Peabodys and Duryees – Grandma Peabody Writes to Ced – October 15, 1943

 

Grandma Anna Charlotta (Westlin) Peabody

5 Minetta St.

New York 12, N.Y.

Oct. 15, 1943

Dear Cedric

I hope you will forgive me for waiting all these months and delaying writing and thanking you for the lovely birthday greeting. Coming a little “late” did not change the charm of your note, I wish I was worthy of all your praise.

Of course I take it for granted you know I have been under the weather for over a year. Kemper and Ethel (Peabody) took the best of care of me, but yet, there was something lacking. I had a lovely room and their whole house is beautiful. They really have a fine dairy farm. Besides the manager there were seven hired men. Uncle Kemper was kept busy in his office. There was so much detail for him to learn. He was here two weeks ago and had dinner with Dorothy (Peabody) and me. He said Ethel will be down later in the fall, she is very busy canning vegetables out of their own garden. That makes me think of my planting Four Hills of Potatoes. I left Trumbull too early to know if there would be enough or one meal. Bugs got after them and Mrs. Warden (The Wardens are renting the apartment in the Trumbull House) sprayed them but that was done probably too late. The Wardens seem like nice people, and how Skippy and Susan love to come in to the big house. Uncle Burton (Peabody) was home for a short visit the last week of August and was looking fine. Do you know he was promoted to Major just a year after he got his commission as Captain? He is stationed in Washington in the air service, as a liaison officer.

Aunt Anne ((Peabody) Stanley) spends her weekends at our apartment. It is so nice to be where anyone of the family is welcome. When she is with us she does most of the work and I just rest. I was terribly sorry I flunked in Trumbull. I did enjoy being there. Everybody was so nice to me and Aunt Betty and I got along fine as far as I know. She is such a sweet woman. But we were both old and I believe she was not always feeling any too well, but she is better off than I was. I had a letter from your father this week telling about all the family which is always so interesting. I do hope you can come home for Christmas and that you can make us a visit. In his letter he tells of Alfred and Marian’s being engaged, and that Jean is fixing up the house beautifully. I am so glad she can help out. She is such a lovely girl. I believe Dick was lucky to get such a fine wife. You seem to keep away from any love affairs, – but Aunt Betty believes you will fall hard when that time comes. I think it’s a good thing and not to be in too much of a hurry. (Ced was just 6 months shy of his 40th birthday when he married.)

Are you and Rusty still living together? Nice you have somebody to be with that you have known so long. Is he married?

Allen, Uncle Kenneth, Joyce, Aunt Nora and Muriel Peabody

(Muriel had just been born when Ced visited Uncle Kenneth and Aunt Nora, in Star Prairie, Wisconsin during his Coming of Age Adventure in 1934.)

I hear from Nora quite often. Allen graduated from high school last June and sent me an invitation to be present. At Christmas time he sent me a photo of himself. He is quite a nice looking young man. Nora has mentioned you many times and wishes you belonged to her, you can see how well she thinks of you but she is not the only one who loves you. We all do. When you come to visit D. and me at Christmas I hope I can make you a pie. I would just love to do it. The bird you sent me I still have and the basket I keep my crocheting in.

Loads of love,

Grandmother

Please remember me to Rusty

Tomorrow and Friday, a two-part letter from Grandpa To the Members of the Medical Staff – Everywhere, Just Everywhere.

Judy Guion

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The Brginning (26) – Reminiscences of Alfred D Guion (1884 – 1964) – Talking About Arla (Peabody) Guion

The following memories are quotes from “Reminiscences of Alfred D.  Guion”, written in 1960 while he was on a four-months “around the world” freighter trip. 

At this point I will begin adding the memories of the children as they were growing up.

 

                           Arla Mary Peabody Guion – portrait

A.D. – In Trumbull, we became interested in local activities.  A local volunteer fire company was started in which I was a charter member.  To raise money to buy firefighting equipment we ran annual carnivals which were successful for many years, and in which the old Waverley Electric car played a part.

