My Ancestors (33h) – Alfred P Guion – Marriage and World War II (3) – Lad to France and Marian to Trumbull

(1) Alfred Peabody Guion; (2) Judith Anne Guion.

 

From Life history of Alfred  P. Guion:

Nov. 1944 – shipped over

Marian drove the Buick with the trailer in tow from Jackson, Mississippi, to Trumbull, Connecticut, where she planned to live with Grandpa, get a job and wait for Lad’s return.  We know Marian was still in Jackson on November 1st and grandpas letter of November 12th tells us she is in Trumbull.

“Yesterday was not only Armistice Day but also Marian’s birthday, and following the usual custom, we celebrated it today.  Elizabeth, who came to dinner with her two boys, was able to get through her butcher a nice ham, quite a rarity these days, and that with some of Burrough’s cider of sainted memory, baked sweet potatoes, cauliflower, topped off with Guion’s celebrated prune whip, was followed with the opening of gifts amid the soft glow of candlelight — in the dining room of course.  Lad had sent me a bottle of Marian’s favorite perfume earlier in the week and this happened to be the last gift she opened which topped off things with an unexpectedly pleasant surprise for her.

Yesterday Lad wrote from “somewhere in the United States”, and was unable to give the slightest inkling of what is planned, but at least it is clear he did not sail Tuesday…”

Excerpt from Grandpa’s letter written November 19, 1944:

“From a significant lack of any definite word from Lad, we are all pretty sure he is now on the high seas or has already arrived at his destination, whatever that may be….. We are pretty sure he will go to the European sector rather than the Pacific, but even that is merely conjecture and a rationalization from what few facts we have.”

Excerpt from Grandpas letter written November 26, 1944:

”It was a real Thanksgiving week for us here in the main as far as letters from you boys were concerned.  Lad was the only one we did not hear from and that wasn’t his fault.  From “somewhere in France” the following very welcome message arrived: “Roughing it again!  A good excuse to write a letter!  I am sitting on an Army cot in an abandoned Nazi barracks, somewhere in France.  The pale light of a kerosene lamp acts as a monitor to my flailing pencil.  In the corner, a wood stove adds its pungency to the heavy odor of kerosene fumes, while a group of the boys are playing cribbage on an improvised table in the center of the room.  On the door Jerry has left “Conchita”,a  hard looking  Spanish beauty, smoking a cigarette and staring impersonally toward the doorknob.  Standing beside the stove is a burlap sack, plump with coke which we found near an abandoned gun site.  It will keep the chill from our slumber about 2 o’clock in the morning.  After I have such finished writing this letter I shall pay a visit to the café half a kilometer down the road.  We shall sit in the kitchen talking to the proprietress whose husband is a prisoner of the Germans.  We shall sip a glass of rather innocuous beer and lament the departure of more exciting spirits which accompanied Jerry back to Germany.”

From Life history of Alfred  P. Guion:

Langres, France:  6 months – operator – 1000 kva Diesel-Electric power plant.

Marseilles, France: 10 weeks –

While Lad’s Batallion was in Marseilles, he was able to obtain a weekend pass to Paris.  His brother Dan was getting married in Calais, sixty miles north of Paris.  Lad had been told that he was not allowed to go further north than Paris.  He took a train to Paris, left his duffel bag in a room at the hospitality center, slipped a comb and toothbrush in his pocket and headed north.  Very quickly he discovered the local train had too many stops and was moving much slower than regular street traffic, so he got off the train and started to hitchhike.  A British soldier on a motorcycle stopped and asked where he was going.  When Lad told him Calais the soldier said he would take him and actually dropped him off in front of the pharmacy that Paulette’s father owned.  Lad spent a long weekend getting reacquainted with his brother and getting to know his new sister-in-law and her family.  There is actually quite a bit more to this story but that will unfold in my regular blog posts.

From Life history of Alfred  P. Guion:

Aug., 1945 – returned to U.S.

