Trumbull – Christmas at the Trumbull House – 1947


Christmas at the Trumbull House, 1947

Merry Christmas from my family to yours:

(Clockwise) Dan, Ced (in upper left corner), Zeke Zabel, Anne (Peabody) Stanley, Lad’s chair (he was taking the pictures), Marian Guion, Grandpa.

(Clockwise) baby Cedric, Paulette Guion (Mrs. Dan), Helen (Peabody) Human, Elizabeth (Biss) (Guion) Zabel, Dorothy Peabody, Dave, Elinor Guion (Mrs. Dave), Raymond (Butch) Zabel Jr., Marty Zabel, Ced (again).



Judith and Douglas Guion, Lad and Marian’s twins.

Missing: Arla Guion (Dan and Paulette’s oldest daughter), Gregory (Lad and Marian’s third child) and Dick and Jean Guion.


Open you heart at Christmas

And not just for one day

Open your heart at Christmas

Let this beautiful feeling stay.


For caring, generosity and love,

We treasure through the year.

Don’t wait until Christmas

To share it with those you hold dear.

M. Carne


Tomorrow and Friday I will be posting another letter from Grandpa to his family scattered around the world in January of 1945.

Judy Guion

Trumbull (2) To The Senders of Three Letters and a Promise – January 21, 1945

This is the rest of the letter I began yesterday.

“Dear Gang,” Dave writes on Jan. 13th, “today is my anniversary. One year ago today, and about 4:30 P.M., I arrived at Fort Devens and became a-a-a-“soldier”! I still don’t believe it. At breakfast this morning the Sgt. got hold of this bit of information and burst out with “Happy anniversary to you”. Of course the whole gang joined in and when the “music” subsided, Mac said: ‘May you have many, many more anniversaries to come’ (cute kid) – what a thing to wish on a buddy. Anyway it was good for a hearty laugh after finishing a rough night (midnight to 8 A.M.) of wrestling with pencils, incoming and outgoing logs, secret messages, urgent messages and a host of other nightmares. As I write this letter it has been 32 ½ hours since I’ve closed my eyes in sleep. So, if you’ll pardon me, now I’ll get to bed.”

Ced and car - 1940 (3)-head shot


Ced, after mentioning receipt of a Christmas box with thoughtful comments on the contents, says: “I wish I could have spent Christmas with you, too, but the fact that things went so well there transmits some of its pleasure all the way up here and kindles a little of the New England Christmas spirit in me. I am very happy for the fact that Marian is able to be with you, as it seems she radiates a little of the California sunshine which she has forsaken for the traditions of the East. What with Jean and Marian holding up the morale of their soldier husband’s father and Aunt Betty to spread her cheer and goodwill, “Babbling Brook” (The name Grandpa and Grandma gave to the Trumbull property after they arrived in December of 1922) must be a pretty grand place to be, even if it is a little feminish – (do I coin a word?) Tomorrow (Jan. 12th) is Juneau Day, and as is my wont on Tuesdays and Fridays, I shall arise at 4:45 A. M., cook some mush, toast, hot chocolate, eat some fruit and breakfast and Buick out to the hangar, not forgetting to don some appropriate clothing before leaving home. I arrive at the hangar shortly after 6 o’clock, put the heater on the engines, firepot the oil which is in cans, having been drained after the last trip, clean off frost from windshields, remove covers from wings and tail surfaces, etc. In this work I have an assistant.

Page 3     1/21/45

At 7:30 or so the oil goes into the engines, baggage and passengers arrive and at 8 P. M. (I believe he meant to write 8 A.M.) The ship is supposed to leave. At 3 in the afternoon I am free to go home and go about any other personal business which I might like to do.

