Trumbull – Dear Lad and Dan (2) – News From Trumbull – January 19, 1939



Alfred Peabody Guion in Venezuela in 1939

Page 2       1/19/1939

By the time you will have received this letter, what I am about to write in this paragraph will be old stuff.  The other day Helen Plumb, (sister of Barbara Plumb) who for weeks has been bothered with a persistent cough which she has been unable to discard, informed me she had decided to take a 17-day cruise to the West Indies on a Swedish Line boat which also stopped at La Guayra.  In reading over the travel literature her father became interested and in consequence, they have both made reservations and will sail on the 27th.  Helen has written Lad at my suggestion, not only because there is more likelihood that of the two, he will be more apt to be in Caracas when the boat stops there, but he will also be in a better position to notify Dan than would a letter sent to Dan direct, this on the slight chance that it might just transpire that on that particular day Dan might have to be in Caracas on company business.  We all know how slight the chance is, but stranger things than that HAVE happened.  Helen spoke of trying to take down to you, Dan, some of the things you wrote Lad you would like to have him bring down for you, which letter arrived after he had sailed.

There has just been published a new book called “Venezuela” by Erna Ferguson which is an account of her travels through your adopted country.  I got a copy of it from the Library and have just started to read it.  Aunt Helen glanced over it and says it is nothing to rave about and apparently is more of a surface account of the ways and not as one would write, who had actually lived intimately with the natives.

Things here at home are pursuing the even tenor of their ways, just as you have known them, Trumbull affairs are also proceeding about as usual, business at the office is still creeping along, not much faster than a walk, and in general, I believe you would find little in the way of change to cause comment.  Gamble disappeared the other day without leaving a trace.  The Ives (neighbors across the street)  naturally feel very bad about it.  No evidence of his having been killed by a car, the dogcatcher knows nothing about it, notices in the paper have brought no answer, and as the dog is not been in the habit of running away and it being only a mutt and has no value in the professional canine world, it is somewhat of a mystery as to just what happened to him.

Have not seen Rusty since the day following Lad’s sailing when I took him down to Bridgeport with me the following morning and left him where he could get a bus for Westport to see his dentist.  Monday of this week I got a letter from Brita asking if I know where he was as they have heard nothing from him for several weeks and were worried as to how he was and whether his abscessed tooth had developed into something serious.  I, of course, could tell them nothing definite.

Dan, in the picture (snapshot) when you are shown standing back of the transit with one peon on your right holding the graduated rod or whatever you call it with a target on it and another fellow with a pajama top at your left, is either of these your friend Jesus?  I didn’t notice your wristwatch.  Is it still in commission?

W E A F has jst gonged 11 P. M., so good night until the next time.


Tomorrow, a letter from Grandpa to Lad and one from Dan to Grandpa, This, so I can devote, Thursday and Friday to a 20-page letter from Lad describing, in detail, from memory, his day to day activities from January 20th to January 30th.

Judy Guion


Trumbull – Dear Lad and Dan (1) – Lots of News From Venezuela – January 19, 1939

                               Town of Trumbull, Connecticut Seal








January 19, 1939

Dear Lad and Dan:

I am full of news tonight — incoming not outgoing news for within the last few hours I have received long letters from both of you — yours, Lad, the long letter you wrote on January 5th from the hotel at Caracas giving a minute, graphic and very complete description of hotel life in Caracas (which letter Celia has been good enough to copy in its entirety and left with us; and yours, Dan, written a long time ago in faint lead pencil on thin paper, a dickens of a job to read it is, too, telling about your experiences when you are on your own without any camp base to depend upon for food.  Day before yesterday I also got your letter sent in Red’s envelope.

Also(Aunt) Helen (Human, wife of Uncle Ted, with whom the boys are employed) gave me yesterday two photos of Dan in his native glory which Ted very kindly sent to me.  Dan, with his goatee, looks like one of Sabatini’s swashbuckling heroes or perhaps a rake in the days of the Three Musketeers.