Trumbull, Conn., – 7 weeks – recuperation furlough

Aberdeen,Md., – 7 weeks – waiting for discharge orders.

Fort Meade, Md. – 3 days – DISCHARGE

Next Sunday I will attempt to give a very condensed version of Lad and Marian’s married life in Trumbull, including the birth of their children.  Tomorrow I will begin posting a week of letters written in 1943 when all 5 sons are serving Uncle Sam in one way or another.  Judy Guion

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Voyage to California (41) – John Jackson Lewis – January to March, 1851

(1) John Jackson Lewis, (2) Edith May (Lewis) Rider, (3) Marian Faith (Rider) Irwin, (4) Marian Dunlap (Irwin) Guion, (5) Judith Anne Guion.

The following are transcriptions of John Jackson Lewis’s diary and journal of his voyage to California in 1851. He was travelling  from New York to visit his older brother William in San Jose.

Following is the rest of a letter dated San Jose, March 30, 1851.

We have potatoes, peas, turnips, radishes, cabbage, lettuce, onions and tomatoes, the last four of my own sewing, all up, and more planted.  I got my seeds through, I think, without their taking any injury from saltwater or tropical weather.  The onion, tomato, and cabbage seeds at any rate have proved their generative powers. xxxxxxx

After the accounts received at home of cash being required for all moneyed transactions, I have been surprised to find money one of the scarcest articles in the country.  People have to trust and take pay in trade, much more than in Chester County.  I have been also surprised to find that in this Valley of San Jose, which has been represented to raise such enormous crops of potatoes, the very few that we get to eat cost 10 cents per pound.  Other vegetables we don’t get at all.  I suppose the fact is, the demand for them exceeded the supply, and they have all been cleared out.  The potatoes used here now are brought from San Francisco, and are brought there I suppose from the Sandwich Islands.  Flour and cornmeal cost 10 cents a pound at the stores in the Pueblo, rice 20, sperm candles 10 cents each.  Beef costs 12 ½ cents per pound.  A full-grown hog is worth here from 75 dollars to 100 dollars, nearly as much as a pair of oxen.  These are worth from 125 to 250 dollars.  Birds are very numerous here: most numerous perhaps are the wild geese.  These settle down on the plains in flocks which might be counted by acres.  A large flock settled down for several evenings, within a mile or two of our house.  I twice attempted to steal upon them in the night, but did not succeed in finding them.  I also tried once about daylight, and another time on horseback, but they all proved “wild goose chases”.  I got one or two shots at them, but at too great a distance to kill any. xxxxxx

Our fare consists of bread, molasses, fresh beef, tea and coffee, with occasional variations of rice, potatoes, dried apples, boiled pork, and pickles.  Potatoes and rice however our rarities.  I hope to see vegetables of our own raising on the table before many months have passed away.

Tomorrow, more of the story of Lad and Marian during and following World War II.

On Monday, I will be posting a week of letters written in 1943.

Judy Guion

 

My Ancestors (33g)- Alfred Peabody Guion – Marriage and World War II (2)

(1) Alfred Peabody Guion; (2) Judith Anne Guion.

Lad and Marian in the Irwin’s back yard, 1944

Excerpt from a letter to Grandpa from Marian, written on a Monday, with a note in Grandpa’s writing: Pomona, Calif 7/10/44:

“Wish I could report some definite plans that the “Roving Guions” have made, but so far everything is still very much up in the air.  We might be here 2 days, 2 weeks or even 2 months – we just don’t know.”

Excerpt from a letter written by Marian on Monday (Grandpa’s handwriting: Post marked 8/7/44.)

“I know that the minute I put down in writing the fact that “we thought we were going to stay here for a while” the Army would change our minds for us….. Lad is supposed to leave here Wednesday or Thursday for Flora, Mississippi, and I am going to drive the car and meet him there – or rather at Jackson, Mississippi, for there is not much more than the Army Post at Flora.”

