World War II Army Adventure (118) – Our Demonstrations Here (1) – January 9, 1945

I do not have any letters written in December, but I’m sure that Dave did write home during the month. This is the next letter I have in his collection.

David Peabody Guion

Jan 9, 1946

Manila, P.I.

Dear Dad –

Not only do I owe you a letter – but I suppose you’re waiting for a letter from me saying something about our demonstrations here.  Well – here’s the story on that.

Everything was running smoothly – boots were leaving every day packed with boys bound for Frisco.  Then the Daily Pacifican (our Bible) came out one morning with an article stating a ship had left the day before with 600 empty berths.  There was the usual noise from the fellows – maybe a little more vehement than usual – but nothing spectacular.  The next day the Pacifican printed the story on Patterson’s statement that he didn’t know points had been stopped as of V-J Day.  Some of the guys laughed, others (like me) could see nothing funny in it.  To me it was as if someone had come up to me and said, “how do you adjust the pressure of the imprint on a multi-graph machine?” If I didn’t know the answer to that, I should be beaten over the head – something I wish somebody would do to Patterson.  How can a man have faith in his government when the heads of the government are so ignorant of their own particular job?

Well, to go on, the third day the paper came out with the order that men had to be ELIGIBLE to go home on points.  Any one of these stories would have created the usual moaning from the man – but for two days in a row they had received blows and then the War Department came out with their new ruling.  They couldn’t have picked a worse time psychologically for their statement.  Some of the boys talked of protest – but it was half-heartedly.  They become passive in their feelings toward the government and the Army.  You often hear, “what the Hell”, or “You can’t beat it!”  In a way that shows they are too disgusted to even raise a finger.

Tomorrow, I will post the rest of this letter regarding the demonstrations. 

Judy Guion

Army Life – Dear Dad – On The Move – August 7, 1944

Monday

(postmarked 8/7/1944)

                 Lad and Marian – Pomona, CA

Dear Dad: – –

I knew that the minute I put down in writing the fact that “we thought we were going to stay here for a while,” the Army would change our minds for us. Maybe I’ll learn some day that I’ll never know what the Army is planning from one minute to the next. Lad is supposed to leave here Wednesday or Thursday for Flora, Mississippi, and I am going to drive the car and meet him there – or rather at Jackson, Mississippi, for there is not much more than the Army Post at Flora. Jackson is about 20 miles away from the Post, and as it is the capital of Mississippi, it can’t be too awful. Some people must live there. But every report we’ve gotten so far, from fellows who have and who have not been there, say that Flora is nothing more than a h___ hole in the very worst degree. Not very encouraging, is it, but if we go there expecting the very worst we might be pleasantly surprised. I hope so, anyway. Whether this is to be a training center or a staging area or both we don’t know. Last month the Battalion was very “hot” and practically on its way overseas, but things cooled down considerably and we heard that another Battalion had been sent across instead. So, as usual, we don’t know very much about what we are doing. But we hope for the best.

It looks as though I’m going to have to postpone my very muchly anticipated return visit to Trumbull. May I have a rain-check, however, so that I may arrive at a later date? The only bright spot in the idea of Lad’s going overseas is the prospect of being with you again – and not just because of the snow, either! Perhaps I’ll be a little late, but I might show up yet.

It is going to take all our available cash to move, Dad, so once again we are going to have to ask you to wait for another payment on our loan. We never seem to have a chance to save for these unexpected trips. They come much too suddenly and often for us to adjust the family budget! We are not sure of Lad’s new address. As soon as we know it, we will send you a card. And although we expect to move from Pomona on Wednesday or Thursday, don’t be too sure of it. Our next letter might still come from Pomona, because knowing the Army as we do, I am not leaving here until I know for sure that the fellows are on the train and on their way.

Mother’s operation was very successful. Already she can see 50% better than before, and the doctor hopes that in three months time, when she gets her glasses, that she will be able to see 100% better. So that is very encouraging, and now that the mental strain and worry are over for her, she should improve quite rapidly. I’m still planning to stop by Orinda on my way to Flora, although I won’t be able to spend very much time there.

With all our love,

Marian and Lad

Tomorrow and Sunday, I will post two letters from Dave’s World War II Army Adventure.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Lizzie of the Klondike (4) – A Rare Letter From Dick – August 6, 1944

This is the final chapter of this “elongated screed”, with a letter from Dick and comments by Grandpa. 

