Trumbull – Dear Offspring – Messages and Sundry Answers – August, 1945

Trumbull House in summer

Trumbull, Conn., August 5, 1945

Dear Offspring:

Well, we hit the jack-pot this week. The wheel stopped on the right number – – five it was. So I’ve just spent this Sunday afternoon and evening copying letters for your enjoyment from every single one of you.  (These letters were posted during the week of February 27th – March 3rd)  In consequence, my typewriter finger is kinder frayed and weak but I’ll try to dash off a few more lines before it fails entirely.

First, about Jean. She got off alright Thursday from LaGuardia field. Marian went down with her, as did also Pa and Ma Mortensen. Aunt Elsie (Duryee, Grandpa’s Aunt) joined them at Grand Central and all went over to see Jean take off. She wired she had arrived safely and perhaps tomorrow we shall get more details by letter.

Still no definite word about Dan’s leap off the dock. There is a neck and neck race on as to whether Dan will come through first with an account of the nuptials or Lad will furnish his version. Marian has received letters from Lad written before and ten days after but the one in between, with the real dope, has not yet arrived. Here’s hoping.

To come back to Jean. Monday before she left we were able to obtain some meat and had over for dinner, Mrs. Ives and a friend who was staying with her, Ethel, Southworth’s (Ted and Marge) and Watson from the apartment, and altogether it was a very pleasant party.

Now messages and sundry answers. Lad. No, Bissie never got back her pocketbook or its contents. Ethel says Carl is not enjoying his course at all. He is doubtful of passing as it is given at high pressure and has much mathematics, in which he does not like and always had trouble with in school. Dan. As you have probably already heard, the Army is said to have decided not to lower the point total for the present, which leaves you in the same spot as Lad, except that he evidently is not going to get a furlough in the states. If there is any justice in things however, it seems to me that the boys who are sent to the Pacific without first coming home should be the first to be sent back after the Japs fold up. Ced. The boys in the apartment are going to keep their eyes and ears open and if they hear of a plane that looks suitable, will let you know at once. Dick. Don’t want to rub it in at all, but we had corn on the cob for dinner today and Aunt Betty recalled how you once had consumed 14 ears at one sitting. Dave. The young folks, who are here now, are planning some sort of a blowout here next Saturday to present Vichiola with some sort of gift. He is home from the Pacific and may be discharged. I will see what I can do about lining up a used camera although everything in this line is scarcer than butterflie’s eyebrows.

There are probably a dozen other things I will think about tomorrow that I might have included in this letter but right now I’m sort of washed up on ideas – – probably the shock of hearing from you all within so short a space of time has sort of unseated my mentality for the moment (I hope). Anyway, I am willing to undergo the same sort of thing again. In time I might even get used to it. Try it and see.

In a happy fog,

Dad

Trumbull – Dear Absentees – Ced Misses His Party – June, 1943

This weekly missive from Grandpa catches up on the doings of all his children, Lad (California), Dan (Pennsylvania), Ced (Alaska) and Dick (just left Miami Beach for Indiana), all in the service of their country. Ced’s (Alaska) birthday is June 1st, and his family remembers, as Grandpa mentions in his usual tongue-in-cheek manner. Elizabeth (Biss) is married with two sons, Butch(4) and Marty (2).

Trumbull, Conn.      June 6, 1943

Dear Absentees:

With all this talk about the naughtiness of absenteeism, it seems to me it’s about time some of you stay-away-from-homer’s would take the lesson to heart and come back

Alfred (Lad) Guion in California

Alfred (Lad) Guion in California

once in a while and help me mow the lawn. But there is this — after working my fingers to the bone and staying up until the small hours of the morning sewing on your pinafore’s, you up and away, leaving me to shovel snow in winter and chase moths out of your clothes in summer, which reminds me, Lad, to report the sad news that even after what I thought was sufficient precaution those pesky little insects did get one pair of your gray pants and ate some ventilation holes in them. Unless they come with a blowtorch next time, however, I don’t think mama moth will lay any more eggs in your clothes this time.

