Elizabeth is quite thrilled because her one and only started walking this last week, and while he maneuvers somewhat in the fashion of a sailor that is just come ashore or one who has imbibed a bit too freely, he definitely is walking. He has not really learned yet to talk but is growing steadily more interesting. His clear blue eyes, ready smile, good nature and little baby ways make his grandpappy very fond of him, perhaps because he reminds him of his own little brood that were that way not so very long ago, or so it seems.
Arvin Zabel, so Zeke tells me, is joining the Navy. No word yet from Art Mantle. Eleanor Kurtz is to be married next week, and that makes it 100% for the Kurtz’s in wedlock. Arnold and his bride have not yet returned. Nellie (Nelson Sperling) is still around as far as I know. I have asked Helen Plumb to send you boys absentee ballots so you can vote.
I hope you like the stuff I bought for you, Ced. If you do not, send it back and I will exchange it for something else. It isn’t what you would describe as olive green, and of course is not tweed but is the nearest thing to ripcord I could find ready-made at that price. You could have something made up to order from sample cloth which I could send you, but the cost for a suit would run from $15-$20.
I see that I shall have to be very careful to instruct my clipping service department to censor items extracted from the daily paper. What with Ugda Tablets and female complaints it must be a bit confusing to you Alaskan sourdoughs. I might perhaps be excused for the female complaints clipping in view of news as to miscarriages, etc., that I received a while back.
By the way, I have not yet figured out what the O D A in the night letter stands for. If the last letter were B I might take it you were referring to the clipping and meaant it to stand for Old Doc Brady.
For the 25 bucks look to Farley, you say.
But alas, my good lad, Farley’s called it a day.
What with baseball and selling us more Coca Colas
Why the hell should he give me them $25?
Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night.
Tomorrow and Sunday I’ll be posting Special Pictures.
On Monday, I’ll be posting letters written in 1941 when Lad has just returned from Venezuela and Dan, Ced and Dick are in Alaska. All the boys are getting worried about the draft situation.
I suppose you donors would like to know how I am going to spend all my birthday money. Well, I need a new pair of house slippers, a new electric stove for my bathroom that won’t blacken the walls, a new pair of shoes, a raincoat. (I think I can get along without a new suit although this will be the second year I haven’t bought a suit — last September I bought a new overcoat as Lad’s gift) and I would like to get some clothes suitable for taking walks in the woods that will keep me warm and dry during fall and winter. I am certainly grateful to you boys, that with all your young plans and hopes and ambitions, still have a thought for the old man’s comfort. The spirit is all the more appreciated because I have not done half the things for you youngsters I would like to have done if things had been different.
And you, Lad, I don’t really feel right about using any of the funds you sent home for myself. The several hundreds of dollars you gave last year for
my use and the house and the $50 you send every month is in all fairness, enough. It is really your contribution that has been keeping us going this last year. That, and Ced’s payments, were the only things that made it possible for me to make the grade. I hope business will pick up next year so things will be better — enough at least to make up for the $10 a month I will forfeit with the loss of the Second Selectman’s job. So, if you don’t mind, I’ll take the will for the deed and not take advantage of your generous offer. My conscience would be clearer. And, Ced, that’s much the way I feel about you. I certainly would feel mighty cheap if you had sent any of last month’s check home under the circumstances. You did just the right thing in keeping it for flying club expenses. You, Dan, haven’t told me what your future plans, if you have yet formulated any, are; but if you were going to the University of Alaska you’ll need to save for that, which makes your generous remittance doubly unselfish. All in all, I’ve got a pretty fine bunch of boys and I’m just a wee bit proud of them.
Dick, at the present time, is causing me a bit of concern. He did mop the floor this morning, but that’s about the extent of his work contribution. He is out late every night and all day Saturday, sleeps late Sunday morning and is out again after Sunday dinner. Dave was so disgusted that he has taken on the job of washing dishes every night besides doing much every afternoon towards getting the supper started. Right now, Dick seems not to have much interest in the home or in doing anything to keep it going smoothly. When Dave took over the dishwashing Dick was supposed to take care of the laundry but that wasn’t done last week either. Maybe this is just a temporary phase of adolescence and will pass, but right now it is annoying. I am not saying anything, just giving him a lot of rope, hoping his native good sense will come to the rescue. We shall see.