CED – We still have a series of pictures of the old Waverley in the backyard.  Rusty and some of his friends, my mother and my Aunts, all dressed up in these beautiful costumes from the 1900’s that were in good condition in the attic.  They all dressed up in these clothes and we took pictures of them in the Waverley.  Rusty pretended to be the groom and Aunt Dorothy was the bride.  Rusty had this stovepipe hat on and all the ladies were all dressed up.  Of course, the Waverley didn’t have any tires on it, but it looked nice.

We had an old Waverley Electric car in the barn.  Dick, poor Dick, got all excited about the war effort.  He thought, “Well, gee, here’s this old junk car and it’s pretty well shot.”  The fire department was looking for scrap metal.  Dick was very patriotic and he thought he’d give them the Waverley, and at the same time, help the war effort.

A.D. – I became Justice of the Peace, and Judge of the local traffic court.  Later, for two terms, I served as the town’s First Selectman, during which time we celebrated the 300th anniversary of the town and also saw an old mine property converted into a public park.  Arla became President of the Women’s Community Club, and was active in the Parent Teachers and other civic affairs, especially where common sense and sympathetic help was needed.

LAD – I don’t have many memories of my mother.  I remember that she was involved in the Women’s Club, and was very, very well-liked by everybody.  We always had a lot of visitors.  She was very outgoing and friendly and quite pretty.  She was very active in the community.  Other than the fact that Mom was involved in the community a great deal, she was a good mother.  We all liked her very much, got along with her.

CED – I don’t believe my mother had a single enemy in Trumbull.  She was President of the Women’s Community Club, and she was very, very good to the family.  She had practically all of our Aunts and some of our Uncles living with us in Trumbull at various times.  We had a big house and most of them lived in New York City.  When they had vacations and when we had holidays, they’d all come up on the train from New York.  Sometimes they would drive – it would take them about four hours on the Post Road.  I remember those trips too.  Traffic was all over the place, stop and go, stop and go.

I always said that I knew one person in town that my mother didn’t like.  This woman had two sons, one of them was my age and he was my best friend.  I always liked Dick.  His older brother was about your father’s (Lad’s) age and he got us in trouble a couple of times.  I don’t believe that the woman ever knew that my mother didn’t like her because she was … I can’t gossip … She was very critical of other people and that bothered my mother.

LAD – My mother was very active in town, she was very public-spirited.  She helped plant flowers on the green, that sort of thing.

Our house was the center for the local population.  All the kids our age congregated at our house because of everything, and my mother, of course.  She was very pro-social, in her own life and in ours.  She was a wonderful woman.

We were really one big happy family and we really had fun growing up.  Arnold Gibson was part of that group; he was more a part of the family group.  He was very fond of our family, and spent a lot of time with us.  Arnold was devoted to my mother, too.  Everybody knew that he loved her.

For the rest of the week, I’ll continue posting more memories of growing up in Trumbull.

Judy Guion

 

Trumbull – Dear Sheiks (4) – A Note From Elsie Duryee – August 13, 1944

This is the final segment of a letter written by Grandpa to his sons scattered around the world.

Elsie May Guion, summer, 1946

And now here is a rather pleasant surprise – – the “outside viewpoint” in these weekly letters which has been absent for some time. I have the honor to present a veteran of the last war, an ex-Red–Cross worker, Miss E. M. Guion:

Hello, Folks! – a la Mickey Mouse. New York got too “hot” for me so I ran out on it for a week until the heat is off, and now I’m in hiding in Trumbull. When I arrived at the door last night, there, right on the mat before the door, was a hand-lettered welcome to me from the Guions, in stunning great big black letters. I felt really welcome.

