Friends – Rusty Heurlin Writes to Ced – An Arctic Bum – March 25, 1944

This letter is written to Ced from Rusty Huerlin, probably received after he had returned to his job in Anchorage after his lengthy stay in Trumbull and his quick visit with Lad and Marian.

Rusty Heurlin

Nome, Alaska


Dear Ced,

Word by mukluk telegraph informs me that you are back in Anchorage. Fine guy you turned out to be not to write to your dear old pal. But perhaps you’ll get the pin out of your tail now and drop us a line to let me know how Al (Grandpa) is doing and how you enjoyed your trip outside.

Since arriving here have been tied up with ATG (Alaska Territorial Guard Association, Inc.) work but going to start painting in a couple of days. The Major (Major Marvin “Muktuk” Marston, and I have located a cabin for ourselves. Real cold weather here and have never seen as much snow. Twill be a late break up this year in case you would like to know. I should say between the fourth and the eighth.

On visit down from Palmer I emptied your pent-up mailbox and left mail with Bob Hall. Hope I did the right thing and that he contacted you or left it where you could get it before he went outside.

If Ted Kogan got luggage left in my wake, kindly get it back from him. Hold everything for me if you are not going into service. May write for frames in a couple of weeks. Keep stretchers and jib sail bag together. If you have no room for them, best place may be at George’s. Expect to be in Nome until break up time when I will go north with years supply of grub. But if you should happen to know of anyone traveling to Nome by CAA it would be all mighty swell, if no trouble to that person, to load on my frames, bag and stretchers. If Dale or Dell, the fellow who brought us out, is making the trip this way soon, I am sure he would be glad to do me this favor. You might be driving by his place sometime and can drop in to see him on this. Had I come the way planned for me, I could have handled everything.

Sorry I did not get to see you before I left. Confidentially, as I do not want it to get about, I pulled a fast one on Governor Gruening. ( It resulted in him commandeering an army car and paying me a visit at Palmer. But it wasn’t exactly a fast one and it took me one month of careful planning. It is too long a story to go over at this early hour of the morning. I only want you to know that it was honest. Or should I not say to a trusted and tried friend that he, the Governor, fell for my rubber salmon egg. Two days later he was in Fairbanks, then came a telephone call from Fairbanks for me to proceed to Nome on next Army transport. At Fort Rich a week later I got my traveling orders but no planes to Nome were available. To wait longer for transportation was like waiting for the invasion. I finally decided to put tongue in cheek and go by Star. That was why I had to cut down on baggage. But trip here is not known to Star officials so I am now one jump and the hop ahead of them.

Water is $.10 a gallon here. Whiskey cannot be had. When you see George again tell him I really like my scotch cut with water. I think he will understand. Ha ha!

Contact Ted Kogan through weather Bureau or Juanita at OPA. Drop out of an evening and see their nice home which they bought. Also see Maurie and Helen. Best to you and Hans and Ruth and all good Scandahoovis. Sorry I cannot or it’s sad I cannot add the name of dear old Kjosen,

Thank Ted for his trouble and will write him soon. Let’s hear from you soon Sonny boy… Till we meet again,

Yours to be an Arctic bum —– Rusty

During stop-over at Nulato I pissed in the Yukon. Did it the hard way too— if you know what I mean? Aim to do the rest the hard way to— if I can— and I have shot and killed a bear.

I believe the following is Ced’s memory of this trip, although he may have incorrectly remembered the approximate dates. I don’t know if we’ll ever know the complete story. This is taken from the childhood memories I recorded with my Uncle Ced on one of two occasions.

About 1940-41, things were getting red-hot. Major Marston was up there in charge of the Alaskan defense command. He was based in Anchorage. Rusty made friends with him – he made friends with everyone he talked to. He met the Governor of Alaska through Major Marston. Rusty came home one night and he said, “Know what they’re going to do? Major Marston says that the Governor wants to go around the whole perimeter of Alaska and try to develop a reasonable defense system for Alaska. I guess it was Major Marston’s idea. Major Marston said, ’None of us know anything about Alaska, the Eskimos, the Indians. We should go around and meet these native people. They know the land and if any problems develop with the days coming, we’d be lost. We wouldn’t know what to do.’ He said, ‘We want to get an Alaskan defense going with native people.’ Governor Gruening says, ’Well you know what? I don’t know any. I’m the Governor of this territory and I’d like to go around with you and meet these people that I’m supposed to be Governor of.’ “ So, Rusty sat and listened to all this talk and he said, ”You wouldn’t want to take me along, would you? I’ve had this in the back of my mind for years, that I would like to do a series of pictures on the discovery of Alaska.” His whole goal, idea and the love of his life was Alaska. He said, ”I’d like to have a chance to go around to all those places, and make sketches.” “OK, come on along.” they said. That’s where he got this series of 18 pictures, starting with the fellow who came from Russia, sailed to Alaska and took it for the Russians. That was the first painting, he did the Gold Rush and 16 others. This was after he moved to Fairbanks.” (Rusty Heurlin’s large panels depicting the history of Alaska are visible at Pioneer Park in Anchorage.

Tomorrow and Sunday, more Special Pictures and Memories of our Family Island Retreat know as “Liquid Heaven”.

