The Beginning – Early Memories of Trumbull (10) – Ced’s Memories

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.

Cedric Duryee Guion

Cedric Duryee Guion

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.

Playing Dress-up

Playing Dress-up

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, I’ll be posting letters from 1941. Lad is expected home in May or June, Dick has arrived in Anchorage and delivered a car to his older brothers, Dan and Ced. Dave and Grandpa remain in Trumbull.

Judy Guion

The Beginning – Early Memories of Trumbull (9) – School Days

Before they died, I was able to record childhood memories of five of Grandpa’s six children. When Uncle Dan passed away, I knew I had to start the project quickly before we lost any others. These are some of their memories.

Cedric Duryee Guion

Cedric Duryee Guion

CED – In Trumbull, I went to the old Don Sirene’s house, which was a school. It had two rooms with a sliding door between them. The first, second and third grades were in one room, the fourth, fifth and sixth grades were in the other. The teachers were two sisters, one in each room. Miss Hawkins taught in the second building. That was the building that was moved. They put a basement under it and made some minor changes and made a firehouse out of it. We had outhouses outside – one for the boys and one for the girls. We had a water cooler, a 10 gallon jug with a pushbutton on the bottom, no ice and a wood stove. Both buildings had a wood stove – we kids used to get the wood for it.

When they opened Center School, I was in the fourth grade. It had four rooms upstairs and four rooms downstairs. It was shaped like a square.

At the Trumbull house, one of the things we used to do, one of the high points, had to do with the little trap door over the barn. We opened the door, tied a rope to the beam at the top of the barn, ran it down and tied it to the big Maple outside the Summer Terrace. We used to have a wheel on it and we would go out the door and hang from the wheel. We’d slide all the way down and get off by the Maple tree. A pretty fast ride, too.

We had a swing on the upper end of the property, near the stone pillars. We’d take hold of the rope, take a run and then swing out almost over the road. Don Stanley fell off and broke his arm. His father never really forgave us.

Elizabeth Westlin Guion (Biss)

Elizabeth Westlin Guion (Biss)

BISS – I really liked the Principal, at Center School, and I couldn’t wait for eighth grade to come so I could be with her. She retired to get married, either one or two years before that. I was in the sixth or seventh grade when she retired to get married. I was always mad at her, as I wasn’t able to have her as a teacher.

Alfred Peabody Guion (Lad)

Alfred Peabody Guion (Lad)

LAD – I don’t remember very much about any trouble I got into. Dick and Ced used to get into trouble. Mother would get a call from the police, or Constable, as they were called at the time. What their problems were I don’t remember, but they did get into trouble….Mother had to go get them a few times.

I do remember I used to ride one of the horses we had frequently, possibly every day or two, to go up to a house on the top of the second hill beyond Middlebrook School. There was a girl living there that I really liked. In fact, Bill Hennigan and I liked this girl very much. Ruth Moy was her name. I used to go up there on the horse and invariably, my mother would call and say, “Send Alfred home, it’s time for supper.”

We started high school in Congress High on Congress Avenue in Bridgeport. We went there for two years maybe, then they closed the school and made it into a junior high. All the high school kids moved across the street to Central High. Years later, some of the Trumbull kids went to Harding High, some to Central and some went to Bassick High School.

Trumbull – Dear Doggies (3) – Quotes From Lad And Sheer Optimism – April, 1945

APG - APG at D_____ ______  a_____, 25 June, 1945

Page 3    4/15/45

I guess I’m slipping, and will have to back water again. Maybe I can hide behind a technicality. There was no letter to be sure in P.O. Box 7 from Lad this week, but I was pleasantly surprised one day to find one from him waiting for me at the office, written Easter Sunday. “No letter from you again this week. Sometimes the mails are very slow. Yesterday one of the fellows in my room got a letter mailed Dec. 19th, — just a few days short of 4 months – – but then you consider the quantity of mail handled to and from the States I wonder that it makes such good time. And our Censors are doing a wonderful job over here too (now that’s what I call tact, Lad). It is very seldom that a letter isn’t mailed within 36 hours from the time it is written. Marian has only told me of one.

