Army Life – Lad Arrives in L.A. – September, 1943

Lad and Marian – Pomona, CA

Now Grandpa knows that Lad arrived safely back in California. In his typical analytical style, he tells the whole story.

September 22, 1943

South Pasadena, California

Dear Dad:

I arrived in LA at 4:10 AM and, so help me, Marion was there to meet me. In fact, I’m writing this at her house and this is her pen and ink. Here is the story. Bridgeport to New York – O.K.  –  left Grand Central at 6:30 PM and after a pretty good rest arrived in Chicago at noon. I had till 6:30 for the train to LA so I went to the Santa Fe-Harvey office. Got a job in a few minutes on a train leaving on Tuesday at 7 AM. So I went back to the Y and slept all afternoon and evening.

About 10 PM I got up, wrote a letter to Marian, had something to eat and returned to bed. Got up at 5 AM and went to the station. I was 4th cook and did nothing but dishes from 10:30 Tuesday morning until 11 PM Thursday. Boy, I don’t think I ever worked so hard. It was terrific – but, at least I wasn’t bored by the trip and I had very good meals and an upper. Slept from about 12 or one o’clock till 5:30 each night. We were five hours late arriving in LA, but she was there, with a smile, as usual, and my spirits rose perceptively. She had made arrangements for me to stay at the USO dorm, so I had something to eat and went to bed. I slept from about 6 AM till after 4 PM.

I had a key, which Marian had given me for her house, so I went there for a shower and then reported back to camp, got my pass, and took up where I had left off 16 days earlier. As I look back, those five days at home were some of the most enjoyable days I’ve ever spent, but they went far too fast. I went to the rationing board here and they gave me the ration points, but said that in the future to go to the local board at home. So take a mental note of that. It is a new O.P.A. regulation.

For two days now we have had typical Southern California September weather, hotter than hell. The air so hot, that desks and chairs or anything else is almost uncomfortably hot to touch. It was 116° today, and this is supposed to last until the middle of October. However, I really don’t mind it at all. Marian doesn’t like it too well. It has cooled off a little now, and we’re going to an open-air theater tonight to see “The More the Merrier”.

Give my love to Aunt Betty and anyone else and I’m expecting to take your suggestion and write to Grandma.

Lad

Tomorrow and Thursday, we’ll read a long letter from Grandpa to his four sons in their various locations, filled with news about each of them. Friday will be another letter from Lad .

Judy Guion

Special Picture # 246 – Lad’s Trip to Florida With Friends – March, 1936

I knew that my father had taken a trip to Florida with these guys because Art Mantle’s niece, Cindy, (my friend from childhood) sent me a couple of pictures of my Dad. A while ago,I was looking for a particular picture and I came across this picture. A few weeks later, I was looking for the same picture and came across this letter that I don’t ever remember seeing. Some additional information on that trip.

 

Art Mantle, Carl Wayne, Arnold Gibson and Lad Guion

I had thought this trip had taken place in 1935 because that’s what my Mom had written on the back of this picture. The letter below is postmarked March, 1936. 

 

 

 

 

Thursday

SARASOTA

FLORIDA

Dear Dad:

        How do you like our new stationary. We  got some  from   each of  the  numerous  Hotels  here, but I think this is the best. We  are here  in  Sarasota  visiting  some  distant  relatives  here of Carl’s.  It is really a very pretty place and  the  weather is  fine. The  biggest trouble  is  the  sulfur  water  but  we  are  beginning  to  get  used  to  it.

        If  you  want  to  write  you  can  send  it  to  general  delivery, Miami. We  are  leaving  here  tomorrow  afternoon  for  the  last  leg of  the  trip  in  a  southern  direction.  Everything  is  fine  except that  after  leaving  Aunt  Anne’s  * Monday  afternoon  and stopping  at  Silver  Springs  for  a  short  visit, a bearing  burned  just  outside  of  Ocala. This  time  it

was  number one. But  again  the  Ford  is  running  fine. Now I have  invented  an  oil  pump to  keep oi l  in  the  front  of  the motor  to  eliminate  the  trouble  of  overheated  bearings.

        We  all  went  swimming  this  afternoon  and  got  slightly burned  on  the  beach. The water was  cool  at  first  but  after  the first  dip  it  was  pretty  good.