Lad, I hope the 20 bucks which I sent to you by airmail arrived in time to keep you from starving to death and was in cashable form that entailed no excessive delay in converting into coin of the realm.  I hope you won’t have to wire for any more funds because that last straw would have caused me considerable spinal trouble had I been a camel.  With not a cent yet from the Company on Dan’s account, with charge accounts in Meig’s and Read’s calling for attention, with the money being saved for interest on mortgage and my own life insurance, plus loans to Lad which I expected to be recouped by funds due Dan, I now have exactly 59 cents in the bank, after, Thank God, paying Lad’s insurance premium.  However, Aunt Helen tells me the N. Y. office has assured her that by the end of the month the key log in the jam will have been set in motion and there will be no more delay in payments thereafter.  I HOPE it’s true.

Luckily, Dan, while I had made all arrangements to invest amounts agreed upon in selected securities, I had made no commitments being too old a hand to overlook the fact that a bird in hand is worth two in the bush.  So, we’re all set to go as soon the dry season is over.

For the last several days your native Trumbull has been blanketed with a white blanket of snow.  Dave has been quite thrilled with the opportunity it has given him to try out his new Flexible Flyer, and Dick has been out with his skis.  Yesterday was cold and cloudy.  There have been a few snow flurries today but nothing to write to South America about.


Tomorrow I will post the conclusion to this letter. I will be posting more letters from January, 1939 for the rest of the week.

Judy Guion

Memories of Arla Mary (Peabody) Guion (5) – 1892 – 1933


My grandfather, Alfred Duryee Guion, married my grandmother, Arla Mary Peabody, on March 27, 1913. After a honeymoon trip to Bermuda they returned to New York and spent the first few days fixing up an apartment they had rented in the Bronx. My grandfather continues the story in his autobiography. I’ve also added some memories from the older children.

Arla Mary (Peabody) Guion and Daniel Beck Guion about 1916

ADG – Both Arla and my mother were very fond of each other, and both being easy to live with, we decided it was better for the new baby to get out of the big city so we moved back with my mother on Dell Avenue. Little Daniel soon joined the family and for several years things ran along uneventfully.

October 31, 1915

My dear folks,

Many hearty congratulations to you upon the arrival of another little son. I hope you are doing nicely Arla and will soon be up and around. Have been dreadfully negligent and corresponding, but things have been so upset. We moved to Brooklyn on Friday, owing to the work I am in at Vitagraph. Have been very successful so far, and hope to be able to work in stock. Hoping to be able to see you soon. With best love to all,

As ever,


Elsa Hetzel


LAD – I was born in New York City in 1914 that I lived in Yonkers for short time. When I was about one, we moved to 91 Dell Avenue in Mount Vernon, New York. My mother, Arla, was 19 years old when I was born and she was the oldest Peabody girl. Burton was ahead of her. Then there was Arla, Helen, Kemper, Anne, Dorothy and Lawrence. There were seven of them. I don’t remember much about my Dad in Mount Vernon or Larchmont. He was always busy working.

CED – In about 1918 or 1919, Dad bought a new Franklin touring car. My mother used to drive Dad down to the station and he’d go into New York City where he worked. Then she’d come back home. She would go back and get him later. One day, she backed up to turn around after the train had pulled out and ran up on a hydrant. The wheels of the Franklin were about 20 or 21 inches. She got out of the car and there it sat up on the hydrant, all out of shape. She stood there and looked at it, she said everything was skewed, the doors, the frame… And that was a wooden frame of course. She had to get help to get it off there. We moved up to Trumbull in that car. I guess Dad decided to sell it shortly after we moved to Trumbull.

ADG – After I had been with the Celluloid Company for about five years my boss was offered and accepted a job with a large die manufacturer. I was offered the position of Assistant Advertising Manager of the National Aneline and Chemical Company, which I accepted. The Advertising Manager was a sneering, sarcastic individual who evidently resented my being assigned as his assistant, which created the sort of atmosphere in which I found it difficult to do my best creative work. However, the salary was generous and my growing family made it unwise for me to take too independent an attitude.

