Peabodys and Duryees – Dear Alfred – Information About Ancestors and Thanksgiving in Trumbull – December 3, 1939

This is a letter from Aunt Betty Duryee, Grandpa’s Mother’s sister. She is writing on stationary from the Gift Shop at Grand Central Station where she works. Grandpa’s sister, Elsie Duryee works there also.

ADG - Jean Guion, Aunt Betty and Grandpa outside in winter, Ja. 27, 1945 (2) Aunt Betty only

Aunt Betty Duryee in Trumbull

Dec. 3, 1939

Dear Alfred

Oh, Boy! Was I glad to get a letter from you with its gay trimmings of red, white and blue stripes all around the edge of the envelope, it made me feel all kinds of warm inside.

Before I go on I must tell you that my fountain pen does not like me one single bit and has told me in no uncertain terms that it won’t write for me.  It has been acting up for some time and even after taking it to the doctor and having it’s insides all straightened out it still will not behave.  I think perhaps it wants some of the fine wine your father gave me last Christmas and that I keep in my closet instead of the good ink I insist on filling it’s little tummy with.  However my pencil keeps reminding me that it never has to drink anything, and is always ready, even if not in the brightest form of good society, so please excuse it.

I’m glad you were interested in the article on Venezuela, I thought you might be.

David Duryee must be in some way related to the family although I have no record of that name in my papers, of the Duryee family, but that does not mean much because there are many branches on our family tree.  The name originally, way back in the 1600’s was spelled Durie.  How and where the y was added I do not know, but the proper way to spell the name is Duryee with the accent over the last (e) making the French pronunciation, Duryea.

We came from the Holland Dutch as well as the French, you see our ancestors were French Huguenots (Protestants of the 16th and 17th centuries) and were obliged, after the revocation (1685) of the Edict of Nantes, to flee to Holland seeking refuge.

You must certainly have wanted a bath to go in the water with all your clothes on, but I bet it felt good anyway.  Your description of water and more and sleeping in the wide open spaces was surely a grand experience..

On Wednesday the 29th of Nov. I went on the train to Trumbull to spend Thanksgiving which in Connecticut was observed on the 30th.  Elsie (Duryee) did not expect to go but changed her mind and arrived on the evening of the 29th.  Thanksgiving day was fine and we had a lovely day.  Your father cooked the dinner and believe me he is some good cook.  The only fly in the ointment was your absence from the family circle.  All were home, Dan, Cedric, Richard, David.  Elizabeth and baby and Raymond (Zabel) having dinner in their house.  The baby is a good-sized baby but almost too small to say much about how he looks and so forth, he is very good however.

Thanksgiving afternoon we all took a drive and went up to the woods for evergreens for Elsie to use as decorations in the shop.  I wish it were possible for you to be with us all at Christmas time, but even if we are apart, we are all thinking of you and loving you all the more.

I forgot to tell you that at the dinner table when we were all together your father read your letter and showed us the generous check you sent so that we all might have a good Christmas from you.  It was lovely of you Alfred and I, for one, appreciate it more than I can say.  I wish there was some way for me to send you something but Dan and Dad say that the duty is so much that it is better not to send anything, but I am going to see if I can’t remember you in some way even if only through the mail.

Love and lots of it, from Aunt Betty

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