        We  are  going  to  look  the  town  over  tonight  and  I still have  to  get  shaved  and  dressed  so  as  much  as  I hate  to,  I will have  to  let  it  go  until  some  other  time.

        Hope  to  hear  from  you  in  Miami.

                                                                       Love

                                                                           Lad

* Lad and his friends, Art Mantle, Carl Wayne and Arnold Gibson stopped to visit Grandma Arla’s youngest sister, Anne (Peabody) Stanley in St. Petersburg, Florida. This is where Elizabeth (Biss) went during her Junior year in High School to help Aunt Anne care for her two children, Don and Gwen Stanley, in 1934. This story is told in the Category, “St. Petersburg, FL”.

Tomorrow, I’ll begin posting letters written in 1942. The year is just beginning and Draft Boards are getting busy.

Judy Guion

Dear Boys – Lad’s Visit and News From Brazil – September, 1943

Well, Lad has come and gone. Grandpa’s first paragraph says it all. At least he has some good news to report – he’s finally heard from Dick, so now he knows where all of his sons are, even though they are getting farther and farther from home.

 

 

 

 

Trumbull Conn.    September 12, 1943

Dear Boys:

I don’t know whether it’s old age, hay fever or a general letdown after saying goodbye to Lad (probably a combination of all three) but I’m feeling a bit low right now and not at all in the mood to write a nice, cheery letter. The week has seemed to go so quickly. It hardly seems any time at all since Lad walked into my office last Tuesday and relieved me of worry that he might have been involved in one of those severe Labor Day train wrecks. He hasn’t put on any weight and looks about the same. It was mighty good to see and talk with him, even though half (more than half in fact) of his furlough time was spent just in going and coming between the Atlantic and Pacific coasts.

I really should feel all pepped up after the pleasant birthday celebration that marked the days dinner hour. Elsie and Elizabeth joined the festive throng, Jean made a delicious birthday cake which she got up early to make, in spite of the fact she needed the sleep, having been up late the night before. Then it being a beautiful, breezy, sunshiny day we all went outside afterward fr some picture taking. Another event beside Lad’s presence to mark a high spot was the receipt of a letter from none other than Dick, and earlier in the week, the second V-mail letter Dan has written from England. He apparently is stationed not far from London, as he speaks of frequent visits there and of enjoying his visit in England.

Dick says he is allowed to state he is in Brazil. He purchased a pair of boots there. “To all appearances these boots are of average quality and the purchaser feels he has made a ‘shrewd deal’ until he starts out on a rainy day. He sets out jauntily on a short stroll with his shiny boots kicking up little sprays of sand (of which there is an abundance). After having traversed a few hundred yards of damp sand he suddenly becomes aware of a slight dampness on the soles of his feet. Not wishing to ruin his new boots he decides to return to the barracks and put on his G.I. shoes. Halfway back the dampness has definitely increased to a wetness, and by the time he reaches shelter the papier-mâché souls are trailing along behind and his toes leave neat little imprints in the sand. Feeling slightly frustrated, he consoles himself with the thought that there is a war going on and we have to be satisfied with inferior quality products. On every article in town there are two prices — one price for ”Joe’s” (American Soldiers) and another price (about 2/3d’s less) for Brazilians. All kidding aside, though, I like it pretty well. The people have accepted the American soldiers and act friendly most of the time”. Thanks, Dick, old son, for the letter and of course I am glad to know you enjoy getting my weekly efforts, poor as I know some of them to be.

Aunt Helen phoned me last night to wish me many happy returns. She is leaving for Miami the day after tomorrow and hopes to get up to see us on their next visit to New York, whenever that may be.

Grandma Peabody

Grandma Peabody

Grandma writes she has had another bad spell. She says: “Dorothy is following doctor’s orders, insisting I must have my breakfast in bed and that I must not do any kind of work that may tire me. So you see I am really good for nothing. I am more than sorry it turned out as it did with my stay in Trumbull because I really enjoyed being there with you. This letter seems to be mostly about myself but I thought I would explain as near as I can that my illness is more or less serious.” Incidentally, if any of you boys could find time to drop Grandma a card now and then, it might be something you would not regret.

She further says that Aunt Anne has given up her job with Condé Nast and wants to get work in New York and live there. Donald has been back to this country for the second time (Newport News, VA) and has probably left again. He is fine and evidently enjoying his work. Charlie Hall and Jane Mantle, as you probably know, were married. Mrs. Ives gave a party for Charlie and Jane, Carl and Ethel, and Lad and Babe (Cecelia) on Saturday night.

