Trumbull – Extracts From Diary of Alfred D Guion – July, 1943

Extracts From The Diary of One Alfred D Guion

of Trumbull Connecticut For The Week

Ending July 18, 1943

Grandpa’s creative juices were again flowing freely and this week’s letter takes the form of a Diary, including all the interesting things that happened during the week. He actually ends up including just about everyone in the family – and even one that isn’t yet!

Monday, July 12.

Little did I realize when the sun peeked into my bedroom window that this was to be circus day for me, but such it proved, for just before noon Elizabeth phoned to say she planned to take Butch and Marty to “The Greatest Show on Earth”, and was seeking someone to accompany her as assistant child tender. The Big Top was stifling hot, Marty was restless and during the lull between acts fell through the seats to the ground about 2 feet down, injuring his pride, which fact he boldly proclaimed to one and all. While no lady clown was on hand to search for the missing Alfred, many of the acts were reminiscent of those other times when my own little tots laughed at the antics of the clowns, the fire and the men perched atop of innumerable tables and chairs who swayed back and forth until the laws of gravity intervened. After the show nothing would do but the boys must each have a balloon, which, filled with gas, floated appealingly in the air at the end of a string. Not 2 seconds after Marty received his and before Elizabeth could grab the string, Marty shoved his balloon upward. It went sailing gaily up over the telegraph wires and on its way over towards Lordship to cavort with Sikorsky helicopters. Marty was so surprised he didn’t even cry. A replacement was at once secured which we then tied to each youngsters waist.

Tuesday, July 13.

PO Box 7 this morning disgorged a letter from Jean – terse but newsy: “Just a line to let you know I’ll be home Wednesday, July 14. Dick was shipped this morning”. Later a postcard came from “private” (if you please) Richard, APO 4684, Miami Florida. Jean told me afterward that he had been demoted, temporarily she believed, because one morning he overslept, and his C. O. felt it was necessary, for the sake of discipline, to make an example of someone and Dick was elected.

But there was another letter in the box, all in red from arson Ced, telling of his method of celebrating Independence Day in Alaska, recalling the fact that this was the first time a fourth of July celebration had been held since the 12 days after he and Dan arrived in Anchorage. Woodley is running in a streak of hard luck. A new pilot just cracked up another of their planes.

Wednesday, July 14.

Jean appeared with a coat of Indianapolis tan, and found awaiting her in Trumbull, a reception committee consisting of her mother, Marilyn, Natalie, (her two sisters) Grandma and Aunt Betty. Since then Jean has been getting her room to rights and getting used to her life as an Army widow. While the great transportation arteries of the

Alfred (Lad) Guion in California

Alfred (Lad) Guion in California

country were doing their duty by Jean, Postmaster Walker was doing his stuff in the way of a letter from Lad. As the fellow who invented “near-beer” was said to be a poor judge of distance, so Lad seems to have difficulty getting his time right. He writes as of Wednesday night, but on the next page says it is 4:15 AM. Back to your old tricks again, hey, you night hawk! It was mighty good to hear from you just the same, Sgt., and I hope you’ll start a bit earlier (or later) next time and enlarge a bit more on what you are doing. You have a way of writing about things, giving details that make very interesting reading. If Marian knew what nice people we were back here in Trumbull, she’d grant you an hour or so of grace. This isn’t to be construed as complaint because you have been mighty good at writing. I have sons who do lots works. The following is quoted from a column appearing in the Bridgeport paper headed IN UNIFORM: (I don’t know where they get the information.)

GUION GETS MEDAL

Sgt. Alfred P Guion, son of

                                                                            Alfred D Guion of Trumbull Connecticut,

                                                                            won a Marksman’s Medal for rifle

                                                                           shooting recently at Camp Santa

                                                                  Anita, California

Thursday, July 15.

