Trumbull – Dear Backsliders – Grandpa Responds to Marian – April 30, 1944

The letters I’ll be posting this week were written in the spring of 1944. Lad is at Camp Santa Anita training vehicle maintenance personnel, Dan is in London helping to plan for D-Day as a civil  engineer and surveyor, drawing maps for the invading forces, Ced is in Anchorage, Alaska, retrieving downed planes, repairing them and maintaining the fleet of airplanes for the Army, Dick is in Brazil as an MP and acting liaison between the Army and the local workers and Dave is at Camp Crowder, Missouri, finishing up advanced Basic Training.

Alfred Duryee Guion

           Alfred Duryee Guion

Trumbull, Conn. April 30, 1944

Dear Backsliders:
Save a little verse from Marian (about which more later) this is the second week that has passed without hearing a word from any of my five absentees. Now, I ask you, how can I quote from letters received if there are no letters received?
Last week about the time I was appending a little verse to my letter to you boys, Marian was indicting a little verse to me, to wit::

4/22/1944
Dear Dad,
In the letter we received last week
there was a certain reference,
made to the fact that we had shown
a very distinct preference!
We didn’t know – (we’ve been away
from Trumbull quite a spell.)
That Dad had reached the well-known stage
that even “best friends won’t tell”!
He seems to think that a sweet sachet
will help his cause a bit.
But frankly, Dad, we think you’ll find
that there is something you forgot !
So we are sending with this note
the things we think you need,
we know your friends will all return
if only you take heed.
And use a little every day
of each and every one.
With best regards from daughter-in-law
and ever loving son.

To which the following the reply is respect fully submitted:

That’s done it. Now the lid is off.
Aunt Betty and Jean know
The reason you sent them sachet –
You think they have B.O.

And by the selfsame reasoning
The hanky, I should say
Implies they both have fevers
That flaunt the name of “hay”.

Another thing — the envelope
By Marian duly panned
Says: from “T/3 A. Guion”
As if these words would lend

An aura of great probity
And in advance, defend
Our Marian from the wrath to come
By blaming “friend husband.”

However, judgment is reserved
In my case, till receipt
Of alleged package, now en route,
I must, without deceit

Admit, as one thing not forgot —
The height of all my joys
In having safe at home again
Not friends, but all my boys.

And now this bit of doggeral
Should meet a timely end
And what more fitting that it be
The vehicle to send

To Marian, and to “T/3 (who
We best know here as “Lad”)
In spite of all we’ve said — our best.
Aunt Betty, Jean and Dad.

Now a quick glance at the meager home news of the week. Art Mantle is home. His nerves seemed to be a bit shot but otherwise is O.K. He has 30 days leave. I have not seen him yet. Biss, her two kids, Aunt Betty and yours truly went to see “Snow White” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Snow_White_%28Disney%29 )yesterday.
Since eight o’clock this morning I have been as busy as the proverbial bee, clearing the back flower bed of stones, dumping several loads of raked up leaves, putting tar on the laundry roof where it leaks, replacing numbers on storm sashes to match frames where they had come off, cleaning out the furnace, besides getting dinner, etc.
We have as our guest Jean’s friend, Ann, from New Hampshire. Early yesterday morning they left for New York to paint the town red, stay overnight at a hotel and come home, sometime.
A letter from Barbara (Plumb) “somewhere in Italy” says: “I am well — gaining weight at a rate I don’t like to think about — enjoying everything I’m seeing and experiencing so very much. Overseas WACS, from all reports, are doing their jobs well. I saw Col. Hobby in North Africa and she certainly is absolutely charming — completely a woman. I’d never seen her before and didn’t know quite what to expect.”
My strenuous day in the outdoors, while but child’s play for you youngsters in the pink of condition, has made my bones a bit weary, do let’s call it a day, and hope the mailman will give me some quotable material for next week’s screed.
Signed
Creaky bones.

