Trumbull – Dear Gang – The Great Guion Mystery – December 5, 1943

Trumbull, Conn., Dec. 5, 1943

Dear Gang:

Cedric Duryee Guion

The Great. Guion Mystery, unsolved to the present moment, is: “Has Ced left Anchorage en route home?” The last word from Alaska, as reported to you in a previous communication, was that our arctic explorer expected to leave for his long trip to Connecticut on December 3rd , and I have been anxiously, almost fearfully, looking for further word that would relieve the tension and let us know that nothing is intervened to prevent his leaving per schedule.

Dave has received notification that he is now class 1-A, and if rumors are to be given credence, he will leave Trumbull January 10th . The last hurdle he has yet to get over is his final physical exam. He is flirting with the idea of asking to join the Navy, probably because several of his buddies here have chosen that branch of the service, but this, I hope, will not happen.

Our guest for dinner today was Harold LaTour whom you older boys may remember. For a while he was salesman for an American concern in South America but is now with the Daily News in New York. He was one of Roger Bachelder’s college friends.

A review of incoming correspondence this week reveals the following:

A card announcing the arrival of Donald Robert Whitney, Jr., on November 25th , wait 8 pounds ten and a half ounces.

              Lad and Marian Guion – 1943

Another nice letter from Marian expressing the expectation of drinking a Thanksgiving toast to the “Guion clan and the fervent wish that another year will find us all together”. She also reports receiving a congratulatory telegram from Ced bemoaning the fact that he would not be around to tie tin cans to the car. It seems that the newlyweds waited so long before starting away for their home trip that all the guests got tired of waiting for them to leave, and in consequence, they escaped the horseplay that usually accompany affairs of this sort.

A letter from Dan enclosing signed registration certification which makes Dave happy in that he will now have about a month in which to drive around a car of his own (provided he can get it running). After a typical Danielesque description of English weather in lieu of the real news he hints he may write about, were it not for the limitations of censorship, he goes on to say his expected studies at Oxford or Cambridge have not yet materialized. He ends with the words: “Hurrah for Lad. I shall write to her personally.”

It is many weeks now, Dan, since a package of Rum and Maple, Kleenex, shampoo, etc. has been sent to you, but if I can secure anymore of that brand of tobacco (they told me it was not being made anymore and what I got was the last of their stock), I shall get off another shipment with the hope that sooner or later one of them might escape Hitler’s U-boats.

Thank you, Marian, for your welcome letter. I hope next time you or Lad write, you will be able to say that you have found a cozy little house or apartment. I’m going to miss you all here Christmas, but I hope Ced will be here to partly compensate. Jean and Dave anyway will save the day and I expect Bissie and her two hopefuls will be on hand. Jean is a way with her Aunt this week and visiting friends in New Milford.

Aunt Betty, Dave and Smoky all send their best, and as for me, you all know what to expect from                               DAD

Tomorrow, I will finish the week with another letter from Marian.

On Saturday, more on the Voyage to Venezuela in 1939. OnSunday, more of My Ancestors. Judy Guion 

Judy Guion

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Voyage to Venezuela (12) – The Adventure of Landing at La Guayra – January 4, 1939

This is the  beginning of a series of posts concerning Lad’s Voyage to Venezuela, taking a similar route as John Jackson Lewis during the first portion of his journey, about 88 years later. Lad and Dan had been hired by their Uncle Ted Human (husband of Helen (Peabody) Human), Aunt Helen, sister of Arla Mary (Peabody) Guion, Grandpa’s wife who had passed away in 1933 after a long illness. This is Lad’s version of the adventure he was taking and the same trip Dan had taken earlier in the year, traveling with Ted Human to South America.