Daniel (Dan) Beck Guion

Daniel (Dan) Beck Guion

Up betimes this morning – a bit after 5 AM to be exact, because this was to be the day when the mountain went to Mohammed. Dan has been consistently evading accepting furloughs that his C. O. has been trying to force upon him on numerous occasions lately, and I made up my paternal mind that I wouldn’t let him get away with it any longer but would seek Daniel in his den, so off I goes to Lancaster. From 1:34 until 7:00 I tramped the country surrounding Lancaster without even seeing one lion, even less Dan, finally learning that his whole outfit had been moved, bag and baggage, to a rumored place about 40 miles distant. With tired heart and sinking feet (or vice versa), but with the old Guion spirit which refuses to be licked, I started to trail T-5 and at 9:30 that night, after sampling bus transportation in Pennsylvania, I arrived at a Service Club in Indiantown Gap (an exact replica, Lad, of the Service Club in Aberdeen) and was tapped on the shoulder and a level (or transit) voice inquired if my surveying of the premises indicated I was searching for anyone in particular. And who do you suppose it was? Right! We never decided who was the more surprised, and I guess we’ll never know. I stayed in his barracks that night by permission of the Sgt., ate a  soldier’s breakfast at six something and after a nice long talk, in which I forgot to ask several things I had come down to find out about (one was what disposition Dan wanted made of his auto which is standing unused in the backyard), I took the 10 AM bus on my return journey (Dan’s time was up anyway), and after transportation delays and journeys in air-conditioned cars which weren’t conditioning, finally arrived back home a bit after 8 PM. Dan expects to be shipped out soon, but when or where is a deep, dark secret.

Saturday, July 17.

Aunt Anne phoned to ask if it would be all right for her and Gwen to come up to stay over with Aunt Dorothy. Gwen, it seems, is with her mother in New Rochelle for the summer but expects to go back to school in Vermont in the fall. Today was Jean’s birthday, which she spent with her family in Stratford.

Sunday, July 18.

Due to being back on the old kitchen detail, I have to divide my Sunday time now, once again, to getting dinner and trying to do odd jobs around the house. Today

Aunts Dorothy, Anne and Helen

Aunts Dorothy, Anne and Helen

I wanted to do some repairs on the old washing machine and also get the laundry tubs in working condition, but had time only for the latter. And I didn’t get the grass cut either. (Dave was busy praying for his father who failed to keep holy the Sabbath day). Carl is now in the Merchant Marine, but can’t land the kind of job he wants because of his colorblindness, so he says he may be peeling potatoes or doing any other job where it won’t matter if things are pink or purple. Barbara is being given a farewell party tonight by the young people. I was invited and intended to go, but it was so late when the Aunts finally got away and I needed a shave and had not written my weekly blurb (even now it is 10:20 and the shave is still to be) and I haven’t had any supper, and it’s getting near the end of the page so I’ll end this now.

Your faithful

DAD

Tomorrow, a letter from Bissie to her older brother, Ced, in Alaska. Thursday’s post continues along these same lines as Grandpa writes a short paragraph on where everyone is and what they are doing. On Friday, a letter from Lad from ther Hospitality Center in South Pasadena, California.

If you are enjoying these letters from an earlier time, please share them with others you think might also enjoy them. If you click FOLLOW VIA EMAIL and enter your email address, each post will automatically be delivered to your inbox. Now how easy is that???

Judy Guion

Trumbull – TRUMBULL SUNDAY CLARION – July 11, 1943

Trumbull Sunday Clarion, July 11, 1943

Trumbull Sunday Clarion, July 11, 1943

My Grandpa’s gifts with words, printing and advertising all came together this particular Sunday and we are the recipients of those gifts. This is the “letter” he sent out to his sons scattered around the world. Lad, the oldest, is in Camp Santa Anita in California,  training auto, truck and diesel mechanics for the Army; Dan, next in line, is in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, awaiting transfer to London with the rest of his Civil Engineering Unit;  Ced, son number three, is in Alaska working at Woodley’s Airfield, which has been taken over by the military, working as an airplane mechanic and bush pilot; and Dick, son number four, is in Indianapolis, awaiting transfer to who-knows-where.

I’ll give you a little background information on each of the stories.

COOKS VACATION ENDS

Guion Resumes K.P. Duties

_______________

Due to the fact that Mrs. Peabody has been feeling slightly under the weather, and it seemed wiser for her to assume as little ordinary work as possible, the former chef smilingly don’s his erstwhile apron and tackles the meal getting chores. Lamb and proven with on today’s menu are prepared in usual form and proclaimed as up to the best former standards. Miss Dorothy Peabody,  who visited Trumbull again this week and reports having rented as of August 1, a larger apartment and as soon after that date as can be arranged,  she expects to have her mother living with her again in New York.