“Lizzie of the Klondike” refers to the first section of this letter which quotes a letter from Ced trying to convince Aunt Betty (whose name is actually Lizzie) to move to Alaska.

?????????????????????

Richard Peabody (Dick) Guion

Dick has thrown down the gauntlet and challenges all of you individually and collectively to a contest to see who can invent the best reason for failure to write letters home. On Sunday, July 23rd, he had a real brainstorm. It was so overwhelming in its intensity that he immediately sat down and committed it to paper. Here it is:

“I just thought of a marvelous excuse for my not writing more regularly. How does this sound? Assuming that you like to receive letters (and who doesn’t) I wait until I am sure you have given up all hope of hearing from me and then spring a surprise attack. The letter, of course, is a typical one or two page affair beginning and ending with the same old salutations but – the element of surprise!! That’s the secret. There is only one fallacy, the – – upon receipt of said “delayed-action bomb”, you will probably ask yourself: “From whence comes this stray epistle, and who be the bounder that sits at the end of the pen and scratches aimlessly on this sheet. What manner of man (or mouse) is this thing that calls itself Dick? Have I ever been acquainted with it? Of course, I know what your reply will be. Why doesn’t this fellow write a little more often that we might become a little better acquainted.” I really enjoy getting your weekly letters, Dad, and think your idea of including extracts from the others is quite the thing. The latest rumor is that this base won’t last very much longer. In that event I should and probably would be sent home at least by Christmas. I feel hopefully certain that the European phase will be over by November 15th but not before November 1st. I want to thank you for buying that slip for Jean’s birthday. She certainly liked it very much and has probably told you as much. Everything goes well here. There are about 40 Army jobs I would much prefer to my present work but about 400 I would much less rather be doing, including all the jobs I have had so far. Give my love to Aunt Betty and Smoky and keep lots for yourself. My love for Jean will have to wait until I get home.”

Jean (Mortensen) Guion (Mrs. Richard)

COMMENT: Jean has been too busy this week with her vacation to miss your love. After giving the whole place a thorough housecleaning, with incidental jobs like putting up new curtains as a sideline, preparing the meals even to the extent of doing the shopping, you can all see that she is having a very lazy vacation. Aunt Betty has therefore had leisure to smoke many of her cigars and when I come home nights I find her butts lying all over the house.

The weather here, to revert to a very complacent subject, the past week has been as hot as I have ever seen it for so long a stretch since coming to Trumbull.

Perhaps it is just as well I didn’t hear from Dave this week, as if this letter had to be extended over to a sixth page to include his quotation, your eyes would probably give out. However, I cannot bring this to a close without passing on a bit of local news. The Trumbull post office, which for 26 years has been located in Kurtz’s store with Emanuel Kurtz as postmaster, will soon have to seek a new location. The President of the United States, in his great wisdom, has appointed a new acting postmaster – Mrs. Mary Ann Pimpinelle (daughter of Micky Langdon), as of August 1st. Mr. Kurtz, as you may have realized, is a Republican. Everyone is speculating as to where the new post office will be.

It is about time, don’t you think, that I brought this elongated screed to a timely end. Anyway, Jean is waiting to have me set up the projector to show some of the slides, and of course we should not keep ladies waiting, so, with a hearty ta ta, I still remain,

Your loving

DAD

Tomorrow I’ll be posting a letter from Marian with the latest news from California.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Lizzie of the Klondike (3) – A Note From Marian – August 6, 1944

Next we have the pleasure to present a Southern California message, from that place redolent of fruits and sunshine called Pomona. Marian says: “Here we go again! Life in the Army is very much like sitting on the time bomb. We never know whether we will go off in the next minute or whether our precarious seat will prove to be a dud. The fellows have been told that they should have some technical training, so beginning tomorrow, Lad is going to be teaching a course on the finer points of the electrical system of diesel engines. This should last about two weeks. Actually it means absolutely nothing beyond the fact that it will keep the fellows busy. So the way things stand now we should be here for another two weeks, but just as soon as I put that in writing the Army will change our minds for us. Consequently, you now know just about as much of our future plans as we do, and as to their definiteness, your guess is as good as ours. Life goes on pretty much the same these days in all other respects. Lad is back at the Pomona base now and doesn’t have to report for work until 5:45. He’s keeping busy but does not have to work as hard or as long as he had to when he was at Camp Haan.

