Army Life – Lad’s First Letter Home (1) – Lad’s First Week in the Army – May, 1942

 

This is the first page of 11, a long letter to Grandpa telling him of all of his adventures after leaving Grandpa at the Railroad Station in Shelton/Derby, CT, on May 14, 1942.

APG - First letter to Grandpa from Aberdeen Proving Grounds - May 18, 1942

Pvt. A.P. Guion

Co. B 14 Bn ORTC

Aberdeen Proving Ground

Md.

May 18, 1942

Dear Dad: –

We left Derby on time and stopped at Ansonia. Here a second car was filled, and after a stop at Waterbury the third car was filled and our next stop was Hartford. Here we detrained at a few minutes before nine and walked about 1 ½ blocks to the Induction Center. There were so many of us that the complete inspection was not over until 2:45. The actual inspection per person was not more than 30 or 35 min., if that much. At 3 PM the 88 who had passed the examinations out of 169, were put into a separate car and in a few minutes a train coupled onto the car and we were off. The train stopped nowhere until it got to Worchester, Mass. Here a switch engine hooked onto our car and while the train went on, we were switched back and forth, and ended up on the track going in the opposite direction. Here another train picked us up and again we were off. Our next stop was in Ayer, Mass., where there is no platform of any kind. The tracks run through the backyard of Camp Devens. Here, with our baggage, we were again given a short march and after a little discussion concerning behavior in the camp we were issued raincoats and a barracks bag, another hike to Co. B, 1st Bn., and we were issued blankets. Incidentally, we detrained at Fort Devens at 5:40, 30 minutes ahead of schedule. Then came supper and bed making instructions and we were more than glad to turn in at 9:00.

Friday we rose at 5:45 A.M., policed the barracks and fell out for breakfast. Immediately after that we were taken to Q.M.C. and issued our uniforms. What a system. It takes about four or five minutes from the time you start, stark naked, til you emerge at the other end very well fitted from the skin out, and in six complete uniforms with two complete changes of everything else. Then came an Aptitude test – lunch – and a private interview. Back to the theater to be shown a film on the evil side of sex, a couple of short welcome speeches – supper – a couple of fallout calls to advise some of the men that they were leaving early Sat. morning and then to bed.

Sat – up at 5:45 and out for reveille where 10 fellows and myself were told we would be ready to leave at 7:15. A rush to breakfast, again to the medical section for injections and a vaccination, back again for clothes and we fell out at 7:21 for the trip to wherever it was. We were marched out to the same lot at which we detrained when we first arrived and here we were told to wait for further orders. We waited until 8:30 and then were assembled and marched back to the road again, a distance of a couple of hundred yards and were put onto a truck. By truck we were taken a few miles to Fitchburg where we again waited and at 9:21 a train pulled in. At the rear was a special car and we were loaded into this. By now we numbered 44. A sergeant was in charge. He would give us no information as to where we were going, not even if it were a long trip. However with spirits undaunted, we had a good time. At Greenfield, Mass., we were shunted again and changed direction of travel from west to south. Our next stop was at Springfield where we were put onto a siding and taken into the station for lunch. After lunch we boarded the car again and in a couple of minutes another train backed up and again we were off. We stopped at Hartford, New Haven, Bridgeport, Stamford and Penn Station. We were ordered not to mail anything or make phone calls until we arrived at our destination, so I could not write anything to you. A half hour stop in Penn. Station, while a Penn. Engine was put on in place of the New Haven, during which time we ate a box lunch, and then began a real ride. On the New Haven road we had made good time, and only a few stops, but the track was quite rough and I don’t think we traveled better than 45 or 50 M.P.H. The first stop on the new leg was at Newark and then began a fast non-stop trip. The only times we slowed down below 75 M.P.H. (according to my figuring – the mile posts were going by every 44 or 45 seconds) was when we switched from the local track to the express or vice versa. On this trip we passed two freight trains, two locals and one express. All of them moving. It took about 2 ½ or 3 miles to pass the express, but we did it. Our next stop was Philadelphia, then Wilmington and then Aberdeen. Here, to our surprise, we all got off and were taken by truck, in the rain, to our present location (see the letterhead). We were issued blankets, assigned to barracks and were glad to go to bed even though it was only 9:30.

