Trumbull – Dear Sonny (2) – Extracts From Rusty’s Letter to Ced – November 12, 1944

 

Page 2      11/12/44

Friday’s local paper recorded the death of Tom Cullen, who had been ill for about six months. Cancer, I believe, was the cause of death starting with a face infection and finally going to his brain. In his early 40’s, it is quite a loss to scouting.

These last two weekends I have not only been busy at the office but the breeze has been enough to make it a bit dangerous for me to attempt to put up storm windows alone perched on a rickety ladder, so we are not yet set for old man winter’s onslaughts. I have the furnace running however and so far the house has been comfortable.

Rusty - Rusty at his painting cabin - 1979 (2)

Perhaps this would be a good occasion to send a few extracts from Rusty’s letter to Ced written August 14th from Barrow, Alaska. He describes the perilous run from Nome to Barrow in a 44-foot powerboat, five of them, all together, as crew, the boat 5-tons overloaded on deck, running into storm after storm. “I have seen high waves off Cape Hatteras and in the North Sea but never so close to rough weather as what we ran into on the “ADA”. Conrad would have made a book out of it. None of us ever expected to see land again and I know now why men pray. Hope becomes one concentration and that a tremendous thing. I pumped and pumped and pumped and pumped and never taxed my heart as much before as we kept taking in water and more water. Finally the engine quit. One of the Eskimo crew saved the lives of all of us by getting out 9 fathoms of anchor line and holding onto the end of the line probably two minutes before he could get 2 feet of it to make a turn on the forward bit. None of us could get to him, the sea was so rough. And that was the beginning of a 24-hour battle with the devil in that deep green sea. Finally we could take it no more and made for a lagoon. Breakers were 5 miles long over shoals. When soundings showed we were in only 6 feet of water one of the men yelled “Let’s get the hell out of here.” But it was too late. We struck bottom, went over on our starboard side, shipped water to soak me from head to foot where I stood on one ear in the cabin. Water poured down into the engine room to kill engine. All we could do was to blow the foghorn to summon Eskimos in tents on shore to get out what help they could offer. All this happened so quickly, and the next breaker sucked us so hard that we went some 10 feet sideways, and then the miracle of all miracles happened. The ADA righted herself. We had been smacked over the bar. We rolled helplessly in deeper water until blown into the channel. Finally we got the engine started and motored in to behind a sand spit breakwater. 15 minutes later a gang of Eskimos came aboard saying we were the luckiest people they had ever seen. We all knew that. Not one boat in a million could do the same thing again. After laying up for five days we finally made Wainright. Here we unloaded most of the freight and took on as passengers storm bound Eskimos unable to return to Barrow in their boats heavily loaded with coal. So we left there towing five whale boats and about 25 Eskimos to sweeten the forecastle and share with us the four bunks when the next storm came. We had then run into icebergs 20 feet high and were forced outside of them and land. 60 miles of this. The kids had gotten over their seasickness and there was no more rushing from below to punk pots. One woman had six children. She and all of them had been sick in my bunk. But that was nothing. After one storm I had laid down in more filth than could be found in a garbage can and never felt more clean in my life. To sleep alongside of those shipmates after trying to take what they did uncomplainingly was the finest sensation I have yet experienced. I have made four friends I shall never forget.” More at some later date.

DAD

This week will continue with more letters from Grandpa to his sons, so far from home.

Judy Guion

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Trumbull – Dear Sonny – Marian’s Birthday Celebration – November 12, 1944

                 Marian Irwin Guion (Mrs. Lad)

Trumbull, Conn., Nov. 12, 1944.

Dear Sonny:

It gets a bit puzzling how to address you youngsters each week without repeating some salutation used in former letters, and in this respect perhaps Dan has the right idea of plunging right into the letter without wasting time on the customary form of address. Sometimes I sit for a couple of minutes puzzling how to begin this week’s screed, so today I just wrote the above applying to each of you individually and collectively.

