Trumbull – Dear Boys (1) – Dan Is Married – July 29, 1945

Daniel & Paulette's wedding - 1945

Mr. and Mrs. Daniel Beck Guion

Trumbull, Conn., July 29, 1945

Dear Boys:

Well, there’s news this week, sure enough. Dan’s married. Yes sir, it happened on July 17th. Incidentally, we were celebrating Jean’s birthday at the time also. A V- mail from Lad, received yesterday, brought the glad news and also informed us that he was able to be present. That’s about all. He said he would write details later. Haven’t yet heard from the new bride and groom but the news was not a complete surprise because early this week I received a July letter from Dan, as follows:  “At last, the good news. The marriage will take place at Calais the 17th of July. It has been a long and difficult struggle, compromising between the demands of the Army (to get married as soon as possible), and the requests from Calais (to wait until August 4th). The final critical score is keeping me on edge, because my 76 points may prove to be too few. Since we have been placed in Category II (Pacific bound) you can readily imagine that I am more than mildly interested in the final score. With a wife in Calais, the hills of China would not prove exceptionally attractive.”

So, my hearties, we now have a new sister and daughter and of course the big thing to look forward to now is the gathering of the clan when we can all get acquainted. You might tell Paulette, Dan, that I have written and will enclose a few letters to her, kind of gradually creeping up on this acquaintance business, so she can get “eased” into the family without too great a shock. It will probably be shock enough to find out the sort of chap she is hitched up with, as soon as she gets the rice combed out of her hair. It was tremendous good news to learn that Lad had been able to be there for the wedding. He sort of represented the rest of us who would have liked to be there but couldn’t. I hope tomorrow’s mail will bring either a letter from you or Lad, giving us more details then he could compress in a short note. From what he says, he is practically on his way, but where to or when or from where is one of those things. I think I shall prepare and send out to relatives and friends a semi-formal notice of the event of Dan’s marriage and would like to have you send me Dan, as soon as convenient, a list of names and addresses of any friends you would like to have receive a copy.

jean-on-lawn-1945

Jean Guion

Now for a few random notes before we come to the quotes dept. These are busy and exciting days for Jean. In the first place, she was about due for a nervous breakdown last week when she learned that she had to have a passport, although instructions from the government failed to mention the fact, and that obtaining it might be a matter of months. However, by telephoning to various bureaus in Washington she got things started and hopes to have it before she leaves Miami. Another cause for worry was the fact that returning soldiers, both discharged and en route to the Pacific, has so taxed already inadequate railroad facilities, that the authorities have shut down on reservations for civilians, and in order to reach Miami on time, she will have to fly from N. Y. to Miami and has already, through Aunt Elsie, made reservations on a plane from LaGuardia Field Tuesday next, July 31st. Just as a nerve soother, the papers announced today that an army Mitchell bomber had crashed into the 79th floor of the Empire State Building in a blinding fog, 913 feet above ground, setting fire to the building and killing 13 people, also sending two elevators crashing down 80 floors. Firemen earned their pay dragging hose up 80 flights of stairs to fight the fire.

I’ll spend the rest of the week with the rest of this letter. Dave did have quite a bit to say.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Dear YOU: (1) – Relief to Know The Rings Arrived Safely – May 20, 1945

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Alfred Duryee Guion (Grandpa)

So this is May 20th, eh? 1945

and we are still situate at Trumbull, Ct

Dear YOU:

