Trumbull – Dear Friends, Roamers and Countrymen (3) – News From Marian And Dan Paints A Picture – September 10, 1944

Marian Irwin

Marian Dunlap Irwin

And now some late news from Marian. “Practically a week since I’ve been here in the fair city of Jackson – – and high time that I got a letter written to you. On the last day of our trip we had tire trouble – – not too bad, really, and considering the roads we went over I’m surprised we didn’t have more. One of the trailer tires went out and we had to use the spare for the car, but as it was the last day of the trip I didn’t mind too much – – I was sure we could limp in for the last hundred miles and we did. We stopped by the Camp to see if we could reach the fellows by phone to tell them we had arrived safely, and while I was waiting in the Provost Marshal’s office for the message to be put through, the fellows arrived at the gate ready to go out for the evening. We really timed that meeting well and Lad, wonderful person that he is, had already found a place for me to stay, so I didn’t have any house hunting problems the very first night. We are looking now, however, for an apartment, but they are few and far between. I have plenty of time during the day, however, and if the weather were just a little cooler it would help a lot. It is awfully hot and very humid and the nights don’t cool it off at all. There are thundershowers quite frequently and they help a little. Lad’s present training set-up consists of night classes – – he is to do part of the instructing – – so I might be able to see him just on weekends. I’m waiting to see what Lad’s hours are going to be before I look for a job. It will help if I have something to do and also keep my mind off the foul weather. Two letters from Ced last week – – one written in March which failed to reach us at Pomona. He mentions a package we were supposed to have received, which we are tracing.

Daniel Beck Guion

And another letter from La France. “It is early morning in a coastal town, and I am sitting by a window of a second rate hotel near the waterfront. A dismal rain accentuates the drab grayness of the narrow street – four stories down. Most of the windows up and down the street are still shuttered tight from last night but slowly the place is becoming alive. Across the way, the door of a stenographer’s school is opened. One of the American soldiers greets the young lady who has appeared by saying, “Bon jour” in rather bad French. The girl looks up and smiles. “Cigarettes?” questions the soldier, holding up a package for her to see. She nods, still smiling. He tosses the package down. It lands in the street in front of the door. She runs out, picks it up, says “Thank you” in equally poor English, waves goodbye and disappears into the building. A few men pass by dressed in faded blue trousers and shirts, wearing dark blue berets. They are on their way to work – – perhaps to work for the Americans who have recently arrived. They seem quite oblivious of the rain as they pause in front of a shop to exchange a few words with the proprietor who is loitering in his doorway beneath a bedraggled French flag. A few more shutters are thrown open and I can see a woman shaking out the blankets of her bed. Down the street in the direction of the docks is a hotel with a gaping hole which reveals a mass of charred beams, rubble and a bed half hanging over the edge of the remaining foundation. The destruction has been wrought perhaps by the blowing up of the harbor installations, but more probably, by an American bomb before Jerry pulled out. Back up the street the woman has finished making the bed and is standing just inside the window fixing her hair. There is electricity in town but many of the houses must wait until the wires are repaired before they can have lights again. I hear above the drizzle of the rain a sudden splash on the pavement. Someone up the street has emptied a basin of water out of the window. All this I have just seen in the rain. But yesterday noon it was quite different – – the soldiers were forming a “chow” line; the street was alive with khaki, the rattling of mess kits, the voices of many children who played or watched nearby or even canvassed the line for “souvenirs”, bonbons, chewing gum, insignia, pocket knives, etc. A small girl stood near the rinsing pan, insistent that each passing soldier should permit her to dip his mess kit into the hot water and hopeful, of course, that she would be rewarded occasionally. Older folks stood in doorways looking on with amused tolerance.”