Judy Guion


Trumbull – Dear C.D.E. (Chief Diesel Engineer) (3) – Grandpa’s Final Comments – March 3, 1940

This is the final section of a letter written by my Grandfather to his oldest son, Lad (my Dad), who is working in the oil fields of Venezuela and sending money home to help with raising the younger siblings, a responsibility he took quite seriously.

Alfred Duryee Guion (Grandpa)

It has been raining steadily all day long today, not hard but in a dismally persistent manner. Ced has had a nibble on the sale of his car but nothing definite yet. He plans to put the proceeds into a Crossley or Willys or some light car, economical to operate. He figures that if he finally decides to go to Alaska in June it will be a means of getting him across the continent cheaply and on arrival at Seattle, he may be able to sell it for is much as he paid for it here or possibly, if the freight rate is not too great, may take it to Alaska with him.

Enclosed you will find a letter from Rusty that he wrote last week but gave to me too late to go in last week’s letter. I am also enclosing some snapshots that Dan took for your benefit. I hope they don’t make you feel too homesick. And speaking about photos, you remember you commented on the fact that Dan was getting to be quite a good-looking lad. Well the other night the Chandler Choral Society gave a concert in the school to help toward financing the athletic activities in the schools. Dan stood in the back row so that I could just see a portion of his face — a side view — and once or twice I was really startled at the resemblance to you. I could have sworn a couple of times it actually was you there instead of Dan. Isn’t that a nice little complement to you in the light of your letter. I asked Rusty if he thought Dan looked like you and he said, “definitely, yes”.

The check arrived on schedule, and I figure next month’s check will practically take care of the payments for the Fairbanks Morse stock. The following month will take care of your annual premium and then we will be looking around for some other form of investment.

No letter from you last week which makes it the more of a certainty that tomorrow will bring another Venezuelan billet doux. It is queer the photographs you sent have not yet arrived, although it may be that I am mistaken that you did actually send some by regular mail as you spoke of doing and that you are still waiting for them to be developed and printed and delivered from Caracas.

Since Rusty has come, we have revived the old anagram game and because the green on the raised letters was pretty badly worn off, we got busy with his paints the other night and gave them a good face lifting which makes them look like a new set. They are being used right now by the bunch who are all playing in Biss’s is apartment with the baby (Butch) looking on as referee. I should think that would be a good game for you to play down there at the camp.

Barbara (Plumb, Dan’s girlfriend) just came in and I asked her if she knew any news to write you. She said that Carl and a fellow named Eb Joy had left last Saturday in the latter’s car and trailer for a trip to Florida. They intended to stop in Jersey, of course, on the way. They arrived at Miami either Monday or Tuesday of this week, and from there they will be going to Sarasota. One of the main objects of the trip was fishing. They are expected to be gone about two weeks.

That about exhausts all the news that has accumulated during the past week that has come to my attention and that seems important enough to write about.

Mack sends a couple of snorts and of course all here want to send their love, including your one and only


On Saturday and Sunday, I will share the concluding post’s to Ced’s Amazing Adventure. I hope you have enjoyed this glimpse of a Slice of Life, a hitchhiking adventure for a seventeen year old, way back in 1934., Please post a comment and let me know what you thought or what you liked the most.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Dear C.D.E. (Chief Diesel Engineer) (2) – Pranks and Shenanigans – March 3, 1040

This is the second portion of a letter from Grandpa to Lad, in Venezuela, with the conclusion of the Car Theft Story and pranks and shenanigans going on at the old homestead.

After my meeting was over at the Town Hall, it was dark, and as I had intended Dick to take the car home with the food in it, I did not look for the car parked over there. Anyway, when I had gotten out of the car it looked to me as I went in the door that Dick was preparing to back out. However, it looked now as if the car had been parked all night at the Town Hall with the key in it, so I hustled over to the Town Hall expecting to see the car there where he had left it. Whalen has a gray Willys, the same as mine, and as I approached I thought for a moment it was my car, but on second glance I saw it was not. I had already passed through two reverses a feeling that morning — one when the car seemed to be stolen from the barn, the other when I believed it was at the Town Hall. Now I was going to be plunged into the dumps again? I hustled on, and there, behind another parked car which hid it, was my little, old, banged up, shabby Willys, just as Dick had left it the night before with the key in the switch and everything O.K. and that’s the news about the stolen Willys. I hope you got a thrill out of the telling and some of the suspense that I experienced. “All’s well that ends well”. “I am an old man and I’ve had many troubles but most of them never happened”.