The past few days have been cloudy and wet, but the sun is trying to shine out bright and strong for this day of days. Seems to be having a little trouble though and now and then the clouds win the battle for a short time. It is still morning, so it may yet overcome all resistance. Hope so. I’ve been to the movies three times in the past week but didn’t see anything worth seeing. We’ve had quite a few mystery pictures lately but I don’t enjoy them too well. According to Marian, Ced, as usual, practically outdid himself in his Christmas Box. His ideas are always so practical, yet good, that it is truly a great pleasure to receive anything from him. Even his letters. Which reminds me, I should write to him. Plans to see Dan or the other fellows in Paris are no more mature than they were last time I wrote, but I’m still hoping. Interesting news items of the past week are nil and therefore I don’t have much to write about. Give my love to Aunt Betty and Jean and remember me to anyone so interested. I’ll take care of Marian’s interest, I hope. Lots of love, luck and good health, Dad. An Easter wish to you all – – on paper that is. I thought it many times this morning. LAD

It’s so good to be hearing from you regularly, again, Lad. It makes more difference in the days contentment than you realize. The only sad thing about it is that it makes me want to do so much more for all you lads that I can do. You married ones are being supplied from time to time by your devoted wives with boxes containing what you ask for and perhaps some things that you don’t ask for and possibly even can’t use, so Dad is sort of frustrated in exhibiting any of the tokens of esteem he wants to express, but from the news we keep getting, it seems as if it couldn’t be too long now before the show is over and the day brought nearer when you march up the gangplank and set sail for home. Oh, boy, won’t that be some day! And it does look over here as though you boys will not need to worry much about the future. I suppose I’m just naturally optimistic, but it does seem that for several years we will have a period of great prosperity here in this country. That report from Ven. Pete. (Venezuela Petroleum) which Marian is sending you looks as though they might use a good man on diesel down there, if you’re interested, Lad. Meantime I don’t think it would do a bit of harm to drop those men you know a postcard now and then, just to let them know you are on the map and have not forgotten them.

To you, also, Dick and Ced and Dave, our thoughts turn your way more than you know. In fact each of you occupies a special place in the thoughts and affections of your…..

DAD

Tomorrow and Sunday, childhood memories of growing up in Trumbull form my Dad and his siblings.

Next week, I’ll be posting letters from 1941. Lad is getting closer to coming home after two and a half years in Venezuela and Dick has just arrived in Alaska, having driven a car to Seattle and shipped it and himself to Anchorage. He’ll be joining Dan and Ced there for a while.

Judy Guion 

Trumbull – Dear Doggies (2) – Two Boxes And Some Local News – April, 1945

DBG - Paulette on Bike @ 1945 in France

Page 2     4/15/45

Another box was promptly dispatched to you during the week, Dan, which I hope will reach you before the war is over (or do I?). I am sorry to say I was unable to get a table cover of the size you wanted. Howland’s said they had had no oilcloth table covers for over a year. Read’s had one left, quite a bit smaller than you specified but I sent it along anyway. Howland’s had a very poor assortment of needle sizes, Read’s no needles at all, but I’m going to try some other stores. I also included in the box some more postage stamp assortments but the low price makes me wonder if any of the stamps will be of much interest to your perspective brother-in-law. I did succeed in getting two laundry brushes and I also enclosed in the box another of your shirts and a small box of writing paper for Paulette, with the initial V on the sheets.

And while I am on the subject of boxes, I am sending pretty soon one to Dave. I read in Ernie Pile’s account of his landing on Okinawa that he was practically eaten up the first night with mosquitoes, and while it may be that the Army furnishes you boys with mosquito netting, it seemed worth the chance, so I ups and buys enough for one cot cover, but as it did not come very wide, I got a double length so that you can employ some of your time, Dave, in plying needle and thread. Just as a bit of a novelty, I put in Dan’s package and will also include in yours, a can of popping corn and a bottle of oil (I suppose you can get salt) so that to vary the monotony some night, you can have a corn popping party if you can find or devise some form of popper. AND, Dan, this week I also instructed Davis & Hawley to mail to you, insured, a package containing an engagement ring and a wedding ring. The girls are fearful that the size is too small but supposedly the jewelers followed the instructions you sent as to what the ring size should be. I hope both Paulette and yourself will be satisfied with the efforts of the joint purchasing commission which consisted of Marian, Jean and yours truly. Anyway, we think we did pretty well.

In today’s Sunday Post there is a picture of Sgt. Benjamin A. Slauson, and quote: “Mrs. Benjamin A. Slauson, of Main Street, has received word from Lieut. Gen. George C. Kenny, U S A commander, that her son, Staff Sergeant Benjamin A. Slauson, was decorated with the Bronze Star medal in recognition of courageous service to his combat organization. He was cited for heroic achievement in connection with military operation against the enemy at Dulag Harbor, Leyte, P.I., on Nov. 12, 1944. He was a crew member aboard a ship when an enemy airplane made a suicidal dive and crashed into his vessel, killing 89 men and seriously wounding 100 others. When two explosions started fire in the stern, hurling shrapnel and debris about the ship, Slauson and other crew members hastened to the aid of the injured and extricated the wounded from the flames and wreckage and fought fires with shrapnel-riddled hose until a naval vessel came to their aid. Sgt. Slauson enlisted in the service five years ago and has been in the Pacific two years. Prior to entering the service he was employed at the Stanley Works and was a graduate of Bassick High School. He is 25 years of age.”

