A Few Days Off – October 15, 2021

For the last few days, my computer tech guys have been in the process of upgrading my computer. Not everything is at 100 % yet. I had planned on taking a few days off and usually schedule posts to cover any days missed, but that has not been possible. I will begin posting again on Tuesday when I return from a weekend get-away. You will hear from me then.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Dear Reader – The End Of An Era (1) – July 19, 2021

It is with a heavy heart that I write this post to tell you that the Trumbull House has been sold.  From what I understand, the new owner plans to create nine one room Studio Apartments in the main house, two more apartments in the barn and to add on to the Little House to form a home for his family.

I will be devoting at least the next few weekends – maybe many more – to a Memorial of the house that has been an anchor for my family for almost 100 years.

Trumbull House – June, 2020 – Front View

Trumbull House – June, 2020 – Side View

Trumbull House – June, 2020 – Back View

Quoted from the Reminiscences of Alfred Duryee Guion, “…. written in the spring of 1960 while on a four month’s “around the world freighter trip.”

How did we come to settle in Trumbull?  Almost purely by chance.  And it all happened because of a few weeks vacation spent at my brother-in-laws summer camp in Connecticut.  One day Fred Stanley, who had married my wife’s sister Anne, told us he had rented a little shack in the woods near Sandy Hook, Connecticut, on the Housatonic River, and as he could use it only part of the time, he asked if my family would be interested in occupying it for a couple of weeks.  We were, and one summer morning we loaded up the old Franklin with beds, mattresses, clothing and food and with five children and two adults, escorted by Fred to show us the way, we started merrily on our adventure.  Approaching Danbury (Connecticut), the most awful bangs, rattles and clanking left no doubt that something was seriously wrong with my car.  Luckily a Franklin repair service was located nearby and here we learned that a main bearing had burned out, which it would take a couple of days to repair.  By dint of persuasion, seeing our plight, the headman finally consented to put all hands to work to try to finish the job by nightfall.  Fred was to go on to the camp with the children in his car and Arla and I would stay with the Franklin until repairs were completed.  While I watched the mechanics at work, Arla spent several hours chatting with the proprietor’s wife, who, she told me afterwards, painted a glowing picture of an old house they owned in a small country place called Trumbull, too far away for them to live in while conducting a business in Danbury, but evidently a dream of a home.  She must’ve been a good saleswoman because Arla was so enthusiastic from the description given that when vacation time was over and I had to get back to work, she persuaded Fred to drive over to the place.  It was a case of love at first sight and nothing would do but I must see it too and discover what an ideal place it would be for the children.  I, too, was pleased with it

It was obviously out of the question as a practical proposition because, with a job in the lower part of New York City and a Connecticut home 7 miles from the nearest railroad station at Bridgeport, itself 55 miles from Grand Central Station, only a madman would give the matter a moment’s consideration.  She reluctantly agreed and the subject was abandoned, in my mind, at least.  As it has so often been said, it is unwise to underestimate the power of a woman.  Returning home from work several weeks later, I found her one afternoon busily sketching at a table covered with several sheets of paper, and on inquiry, was told that she was figuring out how our present furniture would fit in the Trumbull house.  Seeing how serious she was, there followed several weeks of weighing arguments pro and con, ending in the decision that, for the children’s sake, I would take the chance and try commuting between Bridgeport and New York.

The Larchmont house was sold for considerably more than it cost and the Trumbull property bought for considerably less than the proceeds from the Larchmont property.  We moved in one late December day.

I believe this picture was taken in 1922 at the Trumbull House around Christmas.  Elizabeth was born on January 6, 1919, making her 3 years old. Dick, the baby in Arla’s lap, was born on August 19, 1920, making him a little more than 2 years old.

Tomorrow I will post more information and memories of the Trumbull House.

Judy Guion

Special Picture (# 349) – Christmas, 1939

ADG - Christmas - 1939 - photo by Dan

This photo was taken at Christmas (1939) when Lad was in Venezuela but Dan had been home from there for about six months. He is the one taking the picture.

