Trumbull – Dear High School Graduate (2) – More News From Family Members – June 25, 1944

This is the second half of the letter I posted yesterday concerning Dave’s graduation and gratifying news from Dan.


Daniel Beck Guion

In the same mail there also arrived a copy of the London Daily Telegraph of June 7th which Dan thoughtfully sent and copies of the overseas “Stars and Stripes” of June 7th and 9th. Thank you, Dan. It was certainly good to know you were not part of one of the beachhead landing parties and while much tough fighting unquestionably lies ahead, your letter was a tonic which sent the blood coursing happily through my arteries. In my exuberance I even tried to do the English crossword puzzle on the back page of the Telegram but was ignominiously defeated.

There is a note of cheer to the letter Jean received from Dick: “I am due to leave Fort Eliza ( sometime beginning July, but don’t know for where – – a 50-50 chance of going back to the States”.

        Marian Irwin Guion (Mrs. Lad)

Marian writes that she and Lad have returned at last to their old stamping grounds after all the brief visits to their respective in-laws. Marian says now all she needs is to meet the rest of the family in the same kind of pleasant surroundings. They had a very lovely visit with Larry and Marian (Larry and Marian Peabody in Milan, Ohio) on the way West. They had rain and even snow all the way to California. Lad has left for two weeks desert training under real wartime conditions – – gas attacks, blackout restrictions and living in foxholes. While in San Francisco they got together with Alta and Arnold. (Arla and Arnold Gibson, Lad’s best friend from Trumbull, Arnold is in the service also) (I will take care of sending the camera and the insurance matter. Dave was also grateful for the gas coupons. Knowing Ced, I am sure he doesn’t think you are neglectful but that you just didn’t get his package (A wedding gift). Maybe it will turn up some day like the delayed one I sent you.)

Dick, thank you for the cigars. I like them better than the first lot you sent, which, while more costly, were not so mild as the last lot.

I am now waiting to hear from Alaska as to what Ced has set fire to next. After all the trouble and training I gave you children as to playing with fire, not to say spankings, and to think my third child has turned into a veritable firebug. If Ced ever gets into the Army they should put him in charge of a flamethrower.

Jean is worried about putting on weight. She is a veritable butter tub and we will soon all have to start calling her Fatty. Modesty deters me from mentioning the fact it must be the meals Aunt Betty and I are serving her. Instead of a perfect 36 she now makes straight for the Fashionable Stout department at Read’s and even they have trouble finding 48s and 50s in these days of material shortages. When Jean reads this of course, she will start pursuing me with a rolling pin, but I don’t care. I still can out run a fat woman.

The radio says tonight we have captured Cherborg, Joe has started his drive from Vitebek to Berlin and another aircraft carrier has just been sunk in the Pacific, so I guess it’s all right for me to retire and let you boys carry on. I’ll be seeing you.


Tomorrow I’ll be posting another letter from Grandpa to all five of his sons, on Thursday I will post a letter from Lad and on Friday a letter to Ced from Rusty Heurlin.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Dear Sons (1) – Father’s Day and a Sergeant – June 18, 1944



Alfred Duryee Guion (Grandpa)

Alfred Duryee Guion (Grandpa)

Trumbull, Conn. June 18, 1944

Dear Sons:

Well, the back porch is painted (it’s gray this time instead of the reddish brown you may remember), the back lawn is cut except where the dry spell we have been having lately has dried up the grass so that brown spots do not need the services of a lawnmower (and save a few spots like that in the immediate vicinity of the staff that holds the clothes line off the ground where it stretches between the old Apple tree and the big Maple, where the long grass deifies the revolving knives of the lawnmower), the big hole Freckles (Ethel’s dog and Smoky’s playmate) has dug at the roots of the old half Apple tree has been filled up with earth, and the canvas roof above the laundry has received another coat of paint at the seams where it has shown a tendency on the last rainy day to leak, dinner has been cooked and eaten, dishes all washed and put away, and Father, on Father’s Day, has settled down to his fatherly job of writing his weekly epistle.