 

The Harbor  at Curacao, January 3, 1939

Native  Quarters at Curacao – January 3, 1939

Wednesday, January 5, 1939, (actually, Wednesday was January 4th in 1939) was a beautiful day, quite well advanced, by the time I rose from my bed.  We were just outside the La Guayra harbor waiting for the Pilot to come aboard to guide us into the harbor.  With him would also come the Officials to check our passports and issue the landing papers.  While I was eating breakfast the small tender arrived and we proceeded into the harbor.  There were ships at the dock so we were able to tie up at the wharf with no trouble at all.  While the ship was being made ready for passengers to disembark, the Customs men were busily checking all passports of those intending to stay in Venezuela.  After studying the little red book for a few minutes they would ask a couple of questions through the interpreter, fill out a sheet in Spanish, which had to be signed by the person himself, and then with almost a tone of greed they asked for 10 Bolivars.  This seemed to be the thing that they were most interested in and after that you were told that you would get your passport back in the Customs House on shore.  The landing papers were given out at the Purser’s Office and we were allowed to leave the ship.  It was eleven o’clock when I got to the long gray galvanized sheet iron building that was the Office and storage room of the Customs Dep’t. and in Venezuela there is a two-hour lunch period which starts at eleven in some towns and in others at noon.  La Guayra starts its lunch hours at eleven so immediately after reaching the building everyone was chased out in the place was locked up while the men went out for lunch.  Naturally, the wise thing for me to do was to go out and eat also, but where?  Out in front of the office I met two men who had come down on the Santa Rosa with me and one of them had spent a number of years in Venezuela and knew where to eat, so we asked him to be our host and he did a nice job of it.  Had lunch at a famous seaside restaurant in La Guayra, of which I have forgotten the name, and drove around a little, seeing parts of the city.  It was all interesting and new to me and at the time, I didn’t notice particularly the dirt and filth that I saw on a call to La Guayra after I had spent a few months in Venez.

At 1:00 we all came back to the Customs Office and found out that before getting our passports we would have to call at another administration building and give some more information concerning how long we were intending to stay in Venezuela, our address, for whom we were working and 5 Bolivars more.  For this last we were given a receipt and told to go back to the Customs Office for the passport.  Arriving back there we were told that we would have to wait because there were a few other people in front of us.  They were terribly slow, and spent more time talking than working.  As our baggage was inspected and passed as O.K. the “jefe” put on a sticker with no regards as to how it would look, with a very messy and sticky glue.  Then it was taken to the car or whatever means of transportation one had, and packed for the trip to wherever.

I am getting a little ahead though.  On board the room Steward had a carton of cigarettes, and offered them to me at a substantial savings, and in answer to my question, told me that if the seal were broken they would pass the Customs.  Therefore I opened each pack and put them in my trunk in a conspicuous place.  However the official must have liked Chesterfield’s for when he saw them he smiled and removed five of the remaining eight, but tobacco, which is definitely taboo, he did not take after I told him that it was all I had with me.  It was a one-pound tin of Briggs about one-third empty.  Everything else that I had went through with no questions.  Our host, Frank DaCosa, had hired a car with our permission, for the three of us and all our luggage was strapped onto the trunk rack on back and by four we were ready to leave La Guayra.

At this point a man who had been hanging around quite closely handed each of us a slip of paper that had all the symptoms of a bill and from Frank I learned that it was one for the unasked for assistance that we had gotten in taking our luggage from the Customs house to the car and for watching it in the locked building during the noon hour.  It amounted to 15 Bolivars, which was ridiculous, but had to be paid in order to avoid a scene.  Therefore by the time we had finally left La Guayra I had paid a total of Bolivars 30, without counting my meal or the charge for the taxi to Caracas.

Tomorrow, more about my Bradford Ancestors.

Next week,  I will begin posting more Childhood Memories of Trumbull.

Judy Guion

Army Life – Marian Writes to Grandpa From Jackson, Mississippi – September 23, 1944

 

????????????????????????????????????????Friday

Dear Dad —

The week is practically over and it suddenly occurred to me that we haven’t written to you as yet, so if this violent stationary of mine doesn’t put your eyes out, I’ll try to acquaint you with our latest happenings.

Which really aren’t very many. Things go on just about as usual – swing shift still in session. Lad’s working quite hard – he’s the only one of the instructors, I believe, who has classes right straight through until 1230. The others get off early two or three nights in the week. Consequently, it’s pretty tiring.

The photograph that I mentioned sending to you hasn’t gotten in the mail yet! Were awfully sorry, but there seems to be a shortage of boxes and cardboard around here, so that we are having difficulty trying to find something to wrap it in. But will get it to you eventually.

