Ced’s Amazing Adventure (3) – Ossining, New York to Chagrin Falls, Ohio – July 23, 1934

Last weekend I started a series of posts based on the letters, photos and memorabilia Ced collected on a hitchhiking trip from Trumbull, Connecticut to North Dakota and Wisconsin. His Mother, Arla Mary (Peabody) Guion, had passed away the year before and he wanted to get to know the Peabody family members who knew his Mother and to see the place where she grew up. I will continue the story every weekend for a while.

Ced - 1938

Cedric Duryee Guion

Chagrin Falls, Ohio

Monday, July 23, 1934

Dear Dad,

Sorry I could not write sooner but when you get a hitch through the city it is better not to stop at the post office, therefore this is the first convenient time I have had. Now for the story.

I am with the Draz’s and arrived yesterday afternoon. I had trouble finding them because their address is not the one you gave me.

I stayed with Grandmother (Peabody) until Thursday noon and while there, I went with Burton Peabody, His Mother Arla’s brother), Grandma and Aunt Dorothy (Peabody, Grandma Arla’s youngest sister) to three or four places on the Hudson and saw Sing Sing from the outlooks. I had lunch with Grandmother Thursday and she made me some sandwiches and had me take them with me. I got a ride, after walking about 3 miles, in a 1932 Buick with three army officers on their way to a reunion and they were having quite a gay time smoking, drinking and swearing at each other. I left them and walked about 100 feet and caught another Buick which took me about 10 miles and across Bear Mountain Bridge. I walked about 5 miles before getting another ride which was about 5 miles long on the running board of a Studebaker, then I got a short ride and walked about a mile and got another ride about 10 miles, walked another mile and got a ride about a mile long and then I stopped to get something at a little refreshment stand and was presented with a plate of spaghetti and the glass of malted milk with ice cream free of charge. After that I walked until about one o’clock, about six or 7 miles and got about a 10 mile ride. I walked another mile or so and then found a suitable camping spot and spent the night slapping mosquitoes.

The next day, Friday, I walked about 3 miles before getting a ride and then walked about 5 miles and came upon a Connecticut Ford which was packed and got a sort of grudge ride for about 10 miles. Just after that my luck improved and I got rides in two more Fords, then and A. & P. Mack truck picked me up and apparently the governor on it was not in correct adjustment and the driver was having a good time taking corners at high speed. Next I rode with two women without thanking them and they took me about 3 miles then I rode through some wild country in two small delivery trucks, one was a post office truck. Then I got rides in a Ford and a Chrysler which got me to Scranton where I learned Mr. Kreitler is away until September. It started to rain so I put up at a boarding house.

The next day I rode through some of the most beautiful mountains I have ever seen along the Allegheny River Valley; the views were perfect and most of the way through there with a nice man who was on his way home from New York where his wife and little boy and girl were staying. He carried me about 175 miles and as we went, pointed out some points of interest, among them the mystery of nature where there is  nice warm weather and not a cold winter, and places where the mountains were 2427 feet high.

I slept outdoors again Saturday night and Sunday I rode into Cleveland where I found by the telephone book that your address for Draz’s was wrong. Their place is about 18 miles east of Cleveland. I wandered around trying to find out how to get to Chagrin Falls and finally I called from a tavern in Little Italy, and Uncle Frank came down and got me. I expect to stay at Chagrin Falls today and leave tomorrow morning.

CDG - Vehicles - Ossining, NY to Cleveland, Ohio

I am feeling fine and hope you are all well. I am keeping a diary of all autos I ride in and I have quite a list already. We’re going into Cleveland on a sightseeing trip in a few minutes and so, in haste, goodbye until the next time.

Ced

Tomorrow, another post concerning Ced’s Amazing Adventure. Next week I’ll be posting letters written in 1945. The year is drawi9ng to a close and it appears that both Lad and Dick will be home for good by Christmas. 