Tomorrow I’ll be posting the last section of this letter from Grandpa to his boys. This has been packed full of news and information.
On Saturday and Sunday, I’ll be posting Special Pictures.
On Monday, we’ll move forward to 1941 when Dan and Ced have been in Alaska for over a year and Lad has returned from Venezuela.
Locally, things are beginning to boil politically. The new town committee, now under Ellwood Stanley’s leadership since Mr. Woods declined to accept reelection, is composed of people not now holding any political office in the town. One of the first things they did was to put Mr. Sexton, of all people, on the committee, thinking, I suppose, that they could thus keep close tabs on him, and being only one among many others, could render him innocuous. But the way it is working out, as far as I can learn, is not so good. The rumor is that when it came to recommendations from the town committee to be submitted as recommendations to the caucus, which in previous years has been practically an assurance of nomination, none of the conservative members could find any decent people who would accept the nomination of First Selectman, and as one name after another thus suggested, refused, Sexton came through with suggestions of names here and there who would accept, and that resulted in the final draft of names being largely Sexton men. There is a man named Northam in Long Hill who was named, both Lester Whitney and myself were not included as Second Selectman, and for this job, Dave Wakely of Chestnut Hill was Sexton’s suggestion. Mr. Hughes, who had been suggested as a possibility for the Board of Finance by Mr. Plumb to replace himself, was ignored, and in consequence many of the old time loyal Republicans, who always voted for the town committee’s recommendations, are considerably dissatisfied and at the caucus tomorrow night there is liable to be considerably less harmony then has hither to characterized the Republican caucus meetings. Mr. Woods told me himself he was personally far from satisfied with the way things were going. So we will probably see some fireworks tomorrow. It is ridiculous and disgusting the way this fellow Sexton seems to be edging in. As far as I am concerned, and I seldom feel this way about anyone, he is the Town’s combined Hitler, Stalin and Fifth Columnist all rolled into one. As you probably know, Mr. Plumb has been retired on a nice pension by the bank and is dropping his various town activities. I don’t blame him the way things have been going lately. The Democrats have again put up Davis as First Selectman and Burr Beach as Second. As the town has passed the 5000 mark in population, we are now entitled to two representatives in the state legislature and both Bradley and Nothnagle are after the job. I hear that the Democrats are thinking of putting up Danny Wheeler, and I believe if they do so, he will have a very good chance of winning.
Things seem to be working out satisfactorily in regard to my office change of address and it looks now as though we would fix on October 1st as moving day. The only thing that is bothering me is how heavy packages are to be toted up two long flights of stairs. The bank has gotten prices on the possibility of putting up some crane arrangement for a block and tackle from the third-floor window but the lowest bid was $200 which seems very high to me. I am going to see if I can’t get Walter Mantle to look it over and give me a price on doing it.
Tomorrow, the next installment of this letter to his two sons in Alaska and one in Venezuela.
Page 2 of R-93
Dan’s letter enclosing the money order was a lollipaloosa. It starts:
Father dear, I sadly fear, this letter will come late,
But what the hell! You can’t fortell the vagaries of fate.
Uncle Sam doesn’t give a damn if ponies can’t express,
The tidings here of luck and cheer, your natal day to bless.
Sing hey to oats and barley
And give this check to Farley
The old fifth wheel
To Frank’s New Deal
will cash it without parley.
After that it is up to you and may it bring you as much fun as it is bringing me to send it to you.
Well spoken, me lad. It will. (Note by the Editor)
He mentions going to Matanuska for the Colonists Fair on Labor Day and enjoyed himself in spite of the rain.
Ced’s long Labor Day letter was quite interesting. He gave quite a detailed account of his first ride over Anchorage and vicinity with the boss in one of their big five ton ships which experience makes him all the more eager to learn to fly. This he has a chance of doing if one of the members of the local flying club gives up his membership as he is apt to do if present plans to leave Alaska materialize. This will cost Ced about $200 cash. They have invested member’s money in a jointly owned Aeronca Chief (four-cylinder, 65 h.p. air cooled Continental engine, two passenger, dual control, a year-old). He related several interesting anecdotes of his dictato- like manner in which Col. Olsen manages the affairs of the Alaska R.R., and also on the crime situation. Because of cost of prosecution most murders are labeled suicides. Robbery is practically non-existent. Cars are left by roadside for two days with keys in the glove compartment untouched, gasoline in 50 gallon drums left in airway ramps unguarded is untouched, houses are seldom locked and the two banks in town have store type plate glass windows, no bars.
