Early Years – Memories of David Peabody Guion (8) – 1930 – 1946

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.  

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

David Peabody Guion and Richard Peabody Guion with Mack after a big snow storm in 1940

This is a continuation of some of Dave’s memories surrounding sports and the Island.

We had one fellow, of course this was during the war, we had one fellow who usually was the pitcher and he so badly wanted to go into the Air Force.  Whenever a plane flew over, he would stand there holding the ball until the plane got almost out of sight, then he’d resume the game.  It was kind of like commercial breaks, I guess.

Unfortunately, this same fellow – three years before that – was up at the Trumbull Reservoir.  There was a cliff up there and he and a couple of other fellows were at the bottom of this Cliff when some kids from Bridgeport – I say this because kids from Bridgeport were bad – either accidentally or on purpose threw or kicked a rock off the top of the cliff and it hit this kid in the head, so he had a metal plate in his head.  When it came time for him to go into the service, he wanted to fly and of course, they wouldn’t let him.  So he left in the Navy.  I got a letter from him when I was in Okinawa and it had been written maybe two or three days before that, so I said, “My God, he’s got to be here.” As soon I got a chance I went down to the Harbormaster and found out that his ship had just left, so I missed him.

Back to athletics.  In Trumbull, behind McKenzie’s (Drug Store) and a bunch of other stores, there used to be an open lot and we used to play football and baseball there. We had a team called the Trumbull Rangers.  We would play basketball and — I say we — THEY would play basketball, football and baseball. (I believe Dave filled the role of Organizer and Manager) We had a regular club and I was the President.  I wasn’t worth a darn as an athlete so … Besides, we used to meet in the barn at the Big House.  I became the President.  That ran for several years. We played other Trumbull teams, we played Bridgeport teams.  For a lot of years we never got together.  Now, (in 2004) on the first Wednesday of the month, we get together.

One of my earliest memories of the Island was running around naked.  There were no buildings on the Island when we went up there, there was a tent.  We put up a tent and that was it.

(At this point, the Island was owned by Rusty Heurlin’s parents. Rusty was introduced to the family through Fred Stanley, (married and divorced from Grandma Arla’s younger sister, Anne (Peabody) Stanley), who know Rusty from the group of artists who hung out in Westport, Connecticut)

Here’s a couple of little stories.  When I was a kid, I remember it was the first time I was up there (the Island in New Hampshire) – in the first place, it was a two-day trip to get up there – we used to leave, driving up to Rusty’s parent’s house (in Wakefield, Massachusetts), stay overnight, then drive up the rest of the way.  Rusty had a couple of friends who were at the Island one time I was up there.  We had spaghetti for supper that night. About sometime around two or three o’clock I no longer had that spaghetti.  I don’t know what they had put in it, but something made me sick.

Spring Island - Sunset 2007 (Judy)

Red Hill from the Big Flat Rock on the Island

One guy’s name was Eustis and Rusty used to call him Useless.  I don’t remember the other guy’s name. (I told Uncle Dave: His name was Sully and he was called Silly, at least according to Aunt Biss.) (Dave replied:)  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 he 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 The Big Flat Rock near Bathtub Landing) and belched loud enough so people on Red Hill could hear him, I’m sure.  He was a character, a funny guy.

Tomorrow I will start posting letters written in December 0f 1942.

Judy Guion

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Early Years – Memories of Richard Peabody Guion (2) 1922 – 1945

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 the summer of 2000, I went to The Island for our family vacation. I stopped and visited with my Uncle Dick. As soon as I got there, I realized that I had left my tape recorder at home. I asked questions and he talked. I scribbled down what he was telling me in my own shorthand scribble. This resulted in short memories. I made plans to come back with my tape recorder but he passed away before I could return. Therefore, his collection of memories is the shortest section.

rpg-dick-in-uniform-without-mustache-1945

Richard Peabody Guion

Ced was a thorn in my side; he kept trying to make me a more refined person.

Once, Ced spent his hard earned money to buy me a Tinker Toy truck.

Biss, at about seventeen years old, didn’t get along.  She had no desire to assume the running of the house.  My Dad talked it over with the female relatives (Grandma Arla’s sisters, Helen, Anne and Dorothy) and it was decided that Biss would stay with Aunt Anne (Peabody) Stanley) in St. Petersburg, Florida, for about a year. (Biss was actually 14 when she went to Florida with Aunt Anne and her children. It had been just over a year since her Mother had died and she was having a very hard time. She spent the 1934 school year in St. Petersburg, with Aunt Anne and her two children, Donald and Gwen. She turned 15 on January 6, 1934.)

