My Ancestors (33e) – Alfred Peabody Guion – The Wedding

(1) Alfred Peabody Guion; (2) Judith Anne Guion.

Lad and Marian

Excerpt from a letter Lad wrote to Grandpa, dated September 22, 1943:

“Arrived in L.A. at 4:10 A.M. and, so help me, Marion was there to meet me.”

Excerpt from letter Lad wrote to Grandpa at the end of September, 1943:

“Since I arrived things have progressed rapidly –.  I have had a complete reversal of more or less personal ideas, and Marian has consented to be my wife.  I never thought I was capable of such strong emotions, but they are certainly present.  When I have had a chance to calm down and think more clearly, I’ll right again and give you more in detail.  Lots of love, Lad

P.S. I personally think that she can top Jean without a great deal of trouble.”

Excerpt from letter dated October 6, 1943, from Lad to Grandpa:

“Some time having elapsed since I last wrote you, I think I can say that, although I’m still way up in the clouds, I at last can think logically.

During my time on furlough I realized that I missed Marian quite a good deal, as I think I told you, but the feeling got stronger and stronger as I came closer to L.A., and not a thing could have pleased me more than having Marian, as she did, meet me.  I realized then that I really loved her, and I also, as I think I told you, realized that she not only liked me very well, but very definitely loved me.  We spent quite a good deal of time discussing all angles of marriage, realizing that this was a rather poor time to undertake anything so serious, and permanent, and although she wanted me to ask her, she didn’t press her point at all.  We had both agreed, many months before, in an argument with another couple, that it was pretty foolish to marry during the present war, but here I am sticking my neck out, or rather jeopardizing her life (possibly) by asking her to marry me.  Arrangements have been made, as far as is possible for a soldier, to be married at her home near San Francisco on November 14th…….

There are 2 things I regret, however, about the proceedings.  (1) You have never met Marian, and don’t know her, so you’ll have to rely on my judgment to bring you a good daughter-in-law, and (2) her parents have never met me so therefore they will have to rely on her to pick out a worthwhile husband and son-in-law.  I think I’m getting the better bargain, and she thinks she is, so we’re completely happy.  Oh!  Dad – she really is wonderful.  I wish you could know her now, instead of having to wait….”

Excerpt from a letter Lad wrote to Grandpa on October 25, 1943:

“Now to answer a few questions —

It will be an afternoon wedding in “The Little Chapel of the Flowers” in Berkeley and I definitely will wear my uniform.  Uncle Sam is still around…..

Marian is 5’5” in her bare tootsies and is far from slim.  In fact, on the plump side, and (just a moment while I asked her) she hasn’t voted for Roosevelt all her life, and she says she very definitely likes fathers-in-law with hay fever….

If you want to know more right away you’d better ask some more questions.  One thing, however, she doesn’t like turnips, and neither do I.”

“P.S. Hello Dad – things are so very clear to us that we just assume that everyone else knows all the details too – Perhaps, by the next three or four letters all your questions will be answered.  Will write again soon.  Love, Marian”

My Mom had the habit when writing letters, to write the day of the week rather than the date.  On Friday she wrote her first letter to Grandpa, five pages.

On Monday, Nov. 1, 1943 she wrote another four pager to Grandpa.  Lad added four more pages which included this quote from the last page:

“I am (we’re) sorry you will not be present, but Dan Cupid didn’t take you into consideration I guess, when he took aim and drove his arrows so deeply through our hearts.”

   Alfred Peabody Guion and Marian Dunlap Irwin Guion,                                        Nov. 14, 1943

 

    Lad Guion and Vern Eddington, his Best Man

 

        Marian Guion and her sister, Peg Irwin

 

A table at the Reception in Marian’s parent’s home

On Nov. 18, Lad writes the following to Grandpa:

“This won’t be much of a letter because I’m not in much of a letter-writing mood — but I’ll try to give you a little something about which you are most anxious to hear. “

He follows with a chronological description starting the Friday before about everything that happened before, during and after the wedding.  He ends with these words:

“Marian wore a dark green suit that I think was the most perfect creation I have ever seen on any woman.  She really looked wonderful.  I’m really awfully sorry you weren’t here, but I’m glad I didn’t decide to wait until after the war. M. is going to write in a couple of days….”

At this point Marian takes up the weekly responsibility of writing letters to Grandpa, letting him and the “Home Guard” know everything that is going on in their lives.

