Trumbull – Dear Son (2) – News From Dave and Lad – January 14, 1945

This is the conclusion to the letter posted yesterday. This week, Grandpa has heard from four out of five sons, which results in a longer letter.

Page 2     1/14/1945

David Peabody Guion (home on leave, December, 1944)

From Signalman Dave a “5 Jan. 45” letter says: “Naturally I just couldn’t break off at home and come back to camp without leaving a little something behind me to remind you all of the four days I spent with you, but now I find I must have the very article that I left at home. It seems that the G.I. procedure is that every soldier wears what is known commonly as dog tags. So if one of you good souls would be so kind as to locate the missing articles and send them to the address here before they Court Martial me, I sure would appreciate it.

My furlough ended Monday at midnight. The Jeffersonian was only eight hours late, forcing me to miss TWO connections out of St. Louis. Naturally I was slightly AWOL!! – – Only 12 hours late coming in. But in the eyes of the C.O. our reason was a good one (there were three of us on the Jeffersonian). It seems that all of the trains were late and most of the boys were AWOL for a few hours. Some even came later than I did. This week I’m working from 12 midnight until eight in the morning in the code room at shantytown (tar paper barracks in camp now being used as operations buildings). I “sleep” in my own bed during the day. Either Sunday or Monday we go into the field for a week’s training. Don’t be surprised if by the end of the end of next week I’m writing from the hospital.”

APG - Langeres, France - 1945

Alfred Peabody Guion (Lad) in Southern France

Through courtesy of the recipient we are privileged to hear now a few words from Ordnance in Southern France:

“Things are getting better here. The sun shone almost all day and practically dried out the high spots. We got a stove for our room, so I keep fairly comfortable. There were eight of us in this room, about the size of half of our kitchen and there are four double-decker beds made of unfinished wood with 6”  to 8”  slats spaced about an inch apart. A mattress filled with straw which, believe it or not, is fairly comfortable. On December 13 he writes “All of us are sitting around here in our warm room with a bottle of beer. We all feel better tonight since we got paid. Due to rationing of practically everything in the PX, a maximum of that 80 francs ($1.60) per week is about all you can spend. Every cent we had, excluding good luck pieces, had to be changed to francs and we are paid in francs as it is a military offense to have American money on your person here. For easy calculating one franc is worth approximately two cents but it is still a little funny to try to buy something.”

He is now very happy to be working on the diesel electric plant and is now on the night shift. He is also trying to get in touch with Dan and if there is any way of the latter letting him know where he is, by all means set the wheels in motion. On December 22nd: “A few of the boys went out the other day and brought back a big Christmas tree which is been decorated by a bunch of very ingenious men using practically nothing but discarded paper, tinfoil from cigarette packages, and by hanging evergreen bows from wire strung around the room, the day room has been quite nicely fixed up. We expect to have a company party there this week.”

Page 3     1/14/1945

Marian Irwin Guion (Mrs. Lad)

Marian (Irwin) Guion (Mrs. Lad)

Jean (Mrs. Richard) Guion

Jean (Mortensen) Guion (Mrs. Dick)

There is a report that Ray Wang has been wounded although not seriously. Catherine Warden is preparing to leave here somewhere around the first of the month for Oklahoma. I don’t expect there will be much difficulty in finding a new renter but it will leave us seriously handicapped regarding the laundry problem, which she has been doing for us every week on her washing machine. Jean and Marian are willing to tackle the job after I get our washing machine put in order (Ced fixed the electric ironer when he was home a year ago). I figured however, that with them both working all day, five days a week, they might not have the time, so I took our wash down to Crawford Laundry which used to do it and was told that, as a special favor to me, they would take it this week, but only the de-luxe expensive service was available, that they were not taking on any new customers in fairness to their old steady customers and that in any event, they could not promise the return of any wash inside of a month. That, coupled with the fact that it is impossible to buy any sheets (they had to call the police at a recent sheet sale at Read’s, one of the officials at the store was knocked down in the scramble and two women tore a sheet in half, each grabbing one end and claiming it was hers), sort of settles the matter for us. Either we wash our own stuff or go without, or wear dirty clothes. Reminds me of my cousin Dud’s test to determine whether his socks were dirty enough to go to the laundry. he threw them against the wall, and if they stuck, they were.