One time Lad took the Packard Touring car, he was quite impressed with its power and high gear.  He started it rolling and slipped the clutch to get it started and went for a drive to Kurtz’s Store.  Johnny Austin was the town cop.  He went to see Dad.  “You’d better talk to your boy … I couldn’t catch him and it’s a good thing I didn’t.”

Dave was argumentative, he loved to argue with Dad … with anybody.  I used to tease the hell out of him because he’d react.  I used to needle him just to make him lose his temper.

One time, Lad, myself, Dan, Gib (Arnold Gibson) and Nellie Sperling (Nelson Sperling)  went to Pinewood Country Club.  They had planted lots of pine trees to hold the soil.  We climbed a tree and moved from tree to tree.  Every once in a while you’d hear a crack, thump, “Ugh”, as someone fell out of his tree.

Another time, me and a couple of my delinquent friends did some malicious mischief (at Center School).  We broke some windows.  Charlie Hall ran across the stage with a stick and broke all the stage lights … pop … pop … pop … pop.

Lad and Gibby (Arnold Gobson) had an old Model T Ford.  They’d tie a rope to the differential, tie a tire on ten or fifteen feet back, and ride it like a surfboard or sled (in the back lot behind the house).

The first time Lad got his motorcycle, he would ride around the house … Up the side along the porch, down a ramp to the lawn and around the house again, and then jump off.

We were going to New New York City to visit my mother’s family (The Peabody Clan)  and it worked out that I could go with Lad on the motorcycle.  Riding on the Merritt Parkway, he took his hands off the handlebar and that impressed me.

I remember when Lad first got his motorcycle, Ced wanted to learn how to ride … So in the back field, Ced was riding along the chain-link fence.  The handle kept hitting the fence and turning the handlebars.

Dad, Ced, Dave and I went on a trip to the Gaspé Peninsula in Québec.  At Lewis we crossed over and went up the south side.  Dad got violently sick from rancid bacon.  At Cape Bon Homie there is high, steep, precipice – about 200 feet high.  At the top, we all lay down on our bellies and inched forward to the edge.  Nearby, we found some rotten logs – one of us would throw one over the edge and the rest of us would watch.  It was fascinating, watching it fall … Almost like slow-motion.

When I was in Brazil (during World War II) I rode bareback on a small horse with a broad back, feeling very macho.  There were five of us going up this gentle hill, hell-bent for leather.  All of a sudden, I was standing on the ground.  The horse had stepped into a hole and somersaulted under me.  If I’d had a regular saddle, I’d have had my shoes in the stirrups.

Alfred Duryee Guion

Alfred Duryee Guion (Grandpa), Marian (Irwin) Guion, Alfred Peabody Guion (Lad), Jean (Mortensen) Guion, Richard Peabody Guion and Aunt Betty Duryee, Grandpa’s Mother’s Sister, around the kitchen table in the fall of 1945.

One time, Lad was driving Marian, Jean and I back to Trumbull from the movies. (This would have been in the fall of 1945)the car in front of us pulled over and parked.  The driver threw open the door, and Lad shouldn’t have missed it (the driver’s door)  but he did.  Then he started looking around and patting himself … He said, “I had a cigarette …”

Tomorrow, I will begin posting a week of letters written in 1942. At this point in time, both Lad and Dan are in the Army, receiving training. Lad is in Aberdeen, Maryland, and Dan is in Roanoke Rapids, North Carolina. Ced is in Anchorage, Alaska, working at Woodley Airfield. 

Judy Guion

Early Years – Memories of Richard Peabody Guion (1) – 1922 – 1945

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 the summer of 2000, I went to The Island for our family vacation. I stopped and visited with my Uncle Dick. As soon as I got there, I realized that I had left my tape recorder at home. I asked questions and he talked. I scribbled down what he was telling me in my own shorthand scribble. This resulted in short memories. I made plans to come back with my tape recorder but he passed away before I could return. Therefore, his collection of memories is the shortest section.

SOL -  (DICK) Family picture in 1938 (3)

Richard Peabody Guion

One of my earliest memories is Mom at the front Dutch door (of the Trumbull House), talking to someone from the Red Cross.  I was standing next to her and she was running her hand through my hair … it was Heaven.

At Christmas time, we’d drive down Noble Avenue and look at the Christmas decorations.

We had a circus horse named Goldie, and while she was cropping grass, I would lie down on her back.  When I’d had enough, I’d slide off her back.  I didn’t realize that it might annoy her.  The last time I did it, she kicked me.

