Life in Alaska – Two short notes From Ced – November 8, 1946

Since Ced was making payments to Grandpa – I’m not sure what the payments were for – I believe he included a check with this note.

Dear Dad,

In great haste.

Letter later.



This is probably the later letter,


Friday afternoon

Dear Papa,

Seems as tho’ I must owe you money in order to send you a letter – nothing to prove otherwise yet, is there? I apologize again and admit you are right as to how it happened. At least I had money in the bank this time.

My plans as proposed in the last letter are somewhat upset. The income tax is 20% up to $2500, 22% up to $4500 and 26% up to $6500. this additional 4% is not as bad as I had supposed, but it looks as though I’m going to have a pretty heavy whack taken out anyway. Hope the “pay-as-you-go” plan will remove sufficient amounts so I won’t have a big bill to pay in March.

Looks now as tho’ I won’t be home till next summer. But now can’t tell it will be any day at all.

When ever it is, I might arrive there with Ginger, the new female in my life. She is brown haired, hazel eyed and sooo affectionate. Her age of course is only three months and her pedigree about like Mac’s,  but she is not as big as Mac and won’t be. I know her mother and that is as smart a dog as I’ve known in spite of her definite Heinz ancestry. If Ginger is half as smart as her mama, she’ll be a brilliant dog.

The ski rally is set for next Wednesday night and I’m chairman of the entertainment committee and must get to work on it right away.

Hopkins asked to be remembered to you and are fine. Nothing from Rusty lately – his address is Ester Creek, Fairbanks, Alaska.

My very best to all of you –


Tomorrow, I’ll be posting the last letter I have. It is to Ced from a childhood friend, living in Brooklyn, NY.

In January, I will begin the story at the beginning with  Reminiscences of Alfred Duryee Guion, starting with an introduction and his memories of growing up in Mount Vernon, New York at the end of the 19th Century. When the children start entering his life, I will add their childhood memories, which gives you a glance into the early years of these letter-writers. 

Judy Guion





Life in Alaska – Don Stanley Writes to Ced – November 7, 1946

Back in September, Don Stanley wrote to his cousin, Ced, asking about Alaska. He and a friend, Norbert Sickle, are seriously thinking about traveling to Alaska in the spring of 1947 and are wondering what opportunities there might be for two young men to earn a living. From this letter, it is obvious that Ced replied to Don and this is Don’s response to Ced.

First Edition: Oct. 28, 1946

Second Edition: Nov. 7, 1946

Dear Ced-

Your most impressive and descriptive epistle was received and the contents duly noted by myself and ptnr. N. Sickle. We have deliberated and thought on this migration matter to quite some extent, as you so advised. But let me tell you a sad story, or at least a part of one. To be more explicit, a circumstance. The Great Migration was, or happily may still is, -not to take place until the spring of ‘47 in any event, and between now and that time many a long and heavy month must pass. I feel that Norb and myself are coming down with that horrible commuter’s disease of the suburbs called “rutitis”. You know what that means: a young man is told that he has a great opportunity, and in consequence he spends the rest of his life riding the eight-five commuters special and the 7th Ave downtown to Chambers Street. I believe that Norb is in a little worse way than I am for he is working in a place with “opportunity”, whereas I absolutely refuse to work anywhere, opportunity or not, unless driven to same. Forcible driven, that is. I believe that I have said enough to let you see what horrible thing is happening. But, still and all, there is a long time between now and the spring, and during this time anything is likely to happen.

We certainly appreciate your letter ever so much, and in direct answer to it we would like to say that we are mostly interested in the out-of-doors activities and means of livelihood: mainly hunting, fishing, golding, etc. etc. etc. (when ah say huntin, ah means fuhs, suh. Fuhs, thet is.) Naturally we realize that we know nothing of any of these business, and are what are called tenderfeets; but we are interested in knowing if there is any feasible chance for success in any one of these ventures for a couple of young green-horns who have a reasonable amount of gray-matter and common sense. In other words, what is the chance of a reasonable return on the original investment (profit is not the great aim, but breaking even at least is a necessity.) So that is that.

Mom (Aunt Anne (Peabody) Stanley) has received a copy of “Freedom and Union”, with which same publication she seems to be vastly enjoying herself and then some. The dinner table has turned lately into nothing more than a battle ground where witticisms, insults, and political opinions are exchanged and forced on one.

Generally speaking, everything is coming along here the same as usual, with all enjoying good health, and all sending on to you the fondest of regards and best wishes of good health and also the hope that you will be around this neighborhood come Christmas time.

Thanks again for your letter, and hope to one day soon see you again – either here or there.


Tomorrow, another letter from Ced to his father and on Friday, the final letter. It is from a childhood friend, Red Sirene, to Ced.

