Elizabeth’s Adventure in St. Petersburg, Florida (20) – Pictures Taken About This Time – 1934 – 1935

Elizabeth, Biss to family and friends, lost her Mother, Arla Mary (Peabody) Guion,  after a long illness in June of 1933, six months after her fourteenth birthday. She was not handling this loss very well, having problems in school and at home. Her Father, Alfred Duryee Guion (Grandpa) and her Mother’s three sisters, discussed the situation and decided that a change of scenery and responsibilities might help Biss make the adjustment. It was decided that she would go to St. Petersburg, Florida, with Aunt Anne (Peabody) Stanley, and her two children, Donald and Gweneth, to help with housework, the children, and also attend school. 

These are pictures of Biss shortly before she left Trumbull and during the time she was in Florida.

EWGZ - Biss and Mack, 1933

Elizabeth (Biss) and Mack, the family pet, a gift from Rusty Heurlin, named after the Mackenzie River in Alaska

Art Mantle, Biss and Lad Guion, with Model T - 1932

Art Mantle, Biss and Alfred Peabody Guion (Lad)

ADG - Trip to St. Petersburg, FL with children - Christmas, 1934

Grandpa and the other children travelled from Trumbull to St. Petersburg to surprise Biss for Christmas and her birthday, January 1st.

Back row: Cedric Duryee Guion, Daniel Beck Guion, Alfred Peabody Guion, this is probably Richard Peabody Guion, but he is not labeled on the photo.  (I cannot think of any reason why he would not have gone on this family trip) , Alfred Duryee Guion (Grandpa)

Front Row: Donald Stanley, Gweneth Stanley, Biss with Aunt Anne’s pet, David Peabody Guion


Tomorrow, I will start posting a week of letters written in February of 1944. Lad has been married to Marian (Irwin) Guion since November, 1943. They have just returned to Pomona, California, from Texarkana, Texas. Lad is still an instructor of Diesel and Vehicle Maintenance for the Army. 

Next weekend, and for the week and following weekend, I will be posting pictures and stories of some special places on our family’s Island Retreat, our piece of Liquid Heaven. I will also be enjoying my time there with family members.

Judy Guion


Elizabeth’s Adventure in St. Petersburg, Florida – The Last Letter From Biss – May 24, 1935

Elizabeth (Biss) Westlin Guion

Elizabeth (Biss) Westlin Guion

Friday night

12 PM E.S.T.


Dear Dad,

This may be a long letter or it may be a short one – as yet I know not. We will be sending the package up sometime at the end of next week. This is the third letter I have written to you this week so a two letter week will seem small after this.

I have a proposition to make with you. I was wondering if you would let Aunt Anne stay with us for two or three weeks until I once more get settled, for if I have her with me for my first one or two weeks at home I think it will be easier for me. It could be on the same basis as it was while you were down here at Christmas time. You could give her the apartment if Astrid has moved out by the time we get home.

I got a Good Housekeeping for June yesterday and it says to give 3 to 5 weeks notice for change of address – but to get back to my proposition – I figured it would be nice for the kid brothers to have Don and Gwen for company for a while for they are here so seldom and I also thought it would be nice for you to have a grown person to keep you company for a while. She has no place to go when she does get up there and that is one reason why we are staying on here. Of course the other reason is money. Aunt Anne is thinking of getting a job. It is now Monday and Gwen and Aunt Anne have gone down for a lesson in knitting.

We took Carl and Dot out for a picnic lunch yesterday. We had loads of fun playing baseball and catch. I am going to miss them frightfully when I leave and how I wish I could bring them home with me for keeps. The only thing I can bring home is a picture of them but I am hoping that they will come up and visit me – but I doubt it for they haven’t much money. I ate dinner there yesterday and had lemon pie! How it makes my mouth water to think about it. Carl is going to graduate this year and he’s going to have a picture of himself taken in his graduating cap and gown – what a laugh I’m going to give him. Dot is only a sophomore but she looks more like a Junior. Exams commence next week. How I dread that! We have two weeks counting this one – left of school. I hope I pass – and thinking of learning how to knit. Have you seen Peggy since she has been home? How is she – I mean how sick? I have finally written to Grandma. I am hoping to get a letter from you this morning. Have you gotten any pictures of Mack? This seems to be limited to asking questions and so I had better quit and give you a chance to draw your breath and answer the questions.