It’s been snowing here all afternoon, in spite of which fact, two young things journey up here in the bus to get married this afternoon, reminding me of another 14th only a month later, when I performed another marriage ceremony here in the house and then the groom shortly thereafter ran away to Brazil, and, personally speaking, hasn’t been heard from since, – – well, hardly ever.

I spoke forniest (? not my typo) in this letter, about your possibly inheriting some of your parents characteristics. There is one thing you did not inherit from me and that is a, what for the lack of a better term, I shall call “money sense”. I suppose it is largely my fault that most of you are not more thrifty. When you were born, I started for each of you a bank account but fell down somewhere along the line in inculcating the idea of saving for the rainy day that invariably comes with the change in life’s weather. Later, this fund was transferred (small as it was) to the Home Building & Loan here in Bridgeport, and none of you have added a cent to it, as far as I know, since that time. In Ced’s case I suppose the atmosphere of Anchorage makes it particularly difficult to develop the habit of laying by for future needs. I religiously saved for him the money he sent home from time to time, thinking he was paying me back for some fancied debt he owed me, and then when he came home last year, he spent it out of his generous heart. He gets a bonus from Woodley’s and immediately thinks about buying Christmas gifts in spite of the expense of fixing up his car. If you boys can’t save something from the small amount you are being paid, just for the mental discipline and good habit formation, then bolster your good intentions by sending me something REGULARLY to put aside for you. I speak out of the experience and observation of sixty years and know someday you are going to thank me for it, if you heed these words now, and it will make me face your future more confidently also. This is not something you married ones can push off onto your spouses. It’s your job. Sorry to end on so somber a note.

DAD

Tomorrow and Sunday I will be continuing the story of Biss in St. Petersburg, Florida, helping her Aunt Anne (Peabody) Stanley with her two children, Don and Gwen.

If you are enjoying these letters about the home front during the war, why not spread the news and tell some friends? They may thank you.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Dear T/3, T/4, T/5, Sgt. and Chief Ski Instructor (1) – December 10, 1944

 

Trumbull House in winter - (cropped) - 1940

Trumbull, Conn., Dec. 10, 1944

Dear T/3, T/4, T/5, Sgt. And Chief Ski Instructor,

Your Dad greets you, your wives greet you, your Aunt Betty greets you and even Smoky wags his greeting spelling out in dog.dot and dash system, which perhaps Dave, with his specialized signal training, might be able to interpret as Christmas good wishes from those whom Ced addresses in his last letter as the “Inhabitants of the house by the side of the road”. And while it is a bit difficult, without Rusty’s imagination, to achieve the full Christmas spirit with all Daddy’s little candles scattered to the four winds, there is an event in the offing which presages the advent of some real Christmas cheer, to wit, the following letter from Dave:

“This time I’m not going to make the fatal mistake. All I’m going to say is that it looks very much as if I’m going to be home for Christmas. But you will not be sure till I get there. If I pop in on you Christmas morning don’t be surprised. But on the other hand, if I don’t – – you’ll know that I couldn’t get off for Christmas but that I’ll be home sometime in the near future. Last night, I got a call from the Western Union saying that the $50 are still waiting for me, so I picked them up today. I’m going to keep the money so that I can get home when (and if) I get my furlough. Winter has set in at Camp Crowder. It’s pretty cold and the fog is so thick you can hardly see the barracks next door. We have an eight hour night problem tonight and it’s so soupy out I think I’ll have to get “lost” and come back to the barracks.”

Evidently, Dave, keeping my fingers crossed DID do some good. I’ve got two fingers crossed now, and shall have until the 25th and while it interferes a bit with running the graphotype and pecking the typewriter it will have full compensation if it works.