Excerpt from a letter written by Marian on Monday, 8/14/44:

“Yes – Here we are again.  Still sitting in Pomona wondering what we’re going to do next.  Evidently there was too much publicity regarding the current move of the 142nd Battalion (practically everyone in Pomona knew about it!)  Or maybe they were unable to get a troop train – or maybe just because.  Anyway, we haven’t gone yet, altho’ we are practically completely packed, and have gotten our gas coupons.”

NOTICE OF CHANGE OF ADDRESS, dated August 16, 1944, with an address for Flora, Mississippi.

Excerpt from a letter to Grandpa from Marian, written Saturday night from Wakeeny, Kansas (Grandpa wrote 8/28/44):

“Something tells me that this letter should be a clever epistle, containing references to cross-country pioneering etc. etc., but I’m afraid I don’t have the time or energy to think of something suitable.  But I do want you to know that so far we have had a pretty good trip, we are making good time, the car and trailer are holding together, and that I am getting nearer and nearer to Jackson, Miss.  (Hallelujah !!!!  It can’t be too soon for me)”

From Life history of Alfred  P.  Guion:

Flora, Miss. – 9 weeks – Instructor, Automotive electricity;

1 week – designing plan for overseas base shop

Excerpt from a letter to Grandpa written on a Wednesday (Grandpa’s note: Jackson, 9/14/44):

“We’ve moved again, but not out of Jackson.  Our new “home” is very much nicer than the 1st 1, and we have kitchen privileges, so we don’t have to eat out.  And from what we’ve sampled of Southern cooking, we are just as glad!  Somewhere along the way I’ve been sadly misinformed about Southern cooking.  (That’s not the only a dissolution – I imagined sitting on a porch, sipping mint juleps and sniffing magnolias and honeysuckle! something is definitely wrong! Mississippi is as dry as can be, and beer is a poor substitute for a mint juleps!”

Excerpt from a letter Marian has written to Ced on it Tuesday, ( I checked the calendar and believe it was written October 2, 1944):

“We had a very pleasant weekend this last week.  (Sounds peculiar, but you know what I mean!)  After various telegrams 2 and fro, we finally made connections and were able to spend most of the weekend in Little Rock, Ark., with Dave.  He had gotten a 3-day pass from Camp Crowder, and lad had gotten a weekend pass, so as Little Rock was practically the middle point from Camp to Camp, we drove up and Dave came down on the bus……  – Now I’ve had the pleasure of meeting the 3 of the Guion boys two more to go.”

Excerpt from a letter from Marian to Grandpa on a Thursday (Grandpa wrote Jackson, 10/26/44):

“The Battalion has been issued new clothes, and they have been given until Nov. 1st to dispose of their cars, but it seems to me we went through this routine once before at Pomona, and look how long it took us to get out of there!  Nevertheless, we are re–arranging and packing as much as we can, so that I can leave here on a moments notice.  We haven’t the slightest idea which P.O.E. the fellows will be sent to, but in case it is New York, or its vicinity, I’d like to be around there as quickly as I can get there, in case Lad has a chance to get away for even a few hours.”

WESTERN UNION TELEGRAM to Grandpa dated Oct. 31, 44:

HOLD CHECK FOR MARIAN CAN YOU WIRE $35.00 IMMEDIATELY TO MARIAN I GUION 303 LONGINO JACKSON MISS FOR TRIP TO TRUMBULL DEPARTURE THIRD.

LAD MARIAN

Excerpt from another letter to Grandpa from Marian on a Wednesday (grandpa writes Jackson,11/1):

“All the wives are supposed to have gone home, and no more private cars on the post.  But lad took the car today, anyway.  He’s going to park it outside the gate, so that I can pick it up if he gets restricted……  Just to be on the safe side however, we packed the trailer last night, so that it will only take me a few minutes to put the last minute things into the car and be on my way home.

