The Old Homestead
Trumbull, Conn. June 4, 1944
Dear Braves from the Trumbull Reservation:
Old Ham in the Face greets you and says “How”. The Children of the Setting Sun (Lad and Marian, who have gone back to California, after a furlough) have come and gone, leaving this wigwam quite desolate at their departure. Laughter-in-her-voice (Marian) and Young Willow Tree (Jean, Mrs. Dick), my two daughters-in-law, got along very amicably and there was not even any hair pulling match staged for the amusement of the bystanders. He-who-fiddles-with-engines (Lad, a very talented mechanic) is as tall and rangy as ever and has developed no hint even, of a front porch. Pistol packin’ Mama Aunt Betty (Lizzie Duryee, known as Aunt Betty, Grandpa’s Mother’s sister, who is staying at the Trumbull House for an extended period) has been worrying all the week for fear they would not get enough to eat and return to the Land of the Sunshine and Oranges looking like shadows, but this happily was prevented partly through the generosity of the neighboring Ives Tribe Neighbors who live across the street) who bravely invited us all over to a powwow and feast Friday night, which as usual was most excellent. Elsie of the Choo-Choo’s End (Elsie Duryee, Grandpa’s sister, who has a shop in Grand Central Station) invited them down to a matinee Saturday afternoon from which they returned in time to greet at supper time Helen ((Peabody) Human) and Dorothy (Peabody), who had come up earlier in the afternoon to look over their mother’s belongings and also to “serve” a paper on me in connection with Grandmother’s Will. Served me right, of course. By the way, the play they saw was” Mexican Hayride” ( [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mexican_Hayride_(musical) ) which apparently they enjoyed very much. Lad, during the last few days of his stay, has been using the “family car”, if that is what you can call the contraption which has been successfully abused by Dan, Dick, Dave, Ced and now Lad. Having obtained temporary markers for it and rented a battery from Dolan’s, thought he would give it a critical once over with his Santa Anita Army Eye with the result that he quickly noticed the absence of the carburetor. At first we figured Ced might have snatched it in trade with some of the natives for blubber are other geegaws, but later we concluded that some of the neighborhood “juvenile delinquents,” who have been known to steal the neighbors gas, needed a carburetor for a Chevrolet or “shrovrolet” as Marian, in an inspired moment, baptized it, and helped themselves. Lad finally was able to borrow one from Steve Kascak, but as the man said who came home one night and found his wife had run off with another man,” My God, but I was annoyed”. However as most of the boys with cars are joining up with Uncle Sam pretty soon, maybe these activities will cease and become null and void, as it were. Thanks to Ced, who cleaned up the whole top floor when he was here, Lad and Marian were comfortably (I hope) tucked away in his old room of fire smelling memories, and by the way, the two aunties raved over the way the attic looked. Never in their long association with Trumbull, and the memory of man runneth not to the contrary, had they ever seen this catch-all for discarded effects so neat and clean appearing. Who said “The evil men do lives after them”? There ain’t no attic evil interred with Ced’s bones! Or maybe I should have said “good”. Oh well, you figure it out to suit yourself. Shakespeare won’t care.
Guess I sort of got off the track, but anyway, here’s notice to the next one of you Guion upstarts, whoever he may be, who next brings home a new wife, that he’s got a mighty high standard to shoot at if he is to maintain the quality level of the first two to jump off the dock. Marian, like Jean before her, won everyone’s heart. Both seem to feel, as husband pickers, they did a little better job than the other, which puts me in a hell of a spot, so I agree with them both. If it ever came to a showdown I would have to put in a plea of non-compes mentis, corpus delicti, acqu regis or whatever it is they do under those circumstances.
Dave, bless his heart, continues to keep us supplied with reports of his progress quite regularly whether he makes any or not. He is now in Signal Center School which is supposed to be the best in the Signal Corps – – the best equipped, best life, treatment and best for ratings. “You see, a Signal Center is a clearinghouse for ALL messages from division and up. All the messages are written by an officer and delivered by a messenger to the Signal Center where they are classified as to importance, how they shall be sent (radio, pigeon, motor messenger, messenger, telephone, teletype) and then they are put into code (cryptographed). They teach message procedure, a little of all the agencies above mentioned and cryptography. If you do well in the latter I understand you may be sent to advanced Cry. School for three weeks and are graduated as a cryptographer”. This is what our youngest is aiming for and more power to him. Watch his smoke. While you others are busy bringing home attractive daughters the first thing you know he will be walking up and clanking a commission right down under your noses. And don’t say I didn’t warn you.
No letter from Ced this week, but that really doesn’t matter too much as we are still reading, rereading and digesting (mentally of course) the long six page single spaced letter he wrote a couple of weeks ago. And as for news from the Anglican branch of the family in London, I am prepared any day now to be told we will receive no more letters for a while due to the fact that invasion activities have driven out every other form of activity. In fact we were all startled yesterday afternoon to have announced over the radio that advice from Gen. Eisenhower’s headquarters was that the invasion had started. This was denied a few moments later, but gee, didn’t we all get a thrill while it lasted.
Lad, I learned, is not teaching diesel anymore, but is in charge of a group of men, sort of a miniature General Motors assembly line, where defective motors from all kinds of Army vehicles situated in all parts of the world, needing major repairs, are sent back to them and re-built into first class condition. Lad’s group is concerned with the electrical end. He likes the group he is working with very much.
Dick, from what Jean tells me, is no longer an M.P. but is doing clerical work in connection with an Army transport command and is in the Provost Marshall’s office. His horses escaped the other day and as far as we know, the Brazilian police are still looking for them.
According to a letter Ethel ((Bushey) Wayne) received yesterday, Carl (Wayne, a fried of Lad’s and Ethel’s husband) who has been on a tanker taking oil to the Far East, is on his way home and expects to arrive sometime around the end of the month. He has been somewhere near Australia but just where we don’t know. Monsanto joins the Marines this week. Tiny is home. Someone said he has been put into the reserves.
The weather this week, I am glad to say, has lived up to the best traditions of even a Californian, so Marian got acquainted with Trumbull at its best. The Iris was out and also the Rhododendri (page Dan to see if that is the correct plural of Rhododendron) was in full bloom.
The only thing I regret about the newlyweds visit (I keep coming back to that subject – – the memory will undoubtedly linger for weeks and crop up at the most unexpected times and places) is the fact that there were not a number of snapshots taken to send so that you absent ones might in spirit relive with me the short but very pleasant visit. By the way, on the way back they have arranged to stop at Milan, Ohio, and see Larry’s (Peabody) place. It will be a case of when Marian meets Marian Larry’s wife, Marian). They left this afternoon on the 4:38 from Bridgeport, I, putting on a brave front and waving them goodbye in a very nonchalant manner.
The old humbug
Thursday and Friday, I will post another letter from Grandpa.