The hot weather is with us again, and believe me it is rather hard to take – it is so darned unpleasant being so “sticky” all of the time, and when the nights don’t cool off it’s hard to get decent sleep. Our only consolation is that the hot spells don’t seem to last very long.

If you have the opportunity, may we recommend Bing Crosby’s latest picture, “Going My Way”,    ( http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0036872/  ) as a definitely “must see” for me. I think Aunt Betty would enjoy it, too, as well as Jean, for to our way of thinking, it is the best picture we have seen this year. The title is a little confusing, and it is hard to imagine Bing Crosby in the role of a priest, but he and Barry Fitzgerald do an exceptionally fine job in the picture. I saw it twice, and would thoroughly enjoy seeing it again. Perhaps you’ve seen it already. If so, I hope you enjoyed it as much as we did.

Incidentally Dad, we thought your last letter (Dated September 10th) was a “top – notcher” – particularly Dave’s reminiscent contribution. And to think it came from an ancient 18-year-old! You must feel exceedingly proud, Dad, when you receive such letters, and what satisfaction you must have, knowing that you were in a large part responsible for such perfectly grand results as five wonderful sons and an equally fine daughter.

Pleasant surprise! Lad just came home early (Wonder of wonders) and he is hungry, so I’d better get busy and fix him something to eat.

Lad brought your latest letter with him, tonight. The news of the hurricane was not too good, to say the least. It’s a shame about all those lovely treats. We hope that the house, however, is none the worse for wear.

Lad says to tell you he is going to follow through on Uncle Ted’s suggestion. We’ll keep our fingers crossed. It sounds wonderful as far as we are concerned – hope Uncle Sam feels the same way.

Love to all – Lad & Marian

Tomorrow another post Voyage to Venezuela, Day Five on the Santa Rosa. On Sunday, more of My Ancestors. This one will be about Elisha Bradford and his wives, Hannah Cole and Barsheba Brock (or Bathsheba LaBrocke). 

Judy Guion

The Beginning (52) – Childhood Memories of Trumbull – Friends

These are the memories of my Father and his siblings, recorded over several years. When my Uncle Dan passed away, I realized that I had better get started recording the memories of Dan’s siblings before they were also gone. I was able to have two recording sessions with my Father, Lad in California; two with Uncle Ced in New Hampshire, a three-day cruise in our boat with Aunt Biss; one session with Uncle Dave in Stratford, CT and one hand-written session (I forgot my tape recorder going up to the Island in New Hampshire, where Uncle Dick lived) with Uncle Dick. I transcribed them once exactly as they were spoken, again removing the ums, ahs, half sentences started over, etc. I then produced a final copy that was easier to read, but it still needs work getting the chronological order correct. Memories are not recorded with a date stamp. I created 75 binders for family members which include all three translations, pages and pages of photos and memorabilia and the actual recording. Now family members can actually heat their ancestors speaking. It was my first project with all the material my Father saved for me and a true Labor of Love. I hope you enjoy these memories of A Slice of Life at a different time and place. 

 

                                   “The Good Times” – 1939
            Arnold Gibson (Gibby), Charlie Kurtz and Carl Wayne
                                      The Red Horse Station

This picture was taken several years after Lad worked there, Carl Wayne had bought the station from the Kurtz family

CED – Lad worked at Well’s garage, the Well’s Bus Company.  He was there maintenance man for years.  Later he ran two different gas stations in town.  The first was the Mobile station, next to Kurtz’s store.  The second was the Atlantic station after it opened.

DAVE – One more thought when your father, Al, had a gas station in Trumbull.  I don’t have witnesses but I think Ced told the story.  Somebody came in one day, knowing what a great diagnostician your father was, came in and said, “You hear it?  Something is wrong with my car.  Can you hear that noise?”  Your father, without saying a word, turned around and walked away.  “Well, what is this?  Here I am, asking a question, and the guy ignores me and just walks away.”  He was about ready to take off when your father came back and he says, “I think the problem is …”, but he never told the guy he was going off to think about what to say.

BISS – I would not repeat anything about my teenage years.

