Life in Alaska – Dear Grande Pierre and all le Habitat de Guion (2) – May 17, 1946

Around the first of the month the company asked me to go on days to turn out the old floats for the Travelair at Merrill field. I was the only one who had worked on floats before, and so was the appointee. I started in by testing the floats, found some leaks had developed in the two years the floats have been idle and so enlisted additional help in the person of Art Dawe, one of our sheet metal men, in patching the bad portions. It was on Saturday the 11th, a week ago today, that we were working on this project

page two    May 18th

 very industriously, I inside the float, Art outside. In drilling and hammering on the surface there were particles of aluminum and other small objects floating about in the air and a good deal of it found its way into my eyes. I gave it only passing thot, as every day in Anchorage one’s eyes are continually assaulted by flying dust stirred up by passing cars and the whims of the winds. However, on the way in after work at night I felt an obstinate particle in my right eye. At home I stood before a mirror and observed a fine, shiny piece of material, square on the eyeball. I took a piece of tissue, moistened the tip of a twisted point, and deftly lifted the particle from my inflamed eye. Finding some Murine, I put a few drops in each eye, and went on about my business, forgetting the whole affair 15 or 20 minutes later when both eyes felt normal. I visited the Thorsen’s till about 1 a.m., then went home and read in bed and (tsk,tsk) till nearly 3. My eyes became a little watery, but seemed not exceptionally so under the circumstances. However I crawled under the covers and turned out the light. When I shut my eyes they both seemed suddenly painful, but I figured they were just rebelling against all the misuses of the day and night. I went to work Sunday, but from the moment I arose the light was nearly unbearable, but I soon realized that the left eye was the sensitive one, the right only sympathetic. By covering the left eye I was able to drive a little, but got anyone riding with me to do it if possible. All day on the floats they bothered me, and outdoors the strain was terrific. I decided that if the condition wasn’t improved Monday morning that I would stay off work and visit a doctor. The rest you already know, except that I didn’t mention that Dr. Romig found a small foreign body in the left eye which he removed with a knife. This particle was dug in right on the edge of the cornea, and as it was so serious, he had me eating penicillin and dropping it in my eyes also. Yesterday he sent me to Dr. Shepherd, and with the aid of the eye machine Dr. Shepherd discovered that there was some sediment left on the right cornea from the piece I had removed, and that was what he removed last night. Now there is a diminishing  ulcer on the left eye, and as I said before, all should be as good as ever within two weeks. In the meantime I am to see the doctor every two days until he knows all danger from the ulcer is over. Did I ever tell you about my operation?          I failed to find Dan’s address, so will forward the package to you for re-mailing along with a package for Dave which he never received, and which was returned to me last Wednesday. My apologies to you, Dave, but as you see, it was no fault of mine.

May 20th

          Probably better skip the refrigerator, as I have too many expenses already. The end of this month I am going into a small apartment with Chuck Halgrimson, one of the hangar fellows. There is no refrigerator in the apartment, but will get along sans that item.

Saw Romig this morning, he says my eyes are coming fine. Now it is time to go to work, so until the next chance, Adieu.

Am sending a package containing Dave’s bundle, and also the gift for the little French girl. Will you please address the package and send it on to France, letting me know the bill.


Love to A Betty, Jean and Marian

Hello Dave and Greetings to the old married stinkers.

Also included in this letter were two articles about travel over the Alaskan Highway and a poem about Helicopter Pilots called THE STUMP*JUMPERS LAMENT.

Tomorrow I’ll post more Special Pictures of the Trumbull House – Then and Now.

On Sunday, more about My Ancestors.

Judy Guion


Life in Alaska – Dear Grande Pierre and all le Habitat de Guion (1) – May 17, 1946



P. O. Box 822


May 17, 1946

4:35 p.m.

Dear Grande pierre and all le habitat de Guion

Received the news of Danielle yesterday, and can imagine what excitement it must have caused back in quiet Trumbull. I’ll guess that there was much supper table talk on the night the cable was received, oui?

