The End of an Era (13) – Then and Now – The Side Yard – 1922 – 2021

Trumbull House - Grandpa and kids - 1928 (2) Little Driveway view - 1928

This is a very early view of the Trumbull House from this angle.  It may have been taken shortly after the Guions moved to Trumbull in 1922. Notice the screened porch, which was converted to year-round use about 1950. The window to the right of the porch was converted to a door at the same time. The small portion of the house all the way to the right was also converted into an apartment for Grandpa, and a door was added below the window on the second floor to give him direct access to the outside.. On the left, you can see that the Summer Porch extended all the way across the front of the house and had a roof.

 

Trumbull House in winter - (cropped) - 1940 

This is a winter shot of the house from the same angle and was taken in the late 1930’s.

 

Trumbull House - Dave, Jean and Dick in deep snow, Feb., 1940

The previous picture is cropped from this original picture. Dick, Jean and Dave are playing in the snow on the front hill after a large snowfall. You can see Mack next to the stone pillar on the right. By the way, the pillars were added by Grandpa as well as the other stone work, lining the driveway, in particular. The stonework was done by Axel Larsen, who took care of the outside work while his wife, Astrid, helped Grandma Arla in the house. They had a daughter, Florence, and they lived in the Little House.

ADG - Grandpa with Smokey in yard - near Thanksgiving, 1945

This picture of Grandpa and Mack was probably taken in the 1930’s or 1940’s, again, before the major changes.

 

Blog - Trumbull House - 1960's (2) - cropped

This picture was probably taken in the 1960’s, after the changes made in about 1950.

APG - Lad Guion in Choir Robe

This is a picture of Lad, Alfred Peabody Guion, taken in the early 1960’s, in his Choir Robe. You can clearly see the door to Grandpa’s apartment.

 

Trumbull House - June, 2020 - side view

This picture is one that I took in June, 2020 and the house does not look any different than it did before the sale.

Tomorrow, pictures of the back view of the Trumbull House.

Judy Guion

The End of an Era (12) – Trumbull House Then and Now – 1930 – 2020

This is the side view of the original portion of the house, built in 1756.

Trumbull House - Blizzard of 1940 - Whirling Dirvish

This is the earliest picture I can find of the Summer Porch side of the house. This was probably taken some time in the late 1930’s. This shows the porch railing and the flower pots.

Mack - Reserved seat - dec. 24, 1939

This is a close-up of the steps leading up to the Summer Porch and the flower pots, with Mack posing. This was taken in December, 1939.

APG - Marian on side porch in June, 1945.

This picture was probably taken in the summer of 1945, just before Lad came home from France instead of going to Okinawa with the rest of his Battalion. This is a close-up of the flower pots on the Summer Porch.

APG - Bob Mark with Smoky, Nov., 1945

I believe this was taken in 1945 or 1946. Bob Marks, the fellow soldier Lad met in France when Lad “missed the boat” to Okinawa while he attended Dan’s wedding to Paulette in Calais, France. Bob came to visit Lad and Marian after they were both out of the Army.

Trumbull House - the driveway and the back of the house

This is a similar view of the house probably taken in the 1970’s or 1980’s (perhaps even later).

Guion kids as adults - posed as 1928 photo - 1992

This was taken at our Family Reunion in 1992. All six children are sitting on the porch. The flower pots and stone railing have been gone for a while.

Trumbull House - June 2020 - Back view

This is a picture I took in June, 2020.

Tomorrow, I will begin posting letters written in the fall of 1945. Lad is in Trumbull on furlough, Dick and Jean are making plans to travel home from Santaliza, Brazil, Dan remains in France with his expectant bride, Ced is still in Anchorage and Dave thinks he will be shipping out in a few months for parts unknown.

Judy Guion

The End of an Era (11) – The Trumbull House – Then and Now – 1922 – 2020

This weekend I will be posting more pictures of the Trumbull House, some taken many years ago and some quite recent. This is the front view.

This picture was taken in 1925. The children Lad, Ced, Biss and Dick, are playing on the dirt road near the front steps. Notice the lack of decorative stones on the facing of each step. They are quite obvious in the next photo.