Aunt Dorothy had a wild stallion named Nador.  He threw Lad and Dan. (Nador actually belonged to Aunt Elsie Duryee, Grandpa’s only sibling.)

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!”

We also had a little cart that was pulled by a goat.

We spent a couple of summers on Fisher’s Island in Long Island Sound with the Burnham’s. (Lifelong friends Grandpa and Grandma met in Larchmont Gardens in Mount Vernon, NY.)

I spent most of my time with Dad.  He was full of information and enthusiasm.  He’d say, “want to take a walk?  I want to show you something.”  After a while, he’d say, “s-h-h-h, s-h-h-h, now lie down and crawl forward.”  And we would see Fox cubs.  There was always interesting things in the field in back of the house.

I went to White Plains School for one year.  I started at Center School in second grade.  In eighth grade, I went to Edison School.  I went to Whittier Junior High School for a year, and then went to Bassick High School in Bridgeport.

Lad did some wrestling for a while … He was extremely proficient … He could beat guys older and heavier than he was.

Nelson Sperling tied a rope to a big Hickory Nut tree on the side driveway, near the steps.  We would take off from the steps, swing out in a big circle and come back to land.  The neighborhood kids couldn’t do it so well.

Tomorrow, I will post the rest of the Memories of Richard Peabody Guion.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Dear Audience – Dick the Horse Trader – April 23, 1944

Trumbull, Conn., April 23, 1944

Dear Audience:
We open our vaudeville show this evening with a little sketch:
Tme – 1946
Scene: a comfortable little home furnished in green.
Characters: Mrs. Marian Guion and little Alfred, Junior
“Mama, why do I jiggle so,
from my toes to my solar plexus?
Hush, child, your father long ago
Rode a Jeep in the heart of Texas.”

(The absolutely amazing thing is that this was written in 1944 and in the middle of 1946, June 28th, Marian did give birth to little Alfred (Douglas Alfred, not Alfred, Jr. )  but the biggest surprise to all, including Marian, was that she also gave birth to a daughter, ME (Judith Anne Guion), on the same day. He was right about little Alfred but I fooled them all !)

Next, we introduce our educated dog, Smoky. Step this way, ladies and gentlemen, and see the dog who follows the progress of the war and also correctly pronounces Polish. “Smoky, what Polish city will the red Army capture next?”
Smoky: “Lwow, Lwow.”
We are sorry to announce that the great magician, Señor Guionne, having mislaid his wand, was not able to produce any rabbits out of his hat, to say nothing of his inability all this week to produce any letters from his five absent sons out of PO Box 7 during the entire week just past. He hopes to find his wand very soon now, maybe tomorrow ???
So much for nonsense. Art Mantle is due home very soon from the Pacific theater for a month’s furlough. With practically all of his former pals in the war, I am wondering what he will find to do? Paul (Warden, the tenant) came back home Tuesday for a week’s rest before he goes back to find what the Navy is planning for him to do next.
None of the N.Y. Peabodys were able to get up to Elizabeth’s last week, so just the Trumbull bunch served as extras. Not much in the way of local news to report.
Weather has been cloudy and raining all week. In spite of that fact I did manage to get the back yard looking as if Dan was home, but there’s still much to do on sides and front.

Jean (Mrs. Richard) Guion

Jean (Mortensen Guion, (Mrs. Dick)

Through Jean’s (Mrs. Dick Guion) courtesy, I am privileged to quote from one of Dick’s recent letters (Dick is stationed in Brazil and working as a liaison for the local workers on the base.): “I’m still making out per diem for transient plane crews. The Post Commander’s Adjutant came into the office the other day and remarked that the finance department has told him that I was doing very well — turning out more work then anyone else who had been on the job. However, I’m still a lowly T/5. I’m supposed to have from noon to 1:30 for lunch but if there are a lot of men waiting for per diem, I only take 20 or 25 minutes and several times I have worked 2 1/2 to 3 hours overtime at night. Most of them appreciate what I can do for them. That helps.

Richard (Dick) Guion

Richard Peabody Guion (Dick)

Incidentally, you are now the wife of a horse trader, extraordinary. Maybe I shouldn’t say horse trader, but the proud possessor of a beautiful 129 bouncing horse. Accent on the bouncing. But that’s not all. He is also the rightful owner of the Adjacento Riding Academy, with 2 1/2 horses to the credit. Another soldier owns half of one of the horses. (He owns the half that eats. He has to feed his half. Need I go further?) Oh, well, there’s nothing like a little manual labor at the end of a shovel to give one an appetite (Note by editor: I thought you said that was a one horse town you were in?) I plan to rent the horses to the transients at $.50 to a dollar an hour. So far I have spent $57 for horseflesh and $18.25 for feed and care. Now all they have to do is ship me home before I can hock the transients for $75.25.”

