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

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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

The Beginning (47) – Childhood Memories of Trumbull – Memories From Dave

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 (front, left) next to Gwen Stanley

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

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

When I was a kid, I had quite a temper.  It was a real nice combination.  I had a temper and I was a crybaby.

My problem, aside from Dick, my biggest problem when I was a kid was keeping different groups of friends apart from one another.  I had lots of friends when I was a kid, no real close friends, but they were diverse.  When I was playing with one and one of the others showed up, I had a problem because the two of them didn’t get along.

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

This view of the Big House in winter shows the screen porch Dave refers to.

DAVE – Don and Gwen (Stanley), my cousins from Aunt Anne, were here all the time.  They’d plead and beg and finally their mother would give in and they would stay for a few days I don’t know how to explain it because the house, the Big House, has changed so much with renovations but there used to be a screen porch on the southeast corner of the house (Chiche’s formal dining room) and there was a window there that looked from the stairs out onto that porch.  Don and Gwen were there and Dick and I were talking, talking, talking, talking, talking.  We had been warned on two or three occasions to quiet down and go to sleep.  If Dick has told this story it will be a different version than mine because what happened was the last one to speak, when the last warning came, was me.  So, I was sent upstairs away from the rest of them and as I went up the stairs, I kicked at the window to warn them that I was going to cause trouble for them.  Anybody else and everybody else will tell you that I kicked in the window on purpose, but at any rate, I never bought that story.  It was a warning.  I kicked it to warn them but I broke it.  The next thing I knew, my father came charging up the stairs, gave me a good spanking and sent me to bed.  When I got into bed, I began to feel something sticky down around my right foot.  I was already crying and upset, and when I checked it, I had cut my foot on the glass, which made me feel still more hurt and angry, and suffering such a terrible injustice.  I was probably nine or ten when that happened, maybe eight, well it had to be after my mother had died and I was seven when she died.

I never liked school.  I started at Center School.  That wasn’t too bad.  The family name meant something in the immediate vicinity of Trumbull Center.  We had a Principal there whose name was Carson and I thought he treated me fairly.  I didn’t know if he was trying to make points with my father or what.  We had a court (in school) and whenever there was some kind of infringement, the culprit was dragged before the court.  For some stupid reason, Mr. Carson decided that I should be the prosecutor.  I was never very good at it but I made it through.

I remember one day, Dick and I used to fight all the time and he did or said something that made me annoyed and I picked up a box of matches … Now a box of matches was probably one hundred little wooden matches in a very thin wood box.  Anyway, I picked up the box and threw it at him.  Unfortunately my aim was good that day and I hit him in the forehead.  He started to bleed.  Again, I don’t remember what happened after that but I’m sure it wasn’t anything good for me.

Tomorrow I will be starting Lad’s written record of his Voyage to Venezuela.

On Sunday, I will be posting another of My Ancestors, this time, more about my mother, Marian Dunlap Irwin. 

On Monday, I will begin a week of letters written in 1943, a time when all five of Grandpa’s sons are working for Uncle Sam and Lad and Marian’s wedding is real close.

Judy Guion

The Beginning (44) – Childhood Memories of Trumbull – More Shenanigans

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. 

Planting a garden in the back yard – back row: Dorothy Peabody (Arla’s youngest sister), Biss, Lad, Dan, Ced, Dick and Grandpa. Front row: Donald Stanley and Dave, circa 1928.

CED – A bunch of us would walk over to Pinewood Lake, you know, it was all forested pine trees.  We would play in the tops of those trees.  We would go from one tree to the next.

DICK – 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 would hear a crack, thump, “ugh”, as someone fell out of his tree.

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

CED – in Trumbull, I went to the old Don Serene’s house, which was a school.  It had two rooms with a sliding door between them.  The first, second and third grades were in one room, the fourth, fifth and sixth grades were in the other.  The teachers were two sisters, one in each room.  Ms. Hawkins taught in the second building.  That was the building that was moved.  They put a basement under it and made some minor changes and made a firehouse out of it.  We had outhouses outside – one for the boys and one for the girls.  We had a water cooler, a 10-gallon jug with a push button on the bottom, no ice, and a wood stove.  Both buildings had a wood stove – we kids used to get the wood for it.

When they opened Center School, I was in the fourth grade.  It had four rooms upstairs and four rooms downstairs.  It was shaped like a square.

BISS – At Center School I fell in love with the Principal, very much and I couldn’t wait for the eighth grade to come so I could be with her.  She retired to get married, either one or two years before that.  I was in the sixth or seventh grade when she retired to get married.  I was always mad at her, because I wasn’t able to have her as a teacher.