Well I guess that about winds up this evening’s effort, so let’s call it quits for this week, with best wishes from

DAD

Tomorrow, more Special Pictures.

Next week I’ll be posting letters written in 1945. Lad and Dick are both home, enjoying time with their wives.  Dan is still in the Army but hoping to get out on points and waiting for the time that Paulette and his first child can travel to America, Ced is still in Anchorage, Alaska, and Dave is in Manila, Philippines.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Dear Ced (1) – Dick’s Homecoming and Dan’s Engagement – December, 1941

Trumbull, Conn., Dec. 28, 1941

Dear Ced:

This is one letter that I shall not have to scratch my head to think of what to say. It is intended to be a sort of report on our Christmas doings, as well as news of the week’s doings, and because the relatives will probably be interested in some of the timely topics herein after recorded, I am sending them a carbon copy.

Dick’s Homecoming

          Your airmail letter of the 14th was received on the day before Christmas and in view of your statement that the sailing of Dick’s boat of the Alaskan steamship line had been canceled indefinitely because of the war and that it would wait for a convoy to Seattle, we had given up hope of Dick’s arrival in time for Christmas. I proceeded to the office with that thought fixed in my mind which is perhaps the reason why, when I arrived and found a note on my desk to call a New York operator, I did not connect it with Dick but thought perhaps it might be Elsie telling me that, because of the rush of work, she could not come up until Christmas morning. Even when the operator asked me if I would accept a collect call from Mr. Guion I failed to get it and told her I presumed it would be from Miss Guion, but to put through the call anyway. The first words I heard were: “Hello Dad, this is Dick”. He said the boat had anchored for two or three days in the harbor, had finally sailed and a short time later put back into port again. They finally sailed in earnest, made the trip with as little light as they could show at night and finally docked at Seattle without mishap. Lad, in his car, accompanied by Dan and Barbara and Jean Mortenson, went down to Aunt Elsie’s hotel where he was spending the day. Aunt Betty and I, thinking he would be home before midnight, waited up for him, but by 2 o’clock Aunt Betty gave it up and went to bed, and three quarters of an hour later they arrived. Dick looked a little taller, no stouter and of course adorned with a little mustache.

Marriages

          Last night in my capacity as Justice of the Peace, your Dad spliced two couples in the little old alcove with the fire flickering in lieu of Mendelson’s wedding march. The men were both from Scranton, Pa. and the girls both from Conn.

Early Christmas evening the news was released that earlier in the day Jean Hughes and Chester Hayden had been married by Mr. Powell at the Hughes’ home and were on their way to New York for a brief honeymoon. He had been working at the Aluminum Company of America plant and had to be back to work Monday.

The big item of news under this general heading, however, was the display by Barbara of a solitaire diamond ring that Dan had given her that day in acknowledgment of their engagement. It is Dan’s present intention not to get married until this international mess is cleaned up and the future seems a bit more assured than it is at present. In this connection Dan has still had no further news from the draft board other than what they told him some weeks ago when he phoned them and was informed that he would be ordered into service sometime in January. It has been their custom to give selectees ten days notice but I don’t know whether the declaration of war has changed that custom or not. Dan said if he knew definitely he would quit his job a couple of weeks before hand. As it is now, starting today, he has to work Sundays also.

Tomorrow, I’ll post the rest of this Christmas letter to Ced and other family members. Something special on Thursday and Holiday cards on Friday. 

Saturday and Sunday, Special Pictures 

Next week, I’ll continue with letters written in 1943, when four boys are in the service of Uncle Sam.

Judy Guion

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

 

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.)

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 groped 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 writes 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 is final. The only thing that will make me bow to what will be considered in this instance as in evitable, is Paulette’s wishes in the matter, but outside of that, that 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 quote 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 denoument 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 been form— third request. You will just have to get daughter Paulette to write me in American to give me these Monday and 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 but the state of Connecticut, 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.

