A FAMILY STORY – 1922

 

Arla Mary Peabody Guion and children - Dan, Lad, Ced, Dick, and Biss at the Trumbull house

Arla Mary Peabody Guion and children – Dan, Lad, Ced, Dick, and Biss at the Trumbull house

I believe this is the first group picture taken in Trumbull. Dick, the baby on Arla’s lap, was born August 20, 1920 and the family moved into the Trumbull house in Dec, 1922. That would make Dick 16 months old at that time. In this picture he looks slightly older than that and Lad, the oldest, looks about 8 or 9, which would appear to confirm the approximate date of the picture. (I have since ascertained that it was taken in 1922.)

This picture was taken by a family friend and, unbeknownst to the family, submitted it to a photo contest for Life Buoy soap. It was not the top winner but was mentioned in the Bridgeport paper as a winner for Connecticut. It was actually used in an advertisement for Life Buoy soap, with a “direct” quote from Mrs. A.D. Guion. That’s how the family found out about it and asked the company not to use it. I’ve actually seen the spread in the local paper on Newspapers.com but because of copy write laws, I can’t show it to you. Our own “15 minutes of Fame”.

This weekend I’ll resume posting from “What I saw at the CHICAGO WORLD’S FAIR, 1934.

On Monday, I’ll get back to my regular schedule and the letters will be from 1941.

Judy Guion

Life in St. Petersburg (18) – The Last Letter – May, 1935

Elizabeth (Biss) Westlin Guion

Elizabeth (Biss) Westlin Guion

Friday night

12 PM E.S.T.

5/24/1935

Dear Dad,

This may be a long letter or it may be a short one – as yet I know not. We will be sending the package up sometime at the end of next week. This is the third letter I have written to you this week so a two letter week will seem small after this.

I have a proposition to make with you. I was wondering if you would let Aunt Anne stay with us for two or three weeks until I once more get settled, for if I have her with me for my first one or two weeks at home I think it will be easier for me. It could be on the same basis as it was while you were down here at Christmas time. You could give her the apartment if Astrid has moved out by the time we get home.

I got a Good Housekeeping for June yesterday and it says to give 3 to 5 weeks notice for change of address – but to get back to my proposition – I figured it would be nice for the kid brothers to have Don and Gwen for company for a while for they are here so seldom and I also thought it would be nice for you to have a grown person to keep you company for a while. She has no place to go when she does get up there and that is one reason why we are staying on here. Of course the other reason is money. Aunt Anne is thinking of getting a job. It is now Monday and Gwen and Aunt Anne have gone down for a lesson in knitting.

We took Carl and Dot out for a picnic lunch yesterday. We had loads of fun playing baseball and catch. I am going to miss them frightfully when I leave and how I wish I could bring them home with me for keeps. The only thing I can bring home is a picture of them but I am hoping that they will come up and visit me – but I doubt it for they haven’t much money. I ate dinner there yesterday and had lemon pie! How it makes my mouth water to think about it. Carl is going to graduate this year and he’s going to have a picture of himself taken in his graduating cap and gown – what a laugh I’m going to give him. Dot is only a sophomore but she looks more like a Junior. Exams commence next week. How I dread that! We have two weeks counting this one – left of school. I hope I pass – and thinking of learning how to knit. Have you seen Peggy since she has been home? How is she – I mean how sick? I have finally written to Grandma. I am hoping to get a letter from you this morning. Have you gotten any pictures of Mack? This seems to be limited to asking questions and so I had better quit and give you a chance to draw your breath and answer the questions.

Love,

Biss

This is the last letter I have found from Biss. If Grandpa agreed to the suggestion that Aunt Anne and her children stay in Trumbull for a few weeks, it would make sense that they would leave as soon as possible. There are only two more days of school this week and then exams next week. School would be finished and it would make sense for Aunt Anne to leave by May 31st to avoid paying rent in June.

On Monday I’ll start posting letters written in 1945. Dan and Paulette’s wedding is getting closer the war continues to effect everyone else in the family.

