Memories of Arla Mary (Peabody) Guion (7) – 1922 – 1925

 

Arla Mary Peabody Guion with her first five children - Dan, Lad, Ced, Dick and Biss

Arla Mary Peabody Guion with her first five children – Dan, Lad, Ced, Dick and Biss

In 1922, during a family vacation, Arla found out about a house in Trumbull, built in 1756, went to see it and fell in love with it. She eventually had her way and the family moved in to their new house in December of 1922. The story continues in Grandpa’s autobiography:

Meanwhile, I was having serious commuting troubles. Each winter the trains were frequently late. This, together with the antagonistic attitude of my immediate boss at the office, made my frequent, late arrivals at work increasingly disagreeable incidents. Also, the seven mile auto ride to and from Trumbull in all kinds of weather, the 2 1/2 to 3 hour train ride to Grand Central followed by a crowded subway ride to the Battery, and this twice a day, not only was physically exhausting but also necessitated my leaving home early and arriving home late. There seemed only one sensible alternative – to seek employment in Bridgeport. A letter campaign from New York to Bridgeport manufacturers proving unfruitful after months of vain effort, in desperation I resolved to take drastic measures. With five little ones to feed and clothe I simply had to get a job, so, burning all bridges behind me, I quit my New York job cold to wage an all-out on-site search to find something in Bridgeport. To make this step was one of the most difficult decisions of my life, but within two weeks I became Assistant Advertising Manager of the Bridgeport Brass Company and a few months later, Advertising Manager, which job I held until I left to start an advertising agency of my own.

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, and which the old Waverley Electric Car played a part.

Arla’s children shared a few memories of her in their recorded childhood memories.

LAD – I don’t have many memories of my mother. I remember that she was involved with the Women’s Club, and was very, very well-liked by everybody. We always had a lot of visitors. She was very outgoing and friendly and quite pretty. She was very active in the community. Other than the fact that Mom was involved in the community a great deal, she was a good mother. We all like her very much, got along with her.

CED – I don’t believe Mother had a single enemy in Trumbull. She was President of the Women’s Community Club, and she was very, very good to the family. She had practically all of our aunts and some of our uncles living with us in Trumbull at various times. We had a big house and most of them lived in New York City. When they had vacations and when we had holidays, they’d all come up on the train from New York. Sometimes they would drive – it would take them about four hours on the Post Road. I remember those trips too. Traffic was all over the place, stop and go, stop and go.

I always said that I knew one person in town that my Mother didn’t like. This woman had two sons who were friends with us. I don’t believe that the woman ever knew that my mother didn’t like her because this woman was very critical of other people and that bothered my mother.

My Mother was very active in town, she was very public spirited. She helped plant flowers on the green, that sort of thing.

Our house was the center for the local population. All the kids our age congregated in our house because of everything, and my mother, of course. She was very pro-social, in her own life and in ours. She was a wonderful woman. We were really one big happy family and we really had fun growing up. Arnold Gibson was part of the group; he was more a part of the family group. He was very fond of our family, and spent a lot of time with us. Arnold was devoted to my mother, too. Everybody that knew her loved her.

DICK – One of my earliest memories is Mom at the front Dutch door, 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.

BISS – Dick and I were sitting on the radiator in the back bathroom and it was so cold there was frost on the window. We take one of the pieces of our Erector Set, putting it in a hole of the oil heater to heat it up and touch the frost on the window. At one point I leaned over a little too far, fell down on top of the oil burner and tipped it over. I had always been taught that if there’s a fire you run out and close the door… which I did. Dick was still on the radiator in back of the fire, and then the fire started up the curtain. I screamed for Mother and evidently she heard the panic in my voice and she responded immediately. As soon as she got upstairs and realized what was happening, she yelled for Lad to bring the fire extinguisher. As she got to the top of the stairs and started walking towards the bathroom, her very flimsy gown caught on fire and I remember she put it out. Mother then took the rug from the hallway and threw it on the fire and put the fire out, but the door was scorched where the flames had licked at it.

Dick, Dan, Ced, Lsd and Biss

Dick, Dan, Ced, Lad and Biss

Tomorrow, I’ll begin a week of letters written in the beginning of 1944.