This is the last letter I have found from Biss. If Grandpa agreed to the suggestion that Aunt Anne and her children stay in Trumbull for a few weeks, it would make sense that they would leave as soon as possible. There are only two more days of school this week and then exams next week. School would be finished and it would make sense for Aunt Anne to leave by May 31st to avoid paying rent in June.

Tomorrow, I will post some pictures taken about the time Biss was staying in St. Petersburg.

Judy Guion

Elizabeth’s Adventure in St. Petersburg, Florida (18) – Letters to Dave and Pops – May 22, 1935

Biss (Elizabeth), Grandpa’s only daughter, has been living in St Petersburg with her Aunt Anne taking care of Anne’s children, Don and Gwen, for the past school year. She was having trouble at home, struggling to adjust to the death of her Mother and her Father and three Aunt’s felt a change of scenery might help her to adjust. The school year is practically over and she will be heading home soon, she just isn’t sure when.


David Peabody Guion

Wednesday afternoon

3:59 PM E.S.T.


Dear Dave,

I enjoyed your letter very much. I hope that scene you put on the back of the letter won’t come true but it will let you go to bed when I tell you to. That word, scene, up above, means picture. I hope you will be able to read this letter, I have no hard words to write, I don’t think, so you should be able to understand all of it. What is Ardith’s sister’s name? I suppose you play with Tubby quite a lot, don’t you? I was naming your past girlfriends as well as your present one. I bet a lot of other boys like Evelyn besides you, don’t they?

You should always make it a capital “I” when you are referring to yourself, like “I went to the store when I was home.” instead of “i went to the store when i was home.” Do you see what I mean? I am very glad that Miss D’Alier is all well now. How long was she out of school? You better get your marks up in school or I will…. I don’t know what I will do. I am glad that Miss Grabber is a good teacher. What is the matter? Don’t you like her when she isn’t teaching? I knew you would like Miss Shiffron more. I think she is very nice and I have had a lot of nice times with her. Will you send her my best regards?

It seems to me that you have a pretty long tongue! I was just studying the picture on the back. It is supposed to be a picture of you and myself? Is it in the past or in the future? I hope I will hear from you again very soon for I enjoy your letters very much. Tell Dick to write to me please – I’ll send the story some other time.




Alfred Duryee Guion (Grandpa)

Wednesday afternoon

4:13 PM E.S.T.


Dear Pops !

I got a great kick out of your letter today but wish to tell you that it isn’t the first time that I have written twice in one week nor is it going to be the last time. Why is it that the lilacs out by the kitchen are always the first ones to come out? We are studying very hard for exams and it is hard to find time to write however, I skipped today consequently have found some time to write. I have been trying to straighten my clothes out.

There was a dress I saw which I wanted to get for a $1.59 but I have decided to save my money instead. I have been fighting with myself all morning trying to decide and I still haven’t come to any conclusion! I’ve got a feeling that my brothers are going to cooperate with me quite a bit more than they did and I feel sure that we can make a go of it. I feel sure that I will be able to make the grade – because, ”I’m a Guion.”  It will certainly take a lot to trim me down to any kind of size, I’m afraid.

Richard (Dick) Peabody Guion

Richard Peabody Guion

I am glad Dick and Dave are well but I do think that Dick could have written me while he was in bed. I enjoyed Dave’s letter immensely and have already answered it  – I hope you will give me just an immediate answer as I have given him. I am glad Mr. D’Alier liked me for I simply adore the whole D’Alier family and expect to go down and see them the very first night I am home – unless I get home at night, then I will wait until the next day. My writing is very uneven this evening, have you noticed? Maybe it is my change of thoughts.

