Early Years – Memories of Alfred Peabody Guion (5) – The Helen – 1922-1938

After my Uncle Dan (Daniel Beck Guion) passed away in 1997, I realized that first-hand accounts of this particular “Slice of Life” would only continue to diminish over time. I needed to record the memories of my Aunt Biss and her brothers and share them with the family. This culminated in the idea of a Blog so that I could share these memories with anyone who would be interested in the personal histories of some members of The Greatest Generation.

Over a period of several years, whenever possible, I recorded the memories of my Dad and his siblings. 

I am beginning with the Memories of my Father, Alfred Peabody Guion, the oldest, and will continue each weekend with his Memories. Then I will share the Memories of his siblings, oldest to youngest.

Dick, Dan, Ced, Lad and Biss with Mack c. 1924

           Dick, Dan, Ced, Lad and Biss with Mack c. 1924

I think I was about nine when we got The Helen.  We got her in the mid-20’s. The thing I remember most about The Helen was having to caulk it, every seam.  It was a would boat and a lot of caulking had come out.  It had been up on land for quite a while.  So we had to caulk it and then seal it with something, I don’t remember now.  We kept her on the Housatonic River at a place called French’s Marine or something like that.  Who is right near the Boston Post Road Bridge.  We capture there all the time we had her.  Every year we Hall her out after the thought each spring, and I’d caulk the thing from underneath.  I got pretty good at it.  If you put too much in, it would push the boards apart but it had to be enough to keep the boat from leaking.  I don’t remember how many years, but I think we had her for about five or six years.

A year or two after we got The Helen, Dad had the engine taken out of it and he put in a Ford engine, model T And.  That was a lot heavier than the one cylinder that we had in the boat, it wrote down closer to the water at the stern of the boat.  It is still referred to as a fan tail.  So the back sloped up and the faster we went, the lower in the water it got.  With that Ford engine, we could run the boat fast enough so that the stern would be below water.  You had to be careful not to open the throttle too much.  The back of the boat was decked over in the front was decked over with just an open cockpit in the middle.  But it was big enough so we could sleep for in there.

The first major trip Dad wanted to take (in The Helen) was up the Connecticut River.  We started out and someplace off of New Haven one of the ropes fell off the bow and wound around the propeller.  We were not feeling too well anyway, it was rough weather.  We found out afterwards that there had been warnings and we weren’t even supposed to be out there.  I think Dan and I were feeling pretty seasick, but we had to do something.  We couldn’t do anything with a rope wrapped around the propeller, it wouldn’t go.  So I dove down in the water and my seasickness disappeared almost immediately.  So that’s what happened any time I got sick after that, I’d always dive into the water and get rid of it.  It worked, it worked for me anyway.  We finally got up to Essex, up to the River, and it was getting late, so we pulled into a bay, had supper and we went to bed.  Mother didn’t come with us, maybe she did I don’t remember.  In any case, she wasn’t there when we were sleeping that night.  I don’t remember who it was, maybe me or Dan or someone got out of the bunk and stepped into water.  So we started investigating and there was a lot of water in the boat and the boat was way down in the water.  So we bailed and pumped and got the water out.  We found out the leak was in the packing gland on the propeller shaft.  I don’t know if we could do anything about it at the time or not, but I do know Dad had to go to work.  He left us and he was going to get some part for the boat, I don’t remember what part it was, but it took a week to get the part before we solved the problem.  I don’t think we went any further up the river, we just came home again.

Tomorrow, more of the Early Years with Memories of Alfred Peabody Guion.

Judy Guion

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Trumbull – Dear Laddie – Report of the Purchasing Agent (2) – June 12, 1940

This is the second half of the letter “Report of the Purchasing Agent” from Grandpa to Lad in Venezuela.

Alfred Duryee Guion (Grandpa)

Col. W. C. Weeks’ address is P.O. Box 201, R.F.D.3, Bridgeport, Conn. I noticed it on his mailbox as I rode by this morning. For my daily constitutional I had driven up to Baskerville’s and walked from there on a circle up around Huntington way for about an hour.

The boys – Daniel Beck Guion and Cedric Duryee Guion after the baptism of Raymond Zabel, Jr.

We were going to give a farewell party for the boys tonight but because the Chandler Chorus Society fixed upon this same afternoon for their picnic and the boys have decided not to leave before next Saturday, our party has been postponed. Just when they will start has not yet been definitely decided, Ced wanting first to get some definite information as to boat connections on the coast with the idea of transporting the car to Alaska.