I made a trip into a cute little shop in Anchorage today, and purchased a bit of frillery for our new relative. I expect I’ll mail it tomorrow if I can find the address to which it should be mailed. I’m dying to meet the three Frenchies, and share the suspense along with the rest of you while we wait to hear when they will arrive at the feet of Miss Liberty down battery way.

May 18th

          The doctor says I can go to work tonight. No doubt you are now learning what killed the dog. You see, he removed the patch from my right eye this afternoon. It seemed necessary to have it covered as long as the operation had been performed. The right eye being bad was a surprise to all of us, as everyone thot it was only my left eye which was affected. The operation (the last one) was performed by a specialist on the post, as the local city doctor was a little worried about the left eye upon which he had operated last Monday. He sent me to Dr. Shepherd at the post hospital for observation and advice. Dr. Shepherd seemed to think my left eye was progressing OK, but discovered the trouble in the right eye. Now, as I type, my left eye is doing most of the work is I can’t even see the letters on the keyboard with my right eye. There is a slight ulcer in the left eye, but if all goes well it should clear up within two weeks. When the pupil in the right eye becomes normal again the vision should be good. Right now it is about the size of a large pea due to the fact that Dr. Shepherd used a solution to dilate it last night, just before he operated. Of course all this is rather expensive, but I will probably come out fairly well, as the insurance is supposed to cover all doctor bills and a percentage of the lost salary (about 60%, less the wages for the first and last day lost.) The cost of medicine (now up to $12) will have to be borne by myself I suppose. Really I am very fortunate I’m told. There is only one specialist in the territory, Dr. Shepherd, and he has out at the station hospital, the only eye exploration machine in the territory, and it is one of very few in the U.S.

I have been off work since last Monday. I worked Sunday but was very miserable doing it. Of course I should explain that I was working days all last week, and therein lies the tale.

Tomorrow, the tale of how this all came about.

On Saturday, I will begin a new series, the Diary of John Jackson Lewis from January 28, 1851 to March 11, 1851 and his story, Journal of a Voyage to California, during those same dates.  

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Hello Again – Sprucing Up The Place – April 2, 1944

The Old Homestead

                    The Old Homestead

Trumbull, Conn.   April 2, 1944

Hello again:

Another week has rolled around and finds me again seated at my faithful typewriter, withal a little lame in the back after having wrestled with numerous baskets of incinerator refuse which Ced laboriously filled and would have emptied himself undoubtedly if he had not been summoned so summarily back to the wilds of Anchorage. I wanted to get the yard cleaned up a bit so as to look somewhat presentable for Easter. Jean, too, has been busy indoors, bless her heart. The kitchen floor looks as clean and nice as any time since the new linoleum was first laid, and she has washed the curtains which the kitchen oil stove managed to make quite drab.

Yesterday, I spent some time out front cutting down Maple shoots which had started up in between the arborvitae hedge which is so ragged any way that I think it would look better taken down altogether. What do you think? Then there is the cellar and the barn and the storm windows to be taken down and the screens to be put up. Two or three of you “father’s helpers” better quit the army and come home and give me a hand. Oh, yes, I also spent part of yesterday afternoon applying another coat of tar on the canvas roof over the laundry. In getting the can of tar out of the cellar I had left the cellar door open which was an invitation to Skipper and Susan to explore the cellar. Seeing their father’s oil barrel handy, they promptly took great delight in letting all the kerosene in said oil barrel run out of the cellar floor, much to their mother’s delight and my glee.

Dave is deserving of my appreciation, and he gets it. He has not let a week go by, no matter how busy or tired he is, without writing. In the letter received this week he mentions the possibility of his being transferred to another camp soon and hopes it might be to Fort Monmouth, New Jersey, where the chances of his being able to come home occasionally would be brighter than at present.

Daughter Marian writes to say that Lad is being kept pretty busy. They are still house hunting but are finding it difficult to find a suitable place accessible to the Camp.