Speaking above of me as a veteran of the last war, I am thinking that if Dan should somehow get to St. Nazaire, he might walk along the waterfront where there are dwelling houses and in one of them I lived for about three months while working at base hospital # 1 just outside the city. It was one morning in December, I remember, when the maid of the house came to bring a picture of hot water and as she closed the window she said she couldn’t understand why Americans wanted to keep the windows open all night. All this to say that if Dan gets to St. Nazaire, he might see if anything has happened to that row of little houses. I enjoyed my work there and had fun too.

The shop in New York is getting along. We serve many servicemen and when they buy things we absorb the tax ourselves – and 20% and 1% sometimes loom big, but that’s our bit that we can do for those who are doing so much for us. Well, so long and victory soon. From Elsie.

And that about brings us to the end of the page, with the usual goodbye and good luck, from                                      DAD

Tomorrow, another excerpt from a letter written by John Jackson Lewis about his Voyage to Caifornia and what he finds there. On Sunday, I will continue the story of Lad and Marian Guion as Uncle Sam moves Lad hither and yon before sending him to France.  

Judy Guion

The Beginning – Reminiscences of Alfred D Guion (1884 – 1964) – Larchmont Gardens

The following memories are quotes from “Reminiscences of Alfred D.  Guion, written in 1960 while he was on a four-months “around the world” freighter trip. 

At this point I will begin adding the memories of the children as they were growing up.

 

Alfred Duryee with Daniel in his lap, Arla (Peabody) with Lad in her lap

A.D. – After I had been with the Celluloid Company for about 5 years, my boss was a offered and accepted a job with a large die manufacturer recently grown to huge proportions because the dies, which up to the opening of hostilities, had been a German monopoly.  Mr. Abbott, shortly afterwards, offered me the job of Assistant Advertising Manager of the National Aneline & Chemical Company, which I accepted.  My senior, the Advertising Manager, was a sneering, sarcastic individual who evidently resented my being assigned as his assistant, which did not make for very harmonious relations between us and created the sort of atmosphere in which I found it difficult to do my best creative work.  However, the salary was generous and my growing family made it unwise for me to take too independent and attitude.

The house on Landsowne Dr. in Larchmont Gardens, Larchmont, New York

It seemed about time also for my increasing brood to have a home of their own.  We finally decided on a lot in Larchmont Gardens, and with the money I had saved, I bought 1 of the firstt “Redi-cut” homes on the market and with the help of my father-in-law, who was Construction Superintendent on the N. Y.  Central, aided by one of his workmen on his free days, the house was erected.  The garage to hold the Franklin car, I built myself with the aid of friends and neighbors on weekends and holidays, in sort of an old-time building bee fashion.  My two nearest neighbors, the Burnhams and Batchelders, became lifelong friends.  My brother-in-law, Fred Stanley, on one of these weekend parties, brought along a fellow artist, Rusty Heurlin, who at once won all hearts by his personality and was responsible for many happy times.  He is one of Alaska’s leading artists of Arctic life.  The children all loved him and he was always a welcome guest and cherished friend.

Lad – 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.

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 neighbor’s garage but ours stood strong.  Roger Batchelder was that kind of a guy.

Rusty Heurlin was introduced into the family by Fred Stanley, (Aunt) Anne’s husband.  They were both artists, so it was through Fred Stanley, who married Anne Peabody, that he became acquainted with the Peabody clan.  Later, he met Dad.  We were kids, still living in Larchmont, so I was under five and the other kids were younger.

Cedric Duryee Guion

A.D. – With the exception of Dave, our youngest, who was born in Bridgeport Hospital, all our children spent their early years in Larchmont.  Dan was a mischievous little imp.  I recall one time when baby Cedric was taking his afternoon nap on the screened porch; Dan procured a bottle of shellacking and proceeded to paint Ced’s face with it.  You can imagine his Aunt Dorothy’s shocking surprise when she glanced in and saw our baby son suddenly changed into a Negro.  On another occasion, I walked into the kitchen and found Dan seated on the floor by the refrigerator busily breaking eggs on the linoleum.  Lad, early, showed an interest in mechanical things and was always quite a help in fixing things around the house.