I note you have a new ribbon on your machine. It is much improved from a legibility standpoint.

I was quite interested in your paragraph referring to the Venezuela Petroleum affair as I was wondering what happened after the one reference in that first letter. Now I note you will talk with Mr. O’Connor when you visit Caracas which perhaps is the best thing under the circumstances. I am surprised you have not yet had Ted’s letter that he said he wrote you but that again may be the fault of the mail. If I were you, I would make a friendly call on Mr. MacMillan. He is a good person to know under the circumstances. Don’t forget also to send some postcards to your friends in the states while you are there. Have you made any definite plans as to when you will make a visit to Caracas?

Am glad you have a congenial roommate. The wrong kind of companion at such close quarters could make things very unpleasant as you probably know. However, I should think you would be the easiest kind of person to live with as Tip has already found out, I don’t doubt. I suppose your old Dad would think that anyway, in view of the large place you occupy in his heart.

Arnold has finished the engine and clutch on the little Willys but just today something went wrong in the gas line on your old Packard and I suppose he will be having to fix that up as Dan has been using it to get back and forth to his job on the Merritt Parkway. I suppose both Ced and Dan will continue to work another week in order to accumulate as much money as possible for their trip. Dan is very much tanned, far darker than when he came back from Venezuela. Dick has been taking sun baths lately although for the last week, with the exception of one day, we have had rainy or cloudy weather. Decoration Day was the beautiful exception and today was not half bad. If it were not for the depressing news from abroad and poor business, things would be quite cheerful.

Page 3 of R-78

The foregoing was written Saturday afternoon, so that in case I was unable to write you today (Sunday) it would not be the delay in sending you my weekly newsletter that has occurred during the last two weeks.

Late yesterday afternoon we all went down to the Choral Society picnic at Traphagen’s where they roasted hamburgers outside, sat around and talked, some playing games like pitching horseshoes, badminton, etc. An enjoyable time was had by all.

David Peabody Guion after his Baptism

This morning Dave and I arose early, drove over to the end of Seeley Road and walked north to the end of the lake. We disturbed a mother duck and six little wild ducklings who swam out on the lake to avoid the horrid man things.

In celebration of Ced’s birthday I had ice cream, and as per the old custom, for dessert, after which Ced opened his presents. As a combination birthday and going away gift I gave him a watch similar to Dan’s. That and the traveling bag from you were the high spots.

This afternoon I planted some seeds in the flower bed between the barn and the incinerator. It has been a beautiful day, warm and sunshiny except for occasional brief spaces when fleecy clouds drifted across the Sun.

The boys have decided tentatively to set a week from tomorrow as the time of departure. Arnold has located and fixed the leak in the Packard gas line. It occurred just where the pipe joins the tank.

I learned that both David and little Raymond are to be baptized next Sunday by Mr. Bollman. David was the only one of you children that was not baptized. He is now down at the Young People’s meeting at the church. In a few minutes I shall tune in and listen to Charlie McCarthy with the thought that you might be doing the same.

Lilacs in bloom

The Lilacs are just about done and now the iris are coming into bloom. Dan, after hours, has been doing a lot to make the place look better and his example has induced Dick and, to some extent Dave also, to do a bit along this line. Zeke doesn’t do a thing around the apartment to make the place look decent and as Elizabeth isn’t much inclined that way either, it doesn’t look anywhere near as nice as far as the grounds are concerned as they did when Grandma lived there.

With all the more important news out of the way this is now dwindling down to small talk which probably is not very interesting to you, so I suppose I might as well do the inevitable and say au revoir to you and tune in on 660. Greetings and all that sort of thing from your one and only       DAD

Tomorrow and Friday, I’ll be posting another two-part letter to finish the week.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Dear Laddie – Report of the Purchasing Agent (1) – June 1, 1940

We’ve jumped back to June of 1940. Lad has been in Venezuela for about a year and a half, and he is the only child, at this time, not living at home in Trumbull. Both Dan and Ced are scheduled to leave shortly for a drive from Connecticut to Seattle, and then plan on taking a ship up to Anchorage where they have been told by friends that they can have a job. This is the first half of the letter, I’ll be posting the last half , with all the news of family and friends, tomorrow.