Mrs. Peabody is the Grandma referred to in many of the letters. She is Grandpa’s (Alfred Duryee Guion’s) mother-in-law, the mother of Arla, his wife, who passed away in 1933 after a long battle with cancer. That event was the lynch-pin that set all of the events in the letters in motion.

________________________

  PERSONALS

________________________

D. Guion has just reported another near miss in securing furlough. We’ll keep on trying, he stated recently.

June and July issues of Alaska Sportsman arrived this week – – gift of C. Guion. Thanks, Ced.

Mrs. R. Guion reports still building Army morale, particularly among the M.P.’s in Indianapolis.

No postage stamps were on sale at the Anchorage or Arcadia post offices  recently. Is Rationing Board added again?

It is rumored that Sgt. Guion is trying to arrange matters so that he can spend his vacation furlough with friends in Trumbull. Reception Committee tents.

Miss Anna Rakowski recently died of a heart attack.

Poppa is well, Aunt Betty is well, Dave is well. All send greetings and await mail. The Box is No. 7

D. Guion refers to Dan, in Pennsylvania, who is trying his hardest to get a furlough to travel the 250 miles home for one last visit before he heads overseas.

C. Guion has subscribed to the Alaska Sportsman for his father, possibly to give him a better idea of what life is like in the northern territory.

Mrs. R. Guion is Jean, Dick’s wife, who has followed her MP husband from Miami to Indianapolis and will follow him until he is sent overseas, when she will return to Trumbull to stay in the family homestead.

Sgt. Guion refers to Lad, in California, who is trying to plan a furlough to travel across the country to visit family and friends.But, as it always is with the military, you don’t know anything until it actually happens, particularly during a war.

I have no idea who Miss Anna Rakowski was.

At this point in time, Papa (Grandpa), his Aunt Betty and youngest son Dave are the regular residents in the Trumbull house, since Grandma is supposed to leave in a couple of weeks.

B. PLUMB BECOMES WAC-Y  

Local Organist successfully

Passes Examination

_____________

Passing both physical and mental test with flying colors, local Trumbull girl will soon leave for training,  having resigned her business position in Bridgeport. Miss Evelyn Hughes will replace Miss Plumb as organist of the local Church. The latter started to duties today and performed her duties well.

Barbara Plumb is Dan’s girlfriend and has been for a while.  The brief article tells the rest.

CAROL ELIZABETH WAYNE 

Moves to Trumbull

Likes her New Home

___________

After a short sojourn in the Bridgeport Hospital, the young lady, with little persuasion from her father and mother, decided to permanently locate on Daniels Farm Road. Her father spent the day sailing together with Paul Wardenand Walter Mantle, to Port Jefferson. Father Carl, anticipating an early call to the colors has enlisted in the Merchant Marine, and leaves for his new duties, Wednesday. No information has yet been announced as to what will become of the gas station which Mr. Wayne has been conducting. His father recently has been aiding in the work. However with the stringent gas rationing, is becoming increasingly difficult to find gas station personnel.

Her father, a close friend of the older boys, is running the gas station that Lad worked at when he was in his teens and early twenties. You might remember his letter to Lad in the post titled “Trumbull – The Red Horse Service Station – Carl Wayne”. He couldn’t wait to tell my father all the news in town, especially the fact that his sister (Elizabeth, Bissie to family and friends) had eloped.

SHOE SHORTAGE HITS INDIANAPOLIS

Local girl finds following Army from camp to camp hard on feet. Buys new pair of shoes.

This is a tongue-in-cheek reference to the fact that Jean must be wearing out her shoes following her husband from Trumbull to Miami to Indianapolis.

I hope you found this particular post as interesting as I did. My Grandfather continues to surprise me.

Tomorrow, extracts from Grandpa’s Diary, Wednesday, a letter from Biss to Ced, Thursday, another letter from Grandpa bringing everyone up to date on family and friends and on Friday, a letter from Lad, which Marian made him promise to write.