On Saturday and Sunday, a new series of letters written in 

Judy Guion

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

 

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. 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 theGgovernment 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 Sons: (and daughters Jean and Paulette) (1) – News From Jean (and Dick) – September, 1945

Trumbull, Conn., September 23, 1945

Dear Sons:      (and daughters Jean and Paulette)

Well, things have been running along here in their accustomed way. More of the boys are coming home with H.D.’s. Barbara (Plumb), I understand, has already sailed for home. Rationing is easing a bit. Gas, meat, canned goods, fuel are all easier. A few civilian goods long way off the market are beginning to appear, but strikes are mentioned more and more frequently in the daily papers – – labor demanding higher wages which of course will inadvertently result in a raise in prices and thus the vicious spiral starts again, inflation in the offing.

Lad’s 30-day furlough is practically up. He and Marian start out in the car tomorrow for Devens (Ft. Devens, Massachusetts), the idea being that if his leave is extended, as one newspaper report said was going to be done on the authority of Gen. Henry, then perhaps they can drive back together. On the other hand, if Lad has to go back from there to Aberdeen, as was the original intention, then Marian will drive back alone and we will then wait to hear from Lad as to what the Army’s future plans are for him. Personally, I do not expect they will send him to the Pacific area where the rest of his outfit is now and where he would be, if he had not gone to Dan’s wedding and thereby “missed the boat”. This week they toured New England, visiting the old Lake Winnipesaukee island of fond memories. No one is inhabiting it now but the cottage on the shore has been rebuilt. They visited Ingrid and Anna in Melrose and saw Lars Erik. They then toured through the White Mountains (Mt. Washington, the Notches, etc.), and Sunday reached St. Albans where they found Larry, Marian and Alan on a visit, then to Colchester and Burlington (unable to locate Fred), crossed Champlain on the ferry (remember the big pig?), Ausable Chasm, Saratoga (which they reached too late to look up the Osbournes) and home. Last night they had a final blowout in New York and right now Marian is doing some ironing and Lad is wrapping up packages to send to Dan with some clothes that Paulette needs and which I shall try to get off this week.

A letter from Jean (bless her heart) Correction. Letter is signed “Dick and Jean”, but if so, Dick’s handwriting has changed quite a bit – – must be the Portuguese influence. Anyway the letter says: “First of all, Dad, I want to wish you a belated birthday wish from Dick and myself. I meant to write sooner so it would reach you on your birthday, but I just didn’t get around to it. Poor excuse, isn’t it! “Happy Birthday” just the same, Dad, and we’ll be thinking of you. Dick sent you a box of cigars. Did they reach you on time? (Yes, thank you.) Well, Dick and I have been two very busy people this past week. We went two dances, a party, two movies and a USO show. That accounts for six of the days and the other one we entertained the Polish couple at our home! We had lots of fun but this week we’re going to try to get home early and catch up on some of our sleep. By the way, we’ve been gadding about since I got here. You’d think we were trying to make up for two years of separation in a few weeks. We aren’t – – it’s just that everything happens at once. It’s a lot of fun but a little tiring after a while. We haven’t had any pictures taken of our little house yet but as soon as we do, will send some to you. Dick’s assistant said he’d take some for us but he hasn’t had a chance to come out yet. I have a camera and films in my trunk but it is still someplace between here and New York. By the time it gets here, we’ll probably be ready to go home. That’s the Army for you – – slow motion.

The base is closing. They say everyone will be out of here by the end of the year. The fellows with the highest amount of points leave first, than the ones who have two years or more of overseas service – – that includes Dick, and he’s not sure he will go because I’m here. He wants to go home but he’d rather stay at this base than one in the states. They aren’t very strict so it’s really wonderful. We really don’t know what will happen, so you may be seeing us soon, or it may be a few more months. As you already know, you can’t depend on the Army. The fellows who have only a few months overseas will be sent to another base in this wing. All this business about the base closing has us in kind of a stew, though, we have two rooms of furniture that Dick bought and would like to sell it before we leave. Once Dick gets his orders we won’t have much time. Then again, if we were going to stay, we want to get a refrigerator. There is just no way of telling what’s going to happen so I guess we’ll just hang on to our furniture and continue eating at the base. Gosh, I’ll be so glad when this Army life is over and we will know what we can do. I’d like to ask another favor of either you or Marian. Would you take my beige wool dress and my green spring coat, that I sent home from Florida, to the cleaners?                                    Jean (and Dick)

Tomorrow and Wednesday, I’ll be posting the rest of this letter. Thursday and Friday will be the two parts of a Birthday Letter to Dave.

Judy Guion