Arla Mary (Peabody Guion with Alfred Peabody Guion (my Dad) – 1914
Arla Mary (Peabody) Guion with Daniel Beck Guion – 1916
Arla Mary (Peabody) Guion and Richard Peabody Guion – 1922
Arla Mary (Peabody Guion with Alfred Peabody Guion (my Dad) – 1914
Arla Mary (Peabody) Guion with Daniel Beck Guion – 1916
Arla Mary (Peabody) Guion and Richard Peabody Guion – 1922
Trumbull, Conn., Sept. 22, 1946
The last letter in this apparently interminable series of mine I note was dated four weeks ago, marking the longest interval of silence since the start, which if I recall correctly was when the two oldest were in far-off Venezuela. (January, 1939) We (Dick, Jean and I) came home Tuesday of this week, we having decided Monday that the nights were uncomfortably cool for sleeping in the unheated abode, plus the fact that I erroneously surmised that frost down home here would have, by that time, destroyed the nasty ragweed. In this I was mistaken. The weather indeed all this week has been summer hot, registering in the 80s, and the ragweed, like the wicked, flourisheth. In consequence the hay fever, which was practically nonexistent while at the Island, has appeared in undiluted form and has succeeded in making life quite miserable for ye scribe.
While I sent you each a postal now and then from the Island I may as well take a few moments to review some of the high-lights of my New Hampshire visit. When I reached the Island Alta and Arnold (Gibson) had left but a few days later Elsie appeared. It was her first visit to the Island and she apparently liked it very much and enjoyed her few days with us. We salvaged some old boards where the icehouse used to be at States Landing (at the end of the road) and built a lean-to on Echo Point (the name I gave to the place where the diving board used to be). We built a new fireplace and made a work table adjacent thereto with the floorboard of an old rowboat which had been washed up on the shore as a derelict. We first attempted to repair some holes stove in her hull, but soon found it was not worthwhile on account of her extreme age, leaky condition, etc. On September 5, Bar and Pete (Barbara (Plumb) and Pete Linsey), who had been married according to schedule on Aug. 31st, paid us a surprise visit as a part of their honeymoon tour through New England and stayed a couple of days. Pete had brought his fishing tackle along which added impetus to Dick’s already aroused fishing interest. He later caught a 3-lb. Bass. Between us we cleared the brush and some of the trees from about 3/4 of the Island. One day I called at the State Capital at Concord and interviewed some of the Commissioners learning that apples, plums, but no peaches, blackberries, raspberries and blueberries, hickory, butternut, walnut, but not chestnut, and strawberries could be grown successfully on the Island soil, that the lake water is pure and drinkable as it comes from the lake, that building under present conditions is out of the question. We also visited a country fair, and Dick, who had grown a full beard and looked like a member of the “House of David”, created quite a sensation. On my birthday I was surprised after supper by being presented with a birthday cake with one big red candle planted squarely in the middle and a card which bore this legend: “62 candle power. Like you, the candle may not be new, but there’s still a lot of life there.” Next day I got birthday cards from Lad and Marian, Dave and Eleanor and Aunt Betty; also a hand-made card from Chiche (Paulette) with pictures of Dan, herself and the baby. It was very thoughtful of her and much appreciated.
Tomorrow, Wednesday and Thursday, I will post segments of this letter and on Friday, one more letter from Grandpa to Ced and Dan.
My Uncle Ced has been in Alaska for about 3 years and his younger brother’s marriage came as quite a surprise. He received the following letter about the festivities from the bride herself.
March 28, 1943
Dear Ced –
Another week has gone by and I still haven’t written you. The only trouble is, I haven’t even a halfway decent excuse to offer.
Here goes – I can easily imagine the shock you must have received when you read your father’s letter telling of Dick’s marriage. Things happened so quickly, that I think I was as much surprised as anyone. We had been talking about it for some time, but never with much seriousness. Then February 11th, Dick received his little card telling him to report to Hartford February 20th. That meant there wasn’t much time to waste. Dick asked your father if he could marry us, and he said ‘Yes”.
Friday, February 12, – Dick saw the judge of probate and got a waiver. Noon of the same day, I had my blood test taken and Dick purchased a very beautiful wedding ring. I went back to work three quarters of an hour late. My face was very flushed, my hands trembling and my heart pounding. (but, worst of all, was the thought of telling my boss of the very great event). After two very nerve-racking hours of just thinking about telling him, and asking for a week off – I walked bravely up to him, (at least I thought I was brave), and explained the whole situation. Without a moments hesitation, he said “Certainly”. Wow!!! Was I glad that was over.
