Trumbull, Conn., Sept. 17, 1944
Dear Lumberman at large:
Return immediately. Poppa needs you. The wind she blow like hell in Trumbull and the place formally yelept (I have no idea what he meant by this) Babbling Brook seemed to be right in the path of the storm. Anyway, this morning, inspired by the good neighbor policy, Messrs. Laufer, Reynolds, John Kurtz and A.D.G. with ax, saw, crowbar, block and tackle, plus Buick horsepower lifted several tons of maple tree off the roof of the apartment, after a big section of the big maple tree in the back of the house ripped off and crashed down on our domicile. What internal damage was done I have not yet been able to ascertain, but here is a brief review of the other tree damage on the property;
1 – The aged maple tree between the barn and the old chicken coop was entirely blown down over the electric wires leading to the cottage.
2 – The top of the pine tree just outside the barn door had the top entirely blown off where it extended above the barn roof.
3 – At last the little old half Apple tree outside the back door which lost half its life in the last storm in 1938, has now been completely uprooted and lies partly across the driveway.
4 – The middle sized apple tree near the fence between the east side of our property and Ives corner lot, about opposite the big dining room window, was completely snapped off about 5 feet from it’s base so that it now parallels the driveway on top of the rhododendron brush and practically up to the stone gateway.
5 – The big old Maple tree on the front lawn near the screened porch, which was pretty hollow at the base anyway, had a big section toward the street broken off.
6 – The top of one of the big fir trees, or whatever it was, on the west side of the front entrance cement steps, as completely wrenched off.
Of course the whole place was littered with leaves and twigs and broken branches. It looked as if Eisenhower’s men had just finished a bombardment of enemy territory and this was it. There is plenty of potential firewood available this winter if I have the time and strength and endurance to saw it all up. Catherine took some pictures of the damage done to the place and as soon as prints are available I will send you some.
It’s the big fish that always gets away, they say, so it follows that one of the most appreciated letters that it has ever been my privilege to receive – – a birthday message from Dave – – which I intended to preserve and reread from time to time as a bracer and moral tonic when ere I got to feeling out of sorts, was lost in the big storm that visited us. The letter arrived on the same day during a heavy downpour and a few hours before the big wind hit. I took it with me after I left the office that night to go over to Elizabeth’s for supper. When I arrived I showed it to Elizabeth and Aunt Betty. Just before leaving for home, Zeke read it, handing it back to me just as I went out the front door into the driving rain with Aunt Betty toward the car. I thought I put it in my inside pocket where I generally carry such things but I had several packages in my hand and was guiding Aunt Betty. When I reached home a search through all my pockets failed to reveal it and I pictured it being blown over the fair state of Connecticut at the rate of 70 mph. Oh well, it’s good to note Dave feels like he does to his pater, anyway.
You know the kind of glass they sometimes have on bathroom doors that lets light through, but is rippled and clouded so you can’t see through it? Well, that’s just about the visibility through the windshield of my car on the way home except for the immediate instant as the wiper was making its quick pass back and forth. Repeatedly we were engulfed in small ponds in low places on the road, invisible a few feet ahead through the storm, sprayed walls of water to each side just like the prow of a speeding boat (Remember that day in Hartford, Ced?) After a few such experiences the car began to buck a little and miss and the brakes began slipping, but we finally made port in the old barn, dropped anchor and reefed all sails to prepare for the coming hurricane, which the radio promised would increase in violence until reaching its peak at midnight. As the hours wore on, gradually the gale increased. Powerful gusts again and again would make the old house shiver. An occasional snap or thud made one wonder what was going on and what would happen next, but as the streetlights were all out, it was as black as pitch and you couldn’t see a thing. Jean, who was a bit on edge with it all, stayed up until 3 AM, writing all about it to Dick – – a sort of blow-by-blow description, one might truthfully say. On Friday morning, alas, the bright sun showed the havoc. The old Guion place had literally had its face lifted. We were without electric current until late Saturday afternoon and thus were without radio news, lights, hot water, or stove, and to cap it all, the oil burner in the kitchen range acted up so we had no cooking means at hand and had to avail ourselves of Catherine’s offer use her gas stove. The telephone is still out.
Tomorrow, the rest of the letter. Thursday, the birthday letter from Dave and on Friday, a One-Act Play, written by Grandpa.
Saturday and Sunday, more Special Pictures.
On Monday, I’ll begin posting letters written in 1940. Lad is still working in Venezuela for the Socony-Vacuum Oil Company, Dan and Ced have been in Alaska for about 6 months. Dick, Dave and Grandpa are holding down the fort in Trumbull.