Yesterday was not only Armistice Day but also Marian’s birthday, and following the usual custom we celebrated it today. Elizabeth, who came to dinner with her two boys (Zeke came in later, he having been to his mother’s to see Irv, who is home on leave), was able to get, through her butcher, a nice ham, quite a rarity these days, and that with some of Burrough’s cider of sainted memory, baked sweet potatoes, cauliflower, topped off with Guion’s celebrated prune whip, was followed with the opening of gifts amid the soft glow of candlelight – – in the dining room, of course. Lad had sent me a bottle of Marian’s favorite perfume earlier in the week and this happened to be the last gift she opened which topped off things with an unexpectedly pleasant surprise for her. Doing as much as we can, however, these days still lack that intangible something that used to be present with all you boys gathered around in your accustomed places. It is so pleasant having Marian added to the home circle that she and Jean supply what would otherwise be a very quiet and almost somber occasion.

Yesterday Lad wrote from “somewhere in the United States”, or I should say Marian got a letter yesterday written the day before but from where is one of those wartime secrets. He was unable to give the slightest inkling of what is planned, but at least it is clear he did not sail Tuesday with Carl on his transport, although even this sailing is just conjecture.

Ced saved the day from being a news blank week by making it possible for an Alaskan letter to reach me Saturday. The address on the envelope definitely puts me into the local wood choppers union along with Sidney Hillman of C.I.O. fame and other Roosevelt supporters. In spite of the old saying, there appear to be about 20 million Americans who voted for the wrong man, and being quite disgusted I shall not even comment on the horrible example of poor judgment on the part of the majority of U.S. citizens. Undaunted, however, I shall try again four years from now.

To come back to Ced, from what he says the traditional method of celebrating Halloween is practiced even in far-off Alaska. Here, it was very quiet, most of the Trumbull hell raisers having transferred their affections to pestering Japs and Jerries. Ced also recounts in his usual modest manner that he was duly elected President of the Anchorage ski club and has already gotten his committees working. Among other things they are planning a trip to Independence Mines and their annual ski rally. In his letter Ced enclosed a money order and for Dan’s benefit I quote: “Ten dollars of it are to be put into Dan’s account. It is payment for his Spanish records and I hope he will be satisfied. No one seems to know what they were worth, and as the girls had them in the cellar and wanted to clean out the place, they decided to try to sell them. Eleanor Oman has gone out to live with her mother in the states and before she left she made the deal with some soldiers.”

Tomorrow I’ll post the conclusion of this letter including a few extracts from Rusty’s letter to Ced. For the rest of the week I will be posting more letters from Grandpa. 

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Dear Laddie (no date) and Querida Alfredo From Dan (January 29, 1939)

R-4

Dear Laddie:

I am wondering if either of you boys have had a touch of homesickness — if you have missed the old home as much as the old daddy has missed you both.  “Absence makes the heart grow fonder” must have been written by someone who had passed through the experience both of you and we are going through.  Perhaps we will be all the stronger for the experience as long as we don’t let it get us “down”.

Mr. Reyom says he sent you the magazine section of last Sunday’s N. Y. Times in which there is an article on Venezuela.  I sent a similar clipping in the last letter I mailed to Dan.

Mr. Ives is confined to bed with bronchitis and Mrs. I.  has been having considerable difficulty in making the new car start, which evidently is one serious fault with the foreign model. Ced took it down to Bridgeport for her today to leave it at some garage to be looked over and fixed up if possible.

Have you had occasion to use the new set of tools you took down with you or has your work in connection with the Fair prevented your having to “get out and get under”?

Aunt Dorothy is still in N. Y.  We haven’t heard a word from Rusty since you left.

There was another big fire in Bridgeport the other night, corner of Wall and Water, where that auto accessory store is on the ground floor.  There was $100,000 worth of damage done according to the paper.

Dan sent with his last letter a garrapata to Dick, which made quite a hit (the word is hit) excuse it please.  He also sent some seeds to Grandma which she has planted in an old Maxwell House coffee jar and keeps on the kitchen table with her other plants.  Send some more seeds.  It’s interesting to see what they will bring forth — sort of an agricultural grab bag.

Well, Big Ben chimes out the march of time, and so to bed until the hopper of time grinds out more news, if you can dignify it by that name, for me to send on to my Venezuelan branch of the family.

As ever, DAD

**********************************

Sun. Jan. 29

Querida Alfredo,

Helen arrives on the “Kungshoten” on Feb. 3 at La Guayra and dines in Caracas at noon.  Have the band at the dock to sound mess call.  Give Helen and Mr. Plumb my sincerest regrets tambien.