It seemed about time also for my increasing brood to have a home of their own. We finally decided on a lot in Larchmont Gardens, and with the money I had saved, I bought one of the first “redi-cut” homes on the market and with the help of my father-in-law, who was Construction Superintendent on the New York Central, aided by one of his workmen on this free days, the house was erected. The garage, to hold the Franklin car, I built myself with the aid of friends and neighbors on weekends and holidays, in a sort of old-time building-bee fashion.

LAD – When I was five, Dad and Mom were building a house in Larchmont. They had a contractor build it and it was on Landsdown Drive in Larchmont Gardens. I accompanied them, well, maybe three or four times when they went out to look at it. Mom told the carpenters what she wanted changed. She was quite conscientious about what she wanted. It took four days for the workers to build our garage. The neighbors put theirs up in one day. Later, a strong wind came up and blew down the neighbor’s garage but ours stood strong.

ADG – With the exception of Dave, who was born in Bridgeport Hospital, all our children spent their early years in Larchmont. Dan was a mischievous little him. I recall one time when baby Cedric was taking his afternoon nap on the screened porch; Dan procured a bottle of shoe blacking and proceeded to paint Ced’s face with it. You can imagine his Aunt Dorothy’s shock and surprise when she glanced in and saw our baby son with a black face. On one occasion I walked into the kitchen and found Dan sitting on the floor by the refrigerator busily breaking eggs on the linoleum. Lad early showed interest in mechanical things and was always quite a help in fixing things around the house.

On one summer’s day Arla and I motored to Mount Vernon to visit mother Guion, leaving the children in care of their Aunt Anne.  Ced, who was playing on the window seat in his upstairs nursery, somehow loosened the window screen and both he and it fell to the ground below, Ced landing on his head in the flower bed. Anne at once phoned us and I recall breaking all speed laws and safety regulations speeding back to Larchmont. Apparently no harm resulted and in a short time the youngster was playing as usual.

CED – I don’t remember much about the Larchmont house on Landsdown Drive. I do remember that milk was delivered by a milkman with a horse and buggy. Landsdown Drive was on a hill and at the bottom was a creek. One day the horse and wagon went down the hill faster than usual – they went bouncing down the hill. I don’t remember if the horse went in the brook or not. I was pretty young at the time, about four maybe.

BISS – The only memory I have of Larchmont is a day picture of the living room. It had a fireplace and it seems to me a piano or something, but I’m not sure. My impression is of hardwood floors but I can’t remember what the furniture looked like. I was four when we left there.

LAD – When I started school in Larchmont, either kindergarten or first grade, I went to school in a horse-drawn sleigh in the winter. I just remember being awfully cold. In the warmer months, Mother drove me to school. Dan probably started school there because he was only a year and a half behind me.

Next week I’ll be posting letters written in 1939. Both Lad and Dan are in Venezuela working for INTERAMERICA, INC. with their Uncle Ted Human, and Grandpa writes to let them know what is going on in Trumbull.

Judy Guion

Memories of Arla Mary (Peabody) Guion (4) – 1892 – 1933


This letter was received by my Grandfather from his friend, Alex Snith, after the birth of Lad, the first of six children born to Alfred Duryee Guion and Arla Mary (Peabody) Guion. It’s a letter full of advice from a father to a new father, advice that I believe Grandpa took to heart.

Bearer Street

Waltham, Mass.

April 22, 1914

Dear Alfred,

This is the third time I have started a letter to you since the little pink notice arrived. It is going this time if I stay up all night to write it.

Congratulations don’t quite express it. Having been through it twice myself and expecting another little one any time now, I can appreciate something of how you feel. I wish you, Arla and Alfred the Great long life and lots of happiness. May he be the chap his father and mother hope he will be – and then some.

Arla Mary Peabody Guion

I hope Arla has recovered fully by this time and the happy family is rapidly getting acquainted on the new basis. For there will be a readjustment all along the line you’ll find.