LAD – We started high school in Congress High on Congress Avenue (in Bridgeport).  We went there for two years maybe, then they closed the school and made it into a Junior High.  All of the high school kids moved across the street to Central High.  Years later, some of the Trumbull kids went to Harding High, some to Central High and some went to Bassick High School.

BISS – When I was twelve or thirteen, Mother sent me to Kurtz’s Store to get some groceries. We had always charged it, so when I got to the counter I said, “Put it on our charge.”  He said, “Go home and tell your mother and your father that we can no longer carry them on the charge.  They will have to pay cash from now on.”  I felt like I wanted the earth to open up and swallow me.  I know it took Dad from then until 1954 before he could get out of debt and put a gravestone at Mother’s Grave.  (Since Biss was born in January 1919, this would have been in 1931 or 1932.  Her mother, Arla Mary (Peabody) Guion, passed away June 29, 1933.  She had been severely sick for quite a while before that.)

For the rest of the week I will be posting more Childhood Memories of Trumbull.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Dear Halloween Pranksters (1) – News From Ced – October 31, 1943

 

The boys almost made 100% this week with three out of four writing home, a banner week for Grandpa. With his usual thoroughness, Grandpa reports what each letter contained, making sure that everyone is well informed.

Alfred Duryee Guion - (Grandpa) - in the Alcove where he typed his letters

Alfred Duryee Guion – (Grandpa) – in the Alcove where he typed his letters

Trumbull, Conn.

October 31, 1943

Dear Halloween pranksters:

This is one time, Dick, I won’t have to get you out of the clink for hurling stones through windows at Pinebrook (Country Club in Trumbull, where Dick had many “adventures” with his friends). Ah, those were the happy days! Dave tells me some of the boys started to pay a visit to Boggild’s,  but according to rumor, they had paid one of the town cop’s a little something extra to be on hand. Anyway, as soon as they approached, all the lights flashed on in the house, and the boys beat a strategic retreat. That is all the seasonal excitement I have to report.

                    Dave Guion

The Trumbull Rangers, of which Dave is President, and who incidentally are doing quite an elaborate job of fixing up, as a clubroom, the space I gave them in the barn, have been playing the surrounding teams in football matches lately. Today was their big game of the season – in Yale-Harvard or Army-Navy tradition – with Black Rock. The Rangers lost 18 to 0.

George Laufer is reported to be in England somewhere near London and is trying to get in touch with Dan through the Red Cross. London papers please copy.

If Dick had come through with the letter home last week it would have made the score 100%. It might be interesting, especially as Trumbull news is pretty well covered by the above few paragraphs, to dip into these various letters, constituting myself as sort of a distributing news center.

                                Ced Guion

Taking them in order of their arrival, lets tune in on Anchorage first. Ced reports there have been several frosts but no real freeze ups yet (Oct. 17). He got some good Kodachrome shots at Chickaloon the previous Sunday, including some of the Indians there. The old chief was dressed in hobo-like attire and sported a pair of dilapidated glasses which were held on one side in the conventional manner but on the other with a piece of string looped over his ear. To cooperate in the picture taking, he turned up his collar, adjusted his frayed coat, struck a distinguished pose, hardly befitting his attire and beaming expectantly, said “One like this too, maybe?”

Ced’s Buick is undergoing a thorough engine job which has kept him pretty busy. He is still living with George and hopes to continue there until early in December, when apparently, he loads up his dogsled and starts mushing for Trumbull.

                Carl Wayne

Should (at this point Carl came in for a visit and two hours have passed in conversation about his job in the Merchant Marine.) He expects to start next week on this trip but is hoping that he will be home before Ced leaves again for Alaska. He asked me the following questions which I was unable to answer, and which others will be asking. When does Ced start and how long a leave of absence can he obtain, and when is he starting back? How will he come, from Alaska by plane to Seattle, thence by train, and make the return trip the same way? By the way, what is the fare by plane from Anchorage to Seattle for ordinary people? (I suppose you get a”trade discount” being in the business.)

How exciting it is to think that it will only be a month more before Ced starts. Carl is so anxious to see him, and Mrs. Ives, too. Then there are the Wardens and Jean who have heard so much about him but have never met him, and Arnold and many others, some of whom are scattered all over the globe, to say nothing of “the family”. Should any of you desire to write to Ced, his address is P.O.  Box 822, Anchorage.

 

Tomorrow, the rest of this letter.