A letter from Dorothy (Peabody) reports Anne (Peabody) Stanley) has recently returned from a visit to Vermont, Gweneth (Stanley, Anne’s daughter)  having been ill with a cold. Burton (Peabody, Grandma Arla’s brother) is still in Washington. Helen (Peabody) Human)and Ted  (Human) are still in New York. Ted is doing a series of engineering articles for MacGraw Hill, Helen meantime taking over the complete management of the apartment leaving Dorothy ample opportunity to take it easy in recovering from her operation.

Art Mantle has been awarded the Purple Heart Medal for wounds received in the battle of the Salvo Islands. Dan’s letter about the Red Cross has recently been published in the Bridgeport Post and did it’s part in helping to put the drive over the top. Although Trumbull’s quota was double what it was last year, we even topped that by $1000. And that seems to be all – – a rather uninteresting letter, I’ll admit, but at least it’s something. Can you-all say as much? Happy Easter greetings to all of you. Remember the jellybean hunts you used to have as kids? No jellybeans on the market now. There’s a war on. Have you heard?

The same Dad

Tomorrow, another Special Picture of the Trumbull House, Ten and Now. On Sunday, another Ancestor, Louis Guion, my original French Ancestor who arrived in this country in December of 1686. His story may take a few weeks.

Judy Guion

Friends – Biss Writes to Ced and A Quick Note From Lad – March 31 and April 2, 1944

Elizabeth (Biss) Guion Zabel

            Elizabeth (Biss) Guion Zabel

Friday afternoon

2:07 P.M.


Dear Ced: —

I am going to do a mean thing to you and write a very short note, as it is well into the PM already and I have touched nothing at all in the house. Besides I have just finished writing five other letters and am beginning to get tired. I wrote Alfred, Aunt Dorothy, Uncle Burton, Peg and Viv. Viv was disappointed because she didn’t get to see you while you were home. I am writing mainly to find out how you made out with your deferment and whether or not this new law, of all under 26, will spoil your deferment for you – I hope you will be able to hold off until June and maybe you will be able to keep out altogether.

I got a letter from Aunt Dorothy this morning and she is up and around again – that is what started me on this writing spree. I had been meaning to write her ever since I found out she was laid up. I am beginning to feel like my old self again, thank goodness. Butch is supposed to be in bed with a cold but I think he is out more than in – I have told him to get back to bed so far about 100 times at least. Marty just came in from outside with wet feet and pants so he has to go to bed as soon as he is through  in the bathroom. They’re going to have their pictures taken tomorrow night in their sailor suits. I wish it would get nice and warm out – we have had a couple of warm days so far and it just makes one inpatient for more of them. Marty is calling so I guess I had better close here.



P.S. – My arm is so tired it is stiff and sore – that is my real reason for stopping.


Because this note from Biss  is so short, I am also going to add a short note from Lad.

Lad Guion

Lad Guion

Sun., April 2, 1944

Dear Dad, Aunt Betty, etc.: –

Tomorrow is the big day. I shall be 30. Getting along in years, eh ! Got your gift and letter also. Thanks, Dad, and when we have a few spare moments we shall write an answer to your letter enclosing the checked suggestions.

Our mailing address still remains the same (491, Pomona) but we have moved into an apartment in a town called Ontario, about 2 1/2 miles east of Pomona. It reminds me of the Ives’s place as it was before Fred Stanley bought it. We only have a couple of rooms, but we have worked all day today and it is not even half completed. Gee, there are so many things to be done, you wonder if they will ever be finished. In our case it is almost futile, since just about the time we have it fixed to our satisfaction, Uncle Sam will move me to some other camp, as has been the case ever since we were married. The place is at 3132 W. A. St., Ontario. It is on the main road to Los Angeles and the trucks keep Marion awake still, but I guess I’m used to lots of noise or I’m too tired at night not to sleep. Anyway, I sleep. It is a couple of minutes after nine, but since I have to get up at 4:30 AM, nine o’clock is my bedtime, and I sure can use one tonight. Give my love to Aunt Betty and the rest and I’ll see you all sometime soon.


Tomorrow, another letter from Grandpa covering news of Trumbull family and friends. 