Tomorrow, a letter from Lad and Marian and on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, another letter from Grandpa.

Judy Guion

World War II Army Adventure (35)- Letter From Jim McClinch, United States Navy – June 15, 1944

My uncle, David Peabody Guion, enlisted in the Army and was sworn in on January 15th, 1944. He is currently at Camp Crowder, Missouri.  It seems that Dave will have missed seeing Jim McClinch and Stanley Feller when he gets to Trumbull.

David Peabody Guion

Thursday    15-44

Dear Dave,

Well, I left dear old Sampson and got myself 5 days delayed orders. I had a hell of a time for 5 whole days, and here’s why, Stanley Feller was home.First time in 17 months and I was out with him for 5 whole days.

I’m telling you, Dave, I saw more women in those 5 days than I did in my whole life. God Damn, but Stan has turned to be an awful wolf. And he is funnier than all hell.

This place is a hell hole and don’t let anyone tell you any different. We hav to take more shit here than we had to take at Sampson for 6 months. And it also is a filthy place. The damn walls are alive with cock roaches and other undesirable insects.

In about 5 minutes I’ll have to go out anad run my ass of ragged for about 2 hours. — Physical Marching, you know. I’ll be a physical wreck before I leave this place. — believe me.

Give a little prayer that I get assigned to a ship and to hell off thhis base — it’s driving me batty.

There goes that damn bugle so I’ll have to “shove off” for now, but I’ll be “cruising in” again soon. Write soon, will you, “Salty”?

Your Sailing Buddy,

Jim

Tomorrow, another letter from Ethel Sjoberg.

Judy Guion

 

Trumbull – Dear Doggies (3) – Quotes From Lad and Sheer Optimism – April 15, 1945

 

APG - APG at D_____ ______ a_____, 25 June, 1945

Alfred Peabody (Lad) Guion

Page 3    4/15/45

I guess I’m slipping, and will have to back water again. Maybe I can hide behind a technicality. There was no letter to be sure in P.O. Box 7 from Lad this week, but I was pleasantly surprised one day to find one from him waiting for me at the office, written Easter Sunday. “No letter from you again this week. Sometimes the mails are very slow. Yesterday one of the fellows in my room got a letter mailed Dec. 19th, — just a few days short of 4 months – – but then you consider the quantity of mail handled to and from the States I wonder that it makes such good time. And our Censors are doing a wonderful job over here too (now that’s what I call tact, Lad). It is very seldom that a letter isn’t mailed within 36 hours from the time it is written. Marian has only told me of one.

The past few days have been cloudy and wet, but the sun is trying to shine out bright and strong for this day of days. Seems to be having a little trouble though and now and then the clouds win the battle for a short time. It is still morning, so it may yet overcome all resistance. Hope so. I’ve been to the movies three times in the past week but didn’t see anything worth seeing. We’ve had quite a few mystery pictures lately but I don’t enjoy them too well. According to Marian, Ced, as usual, practically outdid himself in his Christmas Box. His ideas are always so practical, yet good, that it is truly a great pleasure to receive anything from him. Even his letters. Which reminds me, I should write to him. Plans to see Dan or the other fellows in Paris are no more mature than they were last time I wrote, but I’m still hoping. Interesting news items of the past week are nil and therefore I don’t have much to write about. Give my love to Aunt Betty and Jean and remember me to anyone so interested. I’ll take care of Marian’s interest, I hope. Lots of love, luck and good health, Dad. An Easter wish to you all – – on paper that is. I thought it many times this morning. LAD