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Special Picture # 341 – The “Children” in 1992

In 1992, Dan and Paulette (and their children) planned a Family Reunion to be held at the Trumbull House. Family members came from near and far. It was the last time all six children would be together. The  grandchildren and great-grandchildren’s pictures were taken at the top of the long “Steps and Landings, Steps and Landings, Steps and Landings, which went from the front door down to the road. It was a favorite place to play school for my generation. We would start at the bottom and every time you got an answer right, you moved up one step. If you got it wrong, you went down one step. Sometimes it would take hours until someone won.  I had trouble getting these pictures into the post late last night, but I have corrected the problem. I hope you enjoy looking at some family pictures from 1992.

 

                             Dan, Dave, Lad, Dick, Ced and Biss

1992 version of the picture above

Grandpa and Grandma’s 21 grandchildren (that’s me, 3rd from the right in the back row)

Grandpa and Grandma’s great-grandchildren, 21 in 1992 (currently 49 great-grandchildren and 42 great-great-grandchildren – and still growing)

1992 Guion Family Reunion – everyone taking pictures of the six “children”  sitting on the Summer Porch  (view from the Summer Porch to the Barn)

Tomorrow, I will begin a week of letters written at the end of 1943. 

 

The Beginning (62) – Childhood Memories of Trumbull – Photos through the Years

 

The Childhood Memories of Trumbull have come to an end. Today I would like to take you back through time with pictures of the children as they grew up in Trumbull. I hope you have enjoyed these childhood memories of a different time and place, written in their own words.

 

Biss has a broken arm so this would mean the picture was taken in about 1924, when Biss was five years old. 

L to R – Lad, Ced, Biss and Dick

 

Arla Mary (Peabody) Guion with her children – L to R – Dan, Lad, Ced, Dick and Biss. Since Dick was born in 1920, I think this picture was taken about 1923. The family moved to Trumbull in the middle of December, 1922, they probably were still unpacking and arranging things into 1923. A family Portrait would not have been at the top of the list of things to do.

 

              Dick, Dan, Ced, Lad and Biss with Mack c. 1924

 

   Dan, Dave, Lad, Dick, Ced and Biss. Since Dave was born in 1925 and this picture appears to have been taken in the late fall or winter, it probably was taken about 1928.

 

Back – Cedric, Grandpa, Dan, Biss, Lad, Front – Don Stanley, Dave, Dick, Gwen Stanley. I believe this picture may have been taken in the early fall of 1938, just before Dan left at the end of October for Venezuela. 

 

Tomorrow, more Special Pictures.

Next week, I will post letters written at the end of 1943. Lad and Marian have only been married about a month and everyone is looking forward to the holidays.

Judy Guion

The Beginning (61) – Childhood Memories of Trumbull – Random Memories (4)

 

These are the memories of my Father and his siblings, recorded over several years. When my Uncle Dan passed away, I realized that I had better get started recording the memories of Dan’s siblings before they were also gone. I was able to have two recording sessions with my Father, Lad in California; two with Uncle Ced in New Hampshire, a three-day cruise in our boat with Aunt Biss; one session with Uncle Dave in Stratford, CT and one hand-written session (I forgot my tape recorder going up to the Island in New Hampshire, where Uncle Dick lived) with Uncle Dick. I transcribed them once exactly as they were spoken, again removing the ums, ahs, half sentences started over, etc. I then produced a final copy that was easier to read, but it still needs work getting the chronological order correct. Memories are not recorded with a date stamp. I created 75 binders for family members which include all three translations, pages and pages of photos and memorabilia and the actual recording. Now family members can actually heat their ancestors speaking. It was my first project with all the material my Father saved for me and a true Labor of Love. I hope you enjoy these memories of A Slice of Life at a different time and place.