Maybe my muse will supply more inspiration next week. Or it might be that one of you will substitute for the muse. Anyway, cheerio for now.
DAD

Tomorrow we have another letter from Rusty to Ced and we finish the week with Grandpa’s response to Marian’s little ribbing.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Dear Dick – An Anniversary, Travel Woes and Roast Beef – February 13, 1944

Trumbull, Conn.,   February 13, 1944

Dear Dick:

Richard (Dick) Guion

     Richard  Peabody(Dick) Guion

Jean (Mortensen)(Mrs.Richard)Guion                                                                                                                           

Tomorrow for me marks the anniversary of my most highly prized and noteworthy official activity as Justice of the Peace — you won’t have to search far to guess why. (Last year, in early February, Dick received notice from the local Draft Board that he had to report for induction on February 20th, so he and Jean decided to get married before he left. A very hasty plan was put into effect and they were married on February 14th at the Trumbull House with Grandpa, a Justice of the Peace, performing the ceremony. They left for a few nights in New York City, came back to Trumbull and Dick was inducted into the Army.)  While your first year of married life has been spent under conditions as far removed from what newlyweds have a right to normally expect as they could possibly be, there are several aspects in the situation from which you might justly derive considerable satisfaction. As I see it, first, both you and Jean have been darn good sports about the whole thing — no complaining or indulgence in self-pity over your hard luck. Second, you may not realize it now but in later years you will both derive a sense of contentment in the realization that at considerable personal sacrifice, you have done your full duty and played a man’s part in a great worldwide struggle. Third, because of the self-denial you youngsters have faced so resolutely there is apt to be a corresponding compensation and an all the more lasting appreciation of a happy married life when it is all over. So, while on this occasion particularly you both may feel a bit resentful of the circumstances that keep you apart, there is always the dawn of a new tomorrow to look forward to, and one that will glow with more sunshine and comfort because of the present darkness. So be of good cheer. There are better days ahead.

Ced and car - 1940 (2)

Cedric Duryee Guion

For Ced this week has been one of quick changing circumstances. In fact fate has tossed him about in a way that reminds me of those movies you took in Alaska of the natives being tossed up and down in a blanket. Early in the week he received a notice dated February 3rd from the President of the United States, through the Anchorage draft board, ending his long period of uncertainty by ordering him to report for his physical examination on February 13th. On Friday, however, a telegram dated February 10th  arrived from A.G. Woodley, as follows: “Board has approved appeal. Suggest you return immediately to work as they cannot reclassify unless you are actively engaged in  essential work. Have a good trip. Regards from all.” So yesterday he hurried to New York to make reservations for his return journey. Up to this writing (6:30 P.M.) he has not returned so I cannot at this time give you more definite news as to his departure. Unless his present return routing by way of Texarkana is changed, it is quite possible he will be able to stop off to visit the new Texas branch of the family en route.

We have our upsets in civilian life too. By virtue of the fact that this was to be Ced’s last Sunday in the bosom of his family and Dave also expected to be home for possibly the last time before leaving for some unknown camp to undergo his basic training, I figured a reckless expenditure of ration points was warranted, so I blew in 50 Brown points on a piece of prime roast beef, done to a turn in the famous Guion manner, only to find that Ced evidently succumbed to the lure of the big city and a big snowstorm or other unknown cause has kept our little Dave for making his expected trip home. So Auntie (Aunt Betty Duryee, Grandpa’s Mother’s sister), daughter Jean (Dick’s wife) and Dad spent a quiet Sunday by themselves.

Dan briefly reports by V-mail that he is happy in a new job which, although temporary, is both interesting and educational, while faithful Marian probably has a letter on the way telling of her arrival. Lad, I take it, is too busy with his new training and getting a new home fixed up for his bride to find time for letters home. (2 pkgs. by express from L.A.)

Aunt Betty has her Accousticon (hearing aid) and is having a bit of a struggle getting used to it. I am waiting for tomorrow to see if a letter from Dave explains his failure to get home.

DAD

Tomorrow I will post a letter from Marian writing about her first few days n Texas. I will finish the week with another epistle from Grandpa to the Ex-Trumbullites (and Marian).

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Dear Dave (2) – News About Trumbull – January 16, 1944

This is the second half of a long letter written by Grandpa to his sons and daughters-in-law with news of the family.