And how do you know it’s Father’s Day, someone asks, just to make conversation., My children, a very proper question, that. I know because late yesterday in the last mail from the store, there was delivered a package postmarked Pomona, containing, what do you suppose? Yes Sir, a box of White Owl cigars – – and just in time too, because I recently smoked to the last of the former box and the Brazilian cigars Dick had sent – – but learning from past experience, as all wise ones do, THIS time Aunt Betty also received a box of Between The Acts little cigars, accompanied by an ode “for Aunt Betty”:

We know it’s time for Father’s Day

That Dad should get the gift,

Sending gifts to Dad alone

Has really caused a rift.

With this in mind, Aunt Betty, dear,

And so Dad need not share,

We’re sending you this little box

To keep you on the stair.

And my gift was accompanied also by a little card with a likeness of a man smoking a pipe. Skipper (the son of the tenants in the little apartment) says looks like me.

But that wasn’t all. No, indeed. Another card arrived from “Jean and Dick” with highly flattering but undeserved sentiments, and right on its heels a beautiful gift box of STAG shaving soap, powder and lotion. I feel like a little shaver now because, as you will recall, it was not so long ago that other toilet accessories in a post-Easter spirit also arrived from California. So if I don’t get shaved and smell nice afterward it won’t be the fault of my boys and girls in double harness.

And now, after having got you properly warmed up, relating my own selfish affairs, here’s the big news in this letter. We’ll let Sgt. Richard tell it in his own words:

Richard Peabody Guion

“Tuesday morning I was told to report to the Non-commissioned Officers Reviewing Board. Monday night Capt. Luck had requested that I be promoted to Sgt. The Post Adjutant wanted me to work in the civilian personnel office (Brazilian). Sgt. Saroyan asked me if I wanted to go. When I told him “No, unless I got another stripe.” He told the Adjutant he wouldn’t let me go unless I was promoted, so yesterday I was made Sgt. It’s a funny Army when you have to bargain for ratings, but I don’t care much as long as the end justifies the means. The Board asked me quite a few questions but I think I could have answered them all wrong and still made Sgt. It was more a formality than anything else”. So, there you have it. Lad already a Sgt., Dan a T-4 and now Dick. Come on, Dave, shake a leg. Oh, it’s pretty early yet, you say.

Tomorrow the rest of  this letter and on Friday, a letter from Marian.

Judy Guion

World War II Army Adventure (45) – Dave’s Letter to Dick – July 21, 1944

As you can see from the front of this letter from Dave, addressed to his brother Dick, the letter never arrived at its destination. this letter is addressed to and A.P.O. (Army Post Office) in Miami, Florida.  I cannot discern the original A.P.O. Dave addressed the letter to, but you can see that there was no record of a Sgt. Richard P.  Guion at the original A.P.O. and he was not found at A.P.O.’s 618,632 or 622.  I was impressed with the effort made by the A.P.O. in attempting to find Richard P.  Guion, before finally returning the letter to Dave.




21 July 44

Dear Dick – I haven’t seen you nor heard from or about you for a long time – and vice versa – but nevertheless, I don’t know much to say.  How does the war news look to you?  It looks pretty good to me – I think will all be home by Christmas, 1945 – Am I right?Boy-oh-boy – won’t that be something?

you know – it’s been so long since I’ve seen you – I don’t even feel at ease writing to you – I feel like you’re someone I used to know – but don’t know now – SNAFU.  Speaking about Snafu – do you fellows down there use FUBAR? F___ U_ Beyond All Recognition.

Boy – I really like this Army Life.  But I wish the Hell I could be with someone from Trumbull – or at least be able to see someone I knew in Civilian life every so often.

When I was home, Jean always talked about “her little honey” – but I guess you know she loves you anyway.

I’m hoping I can get into A.O. in Europe – but it looks more and more every day like all go out from Beal in Calif. for the Pacific.  If I don’t mess myself up anymore – I’ll be shipping out of here (probably P.O.E.) some time in the beginning of Sept. – here’s hoping – because I’m getting tired of hanging around here in Missouri’s Monday heat.

Do you suppose you could work up the energy to write me a letter?  I got a big kick out of the one I got “Long Ago And Far Away”.


P.S. I’ve been in for 6 mos. 1 week already – it doesn’t seem it!

(Dick was inducted into the Army in February, 1943. I don’t remember any mention of a furlough or visit to Trumbull.  I believe his wife, Jean, was with him in Florida before he was shipped to Brazil. if that is the case, it would mean that Dave had not seen Dick for over a year and a half.