 

This picture was taken around 1929. Dave, front row, second from the left, was born in 1925 and he looks about four years old.

This picture was probably taken some time between 1930 and 1950. I believe I can see the screen porch to the right of the front door, which was enclosed in 1950. You can also see the addition of the stone pillars on both sides of the steps.

I cannot date this picture (probably some time between 1950 (when the porch was enclosed) and 2000. The big trees are both missing in front of the main door.

Trumbull House - June, 2020, front view

I took this picture in June of 2020 while visiting “Aunt Chiche”, Mrs. Daniel Beck Guion. 

Tomorrow, more “Then and Now” views of the Trumbull House.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – The End of an Era (10) – Then And Now – 1934 to 2021

For the next few weekends I will be posting old pictures and new ones, to give you an idea of how things have changed – or not changed – over the years.

Trumbull House - Blizzard of 1940 - Whirling Dirvish

The Summer Porch in Winter

 

The Gang at the Trumbull House - 1934

“The Gang” on the “Summer Porch” in 1934

 

Trumbull House - 2018 - Side Porch

The “Summer Porch” in June, 2020

 

Trumbull House - 2018 - Long Driveway and house - 2018

In this picture you can see the huge Maple Tree that provides lots of shade during the summer, thus the name.

Tomorrow, I will begin posting letters written in the fall of 1945. Lad is in Trumbull on furlough, Dick and Jean are making plans to travel home from Santaliza, Brazil, Dan remains in France with his expectant bride, Ced is still in Anchorage and Dave thinks he will be shipping out in a few months for parts unknown.

Judy Guion

The End of an Era (9) – Trumbull House History – 1756 – 1956

This is the Christmas Card Grandpa sent to about 200 family and friends in 1956.

This Christmas card contains quite a bit of history, both of Trumbull and the family Homestead of the Guion’s.  

ADG - 1956 Christmas Card - 200 Christmases in Trumbull

This is a copy of a deed, dated 1758, mentioning “dwelling house and barn”

 

ADG - 1956 Christmas Card - inside

The present home of the Guion’s in Trumbull commemorates its 200th anniversary in this year of 1956.

The ancient deed, dated 1758, mentioning “dwelling house and barn” and reproduced on the front of this card, was obtained from old town records with the patient help of Stratford’s eminent local historian, Mr. William H Wilcoxson.

Further evidence of the age of our old home is supplied by the discovery of a hand-hewn chestnut log in the main fireplace which bears the inscription of initials and the date, “1776”.

This house, then, appears to have been built 20 years before the revolution. What momentous changes this comfortable old house has witnessed with its 200 passing Christmases. What is now Trumbull, in 1756, was North Stratford. The French and Indian War was giving grave concern. George Washington was a young man of 24. The house was 17 years old at the time of the Boston Tea Party, and 21 Christmases had passed when the American army found itself encamped at Valley Forge. It was 32 when Washington was inaugurated, and 41 when Trumbull held its first town meeting. The national capitol was burned and raided during the 58th year of existance of what is now the Guion home. 109 winters had passed at the time of Abe Lincoln’s assassination. When the first ship passed through the Panama Canal, this place had been giving shelter for 158 years.

In 1922, when these walls had been standing for 166 years, the Guion clan gathered around the hearthstone for their first Christmas in Trumbull. Roads were unpaved. There was no city water or electricity. The children walked each day to a 3-room rural school, each room heated by a wood-burning stove.

By neighborhood standards, the house had quite modern conveniences. In addition to a de-luxe two-seater “Chic Sale” in the back yard, there was a complete bathroom upstairs and a watercloset downstairs. The house was unique in that it had electrical wiring powered by a generator and a series of batteries in the barn. They were, however, inoperative so that lighting was furnished by the usual candles and kerosene lamps. Drinking water was supplied by two shallow wells, and domestic water from the Pequonnock River, and pumped to a large tank in the cellar.

And so, looking back through the nostalgic vista of 34 Christmas seasons in Trumbull, we renew our traditional greeting to you, of peace, friendship and goodwill.