In Brazil, actions speak louder than words — anyway they did last week when there arrived addressed to me a most beautiful box of fine Brazilian cigars which I have since been enjoying very much, not only because the cigars themselves are good but because they came from Dick. And when I say “beautiful box” I mean just that. The wood is highly polished, the box well made and is far superior to any packing even the most expensive cigars in the U. S. A. are given. Your gift is truly appreciated, Dick old boy. Incidentally Jean has just received word from Dick that his base has been changed to another location in Brazil. Evidently they spell it Brasil down there.

Cedric Duryee Guion

And now here’s a newsflash just received from Alaska. Ced had made his reservation and was all ready to leave for Anchorage via Texarkana and South Pasadena, when a telegram from Woodley Airways arrived informing Ced he had been reclassified to 1-A, and advising him to defer his return until Art Woodley (Owner of Woodley Airfield and Ced’s employer) could definitely determine whether another deferment could be procured or Ced would have to be inducted. And that is the status quo of things at the present moment.

And now for local news broadcasts (at this point, Dave, I know you usually tune out, which is your privilege now, but you may under the circumstances stay tuned to this station.)

On invitation from the Lee’s, we all went down to Westport for supper Friday, and as usual, had a very pleasant evening. Ced showed some of the Alaskan slides and movies which they enjoyed. Incidentally, Dan, they have relatives living in London whom they thought you might like to visit – Arthur Toft, 40 Chaucer Rd., Herne Hill, London S.E24.

In today’s paper, Barbara’s (Plumb, Dan’s girlfriend) picture appears in the uniform of a WAAC with news that she has received an assignment to serve overseas.

Smoky has been under the weather for the last few days — either he has been

page 4 (oy, what a letter writer I am tonight)                                                    1/16/1944

grieving over your absence, or in your affectionate adieu,  you may have put ground glass in his Ken-L-Ration. However, he is improving as evidenced by the lowering temperature of his nose.

I’m getting to be a regular old rake — married three women this week — all divorced, too — on the 10th, 12th and 15th  respectively. Grandpa, as the Justice of the Peace, has the honor of performing marriage ceremonies.)

You older boys will be interested to know that in answer to one of my Christmas cards sent to Corrine Flaniken, I received a rather rambling letter from her enclosed in a letter from her sister in Arlington, Texas, stating that Corinne is in a psychopathic Hospital in Colorado Springs. Normal life is much too confusing for her as the slightest responsibility upsets her until she is almost frantic. A letter or card from any of you to her would probably be much appreciated. Address Route 1, Box 47, Colorado Springs, Colo.

And last, a letter from Aunt Anne ((Peabody) Stanley), thanking us for the flowers I sent Grandma, which evidently she appreciated very much. Grandma continues comfortable, and while she sleeps a good deal of the time, she is bright and cheerful when awake. She enjoyed seeing us when we visited her.

Donald, (Stanley,  Anne (Peabody) Stanley’s son), she wrote, is in New York and will be for several more days. Gweneth came down from Vermont and they all spent the weekend together. Don looks fine and is still enjoying the sea. (Donald, only a few years older than Dave, in in the Navy.)

And that, dear children, is about all from your Uncle Don this evening, except Dave, I think there is a present for you under the barrack cot, a big juicy paddle that the first Sgt. will be glad to hand you with much verve and spirit if you don’t watch out. And don’t try to make friends with the bugler because he’ll blow reveille just as quick for you as he will for the rest of the boys.

Remember, there is a brand-new folder in the file with your name on it, and the first insertion should be an essay on Army life from a rookies standpoint. I’m sure Dan and Lad and Dick would enjoy reading it and comparing the memory of their experiences with yours.

A glance at my watch tells me this is been one of those regular three hour broadcasts and undoubtedly others are waiting to get on the air: who knows, even Franklin may be waiting to deliver another fireside chat to “my friends”. Anyway, I’m signing off. This is station ADG, 7 on your dial. (A reference to the mailing address, PO Box 7, Trumbull)

DAD

Tomorrow and Sunday, more of Elizabeth’s St. Petersburg (Florida) Adventure.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Dear Dick, Lad, Marian and Dan (1) – Surprise Letter From Dick – January 9, 1944

Grandpa pointing in the rough direction Ced will be returning to soon, Anchorage, Alaska.