I was surprised this week when I got a letter from Dan to find that he hadn’t been able to give a foreign twist to the word “MAY”. Last month it was Avril, then there was a Fevier letter and before that a Janvier note – – just a valiant attempt, I suppose, to gradually ease me into learning French so that I can converse fluently with Paulette when she arrives in the U.S.A. And while on the subject of letters from Dan, here’s the latest quote: “Somewhere in Holland. I say, Pater, old bean, I’m not the ‘happiest boy in the world’ these days, in spite of Admiral  Doenitz’s decision to carry on the struggle against Bolshevism. As a matter of fact, I am rather further from the “Chiche” circuit than I had hoped to be. Before I can be married I have to check with the French civil authorities, which is not very practical in Holland. I should be applying for a furlough, too, if I expect to have it materialize during my sojourn in Europe. I refer, of course, to my getting married furlough. During my meteor-like appearance in Paris, I managed to have my features captured for posterity by a photographic studio but I was whisked off to Nederland before I could admire the results. I left my camera at the same studio. The photographer promised to have it repaired for me. So, here I am, somewhere in Holland, with a trail of broken hearts, frustration and unfinished business behind me. Weave your vargant (not a typo, but could not find this in my dictionary) threads, oh ye fates, I am merely your designs on me – –woofed and warped into a pattern that bids fair to out-Dali Picasso. But I can still use a pair of good sun glasses if you will be so kind as to mail me one. Hello to everybody at home. Is Aunt Betty out of jail yet? Love. Dan !

And just before that letter there came another from the same source – – a short one – – as follows: “This is just another note of assurance that everything is going well (except for Adolph). I received the rings a few days ago and was elated at finding them so attractive. Incidentally, I am quite certain that they are the right size. I tried them on my little finger. I am not particularly pleased with Holland. It is a clean, orderly and efficient country, like the City Trust Company, and just as interesting. Artistry and imagination were left on the other side of the southern border, in Belgium and France.”

Well, that’s a relief to know the rings arrived safely and were pleasing to one half of the duet anyway. Of course it may be asking too much, but we would be interested in a blow-by-blow description of the presentation ceremony, leaving out the too too personal parts if you must, but presented in fairly great detail to take its place in the family archives along with your earlier description of your getting acquainted with Paulette. Incidentally, I am still waiting for an answer to some very carefully considered questions regarding Paulette’s preferences in this or that. However it is quite probable that by this time the papers have found their way into the scrap drive, or perhaps used to start a fire some of those cold mornings Lad writes about, “Imperious Caesar, dead and turned to clay, may chink a hole to keep the rats away.” Down on your knees, varlet, if such be the case, ask forgiveness in a truly contrite tone and I may look up the old letter and give you one more chance to come across with the proper answers. That photo of yours seems to be about as elusive as the whereabouts of Hitler – – not that I should mention the two in one breath – – but I’ve been on the trail in London, France and now Holland. A few more years and the retoucher will have to fill in the bald spots and darken up the gray hairs. And who is this fellow Picasso you mention? Sounds like a friend of Benito’s of sainted memory. Anyway, I never heard of him. What was he, and Armenian rug weaver? Haven’t you received any more boxes lately? Or are you too busy to mention them?

Tomorrow, another installment of this letter and I’ll finish it on Thursday. On Friday, a letter from Lad to the home front.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Dear Hopes (3) – Requested Items For The Nuptials – March 11, 1945

This is the final page of this lengthy letter regarding Dan’s wedding to Paulette Van Laere in France. Needless to say, everyone in the Old Homestead is quite excited and willing to do whatever they can to make this a very special occasion during a very difficult time. 

Dan Guion

Daniel Beck Guion surveying cemeteries in Europe.

page 3    3/11/45

“10 – And apropos of nothing, an eggbeater – – yes, an eggbeater. An eggnog makes canned milk more palatable. We can get eggs, milk, sugar, nutmeg, but not and eggbeater. I tried it without an eggbeater only this morning. The egg and I “had it out” together, during the process of which I learned that a fork is a pitiful substitute for a beater turned by a crank. I managed to incorporate the egg in the nog and thence to my interior but I cannot help feeling a trifle frustrated.”

COMMENT: And you would feel still further frustrated if you tried to find and eggbeater in the stores. They have been off the market for a year or more, but I fooled ‘em. I hunted around in the cellar among boxes of discarded kitchen utensils and there, sure enough, was a used eggbeater in operating condition. That too is now on its way to you.

“Mail service continues listless with occasional inspirations. Hence we are out of touch with home for two and three weeks at a time. There are, however, two newspapers in English printed in Paris and sold a day or two later on the new stance here – – the Daily Mail of London and New York Herald – Tribune of guess where? The French papers aren’t much more up-to-date. The —-paper is no longer a daily. The ex-editor is serving time for having collaborated with the 3rd Reich.”