If you see Carl tell him to write to me although I haven’t written to him – maybe I will before you see him again – it all depends on how much time I have. I loved that “Town of Trumbull” writing paper which you used last time. I thought it quite aristocratic. I hope you expect to see “Les Miserables”. I saw “Mississippi” ( https://www.google.com/search?gs_ssp=eJzj4tLP1TcwMqsyKUg2YPQSy80sLgahgoJMhdz8ssxUBUNLY1MA0EsLeQ&q=mississippi+movie+1935&rlz=1C1NHXL_enUS724US724&oq=Mississippi%2C+movie&aqs=chrome.7.69i57j46i512l3j0i457i512j0i512l2j46i512j0i512.35350j0j7&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8 ) and thought it was very uninteresting. How did the boys like it? I imagine Grandma liked that quite a lot.

I have a picture of the gang but thanks for a glimpse of them in the enlarged – I only have the small. As for my photographs – I have decided on the senior one and as yet have not received them from the studio. I will bring one or two of them home with me for I promised Ced one. Tell Dan you will never know how I appreciate that dollar and those stamps. I am going to break my rule and buy a popsicle this afternoon with a nickel of that dollar for I am boiling over.

I went to Tarpon Springs but I’d don’t like Bill – I like Carl and Dot Roughgarden – you will probably hear plenty about them in the future. The reason why I wanted to write to Good Housekeeping and Parents is I haven’t the address and I don’t know how to word the letter – will you do it? If you don’t mind I would like to use the stamps for personal letters. I’ll hold onto them until I receive your answer.

Biss and Mack

Send Mack down here. I won’t mind one speck! Tell him I miss him and hope he misses me too. He wags his tail – it means he does. Well I have to close now because I have no more room.



Tomorrow and for the rest of the week, I will post letters written in June of 1942. Dan has been in the Army since January and Lad has been in for only about a month.

Judy Guion

Elizabeth’s Adventure in St. Petersburg, Florida (17) – The Prom and Some Ping Pong – May 20, 1935

Elizabeth, Biss to family and friends, has been in St. Petersburg, Florida, staying with her Aunt Anne (Peabody) Stanley and helping to care for Anne’s two children, Donald and Gweneth. In Trumbull, she was not handling the death of her Mother, Arla Mary (Peabody) Guion, in June of 1933. Biss was only thirteen at the time. Her Father and her Mother’s sisters felt it might give Biss the opportunity to adjust better away from home.

Elizabeth (Biss) Westlin Guion

Elizabeth Westlin Guion

Monday afternoon

3:36 PM E.S.T.


Dear Dad:

I really have a good reason for not answering your letters as soon as I should. I have been very busy this last week. I went to the Prom last Friday evening as I had hoped and played ping pong from about 9:15 to around 12:30 or 12:45. I had a very nice time. I had one game with my geometry teacher and another with some other teacher. I didn’t know who he was. I would take a few minutes out of every hour or hour and a half and go over to have something to drink – for refreshments were free. Saturday, I was busy right up until the time that I went to bed. Sunday Carl and Dot Roughgarden went out to the beach with us and we took lunch along. I have not had so much fun in a long time. Carl is my favorite boy and Dot is my favorite girl so it was just perfect. Both of them were quite badly sunburned – my face is the only part of my anatomy which was touched by the penetrating rays. So you see my weekend especially was very busy.

Next Sunday, Jim Wokheiser and his sister, Gwen’s teacher, are going  out to the beach with us. I like Jim a lot too, but I hope to go out with Carl and Dot once more before I go home. I’m afraid I won’t because they are both very nice looking and I imagine they have plenty of other things to preoccupy them.

I hope Ced will hurry and get better – perhaps you will have to feed him with a derrick to get enough food into his system! I am glad Dave is getting over his fear of the dark! He must, if he is willing to sleep out all by himself.

I am very glad you liked and saw ”One Night of Love” ( https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0025601/)– don’t you like Grace Moore better than Jeanette McDonald?