Sunday we had nothing to do, and also being in quarantine for a two-week period, we could do nothing. I acquainted myself as well as I could with in our limited grounds, about 2000 x 1000 feet, and made a few purchases at the PX (Camp store – Post Exchange) which we are lucky enough to have within grounds and again retired.

Monday began our training and was spent in learning marching fundamentals.

Today, Tuesday, we heard from a few of the Big Shots on the duties of the Ordnance Dept., and this afternoon, more drilling. Just now we are having an inspection of all equipment issued to us. And so will end today. And, believe me, we are all glad to hit the hay at 9:00 P.M. when the lights go out.

Tomorrow, I’ll post the rest of this letter from Lad to his Dad, my Grandpa, all about his first experiences in and with the Army after his induction. Friday, another letter from Grandpa to his three sons away from home: Ced in Anchorage, Alaska, working as an airplane mechanic; Dan, being trained as an Army surveyor in Pennsylvania and Lad, who has just been inducted and is at the Aberdeen Proving Grounds in Aberdeen, Maryland.

Judy Hardy

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Trumbull – Mr. Cedric D. Guion, D.L.W., (1) – Delay, Linger and Wait – Dan’s Visit Home – April, 1942

 

Judy_0003

Trumbull, Conn.,   Apr. 13, 1942

Mr. Cedric D. Guion, D. L. W.,

Anchorage, Alaska.

Dear Sir:

If you are possessed of normal curiosity you will be wondering what unknown degree has been awarded you in your long absence from civilization (if you can term what we are now living in by the term of “civilization”). Is it some scholarly recognition of your penetration of the far north to repair planes atop of glaciers? No. Is it perchance for proficiency in snoring, which, according to the reports of one C. Heurlin, has reached a high degree of proficiency in your case? Again no. And it can have nothing to do with an Eastern Railroad which has not yet extended its rails to Alaska. Then, by heck, what is it? It is a long overdue and well merited degree in delayed correspondence signifying in all its pristine simplicity, “Delay, Linger and Wait”. That you have fairly won this award none will dispute, and if Chapters III and IV of the Saga of Plane Glacier, are as long arriving as Chapter II, it may be that by Christmas of 1943 we may be nearing the final chapter. All of which is by way of mention, as you may have suspected, that we have not heard from you of late.

Yesterday as I returned empty-handed from a trip to the P. O. Box 7 to see if there might possibly be an airmail letter from Alaska, I ran into Tiny Sperling who informed me that Nelly (Nelson Sperling) was married to a girl from Boston, having taken the step upon being made Sergeant, was at an army camp in Florida, in charge of mechanical work on automotive equipment and would shortly start for Australia.

Dan Guion

Dan Guion

During the week I received a letter from Dan asking for funds so that he might have available cash to purchase a railroad ticket home, and instructing that it be sent to his new camp in North Carolina where he expected to be before the end of the week. Of course I complied with his request. Last night a little after 10:30 the phone rang and a voice informed me that “Your son Daniel is at the Bridgeport R.R. station”. Hastily donning a few clothes and gently leading the Buick out of its stall, I vaulted lightly into the saddle and Paul Revered it up to Plumbs, placed Barbara on the handlebars and raced for Bridgeport. From Dan I learned he had not yet left for North Carolina, had of course not received my check, but through a combination of borrowing from one of his buddies, talking the ticket agent into advancing him cash out of his own pocket, and selling some postage stamps back to the U. S. Government, he finally reached Bridgeport with enough left over to make two telephone calls. He is leaving in about an hour to go back to Fort Belvoir and expects that surely this week he will make tracks for North Carolina where the rumor is he will be on a surveying crew. His application for officers training is still pending, but as this is said to involve mostly combat training, he may, after finding what the life in the map making branch is like, prefer the latter. It all depends on what develops. He looks fine, is apparently enjoying himself and doesn’t appear to be suffering from ill health.

