Memories of Arla Mary (Peabody) Guion (7) – 1922 – 1925

 

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

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

In 1922, during a family vacation, Arla found out about a house in Trumbull, built in 1756, went to see it and fell in love with it. She eventually had her way and the family moved in to their new house in December of 1922. The story continues in Grandpa’s autobiography:

Meanwhile, I was having serious commuting troubles. Each winter the trains were frequently late. This, together with the antagonistic attitude of my immediate boss at the office, made my frequent, late arrivals at work increasingly disagreeable incidents. Also, the seven mile auto ride to and from Trumbull in all kinds of weather, the 2 1/2 to 3 hour train ride to Grand Central followed by a crowded subway ride to the Battery, and this twice a day, not only was physically exhausting but also necessitated my leaving home early and arriving home late. There seemed only one sensible alternative – to seek employment in Bridgeport. A letter campaign from New York to Bridgeport manufacturers proving unfruitful after months of vain effort, in desperation I resolved to take drastic measures. With five little ones to feed and clothe I simply had to get a job, so, burning all bridges behind me, I quit my New York job cold to wage an all-out on-site search to find something in Bridgeport. To make this step was one of the most difficult decisions of my life, but within two weeks I became Assistant Advertising Manager of the Bridgeport Brass Company and a few months later, Advertising Manager, which job I held until I left to start an advertising agency of my own.

In Trumbull we became interested in local activities. A local volunteer fire company was started in which I was a charter member. To raise money to buy firefighting equipment we ran annual carnivals which were successful for many years, and which the old Waverley Electric Car played a part.

Arla’s children shared a few memories of her in their recorded childhood memories.

LAD – I don’t have many memories of my mother. I remember that she was involved with the Women’s Club, and was very, very well-liked by everybody. We always had a lot of visitors. She was very outgoing and friendly and quite pretty. She was very active in the community. Other than the fact that Mom was involved in the community a great deal, she was a good mother. We all like her very much, got along with her.

CED – I don’t believe Mother had a single enemy in Trumbull. She was President of the Women’s Community Club, and she was very, very good to the family. She had practically all of our aunts and some of our uncles living with us in Trumbull at various times. We had a big house and most of them lived in New York City. When they had vacations and when we had holidays, they’d all come up on the train from New York. Sometimes they would drive – it would take them about four hours on the Post Road. I remember those trips too. Traffic was all over the place, stop and go, stop and go.

I always said that I knew one person in town that my Mother didn’t like. This woman had two sons who were friends with us. I don’t believe that the woman ever knew that my mother didn’t like her because this woman was very critical of other people and that bothered my mother.

My Mother was very active in town, she was very public spirited. She helped plant flowers on the green, that sort of thing.

Our house was the center for the local population. All the kids our age congregated in our house because of everything, and my mother, of course. She was very pro-social, in her own life and in ours. She was a wonderful woman. We were really one big happy family and we really had fun growing up. Arnold Gibson was part of the group; he was more a part of the family group. He was very fond of our family, and spent a lot of time with us. Arnold was devoted to my mother, too. Everybody that knew her loved her.

DICK – One of my earliest memories is Mom at the front Dutch door, talking to someone from the Red Cross. I was standing next to her and she was running her hand through my hair… It was heaven.

BISS – Dick and I were sitting on the radiator in the back bathroom and it was so cold there was frost on the window. We take one of the pieces of our Erector Set, putting it in a hole of the oil heater to heat it up and touch the frost on the window. At one point I leaned over a little too far, fell down on top of the oil burner and tipped it over. I had always been taught that if there’s a fire you run out and close the door… which I did. Dick was still on the radiator in back of the fire, and then the fire started up the curtain. I screamed for Mother and evidently she heard the panic in my voice and she responded immediately. As soon as she got upstairs and realized what was happening, she yelled for Lad to bring the fire extinguisher. As she got to the top of the stairs and started walking towards the bathroom, her very flimsy gown caught on fire and I remember she put it out. Mother then took the rug from the hallway and threw it on the fire and put the fire out, but the door was scorched where the flames had licked at it.

