In our last visit to 1941, Dick was on the verge of leaving Trumbull, Connecticut to deliver a 1937 Buick to his older brothers, Dan and Ced, in Anchorage, Alaska. He had several friends who had expressed interest in making the trip with him but for one reason or another, all had to cancel. This letter was typed hours after his departure.
R-119 March 4, 1941
If a note of sadness creeps into this letter you will understand it when I tell you that Mack is dead. The old saying “it never rains but it pours” seems to be true in this instance. My other son casts adrift from old home ties today and a few hours later the news comes to us that Mack has been struck by an automobile in front of Carl’s gas station and had his leg broken. The news came from one of the Trumbull boys and I of course went right over with Dave. They had sent for John Berger, who was there. Mack was at the side of the road. His mouth was bloody and John Berger said his leg had been broken and the kindest thing to do would be to do away with you. He would advise differently if Mack were younger, but when I consider that lately he has been getting deaf, has seemed to have difficulty in moving as though he had rheumatic pains, has had more or less trouble with his bowels of late and has seemed in general to be showing symptoms of age, it seemed wisest to take his advice even though the heart rebelled. Mack was conscious, but seemed to be in a sort of stupor, apparently no pain because when John picked him up to put him in the car he made not the slightest noise and when I spoke to him (Mack) he showed no sign of recognition, just calm indifference to everything and everybody. So I said goodbye to him and John took him away. He disposes of them painlessly with carbon monoxide gas. Billy Parks was driving the car that hit him. Parks told me he could not help it as Mack ran right in front of his car. In the lack of evidence to the contrary I can well believe such was the case. It probably was just a coincidence but today Mack seemed to sense that something was going to happen. At the time I wondered if it could be some realization on his part that Dick was leaving but I dismissed this as a bit fanciful. Here is what happened. I stopped at the store as usual to see what the mailbox held. It had occasionally happened that on other days I have seen Mack around somewhere in the vicinity, but today he was lying close to the car door and almost asked by his actions be taken along in the car — something which I have never done, and which he has never hinted at so plainly before. I said goodbye to him in a friendly tone and went over to the town hall to deliver a job. A few minutes later Helen Plumb came in and said Mack was waiting for me outside. Ordinarily he never comes over to the Town Hall, didn’t even when I was First Selectman, but when I came out there he was and again his eyes seemed to ask me not to leave him alone. The two circumstances were so unusual that as I say, I wondered if in his doggie brain, he foresaw that the day was to be a fateful one. Poor Mack, I have wondered if he would complete another year but there was the hope that if he got through the winter months he would last until Lad came home, at least that is what I had been hoping all along. I am glad Dick got some good recent pictures of Mack. If I had not learned to “take it” through the years this would be a very good opportunity to rail at fate for not being satisfied taking the last, but one, of my boys but having to fill the cup to overflowing by even taking my old dog on the same day. I really do feel pretty downhearted if you want the truth and spelling it out here has not acted as very much of a safety valve as might be expected. But then it might have been worse, so we’ll have to get what comfort we can with the thought. I am glad Dick did not have to leave with that bad news as a partner. He will have a lonely enough time as it is. Driving 3000 miles day after day is no fun.
Tomorrow, I’ll post page 2 of this letter addressed to Ced in Alaska.
On Saturday and Sunday, I’ll continue the story of my Grandpa, Alfred Duryee Guion, how he fell in love and his marriage and honeymoon.