Rusty (Magnus Colcord Heurlin, (Rusty Heurlin) a lifelong friend to the family and a well-known Artist of Alaskan Life.) is still favoring us with his presence. He was saying today he had now been here about two weeks. He has finished this painting and is waiting for it to dry to take it to Philadelphia and endeavor to sell it to the country gentleman. There is quite a contest going on now between Dick and Dave and Rusty as to who can do the most in the way of pranks on the other fellow. Yesterday afternoon Rusty’s room was full of old rotten stumps, tree trunks and posters. Dan’s room, where he had on display all the skins and trophies he brought back from Venezuela, was decorated with all kinds of streamer’s. At the entrance was a placard, hand-lettered by Dave, which read:

(I now find this was destroyed)

The placard Dave put up in Rusty’s room, as edited by Dan, reads as follows:

Rusty is a jolly wit, with pranks of ill repute

and though he thinks he’s really it,

we think he’s full of – (a lot of good ideas)

Anon Ymous

The family after Raymond Zabel, Jr.’s Baptism

l to r: Grandpa, Dick, Ced, Elizabeth, Dave, Zeke, Raymond, Jr. (Butch) and Dan

Last night, just after I heard Dick trudging up the stairs to bed in your old room in the attic, I heard the most awful bump, crash. This morning I learned his bed had been fixed so that it collapsed. Who the author is remains a mystery. Rusty and Zeke (Raymond Zabel, married to Grandpa’s only daughter, Elizabeth. They live in the small apartment in the Trumbull House) seem to be getting on very well together, owing to their interest in guns and hunting. Last night Rusty and Zeke went out somewhere together to get “a beer”. The same old story. They met a bunch of kindred spirits, the Tomeks, etc., and had several beers and then some, so that when they reached home last night they were both feeling pretty high. Rusty’s explanation is that he spent the evening in the Bridgeport Public Library. His head today however feels about the normal size, he says. Elizabeth on the other hand is pretty well burned up. Such is life.

Tomorrow, the conclusion of this letter.

Judy Guion

Ced’s Amazing Adventure (27) – Grandpa’s Lost Letter – August, 1934

This letter was written by Grandpa on July 30, 1934 and mailed to Ced to reach him while he was visiting the Chicago World’s Fair and staying at the Chicago YMCA. Ced left Chicago Monday morning, July 30th, and the letter arrived on Wednesday, Aug. 1, 1934. The YMCA held the letter for 14 days.  They marked it “Unclaimed” on Aug. 14 and mailed it back to Grandpa. Grandpa wrote a note on the envelope  before sending it to Ced at Star Prairie, Wisc.

CDG - Lost letter, July 30, 1934


CDG - Lost letter (Note) - July 30, 1934

Grandpa’s note reads:

Thurs, 8/16/1934

This was just returned to me this morning.

Brief News Summary

Uncle Fred (Stanley) stayed overnight. He brought Lyman with him.

Arnold (Gibson, Lad’s best friend)  is O.K. He had some infected sore in his leg which the doctor took care of.

He went to school yesterday.

The girls can now say they have been to Yale. I had to go to New Haven yesterday on business,

so I took them with me. They had only time to walk around a bit and go through two of the buildings.


Next time you write include a list of those you would like to have invited to a “Welcome Home”

party. I am rather puzzled as to how many and who to invite and hesitant to leave it to the girls’


How is the raincoat standing up? Did you loose your knife with the address book?  Based on your experiences, what additional equipment would you take on a trip of this sort next time?


This is the letter:

Trumbull, July 30

Dear Ced,

Monday night, dishes are washed and Elizabeth (Bissie, Grandpa’s only daughter) and Peg (Peg Beebe, her friend) are out in Irwin’s (Laufer) truck and Dick is just putting the finishing touches on his packing. He leaves for camp at 8:30 tomorrow.

But to go back. A week ago yesterday Aunt Helen ((Peabody) Human) and Dorothy (Peabody) came up and told of your visit at New York and Ossining. Dan and Lad came home (from their work at the CCC Camps). Lad of course spent most of his time on the motorcycle. During the week Arnold (Gibson) took off the generator which I left with Mr. Page and I also had the battery rebuild by Carr. Cost $3.75. Lad came home Friday PM, having first stopped at Page’s and retrieved the generator. We had a rush job Saturday at the office, so the whole gang, including Lad, went down and finished up a 5000 mimeograph job, run both sides – 10,000 impressions. We then got Lad’s battery. Saturday afternoon Rusty (Huerlin) came up to get me to help him on an idea for a Lucky Strike advertising series. Dan did not come home at all this weekend and I have not heard from him. Sunday was uneventful.

Tonight I stopped at the store (Kurtz’s Store, which houses the Trumbull Post Office) and got your letter from Chicago – which brings us up to date. Incidentally, here is a cartoon from today’s telegram which amused Dick. It might also be interesting to show to some of those, like the man in the Auburn who related his story about his hitchhiker experience, who seemed a bit hesitant.

One day last week we had a severe rainstorm, with wind, which evidently dislodged a Chimney Swift nest in the dining room chimney. When we got up in the morning we heard a very queer noise and found two baby Swift’s who had fallen down the chimney into the dining room. In spite of Dick’s and Elizabeth’s efforts at feeding them, they expired within a day of one another and were buried under the Lilac Bush near the back door.

Blog - Lilac Bush


We have been pretty busy at the office this week. George had the automatic going today, imprinting 10,000 letterheads for Mercer.

David is still at camp. After supper one day last week (ink has run out of pen) we all took a trip up to the Hemlock’s (on same road as Huntington’s junk place) and paid him a visit. While he did not admit it, he seemed happy and cheerful enough, is eating better and looks well. He may come home next week. Here is a card I received from him. The little boy blue he refers to is a wooden door stop which he made up there under their direction.