Blog - Big work truck - 1940

Work Truck in Venezuela – 1940

R-78      June 1, 1940

Dear Laddie;

Your letter arriving yesterday, appointing me Purchasing Agent, has born immediate fruit. I have nicked you for about $412 within the last few days. The biggest item was $397 in full payment for 10 shares of Fairbanks Morse stock, certificate for which, in your name, is in the Bridgeport City safe deposit box. Enclosed is a letter from the President of the company welcoming you to the fold as a stockholder. It occurs to me that this might be a good opportunity for you to acknowledge said letter on the Socony-Vacuum stationary, thanking him for the courteous note, mentioning your experience briefly in installing Fairbanks Morse equipment and telling him of your interest in diesel’s and the opportunity there seems to be for this type of equipment in Venezuela, etc. It cannot possibly do any harm and might do some good. You never can tell.

The next item of expenditure is not strictly a purchase. It amounts to three dollars, the sum sent at your request to Hadley, which he acknowledged receiving and which acknowledgment I sent you in the last letter. I agree with you that the mail service in your adopted country is lousy. They could do with a little American business system. I think if they were to put yours truly in charge for about six months I could do something about it. Take this Hadley incident as an example. Your letter asking me to send him the check was written on May 2nd and received by me May 13th (10 days, whereas by contrast the letter I got from you yesterday dated May 26th reached me May 31st – – five days). To this letter I replied the same day – – May 13th and told you I would take care of it. Yet apparently on May 26th you had not received my letter. It would help, if in replying, you would tell me what letters you had received since last you wrote home giving either the date or the R number. I keep carbon copies of my letters to you so that I can refer back to any reference you might make to statements in them.

Item number three in my A.P. accounting has to do with Marie Page’s wedding gift. I enclose a clipping which has to do with the affair scheduled to take place this afternoon. As your letter reached me only last night and was read at the supper table, it meant that if I were to be on time I should have to do some hustling this morning, so as soon as I reached Bridgeport I hustled over to Read’s, intending to purchase a very fine double boiler I had seen there some weeks ago which I should very much like to own myself in view of the fact that our only double boiler developed a hole the other day. It was a highly polished stainless steel affair with copper bottom made by the Revere Copper company, a deluxe piece of equipment, a lifelong practical gift which anyone would be proud to own. The price was $6.50. However when I consulted my sales lady friend (perhaps you know her, Mrs. Banthin, who used to live in Trumbull and whose husband, I think, is the one who owns the body repair shop), she called my attention to a very fine electric table stove combination they had just placed on sale for the day, it was a combination Broiler, cooker, grill, with varying heat control, all chromium plated and originally selling for about eight dollars which was priced at $5.50 and which seemed ideal for an apartment. So I had this shipped off at once to Marie’s address with a card inside with your name and the words “Greetings from Venezuela”.

Cedric Duryee Guion

The fourth item was Ced’s present. This had to be done in a hurry also because today also was Ced’s birthday. Dan had mentioned that Ced, in talking about the trip in the little Willys to the coast, had mentioned that he did not have any bag of any sort to pack his clothes in and asked if Dan had room in his trunk. That, of course, gave me an idea. So at Read’s I looked at their luggage with the intention of keeping within the five dollar limit, but the only really appropriate thing I saw was a folding canvas leather trimmed with zipper and handles duffel bag contraption that was a beautiful piece of work but cost 10 smackers. I then went to the luggage shop across Broad Street and there found an ideal bag with a zipper made to carry four men’s suits without wrinkling them and supplied with a contraption so that you could hang the thing up in an auto. There were also two separate zipper compartments for shoes, shirts etc., and places to hang neckties. It was so ideal for their car trip across the continent that I felt if it was at all reasonable it should be the thing. The price was $6.65 but after talking with the salesman a while, he agreed to let me have it for six dollars. I hope this was not more than you wanted me to spend. I know Ced will be everlastingly grateful to you for it. So that is the account of my stewardship. If this is not in line with what you had hoped I would do, give me a hint as to what approximate amount you would like to spend, or the top limit that I will be governed accordingly.

Tomorrow’s post will be the second half of this letter. The rest of the week will be more Trumbull news.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Mr. Alfred P. Guion – A Letter From Fairbanks, Morse & Co. – May 29, 1940

This is a letter from the President of Fairbanks, Morse & Co., to Lad, a new stockholder. Imagine if that happened today?

