Trumbull – Extracts From Diary of Alfred D Guion – July, 1943

Extracts From The Diary of One Alfred D Guion

of Trumbull Connecticut For The Week

Ending July 18, 1943

Grandpa’s creative juices were again flowing freely and this week’s letter takes the form of a Diary, including all the interesting things that happened during the week. He actually ends up including just about everyone in the family – and even one that isn’t yet!

Monday, July 12.

Little did I realize when the sun peeked into my bedroom window that this was to be circus day for me, but such it proved, for just before noon Elizabeth phoned to say she planned to take Butch and Marty to “The Greatest Show on Earth”, and was seeking someone to accompany her as assistant child tender. The Big Top was stifling hot, Marty was restless and during the lull between acts fell through the seats to the ground about 2 feet down, injuring his pride, which fact he boldly proclaimed to one and all. While no lady clown was on hand to search for the missing Alfred, many of the acts were reminiscent of those other times when my own little tots laughed at the antics of the clowns, the fire and the men perched atop of innumerable tables and chairs who swayed back and forth until the laws of gravity intervened. After the show nothing would do but the boys must each have a balloon, which, filled with gas, floated appealingly in the air at the end of a string. Not 2 seconds after Marty received his and before Elizabeth could grab the string, Marty shoved his balloon upward. It went sailing gaily up over the telegraph wires and on its way over towards Lordship to cavort with Sikorsky helicopters. Marty was so surprised he didn’t even cry. A replacement was at once secured which we then tied to each youngsters waist.

Tuesday, July 13.

PO Box 7 this morning disgorged a letter from Jean – terse but newsy: “Just a line to let you know I’ll be home Wednesday, July 14. Dick was shipped this morning”. Later a postcard came from “private” (if you please) Richard, APO 4684, Miami Florida. Jean told me afterward that he had been demoted, temporarily she believed, because one morning he overslept, and his C. O. felt it was necessary, for the sake of discipline, to make an example of someone and Dick was elected.

But there was another letter in the box, all in red from arson Ced, telling of his method of celebrating Independence Day in Alaska, recalling the fact that this was the first time a fourth of July celebration had been held since the 12 days after he and Dan arrived in Anchorage. Woodley is running in a streak of hard luck. A new pilot just cracked up another of their planes.

Wednesday, July 14.

Jean appeared with a coat of Indianapolis tan, and found awaiting her in Trumbull, a reception committee consisting of her mother, Marilyn, Natalie, (her two sisters) Grandma and Aunt Betty. Since then Jean has been getting her room to rights and getting used to her life as an Army widow. While the great transportation arteries of the

Alfred (Lad) Guion in California

Alfred (Lad) Guion in California

country were doing their duty by Jean, Postmaster Walker was doing his stuff in the way of a letter from Lad. As the fellow who invented “near-beer” was said to be a poor judge of distance, so Lad seems to have difficulty getting his time right. He writes as of Wednesday night, but on the next page says it is 4:15 AM. Back to your old tricks again, hey, you night hawk! It was mighty good to hear from you just the same, Sgt., and I hope you’ll start a bit earlier (or later) next time and enlarge a bit more on what you are doing. You have a way of writing about things, giving details that make very interesting reading. If Marian knew what nice people we were back here in Trumbull, she’d grant you an hour or so of grace. This isn’t to be construed as complaint because you have been mighty good at writing. I have sons who do lots works. The following is quoted from a column appearing in the Bridgeport paper headed IN UNIFORM: (I don’t know where they get the information.)

GUION GETS MEDAL

Sgt. Alfred P Guion, son of

                                                                            Alfred D Guion of Trumbull Connecticut,

                                                                            won a Marksman’s Medal for rifle

                                                                           shooting recently at Camp Santa

                                                                  Anita, California

Thursday, July 15.

