Life in Alaska – Dear Ced – One More Request – April 27, 1944

 

Judy_0003

Cedric Duryee Guion

Nome, Alaska
April 27, 1944

Dear Ced,
Here we come to the unpleasant matter of Lloyd E Jensen and C Heurlin. What can I say about it? What can I do about it? I ordered them before Xmas and he has just gotten around to making them for me. Pictures this size will be my best sales for the next year over this way and I got six frames in only too insignificant a number with which to carry on, however, invaluable for showing pictures and if I can see them without the frames.
On leaving Anchorage I went out with a clean slate but for a balance of $25 to George Rengard and what I.O.U. I spent $300 in getting straightened out. Sure wish I could have taken care of bill to you but felt I could leave it to the more graceful going away if I squared up with merchants in Anchorage. If you still have faith in this old bum and are able to do something about getting frames for me – send Jensen a money order right away and in it a note to have him ship frames to you. Better use typewriter for that stubborn dumbkoff –

“Kindly ship Mr. Heurlin’s frames to me as soon as possible. He is in the Arctic and has left many pictures with me to frame. I cannot dispose of these paintings for him until they are framed so will greatly appreciate receiving them from you on next boat north.
Sincerely yours
Cedric Guion
Anchorage, Alaska”

I have given you a lot of headaches in the past – this to do and that to do and you never have asked a thing of me. Well, hope you don’t sigh too heavily over this. I have to make close to $1000 in a short time before I go up north. But once there with a year’s grubstake with me, I will start going ahead and with plenty of speed to clear up any debts with you. I have hated like hell to ask another favor of you, but boy! If you could possibly take care of it I will make sure of one thing in the days to come and that will be to see that you come out on top for this last big favor.
I will make arrangements with Gordon McKenzie to pick up these frames from you and get them to me with his careful handling.
Now to take care of one last piece of business and then to hit the sleeping bag.

Rusty

Tomorrow and Sunday, more letters from Dave, a young recruit, working hard to get through his training before being shipped overseas.

Judy Guion

Life in Alaska – Dear Ced – Rusty Huerlin writes from Nome, Alaska – April 15, 1944

The year is 1944. All of Grandpa’s sons are scattered around the world. Lad is married and training mechanics for the Army in California. Dan is in London and making frequent trips to France. I don’t know exactly what he is doing but he is a Surveyor and Civil Engineer and D-Day is coming soon. Did he have a part in planning the invasion? I don’t know. Ced is in Alaska working to retrieve and repair airplanes for the Army in the Anchorage area. Dick is an MP (Military Police) in Brazil, I believe acting as a liaison between the Army and the locals. Dave, the youngest, had left school when he turned 18 and joined the Army. He is currently going through Basic Training at Camp Crowder, Missouri Grandpa is in Trumbull with Dick’s wife, Jean, and doing his best to keep everyone in the family informed about what is going on in the lives of their siblings.

 Rusty is in Nome, Alaska, with no heat, and his hands are very cold. He writes with a business proposition for Ced.

Nome, Alaska

April 15, 1944

Dear Ced,

Your most welcomed letter received yet the news was sorrowful about poor Grandma Peabody’s passing. But it is over for her and now – all the unhappiness she had to bear in losing the ones she loved. But it was wonderful that all her children stayed by her and that must have been consoling to her. I think they expressed in a most civilized action in waiving all customs of the actual departure, aside of the feeling that manufactured words of the preacher gives one – soft spoken and well meant as they may be. No one can intercede for any almighty power – tell one what to do – what to expect – how to go on living, especially when one lives and vibrations have always been on different wavelengths. She understood the silence of brothers and sisters speak finer words in final parting if no interception enters to break the bond. My deepest feelings go out to Dorothy, Helen, Anne, Lawrence, Kemper and Burton for they were her dearest left, as she was theirs.

I am half in furs and half in sleeping bag. It is 15 below outside. Ran out of oil tonight so no heat tomorrow unless I take down the front door and put it in the coal stove.

You wouldn’t like Nome at all – not enough water for you to wash out burnt pans and it takes plenty of water to do that. But I have discovered a trick. Just turn the pan upside down – let all the burnt beans fall out then put same pan back on the stove. Gradually the burnt will all flake off – every bit of it, and it will need no washing for the next batch – we live and learn do we not?

Saw Betty Davis for the first time tonight – picture – “The Little Foxes” ( http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0033836/ ) at the Dream theater. It should have been named “The Wolf Pack” or “The Great Big Wolves”, anyway she is a truly great actress.