Judy Guion


Life in Alaska – Ced Writes About Coming Home – 10.29.1946

Sunday night

Dear Dad:

Here it is the end of the month and time to write you again as per custom in sending the check, the finale. Contrary to your dire predictions on not receiving word from me after the bill is paid up, I expect, without the feeling of compulsion, that the letters may come more easily and frequently. There has been a feeling of despondency about these checks anyway, as I was always one jump back on the bank account as you found out. I would hold up the check to the end of the month so that I would have time to make a deposit covering the check after payday on the second or third of the next month. I’ve had to drop back 15 days on payments to George Rengard too, and all other bills have had to go a month. Better I should have declared a two months moratorium but my creditors wouldn’t have appreciated it I suppose. Well now that it is done, George should be paid off by the end of November at the latest, and then all I will have is a new big millstone in the form of floats for the Taylorcraft which will run between 6 and 7 hundred for my share.

This brings to mind something which I have been thinking about for the last couple of days. The prices of living are so exorbitant up here that I am becoming very discouraged with the whole caboodle and wondering just what it is getting me. I figured out my year’s income to date the other night and it is due to reach the $5000 mark about the first of December. This will put me in a higher bracket of income tax payments if I continue to work beyond that date. How much I have not been able to determine yet, but if it makes as much difference as I think it will, I am seriously considering laying off for the rest of the year. Should I do this I would probably decide to move to Trumbull for the Christmas season, taking my accrued vacation with pay time which should amount to about one month’s pay. How I could keep this off my income tax for 1946 – don’t yet know, but I believe it can be worked out. My mind was about made up to return to Trumbull next summer anyway, and I might make the switch now if things shape up. Will write more along these lines when I learn more about it.

Received my fourth greeting from the president, the first from Harry, the first part of this month and turned it over to the company only to find they could do nothing about it. (Woodley was in Seattle, otherwise I think something would have been done). I waited for five days to see if anything came up, then when they posted a notice on the board for a replacement foreman to take my place, I figured it was time to quit and make my arrangements. I did quit on the 11th of this month, and that gave me till the morning of the 16th to get ready to be inducted. I was going to try for the Navy but would most likely have been unsuccessful. The night of the 11th the paper had a small article stating that no inductions were to take place after the 15th due to the success of the new volunteer plan of the Armed Forces. This made me wonder, but still, as it was from Washington, and often these regulations failed to apply in Alaska, I went ahead on the assumption that I would go in, and I was almost glad as the above remarks on cost-of-living, etc., might indicate. Well a wire arrived from our Seattle agent suggesting that the company check this regulation in my case, and the upshot of it all is now history. The regulation applied to Alaska also. Instead of going into the Army on the 16th, I returned to my job at P.N.A. at the same job, pay, seniority, etc. Looks as though our side has again squelched a new move by one faction of the mechanics department to get us into the A.F.L. labor union. Due at work at midnight (1/2 hour) so will cut off — love to the gang.

May see you ??? for Christmas.


Tomorrow, a letter from Don Stanley, then another letter from Ced and a final letter drom Red Sirene, a Trumbull friend, to Ced.

Judy Guion


Trumbull – To My Dear Little Easter Bunnies (1) – Fond Memories – April 25, 1943

It’s Easter and Grandpa is remembering the happy times when all his children and his wife were at the Trumbull house with him. He sounds quite nostalgic, doesn’t he?

Trumbull, Conn. Easter Sunday   April 25, 1943

To my dear little Easter bunnies:

With all my brood away, except one, and no jellybeans, it hasn’t seemed a bit like Easter today. However, in another sense you all almost rang the gong this week because the mail brought letters from Dan and Ced and even Dick. I hoped up till yesterday afternoon that one would arrive from Lad to complete the lineup but was doomed to disappointment on that score.

Needless to say I missed all you boys (this especially so on holidays or special occasions). I recalled past Easter’s when you were little tykes and the family all got together and the children hunted for Easter eggs, jelly beans, etc.; I recalled the sunrise service in Stratford that Ced used to get such a kick out of attending; the colored eggs, new clothes, bright sunshine and all the rest that makes up a composite Easter memory and wondering how you all spent the day under Uncle Sam’s wing. I got quite a thrill driving home the other day in the car up North Main Street, approaching the bus terminal up near the Log Cabin. In the distance coming toward me, walking, was a great tall lanky long-legged rascal that looked and walked for all the world just like Ced. The resemblance was so strong that I almost lost control of the car for a second, but for just one instant it was a great thrill. Of course, on nearer inspection, it was not anyone nearly so nice as Ced, but then, you’ll say, and I’d have to admit, I’m prejudiced.

