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

 Trumbull, Conn.,   August 12, 1945

Dear Children:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

DAD

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

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

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

Judy Guion

Army Life – The Gospel According To St. Dan – August, 1945

The Gospel, according to St. Dan, Drancy, Aug. 5, 1945

To follow the somewhat erratic history of Dan, it is perhaps more feasible to follow through chronologically, beginning on or about the 9th of July, at which time he was planning to leave Drancy for Calais on the 12th.

July 10 – At breakfast, Lt. Shirk casually asked if I were ready to “parti” to Calais. “When?” “Today!” “But I thought it was to be the 12th.”  “We’ll leave today. Are your clothes packed?” Thus began a week of hectic preparations and worries. I had to send a telegram that A.M. to Calais, notifying them of the change of plans; then I had to get my laundry from the laundry; then I had to get my official papers from the C.O.’s office; that I had to get my cigarette and candy rations from the PX, then I had to pack; then I had to eat early lunch —-. We arrived at Calais about five PM — half an hour after the telegram. The Lieutenant and his chauffeur left for Ghent almost immediately, leaving orders that I was to wait there until a truck came to take me back to Paris. By a curious coincidence, Robert and Maurice (Chiche’s brothers) arrived that same evening from Algeria, relegating yours truly to a position of an all-but-forgotten kibitzer, while emotion rained after four years of frustration.

July 11 to 16. Feverish preparations, trying to get the necessary papers in order and church arrangements settled. I had to hitchhike to Lille and back to have a seal affixed to certificates. The same day Chiche went to Boulogne for other papers, only to learn that she needed my papers too. The church arrangements broke down very soon because the Catholic Church frowned on a “mixed” marriage. The day before the marriage we were still in doubt. Chiche and I went to Bologne that morning and got the final papers. In the meantime it developed that no marriage can take place in France until ten days after all the papers are in order and the banns have been published! No banns were in evidence at the City Hall. But the fault was not ours so everything smooth out at the last minute – – even the church arrangements, because we decided to be married at the Protestant Temple after the civil ceremony at the City Hall. Late that night a dusty traveler Lad) arrived from Marseille – unexpectedly — he having already written that it was impossible to come. It was a thoroughly pleasant surprise, after two and half years of separation.

July 17. Ah, fateful day! 2 knots were tied – – both by men who took a personal interest in our marriage. All of Calais seems to have turned out for the occasion, for it was the first Franco-American wedding in that area. The first ceremony took place in the marriage hall at mairie. Mr. Hubert Desfachelles performed the ceremony as mayor, altho’ he was deputized for the affair as his own request. I think he was as nervous as we. It was “the first time” for all three of us! We drove to the Temple immediately afterward, where the Rev. Dubois officiated at a double ring ceremony. He said later that he had never seen the church so crowded for a marriage ceremony. There were many more who waited outside the door for a glimpse of “les espoux” as we came out. No rice was thrown, partly because there was no rice to be had, and partly because it is not the custom here to waste good food in such prodigal fashion. After the church ceremony the public was invited to the “vin donneur” which is the French equivalent of a reception, during which time wine and cookies are served to all who can get in. Fortunately, the Senechal home is across the street from the Temple (hence the name “rue du Temple” for the street on which they live)

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so we were quickly embarked on this ceremony. Later, when the public had left we were served a sumptuous feast which represented hours of preparation and diligent searching in the black market for such luxuries as chicken and wine and a multitude of other dainties that no longer exist on the open market. That night there was dancing. “Chiche” and I heard that there was horseplay afoot, and we escaped upstairs shortly after midnight to our room. We locked both doors and kept vigil during an hour or so, during which time “they” tried to find a way to enter.