Dave in the spring of 1940

DAVE – I graduated (from eighth grade at Center School in Trumbull) and that was fine, but then after having been noticed and having a name that meant something in Trumbull, I went to Whittier Junior High School in Black Rock in Bridgeport, and I was absolutely nothing there.  I absolutely hated the teachers.  I hated the school building.  Most of all, I hated the Principal.  I took Latin for two years.  Understand that’s Latin I that I took for two years.  I flunked it royally the first year and the second year I still managed to flunk it.  I was going to be a lawyer and so I wasn’t going to be a lawyer.  That was one year.  Then all the kids from up in the hills went to Bassick High School and things were little better there.  Finally, I turned eighteen, and at that time, the war was on and they were taking people, even people out of school, kids out of school, when they turned eighteen, so I left my Senior year in December.  December vacation.  I Never went back. I did go back to get my diploma.  For some reason (I think my grandmother was dying) I was home for the graduation, and those of us who were in the service got our diplomas at graduation.  I think that I would still be in the school till this day if I hadn’t gotten my diploma because I was in the Army.  I was anxious to go into the service only so I could get through high school.

Ellie and I met at the player piano.  Eleanor had a friend named Doris Eroncrona and they had been friends since sixth grade or something like that. One Sunday night after the Young People’s meeting, everybody came up to the house to play the player piano and sing.  Doris brought along her friend Eleanor.  I noticed her that night, thought she was kind of interesting, not having any idea if anything was going to come of it.  This was when we were still in high school, Senior year, just before I went into the service.  Doris went to the meeting and she brought her friend Eleanor Kintop and she and Elinor came up and sang around the piano.  A few days later, I got a call from Doris, and she said, “Bob Jennings has asked me to go to a Halloween dance at Bassick High School and I’m not going unless we double date because I don’t want to go out alone with Bob.  Would you take Eleanor?”  I said, “Yeah”.  Now I know this is going to sound hard to believe but at eighteen, I was still afraid of girls.  So, one day we were down at Doris’s house and I remember her trying to talk me into it; “Just call her up, call her up and ask her.”  I’m sure it had already been arranged but I wasn’t smart enough at the time to think about that.  She must have thought that I was passable enough to be able to take her to the dance.  I said, “I don’t dance.  I don’t even know how to dance.”  “That’s all right, blah, blah, blah.”  I finally called her up and she said she would go.  That was our first date, and then we started dating.  That’s how I met her – all because of that good old player piano.

After Ellie and I got married and Ced was still single, the three of us spent a lot of time together. Ced would come down to Ellie’s mother’s house with us on occasion.  We would go for rides.  He took us on a harrowing trip one day.  It was right after the Hurricane of 1955.  We went up through the Valley and at that point at least, Ced tended to have a lead foot so there were some scary scenes but we all made it back together.  So he used to spend some time with Ellie and me.

 

Grandpa, Marian, Lad, Jean, Dick and Aunt Betty around the kitchen table in 1945.

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

BISS – Dad was very determined to beat the Stock Market because it had done him in.  He was out for revenge.  He would sit up there in his bedroom and follow the charts. (He actually had a Ticker Tape Machine in his bedroom.) He did a lot of investing on margin.  He had an estate worth over $100,000 (in 1964) when he died, only ten years after he got out of debt.

The Childhood Memories of Trumbull have come to an end. Tomorrow, I will post various pictures of the children as they were growing up in Trumbull.

 

On Saturday,a letter from Lad to the family mailed in Curacao about his voyage so far. I will continue to post a few more letters on Saturdays.

Judy Guion

The Beginning (58) – Childhood Memories of Trumbull – Random Memories (1)

These are the memories of my Father and his siblings, recorded over several years. When my Uncle Dan passed away, I realized that I had better get started recording the memories of Dan’s siblings before they were also gone. I was able to have two recording sessions with my Father, Lad in California; two with Uncle Ced in New Hampshire, a three-day cruise in our boat with Aunt Biss; one session with Uncle Dave in Stratford, CT and one hand-written session (I forgot my tape recorder going up to the Island in New Hampshire, where Uncle Dick lived) with Uncle Dick. I transcribed them once exactly as they were spoken, again removing the ums, ahs, half sentences started over, etc. I then produced a final copy that was easier to read, but it still needs work getting the chronological order correct. Memories are not recorded with a date stamp. I created 75 binders for family members which include all three translations, pages and pages of photos and memorabilia and the actual recording. Now family members can actually heat their ancestors speaking. It was my first project with all the material my Father saved for me and a true Labor of Love. I hope you enjoy these memories of A Slice of Life at a different time and place.

 

DICK – When I was in Brazil, 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.

Lad, Dick, Ced and Grandpa on the Island for the first time (I don’t know who took the picture, Dan was in France and Dave was in Manila, Philippines, during the summer of 1945.