Blog - Fairbanks letter from President (1)

Blog - Fairbanks letter from President (2)

Tomorrow and for the rest of the week, two letters from Grandpa to Lad, keeping him up to date on all the happenings in Trumbull. 

Judy Guiom

Early Years – Memories of Alfred Peabody Guion (4) – 1922-1938

After my Uncle Dan (Daniel Beck Guion) passed away in 1997, I realized that first-hand accounts of this particular “Slice of Life” would only continue to diminish over time. I needed to record the memories of my Aunt Biss and her brothers and share them with the family. This culminated in the idea of a Blog so that I could share these memories with anyone who would be interested in the personal histories of some members of The Greatest Generation.

Over a period of several years, whenever possible, I recorded the memories of my Dad and his siblings. 

I am beginning with the Memories of my Father, Alfred Peabody Guion, the oldest, and will continue each weekend with his Memories. Then I will share the Memories of his siblings, oldest to youngest.

Dan, Dave, Lad, Dick, Ced and Biss

I think I was about nine when we got The Helen.  We got her in the mid-it’s20’s. The thing I remember most about The Helen was having to caulk it, every seam.  It was a wood boat and a lot of caulking had come out.  It had been up on land for quite a while.  So we had to caulk it and then seal it with something, I don’t remember now.  We kept her on the Housatonic River at a place called French’s Marine or something like that,  which is right near the Boston Post Road Bridge.  We kept her there all the time we had her.  Every year we would haul her out after the thaw each spring, and I’d caulk the thing from underneath.  I got pretty good at it.  If you put too much in, it would push the boards apart but it had to be enough to keep the boat from leaking.  I don’t remember how many years, but I think we had her for about five or six years.

A year or two after we got The Helen, Dad had the engine taken out of it and he put in a Ford engine, model TN.  That was a lot heavier than the one cylinder that we had on the boat, it rode down closer to the water at the stern of the boat.  It is still referred to as a fan tail.  So the back sloped up and the faster we went, the lower in the water it got.  With that Ford engine, we could run the boat fast enough so that the stern would be below water.  You had to be careful not to open the throttle too much.  The back of the boat was decked over and the front was decked over with just an open cockpit in the middle.  But it was big enough so we could sleep four in there.

The first major trip Dad wanted to take (in The Helen) was up the Connecticut River.  We started out and someplace off of New Haven one of the ropes fell off the bow and wound around the propeller.  We were not feeling too well anyway, it was rough weather.  We found out afterwards that there had been warnings and we weren’t even supposed to be out there.  I think Dan and I were feeling pretty seasick, but we had to do something.  We couldn’t do anything with a rope wrapped around the propeller, it wouldn’t go.  So I dove down in the water and my seasickness disappeared almost immediately.  So that’s what happened any time I got seasick after that, I’d always dive into the water and get rid of it.  It worked, it worked for me anyway.  We finally got up to Essex, up to the (Connecticut) River. I don’t remember who it was, maybe me or Dan or someone got out of the bunk and stepped into water.  So we started investigating and there was a lot of water in the boat and the boat was way down in the water.  So we bailed and pumped and got the water out.  We found out the leak was in the packing gland on the propeller shaft.  I don’t know if we could do anything about it at the time or not, but I do know Dad had to go to work.  He left us and he was going to get some part for the boat, I don’t remember what part it was, but it took a week to get the part before we solved the problem.  I don’t think we went any further up the river, we just came home again.

Long before we moved to Trumbull, there was a dam on the Pequonnock River, flooding all of the property where the stone house is now, right up to the cemetery.  There was a mill there, run by water which came down through a tunnel.  The tunnel was about 3’ x 3’ and it came out of a sheer wall.  There was probably a drop of eight or 10 feet to the ground.  We kids used to play there quite often; we had a lot of imagination.  I don’t know if Mother smoked as a youngster, but she must’ve been smoking then because I think I took two of her cigarettes.  Art Christie and I went up and crawled through the tunnel and sat at the edge with our legs hanging over the edge and smoked cigarettes.  Who should come along but Mom!  She crawled through the tunnel and gave us quite a lecture.  It was probably a few years before I started smoking, but mom smoked with me when I first started.  Then she quit, but I didn’t.