Incidentally, Dad, I’m really looking forward to living there at Trumbull.  It seems to me to be the best place of all, other than actually being with Lad, and think of the extra nice company I’ll have…..

I’m leaving here tomorrow or Friday, at the very latest.  When Lad comes home tonight, he’ll know a little more about their coming restriction, I think, so that he’ll have an idea whether or not he will be able to get home tomorrow night.  If he can all stay until Friday, but I’m pretty certain I’ll leave then.  So if everything goes according to schedule, I should be home sometime Sunday, probably late in the evening.”

Note added to the end of this letter by Lad:

“Marion is a wonderful girl, Dad, so please take care of her for me.  My happiness, and practically my life, is wrapped up in her.  I know you will, tho’, even without my asking.”

From Life history of Alfred P.  Guion:

Nov, 1944 – shipped over

 

Army Life – Dear Dad From Marian – August 7, 1944

At this point, Lad is expecting to be sent overseas and Marian will drive the Buick and trailer to Orinda, California, to have a short visit with her parents and then she will head to Trumbull for a reunion with Grandpa and the rest of the family there.

Monday

(postmarked 8/7/1944)

Lad and Marian - Pomona, CA

Lad and Marian – Pomona, CA

Dear Dad: – –

I knew that the minute I put down in writing the fact that “we thought we were going to stay here for a while,” the Army would change our minds for us. Maybe I’ll learn some day that I’ll never know what the Army is planning from one minute to the next. Lad is supposed to leave here Wednesday or Thursday for Flora, Mississippi, and I am going to drive the car and meet him there – or rather at Jackson, Mississippi, for there is not much more than the Army Post at Flora. Jackson is about 20 miles away from the Post, and as it is the capital of Mississippi it can’t be too awful. Some people must live there. But every report we’ve gotten so far, from fellows who have and who have not been there, say that Flora is nothing more than a h___ hole in the very worst degree. Not very encouraging, is it, but if we go there expecting the very worst we might be pleasantly surprised. I hope so, anyway. Whether this is to be a training center or a staging area or both we don’t know. Last month the Battalion was very “hot” and practically on its way overseas, but things cooled down considerably and we heard that another Battalion had been sent across instead. So, as usual, we don’t know very much about what we are doing. But we hope for the best.

It looks as though I’m going to have to postpone my very muchly anticipated return visit to Trumbull. May I have a rain – check, however, so that I may arrive at a later date? The only bright spot in the idea of Lad’s going overseas is the prospect of being with you again – and not just because of the snow, either! Perhaps I’ll be a little late, but I might show up yet.

It is going to take all our available cash to move, Dad, so once again we are going to have to ask you to wait for another payment on our loan. We never seem to have a chance to save for these unexpected trips. They come much too suddenly and often for us to adjust the family budget! We are not sure of Lad’s new address. As soon as we know it, we will send you a card. And although we expect to move from Pomona on Wednesday or Thursday, don’t be too sure of it. Our next letter might still come from Pomona, because knowing the Army as we do, I am not leaving here until I know for sure that the fellows are on the train and on their way.

Mother’s operation was very successful. Already she can see 50% better than before, and the doctor hopes that in three months time, when she gets her glasses, that she will be able to see 100% better. So that is very encouraging, and now that the mental strain and worry are over for her, she should improve quite rapidly. I’m still planning to stop by Orinda on my way to Flora, although I won’t be able to spend very much time there.

With all our love,

Marian and Lad

The rest of the week will be devoted to a letter Grandpa wrote to his five sons scattered all over the world. They will be shorter than usual postings but the natural breaks in the letter worked out this way.

Judy Guion

Army Life – Dear Dad – Lad arrives in L.A. – September 22, 1943

     Lad and Marian – Pomona, CA

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

September 22, 1943

South Pasadena, California

Dear Dad:

I arrived in LA at 4:10 A.M. and, so help me, Marian 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 P.M. 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 A.M.. So I went back to the Y and slept all afternoon and evening.