Now I’m just going to ramble along without much rhyme and less reason. I’m not going to try to impose any mature reflections on you (if I am capable of such) but just think things out on paper until I get tired of writing. You know you’ll read this in about 1/10 the time it takes me to jot it down, provided it is legible. First off the reason I haven’t written sooner is that I wanted plenty of time and nothing else on my mind when I got to. Second I have been so busy that I have not had until now such an opportunity. And third I am becoming the ____ of writer’s cramp. I haven’t done any writing since Friday so my arm isn’t bothering me tonight. One of the things I think of when I hear of a little fellow coming into the world is, what has the world in store for him? And, conversely, what will he give to the world? It is a mighty good thing for civilization or I might say, mankind, that childbirth is seldom the result of much deliberation. If it wise I am convinced that there would be lots fewer children, but what does it mean? Well, better fellows then I have attempted to answer that question. I don’t know as I can. But I’m going to let you in on some of the things that have passed through my head more than once in connection with it. You have entrusted to your care one of the most difficult problems you’ll ever run up against. I don’t mean this in a warning or foreboding manner at all. It is just a matter of fact. Difficult problems make life interesting. But one of the things that is most of forcefully born in upon me is, there is a real necessity for my living. Before Florence had these little ones the loss of my life would not have been nearly so serious a matter to her as it is now. She could have gotten along very well without them. But she has them now and I am responsible for them. I’ve got to live and work and be a decent fellow for them as well as for her and myself now. I can’t be as foolhardy as I’d like to be sometimes. I can’t be as irresponsible. I can’t be a marker for I’ve got to hand on a clear inheritance to them. I looked up to by that. That brings me up with a jolt sometimes. I’ve got to deserve being looked up to. When they get to a place where their judgment will be passed upon me, I don’t feel I can afford to be a disappointment to them. I want them to feel that they must pass on to their children a better and nobler life than I passed along to them, but not because mine is ignoble. Now maybe you won’t get my slant on this. I don’t know as I’ve got it myself, but I know I ought to be trustworthy and true for my wife and myself and society generally. But somehow these youngsters are an additional bracer and steadier. Maybe you’ll feel as I do about it later and understand what I’m driving at.

Then you find it will make a tremendous difference to Arla. You have borne it until now. Well you’re it now, old man, in a different way. You are the father of her son. That will make a difference you’ll find. I’ve heard a lot about the baby cutting the old man out. In a sense he does. But not in a sense that counts. You’ll see how she worries about the little chap. She wants to tell you all about him. She’ll note everything he does and you’ll find yourself an audience every evening instead of being the disclaimer yourself. You may feel like a square peg in a round hole for some time but finally the edges will get rounded off and you’ll find you fit. In fact you’ll find you always fits it.

Another thing I think of often, is how am I going to fit with these children of mine as they come along? I guess that depends almost entirely on me. Florence says it does. I found she knows something about it to. I want to respect them as well as want them to respect me. And out of my own bitter experience I want to stick by them through thick and thin. Whether I can respect them or not I never want one of my boys to feel that the old man feels he is no longer responsible for them. I never want to say no matter what the provocation may be “You are no longer a son of mine.” because I feel that is a lie. They will always be my boys, no matter how hard I try to persuade myself to the contrary. One of the things I find I must do is to curb my temper. And also I must try to realize how much I can dominate them physically and mentally for the formation part of their lives. I know that I can contribute largely to whether or not they become strong men, physically and morally, and I realize it with considerable gravity. I know I’ve made mistakes already. But I’m trying not to make the same ones twice.

Well, in a certain sense that’s one phase of it. The other is the one you’ll enjoy more. It won’t be long before the youngster and you will begin to form an acquaintance. You’ll find that next to Arla, you are the most important thing in this little fellow’s life. He will be laying for you when you come home. If you could hear the hubbub my arrival at night causes, you can understand what I mean when I say it warms you up inside no matter how tired you are. I can’t get in the house and get my things off before they are swarming over me. And until they get quite sleepy there is no use in my trying to do anything that doesn’t include them. I have tried it sometimes for one reason or another. They don’t understand it. And they want to know, at least the older boy does, when it will be Saturday and Sunday, for daddy will be home. I’d like to go on but Florence said, “I told Arla you’d tell them about the house” i.e. “if you are rambling come down to earth before it’s too late”.

He goes on for another 6 pages with a description of their new house, the lot and a drawing of the floor plan – including a room for Al, Arla and Lad – and where the house sits on the lot and ends with:

Best regards to you and Arla and Alfred the second.