And now Dan, old topper, do something for me. The girls – Jean and Marian – are so excited and interested that as soon as they read your letter that I have quoted above they immediately planned on sending Paulette a gift or so in the way of underthings that you hadn’t mentioned. These they will send in a box to you, failing P.’s address, but inside marked with her name, so you will not think the pink panties or whatever they are, are intended for you and will wear them around for a sense of loyalty to your home folks, and thus create quite as much a sensation as Lady Godiva did in her day. But, and here is where the favor comes in, I too, would like to send my new daughter something that she wants, aside from the items mentioned by you, and I want you to find out from her what this something might be so that she will think favorably of her new Dad and the fact that he has come across with something that she really wants. Maybe Paulette herself or possibly her mother or girlfriend would furnish the answer.

And now I’m about ready for bed. The only news in the local paper is announcement of the death of L.B. Mathias in his 85th year and the definite word received by his parents that Robt. Strobel has been killed in action.

Lastly, and by no means least, this letter, I hope, will reach my oldest son on or close to April 3rd, so that he may know, in case there should be any doubt, that we are again facing the day with mixed emotions, gladness that he has successfully accomplished another stage and regret that he cannot be with us. Ah, But next year!!

DAD

Tomorrow , I’ll be posting a long letter from Lad, “Somewhere in France.”

On Saturday and Sunday, I’ll be continuing the story of Dave’s World War II Army Adventure.

Judy Guion

 

Trumbull – Dear Hopes (2) – Items Requested For The Nuptials – March 11, 1945

This section of Grandpa’s long letter to his sons continues the discussion about Dan’s recent news regarding his marriage to Paulette Van Laere of Calais, France.

DBG - Paulette on Bike @ 1945 in FrancePage 2    3/11/45

“3 – Red bedroom slippers with built-up soles.” It seems odd to want slippers built up off the ground but I suppose the French people have been going without stockings for so long that they try altitude to keep the dirt from their feet. These likewise the girls will look around for in the hope that they will find a comfortable size.

“4 – Lipstick for Paulette.” That’s where your Dad beat you to it. Lipstick and face powder went off a couple of weeks ago in a package to you, marked especially for my new daughter from her American Dad. They have a special Max Factor Preparations counter in Howland’s where they are supposed to have the ritziest is items in the cosmetic line and when I went in and asked for lipstick and face powder for a young blonde French girl with blue eyes, I’ll bet the girls at the counter thought to herself, another old guy chasing the young ones, probably old enough to be her father – – the older they come the harder they fall. I told her it was for my son’s fiancé and I could hear her mentally say, “Oh yeah? That’s what they all say but they don’t fool me one bit”).

“5 – Nightgown for Paulette.” This the girls have already purchased and are quite thrilled with it and of course, hope Paulette will be, too.

“6 – Large sturdy comb for Mme. Senechal.” This the girls will attend to.

“7 – Cocoa, tea and coffee.” Two lots have already left in separate boxes with other items to you recently.

“8 – Wallet for Dan who lost his figurative shirt last August in Brittany and has been using a patient piece of wilted cardboard as a wallet ever since.” (Now why in all your letters home since then and in my repeated requests for items to send you, haven’t you mentioned your need long before this?) I purchased a leather one for you yesterday, ($4.20, including tax) which I shall send with the next box along with Gillette brushless, etc.

“9 –  Please don’t be discouraged by this formidable list. You might need an extra qualm when I add another item I almost forgot – – 2 series each of stamps that might have value for stamp collectors.”

Comments. I picked up five low-priced stamp collection sets (two of US stamps) and shipped them to you the other day. Over here they would not be rated as very valuable, but at least they are something. You know, for some rare varieties, $500 is cheap, and there are some higher as well as some lower. It is very difficult to know what to purchase without some kind of lead as to a particular series, or how much to spend or quantity desired.

