Here are some early memories of Trumbull from Ced. He was the third boy and close to his older brothers Lad and Dan. Biss separated the older boys from the younger ones and Grandpa did a lot with the older ones.
A bunch of us would walk over to Pinewood Lake, you know, it was all forested with pine trees. We’d play in the tops of those trees. We’d go from one tree to the next.
We used to play the piano. We had a player piano, we got it from Aunt Anne, she had it in New Rochelle and they didn’t use it anymore so we got it.
The Young People’s Group in the church was led by Doug and Emily Chandler. Long after Chandler left, we kept on with the Chandler Chorus. The only two people who ever
directed the Chandler Chorus were Doug Chandler and Laura Brewster. He was good, very good with young people. There must have been 17 or 18 kids. He played the piano beautifully and we’d have these meetings once a week. He played really jazzy music for us, too. He was very fond of music, and started the Chandler Chorus. We had everywhere from 10-year-olds to 60-year-olds, maybe higher. Maybe not 10-year-olds, but we had young people. We sang quite frequently. We went all over the place, up to Shelton. We were good. In fact that’s where Fannie and I met.
Anyway there was this young group, as I said, our house was the center of activity all over town. It drew practically everyone in the town of Trumbull. Mother said every Tuesday night we could have an Open House for all the young people. We played the piano, and we’d sing. We just had a ball, and then we’d have cookies and cocoa or something. That was so much fun.
Dad took us down to Baltimore in one of the cars – must’ve been one of the Packard’s – to the Fair of the Iron Horse, this was the heyday of railroading. They put on a beautiful show. Dad drove us down and I know we had two flat tires, one going down and one on the way back. It was a wonderful show. They had all the old steam engines, the Sturbridge, and the Tom-Tom, they were the originals. We sat in covered bleachers, and there was a huge stage, with water beyond the stage. The old locomotives came in and people got out of the coaches, boats came in and out – it was wonderful. The people wore period costumes. We probably went in the early 20s. Dan, Lad and I – Dad always did things with us. Dick and Dave weren’t in the group, they were born later. I had the big privilege of seeing a very similar show at the Chicago World’s Fair.
I’m one of those who brag about the fact that I’ve been driving cars since I was 10 years old. I got my license – my mother died on the 29th of June and on June 1st of that same year I turned 16. I think I got my license on June 2nd. At that time I had driven quite a few miles with a driver next to me – quite a few miles without, and much more off road then on.
I used to drive on that road along the cemetery. When they put the cemetery in, there was about a 4 foot drop to the road. At the very end of it the drop-off was less and you could turn a car around and we could come back about halfway on the ledge to the gate. We had a 1927 Packard Touring car. I guess this was when Lad was working at Well’s Garage and he was making a little money there. He saw a 1929 Packard Touring car – it was a beauty – and he asked my Dad if he could trade in the old Packard and my Dad told him “OK”. We didn’t like that because then it was Lad’s car. Well anyway, I had the car.
This one day I drove up the road, I guess I didn’t have my license yet, I’m not sure. I was trying to turn around up there and I didn’t have enough room. I got the front wheel over the bank. When it went over the bank, it lifted the back end of the car on the right side. “Oh, no”, I thought. It was about a foot lower than the other end. “Oh, brother, so this is it.”
I don’t remember how I got it off the bank; maybe I used a jack and pried it over. I couldn’t go back and I knew I had to get the rest of the way over. I finally got it over the hill and onto the road.
Lad worked at the Well’s Garage, the Wells Bus Line. He was their maintenance man for years. Later he ran two different gas stations in town. The first was the Mobil gas station, next to Kurtz’s store. The second was the Atlantic gas station after it opened.
We had an old Waverley electric car in the barn. Dick, poor Dick, got all excited about the war effort. He thought, “Well gee, here’s this old junk and it’s pretty well
shot.” The Fire Department was looking for scrap metal. Dick was very patriotic and he thought he’d give them the Waverley, and at the same time, help the war effort.
Tomorrow, We’ll read a letter written to Ced that he didn’t get for almost a month during his Coming of Age Adventure.
Next week, I’ll be posting letters written in 1940. At that point in time, Grandpa’s weekly letter writing campaign had only been going on for about a year and a half. Little did he know that he would continue the practice for another six years !