It’s so good to be hearing from you regularly, again, Lad. It makes more difference in the days contentment than you realize. The only sad thing about it is that it makes me want to do so much more for all you lads that I can do. You married ones are being supplied from time to time by your devoted wives with boxes containing what you ask for and perhaps some things that you don’t ask for and possibly even can’t use, so Dad is sort of frustrated in exhibiting any of the tokens of esteem he wants to express, but from the news we keep getting, it seems as if it couldn’t be too long now before the show is over and the day brought nearer when you march up the gangplank and set sail for home. Oh, boy, won’t that be some day! And it does look over here as though you boys will not need to worry much about the future. I suppose I’m just naturally optimistic, but it does seem that for several years we will have a period of great prosperity here in this country. That report from Ven. Pete. (Venezuela Petroleum) which Marian is sending you looks as though they might use a good man on diesel down there, if you’re interested, Lad. Meantime I don’t think it would do a bit of harm to drop those men you know a postcard now and then, just to let them know you are on the map and have not forgotten them.

To you, also, Dick and Ced and Dave, our thoughts turn your way more than you know. In fact each of you occupies a special place in the thoughts and affections of your…..

DAD

Tomorrow and Sunday, letters from Dave during his World War II Army Adventure.

Judy Guion 

Trumbull – Dear Doggies (2) – Two Boxes and Local News From Trumbull – April 15, 1945

 

 

DBG - Paulette on Bike @ 1945 in France

Paulette Van Laere

Page 2     4/15/45

Another box was promptly dispatched to you during the week, Dan, which I hope will reach you before the war is over (or do I?). I am sorry to say I was unable to get a table cover of the size you wanted. Howland’s said they had had no oilcloth table covers for over a year. Read’s had one left, quite a bit smaller than you specified but I sent it along anyway. Howland’s had a very poor assortment of needle sizes, Read’s no needles at all, but I’m going to try some other stores. I also included in the box some more postage stamp assortments but the low price makes me wonder if any of the stamps will be of much interest to your perspective brother-in-law. I did succeed in getting two laundry brushes and I also enclosed in the box another of your shirts and a small box of writing paper for Paulette, with the initial V on the sheets.

And while I am on the subject of boxes, I am sending pretty soon one to Dave. I read in Ernie Pile’s account of his landing on Okinawa that he was practically eaten up the first night with mosquitoes, and while it may be that the Army furnishes you boys with mosquito netting, it seemed worth the chance, so I ups and buys enough for one cot cover, but as it did not come very wide, I got a double length so that you can employ some of your time, Dave, in plying needle and thread. Just as a bit of a novelty, I put in Dan’s package and will also include in yours, a can of popping corn and a bottle of oil (I suppose you can get salt) so that to vary the monotony some night, you can have a corn popping party if you can find or devise some form of popper. AND, Dan, this week I also instructed Davis & Hawley to mail to you, insured, a package containing an engagement ring and a wedding ring. The girls are fearful that the size is too small but supposedly the jewelers followed the instructions you sent as to what the ring size should be. I hope both Paulette and yourself will be satisfied with the efforts of the joint purchasing commission which consisted of Marian, Jean and yours truly. Anyway, we think we did pretty well.

In today’s Sunday Post there is a picture of Sgt. Benjamin A. Slauson, and quote: “Mrs. Benjamin A. Slauson, of Main Street, has received word from Lieut. Gen. George C. Kenny, U S A commander, that her son, Staff Sergeant Benjamin A. Slauson, was decorated with the Bronze Star medal in recognition of courageous service to his combat organization. He was cited for heroic achievement in connection with military operation against the enemy at Dulag Harbor, Leyte, P.I., on Nov. 12, 1944. He was a crew member aboard a ship when an enemy airplane made a suicidal dive and crashed into his vessel, killing 89 men and seriously wounding 100 others. When two explosions started fire in the stern, hurling shrapnel and debris about the ship, Slauson and other crew members hastened to the aid of the injured and extricated the wounded from the flames and wreckage and fought fires with shrapnel-riddled hose until a naval vessel came to their aid. Sgt. Slauson enlisted in the service five years ago and has been in the Pacific two years. Prior to entering the service he was employed at the Stanley Works and was a graduate of Bassick High School. He is 25 years of age.”