On one summer’s day Arla and I motored to Mount Vernon to visit Mother Guion, leaving the children in care of their Aunt Anne. Ced, who was playing on the window seat in his upstairs nursery, somehow loosened the window screen and both he and it fell to the ground below, Ced landing on his head in the flower bed. Anne at once phoned us and I recall breaking all speed laws and safety regulations speeding back to Larchmont.  Apparently no harm resulted and in a short time the youngster was playing as usual.

Tomorrow I will continue the story of the Guion children in Larchmont Gardens.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Dear Travelers All (2) – Elsie Pinch Hits for Grandpa – August 22, 1943

Elsie May Guion – Grandpa’s sister

And now dear children, I have quite a pleasant surprise for you. As you know, August 22nd  is Elsie’s birthday (Incidentally Ced, I never have any trouble remembering your PO Box number on this account). She is making a personal appearance. It gives me great pleasure to introduce …..MISS GUION.

Thank you, thank you, Maestro Guion and howdy Lad, Dan, Ced and Dick. To make this an extra special occasion for myself, I came up Friday night and caught the 10:30 bus. No, I’m not celebrating my birthday anymore! But my brother did in his usual, expansive style.

My home life remains the same as usual – going back and forth to the Shop. I suppose I’m doing my bit by staying on the job, but I’d feel better if the commodities we deal in and were vital to the war effort. I’d feel better if I was riveting something or working on airplanes with the possibility of being sent overseas to do something there or preparing to work overseas in the postwar period. I hate to think of the war coming and going without my having put my finger into the war itself somewhere or somehow.

I’m still at the Tudor and trying to get along on less and less – what with increasing taxes and the increasing cost of food. Restaurant food is so high and the quality so correspondingly low that we try to eat home as much as possible but the heat of summer makes it impossible to keep perishable things without ice. A young woman comes to us every day and helps us until about 7:30 P.M. she comes at 5:00 P.M., after her daytime job in an architect’s office. On Sunday she goes to New Jersey and on Monday brings us nice ripe tomatoes, string beans, squash, etc. Not all at once, of course. But we enjoy the fresh vegetables. It’s a rare treat.

Just now Aunt Betty and I and Smoky took a walk up to the ol’ swimmin’ hole. It looks deserted – weeds are overgrown all around, there’s not too much water running on account of little rain lately, and it looks forgotten. Smoky barked a cow out of her afternoon nap, splashed in the water several times and was the only one to show real activity.

Well, here’s wishing you and you and you and you the best of good fortune in the days ahead. I wish I were on the seas going places. So long,

Elsie

Jean (Mortensen – Mrs. Richard

Jean has been spending the last few days at Fairfield Beach with Barbara (Plumb) and some other girls. I think the cottage is owned by Helen Berger. Anyway, she is one of the party. Jean lives in hourly anticipation of hearing from Dick. I had definite instructions to call her anytime of the day or night if word should come from her M.P. (Married Partner), but to date this has not been necessary.

Things go on here in the regular routine. Everything, both inside and outside the house, remains about the same. Meantime, Ced, the little blue boats in your room continue to sail on their interminable journeys to unnamed ports, awaiting the day when you will, to the haven of Trumbull from distant Alaska appear, and plop will go the anchor for a bit of shore leave. Until that time, keeping the beacon light burning bright will be the job of your old lighthouse keeper (and cook),

DAD

Letters from Grandpa will fill the week but there will be a quick telegram from Lad.

Judy Guion

The Beginning (17) The Reminiscences of Alfred Duyee Guion – 1884 – 1964

 

The following memories are quotes from “Reminiscences of Alfred D.  Guion, written in 1960 while he was on a four-months “around the world” freighter trip.

 

  Arla Peabody as The Virgin Mary

A short time later I joined the Century Publishing Company, on the Advertising staff of St. Nicholas Magazine.  Up to this time I had thought that someday when the right girl came along I should probably get married but during these years I had never really fallen in love, perhaps because my standards of what an ideal wife should be were pretty high and I had not met anyone to seriously challenge that standard, although the young Peabody girl was frequently in my thoughts.

