Trumbull – Random thoughts on our Future Camp – Oct., 1945

 

October 7, 1945

Random Thoughts on our Future camp.

 

I have just purchased from Anna Heurlin the Lake Winnipesaukee Island which has so many pleasant memories for all of us – – a Christmas present jointly and equally to each of my six children – – legally, that is, but from a practical standpoint, to be shared, of course, with their wives and children, now and to be. (I may add by way of parenthesis that such a situation in some families might in future develop into a cause for friction between brothers and sisters and their families, but somehow I feel that in our case, I will not be sowing a seed of possible future discord but that the family spirit of unity and tolerance toward one another, which, with your mother’s spirit still present, has been with us all so far, will still guide us and prevent future misunderstandings from arising. That at least is my fervent wish.)

There are many interesting and happy problems that arise from this acquisition. I will jot down a few which immediately occur to me and will welcome others which may occur to you.

1 – Name. I neither know nor care what name, if any, the island bears on official state maps. As owners we have the privilege of calling it what we will. What is your suggestion for a suitable name. Give reasons for your choice.

2 – Living accommodations. Do each of you want to build a cabin of your own or would it be better to pool our resources, erect jointly a “camp” which would be suitable for comfortable living both for summer and winter sports? If the former, we will have to go more into detail as to parceling out lots to each of you. If the latter, some interesting questions present themselves:

a – Choice of location of the building.

COMMENTS:  Lad, who visited the island this fall with Marian, says the trees have grown surprisingly. There will undoubtedly have to be some clearing out of brush. I can see Dick and Dan just naturally taking charge of this phase of the work, with Dan perhaps doing some surveying, preparatory to choice of site.

b – Type of building.

COMMENTS: Let’s have suggestions from each of you as to what your ideas are along this line, if you alone had the decision to make. And then, with the variety of ideas to work from, we can settle on something that seems to meet the composite idea. “Six heads are better than one”.

c – Boat house, dock, swimming safeguards (with small children in mind)

COMMENT: Joint ownership would seem to be desirable under the circumstances, of canoe, rowboat (outboard motor?), Sailboat, motorboat and (for Ced) seaplane – – any or all. Ideas on this please.

d – Water supply.

COMMENTS: Dug well or drilled well? Would it be possible to get permission to pipe water from spring on mainland, and if so, would this be desirable? How about water supply in winter? Hand pump or electric pump? If we expect to have shower, toilet and kitchen sink, or possibly washing machine, a pump would save many hours of manual labor.

e – Electricity

COMMENTS: Would it be possible to obtain, at a reasonable cost, electricity from the main road (central power station supply) vs. our own diesel electric plant for light, pump, water heater, electric refrigerator, radio, washing machine and other “Modern inconveniences”. (Gas, of course, would not be available for cooking and coal would present quite a transportation problem by rowboat from the mainland, so we would have our choice of wood, kerosene or electricity, for cooking, heating, hot water and lights.

f – Heat.

COMMENTS: Shall we have an open fireplace? Wood, of course, would be available on the island. Of what material should fireplace be built? Are there enough stones on the island? Or would you prefer brick, concrete or what?

g – Sewage disposal. Cesspool or chemical toilet? We should find out state sanitary laws on this matter.

h – Boats. Which kind first and how about storage facilities when no one is occupying cottage? How about ice boat in winter?

i – Interior Arrangements. Anyone collected plans of a summer cottage? What arrangement of living room, kitchen, bath, how many bedrooms. Built-in bunks and furniture? Storage places for clothes, bedding and foodstuffs. This would seem to be a problem, especially for the girls to consider.

j – Miscellaneous

1 – Would expense of telephone be justified?

2 – Where could we garage cars on mainland?

3 – How about daily milk supply?

4 – Fire extinguishers

5 – Garbage disposal

6 – Mail arrangements

k – Job assignments.

Sports – Hunting and fishing – Zeke

Winter sports, skiing, etc. – Ced

Mechanical installations and upkeep – Lad and Ced

Clearing of grounds, maintenance of landscaping,

fruit tree planting, garden? etc. Dan and Dick

Supervision of building erection – Dick

Schedule of occupancy, assignment of boats, troubleshooter,

Smoother-over, etc. – Dave

3 – Finances. How is all this (outside of cost of island itself, which I have taken care of) to be financed. If we get a government housing loan or bank loan or building and loan arrangement for building and equipment, how are payments to be met? Should each one contribute a stated amount monthly? What is the limit of total cost which should be set and how many years should payments be spread over? Taxes, which are now about $3 a year on $100 assessment, would naturally increase. There will also be insurance and running expenses for food, fuel and mechanical upkeep. When should work be started?