Back row: Dick, Ced and Dave, front row: Grandpa, Aunt Betty (Lizzie Duryee, Grandpa’s Aunt) and Elsie May Guion (Grandpa’s sister.

Tomorrow and for the rest of the week, I will be posting letters written to Lad. Monday and Tuesday a letter from Aunt Helen (Peabody) Human. On Wednesday, a letter regarding the purchase of a Fifteen Year Investment Contract by Grandpa for Lad. On Thursday and Friday, a letter from Grandpa to his oldest son so far from home.

Judy Guion

Special Picture # 348 – Grandpa And Most Of His Grandchildren – September, 1964

ADG - 1964 Christmas Card - pg. 12 - Grandpa and grandchildren

This picture was taken on Labor Day weekend in 1964. It is a copy of a page from the last Christmas card created by Grandpa, “Chancellor” of  Guion University, Trumbull Connecticut, “Devoted to the development of family unity”. Grandpa passed away on September 13th, 1964, two days after his 80th birthday and not long after this photo was taken. To be completely accurate, another grandchild was born after he passed away, so he and Grandma Arla actually had 21 grandchildren.

For many years, Grandpa created a variety of Christmas Cards, printing and sending them to over 200 friends and family. The theme for this one was inspired by the college graduation of one of his grandchildren in June of that year, the high school graduation of  three of his grandchildren (including me) and one grandchild’s college graduation in June of 1963. You can view the entire card, as well as the other Christmas Cards, in the Category “Christmas Cards”, listed in Categories on my Blog.

I am standing in the back row, all the way to the right, peeking between two cousins.

Tomorrow, another Special Picture.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Dear Lad (3) – Newspaper Article – October 1, 1939

This is the Article which was published by the Bridgeport Times Star at some point prior to the election on October 2, 1939. 

ADG - The Bridgeport Times-Star picture, Sept. 12, 1939- September 12, 1939 (2)

This same picture was used for the article below with this title:

ALFRED D GUION

Trumbull First Selectman

Town Officials

by Don Quaintance

Fifteen years ago, if someone had suggested to Alfred D.  Guion that he enter the political arena he would have laughed, shrugged and labeled the suggest or a wag.  At that time he was advertising director of a big industrial concern.

But today, he plays his role of leader of Trumbull’s 5,000 citizens with skill born of true executive ability.

Trumbull can thank the depression for Guion.

For, if business conditions in the advertising field had been better than they were, he would still be plotting nation-wide advertising campaigns, working far into the night, with no time for the mundane tasks of a New England town selectmen.

Guion has been in the advertising business most of his life.  He spent six years of it as advertising manager of the Bridgeport Brass Co., and also held executive jobs with Allied Chemical, the Celluloid Co. of New York and Century Co. publishers.

His entrance into the field of public service was inspired, he says, by the late Mrs. Guion, the former Arla Peabody of Mt. Vernon, N.Y. Those who knew her can readily understand, since the sales manager’s wife was devoted to the community in which she lived.  An ardent worker for civic improvement, she never tired of doing things for other people – little kindnesses, in addition to large-scale organizing for new roads, Social service and better local government.

There are many who remember Arla Guion and her work, her friendliness.  She took care of her own home, she was invested in work that made for the betterment of Trumbull.  In addition to that she inspired a career.

Those who get to know the First Selectman regard him as an all-round booster.  He never knocks.  As a matter of fact, he is rather inclined to be indulgent.  Deplores, for instance, the towns self-separation into Trumbull – Nichols – Long Hill.  Thinks it should be all one.  Becomes very unhappy of the “feeling” between the sections which crops out at intervals.

According to Guion, there should be no “across the railroad tracks.”

“If that’s going to be the case, he says, let’s tear up the railroad tracks.”

Guion’s political ideology is predominately Republican, although locally, he says, politics shouldn’t mean a thing.