ADG - 1956 Christmas Card - Back - 30 yr. old card

This 30-year-old Christmas card is based on the legend of the flight to Trumbull on horseback in 1779 of Mrs. Mary Silliman, who “from a home on Daniels Farm Road near the present center of Trumbull” watched the burning of Fairfield by the British. The “home” later was identified as the Elikiam Beach homestead adjoining the present Guion home.

Tomorrow I will present another “The End of an Era” post.

Judy Guion

Dear Reader – The End of an Era (8) – Trumbull House (2) – Circa 1756

Today I will continue with pictures of the fireplaces and stories that took place  on the second floor in the original portion of the Trumbull House.

Trumbull House - 1756 master bedroom fireplace

This is the fireplace in the original Master Bedroom, one of five fireplaces entering the massive chimney.

Trumbull House - 1756 children's room fireplace

This is the small fireplace in the Children’s Bedroom on the second floor.

Quote from Biss (Elizabeth Westlin (Guion) Zabel) regarding a time when she and Dick shared this room: “I remember Dad always brought his work home with him and had to sit at the desk in the upper hallway.  Beyond the staircase there was a space and he had a desk there, and he always worked there.  Dick and I would be in bed, we’d be talking and he yelled into us to keep quiet.  So we’d keep quiet ….. for maybe thirty seconds or a minute, and then start talking again.  He’d say, “I told you children to go to sleep, now keep quiet.”  So we kept quiet for thirty seconds, a minute maybe, and we’d start talking again.  So he’d say, “The next time you talk I’m coming in and spanking you.”  So we waited maybe a minute this time, and started talking again.  Well, boom, boom, boom, boom.  He came in and I was the closest to the door, so he spanked me and spanked me and spanked me, and of course, I was too proud, I wasn’t going to cry.  He could spank me until doomsday and I wasn’t going to cry.  I guess his hand got sore after a while, I don’t know, but anyway, he went to Dick.  The first time he hit Dick, Dick started wailing, so Dad only gave him a couple of wax, or something.  When dad walked out of the room I said, “You big baby, what did you cry for?”  He said, “But Biss, he stopped spanking me.”  I said, “I still wouldn’t cry.”

Trumbull House - 1756 portion bathroom

This is the bathroom at the top of the stairs in the oldest portion of the house. This is the same radiator they were sitting on with the window behind it. The bathtub is behind the door.

Quote from Biss (Elizabeth Westlin (Guion) Zabel) regarding a fire she and Dick started in this bathroom: “I think the second fire happened in the winter and we had one of those oil burners with holes on top to heat the bathroom.  Dick and I were sitting on the radiator in the back bathroom, and it was so cold that there was frost on the window.  We’d take one of the pieces of our Erector Set, put it in a hole to heat it up and touch the frost on the window.  At one point, I leaned over a little too far, fell down on top of the oil burner and tipped it over.  I had always been taught that if there’s a fire you run out and close the door …. which I did. Dick was still on the radiator in back of the fire, and then the fire started up the curtains.  I screamed for Mother and evidently she heard the panic in my voice and she responded immediately.  As soon she got upstairs and realized what was happening, she yelled for Lad to bring the fire extinguisher.  As she got to the top of the stairs and started walking towards the bathroom, the door opened and Dick walked out.  I put my hands on my hips and said, “How did you get out of there?” as if he had a lot of nerve to get out by himself.  He explained that he had crawled between the bathtub and the fire and got out that way and opened the door.  Mother had on a very filmy gown and that caught on fire and I remember she put it out.  Mother then took the rug from the hallway and threw it on the fire and put the fire out but the door was scorched where the flames had licked at it. ” 

Next Saturday and Sunday I will continue with some corrections concerning the age of the house that I found today.

Tomorrow and for the rest of the week, I will be posting letters written in 1939 when Lad was the only son away from home.  He was working for the Socony-Vacuum Oil Company as a mechanic, keeping their oil wells and vehicles running. 