Tomorrow, a letter from George, a man who works for Grandpa at Guion Advertising. He comes in several evenings and does the type-setting for the next day’s print orders. 

Judy Guion

Trumbull – The Guion Clipping Service (1) News From Some of the Boys – May 7, 1944


Trumbull, Conn. May 7, 1944

Dear Subscribers to the Guion Clipping Service:

For purposes of record let me here state right at the beginning that if Anchorage had come through last week, we would have marked up a score of 100%. Yes sir, even Dick contributed. Top honors however, go to California. Lad writes:

Alfred Peabody Guion (Lad)

April 30. It is six o’clock here but in Conn. it is 9 PM so I imagine you have finished your weekly chore of writing to your widely separated families, by now. I have been in bed all day trying to get rid of a cold and Marian seems to have been quite successful as a nurse. I feel a great deal better than I did last night at this time. Sometime after the middle of May and possibly before the 20th, I can take a 15 day furlough with six or seven days traveling time. Or I can wait until about June 10th. However, if the battalion moves from Pomona before I take it, it might mean a cancellation of furloughs. Therefore I think it better to take it as soon as possible. We are both looking forward eagerly to seeing you-all. We’ve not had a chance to get our pictures taken, due to odd working hours but we still have hopes. If things go as we are hoping, you will see us in person before we could send you a picture anyway. Possibly you have seen something in the papers regarding the closing of the CAMA (Calif.-Ariz. Maneuver Area) of which Pomona is the general headquarters. Therefore, Pomona Ordnance Base activities have been cut to a minimum, as well as personnel. There are to be only a few men left here, and as yet we don’t know which companies they will be. Of course, we’re hoping that the 3019 will be one of those remaining, but if not, we shall be moving out in a few weeks. So far, we have not had a chance to really use our trailer and I’d just as soon not have to use it yet. (Signed) Lad

Marian (Irwin) Guion

And Marian adds this: Isn’t it exciting about our “Furloughmaybe”? I refuse to believe it however until we actually arrive, but I find myself giving an extra hop, skip and a jump every once in a while just thinking about it. (Not that Jeep influence again, I hope.)


Daniel Beck Guion

Dan is ripe for sulfur and molasses or some other spring tonic, I believe. He writes: Spring has come early this year and found me unprepared to resist its cozening wiles — so, if nearly a month has elapsed since you heard from me it is not because of any startling developments, nor is it lack of time. Call it willing indolence, tempered by intervals (such as this moment) of a rather battered conscience. And try to be content with the hope that the weather will turn “beastly”, thus breaking the spell that has bound one with a thousand subtle meshes. Life has become too pleasant to be compatible with the war that has brought it about. “Ah, to be in England, now that April is here – – and now I abandon myself again to its sweet seduction.”

Richard Pebody Guion

The proprietor of Brazilian Stables, Inc., says his intention was to write a long letter but “I don’t feel exactly radiant this evening. I am in the midst of a cold and there has been a lot of work lately.

This letter is a 3-pager, with a long letter from Dave, at Camp Crowder, Missouri, for Basic Training, which I will post tomorrow. On Friday Grandpa will add his two-cents worth.

Judy Guion

Memories of Arla Mary (Peabody) Guion (8) – Memories From Her Children

The following are some of the memories of their mother that I recorded during interviews with five of Arla’s children. The death of my Uncle Dan was the catalyst for these interviews.


Arla Mary Peabody Guion

      Arla Mary Peabody Guion

Elizabeth Westlin Guion, at 5, with her broken arm

Elizabeth Westlin Guion (Biss)

BISS – When I was five, Lad and George Brellsford, and I think Dan, were on the fence behind the grape arbor. They were picking grapes, sitting on the fence and picking grapes. I came over and I wanted to climb up on the fence too, because the grapes were much nicer on the top than they were on the bottom. They told me I could pick them from the bottom… so I climbed up on the fence. When I got to the top, I fell over into Dan Ward’s field, and evidently, my elbow hit a rock, because every single solitary bone was broken, so it was just hanging loose. George looked over and said “Hey Al, your sister broke her arm.” I can remember my arm spinning. I was trying to get up as I was afraid Dan Ward was going to come with his shotgun and shoot me if I didn’t get over on my side of the fence. And of course, I couldn’t do it. So anyway, they picked me up and took me into the house. Mother wasn’t home and I was lying in the living room, on the couch. I don’t remember any pain; I was probably in shock because I don’t remember any pain at all. I guess Mrs. Parks called Mother, wherever she was, Mother and Dad, and they came home. Evidently, Rusty (Heurlin) was there but I don’t remember Rusty. They told me that he carried me in his arms, cradled me in his arms all the way to the hospital so that I wouldn’t get jiggled. I can’t remember that at all. When we got to the hospital, the doctor was going to cut my dress off and I was not about to let them cut my dress off because it would kill my dress. My Mother said, “But I can sew it back together”, and I said, “But it won’t be the same. You can’t do that.” Obviously they cut it off.