Jim Shields drives to Caracas this Saturday.  I shall send in some films to be developed.  If reprints are nominal in cost, I should like 3 copies of each, providing they come out well.  I finished the roll already in the camera, and put another in, but the roll in there now feels as if it has gotten wet, and the pictures may be spoiled.

On the way out to-day we saw a snake (Boa, I believe) of which I took a photo.  Later I pursued and Ant-eater, and took a picture of its diminishing stern.

Between now and Sat. I may think of more.  I’ll send further word by way of Jim.  I’m feeling perfectly well to-day.

Hasta luego –

Dan

Tomorrow and Friday, I will post a 20 page letter from Lad to the folks at home about his activities from January 20th to January 30th in Venezuela.

Judy Guion

 

Trumbull – Dear Lad and Dan (2) – News From Trumbull – January 19, 1939

 

 

Alfred Peabody Guion in Venezuela in 1939

Page 2       1/19/1939

By the time you will have received this letter, what I am about to write in this paragraph will be old stuff.  The other day Helen Plumb, (sister of Barbara Plumb) who for weeks has been bothered with a persistent cough which she has been unable to discard, informed me she had decided to take a 17-day cruise to the West Indies on a Swedish Line boat which also stopped at La Guayra.  In reading over the travel literature her father became interested and in consequence, they have both made reservations and will sail on the 27th.  Helen has written Lad at my suggestion, not only because there is more likelihood that of the two, he will be more apt to be in Caracas when the boat stops there, but he will also be in a better position to notify Dan than would a letter sent to Dan direct, this on the slight chance that it might just transpire that on that particular day Dan might have to be in Caracas on company business.  We all know how slight the chance is, but stranger things than that HAVE happened.  Helen spoke of trying to take down to you, Dan, some of the things you wrote Lad you would like to have him bring down for you, which letter arrived after he had sailed.

There has just been published a new book called “Venezuela” by Erna Ferguson which is an account of her travels through your adopted country.  I got a copy of it from the Library and have just started to read it.  Aunt Helen glanced over it and says it is nothing to rave about and apparently is more of a surface account of the ways and not as one would write, who had actually lived intimately with the natives.

Things here at home are pursuing the even tenor of their ways, just as you have known them, Trumbull affairs are also proceeding about as usual, business at the office is still creeping along, not much faster than a walk, and in general, I believe you would find little in the way of change to cause comment.  Gamble disappeared the other day without leaving a trace.  The Ives (neighbors across the street)  naturally feel very bad about it.  No evidence of his having been killed by a car, the dogcatcher knows nothing about it, notices in the paper have brought no answer, and as the dog is not been in the habit of running away and it being only a mutt and has no value in the professional canine world, it is somewhat of a mystery as to just what happened to him.

Have not seen Rusty since the day following Lad’s sailing when I took him down to Bridgeport with me the following morning and left him where he could get a bus for Westport to see his dentist.  Monday of this week I got a letter from Brita asking if I know where he was as they have heard nothing from him for several weeks and were worried as to how he was and whether his abscessed tooth had developed into something serious.  I, of course, could tell them nothing definite.

Dan, in the picture (snapshot) when you are shown standing back of the transit with one peon on your right holding the graduated rod or whatever you call it with a target on it and another fellow with a pajama top at your left, is either of these your friend Jesus?  I didn’t notice your wristwatch.  Is it still in commission?

W E A F has jst gonged 11 P. M., so good night until the next time.

DAD

Tomorrow, a letter from Grandpa to Lad and one from Dan to Grandpa, This, so I can devote, Thursday and Friday to a 20-page letter from Lad describing, in detail, from memory, his day to day activities from January 20th to January 30th.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Dear Baby Snooks (3) – More News From Dave and a Letter From Marian – October 29, 1944

His second letter, however, has a bit of right interesting news that puts him right up in your class. He writes: “I made it. They call me Corporal now. I took a test the day before yesterday. It wasn’t very hard but I had my doubts as to whether I had passed. But today the lieutenant told us all we had passed. Of course, I’ve already got my stripes on. You can tell my brothers that I’m on my way up the ladder and that I’ll keep plugging till I catch up to them and in time I’ll pass them all – – oh yeah? There’s still nothing definite as to when we will pull out of Crowder, but rumors are plentiful. I’ll let you know when – – – –“.