Dan         And that’s all this week. DAD

Tomorrow, a Birthday Poem written by Grandpa.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Dear Offspring of a Small Explosion – Advice From Grandpa – September 3, 1944

Alfred Duryee Guion (Grandpa)

Trumbull, Conn., September 3, 1944

Dear “Offspring of a Small Explosion”:

Well, why not? That’s the definition of “pop”, isn’t it, and anyway there is justification in the term due to the fact that I have just been sneezing away at accelerated tempo by reason of the fact I have been wandering through fields and brush for the last hour on a child hunt. Sometime late this morning Skipper and Susan disappeared and not having shown up by 2 PM, their mother scoured the immediate vicinity by car and “mother calls”, which proving ineffectual, the neighbors gradually joined in the search, still to no avail. Finally Kit decided to call the police, and being just a big Boy Scout at heart, I decided to brave the naughty pollen and put in my little two cents worth of searching. I chose for my particular territory Reynolds sandpit and thence both sides of the stream and neighboring woodland from there down as far as Levy’s. After an hour the pollen definitely won and here I am jabbing downwards between teardrops with an occasional sneeze for punctuation. However it was a vicarious sacrifice on my part for I learned after returning home that a few minutes after I had left, the two children came nonchalantly strolling in, having been spending the time in a study of animal life watching the horse in Reynold’s barn. If Sue grows up to be a second Rosa Bonheur I shall feel reconciled to the price.

You will be cussing me, I suppose for a bothersome hair shirt, but here goes for another whack at the desirability of knowing where you want to go so that you can set an intelligent course for your goal – – this time it is an editorial from the Bridgeport Post: “It is characteristic of youth to live for the moment, grabbing the fleeting hours with little thought of the morrow. But the theory that life is brief at best and that it is up to the liver to have the best time he can while he may, is not a fancy confined to youth. Among the world’s most dismal failures are those whose schooling, skill, mental power and discipline of will were all invested for a short life and a gay one (My friend, Roger comes to mind). Therefore, one of the best tests of maturity is the capacity of looking far ahead and of realizing that “the road passes on through the long afternoon and stretches away in the night”. Paradoxically, shortsighted people discover that life is not short, but long, much too long. For the day’s work they have insufficient training, capital or experience. For the fullest enjoyment of the sunset of the years they have insufficient health and nerve – force. So, in life planning, as in other issues, the longest way ‘round is often the shortest way home.”

Dan-uniform (2)

Daniel Beck Guion

Personally, I think this view is a bit too austere, but I do sincerely believe that while we can and should snatch enjoyment from life as we go along, there is nothing to prevent us at the same time knowing where we are headed for and having our fun while traveling this particular road. Dan, for instance, seems to have the capacity of getting a great kick out of whatever he is doing, as witnessed the last V-mail letter which has just arrived from “somewhere in France”. And by the way, note his new address. Co. A. 660th Engr. Topo. Bn., Hq. Communications Zone (Forward European Theatre of Operations) APO 887 C/o PM, New York, N. Y. He writes: “Observe our new address! Terse, eh? Mail service is abominable these days, but the war makes up for it. I am finding less and less leisure time as you no doubt are well aware. I am constantly exposed to what I consider to be the greatest enjoyment of life, i.e., the observance of (and participation in) exotic customs, habits, sites and languages. However heretic it might seem, I am almost disappointed to realize that the war is nearly over! It is amazing how quickly one can lose contact with the past. I have no idea what goes on in the U.S. — the latest songs — movies, politics, business trends — even London seems distant now. The other day I was talking to a couple of WACS. I was shocked and disappointed in the way they talked. After becoming accustomed to the English girls the American girls seem vulgar – loud. I realize those WACS were average Americans but I cannot help feeling that those of us who have been in Europe for a year or so will find America a bit difficult at first — and wonderful, too.”

(Query – am I to give thought to the possibility of having an English, or possibly French, daughter-in-law?)

Carl was over here just before dinner time and he read Dan’s letter. His experience with the English girls is at variance with Dan’s. His months leave is up tomorrow and he now goes down for another assignment – – where or on what kind of ship is of course unknown. He told me of meeting a Capt. John Trunk in Cartagena, Colombia, S.A., which he thought Ced might be interested in hearing about. It seems the captain is associated with a branch of Socony-Vacuum known as the Andean National Corporation and is a flying instructor. Carl went out with him to the airport and looked over their 12-seater seaplane.