As to your P.S., Jean, Biss and Zeke all prefer Camels, which, as you surmise, are unobtainable here and would be right welcome. Jean’s second choice would be Luckies, which is also what Marian would like to send to Lad (she doesn’t smoke cigarettes), and while I have tried to convince her you don’t want to give her something to send to someone else, even though it is her husband and your brother, she insists that they would be welcome. Jean would also like a Sgt. pin (see sketch). Aunt Betty would like toothpaste, (Phillips Milk of Magnesia preferred but not mandatory) or a bottle of Listerine. If they had any ordnance insignia of any kind at your PX, maybe Marian would like that. A bottle of hair tonic (Pinaud’s Eau de Quinine or a reasonable facsimile thereof, unobtainable here, would suit me fine). And now the inevitable counter question – what do YOU want? Of course it is superfluous to add that the finest gift of all will be your appearance in person, but you know that without any need to mention it.

Lad and Marian Guion, 1943

Marian has heard from Lad. He is “somewhere in Southern France”. It is colder there than he expected it would be. His trip across was uneventful for a wartime passage, good weather. Incidentally, Dave, Lad says he will be unable to do anything about your watch, so evidently you will just have to wait until a new supply arrives at your PX.

A letter from T/5 Donald F. Sirene, 31333518, 1661 EUD, APO 837, C/o PM, New York. (Note Dan, he has the same APO number as you have, does that mean he is stationed anyway near you?) Like Dan, he got to Paris on Armistice Day. He also expected to visit Paris on Thanksgiving and intended to inquire of the Red Cross where he could locate Dan. He says that while Paris is a very beautiful city of parks, monuments and statues, there are none of the latter that can compare with that statue in New York Harbor.

Judy_0003

Page 2    12/10/44

Ced surprised us by writing another letter which arrived within a week of the last. He mentions first that the Buick repair job is about completed and at a ,total cost of about $300, plus labor which he generously donated himself, including a practically new engine, transmission, brakes, etc. which he estimates will make the old boat give service for about two years more, at least. He made another ski trip to Independence Mine, finishing up by skiing all the way downhill to Fish Hook.

He says: “I saw some prints from original negatives found on a Jap soldier in the Aleutians. The scenes were quite like any an American soldier might have, except that the subjects were all Japanese. There were views of buddies all smiling at the camera, Jap planes on the beach, some on skis, etc. No doubt most of them are now dead, along with many Americans they have killed. Yet actually the individuals have no quarrels with the other except those brought on by imaginary and state sponsored propaganda. I suppose the day will come in the future, perhaps after our time, though I hope sooner, when people will be judged as individuals, not by race or color. That day will almost necessarily have to come after an economy encompassing the whole sphere of the earth has been arranged to the mutual benefit of all peoples, and why not? I don’t know how I get off on these tangents so much, but I can’t seem to help it. Better I should do something about it and talk less.”

He asks if Jane and Jean have become maternity cases yet. (Don’t get excited about the Jean part – – it’s the other Jean). And that reminds me I seem to have been remiss in reporting that both have increased the population of Trumbull with little girl babies. Both doing fine, thank you.

“Anchorage continues to grow by leaps and bounds and soon it will be too big to tolerate. At every trip through a section of the city not visited recently there is a new building of some sort going up or already finished. Poor Rusty will be a complete stranger when he comes into town again. There are a lot of new people here as well. One continually meets new people and says goodbye to old acquaintances. There is a feeling that the territory will grow quickly after the war, and it does seem ripe for a big influx of people looking for the new frontier, and while a lot of them will be disappointed, lots more will stay. As for it remaining a frontier, with all its vastness, I think, due to the airplane, it will soon get out of that stage in the habitable spots. There will always be rugged and wild sections to which one could go to get away from civilization, but I don’t think one could very well live in them. When that day comes, if not before, I shall probably leave the territory. The Alaska that Dan and I first saw in 1940 is already greatly changed. Rusty went to Pt. Barrow to get away from civilization and now the Army is sending in a large crew of men to run mining and survey camps, and I suspect Rusty is a little disappointed, although I haven’t heard from him for over a month now”.

Tomorrow  I’ll be posting the rest of this letter.

On Saturday and Sunday, more Memories of Arla Mary (Peabody) Guion..