I got four letters today! That is the most I have gotten, at once, for a long time. I was trying to figure out how that sentence should go and so the mistakes. It seems to me that I have made quite a few mistakes in this letter already. Maybe it is because I am trying to write too fast but I have to or fear that my thoughts will slip from my head.

I got my English report and found I had gone up 10 points, almost, and now have 85. Last time I had 75+ so I did not go up quite 10 points. We are studying for exams so I may not write as often this week but I will try. We have exams on the third and fourth of June. I’ll be glad when they are over! The Seniors get their’s next Wednesday and Thursday. That’s all for now.



As I was re-reading this letter, I found myself reading faster and faster, so I wouldn’t loose the train of thought. Biss is jumping all over the place with her thoughts and I’m afraid I might miss something if I don’t get to it fast enough. Do you think that’s what she is feeling as she writes this?

Judy Guion

Elizabeth’s Adventure in St. Petersburg, Florida (16) – Letters to the Family – May 13, 1935

This is a continuation of the letter posted yesterday. It’s later that night and Biss writes notes to Dick and Dave. 

   Richard Peabody Guion                   (Dick)

Monday evening

8:16 PM

Dear Dick,

Boy, what a “D” that is in ”Dear”, hey what? I am going to get orange juice in a few minutes but I am going to try to finish it before I go. Tell Dad that the fruit man’s son, who broke his neck, got pendicitis (acute at that) but that he pulled through and is now at home for he did not enjoy the hospital. Tell Jane that I will write to her as soon as possible.

I told Dave that I felt sure all three of us (or four if Peggy will come back only I’m afraid I have lost her for she seems to be so happy where she is) but I will try to take her place and play with you more and go out into the woods, we could have lots of fun and I will have lots and lots of stories to tell you and you will have lots and lots to tell me, I hope. Well, we can tell the stories while doing our work as it won’t take long at all to do it.

I am getting more and more anxious to see Trumbull again. I passed everything and am I glad! Those two hour (each) exams were nightmares!

Donald at last has a new friend so he doesn’t have to go around with Billy so much anymore. He still goes around with him somewhat though. Save the football and baseball until I get home. Do you still have skiing? How is skating? Tell me all about these things in a letter to me and make it snappy! Donald and I tried playing some duets on the guitars and they sounded quite nice. Gee, if I don’t give the guitar any rest it will be all worn out before I can show it to all of you up there. Be sure and not tell anyone about it and I miss the family again.



P.S. Hurry up and write!

P.P.S. I couldn’t write two sheets because the envelope is too full!

   David Peabody Guion (Dave)

                                                                                                                                                                                                         Monday evening 

 8:33 PM  E.S.T.

Dear Dead Brother (Dave):

It certainly seems funny to be writing to a deceased person, doesn’t it, but I came to the conclusion that you weren’t anymore, for I had not heard from you except that letter which was written at Thanksgiving. I suppose all your various girls that you used to have a crush on – Barbara M, Elsie Heart, Jocelyn H, etc. are wearing black for mourning. I suppose I have no right to talk though, for I haven’t written very many letters to you either. I wish you to understand however that I am expecting a letter from you in the next outgoing mail to me from the family. I’m afraid you won’t be able to understand what I am writing about so you had better ask one of your brothers or your father, for they have had more schooling than you have and perhaps can explain it – if not you will have to wait until I get home. If you write to me right away I will send a story, a very short one, which I wrote one day in school when I should have been doing my homework. Tell Dad that I forgot to mention one thing. Will he please write to Good Housekeeping and Parents and ask them to change my address after the June issue is out? I don’t know the address and I am waiting until I get home to write to that man on the Parents staff because I’m not sure of everything but to get back to you, brown eyes. How are you getting along in school no? I forgot what grade you are in – fourth isn’t it? You still have Mrs. Grabbe? How do you like her? Do you ever go in to see Miss D’Obon? Do you like Miss Stiffron more than you used to? With all those questions to answer you can’t say you couldn’t think of anything to say for these questions alone will keep you up writing all night. You should like that, n’es ce pas? Alfred will tell you what that means. My writing paper seems to disappear very quickly so if you wish to hear from me you had better write for I can’t be able to write to you after I have used up all the paper I have. You should be asleep now for it is 8:50 PM and I am going to bed just as soon as I write a letter to Dick. (The day and time makes me think she has already written Dick’s letter, but I certainly cannot be sure.) Oh heck! I forgot to mention something in my letter to Dad that I was going to – well I hope I can send you that story. Your older brothers won’t appreciate my talent – but you will so – until I hear from you – I am Biss – after that – the Authoress, Biss.