Judy Guion

Life in St. Petersburg (17)- Letters to Dave and Pops – May, 1935

Biss (Elizabeth), Grandpa’s only daughter, has been living in St Petersburg with her Aunt Anne taking care of Anne’s children, Don and Gwen, for the past school year. She was having trouble at home, struggling to adjust to the death of her Mother and her Father and three Aunt’s felt a change of scenery might help her to adjust. The school year is practically over and she will be heading home soon, she just isn’t sure when.

Wednesday afternoon

3:59 PM E.S.T.

5/22/1935

Dear Dave,

I enjoyed your letter very much. I hope that scene you put on the back of the letter won’t come true but it will let you go to bed when I tell you to. That word, scene, up

Dave

Dave

above means picture. I hope you will be able to read this letter, I have no hard words to write, I don’t think, so you should be able to understand all of it. What is Ardith’s sister’s name? I suppose you play with Tubby quite a lot, don’t you? I was naming your past girlfriends as well as your present one. I bet a lot of other boys like Evelyn besides you, don’t they?

You should always make it a capital I when you are referring to yourself, like “I went to the store when I was home.” instead of “i went to the store when I was home.” Do you see what I mean? I am very glad that Miss D’Alier is all well now. How long was she out of school? You better get your marks up in school or I will…. I don’t know what I will do. I am glad that Miss Grabber is a good teacher. What is the matter? Don’t you like her when she isn’t teaching? I knew you would like Miss Shiffron more. I think she is very nice and I have had a lot of nice times with her. Will you send her my best regards?

It seems to me that you have a pretty long tongue! I was just studying the picture on the back. It is supposed to be a picture of you and myself? Is it in the past or in the future? I hope I will hear from you again very soon for I enjoy your letters very much. Tell Dick to write to me please – I’ll send the story some other time.

Love,

Biss

Wednesday afternoon

4:13 PM E.S.T.

5/22/1935

Dear Pops !

I get a great kick out of your letter today but wish to tell you that it isn’t the first time that I have written twice in one week nor is it going to be the last time. Why is it that the lilacs out by the kitchen are always the first ones to come out? We are studying very hard for exams and it is hard to find time to write however, I skipped today consequently have found some time to write. I have been trying to straighten my clothes out.

There was a dress I saw which I wanted to get for a dollar 59 but I have decided to save my money instead. I have been fighting with myself all morning trying to decide and I still haven’t come to any conclusion! Avid feeling that my brothers are going to cooperate with me quite a bit more than they did and I feel sure that we can make a go of it. I feel sure that I will be able to make the great – because, ”I’m a Guion.”  It will certainly take a lot to trim me down to any kind of size, I’m afraid.

Richard (Dick) Peabody Guion

Dick

I am glad Dick and Dave are well but I do think that Dick could have written me while he was in bed. I enjoyed Dave’s letter immensely and have

already answered it  – I hope you will give me just an immediate answer is I have given him. I am glad Mr. D’Alier liked me for I simply adore the whole D’Alier family and expect to go down and see them the very first night I am home – unless I get home at night, then I will wait until the next day. My writing is very uneven this evening, have you noticed? Maybe it is my change of thoughts.

If you see Carl tell him to write to me although I haven’t written to him – maybe I will before you see him again – it all depends on how much time I have. I loved that “Town of Trumbull” writing paper which you used last time. I thought it quite aristocratic. I hope you expect to see “Les Miserables”. I saw “Mississippi” and thought it was very uninteresting. How did the boys like it? I imagine Grandma liked that quite a lot.

I have a picture of the gang but thanks for a glimpse of them in the enlarged – I only have the small. As for my photographs – I have decided as the senior one and as yet have not received them from the studio. I will bring one or two of them home with me for I promised Ced one. Tell Dan you will never know how I appreciate that dollar and those stamps. I am going to break my rule and by a popsicle this afternoon with a nickel of that dollar for I am boiling over.

I went to Tarpon Springs but I’d don’t like Bill – I like Carl and Dot Roughgarden – you will probably hear plenty about them in the future. The reason why I wanted to write to Good Housekeeping and Parents is I haven’t the address and I don’t know how to word the letter – will you do it? If you don’t mind I would like to use the stamps for personal letters. I’ll hold onto them until I receive your answer.

Send Mack down here. I won’t mind one speck! Tell him I miss him and hope he misses me too. He wags his tail – it means he does. Well I have to close now because I have no more room.

