Early Memories of Trumbull (15) – Young People

The following are memories that Ced, Dick and Dave have about things they did with other young people in town and how many activities revolved around the Trumbull House.

DAVE – in Trumbull, behind MacKenzie’s (Drug Store) and a bunch of other stores, there used to be an open lot we used to play football and baseball there. We had a team called the Trumbull Rangers. We would play basketball and – – I say we – – they would play basketball football and baseball. We had a regular club and I was the President. I wasn’t worth a darn as an athlete so… Besides: we used to meet in the barn at the Big House. I became the President. That ran for several years. We played other Trumbull teams, we played Bridgeport teams. For a lot of years we never got together. Now, on the first Wednesday of the month we get together.

We had one fellow, of course this was during the war, we had one fellow who usually was the pitcher and he so badly wanted to go into the Air Force. Whenever a plane flew over, he would stand there holding the ball until the plane got almost out of sight, then he resumed the game. It was kind of like commercial breaks, I guess.

Unfortunately, this same fellow – – three years before that – – was up at the Trumbull reservoir. There was a cliff up there. He and a couple of other fellows were at the bottom of this cliff. Some kids from Bridgeport – I say this because kids from Bridgeport were bad – either accidentally or on purpose threw or kicked a rock off the top of the cliff and it hit him in the head, so he had a metal plate in his head. When it came time for him to go into the service, he wanted to fly and of course, they wouldn’t let him. So he left in the Navy. I got a letter from him when I was in Okinawa and it had been written maybe two or three days before that, so I said, “My God, he’s got to be here.” As soon as I got a chance, I went down to the Harbor Master and found out that his ship had just left, so I missed it.

Dick, Ced and I, when I could get them to drag me along… There was a whole gang that used to do things together. I couldn’t understand why they didn’t want to bring me along all the time. Now, I don’t know how they put up with me at all, any time. I used to go do things with them. Sometimes we’d go for a walk in the woods, we go to Helen and Barbara Plumb’s house and play tennis. One of the fellows that was part of the gang was a guy by the name of Don Sirene. His father was an architect and he lived in the house that my older siblings went to school in. I remember one day, we were at his house, and we were having hot chocolate. I guess it was Don Sirene who was sitting right across from Dick. Somebody said something funny and Dick had a mouth full of chocolate. Whether it was Don or someone else, I don’t remember, but whoever it was across from Dick got really sprayed. Dick could you hold it in.

DICK – Lad did some wrestling for a while… He was extremely proficient… He could beat guys older and heavier than he was.

Art Mantle, Biss and Lad Guion, with Model T - 1932

I don’t know who’s car this is but I can picture driving it around with a tire tied to the back.

The people are Art Mantle, Biss and Lad Guion

Lad and Gibby had an old model T Ford. They’d tie a rope to the differential, tie a tire on 10 or 15 feet back, and ride it like a surfboard or sled.

CED – We used to play the piano. We had a player piano, we got it from Aunt Anne, she had it in new Rochelle. They didn’t use it anymore so we got it.

Player Piano - Purchase order - 1913

This purchase Order shows Grandpa buying the Player Piano in 1913, the year he married Arla and set up their own apartment in the Bronx.

DAVE – The big draw was the player piano. Each one of us, as we got to a certain age, would have people over and we’d stand around the piano, play a few songs and sing to them, singing to the music.

CED – The Young People’s Group at the church was led by Doug and Emily Chandler. Long after Chandler left, we kept on with the Chandler Chorus. The only two people who ever directed the Chandler Chorus were Doug Chandler and Laura Brewster. He was good, very good with young people. It must’ve been 17 or 18 kids. He played the piano beautifully and we’d have these meetings once a week. He played really jazzy music for us, too. He was very fond of music, good music, and started the Chandler Chorus. We had everywhere from 10-year-olds to 60-year-olds, maybe higher. Maybe not 10-year-olds, but we had young people. We sang quite frequently. We went all over the place, up to Shelton. We were good. In fact that’s where Fannie and I bet.

The Gang at the Trumbull House - 1934

The Gang at the Trumbull 
House – @ 1936

Anyway, then there was this young group, as I said, our house was the center of activity all over town and practically everyone in the town of Trumbull. Mother said every Tuesday night we could have an open house for all the young people. We played the piano, and we’d sing. We just had a ball, and then we’d have cookies and cocoa or something. That was so much fun.

Tomorrow, I’ll be posting letters from 1942. Lad and Dan are in the Army and close enough to come home on many weekends.

Judy Guion

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