That’s all the home news I can think of right now. It is certainly good to know you are so nicely fixed at the YMCA. Inside rooms are often quieter and better to sleep in than outside. I’m also glad you had a chance to visit with the Draz’s and renew old family contacts. Will be much interested to hear all about them in detail when you get back.

One man told me of a stunt some boys did in getting to the Pacific coast by your method. They would go to some leading hotel, clean-shaven, neatly dressed, shoes shined, hair brushed, etc. and ask the clerk if they might look over the register for names of people from their hometown who were checking out that day. When any were located, they would waylay them at the desk as they were leaving and briefly explain just what they were doing, where they were going, etc. and if it would be convenient if they had room in their car etc. Very often, in the case of traveling men, they were glad for the company and they liked it better than picking some unknown up on the road. The conversation I suppose would run something like this: “Pardon me, but aren’t you Mr. Smith from Bridgeport? I saw in the hotel register your name listed as from my own hometown and I wondered if you happen to be going in the direction of St. Paul, and could conveniently let me bum a ride. I came out here to see some relatives by hitchhike method and stopped to see the fair.”

I just noticed that your letter mailed Thursday at 7:30 PM from Chicago did not reach me until Monday PM. Even assuming it arrived last mail Saturday, if you stay only the four days, you are leaving today and this note, which can’t be mailed until Tuesday a.m., Wednesday noon is probably the earliest it will reach the YMCA and I’m wondering if you’ll be there.

You haven’t said anything in any of your letters as to how the finances are holding out. Have you tried to cash in any Travelers checks yet?

I’m awfully glad you are making this trip. It’s something you will always look back on with pleasure. While I hadn’t any fear whatsoever about your being able to take care of yourself, it will broaden your knowledge of human nature, affording additional opportunities of practicing self-reliance and add another interesting chapter to your journey through life. The kind of thing I wish I had done when I was your age. Just the same, I miss you, old standby, and I’ll be really glad to see you march up the driveway soon.



Tomorrow, another letter written during Ced’s Amazing Adventure.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Dear Lad (2) – Local News of Interest – February 25, 1940

This is the second half of a letter I began posting yesterday. 

Trumbull House - Blizzard of 1940 - Dave, Mack and Dick shoveling

Dave, Mack (the dog) and Dick after a BIG snow storm

There is now a new Willys dealer in Bridgeport, J. L. Carpenter, whom Ced called on a while ago. The salesman called on me the other day and after looking over my car told me the most he could allow on it was $190, which would about take care of the down payment on a new $690 deluxe model.

I have not been feeling so peppy lately, so I thought the wisest thing would be to see Dr. Laszlo. After giving me an examination and finding heart, lungs, kidney and blood pressure O.K., he asked me when I had had a vacation. I told him that was lost in the mists of years. I was thinking of this question when I was talking with Helen and Ted and the new stunt the Grace Line was putting on, of having tourists pay a down payment of $25 and the balance over a period of years in installments, came up, and Ted said the best idea in his mind was to get hold of the Journal of Commerce, where they were advertising tramp steamer trips to almost every place in the world. He said that the war had scared a lot of people off from making sea voyages and therefore one ought to be able to make some good bargains with some of these folks. If the stock market would show a little activity, I had thought of the possibility of scraping enough funds together to either buy a new car, take a trip to Caracas or getting Kurtz (The local grocery store where a large sum had accumulated due to Grandma Arla’s prolonged illness before she passed away in June of 1933) paid-up, but right now there does not seem to be so much activity on the New York Stock Exchange. It’s too bad SVOC hasn’t some oil tankers so that I could try to talk their New York office into making it possible for a fond father to visit his absent son.

In the field of local politics, Davis seems to be getting into more of a mess than even I did. The new police set up, as I wrote you, caused considerable fuss, resulting finally in a court action being sought to stop the town from putting the new police force into effect. This, the judge turned down. Now he is having considerable trouble with the Building Commission, the voters, under Sexton’s (Grandpa’s nemesis while he served as First Selectman in 1938-1939, leader of the Tax Payer’s Association with, perhaps, a personal axe to grind against local government) leadership, refusing to pay the Building Commissioner’s salary. The commission threatens to resign and Whelan, the Building Inspector, may quit also. How this mess will come out no one knows. I understand Sexton is to leave for a trip to Europe soon. Some folks have expressed the hope that if a German mine should get active during this period, it might not be entirely bad.

Mack is limping around on three legs again, having had one of his feet cut. I can’t quite understand how it happened because it is the top of his paw that is injured.

Charlie Kurtz tells me his wife is on a trip to California as she has not been feeling well lately and the doctor ordered a complete change and rest. Their Grandma is taking care of the children.

Biss - 1938

       Biss (Elizabeth) Guion Zabel

Elizabeth came in here all excited a while ago with the news that the baby has cut his first tooth. Instead of being in the front, however, as is normal, it is at the side.

Rusty said something about writing you a letter and if this materializes I shall enclose it with this. Your photos have not put in an appearance yet. I sent some pictures that Dan took with my last letter. He has some more that are not developed yet which I may have to send in a week or two. Well, I guess that’s about all I can think of at this writing.