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Dear Fugitives (1) – A Typical Domestic Scene – December 3, 1944

 

MIG - Marian and Jean bringing in Christmas Tree - 1944

Marian (Irwin) Guion (Mrs. Lad) and Jean (Mortensen) Guion (Mrs. Dick), enjoying the winter weather, 1944

Trumbull, Conn., December 3, 1944

Dear Fugitives:

Having run away from home, leaving your wives – – you who have them – – to form the nucleus of your father’s harem, it devolves upon me as the patriarch of the family to set down for posterity an account of the momentous happenings at home, hoping the while that you will soon see the error of your ways and return home to feast upon the fatted calf (no reference to ladies present) which your father and O.P.A. jointly hope to supply.

And speaking of meals, I must record a momentous occasion at home here – – the inauguration of a new chefess (Dan will supply the proper French feminine word) for the Sunday cuisine in the Guion ménage – – no less a person then Marian, the wife of Alfred the Absent,  who, in her own charming manner, volunteered for the task and in her own inimitable way, prepared a very pleasing and satisfying Sunday dinner, thus releasing the erstwhile cook for such household chores as fitting boards to take the place of marble slabs (sounds like a morgue) on the Walnut Bureau – – the one Ced spent so many hours scraping the paint off of (one should never use a preposition at the end of a sentence); re-hanging the dinner gong in the dining room which Butch and Marty finally succeeded in pulling off the wall; turning off the water from the laundry tubs; filling up the small round hole in the kitchen floor which you boys used to spit tobacco juice down; replacing glass in storm windows; applying a priming coat of paint to new storm doors, and other little odds and ends. Some day this week, I expect Karl Laufer to come over to fix the broken eave on the apartment roof caused by the falling tree and other jobs.

If you have by this time surmised from the above that I am having difficulty in finding some entertaining items of news to record, you will have come close to the truth. Nevertheless, let me pursue my wayward course and set down a typical domestic scene. We are all seated around the kitchen table. Outside it is dusk. I, with my back to the dining room door in my accustomed place, I’m trying to indite my weekly news sheet. At the other end of the table, Jean is busily engaged in knitting a pair of brown socks or something. Aunt Betty, on my left, has just finished preparing Christmas cards to be sent to you boys. At my right, Marian, early imbued with the Christmas wrapping spirit, with numerous boxes and packages of colored ribbon, stickers, stars and smelly pace, is industriously preparing attractive packages to go to relatives in sunny California. Smoky, in the laundry, is pushing his food bowl around the floor in a vain effort to lap the last particle of dog food from the meal his Aunt Betty has so lovingly prepared for him. And that seems to complete the status of affairs at the moment.     Elizabeth and Zeke dropped in for a few moments this afternoon. They report the children are recovering from their tonsil operation in fairly good shape. Elizabeth, I am sorry to say, does not take very good care of her own health and is not feeling too well. Aunt Betty keeps remarkably well and keeps going in great style. Friday she went down to Bridgeport and spent the day going the round of the stores for Christmas shopping and coming home alone on the bus. Marian has been helping all week at the office – – and I really mean helping. She has mastered the graphotype in good style and, as a consequence, a number of rush jobs, which were worrying me, were turned out on time, and correctly. Ethel (Bushy) Wayne, Mrs. Carl) has just reported a phone message from Carl who is in New York and will be home tomorrow or Tuesday. This means he will probably be home for the holidays.

The only “Army” mail this week is from Dave, as follows: “At long last I’m finally back to soldiering again. Ever since the beginning of Sept., when I came back from the field, I’ve been leading quite an easy life. But starting yesterday we’re doing team training. From seven A.M. to 7 P.M. I’m on the go. It makes a long day six days a week. But the reason for it, they say, is that this unit is “hot”. Of course those of us on the DD team that used to be, have heard that story before. This letter is being written in school, so you can see I don’t have much time. I can’t promise you too good mail service in the future. Our team training is supposed to go from now until the first week in January – – the last two weeks of training (Christmas and New Year’s), being spent out in the field. I haven’t spoken to the Captain yet but I’m very sure I won’t be able to get a furlough until Team Training is over in January. If we’re as hot as we’re supposed to be, we’ll leave sometime in February or March. Well, I haven’t said much but I’d better quit before I get caught.”

