Alfred Duryee Guion
BISS – I probably enjoyed the move from Larchmont because this was a nice house, with a lot of yard, lawn and stuff, lots of corners to hide in. I slept in the study for a while, upstairs, in other words, the bedroom in the apartment. The doorway went through and I think that was the original room I slept in, but I’m not sure. I know Dick and I slept in the big room that the little room came into. It was probably the first place I stayed. It had twin beds.
I think the first memory I have of the Trumbull house is being sent to the store at the corner Kurtz’s Store) and when I came out of the store, I didn’t know how to get back home. There was a street that went straight, which wasn’t the right street. I started down there but I knew that was wrong so I turned around and came back. I could be wrong but my impression was that Daniels Farm Road was a dirt road, but I’m not sure. I know that there were no streetlights or anything. Anyway, I found my way home and I remember this steep hill I had to climb all the time. That was true until I got quite older. That steep hill was the driveway … or you could use the front steps which had steps and landings, steps and landings, steps and landings. The front door was used quite a bit. The salesmen would come to that door. So any time anyone was selling anything, they came up the front stairs.
We were all close in age. Between your father (Lad) and Dick, there was one and a half years between each one of us. Then there was five years between Dick and Dave. Lad was in April, Dan was in October, Ced was in June, I was in January and Dick was in August. So there was just about a year and a half between us.
DAVE – Somewhere along the line, have any of my siblings mentioned that there was about a year and a half between each one of them and five years between Dick and I? I just wanted to make sure.
A.D. – Meanwhile, I was having serious commuting troubles. Each winter the trains were frequently late, which, together with the antagonistic attitude of my immediate boss at the office, made my frequent late arrivals at work increasingly disagreeable incidents. Also the seven mile auto ride to and from Trumbull in all kinds of weather, the two and a half to three hour train ride to Grand Central followed by a crowded subway ride to the Battery, and this twice a day, not only was physically exhausting but also necessitated my leaving home early and arriving home late. There seemed only one sensible alternative – to seek employment in Bridgeport. A letter campaign from New York to Bridgeport manufacturers proving unfruitful after months of vain effort, in desperation I resolved on drastic measures. With five little ones to feed and clothe I simply had to get a job, so burning all bridges behind me, I quit my New York job cold to wage an all-out on-the-job search to find something in Bridgeport. To make this step was one of the most difficult decisions of my life, but within two weeks I became Assistant Advertising Manager of the Bridgeport Brass Company, and a few months later, Advertising Manager, which job I held until I left to start an advertising agency of my own.
DAVE – You have to realize that back in those days, only the lowest of the low would swear or cuss or use bad words of any sort, so what would have been shocking in those days, is absolutely nothing today. My father was Advertising Manager of the Brass Company and Bridgeport Brass Company had two plants. The one that was on East Main Street had a great big sign on top that said Bridgeport Brass Company. I don’t know how it fell under Dad’s responsibility, but at any rate, he got a frantic call one night, “You’ve got to come down to the plant. We’ve got a big problem. People are calling in – – – blah blah blah.” It seems that the B and the R in the Brass had failed so what they had was a big sign that said Bridgeport Ass Company. This was an incredible thing. Dad managed to square it away by making a few phone calls to the electricians and they quickly found the problem and fixed it.
I will continue with more memories about their early years in Trumbull from the children in three weeks.
Tomorrow I’ll be posting another excerpt from a letter written by John Jackson Lewis to friends and family back in the states. He writes more about his trip to San Jose to visit his brother.
On Sunday, I will post more about Lad and Marian’s early married life during World War II.
I loved Dave’s telling of the sign episode!
Liz – Of all of the children, Dave was least affected by the more restrained personalities of the Peabodys. He was only seven when his mother, Arla, passed away. He very much enjoyed telling me that story.