Congratulations, young son. Better tell the man to throw in a strap with that wrist watch you were going to get for your birthday gift from the Pater. By the way I have not received a bill yet for the purchase nor even notification of the amount. Better let me know pronto so I can send you a check before you leave Crowder. Where do you want your Christmas box sent and what do you want in it? (Flora papers please copy)

 

             Marian (Irwin) Guion (Mrs. Lad)

And speaking of Flora, Marian the dependable has again chalked up another run to her score. In a letter written on the 26th she says: “The Battalion has been issued new clothes and they have been given until Nov. 1 to dispose of their cars, but it seems to me we went through this routine once before at Pomona and look how long it took us to get out of there! Nevertheless we are arranging and packing as much as possible so that I can leave here at a moment’s notice. We haven’t the slightest idea which P.O.E. the fellows will be sent to, but in case it is New York or its vicinity, I’d like to be around there as quickly as I can get there in case Lad has a chance to get away for even a few hours.”

Your check instructions have been noted, Marian, and will be duly observed. Meanwhile if you find yourself in need of funds, you know what to do.

       Jean (Mortensen) Guion (Mrs. Richard) 

Between Jean not hearing from Dick when expected and I anxiously awaiting a letter from Dan, we both of us weep on the other fellow’s shoulder. However she did get a couple of letters from Brazil this week which leaves me still “expecting”.

Aunt Betty (Lizzie) Duryee

Aunt Betty was “made a voter” the other day which means another vote for Dewey, and Baldwin. Zeke and Elizabeth however are voting for Mc Levy for Gov. I don’t think Jean has qualified yet so at least she won’t vote for Roosevelt. You all know where I stand. Well, it won’t be long now. Here’s hoping – – I’ve been doing that for twelve years.

While final reports on the destruction of the Jap fleet are not in, it certainly looks good in the Philippine sector. Now if Dan will hurry up with those invasion maps so General Ike can get his final push started maybe it won’t be too bad if Lad and Dave do have to go across the big drink.

In spite of rock and tempest’s roar,

In spite of false lights on the shore

Sail on, nor fear to breast the sea

Our hearts, our hopes are all with thee

Our hearts, our hopes, our prayers, our tears,

Are all with thee, are all with thee.

Dad.

Tomorrow, and Friday, news from Lad and Marian. 

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Dear Baby Snooks (2) – Let’s Get Serious – October 29, 1944

Trumbull House - The Barn

This is the walk Grandpa had to make from the back porch (left) to the barn

Page 2   10/29/44

 

So much for the froth. Now let’s get serious. It occurred to me the other day that for each of you absent boys I have some daily reminder that pleasantly brings you to mind. The days of late have been getting right chilly, so saying goodbye to Aunt Betty, gathering my lunch under my arm, I hasten out to the barn and slide under the Buick wheel. It feels cold to the touch but not for long because soon the heater which Ced not only “gifted” me but installed as well, begins purring and my hymn of Thanksgiving daily floats with the heat waves up toward Anchorage. And, by the way, Ced, the regular arrival of the Alaska Sportsman is enjoyed by all. I noticed in the last issue a mimeograph ad giving the name and address of a concern in Anchorage that does mimeographing. It would be interesting if you got a schedule of prices from them and sent it to me.

But to get back to my Daily Reminders. Quite soon after I hop out of bed I think of Lad and his thoughtfulness in giving me the Remington Rand electric razor. Then after shaving and dressing I make my bed. Do you remember Dan, that two toned woolly brown sweater you once had? Well, the blanket you had in Alaska, which Ced brought back with him and which I use on my bed, is the same two toned Brown and I always think of you as I put this blanket in place. At the office, time and time again during the day as jobs have to be turned out I am reminded of how much I miss Dave, and lastly at night when I come home I usually enjoy a smoke after dinner, and as I reach for a cigar, and see the Brazilian cigar box Dick sent I am of course reminded of my Portuguese son – – yes, there are still three cigars left. I counted them today. And speaking of office work, Dave, Mac says he has someone who has agreed to take over the task of sending out News to Youse again. He says the principal reason it was discontinued was because you went away and he found there was no one who could quite fill your place. Others dillydallied with the idea but you were the only one that went right ahead and did something about it – – few words and plenty of action.

Trumbull House - from the front, showing the steps to the Front door

 

Trumbull House - the driveway and the back of the house

In these pictures, you can’t even see all the windows,

so you can imagine what a job it is in the spring and fall to replace storm windows or screens.