Alfred Peabody Guion (my Dad)

Both sides of the APG branch have been heard from, and when you realize that Marion wrote en route, from Kansas, and Lad from a place where he says “perspiration is running off me as I write worse than it did in South America, and that is H O T”, it really means they made a big effort to keep us posted, and by the same token it is very much appreciated. Lad’s trip was attended by a hot box on his train, causing a couple of hours delay until they could transfer to another car. They were en route from Monday to Thursday. After diligent search, Lad finally located a place in Jackson which is about 19 miles south of his camp at Flora. Lad hopes his stay will not last more than five or six weeks as the combination of humidity and hot sun makes it extremely uncomfortable. He also speaks of receiving an absentee ballot from Helen Plumb, which I asked be done in the case of each of you (except infant Dave). He’ll love that infant part. Naturally, I haven’t heard from him, and incidentally Marian, if you had been able to stop at his camp you would not have found him as he was out on a hike.

Marian Dunlap (Irwin) Guion (my Mom)

Marian says the trip as far is Wakeeny, Kansas, from which she wrote, was accomplished without more than the necessity at the start of having to have a couple of small part replacements. There is someone with her because she says “we”, but I don’t know whether one or two are along beside herself. “We have been through some beautiful country. The Salt Lake desert was very hot and dry but the past two days have been cool and comfortable. In fact this morning we were downright cold. We were going through the Rockies and at one time were at an elevation of 11,315 feet.

Your insurance, Ced and Lad, is due this month and I shall, of course, take care of the premium as usual.

And that’s about all, except that Aunt Betty and Jean send their best, being wafted on to you on a couple of sneezes from

DAD

Incidentally, according to the radio, today is the 1000 day of the war.

For the rest of the week, I will post a long letter from Grandpa to his scattered flock.

Judy Guion.

Trumbull – Dear Ralfred – I Have Forgotten The Unpleasantness – August 7, 1939

Dan had been home in Trumbull for about a week and he writes to Lad of his thoughts and activities since his homecoming.

                    Lad in Venezuela

Trumbull, otro vez

Aug. 7

Dear Ralfred,

Although I have been home for no more than one week, I look back on Venezuela with mellow kindness!  Already I have forgotten the unpleasantness of hot weather, plaga, and filth.  I have just finished reading the scrap-book, and regret more than ever that I was unable to get to Pariaguan.

Lad with Martin and Flor Williams in Trumbull after Lad’s return in 1942

I noticed a statement made about some friend of Barbara who works with SV. (Socony-Vacuum Oil Co.)  He is the same fellow whom I asked you to look up — Martin Williams.  He was one of the first men at Pariaguan, and knew the Camp when it was nothing more than a few dilapidated huts.  Last summer he broke his leg, and came to Caracas, where he has been since.  He is a geologist, rather young (in his twenties) and has been working in your Caracas offices since his accident.  I looked him up while I was in Caracas last month, and learned that he was coming to the states for his vacation during the end of July and first of August.  I shall try to see him again before he leaves, and perhaps I can send your dental floss (which has stayed with me since I first arrived in Caracas) and any other odds and ends which occurred to me.  He tells me that he often sends things out to Pariaguan at the request of the men, and as long as he stays in Caracas, I am sure he would be glad to send you anything you might need.

On my foray to the Llanos I reached a point called Palenque, and, in all probability, could have reached Valle de la Pascua, but from there on would have been quite a gamble.  The Caracas office, although it was completely civil, did not give me much assistance.  I don’t believe that they know much about conditions outside of Caracas.

I am again in a position to give you advice on sailing procedure when you start home.  The Grace Line schedule at present runs from NY to Curaçao to La Guaira to Puerto Cabello to Barranquilla  to Panama, then back to La Guaira to Panama to NY. From La Guaira to NY direct costs $160. From La Guaria to Panama to NY costs a lot more, but from Puerto Cabello to Panama to NY costs only $10 more than from La Guaira to NY ($170).  In other words, from Puerto Cabrillo to Panama and back to La Guaira costs only ten dollars if you continue on to NY.  By the time you are ready to come home, however, they might be back on their old schedule.  Don’t by clothes in Panama.  You can get better quality and cheaper right in Bridgeport, believe it or not.  The things to buy in Panama are alligator goods, perfumes, liquors, ivory, silks.  The proper price is about half what they ask if they think you are a tourist.  If you can convince them that you are working in Panama, the store-keepers will cut prices amazingly.  Ivory is often nothing better than celluloid.  If the store-keeper allows you to hold a match to the ivory, the chances are that it is bone, rather than celluloid!  I don’t know how to tell pure ivory.  I have been told that it is cold to the touch, but I really don’t know.  For gifts, buy alligator leather belts, cigarette cases, watch fobs, hand-bags, wallets etc., imported soaps and perfumes from France or England, silks from Japan.