Trumbull, Conn.  Jan. 9, 1944

Dear Dick, Lad, Marian and Dan:

‘Tis only the four of you I am writing to today, but it won’t be long now before Ced and Dave will be added to the list. Dave goes Thursday, and following my usual custom, which has happened so many times now it has almost developed into a habit, I should deliver my youngest at the well-known railroad station at Shelton to swell the ranks of Uncle Sam’s Army, and two days later I shall bid adieu to 6 foot plus Ced who departs again for the far North, with full intentions of making two stops en route, one at Texarkana to catch a glimpse of his oldest brother whom he last saw as he bid him goodbye at the Grace Line here (1939), and the second stop at Los Angeles  (So. Pasadena) in order to meet his new sister-in-law; two visits which the writer confesses he would like very much to be making himself.

Ced has had an active week, spending two days in New York in which he visited the Burnham’s  Rufus Burnham and family, who became lifelong friends after meeting as neighbors in Larchmont Gardens, Mt. Vernon, New York) and Grandma (Peabody), driving us all down to Pogg’s in Redding, where we had supper, and last night eating dinner with the Platt’s in Westport and showing the Alaskan slides. Last Sunday night we all went up to the Plumbs where also the Alaskan and South American movies were run off. Grandma, he said, was still mentally alert but was visibly weaker.

No letters from either Lad or Dan this week, but surprise of surprises, a letter from Dick, and a nice long letter from Marian.

In reply to yours, Dick, (stationed in Santeliza, Brazil, and serving the Army as a liaison to the local workers employed there) I want you to know how much it is appreciated. I was beginning to think you had  disowned the family. Writing letters to you month after month with never a peep in return makes one realize how a person broadcasting over the radio must feel who never gets any fan mail and doesn’t know whether anyone is listening or not or moreover doesn’t care. I am glad to have your assurance that my weekly efforts do mean something to you. I suppose it must be hard for each of you to realize that I really feel I am writing to each of you individually and not the way a newspaper editor feels when he writes for his public. I often have the feeling, when no comments are ever forthcoming to any of the topics mentioned (except of course, big events like Lad’s marriage or Ced’s homecoming), that perhaps they are really of slight interest and not worth the effort, because at times it really is difficult, as you must know from your own experience, to sit down at a regular time, whether you feel in the mood or not, and try to be interesting.

Aunt Betty Durtee

Grandpa’s Aunt Betty Duryee)

Aunt Betty is very encouraging along this line. She reads every letter after I have finished and always, in a tone of great conviction, says, “That was a very nice letter. I don’t see how you do it, Alfred.” And immediately my ego goes up a point or two and I say to myself, “Well, maybe it wasn’t so bad, at that.” Good old Ced  occasionally adds a few encouraging words and Lad and Dan keep on writing, so I give you the benefit of the doubt and keep on pounding out this stuff, hoping the fact you are away from home will add a bit of the glamour not inherent in the thing itself. It’s good to have Dick’s slant, for instance, in the following quotation:  “I miss the scenes around good old Trumbull — the walks in the woods, the brook, every room in the house and all the people whom I have known so well. I know I could walk blindfolded through the house from top to bottom without any trouble. It’s been nearly a year since I’ve been home. When I was up in Alaska it wasn’t quite so bad because I was enjoying myself and knew that I could leave for home whenever I pleased. I really don’t get to lonesome though. There is always something to occupy my time, and idleness is the chief cause of homesickness. We all work and are hoping for victory.” Aren’t we all, Dick, feeling much the same, whether at home or in the armed forces.

Tomorrow, the second half of this letter, addressing thoughts Dick raised about the Trumbull house.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Dear Boys (1) – Fred Waring and the Pennsylvanians and The Mikado – March 8, 1942

This is a postcard mailed March 1st from Ames, Iowa,  to Lad from Charlie Hall, one of the neighborhood boys, and a good friend of Dick’s.

Charlie Hall

Hi Ghost –

Yep. I met your friend Larry Sieck today – Nice guy – Says he planned to come “over” and see you this spring vacation – but since we have no spring vacation – yellow fever epidemic – he’s going to wait till next summer. Me likewise, darn it.

By the way, doesn’t ghost mean spook?

Tell R.P.G. (Dick) I’m expecting a letter any month now –

Farmboy Hall

***********************************

This very early picture of Lad, maybe wearing a Cowboy outfit he received at his 9th birthday in 1923, shows the cellar door mentioned in the letter as well as the Lilac bush screening the window where Aunt Betty sat and watched the birds.

Trumbull, Conn., March 8, 1942

Dear Boys:

For one solid hour I have been listening to Jim Smith who came in just as I started to write you, and he has practically denuded my mind of any ideas I had to start with in the way of raw material for this my weekly news sheet.