A letter from Larry  (Peabody) says one of the high spots in the year for them was the visit of Lad and Marian. “We thought she was swell – – and was Alan proud of his cousin Lad! Trailed him like a shadow. Our love to Aunt Betty, Biss, and all our nephews and our wives and their cousins and our aunts in Trumbull and also to our brother in law.” Marion  writes: “We were so happy to meet Marian and so pleased that she and Lad took the time to stop off here on their return to California. Marian is grand – – 100% – – and it doesn’t take more than two minutes to arrive at that conclusion. Lad is a fine boy, a lucky boy and a deserving boy. (Speaking of Marian, I wasn’t prejudiced by the fact that she had been a schoolteacher and that she spelled her name ian either!!) You probably know that Dorothy (Peabody) was out here again for about 10 days the end of August. It was so nice to have her. We wish so much that more of our “Eastern” relatives could come. My mother is in Ohio now until after Christmas. She is real well and had her 71st birthday last week. We have had a very heart-breaking summer tho. Bill, my older brother, had a cerebral hemorrhage just before Memorial Day and is still in a very pathetic condition. He became irrational and had to be removed to a mental hospital, where he still is, tho somewhat improved. Alan is fine – – in third grade this year. Larry has a “chair” or whatever you call it, in the Masonic Lodge and is busy. We really think of you all, uncle, much oftener than you hear from us. Am I glad that you and Aunt Betty have Jean and Marian with you. Our best to you all for a very pleasant Christmas. Send our love to all the boys when you write them next.”

Tomorrow I’ll post the conclusion of this letter and finish out the week with another of grandpa’s long letters to T/3, T/4, T/5, Sgt. And Chief Ski Instructor.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Dear Dave (1) – Grandpa Includes Dave for the First Time – January 16, 1944

 

This is the first installment of a very long letter Grandpa penned to his sons and daughter-in-law during the first month of 1944.

Trumbull, Conn., January 16, 1944

Dear Dave:

Now that you have become eligible for membership in the “Veterans of Foreign Wars”, and this is the first letter you will have received as a rookie from me, it is quite appropriate that this week’s news sheet should be addressed to you alone. With your kind permission, however, we will allow other Guion members of the armed forces and their “appendages” to peak over your shoulder, so to speak, and thus glean what few bits of information they may from this screed.

While we did not receive the expected postal from you up to the last mail Saturday, a little bird whispered that internally you were humming a theme song which had a slight resemblance to the old saw: “Be it ever so humble, there’s no place like home”. But cheer up, all your big brothers went through the same experiences and got over it without any permanent scars. It’s always the beginning that is the most difficult and beginnings never last.

After saying goodbye to you at the Shelton Town Hall Thursday, clutching in your little hands the booklet donated by the American Legion on how to act as a soldier, the little package of cigarettes, chewing,, etc., we drove down to Bridgeport and Aunt Betty took the bus home. I admit I felt a bit lonesome all by myself in the office but having found from past experience that plunging into work is the best antidote for brooding, I tried a full dose of the remedy and held the enemy at bay, if you don’t mind mixed metaphors. I will say however that we all miss you a great deal and every so often someone says: “I wonder what Dave is doing now?”. (If they only knew, huh?)

Every week over this station we call in our correspondents from distant points. We will now hear from Ordnance in Texas. Come in Texarkana. (Pause) We regret that conditions beyond our control interfere with proper reception, but here is a report as of Jan. 9th:

Lad opens up with the shot amid ship: “I’m sorry, my first thoughts and letters are now to Marian and you all have sort of slid down a peg in line of importance.” (Which is quite proper as long as you don’t back the old man off the map entirely, Lad. I know you won’t do that and even if you felt like it I don’t think Marian would let you, so there) These faithful daughters-in-law of mine do have such a struggle at times trying to get their new husbands lined up. It’s an awful task, girls, I know. I’ve been at it longer than you, sometimes with fair results but many times with but meager returns. All this, of course by way of an aside, because Lad reassuringly goes on to temper the broadside by adding: “However, that doesn’t mean that my affections have in any sense decreased. I still think of all of you constantly but time has been lacking. In fact, I had to skip writing to Marian two nights last week.