Tomorrow I will post the rest of this letter with his impressions of USA and local news. 

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Dear Soloist (2) – The Report Continues – August 6, 1939

Grandpa, Dick Ced, Biss (Elizabeth), Dave, Zeke (Raymond Zabel, Biss’s husband, holding Grandpa’s first grandchild, Raymond Zabel, Jr. and Dan.

CHAP 111 (Grandpa duplicated CHAP 111) – INTERAMERICA: Max (Yervant Maxudian, owner and President of Interamerica, Inc) failed to keep his promise about paying the two month’s salary before Dan sailed, claiming that the “the friend” who had promised to loan Max the money to pay Dan, was out of town, but he did give him a draft which was  to be presented at the New York office, for this two month’s pay, which however Dan was not to present to Mr. McCarter until he had been notified that the funds were there to meet it.  He did get $160 in cash for his fare home.  I am of course very skeptical about the outcome, but Dan, while holding no brief for Max, does feel that Max is intending to pay them back salaries and that his side of the story, divorced from Ted’s bitter prejudice, makes Max not as bad as he has been painted.  From what Dan says, the rumpus started by complaints from “the Senator from Conn” is the thing that is worrying  Maxy most right now, and I intend to keep him worrying along that line until the whole business is cleared up.  Max feels very friendly towards Dan and the way I think we ought to play it is that Dan, working in Maxis interest, is doing his best to get me to call off the dogs but I am one of these pig-headed father’s and refused to be satisfied, and Dan can do nothing with me on that basis.  We will have to wait and see how it works out.

CHAP IV – FUTURE PLANS: While I have a number of college catalogs for Dan to look over, I think his mind is pretty well made up to go to Alaska University in the fall.  Meantime he has already made application for a summer job with Fuller & Co. so that he can earn something during the next month or so and will not have to draw on what funds he has left from his first check.  He is spending a great deal of his time, quite naturally, at Plumbs (The home of his girlfriend, Barbara Plumb).

Oh, I must tell you.  Anticipating that Dan would want some room to unpack and show his souvenirs, I told him to take the spare room next to the bathroom.  Snake skins and other things were spread all over as he unpacked, with all the bunch that had been down to meet him sitting around on floor and bed, etc., when in strolled Mack (the family pet dog). a big snakeskin was near the door and Mack unconcernedly walked up to it and sniffed it.  Just one sniff and you would have thought he was shot.  He jumped back so hard and so fast that he bumped his head on the table, and was quite jumpy for a few minutes until he discovered they would not do him harm.

Dan was not seasick on the way home although for a couple of days the sea was rough enough to make him feel somewhat squeamish.  There was not a very interesting bunch of people on board, mostly old folks.  It seems Santa Paula developed some engine trouble at the beginning of the trip which they figured would make her late on her landing schedule, but they later decided to omit the stop entirely at Cape Hatien, so that she really reached New York Monday night and lay out in the harbor until Tuesday morning, which accounts for the fact that he docked earlier than usual.

Tomorrow I will post the rest of this letter, containing news of family and personal comments to Lad.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Dear Soloist – (1) Starting At The Beginning – August 6, 1939

Daniel Beck Guion Fall of 1939)

R-35

August 6, 1939

Dear Soloist:

You are now representing the Guion family of Trumbull in the continent of South America all by yourself.  Dan returned home Tuesday as per schedule.  He looks just the same.  He is not anywhere as tanned as I expected him to be; In fact he had more of a tan when he was working on the Merritt Parkway then he has now.  But I’d better start at the beginning and tell you all about it.