Judy Guion

Autobiography of Mary E Wilson – The Newlyweds – 1937-1938

Mary E Wilson

We returned to our lovely apartment. Archie had to go to work on Monday. He had just started a new job in the General Electric in the drafting department but I took the whole week off. I really wanted to show my new husband what a good cook I was but poor Archie came down with a bad ulcer attack. I had to learn how to cook all over again because he had to go on a special diet for ulcers.

We had only been married a week when my mother fell at work and was taken to the hospital. That took a lot of joy out of being newly married because I went from work to my mother’s house to cook and clean for Doris and Arthur then to the hospital at night to see my mother.

When she finally came home, I did the same thing and did not realize I was neglecting my new husband. We had our first quarrel because Archie said Doris was 15 and Arthur could do more to help out. He said they were taking advantage of me. I realized he was right. I helped my mother but insisted they do more to help around the house until she was well again.

Our first Christmas came so soon after we married that we did not have much money but were able to buy gifts for everyone.

English people love Christmas and traditions run deep and they make a lot of it. This year we included Archie’s parents and brothers and they loved it. The boys ate most of my mother’s Christmas cake and plum pudding to her horror – the cake is supposed to be relished in small portions.

We were both working in the G.E.. I quit Dr. Nastri but Archie got a promotion in the drafting department as a designer on small electric appliances. The General Electric was very slow at this time so they made a new rule that husband and wife could not both hold jobs because the plant was slow.

I knew by now I was pregnant and it was important that Archie keep his job so I resigned. I had worked in the G.E. for over 12 years.

Things were getting rough so we moved into a cheaper flat on Williston Street in Bridgeport for $17 a month, no bathroom and no hot water. Archie made the cheap little flat look pretty comfortable.

We were invited to Archie’s parent’s home for supper during the summer and I ate my first clams. Alec and I were the only two who would eat them. I really enjoyed them because I had never tasted them before. We both became desperately ill from food poisoning and I was only a month away from my baby’s birth. I was rushed to the hospital. Dr. Heedger was so angry because I had been so stupid.

I had a rough delivery giving birth to a breech birth baby girl. My poor baby was so scarred from the instruments and I was so ill I stayed almost 3 weeks in the hospital. Dr. Heedger said I could not have any more babies for at least three years. Careful manipulation of my poor baby’s head while she was in the hospital made it possible for us to bring home a beautiful baby girl. Archie was really delighted as his family had been all boys and the little girl was really welcomed. Archie’s brothers could not keep their hands off her. It was amusing to watch two young men carefully handling a little girl as if she was a doll.

Archie and I were so happy. After all, I was 27 and he was almost 30 so we were mature enough to enjoy parenthood. I always thanked God there had been no children from Archie’s first marriage.

She really was a beautiful, good-natured baby and it was at this time that Archie became interested in photography.

Ed Swartz worked in the G.E. with Archie and he taught Archie a lot and Mary Jean was used as a model and she was a well photographed little girl. She was named after me and Archie’s mother and our baby girl was a joy to us.

Tomorrow I’ll be posting letters written in 1943. Lad is in California and he has become quite interested in a particular woman. Grandpa keeps the rest of the family informed about what everyone else is doing.

Judy Guion

Autobiography of Mary E Wilson – Planning a Wedding – 1936-1937

1936

          Archie and I were quietly planning our marriage but it was difficult to deceive my mother.

Arthur, Doris, my mother, and myself were all home but Arthur was dating a pretty girl who worked as a waitress where my mother worked at the D. M. Read Company. My mother introduced them and they seemed to hit a it off perfectly.

October, 1937

          I will never forget that day in October, 1937. It was on a Saturday morning and I was not working. Archie came to the house, which was unusual, his divorce had finally become finalized and he was a free man.

I had just gotten out of a hot tub and I was as red as a lobster and he had bought me an engagement ring the same day he got his divorce. I was so happy but now I had to tell my mother.

How do you explain to your mother that you are suddenly engaged to be married? But I did tell her and her only comment was, “If he can’t get along with one woman, what makes you think he can make you happy?”

I was now 26 years old, very much in love and determined to marry Archie. We saw no reason to wait and planned our wedding for December 10, 1937, so we had a busy two months to plan our wedding.