                                              The Island

When I was twelve, Rusty (Heurlin) took Dan Ced and I, I don’t remember if Biss was along or not, to the Island, which they owned.  Back then, there was no States Landing Road.  We went to Lee’s Mill and rowed from there.  It was late in the evening when we got there and Rusty wasn’t sure he was going to the right place, but we got there.  Among other things, Rusty told us of his boyhood experiences at the Lake.  This particular summer that we went, there was a lot of logging going on and one particular day, a tug boat was going down from Lee’s Mill to the Broad’s, pulling a long line of barges, maybe half a mile long.  Rusty told us to get into the rowboat and he rowed towards the barges.  Just before we reached them, he rowed awfully hard and fast and our rowboat went up over the logs and into the water on the other side.  That’s what I remember about it.  After all the barges went by, we went back to the Island.  I don’t recall how long we stayed, maybe a week or two.

I remember our family went up to the island a few times, and I remember Rusty went with us the first time.  We were supposed to meet his sister, Anna, and then she was going to lead us to the Island.  Apparently, she began to worry about the fact that we hadn’t gotten there yet.  It was getting late in the afternoon, so she and her brother-in-law, Ingrid’s husband, (Sidney Bagshaw), decided to go looking for us.  There was only one road so we had to be on it.  They passed a car (coming the other way) where someone had his feet out the window and she said, “That’s my brother.”  So they turned around and everything from there went fine.  We had a nice time at the Island and Dad really enjoyed it.  I think maybe the next year or so, we did the same thing again, although we knew where we were going this time.  We didn’t have to meet Anna, Ingrid or Britta and Rusty may or may not have been with us.

Next weekend, more of the Early Years, continuing the Memories of Alfred Peabody Guion.

Judy Guion

 

 

 

 

Early Years – Memories of Alfred Peabody Guion (3) – 1922-1938

After my Uncle Dan (Daniel Beck Guion) passed away in 1997, I realized that first-hand accounts of this particular “Slice of Life” would only continue to diminish over time. I needed to record the memories of my Aunt Biss and her brothers and share them with the family. This culminated in the idea of a Blog so that I could share these memories with anyone who would be interested in the personal histories of some members of The Greatest Generation.

Over a period of several years, whenever possible, I recorded the memories of my Dad and his siblings. 

I am beginning with the Memories of my Father, Alfred Peabody Guion, the oldest, and will continue each weekend with his Memories. Then I will share the Memories of his siblings, oldest to youngest.

ADG - Grandpa and Lad (seated)  - July 26, 1914Alfred Duryee Guion (Grandpa) holding Alfred Peabody Guion after his Christening.

I was born in New York City in 1914, then I lived in Yonkers for short time.  When I was about one, we moved to 91 Dell Street in Mount Vernon, New York. 

My mother, Arla (Mary Peabody), was nineteen years old when I was born and she was the oldest Peabody girl.  Burton was ahead of her.  Then there was Arla, Helen, Kemper, Anne, Dorothy and Laurence. There were seven of them.

By the time I was three, I was quite interested in mechanical things.  I remember taking an alarm clock, taking it all apart and putting it back together, but I had one gear left over when I finished.  It didn’t keep very good time.  It was fast.  I never could find out where that year went.

We had a woman who did the cooking and took care of the house.  One of the things we had in the kitchen was a dish washer that was hand operated.  It had a big handle on it and we pushed and pulled, and I remember liking it, I enjoyed doing that.

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

I don’t remember much about my Dad in Mount Vernon or Larchmont.  He was always busy working.

APG - Lad and Dan - Larchmont, NY - June, 1918

Alfred Peabody Guion and Daniel Beck Guion

When I was five, Dad and Mom were building a house in Larchmont.  They had a contractor build it and it was on Lansdowne Drive in Larchmont Gardens. I accompanied them, well, maybe three or four times when they went out to look at it.  Mom told the carpenters what she wanted changed.  She was quite conscious about what she wanted.

When we moved in, there were two houses on Lansdowne Drive, ours and another one at the top of the hill.  When we left in 1922, there were probably eight or ten houses.

It took four days for the workers to build our garage.  The neighbors put theirs up in one day.  Later, a strong wind came up and blew down the neighbors garage but ours stood strong.  Roger Batchelder was that kind of guy.

I think he had a garden in the backyard with green beans growing.  Dan and I each took two or three green beans and we walked around and around his house, with the beans rubbing on the house, wearing them down until they got short.  Then we threw them away and got some more beans.  So Roger was kind of upset about that.