In three weeks, when we return to 1940, Rusty’s letter will be the first one posted.

Tomorrow and Sunday, I will be sharing more of Ced’s Amazing Adventure in 1934. He had just turned 17 and left Trumbull, Connecticut to hitchhike to North Dakota and Wisconsin to meet his Mother’s Peabody family and to see the sites and various friends along the way. 

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Dear Lad (1) – Time with Rusty and News of Uncle Ted Human – February 25, 1940

ADG - Grandpa, when I know him, early 1960's

Alfred Duryee Guion (Grandpa)

Feb. 25, 1940

Dear Lad:

It is quite fair, I suppose, that no letter from you arrived this last week, in view of the fact that I received two from you last week – the laws of compensation working out.

There is not much to record in the way of local history. By contrast with the big happenings that are going on in the world today, local events seem of very minor importance. There is still much snow on the ground and last night the boys went over to Fairchild Wheeler Park to do some skiing. Dave sat down on a ski and is quite sore today having landed on the end of his spine on the ski.

Last Tuesday I played hooky. Rusty (Rusty Huerlin, a family friend who went on to fame as an artist and painter of Alaskan Life) had accompanied me to Bridgeport to get some paints. On the way from the Algonquin Club where I had parked my car, to the office, we got talking about ”Gone With The Wind”, which neither of us had seen, and as it was raining it seemed a good opportunity to spend some hours indoors. I proposed he and I take in the picture, and on his agreeing to the proposal, we went up to the theater, obtained good seats, arriving just as the picture started. It was in Technicolor, and in my opinion the best movie I have ever seen. We sat through the entire four hours without realizing it was so long. When we came out a little before two it was raining hard. Rusty invited me to lunch and we had a very good steak dinner.

Rusty has been with us all the week. He expects to leave tomorrow to go to Philadelphia and then on to Wakefield again. He has been trying to persuade both Dan and Ced to go to Alaska, but I have not heard yet that either of them have made up their minds, although I guess they both are thinking about it. Dan, I heard say, wants to get a job for the summer in order to earn enough money to go up there possibly to school. Rusty is quite a champion for the Russians, thinks all the stuff we have read in the papers about the bad things Russians are doing is not true and is inspired by the English capitalistic-minded people. The Russians are really wonderful people and are much misunderstood here, etc.

One day last week I was eating lunch in Howland’s when somebody bumped against my chair. I looked up and there was Ted (Uncle Ted Human, who hired both Lad and Dan to work with him for Interamerica, Inc. on the road building project. When it was discovered by the Venezuelan Government that the pictures of the “road” were actually smooth sand, the company did not get paid and neither did any of it’s employees. It took a long time to settle matters.), with Helen ((Peabody) Human, Grandma Arla’s next younger sister) in the background. They had come up to Bridgeport to see Dr. Laszlo about Ted (He was in a terrible car accident in early 1939, within six months of arriving in Venezuela, Lad helped tremendously getting him help, acting as a “go-fer” and eventually helping him get back to the United States). He said he had been feeling much better and he did look better than when I saw him last. He said his case was coming up in the Compensation Court in Caracas within a day or two, and if, as he hopes, the court down there decides the control of the company had come from New York, the case would then be transferred to the United States where the Compensation Courts here would have jurisdiction and then he could get somewhere. It seems to me this is all going to cost him a pretty penny although he will have the satisfaction of getting even with Max (Yervant Maxudian, owner and President of Interamerica, Inc., who had the contract with the Venezuelan Government to build the road), which is probably a big factor with him, but it seems to me he will be paying a large sum in lawyer’s fees for this satisfaction. He seemed a bit peeved because he had not heard from you, claiming that he had written you several letters to which he had received no reply. He said, “In some ways you have a queer set of boys”. I asked what he meant by that and he mentioned your failure to answer his notes and Dan’s neglect to notify him when he expected to arrive in New York. Just before he said goodbye, he said not to say anything to you about his remark, as perhaps he was peculiar and admitted he was not so good in corresponding with others himself and please not to say anything about it to you when I wrote. I told them I would jack you up as it was probably because you were pretty busy and that I myself had not heard from you for the space of a month a while ago. He seems to be the sort of person that appreciates very much being appreciated by those for whom he does something, and I have found that people like that respond very quickly and thoroughly to a little attention. I think this hint will be sufficient.

Tomorrow I will be posting the second half of this letter from Grandpa to Lad, his only son away from home at this point in time.

Judy Guion

Friends – A Letter From Rusty to Ced in Trumbull – February 13, 1940

This is a letter from Rusty Huerlin, who became a well known painter of Alaskan life. The thing to remember is that Rusty has a strange sense of humor and you have to take what he says with a grain of salt !!

Blog - Letter to Ceddie from Rusty - Feb, 1940

A close-up of the stationery letterhead. ( )

Feb. 13, 1940

Dear “Ceddie”,

I have finally repented and have decided to answer those many letters you sent me since I left for darkest Brooklyn. I hope everything is fine in dear old Trumbull. That “muzzlerable” contraption that you call your auto is still holding together, I trust.

