At this point Grandpa’s “Reminiscences of Alfred D Guion” has ended and the rest of this story will be the memories of the children as they were growing up.
Art Mantle, Biss (Elizabeth Guion) and Lad
LAD – When I was eight, Dad took Dan, Ced and I, possibly Biss, for a walk up behind our property, past the cemetery. There was a slightly sloping hill on the lot, and all of us were rolling down the hill, including Dad. When he got up he said there was something wrong with his eyes, some dirt or something, so we went home. His eye got worse and more bloodshot and it began to hurt more so Mother told him he should go see the doctor. He was reluctant but finally consented. I asked him if I could go and he said yes. When he got to the doctors, the doctor told him that a piece of stubble had apparently pierced his eye. He sewed it up and when Dad came out he could only see out of one eye, and that was blurred and watery. He asked me if I could steer the car for him. So I sat on his lap and steered the car, told him when to put on the brakes. He did the shifting and used the clutch, but from that time on, I was very interested in driving. I was only eight!
BISS – When Lad was twelve or fourteen, I don’t remember when, he and Ced and Dan and Dad went for a walk. Dad’s eye got cut with a blade of grass or something. So Lad drove him to the hospital, even though he was under the age, too. Of course, Dad couldn’t drive because he couldn’t see. So Lad drove him to the hospital and back after they took care of him.
AUTHOR’S NOTE: since Lad remembers sitting on Grandpa’s lap, he was probably closer to eight rather than twelve or fourteen.
LAD – By the time I was twelve, I was able to drive a car by myself. I talked my mother into letting me drive to Kurtz’s store. We had a 1925 Packard, and at that time, the road was so narrow that when I got to the junction of White Plains Road and Daniels Farm Road, there wasn’t much room to maneuver a car, so I went on down to Reservoir Avenue to turn around. On the way back, I saw a car coming towards me. It was Sheriff Stanley Boughton. He looked at me, turned around and accosted me in the store. He asked me if I had license to drive, and I guess I said, “No”. He then asked me if my mother knew I was driving. When I said, “Yes”, he told me to take the car home and leave it there … But I didn’t. I never got into trouble after that until much later. After I got my license I was driving up in the Newtown area and apparently I was driving too fast. I got stopped for speeding. Nothing ever came of it because my Dad was the Justice of the Peace and, at that time, First Selectman of Trumbull.
DICK – One time Lad took the Packard touring car, he was quite impressed with its power and high gear. He started it rolling and slipped the clutch to get it started and went for a drive to Kurtz’s store. Johnny Austin was the town cop. He went to see Dad. “You’d better talk to your boy … I couldn’t catch him and it’s a good thing I didn’t.”
AUTHOR’S NOTE: We will never know if Lad and Dick were talking about the same incident or two different instances. I do know that my Dad’s love of cars started very early in his life.
Tomorrow, another excerpt from San Jose, California to the Lewis family back in New York. On Sunday, I will continue the story of Lad and Marian during and after World War II.