I am happy to report that poor old aged Big Ben has again made a miraculous recovery from a severe relapse. For two days I slept at its side pampering it no end, and was only able to keep the spark of tick alive by the ruse of placing the poor patient on one side and applying artificial tickulation intermittently for several minutes. After two days of this reclining pose, it’s beat seemed stronger and I tremendously placed it in its normal position – – and all went well. He has at this very minute throwing both arms around at a surprisingly correct tempo and smiling, awaiting the hour of 4:45 to once again perform his special service. By one so worn by hard and roving years, he has certainly given a wonderful and faithful account of himself. And to think that all watchmakers turn up their noses in disdain when approached on the possibility of giving professional service to such a fine old timepiece.

Last week there was a new paper issued in Anchorage. It is small and distributed free, depending on advertising for its source of income. On the back page was this little riddle. There was no answer anywhere and I am still trying to figure it out. Mary is 24 years old. She is twice as old as Anne was when she was as old as Anne is now. How old is Anne? A says she is 16, B says 12. Who is right?

History indeed repeats itself, Ced. Long before you opened your eyes on this old world as the little stranger in the Guion household, this very riddle took the country by storm. “How old is Anne?” Was the big question of the day. It was on everybody’s tongue. I’ve forgotten whether anyone ever found the correct answer but for a while it was the all absorbing topic of conversation. Yes, the filters had an imaginary Christmas tag affixed to them “with love from Dad”. As to the finances, I must have been a bit psychic, as I answered your question in last week’s letter. If you are putting a bit of your income away regularly in some local institution, well and good. If not, better make regular remittances home so that I can get ready for your next Anchorage to Trumbull trip. And while being generous with your money to people in general, don’t forget to be generous to yourself.

Time marches on and the approach of bedtime coincides with the exhaustion of topics which form interesting subjects for comment. We are heartened of course by the good news this week of Russia’s forward surge on the Eastern front and MacArthur’s progress in the Pacific, but having grown cagey and been already bitten once by the optimism bug, which resulted in the setback on the Western Front, I am wondering if the foxy boche are not trying to play the same trick over again, lulling the allies to let down in effort by creating the impression that they are ready to quit and then, when the Russians are offguard, pull some sort of comeback stunt that they did in Luxembourg. Once bitten, twice shy, applies in this case. On the other hand, there’s that little bright HOPE that Pandora let out of the box along with all the other disagreeable little ills, and maybe the Russians will reach Berlin where we did not – – well, anyway, I can dream, can’t I?


I’ll finish out the week with another letter from Grandpa to his five sons. 

Judy Guion

Special Picture # 341 – The “Children” in 1992

In 1992, Dan and Paulette (and their children) planned a Family Reunion to be held at the Trumbull House. Family members came from near and far. It was the last time all six children would be together. The  grandchildren and great-grandchildren’s pictures were taken at the top of the long “Steps and Landings, Steps and Landings, Steps and Landings, which went from the front door down to the road. It was a favorite place to play school for my generation. We would start at the bottom and every time you got an answer right, you moved up one step. If you got it wrong, you went down one step. Sometimes it would take hours until someone won.  I had trouble getting these pictures into the post late last night, but I have corrected the problem. I hope you enjoy looking at some family pictures from 1992.


                             Dan, Dave, Lad, Dick, Ced and Biss

1992 version of the picture above

Grandpa and Grandma’s 21 grandchildren (that’s me, 3rd from the right in the back row)

Grandpa and Grandma’s great-grandchildren, 21 in 1992 (currently 49 great-grandchildren and 42 great-great-grandchildren – and still growing)

1992 Guion Family Reunion – everyone taking pictures of the six “children”  sitting on the Summer Porch  (view from the Summer Porch to the Barn)

Tomorrow, I will begin a week of letters written at the end of 1943. 


The Beginning (57) – Childhood Memories of Trumbull – End of the War For Dave

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.

David Peabody Guion

DAVE – On August 25th, I think, we were all watching a film in a kind of natural amphitheater and one of the guys was from Brooklyn and had a buddy, whowas also from Brooklyn, and I remember this just as if it were yesterday, he came running over – we had gotten some rumors that the Japs were going to quit – and this guy came running over and said, “The signing has been confoimed.”  I never forgot that.