Tomorrow and for the rest of the week, I will be posting letters written in 1940. Lad is the only son away from home, working for the Socony-Vacuum Oil Company in Venezuela. He is a mechanic for the diesel engines that run their oil pumps.

Judy Guion

Elizabeth’s Adventure in St. Petersburg, Florida (14) – Coming Home, Laddie and The Helen – May 4, 1935

Saturday afternoon

3:15 PM E.S.T.


Dear Dad:

I haven’t written to you as soon as I should have but I only have one stamp. I thought perhaps one of my brothers would send a letter and then I could write two letters at the same time for I didn’t want to waste a cent. This month is going so slow but I guess it doesn’t make any difference for I don’t know when I will be able to come home. Aunt Anne is hoping that she won’t have to stay here through the summer but she is afraid for fear she will – I hope not!

The Old Homestead

The Old Homestead

I stayed up until two o’clock (your time) this morning writing letters but I still feel like writing for it seems to make everyone seem closer to me up there and they don’t feel so hopelessly far away. Thanks ever so much for that ‘Young People” program that you sent to me. You better get into the habit of writing to me again for I am going to write once a week – I promised and so far I have kept my promise. You certainly are a very busy man!

We had a lot of fun on Easter and got up to go to the sunrise service. The Easter Bunny left me a basket of candy eggs, bunnies and chicks and also hid some colored eggs all around in the yard. I suppose you will be going on that planned picnic someday soon, maybe even tomorrow. I am waiting anxiously for a picture of the house with the lilacs around it – if you can I would like a picture of the front of the house taken from the road. How is Helen (the boat) getting along? Have you heard or haven’t you seen Skippy lately – he still owns her doesn’t he? It is so hot down here that the perspiration is streaming down my face. I have been feeling pretty cheerful lately and yet especially lonesome. I can’t explain what I mean but I am quite homesick and lonely for Trumbull and for the Maple tree and for the piano and yet I feel light and free and it is quite easy to look on the cheerful side of things. I am glad Alfred’s birthday party was such a big success and I think it is too bad that the rest of the family couldn’t have been there.

I saw ”Laddie” the other day and hope to see “Dog of Flanders” when it comes out again – I can not see it today for I am financially embarrassed and I sadly fear I couldn’t have seen “Laddie” if it hadn’t been for Aunt Anne. The whole family went. My music lessons have been going along very well. There is a little boy sitting on my lap –Kent – do you remember him? He has been trying to keep me from writing – he is holding my left hand so I can’t hold onto the letter. Poor Boots is so hot that he doesn’t know what to do – he just roams from one spot to another – sighs, lies down and within five  minutes is looking for another place. That is what I would like to do myself! I think I’ll give him a bath to cool him off.



Tomorrow, I will begin posting a week of letters written in February of 1944. All five of Grandpa’s sons are helping Uncle Sam with the War effort.

Judy Guion

Elizabeth’s Adventure in St. Petersburg, Florida (13) – Please, Please, Please – April 19, 1935

Elizabeth (Biss) Westlin Guion

Elizabeth (Biss) Westlin Guion

At this point, Aunt Biss is definitely thinking about coming home. She almost sounds wistful as she thinks about her brothers.

Friday night

10:00 PM


Dear Dad:

I have just gotten back from church. The whole thing was just music – and it was very pretty. There were one or two very nice voices in the choir also. Absolutely the only talking was at the very end when the preacher gave a half minute sermon for dismissal. The service was “The Seven Last Sentences of Jesus” or something to that effect. Buelah – the maid – stayed with the children so Aunt Anne and I were able to go with peaceful minds. I have to go in to tell Aunt Anne that I put the hot water heater on for her so I will be back in a minute.