About 10 P.M. 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 P.M. 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 A.M. till after 4 P.M..

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 Wednesday, we’ll read a long letter from Grandpa to his four sons in their various locations, filled with news about each of them. Thursday a quick note from Lad and a longer letter on Friday.  

Judy Guion

Voyage to California (37) – John Jackson Lewis – January to March, 1851

(1) John Jackson Lewis, (2) Edith May (Lewis) Rider, (3) Marian Faith (Rider) Irwin, (4) Marian Dunlap (Irwin) Guion, (5) Judith Anne Guion.

The following are transcriptions of John Jackson Lewis’s diary and journal of his voyage to California in 1851. He was travelling  from New York to visit his older brother William in San Jose.

Excerpt from a letter written by John Jackson Lewis to family back in the states written on March 12th.

The next morning, after unloading the lumber, we  proceeded about a mile and a half up the stream to the place where goods destined for Santa Clara and San Jose are landed, and there I disembarked.  San Jose is called eight miles from Alviso  and three from Santa Clara, Santa Clara six miles from Alviso..  I did not succeed in finding a conveyance direct to this place, but a waggoner who had just arrived with a load of quicksilver, told me that he was going back to Santa Clara immediately, and that communications were quite frequent between there and the Pueblo.  I took with him at $2.00 for myself and trunks,, and in a very reasonable space of time, we set down to Santa Clara.  Here again conveyance for the transportation of baggage were wanting, but as I had not much further to go, I concluded to leave my trunks, walk over to the Pueblo, and trust to finding a conveyance there, with which to return and get them.  While talking about it, a man who is about started the hotel at Santa Clara told me that it was not likely I could get a card to perform the journey both ways for less than $5.00, that he had a table and two benches at San Jose, and that if I could get a team to bring them over and return with my trunks, he would be willing to pay $2.50.  I arrived at this place about 1 or 2 o’clock, went directly to Williams office (John Jackson Lewis’s brother), found no one in, but soon met him in the street.  He looks more robust and healthy than I remember ever seeing him before, and about as civilized as when at home, shaves as much of his face as he did there, and wears quite respectable clothing.  William’s horse was let to Captain Winslow, and was absent, but after waiting until about 3 o’clock on March 11th, I succeeded in getting started for Santa Clara, with his horse of the Captain’s mule geared to a two-horse wagon, and the table and benches loaded in.  I received $2.50 from the tavern keeper, thus reducing my expenses from San Francisco to $3.50, – obtained by trunks, returned in safety, and now I have the satisfaction of stating that I have arrived here, so far as I know, in good health, and without losing any of my goods or chattels, even of the value of a tooth-pick.  I have also something over $30.00 of my money still in my pocket.  This valley is indeed beautiful.  The winter has been exceedingly dry, so that the growth is not so luxuriant as usual at this season of the year, but the plains are covered with green herbage, sufficiently high to afford good pasturage.  In some places considerable tracts are yellow with buttercups.  The valley is beautifully level and smooth, dotted places with groves of live oak or willow, while the mountains on either side, covered in some places with redwood, and others with live oak or large fields of wild oats, prevent the eye from becoming wearied with the monotony of a level surface.  William and Sherman Day are in partnership in farming as well as surveying.  They own two farms, one of 200, the other of 100 acres, but in consequence of the dry weather, are farming only the latter it is situated near the Coyota Creek, about 2 miles from town, and is a very pretty and evidently fertile piece of land.  It’s situation does not admit of irrigation from the creek, but water could be found a short distance below the surface, and they propose to dig wells and raise water by means of pumps, worked by windmills.  This I suppose will be practicable, unless the water fails in the summer.  There is a new frame house on the farm, 60 x 22 ft., one story, with a loft above, and a well of water with a small iron pump in front of it.  There is a good deal of fencing done, and several acres of ground ploughed, some of which is planted with potatoes, turnips, radishes and onions.  The radishes and turnips are showing themselves above the surface.  A considerable number of pear trees, and several hundred grapevines, are also in the ground.  They had two men and a boy hired to work for them and live in the house. Wm. and Sherman live in town, rent an office, and and take their meals at a restaurant run by a man from Buenos Ayres.  I have eaten there several times, and fared sumptuously.  I suppose my home will be at the farm but I am not yet established there.  I have as yet slept with Wm. at the office, and generally taken my meals at the restaurant, sometimes at the ranche.  Of our fare at the ranche my experience is too limited to permit me to say much, so I leave that for the future.  I think we could get along with tolerable comfort.