Saturday, February 13 – we went up to see Helen Plumb, (the Town Clerk) and got our license. We then proceeded to Bridgeport to do a little shopping. During the evening there was much excitement as you can well imagine.
Sunday, February 14 – St. Valentine’s Day – The great day. It was a cold but very beautiful Sunday. Your father prepared a wonderful chicken dinner and before we knew it the ceremony was taking place. Your Aunt Anne and Aunt Dorothy, my mother and father and sister were present. Elizabeth was there too. A few hours later we had a small reception. The woman who lives in the apartment, Catherine Warden – prepared the food. Everything was very nice and I’m sure everyone had a good time. We left for New York on the 10:15 train. The gang saw us off in good fashion – Carl Wayne pinned a “Just Married” sign on Dick’s back, and of course they all had plenty of rice. The train finally came, and we were on our way.
We spent three wonderful days in New York – going to shows, seeing a play, eating, and just walking around. We came home late Wednesday afternoon. Dick left for the Army March 1st – now I’m all alone and lonesome. The previous pages are a very detailed report of our wedding. I hope they were interesting.
Your father has probably already told you that Dick is in the Air Corps at Miami Beach, Florida, and that he is training to be an M. P. Dick didn’t like the idea very much at first, but now I guess he has decided it’s a good thing to be. I understand there’s quite a good chance for advancement.
I think your father has already told you that we bought a lovely bed spread, when you suggested a gift. Thank you very much Ced – it was awfully nice of you. Having always liked Trumbull very much – I wanted to stay here when Dick left – so here I am and I like it very much.
I can’t seem to recall ever having met youCed. That isn’t unusual though – I have a very poor memory. I hope it won’t be too long before we meet again. It seems awfully funny or strange to have a brother-in-law I have never met, or can’t remember ever having met. I really am quite anxious to meet you. I’ve heard so many nice things about you. Thank you again for your gift.
My father, Lad, was stationed near Los Angeles, California, and had some comments regarding the whole affair in a letter to his father.
Camp Santa Anita
March 21, 1943
So Dick is now married. Well, well, well. That move sort of leaves me writeless, but I’ll try to continue, nevertheless. In the first place, I knew pretty much about the affair, long before it happened. In fact, sometime around October, Dick asked me about it, and I told him what I thought about getting married before or during this war, and I see he took my advice – and threw it out the window, or some such place
But anyhow, I believe he really has a wonderful wife. I like her very much. I just hope that knowing that she is there waiting for him will sort of change some of his lackadaisical ways. (Maybe I had better get married). I can think of lots more to say, but they are better said to Dick or Jean directly, so that’s that.
( NOTE: Lad had no idea that within 7 months, he would also be married, but that’s a story for another time.)
Tomorrow, another letter from Grandpa.
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Trumbull, Conn., April 23, 1944
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 and 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 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.
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.
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.
Tomorrow we have another letter from Rusty to Ced and we finish the week with Grandpa’s response to Marian’s little ribbing.
Jean (Mortensen) Guion
Trumbull, Conn., Feb. 28, 1943
Dear Bachelor Sons:
Dick has been home all of this week, enjoying his state of married bliss which Jean has been sharing with him as much as being away from him with a cold can fulfill that specification, and tomorrow he departs again from Shelton to begin his training seriously to materialize the four freedoms. Jean, meantime, has decided to take up her abode with us so that she can be here when Dick comes home on furloughs, and because she has here a room all to herself, which she did not have at her home, where she can more or less be on her own, and then, too, most of her girl friends are in Trumbull, the bus passes the door here where it does not travel so close to her Stratford home, etc. As Dave, latterly, has been working at the Algonquin Club from 5 on setting up their menus on the multi-graph and along with it all, enjoys a first-class club dinner, with Dick gone, it would have left to elderly and sedate people to take the evening meal in a house that for so many years has echoed to the sound of young folks. So Jean will serve as one tenuous link with the past.
At dinner today, after putting away the broiled chicken, sweet potatoes, ice cream, cake, etc., I presented to Dick, on Ced’s behalf, a much delayed Christmas gift in the form of a money belt, as well as a compact toilet kit, emergency sewing kit, etc. After dinner, Red (Sirene) came in and they went out and took some snapshots, which I shall await and, if they turn out well, shall send you each prints of the “newlyweds”. Of course their plans are of necessity quite vague, but I know Dick has in the back of his mind the prospect of going to Alaska, “when the lights go on all over the world”.