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Dear Ced (1) – I Have Written To Kemper Peabody – January 11, 1942

Ced and car - 1940 (3)-head shot

Cedric Duryee Guion

Trumbull, Conn., Jan. 11, 1942.

Dear Ced:

Once again letter writing time rolls around. As I glance out of the kitchen window, the kitchen being our living room for the last few days, particularly because of the cold spell, it reveals a typical winter landscape with the white mantle of snow on the ground and the sun valiantly striving to peer through masses of dark clouds which hold a threat of more snow. Last night was bitterly cold, perhaps as much as 10 below zero here. The paper yesterday predicted 20 below in northern New England, so you see Alaska and Conn. are somewhat akin at times.

Your welcome letter of December 28th reached here on the7th, which, while not equaling the speed with which some of my letters have reached you by airmail, is still pretty good time compared with what it was this time last year. Perhaps the importance of Anchorage in the war picture has caused a speeding up of communications. At any rate I hope it will continue to be good as you do not seem quite so far away when only 10 days off.

I have written Kemper (Peabody) in Mount Vernon (his office) asking him to obtain your birth certificate from the City Hall and forward it on to you by airmail, as I figured this method would save time writing back and forth, forwarding necessary fee, etc. I have asked him to let me know the total cost and will take care of reimbursing him from here. I have also taken care of paying your life insurance premium which is due in a few days. And while we are on the financial aspect, I am enclosing income tax blanks in duplicate – – not that I think you will have difficulty in obtaining these blanks locally, but it is my experience the tendency to put such things off until the last moment generally means a wild rushing around trying to meet the deadline with the possibility of error and consequent additional expense, so the possession of blanks may induce a more leisurely attention to this disagreeable task.

Why is it you have to have your birth certificate before you can fly again? Is that a new regulation or is there more behind this than meets the eye? You said nothing in your letter about the draft status. Has Woodley been able to do anything about your deferment beyond the indefinite February date you mentioned some time ago as the time when you would cease to be a civilian? I suppose this will have some bearing on any arrangements you make as to taking a cabin with Rusty after leaving Walsh’s.

I suppose you will be one of the crew that goes out to rescue Don’s stranded plane. This should prove an interesting experience. Incidentally I should think this might be a dramatic subject for a Heurlin picture of a typical Alaskan experience. Does the idea appeal to Rusty?

It was good to know you spent an enjoyable Christmas day. Your caroling  stunt was one of those things you will look back on in years with interest and “fond recollection”. Aunt Betty has just chirped up again, “Give my love to Ced and Rusty”.

Dan got his summons this week and is to report for active duty on the 21st. He quit working for Producto and is now a man of leisure. Knowing Dan, I don’t know how much leisure there will be in his activities. Dick is working at Producto on a lathe at a $.50 an hour rate and seems to like the job. He of course, will register next month.

Tomorrow, the middle of this letter, which is from Dan to Ced and the last bit from Grandpa.  

Judy Guion

Ced’s Amazing Adventure – The First Note Home – July 16, 1934

Ced Guion

Cedric Duryee Guion

Grandpa, Alfred Duryee Guion, lost his wife, Arla Mary Peabody Guion, possibly due to cancer, when she was 41. She left six children. My father, Alfred Peabody (Lad) was the oldest at 19. Daniel Beck (Dan) was 17 and, Cedric Duryee (Ced) had just turned 16. Elizabeth Westlin (Biss) was 14, Richard Peabody  (Dick) was 12 and David Peabody (Dave) was only 7.

The financial burden put on the household due to Arla’s painful and protracted illness was huge. It was 1933 and the country was struggling. Lad and Dan decided that they would get jobs with the CCC (Civilian Conservation Corps) and since they would be living at their work camps during the week, Grandpa didn’t have to feed them and their wages could help support the younger children.

I have received from Ced’s wife a Scrapbook which included memorabilia and the letters from his summer hitchhiking trip. They include the letters he wrote home and some he received on his journey. 

