other standpoint if she were here. As for getting home, I understand the airlines have already started transatlantic service, and I imagine the fare is not out of reason. I am also going to make inquiries as to the resumption of steamship service. I understand some of the liners have already been returned by the Government to the steamship companies and regular service will soon be resumed.)

But to go on with the quotation. “The explanation is somewhat involved. “Chiche”, being pregnant, cannot travel by government transport until three months after the birth of the child, unless she leaves before her pregnancy has advanced more than four months. But with shipping as crowded as it is these days, even assuming that her visa could be hastened by political pressure from you back home, the chances are remote that the Army could find room for her before next year. She is expecting the child in April or May. Thus she will not be eligible for travel by government transport until July or August, 1946!

(Comment. I should hate to rely on any governmental pressure I could exert these days with all the red tape that would be necessary, although I would not hesitate to try, but I should think the best thing would be to forget the Army transport method and make it as a civilian, and that, as soon as you can be discharged, and she can find accommodations. And don’t let the expense deter you, because this is important enough to transcend any consideration of this sort just as long, at least, as you have a Dad to fall back on.)

Tomorrow, the final section of this letter with more information from France. Thursday and Friday I’ll post a Birthday letter to Dave from his Dad.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Dear Sonny (2) – Extracts From Rusty Huerlin’s Letter To Ced – November 12, 1944

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Friday’s local paper recorded the death of Tom Cullen, who had been ill for about six months. Cancer, I believe, was the cause of death starting with a face infection and finally going to his brain. In his early 40’s, it is quite a loss to scouting.

These last two weekends I have not only been busy at the office but the breeze has been enough to make it a bit dangerous for me to attempt to put up storm windows alone perched on a rickety ladder, so we are not yet set for old man winter’s onslaughts. I have the furnace running however and so far the house has been comfortable.

Rusty - Rusty at his painting cabin - 1979 (2)

Perhaps this would be a good occasion to send a few extracts from Rusty’s letter to Ced written August 14th from Barrow, Alaska. He describes the perilous run from Nome to Barrow in a 44-foot powerboat, five of them, all together, as crew, the boat 5-tons overloaded on deck, running into storm after storm. “I have seen high waves off Cape Hatteras and in the North Sea but never so close to rough weather as what we ran into on the “ADA”. Conrad would have made a book out of it. None of us ever expected to see land again and I know now why men pray. Hope becomes one concentration and that a tremendous thing. I pumped and pumped and pumped and pumped and never taxed my heart as much before as we kept taking in water and more water. Finally the engine quit. One of the Eskimo crew saved the lives of all of us by getting out 9 fathoms of anchor line and holding onto the end of the line probably two minutes before he could get 2 feet of it to make a turn on the forward bit. None of us could get to him, the sea was so rough. And that was the beginning of a 24-hour battle with the devil in that deep green sea. Finally we could take it no more and made for a lagoon. Breakers were 5 miles long over shoals. When soundings showed we were in only 6 feet of water one of the men yelled “Let’s get the hell out of here.” But it was too late. We struck bottom, went over on our starboard side, shipped water to soak me from head to foot where I stood on one ear in the cabin. Water poured down into the engine room to kill engine. All we could do was to blow the foghorn to summon Eskimos in tents on shore to get out what help they could offer. All this happened so quickly, and the next breaker sucked us so hard that we went some 10 feet sideways, and then the miracle of all miracles happened. The ADA righted herself. We had been smacked over the bar. We rolled helplessly in deeper water until blown into the channel. Finally we got the engine started and motored into behind a sand spit breakwater. 15 minutes later a gang of Eskimos came aboard saying we were the luckiest people they had ever seen. We all knew that. Not one boat in a million could do the same thing again. After laying up for five days we finally made Wainright. Here we unloaded most of the freight and took on as passengers storm bound Eskimos unable to return to Barrow in their boats heavily loaded with coal. So we left there towing five whale boats and about 25 Eskimos to sweeten the forecastle and share with us the four bunks when the next storm came. We had then run into icebergs 20 feet high and were forced outside of them and land. 60 miles of this. The kids had gotten over their seasickness and there was no more rushing from below to punk pots. One woman had six children. She and all of them had been sick in my bunk. But that was nothing. After one storm I had laid down in more filth than could be found in a garbage can and never felt more clean in my life. To sleep alongside of those shipmates after trying to take what they did uncomplainingly was the finest sensation I have yet experienced. I have made four friends I shall never forget.” More at some later date.