“He knows his people so well who serves a small community that it is always the individual work of the man that counts, rather than his politics,”  he maintains.

“In a community-minded town liked Trumbull, for instance, political questions affecting the State or Nation have no place.  The only local interest should be the common welfare.  Because of this belief Guion has more than once discussed the prospect of a change in the form of Trumbull’s town government, from the unwieldy town meeting system to a non-partisan, business-like town managership.

“There should be no selfish axes to grind, and the non-partisan governments should take an interest in such things as education, the religious activities, instead of some of the things they do now.”

Guion proves beyond a doubt that he is a square shooter when, regardless of his political following, he makes open declarations of where he stands.

“I’m convinced that Trumbull could get a good deal more for its taxes than most critics would be willing to admit; redeeming it with: and that’s what we are constantly striving to do.”

Alfred Duryee Guion was born Sept. 11, 1884, son of Alfred Beck and Ella (Duryee) Guion in the city of New York.  Went to Mount Vernon High School and took a B. S. C.  at the NYU School of Commerce, Accounts and Finance in 1912.

Mr. Guion has six children, five of them boys.  Alfred, Daniel, Cedric, Richard and David; and the sixth a girl, Elizabeth. (Elizabeth was actually the fourth child)

He was employed in various corporations in New York from 1912 to 1921, throughout the war.,  and was associated with the Bridgeport Brass Co. during the next decade.  In 1929, he formed his own Corporation, the Alfred D.  Guion and Co. Advertising Agency and has been President and Director since.

He served as Justice-of-the-Peace since 1928, was assistant prosecutor of the town court in 1934-35.

He is a member of Delta Sigma Phi fraternity, is a Mason and a member of the Algonquin Club.

True, he has an impressive business and public service record, but the private life of Mr. Guion is much more interesting.

His hobby, to begin with, is cooking.  Like many other business executives of today, he is an expert chef.

Along these lines, he likes home life and has five sons and one daughter.

His “oldest boy” (Lad) is in charge of the mechanical equipment on an oil well in Venezuela.  Another son, (Dan) has been building a road through the jungles of Central America, (actually Venezuela) is now visiting his father in Trumbull, and will continue college work in geology in the fall.

The First Selectman of this landlocked town likes water and boating.  He has often dreamed of owning a yacht, just like most of the other people in town.  If he had the money, that’s what he might do.

He likes dogs.  He has one at home called “Mac”, short for McKenzie, the son of an Alaskan malamute brought by a friend (Rusty Huerlin) from the Mackenzie River in Alaska.

He loves to read ancient history, mysteries and see stories.  Says it permits him to relax.

Best known of Guion’s social activities of course are those which take him out among his neighbors.  Primary among them is his interest in young people.  He is a member of the National and local Boy Scout Councils and an Executive Board member of the Pomperaug Council.

He is vitally interested in promoting the activity of young people in Trumbull.

He thinks more young folks should be interested in government.  They’ll be running the show tomorrow, he says.

Guion likes the youngsters and they like Guion.  It’s not supposed to be known, of course, but rarely do they approach him for a favor to ask that it is not granted with alacrity.

Locally, the First Selectman favors bi-partisan Boards and Commissions, which in many towns have found constant opposition from the parties in political power.

The “hecklers” rap him in print and speech, he usually refrains from defending his actions, believing in the old adage, “Don’t chase a lie, let it alone and it will run itself to death.”

Tomorrow and Sunday, more of Dave’s World War II Army Adventure.

Judy Guon

Trumbull – Dear Sonny (1) – Sunday Visitors – September 10, 1939

1934 - 1940 Timeline

1934 – 1940 Timeline

At this point in time, Lad is the only one of Grandpa’s children who isn’t at home and he misses his oldest. With the money Lad is sending home to help support the family, Grandpa has hired a man to help fix up the old house and he gives Lad all the  details and shows his appreciation in this letter.