Judy Guion

Dear Reader – The End of an Era (6) – Memorable Events (2) – The True Meaning of Christmas – December, 1945

The following event occurred on Christmas morning in 1945. The family was gathered in the living room and the youngest members, Butch and Marty (Bissie’s boys, six and four respectively), were helping Grandpa distribute gifts.

In a letter written on December 0, 1945, Grandpa recounts one of three high spots that touched his heart.

Butch (Raymond Zabel Jr.) and Marty (Martin Zabel) a few years after the event recorded here.

The second high spot is a bit difficult to get over to you in the way it hit me. You would have had to be here, seeing the sequence of events that led up to it, observed the lordly, yet gracious manner in which the deed was done, the expression of voice, and of face, in fact all those intangibles that lose so much in the telling. It illustrated for me the true spirit of Christmas, innocently and unconsciously symbolized by the youngest of us all. Following the old custom, Butch and Marty, some days ago, had dictated to Elizabeth a letter to Santa Claus in which a formidably long list of gifts wanted by each of them was duly recorded. As the great day drew nearer, perhaps warned by their mother that they might not expect to receive everything on their list, they began to be a bit fearful that they would not get enough presents, but when the Day came and one after one presents from the big pile under the tree were labeled Marty or Butch, it must have dawned on Marty that his erstwhile fears were indeed unnecessary. At least he was thoroughly enjoying himself, stopping quite frequently in his job of handing me packages to unwrap his own, keeping up meanwhile a running comment on events, not noticing or caring whether anyone heard him or not. During one spot when a particularly frequent run of gifts bore his name, he said, half to himself, “I guess I’m getting too many presents. I’ll give some to Butch”, and tearing off the gift wrapping of an attractive picture book he had just received, he unconcertedly, but with a kingly grace and nonchalance, yet with a conscious knowledge that he was bestowing something of real value, he carelessly passed the book to Butch and went on with the business of the day. It was all so matter of fact I don’t believe he really remembers even now that he did anything to give his Grandpa and perhaps, others that may have noticed it, such an big kick.

Tomorrow I will begin posting a week of letters written in 1944.

Judy Guion

Dear Reader – The End of an Era (5) – Memorable Event (2) – Dick and Jean’s Wedding Activities – February 14, 1943

With six married children, it is unusual that Grandpa was present for only three weddings. Three marriages took place during World War II, and Dick’s was the first. Lad and Marian Irwin were married in California on November 14th, 1943 and Dan and Paulette Von Laere were married in Calais, France on July 17, 1945. Grandpa had the privilege of performing this first one as the Justice of the Peace. Below is his account of the event in a letter to his other sons away from home.

Dick and Jean (Mortensen) Guion on Christmas Day, 1947.

Trumbull, Conn., St. Valentine’s Day, Feb. 14th, 1943

To my three still unwed sons:

Well, things have been happening so thick and fast this week that I scarcely know where to begin, although the one big item of news crowds the others into insignificance.

Dick is now in the Army. His notice came through Thursday telling him to report at the well-known Derby R.R. station at 5:30 next Saturday for induction. And now for the big news. Dick is married. I tied the knot personally this afternoon, so I know. It seems that after receiving his induction notice, he and Jean talked the situation over and on Friday they announced they intended to get married at once. So Saturday, Dick got the license from Helen Plumb, obtained the waiver of the customary 10-day notice and blood test from the Judge of Probate, set this afternoon between four and five for the deed, and in the living room, in the presence of Mr. and Mrs. Mortensen (Jean’s parents), Mr. and Mrs. (Red) Sirene, Aunt Betty (Duryee), Aunt Dorothy (Peabody) and Aunt Anne, ((Peabody) Stanley) I exercised the right conferred upon me by the State of Conn., and as Justice of the Peace, pronounced them man and wife. The whole thing was arranged and completed in so short a space of time that no opportunity was given to make any but the most hasty arrangements, although I did telegraph Dan, thinking he might be able to get the necessary leave, and also phoned Aunt Elsie, asking her to let Dorothy know. Dan wired back his congratulations to Dick in lieu of personally being present and Aunt Elsie was unable to make arrangements to get away.