Daniel (Dan) Beck Guion

Daniel (Dan) Beck Guion

Up betimes this morning – a bit after 5 AM to be exact, because this was to be the day when the mountain went to Mohammed. Dan has been consistently evading accepting furloughs that his C. O. has been trying to force upon him on numerous occasions lately, and I made up my paternal mind that I wouldn’t let him get away with it any longer but would seek Daniel in his den, so off I goes to Lancaster. From 1:34 until 7:00 I tramped the country surrounding Lancaster without even seeing one lion, even less Dan, finally learning that his whole outfit had been moved, bag and baggage, to a rumored place about 40 miles distant. With tired heart and sinking feet (or vice versa), but with the old Guion spirit which refuses to be licked, I started to trail T-5 and at 9:30 that night, after sampling bus transportation in Pennsylvania, I arrived at a Service Club in Indiantown Gap (an exact replica, Lad, of the Service Club in Aberdeen) and was tapped on the shoulder and a level (or transit) voice inquired if my surveying of the premises indicated I was searching for anyone in particular. And who do you suppose it was? Right! We never decided who was the more surprised, and I guess we’ll never know. I stayed in his barracks that night by permission of the Sgt., ate a  soldier’s breakfast at six something and after a nice long talk, in which I forgot to ask several things I had come down to find out about (one was what disposition Dan wanted made of his auto which is standing unused in the backyard), I took the 10 AM bus on my return journey (Dan’s time was up anyway), and after transportation delays and journeys in air-conditioned cars which weren’t conditioning, finally arrived back home a bit after 8 PM. Dan expects to be shipped out soon, but when or where is a deep, dark secret.

Saturday, July 17.

Aunt Anne phoned to ask if it would be all right for her and Gwen to come up to stay over with Aunt Dorothy. Gwen, it seems, is with her mother in New Rochelle for the summer but expects to go back to school in Vermont in the fall. Today was Jean’s birthday, which she spent with her family in Stratford.

Sunday, July 18.

Due to being back on the old kitchen detail, I have to divide my Sunday time now, once again, to getting dinner and trying to do odd jobs around the house. Today

Aunts Dorothy, Anne and Helen

Aunts Dorothy, Anne and Helen

I wanted to do some repairs on the old washing machine and also get the laundry tubs in working condition, but had time only for the latter. And I didn’t get the grass cut either. (Dave was busy praying for his father who failed to keep holy the Sabbath day). Carl is now in the Merchant Marine, but can’t land the kind of job he wants because of his colorblindness, so he says he may be peeling potatoes or doing any other job where it won’t matter if things are pink or purple. Barbara is being given a farewell party tonight by the young people. I was invited and intended to go, but it was so late when the Aunts finally got away and I needed a shave and had not written my weekly blurb (even now it is 10:20 and the shave is still to be) and I haven’t had any supper, and it’s getting near the end of the page so I’ll end this now.

Your faithful

DAD

Tomorrow, a letter from Bissie to her older brother, Ced, in Alaska. Thursday’s post continues along these same lines as Grandpa writes a short paragraph on where everyone is and what they are doing. On Friday, a letter from Lad from ther Hospitality Center in South Pasadena, California.

If you are enjoying these letters from an earlier time, please share them with others you think might also enjoy them. If you click FOLLOW VIA EMAIL and enter your email address, each post will automatically be delivered to your inbox. Now how easy is that???

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Dear Benedicts and Bachelors (2) – News From Ced – September, 1945

This is the next portion of a 5-page letter from Grandpa to his 4 sons away from home. Lad has been discharged from the Army and is home in Trumbull with Marian.

And from Ced, bless his heart, comes the following under date of August 23rd. “Last week I wrote up the missing link of the Farwell trip, included with this letter. Next week I’ll try to get off a new chapter in the adventures of the three invincible, or should I say, “three men on a cat”. Since you have been so patient in waiting I shall try to finish the balance soon. Now, the last letter you sent mentioned a great many planes down in Georgia and I have mailed the R. F. C. a request for information on these ships. In the meantime, I learned that the new planes will be out very soon and so I am looking into that angle also. I have made tentative arrangements to go on a 50-50 basis in buying the plane with Leonard and Marion Hopkins. They’re the people who have the clothing and sporting goods store in Anchorage at which I got those clothes just before going home two years ago. They are both ski club members and I think you have pictures of them in that ski club rally set of pictures. Marion was the head of the membership committee who stood behind the desk. They have given me absolutely free rein in getting the plane but I think they rather favor a new one. The new Aeronca will sell for approximately $1800 f.o.b. Ohio. They will be available around the first of Sept., and just how soon after that I could get my name on the waiting list is problematical. The Aeronca is the most likely choice at present. The Hopkins are extremely generous people, and I have no qualms about going in with them on this deal. Fact is, Leonard really bends over a little backwards on this deal, although I suppose he figures that a mechanic is a good one to tie in with, just for the purpose of maintenance. At any time either of us want, we can either buy or sell to the other, whichever is most agreeable. The upkeep will be jointly carried with my biggest share of being in the labor while his will be capital. Felis, the radio operator at Woodley’s, is co-dealer with another local man for the Anchorage Aeronca Agency, and he could probably get me some extra considerations. I am still waiting to hear from the R. F. C. before taking any definite action. In any case, I hope to get out fairly soon to pick something up and fly it back to Alaska. Don’t be surprised if I dropped in on you at the office one of these days.