I also received the following in the mail this week: Mr. and Mrs. Frederick Fowler requested the honor of your presence at the marriage of their daughter, Mildred Elizabeth, to Ensign Harold Stacy Kercher, U.S.N.R., on Saturday, April 28th at Hamden, Conn.

Tomorrow, I’ll finish the week and this letter.

On Saturday and Sunday, more  of the World War II Army Adventure from Dave.

Judy Guion

 

Trumbull – A Skinny Letter – Dear Son – April 8, 1945

 

Trumbull House - the driveway and the back of the house

This is a much more recent picture

but this is the side yard where Grandpa was sitting.

Trumbull, Conn., April 8, 1945

Dear Son:

This is one of those “skinny” weeks when no letters have arrived from the “Quotes Dept.” and no local news of outstanding importance has occurred to furnish grist for the mill. So, if this week’s epistle is kind of thin and peaked looking, particularly by comparison with the last two letters, you will philosophically charge it to the working out of the laws of compensation. While the news from both the Pacific and European battle fronts is both interesting and encouraging, there seems hardly any need to comment upon it in these letters as events in both areas are moving so swiftly that by the time my letter is delivered and sometimes even before it is mailed, new progress or political developments have made the news of the moment old and uninteresting. Hence, while we all here, naturally, are taking the keenest interest in day by day developments, comments are purposely withheld.

Just as there are friendly little fairies along with gnomes and pixies and gremlins, so there must be a special class of germs that operate outside the disease producing groups that have their perennial times of activities. One of these, for want of a better term, might be called the Spring House Cleaning Bug. Jean and Marian both have gotten bitten by this little microbe lately, and as a starter your Dad is being gently and tactfully lured into having Carl do some needed repairs and following that, the purchase of some new linoleum for the laundry and the bathrooms. Jean is all in today having done four days of work in one yesterday on her room and the kitchen. Marian would have been in it up to her neck too, if Mr. Sikorsky hadn’t persuaded her the helicopter business is more important.

As there are up to the present time no priorities or price ceilings on guesses, and Dave is the only one of you boys whose geographical location is not known within  comparatively narrow limits, I have a suspicion that Dave is scheduled for Okinawa. Marion, on the other hand, is voting for the island of Luzon or adjacent American bases. Sooner or later I suppose, we will know which of us, if either, is right. From current Washington reports it begins to look as though many of the European veterans will be shipped over to the Pacific area in order to shorten up this war also. Otherwise to equip and train enough Chinese soldiers will take so long that Japan, who is on the skids now, might have opportunity to recover and adjust itself to a long continued struggle. European veterans, they probably figure, will do a cleanup job faster and better than raw and untried soldiers. So while I hate to think of this as far as you boys in France and Brazil are concerned, there is no sense in evading issues, and then maybe will be pleasantly surprised. Of course we are keeping our fingers crossed.

Today one might have gotten away unchallenged with the remark that “Spring is here”. This morning a weedy flower bed claimed my attention and after dinner I sat without an overcoat outside on the side lawn without an overcoat and read the Sunday papers. Of course I would rather have been talking to the individual who holds this paper in his hand at the present moment, but that too will come if we are patient. Meantime, we will all maintain stout hearts and carry on each in his own way, “today and every day till victory”.

DAD

Tomorrow and the rest of the week, I’ll be posting a three page letter from Grandpa to all of his sons, scattered around the world.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Dear Flopsy, Mopsy and Cottontail – Miscellaneous News From Trumbull – April 14,1944

 

Trumbull, Conn., April 16, 1944

Dear Flopsy, Mopsy and Cottontail:

