Trumbull – Dear Dan (2) – Notes to Ced and Dave – April 7, 1946

Dear Ced:

In case you are wondering what the above is all about, let me quote Dan’s last letter from Antwerp, March 26th. “The last month or so has seen an incredible melee of activity without progress. If you were to trace my itinerary it would go something like this: Metz, Paris; Paris, Calais; Calais, Paris; Paris, Le Havre; Le Havre, Paris; Paris, Calais; Calais, Paris, Versailles; Versailles, Paris, Brussels, Antwerp; Antwerp, Brussels, Lille, Calais; Calais, Lille, Brussels, Antwerp; Antwerp, Brussels, Lille, Calais; Calais, Lille, Brussels, Antwerp; Antwerp, Calais; Calais, Lille, Brussels, Antwerp. During this period I have managed to be in Calais nearly 50% of the time. Ostensibly, we are trying to get to England. Actually, while waiting for a boat, we are having quite a

Page 2    4/7/1946

vacation. Tomorrow at long last we are scheduled to board a small British ship which will take me to Folkstone. All the delay has been caused by our truck. It seems that only a limited number of ships are authorized to carry vehicles, else we should have gone right on to England from Le Havre. Frequent trips between Calais and Antwerp were made to see if the boat had come in yet. P.S. It hadn’t. “Chiche” is doing fine. She has been a promising herself to write you a letter in English, Dad, but only a “Richard” could say when. She plans to write it first in French, then translate as well as possible using a dictionary. The result should prove highly original considering how different are the word groupings between the two languages. Latest orders and cancellations: (1) Please send three women’s blouses with long sleeves and collar. Material and color governed by availability. Suggested cotton, white, yellow, red. (2) If electric flatirons with adjustable thermos-controls are available please send one. Ordinary electric irons are obtainable here but none thermo-controlled. (3) You may cancel both dress cloth and cradle cloth orders. They are becoming more common and more reasonable over here. The items that are most sorely lacking now in France are the staples of life such as flour, potatoes, dairy products, etc. Potatoes can be found only by going to the country and carrying them home yourself and the price runs around 6 or 7 cents per pound. Bread, which was un-rationed during the early winter months, is now rationed more stringently than ever and the quality is poorer than it was. In Belgium conditions are much better but prices are startlingly high. And now for the third time I mentioned that the next letter I write will be from England. Dan.”

And that’s the news from your next older brother. Saw Mrs. Ives this week and she asked about you. She has been visiting a friend in Jersey whose husband is dying from cancer and expects to go back there soon. In last week’s letter I neglected to enclose the statement promised so I sent it later in another envelope together with some watercress seeds for the Hopkins’ which I hope will be there when they reached Anchorage.

Dear Dave:

I suppose, and hope, that by this time you are on the high seas so I will not attempt to send a letter to you at the old address but shall instead take advantage of Aunt Dorothy’s good nature and use her for a temporary post office box, carrying the privilege of reading the mail. We have all been working outside today which has been sunny and fairly warm, tidying up the place to look nice for your homecoming. Dick has even gone so far as to give Smokey a shampoo and haircut. April 3rd we celebrated Lads birthday in a quiet manner just among ourselves at home. We had a treat in the way of beefsteak and Marian of course made a birthday cake which was a humdinger. Business keeps coming in pretty well, and if it weren’t for Lad helping out in his usual, quiet, efficient and neat way, I’d be swamped. Miss Platt (who left Grandpa’s employ to open her own printing shop) told me the other day she now has five employees. A couple of competitors have sprung up but apparently there seems to be business enough for all. Lad and I witnessed a demonstration of a multilith last week and it looks like something we could use. Price about $500. I told the salesman I would do nothing in the matter until your return, secretly hoping you might be able to get one as a veteran from army surplus stock and save several hundred dollars. Oh well, I suppose it will be time enough to talk shop after you have returned and gotten Pacific seaweed combed out of your hair. I am certainly looking forward to a vacation at the Island, however toward the end of the summer. And that’s about the only reason I’ll be glad to see you wither. Until you stumble up our old, stony driveway, I’ll remain your same old

DAD

For the rest of the week, I’ll be posting letters from Grandpa to Dan and Paulette and Ced. He won’t bother trying to send a letter to Dave because he should be on his way home, joining his brothers, Lad and Dick, their wives, Grandpa and Aunt Betty. The Trumbull house if filling up again which makes Grandpa very happy.