Tomorrow, the conclusion of this letter with updates on various family members. The rest of the week will comprise two more letters from Grandpa to the two sons away from home.

Judy Guion

Army Life – Dear Family – Marian and Lad Find an Apartment – November, 1945

Monday

11/19/45

Dear Family –

Our status is no clearer now than it was last week, altho’ there have been a number of changes. Lad is in a new company — a perfectly foul one that treats their men worse than the basics. He has no definite job to do, because he has over 50 points, but he can’t get out as they are just holding him there. He has to report on the post at 5:45 — can get a pass every night, except Friday night (Don’t ask us why — even they don’t know. It’s just a company policy.) You have to be in the company four months (Heaven Forbid !!) before you can get a three-day pass, so we probably won’t be home very often. Because he’s in a holding company, he can’t apply for rations off the post — can’t have his laundry done on the post — can’t buy things at the commissary — can’t —— oh!, The list is endless. Now that I’ve presented the worst side, there are a few encouraging items. One — he hasn’t been sent to classification as yet, so that might make a difference, we hope. Two — because he’s a T/3 he won’t draw any company duties except C.2 — and that shouldn’t come up too often. Three — they are off duty by 11 o’clock Saturday morning, so we do have a fairly long weekend. And they usually get off at 4 o’clock on Wednesdays. Otherwise it is 5:30 before he can leave.

So – if Lad doesn’t pull C.2 on Thursday (or Wednesday night) we will drive up Wednesday night and be home for Thanksgiving dinner anyway. Bob is in the same Company but is hoping to be moved today or tomorrow, so he might not be coming with us. I guess one place more or less won’t make too much difference, will it?

Dad, please call Jean and ask her to get an extra pound of butter for us? Butter is a very scarce item down here, so I’d like to bring some back with us. Also, tell her that we will bring olives, pickles, nuts, candy (if we can find it) and anything else along that line that I might think of. They won’t be perishable, and we should be able to get them down here.

We have found an apartment such as it is — which isn’t too bad (We’ve been in a lot worse). It has a fairly large living room and bedroom and a fairly nice kitchen — good gas stove — icebox — and dishes and silver furnished. We share the bath with the couple in the other half of the duplex. Ice and milk are delivered four times a week and we are only five blocks from town. It really isn’t bad at all and it’s ever so much better than eating out all the time. We just hope we won’t be here very long.

Went to see the Chandlers yesterday. Took us forever to find the place but we finally made it. Only the two boys were home, however. Mike is 6 feet tall — Dave 6’3” !! Lad could hardly believe it. Mrs. Chandler’s step-mother had died, so she was in Kentucky — was expected home tonight. Mr. Chandler was speaking to a Young People’s Group in a town about 12 miles away (on our way home) so we stopped there and said “Hello”. Didn’t have time for much more. We hope to get back there again.

Hope we see you late Wed. night or early Thursday morning.

Love –

Marian and Lad

Tomorrow, another letter from Grandpa.

Saturday and Sunday, more Special Pictures.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Dear Dan and Dave (2) – News From Ced – November, 1945

 

Page 2    11/11/45

And now let’s hear from Ced.