Oh, pardon me, I have just been reading to my little grandsons and apparently are a little mixed up, as you see even in my verbs. You see some weeks ago Elizabeth decided she would have the New York Aunties up for Easter, but as Zeke had already told his mother they were going up to her house for Easter dinner, Biss, not to be swindled out of her master idea, decided to postpone it for a week and invited us all over to her house for dinner today. Alas, however, the New York Aunties wrote for one reason or another this was not a good day for them, that they preferred anyway to wait for warmer weather but Elizabeth, having in the meantime bought a ham, wanted the Trumbull contingent to come over anyway, said the little red hen, and they did.(Oh dear, I keep getting mixed up with those children’s stories.) Anyway, after dinner, Zeke decided as this was the second day of the new fishing season and the Sun had peeped out for a few minutes, to go fishing. The distaff side of the family, having finished washing the dishes, and I, having to get home in time to write my customary letter, started out for Trumbull. Elizabeth decided to come with us, so the two boys, all decked out in their sailor suits, and their mother, piled into the Buick and off we started for Trumbull. Now a little reflection on your part will make it quite clear that to attempt to write a letter with two little boys wanting to help make the keys of the typewriter jump up and down, the ribbon to role a bit faster and the shift key jog up and down a lot quicker, has led me to the sage conclusion that discretion is the better part of valor. Their mother, sensing my dilemma, has lured her progeny to accompany her to the drugstore with visions of overflowing glasses of ice cream soda, so the respite, so heartily one, is being dedicated to you, my distant children.

Now a few flotsam and jetsam of news. Jean’s brother has followed his sister’s example and has chosen himself a wife. Anticipating a definite draft date, he enlisted in the Marines, and the day before he was scheduled to depart he ups and takes his girl to the preachers and the knot is tied without fuss or bother or letting the rest of the family in on the doings until it was all over.

Paul (Warden, the tenant in the apartment) comes home from Samson where he has been undergoing preliminary training for the Navy on Tuesday next for a weeks furlough. What he will say when he finds his young son, after removing the cap to the gas tank in his car and filling it to the brim with Guion sand, can better be silently imagined than expressed in the colorful language learned in camp.

Mr. Powell’s son has been wounded and is in the hospital. In either storming or defending a machine gun nest on Penape his buddy was killed outright and young Powell received some shrapnel in the jaw. Of course his parents are quite worried but as they received a letter from him telling of the circumstances, they are hoping it will not be too bad.

Copies of letters from Dave and Dan are enclosed. This is the result of the suggestion Dan makes in his letter about quoting from word received from the other Guion’s. Thanks, Dan, for the constructive idea.

The difficulty with snaps is that there is no one here now who is a camera buff. and we don’t think to take pictures. Jean volunteers to try to remedy the difficulty if films can be obtained for the purpose. By the way, Conn. driver’s licenses expire at the end of this month, in case any of you are interested.

Marian writes they are busy trying to make their newly acquired abode presentable. Hoping you all are the same, as usual,

DAD

Tomorrow, another letter from Rusty to Ced, then a quick note from Marian and another letter from Grandpa. 

Why not invite someone to share these stories of an ordinary family during the War years. Better yet, why not have the posts delivered directly to your inbox? Just click on the FOLLOW box on the left column and add your email address. It’s as easy as that !

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Dear Dan and Dear Lad – A Warning and News from Trumbull – April, 1939

 

 

R-15

Dear Dan:

The pace is swifter of late.  Since I wrote you last week Lad has fired Inter-America, Inc.,  Max has decided to fly back to New York, Rudolph has been put in charge of things in Ted’s place, Ted (Human) has decided to return home as soon as he can stand the trip and I have started to raise hell with the Venezuelan government at the treatment you are receiving, and in general, hell’s a poppin’.

Lad had a run in with Max who wanted him to join you out in the field, which Lad refused to do without being paid, claiming he did not want to be stranded out in the bush with no money.  This made Max mad  and Lad was told he would be sent back to New York where he could collect back salary.  Lad replied he would have to have more than Max’s word for this, so Lad is now looking for a job with some other concern.