You all did right by my baggage left behind even though I have lost the jib sail bag. Confidentially now – I do not wish it known that the Brown boys took anything of mine from Anchorage to Nome. So if you will kindly contact Lieut. Brooks at Army Transportation and tell him since I was informed by him there would be no plane from Anchorage to Nome for a month or probably two months – his words – that I had changed my plans and had, unbeknownst to you and George, made other arrangements to get all my stuff here. Next month I can write to him but don’t want anything to go down in writing to him as yet and this is confidential between you and me. Why I do not want to wait until then –  it is because some effort should be made to locate the bag before many more days have passed. It says jib sail on the bag and I sure would like to get the clothes that are in it to say nothing of the handy old article. After getting your letter I went right over to the base but evidently it never reached here.

It is too long a story why I do not want to write Sgt. Brooks at this time – another thing, I had a tag on the bag – C HEURLIN – NOME.

Hands are about stiff but will warm them up – can hardly see the writing for the storm. Going to be a late break up but I cannot say the exact minute.

Sent Maury some ivory as a starter to see how he makes out on it. If it gets to him this time take a look at it and see what you think. Two of the pieces were damaged in PAA crackup so I got the package back. If you like the seals I can get some for you to sell. Sure you could turn them over at a profit if you stay around long enough. If interested how about you and I going into business? I owe you some money now but hope you will forget it for a time. But here is my idea. Send me what money you can spare – what you can put out and forget and I will put every cent of it into good ivory.Then sell every bit of it at what ever profit you can get and send that money on to buy more. This should build up into a big thing in a very short while, then someday we can or you can take on a store of your own. What do you think will be a fair commission for me, well, should not a 50-50 proposition above cost be agreeable all around? It takes time to locate good stuff and you take time to dispose of it. It is all a matter of making a small sum of money grow – personally I hate business, however, money gained under this set up is an economic necessity today. And we can be dealing in good workmanship. I have come to learn a lot about ivory but have always known good workmanship. I can now buy two large ivory bookends for $38.50 and the Major says they sell in Juneau for $85 perhaps $100 in Anchorage.

Ivory is shipped from here to Seattle and sold to companies in Juneau, then resold to brokerage – bought and sold outside again. A fine set up is this! We can cut out all those middlemen – not be too high priced but keep things moving by selling at fairly good price to the last purchaser. And  your dollars would build up fast. I saw several hundred dollars of it sent to Seattle last week which could have made a nice profit for anyone here with connections in Anchorage to dispose of it there. I have been asked by many people – owners of stores – in Anchorage to write or wire for money when I see something good but why should I take time of my own to help them profit while I lose.

So they didn’t get you in the Army – best of luck to you with your studies. And when you get flying don’t dare nature to ground you. A fine view is stretched out in the rolling plains in back – eight and a  half miles in back of this city. Freddie Mueller, who had walked out of several wrecks said to a few of us a few nights before that no one would be so tough to get him. He, like all the rest, died instantly. Freddie was about 60 years old.

Love to all when you write again, including themselves.

Rusty

For the rest of the week, I’ll post a letter from Grandpa, another from Rusty, a note from Marian and another letter from Grandpa. 

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Dear Patient Reader (1) – Lots of News From Ced – April 4, 1945

 

I will be using the entire week to post a six-page letter from Grandpa with quotes from other letters he has received and news from France.

Easter Sunday, 1945, at Trumbull     4/1/45

Dear “Patient Reader”:

Having forced you last week to arise from the banquet table without having served the desert – – an Alaskan delicacy, a specially prepared by Ced the Chef (who usually burns things but this time turned it out just golden brown) – – I shall now continue in my own inimitable manner, which consists of quoting from others, to wit:

Judy_0003

Cedric Duryee Guion

“I have finally taken up residence at the Morgan Establishment. Myra’s mother arrived on the Aleutian last Saturday afternoon and took over my room. I packed my belongings that evening and barged in at the Morgan’s. As the floor is still being laid I have taken temporary lease of the attic which measures about 4 feet high between the rafters and is probably 12 feet in length and 8 feet usable area wide. Of course I spend a minimum of time up there but it isn’t too bad at that.