What was going on in the mind of Cedric, I have no idea. Perhaps he thought the older boys knew their Mother better than he did. Perhaps he felt a hollowness in his heart and wanted to fill it with stories from his mother’s childhood. He knew her sisters (Aunt Helen Human, Aunt Anne Stanley and Aunt Dorothy Peabody)  and brothers quite well but the rest of her family was a different story. They remained in the Mid-west where she had grown up. He decided to hitchhike by himself from Trumbull, Connecticut to North Dakota and Wisconsin to find his mother’s roots.

When possible, I’ll try to give you some background on the individuals to help flesh out the story.

CDG - July 16, 1934 - Postcard from Ced to his Father from Aunt Betty's Grand Central Shop 16, 1934

Postcard from Ced to his father from Aunt Betty's Shop in Grand Central Station - July 16, 1934

Postcard from Ced to his father from Aunt Betty’s Shop in Grand Central Station – July 16, 1934

Aunt Betty and Aunt Elsie send their love

Dear Dad                                                                                                                                                                                                    Monday

I am at Aunt Betty’s shop and will write further particulars later. In all my hurry I forgot the summer suit, shirt and slacks and my brown leather pocketbook containing nine dollars. If you would send the pocketbook and clothes along with your letter of approval for identification, and a letter to Grandma explaining my plans to pick it up at Ossining, it would help. Send them to Grandma.

Love and more later.

Ced

Aunt Betty Duryee was Grandpa’s Aunt, the sister of his Mother, Ella Duryee. She ran a shop in Grand Central Station for many years. Aunt Elsie Guion, Grandpa’s sister, worked in the shop with her aunt for some years.

Ced kept a record of all the vehicles he rode in each day (does that remind you of Grandpa?) and he didn’t list any vehicle for Sunday, July 15th, his first day. His second note to his Dad, written on Thursday, explains how his first few days went. I’ll post that note tomorrow.

Judy Guion

Special Picture # 366 Alfred Duryee and Elsie May Guion – circa 1895

Alfred Duryee and Elsie May Guion about 1895

                       Alfred Duryee Guion and Elsie May Guion about 1895

I believe this picture was taken in the mid-1890’s in front of the Lincoln Avenue House in Mount Vernon, NY. Grandpa had not lost his father yet and they hadn’t moved to the much smaller house on Dell Avenue. Notice the hats Grandpa and his sister, Elsie, are wearing. I believe they were wealthy at this time since his father worked on Wall Street as a Broker and the house was designed with various beautiful woods in each room.

Tomorrow I will begin posting a week of letters written near the end of 1945. The holidays are getting closer and the Trumbull House residents are looking forward to sharing them with family members.

Judy Guion

Peabodys and Duryees – Holiday Greetings From Grandmother Peabody – January 8, 1940

This letter to Grandpa is from his Mother-in-Law, Charlotta (Westlin) Peabody.

Grandma Peabody

Grandma Peabody

January 8, 1940

Dear Alfred

Thank you for your Christmas letter. I have been rather slow in answering it but you probably realize we were pretty crowded while Anne (Peabody) Stanley) and the children (Donald and Gweneth) were here and it was hard to find a place where one could sit down in quietness. But we all enjoyed so much having them with us. They looked healthy and very happy. They are all safely back in Virginia. You know how I always worry. I got just enough words from them to say they had arrived home all right. And it was so nice David could be here to, only his visit seemed short. I hope he enjoyed being here as much as we enjoyed having him with us. He is such a nice boy.

I suppose the girls have told you I have been bothered by rheumatism as an aftermath from all I went through on account of my operations.

How lovely of Lad to remember me. If it’s all right with you, I would prefer to have the money and get something for myself. There is, of course, always something needed. I mean to write to Laddy soon.

Aren’t you ever coming to see us? — It was too bad Cedric had to work that Sunday when you had all planned to come. Do plan again.