CHAP. ! – PREPARATIONS FOR THE HOMECOMING: As Ced’s factory was not working Tuesday I arranged through the Bpt.(Bridgeport) City Trust Co. Travel Bureau to get passes for Ced, Dick and Dave.  As Helen Plumb and Barbara (Plumb, Dan’s girlfriend) also obtained passes to meet the boat, I invited the two Plumbs to go down in my car.  Dick drove.  Ced gathered a party consisting of Donald Whitney, Dick Christie, Red (Don Sirene), and Jean (Hughes) whom he drove down in the Packard.  We were unable to ascertain just when on Tuesday morning the boat would dock, but being informed that it was usually about 9 A.M. and knowing that Ted’s boat arrived between 9 and 10, we left Trumbull about 7:30.  I had written Aunt Betty and Aunt Elsie about Dan’s arrival, and I thought possibly Ted and Helen(Ted and Helen (Peabody) Human. Ted had hired both Dan and Lad to work with him for Interamerica, Inc. in Venezuela) might also be on hand.

CHAP !11 – THE ARRIVAL: We reached Pier 57 a little after nine and pulling up to the entrance, I noticed trunks being wheeled out into taxis and a few inquiries revealed that the boat had docked about 8 A.M. and practically everyone had passed through the customs and had gone.  While we were deciding whether or not to go up and look for Dan, he appeared in person.  Luckily, he told us, Aunt Betty and Aunt Elsie had arrived in time, but naturally he was disappointed that the rest of us had not been there to see him come in.  He got through the customs without any question although he did have some seeds, etc., which were not supposed to be admitted.  We packed Dan’s baggage into the two cars and started for Trumbull via the Merritt Parkway, arriving home about noon.

CHAP 111 – TROPHIES: Skins of five or six different varieties of snakes, one a rattler which Dan almost stepped on, a sloth pelt, small tiger and other quadrupeds, a collection of butterflies and moths, different kinds of wood, a collection of homemade canes, odd stones, a tom-tom drum and other noisemakers, a crude home-made firle apparently made from a section of gas pipe and odd pieces of tin and springs, a muzzleloader fired with percussion caps, sundry coins and about ten dollars worth of undeveloped films.

Tomorrow and Wednesday I will post the rest of this letter.  On Thursday and Friday I will be posting a letter from Dan to Lad, written after he had been home for about a week. 

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Dear Sons Of Sneezy (3) – Extract Of Ced (2) – August 27, 1944

Ced @ 1945

Cedric Duryee Guion

Page 2 Ced extract

This year, Woodley rode into the Bay business full speed ahead – – an Electra, a Boeing and a Stinson, with the Travelair also available, if needed. The only handicap was that we had no float ship to get the man up to the Army base (this being the only airfield suitable for large ships in the whole Bristol Bay region). This, however, wasn’t too bad a handicap, as the Army barge brings the man from Naknek to the base on their regular scheduled trips twice a day. Things looked pretty good for a banner year. On one of the first trips of the Stinson, however, the left engine “blew up”, and pilot Booth had to land at Kenai. Art (Woodley) went down in the Boeing and brought in the passengers and Booth, and that afternoon, Frank, Roland and I went to Kenai with our tools and another engine and installed it, getting back to Anchorage in the Stinson the following evening. That was two weeks ago tomorrow night. We went home and ate our suppers, went back and worked till 5 AM Tuesday morning, getting the final adjustments corrected and giving the other two engines a routine check. Since that time, work has been nigh on to a nightmare. We never know whether it will be day or night work – – and so it goes. We do get our sleep pretty well, but quite often take two sessions at once trying to catch up. There have been no other failures but little things keep popping up along with the necessary routine servicing and maintenance, and the ball never seems to stop bouncing and is always a half a jump ahead of us. However, we are doing a bigger percentage of the business than ever, and if we can just limp along until the work down there is finished, it will be a job well done. We hope it will be over by this time next week, but the way it looks, I don’t want to plan on it. (Editor’s note: As far as I can figure it, this letter was written August 2nd or 3rd). Some days we send the three big ships down several times each and the Travelair twice, but then again, the fisherman get a couple of drinks or something and fail to board the barge for the Army Base and our planes and pilots sit at the Base and twiddle their thumbs. Today was typical. We mechanics worked till 11:30 last night getting everything ready for today. The Boeing, with Art and a new copilot, and the Stinson with Booth, both took off at 6 AM this morning for the Bay. The Travelair took off around 9:30 just as I arrived at the field after a short sleep. It was on the “Milk Run” to Kenai, Ninilchik, Kasilof and Homer. This run is steady, twice a week, hence the name. The Electra took off at 9:45 for the Bay. The Boeing returned to Anchorage around 11 and was serviced for another trip. When that was completed, the Travelair came in from the “Milk Run” and was ready for another trip just about the time the Stinson arrived from Naknek. We serviced the Stinson and by that time the Electra had arrived and they brought word that there were 18 men due in tonight at the Naknek base. As all ships weren’t needed for 18 men it was hoped that all could stay in Anchorage overnight, but Art said, “No”, and so all four took off for the Bay again and we went home to grab some rest so that we could service them around eight or 9 o’clock this evening when they started straggling in again. But – – it seems that the barge arrived at the Bay empty, and so the whole works remained overnight and we got to sleep a normal shift again. Tomorrow they may all have to make a couple of trips each and then one of them will have to be on hand Tuesday for the regular Juneau run.

