Early Memories of Trumbull (17) – A Fire In The House

Trumbull House - (color) all three sections from little driveway

DICK – Dad, Ced, Dave and I went on a trip to the Gaspé Peninsula in Québec. At Lewis we crossed over and went up the south side. Dad got violently sick from rancid bacon. At Cape Bon Homie there is a high, steep precipice – about 200 feet high. At the top, we all lay down on our bellies and inched forward to the edge. Nearby, we found some rotten logs – one of us would throw one over the edge and the rest of us would watch. It was fascinating watching it fall…. Almost like slow motion.

DAVE – Where did I learned to drive? I guess I never did. I don’t remember. I don’t think it was in the back lot. I remember a game the older boys used to play. Someone would stand on the running board (if you don’t know what a running board is, look it up) and stick their bottom out. There had to be a little bit of teamwork between the driver and the person on the running board, and they would try to see how close they could come to a tree without hitting their butt on the tree.

BISS – Lad was living in the attic and he used an oil stove for heat. He lit the stove and then came downstairs to light the oil stove in the kitchen. I was sitting out in the backyard with my boyfriend. Lad noticed that the lights began to flicker, go up and down, so he dashed upstairs and when he opened the attic door, all he could see was an orange glow. He knew the place was on fire so he ran down and called the fire department. I heard the siren and said to Vinny, “Let’s go to the fire.” As we drove down the little driveway, I could see a haze of smoke between Laufer’s house (across the street) and ours, sort of drifting across, but I didn’t think too much about it. We parked in the driveway near the firehouse so no matter which way the truck went, we could follow it. It turned right onto White Plains Rd. and I said, “If that truck turns at Kurtz’s corner, then it’s my house.” So, by the time we got to Kurtz’s corner, the fire truck was going up the driveway. I said, “I knew it, I knew it.” When we got to the house, I dashed inside and got Vinny’s picture, mother’s picture and a clock that Vinny had given me. I had everything I needed, so the rest of the house could burn down. I didn’t care. Now Dad was giving a talk at the Algonquin Club so I decided I had better call him and let him know that he had better not come home tonight because he might not have a house to come home to. I called and the operator said, “He’s giving a talk right now. Is it important?” I said, “Yeah, I think so.” Dad came to the phone and said, “What did you call me for, I was in the middle of a talk. It had better be important” I said, “I just wanted to tell you that the house is on fire and you’d better stay in a hotel down there tonight.” You know, perfectly calm, as if there was nothing to it. Ethel Bushey had come and she asked me if I had gotten my clothes. “Clothes?” I asked. “No, what for?” She said, “At least you have something to wear.”  So she made me go upstairs and get my clothes. I put them on the lawn. After the fire was out, I was furious that I had to put them all back. I was furious because I didn’t give a hoot about my clothes. I had what I needed. There was a lot of water damage but the only part that burned was up in the attic itself. If it had started in the cellar, I’m sure it would’ve gone up fast because it was such an old, dry house.

I’ll be posting letters written in 1945 just before Dan’s wedding to Paulette. The whole family is getting excited about this event happening in France.

Judy Guion


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