4 – Future Considerations. What arrangement for future sale of property should be made, if that ever becomes necessary or desirable? A jointly owned property invariably brings problems of one sort or another, if one or more of the joint owners desires to liquidate. Some arrangement agreed to by all in advance to cover such a contingency should be thoroughly understood and agreed upon in advance. What is your idea on this?

Grandpa never ceases to amaze me. He says: “I will jot down a few which immediately occur to me…” This is the result, in one evening!

Tomorrow and Friday, another letter filled with news of the family and friends associated with Grandpa and Trumbull.

On Saturday and Sunday, more Special Pictures.

Judy Guion

 

Trumbull – Dear Members of the Clan Guion – Dick and Jean Are Home – Oct., 1945

Spring Island, with a very low water level

Trumbull, Conn., October 7, 1945

Dear Members of the Clan Guion:

Again events this week have combined to cut down my correspondence time, but late as it is now, I must take time to at least hit the high spots and some of said spots have considerable altitude.

First, Dick and Jean are home. Yes sir, the clan is beginning to gather. The first inkling I had was a telegram the first part of the week from Dick announcing they were in Miami, ending with the cheering words, “See you soon.”, And as good as his word, he and Jean dropped into the office Friday in a surprise visit. He looks well, has a miniature mustache and has not put on any weight, and outside of a cold, is the same old Dick. Jean says she has put on a little weight but it is not noticeable. Gosh, but it’s good to have two boys home at once with their wives, but I, apparently, cannot be satisfied – – all I need now is Dan and Paulette, Ced and Dave, and then I will admit to a maximum of satisfaction.

The same day Dick and Jean arrived, Britta, Anna and young Peter Bagshaw visited us and stayed to supper. Biss, Zeke and the two boys also came over for supper so we put three leaves in the table and it began to look like old times again. Later, we showed pictures, movies and stills, of Alaska, Venezuela, etc. I got Anna aside, found out she was willing to sell the Island, so, as a novel Christmas present to you children, I decided to buy it for you all. This will practically clean me out of cash put aside for Christmas gifts, and then some, but I figured it would be worth it to you all. I will have something more to say on the thing a little later.

Martin and Flor Williams visiting Trumbull

Then yesterday, the date of Lad’s meeting, planned five years ago in Venezuela, came around and he and Marian went down for their reunion with the Venezuelan crowd. They stayed overnight in New York and today brought Mr. and Mrs. Williams back with them, and again we showed movies of Venezuela, Alaska, etc. Jack Fillman and his wife, and Red (Sirene) and his fiancée, dropped in to see Dick and Marian and later my cousin Dud (Dudley Duryee) and wife from Brooklyn drove up to see us and stayed to supper and the movies. Incidentally Dan, Martin Williams asked me to be remembered to you when he saw that I was writing a letter to you. They are staying overnight, so I have just left the party to write this note to you all.

No letters this week from Ced or Dan, but Dave wrote a short note commenting on some of my previous letters. He says: “Rumor has it that GHQ will be moving out sometime in October, but doesn’t know whether or not he will go along. He may stay in Manila or go to Korea or possibly to Yokohama.

Now let’s get back to the Island proposition, which, I admit, has got me all excited. Ever since your mother and I first went up there with Rusty, landing late one night and sleeping out on the island, which it was too dark to see until next morning, I have been hoping that someday events would work around so that we could own the Island and perhaps build a little cabin on it where we could spend summer vacations. And at last this dream has materialized. I am attaching a sort of snap shot of my thoughts on the subject and invite you to do the same, so that from the combination of thoughts on the subject, we ought to arrive at some final solution fairly acceptable to all. Therefore I will close this brief letter and proceed to the Island subject.

DAD

Tomorrow, Grandpa’s “Random thoughts on our Future camp.” On Thursday and Friday, another of Grandpa’s usual letters filled with news of family and friends.

Judy Guion

An Island Picture – Storm Cloud – 2016

We had one day on the Island when it stormed a few times – just quick showers – but this is what they looked like before they got to us.