DAD

Tomorrow and Sunday I will post more Special Pictures.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Dear Army of Occupation (1) – Grandpa’s Worries And A Letter from Marian – October 22, 1944

Alfred Duryee Guion - summer, 1946

Home Detachment stationed at Trumbull, Conn.

October 22, 1944

Dear Army of Occupation:

(“Occupation” meaning employed, keeping busy, etc., written in the hope you will get busy and write another letter home one of these days.”)

Well, once again, armed (to the teeth) with my Sunday rapid-fire pipe, consuming more matches per hour then a B-32 does gasoline, and with my faithful Remington ready to pop away with its staccato fire, I start forth to battle those Allied foes, distance and new experiences, that would fain destroy your remembrance of “the old folks at home”.

My greatest concern at this writing (and I might as well get the worst out of my system at the start) is the lack of news lately from Dan. I don’t like that word “forward” in the latest address he sent me. Of course that may mean he is so busy chasing Heinies back to their homeland that he hasn’t time “between maps” to use the postal service. Still, I suppose maps must be prepared so that we can make our leaps forward into enemy territory (and apropos of this, at home we too are winning the war by “Jeeps and bonds”. According to the news from MacArthur this week, they are doing the leaping over in the Pacific area. However, Dan, before I drop the subject, just remember you are getting to be a big boy now. You have a birthday celebration coming up this week and you’ll be a year older since I heard from you last. That’s quite a long while between drinks, as the Governor of North Carolina is reported to have remarked to the Governor of South Carolina. And speaking of Governors, the Hon. Raymond Baldwin has once again called upon the Guion organization to help him attain leadership of the Commonwealth of Connecticut. We are supposed, within the next few days, to turn out some 20,000 multigraph letters for him, and how I miss Dave under these circumstances. I could hardly turn down the job so I finally got in touch with George Lipovsky who very kindly consented to come over, set up the letter and run at least some of them off for me. We have to fold them as well, so it looks like papa will be busy for a few days. To get ready for this job I worked until 11:30 Friday night, all yesterday afternoon (Sat.) so that “winterizing” the home has not preceded apace this week. I did get a little weather stripping down this afternoon and a few more screens taken down, but it is a long job with only one pair of hands.

Lad & Marian - Pomona - 1944

                          Lad and Marian Guion

The other fly in my ointment is twins – – the persisting rumors that both Lad and Dave – – the youngest and oldest – – are scheduled before the end of the year to take a trip across the big drink. I have not heard from Dave this week but Marian, my old news standby (old of course being a term of endearment and having no reference direct or implied to the age of the party aforesaid), says “That old overseas question is getting closer and closer. We had so hoped we could spend our first anniversary together, but we aren’t too sure now. In the meantime we avoid the subject like poison. Lad has secured authorization for enough gasoline for Marian to drive to Connecticut when and if, and she says: “One of these mornings (evidently she expects to travel at night) I may come blowing in with the breeze (how did she know I did not get all the chicks caulked up?). Looks as though I’m going to cash in that rain check very soon now. Also, according to her letter, Lad has reversed the theme of that song about finding a billion-dollar baby in a five and ten cent store, for she says: “Now that Lad is on the day shift again and I have some spare time during the day, I’m working again. This time it is at Woolworth’s, and it is very enlightening to say the least. It keeps one hopping trying to figure out what the customer wants. A colored lady came in today and asked for what I thought was a “straight comb”. I showed her everything we had but she insisted I didn’t understand. Turns out she wanted a “straight’n” comb to take the kinks out of her hair !!! (Reference Opus 63, mamas li’l baby likes Short’n Bread.) And referring to the branch meeting of the clan, she writes: “We had the grandest visit with Dave (who traveled south from Camp Crowder, Missouri, Lad and Marian traveling north from Jackson, Mississippi, to meet in Little Rock, Arkansas) weekend before last. We spent Saturday and part of Sunday with him and wished it could have been longer. I’m so glad I got a chance to meet him. He and Lad are a great deal alike. I watched them walking down the street together and there was no question as to their being related. (Note by Editor: That remark, young lady, with its sinister implication demands further explanation). They even stand the same way with their feet crossed. See what I mean? Anyway we had a grand time together and left with the fervent hope that it won’t be too long before we meet again under more favorable circumstances”.