Daniel (Dan) Beck Guion

Daniel (Dan) Beck Guion

Dan and his General don’t hit it off very well, it seems. He didn’t get home this week either end of the slice of Grandpa’s pie I have been saving for him now for five weeks is beginning to look a little green around the gills. Three more weeks of this delay and we will have to make it into a pudding. Anyway, he keeps me posted regularly once a week which is a lot better than neither hearing from him or seeing him. As the old saying goes, “It’s a long lane that has no ash barrel”, and sooner or later he’ll nonchalantly drop in and ask how the crops are coming. Which reminds me: instead of taking my daily walk, I have been grasping a hoe these mornings and aiding Mr. Laufer hoeing potatoes.

No letters from either Lad or Ced this week, but Jean (Dick’s wife) sent two excellent snapshots which I was very glad to get, and says in the letter accompanying them that Dick has finally departed for Indiana along with the husbands of the two other girls Jean has been living with in Miami Beach. As soon as they learn more definitely as to destination, the three of them will pack up their duds and will trail their fleeing husbands to their lairs, their present plans being to make the trip by bus for economy’s sake.

Your youngest brother, in company with two girls and Howard Mehigan spent yesterday in New York, devoting most of their time to Radio City. Elizabeth reports Marty will

Elizabeth (Biss) Guion Zabel

Elizabeth (Biss) Guion Zabel

have to have his tonsils out. Next Sunday she plans to have Marty baptized at the Trumbull church. In order to have it “take” she has had his head shaved so that he looks positively bald.

We have had lately some of the rare June days immortalized by the poets, some of them have been pretty hot in Bridgeport, but the shade trees in Trumbull make the house delightfully cool, as perhaps you may recall from the long-ago days when you used to live here. Both Aunt Betty (Duryee, Grandpa’s Aunt) and Grandma (Peabody, his Mother-in-Law) seem to be thriving and enjoying themselves. As usual they asked to be remembered to you all. We celebrated Ced’s birthday by burning incense before his picture, discussing all his faults and eating a good dinner on his behalf, but somehow or other it didn’t go over so big with the main guest absent.

As by now you must have discovered there is not much news to write about, so there is no use my bluffing any longer. Moreover my bathtub beckons, so I’ll toddle off to my trundle bed and dream of my pretty toys — boys.

Hasta luego and buenos notches, as usual, from

DAD

Tomorrow, another letter from Grandpa, reporting news from Trumbull for his sons in far off places.

Saturday and Sunday I’ll post two more segments of the Autobiography of Mary E Wilson.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Dear Decorations – May, 1943

This weekend, some family members and two neighbors join Grandpa and his household for a Sunday dinner outside to celebrate Decoration Day, known as Memorial Day now. The weather is beautiful and Grandpa waxes poetic about his “Little Flowers” away from home.

Alfred Duryee Guion

May 30, 1943 at Trumbull, Conn.

Dear Decorations:

Surely that’s an appropriate salutation for today’s letter. And how are all of Daddies Little Flowers?

Excuse, please. This is me – – your Aunt Dee – – I feel like a brute since your Dad had to get out of his comfortable chair so I could take my turn at the typewriter. And when I say take my turn it sounds easy. But this is work! – – Not writing you (Daddy’s Little Flowers), that is a delight – – but doing it on this machine. Doubtless you have all taken a “turn” yourselves,, one time or another, and you will understand what I mean. And in case you don’t – – I mean this particular machine isn’t streamlined. Catch? (in case you haven’t seen your cousin Gweneth in the last couple of years you may not know that that is one of her favorite expressions.) By the way, Donald is back on these shores from his maiden voyage – why, please, do they call a man’s trip his maiden voyage? Unless it might have something to do with Donald’s stay in Ireland –for details of which please contact him yourself. Anyway, he said the girls in Ireland were alright! I’d better stop and give Dad a chance — much love to you all – – I think of you often – – and we all missed you muchly today. Your ears must have burned plenty for you and your far-flung stations took a good bit of our conversation time. Love again to all – – and my best to Jean (if Dick dares let her read what Donald has to say about traveling.) Aunt Dee

Hi ho, it’s me again. I was just developing the flower thoughts when Dorothy volunteered to add bits of variety to the weekly bugle, for of course you know there is the bugle plant. Yes, we really have quite a little family garden. There is Lad who stays up dancing until all hours of the night – my Night Blooming Cereus; and Dan used to be so good about going to bed early nights (used to be, I said) and up bright and early – our Morning Glory; Ced in the far North typifies Snow on the Mountain; Dick with his leading towards jazz bands is our Red Hot Poker, and Jean with her 17 pairs of shoes, well, what more appropriate than Lady Slipper. Of course, given time, I could work up something about the Honesty Plant, the Forget-Me-Not for those that don’t write and the Angels Trumpet for those that do, and if I felt mean I could bring in the Lily somewhere. As it is I’ll end this little digression by admitting that I am very happy to have so many son flowers.