Judy Guion

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Trumbull – Dear Dave (1) – Comments to Dave and Lad – January 16, 1944

 

 

This is the first installment of a  letter Grandpa penned to his sons and daughter-in-law during the first month of 1944.

Trumbull, Conn., January 16, 1944

Dear Dave:

Now that you have become eligible for membership in the “Veterans of Foreign Wars”, and this is the first letter you will have received as a rookie from

me, it is quite appropriate that this week’s news sheet should be addressed to you alone. With your kind permission, however, we will allow other Guion members of the armed forces and their “appendages” to peak over your shoulder, so to speak, and thus glean what few bits of information they may from this screed.

While we did not receive the expected postal from you up to the last mail Saturday, a little bird whispered that internally you were humming a theme song which had a slight resemblance to the old saw: “Be it ever so humble, there’s no place like home”. But cheer up, all your big brothers went through the same experiences and got over it without any permanent scars. It’s always the beginning that is the most difficult and beginnings never last.

After saying goodbye to you at the Shelton Town Hall Thursday, clutching in your little hands the booklet donated by the American Legion on how to act as a soldier, the little package of cigarettes, chewing,, etc., we drove down to Bridgeport and Aunt Betty took the bus home. I admit I felt a bit lonesome all by myself in the office but having found from past experience that plunging into work is the best antidote for brooding, I tried a full dose of the remedy and held the enemy at bay, if you don’t mind mixed metaphors. I will say however that we all miss you a great deal and every so often someone says: “I wonder what Dave is doing now?”. (If they only knew, huh?)

Every week over this station we call in our correspondents from distant points. We will now hear from Ordnance in Texas. Come in Texarkana. (Pause) We regret that conditions beyond our control interfere with proper reception, but here is a report as of Jan. 9th.

Lad Guion

Lad Guion

Lad opens up with the shot amid ship: “I’m sorry, my first thoughts and letters are now to Marian and you all have sort of slid down a peg in line of importance.” (Which is quite proper as long as you don’t back the old man off the map entirely, Lad. I know you won’t do that and even if you felt like it I don’t think Marian would let you, so there) These faithful daughters-in-law of mine do have such a struggle at times trying to get their new husbands lined up. It’s an awful task, girls, I know. I’ve been at it longer than you, sometimes with fair results but many times with but meager returns. All this, of course by way of an aside, because Lad reassuringly goes on to temper the broadside by adding: “However, that doesn’t mean that my affections have in any sense decreased. I still think of all of you constantly but time has been lacking. In fact, I had to skip writing to Marian two nights last week.

On December 18th Lad was given advance notice he was to be shipped out. On the 21st he learned he had to go to Texarkana, Texas and must be there by December 25th. Some Christmas present! By noon of the 21st he was on his way in the Buick. Two flat tires and being forced into the ditch on an icy road were the only troubles other than getting gasoline. He arrived on Christmas Day and until January 3rd worked in getting a group of men ready to start training. If the 23 men under Lad’s charge successfully pass their examination, they are scheduled for overseas sometime in the early summer, but due to the type of work they are trained for, they should always be at least 300 miles from the front.

Lad doesn’t like the weather there at all – snowy, cold and damp. Marian is planning to come out by train about February 1st, and will come to Trumbull with Lad when (?) he gets his furlough.

Incidentally, just to show up thoughtful, generous minded Jean, just as soon as she learned the above, she immediately said, “When they come they can

Jean (Mrs. Richard) Guion

Jean (Mrs. Richard) Guion

have my room.”, and as admittedly hers is the most attractively furnished room in the house, it’s rather significant. And while I am at it, I might as well tell on her some more. Zeke asked Elizabeth to go out with him to some affair last night, but they could find no one to take care of the children, and in spite of the fact that she was not feeling top-notch, Jean packed her little overnight bag and took the double bus journey over to Stratford. I don’t suppose she will like me publishing these facts but I believe these little kindnesses should not go unacknowledged.