If you saw Bill last weekend, don’t believe a word he said. It’s a lie and I’ve got 10 _?__ to prove it.

I hope you have recovered from that dreadful fall you took while you were roller skating last week. I’ll bet you looked silly sitting in the middle of the aerodrome with one foot in your pocket. Say! How in the devil did you pull your hand out of that trumpet? I’ll bet that woman was mad when you “tore” past her, out-of-control, and knocked her only bustle out of line. Don’t worry, I won’t tell anyone else about your “faux pas”. You’d better stick to your ice-skating. One has much more room on ice and there are no three-piece bands to make into 100 pieces. Besides you look much better on ice.

Have you found Dick, yet? I hear he was playing basketball with Ebs “Basketeers” and that he was running down the court, “drizzling” * (it seems he had to go), when the ball he was holding exploded and he hasn’t been seen since. Too bad, a nice chap too. Have you tried looking for him in the chimney of the school? He may be in one of the sparrow nests up there. You can find the nest easy, just follow the white line.

*A drizzle is a drip going steady

‘nuf of dis moross talk. Lest git to de edukational feeture….

I went on a tour of the Hotel McAlpin in New York last week. What a place, a small city in itself. They make their own electricity and steam (about the only building to do so in N. Y.) went from the second basement to the roof. You should see their kitchen. It is a monstrous thing. They have one dishwashing machine which washes dishes for about 500 people – you Guion’s should be interested in that – it’s only 6’ long. Took in the Rose Room and the Blue Room and a couple of others (“Get out of here, fresh”).

I have been rather busy this weekend. Spent all day yesterday (Sat.) drawing up a kitchen for a restaurant I’m designing (the bells around this place drive you nut’s- there! That explains this letter.) It is Lent, you know (What did you give up, women?) and the bells “ring out” every day.)

I hope everything is fine with you and your family (Didn’t think I knew, did you?).

What has Dan been doing lately? I hear he bought a parrot and is teaching it Spanish so he can speak Spanish to someone. Give my regards to the “Gang”. See you in a couple of weeks.

As Confucius says (he’s in again), “He who lays with girl on grass has peace on earth”.

Well, piece on earth to you.

So long, Chum

Red, Redmond, Redfern, Rusty (censored)

The letters I’ll be posting during the rest of the week are all written by Grandpa to Lad, my father, who is working in Venezuela. All the other children are at home with Grandpa in Trumbull.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Dear Cuthbut – News From Rusty and Business is Slow – February 15, 1942

pp pic 1

Alfred Duryee Guion (Grandpa) in the Alcove with his trusty Remington

Trumbull, Conn., February 15, 1942

Dear Cathbut:

A surprise in the mail – – a letter from Magnus (Magnus Colcord (Rusty) Huerlin) instead of Cedric; another surprise – – no letter at all from Dan. I have an idea that the Army caught up with him. In his last letter home he bemoans the fact that so far they had taught him only those things he had previously learned; now maybe the top sarg. is showing him a few new tricks that make him want to hit the hay instead of bothering to write the folks back home. Incidentally, in the December, 1941 issue of Scientific American, there is an article on how they train engineers at Ft. Belvoir. I have just finished reading it. As to Rusty’s letter, containing as it does real he-man stuff that would not make suitable reading for Aunt Betty’s and Barbara’s, it has been read only by the male members of the family, the circuit being completed by my sending it herewith to Ft. Belvoir, hoping it will get past the YMCA sensor. Rusty makes one revealing statement in his letter which may clear up some of the mystery that his been obscure since last December, which is the last time we have heard from Ced. He said something about cleaning out cabin. Now we have heard that their intention was to leave Rose Walsh’s but because of Rusty’s need for light, a cabin did not seem indicated. However, it looks as though a cabin was finally decided upon but where it is, how big, how furnished and other pertinent details might still form the subject of a very interesting letter, n’est pas?

To Rusty, in his own right, and as a pinch-hitter for runaway Ced, I send best St. Valentine’s Day greetings and thanks for his typically Rustorian letter. No matter how fortune may buffet this veteran of many wars, his sense of humor remains unquenchable, one of the things, incidentally, we love him for. I sometimes wonder if the true measure of a man is not the number of heart aches he conceals under a smiling outside. Our Rusty stacks up high on this basis. So did Lincoln and so did another whose birthday also we commemorate this month in the inner quietness of our being.

Eb Joy sold out his station to Vernon Pert, and leaves with some Boy Scouts for a few days and then to Florida for a few weeks and then he enlists with a ski troop corps.

Business (it’s a shame to call it that) for the last few weeks has been terrible, one or two orders a day totaling four or five dollars. At this rate we are getting nowhere fast. I don’t know whether this is the new order and will be permanent or whether it is just a phase of readjustment from “business as usual” to a full wartime basis, but if it is not the latter and things don’t pick up soon, I will lose money more slowly by quitting work altogether and seeking some other job on a salary basis.

One day this week we had an air raid drill. Mantle’s house was supposedly bombed and Bob Shadick had two ribs broken. I helped, as did also Dave, Ives, Reynolds, Laufer, etc., (Ivers, Reynolds and Laufer are neighbors) direct traffic so that they would not pile up on the main road and prevent fire apparatus and ambulance getting through. Evidently we did our job O.K. as we were congratulated by the judges on the result.