Tomorrow, I will post the rest of this letter. For the rest of the week, I will be posting another letter from Grandpa to those away from home.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Gentle Readers (2) – News From Jean in Brazil – August 20, 1945

jean-on-lawn-1945

Jean (Mortensen) Guion (Mrs. Richard)

However a letter from Jean reveals that she was practically on her way when the peace news came through. Maybe this would be a great time to quote her letter:

“Surprise, I’m here. Arrived at one (noon) on the 16th.  Dick didn’t know I was due that day so he didn’t meet me. They had quite a job locating him but when his assistant found him and told him I was here all he could say was, “Are you kidding?” He was quite worried because the officer here told him that all the wives orders had been canceled because of the end of the war. He was sure I wouldn’t be able to come. I wasn’t supposed to leave Miami until Thursday, but when I checked in to

page 2   8/20/45

the Army hotel Tuesday morning, they started rushing me through briefing classes and my last typhoid shot. They told me late in the afternoon that I would be leaving about 6:30 that night. We were out at the airport at seven when the news of the Jap surrender was announced. We took off at eight in a C-47–the same one they flew Gen. Mark Clark back to the US in. We were very lucky to get such a nice one, as most of the planes were just plain transport ships with bucket seats and very uncomfortable. There were seven girls, one child and myself, +5 crew members. Our first stop was Puerto Rico, 2:30 A.M. Wednesday. They gave us breakfast and we sat around in the post lounge waiting for a minor repair to be made until 4:30 A.M. We flew until noon when we stopped at British Guiana. There we were treated like Queens–met us in the staff cars, took us to a restroom to get cleaned up, then to the officer’s mess hall for lunch and from there to a cottage where we took showers and slept until 6 PM, then dinner, after which two officers took us to the officers club for a highball. We took off at eight P. M. Our next stop was at Belem, Brazil, at four A.M. Thursday. After breakfast we took off again, arriving at Natal at 10:45 A.M. Everyone but me and the crew got off—I was the only passenger back to Forteleza.

rpg-dick-in-uniform-without-mustache-1945

Richard Peabody Guion

Dick couldn’t get the house he wanted but he got a cute place in a very nice section, about the same size as the other place, four rooms, bath and a separate servants home on the side. So, we have a garden. Dick is having the yard all fixed up. The man starts work at seven A. M. And works until about 4:34 P.M. for $.50 a day. Can you imagine working in the hot sun for that? I can’t either. It is spring here now. I don’t know what the temperature is but it’s just comfortable and there is always a strong breeze. Dick looks wonderful. He says he’s lost some weight the past week, though, worrying about me and trying to get the house cleaned up. He even bought a table cover for our dining room table.”

Dick adds a  P. S. “I want to thank you for having taken such good care of Jean, Dad. I’m happier now than I have been since I was drafted. I don’t mean to insinuate that I was happy they drafted me. She’s the difference between existing and living. My love to all. Dick”.

So we see that maybe if Jean had been a few hours later in getting started, orders might have come through for cancellation. Incidentally, this might cause Lad to revise his opinion that allowing the wives to go down probably means Dick will be there for some time yet. Would like to know what the prospects are as they look to you down there, Dick. Do take some snapshots of the house and send them home as we are all eager to see what the Guion Brazilian home looks like.

Tomorrow I’ll be posting the rest of this letter.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Dear Victors (2) – Paulette’s Father Writes To Grandpa – August 19, 1945

This is the second half of the letter I posted yesterday,  written by Grandpa to members of the family, near and far.