 

Alfred Peabody Guion, about 8 or 9 at the Trumbull House

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

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

We went to grammar school in the house that the Sirene’s bought.  There were two buildings.  The one Dan and I went to was divided into two rooms, first through third grade on one side, fourth through sixth grade on the other side.  The seventh and eighth graders were in the other building.  The two buildings were parallel to White Plain’s Road with their entrances facing each other.  The town moved that other building to the center of town and made it into a firehouse.  That was quite a project because they had to have the electric company people and the telephone company people going along with the building. They would take down the lines, and after the building went by, they would put them back up.  I guess I went to Sirene’s house for about three years.

Dan and I started school together in Trumbull.  I was sent back.  I was in second grade in Larchmont but when we got to Trumbull, I was sent back into the first grade and Dan and I started together.  We went right together until seventh or eighth grade … Dan was more of a scholar that I.  He skipped seventh grade, I think.  I must have skipped a grade (or two) because we didn’t graduate at the same time.  I went to high school first and then Dan came.

When we first moved to Trumbull, I met Art Christie, who was a year or two older than I, but we were pals, we played together all the time.  Later he went to school in what became the firehouse.  I never got to go to that building, because in 1925, they built Center School, so we went there.  The kids who were in the other building, the old firehouse, went to High School.  They went to Congress High School in Bridgeport, not Central High School.

                Dick, Dan, Ced, Lad and Biss with Mack circa 1924

When I was eight, Dad took Dan Ced and I, possibly Biss, for a walk up behind our property, past the cemetery.  There was a slightly sloped hill on the lot, and all of us were rolling down the hill, including Dad.  When he got up he said there was something wrong with his eyes, some dirt or something, so we went home.  His eye got worse and more bloodshot and it began to hurt more so Mother told him he should go see the doctor.  He was reluctant but finally consented.  I asked him if I could go and he said yes.  When he got to the doctors, the doctor told him that a piece of stubble had apparently pierced his eye.  He sewed it up and when dad came out he could only see out of one eye, and that was blurred and watery.  He asked me if I would steer the car for him.  So I sat on his lap and steered the car, told him when to put on the brakes.  He did the shifting and used the clutch, but from that time on, I was very interested in driving.  I was only eight.

                        Alfred Peabody Guion (Lad)

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

Another time, I was driving to Bridgeport (Connecticut) to see Anita Brown.  It was apparently passed dark and I was heading south on Main Street.  The Chestnut Hill bus was going slower than I was.  I think he may have just been starting up after a stop, I don’t remember, but in any case, there was nothing coming so I saw an opportunity to pass him.  All of a sudden, my headlights picked up two reflections from a little above my hood.  I didn’t know what it was at first then I realized it was a horse and buggy.  I pulled over tight against the bus … I was pushing hard against the bus.  The bus driver had seen the horse and buggy the same time I did.  Neither of us could stop fast but we tried and we stopped right together. Neither vehicle was scratched but I hit the wagon.  I missed the horse but hit the wagon’s left front wheel and completely messed up the wagon.  The  older fellow, who was driving, somehow got hold of his daughter and she came.  I remember her telling him, “I’ve told you over and over not to put the lantern between your feet to keep warm.”  There were no charges filed against any of us.

We didn’t have much in the way of toys, as I recall.  Earlier, when we had the animals, we had to go scare the chickens off their nests and get the eggs.  Bill Parks got the milk for us, although I did try milking once, to see what it was like.  He also slaughtered the pigs.  I don’t remember what we did with them – we probably had some of the meat.  Whether dad sold it or gave it away or whatever happened, I don’t remember.  We didn’t have the animals for long.  Dad and Mom were not farmers; they were both city people, although we did have a garden in Larchmont and in Trumbull.  Dad took care of it and then the kids did it, but that didn’t last very long, I guess.

Tomorrow, more of the Early Years and the Memories of Alfred Peabody Guion (Lad).

Judy Guion

Army Life – A Quick Note from Lad – April 2, 1944

This week, I will be posting letters written in April  of 1944. Lad and Marian are back in California after a short stay in Texarkana, Texas. Dan is in London, working in a Topography unit, drawing maps in advance of D-Day. Ced remains in Anchorage, Alaska, repairing planes and going out into the Bush to repair and/or retrieve them with a tractor. Dick is still in Brazil and Dave is at Camp Crowder, Missouri, near Carthage, Missouri.