Tomorrow, I will post more about Lad and Marian’s early married life during World War II.

Next weeks posts were not planned this way, but I will post more about the developing relationship between Lad and Marian, which results in their marriage in November.

Judy Guion

The Beginning (23) – Reminiscences of Alfred D Guion (1884 – 1964) – Moving to Trumbull

The following memories are quotes from “Reminiscences of Alfred D.  Guion”, written in 1960 while he was on a four-months “around the world” freighter trip. 

At this point I will begin adding the memories of the children as they were growing up.

The Trumbull House – circa 1928

(This picture is preserved on a 4″ x 4″ glass slide)

A.D. – And now having recorded some of the events in the first two decades of my life spent in the state of New York, let us look further east to Connecticut, where up to the present time, two or more decades have seen the childhood, youth and adulthood of most of my children and their families.

How did we come to settle in Trumbull?  Almost purely by chance.  And it all happened because of a few weeks vacation spent at my brother-in-law’s summer camp in Connecticut.  One day Fred Stanley, who had married my wife’s sister Anne, told us he had rented a little shack in the woods near Sandy Hook, Connecticut, on the Housatonic River, and as he could use it only part of the time, he asked if my family would be interested in occupying it for a couple of weeks.  We were, and one summer morning we loaded up the old Franklin with beds, mattresses, clothing and food and with five children and two adults, escorted by Fred to show us the way, we started merrily on our adventure.  Approaching  Danbury, the most awful bangs, rattles and clanking left no doubt that something was seriously wrong with my car.  Luckily a Franklin repair service was located nearby and here we learned that a main bearing had burned out, which would take a couple of days to repair.  By dint of persuasion, seeing our plight, the headman finally consented to put all hands to work to try to finish the job by nightfall.  Fred was to go onto the camp with the children in his car and Arla and I would stay with the Franklin until repairs were completed.  While I watched the mechanics at work, Arla spent several hours chatting with the proprietor’s wife, who, she told me afterwards, painted a glowing picture of an old house they owned in a small country place called Trumbull, too far away for them to drive in while conducting a business in Danbury, but evidently a dream of a home.  She must have been a good saleswoman because Arla was so enthusiastic from the description given that when vacation time was over and I had to get back to work, she persuaded Fred to drive over to the place.  It was a case of love at first sight and nothing would do but I must see it too and discover what an ideal place it would be for the children.  I, too, was pleased with it

It was obviously out of the question as a practical proposition because, with a job in the lower part of New York City and a Connecticut home seven miles from the nearest railroad station at Bridgeport, itself fifty-five miles from Grand Central Station, only a madman would give the matter a moment’s consideration.  She reluctantly agreed and the subject was abandoned, in my mind, at least.  As it has often been said, it is unwise to underestimate the power of a woman.  Returning home from work several weeks later, I found her one afternoon busily sketching at a table covered with several sheets of paper, and on inquiry, was told that she was figuring out how our present furniture would fit in the Trumbull house.  Seeing how serious she was, there followed several weeks of weighing arguments pro and con, ending in the decision that, for the children’s sake, I would take the chance and try commuting between Bridgeport and New York.

Tomorrow and Friday, early memories of living in Trumbull. 

Judy Guion