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Dan has just forwarded to me a letter written by Paulette’s father last June, which is such a friendly message and so courteously written in English that I thought you would all be pleased to read it.

Paulette’s Step-Father and her Mother, Maurice Senechal and Julienne (DeClercq) (Van Laere) Senechal.

Dear Sir and friend:

Since a long time I intended to write you but I was nearly shamefully of having so much my English language forgotten. 31 years past I went in England for the last time and I had rarely the opportunity to maintain myself and refresh my vocabulary. Therefore I beg you to excuse me. I hope that you will even though understand me. At first, I wish to say you very sincerely and cordially, you may and you must be the proudest father (proud in the good sense), only when considering the most precious qualities of intelligence, of education and chiefly of heart, of your son Daniel. The most loving son will be surely the most loving husband. As for his future, we are not disquieted, and confidingly,  we canfide the happiness of Paulette to Daniel without the least fear. Since the first day when making his acquaintance, a current of sympathy, the largest, the warmest, the most heartily, streamed between us. It was soon a real affection and he has become for us a new son which we love alike our other children. Paulette has communicated us your letters and those of her future sisters. I should not know to explain you how much we have happily been affected when reading. We are sure that Paulette shall find, landing in the U.S., the most cordial and affectionate welcome in her new family. I care particularly about not to forget to thank you all for the splendid gifts that you have offered to Paulette and for those that we have ourselves received. Paulette has truly a new Dad who loves her well. You are too kind. How to thank you enough? We would fix the date of marriage to the 4th August next, at Calais. Do you agree this date? Daniel will be intermediate between us for fixing it. I halt and I ask you for saying lovely things to your family, and shaking heartily your hand, I am, yours truly and affectionately, Maurice Senechal.

Carl has quit the Merchant Marine and is looking around for some business of his own, possibly in the Marine field. Mr. Gibson has opened up a gas station near the Merritt Parkway at Oronoque, Conn. My hay fever has started. Happy birthday to Dick and the hope that Jean was able to be with him to suitably celebrate the day. It is Elsie’s birthday on the 22nd.

Lad and Marian Guion, 1943

                        Marian (Irwin) Guion

And that’s about all my excited brain can think of to say at present. Anyhow, I don’t want to write half as much as I want to hear from you all with your reaction to the big news and your ideas about homecoming. I took a part holiday Wednesday and all day Thursday celebrating by taking Marian and Aunt Betty for an all day auto ride visiting the Lees and the Kirchers. It was a beautiful, sunshiny day and we all enjoyed it. When the news broke in Trumbull it was recognized by the blowing of the fire siren, peeling of the church bell, tooting of auto horns with sundry yippeeees and bangs, with Marian, in between times, jumping up and down and clapping her hands in ecstasy. However, if Lad’s voice comes over the phone within the next few hours, her past actions will be mild compared to what will happen then. I hope, I hope, I hope. Well, we shall see. In any event, it won’t be long now when some of you will make this old place live again.

DAD

Trumbull – Dear Victors – A Very Busy Week – August 19, 1945

For this week, we will stay in 1945 so I can post the letters that I could not find last week — those that were written August 19th and August 20th, telling of Lad’s return to the U.S. and other momentous news.

Trumbull, Conn.,  Aug. 19, 1945

Dear Victors:

Since my last letter to you (only a week ago as time is reckoned but judged by events, a long era ago), so many things have happened here that it seems as though the Jap surrender happened a long time ago. Already millions of dollars worth of war contracts have been canceled by the Government among Bridgeport plants, thousands of employees here have already been laid off, among them the young folks living in the apartment, who have already made arrangements to vacate next week. Marian is quitting Sikorsky Sept. 1st, unless—-ah, that is something !! Today’s paper brings news that yesterday there arrived in New York a transport caring a bunch of boys that sailed from Marseille, France on August 7th en route to the Philippines via Panama and Hawaii, who were diverted to the U.S., among which was the 142nd  O.B.A.M. This is Lad’s outfit and, in view of the fact mentioned in one of Dan’s recent letters, that upon Lad’s return from Calais he had missed sailing with his outfit, it looks very much as though Lad might be on the August 7th sailing, and may now be in Camp Kilmer, N.J., coming home on a 30-day furlough. So, we are all alerted here for a phone call either today or tomorrow from Lad telling us he is on his way home. Anyway, we have our fingers crossed.

