Ced’s Coming of Age Adventure (1) – First Note Home – July, 1934

Ced Guion

Ced Guion

Grandpa, Alfred Duryee Guion, lost his wife, Arla Mary Peabody Guion, possibly due to cancer,when she was 41. She left six children. My father, Alfred Peabody (Lad) was the oldest at 19. Daniel Beck (Dan) was 17 and, Cedric Duryee (Ced) had just turned 16. Elizabeth Westlin (Biss) was 14, Richard Peabody  (Dick) was 12 and David Peabody (Dave) was only 7.

The financial burden put on the household due to Arla’s painful and protracted illness was huge. It was 1933 and the country was struggling. Lad and Dan decided that they would get jobs with the CCC (Civilian Conservation Corps) and since they would be living at their work camps during the week, Grandpa didn’t have to feed them and their wages could help support the younger children.

I have received from Ced’s wife a Scrapbook which included memorabilia and the letters from his summer hitchhiking trip. They include the letters he wrote home and some he received on his journey. 

What was going on in the mind of Cedric, I have no idea. Perhaps he thought the older boys knew their mother better than he did. Perhaps he felt a hollowness in his heart and wanted to fill it with stories from his mother’s childhood. He knew her sisters (Aunt Helen Human, Aunt Anne Stanley and Aunt Dorothy Peabody)  and brothers quite well but the rest of her family was a different story. They remained in the Mid-west where she had grown up. He decided to hitchhike by himself from Trumbull, Connecticut to North Dakota and Wisconsin to find his mother’s roots.

When possible, I’ll try to give you some background on the individuals to help flesh out the story.

CDG - July 16, 1934 - Postcard from Ced to his Father from Aunt Betty's Grand Central Shop 16, 1934

Postcard from Ced to his father from Aunt Betty's Shop in Grand Central Station - July 16, 1934

Postcard from Ced to his father from Aunt Betty’s Shop in Grand Central Station – July 16, 1934

Aunt Betty and Aunt Elsie send their love

Dear Dad                                                                                                                                                                                                    Monday

I am at Aunt Betty’s shop and will write further particulars later. In all my hurry I forgot the summer suit shirt and slacks and my brown leather pocketbook containing nine dollars. If you would send the pocketbook and clothes along with your letter of approval for identification, and a letter to Grandma explaining my plans to pick it up at Ossining, it would help. Send them to Grandma.

Love and more later.


Aunt Betty Duryee was Grandpa’s Aunt, the sister of his Mother, Ella Duryee. She ran a shop in Grand Central Station for many years. Aunt Elsie Duryee, Grandpa’s sister, worked in the shop with her aunt for some years.

Ced kept a record of all the vehicles he rode in each day (does that remind you of Grandpa?) and he didn’t list any vehicle for Sunday, July 15th, his first day. His second note to his Dad, written on Thursday, explains how his first few days went. I’ll post that note tomorrow.

Judy Guion

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