 

Spring Island - Storm Cloud - 2016

Tomorrow, and Sunday, two more installments of a Tribute to Arla. Enjoy learning more about this very wise young woman. 

Next week I’ll begin posting letters from 1942. The first is from Lad, with a change of plans. During the rest of the week, I’ll be posting 3 more letters from Grandpa to his sons, both near and far from home.

Judy Guion 

Early Memories of Trumbull (16) – Spring Island

The Island

The Island

Our Island, on Lake Winnipesaukee in New Hampshire,  is a special place for our family  and holds many memories. Here, my father and some of his siblings recall memories of the first years they spent there.

LAD – When I was 12, Rusty Heurlin took Dan Ced and I to the Island on Lake Winnipesaukee in New Hampshire, which they owned. We went to Lee’s Mill and rowed from there. It was late in the evening when we got there and Rusty wasn’t sure he was going to the right place, but we got there. Among other things, Rusty told us of his boyhood experiences at the lake. This particular summer that we went, there was a lot of logging going on and one particular day a tug boat was going down from Lee’s Mill to the Broads, pulling a long line of barges, maybe half a mile long. Rusty told us to get into the rowboat and he rowed toward the barges. Just before we reached them, he wowed awfully hard and fast and the rowboat went up over the logs and into the water on the other side. That’s what I remember about it. After all the barges went by, we went back to the island.

I remember our family went up to the Island a few times, and I remember Rusty went with us the first time. We were supposed to meet his sister, Anna, and then she was going to lead us to the island. Apparently she began to worry about the fact that we had not gotten there yet. It was getting late in the afternoon, so she and her brother-in-law, and her husband, decided to go looking for us. There was only one road so we had to be on it. They passed a car coming  the other way where someone had his feet out the window and she said “That’s my brother.”  So they turned around and everything went fine from there. We had a nice time at the Island and Dad really enjoyed it very much. I think maybe the next year or so, we did the same thing again, although we knew where we were going this time. We didn’t have to meet Anna, Ingrid or Britta and Rusty may or may not have been with us.

CED – When we first went to the Island, probably about 1924 or 1925, there was nothing on it at all. We’d take a tent. My Dad would load up the big old touring car. To begin with, we used a canoe and a rowboat to get out to the Island.

The Island belonged to the Heurlin’s and they let us use it. We used it long before we bought it. Through Rusty, we met his family. His mother and father came over from Sweden, his father spoke with a strong accent. He was a Customs Agent in Boston. They were a nice couple and lived in Wakefield, Massachusetts in a nice house.

BISS -my first recollection of the Island was when I was about 12 or 13, somewhere along there. At that time Rusty or is family owned the Island. He took us kids up there and of course, there was nothing on the island. I picked a rock to sleep on. It was probably the big, flat rock near Bathtub Rock. That was my bed.

One night, Rusty and two guys from around the lake, named Eustace and Sully (we kid’s called them “Useless” and “Silly”) went to a house on the mainland where some Irish policemen were on vacation. They were going to help them celebrate. Rusty came back three sheets to the wind, oh, he was really out of it. He staggered up from the Point.

DAVE – Rusty had a couple of friends on the lake, Eustace (Rusty called him “Useless”. The other guy’s name was Sully and Rusty called him “Silly”. Rusty is the last person to call someone silly. I remember one time he decided to make himself a meal. So he took a piece of bread and he proceeded to put anything and everything that was edible on top of that piece of bread and he ate the whole thing. Then he went out and stood on a rock and  belched loud enough so people on the other side of the lake could hear him, I’m sure. He was a character, a funny guy.

The first time I went to the island, it was a two-day trip to get up there – we used to leave Trumbull, drive up to Rusty’s parent’s house, stay overnight then drive up the rest of the way. Rusty had a couple of friends who were at the island one time I was there. We had spaghetti for supper that night. Around 2 or 3 o’clock I no longer had that spaghetti. I don’t know what they had in it, but something made me sick.

Bissie wrote a letter to her father:

Wednesday

Dear Dad,

Everything is going along fine up here. David, for the first time, lost his dinner. He lost it in the middle of the night. He had a pretty tough night. He has been sleeping with me since you left.