Dick, Dan, Ced, Lsd and Biss

Dick, Dan, Ced, Lad and Biss

Tomorrow, I’ll begin a week of letters written in the beginning of 1944.

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Special Picture # 341 – The “Children” in 1992

In 1992, Dan and Paulette (and their children) planned a Family Reunion to be held at the Trumbull House. Family members came from near and far. It was the last time all six children would be together. The  grandchildren and great-grandchildren’s pictures were taken at the top of the long “Steps and Landings, Steps and Landings, Steps and Landings, which went from the front door down to the road. It was a favorite place to play school for my generation. We would start at the bottom and every time you got an answer right, you moved up one step. If you got it wrong, you went down one step. Sometimes it would take hours until someone won.  I had trouble getting these pictures into the post late last night, but I have corrected the problem. I hope you enjoy looking at some family pictures from 1992.

 

                             Dan, Dave, Lad, Dick, Ced and Biss

1992 version of the picture above

Grandpa and Grandma’s 21 grandchildren (that’s me, 3rd from the right in the back row)

Grandpa and Grandma’s great-grandchildren, 21 in 1992 (currently 49 great-grandchildren and 42 great-great-grandchildren – and still growing)

1992 Guion Family Reunion – everyone taking pictures of the six “children”  sitting on the Summer Porch  (view from the Summer Porch to the Barn)

Tomorrow, I will begin a week of letters written at the end of 1943. 

 

The Beginning (62) – Childhood Memories of Trumbull – Photos through the Years

 

The Childhood Memories of Trumbull have come to an end. Today I would like to take you back through time with pictures of the children as they grew up in Trumbull. I hope you have enjoyed these childhood memories of a different time and place, written in their own words.

 

Biss has a broken arm so this would mean the picture was taken in about 1924, when Biss was five years old. 

L to R – Lad, Ced, Biss and Dick

 

Arla Mary (Peabody) Guion with her children – L to R – Dan, Lad, Ced, Dick and Biss. Since Dick was born in 1920, I think this picture was taken about 1923. The family moved to Trumbull in the middle of December, 1922, they probably were still unpacking and arranging things into 1923. A family Portrait would not have been at the top of the list of things to do.

 

              Dick, Dan, Ced, Lad and Biss with Mack c. 1924

 

   Dan, Dave, Lad, Dick, Ced and Biss. Since Dave was born in 1925 and this picture appears to have been taken in the late fall or winter, it probably was taken about 1928.

 

Back – Cedric, Grandpa, Dan, Biss, Lad, Front – Don Stanley, Dave, Dick, Gwen Stanley. I believe this picture may have been taken in the early fall of 1938, just before Dan left at the end of October for Venezuela. 

 

Tomorrow, more Special Pictures.

Next week, I will post letters written at the end of 1943. Lad and Marian have only been married about a month and everyone is looking forward to the holidays.

Judy Guion

The Beginning (61) – Childhood Memories of Trumbull – Random Memories (4)

 

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.

Dave in the spring of 1940

DAVE – I graduated (from eighth grade at Center School in Trumbull) and that was fine, but then after having been noticed and having a name that meant something in Trumbull, I went to Whittier Junior High School in Black Rock in Bridgeport, and I was absolutely nothing there.  I absolutely hated the teachers.  I hated the school building.  Most of all, I hated the Principal.  I took Latin for two years.  Understand that’s Latin I that I took for two years.  I flunked it royally the first year and the second year I still managed to flunk it.  I was going to be a lawyer and so I wasn’t going to be a lawyer.  That was one year.  Then all the kids from up in the hills went to Bassick High School and things were little better there.  Finally, I turned eighteen, and at that time, the war was on and they were taking people, even people out of school, kids out of school, when they turned eighteen, so I left my Senior year in December.  December vacation.  I Never went back. I did go back to get my diploma.  For some reason (I think my grandmother was dying) I was home for the graduation, and those of us who were in the service got our diplomas at graduation.  I think that I would still be in the school till this day if I hadn’t gotten my diploma because I was in the Army.  I was anxious to go into the service only so I could get through high school.