Dick registers tomorrow, Lad is deferred until April, Ced, per last news until this month, and Dan is in but silent. Dave (Grandpa’s youngest son) is out but not silent. As for me, I just write letters which occasionally elicit an answer. During the interim I remain, yours truly,


The rest of the week will be filled with letters written by Grandpa in the early months of 1942, filled with news of the boys and Trumbull friends and neighbors.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Dear Fugitives (2) – Excerpt From Rusty Huerlin’s Letter To Ced – December 3, 1944

To continue extract from Rusty’s letter to Ced: “Charles Brown had me over for dinner the day after we landed. Most interesting old timer in the whole territory. First painting will be of him and that one I will keep for myself. Then we’ll have to get down to making bread and butter money or go on Eskimo diet. Eskimos on the way said I was the only white man they had ever seen take to all their food and like it. Ate walrus blubber by the pound, meat dipped in seal oil, dried fish and seal oil and even soured walrus flippers. The latter dish is a rare one but was bound to try it to see if my stomach could digest it. This dainty dish is apt to knot up any white man’s stomach if not poison him. If soured by the sunshine it poisons even the Eskimos. But that did not keep me out of their gathering in a tent full of friends at Wainwright when the flippers were boiling. Sat around and ate like the rest but excuse from now on for not “taking it” again, will be that my false teeth cannot get through it. The stench from this boiling tough stuff and fat is the most repulsive I have ever experienced. It has not a sour smell alone for it smells of rottenness but I used imagination in “taking it” like one should use in first eating Limburger cheese. So the imagination I used was that my nose was rotting away and that I was starving for food – – that a rather spoiled pigs foot would give some strength to me. The girl cut off a big hunk of it dripping with rotten fat and handed it to me. Put it in my mouth and started the imagination and began chewing it. “That’s enough for him” said one of the Eskimos and stared at me with the rest watching for the effect. But I ate one piece after another. Did not get seasick the next day after we cast off and did not get seasick on the whole trip. Most explorers in their lectures throw out the hooey of what the Eskimos call them. McCracken’s bunk was “The Great White Provider”, though up here he is not regarded as much of an Explorer. Others have been known, according to their own accounts, as “The Peaceful One”, “The Crack Shot” and “He Who Never Tires”. The Eskimos have named to me now and by Mukluk telegraph it has gone a long way: “Artist, First White Man to Eat Flippers”. If I do it again it will be the last. Seal guts with crap in them tastes like sausage meat in comparison. One day on the trip I lived on raw caribou meat dipped in seal oil. Looks like pretty days ahead. My three months grubstake, which was all I was able to afford, is going to last me a year now. Have given up rum and all forms of liquor. Sure amazed at my willpower”.

Doesn’t that sound just like Rusty. I can see now that he was getting in training for the walrus flipper diet on that trip to Lake Winnipesaukee, the day he ate that famous sandwich which you all probably recall – – who could forget it?

From the childhood memories of Dave: “Rusty is the last one in the world to call someone else silly. I remember one time he decided to make himself a meal. So we got a piece of bread and he proceeded to put anything and everything that was edible on top of that piece of bread and ate the whole thing, stood out on the rock and belched loud enough so people on Red Hill (across the lake) could hear him, I’m sure. He was a character, a funny guy.”


Alfred Duryee Guion (Grandpa)

Just the same, there is a great truth in what he says about going through with a task by using the imagination. Purposely shutting your mind to any consideration of the unpleasant aspects of something that has to be done will enable one to do the impossible. Rusty seems to have developed this imagination faculty to a remarkable degree.

Back where reference is made to Larry being a Mason reminds me of something, Ced, which I have been going to suggest to you for some time but have never happened to think of it when writing, and that is to ask if there is a Masonic Lodge in Anchorage and do you know, fairly well, any of the members? I am sure you would enjoy masonry very much and would take a great interest in it – – more so than any of the other boys. If you ever have the chance and the slightest inclination I would suggest serious consideration of it.

No word yet from Lad but the time is drawing near when a letter from overseas is about due if he sailed when we expect he did.

Catherine (Warden, who is continuing to live in the small apartment with her two children) told me last night that as Paul (her husband)  is expected to be stationed for 18 months in Oklahoma, he has applied to Washington for permission to bring his family out there and in that case, Catherine plans to sell the car to raise car fare, which will leave the apartment minus a tenant. Of course nothing is certain yet but she should know definitely by the end of the month whether permission has been granted or not.

Well, my hearties, I cannot say that I am imbued with the Christmas spirit, but I hope that as the day draws nearer, in spite of the fact that none of you will be home for that festival for the first time in our lives, I may recapture some of the old spirit, particularly with the girls here and possibly Butch and Marty present to put more meaning into the day. Be that as it may, perhaps this letter may not reach some of you before that day, so I give you what is deep in all our hearts here – – hopes and best wishes, particularly from


I’ll finish out the week with another of Grandpa’s letters addressed to T/3, T/4, T/5, Sergeant and Chief Ski Instructor.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Letters From Each Son (2) – More News From Alaska – July, 1945

This is the continuation of Ced’s long letter I started yesterday.