This week has been the busiest I have put in at the office for a long time. A total of some 34,000 letters had to be produced for Governor Baldwin to go to new voters (see sample enclosed) (This letter has been lost sometime over the years) . Of course I worked until late yesterday and so did not have my regular Saturday afternoon at home to try to catch up on the storm window situation. I did get in a few hours this morning and this afternoon, but compared to the amount still to be accomplished the net result was pitifully small.

Carl came home yesterday, having just conveyed a bunch of German prisoners over from France. He says they were either boys or old man, some even 60 and a few badly wounded and all tired of the war and glad to get to America. Carl had to go back again for another assignment yesterday.

Two letters from Dave this week! In the first he says his team consists of 40 men. “I truthfully can’t think of a better bunch of guys to go across with. There are rumors that we will have two more weekends at Crowder. I want you to know that my morale at present is higher than it’s been at any time since I was at home last June. I’m really pepped up over the situation. On my 3-day pass after I left Fort Smith I went to Fayetteville as planned, but, I ran into a little Arkansas lass and that was not planned. Last week I went down to see her again – – she’s really pretty nice and makes good company. Nothing serious in all this, of course, but it gives me something to do with my off time.”

Tomorrow, the conclusion to this letter and on Thursday and Friday, a telegram, a V-mail note, a letter from Marian and Lad and another from Lad alone.

Judy Hardy

Trumbull – Dear Baby Snooks (1) – Daily Reminders – October 29, 1944

 

Alfred Duryee Guion (Grandpa)

Trumbull, Conn., Oct. 29, 1944

Dear Baby’s Snooks:  I mean Jack Benny: Oh, shucks, Jean has the radio going and my concentrations get all mixed up. There, she has thoughtfully and selfsacrificingly turned it off so that I can unhamperedly write to her sweetie among others. Whether it will be worth all this trouble I have my doubts, but here goes anyway.

First will turn to the anecdote department. The Greek dictator General Metaxes was invited to try out a new flying boat. He undertook to pilot it himself. All went well until the Commander noticed they were gliding down to the airdrome. “Excuse me, General, but it would be better to come down on the sea. This is a flying boat”. “Of course, Commander, what was I thinking of!” said Metaxes. After making a safe landing on the water he rose from the wheel and said, “Commander, I greatly appreciate the tact with which you drew my attention to the incredible blunder I was about to make.” Whereupon he turned around, opened the door and stepped into the sea.

Two little sardines were swimming aimlessly in New York’s East River. “Let’s go up to Connecticut for the weekend! suggested one. “Heavens, no, it’s much too long to swim.” “We could go by train” ventured the first sardine. “What! And be jammed in like a couple of soldiers.”

Americans on the German front have their own secret weapon – Patton Pending.

Here is one whom Dave, a rabid Gilbert and Sullivan fan, will especially appreciate. The other night at a political rally in Fairfield, the Norwalk baritone, Greek Evans, sang the following to the tune of Tit Willow from The Mikado.

On the train in Chicago sat little Tom Tit,

Singing Sydney, clear Sydney, clear Sydney

Said Hennigan, Dickie Bird, why do you sit

Singing Sydney, clear Sydney, clear Sydney

Said Dickie Bird, “I feel in my little insides

The American people are wise to my lies,

So give me that fat little worm, now decide

To clear Sydney, clear Sydney, clear Sydney

In thirty-six I had John L., as you know

Clear Sydney, clear Sydney, clear Sydney

But he got to tough to swallow, and so

Clear Sydney, clear Sydney, clear Sydney

In 40 I gave them dear Wallace, you see

But he tried to steal top billing from me

And so we must ship this nit-wit out to sea,

Clear Sydney clear Sydney clear Sydney.

So here then am I, your little Tom Tit

Singing Sydney, clear Sydney, clear Sydney.

I must have my way or the job I will quit.

Clear Sydney, clear Sydney, clear Sydney.

With Ickes to throw the mud till it hurts

And Biddle to get the business man’s shirt

All we need then is the Hillman to drive the rest NERTS

Clear Sydney, clear Sydney, clear Sydney

 

 

Tomorrow and Wednesday I’ll be posting the rest of this letter. On Thursday and Friday, a collection of news reports from Lad and Marian.

Judy Guion