The time between August 25th and September 7th when they signed the Treaty, I left Okinawa and went down to Manila.  Here I am now – the war is over – all I have to do is go home and they are shipping me out in a plane to Manila.  The pilot spent about twenty minutes, maybe, trying to start one engine and I said to myself, “I’m going to die in the ocean and the war is over.”  Anyhow, we got to Manila.  That was quite a sight – buildings where the first floor was completely gone and five or six or seven stories would be on top of it, canted, all kinds of destruction.  If you went to the City Hall and looked up you would see a room with curtains on the windows.  That was MacArthur’s headquarters.  So he had curtains on his windows and the Philipinos were watching dead bodies float down the river.

I would say I was in Manila probably about six months.  It would have been August, September, October, November, December, January, February, March, eight months.  I came home in March 1946.  I got out of the service the day Chiche (Paulette) gave birth to Arla, Danielle, as the case may be. (Dan and Paulette’s daughter was named Danielle Arla Julien Andre Guion but the family always called her Arla.)

I had a friend who had a friend who was MacArthur’s driver, chauffeur, and this guy said that whenever MacArthur went in someplace, he’d always get one of those Oriental houses where there was a porch all the way around the building.  He’d have his staff come up and sit in chairs around the building.  He got up to the first staff member and he would say, “Give me your report.”  It might be a question, it might be a problem, or it might just be a report.  Then he would walk around the whole building, see the whole staff, each giving him these questions.  Then he would get in his car and tell his friends friend, “Drive me”.  They would drive around and pretty soon MacArthur would say, “OK”, let’s go back.”  Then he’d say, “you, — blah, blah, blah. You — blah, blah, blah.”  He went all around the whole building telling each one of his staff members what to do about his problem.  What a brain.  There shouldn’t be enough room in there for an ego, but there was.

Tomorrow, Day Six of Lad’s Voyage to Venezuela. He arrives in Guayra and writes of his experience.

On Sunday, more about My Bradford Ancestors, Caleb Rider and Hannah McFarland.

Judy Guion



Trumbull -Dear Newlyweds (1) – Thoughts About THE DAY – November 14, 1943


Mowry Addison and Marian (Rider) Irwin, Alfred Peabody and Marian (Irwin) Guion

November 14, 1943

The BIG Day: Let’s go a step farther and simply

call it THE day, otherwise known

to just ordinary folks as Nov. 14th

Dear Newlyweds:

We have been thinking of you all day home here and wishing we had a long-range telescope so that we could focus it in on the Little Chapel of the Flowers in Berkeley and fix in

our memory for all time the setting for so important an event in the archives of the Guion family. With none of our clan present, Lad, I hope you maintained your noted calm and placid mien, and while no one pays much attention to the groom on such occasions anyway, he is apt to forget that fact and feel as though the eyes of everyone were focused on him alone, much as I felt on that Easter so many years ago when I first donned my pair of long pants, and as I walked the few blocks to Sunday school, I was sure the neighbors in every house along the street were crowding to the windows and behind the curtain, peeking out to look at my pants. I didn’t dare look to verify the fact because I didn’t want them to have the satisfaction of knowing I was aware of their scrutiny.

At dinner time today, Aunt Betty decided there ought to be some sort of celebration, so she got down her bottle of port wine, and we all drank a toast in your honor. Did you both feel the surge of good wishes that went speeding over the airwaves on your wedding morn?

It is being borne upon my consciousness that the 14th must be my lucky day  —  my daughter acquisition day  —  for on  February 14th, just nine months ago, I acquired my first daughter-in-law, and you know, I like it. And I don’t doubt I’ll like it still better when I get better acquainted with the latest blossom from the Little Chapel of the Flowers.

Another bit of evidence that I was thinking of you today is the fact that I went looking for pajamas and bathrobe. I found the former together with a shoe holder I gave you some years ago which I am including in the package with the pajamas on the theory that in your small apartment any device which will aid in saving room will be welcome. I have one more place to look for the terrycloth bathrobe and I am pretty sure it is the right place, so shortly after receiving this first package you can be looking for another. Unless you had a most particular reason for asking that they be sent to you at camp, I’m going to disregard your request and ship them to Bushnell Avenue, because, while there is a limit to the size and weight of packages that is permissible to send to a boy in the armed services, there is no such limitation on shipments to civilians; and I while I haven’t measured the pajama package to see if it exceeds the permissible dimensions, I won’t have to bother with this limitation at all if I mail it to you at a civilian address.