I shall try to get back into running condition by discussing the weather – – a perfectly safe topic with which to get by the sensor – – except of course in a radio broadcast. And that gives me a lead off. I noticed an article in the paper recently to the effect that Gilbert and Sullivan operas were playing in New York, and knowing Dave’s enthusiasm for such, recalling my own boyhood days when my father took me to the big city to see a real show and realizing that Dave has been very helpful in working at the office in a real spirit of cooperation, it seemed a good opportunity for me to get back at him by taking in a performance sometime during the week when he had no school on account of the mid-year vacation. So we ups and decides to see The Mikado on Friday. It so happened that on that same day Dave had been invited to attend rehearsal for radio broadcasting at W.I.C.C. (Bridgeport Radio station) and in calling up to tell them he could not attend, they suggested he might, while in New York, like to take in a real broadcast at Radio City. Accordingly, he was given a card of introduction, which, when duly presented, got us into an hour’s performance with Fred Waring and his Pennsylvanians – – 15 minutes of the regular Chesterfield broadcast and 45 minutes of his own. It was very interesting and quite enjoyable. Then Gilbert and Sullivan and then home where Lad met us at Bridgeport. Home and to bed.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Mikado

But to get back to the weather. It has been like an April day, the thermometer in the shade registering about 60. The sun, while not brilliant, was warm. I got out the deck chair from the cellar for Aunt Betty and she spent about two hours on the cement terrace enjoying the first promise of summer. She and the birds have been quite chummy lately. A piece of suet hung on the lilac bush just outside the kitchen window (the one looking out toward the barn)  (near where the cellar door used to be that Rusty burst out of one night after sitting around the alcove fireplace and getting a dose of monoxide gas poisoning)  was what started the whole thing. This proved to be so popular with our little feathered friends that it was followed by scattered crumbs, etc., until we have quite a number of regular visitors, among them some pretty little slate gray birds which Dan or Rusty could probably identify if they were here.

Dick still has not been able to get his car. The holdup has been caused by the fact that before he could obtain his registration, he had to show his birth certificate (a new rule I suppose because of the war, registration of aliens, etc.) I told him to write to Mount Vernon and the answer came back that they had no record of anyone by that name, the records being in the name of Lawrence Guion on that date born in the Mount Vernon Hospital. To make the necessary change I had to make out a formal request which I mailed back to them Saturday. Perhaps it will come through Tuesday of next week. We had not registered Dan’s car so he has been using mine nights. And, one day last week, he reported one of my tires blew out. That, with the present tire situation, is a major calamity. So, I have filed a formal request to the tire rationing board for permission to buy two new tires, but I have little hope of their granting the request. They are pretty damn tough.

I’ll be posting the conclusion of this letter tomorrow. The rest of the week will be filled with more letters from Grandpa to Ced, in Anchorage, Alaska, and Dan in the Army.

Judy Hardy

Trumbull – Dear Chillun (1) – Ced Starts For Alaska – December 16, 1945

Trumbull, Conn., December 16, 1945.

Dear Chillun:

Having been confined all day in my cell entertaining some streptococci firgidarius (cold germs to you), and not feeling in much of a mood to write anything to anybody, this letter will probably follow the pattern set by those of the last few weeks and be divested of that sparkling quality found occasionally in my correspondence and in Mumm’s Extra Dry, more frequently in the latter.

Ced in Alaska with airplane - 1940

Ced and his plane at Monroe Airport.

This old house of late has taken on a strong resemblance to the Grand Central Station with arrivals and departures following one another in rapid succession. Among the departures this week are two. The first was Ced, early last Monday morning accompanied by his brother, Lad, autoed over to the Monroe field, (Lad) watched him stow away his belongings in his little plane, waiting a bit for him to get the latest weather report from New Haven, and finally take off in the northwesterly direction, quickly losing sight of the little dot in the sky but hearing his motor for a surprisingly long time afterwards, so much so in fact that the proprietor of the landing field at first was of the opinion he was coming back again. A few anxious days passed and then on the 12th (Wed.) A letter dated Dec. 10th, written 8:30 P.M. from Oil City, Pa., brought the following good news: “I had a very poor day as you will guess by this letterhead. I bucked a bad headwind all day, had to sit on a field for a couple of hours waiting for the snow to quit and in general fighting the weather ‘til I could cuss. At least this is a nice clean town, as different as day from night compared to Alliance, Ohio. The hotel is clean and respectable and all the stores seem clean and attractive; the restaurants decent. It is on the Allegheny River between high mountains and at the fork of two rivers. Prices are reasonable and the air is clean and clear. The promise of good weather tomorrow and I shall take off about nine A.M. I hope that Danged wind will quit, tho. It is moaning outside the window right now.”