Lilac Bush

Lilac Bush in Bloom

This is going to be what you would call a rather selfish letter – it is selfishness on my part. First – I have told several people down here a great deal about my family – perhaps too much, for I am quite proud of them and I also said plenty about the house. I have shown them the pictures of all of you which were taken while you were down here – but I have no picture of the house to show them. They evidently have never seen a lilac for they haven’t the slightest inkling of what they look like – so – I was wondering if you would take a picture of the house from every angle and then send them down here to me. Please take the pictures when the lilacs are in bloom for that is the time I like best. If you feel as if it would be too much, why, you can send the films down and I will have them developed here. I would also like to have one of Mack – for they have heard how wonderful he is.

The other favor is much, much larger but I hope you will do it so that I may carry out my plans – that is – Aunt Anne’s finances are very low – too low for comfort and so I told her that I was going to suggest to you that you send me – if possible – money for my passage home. I stayed up until 11 one night figuring out the cost for one steamline and I am going to find out the price for the other tomorrow or one day next week. The total cost for the Savanna line – minimum – would be around fifty dollars. Dad, I am going to change that a little bit. How anxious are you to see me? You see, Aunt Anne may not be going home until July or August and I explained to her that I would like to get home and I wished to go home around June 1st if she didn’t mind. I am hoping to go home by June 1st at the latest and want to know if you will help me out – something tells me you are angry at reading this letter and thank goodness – I am far enough away to be fairly safe – don’t take it out on the poor boys. But seriously, Dad, please don’t delay answering for it is a case of life or death and I want to know which my fate is to be. Please don’t mention this to anyone, not even my brothers – for if it is “No”, I don’t want them to be disappointed (I suppose I should say overjoyed) and if it is “Yes” (as I hope, although I try not to) then I want to surprise them all – and I think I can get my transportation home from New York – so you needn’t worry about that – if I can’t I will let you know ahead of time. Please hurry so I won’t get nervous prostration while waiting.


Your hoping, but not too expectant, daughter,


P.S. Please answer in the affirmative  like a good pop.

P.P.S.  It is 11:36 P.M. Tsk, tsk, tsk!

I’m sorry to leave you hanging like this but I don’t know if Grandpa sends the money or not. There are 8 more letters, all written in May, 1935. The last one is dated the 24th (Grandpa gets it the 29th). I skimmed them but didn’t see anything about her plans. I don’t have any of the letters he wrote to her so that doesn’t help either. Tomorrow, the next letter about Elizabeth’s Adventure in St. Petersburg, Florida.

Judy Guion

Elizabeth’s Adventure in St. Petersburg, Florida (12) – Tests, Projects and Lilacs – April 16, 1935

My Grandmother died when my Dad was nineteen and her youngest, Dave, was only seven. Biss was fourteen, a terrible age to lose her Mother, and she didn’t take it well. She acted out and my Grandpa and Arla’s sisters thought it would help Biss if she went to St Petersburg and lived with Aunt Anne, also helping Anne, a single parent,  with her two children, Don and Gwen. She tries very hard to write to her Dad every week, sometimes more often, and he writes to her every week.

Alfred Duryee Guion (Grandpa)

Tuesday morning

11:26 AM


Dear Dad:

I better explain first about the letter you just received (yesterday or today). You see I was getting sort of worried about my allowance. I just stated that I would write to you whether you did to me or not and so I did. I did not send the letter until after I had read yours but I figured that I might just as well send it anyway for it was all sealed and ready to go. The bell has rung so I will finish this later.

It is just after lunch period now and my history teacher has disappeared so I am taking time to write a little bit further. I am going to a play with Bill tonight and do not expect to take a vacation tomorrow as I had planned, but Friday instead. There was a boy in this history class who drew a picture of President Roosevelt which looks more like him than he does himself. Ralph – the painter – is going to send it to President Roosevelt in a week or two so you see our history class is quite “fed up” about it and we look at the world as though they were trash.