Dorothy just adores Elizabeth’s baby and that means a great deal, because she does not like babies in general.

Hoping you are all well and with my best wishes for you all, that 1940 will bring lots of happiness and prosperity.

I am with love,

Mother Peabody

Tomorrow and Sunday, I will be posting more Special Pictures.

Why not share these stories of American Life during the 1940’s with a friend or two. They might enjoy the trip down memory Lane or discover something about our history that is totally new to them.

Judy Guion

Peabodys and Duryees – My Dear Alfred – New Year’s Visits – January 4, 1940

This is a note to Grandpa from his Aunt Betty, his mother’s sister.

ADG - Jean Guion, Aunt Betty and Grandpa outside in winter, Ja. 27, 1945 (2) Aunt Betty only

Aunt Betty Duryee, Grandpa’s Aunt

Peabodys and Duryees - A Note From Aunt Betty - January 4, 1940

Jan. 4, 1940

My dear Alfred

I was so glad to get your card from Westminster and to know you are taking time off to have a little pleasure, I think you need it.  As you know I went over Sunday to spend New Year’s Eve and Day with Miss Hachen________ at the St. George Hotel in Brooklyn.

When I arrived there she was sitting in a chair up in her room with pillows at her back, but all dressed and looking fine, so you can imagine my surprise when she told me that just a few days before that she had fallen down the subway stairs (16 steps all told) and yet had only a few bruises to tell love, she didn’t even break her glasses, and only felt a pain when she got up and sat down.  Sunday afternoon I went over to see Eliza Pigot as she lives very near Miss H and I have not been there since last year.  She was so glad to see me and told me she was 95 years old and still able to enjoy life and go out.  She received 51 presents for Christmas and really seems very happy and strong.  Sunday night Miss H and I went down into the lobby of the Hotel and enjoyed watching all the people and joining in at twelve o’clock and some of the fun.

There was a great crowd and some beautiful dresses.  On Monday I went with Miss H’s to call on some of her friends and had a lovely time.  Got back to Mount Vernon in time to hear all about the fun they had here in the cocktail room.

We were asked at church Sunday morning to send one of the folders that they have for the services each Sunday to some person that would read the message in the back, someone who was intelligent and I can think of no one who was more intelligent than you so I have enclosed one to you.  I have been looking for a letter from Laddie but it has not come yet.

Hope you all had a good time with the chandlers.

Lovingly,

Aunt Betty

Tomorrow a letter to Lad from Lad’s best friend in Trumbull, Arnold Gibson, known to family and friends as Gibby.

Judy Guion

Friends – Christmas Greetings to Lad in Venezuela – December, 1939

These are the only two Christmas cards I have for Lad in 1939. 

Christmas Card from Arnold and Alta Gibson - 1939

Christmas message from Arnold and Alta Gibson - 1939

Dear Laddie, Thanks for the letter, it sure made me “homesick”

for our “old days” together.

Christmas must seem strange there as it does in warm climates.

I’ll write soon.

Gibby

Christmas Card Greeting from Arnold and Alta Gibson - 1939

Best wishes for a very Merry Christmas

and every happiness in the New Year.

Arnold and Alta

Artnold Gibson was Lad’s best friend from Trumbull. They had a love for all things mechanical, especially cars. Arnold went to Florida with Lad and three other friends in 1938.

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APG - Christmas card from Larry, Marion and Alan Peabody - 1939

APG - Christmas card message from Larry, Marian and Alan Peabody

Dear Laddie,

I’m sure we’re too late to wish you a Merry Christmas

but I hope in time to wish you a Happy New Year.

We often think about you and enjoy hearing of you through your Dad.

Hope you are very well and that everything is going splendidly with you.

We received your letter (long ago !) and appreciated hearing from you. Good wishes for 1940!

Love – Marian, Larry and Alan

Laurence Peabody was Grandma Arla’s youngest brother. 