Hope to see you soon.

Your friend,

Alex R. Smith, Jr.

Tomorrow, another Memories of Arla Mary (Peabody) Guion.

On Monday I’ll begin posting a week of letters written in 1939. Lad has arrived in Venezuela to join his younger brother, Dan, and Grandpa is writing letters to remind them of home.

Judy Guion

Army Life – Dear Dad – A Birthday and an Anniversary – November 4, 1944


 In Camp.

Nov. 4, 1944

Dear Dad: –

Since I don’t expect I’ll be able to get home for Marian’s birthday, I sent, under separate cover, a small bottle of Marian’s favorite perfume. I would like you to wrap it for me and give it to her on the great day (Nov. 11) or if a celebration is held, on that day.

Nov. 14 will be our 1st anniversary, and again, circumstances still being the same, I’d like you to get her an appropriate token of my appreciation for her. A bouquet of flowers or something – you probably have a good idea for this –, and any expense should be added to the sum already owed you by us. Marian will repay you as fast as possible beginning after her arrival.

She wants to get some sort of work and if you can have a talk with her maybe you might be able to give her some idea of what she should do. I told her to consult you on any problems which may arise so please try to get her to do so if it looks like she may be bashful or retentive.

I guess I didn’t tell you, and she may be there now, but she left here Friday morning with the Buick and trailer. She should be in Trumbull sometime before late Monday night. Her route followed US 11 to west of Washington DC where she turned east on US 211 and then from Washington DC to New York – US 1. From G. Washington Br. to Henry Hudson; Cross County; Hutchinson River, and Merritt Parkway. I hope she arrives with no difficulties.

I’m going to write her a letter which will give you all the news.

My regards to everyone.




APG - V-mail giving new address - writing to Marian only - Nov. 1944

In using the cable address just put my name and the code address. That’s all. As you have probably realized, I’m writing to Marian only and relying on her to keep you all at home, posted. I hope she is doing a good job. I also hope she is not in the way there or is not unhappier then she need be. I’ve not gotten any letters yet due to moving too fast. Laddie

Tomorrow, more Memories of Arla Mary (Peabody) Guion. Next week I will be posting letters written in 1939, when both Lad and Dan are away from home and working in Venezuela.

Judy Guion

Army Life – A Telegram and Letter From Lad and Marian – November 1, 1944


APG - telegram asking for $35 traveling money for Marian -Oct., 1944






MIG - letter to Grandpa - Thanks for the $35., Nov., 1944


Jackson   11/1

Dear Dad,

What a peach you are to send the $35.00 so speedily, without any question. We thought that we could wait here until our first government check arrived but Uncle Sam began rushing things too much. Today (Nov. 1st) is the dead-line as far as Uncle Sam is concerned. All the wives are supposed to have gone home, and no more private cars on the Post. But Lad took the car today, anyway. He’s going to park it outside the gate, so that I can pick it up if he gets restricted. He called me this noon to say that he thought he would be able to get out tonight.

Just to be on the safe side however, we packed the trailer last night, so that it will only take me a few minutes to put the last minute things into the car and be on my way home.

Incidentally, Dad, I’m really looking forward to living there at Trumbull. It seems to me to be the best place of all, other than actually being with Lad, and think of the extra nice company I’ll have. Your comments and P.S.’s in your recent letters have made me feel that I’m really coming home, so that this doggone separation has one bright side, anyway.

I’m leaving here tomorrow or Friday, at the very latest. When Lad comes home tonight, he’ll know a little more about their coming restriction, I think, so that he’ll have an idea whether or not he will be able to get home tomorrow night. If he can, I’ll stay until Friday, but I’m pretty certain I’ll leave then. So if everything goes according to schedule, I should be home sometime Sunday, probably late in the evening.

APG - letter to Grandpa - Nov., 1944

Dad: –

Marian has told you just about everything it is possible to tell, so far. I don’t know anything further about tomorrow night than I knew last night. It is quite disconcerting to say the least to have to make plans when everything is so unsettled, but I can’t get anything definite concerning just what we are going to do. That, I guess, will have to wait until it happens.