Marian has already announced she will not go to work tomorrow, just in case. Jean wrote Marian it was not out of reason to expect that tomorrow (Monday) she would actually be in Brazil, as last Tuesday she was to move into the Government hotel to be processed, briefed and have her last typhoid shot.

Dan wrote hastily just a few days before VJ day asking me to send Paulette some clothes she had picked out from the Sears Roebuck catalog and Dave on Aug. 6th wrote:  “I’m convinced more and more each day that we will all be home a lot sooner than a lot of people think. To let up would be disastrous, of course, but I can’t see that it can take much longer. You should see the airpower on this one island that has been ours for only a short time.”

Nothing new here. Our job here has slowed way down— what’s next— who knows? Incidentally, a postal from Ted Human from Bahama says he will be back soon in New York as the road award will be delayed for months.

Dan, as soon as I got your letter, I stopped at the Sears store on Fairfield Ave., they told me not one of the dresses Paulette had on the list was any longer in stock, as this was a catalog issued in the spring and they were all sold out. They suggested I wait until the fall catalog was out about Sept. 15th, with the new offerings. Meantime, Marian is going to look around among other Bridgeport stores to see if she can find something along the line of those items Paulette has selected. As for the missing camera part, I will try to find it, but not knowing just what to look for, I am rather handicapped in my quest. Meantime, I am breathlessly awaiting news from all of you boys as to what definite news, if any, you may have had regarding your return to the U.S.A.

Aunt Elsie is here with us today, and I shall have to leave in a few minutes to take her to the Station. By the way, all gas rationing is off and you’d be surprised how many cars are on the road again. All you do now is drive in a gas station, and like old days, just say “Fill ‘er up”, only the rush has been too much for many gas stations and they quickly run out of their supply. I hope too, that before long, the quality of gas will be considerably better. Both tire and food rationing is easing up, and blue points for canned fruit and vegetables has been discontinued. Meat, butter and sugar is still rationed. By the first of the year we are promised many things that we have not been able to obtain for years. Peace has come with a bang, and it is good, always.

Tomorrow I will post the rest of this letter. On Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, another letter from Grandpa filled with more news.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Dear Bachelors and Benedicts (1) – Dave Sent To Manila – September 2, 1945

Same old Trumbull, but a new Sept. 2nd, 1945.

otherwise known as VJ Day

Dear Benedicts and Bachelors:

Well, the dawn of a tomorrow is at last a reality, and the “land of the rising Sun” is indeed facing a new day. When you read this however, the event will have passed on into history, and so fast is the pace these days that new events may have already crowded it into the background. There are great days ahead. Huxley once said that the most difficult time in which we live, but also the most rewarding, was in those occasional dark valleys between two peaks of vision when one system had lost its grip on men’s minds and the new system was not yet crystallized. Which seems to describe this present generation. Maybe that is why having lived through the recent dread days there is such a thrill in anticipating the days ahead which you boys, in the strength of your manhood, are facing. History shows us that man’s eternal struggle towards the heights has often been retarded and even halted, but never turned back. Problems the world is now facing will be solved. Nations will find their souls, a new and better world will emerge. You boys are truly at the threshold of great things I truly believe. So much for that, now let’s get down to earth.

Lad, of course, is the big fact still in our conscious thoughts. He and Marian, with the help of the Buick, seem to find plenty doing in these here parts. Yesterday morning we gave Elizabeth a few hours breathing spell by kidnapping Butch and Marty for an auto trip to Bronx Zoo. After returning, they went to a dance in Candlewood Lake as guests of Burr Davis and tonight they are having supper with George Knapp. Elsie just arrived so tomorrow promises also to be not without incident.

