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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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

 

Trumbull – Dear Sheiks (2) – A Note From Marian – August 13, 1944

This is the second section of a letter from Grandpa to his boys – wherever they are.

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Now for some extracts:

Marian writes: “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. 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 those who have and have not been there says that Flora is nothing more than a h___ hole in the very worst degree. Not very encouraging, is it, but if we get 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 are hoping for the best. It looks as though I am 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. We are not sure of Lad’s new address. As soon as we know it, we will send you a card. Although we expect to move from Pomona on Wednesday or Thursday, don’t be too sure of it. Our next letter might 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 actually on their way. Mother’s operation was very successful (for cataract) already she can see 50% better than before and the doctor hopes that in three months time when she gets her glasses, she will be able to see 100% better. I’m still planning to stop at Orinda on my way to Flora although I won’t be able to spend very much time there.”

Many years ago while on a lecture tour for the Bridgeport Brass Company, I went to Jackson, Mississippi and was not very much impressed with the country. As I recall it, the country was flat and uninteresting. There was of course a large Negro population  which made a portion of the town seem squalid and dirty. It was also very hot which is to be expected. I don’t know Flora but I think you are right in not expecting too much. Incidentally, I am holding this letter until I know where to send it, which applies also to the package I had all ready to ship to Lad. That was great news about your Mother, Marian, and I know how glad she will be to SEE you. And you don’t need any rain check for Trumbull. You are down in the records as one of the charter members.

Thursday and Friday I will post the last two portions of this letter.

Judy Guion

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

Voyage to California (39) – 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.

Extracts from a letter dated San Jose March 12, 1851

March 13 – The preceding pages, tho’ all under the same date, have been written in part to-day.  My time for writing has as yet been rather limited, and in consequence I have not been as minute as I might otherwise have been.  We have now a daily mail between this place and San Francisco, but it closes as 8 o’clock in the evening, so that to be in time for the steamer of the 15th, I must put this in the office this evening.  Of my prospects here I cannot say much at present, no arrangement having been entered into with Wm.  and Sherman.  It is impossible to foresee what the effect of the dry weather on farming will be.  If water can be raised from wells without too heavy an expense, the dry season may be in our favor.  Many who would otherwise be in the business do not possess sufficient capital to bear the increased expense, and the expectation of many is that vegetables will be scarce and dear next fall.  Indeed it is reported that potatoes have risen in value since I left San Francisco.  The future, however, will reveal all, so we must do the best we can, and patiently await the results.  We have bargained for the sale of 4 pounds of my onion seed at $16 per. lb.  It is not yet delivered, or the money in my possession, but I hope it will come along one of these days.  At the stores in San Francisco they were asking $20 per.lb., from $4 to $6 for cabbage, and $4  for turnips, but I did not then know how much would be wanted here, and did not feel at liberty to sell any of the onion seed.  I assisted to do one small job of surveying the morning after my arrival, and have done a little work at the garden, but I do not expect to go to work in earnest until next week.  I want some time to get my dirty clothes washed, and arrangements made for living at the ranche as comfortably as circumstances will permit. x x x I must now stop writing for this time, to go and plant some seeds in a hot bed.  So with love to my relatives and friends, and peace and good-will to mankind in general, I remain thy affectionate brother, John J.  Lewis

Next Saturday, excerpts from a letter written March 30, 1951, from John Jackson Lewis to family and friends back in the states.

Tomorrow, more on My Ancestor, my Dad, Alfred Peabody Guion and his life with his new wife, Marian, during World War II.

Next week, I will be posting letters written in 1944. Grandpa is holding down the fort in the Old Homestead in Trumbull while his five sons see the world, courtesy of Uncle Sam.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – To The Guion Horticultural Experiment Stations (1) – September 26, 1943

 

This week, Grandpa’s creative juices were working overtime, if you don’t mind mixing metaphors, and he equates his sons, in their various locales, as Flowerbeds. He does put a lot of thought into his weekly missives.

Trumbull Conn.  September 26, 1943

To the Guion Horticultural Experiment Stations in various parts of the world:

I have four flowerbeds labeled respectively Brazil, England, Alaska and Los Angeles, and each Sunday I plant a mental seed in each of these plots with the expectation and hope that they will in time sprout and bear abundant fruit. Then I sit back for six days and hum to myself that old hymn “What Will the Harvest Be?”

Richard (Dick) Peabody Guion

Richard (Dick) Peabody Guion

Some of these seeds seem to fall on barren ground and seldom even sprout. The soil of Brazil seems to be especially unfertile. England has lately been producing a bit better although the sprouts are usually very short and hardly get their heads above ground. Los Angeles ground seems to be pretty reliable, occasionally developing a good strong plant while Alaska, though slow bearing, usually delivers a bumper crop spasmodically.

This week the harvest was quite satisfactory, although not 100% — the good neighbor policy as far as Brazil is concerned not being in the running except by reflected

Daniel (Dan) Beck Guion

Daniel (Dan) Beck Guion

glory, so to speak. The English package, bah Jove, mentions the hope of Dan that he may be able to go to Oxford for a week of general courses offered to service men of all nations. When he returns, don’t be surprised to see him wearing a monocle and expressing his thoughts in the purest English. (An aside to Dan: the shoes got off to you marked “Christmas gift package”. The only difficulty here is that it is rumored that packages so marked are held up by the Army and not delivered until Christmas. Someone also said that packages sent from home are opened and repacked at New York. If so, I hope the re-packer will not overlook the 35mm Kodachrome film which I obtained with great difficulty and packed into the shoes along with sundry packages of chewing gum, shoe paste, etc. And while we’re on the subject, please, in your next reply, let me know what you would like to have me include in your real Christmas package. Dan concludes by saying “Everything continues to go well. I don’t find nearly enough time to do everything I want to, which is better than too much time!”

Alfred Peabody Guion (Lad)

Alfred Peabody Guion (Lad)

Southern California had a good crop this trip. On his return trip, Lad, at Chicago, worked a spell for Col. Harvey, washing innumerable dishes as 4th cook, Tuesday AM to Thursday PM, “I don’t think I ever worked so hard”. However he got good meals and an upper to sleep in as compensation. (Aside to Lad: thanks for the rationing board coupons, which will come in very handy. Alas, however, the gasoline coupons were flatly turned down by the service station who referred me to the local rationing board and also by the rationing board, who said they had discontinued honoring these coupons. Don’t worry. I think I can get by with my own coupons until the next period, And even if I can’t, I won’t regret a single drop you used because of one sentence in your letter which is one of the nicest things anyone has told me for a long while, viz: “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”. This makes me feel a lot better because I did have the feeling that all the inconvenience and tiresomeness of the journey both ways did not compensate for the very little we were able to do to make your homecoming pleasant even though we did enjoy so much seeing you once again.)

Lad, says the weather since he got back has been uncomfortably hot, so much so that desks and chairs are hot to touch. Temperature 116° and is due to continue until the middle of October. Aunt Betty says she wishes you could send some of that excess heat back here, as the last two days have been quite autumnal in character. This means tapering off of hay fever but also brings the perennial furnace problem, ashes, woodcutting, etc. Mr. Schalich filled up the oil barrels yesterday. Between Paul and myself we have 250 gallons of kerosene to start the season off with, but in spite of the fact that I have had my order for coal in since July, I have been unable to get a single ton.

Tomorrow, the second half of this letter from Grandpa to his sons, scattered around the world. On Thursday, a quick note from Lad with exciting news regarding his future. On Friday, a much loner letter regarding his future. 

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