Dan and Lad used to be competitive with the girls; they always seemed to like the same girls.  There would be in upheaval because she would pick one or the other.  It might have been Adele O’Brien that they both liked.  She was another pretty girl.  Jimmy, her brother, was in my class and Adele was older.  I think both Lad and Dan took a shine to her.  I think it was the most serious difference of opinion; apparently they both liked her, so neither of them married her.

“The Gang” on the  Summer Porch at the Trumbull House – 1938

Front row, L to R: Edna Traphagen, Tessie Mikita, Edna Bebee, Jane Mantle, Richard Christie, Dave Guion, Dan Guion,

Back row: Peg Bebee, Lois Henigan, Helen Smith, Bill Slausen, Arnold Gibson. Barbara Plumb, Lad Guion, Ethel Bushey, Pete Linsley, Doris Christie 

There were a whole bunch of us that were friends and hung around together.  There was Ethel Bushey, Doris Christie, Jane Mantle, Barbie Plumb and Jean Hughes.  Some of the guys we hung around with were Zeke (Raymond Zabel, her eventual husband) Zeke’s brother Erv, Fred Karn and his brothers Earl and Al, and Rudy Mahulka.  At this time Zeke lived up on Daniels Farm Road and I guess they were playing with guns.  Anyway, Rudy shot the gun and the bullet hit a tree and ricocheted and hit his sister.  I guess the bullet was lodged too close to her heart; anyway, they couldn’t operate on it.  I think it was about five years later when she died from the gunshot wound.  Indirectly, the gunshot wound was the cause of her death.  She was another pretty girl.

Some of the other people who hung around with us were Art Christie and George Brelsford.  When Zeke’s family moved down onto Park Street, it was George Brelsford’s family that bought their house.  Then George moved away and I never heard from him again.  But there was Art Christie, Dick Christie went more with Ced, he was the younger brother, then there was Floyd Smith who was an acquaintance.

Tomorrow, Lad’s third day on the Santa Roas as he heads to Venezuela.

On Sunday, more of My Ancestors.

Judy Guion

The Beginning (51) – Childhood Memories of Trumbull – Assorted Memories

These are the memories of my Father and his siblings, recorded over several years. When my Uncle Dan passed away, I realized that I had better get started recording the memories of Dan’s siblings before they were also gone. I was able to have two recording sessions with my Father, Lad in California; two with Uncle Ced in New Hampshire, a three-day cruise in our boat with Aunt Biss; one session with Uncle Dave in Stratford, CT and one hand-written session (I forgot my tape recorder going up to the Island in New Hampshire, where Uncle Dick lived) with Uncle Dick. I transcribed them once exactly as they were spoken, again removing the ums, ahs, half sentences started over, etc. I then produced a final copy that was easier to read, but it still needs work getting the chronological order correct. Memories are not recorded with a date stamp. I created 75 binders for family members which include all three translations, pages and pages of photos and memorabilia and the actual recording. Now family members can actually heat their ancestors speaking. It was my first project with all the material my Father saved for me and a true Labor of Love. I hope you enjoy these memories of A Slice of Life at a different time and place. 

The Beginning (51) – Childhood Memories of Trumbull – Assorted Memories

Dick – Lad did some wrestling for a while – he was extremely proficient – he could beat guys older and heavier than he was.

Lad and Gibby (Arnold Gibson) had an old Model T Ford.  They would tie a rope to the differential, tie a tire on ten or fifteen feet back, and ride it like a surfboard or sled.

CED – We used to play the piano.  We had a player piano, we got it from Aunt Anne, she had it in New Rochelle and they didn’t use it anymore so we got it.

DAVE – The big draw was the player piano.  Each one of us, as we got to a certain age, would have people over and we would stand around the piano, play a few songs and sing to them, sing to the music.

Grandpa, Ced and Dick (not sure if Dave was there) visited the Chandlers after they moved to Maryland.

CED – The young people’s group in church was led by Doug and Emily Chandler.  Long after Chandler left, we kept on with the Chandler Chorus.  The only two people who ever directed the Chandler Chorus were Doug Chandler and Laura Brewster.  He was good, very good with young people.  There must have been seventeen or eighteen kids in the group.  He played the piano beautifully and we would have these meetings once a week.  He played really jazzy music for us, too.  He was very fond of music, good music, and started the Chandler Chorus.  We had everywhere from ten-year-olds to sixty-year-olds, maybe higher.  Maybe not ten-year-olds, but we had young people.  We sang quite frequently.  We went all over the place, up to Shelton.  We were good.  In fact, that’s where Fannie and I met.