July 18 two August 1. An idyllic existence, during which time there was no worry or care save the possibility that the truck might come to take me back to Paris. For two full weeks I lived like a civilian on vacation, altho officially, I was in Calais on “Temporary Duty”. Furloughs are not authorized by the American Army to visit Calais, as it is part of the British sector – – but in order to permit the marriage, the 1st Sgt. arranged to send me on T.D. I suspect I am the only American on record whose solel “duty” during three weeks was to get married and enjoy a honeymoon! The truck came one afternoon about 3 P.M. while I was playing ping-pong with “Bob”, my new brother-in-law. Departure was mercifully swift. We had to leave immediately for Ghent where we spent two days.

Now, back in Drancy, I await the day (perhaps tomorrow) when Chiche will come to spend several days with me. The Army has not announced anything new about future plans. We are waiting to be “alerted” from day to day, but no new indications are manifest that such a move is near.

Lad arrived back in Marseille just in time to miss the boat! He is with the rear detachment and has left already for the Pacific, I presume. He doesn’t know just what route he will take, but usually the troops pass through CZ (Panama) and stop off a while in Hawaii. Love. DAN

Tomorrow I’ll post Lad’s account of the festivities.  Thursday and Friday, a letter from Grandpa posting updates on family members for family members, a quite comprehensive missive.

Judy Guion

Autobiography of Mary E Wilson (6) – Arriving in New York City – 1925

Mary E. Wilson, her father and brothers Jim and Arthur

Mary E. Wilson, her father and brothers Jim and Arthur

At last Mary sees the Statue of Liberty but she still had the ordeal of Ellis Island.

ARRIVAL IN NEW YORK

ELLIS ISLAND – 1925

After nine days, we arrived in New York City. I could see the Statue of Liberty. We had traveled in “steerage” and, being below deck with no windows in our room, coupled with the vivid recollection of being pushed under a beer barrel as a child during World War I, I would suffer from claustrophobia for the rest of my life.

I really thought that now that we had arrived it would be routine getting off the boat and being with my Mother but another nightmare was just beginning. We were taken to Ellis Island where my brothers and father were taken to one building and I to another. I was terrified because I was told to strip. They tagged and tied our clothing and it was put on a conveyor to be sterilized.

I remember crying and a lady, who I think was Polish, took me into her arms and hugged me. She was a large woman and spoke no English but her kindness reassured me and made me feel less frightened. I stayed with her during my whole stay on Ellis Island. We were on the Island for seven hours because, as I later found out, my father had spent the $100 “landing money” while we were on the ship.

My Mother was in New York City waiting for us and when she found out what was causing the delay, she was able to borrow the money from her friend Bert Harbor, who was also a friend of the Greenhill family. He had accompanied her to New York to get us.

When we were finally allowed to leave Ellis Island, a ferry took us to New York City. I saw my Mother from the boat as we were landing and she really had changed during her years in America. The reunion was very strange for all of us. She seemed to be so stylish and different and I felt like a waif.

We drove to Bridgeport, Connecticut, where my mother had rented a flat on Hallet Street. Mother had put a couch for me on the sun porch and my brothers had their own room. I thought it was a lovely apartment but I heard my parents quarreling in their room and I truly felt miserable and uneasy.

My Mother insisted I have my hair “bobbed” because that was the style in America but I hated it and let my hair grow long again.

Tomorrow I’ll begin letters describing Dan’s Wedding to Paulette, from several different perspectives.

Judy Guion

 

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

Mary's Mom and Dad

Mary’s Mother and Father

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

DEPARTING ENGLAND

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Trumbull – A Ticket To Heaven and Sikorsky – June, 1943

At this point, as Grandpa says in the salutation, his boys are scattered. Ced is still in Alaska, Lad is in California, Dan is in Pennsylvania and Dick in in Indiana. Dave is the only one left at home since Biss is married and has two sons of her own.

Trumbull     June 13, 1943

To my Trumbull Boys

in far places:

This is one of those quiet, sunshiny, June Sundays when it is hard to realize that the peace which comes stealing in with the rustling leaves, the murmur of the brook and the play of the sunshine through the dancing leaves of our old Maple tree is not typical of the whole world. Iris and rhododendrons are now in full bloom. From where I sit now on the cement terrace, so much is reminiscent of you boys. For one thing, there is the iron pipe set between the two Maple trees near the driveway which you used to use as a chinning device. It is perhaps unusually quiet for a Sunday because the ban on gasoline has greatly reduced the number of cars passing on the road.