Ellie and I met at the player piano.  Eleanor had a friend named Doris Eroncrona and they had been friends since sixth grade or something like that. One Sunday night after the Young People’s meeting, everybody came up to the house to play the player piano and sing.  Doris brought along her friend Eleanor.  I noticed her that night, thought she was kind of interesting, not having any idea if anything was going to come of it.  This was when we were still in high school, Senior year, just before I went into the service.  Doris went to the meeting and she brought her friend Eleanor Kintop and she and Elinor came up and sang around the piano.  A few days later, I got a call from Doris, and she said, “Bob Jennings has asked me to go to a Halloween dance at Bassick High School and I’m not going unless we double date because I don’t want to go out alone with Bob.  Would you take Eleanor?”  I said, “Yeah”.  Now I know this is going to sound hard to believe but at eighteen, I was still afraid of girls.  So, one day we were down at Doris’s house and I remember her trying to talk me into it; “Just call her up, call her up and ask her.”  I’m sure it had already been arranged but I wasn’t smart enough at the time to think about that.  She must have thought that I was passable enough to be able to take her to the dance.  I said, “I don’t dance.  I don’t even know how to dance.”  “That’s all right, blah, blah, blah.”  I finally called her up and she said she would go.  That was our first date, and then we started dating.  That’s how I met her – all because of that good old player piano.

After Ellie and I got married and Ced was still single, the three of us spent a lot of time together. Ced would come down to Ellie’s mother’s house with us on occasion.  We would go for rides.  He took us on a harrowing trip one day.  It was right after the Hurricane of 1955.  We went up through the Valley and at that point at least, Ced tended to have a lead foot so there were some scary scenes but we all made it back together.  So he used to spend some time with Ellie and me.

 

Grandpa, Marian, Lad, Jean, Dick and Aunt Betty around the kitchen table in 1945.

DICK – One time, Lad was driving Marian, Jean and I back to Trumbull from the movies (in Bridgeport).  The car in front of us pulled over and parked.  The driver threw open the door, and Lad shouldn’t have missed it but he did.  Then he started looking around and patting himself … He said, “I had a cigarette …”

BISS – Dad was very determined to beat the Stock Market because it had done him in.  He was out for revenge.  He would sit up there in his bedroom and follow the charts. (He actually had a Ticker Tape Machine in his bedroom.) He did a lot of investing on margin.  He had an estate worth over $100,000 (in 1964) when he died, only ten years after he got out of debt.

The Childhood Memories of Trumbull have come to an end. Tomorrow, I will post various pictures of the children as they were growing up in Trumbull.

 

On Saturday,a letter from Lad to the family mailed in Curacao about his voyage so far. I will continue to post a few more letters on Saturdays.

Judy Guion

The Beginning (58) – Childhood Memories of Trumbull – Random Memories (1)

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.

 

DICK – When I was in Brazil, I rode bareback on a small horse with a broad back, feeling very macho.  There were five of us going up this gentle hill, hell-bent for leather.  All of a sudden, I was standing on the ground.  The horse had stepped into a hole and somersaulted under me.  If I’d had a regular saddle, I’d have had my shoes in the stirrups.

Lad, Dick, Ced and Grandpa on the Island for the first time (I don’t know who took the picture, Dan was in France and Dave was in Manila, Philippines, during the summer of 1945.

LAD – Sometime around 1945, we were going to the Island and we stopped at the Heurlin’s house.  During the conversation they mentioned that they would like to get rid of the Island.  It was just costing them money and they weren’t using it.  Dad was interested in it and found out that they owed about three hundred dollars in back taxes.  Dad paid that and they gave him the deed to the Island.