Lad Guion

Alfred Peabody Guion (Lad)

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.

Laddie

APG - 4 x 6 Trailer - Bill of Sale - 4.2.1944

This is the Bill of Sale for a 4 x 6 wooden Trailer that Lad and Marian used quite a bit throughout their lives. As you can see, it was purchased on March 26, 1944. We packed it each summer at the end of August to go to the Island. My Mom and Dad used it to move to California in 1966 Since I stayed in Connecticut to finish college and start my married life, I really do not know how long they had it in California or what happened to it.

Tomorrow, a letter from Dan in London, on Wednesday, a note from Rusty Heurlin to Ced, and on Thursday and Friday,, a letter from Grandpa to his sons.

Judy Guion

Early Years – Memories of Alfred Peabody Guion (2) – 1914 – 1922

After my Uncle Dan (Daniel Beck Guion) passed away in 1997, I realized that first-hand accounts of this particular “Slice of Life” would only continue to diminish over time. I needed to record the memories of my Aunt Biss and her brothers and share them with the family. This culminated in the idea of a Blog so that I could share these memories with anyone who would be interested in the personal histories of some members of The Greatest Generation.

Over a period of several years, whenever possible, I recorded the memories of my Dad and his siblings. 

I am beginning with the Memories of my Father, Alfred Peabody Guion, the oldest, and will continue each weekend with his Memories. Then I will share the Memories of his siblings, oldest to youngest.

ADG - holding Dan, Arla Peabody Guion with Lad in her lap - 1917

Alfred Duryee Guion (Grandpa) holding Daniel Beck Guion, Arla Mary (Peabody) Guion (Grandma) holding Alfred Peabody Guion (my Dad)

When I started school in Larchmont, either kindergarten or first grade, I went to school in a horse-drawn sleigh in the winter.  I just remember being awfully cold.  In the warmer months, Mother drove me to school.  Dan may have started school there; he was only a year and a half behind me.

Once in a while, we had to walk home from school.  I went across the street from the school and there was a fire hydrant on the corner.  Just for the fun of it, I jumped over the hydrant.  Well, for some reason or other, there was a short in the power somewhere and I got an awful shock.  I’ve never forgotten it and I’m always cautious when I come to a hydrant.

I remember I went shopping with Dad’s  mother (Ella Duryee Guion, Mrs.  Alfred Beck Guion), my grandmother, and I was taller than she was.  She went grocery shopping and she took me with her on the trolley because I could help her.  I just remember I was taller than she was and I helped her carry the groceries.

Every year Dad had a couple of weeks of vacation and he would take us up to Sandy Hook, Connecticut, on Lake Zoar and we would stay in a cabin.  I don’t remember much about it but probably Dan, Ced and I were playing out in the yard in the area around the cabin.  There was a nice place where the branches were above us, and below them, it was pretty open.  We were crawling around in there and later that day,  I started to itch.  For three or four days I was swollen pretty badly with poison ivy.  I’ve had problems ever since.  Many summers, I got poison ivy.  The first summer out here in California, working for the Frouge Construction Company, I was driving a tractor to clear some land.  I didn’t realize that it was poison oak I was driving through and tearing up. it didn’t affect me too much, just my arms and hands.  By that time, I knew how to take care of it anyway.

While we were in Larchmont, we went on vacation to Sandy Hook, Connecticut, Camp-a-While it was called.  In fact, that’s where we were going the day the old Franklin gave out.  One of the bearings, one of the connecting Rod bearings, let go and Dad found a Franklin Garage in Danbury.  The owner of the garage was working on the car, fixing it, and his wife was talking to Mother.  I don’t know how it happened – Mother may have been asking her questions about the area.  Apparently, Mother liked that area of Connecticut, I don’t know.  The wife told Mother about a house they owned in Trumbull.  We went to look at it and before long, we’d bought the house.

Next weekend, more Early Years – Memories of Alfred Peabody Guion.

Tomorrow, I will begin posting letters written in April of 1944. Lad, Dan and Dick are all in the Army, receiving training, Ced is in Alaska and Dave is living in Trumbull with Grandpa and attending school. It seems very quiet in the Old Homestead.