After two weeks in succession hearing from my scattered correspondents, it is perhaps quite understandable that this last week I received nothing at all through Uncle Sam’s mail service. Of course that is not the reason I am ignoring in my salutation all the rest of you to whom a copy of this letter is being sent, but merely that the importance of the occasion overshadows all else and warrants centering the spotlight on “the happy couple from South Pasadena”.


Tomorrow, the conclusion of this letter, with a few words of Fatherly advice, then a letter from Lad and another letter from Grandpa will finish out the week.

Judy Guion

My Ancestors (33l) – Alfred Peabody Guion – The End of the Story


As I sat down to write this post about my Dad and his life with Marian Irwin, I got caught up in reading the entries in their Memory Book.  This Memory Book was passed around at the Celebration of Their Lives we held for friends and family in California.

But I’m getting ahead of myself.  In September of 2002, the Marin Amblers monthly outing was a trip to Gold Beach, Oregon.  Dad was 89 (Mom was 88) and my brother Greg and his wife Euna tried to convince them that this trip might be a little too strenuous for them.  Dad’s reply was, “Marian really wants to go.”  Mom’s only response was, “But Al really would like to go.”  Greg and Euna thought they had succeeded in convincing them and came down on Saturday morning with the usual food for the next week and plans to clean the apartment, just as they did every Saturday.  They were quite surprised when they realized Mom and Dad were not home.  Greg went down to the back parking lot where their RV was kept and saw that it was gone.  They had left on Friday, as usual, to arrive for dinner Friday night.

On the drive north the RV had a flat tire.  They didn’t have a cell phone so they couldn’t call for road service.  They sat on the side of the road for hours until someone stopped and helped Dad change the tire.  They finally arrived four hours later than expected.

The group was thrilled to see them and they had a wonderful time visiting with friends for the weekend.  They planned to leave on Sunday and stop at a familiar campground once they had crossed into California.  When they arrived they discovered that the campground was closed for the season.  Not familiar with the area or other campgrounds nearby, they decided to drive another six hours to reach home.  Needless to say, they were both exhausted from the weekend.  I think it took a heavy toll from Dad and he didn’t recover completely.

In December Dad came down with the bad cold and just couldn’t shake it.  In his typically thorough way, on Sunday evening, December 21st, he arranged all the important papers and then told Mom that he thought he ought to go to the hospital because he wasn’t feeling well.  They treated him with antibiotics and on Tuesday he was feeling much better.  A nurse told him that if he kept this up, they were kicking him out on Wednesday.  As he was eating breakfast Wednesday morning, he aspirated something into his lungs and within a couple of hours he was in a coma in the ICU on Life Support.

Wednesday evening (Christmas Eve) when I got home from my last day at work as a seasonal cashier in a department store, there was a message on my answering machine from Greg, asking me to call him.  I immediately called and he explained what was going on.  I told him I would fly to California the next day.  My oldest daughter, Caryn, flew out with me on Christmas Day.

My sister Lynn arrived on Friday and we all went to see Dad in the hospital.  I spoke with his doctor who explained the seriousness of the situation.  He told me it would be a miracle if he came out of the coma and if he did, he would be in a vegetative state.  We had a family meeting when we got back to their apartment.  Mom told us that she did not want to see him like that again.  She wanted to remember him as he lived, full of life.  We made the decision to turn off Life Support.  Since technically I did not have a job to go back to, I told Mom that I would move to California to take care of her.  On Saturday, December 27th, Greg stayed with Mom and Doug, Lynn and I went to the hospital.  We had the staff remove Life Support and I sat holding Dad’s hand and talking to him until the end.