                Elizabeth (Biss) Guion Zabel

BISS – When Dad bought the Island from the Heurlin’s.  I was married and had two children.  I tried to talk Zeke into going up there.  He wanted no part of it, he wasn’t interested.  I figured it would be good for the kids, it would be a vacation and it wouldn’t cost more than food and supplies.  But Zeke wouldn’t go.  After five or six years, I finally convinced him to try it.  Then I could never keep him away.  Now, if only I could have gotten him to try traveling once.  I’m sure it would have been the same way.  Then I would have had my dream of traveling all over.  I got the van, the mattress, the gas lantern, the gas stove, and then we never went anywhere, no matter what I would say.  I figured when we retired, we would just start out with no particular destination; he could bring his guns and his fishing gear.  Anyplace we found a spot, if we liked it, we could spend two or three days there; if we didn’t like it, we could go to another place.

The Barge on the left

CED – The barge was used to move the cook cabin.  Your father (Lad) and some of his friends went to the mainland and bought a garage.  They sawed it in half, put it on the barge and brought it to the Island.  They made it into the kitchen shack.

DAVE – Later on, when my kids were young, when we went to the Island, I would put a piece of plywood on the back seat and they would be there.  I used to get going pretty fast, you know, up near Lebanon, New Hampshire, where nobody was around.  I used to get up to about eighty miles an hour with the kids in the back.  Of course, I was only thinking about the fact that there were no cars around.  It never occurred to me that I might hit a deer or a moose.

Tomorrow, more Childhood Memories of Trumbull.

Judy Guion

Family – Dear Caric – Butch Asks Biss to Write to Ced – September and October, 1944

 

Elizabeth (Biss) Guion Zabel

Elizabeth (Biss) Guion Zabel

Sunday Night,

9:39 P.M.

9/24/44.

Dear Caric,

You can thank Butch for this unexpected letter from me. You see he and Marty were having an argument the other day over who was going to wear a pair of slippers that Butch received from one of you boys up there in Alaska about two winters ago and I told Butch that they fit Marty so let him have them as he had no other pair and Butch did have an extra pair. Well Butch let Marty have the slippers but very grudgingly and he told me to go down town and buy him another pair just like those so I had to explain to him that I could not buy another pair like that as they had come from Alaska and they did not sell slippers like that around here so he told me to write to Ced—-right now, mother! I told him I would write to you and see if you could get another pair for him so can you? Here is a description of the slippers if you can find another pair similar to the ones here. They have three “A” markings on the front in colored beads. It seems to me that there were some other beads on it too but I wouldn’t be sure now. He wears a size 12 children’s shoe if you do happen to find a pair.

I have to stop now just as I am getting started as Zeke wants to get to bed early tonight and I have to take a bath. We have all been sick this week so that is the urgent reason for getting an early start to bed but I will tell you more about that tomorrow when I continue this letter to you. Good night for now from me and Zeke too.

Sunday Night,

9:23 P.M.

10/1/44

Well, here I am again! I put down the ”9“ and then looked around at the calendar to see what day it was only to find that another month had crept up on me unawares. I think I will send Dave a note tonight too to wish him a happy birthday.

I suppose Dad has told you by now that Bob Peterson died this past week from a Tumor of the brain. It was a surprise to us here as we hadn’t even heard he was sick. Dad probably mentioned how long he was sick.

Zeke and I started bowling this last week and I am proud to state that I had the honor of bowling high score for the night with a score of 126. We bowl with the Singer dept. That Zeke works in. Johnny and Dot Heigelmann bowl with us. They give a prize for high score for women at the end of the season and if the scores had counted that night I probably would have had a good chance to win it right then and there.