Judy Guion

Early Years – Memories of Alfred Peabody Guion (1) – 1914 – 1922

After my Uncle Dan (Daniel Beck Guion) passed away in 1997, I realized that first-hand accounts of this particular “Slice of Life” would only continue to diminish over time. I needed to record the memories of my Aunt Biss and her brothers and share them with the family. This culminated in the idea of a Blog so that I could share these memories with anyone who would be interested in the personal histories of some members of The Greatest Generation.

Over a period of several years, whenever possible, I recorded the memories of my Dad and his siblings. 

I am beginning with the Memories of my Father, Alfred Peabody Guion, the oldest, and will continue each weekend with his Memories. Then I will share the Memories of his siblings, oldest to youngest.

ADG - Grandpa and Lad (seated)  - July 26, 1914Alfred Duryee Guion (Grandpa) holding Alfred Peabody Guion after his Christening.

I was born in New York City in 1914, then I lived in Yonkers for short time.  When I was about one, we moved to 91 Dell Street in Mount Vernon, New York. 

My mother, Arla (Mary Peabody), was nineteen years old when I was born and she was the oldest Peabody girl.  Burton was ahead of her.  Then there was Arla, Helen, Kemper, Anne, Dorothy and Laurence. There were seven of them.

By the time I was three, I was quite interested in mechanical things.  I remember taking an alarm clock, taking it all apart and putting it back together, but I had one gear left over when I finished.  It didn’t keep very good time.  It was fast.  I never could find out where that year went.

We had a woman who did the cooking and took care of the house.  One of the things we had in the kitchen was a dish washer that was hand operated.  It had a big handle on it and we pushed and pulled, and I remember liking it, I enjoyed doing that.

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

I don’t remember much about my Dad in Mount Vernon or Larchmont.  He was always busy working.

APG - Lad and Dan - Larchmont, NY - June, 1918

Alfred Peabody Guion and Daniel Beck Guion

When I was five, Dad and Mom were building a house in Larchmont.  They had a contractor build it and it was on Lansdowne Drive in Larchmont Gardens. I accompanied them, well, maybe three or four times when they went out to look at it.  Mom told the carpenters what she wanted changed.  She was quite conscious about what she wanted.

When we moved in, there were two houses on Lansdowne Drive, ours and another one at the top of the hill.  When we left in 1922, there were probably eight or ten houses.

It took four days for the workers to build our garage.  The neighbors put theirs up in one day.  Later, a strong wind came up and blew down the neighbors garage but ours stood strong.  Roger Batchelder was that kind of guy.

I think he had a garden in the backyard with green beans growing.  Dan and I each took two or three green beans and we walked around and around his house, with the beans rubbing on the house, wearing them down until they got short.  Then we threw them away and got some more beans.  So Roger was kind of upset about that.

Tomorrow, I will post more Early Years – Memories of Alfred Peabody Guion – 1914 – 1922.

Judy Guion

Army Life – Dear Dad, Aunt Betty, Dave, Dick, etc. – Lad Is Now An Acting Corporal – August 16, 1942

APG - APG at D_____ ______ a_____, 25 June, 1945

Alfred Peabody Guion (Lad)

APG - Lad to Grandpa - Acting Corporal - Aug., 1942

Aug. 16, ‘42

Dear Dad, Aunt Betty, Dave, Dick, etc.: –

I am now  Acting Corporal, so address my letters as such in the future. It happened this way. Yesterday, being Saturday, we had our usual review and inspection. That was finished about 11:00 A.M. and we were told to turn in our equipment as soon as possible and have our bags ready for transferring at 1:00 P.M. (1300 o’clock). At 1300, we fell out and were assigned to various of the Technical or Basic camps or Battalions. I was assigned to Co. C., 2nd Battalion. I got there with my duffel about 1400. It was only about five or six blocks so I made two trips. I reported to the 1st Sergeant and was assigned to the 4th Platoon and he told me to get my corporal stripes. So that is how it is. Since I arrived here after 1200 on Sat., the Co. clerk had left and I could not have a new pass made out, so I can’t leave the post until Monday, anyway, when the clerk will be able to type one for me. As to next weekend, I can’t say definitely as yet. I’ll try to let you know by Sat.

My car registration is in the little pocket below the dashboard at the right of the front seat. If those ration books are definitely marked as to when or what date each coupon is good for, will you please use the coupon yourself or put the gasoline in my car?

We have had rain every day this week and I don’t think this afternoon will be an exception. My love to all –

Lad

Tomorrow and Friday, a letter from Grandpa to his sons away from home.

Judy Guion