Art Woodley arrived from Washington, D. C., and L. A. Sunday evening. He is returning from the hearings on the Anchorage-Seattle run and states that if an Alaskan carrier gets the route he expects it will be himself. He was pleased with the way the proceedings ran. He returned in the Boeing 247, the same one he left in, but he had two new engines installed and the Army paint removed so that it is now silver color and looks infinitely better.

(May 9) Note: that’s what the letter says – – time evidently passes quickly up there) I have been sitting here reading over the previous section and your last few letters to receive some inspiration. I am apparently doing so in vain as little inspiration is forthcoming. Rusty’s address is merely C. Heurlin, Barrow, Alaska. Incidentally, Rusty made big headlines a couple of weeks ago and I will attempt to get you a copy of the times to send. Seems he pitched in and helped (Rusty style) the doctor and nurse at Barrow during an epidemic of influenza among the natives recently. The doctor mentioned in his report that Rusty had helped save many lives and was directly responsible for some recoveries. Last I heard from the hero himself was last fall, and so I have no news to quote directly.

Started the Red Cross first-aid standard course last night and will thus be tied up every Thursday night for the next 10 weeks. My card had about run its course and the Ski Club is trying to get interest in a ski patrol started. As few signed up for the course I felt I had to enter myself as an example. I have had the course twice but one must renew every three years anyway.

My draft status is now occupational deferment until August 11. The day before the date set for my pre-induction physical I was notified that I had been classed as 2-A again.

I continue to receive your most welcome letters and continue to fail to answer regularly. Correspondence, other than to you, is too much of a disgrace even to mention. I have quite a few slides up here. Would you like me to send the ones you haven’t seen with the idea of your returning them? Occasionally I like to show some of them to folks up here which is why I would like to have them returned, otherwise I’ll bring them along on my next trip eastward, probably after the war. What I have in mind is to drive out on the highway and East to Trumbull where I would stay for a while. Then perhaps I’d take off for the South seas or South America. The latter place I have never been interested in until quite recently and then it took Walt Disney’s production of “Saludos Amigos” to create the desire to visit that continent.  ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Three_Caballeros )  ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XkZRlWekvj8 )  If you haven’t seen the picture, by all means do so. The theme development is about the cleverest I ever remember having seen. As for making Alaska my permanent home, I am rather dubious. Homer or a similar locale might be worthwhile but Anchorage is fast becoming a place to exist but not to live in. Ced.

He also mentions sending a box of gifts home and something to each of the Guion warriors.

 

Tomorrow’s section of the letter carries news of Trumbull, Grandpa, Marian and Jean. Two letters from Dave, a letter from Lad and words for Dan will complete the week.

Judy Guion

 

Friends – Peg Writes to Ced – A Fresh Sea Breeze – April 2, 1944

Cedric Duryee Guion

April 2nd

Dear Ced –

I can’t tell you how much good your letter did — it was like a fresh sea breeze, after the many, many notes of sympathy – it was such fun to read something written for the enjoyment of both of us, and my thanks are unbounded..

The letter I received from your father was one of the loveliest I have ever seen – he took the liberty of copying Dave’s note to you the night pop died and that was one of the two things that really broke through the high, thick wall I have been able to build in the past year and a half to protect myself – there have been two things which seem to stand out in people’s minds – first pops real courage and unfailing sense of humor; and secondly, the fact that so many people realized that pop and I had something very rare – to have had eleven and a half years that have been very nearly perfect – and our knowledge that it could not last made it possible for us to never hurt each other in any way – I miss him, but somehow he seems to have left both his courage and humor behind for us when I so desperately need them –

I’m at the other end of this ____ ____ – visiting my favorite aunt and uncle for two days – this spot is ideal, with three miles of gorgeous beach on the Gulf of Mexico.  The walking on the sand in good company, and early to bed and early to rise, without a care in the world have done me a great deal of good.  I didn’t think I needed a rest, but the warm sun and swimming are giving me new life – I go from here to Pensacola to visit my brother, who is a lieutenant in the Navy – and doing some instructing at the Naval Air Station – then I get back to Trumbull the middle of April, to get our garden started –

remember me to Rusty – I do very well remember him, and his paintings –

thank you for writing, Ced –

Sincerely, Peg –

Tomorrow and Sunday, two more letters from Dave sent from Camp Crowder in Missouri, where he is receiving further training in Radio School.

Judy Guion

 

Biss Writes to Ced – Question About Ced’s Deferment – March 31, 1944

Elizabeth, known as Biss to family and friends,  Grandpa’s only daughter, is married and living in Stratford, CT, a few miles from Trumbull. She and Zeke Zabel have two boys, Grandpa’s first two grandchildren.