Next Sunday’s post will be about Lad’s and Marian’s various locations up until the end of the war. Tomorrow and for the next week, I’ll be posting letters written in September of 1943. These letters will include more details of Lad and Marian’s plans for their lives together and the wedding, along with comments from Grandpa about their plans Judy Guion.

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My Ancestors (33d) – Alfred Peabody Guion – Camp Santa Anita and Marian Irwin – 1943

(1) Alfred Peabody Guion; (2) Judith Anne Guion.

      Alfred Peabody Guion (Lad)

My Dad, Alfred Peabody Guion, was inducted into the Army in May, 1942.  He was sent to Aberdeen, Maryland, for 13 weeks of basic training, then 8 weeks of N.C.O. School, 3 more weeks of Teacher Training  and 11 weeks of training for  Diesel Engine Instructor, Ordinance School.

He was then sent to Flint, Michigan, for 3 weeks of training on the maintenance of G. M.  2-cycle Diesel Engine Model 2071 at the Wolverine plant.

Now that he had been thoroughly trained, he was sent to Santa Anita, California, which was still being prepared for Army use.

Excerpt from a letter home,  January 9, 1943, from Camp Santa Anita:

“The camp here – contrary to what its name implies – is far from comfortable.  No sheets or pillowcases, no heat (yes, we need heat), no hot water and no organization as yet.  It is still very much in the process of being renovated (after the Japs) and built.  In a couple of months it will, in all probability, be much better.”

At this point he was reunited with three other men who had gone through the same training in Aberdeen. The four, (Al (Alfred or Lad to family), Art Lind, Vic _____ and Vince _____, worked and socialized together.

He spent 7 months there as an instructor of Diesel Engine Theory and 4 months as an Instructor of Automotive Electricity and Engine Tune-up. During this span of time, he met Marian Irwin at the Hospitality Center in South Pasadena. She was the Executive Director of the South Pasadena Camp Fire Girls.

Excerpt from a letter home, April 8, 1942, from the Hospitality Center of South Pasadena:

“Again too many days have gone by, but they have all been full.  Even April 3rd, (Lad’s birthday). I got a letter from you on the eventful day – thanks.  It went by as usual, but the bunch of us were invited to a party in my honor at the home of one of the girls I have met here.  In fact, she is so much like Babe (Lad’s girlfriend in Trumbull) that I have difficulty now and then in calling her Marian.  She is not quite as pretty as Babe but resembles her in almost every other way.  Even to occupations.  Well, anyhow, the party went off fine and about 2 a.m. on Sunday we decided to go to a swing-shift dance at the Casa Manana and had a good time.  Got in camp at 6 Sun. morning.”

                    Lad and Marian, So. Pasadena, CA

Lad and Marian continued to spend quite a bit of time with each other.  In September, Lad returned to Trumbull on a furlough, then returned to Camp Santa Anita.

Excerpt from letter dated September 22, 1943 written from South Pasadena:

“Arrived in L.A. at 4:10 A.M. and, so help me, Marian was there to meet me.  In fact I’m writing this at her house and this is her pen and ink.”

Excerpt from letter written at the end of September, 1943, from the Hospitality Center of South Pasadena:

                              Lad Guion and Marian Irwin – 1943

“Dear Dad:- Since I arrived things have progressed rapidly.  I have had a complete reversal of more or less personal ideas, and Marian has consented to be my wife.  I never thought I was capable of such strong emotions, but they are certainly present.  When I have had a chance to calm down and think more clearly, I’ll right again and give you more in detail.  Lots of love, Lad    P.S. I personally think that she can top Jean without a great deal of trouble —”

 

Next Sunday I will continue Lad and Marian’s story with their wedding and numerous Army re-locations before Lad shipped out for France.

Tomorrow, I’ll begin with five more sections of the Beginning – Reminiscences of Alfred D Guion.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – COMMUNICATION CENTER 42928 (3) – Word From Lad and Marian – August 6, 1944

                                    Lad and Mariam at Pomona

Next we have the pleasure to present a Southern California message, from that place redolent of fruits and sunshine called Pomona. Marian says: “Here we go again! Life in the Army is very much like sitting on the time bomb. We never know whether we will go off in the next minute or whether our precarious seat will prove to be a dud. The fellows have been told that they should have some technical training, so beginning tomorrow, Lad is going to be teaching a course on the finer points of the electrical system of diesel engines. This should last about two weeks. Actually it means absolutely nothing beyond the fact that it will keep the fellows busy. So the way things stand now we should be here for another two weeks, but just as soon as I put that in writing the Army will change our minds for us. Consequently, you now know just about as much of our future plans as we do, and as to their definiteness, your guess is as good as ours. Life goes on pretty much the same these days in all other respects. Lad is back at the Pomona base now and doesn’t have to report for work until 5:45. He’s keeping busy but does not have to work as hard or as long as he had to when he was at Camp Haan.