Today is the day Anna (Ingrid) and Lars are supposed to come up and we are hoping that they come. There was a party of policemen from  Wister (Worcester)  on a camping trip here and we get half our food from them. They are nice, kind-hearted men. We are going on a picnic with Mr. (Climmens) (I guess that’s the way you spell it) and one or two  friends of his tomorrow. Rusty is over visiting them now. The police gave us a real Italian spaghetti dinner last night.

Love,

Bissie

Dave had shared his story of the spaghetti dinner with me during our recording session. It was almost two years later that I found the letter from Bissie to her father. I found it fascinating that their memories of the incident were so similar after over 70 years.

Does your family have a special place or traditions linked to a particular place? Leave a comment and let me know about it,

Judy Guion

The Beginning – Early Memories of Trumbull (6) – Introduction to The Helen

I was fortunate enough to record the early childhood memories of five of Grandpa’s six children before it was too late. My uncle Dan passed away and that was the catalyst to get me started on these recordings.

Elizabeth - (Biss)

Elizabeth – (Biss)

BISS – A train went through town. There were freight trains that would stop the deliver stuff to Kurtz’s store. Then there was the Toonerville Trolley, which was a passenger train that went once in the morning to Bridgeport (Connecticut) and came back once the evening. Dad used to take that train to work and then come back on it.

When we’d play we’d have water fights. We would also climb up on the roof and then we’d jump off the edge to get down, which I did. I’d go to bed and then I’d climb out the window and jumped down.

One day, Lad had a pump and he put it over a soda bottle, to pump air into the soda bottle to see what would happen. Naturally, the thing exploded and it cut his artery. Of course Biss had been playing Doctor or nurse or something and had taken all the gauze and stuff so there was nothing around for the emergency, so I was in trouble again. I can remember the blood spurting out, you know through the thing and they wanted to bandage to keep the blood in a little bit, but there wasn’t any left.

LAD – We didn’t have much in the way of toys, as I recall. Earlier, when we had the animals, we had to go scare the chickens off their nests and get the eggs. Bill Parks got the milk for us, although I did try milking once, to see what it was like. He also slaughtered the pigs. I don’t remember what we did with them – we probably had some of the meat. Whether Dad sold it or gave it away or whatever happened, I don’t remember. We didn’t have the animals for long. Dad and Mom were not farmers; they were both city people, although we did have a garden in Larchmont and in Trumbull. Dad took care of it and then the kids did it, but that didn’t last very long, I guess.

Cedric Duryee Guion

Cedric

CED – As you go across the bridge from Stratford to Milford on the Post Road, on the left are some buildings at the end of the bridge. There is a dock down below on the Housatonic River. Just below the bridge on the Stratford side there were some fishermen’s homes. One of the fishermen had a boat for sale. Dad never liked to buy new stuff. He bought this boat. It was about 21 feet long with a round cowling. It had an old motor, a one lunger that went putt, putt, putt. It was in nice shape, nice looking, a nice bow, but it was pretty old. That’s why they sold it, but Dad knew that. We named it the Helen.

LAD – I think I was about nine when we got the Helen. We got her in the mid-20s. The thing I remember most about the Helen was having to caulk it, every seam. It was a wood boat and a lot of caulking had come out. It had been up on land for quite a while. So, we had to caulk it and then seal it with something, I don’t remember now. We kept her on the Housatonic River at a place called French’s Marine or something like that. It was right near the Boston Post Road bridge. We kept her there all the time we had her. Every year we haul her out after the thaw each spring, and I’d caulk the thing from underneath. I got pretty good at it. If you put too much in, it would push the boards apart but it had to be enough to keep the boat from sinking. I don’t remember how many years, but I think we had her for about five or six years.

Alfred Peabody Guion (Lad)

Alfred  (Lad)

A year or two after we got the Helen, Dad had the engine taken out of it and he put in a Ford engine model TN. That was a lot heavier than the one cylinder that we had in the boat, it rode down closer to the water at the stern of the boat. It is still referred to as a fan tail. So the back sloped up and the faster we went the lower in the water it got. With that Ford engine, we could run the boat fast enough so that the stern would be below water. You had to be careful not to open the throttle too much. The back of the boat was decked over, the front was decked over with just an open cockpit in the middle. But it was big enough so we could sleep four in there.