“You now are in a way a sort of archaeologist delving deeply into the past and exploring some long forgotten man, that called Cedric. Of course others from time to time have made brief sketches of his habitat and some of his occupations, but for the most part, you probably find that his is a nearly dead memory. This would be true certainly for Dan, and to a lesser extent for Dave. Dan, I have not seen or written since September, 1941, he unmarried, unmilitarized, unEuroped, and the country uninvaded and unPearl Harbored. Dave has had the pleasure of seeing my personal self somewhat more recently, he having been home in the Christmas season, 1943. First off, I owe you both letters, long overdue. I am dreadfully chagrined at my failure to correspond with the newlyweds in Français. Be assured Dan and Paulette, that this is through no intentional snub, or even lack of interest on my part, but mostly to a phobia on my part on writing letters, and also due to the fact that I have been too, too dreadfully busy in Alaska. I must still take time, while I have it at home, to write a more lengthy and chatty letter, telling about Alaska and other items of interest to you two. I wish that I could write you, Paulette, in Français, but what little of it I received in high school would hardly bear repeating even if I remembered it at all. Perhaps when we meet you can teach me the language yourself. May I here take occasion to congratulate you with all my heart, and wish for you and yours the best of everything in the future.

To Dave, who has written me on several occasions and is perhaps still waiting vainly for an answer, I must also beg forgiveness, and I might add, I am highly interested in your broad-minded observations as to treatment the Japs should receive. Dave, I think you and I have a lot in common on this score, and one of these days I’ll write you a long letter answering all your questions and telling you a little more about what’s what. I will have more time in Alaska to write, as I am no longer tied up with the Ski Club administration, and hope to have less overtime at Woodley’s.

I just learned that this letter is also for Lad and Marian, and to them I just say “poo”.

This Taylorcraft plane is to be half mine, and half Leonard Hopkin’s. We are planning to put it on floats next summer and I hope to be able to have a commercial license by then. Leonard has learned to fly and has also a private license. His wife, Marian, is also learning, but hasn’t yet soloed. My intention was to fly from Ohio to Trumbull in the plane, but the factory was unable to install the extras before the 20th of this month, so I came on home by train, and will go back and pick up the plane if I can, on the 20th, returning to Trumbull with it (landing at Monroe) and being home for Thanksgiving and the balance of November. I should start back for Alaska about the first of December.

The Taylorcraft is one of the little planes, similar to the one I had an interest in, in Anchorage once before. It is however, a brand-new one, just being finished up at the factory next week. It will carry two passengers and 50 pounds baggage. Will cruise at 90-95 m.p.h., and fly nonstop without refueling, for about 5 hours and 25 minutes. It will have a high priced two-way radio of the very latest type, and should be a fine airplane. The cost of the plane landed in Anchorage will be approximately $3200, and will break my bank for some time to come, but this figure will cover protective insurance on the plane and I will have the benefit of all the flying time from Trumbull to Alaska, an amount of time which would cost me quite a little if I were buying it in Anchorage. Now enough of this item.

I have lots more good Kodachromes for the family album, and you will soon see them, I hope. Adieu for now, and Bon Nuit, Paulette.

Ced”

Tomorrow, part 3 and on Thursday, the conclusion to this letter. On Friday, Marian writes a note to the family.

Judy Guion

Special Picture # 261 – A Memorable Day for Ced – 1920’s

 

 

 

 

The following is from the Memories of Cedric Duryee Guion (Ced, son #3). I honestly don’t know if this picture was taken on the same day or if they did this on more than one occasion. I can’t identify each of the individuals in this picture, but my guess is Grandma Arla and her sisters are there. I also think the little boy in front is Ced.

“We still have a series of pictures of the old Waverley in the backyard. Rusty and some of his friends, my mother and my aunts, all dressed up in these beautiful period costumes from the 1800’s that were in good condition in the attic. They all dressed up in these clothes and we took pictures of them in the Waverley. Rusty pretended to be the groom and Aunt Dorothy was the bride. Rusty had his stovepipe hat on and all the ladies were all dressed up. Of course, the Waverley didn’t have any tires on it but it looked nice.”