The weather has been grand and glorious both yesterday and today. Elsie and Dorothy both trained up from New York, Elizabeth and her two mischiefs came over for dinner, which we held out under the old half apple tree, in which we were joined by Mrs. Ives, who we called away from a weeding job in her Victory Garden, and Mrs. Warden. Paul has just purchased an 18 foot sailboat which he and Dave brought up here on Walter Mantle’s trailer for repainting. Carl is rushing repairs to his boat so that it will be in good shape for sale as he has just received word from Uncle Sam to report Tuesday. He hurt his finger a while ago and has had it bandaged for a couple of weeks so that may possibly delay his induction. It is pretty near time for young Carl to put in an appearance, so it may work out that instead of Carl missing seeing his new baby by a foot he will make it hand-ily. Joke.

Dan has written quite regularly once a week lately, and we did so hope he might be able to get home this weekend. Jean, too, has been faithful and conscientious about writing. Her letter this week says that Dick has been moved to another hotel preparatory to leaving for Indiana or Ohio.

Love,

DAD

Two more letters from Grandpa will finish off the week.

On the weekend, more of the Autobiography of Mary E Wilson.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Dear Boy Backsliders (1) – October, 1941

Trumbull, Conn., October 18, 1941

Dear boy backsliders (but dear nevertheless):

Judy_0003This is getting to be a very one-sided correspondence. Do you realize that I haven’t heard from either of you since Dan left? That was, what? Sept. 18th? Just a month today, if so. Dan says: “That just shows what happens without ?????????????????????me there to keep them lined up in the matter of letter writing regularly.” I think Aunt Betty is getting a bit concerned because every night when I come home she asks if I have heard from the boys yet. I do hope there will be something in the mailbox tomorrow. You didn’t even fill in my questionnaire which would be a simple thing to do and would only take a few minutes. I will even send you a stamped, addressed envelope if that will help. I hate to start in every letter in this vein but it is a matter quite close to my heart and I do wish you both would exert a little willpower and grab off a few spare ten minutes here and there so that so long an interval will not elapse. Why don’t each of you make it a rule to write every other week, even if it is only a few lines. Surely this will not be a hardship. If I should stop writing for a month (which I don’t intend to do) wouldn’t you get the least bit anxious? Or wouldn’t you? Someday I suppose you will sit down and write, “Cut out this letter complaint. You ought to have learned by this time it does not accomplish any results anyway.” So be it, and I’ll go on with what meager news there is.

?????????????????Aunt Betty is coming along finely. All this week she has been down in the kitchen the better part of the day. Miss Pack, the visiting nurse, comes in the morning, gets Aunt Betty fixed up and down stairs for lunch. I have brought the nickel pipe armchair in the kitchen and she spends most of the afternoon and that until we get home at night. She then has supper with us after which I take her up to bed. She is gradually, but definitely, getting back the use of her hand. The doctor did not come at all this week. The nurse tells her she is making real progress.

Mrs. Warden and her new baby are back from the hospital. Paul has changed the location of the stove to the other side of the mantel. Dan is working at a machine in the Producto Co., which requires his constant dipping his hand in kerosene which has resulted in sort of a skin burn similar in its result to sunburn in that the skin peels from his hands. There is a rumor that he will be given another job this next Tuesday. He has now a driver’s license and in consequence, he planned to go to New York this afternoon for his trunk. His first intention was to take my car but he finally persuaded Lad to drive down in his car with Cecilia (Mullins, Lad’s girlfriend) and Dan with Barbara (Plumb, Dan’s girlfriend) and after getting the trunk loaded on, I suppose they will have supper somewhere and make a night of it – – possibly taking in some show. I have recommended Fantasia ( http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0032455/ ). They started from here about 2:30 in order to make this possible and still have Cecelia in the party (The Mullins were planning on a 3 o’clock dinner today) we invited Cecelia over here to dinner.