Then one Christmas season the church or Sunday school staged a religious play with a Nativity scene and Arla Peabody was chosen to play the part of the Virgin Mary. She wore a soft white scarf over her head and carried a doll for the infant Christ.  That night as I watched her holding the child with tender contentment and a placid dreamy look in her soft brown eyes, something inside me suddenly exploded.  I had read about “love at first sight”, but this wasn’t first sight.  Here was a girl I had known and seen for several years, but apparently I had not seen her at all.  This couldn’t be the same girl!  Had I been blind?  Here was the most enchanting person anywhere in the world.  I didn’t know what had happened to me.  I was in a daze.  The room was crowded with people I knew but I didn’t see anyone else.  I didn’t speak to anyone else.  I didn’t dare speak to her; she was too far above me.  Somehow I found my hat and groped my way out the door and on my way home.  It may have been cold outside.  I didn’t know.  All I could think of on my way home was how I could be worthy of even speaking to her.  One moment I would be hugging myself with the thought that I knew her and perhaps she would notice me, the next moment I was in the depths of despair knowing that everyone who had ever seen her must have appreciated what I had been too blind to see and that I would stand a poor chance when such a wonderful girl had so many potential husbands to choose from.  I prayed to God for help in making her love me.  Never in my life, before or since, have I felt so overwhelmed as I did then.  I knew how St. Paul had felt on the road to Damascus when a bright light transformed him.  In a word, quite suddenly, I was head over heels in love with Arla Peabody.  She didn’t know it and I was afraid to tell her because she might not reciprocate and then life would just be a blank.  The thing to do was to woo her with every wile I could command, fearful all the while that someone else would win her heart first.  It was a far from happy time for me and I am afraid I must have seemed a bit queer to all who knew me.

I got up nerve a few weeks later to ask my mother timidly what she thought of her and was immensely gratified when she answered favorably.  I suppose like lovers the world over before and since, things followed a regular pattern but it was a long time before I could believe anyone since the world began could love a girl as I loved her, simply because there had never been anyone as perfect as she.  I suppose she knew how I felt long before I told her.  I used to make up all kinds of excuses to visit her home, using her brothers and sisters who were all likable youngsters, as reasons, on matters concerning church, choir, Sunday school, etc. The more I saw her in her home and noticed the tactful and gentle way in which she handled her little brothers and sisters, the willing help she gave her mother around the house, the dependence and trust her mother showed her, all convinced me, aside from viewing her with a lovers eye, that she would be an ideal wife and mother, and in this, as was afterwards proven, I was right.

Some nights, even when I knew her whole family would be in bed, I would walk my dog Spot the long distance over to her house just so I could look at the place where she lived.  There was only one girl I would ever want as long as I lived.  I was a “one girl man” and would remain so all of my days.

Tomorrow and for the rest of the week I”l continue posting the story of Alfred Duryee Guion in his own words, written in 1960.

Judy Guion

 

My Ancestor – Alfred Duryee Guion – 1884 – 1964

Last June I  read about a Challenge, 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks, and I was intrigued. I decided to take up the challenge. Some Ancestors may take more than one week, but I still intend to write about 52 Ancestors. I hope you enjoy reading about My Ancestors as much as I am looking forward to researching and writing about them.

(1) Alfred Duryee Guion; (2) Alfred Peabody Guion; (3) Judith Anne Guion

 

Alfred Duryee Guion

Alfred Beck Guion

Ella (Duryee) Guion

Excerpts From Reminiscences of Alfred D Guion:

In 1884, the year I was born, that part of Fifth Ave., New York City, where my parents lived, was “uptown” which meant somewhere above 59th St.