On Saturday, more of Lad’s Voyage to Venezuela., when the Venezuelan Government gets involved .

On Sunday, more about Marian’s Ancestors.

Judy Guion

The Beginning (41) – Childhood Memories of Trumbull – The Helen Log Book (6)

Following is the transcription of the last two days of this momentous trip Grandpa and the three older boys took up the Connecticut River.  Enjoy.

 

 

Saturday –

Up at 7.  Whether still cloudy.  Breakfast at 8.  Broke camp at 9.  Anchor up and away at 10.  Stopped Middletown for supplies at 11.  Away again for a non-stop run at 11:45.  Motor running perfectly, lunch on board.  Slight shower.  Alfred steering in oil skins… Looks like ad for Scott’s Emulsion.  Shower clears and sun comes out.  Stop at Essex late in the afternoon for gas and water.  Motor averaging about 6 m.p.h.  Saybrook Bridge seems to be _____ as we draw inside of it the motor goes dead.  We find a spark plug points are fouled.  Alfred cleans these with knife and we are off again.  Round the point at Saybrook again at 5:10.  Motor is missing a bit, but we keep on until we round Hammonaset Point and camp for the night on shore.  In spite of temperamental motor we completed our longest single run at dusk, dropping anchor at 7:40, total of 46 miles, in approximately 9 hours with stops.

Sunday –

We were all awake and ready to get up a little after 6, but the blankets were wet with dew and the sun did not get over our sandbank until about 6:30.  Alfred went out to the Helen to clean spark points while I shaved.  Weather a bit overcast, water calm.  Up anchor and away at 9:10.  Breakfast on board.  Motor working ok.  After leaving Sachem’s Head we decided to do some real navigation and strike out into the Sound heading for Stratford Point, proceeding by dead reckoning, using the small compass we have along.

Tomorrow, a quick mention of two trips that never made it into the Log Book and then the record of a trip to Fisher’s Island.

On Saturday, more of Lad’s trip to Venezuela and the Red Tape he had to go through before he ever set foot on the Grace Line Ship.

On Sunday, more information about Marian’s Ancestors.

Judy Guion

The Beginning (35) – Childhood Memories of Trumbull – The Helen (2)

At this point Grandpa’s “Reminiscences of Alfred D Guion” has ended  and the rest of this story will be the memories of the children as they were growing up.

CED: We had some friends named Burnham who lived sort of kitty corner to us on Larchmont Drive (in Mount Vernon, New York).  They had a cottage on Fishers Island.  We started out to go see the Burnham’s.  It took about an hour or so to get there.  When we got there, Dad talked to Rufus Burnham.  Dad was very interested in sailboats and asked Rufus if there was anyone on the island who could help us with this boat.  Rufus said, “Yeah, he lives just around the corner.”  We got him to come over and look at the boat.  It was light enough so that we could pull it up and turn it over.  He stood there, puffing on his pipe and looking at the hull of the boat — finally he said, “You came from the Connecticut shore in this?”

DICK: We spent a couple of summers on Fisher’s Island in Long Island Sound with the Burnham’s.

DAVE: I have a Log Book someplace that I should give to you, Judy.  It’s the trip, a couple of trips maybe, with the boat that Dad named the Helen.  Now, most boats seemed to enjoy themselves lying on top of the water.  Helen seemed to enjoy it most when she was on the bottom, on solid land, even though she was covered by water.  My father would get some more phone calls, “Come down and bail out your boat” or “Come down and somehow raise it up”.  It was forever sinking.  It was probably something like the infamous African Queen, probably not nearly as big but to me it was big.  It was kind of rounded like a tug boat.  It had an engine but it was not a steam engine like the African Queen but had some kind of engine in the back.  It was kind of fun for the older boys.  I don’t know what happened to the Helen but my guess is that if you drained the Housatonic River, you would probably find her.

CED: We kept the boat tied at a place (on the Housatonic River) and one day the owner called and said, “This is Mr. French.  Your boat sunk.”  It must have happened about six times.  We would go over there, drag it up on shore and dump it out.  Dad got tired of this after a while.

Arnold Gibson’s father, stepfather actually, was an old seagoing man.  I guess he had been in the Navy.  He had a Sea Scout troop and Dad said, “You know this boat is getting beyond us.  Why don’t we give it to the Sea Scouts and maybe they can get some fun out of it.”  He gave it to them and I don’t know what they did with it.

 

Tomorrow, I will begin posting what I can read of the Log Book. This should be interesting since I have not read it.

Judy Guion