Ced and car - 1940 (3)-head shot

As to flying, perhaps you could find me an airplane cheap. Seriously, the more I think of it, the more I think it would be smarter for me to buy one instead of paying rental on planes here. The cheapest I can fly for is $7.50 an hour and I need at least 150 hours more. That makes $1125 and nothing to show for it but the flying time and experience. The Army is releasing some of the small ships which they used for observation purposes. If I could get an Aeronca Chief or a Taylorcraft or some such thing, I might be money ahead. I think the Army is selling them for around $750 as is. Most need repairs but some need very little. My thought is that if I could get one of these, spend a few dollars on repairs and licensing, I would not only get my flying time a little cheaper but would have something material out of it. As for purchasing wherewithal I would have to scrape up the cash somehow, as the Army, I don’t think, would like a time payment plan. If Dan would permit me, I might sell the car and use that money toward a plane paying him back on time. The biggest hitch is finding the plane as I think I could promote the money. Perhaps the fellows in the apartment could steer you onto something. There were also some good buys on the civilian market, but they are probably not quite as much for the money. If something were available back there, I could perhaps take time off,  dash home to Trumbull on a flying trip, and fly the ship back up here. Then next time I wanted to go to Trumbull, it would be just a matter of packing up the plane and get going. This is perhaps all a pipe dream but I’m enjoying it and if you happen to run across something let me know, post haste. In the meantime I am looking around for whatever I can see and paying from $7.50 to $10 an hour. A plane similar to those I mentioned, in this country, would run from $2500 to $4000, which is slightly beyond my means. Ask Marian if she could get me a helicopter for $25 down and the rest when they catch me.

Marian (Mrs. Alfred (Lad) Guion), is living at the Trumbull House with Grandpa, awaiting Lad’s return from the war. She is employed by Sikorsky Aircraft in Stratford, Connecticut)

I must finish that trip history before I forget that I went on it. I’ll try to include another installment in the next issue. Dave’s moccasins will be on the way soon. I haven’t been able to get them yet but I think this coming week will turn the tide. Now as regards the much discussed touring Grandpa being able to travel after the War) , all arrangements at Trumbull should be comparatively simple. There should be someone interested in renting the house in the event you care to leave on an extended vacation after the war. They should be willing to take over the apartment care if the rent was reasonable, and of course Dave and Aunt Betty would either stay there or move into other quarters, whichever seemed the most adaptable to all concerned. At any rate, it seems to me that a trip such as you mention would be a swell one to take and maybe things can be worked out so that I can start from here and join you somewhere along the road. Perhaps I would fly on ahead and spied out a trail for you in case the highway was too bad. Seriously, it would be fun to start by car from here and go all the way down through the U.S., stopping at the National Parks and wonders which Aunt Betty and Aunt Elsie have raved about, and continuing on through Central America. Wouldn’t a house trailer be a good investment on a trip such as that? Maybe the roads wouldn’t be good enough to take a heavy trailer over, but if they were, and from what I’ve heard of trailers or tourists, it would be a most enjoyable way to go and perhaps as inexpensive as any other way and less than most. We could

page 3 of Ced’s letter

carry a tent for extra sleeping and use the trailer as a cook shack and base camp. Of course, it would be most enjoyable and a WOW of a trip if the whole caboodle clan Guion and spouses could gather together enough rolling stock and equipment to make the trip together, and I for one would be for it, but I suppose that, due to circumstances beyond our control, that would be difficult to manage. However it is something to think about and to work for. Well, I sure have wandered about in this letter and romanced plenty.

Now let’s get down to facts again. Art Woodley is again in the states to see about new planes, new routes, etc. All planes are now running again. Thursday of this coming week, the fishing season closes and again we have that mad rush evacuating the fisherman. At least we are better situated to handle the rush then we have been for a long time.

Rusty - Rusty at his painting cabin - 1979 (2)

Latest rumor, unconfirmed, is that Rusty is coming back to Anchorage to live. Walter Stoll told me that John Manders had a letter from Rusty to that effect. I have not written him lately nor have I heard from him for five or six weeks. The city of Anchorage has finally oiled many of the streets to keep down the dust, a move which I have felt necessary since Dan and I arrived here in 1940. There is an amusement park at the east end of town opening soon. It consists of a merry-go-round and an airplane loop-the-loop. There are now some 90 odd licenses in the city for the dispensing of retail and wholesale liquor. Whoops, my dear, what a fair city we have, hic, hic. The Community Hall has been converted into a hospital for venereal diseases, which are on the sharp increase hereabouts.

The successor to Gen. Buckner, Gen. Mittlestedt, has threatened to call “off-limits” many places in Anchorage if the condition isn’t cleared up quickly. So much for the dirt. To Jean, bon voyage and a pleasant landing. Marian, I hope such joy as Jean is experiencing will soon be yours. To Aunt Betty I promise a letter in the near future. Till then, to all a good night.

Tomorrow, Grandpa gives us the complete letter from Lad, who is somewhere in Southern France. On Thursday, letters from Dan and Dick and on Friday, a letter from Dave and Grandpa’s comments.

Judy Guion