Archie had saved money because now he was the manager of the Shell Station so he was able to completely furnish our lovely rent on Fifth Street in Bridgeport, and it was all paid for. We had a ball picking everything for our apartment together.

I decided to have a traditional wedding, white dress, veil, the works. My mother seemed to be angry and even though she was a great seamstress, refused to take any active interest in my wedding.

My first disappointment was that I could not be married in the Episcopal Church because Archie was a divorced man. I decided on the Methodist Episcopal Church on Stratford Avenue in Bridgeport and Fred’s dad asked if he could play the organ at our wedding. Alex was Archie’s best friend and Celso was my matron of honor. Jim gave me away and Arthur, David, Doris and Shirley were the attendants at our wedding.

My mother finally had a change of heart and planned the reception at our house, made me a wedding cake, and was great and gave us a nice wedding and reception.

We only had a weekend honeymoon so we went to the Hotel Commodore in New York City on the train. I never remember such a cold weekend. The weather was awful. I guess being newly married and very much in love, the weather was not important.

Tomorrow, I’ll be posting more about the changes that happen quickly in the lives of Archie and Mary Wilson. 

On Monday I’ll begin a week of letters written in 1943. The story of Lad and Marian is progressing and Grandpa keeps everyone informed.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Dear Silent Ones – November, 1941

Trumbull, Conn., November 30, 1941

Dear Silent Ones:

           Grandma Peabody

Ten o’clock in the evening is the time. Lad (driving), Dan, Barbara (Plumb, Dan’s girlfriend), Aunt Betty and myself left here about 1 o’clock with our movie equipment and motored, I believe that is the word, to Mt. Joy Place, New Rochelle, there to partake of a very nice meal. It was the first real Sunday dinner I had not cooked myself for months, and I did enjoy it. Later, (Aunt) Dorothy, Burton (Peabody) and Grandma (Peabody) came over. Dan showed his stills first and then Lad followed with the movies. I tried to find out from Grandma what Anne’s plans were for Christmas but she had not heard from Anne for some time and could give me no information on that score. Babe (Cecelia Mullins, Lad’s girlfriend) was supposed to go along with us today but she called up this morning and said she had a cold and did not feel like going along. Dave had his Young People’s meeting to attend so he did not go along, though I suspect the real reason was his dislike of having to be questioned by Aunt Dorothy as to the progress of his school work.

Dan has about decided to purchase a 1933 Chevrolet coupe which Carl has had for sale since August. I think it is one which he bought from Mr. Powell. I know little about it except that the price is $75. He has decided that he needs some means of getting back and forth from work. Since the shop has become unionized, he has to be at work by seven and quits at three in the afternoon, and as Lad does not have to report for work on his job until 9 AM, and leaves when his work is done, which may be anywhere from 5 to 7, it leaves Dan without timely transportation. He plans to get his markers tomorrow.

The weather continues quite mild. We have yet had no real cold days and not a speck of snow. Some of the trees have still not shed their leaves and we noticed today on the Parkway, that the Dogwood trees still carry leaves that have not entirely changed from green to brown.

I have been a waiting anxiously for a letter from you last week to tell me what the latest news is about your deferment. I hope there will be a letter either from you or Dick in the mail tomorrow.

Again there seems little noteworthy of transmission to you under the general subject of news. After recovering from his attack of flu, Kemper (Peabody)  was informed by the doctor that he had a mild case of diabetes and, while he does not have to take insulin, he does have to diet.

ADG - China - the good set

ADG - China - detail

Ethel (Bushey) presented me with a dinner plate exactly matching that gold bordered set of dishes (the good set) that we inherited from Aunt Mary Powers. She said she was in an antique shop in Mamaroneck and happened to notice this one dish and recognized that it was exactly like our set and she bought it for me. She said it was the only one they had.

Last week, very suddenly, the Times Star folded up. They had been losing money for some months but nobody expected it to discontinue so abruptly. Even the employees did not know anything about it when they came to work that morning. At 10 o’clock orders went around to write a swan song for the addition just going to press and at noon all employees were paid a week’s salary and dismissed. That leaves the Post-Telegram Cock of the Walk although there is a rumor that the Harold is going to put out a daily edition. I hired one of the girls temporarily that had been in their editorial department.