In the town the drive for the ambulance fund is on. Saturday night’s paper reported the collection of $800 of the $3000 goal. The drive ends next Wednesday and they are counting on doing quite a bit of soliciting today, so I’m waiting to see what total will be reported tomorrow night. I composed and processed the letter which was sent out in advance of calls and naturally I am interested in what results they bring.

Last night, Dan and Dave and the gang went bowling in Long Hill.

Tomorrow I’ll post the rest of this lettr, including more news from Trumbull, to Ced and Dick, both still in Alaska.

Over the weekend, more from the Autobiography of Nary E Wilson.

Judy Guion

Army Life (5) – Letters From Dave and Aunt Helen – July, 1945

Letter from Dave dated July 24th.

Got your letter written July 8th. I’m glad to see you’re giving thought to this business of seeing the world. About having someone take care of the house, I guess I’ll have to get married. Will that solve the problem? If all the boys moved off to other parts of the world with their families, I could stay there at “Ye Olde Homesteade” with you and the business and we could keep things going. Then, no matter what may happen, there’d always be a home to come back to. My vote is to keep the house by all means. If on the other hand, one of the married factions of the family should stay on in Connecticut and want to live in the house, you and I could set up house in another place. As far as I can see there are no problems.

One thing I’d like to have Dad, is a camera. I suppose that’s an impossible item to get back there. That’s why I put off asking for one ‘til now. I’ve been hoping to get my hands on one here but it seems to be hopeless. I don’t want a good one – – just any old thing that will record the places I’ve been and seen. Yesterday I saw Naha for the first time – – what a mess !! The whole countryside down there is torn up. You’d never know that Naha was as big as it was. So far we haven’t seen anything in the way of typhoons. We get reports of them every so often. For instance, we got a report of the one that hit the naval force off Japan. It was coming up from the south but missed us. Okinawa now has lost a good deal of its quaintness. Native buildings, and in some cases, whole villages, are gone. New, well-made roads have been cut and airfields

Page 6  (continuation of Dave’s letter)

are going up all over. It seems every time they find 3 square feet of flat land they start to build a strip on it. I saw my first B-29 at Kadera airfield the other day – – are they beautiful !! On the side door in the rear of the monster these words were inscribed: “Through These Portals Pass The World’s Best Pilots”. Okinawa, having lost its quaintness in my eyes, is becoming less enjoyable to me. It’s been awfully hot and I’d welcome cooler weather even at the expense of meeting the Imperial Emperor at his home – – provided, of course, that Gen. Stillwell is right in front of me. Don’t try to read between the lines and guess I’ll be moving soon. We’ve received no orders, but just in case I should ever stop writing for a month or so you can expect the letter following the elapsed time to be full of news – – sights in a new land.

July 9, 1945

July 9, 1945

In the July 9th issue of Time magazine there is a picture of a landing spot on Okinawa. It’s a scene of LSTs and equipment on the beach. This is the point at which I came into Okinawa. I thought it might be interesting for you to see this spot. This picture was taken from what was then a narrow, winding, dirt road. At the time I landed, there wasn’t as much equipment on the beach as the picture shows, however. The picture is in an article about re-conversion under Vinson whose picture appears on the front cover. If you like you could save some pictures of Okinawa. As I don’t have a camera maybe I could tell you something of the island through the pictures you save.

(I have just ordered a copy of this magazine and will perhaps be able to share snippets with you.)

Letter from Aunt Helen dated July 29th.