R-40

September 10, 1939

Dear Sonny:

This has been somewhat of a hectic week. The house, at least that part of it which consists of the front hall, the upstairs hall, the living room and the music room, has been very upset with Mr. Smithson removing wallpaper, painting walls and woodwork, and the upstairs floor, and moving all the stuff into the spare room from the upstairs hall, and the living room and downstairs hall stuff piled into the music room, the smell of fresh paint, the cleaning up afterward and the replacing of most of the stuff. It is not all straightened out yet, as the bookcases in the living room are not yet dry enough to put back the books. Last night I waxed the downstairs hall and living room floors.

Aunt Betty is visiting us and yesterday I received a phone call from my cousin Clara, telling me that her daughter, Sylvia,  my other cousin Tizie and an old sweetheart of Clara’s with whom they have all been staying in Norwalk recently, were coming up this afternoon. We all got busy and tried to get the house in some sort of order. In between times I got busy early with the dinner, roasted the veal, made apple pie, etc. and at about four o’clock they showed up. It had been about 35 years or more since I had last seen my cousin and we had quite a visit with all the family to catch up on.  Just to give you a little background: my father had a favorite sister whom I called Aunt Allie.she married an Army officer, Major Kilbourne, a surgeon.  He came within an ace of being assigned to Custer’s famous Regiment that was wiped out in the Indian massacre of historical fame.  My Aunt had five children — the oldest, Clara, married an English army officer and went to India where their only daughter, Sylvia, was born, the same month and year that you saw the light of day.  My Aunt’s second daughter married a West Point American army officer, had two boys, both of whom are married and have children.  Later, because he became a drunk she had to leave him.  The third of my Aunt’s children, Helen, married Gen. Hugh Johnson.  My Aunt’s fourth child was also a West Point graduate, Harry Kilborne, and the youngest was Guy (Guion), who was lame and nearer my age.  Perhaps you may remember him, a lame man who visited us one 4th of July at Dell Avenue when we made some bombs.  When Clara was in her teens my father and mother invited her to visit us in Mount Vernon.  She was very popular with the young folks in the neighborhood, one of whom, George fFish, fell in love with her, but because he had a reputation of being too fond of liquor, she turned him down when he proposed to her.  His wife died recently, and when Clara recently came from England, he invited Clara, his old sweetheart, who had lost her husband many years ago, her daughter, Sylvia, and Tizie to visit him at Norwalk.  These were the four that came up this afternoon.

Quite unexpectedly, also, my sister Elsie decided to pay us a visit today and telephoned from the Bridgeport (train) Depot that she had arrived this morning. So we had a very busy afternoon, all in all. They have just left, and as you surmise, I have resumed my regular Sunday afternoon routine of writing to my absent “highboy”. (That was quite a long paragraph, wasn’t it?)

Tomorrow I will post the rest of this letter – most of which was written by Aunt Elsie. 

Judy Guion

World War II Army Adventure (86) – Dear Dad – On Board A Ship – March, 1945

David Peabody Guion

Dear Dad –

Here I sit on board ship in a small shaded spot on deck.  Inside its out of the sun – but unbearably hot.  By now it may be warming some at home – but I imagine you’re still bundling up when you go outside.  But here I am without a stitch of clothing on me but an identification bracelet, my dog tags, undershorts, and a pair of combat boots.

I’ve had a lot of time to think since I left the States – sometimes I believe I have had too much time.  You get pretty low once in a while if you allow yourself.  But I’ve had time to plan and dream for the future too.  I’ve had time to see the mistakes I’ve made in the past – and wish I could repent of them.  I’ve had time to think of the fun I had at home – the perfect and easy life – how lucky I was.  I long to get my hands in Mimeo ink – and have job after job pile up on me till I get irritable.  I’d like to have a rip-snortin’ argument with any one of my brothers now – just for old-times sake.  All these things may sound like I’m homesick – well – who isn’t?  But remembering my fun in the past acts more’s as a morale-builder.  It will help to keep me going when the time comes for us to leave this aristocrat’s life on board ship.