Did Dad tell you that Aunt Betty fell last week and hurt her knee? I guess she had one of her dizzy spells as she didn’t trip on anything but just felt. I greatly doubt that she will last the winter out as I can see her failing more and more every time she comes down here for a visit, I believe she is losing weight too. We were talking about Christmas today and trying to find out what the different people wanted and aunt Betty said she thought having somebody else do the cooking would be the best Christmas she ever had in her life. I felt awfully sorry for her at the time and thought what a shame it was that she had to do all the cooking.

Well, Zeke wants to go to bed early again and is almost finished with his bath so I had better cut this short if I want to get that birthday note written to Dave tonight. Love,

Biss

P.S. The rest send their love too.

Tomorrow, a quick note from Marian to Grandpa, then another letter from Grandpa to his boys (and Marian) and I will finish out the week with a thank you  note from Marian to Ced.

Judy Guion

The Beginning (52) – Childhood Memories of Trumbull – Friends

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. 

 

                                   “The Good Times” – 1939
            Arnold Gibson (Gibby), Charlie Kurtz and Carl Wayne
                                      The Red Horse Station

This picture was taken several years after Lad worked there, Carl Wayne had bought the station from the Kurtz family

CED – Lad worked at Well’s garage, the Well’s Bus Company.  He was there maintenance man for years.  Later he ran two different gas stations in town.  The first was the Mobile station, next to Kurtz’s store.  The second was the Atlantic station after it opened.

DAVE – One more thought when your father, Al, had a gas station in Trumbull.  I don’t have witnesses but I think Ced told the story.  Somebody came in one day, knowing what a great diagnostician your father was, came in and said, “You hear it?  Something is wrong with my car.  Can you hear that noise?”  Your father, without saying a word, turned around and walked away.  “Well, what is this?  Here I am, asking a question, and the guy ignores me and just walks away.”  He was about ready to take off when your father came back and he says, “I think the problem is …”, but he never told the guy he was going off to think about what to say.

BISS – I would not repeat anything about my teenage years.

Dan and Lad used to be competitive with the girls; they always seemed to like the same girls.  There would be in upheaval because she would pick one or the other.  It might have been Adele O’Brien that they both liked.  She was another pretty girl.  Jimmy, her brother, was in my class and Adele was older.  I think both Lad and Dan took a shine to her.  I think it was the most serious difference of opinion; apparently they both liked her, so neither of them married her.

“The Gang” on the  Summer Porch at the Trumbull House – 1938

Front row, L to R: Edna Traphagen, Tessie Mikita, Edna Bebee, Jane Mantle, Richard Christie, Dave Guion, Dan Guion,

Back row: Peg Bebee, Lois Henigan, Helen Smith, Bill Slausen, Arnold Gibson. Barbara Plumb, Lad Guion, Ethel Bushey, Pete Linsley, Doris Christie 

There were a whole bunch of us that were friends and hung around together.  There was Ethel Bushey, Doris Christie, Jane Mantle, Barbie Plumb and Jean Hughes.  Some of the guys we hung around with were Zeke (Raymond Zabel, her eventual husband) Zeke’s brother Erv, Fred Karn and his brothers Earl and Al, and Rudy Mahulka.  At this time Zeke lived up on Daniels Farm Road and I guess they were playing with guns.  Anyway, Rudy shot the gun and the bullet hit a tree and ricocheted and hit his sister.  I guess the bullet was lodged too close to her heart; anyway, they couldn’t operate on it.  I think it was about five years later when she died from the gunshot wound.  Indirectly, the gunshot wound was the cause of her death.  She was another pretty girl.

Some of the other people who hung around with us were Art Christie and George Brelsford.  When Zeke’s family moved down onto Park Street, it was George Brelsford’s family that bought their house.  Then George moved away and I never heard from him again.  But there was Art Christie, Dick Christie went more with Ced, he was the younger brother, then there was Floyd Smith who was an acquaintance.

Tomorrow, Lad’s third day on the Santa Roas as he heads to Venezuela.

On Sunday, more of My Ancestors.

Judy Guion