I am now classified 2-B and deferred until February 2nd, 1945. Once again, I’ve taken stick in hand and have gone into the ozone, bird fashion. I flew with an instructor Thursday and Saturday of last week and today for a while and then soloed out for one landing. I did fairly well but am still pretty rusty. I had to ask for a duplicate license as I never found the old one.

Dick’s theory on why one should not write too often is a lulu and for a better suggestion, I pass, bowing in defeat first crack off the bat. To him goes the ring-nosed Amazon.

Tomorrow, Marian tells us about part of her trip from Pomona, California. to Jackson, Mississippi.

On Friday I’ll post a letter Marian wrote to Grandpa after she had been in Jackson for about a week.

On Saturday and Sunday, I will post two letters from Dave about his World War II Army Adventure.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Dear Sons Of Sneezy (2) – Extract Of Ced (1) – August 27, 1944

Judy_0003

Cedric Duryee Guion

EXTRACT of Ced

Rx  One daily before retiring.

Toward the end of July and the first part of August in the region known as Bristol Bay in Alaska, there comes each year the close of the fishing season. There are perhaps some thousand persons at that time who are desirous of obtaining transportation immediately to Anchorage and thence to Seattle. In former years, prior to the war, there were many boats which took a good share of these people from the fishing grounds to the states, and the rest paid their own way, for the most part, in any one of perhaps a half dozen airline’s planes, one of the big three being Woodley Airways. Naturally, with the war so close to the fishing grounds, the boat transportation was discontinued, and the bulk of the fishermen transportation business fell on the airlines. Competition was always keen in the Bay region and the short period over which it is possible to benefit by this “prize of the year” business, puts an airline to the supreme test. Management, pilots, personnel at hangar and equipment must cooperate to the fullest extent if full benefits are to be realized. It has always been a source of some pride to Woodley Airways that ours has always been a choice slice – – but only by expending a great deal of out–of–the–ordinary effort. This return business, along with the moving of the same men the other way at the beginning of the season – – around June 1st – – is far and away the biggest single source of profit over the entire year. Now, with that introduction and with you perhaps already forming opinions as to what I’m leading up to, I’ll give you a brief discourse on what happened and still is happening at the Woodley Airways. But first, a little on the humorous or tragic, however you choose to accept it, of the life of a fisherman. He is usually Scandinavian, more often than not, Norwegian. He leaves Seattle and has his way paid to the fishing grounds via boat and plane (Union intervention forced this last). He boards the boat at Seattle after a winter of slim pickings at any job he may choose and at which he is probably not too good or conscientious, preferring a good drink and a saloon any day of the week that he can afford it. He is, of course, well fertilized with good spirits for the trip and has probably had a bang up farewell party and is poured onto the ship. At Anchorage, his company has arranged transportation by plane (Woodley has the majority of these contracts) and, while waiting for the plane to take him to the Bay, he usually has from a day to two weeks, during which time he quickly exhausts any remaining finances which he may have been fortunate enough to retain that long, and when boarding the plane he usually clutches what is left of a last bottle in a grimy hand. When the ship returns to it’s base, after letting the men off at Naknek, his seat is in terrible shape, he having been affected by air nausea encouraged by that bottle. There is a cup handy for such emergencies, but how can a stewed, sick drunk know that? Then there is that pungent odor of men’s clothing not too often washed, hanging in the cabin of the plane. While at the fishing grounds, he works almost constantly, grabbing sleep when he can and living on the boat from which he fishes. He has no money, nor time to drink, and is so busy he wouldn’t think of it anyway. Then comes the final run, final tally and the prize check (for a good man it might run to three or four thousand for two months work). By borrowing against the check (no way to cash it until he gets to a bank) he is able to get some more of the good old “comforter” again and he then is told to board the plane for Anchorage. Again the dirty seat, the odor of clothes, and then a “short one” at Anchorage at which time he may lose all of his two months earnings by being “rolled” by bartenders or sharks or just from plain gambling. On his return to Seattle he will go on an extended drunk until he either loses or spends what his wife doesn’t get of the balance, and again goes to work for wages, thinking always of the next season and how much more he will do with the opportunity.

