This is the first in a series I composed of my Grandfather’s Reminiscences and his children’s memories.
Alfred Duryee Guion
(And his children)
It seems logical at the beginning to answer the question WHY?
First, while I have never felt any particular to get her desire to write an “autobiography”, believing that such are usually motivated by either a sense of smugness or an egotism based on the premise that one has played a part in some notable achievement important enough to record, there is an offsetting reason attributable to the fact that family records of births, marriages and deaths make dull reading unless enlivened by a revealing glimpse of an individual’s span, hoping to clarify for the reader the background against which his days are spent. If our ancestors had written their memoirs and handed them down to posterity, how much more interesting our heritage would seem! I have always experienced quite a thrill in reading the Guion family records of past events, and in my small way want to do my share to aid in this continuity.
Second, I do have a strong feeling of family unity. I am gratified that all of my six children are married, have their own families, and are a credit to the nation, to the community and to themselves. I have high hopes for my grandchildren. As a parent I have had some influence in their molding. It all seems worth recording.
Third, from a plateau of 75 years one can look back with a prospective not possible at a younger age, and see more clearly the important high spots.
Fourth, and perhaps the compelling reason for getting started, at least, is to supply an answer to the often repeated request for grandpa “to tell them a story of when he was a boy”.
The following was written in the spring of 1960 while on a four months “around the world” freighter trip.
The time consumed plying between ports affords plenty of leisure to reminisce and record events, some of which have not been recalled to mind for many years. At such times also, one’s thoughts hark back to the loved ones at home, particularly the grandchildren and their interest to learn about grandpa’s childhood. In this way the idea was born for these bits of personal history, and as I mused more and more on the subject, I realized that happenings of 50 years ago now fed to the young folks in history books, might take on an added interest if recorded by one who had actually been a part of them.
Someday I hope one of my children will want to set down on paper for his children’s entertainment, and perhaps for posterity’s sake, recollections of his own childhood, much as I myself have tried to do here for the benefit of my children and grandchildren, being induced to do so partly by realization of the lack I felt of more details of my own father’s youth, he having died when I was too young to really appreciate and evaluate the things he might have told me of his early years, and of his mother, my grandmother, who, from all accounts, was a truly remarkable woman.
And before I leave this introduction, may I hope that one of my children or grandchildren will feel interest enough in the entire Guion family history to gather what material of this sort is now available and from it compile an orderly record of past and present annals to be preserved for future guidance.
Further, there is the possibility and hope that from it all may eventually grow a GUION FAMILY ASSOCIATION, perhaps meeting annually to further the historical project as the years roll by. We have a good starting base with the six of our own group.
Tomorrow, I’ll be posting some of Grandpa’s early childhood memories.
Next week, My posts will be from letters written in 1945 while all five boys are serving Uncle Sam. Lad and Dan are working in their respective fields in France, Ced is in Alaska at a military airbase, Dick is in Brazil and Dave is ready to ship out to the Pacific. We won’t have a letter from any of the boys until Friday, when Lad writes home.