As for you, the sooner you can connect with some other outfit, the better.  I hope that job the Engineering Society had open for you in Venezuela comes through.  If you need any money for cables, or for food, for that matter, and can reach Alfred, perhaps he can help you out.  You had better watch your step and not do anything that will enable Max or Rudolph to accuse you of failing in your duty so that they can have an excuse to fire you until you can make some other connection, but I think you should spare no effort to tie up with some other concern as soon as possible, as it looks to me as though the whole outfit down there were going to fold up.  The complaints I am making to the government may help to do this, but not, I believe, before back salaries of everybody have been paid up.  As Ted will probably get through and further, as I believe Rudolph has been kidded by Max to come over to his side, I don’t see that there will be much use for you to stay on if that other job can be hastened by any means (that’s what I meant by referring to cabling above ).

Whether Lad’s run in with Max and Rudolph’s subsequently coming over to Max’s side on the promise of being given Ted’s job, will have any repercussions in Rudolph’s treatment of you, I don’t know, but this will serve as a tip for you to watch your step in case Max has planned to get even with Lad through you.  The whole business is in a nice mess and I’ll be glad when you are both free of it and either connected up with some other decent company or on your way home with back salary in your pocket.  Lad had an opportunity of possibly getting a job with an oil co., and as he seems to like it pretty well in Caracas, he may stay on for a while.

DAD

********************************************************

Page 2 of R-15

Dear Lad:

Enclosed are the letters you suggested I write as per the airmail letter I received from you Saturday afternoon.  I had just that morning sent you an airmail with the draft covering the payment for unemployment insurance.  I hope I have interpreted Ted’s suggestions properly.  The reference to the deposit was somewhat vague, as I did not know what the deposit referred to as being exempted, or was supposed to cover, so I hope the reference I made to it was O.K.

Yesterday and today, Reyom was moving down to the cottage, Zeke and Biss are moving in this week.  They plan to paper or paint and use the furniture (ours) that is in there until such time as they have money enough to purchase nice pieces of their own.  Marion (Mrs. Laurence Peabody) invited both the newlyweds down to New Rochelle with the rest of us for Easter dinner, but Zeke would rather not go so Biss is going anyway.  Marion has also invited Aunt Betty (Duryee) and Elsie (Duryee, Grandpa’s sister), as well as Helen (Peabody Human, Mrs. Ted)and Dorothy (Peabody) and all of us, so it will be quite a party.  We’ll be thinking of you boys of course.  Dick has been in bed yesterday and today was a cold but seems to be better tonight.  He is twanging away on his guitar right now and has been spending his time making up models with plasticine.  Helen (Human) came back from New York yesterday.  Uncle Fred Stanley, ex-husband of Aunt Anne (Peabody)Stanley), she says, took Gweneth (their daughter, bout Dave’s age) up to Westport to visit some friends and in getting out of his auto, slipped and smashed his face up against a stone post, breaking his nose and blacking his eye.  He is getting better O.K. and will probably show no marks.  Mr. Keating took David and some other boys up to West Point yesterday.  Today has been a blustery day, not cold but windy with quick changes from sunshine to clouds.  Last night we hadthis the first thunderstorm of the season and quite a hard rain later.  Ced has been spending about three days taking all the books out of the shelves in both rooms, cleaning them off, washing the bookcases and rearranging all the books.  He has done his usual thorough job and they look much better.  There is really not enough news in this letter to warrant spending the extra money for airmail, but I think I shall do it just the same in order that you may know what I have written to the Venezuelan government officials, which letters I am also sending by airmail.

Why don’t each of you boys go back over the letters I have written you, if you have saved them, and answer some of the questions I have asked from time to time?

DAD

The letters Grandpa has written to the Venezuelan officials (on the town of Trumbull First Selectman letterhead) will be posted on May 29th, when we return to this story line.

Tomorrow and Sunday I will be posting more letters from Dave regarding his World War II Army Adventure. 

Judy Guion