LAD – Sometime around 1945, we were going to the Island and we stopped at the Heurlin’s house.  During the conversation they mentioned that they would like to get rid of the Island.  It was just costing them money and they weren’t using it.  Dad was interested in it and found out that they owed about three hundred dollars in back taxes.  Dad paid that and they gave him the deed to the Island.

                Elizabeth (Biss) Guion Zabel

BISS – When Dad bought the Island from the Heurlin’s.  I was married and had two children.  I tried to talk Zeke into going up there.  He wanted no part of it, he wasn’t interested.  I figured it would be good for the kids, it would be a vacation and it wouldn’t cost more than food and supplies.  But Zeke wouldn’t go.  After five or six years, I finally convinced him to try it.  Then I could never keep him away.  Now, if only I could have gotten him to try traveling once.  I’m sure it would have been the same way.  Then I would have had my dream of traveling all over.  I got the van, the mattress, the gas lantern, the gas stove, and then we never went anywhere, no matter what I would say.  I figured when we retired, we would just start out with no particular destination; he could bring his guns and his fishing gear.  Anyplace we found a spot, if we liked it, we could spend two or three days there; if we didn’t like it, we could go to another place.

The Barge on the left

CED – The barge was used to move the cook cabin.  Your father (Lad) and some of his friends went to the mainland and bought a garage.  They sawed it in half, put it on the barge and brought it to the Island.  They made it into the kitchen shack.

DAVE – Later on, when my kids were young, when we went to the Island, I would put a piece of plywood on the back seat and they would be there.  I used to get going pretty fast, you know, up near Lebanon, New Hampshire, where nobody was around.  I used to get up to about eighty miles an hour with the kids in the back.  Of course, I was only thinking about the fact that there were no cars around.  It never occurred to me that I might hit a deer or a moose.

Tomorrow, more Childhood Memories of Trumbull.

Judy Guion

The Beginning (51) – Childhood Memories of Trumbull – Assorted Memories

These are the memories of my Father and his siblings, recorded over several years. When my Uncle Dan passed away, I realized that I had better get started recording the memories of Dan’s siblings before they were also gone. I was able to have two recording sessions with my Father, Lad in California; two with Uncle Ced in New Hampshire, a three-day cruise in our boat with Aunt Biss; one session with Uncle Dave in Stratford, CT and one hand-written session (I forgot my tape recorder going up to the Island in New Hampshire, where Uncle Dick lived) with Uncle Dick. I transcribed them once exactly as they were spoken, again removing the ums, ahs, half sentences started over, etc. I then produced a final copy that was easier to read, but it still needs work getting the chronological order correct. Memories are not recorded with a date stamp. I created 75 binders for family members which include all three translations, pages and pages of photos and memorabilia and the actual recording. Now family members can actually heat their ancestors speaking. It was my first project with all the material my Father saved for me and a true Labor of Love. I hope you enjoy these memories of A Slice of Life at a different time and place. 

The Beginning (51) – Childhood Memories of Trumbull – Assorted Memories

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

Lad and Gibby (Arnold Gibson) had an old Model T Ford.  They would tie a rope to the differential, tie a tire on ten or fifteen feet back, and ride it like a surfboard or sled.

CED – We used to play the piano.  We had a player piano, we got it from Aunt Anne, she had it in New Rochelle and they didn’t use it anymore so we got it.

DAVE – The big draw was the player piano.  Each one of us, as we got to a certain age, would have people over and we would stand around the piano, play a few songs and sing to them, sing to the music.

Grandpa, Ced and Dick (not sure if Dave was there) visited the Chandlers after they moved to Maryland.

CED – The young people’s group in church was led by Doug and Emily Chandler.  Long after Chandler left, we kept on with the Chandler Chorus.  The only two people who ever directed the Chandler Chorus were Doug Chandler and Laura Brewster.  He was good, very good with young people.  There must have been seventeen or eighteen kids in the group.  He played the piano beautifully and we would have these meetings once a week.  He played really jazzy music for us, too.  He was very fond of music, good music, and started the Chandler Chorus.  We had everywhere from ten-year-olds to sixty-year-olds, maybe higher.  Maybe not ten-year-olds, but we had young people.  We sang quite frequently.  We went all over the place, up to Shelton.  We were good.  In fact, that’s where Fannie and I met.

