Trumbull – Dear Dick, Lad, Marian and Dan (1) – Reply to Dick – January 9, 1944

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 and Grandma, driving us all down to Pegg’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, I want you to know how much it is appreciated. I was beginning to think you had just 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

Aunt Betty Durtee

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 when ever 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, I’ll be posting the second half of this letter Grandpa comments about a letter from Marian and possible plans for the house when all the boys are home again. Wednesday, a letter from Lad. Thursday and Friday, another letter from Grandpa to his sons.

Judy Guion

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Trumbull – My Dear “Poor Dogs” – St. Patrick’s Day – 1946

St. Patrick’s day in the mornin’, 1946

My dear “poor dogs”:

No disrespect intended of course. And besides, it is generally admitted I believe that the dog is man’s best friend, but even this implies designation of you as my best friend is not the meaning I had in mind in the usual salutation. It is rather based on the old childhood saga. When this here Father Hubbard went this week to the mailbox cupboard he found it entirely bare of quotes and so you have none. Q.M.D. of course I might have called you snakes, again in no sense of disrespect but hoping in view of the day that you in turn would be driven out of your respective “islands” and shipped back to the mainland of the U.S. anyway, it is St. Patrick’s Day in the morning here or glancing at my gold watch and chain I see it is but nine A.M. – – an unusually early time for me to be indicting my weekly Clarion, but you see I have already been up hours applying a coat to tar to the laundry roof – – that and the driveway seem to be perennial jobs. And the reason for all this unseemly early morning activity? Well, Friday evening the phone rang and Aunt Anne (Anne Peabody Stanley, Grandma Arla’s younger sister), after the usual inquiry as to the state of my health, thought it might be a good thing if the six of us (Grandpa, Aunt Betty, Lad, Marian, Dick and Jean) should motor down today and visit them at her apartment. I consulted the various oracles and as all the auguries seemed favorable, I gave an affirmative answer and in an hour or so we start for the big city; AND not wanting to let the day go by without the usual letter you have learned to expect on this day, it seemed best to get started with it early, and there you have the whole thing laid bare before you. It took me a long time to say “I’m writing you early because we are going to N. Y. this afternoon”, but I have to fill up the page with words of some sort and news this week is confined to Joe Stalin’s blasts, Winston Churchill’s flowing measures and news of the settlement of the General Motors and General Electric strike settlement.

There is a little of local moment. Paul (Warden, the apartment tenant, along with his wife and two children), with the aid of Walter Mantle, is putting a new wall on the apartment bathroom. Jean went shopping in New York Thursday with Marion Hopkins (one of her objects being to see if, in the big city, she could find some suitable dress material for Paulette, unsuccessfully, I might add). Dick and Jean went horseback riding yesterday morning from the Madison Avenue Sables, it being a beautiful spring day, and later came back and did some cleaning up work around the yard.

Dave, I forgot to mention in last week’s letter that I received a note from Herman R. Semenek of Chicago, enclosing a five dollar bill and asking me to thank you for your trust in him. You will regret to learn that your Alaskan brother Ced has been insulted by the Bridgeport City Trust Co. They read his signature and addressed him thereupon as Pedric D. Tucon. It cannot be that his handwriting is a bit illegible.

Surprise. Dick is up. He just came from this cellar where he has been coaxing the old coal water-heating stove into activity. The oil burner installed eight months ago burned out apart and for several weeks now we have been waiting for the replacement part to arrive. Meanwhile we have sort of a local ration allotment for hot water. Today everyone will want to take baths and get all dolled up before going to visit so the little old stove will be working overtime.

Aunt Betty has just called me into breakfast, so leaving with the hope that the coming week will bring news from Alaska and abroad to liven up next week’s screed, I remain, respected Sirs,

Your doting father

familiarly known as

DAD

Tomorrow and Friday,  I’ll be posting pages 2 & 3 of a letter Grandpa wrote to his far-way family. I did not have a copy of page 1 so I went to my original letters and page 1 is missing from there also. 

Judy Guion

Trumbull House – Then and Now – 1756 Section Bathroom – Fire – circa 1925

Recently I spent a night in the Trumbull House visiting with Paulette – Aunt Chiche to family and friends – and took quite a few pictures. For the next few Saturdays I will be posting pictures taken during this stay as well as older pictures of similar places taken over the years, when I have them. I hope you enjoy.