Elizabeth (Biss) Guion Zabel

            Elizabeth (Biss) Guion Zabel

Friday afternoon

2:07 P.M.

3/31/44

Dear Ced: —

I am going to do a mean thing to you and write a very short note, as it is well into the PM already and I have touched nothing at all in the house. Besides I have just finished writing five other letters and am beginning to get tired. I wrote Alfred, Aunt Dorothy, Uncle Burton, Peg and Viv. Viv was disappointed because she didn’t get to see you while you were home. I am writing mainly to find out how you made out with your deferment and whether or not this new law, of all under 26, will spoil your deferment for you – I hope you will be able to hold off until June and maybe you will be able to keep out altogether.

I got a letter from Aunt Dorothy this morning and she is up and around again – that is what started me on this writing spree. I had been meaning to write her ever since I found out she was laid up. I am beginning to feel like my old self again, thank goodness. Butch is supposed to be in bed with a cold but I think he is out more than in – I have told him to get back to bed so far about 100 times at least. Marty just came in from outside with wet feet and pants so he has to go to bed as soon as he is through  in the bathroom. They’re going to have their pictures taken tomorrow night in their sailor suits. I wish it would get nice and warm out – we have had a couple of warm days so far and it just makes one inpatient for more of them. Marty is calling so I guess I had better close here.

Love,

Biss

P.S. – My arm is so tired it is stiff and sore – that is my real reason for stopping.

Tomorrow, a quick note from Lad to Grandpa, Thursday, another letter from Grandpa and on Friday, another letter to Ced from Peg, a friend in Trumbull.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Dear Gang – A Walk to The “Witherwar” – January 30, 1944

 

Alfred Duryee Guion (Grandpa)

Alfred Duryee Guion (Grandpa)

Trumbull, Conn. January 30, 1944

Dear Gang:

Picture the scene as I sit in the alcove this Sunday afternoon having just finished smoking one of the cigars Lad sent as a Christmas gift (I’ll have one of Dick’s Brazilian cigars later.) I am seated at the new typewriter desk (Elizabeth’s gift) facing the French window. With the leaves off the trees I can see the sun glinting on the brook, and peeking over the cement terrace railing are the long slender shoots of the rose bushes also glistening in the sun and waving long tentacled fingers which are pointed in my direction, bobbing up and down and backwards and forwards in the breeze. The lawn just beyond, now brown and sere, is littered with pieces of broken furniture which Ced, in the act of cleaning the attic, has thrown from the window, giving the same appearance as the other side of the house looked after the fire in Lad’s room in the attic. A friend of Jean’s, (Audrey), having joined us at dinner, and Dave having arrived home last night on the weekend furlough, decided to take a walk up to the reservoir or  Pine Brook or someplace, the party consisting of Ced, Jean Mrs. Dick Guion), Audrey, Paul and Arnold (Gibson). Dave, I think went up to see Elizabeth at the Zabel’s and may have joined them later. Aunt Betty is seated here beside me enjoying the cheerful blaze in the fireplace, and there you have the background for today’s epistle to the Gentiles.

As to the human side of the news, there is little to report. Ced is still without word of any sort from Anchorage as to his induction status. Dave is uncertain whether he is to remain another week at Devens (Camp Devens in Massachusetts), and therefore cannot say whether he will be home again next week. If plans went through as intended, Marian, by the middle of the week, we’ll have joined her hubby in Texas (which is the reason, Marian, I am not mailing my customary copy to you at Stratford Avenue). Jean says Dick has jointly purchased a horse with another fellow at camp, probably with the idea in mind of being ready for any emergency so that if the Alaska plan does not go through he can readily become a South American gaucho. No word this week from Dan or Lad or Marian, the two latter being undoubtedly busy as bees getting the new hive ready for their respective honies.

We celebrated Marty’s (Bissie’s second son) birthday Thursday by moving en masse to Cornwall Street in Stratford for supper and the usual present unwrapping ceremony to the accompaniment of birthday candlelight, etc. Outside of Butch (Bissie’s oldest) sticking his finger in the ice cream several times and each time finding it good enough to lick off, everything went according to schedule.

