After my Uncle Dan (Daniel Beck Guion) passed away in 1997, I realized that first-hand accounts of this particular “Slice of Life” would only continue to diminish over time. I needed to record the memories of my Aunt Biss and her brothers and share them with the family. This culminated in the idea of a Blog so that I could share these memories with anyone who would be interested in the personal histories of some members of The Greatest Generation.
Over a period of several years, whenever possible, I recorded the memories of my Dad and his siblings.
In July of 2004, I sat down with my Uncle Dave and recorded his memories. With the other siblings, the memories were recorded in a somewhat chronological order, but with Dave, after a few early memories, he went right to his Senior year in high school when he made the decision to enlist in the Army. The conversation continued through his service, from Basic Training and his posts in Okinawa and the Philippines until he came home after World War II was over. I then led him back with questions about his childhood. I will present his memories as they were recorded.
David Peabody Guion in 1939
I have a Log Book someplace that I should give to you, Judy. It’s the trip, a couple of trips maybe, with the boat that dad named the Helen. Now, most boats seemed to enjoy themselves lying on top of the water. Helen seemed to enjoy it most when she was on the bottom, on solid land, even though it was covered by water. My father would get more phone calls, “Come down and bail out your boat.” Or “Come down and somehow raise it up.” It was forever sinking. It was, as I recall, it was some kind of a – when you’re a kid your perspective gets kind of mixed up – as I recall it was probably something like the infamous – what’s that movie, you know, the steamboat from the – anyhow it had a bow, it had a stern. It was kind of rounded like a tug boat … African Queen, probably not nearly as big but to me it was big as a kid. It had an engine but it was not a steam engine like the African Queen but had some kind of engine in the back. It was kind of fun for the older boys. I don’t know what happened to the Helen but my guess is that if you drained the Housatonic River, you’d probably find it.
To read more about the Helen, you can read my posts under that Category.
My problem, aside from Dick, my biggest problem when I was a kid was keeping different groups of friends apart from one another. I had lots of friends when I was a kid, no real close friends, but they were diverse. When I was playing with one and one of the others showed up, I had a problem because the two of them didn’t get along
As far as games are concerned, I was the consummate athlete. The sandlot game was really an un-organized game when I was a kid. In a sandlot game, a bunch of kids would get together and two would get to be Captains. One of them would throw the bat in a vertical position to the other Captain, he would grab it and then they would put hand over hand until they reached the top of the bat, and that was the guy, whoever was the last to touch the bat, he was the one who would pick first. He would pick the best player, probably, and then the other Captain would pick somebody and they go back and forth like that until it got to me. I always managed to be the last one picked because I couldn’t hit, I couldn’t catch, and no one wanted me as a ballplayer. When it came to football, I was too light and too scared, so I was never a football player. I never learned to ice skate until, after I was married, my wife taught me how to ice skate. So, you can see, I was the consummate athlete.
Tomorrow, more of the Early Years with Memories of David Peabody Guion.