On December 18th Lad was given advance notice he was to be shipped out. On the 21st he learned he had to go to Texarkana, Texas and must be there by December 25th. Some Christmas present! By noon of the 21st he was on his way in the Buick. Two flat tires and being forced into the ditch on an icy road were the only troubles other than getting gasoline. He arrived on Christmas Day and until January 3rd worked in getting a group of men ready to start training. If the 23 men under Lad’s charge successfully pass their examination, they are scheduled for overseas sometime in the early summer, but due to the type of work they are trained for, they should always be at least 300 miles from the front

Lad doesn’t like the weather there at all – snowy, cold and damp. Marian is planning to come out by train about February 1st, and will come to Trumbull with Lad when (?) he gets his furlough.

Tomorrow, I’ll be posting the next installment of this four-page letter from Grandpa to his scattered family, in all their locations around the world. I’ll post the  final installment on Friday. On Friday.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Dave Writes to Lad in Venezuela – February 6, 1939

David Peabody Guion – fall of 1938

 

Feb. 6, 1939

Dear Lad:

I received your letter today.  Thanks. Babe * (Miss Mullins) (a teacher at Dave’s school and Lad’s girlfriend when he went to Venezuela) said, when I told her * about seeing you off, that along about 12:00 noon she was home, feeling.* quite blue.  Every time I see her,* she says something about you or S. A. .

The kids at school miss you as a buss driver.

You’re lucky, Dan still* hasn’t gotten a let*ter from me.

More later ( maybe ).

SO* long.

Dave

P.S. It took 25 minutes to write this letter.

    means mistake.

ANOTHER P. S. ON BACK (more news)

P.S. Sandy had appendicitise* (is the spelling right?)  And as soon as he recovered from it Barbara Lee got pneumonia (darn these diseses)**

Now I’ve gotten to a swearing point.

                                                                      Too many mistakes

Tomorrow I will post a letter from Grandpa to INTERAMERICA, INC. regarding lack of payment for his sons. On Friday, Grandpa writes to Dan.

Judy Guion

Memories of Arla Mary (Peabody) Guion (9) – Memories From Her Children

 

Arla Peabody Guion on the Island in New Hampshire

Arla Mary Peabody Guion

A.D. – In Trumbull we became interested in local activities. A local volunteer fire company was started in which I was a charter member. To raise money to buy firefighting equipment we ran annual carnivals which were successful for many years. I became Justice of the Peace, and judge of the local traffic court. Later, for two terms, I served as the town’s First Selectman, during which time we celebrated the 300th anniversary of the town and also saw an old mine property converted into a public park. Arla became President of the Women’s Community Club, and was active in the Parent Teachers and other civic affairs, especially where common sense and sympathetic help was needed.

The following letter was written to Arla by Dan, her second son, in April of 1928, when he was 12.

 

  Daniel Beck Guion (Dan)

April 28, 1928

P.O. Box 7

Trumbull, Conn.

Dear Mother,

You cannot imagine how we all in Trumbull wish for you. Daddy told me this morning that your sores would be grafted this weekend.

We had tests today in school that lasted all day. They began this morning and ended at recess time this afternoon. Aunt Anne went home this week and Daddy told me to be the boss today. I just came back from stopping a quarrel between Ced, Eliz. and Alfred. It was about who was boss, Eliz. or me. Eliz. said that I was supposed to do just a little bit and she was supposed to do the rest but Alf. and Ced said that I was the boss. I heard them while I was writing this letter and went down. I explained to them how it was and told them to stop quarreling. I just asked Eliz. If she was through washing the dishes and she said yes. Then I told Dickie to dry them. He was blowing bubbles at the time. It is now 5:30. Bubbles reminds me of a story that I heard. A farmer saw an automobile and called it an automobubble. We are all getting along all right here and I hope that the time flies until you get here.

It is a cloudy day and not very pleasant but I am happy. Hoping you are the same.

Lovingly

Daniel

P.S. – As I read over this letter I realized that nothing is very interesting but I hope you will enjoy it. Sweet dreams.

              Cedric Duryee Guion (Ced)

CED – As I said, our house was the center of activity all over town. It drew practically everyone in the town of Trumbull. Mother said every Tuesday night we could have an open house for all the young people. We played the piano and we sang. We just had a ball, and then we’d have cookies and cocoa or something. That was so much fun.

