Trumbull – Dear Dan – Birthday Greetings – October, 1945

Trumbull, Conn., October 28, 1945

Dear Dan:

Yesterday was your birthday. I started out for the office with every intention of trying to find an interval in the days work long enough to permit my dashing off a V-mail letter to you, but alas from the time I arrived until quitting time one thing after another seemed to follow in endless demand, leaving but the alternative of incorporating a birthday greeting to you as part of my regular Sunday letter. So here I am, with a lot more desire than ability to state the obvious. Though I have said this to all you boys many times, it still loses none of its force, to me at least, in those quiet moments by oneself when we count over our blessings and mentally list the things we have to be thankful for, when I repeat how you boys have done so much to compensate for the loss of your mother in making life’s daily round so much more worthwhile than it otherwise would have been. While it applies to the other boys too, I am writing especially to you now, and I want to say to you what you must indeed fully realize, that from that moment when I anxiously paced back and forth anxiously waiting for the doctor to inform me that little Alfred  had a new brother or sister, through your mischievous childhood, your grammar school and Boy Scout days, high school, CCC Camp, and your various adult activities right up to the present moment, you have been the sort of son any father rejoices in having. It’s one of those things you really can’t appreciate until you have experienced it, so my main birthday wish to you at this time is that the little Valentine which is now on his way to you for arrival next May or thereabouts, may in turn bring to you and Paulette just as much joy and deep thankfulness as a parent, my boy, have brought to me – – and right now I can’t think of any bigger or better wish to send you. Not to rub it in at all, but we are all going to take time out right at this point to drink a toast to you with – – hold Your breath – – a glass of Burrough’s Cider. So here’s to you from Aunt Betty, Dick, Jean, Lad, Marian and myself, here seated in the old kitchen you know so well. So here’s to you. (Pause) Perhaps we might change this, if you think so, and say, a “moment for silent prayer.” – – You old reprobate.

Thanks for your letter of Oct. 22nd by airmail which arrived yesterday (five days in transit is pretty good), stating you were shortly leaving for Liege, that the things for the Rabets might be sent by express (they are awfully slow coming from Sears), your receipt of Aunt Betty’s letter and some of the boxes with Paulette’s things in them. Do get her to write us how she likes the various things so we can be guided next time if they are not just what she wants.

In contrast to this speedy letter, I also received earlier in the week a letter you wrote and sent by regular mail on Sept. 18th.  In this you ask that a complete layette be sent to Paulette. It is true that packages can now be sent either by mail or express to France but the thing that I am wondering about, if they are sent to a civilian address rather than to an APO  number, is whether duty will not have to be paid, and if so, whether it would not be much cheaper even if a little longer in transit, to continue to send packages addressed to you through regular Army channels. Perhaps France does not impose duties. Will you inquire on this point and let me know promptly if you still want things sent direct to civilian addresses?

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The Lad and Richard Guion’s are entering fully into the spirit of the late summer place idea and both of them, with the aid of their spouses, have or are in the process of making out floor plans showing their ideas for a summer cottage and I am eagerly waiting your’s and Paulette’s ideas. Ced I know is going to have some very interesting angles I am also wondering if Dave will surprise us, even though I do not expect he has given much thought to matters of this sort.

Lad came home on another pass yesterday and he and Dick and dad had a sort of a field day this morning that you would have enjoyed. With the aid of your old Chevy, Lad’s Buick, some borrowed rope and just plain manpower, we pulled down an old apple tree, hauled sundry fallen logs too heavy to manhandle and in general had such a good time in the pleasant October weather that we long overstayed our dinner hour, in spite of which fact the girls were very patient and forbearing and didn’t act all upset. So perhaps we felt all the guiltier.

Dear Dave:

Received your letter of Oct. 12th on the 22nd — not bad for so great a distance. This is the one where you say I am making you homesick by all the references to rides and trips; also that it has become an effort for you to write letters. That is quite understandable. I occasionally feel that way myself and find it an effort to try to sound interesting, knowing you boys will be disappointed if I don’t write and yet feeling that what I write is a lot of trash. And yet I imagine the effort is worthwhile. I know yours is to me. And you have a lot more to gripe about than I have. I keep busy all the time and feel I am doing something useful for your benefit when you come home, but you must feel sort of a let-down with the war over and nothing very important or dramatic to accomplish. I see, like the Guion tribe in general, you still keep your sense of humor, and for the benefit of the others I will quote your last paragraph. “Things go on the same here – we’re still sweating it out and feeling sorry for ourselves. The only change I can think of right now is the addition of a new sign out in the hall up here on the third floor of the Waterworks Building. The stairs going from the ground floor to the top (4th floor) are set in a sort of squared circle with a well going all the way down to the bottom. The sign here on the third floor says: “Don’t jump — will all be home in six months”. I hope the sign is right.

Dear Ced:

I’ll paraphrase what I said to Dan. Just wait to you have a boy of your own that you have a particular fondness for, who made a resolve to write to you at the very least once a month, and then you wait and wait and week after week goes by after the month is up and still you don’t know whether the plane he went up in ran out of gas and could not come down, and then you can appreciate how the poor old father feels, gnashing his fingernails, glancing anxiously up as each plane streaks across the sky, wondering if that is the silent son at last coming home. And so on that sad and doleful note I shall come to the signing off space, but still hopeful, shall continue to remain,

Yours                               DAD

Special Picture # 251 – My first Trip to the Island – Summer, 1949

 

 

My first trip to the Island – probably the summer of 1949 –

Judy, my younger brother Greg, my twin, Doug

 

my little sister, Lynn

Tomorrow, more Special Pictures.

My internet has been down all week, so on Monday, I’ll begin by re-posting the first section of a long letter from Grandpa to Dave, Dan and Paulette and Ced, written in October, 1945. I’ll continue with the rest of the letter during the week.

Judy Guion

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