The Beginning – Early Memories of Trumbull (8) – Smoking and Mischief

This post continues the mischief and shenanigans of the Guion boys as teenagers. I’m sure you can relate to these stories.

Cedric Duryee Guion

CED – At the Trumbull house, one of the things we used to do, one of the high points, had to do with the little trap door over the barn. We would open the door, tie a rope to the beam at the top of the barn, run it down and tie it to the big Maple beside the Summer Terrace. We used to have a wheel on it and we would go out the door and hang from the wheel. We’d slide all the way down and get off at the Maple tree. A pretty fast ride, too.

We had a swing on the upper end of the property, near the stone pillars. We’d take hold of the rope, take a run and then swing out almost over the road. Don Stanley fell off it and broke his arm. His father never really forgave us.

Alfred Peabody Guion (Lad)

LAD – I don’t remember much about any trouble I got into. Dick and Ced used to get into trouble. Mother would get a call from the police, or Constable, as they were called at the time. What their problems were I don’t remember, but they did get into trouble…. Mother had to go get them a few times.

Long before we moved to Trumbull, there was a damn on the Pequonnock River, flooding all of the property where the stone house is now, right up to the cemetery. There was a mill there, run by water, which came down through a tunnel. The tunnel was about 3 feet by 3 feet and it came out of a sheer wall. There was probably a drop of eight or ten feet to the ground. We kids used to play there quite often; we had a lot of imagination. I don’t know if Mother smoked as a youngster, but she must’ve been smoking then because I think I took two of her cigarettes. Art Christie and I went up and crawled through the tunnel and sat at the edge with our legs hanging over the edge and smoked cigarettes. Who should come along but Mom! She crawled through the tunnel and gave us quite a lecture. It was probably a few years before I started smoking, but Mom smoked with me when I first started. Then she quit, but I didn’t.

Cedric Duryee Guion

CED – We smoked corn silk and cigarettes here and there. Art Christie was the oldest, your father (Lad) was next, then Dan and me, the four of us. I like to presume, and it’s probably true, that Art Christie got the idea. I guess my Mother wasn’t home. I don’t know how we did it or how we got to it; but anyway we got money out of Mother’s pocketbook. We went to Kurtz’s – Mother smoked – most of her sisters smoked – of course in those days you didn’t think anything about it. Anyway, we went to Kurtz’s and said we were buying some cigarettes for our Mother. We bought a pack of cigarettes, I don’t remember the brand. Right about where the cemetery gate was, there was a carriage road. There was a fence at the end, and a field beyond, which was probably Harold Beech’s field. But right at the gate there had been, at one time, a mill. They had dammed up the Pequonnock River; they had a damn there, probably 4 feet high and 4 feet wide. They had a big stone wall that pretty much went all the way to the cemetery. Near that wall, there was a big, square hole, I guess that’s where they had the mill wheel, but that space was a perfect place to go smoke cigarettes. We sat at the front of that square and we started smoking. We had a whole pack of cigarettes and we wanted to enjoy them. Well, we were merrily smoking away and Dan said, “I think I’ll go home.” He got right up and left. We suspected that he was getting sick, he was. Art and Lad and I hope he wasn’t going to make a fuss. I guess we talked about it and decided it was time to stop smoking, so we did. We thought maybe we ought to go down to the brook, pick up some poles and pretend to be fishing in case Mother came looking for us. So we did. We went down to the brook and were playing along the side of the brook, and pretending we were fishing. I don’t know if we could have made that stick, but anyway, sure enough, about 15 or 20 minutes later, here comes Mother and gulp, gulp, gulp. She came up to us and said, “What are you doing?” “Ah, we’re fishing.” we answered. “Well”, she replied, “Dan tells me you were smoking.” What could we do? “You know your father and I both smoke”, she said. “I don’t like it that you boys smoke, but why don’t you just come home and smoke if you want to smoke.” Not one of us wanted to smoke again until we were 18 or 20. Not one of us. Now, if that isn’t psychology, good psychology…. without even being punished.

A bunch of us would walk over to Pinewood Lake, you know, it was all forested pine trees. We’d play in the tops of those trees. We’d go from one tree to the next.

Richard Peabody Guion (Dick)

DICK – One time, Lad, myself, Dan, Gib (Arnold Gibson) and Nellie Sperling went to Pinewood Country Club. They had planted lots of pine trees to hold the soil. We climbed a tree and moved from tree to tree. Every once in a while you’d hear a crack, thump, “ugh”, as someone fell out of his tree.

One time, me and a couple of my delinquent friends did some malicious mischief. We broke some windows. Charlie Hall ran across the stage with a stick and broke all the stage lights….Pop….Pop….Pop….Pop.

Alfred Peabody Guion (Lad)

LAD – I do remember I used to ride one of the horses we had frequently, possibly every day or two, to go up to a house on the top of the second hill beyond Middlebrook School. There was a girl living there that I really liked. In fact, Bill Hennigan and I liked this girl very much. Ruth Moy was her name. I used to go up there on the horse and invariably, my Mother would call and say, “Send Alfred home, it’s time for supper.”


Tomorrow, I’ll be posting a week of letters written in 1945. The big news at this time is the upcoming marriage of Dan and Paulette in France.

Judy Guion


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