Today, as you can imagine, was a busy one. After preparing a chicken dinner held in the dining room, adorned with flowers and suitable St. Valentine’s Day decorations, Katherine Warden took over the arrangements for the reception refreshments held in the dining room at which were present, besides those witnessing the ceremony (I forgot to include Biss above) Dave, Zeke, Paul and Katherine (Warden, renters of the small apartment), Jean’s sister and aunt, grandmother and grandfather, Carl (Wayne) and Ethel and Flora (Bushey), Red (Sirene), Barbara (Plumb), Jane (Mantle), (Paul and Zeke, in the course of the celebration, imbibed freely and at the end, were in “high spirits”). The girls had the dining room attractively decorated and, with chairs filched from various parts of the house and the Wardens, we all sat around in a large circle and enjoyed a light upper. Carl and Paul had obtained a big box labeled “Extra Heavy Duty Rubber” and in this they packed an extra large white baloney shaped object together with a tube of salve which they handed to the bride and groom just before they left for the train and insisted upon its being opened in the presence of all. Jean’s face got red and she retired but Dick stood and faced the music without batting an eyebrow.

Dick, Jean, Dave and I went down to the station in my car and two other carloads went along. During the five or ten minute wait for the train in the packed depot, the usual rice throwing took place and a placard reading “Just Married”, at the last minute was tucked under Jean’s arm. The poor girl was evidently so taken up with the excitement of the moment that she never noticed it and walked through the train in search of a seat with the sign still under her arm, both ends projecting out.

Tomorrow, another post about the End of an Era at the Trumbull House.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Dear Reader – The End of an Era (4) – Memorable Event (1) – Fires

I will be posting about memorable events at the Trumbull House for the next few weeks. I hope you enjoy the stories. In this post, Biss shares her memories of three fires that occurred in the house – two that she and Dick started.

EWGZ - Biss and Mack, 1933

Biss (Elizabeth Westlin Guion) and their dog, Mack

BISS – Dick and I were cleaning up the playroom which was the living room in the little apartment.  We used to put chairs in a line and that would be our train.  We had lots of fun in there, too.  Anyway, Dick and I decided that it would please Mother and we cleaned up the room.  We had a wooden toy box where we put all our toys.  There was so much paper and stuff around that we decided to take the toys out and put the papers in there, like a wastepaper basket, and we would burn them.  What else do you do with paper?  So we did, and of course, since the toybox was right under the window, the curtains caught fire.  Dick and I got scared and ran into the kitchen, got quart bottles and filled them with water.  I’d run in and pour it on the fire and Dick would do the same thing.  We kept running back and forth but the fire kept getting bigger.  Mrs. Parks, the housekeeper, happened to come in there and she put out the fire.

The second fire happened in the winter and we had one of those oil burners with holes on top to keep the bathroom warm.  Dick and I were sitting on the radiator in the back bathroom, and it was so cold that there was frost on the window.  We would take one of the pieces of our Erector Set, put it in a hole to heat it up and touch the frost on the window.  At one point, I leaned over a little too far, fell down on top of the oil burner and tipped it over.  I had always been taught that if there’s a fire you run out and close the door…..which I did.  Dick was still on the radiator in back of the fire, and then the fire started up the curtain.  I screamed for Mother and evidently she heard the panic in my voice and she responded immediately.  As soon as she got upstairs and realized what was happening, she yelled for Lad to bring the fire extinguisher.  As she got to the top of the stairs and started walking towards the bathroom, the door opened and Dick walked out.  I put my hands on my hips and said, “How did you get out of there?”  As if he had a lot of nerve to get out by himself.  He explained that he had crawled between the bathtub and the fire and got out that way and opened the door.  Mother had on a very filmy dress on and that caught on fire and I remember she put it out.  Mother then took the rug from the hallway and threw it on the fire and put the fire out but the door was scorched where the flames had licked at it.