We now switch to Southern California where Mrs. A. P. has a message for us.

Marian Irwin Guion (Mrs. Lad)

Marian Irwin Guion (Mrs. Lad)

Marian writes on some new stationary with her initials and address embossed in green which I sent her at Lad’s suggestion. And now, young lady, stop around at the 5 and 10 on your way back from lunch and pick up a bottle of green fountain pen ink, just to put the finishing touch on this Irish Symphony. Enclosed with her letter were some highly prized photo prints from the Kodachrome slides, showing Marian, Lad, the cake and other members of the wedding party. And there is a promise of more to come later. They were very much appreciated, as you may well surmise. Marian has officially terminated her work with the Camp Fire Girls as of February 1st , and is looking forward to soon being “down in the heart of Texas”, clap, clap or however the song goes. Thanks, Marian, for keeping us so well posted. You’re a great girl, as Lad has remarked once or twice.

 

 

APG and MIG wedding pictures -0 cake and table (2)

Marian Guion and her sister, Peg Irwin

Marian Guion and her sister, Peg Irwin

Lad Guion and Vern Eddington, his Best Man

Lad Guion and Vern Eddington, his Best Man

 

Tomorrow, I’ll be posting the rest of this four-page letter from Grandpa to his scattered family, in all their locations around the world.

Judy Guion

 

Trumbull – Dear Dick, Lad, Marian and Dan (1) – Reply to Dick – January 9, 1944

Trumbull, Conn.  Jan. 9, 1944

Dear Dick, Lad, Marian and Dan:

‘Tis only the four of you I am writing to today, but it won’t be long now before Ced and Dave will be added to the list. Dave goes Thursday, and following my usual custom, which has happened so many times now it has almost developed into a habit, I should deliver my youngest at the well-known railroad station at Shelton to swell the ranks of Uncle Sam’s Army, and two days later I shall bid adieu to 6 foot plus Ced who departs again for the far North, with full intentions of making two stops en route, one at Texarkana to catch a glimpse of his oldest brother whom he last saw as he bid him goodbye at the Grace Line here (1939), and the second stop at Los Angeles (So. Pasadena) in order to meet his new sister-in-law; two visits which the writer confesses he would like very much to be making himself.

Ced has had an active week, spending two days in New York in which he visited the Burnham’s and Grandma, driving us all down to Pegg’s in Redding, where we had supper, and last night eating dinner with the Platt’s in Westport and showing the Alaskan slides. Last Sunday night we all went up to the Plumbs where also the Alaskan and South American movies were run off. Grandma, he said, was still mentally alert but was visibly weaker.

No letters from either Lad or Dan this week, but surprise of surprises, a letter from Dick, and a nice long letter from Marian.

In reply to yours, Dick, I want you to know how much it is appreciated. I was beginning to think you had just disowned the family. Writing letters to you month after month with never a peep in return makes one realize how a person broadcasting over the radio must feel who never gets any fan mail and doesn’t know whether anyone is listening or not or moreover doesn’t care. I am glad to have your assurance that my weekly efforts do mean something to you. I suppose it must be hard for each of you to realize that I really feel I am writing to each of you individually and not the way a newspaper editor feels when he writes for his public. I often have the feeling, when no comments are ever forthcoming to any of the topics mentioned (except of course, big events like Lad’s marriage or Ced’s homecoming), that perhaps they are really of slight interest and not worth the effort, because at times it really is difficult, as you must know from your own experience, to sit down at a regular time, whether you feel in the mood or not, and try to be interesting.

Aunt Betty Durtee

Aunt Betty Durtee

Aunt Betty is very encouraging along this line. She reads every letter after I have finished and always, in a tone of great conviction, says, “That was a very nice letter. I don’t see how you do it, Alfred.” And immediately my ego goes up a point or two and I say to myself, “Well, maybe it wasn’t so bad, at that.” Good old Ced  occasionally adds a few encouraging words and Lad and Dan keep on writing, so I give you the benefit of the doubt and keep on pounding out this stuff, hoping the fact you are away from home will add a bit of the glamour not inherent in the thing itself. It’s good to have Dick’s slant, for instance, in the following quotation:  “I miss the scenes around good old Trumbull — the walks in the woods, the Brook, every room in the house and all the people whom I have known so well. I know I could walk blindfolded through the house from top to bottom without any trouble. It’s been nearly a year since I’ve been home. When I was up in Alaska it wasn’t quite so bad because I was enjoying myself and knew that I could leave for home when ever I pleased. I really don’t get to lonesome though. There is always something to occupy my time, and idleness is the chief cause of homesickness. We all work and are hoping for victory.” Aren’t we all, Dick, feeling much the same, whether at home or in the armed forces?

