Trumbull – No News From Lad – Jan, 1940

1934 - 1940 Timeline

1934 – 1940 Timeline

In this letter, Grandpa expresses a feeling that many parents deal with and that children have no idea of. Young people tend to get wrapped up in their activities, and knowing they are just fine, they forget that parents need to know if they are healthy and doing well.

January 7, 1940

Dear Lad:

You’ve got me worried this trip, my boy. Your last letter home was dated December 3rd  and arrived here on the 16th. Three weeks have

Alfred Duryee Guion

Alfred Duryee Guion

since gone by, which leads me to ask a question which I have thought of many times but have not put into words. It is this. In case something should happen to you, either in the nature of a serious accident or sickness, is it the customer of the Company to notify the home or parents of such employee? In the background there always lurks the possibility of something like this happening, made more fearsome by the thought that you are so far away among strangers. When I hear from you regularly that ogre of a thought is kept in its place in the background, but it is always ready to push it’s ugly presence forward when each week in succession goes by without hearing from you. While I say this in no spirit of complaint, life has dealt me some rather disappointing blows from time to time, which I have learned to take on the chin and accept with a smile, so that usually I succeed pretty well in not worrying over the many dire things that might happen but seldom do. Just the same it’s going to make the sunshine seem a lot brighter if the fourth week does not go by without some word from Venezuela. We can always hope, and generally do, optimistically, but sometimes in the dark watches of the night fear attacks in a rush, and while subdued with an effort of will and without letting anyone know about it, it does persist in popping up more often as the days go by without word. While it is disappointing not to get a full account of your doings when the well-known red white and blue envelopes peek at me through the glass slit in P.O. Box 7, it would be a lot better than nothing to have just a line or two from you saying that you are too busy or too tired or what not, to write a regular letter. Why not address and keep on hand two or three envelopes, stamped and addressed to me, so that if at the last moment before the mail leaves, you have not had an opportunity to write, you can at least scribble a short message so that there will be a break in this dead silence. Perhaps this is all silly on my part and you have been writing regularly and through some slip up in the mail the letters have failed to arrive, the same as my letters to you were held up for several weeks so that you got several in a bunch. With the rainy season practically over, however, this ought not to happen, especially over so long a lapse of time. It took a lot of words, didn’t it, to say “Why haven’t you written sooner?”

This week Dan got a registered package through the mail from an address on Long Island, and was delighted upon opening it to find it contained his watch. It is now at the jewelers for a general checkup, new crystal, new strap, etc. Incidentally, talking of time and the jeweler, I also took down the old Seth Thomas in the kitchen to Abercrombie, who has a place in with Kann as you may know, and he has given old Tom a new lease on life. He found, among other things in the case, evidence that mice have used it as a nesting place. There is a sticker in the clock with the date 1908 on it so that it is at least 32 years old. Abercrombie says they made parts much better in those days and will probably run for another 30 years before it stops short, never to run again.

(That Seth Thomas wall clock remains in the Trumbull kitchen today, making it 105 years old, still running and keeping perfect time. I have no idea how many times it has been repaired or serviced, though.)

Last week when I finished my letter to you, Dave had not yet returned from New Rochelle. He barged in about 10 PM however, and undoubtedly the trip was too much for him, because he complained of feeling none too hot in his stomach and did not, therefore, go to school. He reports all the folks well (he saw them all) and apparently nothing newsy to report.

We have been visited with a cold wave last week which did not please me at all, the only compensation from the children’s standpoint being the opportunity to slide, ski, skate, etc. That’s where they are right now, by the way. The ornaments have been taken off the tree and things are beginning to look normal again. Ced is getting his car into good running condition. The only thing he needs now is tires and I believe he has just placed an order with Carl for two Goodyear all weather treads.

I am enclosing for you to sign and return if you wish, 1939 operator license 593647, good until April 1st and the P. S. license number 200, expiring the same date, in accordance with your wishes. I am also paying your life insurance premium this month. Incidentally, the regular company check came through as usual so that I know you weren’t fired anyway. I am also enclosing a Trumbull news clipping which gives sort of a summary of the last years doings. In a week or two I shall probably be able to tell you what the results of the police examination showed as to the appointment of a permanent Trumbull police force.

I got a picture postcard from Rufus Burnham last week, postmarked Tampa, Florida, and stating “The whole Burnham crew down here for the holiday. Have been having a grand time”. Johnny Kurtz informed me yesterday that he is now the father of a new 9 pound baby boy. The population of Trumbull is increasing as you see.

I mailed you last week another batch of commercial car journals, each with an article in it on some phase of diesel work, as well as general articles on keeping fleets of trucks in repair. I think one of the unanswered letters or rather questions had to do with whether or not these were worthwhile sending to you. The postage costs more than the magazines and I don’t mind sending them if they are of the slightest help to you, but there is obviously no use sending them if you don’t find them valuable.