We had a geometry test yesterday and it was quite stiff but I think I passed it. I’ll let you know when I get my paper back today. My daily use of the King’s English has become quite careless and I am trying to work myself back to a high standard – Aunt Anne is helping me immensely. We are starting a contest here in history so I have to stop.

I am now in geometry and there is such a commotion that I cannot hear myself think. There is going to be a school exhibit and I am making a project for French and also for geometry so I am quite a busy child which is quite unusual for me. In English we had to write some informal letters – I wrote one to Dan and I am going to send it on up to him. Am glad Alfred’s party was such a big success. It reminds me of my birthday party about five years ago – as I remember it. We did not get our papers back so I cannot give you my mark. We’re going to have a departmental test day after tomorrow – I don’t mind them especially. I like writing these letters like this for it makes the day go so much faster. At last we can have peace to do what we like! I’m in sixth period study – I suppose that has become a familiar phrase. How do you like Peggy’s Westport friends? I imagine they are a very nice bunch. We are all gradually becoming very dark because we go out to the beach at least once a week and the sun is very hot! I don’t see how it can be done but if you can figure out a way I would love to have some lilacs when they come out.



P.S. Is this a quick enough answer to your letter?

Tomorrow I will begin a week of letters written in May of 1942. Dan is already in the Army and Lad is joining him to help Uncle Sam.

Judy Guion

Elizabeth’s Adventure in St. Petersburg, Florida (10) – ” Miss Connecticut” – April 12, 1935

My Aunt Biss (Elizabeth) has been living in Florida  with her Aunt Anne to help care for Anne’s children. The grownups thought it would be helpful for Biss, after her Mother had died, to get away from Trumbull for a while. She is a Junior in High School and worried about her grades.

Elizabeth (Biss) Westlin Guion

Elizabeth (Biss) Westlin Guion               (1938 photo)

Sunday evening

9:00 PM


Dear Dad:

I have actually kept my promise and written even though I have not received a letter from you since I last wrote.

Aunt Anne went to Gainesville, Florida this morning and got back about 6:45 PM so we had the Chevy all to ourselves – Don, Gwen and myself– and we went out to the military school and then drove to ”Little Bohemia” to eat.

We decided to go to school out at the military school for they get out in just four weeks and we don’t get out for eight weeks yet.

Aunt Anne is thinking seriously of staying here in Florida through June so you had better not expect me until  July 1.

Marks close in a week or two so you will soon be finding out how I am getting along in school – I am afraid I am going down for I have gotten frightfully sick of school – I am fighting this feeling and am not sure how well I have succeeded and have to wait for report cards.

If I could possibly persuade Aunt Anne, I hope to take a vacation from school Wednesday and go up to Tarpon Springs with Bill Garlington,  his sister and several friends of theirs. I doubt very much if I will go or not –

Aunt Anne was wondering what had happened for we haven’t heard from you for such a long time – I explained to her that I sadly fear I am at fault for I wrote to you so seldom that I admitted that it seemed funny to me that you had not answered my letter but I think perhaps you are taking me up on the sentiment that I said – that I would write whether you did or not –

Poor Aunt Anne is having a rather hard time for Uncle Fred (Stanley, Aunt Anne’s ex-husband) isn’t doing well and she evidently didn’t get her full allowance this month so we’re trying to conserve in every possible way.

My guitar lessons are getting along very well and it fills a little teeny bit of my longing for piano lessons. I love these guitar lessons and live from one Thursday to the next just waiting for the time for lessons – I always go down 15 or 20 minutes early so I can play the piano.

It is now 9:15 and I haven’t seen 15 minutes go by so quickly in a long time.

The fact is I am sort of lonesome for some news from the old home town for I ain’t heared a word from no one for about a week and a half now – It is my fault though for I haven’t written to anyone myself –

I have written several people, yes – but I have not as yet mailed the letters so, of course, they didn’t know I have written. How many deaths, marriages, engagements etc. have there been since you last wrote to me?

