It’s 1941, Lad (Alfred Peabody) , Grandpa’s (Alfred Duryee Guion) oldest son, has been working in Venezuela for the Socony-Vacuum Oil Company for over two years and is expecting to come home in June. He hasn’t decided whether he’ll go back to Venezuela and sign another contract with the same company or another one. His next younger brothers, Dan (Daniel Beck) and Ced (Cedric Duryee), drove to Alaska in June of 1940 and have been working there.
Feb. 18, 1941
This morning while cleaning out my purse (I have to do it once in a while in order to be able to find anything) I came across your address. I’ve been carrying it around for ages, telling myself I’d surely write to you soon. But I never did. And now rumor has it that Mr. Guion’s first son will soon favor these parts with his presence. And wouldn’t it be awful if you came home and just glared at me and said “You didn’t even write to me once!” So this is it. I’ve been following your doings with much interest, though I haven’t seen your dad for several weeks.
I fear I’m getting old. Time just whips by. It doesn’t seem possible that you’ve been away two years or even that Dan and Ced have been in Alaska six months. And yet, there have been many changes – Bissie’s two sons (Elizabeth, Lad’s younger sister, married to Raymond (Zeke) Zabel, with her sons, Butch and Marty) – Doris Porter had a shower for Ethel (Bushey) Friday night and Biss was there with both babies. I’ve heard several people say that Martin looks like you and David, but how they tell with such a tiny baby is beyond me.
Dave (David Peabody) and Dickie Richard Peabody, Lad’s youngest brothers) have certainly changed. I suppose I have too – and you! – It will be almost like meeting new people for you, only more fun, because after all they’re old friends.
You probably know – I’m a working girl now – and like it very much. It’s a law office, – now Miller, Bent and Smith – the firm is new. When I first came here I worked for judge Miller, Mr. Beardsley and Mr. Smith. Mr. Beardsley died last fall and when Judge Bent was defeated in the last election, he moved in. They’re grand people to work for, and the work itself is very interesting.
The only novelty in my winter activity has been membership in the New Haven skating club. Helen (Barbara’s sister) belongs too. We go up Sunday mornings and Monday nights and try our best to execute figure eights and threes. Progress is mighty slow but it’s loads of fun. I’ve been bowling, too. I never tried it before this year. I go with the Wells – French – March gang. And Dot MacKenzie.
I haven’t seen Babe (Cecelia, a girl Lad has dated) lately. The last time was down in Norwalk skating when she was furious because she brought one skate of one pair and the other a different kind and size.
Ethel (Bushey, engaged to Carl Wayne) has had at least seven showers. Everyone’s hoping for them that Carl won’t have to go to camp.
Alta (Gibson) stopped in last night and borrowed a pair of my snow boots. She and Gib (Arnold Gibson, Lad’s best friend) were starting for Maine this morning for a week. He has a new job – will be working days instead of nights and has a week free between jobs, so is taking advantage of it. They went in the Ford and planned to be in Boston tonight.
This is the only piece of stationery I have in the office. I write to Dan on any old thing – but this is my first letter to you so perhaps I should make an effort with the best – especially after not writing for so long. It’s the getting started that’s hard, after that it’s fun.
I’ll be seeing you soon.
Barbara Plumb, Dan’s girlfriend)
For the rest of the week I’ll be posting letters from Grandpa to his sons. He writes a weekly letter, with carbon copies, and sends them to everyone, even though certain parts are addressed to one, two or all three.
If you know someone who might be interested in American Family life during the 1940’s, why not pass along the link to this blog? That’s primarily the time frame covered by the hundreds of letters I have.
The girls all seem to just fit in – says a lot for your family.
GP – Barbara did not marry Dan, but another boy from town. They came to the Island with my family every summer and their daughter is one of my best friends – we still see each other.