Marian (Irwin) and Alfred Peabody (Lad) Guion

I believe this is the picture that they weren’t very pleased with.

We thought we were going to be able to send you another addition to your Rogue’s Gallery, but we were not satisfied with the finished product so the photographers are going to see what they can do about it. But it will take another two weeks to get the pictures back. You have waited this long for a picture of both of us together so it shouldn’t be too hard to wait that much longer. (Here follows a request for Lad’s flashlight.).

Aunt Betty, I’m sure Ced has been using his most persuasive powers to get you to Alaska. But don’t forget that there might be some question about your being able to smoke those cigars of yours up there. Families, you know, understand these things and make the necessary allowances, but strangers are apt to raise their eyebrows at such goings on. And I’m sure the natives wouldn’t understand at all. They might think you were on fire and bury you under an avalanche of snow. So don’t say I didn’t warn you. Besides, who’s going to help me shovel a path to the garage if I come to Connecticut this winter?”

COMMENT: By gorry, Aunt Betty better be making a list of folks who “didn’t warn her” — that’s two already recorded in this letter. And while Ced has introduced a new factor in the equation with his barrel of rum, you will note, Dan, the cigar episode which you were the first to recognize and record, has, like the proverbial snowball, keeps rolling down hill, is getting bigger, or perhaps we had better liken it to the likewise proverbial stone thrown into the still water which makes ever widening circles. Careful where you throw stones, young man. Your Aunt Betty now is beginning to fear she will never live this down. As for the flashlight, armed with your keys, my Anzoutiguey importation, I mounted wearily the attic stairs after a torrid day at the office to be met with a blast of hot air. After moving several tons of boxes and cartons which my Alaskan giant had successfully piled on top of your trunk, I, at  length, heaved up the lid, ransacked the tills, peeked under the bottles of iodine, etc. all to no avail, until, thoroughly blinded by the honest sweat pouring from my manly brow, I closed the lid, had just enough strength to press the lock into place, and without replacing the boxes, had just enough to stumble downstairs in an exhausted condition with the bitter sense of frustration and failure. After recovery, I phoned Babe (Cecelia Mullins, Lad’s ex-girlfriend) and found she did have your flashlight, in fact it was right there, handy, so as soon as I can get it from her, probably early next week, I shall send it along with the other things you wanted with the sole exception of the Boy Scout knife which I have been unable to find, even the genuine or a reasonable facsimile.

Now for photographs. We now know that Lad’s is in the works. Dave had some taken a while ago which were AWFUL. They don’t look any more like him than the average passport photo. I wouldn’t give them space on my bureau. Dan promised to send me one from London which I surmised he had taken but if it ever was mailed it must have fallen victim to a Nazi U-boat. May I remind you that my birthday is in September, Christmas comes the latter part of December and Father’s Day follows several months thereafter. My gallery is still incomplete.

Tomorrow, the final paragraphs of this very long letter. On Friday, a letter from Marian. Maybe she’ll have some more information.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Lizzie of the Klondike (2) – News From Dan – August 6, 1944

Dan-uniform (2)

Daniel Beck Guion

Page 2       8/6/44

Did I ever tell you the story of the three divinity students at Yale, a Protestant, a Catholic and a Jew were comparing how far each might eventually get in their chosen professions. The Protestant said he could start as a curate, become rector of a large parish, advance to Archdeacon and eventually become Bishop. The Catholic snorted and said in his church after becoming a priest, Monsignor. and a Cardinal in tern he might eventually become pope, which is right next to God himself, and what could be higher than that! The Jew shrugged his shoulders and said, “Well, one of our boys made it”.

And so I am pleased to report to you today that “one of our boys made it”. Dan is in France, as evidence of a v-mail letter written from “an orchard in Normandy”. “I am sitting at home in front of my tent while around me a Normandy farmer and his entire family from little Josette (who carries their cider and black bread) to le grande mere (who wields the rake) toiled to gather the hay for the winter fodder. It is a far cry from London, which city we were quite ready to leave, as you must realize. Only distant rumbling of guns keeps us from forgetting the war which seems so out of place here in the peaceful countryside. The channel crossing, although significant, was effected without incident. Our experience with the local folks thus far has been gratifying. We have been able to buy fresh eggs and cherries, which was virtually impossible in London. The people have treated us with the utmost cordiality. My French studies are bearing a bumper crop of fruit now. Please send me as soon as possible a small pocket dictionary (French – English). Also please send some soap. It is scarcer here even then it was in England”.