David Peabody Guion (Dave)

        David Peabody Guion (Dave)

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 could enjoy, but that’s another matter.

Richard Peabody Guion (Dick)

Richard Peabody Guion (Dick)

DICK – One time I rode our pony Gracie down the railroad tracks, heading back to the barn, I lost my footing and one leg got caught, which held me as she galloped home. I can still hear mother saying, “Whoa. Whoa!”

Alfred Peabody Guion (Lad)

Alfred Peabody Guion (Lad)

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 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. I used to go up there on the horse and invariably, my Mother would call and say, “Send Alfred home, it’s time for supper.”

Long before we moved to Trumbull there was a damn on the Pequonnock River, flooding all the property where the stone house is now, right up the cemetery. There was a mill there, run by water which came down through a tunnel. The tunnel was about 3′ x 3′ and it came out of a sheer wall. It was probably a drop of eight or ten feet to the ground. We kids used to play there quite often; we had a lot of imagination. I don’t know if Mother smoked as a youngster, but she must’ve been smoking then because I think I took two of her cigarettes. Art Christie and I went up and crawled through the tunnel and sat at the edge with our legs hanging over the edge and smoked cigarettes. Who should come along but Mother! She crawled through the tunnel and gave us quite a lecture. It was probably a few years before I started smoking, but Mom smoked with me when I first started. Then she quit, but I didn’t

Cedric Duryee Guion

Cedric Duryee Guion (Ced)

CED – We smoked corn silk and cigarettes here and there. Art Christie was the oldest, your father was next, then Dan and me, the four of us. I guess Mother wasn’t home. I don’t know how we did it or how we got it; but anyway, we got money out of Mother’s pocketbook. We went to Kurtz’s – Mother smoked – most of her sisters smoked – of course in those days you didn’t think anything about it. Anyway, we went to Kurtz’s and said we were buying some cigarettes for our mother. We bought a pack of cigarettes, I don’t remember the brand. Right at the gate there had been, at one time, a mill. They had a big stone wall that pretty much went all the way to the cemetery. Near that wall, there was a big square hole, I guess that’s where they had the mill wheel, but that space was a perfect place to go to smoke cigarettes. We sat at the front of that square and we started smoking. We had a whole pack of cigarettes and we wanted to enjoy them.

Young Dan on Porch

Daniel Beck Guion (Dan)

CED – Well we were merrily smoking away and Dan said, “I think I’ll go home.” He got right up and left. We suspected that he was getting sick, which he was. Art and Lad and I hoped he wasn’t going to make a fuss. I guess we talked about it and decided it was time to stop smoking, so we did. We thought maybe we ought to go down to the brook, pick up some poles and pretend to be fishing in case Mother came looking for us. So we did. We went down to the brook and were playing along the side of the brook, and pretending we were fishing. I don’t know if we could have made that stick, but anyway, sure enough, about 10 or 20 minutes later, here comes Mother and gulp, gulp, gulp. She came up to us and said, “What are you doing?” “Uh, we’re fishing,” we answered. “Well”, she replied, “Dan tells me you were smoking.” What could we do? “You know your father and I both smoke”, she said. “I don’t like it that you boys smoke, but why don’t you just come home and smoke if you want to smoke.” Not one of us wanted to smoke again until we were 18 or 20. Not one of us. Now, if that is in psychology, good psychology… without even being punished.

DAVE – I’ve always said that my brothers and sister were of little bit different than me. I was always quicker to enjoy a risqué joke, or worse. The rest of them fell under the influence of my 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.

Tomorrow, I’ll be posting more of the children’s memories of their Mother.

Judy Guion

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.

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