I also received the following in the mail this week: Mr. and Mrs. Frederick Fowler requested the honor of your presence at the marriage of their daughter, Mildred Elizabeth, to Ensign Harold Stacy Kercher, U.S.N.R., on Saturday, April 28th at Hamden, Conn.

Tomorrow, I’ll finish the week and this letter.

On Saturday and Sunday, more early memories of Trumbull from recorded memories of Grandpa’s children.

Judy Guion

 

Trumbull – Dear Doggies (1) – A Letter From Dan – April, 1945

Trumbull, Conn., April 15, 1945

Dear Doggies:

When this old Mother Hubbard went to the cupboard this week, said cupboard, being familiarly known as Box 7, she found in the traditional manner the said cupboard bare, and so the poor dog had none in the shape of quotable bones, either domestic or foreign; which of course explains the form of salutation and takes away the stigma of classifying you with “man’s best friend”.

Blog - Lilac Bush

Lilac time is practically here. Indeed I expect that perhaps even tomorrow or surely by Tuesday the lilacs will be out enough to pick. Another sign of spring is rhubarb from Mr. Laufer’s garden which Marian prepared for dessert today in a delectable gelatin concoction. Other vernal straws in the wind might be found in my days occupation which consisted of cutting the grass, cleaning the barn, taking down storm windows and putting up screens. Yesterday afternoon I gave a priming coat of paint to the new back porch which Carl Laufer has completed.

Back again to the first paragraph, I just realized I am wrong. I did receive a letter from Dan. Events have transpired so swiftly this week, what with the President’s sudden death and the swift advance of the armies in France, that my impression was Dan’s letter was received earlier than it actually was. However, here it is: (Dated March 24) If you check the date above against the news, you will know that it has not been “just another day” around here. As I write, the world at large is still ignorant of what is going on although the radio has given some inkling already. I am reminded of that day last July (25th) when I was an eyewitness of a portion of the big break-through in Normandy. That day I saw hundreds and hundreds of planes pass overhead – – saw the point where they circled in the sky – – felt the earth tremble under the onslaught of bombs – – saw the planes return toward England. Today, although I am much further from the front, I have seen another great spectacle in the air. I can only guess at the result, but I am confident that it is no mere side-show.

Coincidentally, our own work is being stepped up and the bright new sun finds me somewhat bleery-eyed from nearly 24 hours of constant going. It is becoming increasingly difficult to visit “Chiche” these days but I suppose my efforts for Uncle Sam might have some infinitesimal effect on the establishment of peace on earth.

Paulette was very pleased at having received letters both from Dad and Marian, although it soon became apparent when I took the letters to her house that the rest of the family was just as avidly interested, each person wanting to translate the letter in his own peculiar manner when I hesitated too long over a precise translation of a line. Thanks a lot for having written. I know that has made “Chiche” much more confident of her pending trip to Trumbull. No plans have been formulated for her voyage to America, except that she shall not precede me. I doubt that she will be permitted to cross with me. That will be decided by one of the fates, and the U.S. Army. In the meantime, please add the following to my “gi’ me” list: one 6’ x 6’ oilcloth table cover, one paper of assorted needles, two sturdy laundry brushes, also laundry soap powder. Reading between the lines you will realize there is still room to say “love to all”.

Dan.

Tomorrow and Friday, the rest of this letter.

On Saturday and Sunday, more early memories of Trumbull from Grandpa’s children.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – A Skinny Week With No Quotes – April, 1945

Trumbull House - the driveway and the back of the house

This is a much more recent picture

but this is the side yard where Grandpa was sitting.

Trumbull, Conn., April 8, 1945

Dear Son:

This is one of those “skinny” weeks when no letters have arrived from the “Quotes Dept.” and no local news of outstanding importance has occurred to furnish grist for the mill. So, if this week’s epistle is kind of thin and peaked looking, particularly by comparison with the last two letters, you will philosophically charge it to the working out of the laws of compensation. While the news from both the Pacific and European battle fronts is both interesting and encouraging, there seems hardly any need to comment upon it in these letters as events in both areas are moving so swiftly that by the time my letter is delivered and sometimes even before it is mailed, new progress or political developments have made the news of the moment old and uninteresting. Hence, while we all here, naturally, are taking the keenest interest in day by day developments, comments are purposely withheld.