Caryn had flown home but I stayed until New Year’s Day.  I flew home, closed up my apartment, packed my car and drove back to California, arriving January 15th.

For the next year, Greg, Euna and I had our individual responsibilities.  Greg took care of the financial and estate business, Euna provided already prepared lunches and dinners and also cleaned the apartment.  I was on duty 24/7 covering daily duties, medications and doctor’s visits.

In December 2004, Mom developed an infection and I took her to the hospital.  She was there for a few days and was on the mend when she had another stroke.  A few hours later I was with her when she had a seizure.  I held her and told her I loved her and then she was gone.  She joined my father on December 16th, less than a year after my Dad had passed away

Next Sunday I will share quotes from the Memory Book and pictures of their lives together.

Tomorrow, I’ll begin a week of letters written in 1943, the brginning of the Love Story of Lad and Marian Guion.

Judy Guion

The Beginning (31) – Childhood Memoreis of Trumbull – Biss and Dick

At this point Grandpa’s “Reminiscences of Alfred D Guion” has ended  and the rest of this story will be the memories of the children as they were growing up.

             Elizabeth Westlin Guion (Biss)


           Richard Peabody Guion (Dick)

BISS: My favorite game was Caddy.  You got a stick and put a point on either end.  You had a paddle and you hit the pointed end and it made the small stick go up and then you hit it with the paddle.  I don’t remember where it was supposed to go or anything.  I think it was how far you could hit it but I don’t remember what the exact rules were.  My brothers probably could remember, but I can’t, but I enjoyed that Caddy a lot.

DICK: I spent most of my time with Dad.  He was full of information and enthusiasm.  He’d say, “Want to take a walk?  I want to show you something.”  After walking a while, he’d say, “Sh-h-h-h, now lie down and crawl forward.’  And we’d see Fox cubs.  There was always interesting things in the field in back of the house.

I went to White Plains School for one year.  I started at Center School in second grade.  In eighth grade, I went to Edison School.  I went to Whittier Junior High School for a year, and then went to Bassick High School in Bridgeport.

Nelson Sperling tied a rope to a big Hickory Nut tree on the side driveway, near the steps.  We would take off from the steps, swing out in a big circle and come back to land.  The neighborhood kids couldn’t do it so well.

One time I rode our pony, Gracie, down the railroad tracks.  Heading back to the barn, I lost my footing and one leg got caught, held me as she galloped home.  I can still hear Mother saying, “Whoa, whoa!”

We also had a little cart that was pulled by a goat.

At Christmas time, we’d drive down Noble Avenue and look at the Christmas decorations.

We had a circus horse named Goldie, and while she was cropping grass, I would lie down on her back.  When I’d had enough I’d slide off her back.  I didn’t realize that it might annoy her.  The last time I did it, she kicked me.

BISS: I remember Dad always brought his work home with him and had to sit at the desk in the upper hallway.  Beyond the staircase there was a space and he had a desk there, and he always worked there.  Dick and I would be in bed, we’d be talking and he yelled in to us to keep quiet.  So we’d keep quiet … for maybe thirty seconds or a minute, and then start talking again.  He’d say, “I told you children to go to sleep, now keep quiet.”  So we kept quiet for thirty seconds, a minute maybe, and we’d start talking again.  So he’d say, “The next time you talk I’m coming in and spanking you.”  So we waited maybe a minute this time, and started talking again.  Well, boom, boom, boom, boom.  He came in and I was the closest to the door, so he spanked me and spanked me and spanked me, and of course, I was too proud, I wasn’t going to cry.  He could spank me until Doomsday and I wasn’t going to cry.  I guess his hand got sore after a while, I don’t know, but anyway, he went to Dick.  The first time he hit Dick, Dick started wailing, so Dad only gave him a couple of whacks, or something.  When Dad walked out of the room I said, “You big baby, what did you cry for?”  He said, “But Biss, he stopped spanking me.”  I said, “I still wouldn’t cry.”

Tomorrow and Friday, more early childhood memories of Trumbull from recordings I made with five of the six children.

Judy Guion