Tomorrow and Sunday, more Special Pictures.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Christmas Greetings to Lad (1) – December 25, 1939

Grandpa leads off the holiday greetings to Lad in Venezuela with an original poem. It is followed by letters from some of the family members and guests at the Christmas Dinner table in 1939. 

Trumbull - Christmas Greetings to Lad (1) - ADG - December 25, 1939

December 25, 1939

Dear Alfred the Distant:

I am the Spirit of Christmas.

To those who are gathered to celebrate the “birthday of a King” in a spirit of goodwill and to men, “Peace on Earth” at the Guion home, I am the messenger of him who in distant Venezuela has made possible a day of joy and gladness in a very practical and material form. Though far from the old home and those with whom his boyhood and youth have been spent, in a clime far different from the snow-covered hills of Connecticut, memory has built a strong chain of kindly thoughts connecting both places so that you are near and dear and real to us all as we gather around the tinsel decked Christmas tree, and as the little lights shine out cheerily, trying with their steady glow to express the warmth and steadfast affection we feel toward our far away boy, we are endeavoring to make real in some slight measure this same spirit of Christmas by each writing you a message –

In distant Venezuela

Perhaps the day is hot.

No matter, we will try to say:

“Indeed, you’re not forgot.”

 ADG

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Don Stanley

Trumbull - Christmas Greetings to Lad (2) - Donald Stanley - December 25, 1939

Merry Christmas

Dear Junior,

Please come home. A light burns in the window every night. We miss you. Your Packard is being mistreated, though everyone will deny it, but you know I would not mislead you. Well, this is Christmas and everyone has made a pretty good haul. Dickie is ecstatic over a pair of skis (he just pushed my elbow) and David likewise over a tennis racket. I got mostly stuff, but good stuff. I certainly hope that all’s well with you, and I hope to see you within the next decade.

Hasta luego,

Donald

(Cousin Donald Stanley, son of Anne (Peabody) Stanley and one of the children that Biss cared for in St. Petersburg, FL)

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???????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????

               Aunt Helen Human

Trumbull - Christmas Greetings to Lad (1) - Helen Human - December 25, 1939

Dear Lad,

All of the weathermen said we would have a green Christmas but it snowed a little this morning and made it a very pretty white Christmas. I know if my sister was down here she would want to wish you a Merry Christmas so I’ll send a double one for both of us.

Aunt Helen ((Peabody) Human)

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ADG - Dick atThe Chandler's - Group on steps (cropped) - 1939

Richard Peabody Guion

Trumbull - Christmas Greetings to Lad (1) - Dick - December 25, 1939

Chico –

We just came back from skating, boy, it’s the best! I hope I don’t make you green with envy, there was a coating of snow but it didn’t cramp our style. Dan, Ced, Flora, Lucille Becker, a friend of Benny’s, Benny Slawson and yours truly. Dave was there, but he didn’t have skates. Ced had a pair of skates that he got for Christmas. I got skis. They’re “Paris” with the ski harness.

Until later,

Dick

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SOL - (DAN) Family picture in 1938 (2)

            Daniel Beck Guion

Trumbull - Christmas Greetings to Lad (1) - Dan - December 25, 1939

 

Oigame, Hermano,

Este muchacho qui escribia arrib sabe nada!

To express myself colloquially, to enjoy real ice and snow is the nuts! But I am planning definitely to line me up a job in some sector of Latin America, for which I continue to prepare myself by studying Spanish etc. Dick and I have acquired a complete “Cortina method” set of recordings and books for learning Spanish.

Ced, Dick and I have set out to learn to speak it well enough to carry on conversations with you later in the event that you have forgotten Ingles!

Hasta luego, pues,

Dan

Tomorrow, I will post the rest of the Greetings from those who gathered at the Trumbull House on December 25, 1939. On Friday, two Christmas Cards sent to Lad in Venezuela.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Dear Lad (1) – News of Family and Friends – December 10, 1939

This is the first segment of a long letter to Lad, in Venezuela, working for the Socony-Vacuum Oil Company. At this point, he is acting the part of a trouble-shooter, traveling from camp to camp, fixing equipment that the men in the field are not able to repair. This part of the letter is full of news about friends and family.