Catherine Warden, sometime after the middle of March, goes to the hospital for an operation, taking the children to her sister’s in Mass. for the time she will be away.
Thanks, Dan, for your “quickie”, and also for the razor blades. I had hoped you would be able to get home this week and to break a bottle of champagne over the bow of the S.S. Richard, as he left the ways, but I hear that Paul sort of substituted for you last Friday with a bottle of rye replacing the conventional medium. I think Dick has arranged to sell his car, on time, to Bob Strobel, for something over $100, which leads me quite naturally to the thought of your car, Dan, and whether, now that March 1st is at the threshold and a new car license is due, you want me to renew it for you or allow things to rest in status quo. Instruct me as to your wishes, son.
The whole family was invited to supper at the Mortensen’s last Thursday, which we all enjoyed very much. They are very nice and I like them all. On the way over, in my Buick, I had a flat. Luckily, I had, a while previously, obtained authorization from the local rationing board to purchase two new tires so Carl got busy at once and tomorrow I expect to be the proud possessor of two new second grade tires, which is all I am allowed.
Thanks, Lad, for the prompt follow through on last week’s letter. It was very interesting reading. At present, Carl has it, but I expect to get it back tomorrow and pass it around to others, including Babe (Cecelia Mullins, Lad’s girlfriend), whom I saw at Center school Tuesday when I got #2 ration books.
And now may peace be upon you and blessings from your DAD
Tomorrow I’ll post a letter from Lad, who has been in California for about two months.
Trumbull, Conn., February 21, 1943
You will recall, as will Dan also, that early morning trip over the Shelton road to the Derby railroad station and my dutifully surrendering into Uncle Sam’s care, my two oldest boys. Well, that performance was repeated yesterday with Dick as the sacrificial lamb. 5:30 was the time set (to get to the station), and both Dave (who was to go along) and Dick both dutifully set their alarms, which dutifully went off at the designated time, and each of them, as dutifully shut them off as they went off and promptly went back to sleep again. At ten to five, conscientious Dad, with matter weighing on his subconscious mind, awoke, roused the two slackers, had a hasty breakfast (Dick’s wife prepared his), and started on our way by bright moonlight at about 5:15. We stopped to pick up Joe Mizek, who was also on the list, at about 5:45, pulled up to the familiar station. By that time all the boys were on the train which was waiting on the platform. There seemed to me to be far fewer than when you and Dan left but perhaps that was because they were all on the train and not standing around outside with friends and relatives. However there was not over one car full in all. Unlike in your case, Dick was granted a nine-day leave so after going through the routine at Hartford, he returned last night about 9 o’clock and does not have to go to report until next Monday. The draftees, Dick says, this time were divided into three groups, or more, O.S., G.S.A., S.A.,etc. Dick was in the S.A. classification, whatever that means, (probably South America, since he went to Brazil) but he is in the Army at any rate.
The only “boy” news I received last week was a welcome letter from you, Lad, and I am grateful to you for sending it and relieving my mind. I guess this thing is beginning to get me a little bit and when weeks go by without any word, in spite of my optimism, I begin to get a little down. Rotten business, civilian restrictions of all kinds, etc., don’t help boost morale. Yesterday afternoon, after shipping off Dick I felt sort of low so I went to the movies; so your cheerful letter, Lad, with its reassurance that you may chalk up as being worth any effort it may have cost you in the cheer it brought with it. I’ll be anxious to get that continued story you have in preparation. One of the things that pleased me most of all was the news that you are taking a technical course in the U. S. C. , because I have always had a sense of guilt that I didn’t, in some way, provide college educations. Of course I can readily find excuses in the fact that Mother’s sickness took all I could earn and more, but all the same, there is a haunting thought that if I had it all to do over again, I might have found some way. So when, in spite of it all, all you boys are all turning out to be sons I could be proud of, it is all the more to your credit and I mean bask in a father-like refracted satisfaction.
