Early Years – Memories of Cedric Duryee Guion (6) – 1922 – 1942

After my Uncle Dan (Daniel Beck Guion) passed away in 1997, I realized that first-hand accounts of this particular “Slice of Life” would only continue to diminish over time. I needed to record the memories of my Aunt Biss and her brothers and share them with the family. This culminated in the idea of a Blog so that I could share these memories with anyone who would be interested in the personal histories of some members of The Greatest Generation.

Over a period of several years, whenever possible, I recorded the memories of my Dad and his siblings. 

These are the memories of Cedric Duryee Guion, Grandma and Grandpa’s third child and third son.

SOL - Young Ced on Porch

Cedric Duryee Guion

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.

Very soon after we got this boat, Dad decided it needed to be dressed up a bit.  He got some lumber and he got someone else to do it, and they made a canvas top.  It came up from the two ends and fastened in the middle and somehow, you could walk around in it.  At the same time, he put in a Ford Marine Conversion engine which was a lot heavier than the original one.  It made the boat lower in the back.  He also decked over the whole back, with cabinets for storage.  It was pretty high-sided and very seaworthy.

Dad, Lad, Dan and I decided we’d take a trip out the Housatonic River and up the coast to Milford.  We were going to go to Hartford and it would take a couple of days.  We started out – we had found out that we had a problem and we had done some caulking on it.  It wasn’t quite watertight.  There was a little storm over Long Island Sound and just about the time we got to the Connecticut River, a real storm came up with high waves.  We had a rough time of it, we really bounced around quite a bit and we were low on gas.  It had gotten fairly calm and I guess the storm was over.  We pulled over to get some gas and decided we’d stay overnight.  We had kind of a rough trip.  We pulled across the river to the other side where there was a beach and some houses.  We anchored out, put the canvas over us, made up the beds and went to sleep.  I was the first one awake the next morning.  The sun was out and it was quite nice.  There was a small space between the canvas and the gunwale, and I was lying there with my head at gunwale height, looking outside.  All of a sudden I realized there was water just a few inches below the gunwale.  I yelled for everyone to get up.  “Hey, guys, we’re sinking.”  Dad had the seats made up as beds so we lifted one and the water was right up there.  Anyway, we bailed and bailed real fast and we finally got the thing so we had plenty of free board, but my mother had baked us a beautiful cake.  It was sitting in salt water.  They don’t float well and they don’t taste good after being in salt water.

We had some friends named Burnham who had lived sort of caddy-corner to us on Lansdowne Drive in Larchmont.  They had a cottage on Fisher’s Island in Long Island Sound.  We started out to visit the Burnham’s in The Helen.  It took us about an hour or so to get there.  When we got there, Dad talked to Rufus Burnham.  Dad was very interested in sailboats and asked Rufus if there was anyone on the Island who could help us with this problem we had with the boat.  Rufus said, “Yea, he lives right around the corner.”  He got him to come over and look at the boat.  It was light enough so that we could pull it up on shore and turn it over.  He stood there, puffing on his pipe and looking at the hull of the boat.  Finally, he said, “You came from the Connecticut Shore in this?”

We kept the boat tied at a place on the Housatonic River and one day the owner called and said, “This is Mr. French.  Your boat sunk.”  It must’ve happened about six times.  We’d go over there, drag it up on shore and dump it out.  Dad got tired of this after a while.

Arnold Gibson’s father, step-father actually, was an old sea-going man.  I guess he had been in the Navy.  He had a Sea Scout troop and Dad said, “You know this boat is getting beyond us.  Why don’t we give it to the Sea Scouts and maybe they can get some fun out of it.”  He gave it to them and I don’t know what they did with it.

Tomorrow, I will begin posting a week of letters written in 1940. Lad is working in Venezuela and Dan and Ced are driving to Anchorage, Alaska, for jobs.  

Judy Guion


Early Years – Memories of Cedric Duryee Guion (5) – 1922 – 1940

After my Uncle Dan (Daniel Beck Guion) passed away in 1997, I realized that first-hand accounts of this particular “Slice of Life” would only continue to diminish over time. I needed to record the memories of my Aunt Biss and her brothers and share them with the family. This culminated in the idea of a Blog so that I could share these memories with anyone who would be interested in the personal histories of some members of The Greatest Generation.

Over a period of several years, whenever possible, I recorded the memories of my Dad and his siblings. 

These are the memories of Cedric Duryee Guion, Grandma and Grandpa’s third child and third son.