Dick, bless his heart, is getting along splendidly. He writes that Uncle Sam seems well enough pleased with what he has been doing to award him two noncom stripes and a T.

Richard (Dick) Peabody Guion

Richard (Dick) Peabody Guion

I may be wrong but it seems that Dick got this recognition in shorter order in either of my other corporals. Dick has charge of the morning reports and the sick book which, along with the calisthenics, has enabled him to maintain a sound body and mind? (the “?”  is his). When they get properly organized he expects to be clerk in the investigations branch of their outfit which will give him a good background for enrollment in the intelligence. O. C. S. Oh well, I’m sure he passed because he was always intelligent. As the washerwoman said of her son, who took the civil service examination, he was sure to pass because he was never rude to anybody. Dick says soon they expect to be transferred to a staging area (whatever that is) to which he is looking forward with relish. No news as to when Jean returns.

Daniel (Dan) Beck Guion

Daniel (Dan) Beck Guion

Dan tersely describes the training period of three days duration as consisting primarily of picking up cigarette butts between rain showers in preparation for the arrival of the colonel. He hopes to be able to get home again for a visit sometime next month. Somehow spring (and the bushes are now really putting out little green leaves, and we had daffodils on the table from our own yard today), spring, I say, really hasn’t officially arrived until Dan’s handiwork is visible in garden and grounds that you all know so well and that has taken on, I suppose, a certain mantel of extra attractiveness on account of its being so far away from most of you right now.


Now that Grandpa has brought us up to date on two of his three sons in Alaska, he will continue with news of Ced and Stephen Vincent Benet’s Prayer for all Nations” tomorrow.

Judy Guion

Life in Alaska (3) – A Harrowing Tale of a Crash – September, 1946

This is the final installment of Ced’s plane crash while trying to land, in the dark, on a sand br in the Susitna River. 

The next day another fellow came out and helped me patch up the ship enough to fly it back to Anchorage, and so ended my first crackup experience and rather exciting if unfortunate four days. The plane is now undergoing permanent repairs and awaiting parts from the factory. The danged insurance is $200 or so deductible, and even padding figures it can’t reach that sum, so I’ll do the work, and all the cost will be part and materials which shouldn’t run over $45 for the prop and $15- $20 for the rest. I am now a sadder but a wiser man, “Experience is the best teacher”. From now on when I want to land at night on a bar I will consider it as an unaccomplishable desire and go to someplace where there are night landing facilities. This time I was very lucky, and while one can demolish an airplane and come out with minor injuries, I am not anxious to tempt fate, and certainly don’t care to force the insurance company to make maximum settlement. So much for that.

Our room out at Merrill is a nice big room, florescent lighting, wood paneled walls and attractive inlaid linoleum floor, but wait, before you are too enthused – there is no closet at all, no hot water in the building, and no furniture. We (Chuck and I) are using my beds, we bought a bureau, and curtains to give us privacy, and got hold of an old bench and lots of boxes. The radio and bedstand as well as the card table are doing service as usual. All meals must be eaten out and bath is nonexistent here. We are supposed to get an apartment in the company apartments recently acquired, but the O.P.R. is giving the present tenants up to six months time before the company will be able to force them out so as to put in their own employees. What a mess! Well we are looking all the time, and after a while we might find something.

It’s now 1:30 a.m., I am in need of sleep and Chuck is trying to sleep with the lights on, so better quit. Damn sorry about that check – I was under the impression that banks always notified a regular depositor if he ran under his checks and gave him a chance to make it out before refusing the check. A plague on the buzzards, I have a good mind to go to the other bank and transfer my account.

Best to everyone,


Was in such a whirl I neglected wishing you a happy birthday, but nevertheless, do so here and now ——-

Dave is due also for the same “ne c’est pas”. Must try to do so personally next year.

Life in Alaska (2) – A Harrowing Tale of a Crash – September, 1946

Page 2    9/46

My first anxiety came when I saw Jake fumbling with his safety belt in a hasty way, and I thought, It could catch fire, and I should get out as quickly as I can, too” and left the ship right behind Jake. He later admitted that he had not been afraid of fire, but of the ship sinking in the water. As I had landed on the bar before, I knew the water was not deep. Funny thing was that when we got out and retrieved a few items which were starting to float serenely down the river, and removed the rest of the lose equipment to the beach, the ship itself started out to sea. It floated on the tops of the wings like a saucer on water and only drew about five or six inches. We tailed it in and tried to tip it over on the nose so that it would flop right side up again, but two of us were not strong enough. We both had sleeping bags, and between the grub Jake had with him and the ships emergency rations, we had little to worry about. The next morning about 11 a.m. we heard and outboard out on the main channel (we were on a side stream) and Jake fired three rounds of three shots each – the international distress signal –  and after some time the men beached the boat and hiked across the island, bars and swamps to the opposite shore across from us. They returned to their boat, maneuvered it around the island and hiked back on our side of the water. With their help it was barely possible to right the ship as the leading edge of both wings had filled with water during the night and made it extremely heavy. As it was, the job was done in stages, waiting between each boost for more water to drain. The two men were natives from Susitna, and were on their way back there, but they were unable to let Anchorage know where we were or that we were in trouble as there is no radio or other communication. We asked them to send word in on the first boat going into Anchorage and they promised to do that and then left us with our problems.