We thought we were going to be able to send you another addition to your Rogue’s Gallery, but we were not satisfied with the finished product so the photographers are going to see what they can do about it. But it will take another two weeks to get the pictures back. You have waited this long for a picture of both of us together so it shouldn’t be too hard to wait that much longer. (Here follows a request for Lad’s flashlight.).

Aunt Betty, I’m sure Ced has been using his most persuasive powers to get you to Alaska. But don’t forget that there might be some question about your being able to smoke those cigars of yours up there. Families, you know, understand these things and make the necessary allowances, but strangers are apt to raise their eyebrows at such goings on. And I’m sure the natives wouldn’t understand at all. They might think you were on fire and bury you under an avalanche of snow. So don’t say I didn’t warn you. Besides, who is going to help me shovel a path to the garage if I come to Connecticut this winter?

COMMENT: By gorry, Aunt Betty better be making a list of folks who “didn’t warn her” — that’s to already recorded in this letter. And while Ced has introduced a new factor in the equation with his barrel of rum, you will note, Dan, the cigar episode which you were the first to recognize and record, has, like the proverbial snowball, rolling down hill, is getting bigger, or perhaps we had better liken it to the likewise proverbial stone thrown into the still water which makes ever widening circles. Careful where you throw stones, young man. Your Aunt Betty now is beginning to fear she will never live this down. As for the flashlight, armed with your keys, my Ansoutiguey importation, I mounted wearily the attic stairs after a torrid day at the office to be met with a blast of hot air. After moving several tons of boxes and cartons which my Alaskan giant had successfully piled on top of your trunk, I, at  length, heaved up the lid, ransacked the tills, peeked under the bottles of iodine, etc. all to no avail, until, thoroughly blinded by the honest sweat pouring from my manly brow, I closed the lid, had just enough strength to press the lock into place, and without replacing the boxes, had just enough to stumble downstairs in an exhausted condition with the bitter sense of frustration and failure. After recovery, I phoned Babe (Lad’s girlfriend) and found she did have your flashlight, in fact it was right there handy, so as soon as I can get it from her, probably early next week, I shall send it along with the other things you wanted with the sole exception of the Boy Scout knife which I have been unable to find, even the genuine or a reasonable facsimile.

??????????????????????????

I believe this is the picture that they weren’t very pleased with.

Now for photographs. We now know that Lad’s is in the works. Dave had some taken a while ago which were AWFUL. They don’t look any more like him than the average passport photo. I wouldn’t give them space on my bureau. Dan promised to send me one from London which I surmised he had taken but if it ever was mailed it must have fallen victim to a Nazi U-boat. May I remind you that my birthday is in September, Christmas comes the latter part of December and Father’s Day follows several months thereafter. My gallery is still incomplete.

Tomorrow, the final segment of this very long letter.

Saturday, another excerpt of a letter from John Jackson Lewis to the friends and family back in the States.

On Sunday, more of My Ancestor, Alfred Peabody Guion, my Father.

Judy Guion

My Ancestors (33b) – Alfred Peabody Guion – 1914 – 2003

(1) Alfred Peabody Guion; (2) Judith Anne Guion.

  Alfred Peabody Guion               1922

When we first arrived in Trumbull, the house had been unoccupied for a while; there was an awful lot of cleaning and fixing up to do.  We had cows, chickens, pigs, but we didn’t have any horses at that time.  We got the horses later.  In the cottage, there was a fellow named Parks, who was living there with his wife.  They helped Dad and Mom with the Big House.  His wife did the cleaning and he did the outside work.

I don’t have many memories of my mother.  I remember that she was involved in 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.

Life history of Alfred P.  Guion:

Residences:

Sept., 1922 – Dec., 1938   –   Trumbull, Conn.

Schooling:

Kindergarten and 1st grade:   –   Mount Vernon, New York

2nd grade thru 8th grade:      –   Trumbull, Conn.

9th grade thru 12th grade:     –    Congress and Central High Schools, Bridgeport

Recorded childhood memories of Alfred P.  Guion:

                   Lad in 1925

 

I don’t know why but my father started calling me Lad and gradually it got to be my nickname.