 

David Peabody Guion (Dave)

DAVE – My Mother and Father used to enjoy having parties and, when they got to know Rusty (Heurlin), he was always welcome at their parties because he was a lot of fun. Invariably, now this was when I was very small he would take me into the other room and show me a nickel. Now, a nickel in those days was probably like two dollars today. He’d say “now, if you go into the other room and say what I tell you to say, I’ll give you this nickel.” Then he’d tell me what to say and I’d walk into the room and stand in the middle of the crowd, and I’d say, ” Daddy’s cars a piece of junk!” And I’d get my nickel – and Daddy’s car was a piece of junk.

           Elizabeth Westlin Guion (Biss)

BISS – I started driving when I was 12 years old. There was a large lot behind the house and we had a racetrack around it. I started out with the model T Ford, and then and Oldsmobile truck. I can remember one day, I had a flat tire. Axel Larsson was the gardener that time because Mother was already sick so she had to have somebody to take care of us kids. Astrid and Axel and their daughter Florence moved into the cottage, the Little House.

            Alfred Peabody Guion (Lad)

LAD – Dan and I had both applied for and gotten into the CCC (Civilian Conservation Corps) because Dad was badly in debt. My mother had developed cancer and spent a lot of time in a local hospital. A problem developed at that hospital and Mother was moved to a hospital in Pennsylvania where her cousin was a Dr. She was in the hospital for quite a while. All of that is very vague in my mind. Helen and Dorothy, her sisters, were in Trumbull taking care of us kids. They were very restrictive as far as letting us know anything about mother. So we know very little about what was going on.

          Elizabeth Westlin Guion (Biss)

BISS – I started at Central High School in 1932, so it was the day after we got out of school that mother died, (June 29, 1933) my freshman year. Mother died when I was 14, and I hated school. I’d hide in the closet every morning. Dad would make the rounds to make sure everybody was up and had gone to school. I’d hide in the closet and then after he had passed through, then I’d come out. I had the whole day to myself. I think I missed more school that I made.

Tomorrow I will be posting letters written in the beginning of 1944. Dave has just left school to enlist in the Army. Grandpa is feeling the full weight of the war with all five sons now helping the war effort. The Trumbull House seems rather quiet.

Judy Guion 

Memories of Arla Mary (Peabody) Guion (8) – Memories From Her Children

The following are some of the memories of their mother that I recorded during interviews with five of Arla’s children. The death of my Uncle Dan was the catalyst for these interviews.

 

Arla Mary Peabody Guion

      Arla Mary Peabody Guion

Elizabeth Westlin Guion, at 5, with her broken arm

Elizabeth Westlin Guion (Biss)

BISS – When I was five, Lad and George Brellsford, and I think Dan, were on the fence behind the grape arbor. They were picking grapes, sitting on the fence and picking grapes. I came over and I wanted to climb up on the fence too, because the grapes were much nicer on the top than they were on the bottom. They told me I could pick them from the bottom… so I climbed up on the fence. When I got to the top, I fell over into Dan Ward’s field, and evidently, my elbow hit a rock, because every single solitary bone was broken, so it was just hanging loose. George looked over and said “Hey Al, your sister broke her arm.” I can remember my arm spinning. I was trying to get up as I was afraid Dan Ward was going to come with his shotgun and shoot me if I didn’t get over on my side of the fence. And of course, I couldn’t do it. So anyway, they picked me up and took me into the house. Mother wasn’t home and I was lying in the living room, on the couch. I don’t remember any pain; I was probably in shock because I don’t remember any pain at all. I guess Mrs. Parks called Mother, wherever she was, Mother and Dad, and they came home. Evidently, Rusty (Heurlin) was there but I don’t remember Rusty. They told me that he carried me in his arms, cradled me in his arms all the way to the hospital so that I wouldn’t get jiggled. I can’t remember that at all. When we got to the hospital, the doctor was going to cut my dress off and I was not about to let them cut my dress off because it would kill my dress. My Mother said, “But I can sew it back together”, and I said, “But it won’t be the same. You can’t do that.” Obviously they cut it off.