Tomorrow, I’ll be posting the second half of this letter Grandpa comments about a letter from Marian and possible plans for the house when all the boys are home again. Wednesday, a letter from Lad. Thursday and Friday, another letter from Grandpa to his sons.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Dear Boys (1) – Lad Is Driving to California – January 3, 1943

Grandpa begins 1943 with a 3-pager, a page each to Lad, Dan and Ced, the only boys away from home at this time.

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TRUMBULL, Conn., Jan. 3, 1943.

Dear Boys:

Notice the date? No erasures, which means that I hit it right the first time this year I have written the date, indicating mental acuteness in spite of advancing years, war weariness, income tax woes, offspring uncertainties or what have you. Just to start the new year right, I shall write each of you a letter, trying not to duplicate on material so that you may each have the doubtful, clandestine satisfaction of snooping into the other fellow’s letter when he’s not around to see what you are doing.

Dear Lad:

Well, that’s a nice way to end the old year! And how hard-hearted of you. Here I have been saving pennies all the year, even robbing baby David’s piggy bank in order to have enough funds to purchase bourbon, Scotch, Irish and gin to go on a little binge all by myself to properly usher in the new year when you have to spoil it all by wiring me on Dec. 31, as follows: “No news was good news. Radiator trouble. Send $30 care Western Union, Tulsa, Okla.” As you did not specify whether the radiator in trouble was the cars or yours, my imagination is left full play. What became (stern voice) of all the alcohol you once had in the radiator? I only hope you will not be reduced to eating sterno with a spoon. However, as you may now have learned (I hope), I duly dispatched to the 30 simoleons with what was intended to be a cheery New Year’s greeting, hoping your head would have cleared sufficiently by that time to be able to read the message without seeing it double. By the way, as an extra precaution to aid in proper identification, I requested they ask your army number, and in less you see some reason why this is not a good idea, I think I shall follow this procedure in the future with any of you boys who ask for funds by wire. A bi-product of your message was the news that you were on your way, and quite possibly you have already arrived at your destination as these words are being written. If you don’t have another attack of girl trouble in as virulent a form as the epidemic that hit you at Flint, perhaps we may hear a bit more of the growth and progress of Corp. Guion. At present, I am sorry to say I cannot reply to any of your unanswered letters. Since Christmas, when Dan staged a bout with old man Barleycorn and used the alcove divan as a first aid dressing station, he has been back in the clutches of the Army, and speaking of clutches, he and Barbara, so the latter informed me, have decided to become dis-engaged, arriving at the decision by mutual agreement. I had a nice letter from Ethel in which she expresses regret that she sort of moved out on us without warning, due primarily to the tremendous task of getting the whole outfit moved so far and so quickly. She says: “We like it so much here and everyone is well and happy. You know how six people eat and there is no domestic help here. We just can’t wait for things to be so you can all come and visit us.” A letter from Roger Batchelder says he is out of the Army and in the Reserve. He says he made the slightest mistake of remarking to the adjutant (a 1st Lieut. who went to the Academy), “Pardon, sir, but when I was carrying a rifle around, you were in diapers”. He told the general about it, resulting in three weeks leave with pay and transferred to the Reserves. I imagine he had a few under his belt when that happened. Some people never learn. He said the only notification of Austin’s death came to him when a hotel clerk showed him the obit in a newspaper.

Dad.