                   Alfred Duryee and Elsie May Guion about 1895

From the time I was 3 years old until I was married, we lived in Mount Vernon, a small suburb some 13 miles from Grand Central.  My only sister Elsie was born there in a house on 11th Avenue.  Soon thereafter we moved into a brand-new house which my father had built in a newer part of town known as Chester Hill.  Here I spent most of my childhood.

My father worked for a brokerage firm in Wall Street and was quite conscientious, so much so that in years of panic (today we would call it depression) losses of his clients, as well, I suspect, as of his own, worried him to the extent of bringing on heart trouble.  He died in his 40’s from angina pectoris, leaving a heavily mortgaged home and comparatively little life insurance.  A Masonic friend of my father’s kindly stepped in and negotiated sale of the Lincoln Avenue house for a  smaller house on Dell Avenue, with a small cash surplus.  It entailed a considerably lower standard of living.

fr: Ella Duryee Guion, Elsie Guion; back: Alfred Duryee Guion, Aunt Mary and Aunt Lillian

After my grandfather died, my aunts, Mary, Lillian and Lizzie (who preferred to be called Aunt Betty) came to live with us and helped share in living expenses.

The interval between moving out of the Lincoln Avenue house and carpentry work on the renovated Dell Avenue house was finished, we spent in a rented house, and while there I contracted Scarlet Fever.  The house of course was quarantined and my patient mother was my nurse.

As Lincoln Avenue was the home of my childhood and boyhood, 71 Dell Ave., Mount Vernon, was the home of my youth and early married life. There I emerged from High School, started a business, married and began bringing up a family.

In my sophomore year of High School I became more and more obsessed with the idea that my duty and responsibility was to get out and earn my own keep instead of continuing to be a burden financially to my mother; thus I would sooner be able to feel I was really helping to support my mother as it was my duty to do.  I finally put up to my mother the idea of quitting high school and going to work.

Excerpt form Grandpa’s Resume:

I don’t recall what here I first started into work as an office boy at the Bankers Life Insurance Company on my first job at 4 dollars a week, but I do know that in May, 1903 I was working there at 31 Nassau St., New York City.

At the end of May 1903, I took a job across the street with a much larger company, the Mutual Life Insurance Company.

The next year I took the job as stenographer in the purchasing Department of the American Smelting and Refining Company, controlled by the seven Guggenheim brothers.

On October 30 I left Smelting to take a job with the estate of C.  P.  Huntington.  It was while there I bid on a set of Sheraton furniture for my boss in competition with Mrs. Vanderbilt.

I was fired from there with a month’s salary in advance and a week later landed a job with Saint Nicholas magazine.

           Arla Mary Peabody

             Alfred Duryee Guion

 

   Certificate of Marriage, Alfred Duryee Guion and Arla Mary Peabody

Grandpa holding Dan and Grandma holding Alfred (Lad).

During the six years I was with the Century Publishing Company, I was married and two little boys (Alfred and Daniel) arrived to make our hearts glad and worry their mother by riding kiddy cars down Darling Avenue Hill.

Arla Mary Peabody Guion with her first five children – Dan, Lad, Ced, Dick and Biss

On February 19, 1917, I left to take a better job with the Celluloid Company, and Ced and Elizabeth put in an appearance.  This was during the great world war.  I was exempted from the draft because of my family but I did join a home defense league and drilled with a club to protect the building from possible rioters.

My boss left Celluloid Company and went to a bigger job with the National Aneline and Chemical Company, and persuaded me to come with him.  In 1920 Dick was born and we moved to Trumbull, soon after which I left National and in the fall of 1923 I joined the Bridgeport Brass Company.

In March 1928, I left to start my own company, Guion Advertising in Bridgeport, Connecticut.

For a much more detailed report of Grandpa’s life, check out my posts in the category “The Beginning”, published every third week on my blog.

Tomorrow, I’ll begin a week of letters from 1944. All five brothers are serving Uncle Sam, all around the world, and Grandpa tries to keep them well- informed of all the goings-on of siblings and friends.

Judy Guion