Early Years – Memories of Elizabeth Westlin (Guion) Zabel (3) – 1922 – 1964

After my Uncle Dan (Daniel Beck Guion) passed away in 1997, I realized that first-hand accounts of this particular “Slice of Life” would only continue to diminish over time. I needed to record the memories of my Aunt Biss and her brothers and share them with the family. This culminated in the idea of a Blog so that I could share these memories with anyone who would be interested in the personal histories of some members of The Greatest Generation.

Over a period of several years, whenever possible, I recorded the memories of my Dad and his siblings. 

These are the memories of Elizabeth Westlin (Guion) Zabel, Grandma and Grandpa’s fourth child and only daughter.

SOL - Young Biss on Porch

Elizabeth Westlin (Guion) Zabel (Biss)

I used to climb trees and if my brothers went up three branches, I had to go up four just to show them that I was just as good as they were.

I started school in Trumbull in the house that the Sirene’s bought, which was originally a two-room school.  It was at the top of the hill just before Kascak’s Garage, on the left-hand side, the same side as the gas station.  It looked like a house even though it was a schoolhouse.  I think I spent my first, second and maybe third year there, while they were building Center School.  I loved that one, the original, because the brook was running right behind it.  There was a great big rock that went down to the brook and I’ve always loved rocks, for some reason or other.  I have a love affair with rocks.  I always looked at them as I’m coming up the Thruway, you know, all those different colored rocks … I loved that.  Anyway, there was this big rock and I’d sit out there at recess.  I guess some of the boys went skinny dipping in the brook and they’d be late coming back in.

In the first grade, I swore in school and the teacher washed my mouth out with soap.  The soap was so sweet, so I went home and washed my mouth out again.  I don’t know what kind of soap it was, but it left a very sweet taste, it didn’t while you were doing it, but afterwards it did.

Back in the first school, I think I was in second grade, I guess I was a jumping jack.  I just couldn’t sit still.  I never did like school anyway and I couldn’t sit still.  I forgot what it was she said, but the teacher said something about a jumping jack and then, “Sit still.”  I can remember that.  I don’t remember what punishment she did or what threat she gave me but I do remember her putting me up on the carpet for not being able to sit still.

Another time, when Dick was in first grade, and I was in second, he hurt himself and I had to take him home.  It was about a mile and a half, a pretty good distance.

One thing I remember about Center School was that I’d wait for the first bell to ring and then I’d cut across the lots because it was that close by the brook and I’d get to school on time.

A train went through town.  There were freight trains that would stop at Kurtz’s Store.  Then there was the Toonerville Trolley, which was a passenger train that went once in the morning to Bridgeport (Connecticut) and came back once in the evening.  Dad used to take that train to work and then come back on it.

Tomorrow, more of the Early Years with the Memories of Elizabeth Westlin (Guion) Zabel.

Judy Guion


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