“Tentatively the wedding date is to be in June or July when the two boys in Algeria will probably be back home.

By the way, please send me my three-dimensional slides and viewer, particularly the views of the family and the house.” (I included these in the box that went off to you last week. Most of the views were of Barbara in various picturesque settings and views of growing field crops in Pennsylvania. The latter I did not include but picked the best of the others and sent them with the viewer.

Tomorrow, I’ll conclude this letter. On Thursday and Friday, I’ll be posting a letter from Lad “Somewhere in France”.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Dear Dan (1) – She has Given Her Consent – March 4, 1945

This week will be pretty much devoted to an announcement from Dan regarding his future and the reaction of Grandpa and those in Trumbull to his news.

  Trumbull, Conn., March 4th, 1945

Dear Dan:

Lord Tennyson was a great poet (in spite of the fact that his first name was Alfred). Unfortunately he never had the privilege of your acquaintance but nevertheless he must have had you in mind when he wrote:

“In the spring a livelier Iris

changes on the burnished dove;

In the spring a young man’s fancy

lightly turns to thoughts of love.”

While I must admit I don’t altogether like the implication in that word “lightly”, still we may permit him the proverbial “poet’s license” and figure he put it in for the sake of the metre. Be that as it may, it is (or soon will be) Spring, you undoubtedly qualify as a young man, and undeniably your thoughts, according to your last letter, have turned to thoughts of love.

And by way of parenthesis, right here I will add for the benefit of your brothers who will be reading a copy of this letter, that this week I received a letter from France that you may find as interesting to read as we all did here. (And that’s putting it conservatively).

“She has given her consent. Her parents have given their consent. It is up to the Army now to handle the formalities. It all began when I left Paris in November to come back to this job. Friends of mine, hearing that I was going to northern France, asked me to look up their relatives living in C____, if I ever got the chance.

The Senechal's - Maurice and , Paulette's parents

M. Senechal and Mme. Senechal

The very first day I went to M. Senechal’s establishment to meet him, and incidentally to get information on buying an alarm clock. M. Senechal was a little old man with a large goatee, wearing his druggist’s smock and a beret on his head. He welcomed me warmly and hustled me through several doors to the living quarters to meet his wife. She was engaged in housecleaning when we arrived – – a short, heavyset woman about 45 or 50 years old, friendly blue eyes, frizzy blonde hair, and quite effusive. She welcomed me warmly, saying that I was the first allied soldier to have visited them as a guest. I gave her a couple of “C” ration coffee tins, some cigarettes and to M. Senechal, I gave two cigars. They insisted that I return some evening to meet their daughter Paulette who was working in an office in town. At the time I did not expect to find their daughter very attractive but I promised to come some evening to pay them a visit. About five days later, being in town for the evening, I decided to drop in on them. There being no fuel available in C—–, they were all in the kitchen dimly lit by a single candle. In the far corner, lying in bed, I could see Paulette, who, the explained, was suffering from a touch of grippe or flu. I stayed for about two hours listening to Mme. Senechal who is a voluable talker. She described life under the occupation, the siege and liberation. I scarcely noticed Paulette, particularly since her fiancé appeared on the scene. He was home for the weekend from school at Lille where he was studying chemistry. After I left I was still curious to see how Paulette looked. I assumed that she was short and quiet and bashful. I returned a few evenings later only to learn that she was visiting friends in Calais.

Tomorrow, Wednesday and Thursday, I’ll continue the story of Dan and Paulette as well as news from Lad and happenings to other friends in Trumbull . On Friday, I’ll post a letter that Marian wrote on the same day Grandpa was writing his letter and it was enclosed with Dan’s copy of the letter. This schedule may change slightly with a special post tomorrow.