Tomorrow, a letter addressed to Dan and on Wednesday, a letter addressed to Ced. Thursday and Friday, another letter from Grandpa to all his boys away from home.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – My Dear “Poor Dogs” – St. Patrick’s Day – 1946

St. Patrick’s day in the mornin’, 1946

My dear “poor dogs”:

No disrespect intended of course. And besides, it is generally admitted I believe that the dog is man’s best friend, but even this implies designation of you as my best friend is not the meaning I had in mind in the usual salutation. It is rather based on the old childhood saga. When this here Father Hubbard went this week to the mailbox cupboard he found it entirely bare of quotes and so you have none. Q.M.D. of course I might have called you snakes, again in no sense of disrespect but hoping in view of the day that you in turn would be driven out of your respective “islands” and shipped back to the mainland of the U.S. anyway, it is St. Patrick’s Day in the morning here or glancing at my gold watch and chain I see it is but nine A.M. – – an unusually early time for me to be indicting my weekly Clarion, but you see I have already been up hours applying a coat to tar to the laundry roof – – that and the driveway seem to be perennial jobs. And the reason for all this unseemly early morning activity? Well, Friday evening the phone rang and Aunt Anne (Anne Peabody Stanley, Grandma Arla’s younger sister), after the usual inquiry as to the state of my health, thought it might be a good thing if the six of us (Grandpa, Aunt Betty, Lad, Marian, Dick and Jean) should motor down today and visit them at her apartment. I consulted the various oracles and as all the auguries seemed favorable, I gave an affirmative answer and in an hour or so we start for the big city; AND not wanting to let the day go by without the usual letter you have learned to expect on this day, it seemed best to get started with it early, and there you have the whole thing laid bare before you. It took me a long time to say “I’m writing you early because we are going to N. Y. this afternoon”, but I have to fill up the page with words of some sort and news this week is confined to Joe Stalin’s blasts, Winston Churchill’s flowing measures and news of the settlement of the General Motors and General Electric strike settlement.

There is a little of local moment. Paul (Warden, the apartment tenant, along with his wife and two children), with the aid of Walter Mantle, is putting a new wall on the apartment bathroom. Jean went shopping in New York Thursday with Marion Hopkins (one of her objects being to see if, in the big city, she could find some suitable dress material for Paulette, unsuccessfully, I might add). Dick and Jean went horseback riding yesterday morning from the Madison Avenue Sables, it being a beautiful spring day, and later came back and did some cleaning up work around the yard.

Dave, I forgot to mention in last week’s letter that I received a note from Herman R. Semenek of Chicago, enclosing a five dollar bill and asking me to thank you for your trust in him. You will regret to learn that your Alaskan brother Ced has been insulted by the Bridgeport City Trust Co. They read his signature and addressed him thereupon as Pedric D. Tucon. It cannot be that his handwriting is a bit illegible.

Surprise. Dick is up. He just came from this cellar where he has been coaxing the old coal water-heating stove into activity. The oil burner installed eight months ago burned out apart and for several weeks now we have been waiting for the replacement part to arrive. Meanwhile we have sort of a local ration allotment for hot water. Today everyone will want to take baths and get all dolled up before going to visit so the little old stove will be working overtime.

Aunt Betty has just called me into breakfast, so leaving with the hope that the coming week will bring news from Alaska and abroad to liven up next week’s screed, I remain, respected Sirs,

Your doting father

familiarly known as

DAD

Tomorrow and Friday,  I’ll be posting pages 2 & 3 of a letter Grandpa wrote to his far-way family. I did not have a copy of page 1 so I went to my original letters and page 1 is missing from there also. 

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Dear Dave: (1) – Letters to Dave, Dan and Paulette – March 10, 1946

Trumbull, Conn., March 10, 1946

Dear Dave:

Thank you very much for the letter and particularly the promising news it contains, which you wrote from Manila, 25th, 1946, as follows: “it’s been so long since I’ve written you I’ve forgotten what I said last time. Not much is happening here anyway. I’m still working and waiting for the day when they decide I shall go home. The mail situation is deplorable. A couple of days ago I got yours of Feb. 2nd, in which you enclosed the legal form, but I don’t know the story behind it because I’m missing mail from a number of Sundays prior to the 2nd. You can expect me by May 15th, but don’t drop dead if I should walk in on you before that. This isn’t much of a letter but I’m trying to write and listen to Margaret O’Brien on the radio at the same time. See you before too long. Dave