Tomorrow I’ll be posting the second part of this “Extract”.

On Thursday and Friday I’m posting two letters from Marian to Grandpa. The first was written while she was on her way to Jackson, Miss. from Pomona, Calif. The second was written after she had been in Jackson for about a week.

Judy Guion

Army Life – Dear Dad – On The Move – August 7, 1944

Monday

(postmarked 8/7/1944)

                 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

Tomorrow and Sunday, I will post two letters from Dave’s World War II Army Adventure.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Lizzie of The Klondike (1) – Ced’s Thank You Letter to Aunt Betty – August 6, 1944

Aunt Betty

Aunt Betty

COMMUNICATION CENTER 42928

DFR TR C/O POB-7

6 August 1944

GREETINGS…..

From the ex-mayor of Trumbull:

Copy of communication

Addressed to “Lizzie of the Klondike, Igloo?”

From C.D. Guion, Alaska.

“I can’t begin to tell you how disappointed I am in you for not packing up and running on up here. Why, the weather is so nice here that it is only on the rarest of occasions that I am prevented from basking in the sun all day long. The temperature stays at a comfortable 15° above zero all summer long, and only slightly cooler than that in winter, which is only nine months long anyway. I do hope you will reconsider immediately, and if you feel you don’t want to cook or drive taxis, I’m sure you would enjoy mining or fishing, and the pay for either is excellent. You could work at fishing for just the short three-months season and live on your earnings for the balance of the year. If you chose to mine you could probably get a job “mucking” (digging out the ore) on the graveyard shift and have the whole day to run around the country and hunt bear or go sightseeing to your heart’s content. You could probably grab a couple of cat naps on the job when the boss was away and so not get too tired. As an added inducement you might always remember that a gal up here has every opportunity to go out with nice fellows to dances, nightclubs, etc., and  then you might even find the man of your dreams! Who knows? There was a woman up here (Rusty Dow) whom I have mentioned as a friend of mine in a previous letter, who just recently drove a 10 wheel truck over the new Alaskan Military Highway with a full load. (Query by editor –  the girl or the truck?) She reports the road as good, and if you can disguise yourself as a service man you might be able to get onto the road which is closed to civilians. Perhaps Dad would let you take the Chevy which seems to be idle since Lad and Marian and Dave are again away from home. I am sure you could get gas enough by buying at black market stations, although you would have to pay a little extra. I’d advise bringing along a few spare tires as you might have to make repairs along the way. Extra supplies of gas would also probably be necessary. A good sleeping bag and some grub, a rifle and axe will complete your gear, and I’ll buy you a barrel of rum when you get here. Another advantage to this country is that women are more likely to smoke pipes and cigars here than back in the East, and your Between The Acts cigars would entail less embarrassment than back there. Another thought just occurred to me. You are there near the Sikorsky airplane plant. Why don’t you see Mr. Sikorsky and get the Alaskan franchise distribution ship for the helicopter and then fly one up here yourself. That might be more exciting then the Chevy. Of course all this is just a suggestion, and you could do what ever you like, even trying a rocket or jet propulsion. There is good future in trapping, as in almost any other occupation you desire to try. The sky’s the limit, but if you just want to stay in that dreadful old stuffy East where they have those horrid toilets inside the house and messy faucets and sinks that can’t be put outside when not in use – well, then I’m sorry for you, and don’t ever say you didn’t have the opportunity. “There is a tide in the affairs of men, which taken at the flood leads on to fortune”. And don’t turn your deaf ear at me! How is be Acousticon working? What a pleasant glowey feeling it gave me to open up my little box # 822 just before my birthday a month or so ago the find of good old “Aunt Betty” card and the famous old portrait of a President. Should have acknowledged your thoughtfulness long ago, but I am much a dreadful correspondent, as you well know.