This morning, as usual, I donned old clothes and weeded and hoed in Mr. Laufer’s potato field, stonily watched all the while by two grotesque scarecrows set up in the neighboring cornfield, clad in old straw hat and coat. After an hour of this back bending exercise I hurried home, took a shower and arrayed in my Sunday-go-to-meeting clothes, hied down to the church.

There were two reasons for this unusual religious fervor on my part. One was the fact that this being “Children’s Sunday”, Dave had been asked to conduct the morning service; and second, my youngest grandson, Marty, was to be baptized along with eight or 10 other young sprouts.

The church service was unusually well attended. Dave presided in a dignified, reserved and unhurried manner, on which I heard many favorable comments afterwards from members of the congregation. The little ones were baptized by Mr. Powell, starting with the tiniest babies and ending with Marty. All the babies received their tickets to

admission to the Kingdom of Heaven with humility and quiet acceptance, but when Marty’s turn came, and Elizabeth and Zeke, accompanied by Butch, started up from the pew, Marty set up a howl, increasing in tempo and volume and rising to a great crescendo as Mr. Powell did his stuff, and gradually tapering off but continuing until sometime after they were again seated.

Dave then came forward to resume conduct of the service, and amid the hushed expectancy, as he was mounting to the platform,Butch, who seemed to have been a quiet spectator of this — a new experience for him —  recognized Dave, and broke the stillness by saying in a loud, surprised and cordial voice “Hello, Dave”. The ripple of laughter throughout the congregation which followed did not ruffle our boy here. He merely smiled casually and went on with the program.

I referred a while back to the decrease in auto traffic. This seems to have been offset with a surprising stepping up of airplane activity. Even at night as I lay in bed I can frequently hear the whirr of motors. Sikorsky is building a new plant in Bridgeport for the construction of helicopters but I have seen none in operation over Trumbull yet.

Uncle Kemper has just sent us a generous gallon can of maple syrup from his own place in Vermont, and with Grandma’s toothsome griddle cakes and waffles to go with it, I could just picture you all gathering around the kitchen table this morning ready to start action. Yesterday we had the first luscious strawberries from Mr. Laufer’s garden; but perhaps I had better lay off this line or you will be tempted to go A W O L.

Jean, the only one who wrote this week, reports being in Indianapolis where Dick is now stationed. She found a nice clean room in a private home and is now looking for a job. Jean says Dick is having a taste of the real Army now. They have to leave camp every morning at two and don’t get home until eight and they can’t have every night off either.

Grandma, as usual, is doing a splendid job on the culinary end and Aunt Betty is getting to be quite a horticulturalist. Both are well and apparently are good company for one another. At least I have had no complaints. It is so pleasant to get home nights now and find dinner already instead of immediately having to take off my coat and start to get supper.

Now a brief message from the sponsor to individual members of my far-flung audience:

Jean: I have taken care of your income tax as requested. Aunt Betty has done up your blanket in moth balls and put it away for the summer. In looking for a job, it just occurs to me that the Bridgeport Brass Company have quite an active plant in Indianapolis and you might find an opportunity there. I am enclosing the Book-of-the-Month. The July books are by Stephen Benet and Walter Lippmann respectively. The first is a literary essay on American settlers and the second on America’s foreign policy.

Dick: Bobby Kascak is married. I don’t know the details.

Lad: Mrs. Jimmy Smith was very anxious to have me tell you, when next I wrote, that Jim’s brother is in Los Angeles, works as a guard at Warner Brothers pictures, and would be delighted to see somebody from Trumbull. She thinks you also would enjoy yourself if you looked them up.