Well, that’s one point in the score for Margaret. Even if she did win out this time the situation will be different after the aforesaid May 15th. I’m even beginning to wonder now where we are going to bunk you when you do arrive along with your Philipino tan. You may have your choice of the bathtub or the coal bin in the cellar which is just about empty. And then of course there is the clubroom in the barn, or rather what is left of it. A glance inside the other day showed evidence they have been breaking up the furniture for fuel. However, don’t delay your homecoming on this account. As to the mail situation the radio this morning announced that Gen. MacArthur had given orders to speed up mail delivery so maybe you boys will have one less gripe on this score. But before we cast off and sail for other ports here is one business news item which may interest you. Lad has brought to consummation one of your long dreamed of ideas and that is converting the mimeograph into an automatic operated unit. He rigged up a little motor and part of an old signature attachment in such a way that you can switch on the juice on a rheostat speed regulator and the old mimeograph, now automatically fed will automatically operate, automatically failing to print when the feeder forgets to push through a sheet, so now theoretically, you can put on a stencil, load up with a hundred blank sheets, turn on the current, let her percolate and go off and listen to Margaret O’Brien on the radio if you dare. Aside from that I’m feeling pretty peppy over the news that you still are hopeful of a comparatively early return and that now leaves only Dan & Co. with a big question mark after the words “embarkation date”. No further word from him this week but each day that goes by brings inexorably nearer that indefinite but nevertheless certain date when France will conquer America through the Trumbull invasion point.

Dear Dan:

Anent invasions we are completely conquered this week by an old friend of yours, Leonard Hopkins and his charming wife. Ced had written some weeks ago that they were starting for the east and would probably stop in for a visit. We have been looking forward to seeing them and sure enough this week they phoned from New York and yesterday Lad met them at the railroad station. They are tops, both of them. She is much like your mother in being interested enthusiastically in almost everything and he, aside from his friendly, interesting personality, strikes me as a very able, farsighted and discriminating businessman.

Dear Paulette:

Jean is still searching the stores for some attractive flowered cotton material from which you can make a pretty summer dress but they do not yet seem to have received their spring and summer stock yet from the manufacturers in the department stores. However she will keep trying and as her judgment in clothes is exceptionally good you can be sure when she does find something it will be well worth waiting for.

Tomorrow, the second half of this letter – addressed to Ced. The rest of the week will be filled with two more of Grandpa’s letters to his “poor dogs” and Easter greetings.

Judy Guion

Army Life – Dear Ced – How wonderful to be Home – January 1, 1944

Lad and Marian have been married for about six weeks. They celebrated Christmas on Dec. 21 because Lad was sent to Texarkana, Texas, leaving Marian back in South Pasadena, CA. She plans on moving to join him as soon as possible.

Lad and Marian Guion's wedding - Nov. 14, 1943 - close-up with hat and coursage

Saturday 1/1/1944

Dear Ced –

How wonderful it must be to be home again, after three years isn’t it? I know that it has been grand for your Dad to have you home, particularly at this time of year, and we envy you the good time you must have. But not too much, however, you certainly deserve it.

Lad and I enjoyed your telegram and letter so very much. It is going to be a grand day for me when I can meet all of you in person, forLad has spoken of you so many times that I feel as though I’ve gotten a partial start toward knowing you. And your friendly letter helped, too.

Your letter mentioned that you would like to have suggestions for a wedding gift for us. If you haven’t gotten anything yet, may we have a rain check on that request until we know a little more definitely what our future plans are to be? I haven’t the slightest idea what Texarkana is like but I imagine that when (and if) I go to join Lad, that I will put our things in boxes and send them home for mother to keep until after the war. At that time will be able to make our plans a little more definite. Thanks, though, for your offer and good wishes. All of you have made me feel so much “at home” that I feel as though I’ve known you for years. Best of luck to you, Ced, on your trip back to Alaska. Hope it won’t be so long next time before we see you again. Write to us occasionally, if we light long enough for a letter from way up there to catch up to us!

Very sincerely,

Marian
Tomorrow and Wednesday, we’ll have a letter from Grandpa to his scattered flock in Alaska, California, London, Brazil and Texarkana. He just keeps using more carbon paper and making more copies ! I will finish out the week with another letter from Marian to Grandpa. 

Judy Guion