When we started grammar school in Trumbull, we had Emma Linley as a teacher.  She and my mother were quite friendly.  In fact, she would take me to the Linley’s house, which was in Nichols, and I would play with the older brother, Bill.  Later on, when I could ride a bicycle, I used to go there by myself.

We went to grammar school in the house that the Sirene’s bought.  There were two buildings.  The one Dan and I went to was divided into two rooms, first through third grade on one side, fourth through sixth grade on the other side.  The seventh and eighth graders were in the other building.

I think I was about nine when we got the (boat named) Helen….  The thing I remember most about the Helen was having to caulk her, every seam.  It was a wood boat and a lot of caulking had come out.  It had been up on land for quite a while.  So, we had to caulk it and then seal it with something … Every year we hauled her out after the thaw each spring, and I’d caulk the thing from underneath.  I got pretty good at it.  If you put too much in, it would push the boards apart but it had to be enough to keep the boat from sinking.

      Alfred (Lad) Peabody Guion

By the time I was twelve, I was able to drive a car by myself.  I talked my mother into letting me drive to Kurtz’s store.  We had a 1925 Packard, and at that time, the road was so narrow that when I got to the junction of White Plains Road and Daniels Farm Road, there wasn’t much room to maneuver a car, so I went on down to Reservoir Avenue to turn around.  On the way back, I saw a car coming towards me.  It was Sheriff Stanley Boughton.  He looked at me, turned around and accosted me in the store.  He asked me if I had a license to drive, and I guess I said, “No”.  He then asked me if my mother knew I was driving.  When I said, “Yes,” he told me to take the car home and leave it there … but I didn’t.  I never got into trouble after that until much later.  After I got my license I was driving up in the Newtown area and apparently I was driving too fast.  I got stopped for speeding.  Nothing ever came of it because my Dad was the Justice of the Peace and, at that time, First Selectman of Trumbull.

At Christmas time, when I was in sixth grade, the teacher selected Bill Hennigan and I to go out and get a Christmas tree.  I was a Boy Scout so I had a little hatchet available.  Bill and I went out and found a tree we thought would be satisfactory and cut it down.  I don’t know how it happened, but maybe we were trimming limbs or something at the bottom, but the Axe slipped and hit my knee.  I had quite a bad cut on my knee.  I don’t remember the details now, but they must have bandaged it and took me home or sent me home or something.  It cleared up all right.  Then the next year, Bill and I were selected to go out and get the tree again.  They told me to be careful, and I was, but I cut my knee again.  For the third year, we didn’t do that.

Long before we moved to Trumbull, there was a mill (on the property next to the Trumbull house) run by water which came down through a tunnel.  The tunnel was about 3’ by 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 have been smoking 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 Mom!  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.

                     Dan, Dave, Lad, Dick, Ced and Biss – circa 1928

I 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.

Next Sunday, I will post information about the various jobs that my Dad held before he was drafted in 1942..

Tomorrow, I’ll begin a week of letters written in 1943.  Lad is in California and planning a furlough to Trumbull. Dan has been shipped overseas but Grandpa doesn’t know where he is or where he will be stationed, Ced is still in Alaska, Dick is in Brazil and Dave is home in Trumbull, still attending Bassick High School.

Judy Guion

The Beginning (16) – The Reminiscences of Alfred Duryee Guion – 1884 – 1964

The following memories are quotes from “Reminiscences of Alfred D.  Guion, written in 1960 while he was on a four-months “around the world” freighter trip.

            Alfred Duryee Guion

This leads me to another episode which happened a few years later during my senior year at N.Y.U., and which, if followed through, might have made a considerable difference in my life – – one of those “opportunity knocks once” things.