Enjoyed the dual blow-by-blow account of the Guion nuptials and hope I can soon meet both the major parties. I have now three wedding gifts to present after the family’s return to a home somewhere. Incidentally, I am looking forward to seeing Marian again – – our meeting was so brief and under such turbulent circumstances, with she and Al about to take off for California when the clutch was repaired on the Buick and I hastily grabbed the proverbial last rail on the observation car as I beat a hasty retreat from Texarkana in my whirlwind scamper across thecountry.

Think what all this war will mean in experiences as we look back. All the hardships and headaches and for much too many, heartaches. I feel especially privileged in looking back and realizing that to the best of my knowledge, there have been no members of our immediate family, relatives or close friends who have had to undergo the real hardship which has been the misfortune of so many. We are indeed a lucky family as we not only came out virtually unscathed but acquired two fine additions to the family (and Jean) in the persons of Marian and Paulette.

On top of that I get a half reduction in my January rent due to the bet with Chuck Morgan, and that I took the side that the war with Japan would be over by the first of the year. It certainly is wonderful to realize that the war is apparently finished, if only we can avoid anymore. I presume the celebrations were as hilarious back there as here, perhaps more so, as we only celebrated the cessation of hostilities, while for you poor ration plagued individuals, it speeded the unshackling of so many of the restrictions with which you have been forced to put up. Well it looks as if it’s all over now and I look for a lot happier  and more prosperous period  for a while at least. In Anchorage, the horns, sirens, whistles and bells all sounded out the glad tidings and, the streets were alive with people it brought to mind Dan’s description of the celebration in Holland, even to the rain which pattered down steadily all night long which, just as in the case of Dan’s invention, failed to dampen in the slightest the glowing spirits which prevailed.

The report is that there were 10,000 gallons of liquor consumed on that first night on 4th Ave. in Anchorage! What headaches there must have been the next morning. The police were out, as were the M.P.’s, but the order was to apprehend no one unless the violations were severe. Of course there were lots of arrests – – a bunch of soldiers and civilians stormed the South Seas Club and walked out with half the furniture from the place, damages running to about of thousand dollars over the days gross receipts. There were many fights but most of it was just good friendly fun. Servicemen appeared in bright neckties, suit jackets, army pants, sailor hats or any other outlandish mixture which came their way. One M.P. accosted Bob Barnett while he was en route to the house here and said: “Hey soldier, unbutton your collar.” That was typical of the type of feeling which prevailed. Officers insignia were a dime a dozen and there must’ve been lots of fraternizing between enlisted men and their officers, judging from the number of privates who blossomed out major and Col. clusters. There was a two day holiday to go along with the celebration, although it, of course, didn’t affect me. We worked right along just as we would any other day.

For Dan’s benefit, Harold Rheard, with whom he used to work and ride to work and who is now Anchorage’s City Engineer, ran  in to me at one of the bars (no, I wasn’t there to drink) and yanked a handkerchief out of my jacket pocket and threw it to a soldier and shouted, “Here, soldier, here’s a civilian handkerchief for you.” The handkerchief was one of those nice ones which Aunt Elsie gave me when I was leaving to come back up here a year ago last February, but under the circumstances I willingly let it go.

One of the more bawdy incidents of which I only heard was the case where a girl in an upper window of the Anchorage Hotel did a striptease, throwing her clothes out of the window one at a time while she stood in full view and the crowd cheered her on. I questioned the fellow telling the story as to how far she got and he said, “All the way”.

Woodley’s is in an extreme state of flux again, the shop men are fighting among themselves, all telling their troubles to me. There is a new man who is going to take over the operations, leaving Art free to run the Washington D. C. end of the business, and to make new financial contacts – – I think he has tied up with Mr. Boeing of Boeing Aircraft and United Airlines in some way or other – – and other executive duties. The Anchorage-Seattle run is still not out of the frying pan but rumor has it that we are going to get two new DC-3’s (C – 47 Army designation) in 4 to 6 weeks anyway. We started the Kodiak run last week and it looks as though it would be a good one. I am still flying when I can – – put in an hour and a half today. Love to Marian and Aunt Betty. CED

I share the doubt that is evidently in the back of your mind as to the advisability of joint ownership. There are so many unforeseen circumstances that might occur, conditions change, people apparently change and what looks favorable today may tomorrow become a headache. I don’t mean to be pessimistic and in your case, everything may work out, but my observation and experience teach me that a situation of this sort has potentialities for unpleasant development. So, if you can swing it, is better to be all on your own. One thing about this plane business to my mind is of paramount importance and that is no economy should be practiced at the expense of safety. Guard against “familiarity breeding contempt” lest your knowledge of airplane mechanics lure you into taking a chance that a less confident person would avoid. “There speaks the cautious father”, I hear you say. All right, I’ll admit it but who has a better right. After all, I’ve only one Ced, and you’re it.

