Trumbull – Total Confusion and Stolen Property

Have you ever found that when too many people get involved in a situation, total confusion can reign? Six different people got wrapped up in this story.

March 3, 1940

Dear C.D.E. (Chief Diesel Engineer)

The big news this week concerns the theft of my Willys. Perhaps I had better go back a bit. It has been Dick’s custom lately to work at the office after school and to drive home with me, and because he likes to drive I usually let him occupy the driver’s seat. He lets me out at the back door and backs the car into the barn for the night. I have had to caution him over and over again about bringing the key in the house and not leaving it in the car, pointing out to him that it was an invitation to anyone who is snooping around trying to swipe a car to leave the key in it.

Richard Peabody Guion (Dick)

This attitude has been scoffed at as being quite unlikely and the foolish precaution on my part. However, just to humor the old man, Dick has lately been bringing the key in and putting it on my hat which I usually place on the armchair in the dining room.

Well, Friday night I had to stop at the Town Hall for a meeting at 5:30, and as there was some food in the car, I told Dick after he dropped me at the Town Hall to take the food home and get dinner started. I walked home after the meeting was over, found supper had been prepared, and in due course went to bed.

Yesterday morning I found Dick waiting for me when I came down for breakfast and, as he had eaten, I told him to get the car out and running so we could get started promptly. The key was not on my hat so I asked him if he had left the key in the car and while he was sure he had brought the key in and put it on my hat, he said he might not and would look. He came in a few minutes later and said the car was not in the barn.

Ced had started to work at 7:30, which was evidenced by the fact that the Packard was gone. Our first thought was that Ced might have started off with the Packard, had a flat or something, had left it at Carl’s and taken my Willys and because he was late, had not taken time to tell me about it but left a note. However we could find no note from Ced.

We thought Dan might possibly have taken it intending to be back soon, but Dan and Rusty were both asleep in bed. We then called up the gas station but Carl said the Packard was not there and did not know anything about it.

Our last hope then was Ced might know something about it. We called up Tilo and after considerable delay got Ced but he knew nothing about the Willys. I was in doubt about its being stolen because Dick said he remembered putting the key on my hat the night before and I did not see how anyone would know enough to come into the house to get the key if he wanted to swipe the car, but Dick’s theory was that someone might have come in the house in the early morning, snooped around, seeing the key in plain sight on my hat with the name “Willys” on it, and having seen the car in the barn, did the logical thing.

So the only thing left to do was to call up Police Chief Ray Beckwith and report the car stolen. Dick had gone upstairs again to talk to Dan about it and I was sitting down to dial Ray’s number when Dick came down and said that Dan had an explanation that sounded reasonable. It was this: when Dick arrived home Friday night alone and with no meat for supper Dan asked him about what we were going to have for supper and Dick told him I had said there were scallops home for supper. There were not.

Then Dick assumed he may have misunderstood me and that I meant the scallops were in the car, WHICH DICK HAD LEFT AT THE TOWN HALL FOR ME AND WALKED HOME. He then went over to the Town Hall, got the package out of the car and brought it home. After my meeting was over at the Town Hall it was dark, and as I had intended Dick to take the car home with the food in it, I did not look for the car parked there.

Anyway, when I had gotten out of the car, it looked to me as I went in the door the Dick was preparing to back out. However, it looked now as if the car had been parked all night at the Town Hall with the key in it, so I hustled over there l expecting to see the car there were he had left it.

Bill Whalen has a gray Willys the same as mine, and as I approached I thought for a moment it was my car, but on second glance I saw it was not. I had already passed through two reverses of feeling that morning – – one when the car seemed to be stolen from the barn, the other when I believed it was at the Town Hall. Now was I going to be plunged into the dumps again?

I hustled on, and there behind another parked car which hid it, was my little old banged up shabby Willys just as Dick had left it the night before, with the key in the switch and everything O.K., and that’s the news about the stolen Willys. I hope you got a thrill out of the telling and some of the suspense that I experienced. “All’s well that ends well”.

“I am an old man and have had many troubles but most of them never happened”

Everyone here sends their love, including your one and only


Do you remember a time or a place where the keys could remain in the car and you never gave it a second thought? Or you could leave a car in the middle of town, with the key in it, and it would still be there the next morning? It truly was a different world back in 1940.

I’m glad that you are enjoying these stories and I hope you are sharing them and some of your own, with friends and family. Did you share a story today?

Judy Guion

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