The Beginning (22) – Reminiscences of Alfred D Guion (1884 – 1964) – Childhood Memories of Larchmont Gardens

The following memories are quotes from “Reminiscences of Alfred D.  Guion, written in 1960 while he was on a four-months “around the world” freighter trip. 

At this point I will begin adding the memories of the children as they were growing up.

Lad and Dan

A.D. – We had chosen our lot in Larchmont primarily to be “out in the country”, but the place was growing rapidly and became a thickly settled community.  It was getting difficult to find sleeping accommodations for frequent guests, five children and their parents.  Then, too, the boys were active little tykes, and like children the world over, frequently got into trouble, like rooting up vegetables in the neighbor’s garden, running around his house carrying a raw carrot leaving a yellow streak on his new paint.  If my neighbor had boiled over and said some harsh things I would have felt better, but he took it to good-naturedly so that I felt doubly worse.  We had, from time to time, offers from those interested in buying the house for considerably more than it had cost us, and all these were contributory causes for looking for a larger place further out in the country.

LAD – I think he had a garden in the backyard with green beans growing.  Dan and I each took 2 or 3 green beans and walked around and around his house, with the beans rubbing on the house, wearing them down until they got short.  Then we would throw them away and get some more beans.  So Roger (Bachelder) was kind of upset about that.

When we moved in, there were two houses on Lansdowne Drive, ours and another one at the top of the hill.  When we left in 1922, there were probably eight or ten houses.

I don’t know why but my father started calling me Lad and gradually it got to be my nickname.

A.D. – Before anything definite materialized along these lines, however, an epidemic of chickenpox turned the Guion ménage into an amateur hospital, and to make it even harder for head nurse Arla, Dad also got the bug. While it seems a laughing matter to relate, don’t let anyone tell you it is any fun for an adult to have chickenpox.

Lad

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 may have started school there; he was only a year and half behind me.

Once in a while, we had to walk home from school.  I went across the street from the school and there was a fire hydrant on the corner.  Just for the fun of it, I jumped over the hydrant.  Well, for some reason or other, there was a short in the power somewhere and I got an awful shock.  I’ve never forgotten it and I’m always cautious when I come to a hydrant.

CED

CED – I don’t remember much about the Larchmont house on Lansdowne Drive.  I do remember the milk was delivered by milkman with a horse and buggy. Lansdowne 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 (Elizabeth)

BISS – The only memory I have of Larchmont is a vague 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.

Tomorrow I’ll continue this with the story of how the Guion family ended up in Trumbull, Connecticut.

I will finish out the week with more stories of their early years in Trumbull.

Judy Guion

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The Beginning – Reminiscences of Alfred D Guion (1884 – 1964) – Larchmont Gardens

The following memories are quotes from “Reminiscences of Alfred D.  Guion, written in 1960 while he was on a four-months “around the world” freighter trip. 

At this point I will begin adding the memories of the children as they were growing up.

 

Alfred Duryee with Daniel in his lap, Arla (Peabody) with Lad in her lap

A.D. – After I had been with the Celluloid Company for about 5 years, my boss was a offered and accepted a job with a large die manufacturer recently grown to huge proportions because the dies, which up to the opening of hostilities, had been a German monopoly.  Mr. Abbott, shortly afterwards, offered me the job of Assistant Advertising Manager of the National Aneline & Chemical Company, which I accepted.  My senior, the Advertising Manager, was a sneering, sarcastic individual who evidently resented my being assigned as his assistant, which did not make for very harmonious relations between us and 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 and attitude.

The house on Landsowne Dr. in Larchmont Gardens, Larchmont, New York

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 1 of the firstt “Redi-cut” homes on the market and with the help of my father-in-law, who was Construction Superintendent on the N. Y.  Central, aided by one of his workmen on his 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 sort of an old-time building bee fashion.  My two nearest neighbors, the Burnhams and Batchelders, became lifelong friends.  My brother-in-law, Fred Stanley, on one of these weekend parties, brought along a fellow artist, Rusty Heurlin, who at once won all hearts by his personality and was responsible for many happy times.  He is one of Alaska’s leading artists of Arctic life.  The children all loved him and he was always a welcome guest and cherished friend.