We looked over the plane and found that the right wing tip had struck the beach as the ship went over, the prop and engine cowl had been shattered and bent respectively, the tail fin (just forward of the rotor) was dented in at the top about 1 inch from striking the river bottom when it came over, and the rear spar fitting on the left wing that attaches the wing to the fuselage had broken off. Of course repairs at that place were out of the question without tools and parts, so we built signal fires and did everything else possible to attract airplanes to our help. We frantically signaled every plane all day Sunday and up to about 2 p.m. Monday without any success at all, but on Monday the company sent out the Travelair and they located us after hunting for two hours. As the Travelair is a little large to land on the bar such as that one, they returned to Anchorage and sent out another Taylorcraft, but one on floats, to pick us up. Jake went into Anchorage, and I stayed to wait for the second trip (only one could go at a time) told the pilot to try to get me a wing fitting, a prop and some gasoline. As darkness fell I realized I was doomed to spend another night there and so I turned in.

I’ll continue this story tomorrow. On Thursday, a letter from Marian and on Friday, a letter to Ced from his cousin, Don Stanley. (Son of Anne (Peabody) Stanley, Grandpa’s sister-in-law).

Judy Guion

Life in Alaska (1) – A Harrowing Tale of a Crash – September, 1946


P O Box 822


Chief Winnepoo Guionsauke

Ragweed Nose Run

Kickachoo County Reserved,

Stated briefly, these are the facts according to Cedric-1.

Taylorcraft turned over on its back in Susitna River. No one injured, ship not badly damaged.

Living in unused room in Pacific Northern administration building at Merrill field – no immediate prospects for early change.

Have pup of a pedigree which might be compared to Mack’s. She is very much a pup with all the piddle and push that goes along.

Working days until October 5th, then on from 12 midnight till 8:30 a.m. for four weeks. Shifts will rotate every four weeks.

Tires on car are deplorable, otherwise it is running fairly well.

Am terribly put out with local bank. They never notified me in any manner of their refusal to cash check, nor did I even know that my                account had ever been in the red. Your return check the other day was the first inkling I had received.

Boat trip scheduled to Fire Island day after tomorrow. Am going on it, I think.

Ski club about to start another season.

Company party scheduled Tuesday evening next week.

Time sprouts wings anon.


Now the comments:

I promised to take a fellow over to the Susitna River to try for a moose. As I had to work Sunday, I was to leave him Saturday night, return for him Sunday night after work. We were unable to leave Anchorage until nearly 7 p.m. Saturday, and the sun had already set. By the time we had booked a headwind and gotten to the bar on which I intended landing, the dusk was settling into darkness, but I felt I could get in all right. All went well I thought, but about 160 feet from the bar, while still over the river, the wheels dipped in the water and caught me off guard. I had thought that I was higher, and had been straining my eyes to see where I should hit the bar first. It was poor judgment on my part, and if I had used better sense I would not have attempted the landing under those conditions. Well, when the wheels touched the water it was like applying full breaks, and I realized I was on the way to a mighty likely crack-up. I pulled back hard on the wheel and gave the engine full throttle to try to pull it out of the water, or at least to hold the tail down and in this move I was somewhat successful for a time. I dragged the old bessy through the water until I had a fleeting hope that I might get it to roll out of the water on the bar, but my hopes died just short of dry land. The tail had been rising higher and higher from the moment the wheels had first struck the water, and nothing I could do would help it. As it reached the balance point it started forward more quickly, the wheels, though on the ground I am fairly certain, (under the water) were dragging too heavily, and the nose dipped into the water, the prop hit the gravel bottom with a shattering crash at the same instant the hub dug in and zip – we were on our backs looking where we had just come from. We both bumped our knees slightly when we went over, but not even as badly as if you slipped and fell on the wooden floor. I didn’t know how badly the ship was hurt, and felt just furious with myself for having done it. Fear never entered my head at all – just anger.

Tomorrow and Wednesday, this harrowing story continues. Thursday brings a letter from Marian and on Friday, Ced receives a letter from his cousin, Don Stanley, son of Anne (Peabody) Stanley, sister-in-law to Grandpa.

Judy Guion