Images of Waverley Electric cars:   https://www.google.com/search?q=waverley+electric+car&rlz=1C1NHXL_enUS724US724&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjy_d2KouLVAhVFZCYKHTZmBkcQsAQINA&biw=1448&bih=689

History of the Pope-Waverley manufacturer: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pope-Waverley

Trumbull – Dear Remnants of a widely scattered family (1) – News From Ced – November, 1945

Trumbull, Conn., November 4, 1945

Dear Remnants of a widely scattered family:

Lad came home again this weekend but still has nothing definite to report as to his future with the U.S. Army. He has presented to the Army authorities a request from Socony-Vacuum(the company he worked for in Venezuela from 1939-1941) asking that he be released so they can employ him in a civilian capacity after giving him some training. Possibly when next he comes home, he may have some news on this. According to newspaper reports, which of course have not proven 100% correct in the past, Dick should be released when he finally goes back to report the day before Thanksgiving (if you please). That leaves Dan still with a flock of “firsts” to his credit — first in the Army, (referring to you boys, of course), first in France, first to marry outside of the USA, first to be discharged, first to get a post-war job, but alas, NOT first to come home. Oh, well, you can’t have everything.

And Ced let loose a small atomic bomb in P.O. Box 7 this week — the nice kind of explosion, and small only in a relative sense. He writes he expects to get home for Thanksgiving — but here, I’ll let him speak for himself: (letter dated Oct. 24th from Anchorage, received Oct. 31st.) “Planning to have Thanksgiving dinner in Trumbull, I hope. Probably arriving in a new 2-place Taylorcraft. It is now 9 P.M. I am due at work at 5 A.M. tomorrow to send out the Juneau trip, so will make this brief. There is more work for me to accomplish before I leave than I can ever hope to do and I am about to go stark-raving mad. The Ski Club is stirring around on winter sports and election of officers, I should do some work on the Buick, straighten out all my clothes and belongings, as Morgans plan to sell their house. They are going to settle near Los Angeles after Chuck leaves the Army. (Chuckie died of appendicitis two months ago but two weeks ago, a new boy was born named Douglas. I will stop off for a visit with them in Seattle. Of course I have not enough time to do even the ski club work, as affairs at Woodley’s have been in turmoil and we’ve had lots of overtime. My finances are in a sad state and I may have to send you a hasty “gimme” wire one of these days, that I am hopeful of making the grade — at least till I get back there. I’d hate to ask you for funds, especially after the island deal — isn’t it fine to have the island, tho? We’ve had cold and blowing and snow this last week — miserable fall weather. See you all soon. Ced”

Now that, dear children, is a sample of a short letter that says a whale of a lot, and what a big wave of gladness it brought with it. Of course Ced, we’d like to hear all the details about the plane and your plans for the trip, but that all can wait until you get here, under the circumstances, particularly as with all you evidently have to do, there won’t be time for lengthy correspondence, so even if we don’t hear from you again until you glide down at the Stratford Airport, it will be O.K. incidentally, I know a Trumbull family that would like to be on hand to see you make that landing at the Stratford Airport. And of course if you need funds, your dad hasn’t failed yet to come across when called upon and it’s rather late in the day for him to start anything different. My credit seems to be still good at the bank even when the balance gets microscopic. It’s worth waiting a long time to get a letter such as this, with that kind of news and I wouldn’t mind even waiting as long as that again if it brought equally good news with it, each time.

Page 2   11/4/45

One of the boys that was with Lad’s outfit in France, came home with him this weekend. He is quite an amateur photographer and has just come in and snapped a picture of me at the typewriter writing you my weekly letter. If it comes out O.K., I shall send you a copy.

Grandpa, Marian and Lad, Jean and Dick  and Aunt Betty Duryee, in the kitchen of the Trumbull House.

Last time he came home with Lad he took a family group in the kitchen which came out well and when he goes to his home in Chicago, probably for Thanksgiving dinner, he expects to make up some prints. And speaking of photos, Dan makes a plea to send him recent photos of you all, and sets a good example by sending one of himself which I am sending on to you, and hope you will reciprocate. Dan’s address is Mr. Daniel B. Guion, O.T.C.Q.M., UST Graves Reg. Serv. Hq., TSFET (rear), APO 887, c/o P.M., New York City.