Marian is a wonderful girl, Dad, so please take care of her for me. My happiness, and practically my life, is wrapped up in her. I know you will, tho’, even without my asking. Incidentally, her birthday (29th) is Nov. 11.

I get up at 0400 and packing the trailer last night kept me up until almost 2300 last night, so I’m so sleepy I can hardly keep my eyes open, so I’m “gonna quit” here, and as they say in Mississippi – hurry back and see us.


From the looks of things it might be later than Sunday before I arrive. Lad wants me to stay as long as possible – and I want to, too. However, it would make it easier for him, I think, if he knew that I had arrived home safely, so I just don’t know. The best I can do, I guess, is to say, “Look for me when you see me.” It won’t be very long before I’m there – Love from Marian and Lad

Tomorrow I’ll post a letter from Lad, letting Grandpa know a little more. 

On Saturday and Sunday, more Memories of Arla Mary (Peabody) Guion .

Next week, I’ll be posting letters written in 1939. Lad has been in Venezuela for over month and Dan has been there for about three months. Grandpa holds down the fort in Trumbull.

Judy Guion



Trumbull – Dear Baby Snooks (3) – More News From Dave and a Letter From Marian – October 29, 1944

His second letter, however, has a bit of right interesting news that puts him right up in your class. He writes: “I made it. They call me Corporal now. I took a test the day before yesterday. It wasn’t very hard but I had my doubts as to whether I had passed. But today the lieutenant told us all we had passed. Of course, I’ve already got my stripes on. You can tell my brothers that I’m on my way up the ladder and that I’ll keep plugging till I catch up to them and in time I’ll pass them all – – oh yeah? There’s still nothing definite as to when we will pull out of Crowder, but rumors are plentiful. I’ll let you know when – – – –“.

Congratulations, young son. Better tell the man to throw in a strap with that wrist watch you were going to get for your birthday gift from the Pater. By the way I have not received a bill yet for the purchase nor even notification of the amount. Better let me know pronto so I can send you a check before you leave Crowder. Where do you want your Christmas box sent and what do you want in it? (Flora papers please copy)


             Marian (Irwin) Guion (Mrs. Lad)

And speaking of Flora, Marian the dependable has again chalked up another run to her score. In a letter written on the 26th she says: “The Battalion has been issued new clothes and they have been given until Nov. 1 to dispose of their cars, but it seems to me we went through this routine once before at Pomona and look how long it took us to get out of there! Nevertheless we are arranging and packing as much as possible so that I can leave here at a moment’s notice. We haven’t the slightest idea which P.O.E. the fellows will be sent to, but in case it is New York or its vicinity, I’d like to be around there as quickly as I can get there in case Lad has a chance to get away for even a few hours.”

Your check instructions have been noted, Marian, and will be duly observed. Meanwhile if you find yourself in need of funds, you know what to do.

       Jean (Mortensen) Guion (Mrs. Richard) 

Between Jean not hearing from Dick when expected and I anxiously awaiting a letter from Dan, we both of us weep on the other fellow’s shoulder. However she did get a couple of letters from Brazil this week which leaves me still “expecting”.

Aunt Betty (Lizzie) Duryee

Aunt Betty was “made a voter” the other day which means another vote for Dewey, and Baldwin. Zeke and Elizabeth however are voting for Mc Levy for Gov. I don’t think Jean has qualified yet so at least she won’t vote for Roosevelt. You all know where I stand. Well, it won’t be long now. Here’s hoping – – I’ve been doing that for twelve years.

While final reports on the destruction of the Jap fleet are not in, it certainly looks good in the Philippine sector. Now if Dan will hurry up with those invasion maps so General Ike can get his final push started maybe it won’t be too bad if Lad and Dave do have to go across the big drink.

In spite of rock and tempest’s roar,

In spite of false lights on the shore

Sail on, nor fear to breast the sea

Our hearts, our hopes are all with thee

Our hearts, our hopes, our prayers, our tears,

Are all with thee, are all with thee.


Tomorrow, and Friday, news from Lad and Marian. 

Judy Guion