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Letters to Each Son (2) – Dear Dave and Dan – March 26, 1944

Dear Dave:

It was good to get your letter and know you are holding up the Guion tradition in good style. Sorry you did not do so well in the shooting but there are other things of more importance. Paul is all pepped up over the fact that he went through his mental test with flying colors. 150 is the average; 180 is tops, which no one has obtained yet. He got 174 and thinks it will mean a rating. I saw Mr. Mehigan in Herb’s (Haye’s Grocery Store) the other day and he told me to tell you “Sonny” was being shipped out to Little Rock where he will have something to do with the Ferrying Command. Ed Dolan says Mrs. Boyce was in the other day and asked all about you boys, particularly Ced, but you are her pet. It’s certainly odd how all the women fall for you. They must like ‘em fresh. George is having considerable trouble with the folding machine. He can’t seem to remember how to make even a simple fold now so lately we have to fold everything by hand. Postage rates have gone up – – no more 2 cent local rates. Everything is three cents now and airmail eight cents instead of six. Taxes on toilet articles now is 20% and taxes on movies have also been doubled. Dan writes he is enjoying himself, despite war and the Army. When he wrote on March 12th he didn’t seem to have been bothered by the bombing of London we read about but says his plans to go to Cambridge so far have not materialized.

Dear Dan: (last but not least)

Daniel (Dan) Beck Guion

I almost fell through the floor into Kurtz’s cellar when I found for V-Mail letters from you at one fell swoop in the mailbox. The flooring is pretty sturdy however so you can try again without fear of the consequences. Ced reports he is staying at the house of one of the Woodley Airways pilots, one McDonald by name, a new house. He has a fair sized room and garage for his car. A few days before he got back, Rusty had departed for the far North for about a year.

He said when he wrote that the snow was 20 inches deep and still snowing. Skiing was good. On the way back fairly long stops at Ketchikan, Wrangell and Petersburg enabled him to take short tramps into the interior with his camera. They arrived at Juneau at 8:45 of a Sunday morning. As Art runs to Juneau on Tuesdays and Fridays, Ced was all set to fool around until Tuesday but figured he should promptly book his reservation anyway. I quote: “I went right over to the Juneau agent and asked if the Tuesday trip was loaded. The fellow said he thought it was but asked if I would like to go today. I asked who was going and he said Art Woodley was in town. Was I glad to hear that. Well, he was soon located at the Baranof Hotel. His wife and father-in-law were also present. It seems that they had some business to attend to and stayed over from the Friday trip on that account. They greeted be very pleasantly and at 11 o’clock we arrived at the airport for the return trip to Anchorage.

The following notice appeared in the Bridgeport paper Thursday: Funeral services for Walter H Rubsamen, 46, of White Plains Rd., Trumbull, who died of a heart attack yesterday, will take place, Friday at 2 PM. Mr. Rubsamen, who had been suffering from a heart ailment for several years, collapsed at Main and Bank streets at 1:50 PM yesterday and was dead before medical assistance arrived. Mr. Rubsamen is survived by his wife, a daughter, Barbara-Lee, and a son,, Walter Sanford, a student at Choate school, Wallingford, where he will be graduated in June. He has been accepted for Navy duty on graduation.”

To each and all of you, severally and individually, one and indivisible:

Will you please detach the bottom part of his paper and with your next letter home, mark the various items, after having thoughtfully gone over them, and indicate which, if any, you would like to have me send you from time to time. Thanks.


*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *

Pads     Ink     Eraser     Paste     Clips     Ruler     Pencils     Calendar     Candy     Chewing Gum     Tobacco     Magazines     Bridgeport newspaper     Camera     Film     Coat hangers     Shoe polish     Kleenex     Shampoo or Tonic     Soap     Tooth powder     Camphor Ice     Deodorant     Shaving Materials     Shirts     Sox     Handkerchiefs     neckties     pajamas     slippers

State sizes, colors, brands, etc. preferred

Other Items Listed Here *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *

Tomorrow a newspaper article about the American Red Cross club in London, quoting Dan.  On Thursday, a letter from Jean (Mrs. Richard) to Ced in Alaska, and on Friday, a letter from Elizabeth (Biss) to Ced, one of her older brothers.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Letters to Each Son (1) – Dear Lad, Dick and Ced – March 26, 1944