Love,

Biss

Tomorrow, I’ll be posting Biss’s last letter from St. Petersburg. After that, we jump to 1939 with politics in Trumbull and Lad, the oldest, living and working in Venezuela, sending his pay home to Trumbull to help support his younger siblings.

Judy Guion

Life in St. Petersburg (16) – The Prom and Some Ping Pong – May, 1935

Monday afternoon

3:36 PM E.S.T.

5/20/1935

Dear Dad:

I really have a good reason for not answering your letters as soon as I should. I have been very busy this last week. I went to the prom last Friday evening as I had hoped and

Elizabeth (Biss) Westlin Guion

Elizabeth (Biss) Westlin Guion

played ping pong from about 9:15 to around 1230 or 12:45. I had a very nice time. I had one game with my geometry teacher and another with some other teacher. I didn’t know who he was. I would take a few minutes out of every hour or hour and a half and go over to have something to drink – for refreshments were free. Saturday, I was busy right up until the time that I went to bed. Sunday Carl and Dot Roughgarden went out to the beach with us and we took lunch along. I have not had so much fun in a long time. Carl is my favorite boy and Dot is my favorite girl so it was just perfect. Both of them were quite badly sunburned – my face is the only part of my anatomy which was touched by the penetrating rays. So you see my weekend especially was very busy.

Next Sunday, Jim Wokheiser and his sister, Gwen’s teacher, are going  out to the beach with us. I like Jim a lot too, but I hope to go out with Carl and Dot once more before I go home. I’m afraid I won’t because they are both very nice looking and I imagine they have plenty of other things to preoccupy them.

I hope Ced will hurry and get better – perhaps you will have to feed him with a derrick to get enough food into his system! I am glad Dave is getting over his fear of the dark! He must, if he is willing to sleep out all by himself.

I am very glad you liked and saw ”One Night of Love” – don’t you like Grace Moore better than Jeanette McDonald?

I got four letters today! That is the most I have gotten, at once, for a long time. I was trying to figure out how that sentence should go and so the mistakes. It seems to me that I have made quite a few mistakes in this letter already. Maybe it is because I am trying to write too fast but I have to or fear that my thoughts will slip from my head.

I got my English report and found I had gone up 10 points, almost, and now have 85. Last time I had 75+ so I did not go up quite 10 points. We are studying for exams so I may not write as often this week but I will try. We have exams on the third and fourth of June. I’ll be glad when they are over! The Seniors get their’s next Wednesday and Thursday. That’s all for now.

Love

Biss

As I was re-reading this letter, I found myself reading faster and faster, so I wouldn’t loose the train of thought. Biss is jumping all over the place with her thoughts and I’m afraid I might miss something if I don’t get to it fast enough. Do you think that’s what she is feeling as she writes this?

Judy Guion

Life in St. Petersburg (15) – Letter to a Dead Brother – May, 1935

I believe this is another letter enclosed with the ones I posted last weekend. There is no date but the time and day coincide with the previous letters.                                                                                                                                                                                                           Monday evening 

 8:33 PM  E.S.T.

Dear Dead Brother (Dave):

Dave

Dave

It certainly seems funny to be writing to a deceased person, doesn’t it, but I came to the conclusion that you weren’t anymore, for I had not heard from you except that letter which was written at Thanksgiving. I suppose all your various girls that you used to have a crush on – Barbara M, Elsie Heart, Jocelyn H, etc. are wearing black for mourning. I suppose I have no right to talk though, for I haven’t written very many letters to you either. I wish you to understand however that I am expecting a letter from you in the next outgoing mail to me from the family. I’m afraid you won’t be able to understand what I am writing about so you had better ask one of your brothers or your father, for they have had more schooling than you have and perhaps can explain it – if not you will have to wait until I get home. If you write to me right away I will send a story, a very short one, which I wrote one day in school when I should have been doing my homework. Tell Dad that I forgot to mention one thing. Will he please write to Good Housekeeping and Parents and ask them to change my address after the June issue is out? I don’t know the address and I am waiting until I get home to write to that man on the Parents staff because I’m not sure of everything but to get back to your brown eyes. How are you getting along in school no? I forgot what grade you are in – fourth isn’t it? You still have Mrs. Grabbe? How do you like her? Do you ever go in to see Miss D’Obon? Do you like Miss Stiffron more than you used to? With all those questions to answer you can’t say you couldn’t think of anything to say for these questions alone will keep you up writing all night. You should like that, n’es ce pas? Alfred will tell you what that means. My writing paper seems to disappear very quickly so if you wish to hear from me you had better write for I can’t be able to write to you after I have used up all the paper I have. You should be asleep now for it is 8:50 PM and I am going to bed just as soon as I write a letter to Dick. Oh heck! I forgot to mention something in my letter to Dad that I was going to – well I hope I can send you that story. Your older brothers won’t appreciate my talent – but you will so – until I hear from you – I am Biss – after that – the Authoress, Biss.