Do you know of anyone who is interested in life here in the United States during the 1920’s, 1930’s and 1940’s? Why not share this blog with them. They might really appreciate it.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Dear Lad and Dan (2) – Biss is Married – March 12, 1939

 

Bulletin No. 2 and also my second reason for an airmail letter may be explained by quoting a letter received by Special Delivery early Saturday morning from Elizabeth, who the night before left the supper table early, as she frequently had done in the past, ostensibly to go up to take care of the Ever’s children.  Here is a letter postmarked Bridgeport, 9 P.M., March 10th:

Dear Dad:

I promised once that I would never get married without letting you know first.  Of course, this isn’t quite as honest as telling you personally but I know you are going to be against it and I am sure enough myself that I want to, even tho’ you disagree.

I didn’t tell you because I knew you would start in with one of your lectures and I know just about what you will say and I have thought it over — your lecture — I mean.  Please don’t tell even the family for I would rather wait and break the news to everybody myself personally.  I will talk over plans with you when I get back.

We will be back not later than Monday night and may be back in time for supper Monday — if you will accept me of course.  You can wish me luck and congratulations if you wish but I don’t feel as if I need them.

Maybe you had better have a gun to receive me if you are too angry, but I think you will have more sense than that, and I am sorry you are going to be hurt but I really do want this even tho’ you think I won’t and that I’m not in love and making a big mistake, etc.  I don’t think I am, and if you should be correct — well it’s my funeral and I like it!

Love,

Biss

P.S. Please don’t be too harsh in your thought — We all have our own lives to live and this happens to be my choice even if it isn’t yours.     Biss

And that, boys, is as much as I know about the thing to date. I suppose it is Zeke.  I suppose they will have it obtained a license, possibly from Helen (Helen Plumb, Town Clerk and sistr of Barbara Plumb, Dan’s girlfriend), who would be ethically unable to say anything about it, possibly from Bridgeport.  I don’t know whether a civil or religious ceremony was performed.  I don’t know where they intend to live.  In fact I don’t know nuthin other than the above.

While I am in no mood to comment on it at present I would be interested in what you boys have to say on the matter.

The moving finger writes; and, having writ

Moves on: nor all your piety or wit

Shall lure it back to cancel half a line,

Nor all your tears wash out a word of it.

Please give my very best regards, Lad, to Uncle Ted, and try to convey to him the deep satisfaction we feel at his rapid recovery and our gratefulness that he was able to avoid even by so narrow a margin, his approach to that great unknown.  I sincerely hope this happening marks the turning point in his fortune and that from now on life’s pathway will be smooth and pleasant, even though it may not be continually strewn with roses.

As always,        DAD

Tomorrow and Thursday, letters from Lad and on Friday, a letter from Carl Wayne to both Lad and Dan.

Judy Guion

Memories of Arla Mary (Peabody) Guion (2) – The Marriage – 1892 – 1933

In yesterday’s post, Grandpa tells the story of when he first realized that he was in love with Arla Peabody. He continues:

Afred Duryee Guion about 1913

 

                Arla Mary Peabody about 1913

I got up the nerve a few weeks later to ask my mother, timidly, what she thought of her and was immensely gratified when she answered favorably. I suppose like lovers the world over, before and since, things followed a regular pattern, but it was a long time before I could believe anyone since the world began could love a girl as I loved her, simply because there had never been anyone as perfect as she. I suppose she knew how I felt long before I told her. I used to make up all kinds of excuses to visit her home, using her brothers and sisters, who were all likable youngsters, as reasons on matters concerning church, choir, Sunday school, etc. The more I saw her in her home and noticed the tactful and gentle way in which she handled her little brothers and sisters, the willing help she gave her mother around the house, the dependence and trust her mother showed her, all convinced me, aside from viewing her with the lovers eye, that she would be an ideal wife and mother, and in this, as was afterwards proven, I was right.

Some nights, even when I knew her whole family would be in bed I would walk my dog, Spot, the long distance over to her house just so I could look at the place where she lived. There was only one girl I would ever want as long as I lived. I was a “one girl man” and would remain so all of my days.

With the three years college ordeal behind me and the girl of my choice looking upon me with favor, the future looked promising. Two main objects were to be achieved. I now had a promising job with a respectable company – St. Nicholas Magazine – and a definite incentive for making good. My job was to solicit advertising for this leading high-grade children’s magazine. It seemed a natural that children in better high-class homes and pedigreed pets belonged together, so I proposed starting a “Pet Department” in the magazine. The idea was approved and I was made Manager.