Anyway, then there was this young group, as I said, our house was the center of activity all over town.  It drew practically everyone in the town of Trumbull.  Mother said every Tuesday night we could have an Open House for all the young people.  We would play the piano and we would sing.  We just had a ball, and then we would have cookies and cocoa or something.  That was so much fun.

DICK – Dad, Ced, Dave and I went on a trip to the Gaspé Peninsula in Québec.  At Lewis we crossed over and went up the south side.  Dad got violently sick from rancid bacon.  At Cape Bon Homie there is a high, steep precipice – about two hundred feet high.  At the top, we all lay down on our bellies and inched forward to the edge.  Nearby, we had found some rotten logs – one of us would throw one over the edge and the rest of us would watch.  It was fascinating watching it fall – almost in slow motion.

Art Mantle, Biss and Lad with the Model T

DAVE – Where did I learn to drive?  I guess I never did.  I don’t remember.  I don’t think it was in the back lot.  I remember a game the older boys used to play.  Someone would stand on the running board (if you don’t know what a running board is, look it up) and stick their bottom out.  There had to be a little bit of teamwork between the driver and the person on the running board, and they would try to see how close they could come to a tree without hitting their butt.  That’s all I remember about it.

Tomorrow I will finish off the week with one more Childhood Memories of Trumbull.

On Saturday, Day Three for Lad on his Voyage to Venezuela.

Judy Guion

The Beginning (50) – Childhood Memories of Trumbull – Specific Memories From Dave

 

           Dave Guion

DAVE – Dick, Ced and I, when I could get them to drag me along … there was a whole gang that used to do things together.  I couldn’t understand why they did not want me along all the time.  Now, I don’t know how they put up with me at all, anytime.  I used to go and do things with them.  Sometimes we would go for a walk in the woods, we would go to Helen and Barbara Plumb’s house and play tennis. One of the fellows that was part of that gang was a guy by the name of Don Sirene.  His father was an architect and he lived in the house that my older siblings went to school in.  I remember one day, we were at his house, and we were having hot chocolate.  I guess it was Don Sirene who was sitting right across from Dick.  Somebody said something funny and Dick had a mouth full of chocolate.  Whether it was Don or someone else, I don’t remember, but whoever it was across from Dick got really sprayed.  Dick couldn’t hold it in.

As far as games are concerned, I was the consummate athlete.  The sandlot game was really an unorganized game when I was a kid.  In a sandlot game, a bunch of kids would get together and decide who would get to be captains.  One of them would throw the bat in a vertical position to the other captain, he would grab it and then they would put hand over hand until they reached the top of the bat, and that was the guy, whoever was the last to touch the bat, he was the one who would pick first.  He would pick the best player, probably, and then the other captain would pick somebody and they would go back and forth like that until it got to me.  I always managed to be the last one picked because I couldn’t hit, I couldn’t catch, and no one wanted me as a ballplayer.  When it came to football, I was too light and I was too scared, so I was never a football player.  I never learned to ice skate until, after I was married, my wife taught me how to ice skate.  So, you can see, I was the consummate athlete.

slightly older Dave Guion

In Trumbull, behind McKenzie’s (Drug Store) and a bunch of other stores, there used to be an open lot and we used to play football and baseball there.  We had a team called the Trumbull Rangers.  We would play basketball and – I say we – they would play basketball, football and baseball.  We had a regular club and I was the President.  I wasn’t worth a darn as an athlete so … besides, we used to meet in the barn at the Big House.  I became the President.  That ran for several years.  We played other Trumbull teams, we played Bridgeport teams.  For a lot of years we never got together.  Now, on the first Wednesday of the month, we get together.

We had one fellow, of course this was during the war, we had one fellow who usually was the pitcher and he so badly wanted to go into the Air Force.  Whenever a plane flew over, he would stand there holding the ball until the plane got almost out of sight, then he would resume the game.  It was kind of like a commercial break, I guess.