My college instructor in accounting, Mr. Wildman, I personally loved very much.  One evening he asked me to stay after class and then told me a friend of his, private secretary to John D. Rockefeller, Jr,, had asked him to recommend someone for the job of private secretary to John D. Sr, and he, Wildman, had thought of me and asked if I might be interested.  Here was a glamorous opportunity worth looking into, so I told him I’d like to learn more about it. J.D.’s secretary was a quiet, pleasant, middle-aged gentleman who invited me to lunch in a private room.  He told me he had been given the responsibility of selecting a man for the job and anyone Mr. Wildman recommended was O.K. with him; that there seemed no reason why I could not be the one if I wanted the job.  He felt it only fair to me, however, to outline both the good and the bad features before I gave him a final decision.  He pointed out that the old man had retired from active business and consequently I would not have the opportunity that under other circumstances would bring me into contact with prominent business personages.  If, he said, Mr. Rockefeller took a personal liking to you, you need never worry about your future for the rest of your life.  On the other hand, no matter how satisfactory your work might be, if you did not click with him personally you might as well seek another job.  The old man, he explained, spent four months a year in Cleveland, four in Lakewood, New Jersey, and four in New York City, and you would be at his beck and call night and day in each of these places.  There would be little opportunity for visits home and of course, while he had his personal servants, as far as your liberty, you would practically be a high-class valet.  I could name any salary I chose within reason.  The amount was of little concern.  I need not decide at once.  It was best to think it over, seek advice from others and let him know within a reasonable time what my decision was.  The job was mine if I wanted it.  What a chance in a lifetime!  I was elated, but two disturbing thoughts gave me pause.  I had recently had an unfortunate experience with a millionaire and was a bit wary of the breed.  Furthermore, I had just fallen in love with “the most wonderful girl in the world”, and the prospect of not seeing her except at long intervals was an almost unthinkable barrier.  So the “high-class valet” prospect and surrendering my chance of wooing my lady love combined to make me decide “no”.  I told him while I deeply appreciated the honor of even being considered for the job, I felt I would not be content in such a position.  Mr. John D.  Senior.  Lived for many years more and I have often wondered what course my life would have taken if I had said “yes”.  On the whole, I have no regrets.

For the rest of the week I’ll continue the life story of Grandpa in his own words.

Judy Guion

Voyage to California (33) – John Jackson Lewis – January to March, 1851

(1) John Jackson Lewis, (2) Edith May (Lewis) Rider, (3) Marian Faith (Rider) Irwin, (4) Marian Dunlap (Irwin) Guion, (5) Judith Anne Guion.

The following are transcriptions of John Jackson Lewis’s diary and journal of his voyage to California in 1851. He was travelling  from New York to visit his older brother William in San Jose.

Diary

Was taken ashore this morning in the boat, with my baggage.  After depositing my trunks in the store of an acquaintance, I started out to see the city, and to try to find somebody.  First I found P. Lester; through his aid Dr. Gibbons; then N. W.  Palmer.  Was occupied part of the day delivering letters.  Took dinner with N. W.  Palmer, and after it, took a walk with Dr. Gibbons, who pointed out places of interest to me, and gave a number of curious particulars of the country.  In the evening, looked into the principal gambling houses, witnessed the auctions, and some other points of interest.  Had good lodgings, in the room above Norry’s store.  On the whole, my impression of the city, from this day’s experience, are rather agreeable, then otherwise.

Extracts

Extracts from a letter dated San Francisco March 4, 1851

x x x  I have reached here in good health, tho’ somewhat reduced by long continued sea-sickness, but, with that exception, without a days sickness of any kind.  We have had a number of cases of fever and diarrhea on board, but the only death is the one mentioned in the journal.  There is a physician, reputed skillful, on board, whose services are rendered to the passengers free of charge, and if the man who died had entrusted his case to his hands instead of doctoring himself, he might very possibly have been among us now.

x.x.x.  Our passage here I think has been accomplished in very good time, especially considering the various delays we have been subjected to, by heavy seas, headwinds, and fogs.  The Tennessee ( https://www.maritimeheritage.org/ships/ssTennessee.htm) is a good sea boat, and sails much’s steadier than the Cherokee.  (CHEROKEE1245 tons, length 210.7ft x beam 35.3ft, wooden hull, side paddle wheels, three masts. Launched 12th Jun.1848 by William H.Webb, New York for the New York & Savannah SN Co. and sailed for Savannah on 3rd Oct.1848. Purchased by Howard & Aspinwall, she was used on their New York – Chagres Line from 13th Dec.1849. She burned at her dock at the foot of Warren Street, New York on 27th Aug.1853, scuttled and later refloated, she did not re-enter the Chagres service and was owned by the United States Mail SS Co. in 1855.)  She pitches no worse, and scarcely ever rolls badly, while the Cherokee rolled almost constantly.  I suppose this is owing partly to the difference in their construction, the engines being placed lower in the Tennessee, the decks higher in the other.  The steerage of the Tennessee as a sleeping apartment is much preferable to the lower cabins of the Cherokee, being more roomy, and, when the sea smooth enough to permit it, better ventilated.  The accommodations, to be sure, are not the best in the world, but I suppose they are pretty good for steerage.  One of the worst grievances we had to put up with was the dirty beds, and they were miserably dirty.  We generally had to wash in salt water, and find our own towels, those who had not provided themselves therewith using their handkerchiefs.  We were furnished with no covering for our beds, but with my blanket and coats I have managed to keep a portion of my blanket between me and my dirty mattress, and leave sufficient to keep me warm enough too.  We have also had quite a respectable set of steerage passengers, the lowest of the Cherokees steerage, and the rowdies of the lower cabin, having generally taken passage elsewhere.  three of those who were my companions up the Chagres River were on board, and they were the three that I should have chosen had a choice been given me.  I think they would pass for respectable in civilized communities.  They were such as I should not be ashamed to introduce to my relatives at home, and acknowledge acquaintance with anywhere. I could not say as much for all of them. x x x