Of course nothing but the best in a diamond engagement ring was good enough for my girl, so on June 1, seated side-by-side alone on the lower deck of an excursion boat then running to and from New York City, I slipped the ring on her finger. It apparently came as no surprise and was evidently quite acceptable. For many years, when circumstances permit it, we celebrated June 1st by taking a boat ride of some sort.

 

Certificate of Marriage Alfred Duryee Guion Arla Mary Peabody

                                      Certificate of Marriage
                                         Alfred Duryee Guion
                                          Arla Mary Peabody

We chose Bermuda for our honeymoon and there we spent a delightful two weeks, marred only by an accident Arla had on a bicycle caused by the fact that she was not familiar with the operation of the coaster brake with which the rental machine was equipped, so she did not know how to slow speed at the end of a long downhill grade and chose crashing into a stone wall by the roadside in preference to smashing into a horse-drawn vehicle which was blocking the road. Outside of skinned hands when she was thrown over the handlebars onto the rough stone and a few bruises, no damage resulted, but the bike was pretty badly smashed.

Back home again, we spent the first few days fixing up an apartment I had rented in the Bronx for my bride. With my savings we bought some substantial dining and living room “Craftsman” furniture and there we lived for about a year, little Lad having arrived in the meantime to add to our happiness.

Tomorrow, I will begin posting a week of letters written in 1943. Lad and Marian have been married for only about a month and the holidays are upon the Guion Clan. 

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Dear Captains of Industry in the Post-War World (1) – The London Red Cross – November 21, 1943

This is the first half of a rather lengthy letter from Grandpa with many quotes from other letters he has received and some well-meaning fatherly advice. This post contains an interesting account of an American Red Cross Club outside of London and Dan’s thoughts about it.

Trumbull, Conn., Nov. 21, 1943

Dear Captains of Industry in

the Post-War World:

Well, the newlyweds are one week older today, and from all reports they started off in double harness in grand style. I know this from a night letter received early Monday morning. In spite of this most important happening in their own lives they still found time to send this message to the ancestral homestead: “Sorry you could not be here. We are in San Francisco and are leaving for Camp Santa Anita tomorrow. The wedding went beautifully and everyone is nice. Details following. Love to all” signed Marian and Lad.

This was followed a few days later by an announcement that Mr. and Mrs. Mowry A. Irwin announce the marriage of their daughter Marian to Mr. Alfred P. Guion, Army of the United States, on Sunday, the 14th of November, 1943 at Berkeley, California.

And that’s the story to date of the latest launching on the sea of matrimony. The port authorities at Trumbull are looking forward to the day when they will drop another in the harbor here. All hands will be piped on deck, the flag will be dipped, the big guns will fire their salute, the brass band will get into action, and a good time will be had by all. Speed the day! It can’t happen too soon for us.

Evidence keeps piling up that Lad, as usual, is showing rare good judgment, in his choice of a lifetime partner, this time. It has been my privilege to receive this week one of the nicest letters any father-in-law could receive from his son’s mother-in-law. (Incidentally, the stock mother-in-law jokes will have to retire in confusion in this instance). First her thoughtfulness in writing and the sensible understanding tone of her letter are revealed by her first two paragraphs: “Because you couldn’t be present to share in the happiness of Marian and Al on Sunday, but feeling sure that you would be interested, I’m taking the privilege of writing you. They can tell you about the wedding which I’m sure is just what they wanted — simple, happy and friendly, but with dignity, solemnity and beauty which I feel should accompany any marriage. Quite naturally, Mr. Irwin and I would have liked to become acquainted with your son before he walked down the aisle with our daughter as his wife. In normal times it would have been managed; but at present it was well nigh impossible. Really, I can honestly say to you that I retired Sunday night feeling absolutely sure that Marian was safe with the man of her choice. I had no qualms or worries whatever as to his treatment of her. Can any mother say more?” The letter follows with some intimate glimpses from a mother’s knowledge of her daughter and ends: “If any of you boys happen to be in our vicinity we’d enjoy having them get in touch with us, and we hope some time to have the pleasure of meeting you.” Aunt Betty summed it up by saying: “Evidently they are a very nice family!” Amen to that, Lad, and I’ll also be willing to bet Mrs. Irwin will never have cause to change her feelings towards you. And now, of course, we will be looking forward to letters from you or Marian or both telling us all about the main bout. I assume you couldn’t arrange time for even a short honeymoon, but that only means you will have that to look forward to.