I wouldn’t have missed the opportunity for the world.  Some people pay for it in money – we’re paying in another way – but even that has its good cause.  I’ll come back with lots of stories – I have a few already – and lots more memories.  I’ll come back smarter – and be better able than ever to make the Guion Adv. Co. (A D Guion Advertising Company, Grandpa’s business in Bridgeport, CT) the biggest and best establishment of its kind in New England – big talk?  You just wait and see!

Do you remember when I told you of our company mission, etc.  when I was home?  Well, it will probably work out pretty much the way I told you – but it will be a little “hotter” than I expected.  But we’ll have a big Christmas dinner in ’46 – I figured thirteen in all – counting sisters and brother-in-law, and nephews-and overseeing it all – Aunt Betty. (Dave doesn’t know it but there will actually be three more – Dan’s daughter and Lad and Marian’s twins –  my brother and me!)  We’ll have lots of fun – Butch can rip four or five of my piano roles – and we’ll let Marty pull down the tree (Butch , Raymond Jr., and Marty, Elizabeth’s – Bissie’s, two sons) – after all he’s got to have his fun too.  It sounds sarcastic – that last part – but really it would be worth it if I could be there to see it now – but I can’t wait till ’46.  Don’t worry, Jean, or you either, Marian, they’ll be home before then (Dave is referring to Jean’s husband, Richard Peabody Guion – in Brazil, and Marian’s husband Lad – Alfred Peabody Guion, in France) – but I’m figuring I’m getting in on the fun, too – so I pushed it up to December ’46 – okay?

Well – pretty soon they’ll say “chow down for troops” and I’ve got to get some clothes on before they’ll let me eat – so – think of me once in a while – and remember every day is a day closer to THE day –

All my love (‘ceptin’ some for Elly) (Elinor Kintop, his girlfriend)

Dave

Tomorrow another letter from Dave’s World War II Army Adventure.

Judy Guion

World War II Army Adventure (85) – Dear Folks – I’m Still Ignorant – March, 1945

David Peabody Guion

Dear Folks –

I’m still ignorant – no memory – don’t know where I’ve been – where I am – where I’m going – why or even the date.

On the boat I ran into a guy by the name of Robert Guion, formally from St. Louis and now from Iowa.  He’s a darned good egg.  I hung around with him on a lot of the time.  He’s a sailor and assigned to the ship.  I told him of your cousin who was writing the family history,  Dad, and he said his father has a lot of information on the Guion’s (Gee-on he pronounces it) in St. Louis.  It seems they owned quite a bit of St. Louis at one time.  His father’s present address is George Guion, Winterset, Iowa, R.R. 5.  It might be interesting to connect the two family histories if possible.  Bob says his father has a whole scrapbook full of stuff on his family.

The boat trip has given me more respect and love for the sea.  It’s really beautiful, storms and all.  Note – I didn’t get see-sick even though 3/4 of all on board were sick – including the crew.

There’s nothing I can write – so – –

Love –

Dave

Tomorrow another letter from Dave about his World War II Army Adventure. 

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Dear Lad (2) – Bits and Pieces of Local News – June 18, 1939

Alfred Peabody Guion (Lad, my Dad)

Last night also Dorothy (Peabody, Grandma Arla’s youngest sister) arrived just at supper time on an unexpected visit and a few minutes later Burton (Peabody, Grandma Arla’s only older brother) drove up also unannounced, so we had quite a house full over the weekend and for today’s dinner.

Page 2 of R-27

All day yesterday Dick spent at Whitney’s picking strawberries.  He earned $1.45.  No further word has been received from Rusty, so I assume he has not heard from his Alaska friends and Ced’s Alaska plans are therefore as uncertain as ever.