We are now moving forward to 1944 when the United States is fully engaged in the war effort. So is the Guion family. All five sons are serving Uncle Sam in one way or another. Four are in the Army and Ced is in Alaska, repairing airplanes for the military in Anchorage. His boss continues to request deferrals for him and so far, has been successful. Grandpa writes a weekly letter and sends carbon copies to all his sons (and one daughter-in-law). This is the first half of a three page typed letter. The second half will be posted tomorrow.

Trumbull, Conn. March 26, 1944

Dear Lad:

Lad Guion with friend - Pomona - 1944 (2) head shotYou will receive this letter within a few days, either way, of your birthday – – your first birthday as a married man. (Incidentally, tomorrow is the anniversary of the day your Mother and I were married 31 years ago) there is so much that one would like to put into a goodwill greeting on such occasions that must remain unsaid because outside of a few gifted persons we ordinary folks are unable to put our thoughts on paper – – to say all that is in our hearts and minds.

Today Elizabeth and Zeke, with Butch and Marty, took dinner with us. As I watched the children with their cute little ways and words, the days of my own children’s childhood came back and I lived over again those all too short happy years when all of you were youngsters and your Mother and I watched the unfolding of your young ideas and lives. Even as I write here in the alcove, there burns in the fireplace part of the seat of the little, old wooden high chair that all of you children successively used. It went the way of all things that have outlived their usefulness, being part of the rubbish Ced cleaned out of the attic recently. It gave me a bit of a pang I admit, as it went up in flames, to contribute a bit of warmth in its last service to the family.

One of the lessons that the years have taught me is the futility of impatience with things as they are. Perhaps you of all the children have this quality in larger measure. If there is one time we all need patience it is now. The cruel war drags on. Each of you undoubtedly feels he is contributing so little toward hastening the day of victory with all that it means to you individually, that at times it is most discouraging, far from home and loved ones, to keep up a good heart; but know that each day that passes inevitably brings one day nearer the day of peace and all that goes with it. When blue and inclined to feel bitterly tired of it all, I have found it a good tonic to deliberately set about reviewing in my mind all the good things on the credit side of the ledger that we can count as ours. Try it sometime and you’ll find the good far outnumbers the evil. To you and Marian goes a father’s loving thoughts on this reaching of another milestone on life’s journey.

Dear Dick:

Richard (Dick) Guion

Richard (Dick) Guion

After getting dinner started this morning, I took the wheelbarrow and shovel to try to repair the damage to the driveway caused by a recent hard rain which had guttered the driveway opposite Laufer’s in a most distressing manner. As I busily shoveled some of the stone from under the big flat stone at the bottom of the concrete steps leading to the front door, to serve as fill, a car came by and stopped. A face adorned with a sailor hat leaned out of the window and greeted me. It was Cy Linsley. He asked about all the boys and is quite happy in his job concerned with radar and radio tube technical work. Pete, he says is also in the Navy.

Jean tells me you have a new job which keeps you quite busy with clerical details. Haven’t much time to devote to Whirlaway these days, I take it. Mr. Covell came into the office the other day to try to sell me some life insurance (He didn’t.) and asked about you, making me promise to give you his regards when I wrote. Smoky is outside the window and when I asked if he remembered you, he vigorously wagged his tail, which of course in dog language means “Yes”.

We had the worst snowstorm of the entire winter the other day, so deep that I did not try to take the car to Bridgeport, fearing I would not be able to make the drive at night, and when I stepped out of the back door on the way to the bus, a Robin in one of the apple trees over in Ives old orchard was singing lustily. I guess he knew that in spite of the snow Spring is here.

Dear Ced:

Your interesting letter written on the typewriter, much to Aunt Betty’s delight, arrived safely in spite of the fact the envelope was addressed to me “address unknown”. I am tempted to address this letter to you, followed by the letters T&DES, meaning of course Tax & Draft Evasion Specialist, but I thought maybe the local board might take exception to such a liberty. By the way, I am still using your ration book. Enclosed is a sample of the one point tokens they are using now for change.