Tomorrow I’ll be posting another entry from My Ancestors. This one is about Alfred Duryee Guion, my Grandpa.

Next week, I’ll begin a week of letters written in 1944.

Judy Guion

The Beginning – Reminiscences of Alfred D. Guion (15) – 1884 – 1964

The following memories are quotes from “Reminiscences of Alfred D.  Guion, written in 1960 while he was on a four-months “around the world” freighter trip.

            Alfred Duryee Guion

Also about this time I left the Smelting Company and took another stenographic job at a higher salary with the Estate of Collis P.  Huntington, one of the country’s great railroad builders.  His adopted son, Archer M.  Huntington, also a millionaire, used the office for his headquarters.  One day I was called into the manager’s private office and told that Archer M.  wanted me to go down that morning to the American Art Gallery’s auction sale and purchase, in my own name, a set of fine Sheraton chairs which were to be put up for sale, and for which purpose he gave me a thousand dollars in cash.  I had never had as much money as this in my possession nor indeed had I ever attended so glamorous an auction sale and felt the responsibility deeply.  I asked the office manager what I should do if the bidding should go higher but all he would say was: “You are to buy the furniture.”  I was still troubled in mind, and Mr. Archer having just come in, I decided in spite of the fact he was a very pompous individual not in the habit of discussing his business with clerks and in fact treating me and all my fellow employees as dirt beneath his feet, that I would do the unheard-of thing and approach him direct.  I told him I had been given a thousand dollars to buy the chairs and asked what I should do if I had to bid higher, a fatal error.  He glared at me and angrily replied, “Buy the furniture.”  And that was that.

On the way down to the auction gallery I decided to play it cagily and, as he didn’t want his name to appear in the transaction, I decided to let the low bidders and dealers, if there were any (there were), starte and when they had dropped out come in when there would be less competition.

When the set was put up for bids I followed this plan and joined in when it reached about $500.00.  Soon just a lady and myself were the sole bidders and every time one of us raised the amount by fifty dollars the other would immediately counter with another fifty.  We see-sawed back and forth until, with a firm voice and nonchalant air (I hope) but was dry mouth and butterflies in my stomach, I boldly said one thousand dollars and she promptly said “one thousand, fifty”.  I was over my head already and might as well sink as swim so I came right back with eleven hundred dollars.  She glared at me, threw up her hands and quit.  “Sold” said the auctioneer, “name please”.  After the sale was over I went up to the desk, lay down my thousand dollars in bills and told the cashier I’d send the balance later, which was all right with him.  As instructed, I gave him Mr. Huntington’s Fifth Avenue address where the chairs were to be delivered and returned to the office.  When I reported the price I had had to bid the office manager seemed not a bit concerned and I went back to my routine office work.

The following Saturday in my pay envelope was an additional two weeks salary “in advance” accompanied with a little note reading, “Mr. Huntington thinks you would do better elsewhere.”  I asked the manager the reason for my dismissal, pointing out I had never before been fired from a job, and while I didn’t doubt I could find other employment, it would help me if I knew what I had done wrong in this case to guard against making the same mistake again.  “Mr. Huntington thinks you would do better elsewhere” was the only answer I could get and to this day I don’t know why I was fired.

The N.Y. Times on the following day under “Auction News” contained an item which read: “Spirited bidding on a set of Sheraton furniture took place between Mr. A.D. Guion and Mrs. Vanderbilt.”

On Saturday, John Jackson Lewis arrives in San Francisco and continues the story of his Voyage to California in 1851.

On Sunday, I will continue the series on My Ancestors with an entry about grandpa, Alfred D.  Guion.

Judy Guion