Lad was living in the attic and he used an oil stove for heat.  He lit the stove and then came downstairs to light the oil stove in the kitchen.  I was sitting out in the backyard with my boyfriend.  Lad noticed that the lights began to flicker, go up and go down, so he dashed upstairs and when he opened the attic door, all he could see was an orange glow.  He knew the place was on fire so he ran down and called the fire department.  I heard the siren and said to Vinny, “Let’s go to the fire”.  As we drove down the little driveway, I could see a haze of smoke drifting across the street, but I didn’t think too much about it.  We parked in a driveway near the firehouse so no matter which way the truck went, we could follow it.  It turned right on to White Plains Rd. and I said, “If that fire truck turns at Kurtz’s corner, then it’s my house”.  So, by the time we got to Kurtz’s corner the fire truck was going up the driveway.  I said, “I knew it, I knew it”.  When we got to the house, I dashed inside and got Vinny’s picture, Mother’s picture and a clock that Vinny had given me.  I had everything I needed, so the rest of the house could burn down.  I didn’t care.  Now Dad was giving a talk at the Algonquin Club so I decided I had better call Dad and let him know that he better not come home tonight because he might not have a house to come home to.  I called and the operator said, “He’s giving a talk right now.  Is it important?”  I said, “Yeah, I think so.”  Dad came to the phone and said, “What did you call me for.  I was in the middle of a talk.  It better be important” I said, “I just wanted to tell you that the house is on fire and you’d better stay in a hotel down there tonight.”  You know, perfectly calm, as if there was nothing to it.  Of course, within twenty minutes, Dad came up the driveway.  In the meantime, Ethel Bushey had come and she asked me if I had gotten my clothes.  “Clothes?”  I asked.  “No, what for?”  She said, “At least you will have something to wear.”  So she made me go upstairs and get my clothes.  I put them on the lawn.  After the fire was out I was furious that I had to put them all back.  I was furious because I didn’t give a hoot about my clothes.  I had what I needed.  There was a lot of water damage but the only part that burned was up in the attic itself.  If it had started in the cellar, I’m sure it would’ve gone up fast because it was such an old, dry house.

Trumbull – Dear Reader – The End of an Era (3) – July 21, 2021

The Trumbull House has been sold.  From what I understand, the new owner plans to create nine one room Studio Apartments in the main house, two more apartments in the barn and to add on to the Little House to form a home for his family.

I will be devoting at least the next few weekends – maybe many more – to a Memorial of the house that has been an anchor for my family for almost 100 years and to the people who made it a HOME.

I find it especially hard to decide what to post because I have been writing about this house and the people who lived there, daily, for almost 9 years. Do I want to focus on the individuals – special events – everyday events – pictures – I just cannot decide which direction to choose. This weekend I am going to focus on pictures of the six chidren who spent their childhood there – Lad, my Dad (Alfred Peabody); Dan (Daniel Beck); Ced (Cedric Duryee); Biss (Elizabeth Westlin); Dick (Richard Peabody) and Dave (David Peabody).

Last weekend I posted the earliest pictures taken of the children. This weekend, I will post some more pictures of them through the years in Trumbull.

Lad @ 1922

                            Lad @ 1923

SOL - Dick, Dan, Ced, Lad & Biss with their dog

                                       Dick, Dan, Ced, Lad and Biss @ 1925

It appears that Patsy, their dog, has found something that interests all of the children.

Guion Kids on side porch - @ 1928

Guion children on side porch about 1928

Dan, Dave, Lad, Dick, Ced, Biss

Guion kids as adults - posed as 1928 photo - 1992

This picture is out of order but it was taken at our Family Reunion in 1992. They posed in the approximate position of the 1928 photo above. This was the last time all six children were together.

Standing – Lad, Seated – Dan, Dave, Dick, Ced and Biss.

Trumbull House - Grandpa and kids - 1928 (2) Steps and Landings, steps and landings - @1928

This picture was probably taken in the spring of 1929.

Back row: Grandpa and Lad; Middle row: Dick, Ced, Aunt Dorothy

Front row: Don Stanley (cousin), Dave, Biss, Gwen Stanley (cousin)

Tomorrow I will post more about the Trumbull House.

Judy Guion