At this point, Alfred and Arla have started a family and so I will begin to include early childhood memories of the children in (attempted) chronological order.
A.D. – After I had been with the Celluloid Company for about five years my boss was offered and accepted a job with a large die manufacturer recently grown to huge proportions because of the dies, which, up to the opening of hostilities, had been a German monopoly. Mr. Abbott, shortly afterwards, offered me the job of Assistant Advertising Manager of the National Aniline & Chemical Company, which I accepted. My senior, the Advertising Manager, was a sneering, sarcastic individual who evidently resented my being assigned as his assistant, which did not make for very harmonious relations between us and created a sort of atmosphere in which I found it difficult to do my best creative work. However the salary was generous and my growing family made it unwise for me to take too independent an attitude.
It seemed about time also for my increasing brood to have a home of their own. We finally decided on a lot in Larchmont Gardens, and with the money I had saved I bought one of the first “redi-cut” homes on the market and with the help of my father-in-law, (Kemper Peabody) who was construction superintendent on the New York Central, aided by one of his workmen on this free days, the house was erected. The garage to hold the Franklin car, I built myself with the aid of friends and neighbors on weekends and holidays, in sort of an old-time building bee fashion. My two nearest neighbors, the Burnham’s and Batchelder’s became lifelong friends. My brother-in-law, Fred Stanley, on one of these weekend parties, brought along a fellow artist, Rusty Heurlin, who at once won all hearts by his personality and was responsible for many happy times. He is one of Alaska’s leading artists of Arctic life. The children all loved him and he was always a welcome guest and cherished friend.
LAD : When I was five, Dad and Mom were building a house in Larchmont. They had a contractor build it and it was on Landsdown Drive in Larchmont Gardens. I accompanied them, well, maybe three or four times when they went out to look at it. Mom told the carpenters what she wanted changed. She was quite conscious about what she wanted.
It took four days for the workers to build our garage. The neighbors put theirs up in one day. Later, a strong wind came up and blew down the neighbor’s garage but ours stood strong. Roger Batchelder was that kind of a guy.
Rusty Heurlin was introduced into the family by Fred Stanley, Anne’s husband. They were both artists, so it was through Fred Stanley, who married Anne Peabody, that he became acquainted with the Peabody clan. Later, he met Dad. We were kids, still living in Larchmont, so I was under five and the other kids were younger.
A.D. : With the exception of Dave, our youngest, who was born in the Bridgeport hospital, all our children spent their early years in Larchmont. Dan was a mischievous little imp. I recall one time when baby Cedric was taking his afternoon nap on the screened porch; Dan procured a bottle of shoe blacking and proceeded to paint Ced’s face with it. You can imagine his Aunt Dorothy’s shocked surprise when she glanced in and saw our baby son suddenly changed. On another occasion I walked into the kitchen and found Dan seated on the floor by the refrigerator busily breaking eggs on the linoleum. Lad early showed interest in mechanical things and was always quite a help in fixing things around the house.
On one summer’s day Arla and I motored to Mount Vernon to visit Mother Guion, leaving the children in care of their Aunt Anne. Ced, who was playing on the window seat in his upstairs nursery, somehow loosened the window screen and both he and it fell to the ground below, Ced landing on his head in the flower bed. Anne at once phoned us and I recall breaking all speed laws and safety regulations speeding back to Larchmont. Apparently no harm was done and the child was shortly playing as usual.
Tomorrow, I’ll begin posting a week of letters written in 1945. The family is getting excited about Dan and Paulette’s wedding in France.