And turning to the Quotes Dept., we also have some interesting items there. Dave writes from Manila: “You are no more surprised to find I’m here than I am to be here. It all happened so suddenly that it’s still hard to believe. I’ll take it from the beginning and follow through. On August 23rd I was told that I had been taken off the old five-man team, and Friday afternoon I was told to pack my stuff and be ready to leave Okinawa by 5 AM Saturday morning. I got only one hour sleep Friday night. In the morning we went up to Kadena Airport, boarded a C-46 Commando transport and in 5 ½ hours found myself in Manila. It was my first real plane ride and I felt a little sick-ish from nervous tension. As soon as the plane started to move up the runway, I lost all fear and became intent on watching the ground below fade away. All of a sudden it just became a big thrill. I acted like a kid on his first train ride. I glued my nose to the window until I couldn’t see Okinawa anymore. Then every once in a while I’d look out to see if we might not pass over an island. Then in almost no time I began seeing the northernmost of the Philippine Islands. I watched every one of them fade away in the distance far below. Finally we got to Luzon. I was sitting up forward near the navigator’s position and by way of conversation, I said: “This is my first time”. I could tell he knew it anyway because of my eagerness to see everything below. When he finished a plot on his map he handed it to me and asked if I’d like to follow our progress as we went along. We were flying at about 8500 feet and the coastline looked just like the map. I could see the rivers and inlets and bulges along the coastline just as they were on the map. We passed over Lingayen Gulf where the American Navy had come in to retake Luzon. Then we cut inland and finally landed at Nichols Field about 6 miles outside Manila.

After waiting for about two hours (spent that time in a canteen gaping at comparatively beautiful Philippine women) we got on the truck and started towards Manila. We passed through what was once a beautiful residential district. There were remains of large and magnificent homes. We passed a ballpark that I had seen in the newsreel. The movie showed American boys cleaning the Japs out of the bleachers and an American tank pitching shells from the pitcher’s box. Now it was just a quiet, torn up mess. We passed well-to-do Philippines living like the ignorant “Okies”. When we entered Manila we saw large public buildings, half rubble and half gutted concrete frames. Manila seems to be about the size of Bridgeport, possibly larger. Can you picture the Klein Auditorium strewn all over Fairfield Avenue, the stage alone standing? Or Central High with the facade all bashed in and the rest of the school gutted, the City Trust Building reduced to four or five stories, City Hall just a pile of bricks? You can’t imagine how heartbreaking it is or how lucky we were this war turned out as it did. The City Hall here was built in 1939. You can see it was a beautiful structure but now it is full of shell and Bomb holes. The people are trying to keep their businesses going but they don’t have much to do it with. You can see where there was once a beautiful nightclub. It is now a makeshift affair with a makeshift band looking like a sideshow at Coney Island. That about explains the whole city – – just a bunch of concessions on the sidewalks of a gutted ghost-city. http://rogue.ph/18-photos-that-show-manila-before-and-after-world-war-ii/

The following quote is from an interview I had with Dave about his childhood memories and growing up in Trumbull:

On August 25th, I think,  we were all watching a film in a kind of natural amphitheater and one of the guys from Brooklyn had a buddy, who was also from Brooklyn, and I remember this just as if it was yesterday,  he came running over – we had gotten some rumors that the Japs were going to quit – and this guy came running over and says, “The signing has been confoimed.” I never forgot that.

But anyhow,  between the time of August 25th and September 7th when they signed the Treaty, I left Okinawa and went down to Manila. Here I am now – the war is over – all I have to do is go home and they’re shipping me out in a plane to Manila. The pilot spent about 20 minutes, maybe, trying to start one engine and I said to myself, “I’m going to die in the ocean and the war is over.” Anyhow, we got to Manila. That was quite a sight – buildings where the first floor was completely gone and five or six or seven stories would be on top of it, canted,… All kinds of destruction. If you went to the City Hall and looked up, you’d see a room with curtains on the windows. That was MacArthur’s headquarters. So he had curtains on his windows and the Filipinos  were watching dead bodies float down the river.

I would say I was in Manila probably six months. I came home in May, 1946.

I’ll tell you more next time. The address will do for the time being until we can find out a little more. Dave

For the rest of the week I’ll be posting the rest of this long letter, including a very interesting letter from Ced.