Tomorrow, I’ll be posting the final sections of this very long letter with a note from Doug Chandler and other local news.

On Saturday and Sunday, more of the life of Mary E Wilson, an English girl who arrived in 1925 as a young teenager. She is in her early 20’s and experiencing life.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Dear Benedicts and Bachelors (1) – Dave Sent to Manila – September, 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 still hard to believe. 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 theJaps 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 March 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

Yes, Dave, I called up Eleanor and she was of course interested to hear about your latest move. She asked what we all have been asking each other, “What does this mean?” in terms of your homecoming? And of course the answer is a large lettered WHO KNOWS? Your birthday is not so far off and so far I have not been able to hear a thing about the camera so I am afraid it won’t get to you for your birthday. We’ll be waiting for your next installment to see if it throws any light on this new move. Does it mean a promotion, part of the Army of occupation on Japan, a visit to China to aid in their communication system, or what? At least it means you are seeing another part of the world and that is interesting.

Tomorrow and Friday I’ll post the rest of this long letter, including a very interesting letter from Ced.

hJudy Guion

Trumbull – Gentle Readers (1) – Lad’s HOME – August, 1945

Trumbull, Conn., Aug. 20, 1945

Gentle Reader:

The old boy must be slipping. Here it is Monday night and his Sunday letter isn’t written yet. Oh, of course there’s a reason. Guess what – – – LAD’S HOME ! Yes, he snook in on us Thursday night at about 10 o’clock. Aunt Betty had gone up to bed, Marian was in the kitchen indicting her daily missive to the absent Lad, and I was in my chair in the alcove just about ready to put out the light and go upstairs. I heard the back door open followed by some queer noises, but paid no attention to it as the young folks in the apartment drop in occasionally. Then Marian yelled for me and I came in to find prize package # 1 in all its glory. It put a definite end to the mental gymnastics Marian and I have been practicing since we read in the paper the announcement of part of Lad’s Bn. having landed, trying to figure out if so, when he would phone. Ever since Sunday I have slept with the door open and the sleep alerted ear attuned to the phone eill. Early in the evening when ring 2 (We had a Party Line at the time and the Guion residence was two rings.) came up, either Marian or I would rush expectantly to grab the receiver and each time experience a corresponding let-down. They almost had me fooled Tuesday. At 2:20 AM I awoke with ring 2 making the signal, and grabbing my flashlight so I could hurry down the stairs in one hand, I threw off the bed close with the other and made a flying start for the stairs. THIS IS IT, says I. It couldn’t be anything else at this time of night. Halfway down the stairs my pajama pants fell off, almost tripping me up in my haste (darn these stretchy elastic waistbands when they get old). Anyhow, I bunched them up and continued my headlong flight. A man’s voice said, “I’m phoning for a friend of mine” (Lad of course, it flashed across my mind) (who wants to get married!” Oh boy, what a let-down. I’ve heard of a fellow losing his shirt for a friend but never one losing his pajama bottoms for a friend of someone who wants to get married. From that time on I gave up expecting to hear from Lad so his arrival was all the more a surprise. He looks fine / hasn’t changed a bit as far as I can see. No evidence of deeper lines of mental stress or worry, weight about the same. Just the same old Lad that went away one and a half years ago.

But to get back to my reason for this letter being a day late. Burr Davis, Lad’s godfather, who has a summer cottage at Candlewood Lake, had invited Marian to visit them, and as this was to be Mr. Davis’s last weekend there, Lad invited us all to hop in his car and make it a family visit. We did and had a very enjoyable time, but alas it was too late when we got home to start a letter, and while I fully intended to make up for it during the day at the office, I just didn’t get the opportunity. So, here we are back to beginning. Who will be the next to upset the smooth tenor of our ways by returning home unexpectedly? Dan? Mebbe. I am waiting to hear what his next letter may have to say on this subject. Then perhaps Dick may be next although in view of the fact Jean has just joined him, it is Lad’s guess that this procedure would not have been permitted if they didn’t foresee the men being down there for a year longer. However a letter today 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.