A little card from Peggy (Beebe) Sanford this week announces the arrival of a little girl. Dick and Jean naturally seem quite happy in their married bliss. They spent their honeymoon, three days of it, in New York, stopping at the Piccadilly hotel, during two of the most bitterly cold days we have had for a long time. What with the low temperature and high winds, the pipes in the apartment froze and for a while the hot water in the kitchen refused to run, but I didn’t think any of the pipes burst, at least not where it was visible. The newlyweds spent their honeymoon, three days of it, in New York, stopping at the Piccadilly hotel, very to a half bitterly cold days we have had for a long time. What with the low temperature and high winds, the pipes in the apartment froze and for a while the hot water in the kitchen refused to run, but I didn’t think any of the pipes burst, at least not where it is visible. The newly wed’s went to movies, a stage play a nightclub, etc. This family is all invited to the Mortensen’s for dinner next Thursday. And by the way, Dan, if you want to see Dick before he takes over the job of licking Hitler and the gang single-handed, you had better see if you can come home before March 1st.
There was a new book out about Alaska which is quite worthwhile. HERE IS ALASKA, by Steffansen. https://www.amazon.com/Here-Alaska-Evelyn-Stefansson-Nef/dp/B0006APWCU Get it from your library if possible.
Tomorrow I’ll be posting another letter from Grandpa and on Friday, a letter from Lad, in California.
Trumbull, Conn., St. Valentine’s Day, Feb. 14th, 1943
To my three still unwed sons:
Well, things have been happening so thick and fast this week that I scarcely know where to begin, although the one big item of news crowds the others into insignificance. To get the least important out of the way first – – my two office helpers have left to take jobs elsewhere and although they were only part-time helpers, it leaves the company now 100% Guion, Dave and myself, although even Dave has taken a job from 5 to 6:30 PM with the Algonquin Club, setting up their menu on their multi-graph. Dave has also joined the State Guard and drills at the Armory one night a week.
Dick is now in the Army. His notice came through Thursday telling him to report at the well-known Derby R.R. station at 5:30 next Saturday for induction. And now for the big news. Dick is married. I tied the knot personally this afternoon, so I know. It seems that after receiving his induction notice, he and Jean talked the situation over and on Friday they announced they intended to get married at once. So Saturday, Dick got the license from Helen Plumb, obtained the waiver of the customary 10-day notice and blood test from the Judge of Probate, set this afternoon between four and five for the deed, and in the living room, in the presence of Mr. and Mrs. Mortensen (Jean’s parents), Mr. and Mrs. (Red) Sirene, Aunt Betty (Duryee), Aunt Dorothy (Peabody) and Aunt Anne, ((Peabody) Stanley) I exercised the right conferred upon me by the State of Conn., and as Justice of the Peace, pronounced them man and wife. The whole thing was arranged and completed in so short a space of time that no opportunity was given to make any but the most hasty arrangements, although I did telegraph Dan, thinking he might be able to get the necessary leave, and also phoned Aunt Elsie, asking her to let Dorothy know. Dan wired back his congratulations to Dick in lieu of personally being present and Aunt Elsie was unable to make arrangements to get away.
Today, as you can imagine, was a busy one. After preparing a chicken dinner held in the dining room, adorned with flowers and suitable St. Valentine’s Day decorations, Katherine Warden took over the arrangements for the reception refreshments held in the dining room at which were present, besides those witnessing the ceremony (I forgot to include Biss above) Dave, Zeke, Paul and Katherine (Warden, renters of the small apartment), Jean’s sister and aunt, grandmother and grandfather, Carl (Wayne) and Ethel and Flora (Bushey), Red (Sirene), Barbara (Plumb), Jane (Mantle), (Paul and Zeke, in the course of the celebration, imbibed freely and at the end, were in “high spirits”). The girls had the dining room attractively decorated and, with chairs filched from various parts of the house and the Wardens, we all sat around in a large circle and enjoyed a light upper. Carl and Paul had obtained a big box labeled “Extra Heavy Duty Rubber” and in this they packed an extra large white baloney shaped object together with a tube of salve which they handed to the bride and groom just before they left for the train and insisted upon its being opened in the presence of all. Jane’s face got red and she retired but Dick stood and faced the music without batting an eyebrow.
Dick, Jean, Dave and I went down to the station in my car and two other carloads went along. During the five or ten minute wait for the train in the packed depot, the usual rice throwing took place and a placard reading “Just Married”, at the last minute was tucked under Jean’s arm. The poor girl was evidently so taken up with the excitement of the moment that she never noticed it and walked through the train in search of a seat with the sign still under her arm, both ends projecting.
I have just got back after all the excitement and as it is nearing midnight, and by the way, it is a bitterly cold night, temperature way below zero and the wind blowing, the house is getting cold, and I guess I am a bit tired with all the doings, so having told the big news here I’ll quit. Haven’t heard from Lad for several weeks.
Tomorrow, another letter from Grandpa and on Friday, one from Lad.
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