A letter from Aunt Dorothy says Helen and Ted are coming north for a brief stay. Anne is staying with Dot and her mother temporarily, until Anne’s furniture arrives from Staunton. She has leased an apartment just a few blocks from Dorothy’s. Mother keeps pretty well but has her off days now and then.

Dave, by the way, received his notice to go to Shelton Tuesday for his physical exam.

Another interesting letter from Dan, and rather, as Shakespeare remarks, “to gild refined gold, to paint the lily, to throw perfume on the violet, to smooth the ice, or add another hue onto the rainbow, or with taper-light to seek the beauteous eye of heaven to garnish” I will simply quote: “Because it occupies such a prominent position in my mind today I am dedicating this letter to the American Red Cross. The clubs in London have been a catalyst to every “G. I.” who has come to London wanting to get the most out of his visit. Maps, accommodations, education, information, entertainment, all are the daily diet of the A. R. C. Considerable prejudice has been built up in the minds of most of us against the Red Cross for alleged acts of dubious character during the last war — selling cigarettes, stationary, etc., which had been donated for free distribution — so it has been quite a pleasant revelation to learn how unfair such a prejudice has become. I am not familiar with administrational set up over here. Apparently only a few of the workers are Americans. These few are regional Directors, generally men. But the majority of workers, paid or volunteer, are British women who do all in their power to help us in every way. They are a composite Travelers aid, shopping guide, nursemaid, companion (in a moral sense, of course!), entertainer, tour conductor, Encyclopedia, Dorothy Dix and hostess, all at the “beck and call” of any “G. I.” uniform. Rooms and meals are available at minimum charge. But nicest of all, a new A. R. C. Club has just been opened quite near the place in which we are stationed. It is rather different in atmosphere from the downtown London clubs — more like an exclusive U. S. O. Club in that there are no overnight facilities to attract the “Grand Central terminal” crowd that prevails in the regular London clubs (coming and going at all hours of the day and night, unkempt from travel — gas mask and musette bag drooping from weary shoulders as they “queue up” for lodgings. This local A. R. C. is housed in a building built by Christopher Wren for Queen Anne early in the 18th century. It is built on the site of an old palace, which causes it fairly to reek of atmosphere and tradition, despite the modern comforts that have been added for its present function. There is an open fireplace in virtually every room; library music room, dining room, information desk, all contribute notably to our comfort indoors, while spacious lawns, secluded bowers, gardens and aged walls lend an aura of romantic antiquity to the grounds around it. Glimpses of barges and boats can be caught through the trees that line the further edge of the lawn past which a river flows. By fortunate coincidence I am able to take advantage of this club during the daylight hours all this week because I have begun working on a “shift” job which changes hours periodically. The work I am doing is new and interesting, particularly by contrast to the stagnation I have been exposed to for such a long time.” Thanks Dan, for that masterly letter. I have an idea it will be read by a wider range of folks than those in the immediate neighborhood.

Tomorrow, I’ll post the second half of the letter with some well thought out advice from Grandpa to his sons, scattered around the world.

Judy Guion

Army Life – The Wedding (As Lad Describes It) – November 18, 1943

 

Thurs., Nov. 18, ‘43

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Dad: –

This won’t be much of a letter because I’m not in much of a letter-writing mood — but I’ll try to give you a little something about which you are most anxious to hear. I’ll start after work last Friday. Things were rather slow at the section so about 2:00 (1400) I asked for permission to leave and it was granted. I cleaned up and got my pass and went into Arcadia to get the special ration of gas I had asked for. I had no trouble getting it and then I went back to camp and checked again to see if I had forgotten anything. Nothing showed up so I went to South Pasadena to get Marian. She was at the Irwin’s where she had been staying since the preceding Sunday when she had been ousted from de ‘ouse out.