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, and after that, another 5-page letter I’ll squeeze into 3 posts. Enjoy.

Judy Guion

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

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 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.

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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.

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.

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

 

Tomorrow and Sunday, I’ll continue the story of Mary E Wilson and her early years here in America. Next week I’ll begin posting letters written in 1941. Both Lad and Dan are facing the real possibility that yhey will be drafted soon. The pressure isn’t quite as strong for Dick or Ced and, fortunately, Dave is still in high school. Judy Guion

Trumbull – Dear Children – A Momentous Week – August, 1945

 Trumbull, Conn.,   August 12, 1945

Dear Children:

What a momentous week this has been! The atomic bomb – – the Russian declaration of war – – the Jap offer to quit (on condition) – – the full account of Dan’s wedding. Both internationally and personally, what untold future possibilities are opened up for you all! Almost overnight the whole aspect of things changes and the long hoped-for day when you can all be home again draws appreciably nearer. One has to sort of pause and think and even then is unable to visualize the endless changes in present outlook and future potentials of these stirring days. Of course the big thing that is most obvious is the time when you will be coming back, but big as this seems to us now, the harnessing of the atom for man’s service for peace-time use is almost too big for man’s mind to grasp its fullest significance. We are truly living in a great age, and while I may not live to see its maximum development, you boys have a wonderful prospect before you.

Meantime, to get back to earth, I don’t suppose you boys individually know any more about what the next few weeks have in store for you that we do here. Here are a few of the many questions that step on each other’s heels. Will Dave stay in Okinawa? Will he be part of the Jap army of occupation? Will he be home for Christmas? Will the end of the war affect Jean’s permit to go to Brazil, or is that a permanent enough base so that Dick may be expected to stay there for some time yet. If so, how long? Has Lad already left for the Pacific? If so, how far has he gotten and will he continue or will the Army cancel, with VJ day, all shipment of further men to CBI area? How soon will they lower the point release figures so that Dan can qualify for discharge and when can he and Paulette come home? Will Ced stay in Anchorage or come home? Will a lot of planes now be thrown on the market so he can pick up one very cheap, either around here or up there? Anyone finding the answer to any of these questions may earn a generous reward by communicating with the writer. (I can’t forget I’m an advertising man).

As to Dan’s wedding, which refuses to be blacked out by international developments and which we have been all waiting for so long to hear about in detail, I am attaching collateral accounts of the event by one of the victims and a sympathetic spectator. We will lack the feminine touch (what the bride wore, etc.) which, in truly masculine manner, the eyewitnesses have failed to record, but maybe Paulette will supply these details so dear to the feminine heart, for Marian’s and Jean’s benefit, to say nothing of the sisters and the cousins and the aunts. I have received a most friendly letter from M. Senechal written in quaint English, which I prize most highly and in which he speaks in glowing terms of Dan. (This note will be quoted in Grandpa’s next letter.)

Telegrams and letters from Jean announced safe arrival at Miami. She says: “The plane trip was quite wonderful, except from Washington to Columbia, where it was really pretty rough. We ran into such a thick fog I couldn’t even see the wing of the plane, and we had many air pockets making the plane drop and rock and roll. That’s when my stomach did a few flip-flops and my heart skipped a few beats. I was more than a little scared. After we left Columbia, tho, it was really beautiful. The weather was clear and I could look down and

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see all the cities. Then I relaxed and concentrated on my magazines. Why, I feel just like an old timer at flying. They served us lunch after we left Washington – – stew, mashed potatoes, frozen peas, radishes, olives, hot rolls, butter, tomato salad, peach tart and coffee. It was so good I ate every bit of it. When we left Jacksonville they gave us our dinner – – fried chicken, beets, string beans, roles, melon and cherry salad, coffee, pudding and cookies. It’s pretty wonderful, the things they can do on a plane. Of course they don’t cook these things on it – – they are put on the plane at a stop nearest the time were supposed to eat and then kept warm in containers. We got to Miami a little after 9 and the Danby’s met me. They have a darling house about 7 miles from the city. It’s nice and cool out there – – not at all as I had expected it. Wednesday I reported. They gave me two shots, one in each arm, for typhoid and yellow fever. I have to have three more, so I’ll be here for a while yet, and then, when my passport comes, I can be on my way. (Later letter said the passport had come).