Just as there are friendly little fairies along with gnomes and pixies and gremlins, so there must be a special class of germs that operate outside the disease producing groups that have their perennial times of activities. One of these, for want of a better term, might be called the Spring House Cleaning bug. Jean and Marian both have gotten bitten by this little microbe lately, and as a starter your Dad is being gently and tactfully lured into having Carl do some needed repairs and following that, the purchase of some new linoleum for the laundry and the bathrooms. Jean is all in today having done four days of work in one yesterday on her room and the kitchen. Marian would have been in it up to her neck too, if Mr. Sikorsky hadn’t persuaded her the helicopter business is more important.

As there are up to the present time no priorities or price ceilings on guesses, and Dave is the only one of you boys whose geographical location is not known within  comparatively narrow limits, I have a suspicion that Dave is scheduled for Okinawa. Marion, on the other hand, is voting for the island of Luzon or adjacent American bases. Sooner or later I suppose, we will know which of us, if either, is right. From current Washington reports it begins to look as though many of the European veterans will be shipped over to the Pacific area in order to shorten up this war also. Otherwise to equip and train enough Chinese soldiers will take so long that Japan, who is on the skids now, might have opportunity to recover and adjust itself to a long continued struggle. European veterans, they probably figure, will do a cleanup job faster and better than raw and untried soldiers. So while I hate to think of this as far as you boys in France and Brazil are concerned, there is no sense in evading issues, and then maybe will be pleasantly surprised. Of course we are keeping our fingers crossed.

Today one might have gotten away unchallenged with the remark that “Spring is here”. This morning a weedy flower bed claimed my attention and after dinner I sat without an overcoat outside on the side lawn without an overcoat and read the Sunday papers. Of course I would rather have been talking to the individual who holds this paper in his hand at the present moment, but that too will come if we are patient. Meantime, we will all maintain stout hearts and carry on each in his own way, “today and every day till victory”.

DAD

Tomorrow and the rest of the week, I’ll be posting a three page letter from Grandpa to all of his sons, scattered around the world.

Judy Guion

Army Life – Easter Letter From Lad – April, 1945

This week, I’ll be posting letters written in April of 1945. Both Lad and Dan are in France, Lad in the south, Dan in the north. Ced is still in Alaska, Dick is in Brazil and Dave is in Okinawa. Grandpa remains in Trumbull with Aunt Betty, Marian (Lad’s wife) and Jean (Dick’s wife).

APG - Al and Mike Hennigan, Langres, France, March, 1945

Lad and Mike Hennigan

Langres, France, 1945

France-Easter-

Rec’d 4/9

Dear Dad:-

No letter from you again, this week. Sometimes the mails are very slow. Yesterday one of the fellows in my room got a letter mailed on Dec. 9th, just a few days short of four months. But when you consider the quantity of mail handled to and from the States, I wonder that it makes such good time. And our Censors are doing a wonderful job over here, too. It is very seldom that a letter isn’t mailed within 36 hours from the time it is written. Marian has only told me of one.

The past few days have been cloudy and wet, but the sun is trying to shine out bright and strong for this day of days. Seems to be having a little trouble though, and now and then the clouds win the battle for a short time. It is still morning, so it may, yet, overcome all resistance. Hope so.

I’ve been to the movies three times in the past week, but didn’t see anything worth seeing. We’ve had quite a few mystery pictures lately, but I don’t enjoy them too well.

According to Marianni, Ced, as usual, practically outdid himself in his Christmas Box. His ideas are always so practical and yet good that it is a truly great pleasure to receive anything from him. Even his letters. Which reminds me, I should write to him.

Plans to see Dan or the other fellows in Paris are no more mature than they were last time I wrote, but I’m still hoping.

Interesting news items of the past week are nil, and therefore I don’t have much to write about.

I just read through a bunch of Marian’s letters looking for an inspiration, but found none, so I guess I’ll just have to quit.

Give my love to Aunt Betty and Jean and remember me to anyone so interested. I’ll take care of Marian’s interest, I hope.

Lots of love, luck and good health, Dad – as ever

Lad

P.S. I forgot an Easter Wish to you-all. On paper, that is. I thought it many times this morning.

Tomorrow, a letter from Grandpa to his sons with no quotes and no local news to forward, therefore, a “skinny” letter. Wednesday through Friday, another letter from Grandpa, with a bit more news and some quotes from Dan and Lad.

Judy Guion