Tomorrow, another letter from Biss to the folks back home.

Judy Guion

 

Life in St. Petersburg (14) – Letters to the Family – May, 1935

This is a continuation of the letter posted yesterday. It’s later that night and Biss writes a note to Dick. 

Monday evening

8:16 PM

Dear Dick,

Boy, what a “D” that is in ”Dear”, hey what? I am going to get orange juice in a few minutes but I am going to try to finish it before I go. Tell Dad that the fruit man’s son, who broke his neck, got pendicitis (acute at that) but that he pulled through and is now at home for he did not enjoy the hospital. Tell Jane that I will write to her as soon as possible.

I told Dave that I felt sure all three of us (or four if Peggy will come back only I’m afraid I have lost her for she seems to be so happy where she is) but I will try to take her place and play with you more and go out into the woods, we could have lots of fun and I will have lots and lots of stories to tell you and you will have lots and lots to tell me, I hope. Well, we can tell the stories while doing our work as it won’t take long at all to do it.

I am getting more and more anxious to see Trumbull again. I passed everything and am I glad! Those two hour (each) exams were nightmares!

Donald at last has a new friend so he doesn’t have to go around with Billy so much anymore. He still goes around with him somewhat though. Save the football and baseball until I get home. Do you still have skiing? How is skating? Tell me all about these things in a letter to me and make it snappy! Donald and I tried playing some duets on the guitars and they sounded quite nice. Gee, if I don’t give the guitar any rest it will be all worn out before I can show it to all of you up there. Be sure and not tell anyone about it and I miss the family again.

Love,

Biss

P.S. Hurry up and write!

P.P.S. I couldn’t write two sheets because the envelope is too full!

I think this is a third installment to her letter to her father, but since she doesn’t address it to anyone, I’m guessing.

Friday – 4:36 PM

I received your letter yesterday, and the check, and the letter from Parents Magazine, and the news from Trumbull, and Dan’s second installment. Are you going to have my magazine a free installment? I would like it, if it is all right with you for then I would have no fear of its expiring at the end of the year the way I have been and next year I will be able to ask for “Good Housekeeping” instead and thereby get the two magazines I like best. I wanted “Good Housekeeping” this year but felt that you didn’t have the money for it so I didn’t bother to ask for it.

I got my geometry report today and got 85 – my average is only 76%. It looks as though Ced has the upper hand. I am getting my guitar either Monday or Thursday so you will see me with a guitar when I get home. I am going to put on 3 3-cent stamps so it should get there O.K. There is something wrong if it doesn’t.

Gwen has “water on the knee” and Aunt Anne took her to the doctor today. I think one thing but my hand keeps writing another – I was going to say doc tonight instead of Doctor and today my hand wrote correctly where as my mind didn’t think as it should.

Don has a steam engine just like Alfred’s steam boiler. The one we fooled with so much last year. Well I want to reel off a number of things to Ced so I guess I’ll say goodbye to you four, if I keep on going I won’t stop and then I can’t send the letters for I’ll still be writing and I’ll starve because I’ll be writing instead of eating and then the letter will never be finished because I’ll die of starvation and fatigue before I finish it – soooo, goodbye until the next time.

Love,

Biss

Life in St. Petersburg (13) – Expectations and a Story – May, 1935

My Grandmother died in 1933, when her only daughter, Elizabeth (Biss), was 14. She took it quite hard and had difficulties at home. It was decided by her Aunts and her father that it might be helpful for her to live with Aunt Anne in St Petersburg, Florida, go to school and help Aunt Anne with her two children, Don and Gwen. Biss is just about finished with the school year and is looking forward to going back to Trumbull. She had been able to step away from the situation and see it from a different perspective. She has also matured and is in a much better place right now.