Dan: Dick Christie is home for a few days. He is still a civilian.

Ced: Have not forgotten the Sunrise Service program, but so far Dave has been unable to locate it.

Well, with Mussolini getting a good swift kick in the pantalleria, I am hoping, like millions of others, that Germany and Japan, before long, will get bombed into a submissive frame of mind and you boys can be back safe and sound in this old Trumbull home of yours. THAT will be the day! Meanwhile, borrow a few minutes from Uncle Sam, and write soon to your expectant and lonesome

DAD

This weekend I’ll be continuing the story of Mary E Wilson, who was born in England, had a hard life but eventually arrived in the United States and was able to achieve the “American Dream”.

Next week, I’ll be posting letters from 1945. We’ll read about Dan’s wedding to Paulette from several sources and different viewpoints.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Fair Blossoms of my Fading Years – May, 1943

The time is getting closer for both Dan and Dick to be shipped overseas but as Jean says, “It could be weeks or months” until it happens. Grandpa is  surely missing his sons and all the work they used to do around the old homestead. At least with two venerable ladies living there, he doesn’t have to deal with fixing the meals and cleaning up after dinner.

The Old Homestead

Trumbull, Conn.   May 23, 1943

Fair blossoms of my fading years:

That reminds me of the story. Prof. Huxley once gave his class in biology the question: “What is a lobster?”, to which one student replied: “a lobster is a red fish that moves backwards”. The good professor retorted that that was a very good answer except for three points: first, a lobster wasn’t red; second, it wasn’t a fish; and third, it didn’t move backwards. None of you are fair (Jean, you’re out of this), you are not blossoms, and I am not fading – – but why go on? “Years” is the only thing left and I have plenty of them.

(There were) three ingredients for the correspondence melting pot this week. Jean (substituting for Dick, as usual) says there is no further news about Dick being shipped, but they have started to crate their supplies for shipment which doesn’t sound very good, but you never can tell. It may be weeks or months before they are shipped. I’d give anything if Dick and I could be in Trumbull right now. If I had my choice between Trumbull and Florida, I’d take Trumbull. It’s so nice and peaceful and everyone is so friendly. Florida is all right but it’s getting too warm for me. (Later) Dick came home Saturday night and told us they were being shipped to another camp. All Miami Beach has to be evacuated to make room for the wounded soldiers from Africa (Just the soldiers have to leave). They are going either to Toledo, Ohio, or Indianapolis, Indiana. So I guess I’ll be moving again but I don’t mind. I like to travel. We wives decided we would stay here until we hear from our husbands which probably won’t be until the end of the month. I started working today at Sears Roebuck, Electrical Appliance Department.

Dan writes: a new company is being formed to fill out the new battalion of which we are a part. There are vague promises of intensive training for overseas service. As a consequence we are reminded that AWOL offenses are now equivalent to desertion. Papers and furloughs will ultimately be granted “to finish up personal affairs at home”, which means that I must wait my turn. I don’t know when that will be.” Well, Dan, whenever it comes, we’ll have the soup kettle on the fire. It used to be an old family custom, if you recall, to have a family get-together on Decoration Day, so if you can get leave for next Sunday, it will be in the best Guion tradition. Incidentally, a later letter to Barbara (Plumb) gives Dan’s address now as: Co, A, Spec. Eng. Topo. Bn., Lancaster, Pa, so change your address books.

A letter from the family’s only Sergeant (Lad) says camp regulations are becoming stiffer with fewer passes for shorter periods. Weather is perfect. He may get a furlough in July or August.

No word this week from the midget of the tundra but he wrote a nice long newsy letter last week so I can’t kick until next week.