I have not the slightest idea what all these initials stand for but here’s a stab in the dark. (Maybe someday Dan will enlighten us), Officers Temporary Corps, U.S. Quartermaster, U.S. Temporary Graves Registration, Temporary Service Force, European Theatre.

For the rest of the week, I will have additional portions of this five-page letter.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Dear Dan and Ced (1) – A Long Snake With Bulges – Feb. 1, 1942

Biss - with Butch and family - 1940

Dan Guion, the first one in.

Trumbull, Conn. Feb. 1, 1942

Dear Dan and Ced:

Over the months, the number of carbon copies comprising my weekly letters waxes and wanes. If I should draw a diagram of them over the course of a year it would look like a long snake with bulges here and there, some larger, some shorter, some quite bulgy as though said snake had swallowed an ox and others and some, like the present, with two boys away, indicating the swallowing of only a rabbit or so.

For your information, Ced, Dan, after leaving Shelton, or Derby, went to Fort Devens near Ayer, Mass., where he stayed for just a week. Then came a postal dated January 28th, reading as follows: “Here it is! Engineers Replacement Center, Belvoir, Va. I am one of about 50 who is being sent to the destination of my choice. Most recruits go where they are needed, willy-nilly. Luck, wot? Belvoir is about 20 miles from Washington, D.C. I don’t know any particulars of my address or station but the future will soon disclose my lacking details. I leave Devens at 5 PM tonight (Wed) via (presumably) Pullman.” And that is the last I have heard directly from my soldier son except that Dave mentioned Barbara having received a card from Dan saying he had reached Washington.

Last week’s mail also brought a card from the local Draft Board granting Lad a B-1 rating until April. I had heard that both the President and Vice President of Producto had gone to bat for Lad on the basis that the company is doing 100% war work, and he, as head of the shipping department, fills an important post – – and incidentally filling it in a manner, so I learned, better than it has been filled by any previous man on the same job.

And as for you, Ced, my erring one, you know what the Governor of North Carolina said to the Governor of South Carolina, don’t you? “It’s a long time between drinks” and that applies to letters from Alaska. I just live on hopes as each day sees me fumbling with eager hands at the combination of P.O. Box 7. It is well, as some poet once remarked, that hope springs eternal in the human breast. There is one thing worse than no letter at all and that is to peek through the glass, see in the box and airmail envelope from Alaska, and then find it to be addressed to an absent brother and have the latest news tantalizingly locked up inside and legally padlocked by Uncle Sam. That to my opinion calls for the exhibition of remarkable qualities of self control on the part of one whom modesty prevents mentioning by name. As soon as we know Dan’s mailing address this small piece of torture will be forwarded to him. But for future guidance, don’t think you have written the letter home under such circumstances.

Needless to say, Dan, we were all jubilant here to learn the news conveyed by your card. So you ascribe it to luck, hey? Well, I’m not so sure. The Century Dictionary defines luck as “that which happens to a person by chance”. I don’t recall hearing that any of the great philosophers have ever written an essay on luck, but it might profitably be a subject for investigation. What proportion of luck consists in having improved passed hours and days so that when opportunity delivers its w.k. knock, there is not so large an element of chance in the preparedness of the person after all. The whole subject would be worth a little more probing. It might form the substance of a fireside chat – not the White House kind, but one of those interesting topics of conversation that to my mind are not indulged in as much as they merit, being crowded out of place by clever wisecracking (which is pleasing and has its place but should not be indulged in to the exclusion of all else), neighborhood gossip, argumentative subjects like the war, politics, religion, etc., but an opportunity to explore the other fellows mind and stimulate some extemporaneous thoughts and possibly unearthing points of view quite new and unique. Someone once said the art of conversation was a lost art and I have wondered if he did not mean something similar to what I have tried to get across above.

Tomorrow, I’ll finish this letter. 

On Saturday and Sun day, more Special Pictures.

Judy Guion