I got a complement! One of the boys down here told me that he thought I would have been Miss Connecticut if I had gone in for it – wasn’t that nice of him?

Mosquitoes down here are three times as bad as our Jersey mosquitoes – you feel as if you had been bitten by a snake when one bites you.

Expecting to hear from all of you soon – seeing as how I’ve upheld my half of the bargain.



Next weekend I will continue posting letters from Elizabeth’s Adventure in St. Petersburg, Florida.

Tomorrow, I will begin a week of posts written in 1940. Lad is the only son away from home right now. He is working for the Socony-Vacuum Oil Company in Venezuela. He is their diesel mechanic and travels around to various camps making repairs and helping the mechanics at each camp. Dan is going to the University of Connecticut, Ced is working at the TILO factory in Bridgeport, Dick and Dave are still in school. Grandpa continues to hold down the fort and keep Lad informed of local happenings.

Judy Guion

Elizabeth’s Adventure in St. Petersburg, Florida (9) – School Grades – March 11, 1935

It’s March of 1935 and Biss is writing to her Dad in Trumbull. She has been staying with her Aunt Anne and Don and Gwen, Anne’s children. When her mother died she was having a hard time at home in Trumbull so she went to Florida to live with her Aunt. The adults in the family hoped that this move would make a difference in her life.

Blog - Life in St Petersburg - School Grades (1) 3.1935

Blog - Life in St Petersburg - School Grades (2) - March, 1935

Elizabeth (Biss) Westlin Guion

Elizabeth (Biss) Westlin Guion

Please Read to Yourself First

Monday afternoon

4:51 PM


Dear Dad

You make me feel like crying – I realize fully what a thoughtless child I have been and I will try to mend my ways. Here after I will write at least once a week and maybe twice. I have not only neglected you but everyone else too. I will write to Parents Magazine and thank them for they have been very prompt and I barely have time to finish one before the next one arrives, for I wait a few days between each article to let it sink in.

To answer your letters I am glad I came out now ahead of the boys – (Biss had bets with her three brothers that she would get better grades in school) /don’t tell Ced or any of the others what I am about to say tho’ – but I do hope Ced comes out ahead in the end for I love to see him happy and it would make him so proud to come out ahead. Do you think Ced’s marks are improved this year? From one pencil mark to the other is the part you should keep under your hat – if you have no hat on, then keep it under the gray hair – excuse the last remark but your hair is gray. Here after I think I shall enclose the things I want kept quiet in pencil or between pencil marks. /

Do you think ”Peck’s Bad Boy” is worth going to see? ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peck%27s_Bad_Boy_(1934_film)

I hope Rusty is beginning to get a taste of Fame for the poor dear has waited such a long time for it. I am sorry the Kermode’s are having such a hard time however I imagine the business will pick up soon. Is he out of work?

Thank you very much for the money, it certainly comes in handy. I come out about two weeks short each month so your money is always doubly welcome – I am so glad Dave has become interested in something and I hope it will be a raving success. How has Dave been? Tell him I miss his spoiledness immensely and I hope there is no trace of it left by the time I get home. I miss all of you very much and I am looking forward to coming home but I hate to leave St. Petersburg because I have made a few friends down here – one – two weeks ago – and I have gone out with him once, believe it or not! I also am going to miss this weather very much – it is never too hot and never too cold. The sun is always hot but there is always a very cool breeze blowing so that it is quite cool – they say it will get better and then get cool and be cool all during the summer. I am anxious to see the gang though and am quite thrilled to think that I am going to see Barbara Plumb. Has the office paid all of its debts? Saturday our club went to the beach and a storm (wind) came up so that we had the beach to ourselves. The waves would dash against the seawall and send the spray up over the wall – we ran along the seawall and were soaked all the way through to our skin but we certainly had a lot of fun – we ate (there were 8 of us) three dozen tangerines besides about five sandwiches each – 2 pounds of cookies and a bowl of potato salad. Some fun – hey what?



Tomorrow, another letter from Biss to her father (Grandpa) back in Trumbull.

Judy Guion