Lad – When I was five, Dad and Mom were building a house in Larchmont.  They had a contractor build it and it was on Lansdowne 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 conscious 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.  Roger Batchelder was that kind of a guy.

Rusty Heurlin was introduced into the family by Fred Stanley, (Aunt) Anne’s husband.  They were both artists, so it was through Fred Stanley, who married Anne Peabody, that he became acquainted with the Peabody clan.  Later, he met Dad.  We were kids, still living in Larchmont, so I was under five and the other kids were younger.

Cedric Duryee Guion

A.D. – With the exception of Dave, our youngest, who was born in Bridgeport Hospital, all our children spent their early years in Larchmont.  Dan was a mischievous little imp.  I recall one time when baby Cedric was taking his afternoon nap on the screened porch; Dan procured a bottle of shellacking and proceeded to paint Ced’s face with it.  You can imagine his Aunt Dorothy’s shocking surprise when she glanced in and saw our baby son suddenly changed into a Negro.  On another occasion, I walked into the kitchen and found Dan seated on the floor by the refrigerator busily breaking eggs on the linoleum.  Lad, early, showed an 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.

Tomorrow I will continue the story of the Guion children in Larchmont Gardens.

Judy Guion

The Beginning (19)- Reminiscences of Alfred Duryee Guion – 1884 – 1964

 

The following memories are quotes from “Reminiscences of Alfred D.  Guion, written in 1960 while he was on a four-months “around the world” freighter trip. 

 

At this point I will begin adding the memories of the children as they were growing up

The house on Landsowne Dr. in Larchmont Gardens, Mount  Vernon, New York

LAD – I was born in New York City in 1914 then I lived i.n Yonkers for a short time.  When I was about one, we moved to 91 Dell Ave. in Mount Vernon, New York.  By the time I was three, I was quite interested in mechanical things.  I remember taking an alarm clock, taking it all apart and putting it back together, but I had one gear left over when I finished.  It didn’t keep very good time.  It was fast.  I never could find out where that gear went.

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 remember I went shopping with Dad’s mother (Ella Duryee Guion – Mrs. Alfred Beck Guion), my grandmother, and I was taller than she was.  She went grocery shopping and she took me with her on the trolley because I could help her.  I just remember I was taller than she was and I helped her carry the groceries.

We had a black woman who did the cooking and took care of the house.  One of the things we had in the kitchen was a dishwasher that was hand operated.  It had a big handle on it and we pushed and pulled, and I remember liking it, I enjoyed doing that.

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

LAD – Every year Dad had a couple of weeks of vacation and he would take us up to Sandy Hook, Connecticut, on Lake Zoar, and we would stay in the cabin.  I don’t remember much about it but probably Dan, Ced and I were playing out in the yard in the area around the cabin.  There was a nice place where the branches were above us, and below them, it was pretty open.  We were crawling around in there and later that day, I started to itch.  For three or four days I was swollen pretty badly with poison ivy.  I’ve had problems ever since.  Many summers, I get poison ivy.  The first summer out here in California, working for the Frouge Construction Company, I was driving a tractor to clear some land.  I didn’t realize that it was poison oak I was driving through and tearing up.  It didn’t affect me too much, just my arms and hands.  By that time, I knew how to take care of it anyway.

On some summer vacations, Dad would take us to a place called Foster’s Pond, in (Andover) Massachusetts, which either belonged to Rusty Heurlin’s family or they had an interest in it.  Rusty took us there the first time and we went a couple of times after that.  That’s where Dan and I found out that a canoe isn’t very stable.  We went out on Foster’s Pond in the canoe and I don’t remember what we were doing, but one of us stood up and stepped a little to the side and it tipped right over.  It was a nice warm pond and we didn’t have any problems.

Tomorrow, I’ll finish this week with a post from Reminiscences of Alfred Duyee Guion. I’ll continue the story in three weeks.

On Saturday, another excerpt from a letter written by John Jackson Lewis about his Voyage to California.

On Sunday, the next segment of My Ancestor, Alfred Peabody Guion, my Dad.