DAD

Tomorrow, more on the continuing story of Mary Ellum and Archie Wilson.

Next week I’ll be posting letters from 1943. Each week Grandpa anxiously awaits letters from his four oldest sons, all away from home and working for Uncle Sam.

Judy Guion

Peabodys and Duryees – Post Cards From Aunt Helen (Peabody) Human – November, 1941

ADG - Post card of Guatemala Airport from H. Human

ADG - Post card of Guatemala Airport (message) 1941

This is one of the prettiest airports I’ve seen so far. You can see for yourself, one volcano and there are two more just as imposing. Everyone who comes here loves it and I know the men at this port will be sorry when their work is completed. So far since we left Brownsville we’ve been in Tampico and Mexico City. The plane trip from Mexico City to Guatemala City is the best so far.

Aunt Helen

ADG - Post card of Guatemala Plaza from H. Human - 1941

ADG - Post card of Guatemala Plaza from H. Human (message) 1941

This is an exceptionally beautiful old church and Plaza on a little hill so that in every direction you can get a most wonderful panoramic view of the city. We drove out to Antigua Sunday and saw the ruins of an old cathedral which was built in the 1500s and destroyed by an earthquake in 1773 I believe. What ruins remain are fascinating and beautiful. It was a tremendous thing. You will just have to see it all for yourself some day.

Helen

Tomorrow, I’ll finish the week with a letter from Grandpa to his two sons in Alaska.

On Saturday and Sun day more on the lives of Mary Ellum and Archie Wilson..

Next week, I’ll be posting letters from 1943,Lad’s interest in Marian Irwin seems to be heating up and vice versa..

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Dear Awayoffs (2) – Thanksgiving – November, 1941

Page 2 of 11/15/41

Biss - with Butch and family - 1940          Dan, this morning, about finished up getting up the storm windows. This, with the insulation and furnace ought to keep us comfortable this winter. We still have had no cold weather.

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

DPG - with Zeke holding Butch

Between Lad and Dave at the office we have now put the old automatic feed in condition and are turning out Wheeler labels in fairly good shape. Lately we have been busy with mimeograph work on architect’s specifications, 50 to 100 pages, each run off from 40 to 50 stencils.

There is some talk about the Remington-Rand dry shaver building a factory in Trumbull in that big empty field opposite Rakowski’s store, running from the railroad by Iron Ledge back to the rear of Noyes house, provided the Zoning Board will grant the necessary permission.

I took some more chances for you, Ced, on a 1942 Nash to be raffled off last night but as I did not receive a phone call by midnight telling me you were the lucky man, I guess we’ll kiss that goodbye also.

Next Thursday is supposed to be our Thanksgiving this year. I have already ordered a turkey from Kurtz’s and have invited Biss and her family over to dinner. Elsie writes it is very questionable as to whether she will be able to get up on that day and Sylvia will also be working, so I guess we won’t have to put a couple of extra leaves in the table as we have on some occasions in the past. There is one thing you can be sure of and that is that we will be thinking very much of you two boys and wishing you were home with us.

My car is not running as well as I would like it to at present. When I slow down in high and step on the gas it has a tendency to buck, and this morning I found most of my antifreeze had leaked out. Carl had put in new hose connections and I guess they were not tight. Otherwise we’re doing pretty well.

As you may surmise from the rambling tone of the foregoing, there is again not much news of interest, but I am writing it anyway for what interest it may have, as I know from experience how disappointing it is to look, week after week, for the expected letter and not have it materialize. This has been the case here for the past two weeks but I am hoping the spell will be broken on the morrow when I twist the dial on P.O. Box 7.

Aunt Betty has asked me to send her love to both of you. As far as the writer is concerned, you probably know what to expect along this line from your    DAD

Tomorrow, I’ll be posting two post cards from Helen (Peabody) Human from Guatemala and on Friday, another letter from Grandpa to his two boys in Alaska.

Saturday and Sunday I’ll continue the story of Mary Ellum and Archie Wilson..

Next week, I’ll be posting letters from 1943 when four out of five of Grandpa’s sons are dealing with Uncle Sam..

Judy Guion