Don Quaintance has decided not to buy Ced’s car so he is still waiting for a buyer.  Ted (Human, who was seriouosly injured in a car ccident in Veneuela) is still gaining slowly and is now seriously thinking of looking for a job.  He expects to go to Boston tomorrow on that quest and has some other leads out.  Not much new in regard to his claim against Max. (Yervant Maxudian (Max or Maxi), owner of Inter-America, Inc., the company that hired Uncle Ted, who then hired Lad and Dan. He is the reason for the lack of pay and for Dan’s plan to return home. Lad was hired by the Socony-Vacuum Oil Company and is now working at their oil fields maintaining the Diesel pumps.) He  wrote a letter to the Minister of the Interior telling him the whole story and enclosing a copy of a mercantile report I was able to get for him from Dun and Bradstreet, copy of which is enclosed for your information. Ted said something about writing to you soon advising you to start your claim through the same lawyer who is handling his.  I received a letter from the Conn. (Connecticut) Senate to Washington to whom I had written about Max and he told me he had referred my letter to Secretary of State Hull, so it is getting to the top in Washington and if it penetrates through them to Venezuela it will probably help in setting the scene for any action you boys start locally.

I don’t know whether I told you or not but Alice Reyom Alice and her husband are living in the Little House on the Trumbull property) has been working as a sales lady in Kresge’s (local Discount Department Store, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/S._S._Kresge)

NOTE: The first Kmart opened in 1962 in Garden City, Michigan. Kresge died in 1966. In 1977, the S. S. Kresge Corporation changed its name to the Kmart Corporation. In 2005, Sears Holdings Corporation became the parent of Kmart and Sears, after Kmart bought Sears, and formed the new parent.) yesterday she threw up her job because of a scrap with the girl who was over her and is now looking for another job, possibly at Woolworth’s.  I have seen very little of Reyom this week.  He is very busy I understand getting out the yearbook for the Park City School of Beauty.  I don’t think he has done hardly anything about fixing up the cottage and is not paying any rent, waiting until he gets the money he expects to collect on the year book.

I will not deny that all this political mudslinging and excitement is extremely annoying, disheartening and even worrisome at times and is getting me frightfully disgusted with the whole business so that I feel very much like refusing to be considered for reelection, which of course is just what they would like to have all the town officers who are under fire do, that I am going ahead and trying to do my job as though everything was lovely.

Tomorrow, the final part of this letter. On Thursday and Friday I will post the Dun & Bradstreet Report on “MAXUDIAN, Yervant, Petroleum, New York, NY.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Dear Sons Of The North, East, South And West (2) – News From Aunt Elsie And Ced – July 23, 1944

Grandpa (Alfred Duryee Guion) and his sister, Elsie May Guion in Trumbull

I’m going to interrupt this letter right here like I myself was interrupted by a broadcast over the radio predicting that the attempted assassination of Hitler this week would lead to the collapse of Germany before the end of the summer and with that of Japan six months after Germany. Now we would like to believe that! Even if it is six months premature it is still good news.

Elsie writes she is taking a week’s vacation beginning August 14 and is heading for Trumbull. How about you boys coming home for that week to help make her visit enjoyable?

Jane was over here a while ago and said Charlie (Hall), when last heard from, was at Pearl Harbor, had been assigned to duty as assistant engineer in charge of four diesels on a big Navy tanker, the CASH. Art (Mantle, her brother)  is still up north in Washington state waiting for the new ship he has been assigned to to be finished and put in commission.

Ced @ 1945

Cedric Duryee Guion

Ced is trying to disrupt the family again. He is worse than the California Chamber of Commerce and a Cook’s Tour agency rolled into one. This time in a letter to Aunt Betty he apparently is determined to get her to leave home and take up mining work in Alaska. The lure of high wages and plenty to drink is a strong lure and I expect any day now to come home and find her all packed up, with her hot-water bag and all ready to start out for Whitehorse.

Tomorrow I will post the final segment of this letter from Grandpa to his sons, scattered around the world. On Friday, another letter from Marian – and Lad. 

Judy Guion