COMMENT: Once, long years ago, I took your mother, before we were married, to a performance of a light opera called “The Chimes of Normandy”. Little did either of us realize at that time that one day our son would be where he could hear those same chimes, perhaps peeling out the Angeles at close of day. Dan’s words recall Longfellow’s Evangeline:

          Sea fogs pitched their tents and mists from the mighty Atlantic

Looked on the happy Valley, but ne’er from this station descended

There, in the midst of its farms, reposed the Acadian village.

Strongly built were the houses, with frames of oak and chestnut

Such as the peasants of Normandy built in the reign of the Henry’s

Thatched were the roofs, with dormer windows; and gables projecting

Over the basement below protected and shaded the doorway.

There in the tranquil evenings of summer, when brightly the sun set

Lighted the village street, and gilded the vanes on the chimneys,

Matrons and maidens sat in snow white caps and in kirtles

Scarlet and blue and green, with distaff’s spinning the golden

Flax for the gossiping looms, whose noisy shuffles within doors

Mingled their sound with the whir of the wheels and the songs of the maidens

Solemnly down the street came the parish priest, and the children

Paused in their play to kiss the hand he extended to bless them.

Then came the laborers home from the field, and serenely the sun sets

Down to his rest and twilight prevailed. Anon from the belfry,

Softly the Angelus sounded, and over the roofs of the village

Columns of pale blue smoke, like clouds of incense ascending

Rose from a hundred hearths, the homes of peace and contentment.

But to return to the practical, a box containing your French – English dictionary, which has been reposing in the bookcase here patiently awaiting your summons, together with five cakes of ivory soap and a tube of lather-less shaving cream which I have found to be very good for a quick, shape, all packed in a box is already on its way to your new APO number.

Dan, next time you write have your secretary jot down somewhere in fine print whether or not you ever received the box of soap, toilet articles and smoking materials I sent you so long ago. I read somewhere the mosquitoes in Normandy were pretty bad. How about flies? Would you like a flyswatter for your tent? In case you run short of soap, I should think some of your lathering shaving cream would do as a substitute. Anyway, I hope the package reaches you promptly. It was mailed about August 4.

Tomorrow, I’ll post the next installment of this long letter. We’ll hear from California and Grandpa’s additional comments.  On Thursday we will have the final section of the letter. On Friday we have a letter from Marian.

Judy Guion

World War II Army Adventure (87) – Time And Dates Don’t Mean Much – April 27, 1945

27 April 1945

(or there abouts)

(Rec’d 5/4)

P.S. – Time and dates

don’t mean much out

here so I’m not sure

it’s the 27th.

Dear Folks –

First – I’m sorry.  I’ve been pretty busy most of the time – and the rest of the time (as usual) I’ve wasted.  I went to a show tonight (the machine broke down so they called it off) and I figure if I’ve got time to see a show, I’ve got time to write to you – so here I am.

Censorship is still pretty heavy but I got a letter off to Ellie that had quite a bit in it and I asked her to quote the interesting parts to you.  If she hasn’t done it yet you can call her up.

(2)

The old morale is sky-high – better than back in the States.  There’s just enough danger to make it exciting.  We were bombed one night – but no damage was done except a couple of shrapnel holes in some of the tents.  We’re dug in – so none of us were hurt.  Another night a plane came over and did some strafing – but he didn’t get very near our bivouac area.  I guess it sounds bad – but it isn’t as dangerous as it sounds.

We are getting wonderful chow – and we rigged up a shower and bathtub.

(3)

The anti-– aircraft just started overhead – something must be going on outside.  It sure scares you when all is quiet and then all of a sudden all hell breaks loose.  I jump every time.

They’ve made me temporary mail clerk now.  I get the water at the same time as I go for mail and that keeps me pretty busy.  The boys are threatening to linch (is that spelling right?)  me because we haven’t been getting any mail.  I got one big batch one day.  I got all your letters from February right up to April all at once. But we’ve gotten nothing since then.

(4)

I guess congratulations go to both Dick and Dan.  I guess I’ll have to pick me up a Chinese or Japanese girl out here someplace.  The question is – where?  They seem to be few and far between – and what’s left is pretty ugly.  Maybe I’d better wait till I get home and then I can court Mrs. Kintop’s little girl.