Vern Eddington - Best Man

Vern Eddington – Best Man

Her landlady wanted the room for some friends of hers who were coming to California to live. So that also leaves us without an apartment and we are living in hotels or auto courts where ever we can find room. We are still hoping to have an apartment, though, by next week, and until such time, please use, for our mailing address: 2017 Edgewood Dr., South Pasadena, California — well, to go on. From the Irwin’s we went back to camp and got Junior (Vernon Eddington – Maryland) and started for Frisco, Oakland, Berkeley and Orinda. Junior and I, taking turns, drove the 415 miles in 10 hours arriving in Orinda at 0530.

After a couple of hours of rest Marian and I went into Berkeley and procured the license. A little last minute shopping took up the rest of the morning and we got back to Orinda about 1300. Saturday afternoon Mr. Irwin took us with him to get the last minute things and the cake and we ate supper at the Irwin’s. Following age-old traditions I had to sleep somewhere where I would not see the bride on her wedding day before starting up the aisle, so I went home with her brother Scrub (Homer, if you must) and his wife. Junior and I got to the Chapel about 30 min. early and were given the final instructions. At exactly 1330 the first strains of the Wedding March sounded and following about 4 feet behind Fred Stripp, the Minister, with Junior the same distance behind me, I walked onto the platform from the left. Mr. Stripp stopped at the center and I continued on around behind him, stopping about 4 feet to the right and in front of him at about 45° to the aisle down the center. By this time Marian was coming down from the rear on her father’s arm, preceded by her sister, the Matron of Honor and her mother. When Marian and her Dad came onto the platform he stopped and she continued on. As she came up beside me I turned to face Fred and took a couple of steps with Marian so that we were both about 2 feet from Fred. (He reminds me of Mr. Chandler). Marian coughed a couple of times and my knees shook so much my pants legs rippled, but after taking Marian’s hand in mine I calmed down right away and the rest went off very well. Even Fred commented on the self-assurance we both appeared to have during the whole service (He didn’t know from nothin’) which was very short, concise and beautifully worded and done. Everyone, even I, thought it was a wonderful ceremony, except that it was over too soon. We were outside the Chapel and I was meeting some of my new family by ten minutes to 2.

Wedding cake - 1943

                                                                                                                                                Wedding cake – November 14, 1943

From there Junior drove us in my car to the Irwin’s where I met many more (48 in all) and the reception dinner (sandwiches, coffee and cake) was held. We took a number of pictures, all in color, and spent the entire afternoon. By about 6:30 all the guests had left and then Marian and I packed our stuff and went into San Francisco. We stayed at the Mark Hopkins Hotel, and had a wonderful evening. We had made arrangements to meet Junior in Berkeley at 3 PM Monday in order to start back early, so I didn’t see much of San Francisco. I did see the Bay Bridge, and it is very pretty as bridges go. We called Mother Irwin before we left and started about 3:30 for South Pasadena. We got in about 2:30, too late to go to anyone’s house, and not having an apartment ourselves, we put up at the Hotel Green in Pasadena. Tuesday at 0700 Junior and I had to be back at work so that ended our honeymoon. Marian wore a dark green suit that I think was the most perfect creation I have ever seen on any woman. She really looked wonderful. I’m really awfully sorry you weren’t here, but I’m glad I didn’t decide to wait until after the war. Marian is going to write in a couple of days so give my regards and love to all.

Laddie

Thursday and Friday I’ll be posting a long letter from Grandpa to Captains of Industry in the Post-war World.

On Saturday, Day Four on the Santa Rosa as Lad travels to Venezuela for a job working with his Uncle Ted Human and his brother Dan.

On Sunday, more of My Ancestors with information (I hope) on Joseph Bradford, son of Governor William Bradford.

Judy Guion