David Peabody Guion (Dave)

        David Peabody Guion (Dave)

DAVE – I remember just a few scenes from my early years in Trumbull. When my Mother was alive, I remember one time she had to walk all the way down to the bridge with me to get me to go off to school, and even then I didn’t want to go. That stuck with me all my life. I never liked school. It wasn’t until I got to college that I began to realize that I finally found something I could enjoy, but that’s another matter.

Richard Peabody Guion (Dick)

Richard Peabody Guion (Dick)

DICK – One time I rode our pony Gracie down the railroad tracks, heading back to the barn, I lost my footing and one leg got caught, which held me as she galloped home. I can still hear mother saying, “Whoa. Whoa!”

Alfred Peabody Guion (Lad)

Alfred Peabody Guion (Lad)

LAD – I do remember I used to ride one of the horses we had frequently, possibly every day or two, to go up to a house on the top of the hill beyond Middlebrook  School. There was a girl living there that I really liked. In fact, Bill Hennigan and I liked this girl very much. I used to go up there on the horse and invariably, my Mother would call and say, “Send Alfred home, it’s time for supper.”

Long before we moved to Trumbull there was a damn on the Pequonnock River, flooding all the property where the stone house is now, right up the cemetery. There was a mill there, run by water which came down through a tunnel. The tunnel was about 3′ x 3′ and it came out of a sheer wall. It was probably a drop of eight or ten feet to the ground. We kids used to play there quite often; we had a lot of imagination. I don’t know if Mother smoked as a youngster, but she must’ve been smoking then because I think I took two of her cigarettes. Art Christie and I went up and crawled through the tunnel and sat at the edge with our legs hanging over the edge and smoked cigarettes. Who should come along but Mother! She crawled through the tunnel and gave us quite a lecture. It was probably a few years before I started smoking, but Mom smoked with me when I first started. Then she quit, but I didn’t

Cedric Duryee Guion

Cedric Duryee Guion (Ced)

CED – We smoked corn silk and cigarettes here and there. Art Christie was the oldest, your father was next, then Dan and me, the four of us. I guess Mother wasn’t home. I don’t know how we did it or how we got it; but anyway, we got money out of Mother’s pocketbook. We went to Kurtz’s – Mother smoked – most of her sisters smoked – of course in those days you didn’t think anything about it. Anyway, we went to Kurtz’s and said we were buying some cigarettes for our mother. We bought a pack of cigarettes, I don’t remember the brand. Right at the gate there had been, at one time, a mill. They had a big stone wall that pretty much went all the way to the cemetery. Near that wall, there was a big square hole, I guess that’s where they had the mill wheel, but that space was a perfect place to go to smoke cigarettes. We sat at the front of that square and we started smoking. We had a whole pack of cigarettes and we wanted to enjoy them.

Young Dan on Porch

Daniel Beck Guion (Dan)

CED – Well we were merrily smoking away and Dan said, “I think I’ll go home.” He got right up and left. We suspected that he was getting sick, which he was. Art and Lad and I hoped he wasn’t going to make a fuss. I guess we talked about it and decided it was time to stop smoking, so we did. We thought maybe we ought to go down to the brook, pick up some poles and pretend to be fishing in case Mother came looking for us. So we did. We went down to the brook and were playing along the side of the brook, and pretending we were fishing. I don’t know if we could have made that stick, but anyway, sure enough, about 10 or 20 minutes later, here comes Mother and gulp, gulp, gulp. She came up to us and said, “What are you doing?” “Uh, we’re fishing,” we answered. “Well”, she replied, “Dan tells me you were smoking.” What could we do? “You know your father and I both smoke”, she said. “I don’t like it that you boys smoke, but why don’t you just come home and smoke if you want to smoke.” Not one of us wanted to smoke again until we were 18 or 20. Not one of us. Now, if that is in psychology, good psychology… without even being punished.

DAVE – I’ve always said that my brothers and sister were of little bit different than me. I was always quicker to enjoy a risqué joke, or worse. The rest of them fell under the influence of my Mother, what I call the Victorian Peabody attitude, and my Father was a little bit looser. To me he was always both mother and father, and whatever I am is probably more influenced by him rather than the others.

Tomorrow, I’ll be posting more of the children’s memories of their Mother.

Judy Guion