I finally learned that the Willys brought only $190 on forced sale, but under the circumstances they were facing, it was undoubtedly the wise thing to do. Both Dan and Ced are thinking of joining a ski club and also a singing group.
Tomorrow I’ll be posting the next segment of this very long letter.
R-93 September 15, 1940
Dear Partners in Crime:
Gosh, but you boys certainly did make me feel good on my natal day! It started before I was up on the morning of the 11th. I had my radio going as I lay in bed trying to learn what had occurred in the intervening 12 hours in the day of war news and thus did not hear the phone ring, but long legged Dick, clad in his pajamas and with sleep still in his eyes, said Western Union wanted me on the phone. And this was the message: A night letter from Anchorage, Alaska for A.D. Guion. Congratulations to O D A. Birthday greetings we joyously send, to Pop on whom we can always depend, to see to it we are always presented, with swell birthday gifts – kinds not resented. The man who the deep in troubles steeped, has always thought just of our welfare replete. (Signed) Sourdoughs Dan and Ced.
This was getting off to a good start. With the warm glow in my heart I shaved (without cutting myself), had my usual frugal breakfast, started the old Plymouth, which quite surprisingly started without the usual trouble, sailed down the drive and made my first stop at the store. P. O. Box 7 was bursting with mail. Yes, sir, believe it or not, letters awaited me from Aunt Betty, Lad, Dan and Ced, all with birthday greetings right on the nose. (And this has no reference to hay fever). And what greetings! Aunt Betty, the usual card with the usual dollar bill parked underneath the first sheet, Lad with a nice letter accompanied by a blank check, as it were, to get me something for myself, Dan with a $25 money order together with a letter and verse, and Ced with a four-page letter willingly me his entire bank balance here. Dick offered to blow me to the movies, which offer I could not accept because I had a job I had brought home from the office which had to be completed by the morrow and Dave donated his service in getting supper and also with a birthday greeting card. As soon as I poked my head in the office door George and Miss Denis burst out singing “Happy Birthday to You”, and Mr. Coville dropped in during the day and left his felicitations and asked to be remembered to Dan. I splurged a bit on the supper which consisted of a thick juicy beefsteak, delicious green asparagus (a frosted food), potatoes and Apple pie à la mode. All in all, a most momentous day. My little contribution took the form of a box of writing paper to each of the Alaskan contingent, a photo album to Lad, a waterproof, windproof jacket made of airplane cloth to Dick and to book of complete Gilbert and Sullivan operas for Dave. I hope the parcels post packages reach you “outsiders” promptly and in good shape. Lads three-page letter, just to hit the high spots, mentions the fact that because of high costs of everything down there he is losing his perspective on the cost of things and the value of money and sites as an instance the fact that his watch, which Arnold had repaired here in Bridgeport for him, cost six dollars, were down there it would have cost $16-$17 for the work. The smallest denomination in paper money down there is 20 Bolivars (about $6.50). The movies he gets down there are two or three years old. He has seen “Robin Hood” and “Juarez”. It looks now as though at long last some of the oil wells they have drilled are coming through in the Guario field and they are starting another — the fourth — in the same location. His two years under contract with Socony-Vacuum is up May 31st but that does not mean necessarily that he is coming home at that time. His boss, Chris, may be leaving early in November when his contract expires, and Lad will probably get his job. Lad and the new airplane mechanic have struck up a friendship and he spends quite a bit of his spare time at the airport. He is thinking of the possibility of buying himself a small plane when he gets home and says they can be run more economically than even my little Willys that was.
Incidentally, both stock transfer blanks were received, duly signed. Thank you both.
This is another very long letter and I’ve broken it up into five parts. I’ll be posting a new piece each day the week. Judy Guion
Great Uncle Douglas Peabody, (Arla’s father’s brother), his wife Edna, Francis and a bashful Felix. This is one of the pictures Ced took while on his Coming of Age Adventure visiting his Mother’s relatives in North Dakota and Wisconsin during the summer of 1934.