Well, I guess that is the end of my thought path this evening. I have been sitting here for some time trying to think of some other interesting facts to write, but they don’t seem to be flooding in on my mental screen.

Barbara (Plumb), Dan, Carl (Wayne) and Ethel (Bushey) have just come in, having been in Carl’s car (Ced, Dick and Dave also went along) on a trip to Redding Ridge in an effort to find Valley Forge. Since they put in the new reservoir and changed the roads around, I guess it was difficult to find. Apparently they didn’t get the right road, but had a good time anyway.

Well, here’s hoping. I’m thinking of P. O. Box 7 when I say this. Thus beginning and ending with the same thought with news in between. Maybe you’d call it a hope sandwich.

Buenos botches.


This week we’ll continue with letters to Lad from friends and family, but I don’t have a letter from Lad. Perhaps Grandpa mentions getting one in one of his letters. We’ll find out later this week.

Judy Guion

10 thoughts on “Trumbull – No News From Lad – Jan, 1940

  1. Gallivanta says:

    A ‘hope sandwich’; what a great expression. I am also amused that the clockmaker remarked along the lines that they don’t make things like they used to. Seems it has always been so :)

  2. weggieboy says:

    Actually, it works both ways. When I was stationed in Germany in the early 1970s, I remember feeling letters from America were sparse compared with my letters there.

    Of course, my life was especially exciting and full of interesting experiences then, so I had much more to write home about than my parents had to write back about.

    They were taking care of work, paying off a house, keeping track of their kids and the grandkids, etc., but not the sort of thing that was new each week particularly. I would have found it interesting, though!

    • jaggh53163 says:

      weggieboy – I think sometimes Grandpa wondered if all the local news tidbits were of any interest to Lad, and later, to all his sons. He actually wrote in a letter to his sons that he felt, since they didn’t reply, that he letters weren’t important to them, and he would only write letters to those who wrote to him… and he kept his word. Fortunately, the boys responded very quickly.

  3. gpcox says:

    Grandpa is busy once again taking care of all the incidentals for everybody. Well organized it seems.

    • jaggh53163 says:

      gpcox – He was extremely organized – down to planning on how his small personal possessions would be distributed after he was gone – everything was spread out in his apartment and all family members could view it on Saturday.
      On Sunday, his oldest – Lad – got to pick one item. Then his second born, third born, etc.
      My Dad, being as organized as his father, made his first choice something his firstborn – my twin brother Doug – wanted, his second round pick was something I wanted – my Grandfather’s Pocket Watch. I wore it on a long velvet ribbon around my neck.
      What helped Grandpa be so organized was the fact that he didn’t rush into things. He thought everything through, and then thought it through again !
      I’m afraid I’ve inherited the same tendencies !!!

  4. CJ says:

    I am fearful that this perfect example of REAL down-home letter writing is fast becoming extinct. The times have evolved so rapidly that letter-writing is just an email away now. Here in California the grade schools have dropped the teaching of cursive hand-writing in favor of concentrating on ‘keyboarding’ skills. That being said, I would be so bold as to presume to believe that they are not teaching about how to write actual letters, as well. I loved the third and fourth grades, where I learned how to handwrite and our classes involved the kids in foreign pen-pal exchanges. I am 49 yrs old. That would make it about 40 years ago that all the joy of penpals was so a part of my childhood. The electronic age would seem to lack that certain excitement of looking for a postal letter and the happiness of finally finding the awaited envelope, in my mind.
    This post was special. I also noticed that a great deal of information was packed into that letter…that’s the way it was when the world was much less technically advanced and telephone calls were too extravagant in price over long distances, if there even were phones available. Amazing.

    • jaggh53163 says:

      CJ – Less than a year ago, When I was thinking about starting a blog, I gave copies of some of the letters to as many friends as possible. I knew that I was fascinated by them, but they WERE about my family. I wanted to know if someone who knew nothing of my family would want to read more.
      Two comments I heard over and over were:
      1) Letter writing is becoming a lost art – no one writes anymore
      2) Yes, they are stories about your family, but they are also stories about every other family that lived through this time period.
      I, too, remember Pen-Pals – I had several – and the excitement of receiving a letter. I also wrote to friends I had made at camp. Now, 90% of my mail is JUNK. It doesn’t make my heart beat faster in anticipation and I don’t even bother opening most of it before I throw it away. Since the last few posts have had comments about writing letters, I’m going to try to write 2 letters a week and see if I get any back. I look forward to anticipation and hoe I won’t be disappointed.
      Shall we start a trend?

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