Ced, Just a few minutes ago Ted Southworth came in and told me that last week he had been hired to fly a ship back from Georgia to Mass. and that down there were from 3 to 4000 planes of every description that the Army is selling (the bigger ones on time) and that Art Woodley, if he hasn’t already covered his needs, might write, as you could also, to the R.F.C., Bush field, Augusta, Ga., and ask for a list of the planes for sale. Taylorcraft, Aeronca and Pipers such as you are interested in, and of which there are hundreds, sell from 550 to 1150, while the larger biplanes such as the Fairchild (open job) sell from $850 to 1275. The 1-2’s, he says, seem to be in excellent condition. Art might be interested in the Lockheed transports they have, Lodestar, Ventura, Hudson or possibly the Twin Beaches. What they can’t sell they will probably scrap or burn.

Dave, there is nothing new about the camera. The Rangers did not hold any blowout here for Johnny Vichieola last Saturday.

Dan, I am wondering if you received the package containing your tripod. What happens if you have sailed for the states? Do they follow you back home or return to sender?

Dick, I asked Jean if she would ask you to send me another box of Brazilian cigars. Let me know the cost and I will remit. If this gets to you before your birthday, many happy returns I’ll be thinking of you and hoping and wishing all good things.

Lad, thanks for sending me the maps of Paris prepared for servicemen. I tried to locate Drancy but the maps were not on a large enough scale, showing Paris only. It was interesting to see the location of various places one hears so much about.

How would you boys like to have some nice homemade rhubarb pie, rhubarb from our own garden baked by Marian’s masterly hand? We had some for dinner today. In our present frame of mind, I’ll gladly pick some more and she’ll gladly bake if you’ll promise to drop in before the month is out. Are you on? Meanwhile, atomically yours,

DAD

Tomorrow, another letter from Grandpa letting us know what has been going on in Trumbull for the past week. Things are moving fast right now and it is hard to keep up.

On Saturday and Sunday, more installments of the Autobiography of Mary E Wilson.

Next week, we’ll jump back to 1941 as the war moves closer to Trumbull and Grandpa’s sons.

Judy Guion

Autobiography of Mary E Wilson (5) – Leaving England – 1925

Mary's Mom and Dad

Mary’s Mother and Father

Mary’s mother had sent money from America to their father to pay for passage for her children but Mary’s father had spent the money on other things. Mary’s mother, Hezabinda, tries again, but this time she sends the money directly to a Travel Agency. It looks like Mary and her brothers, Jim and Arthur, might actually make it to America this time.

DEPARTING ENGLAND

Meanwhile, my Mother had accumulated more money for our passage again but she sent it to a travel agency this time. My father was furious and very angry because my mother had not trusted him with the money. He seemed willing to go to America but my Mother had tried to get us to America without him. We had our passport pictures taken again and we were vaccinated. My brothers were so excited but I had mixed feelings because I was so hurt. Our Mother had left us and would not return home. I felt she did not love me and she had been away so long.

My wardrobe was awful and my brothers had only the English type of clothing. When the time came for us to embark for America, I was really frightened. Grand-da went with us to the railroad station and he quietly gave me some money for myself before we got on the train.

En route we stopped at Uncle Dick and Aunt Isabel’s house. She was such a beautiful woman and what thrilled me was that she had been a dancer and actress before she married Uncle Dick. They had three children but I was so envious of them because they all seemed so happy together. Aunt Isabel danced for us and I thought she was so pretty and dainty – so unlike the average mother.

Why were Uncle Dick and Uncle George so different from my father? I did not know that they were not in the war like my father.

We proceeded to Southhampton where we took a room near where the boat was docked. My father decided he wanted to go out for a while and I think I started to yell bloody murder. All I could think of was my father had in his possession my Mother’s $100 “lending money”. The landlord came and wanted to speak to my father because we were too noisy. I got a slap across the face but he did stay in the room until morning.

The next day, we boarded the President Harding, which was an American ship and finally we were on our way to America. The second day of our voyage, our father left us and “camped in” with a large Irish family and we did not see him until the day we landed in New York.

It was November and it sure was cold and we did not have the right kind of clothing. The sea was so rough that I was so seasick I felt I wanted to die. There was a stewardess who evidently felt sorry for me. She washed my hair and really cared for me and brought me food that I could keep down.

My brothers were natural sailors and explored every inch of the ship and had a marvelous time. For once they were getting enough to eat. We had what we called Thanksgiving dinner and I did not know what it meant because I did not know anything about American history and customs.

Next Sunday, Mary tells us of her experience landing at Ellis Island . It is quite a story.