While Ced didn’t make Larry’s place at Milan (near Sandusky) Ohio, he came pretty close to it. Friday night he had reached St. Paul which is the last we have heard to date. The news today is that a cold wave is blanketing the country, which probably means clear weather for his on-to-Alaska continuation. When he left he was not sure what his route would be from St. Paul on so I’m hoping we’ll have a postal or something soon which will further enlighten us. Good luck to you, Ced, eat plenty of carrots so you can spot those landing fields, and happy landings always.

Alfred Duryee Guion

L to R – Alfred Duryee Guion, Marian (Irwin) Guion, Alfred (Lad) Peabody Guion, Jean (Mortensen) Guion, Aunt Betty Duryee, around the kitchen table after dinner.

As for Dick’s departure, before we can get rid of him in proper shape, we’ve got to get him here first. That happened soon after I answered the phone and heard a voice (disguised) asking for “Al”. Said Al soon thereafter departed to get some “beer” and came home with Dick. You can figure that one out yourself. Hardly giving us time to seeing him around again, this morning he and Jean started off in the Chevy for Camp Westover which is in the vicinity of Springfield, Mass., and where he is supposed to report before five tonight. If things go according to schedule he will by Friday, have discarded his Army career and return a plain Mr. The dinner table today seemed rather “minus” without Jean and Dick. If it hadn’t been for Lad and Marian it would have indeed been similar to the Grand Central at 3 A.M.

Tomorrow, I’ll continue this letter and finish it off on Thursday. On Friday, two more Christmas cards to Ced.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Dear Dave (1) – Local News of Interest – December 9, 1945

David Peabody Guion

Trumbull, Conn., December 9, 1945

Dear Dave:

While in theory I am glad you are busy — that being the best way to have time pass quickly, for with each passing day it brings that much nearer the time when you step on board the transport that will bring you back to the good old U. S. A. One has to be quite a philosopher, however, to let the theory overweigh the desire to hear from you, to know you are well and contented, and most of all, what the latest rumors are as to when you and your outfit are scheduled for the trip home. It seems quite a long time since we heard from you. The other day I talked to Franny Moore over the phone and of course she asked to be remembered to you, and a few days ago Peggy VanKovics also phoned and said she had not heard from you since October and was a bit concerned. I told her how busy you were and she wanted me to give you her best.

Ced is still with us but expects to start his long flight back to the frozen North tomorrow. He has been delayed by a cold he picked up here and also by not being sure his radio is working properly. I’ll heave a real sigh of relief when I finally get word from Anchorage that he has arrived back there promptly and SAFELY. We have all been up in his plane now, some of us several times. Aunt  Betty even went up the other day. I really enjoyed flying with him, but just the same, that long trip back there alone, through all kinds of weather and over numerous mountains and all over strange territory, is quite a hazardous undertaking under the best of conditions. Well, here’s hoping.

The boys have repaired the stovepipe in the clubroom. I talked with Vicchiola for a few moments last night. As more of you older boys get back and can re-construct the original lineup, it will be much better.

Jean Mortensen Guion - Christmas, 1947

  Jean (Mortensen) Guion (Mrs. Dick)

Dick phoned Jean this afternoon that he starts separation proceedings Tuesday, will then proceed on his own to his Mass. Camp stopping en route a day or two in Trumbull, and expects to be out finally in about a week. She got so excited about the whole business that she upset the drawing board Dick had in the phone booth planning out the island house, pulled down the curtains and knocked the phone over and then fell and sat on it. Dick will have to develop another technique of telephoning good news to his wife or else she will have to take out additional accident insurance. It’s lucky the lightbulb was fastened up on the wall or she might have blown a fuse. Oh, well, one’s husband is likely to be discharged only once in a lifetime (we hope) from the Army, and even though she be battered and bruised, she still smiles. What’s that line about one’s head being bloodied but unbowed. That’s Jean all over.

So far, I suppose because I have been so confined at the office and the family exchequer is not only empty but in the red, I have not been imbued with the Christmas spirit so far. I did send you a few candy bars, chewing gum, etc., some weeks ago, but with even two or three of you away it won’t seem a 100% Christmas here and I don’t suppose it will be for you in Manila. However, the spirit of “goodwill to men” will mean as much as ever from all of us here to you, encouraged by the thought that it will be different next time. Until we see you then, good night, from

SANTA CLAUS

Tomorrow, a letter to Dan and Paulette written the same day as Dave’s letter.

Judy Guion