Monday afternoon

4:53 PM EST

5/13/1935

Dear Pops,

I am truly ashamed of you! Imagine, for six months now you have been writing to me on the average, I should say, of once a week – and yet you still don’t know my address! In fact you have seen the house and lived in it for a few days. I imagine if you had put 2101 like you should have instead of 1201 like you did – I would have gotten it in time to answer it before I sent that letter to you and Dan. I have no special time to write to you so I can’t get back on any schedule – except writing to you at least once a week. You ought to put the time on your letters so I will know whether everything is as it should be at that time.

I wish I had been home for the fire – for I love excitement! Did the boys leave Tessie’s party and go to the fire? I think I would have if I had been there. It is going to seem funny not to see that old landmark – the passing of another one of Trumbull’s landmarks.

Of course we have very little rain down here – I have to stop and get dinner – I have gotten one scolding already because I did not get dinner started on time. All the work of the evening is done now so I am perfectly free to write as long as I wish. I am very sorry I sent that letter Saturday night for I see again it is causing you some worry.

I am very glad for the check this month for I have been doing some extra things, such as having my picture taken and I had hoped you could send my June money before 1 June so it was rather disconcerting to find I could not expect any at all – however I think I can get by if I watch my money like a miser would, so don’t let it worry you.

I am expecting to find a healthy boy in David when I get home and a considerate Dick – am I expecting too much? They all still have plenty

Dick

Dick

of time to work on their faults, for it is quite definite that we won’t be home before the end of June or the beginning of July. Perhaps the reason for my better understanding in my letter to Dave is – I have gone literacy-minded! I am writing the story of the World War and I have also written some short, short stories. Maybe I will become a good authoress after all – I sadly fear I can’t become a great singer – as much as I would like to.

Don’t forget to send me a picture of the house when the Lilacs are in bloom. Perhaps when you get this letter the first of the Lilacs will be out.

No one has told me about the play. You did, I admit, send me a program that didn’t tell the whole story. How big a success it was, what it was for, etc. and I would like to know all of these reasons and all of the details.

Right at this moment is quite cool for the window is open and the breeze is blowing across me and also blowing all my writing material off the end of the table, for I am at the dining room table. The daytime however is hotter than when I wrote to you and I haven’t gotten the least bit used to it as yet – and I don’t think I am going to. I am still gaining weight so I think you had better repair all of the furniture that needs it. I prefer to say I’m getting stout though rather than “fat”.

Dave

Dave

Tell Dick and Dave that I don’t think much of them as brothers for they never write to me to let me know that they still exist. I was beginning to think that perhaps there wasn’t a David for no one ever spoke of him and he was then when I left anyway – so you had better warn him to write if he wishes to keep in my good graces – the same for Dick.

Oh, I have some very good news to change the subject – I got my English report today and I had an 85 – if I get my French mark up to 80 – if – and I keep all my other marks where they are, then I will come home with second honors – for the first and last in other words only time in my life.

I am almost sure that I am going to go to the Junior-Senior prom now – the only trouble that I can find with it is that I will have to wear an evening gown.

We made root beer a week ago – I think it was a week ago – and over half is gone already so we are planning to make more. It isn’t very good this time – too much water I think but we hope for better luck next time. I am going to write a paragraph or two of my story to get you interested and then leave off.

Autobiography of a War Dog

My mother, as I remember her, was a thoroughbred collie. My father, she told me, had been a mongrel. I hated my mother’s master although she loved him. He was a drunkard who would beat her unmercifully if she was in his way or if things weren’t quite right with him. My eyes had been opened for three days when my mother was killed – it was a tragic death. Mr. Alcost, the drunkard, came staggering home one morning and as soon as he came into sight, my mother ran to him. He swore at her and kicked her swiftly. She did not seem to understand. He took a board and struck her over the head. She looked at him still wagging her tail and then fell – that is as far as I will go with the story now. Is it okay so far?

Love,

Biss

Tomorrow, I’ll be posting the next letter is the series as she gets closer to the end of school and closer to coming home.