ADG - Grandpa about 1945 or 1946 near a tree in winter (cropped) (2)

Alfred Duryee Guion (Grandpa)

December 10, 1939

Dear Lad:

Ah, a new ribbon! I think I can hear you saying this as soon as you unfolded this and glimpsed the inside. Yes Sir, you’re right. You know after Dan came home from Venezuela, his typewriter was in a very malarial condition. He asked me to fix it up and because Mr. Mullins (the father of Cecelia, Lad’s girlfriend)  had been so decent about fixing this machine for us a while ago, I thought it would be a good opportunity for him to recoup a little on the free job, so I took it to him and got a quotation of $10 for putting it in first class shape. Dan called for it and Mr. Mullins told him to take it along, which Dan did, knowing I would take care of the bill from Dan’s fund, which was in my bank and which he told me to draw against. The other day, when I needed a new ribbon, I stopped in with a $10 check drawn to Mr. Mullin’s order and he absolutely refused to take it. He at first even refused to let me pay for the typewriter ribbon, I insisted. Evidently he is very generous and goodhearted. I wish I could do something for him in return.

Alfred (Lad) Peabody Guion @ 1938

                Alfred (Lad) Peabody Guion

Gee, you certainly are a lady killer. I ran across another dame that asked very interestedly about you. I don’t know her name but she works, I think, over at the Blue Print Company. I haven’t noticed that you pick them out from the standpoint of pulchritude, but maybe you go deeper than looks, which are said to be only skin deep, and pick them for some mental quality — I wouldn’t be so crude as to suggest anything about sex appeal.

Friday when I got home from the office Helen ((Peabody) Human, Grandma Arla’s sister, married to Ted Human, who hired Lad and Dan to work for him in Venezuela) was here. She had come up to get Ted’s overcoat which they had left here. She said Grandma (Peabody) was fine and while she had to be careful for a while, she looked better than she had been for a long while. Evidently the operation was entirely successful but she is suffering now from rheumatism in her hands and knees. She cannot do any knitting which makes it too bad, now that she has time to do it. Anne ((Peabody) Stanley, another od Grandma Arla’s sisters) has moved to Staunton, Virginia, where Gweneth is going to school and Don to a military academy there. Ted has not yet received a cent of money from InterAmerica although he is going after it hard and Helen said he was seeing McCarter that day with a lawyer. All the rest of the uncles, aunts and in-laws are fine.

Mildred Kircher stopped in at the office for a few moments Friday afternoon. She had left Bob at the dentist’s and thought she might find me in. She said Stacy had been very sick, was home now, was without a job and had to play the part of an invalid for a couple of months. It seems that he has been gradually getting thinner and thinner and had increasing difficulty in breathing with pains in his back which the Dr. first thought was lumbago. Later, they decided it was t.b. and were about to make arrangements to take him up to Wallingford, when the last Dr. they consulted sent him to a specialist in New York, where after questioning, it was found that the fumes that Stacy had been inhaling for months, in connection with his daily work, had dried up the tissue in his lungs and brought on their collapse. The company he worked for was criminally negligent in not providing gas masks for its workers. Stacy, of course, had to leave at once. Mildred says he is slowly improving and has not had the agonized expression he used to have in trying to gasp for breath. They don’t know whether they will be able to collect any money from the firm, so that for the present, they are living only on the $12 or $15 Harold earns each week in the hat factory in Norwalk where he is working. They have moved to South Norwalk, so if you get time to write him a letter I think he will enjoy hearing from you and it may take his mind off his troubles for a few minutes.

Tomorrow I will post another section of this letter with the beginnings of Grandpa’s car problems.

Judy Guion