Did I ever tell you the story of the three divinity students at Yale, a Protestant, a Catholic and a Jew, who were comparing how far each might eventually get in their chosen professions. The Protestant said he could start as a curate, become rector of the large parish, advanced to Archdeacon and eventually become Bishop. The Catholic snorted and said in his church after being a priest, a Monsignor. and a Cardinal, and in turn he might eventually become a Pope, which is right next to God himself, and what could be higher than that! The Jew shrugged his shoulders and said, “Well, one of our boys made it”.

This is only the first quarter of this five-page letter from Grandpa to his boys in Alaska. This particular portion is a letter from Ced to Aunt Betty giving her numerous possibilities for jobs if she were to move to Alaska.

On Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, I’ll post the other three parts of this letter.

On Friday, I will post a letter from Marian.

Judy Guion

World War II Army Adventure (86) – Dear Dad – On Board A Ship – March, 1945

David Peabody Guion

Dear Dad –

Here I sit on board ship in a small shaded spot on deck.  Inside its out of the sun – but unbearably hot.  By now it may be warming some at home – but I imagine you’re still bundling up when you go outside.  But here I am without a stitch of clothing on me but an identification bracelet, my dog tags, undershorts, and a pair of combat boots.

I’ve had a lot of time to think since I left the States – sometimes I believe I have had too much time.  You get pretty low once in a while if you allow yourself.  But I’ve had time to plan and dream for the future too.  I’ve had time to see the mistakes I’ve made in the past – and wish I could repent of them.  I’ve had time to think of the fun I had at home – the perfect and easy life – how lucky I was.  I long to get my hands in Mimeo ink – and have job after job pile up on me till I get irritable.  I’d like to have a rip-snortin’ argument with any one of my brothers now – just for old-times sake.  All these things may sound like I’m homesick – well – who isn’t?  But remembering my fun in the past acts more’s as a morale-builder.  It will help to keep me going when the time comes for us to leave this aristocrat’s life on board ship.

I wouldn’t have missed the opportunity for the world.  Some people pay for it in money – we’re paying in another way – but even that has its good cause.  I’ll come back with lots of stories – I have a few already – and lots more memories.  I’ll come back smarter – and be better able than ever to make the Guion Adv. Co. (A D Guion Advertising Company, Grandpa’s business in Bridgeport, CT) the biggest and best establishment of its kind in New England – big talk?  You just wait and see!

Do you remember when I told you of our company mission, etc.  when I was home?  Well, it will probably work out pretty much the way I told you – but it will be a little “hotter” than I expected.  But we’ll have a big Christmas dinner in ’46 – I figured thirteen in all – counting sisters and brother-in-law, and nephews-and overseeing it all – Aunt Betty. (Dave doesn’t know it but there will actually be three more – Dan’s daughter and Lad and Marian’s twins –  my brother and me!)  We’ll have lots of fun – Butch can rip four or five of my piano roles – and we’ll let Marty pull down the tree (Butch , Raymond Jr., and Marty, Elizabeth’s – Bissie’s, two sons) – after all he’s got to have his fun too.  It sounds sarcastic – that last part – but really it would be worth it if I could be there to see it now – but I can’t wait till ’46.  Don’t worry, Jean, or you either, Marian, they’ll be home before then (Dave is referring to Jean’s husband, Richard Peabody Guion – in Brazil, and Marian’s husband Lad – Alfred Peabody Guion, in France) – but I’m figuring I’m getting in on the fun, too – so I pushed it up to December ’46 – okay?

Well – pretty soon they’ll say “chow down for troops” and I’ve got to get some clothes on before they’ll let me eat – so – think of me once in a while – and remember every day is a day closer to THE day –

All my love (‘ceptin’ some for Elly) (Elinor Kintop, his girlfriend)

Dave

Tomorrow another letter from Dave’s World War II Army Adventure.

Judy Guion