Not much local color to report. Flowerbeds and storm windows have occupied my attention yesterday afternoon and today. Have had the lawnmower sharpened but the rain every day last week has made the grass look as bad as Dave’s need for a haircut. The two venerable ladies send their love (by request). They both have numerous bloodless scrapes over who shall do the dishes while insisting the other sits down, etc. I seldom have to referee – – just let them fight it out by themselves because I know it will end in a draw and leave them free to start all over again after the next meal. Until next time,

Your loving           DAD

Tomorrow’s post will mark the end of May, 1943, or Decoration Day, as it was called back then, and then we’ll check up on Biss in St Petersburg (1935), Lad in Venezuela (1939)  and the boys in Alaska (1940). I promise that it will be easier keeping track of everyone once we get to 1942. Would love to read your thoughts on this blog.

Judy Guion

Friends – A Letter to Lad From A Friend From Venezuela – October, 1941

APG - The bunch at Pariaguan - 1940

The bunch at Pariaguan – 1940

L.K. Sieck

3222 West Street

Ames, Iowa

Oct. 12, 1941

Dear Al;

If Chris hasn’t already informed you, I have now removed to the U.S.A. I decided to enter school here at Iowa State College. My third week of classes has already passed and I find it very much to my liking. I am taking up civil engineering.

How are you doing? Fine I hope. Chris said he was sure you were married as you didn’t find time to write. Married or not, I’ll be around for a visit sometime. If you aren’t living in the U.S.A., the world isn’t so big that you just disappear.

I had a swell trip up from Venezuela. I traveled all the way by air. Had a little delay getting started though. When we left Guario it was clear but when we arrived in Maiquetia, fog had the airport covered. We cruised around until we had to return or run out of gas. Red went back to Guario, filled up with a little from the Pan-American and then we went to Pariaguan. Woody finished filling her up and that afternoon we got into Maiquetia. Some start, eh !

I stopped over two days in the Canal Zone. They really are busy there with all the lock construction, the new airports and naval bases and also a new road that they are building across the Isthmus. The road had always been delayed as the railroad belongs to the U.S. government and they were afraid it would take away business. Some boost for a Pan American highway when the U.S. doesn’t even have a road connecting the two ends of the canal.

Going north from there we landed in every Central American country. We spent about 16 hours in Guatemala City. The city is high and really cool. In fact I went out walking at night and it was cold. I spent 24 hours in Mexico City also. There I went out to see the pyramids about 60 kilometers away. Those Aztecs certainly built those pyramids for all time.

The scenery kept my neck stretched all the time. Volcanoes in Nicaragua in the lake, and the one that we flew by in Guatemala, evidently blew out the side. It was just a mountainside of smoking ashes. I was sure mad at myself for not having a camera.

Now we get to the real purpose – seeing as how I was once a good friend of yours? I want to find out if I could rent some of your movies for a showing here. Boy, they would sure go over good. I am joining the student branch of the American Society of Civil Engineers and a few scenes of crossing the Orinoco or the trip to El Callao shown at a meeting would be mighty interesting. That time the well was blowing off at El Tigre would be pretty good too. I will do almost anything to get on the waiting line for some of those scenes. I wonder if I could have duplicates made of some of them. Well, let me know if you get this letter.

Getting back to the trip; I set foot in 10 countries, Venezuela, Colombia, Panama, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Honduras, San Salvador, Guatemala, Mexico, and the good old U.S.A. I left Guario the 15th of August and landed in Omaha, Nebraska the 25th of August. 10 days and 10 countries, boy was I happy. When I landed in Brownsville they hailed me off to the side to have a check up and take my temperature. There were mostly American schoolteachers on the plane from Mexico City and you could hear them wondering what I had. When they released me I had to prove to those schoolmarm’s that I wasn’t sick and didn’t have yellow fever or malaria or something.

If you ever cross Iowa, don’t forget to drop in on Ames. Our hospitality won’t make you rush off right away.

With best regards to you and your movies, I am,

Yours truly,

______________

L.K.Sieck

3222 West Street

Ames Iowa

P.S. – In that seventh paragraph, I also want to remain a good friend of yours.

Later today and tomorrow I’ll be posting a letter from Grandpa to  his two remaining sons in Alaska.

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

Judy Guion