Judy Guion

World War II Army Adventure (127) Dear Gang – April 9, 1946

DPG - Dave in uniform

David Peabody Guion

Manila, P.I.

April 9, 1946

Rec’d. 4/16/46

Dear Gang –

Yep, still here.  Rumors still say we are to leave here April 13 – but the Gen. Heinzelman still hasn’t arrived.  I have three letters here which I shall answer.  The first is one written on Feb. 6 and send to Dan by mistake.  As this is all about the office, I’ll wait till I get home before I answer it.  I was glad to get a report on how things are shaping up, though.  The second was written on St. Patrick’s Day.  It contained little news but was nevertheless important.  A letter is a letter – even if it’s a short one.  I hope you all enjoyed yourselves in New York with the Stanley’s.  Wish I’d been there.

This third letter quotes a letter of mine in which I tell of being relieved of duty.  This one, I presume, is to be the last I received.  It was written March 24 and said that you are sending a copy to Aunt Dorothy in case I didn’t get it here.  By the way, thank you for Aunt Dorothy’s new address.  She sure does get around.  I probably wouldn’t have been able to find her if I hadn’t gotten this letter.  This brings me to your predictions on my arrival date in Trumbull.  The day before I received your letter, I set a date in my mind – a goal so to speak.  Figuring on leaving here Saturday (the 13th), and taking seventeen days across the Pacific (April 30), seven days across the country (May 7), three days in Fort Devens (the 10th) and one day to get home (May 11 – say 3:30 or 4:oo P.M.), my guess would be the same day as Lad’s.  The only trouble is that with this plan I’m allowing no time for the inevitable delays in Army transportation.  I’m figuring on no time in Calif. And I don’t think seven days ‘cross country is particularly slow for an Army troop train.  If I leave Saturday, though, I most certainly should be home sometime during the week of May 12 to 18.

My thanks to Lad for any and all work done at the office. I know you’ve been up to your neck, Dad, and I guess you had real need for the help.  Anything Lad does now will make it easier for me, too – so “Thanks, again, Lad.”

It looks to me as if Dan is having as much trouble getting to England as I am having trying to find a ship with my bunk on it.  I hope Dan’s nerves aren’t taking the beating mine are.  I’ll have had three weeks in the Depot next Saturday.  The usual wait is three to five days.  And to top it all off there’s no shoulder to cry on.

Guess this does it for this time.  When I get definite news that I’m leaving Saturday I may not have time to write – but I’ll try to say something even if it’s just – “I’m leaving”.  So – “till we meet again” –

Dave

Tomorrow I will begin posting a week of letters written in nineteen forty-five.  On Monday I’ll post a quick V-Mail from Lad to Dan.  The rest of the week will be devoted to a five-page letter from Grandpa to Benedicts and Bachelors. Judy Guion

World War II Army Adventure (126) – Dear Dad – Neglecting to Write – April 5, 1946

My Uncle Dave is getting impatient to get back to Trumbull.  This letter explains his frustration.

World War II Army Adventure (126) Dear Dad - Neglecting to Write - April 5, 1946

Manila, P.I.

April 5, 1946

Rec’d. Apr. 15

Dear Dad –

I’m truly sorry for neglecting to write at such an important time.  I left for the Depot on schedule just as I wrote.   But there wasn’t room for me on the boats that were here at the time.  I’ve been waiting at the Depot ever since.  As things stand now, I will leave here sometime around the middle of the month, getting into Frisco the first week in May.  I should be home around the middle of May.

The ship I’ll probably sail on is the General Heinzelman.  It’s arrival in Manila and it’s estimated time of arrival in the states is not yet definitely known because of storms in the Pacific.  But you can be pretty sure of seeing me is sometime between the fifteenth and twentieth of May.

I am well and unhappy – this business of waiting three weeks for a ship isn’t easy.

Don’t be surprised if I’m a little thin when I get home – hot weather never did agree with me, and I had fourteen straight months of it.  But it’s nothing that a little of your cooking won’t fix up in a short time.

See you soon –

Dave

P.S. Written in a hurry – hope you can read it.

Tomorrow I will be posting another letter from Dave to the Gang in Trumbull. 

Judy Guion