The first major trip Dad wanted to take in the Helen was up the Connecticut River. We started out someplace off of New Haven and one of the ropes fell off the bow and wound around the propeller. We were not feeling too well anyway, it was rough weather. We found out afterwards that there had been warnings and we weren’t even supposed to be out there. I think Dan and I were feeling pretty seasick, but we had to do something. We couldn’t do anything with a rope wrapped around the propeller, it wouldn’t go. So I dove down in the water and my seasickness disappeared almost immediately. So that’s what happened anytime I got sick after that, I’d always dive into the water and get rid of it. It worked, it worked for me anyway. We finally got up to Essex, up to the River, and it was getting late, so we pulled into a bay, had supper and we went to bed. I don’t remember who it was, maybe me or Dan or someone got out of the bunk and stepped into water. So we started investigating and there was a lot of water in the boat and the boat was way down in the water. So we bailed them pumped and got the water out. We found out the leak was in the packing gland on the propeller shaft. I don’t know if we could do anything about it at the time or not, but I do know Dad had to go to work. He left us and he was going to get some part of the boat, I don’t remember what part it was, but it took a week to get the part before we solved the problem. I don’t think we went any further up the river, we just came home again.

It’s fascinating how children can remember the same incident in different ways. Why not share a childhood memory with a family member or with a child or grandchild?

Tomorrow we begin a series of letters written in 1942. Both Lad and Dan are serving the the Army of Uncle Sam, being trained in the fields that interest them, Lad, as a mechanic and Dan as a surveyor.

Judy Guion

The Beginning – Early Memories of Trumbull (2)

We have come to the end of the written autobiography of Alfred Duryee Guion but I had started adding memories of the children as they fit in to Grandpa’s story. I have decided to continue with their memories as I recorded them over a period of years. I’ve attempted to group them by approximate date and topic, but there may be a few our of place. I apologize for any confusion.

Lad Guion, Model T

 

LAD – By the time I was 12, 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.”

LAD – At Christmas time, when I was in sixth grade, the teachers selected Bill Hennigan and I to go out and get a Christmas tree. I was a Boy Scout so I had a little hatchet available. Bill and I went out and found the tree we thought would be satisfactory and cut it down. I don’t know how it happened, but maybe we were trimming limbs or something at the bottom, but the ax slipped and hit my knee. I had quite a bad cut on my knee. I don’t remember the details now but they must have bandaged it up and took me home or send me home or something. It cleared up all right. Then the next year, Bill and I were selected to go out and get the tree again. They told me to be careful, and I was, but I cut my knee again. For the third year, we didn’t go get the tree.

The Island

The Island

I remember our family went up to the Island a few times, and I remember Rusty went with us the first time. We were supposed to meet his sister, Anna, and then she was going to lead us to the island. Apparently, she began to worry about the fact that we hadn’t got there yet. It was getting late in the afternoon, so she and her brother-in-law, Ingrid’s husband, decided to go looking for us. There was only one road so we had to be on it. They passed a car coming the other way where someone had his feet out the window and she said, “That’s my brother.” So they turned around and everything from there went fine. We had a nice time at the Island and Dad really enjoyed it. I think maybe the next year or so, we did the same thing again, although we knew where we were going this time. We didn’t have to meet Anna, Ingrid or Britta and Rusty may or may not have been with us.

When I was 12, Rusty (Heurlin) took Dan, Ced and I, I don’t remember if Biss was along or not, to the Island, which they owned Back then, there was no States Landing Road. We went to Lee’s Mill and rowed from there. It was late in the evening when we got there and Rusty wasn’t sure he was going to the right place, but we got there. Among other things, Rusty told us of his boyhood experiences at the Lake. This particular summer that we went, there was a lot of logging going on and one particular day a tug boat was going down from Lee’s Mill to the Broads, pulling a long line of barges, maybe half a mile long. Rusty told us to get into the rowboat and he rowed towards the barges. Just before we reached them, he rowed awfully hard and fast and our rowboat went up over the logs and into the water on the other side. That’s what I remember about it. After all the barges went by, we went back to the Island. I don’t recall how long we stayed, maybe a week or two.

Tomorrow, I’ll begin posting letters written in 1945. Dan is in France and planning a wedding to a lovely French girl, Paulette, who he hopes to bring to Trumbull quickly. The rest of the family is getting involved in the preparations.

Judy Guion