Unfortunately, the same fellow – three years before that – was up at the Trumbull Reservoir.  There was a cliff up there and he and a couple of other fellows were at the bottom of this cliff.  Some kids from Bridgeport – I say this because kids from Bridgeport were bad, either accidentally or on purpose, threw or kicked a rock off the top of the cliff and it hit this kid in the head, so he had a metal plate in his head.  When it came time for him to go into the service, he wanted to fly and of course, they would not let him.  So he left in the Navy.

Dave after going into the service at 18

I got a letter from him when I was in Okinawa and it had been written maybe two or three days before that, so I said, “My God, he’s got to be here.”  As soon as I got a chance I went down to the harbormaster and found out that his ship had just left, so I missed him.

Thursday and Friday, more Memories of Trumbull.

Judy Guion

 

 

Friends – Rusty Writes to Ced – No Food and Battleship – September 6, 1944

 

Barrow, Alaska

Sept. 6th 7th or 8th

Dear Ced,

Tomorrow is Sunday – nobody works or hunts – most all go to church but I.  Everybody here in sad mood but don’t show it.  Captains of freighters could have come here in past 3 days.  Turned about at Wainwright for Seattle with wire “Cannot make Barrow this year – Sorry”.  Whole village will feel the food shortage – Second time it has happened in history of Barrow.  This is only food ship to Barrow with food for season – a years supply for everybody.  Hospital has food to last for 2 weeks.  Medical supplies also on board this freighter the WIPPIO. (https://www.ibiblio.org/hyperwar/OnlineLibrary/photos/sh-civil/civsh-w/w-elcajn.htm )

All joined sending telegrams to Governor Gruening (Ernest Gruening, 7th Govenor of the Alaskan Territory) yesterday to bring what pressure he can for boats return to Barrow.  It is ___  _____ the Seattle having arrived at PT Hope.  Last year it unloaded here on Sept. 15th.  Because of the old fraidy-cats impatience to wait a week, 500 people will go very hungry for one year.  Food may be flown in but not enough.  A chance still that Captain may be forced to return – if not news of his incompetence and thoughtlessness will be flashed all over America.  He had one month to unload here, all the while he loitered at Kotzebue last.  This will be felt from here to Damnation Point but what the hell does Steamship Company or Captain care.  I am just too mad to think.  Minister said Damn! yesterday which gave me opening to call Captain a selfish Son of a Bitch.

Played Battleship with Minister tonight.  Have been beating him at game since he started.  He laughed and giggled all over when I missed.  When I got close, too close, he got deathly quiet and rigid as iceberg.  Would start peppering around spot when he got in such a state and sink his boats and have 7 shots left.  Then he wondered why to which I told him I had a system.  I let 2 men watching our game in on it and they have been keeping it mum and have enjoyed watching him squirm when salvos got close.  But then he developed a system – a real good system – stayed awake last night thinking it out.  It was not bad and I watched him play one game against his wife tonight when he beat her with it.  He laid out his first shots in this pattern.

But next game he had was with me and by the time he worked inside of his triangle of shots he was cut down in ships and I had still 7 shots left when he had one shot left.  Knowing he would work same system on me I laid out my ships this way.  He triangled each ship and only got one hit.  After rushing over to see where in hell I had them laid out his ___ ____ ____ _____ and I then received the first complement a minister ever gave me.  He said, “You are as slippery as an eel in slime”.  But it was fair, said his wife, then to him, “Old smarty, you crowed to quick that time.”

People are really swell here Ced – happiest village I have ever lived in.  Took natives out today for third time to cite in ATG  rifles.  They are getting along fine but need lots of practice with rifle unfamiliar to them.

Be sure to examine the container I am sending you.  It has ivory inside it so do not throw it out the window.  That may be your first impulse after receiving it – a unique little container, apparently of no intrinsic value.  Allow me the few opportunities I have these days to play a prank now and then.  So, as I delve in skulduggery at long range be on the lookout for said surprise package from out here.  Be of good cheer my lad and go with God as it comes with or to you with the devil may care. — Rusty

Tomorrow and Friday, two  notes from Marian.

Judy Guion