Things seem to be shaping up pretty well in Germany.  By the time you get this it will probably be all over.  I suppose my two sisters-in-law are a couple of happy girls.  I once told Jean that when the war  in Germany

(5)

was over – I’d go out on a royal toot – – but I never yet saw a guy get drunk on chlorinated water.  Well maybe I can dig up some saki (I don’t know if that’s spelled right either).

I like our new bill heads, Dad, but it makes me awfully homesick.  Oh – for some gooey printer’s ink on my hands!  How are things going?  Is the labor problem still pretty bad?

I wish you could have been here the other day, Dad, I was babbling away as usual about nothing and Lt. Davis said it would be too bad if the Japs caught me and cut my tongue out.  I told him you’d get a big kick out

(6)

of his saying that.  We got the best bunch of guys you could ask for.  The officers are okay too (they read these letters).  The only trouble is we’ve got some characters in the outfit too – but if you don’t take them seriously they’re good for a few laughs.

Well I’ve got to hit the hay.  I’ll write again when I get the chance.  At least you know I’m alive, well, and happy.  Maybe in another year – or even less – I can get home and talk the rest of my brothers under the table – but for now I’ve got to rest my weary tongue.

Good night,

Dave

Tomorrow I will begin posting a week of letters written in the fall of 1944. 

Judy Guion

World War II Army Adventure (86) – Dear Dad – On Board A Ship – March, 1945

David Peabody Guion

Dear Dad –

Here I sit on board ship in a small shaded spot on deck.  Inside its out of the sun – but unbearably hot.  By now it may be warming some at home – but I imagine you’re still bundling up when you go outside.  But here I am without a stitch of clothing on me but an identification bracelet, my dog tags, undershorts, and a pair of combat boots.

I’ve had a lot of time to think since I left the States – sometimes I believe I have had too much time.  You get pretty low once in a while if you allow yourself.  But I’ve had time to plan and dream for the future too.  I’ve had time to see the mistakes I’ve made in the past – and wish I could repent of them.  I’ve had time to think of the fun I had at home – the perfect and easy life – how lucky I was.  I long to get my hands in Mimeo ink – and have job after job pile up on me till I get irritable.  I’d like to have a rip-snortin’ argument with any one of my brothers now – just for old-times sake.  All these things may sound like I’m homesick – well – who isn’t?  But remembering my fun in the past acts more’s as a morale-builder.  It will help to keep me going when the time comes for us to leave this aristocrat’s life on board ship.

I wouldn’t have missed the opportunity for the world.  Some people pay for it in money – we’re paying in another way – but even that has its good cause.  I’ll come back with lots of stories – I have a few already – and lots more memories.  I’ll come back smarter – and be better able than ever to make the Guion Adv. Co. (A D Guion Advertising Company, Grandpa’s business in Bridgeport, CT) the biggest and best establishment of its kind in New England – big talk?  You just wait and see!

Do you remember when I told you of our company mission, etc.  when I was home?  Well, it will probably work out pretty much the way I told you – but it will be a little “hotter” than I expected.  But we’ll have a big Christmas dinner in ’46 – I figured thirteen in all – counting sisters and brother-in-law, and nephews-and overseeing it all – Aunt Betty. (Dave doesn’t know it but there will actually be three more – Dan’s daughter and Lad and Marian’s twins –  my brother and me!)  We’ll have lots of fun – Butch can rip four or five of my piano roles – and we’ll let Marty pull down the tree (Butch , Raymond Jr., and Marty, Elizabeth’s – Bissie’s, two sons) – after all he’s got to have his fun too.  It sounds sarcastic – that last part – but really it would be worth it if I could be there to see it now – but I can’t wait till ’46.  Don’t worry, Jean, or you either, Marian, they’ll be home before then (Dave is referring to Jean’s husband, Richard Peabody Guion – in Brazil, and Marian’s husband Lad – Alfred Peabody Guion, in France) – but I’m figuring I’m getting in on the fun, too – so I pushed it up to December ’46 – okay?

Well – pretty soon they’ll say “chow down for troops” and I’ve got to get some clothes on before they’ll let me eat – so – think of me once in a while – and remember every day is a day closer to THE day –

All my love (‘ceptin’ some for Elly) (Elinor Kintop, his girlfriend)

Dave

Tomorrow another letter from Dave’s World War II Army Adventure.

Judy Guion