DAVE – I remember just a few scenes from my early years in Trumbull. When my mother was alive, I remember one time she had to walk all the way down to the bridge with me to get me to go off to school, and even then I didn’t want to go. That stuck with me all my life. I never liked school. It wasn’t until I got to college that I began to realize that I finally found something I could enjoy, but that’s another matter.
I’ve always said that my brothers and sister were a bit different than me. I was always quicker to enjoy a risqué joke, or worse. The rest of them fell under the influence of my mother, what I call the Victorian Peabody attitude, and my father was a bit looser. To me he was always both mother and father, and whatever I am is probably more influenced by him rather than the others.
When I was a kid, I had quite a temper. It was a real nice combination. I had a temper and I was a crybaby.
My problem, aside from Dick, my biggest problem was I was a kid who had to keep different groups of friends apart from one another. I had lots of friends when I was a kid, no real close friends, but they were diverse. When I was playing with one and one of the others showed up, I had a problem because the two of them didn’t get along.
Don and Gwen (Stanley), my cousins from Aunt Anne, where here all the time. They’d plead and beg and finally their mother would give in and they would stay for a few days. I don’t know how to explain it because the house, the Big House, has changed so much with renovations, but there used to be a screened porch on the southeast corner of the house and there was a window there that looked from the stairs out onto that porch. Don and Gwen were there and Dick and I were talking, talking, talking, talking, talking. We had been warned on two or three occasions to quiet down and go to sleep. If Dick has told this story it will be a different version than mine because what happened was the last one to speak, when the last warning came, was me. So, I was sent upstairs away from the rest of them and as I went up the stairs, I kicked the window to warn them that I was going to cause trouble for them. Anybody else and everybody else will tell you that I kicked in the window on purpose, but at any rate, I never bought that story. It was a warning, I kicked it to warn them but I broke it. The next thing I knew, my father came charging up the stairs, gave me a good spanking and sent me to bed. When I got into bed, I began to feel something sticky down around my right foot. I was already crying and upset, and when I checked it, I’d cut my foot on the glass, which made me feel still more hurt and angry, and suffering such a terrible injustice. I was probably nine or ten when that happened, maybe eight, well it had to be after my mother had died and I was seven when she died.
I never liked school. They started at Center School. That wasn’t too bad. The family name meant something in the immediate vicinity of Trumbull Center. We had a principal there whose name was Carson and I thought he treated me fairly. I don’t know if he was trying to make points with my father or what. We had a court (in school) and whenever there was some kind of infringement, the culprit was dragged before the court. For some stupid reason, Mr. Carson decided that I should be the prosecutor. I was never very good at it but I made it through.
Tomorrow, I’ll post letters written in 1941 when Dan and Ced have been in Alaska for about a year, Dick has delivered a car to them and is looking for work and Lad is getting ready to come home from Venezuela where he has been working for two and a half years.