The Beginning (46) – Childhood Memories of Trumbull – Bissie and High School

These are the memories of my Father and his siblings, recorded over several years. When my Uncle Dan passed away, I realized that I had better get started recording the memories of Dan’s siblings before they were also gone. I was able to have two recording sessions with my Father, Lad in California; two with Uncle Ced in New Hampshire, a three-day cruise in our boat with Aunt Biss; one session with Uncle Dave in Stratford, CT and one hand-written session (I forgot my tape recorder going up to the Island in New Hampshire, where Uncle Dick lived) with Uncle Dick. I transcribed them once exactly as they were spoken, again removing the ums, ahs, half sentences started over, etc. I then produced a final copy that was easier to read, but it still needs work getting the chronological order correct. Memories are not recorded with a date stamp. I created 75 binders for family members which include all three translations, pages and pages of photos and memorabilia and the actual recording. Now family members can actually heat their ancestors speaking. It was my first project with all the material my Father saved for me and a true Labor of Love. I hope you enjoy these memories of A Slice of Life at a different time and place. 

Bissie and Mack

BISS – I started at Central High School in 1932, so it was the day after we got out of school that Mother died (June 29, 1933), freshman year.

Mother died when I was 14, and I hated school.  I’d hide in the closet every morning when Dad would make the rounds to make sure everybody was up and had gone to school.  I would hide in the closet and then after he had passed through, then I would come out.  I would have the whole day to myself.  I think I missed more school than I made.  Now Dad made a mistake because I needed a permission slip to go back to school.  He was supposed to tell why I stayed home.  He said it was none of their business.  “You write it and I’ll sign it”.  So I would write, “I stayed home with my father’s permission.”  And then he would sign his name.  So I just copied his name over and over until I got it down pat.  Then I would just write the thing and sign his name.  I would go to school only when I felt like going to school.  How I got through, I’ll never know.

I went to Central High School in Bridgeport my freshman year.  That was great.  I loved that school because they treated you like an adult, you were a grown-up, and you felt like you were really something.  Then the following year, they transferred us to Bassick High School, because they were going to make that into a Senior High and it was a Junior High at the time.  I hated that school intensely, because they still had monitors in the hall, you had to walk in a line and you couldn’t talk.  I mean, after being an adult in high school, I got this?

In my sophomore year, we were transferred to Bassick High School and I didn’t want to go because it was a new school and I didn’t like school anyway.  I liked Central and I wanted to go back there.  So, the first day of school, Dad wanted to know and I said, “No, I don’t have to go to school today because were starting a new school.”  He said, “You are going to school.”  So he took me.  He took Ced and I, he took us to school.  I told him my clothes weren’t ready and any other kind of excuse but he was adamant that we were going to school.  So he let us off in front of Central, maybe I told him I had to go to Central to get transferred, anyway, he let us out in front of Central and we walked through the hall and out the other side, and walked home.  We were walking up the railroad tracks and we met some friends on Reservoir Avenue who told us that Ruth Moy had just died.  So anyway, we were walking up the tracks and the train came along.  The engineer stopped and said, “Would you like a ride?”  We said, “Sure” and we climbed up into the cab and he let us off at Church Hill Road.  Boy. That was exciting for me.  I told everybody about it.

We never had an allowance, and I can remember, in high school, we would bring sandwiches to school.  All the other kids, with their allowances, would get ice cream and stuff.  My mouth would be watering as I wished that I could get one of those ice cream sandwiches.  Once in a while, Barbie Plumb would treat me and boy that was great.  That ice cream sandwich – when they put them in the freezer now, the cracker gets all soft.  I don’t like them that way.  I like the fresh ones with the crisp cookie and then the ice cream.

Tomorrow, more Childhood Memories of Trumbull.

Judy Guion

2 thoughts on “The Beginning (46) – Childhood Memories of Trumbull – Bissie and High School

  1. Valerie says:

    It must have been so hard for your grandfather and his young family when their mother died. One senses Biss’s pain in those first two sentences.

    • Judy Guion says:

      Valerie – All the children suffered along with Grandpa but Biss was hit especially hard.
      His mother’s death was the impetus for Ced to make his “Coming of Age Adventure”, travelling to North Dakota and Wisconsin, hitchhiking alone at the age of 17. He wanted to see where she grew up and to meet members of her family.
      Lad and Dan went to work in the Conservation Corps Camps to send money home to support the younger children.
      That one event had quite a bit of influence in the type of people they grew up to be – family always came first and they all raised a total of 21 grandchildren, all of them, fine, upstanding members of their community. I am very proud to be a member of this family, now over 150 strong.

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