I called up the Buick place the other day and they said they had the rubber mat for the car now but no exhaust pipe. I asked them to hold the mat and let me know as soon as another pipe came in. From Mrs. McClinch I learned they would take the pipe uncrated for Alaskan shipment. By the way, you speak of being rather short of funds. If I can help out let me know and I will get a check off to you by return mail. Did Art (Woodley) come across with the promised bonus? Please let me have Rusty’s address if you think of it when you write; also of course, I am anxious to see some of those self-portraits you speak up. By the way, your letter came without being reviewed by the sensor, as in the past.

Tomorrow, the second half of this letter, with a special request for each of the boys.  On Wednesday, an article printed in the newspaper about the American Red Cross club in London. On Thursday, a letter from Jean (Mrs. Richard) to Ced in Alaska, and on Friday, a letter from Elizabeth (Biss) to Ced, one of her older brothers.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – My Dear Little Pills -News From Ced – January 31, 1943


Same old place

Usual day, Jan. 24, 1943

Same three boys:

Once upon a time there were three little bears, a Laddie bear, old man river bear and a ceddie (not teddie) bear. And it came time for them to leave the old cave and go out into the cruel world and fight for Uncle Sam. So they all went off and left a little bear behind (of course they left more than that but then that would spoil the joke). So off they chugged in their little gas wagons, being modern bears, and one went race- tracking where Japanese beetles had once bored (Lad is at Camp Santa Anita, California where the horse racing track is now being converted from a Japanese Internment  camp to an Army Base) and another went up to see his aunt aureora borealis (Ced is in Anchorage Alaska) and the third into a lion Den of his own choosing (in Lancaster, Pennsylvania) training for surveying and map-making). What happened is still unwritten history and will be continued in our next installment. Meanwhile Dan is home on a 10 day furlough and airing, hanging his close on the proverbial hickory limb to get rid of the odor of soft cold gas with which his army quarters are permeated due to heating fuel.

My other two boys have joined the ranks of strong, silent man, emphasis on the silent part, but that hope that springs eternal in the human breast buoys me up so that with unabated zeal, I will hie me to box 7 tomorrow with the usual, expectant enthusiasm and peer into its depths for the well-known envelope.

Tomorrow most of the stores ann public buildings in Bridgeport will be closed following the proclamation of the new governor urging one day a week closing of buildings to conserve fuel. Not such a bad idea going to Alaska, Ced, to keep warm. Dick severed his connection yesterday with Producto (a manufacturing plant doing war work in Bridgeport) and is now a gentleman of leisure until the Shelton draft board summons him to partake of its plentiful beef steaks, butter and other delicacies which we civilians once used to enjoy.

Aunt Betty is now resplendent with a new set of teeth and smilingly asks to be remembered to you each individually. David is busy at this moment with preparations for a farewell party to be given here by his young people’s group for Elliott Knecht, who leaves the paternal home for induction tomorrow.

I forgot to mention in last week’s letter that I went to New York to see Sylvia married to her English aviator husband, at the church of or rather Cathedral of St. John the Divine, where in my boyhood, I had seen her mother married. I got there early and found there was going on a great funeral in some foreign language (I believe Czech) by the Greek Orthodox Church for the noted scientist and inventor Tesla. At the reception afterward I saw Mount Vernon folks I had not met for 30 years or more. Sylvia’s husband goes back to Canada to teach young aviators and may later go to England and take his new wife with him.

Next week, after the Russians capture a few more towns, MacArthur sinks a few more ships and planes, and MacArthur  chases a few more of Rommel’s Army (and we lose a few more ships to Hitler’s submarines), I will continue this missive and try to answer all the questions in the letters I expect to have received by that time from youse.


Tomorrow more Special Pictures of the Trumbull House – Then and Now.

On Sunday, another post about My Ancestors – Ella Duryee Guion.

Judy Guion