The news about Jean just bowled me over with joy. I think it is perfectly wonderful and I am very happy for both Jean and Dick – – sorry though for all of you in Trumbull. Ted left on the 23rd for the Bahama Islands. He went to Miami by train and from there took a plane for Nassau. It was all rather sudden and so no time for anything but general preparation. It may be a very brief stay. If it develops into something then of course I’ll go down. And am I hoping it will develop into something !! Ted got there about noon on Thursday so there hasn’t been time for me yet to get any news from Nassau. He enjoyed his trip to Miami and the short stay there looking up old friends. If the job develops it will be on the island of Eleuthera. I never knew before that the Bahamas had such an island. It has 7500 inhabitants and we are betting they are mostly Blacks. Oh, I’m working. I’m in the circulating library at Bloomingdale’s (lending library). By the way, since Ted left there is an extra room here. In fact I can put up two. Of course, whoever comes will have to be on their own during the day. I don’t get home until about 630. Dan’s letter is at Anne’s and she will mail it to Dorothy.

Sorry, but I’m fresh out of further quotes maybe it’s a good thing because my finger is developing corns from soaking this thing for 3 ½ hours on my gold watch and chain.                                                                                                                                                                                                                      ADG

We have reached the end of this 6-page typed letter, the longest I can remember. Grandpa brings the family totally up-to-date on each of the boys in their own words, which highlights their distinctive personalities; Lad’s analytical approach commenting on each letter from Grandpa in chronological order; Dan’s use of  a wide variety of very descriptive words that actually helps you visualize what he is telling you about; Ced’s rambling jaunt from here to there and back again, indicating his penchant for doing many different things and jumping from one to another quickly; an earlier letter from Grandpa finally inspires Dick to compose a letter, showing his quirky sense of humor and his growing confidence in himself; and finally, Dave’s letter from Okinawa, expressing opinions and observations as he did even as a child. Not much from Grandpa but I hope you thoroughly enjoyed hearing from each of his “boys”. 

On Saturday and Sunday, I’ll begin the autobiography of Mary Ellum Wilson, born in England. She came to this country as a young girl but eventually achieved “the American Dream”. She was the mother of a good childhood friend so I knew her personally but never realized how difficult her life had been until I received this from her daughter. It is my honor to share her story with all of you. Enjoy.

Judy Guion

Ced’s Coming of Age Adventure (22) – Special Photo – April, 1935

Peabody - Putnam Burton Peabodys note to Ced re photo - 1935

PEABODY - Kemper Foster Peabody, - 1886

2011 Park Ave., Topeka, Kansas, March 18/35

Dear Cedric:-

I am gathering up, and sending out to my various kindred, a number of trinkets that might interest them. My years must be growing steadily shorter, – and I wish to place my treasures with those that will appreciate and value them.

To YOU, therefore, I am sending an unusually good photo – portrait of your grandfather (Kemper Foster Peabody, Arla Peabody’s father), taken when he was young. It looks exactly as HE did, those days.

I have never been more busy, in all the 79 years of my life, than I am, just now. Several hours at the typewriter, daily, and I am compelled to make EVERYTHING BRIEF.

But I send love to you all: with my very best wishes,

Faithfully yours,

PB Peabody

(Putnam Burton Peabody, oldest brother of Kemper Foster Peabody, Arla Peabody Guion’s Father.)

And so we come to the end of Ced’s Coming of Age Adventure in September, 1934. Ced’s next adventure begins in 1941 when he and his older brother Dan, back from Venezuela for a year, leave Trumbull to travel to Anchorage, Alaska, where they hope to find jobs. 

This coming week I’ll post the stories of Dan and Paulette’s wedding in 1945, told from various viewpoints.

Judy Guion

 

 

Ced’s Coming of Age Adventure (21) – Some Quick Notes – October, 1934

PEABODY - Helen Gillespie s note to Ced - 1934

Dear Cedric,

You don’t know how disappointed we were at not seeing you when you were in this part of the country this summer. I received your card and had planned on going down to Uncle Frank’s to see you when, according to our local physician’s diagnosis, Dale was overcome by the heat and the doctor refused to give his consent to Dale’s leaving. When we did get away you had left for the farm again and we couldn’t take time to go up there. We were terribly sorry not to have seen you and hope you, and the others of the family, will come this way again soon. (Dale’s trouble turned out to be atropine poisoning so wasn’t as serious as it might have been.)

Love,

Helen (Gillespie)

October eight

This note was mailed in Little Falls, Minnesota. I’m not sure how Helen Gillespie is related to Franklin Peabody and when I get some extra time I will try to figure that out. She may have been his younger sister, Helen Sophia, but I need to do some more digging to confirm that.