Anyway, then there was this young group, 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 would play the piano and we would sing.  We just had a ball, and then we would have cookies and cocoa or something.  That was so much fun.

DICK – 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 a high, steep precipice – about two hundred feet high.  At the top, we all lay down on our bellies and inched forward to the edge.  Nearby, we had 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 in slow motion.

Art Mantle, Biss and Lad with the Model T

DAVE – Where did I learn to drive?  I guess I never did.  I don’t remember.  I don’t think it was in the back lot.  I remember a game the older boys used to play.  Someone would stand on the running board (if you don’t know what a running board is, look it up) and stick their bottom out.  There had to be a little bit of teamwork between the driver and the person on the running board, and they would try to see how close they could come to a tree without hitting their butt.  That’s all I remember about it.

Tomorrow I will finish off the week with one more Childhood Memories of Trumbull.

On Saturday, Day Three for Lad on his Voyage to Venezuela.

Judy Guion

The Beginning (48) Childhood Memories of Trumbull – Dick and Dave Remember

These are the memories of my Father and his siblings, recorded over several years. When my Uncle Dan passed away, I realized that I had better get started recording the memories of Dan’s siblings before they were also gone. I was able to have two recording sessions with my Father, Lad in California; two with Uncle Ced in New Hampshire, a three-day cruise in our boat with Aunt Biss; one session with Uncle Dave in Stratford, CT and one hand-written session (I forgot my tape recorder going up to the Island in New Hampshire, where Uncle Dick lived) with Uncle Dick. I transcribed them once exactly as they were spoken, again removing the ums, ahs, half sentences started over, etc. I then produced a final copy that was easier to read, but it still needs work getting the chronological order correct. Memories are not recorded with a date stamp. I created 75 binders for family members which include all three translations, pages and pages of photos and memorabilia and the actual recording. Now family members can actually heat their ancestors speaking. It was my first project with all the material my Father saved for me and a true Labor of Love. I hope you enjoy these memories of A Slice of Life at a different time and place. 

Back row: Grandpa and Lad,

Middle Row: Dick, Ced, (cousin) Dorothy Peabody;

Front row: Don Stanley, Dave, Biss and Gwen Stanley.

DICK – 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.

DAVE – How did I get along with my siblings, aside from Dick?  That aside is because Dick used to push my buttons and get me going, on purpose.  Although I have to say,  he did me a big favor, because I have since learned to laugh at myself, to let things  – as people say  – roll off my back, and Dick would turn over in his grave if he knew this, but he was the one who set me on that path.  By the time I was eight or ten, Al, Lad, what ever  ….. by the way, if I had been nicknamed Lad, I would have put an end to it immediately.  But anyway, Al and Dan were already in the CCC camps, and I just didn’t have much of a relationship because of the distance in years

Mack

We had a dog, which came from Rusty, named Mack.  Mack was named after the Mackenzie River up in Alaska.  Rusty is a whole other story.  My main remembrance of Mack was one day, we were out playing in the yard and I had a stick.  I held it up in the air for him to go get it and he jammed his fang into my nail, and it  HURT.

I remember doing something to my sister one day and she threatened me with something and I said, “You can’t catch me” and took off and ran out into the yard.  I was making pretty good headway but she eventually caught up to me.  I don’t remember what she did to me, but I just remember that I got caught

My Mother and Father used to enjoy having parties and, when they got to know Rusty, he was always welcomed 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 will give you this nickel.”  Then he would tell me what to say and I would walk into the room and stand in the middle of all the crowd, and I wouldd say, “Daddy’s car is a piece of junk!” Then I would get my nickel – and Daddy’s car was a piece of junk.

We had a Dodge Coupe, it had for a heater a little opening that had a cover on it.  When you removed the cover, the heat from the exhaust pipe would come up and heat you  – yeah, some heat. It had a space, probably a foot wide, that ran behind the front seat, and whenever we went someplace, that was my spot.  Of course, today, you would get thrown in jail, not just arrested, but thrown in jail for having a kid riding up there, with no seatbelt on.

Tomorrow and for the rest of the week, more Childhood Memories of Trumbull,.

Judy Guion