Judy Guion

The Beginning (18) – Reminiscences of Alfred Duryee Guion – 1884 – 1964

The following memories are quotes from “Reminiscences of Alfred D.  Guion, written in 1960 while he was on a four-months “around the world” freighter trip.

 

             Alfred Duryee Guion

             Arla Mary Peabody

With the three years college ordeal behind me and the girl of my choice looking upon me with favor, the future looked promising.  Two main objectives were to be achieved.  I now had a promising job with a respectable company – St. Nicholas Magazine – and a definite incentive for making good.  My job was to solicit advertising for this leading, high-grade children’s magazine.  It seemed natural that children in better high-class homes and pedigree pets belonged together, so I proposed starting a “Pet Department” in the magazine.  The idea was approved and I was made “Manager”.

Of course nothing but the best in a diamond engagement ring was good enough for my girl, so on June 1st, seated side-by-side alone on the lower deck of an excursion boat then running to and from New York City, I slipped the ring on her finger.  It apparently came as no surprise and was evidently quite acceptable.  For many years, when circumstances permitted, we celebrated June 1st by taking a boat ride of some sort.

 

     Certificate of Marriage – Alfred Duryee Guion – Arla Mary Peabody

On March 27, 1913, we were married at quite a large wedding at the Church of the Ascension in Mount Vernon, where we had many friends. Two ministers tied the knot – one newly called to the church and a famous author of boys books named Cyrus Townsend Brady, and the other, its former Rector who had been superseded by Doctor Brady and under whose guidance we had grown up in the church, named Rev.  Robert P.  Kreitler.

We chose Bermuda for our honeymoon and there we spent a delightful two weeks, marred only by an accident Arla had on a bicycle caused by the fact that she was not familiar with the operation of the coaster brake with which the rental machine was equipped, so she did not know how to slow speed at the end of a long downhill grade and chose crashing into a stone wall by the roadside in preference to smashing into a horse-drawn vehicle which was blocking the road.  Outside of skinned hands when she was thrown over the handlebars onto the rough stone and a few bruises, no damage resulted, but the bike was pretty badly smashed.

   Arla Mary (Peabody) Guion holding Alfred Peabody Guion (my father)

Back home again, we spent the first few days fixing up an apartment I had rented in the Bronx for my bride.  With my savings we bought some substantial dining and living room “Craftsman” furniture, some of which is still in use some 47 years later, and there we lived for about a year, little Lad having arrived in the meantime to add to our happiness.

Arla Mary (Peabody) Guion holding Daniel Beck Guion – circa 1917

          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 clan and for several years things ran along uneventfully.

I will finish out the week with two more segments of The Reminiscences of Alfred Duryee Guion.

Judy Guion

Special Picture # 340 – Arla Mary (Peabody) Guion and her Sisters

This is the only picture I have of the four Peabody Girls – my Grandma Arla and her three sisters. There were also five boys in the family . Arla, the oldest girl, was born in 1892. 

Anne (Peabody) Stanley, Arla Mary (Peabody) Guion, (my Grandmother) Helen (Peabody) Human, Dorothy Peabody.

Special Picture # 340 – Arla Mary (Peabody) Guion with Some of her Children

 

 

Arla Mary (Peabody Guion with Alfred Peabody Guion (my Dad) – 1914

Arla Mary (Peabody) Guion with Daniel Beck Guion – 1916

Arla Mary (Peabody) Guion and Richard Peabody Guion – 1922

Arla Mary Peabody Guion with her first five children – Dan, Lad, Ced, Dick and Biss – 1921

Special Picture # 339 – Arla Mary (Peabody) and Alfred Duryee Guion – 1913

Arla Mary (Peabody) and Alfred Duryee Guion 

 This picture makes me wonder. It was probably taken in 1913. Back then, pictures were not taken every day or every minute, for that matter. They usually were taken on special occasions. Looking at the gentle smile on Arla’s face and the way Grandpa is holding her like a cherished vessel, makes me wonder if this picture was taken when they learned that Arla was carrying their first child, my father, Lad (Alfred Peabody Guion).