Among points of minor importance, most of us are scratching our heads trying to figure out the income tax, wondering whether we can get any more coal to replenish the fast dwindling supply (my theme song: “Darling, I am growing colder”) and of course, wondering when we’ll hear from you all again. To add emphasis to the latter, here is one of the new American one cent piece, which might be interpreted as meaning “a penny for your thoughts”, and otherwise may serve as a curiosity in case you have not yet seen them. They are frequently mistaken for dimes and there is a rumor that they will be recalled.

Butch, Marty and their parents (Biss and Zeke) have just come in so I guess that means the end of this letter, even if I had any more to tell. Marty informs me he went for a walk to the “witherwar”, which, being interpreted by his mother, means ”reservoir”.

Love and kisses from

Your Valentine

Tomorrow, another letter from Marian (and Lad).

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Dear Son (1) – News From Dan and Ced – January 14, 1945

!945 has just begun and Grandpa has heard from four of his five sons – quite an improvement over last week. 

Trumbull, Conn., January 14, 1945

Dear Son:

Table of Contents:

                                  A Christmas Poem…Dan Guion

                                  Alaskan Diary…Ced Guion

                                  Report From So. France…Lad Guion

                                  30 Seconds Over Camp Crowder…Dave Guion

                                  Odds and Ends…by the Editor

Dan in uniform @ 1945

        Daniel Beck Guion 

           It is a blessing that you boys have acquired a sense of humor, or maybe, and I say it in all humility, you have inherited a bit from your parents. Anyway, amid the stress and storm of war and amid all the hardships of life at the  front, lodged in abandoned German block houses, etc., it is mighty reassuring to know that you can see the funny side, as witness the following in a V-mail written on December 24th by Dan. It reminds me of a reply an old darkey, who in spite of having his share of life’s troubles, always remained cheerful, once made when asked how he managed to remain so cheerful and calm, “Well, ah’l tell yo’”, said Uncle Joe, “Ah’s jist learned to cooperate wid de inevitable”. Now for Dan’s contribution:

‘Twas the day before Christmas when all through the house

All the world was astir here, especially a mouse

And the flea bitten bastard with rodent-like gall

Dragged a bar of my chocolate out into the hall

And there in a corner with indecent haste

The candy became gastronomical paste

He was heard to remark as he slunk toward his nest

“Merry Christmas to all, and to you, boy, T.S.”

All of which is by way of meaning that, although Christmas is Christmas, it is not always possible to spend it as we wish – – because of the rats and lesser mice and sech like. However, (I said it last year and I’ll say it again) Next Christmas things will be different.   Dan.

Ced Guion

Cedric Duryee Guion

Ced, from up near the Arctic Circle, reports on December 29 as follows:

The Buick is again performing its long neglected duties and does pretty well at it. There are a few bugs to be chased out of it yet and the way it looks, I may have to take up on the bearings a little later on, but I think I’ll wait until warmer weather. It seems that somehow or other, either from incorrect fitting or by misuse in some way, one of the rods loosened up a tiny bit in the first 100 miles. I didn’t drive fast but I had the spark set a little late and it tended to overheat a little. That, added to the fact that we had nearly 2 feet of snow at just the time I started running it, made the going very tough for a new engine. There is nothing serious at all about it but it was very disappointing after doing the job so thoroughly. It still lacks 285 miles of being run in. I installed the Stuart Warner heater which I bought from Carl and it really is swell on these cold days.

We have had a couple of extremely cold snaps down to 25 below on a couple of days, but for two weeks preceding yesterday, weather and temperature have been extremely and unusually kind to the Arctic dwellers. For some time now the frost peculiar to this section has been building up each night and gradually, completely shrouding all that is exposed to the elements in a gorgeous a blanket of lacy white. Right now when the sun comes out to peek briefly at Anchorage in its hurried course across the southern section of sky, I am privileged to look upon what I believe to be the most beautiful formations of this frost which I have seen in my four odd years up here. Everything, however ugly in the nude, is now resplendent in its new white drapings. Later however, the wind came up and blew most of the frost away. Christmas Eve I spent at the Morgan’s open house and at the Church, singing a Christmas concert with the Presbyterian choir. Christmas dinner was at Jerry Keene’s. The shortest day of the year has finally come and gone and now the days are lengthening again, although I haven’t noticed it as yet. I figured on calling you on the phone from here on Christmas day, around five a.m., catching you at ten, but found there was no openings until Thursday, and again New Year’s Day with the same report. At the night rate of $20 for five minutes and four or five dollars more on day, I decided it wasn’t worth it unless I could get the right time.

Tomorrow, the rest of the letter.

Judy Guion