 

One of Elizabeth’s (Bissie to family and friends) early memories, as told to me and recorded:

BISS – I think the second fire happened in the winter and we had one of those oil burners with holes on top to heat the bathroom. Dick and I were sitting on the radiator in the back bathroom, the bathroom in Dave and Ellie’s apartment, and it was so cold that there was frost on the window. We’d take one of the pieces of our Erector Set, put it in a hole 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 curtains. 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, the door opened and Dick walked out. I put my hands on my hips and said, “How did you get out of there?” As if he had a lot of nerve to get out by himself. He explained that he had crawled between the bathtub and the fire and got out that way and opened the door. Mother had on a very flimsy gown and that 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.

This is a picture of that bathroom. You can see the radiator and window Biss is talking about. The sink is the same as it was over 55 years ago when my family and I were living in that portion of the house. I regret not taking a picture of the bathtub, although it may not be the same one. When I lived there, the bathtub was a claw-foot tub and there would have been plenty of room for a two or three-year-old to crawl behind it.

Tomorrow, another Guest Post from GPCox, pacificparatrooper.wordpress.com , titled Hooray For Hollywood, all about Hollywood stars and their participation in the War effort.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Dear Dick – News About Everyone – February, 1944

 

Trumbull, Conn.,   February 13, 1944

Dear Dick:

Richard (Dick) Guion

Richard (Dick) 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

Jean (Mrs. Richard) Guion

Jean (Mrs. Richard) Guion

to search far to guess why. 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)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 to. 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, daughter Jean 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 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 and Sunday more Special Pictures.

Judy Hardy

Special Picture # 300 – Spring Island in Winter – @ 1954

These pictures were taken by my Dad, Lad, on a trip to New Hampshire to visit with his younger brother, Dick and his family. My Mom, Marian, and friends, Pete and Barbara (Plumb) Linsley also went along. While there, the group, Lad, Marian, Dick, his wife Jean and young daughter Suzanne, Pete and Barbara Linsley, went over to see the Island. Since Suzanne was born in April, 1953, my guess is that this trip occurred some time in the winter of 1953-54.

 

Spring Island from States Landing

 

Pete Linsley on Spring Island

 

Jean (Mrs. Richard) Guion and daughter, Suzanne

 

view to the south

 

Walking back to States Landing

 

Marian leading the pack

 

My Mom, Marian (Irwin) (Mrs. Lad) Guion

 

 

Special Picture # 293 – Dave and Butch’s Baptism – June, 1940

This is an excerpt from a letter written to my father, Lad, while he was in Venezuela in June of 1940.

This morning I got up at nine and got the dinner started and then rushed up and got dressed for church, because this was the day Mr. Bollman had appointed for baptismal services, and not only was young grandson to be baptized along with three other babies, but our own David was also to receive the same sacrament along with Evelyn Hughes and Robert Shattuck. Your nephew was very good during the entire ceremony but celebrated by wetting himself afterwards while his father was holding him. They decided to leave on this account before the ceremony was over and stopped at MacKenzie’s drugstore on the way home because Zeke was thirsty. Baby evidently did not approve of this because he upset a glass of Coca-Cola and Mac, in his haste to mop up the spilling, upset another glass himself.

These pictures were all taken on the same day. Both Dave and Raymond, Jr. (Butch) were baptized on June 9, 1940

Grandpa, Dick, Ced, Biss, Zeke holding Raymond, Jr. (Butch) and Dan.

Biss and Raymond Jr. (Butch)

Dan holding Butch and Ced

 

Raymond, Jr. (Butch) and Dan on the side lawn

Special Picture # 286 – Trumbull House – Blizzard of 1940

 

Just found these pictures from the Blizzard of 1940.

Dave, Mack and Dick shoveling.

Dave with Mack in front of the Packard.

Dick does a “Whirling Dervish”.

Note on the back: “Russian camouflaged as spruce tree sights at snowdrift, figuring it might be a Finn. Real Finn is disguised as a discarded coat in foreground.”