CDG - Ced - 1939

Cedric Duryee Guion

I am one of those who brag about the fact that I’ve been driving cars since I was about ten years old.  I got my license – my mother died on June 29th and on June 1st, that same year, I turned sixteen.  I think I got my license on the 2nd.  At that time I had driven quite a few miles with a driver next to me – quite a few miles without, and much more off road then on.  I used to drive on that road along the cemetery.  When they put the cemetery in, there was about a 4 foot drop to the road.  At the very end of it, the drop-off was less and you could turn a car around where it was shallow and come back about halfway on the ledge to the gate.  We had a 1927 Packard Touring car.  I guess this was when Lad was working at Wells Garage and he was making a little money there.  He saw 1929 Packard Touring car – it was a beauty – and he asked my dad if he could trade in the old Packard and my dad told him, “OK”.  We didn’t like that because that was his (Lad’s) car.  Well anyway, I had the car.  This one day I drove up that road, I guess I didn’t have my license yet, I’m not sure.  I was trying to turn around up there and I didn’t have enough room.  I got the front wheel over the bank.  When it went over the bank, it lifted the back end of the car on the right side. Oh, no, I thought, it was about a foot lower than the other end.  “Oh, brother, so this is it.”  I don’t remember how I got it off the bank; maybe I used a jack and pried it over.  I couldn’t go back and I knew I had to get it the rest of the way over.  I finally got it over the hill and onto the road.

Lad worked at the Well’s Garage, the Well’s Bus Line.  He was their Maintenance man for years.  Later he ran two different gas stations in town.  The first was the Mobile Station, next to Kurtz’s Store.  The second was the Atlantic Station after it opened.

We had an old Waverley electric car in the barn.  Dick, poor Dick, got all excited about the war effort.  He thought, “Well gee, here’s this old junk and it’s pretty well shot.”  The Fire Department was looking for scrap metal.  Dick was very patriotic and he thought he’d give them the Waverley, and at the same time, help the war effort.

We still have a series of pictures of the old Waverley in the backyard.  Rusty and some of his friends, my mother and my aunts, all dressed up in these beautiful costumes from the 1800’s that were in good condition in the attic.  They all dressed up in these clothes we took pictures of them in the Waverley.  Rusty pretended to be the groom and Aunt Dorothy was the bride.  Rusty had this stovepipe hat on and all the ladies were all dressed up.  Of course, the Waverley didn’t have any tires on it but it looked nice.

Tomorrow, more of the Early Years as we continue with the Memories of Cedric Duryee Guion.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Dear Backsliders – Grandpa Responds to Marian – April 30, 1944

Alfred Duryee Guion

Alfred Duryee Guion (Grandpa)

Trumbull, Conn. April 30, 1944

Dear Backsliders:
Save a little verse from Marian (about which more later) this is the second week that has passed without hearing a word from any of my five absentees. Now, I ask you, how can I quote from letters received if there are no letters received?
Last week about the time I was appending a little verse to my letter to you boys, Marian was indicting a little verse to me, to wit::

Dear Dad,
In the letter we received last week
there was a certain reference,
made to the fact that we had shown
a very distinct preference!
We didn’t know – (we’ve been away
from Trumbull quite a spell.)
That Dad had reached the well-known stage
that even “best friends won’t tell”!
He seems to think that a sweet sachet
will help his cause a bit.
But frankly, Dad, we think you’ll find
that there is something you forgot !
So we are sending with this note
the things we think you need,
we know your friends will all return
if only you take heed.
And use a little every day
of each and every one.
With best regards from daughter-in-law
and ever loving son.

To which the following the reply is respect fully submitted:

That’s done it. Now the lid is off.
Aunt Betty and Jean know
The reason you sent them sachet –
You think they have B.O.

And by the selfsame reasoning
The hanky, I should say
Implies they both have fevers
That flaunt the name of “hay”.

Another thing — the envelope
By Marian duly panned
Says: from “T/3 A. Guion”
As if these words would lend

An aura of great probity
And in advance, defend
Our Marian from the wrath to come
By blaming “friend husband.”

However, judgment is reserved
In my case, till receipt
Of alleged package, now en route,
I must, without deceit

Admit, as one thing not forgot —
The height of all my joys
In having safe at home again
Not friends, but all my boys.

And now this bit of doggeral
Should meet a timely end
And what more fitting that it be
The vehicle to send

To Marian, and to “T/3 (who
We best know here as “Lad”)
In spite of all we’ve said — our best.
Aunt Betty, Jean and Dad.

Now a quick glance at the meager home news of the week. Art Mantle is home. His nerves seemed to be a bit shot but otherwise is O.K. He has 30 days leave. I have not seen him yet. Biss, her two kids, Aunt Betty and yours truly went to see “Snow White” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Snow_White_%28Disney%29 ) yesterday.
Since eight o’clock this morning I have been as busy as the proverbial bee, clearing the back flower bed of stones, dumping several loads of raked up leaves, putting tar on the laundry roof where it leaks, replacing numbers on storm sashes to match frames where they had come off, cleaning out the furnace, besides getting dinner, etc.
We have as our guest Jean’s friend, Ann, from New Hampshire. Early yesterday morning they left for New York to paint the town red, stay overnight at a hotel and come home, sometime.
A letter from Barbara (Plumb) “somewhere in Italy” says: “I am well — gaining weight at a rate I don’t like to think about — enjoying everything I’m seeing and experiencing so very much. Overseas WACS, from all reports, are doing their jobs well. I saw Col. Hobby in North Africa and she certainly is absolutely charming — completely a woman. I’d never seen her before and didn’t know quite what to expect.”
My strenuous day in the outdoors, while but child’s play for you youngsters in the pink of condition, has made my bones a bit weary, do let’s call it a day, and hope the mailman will give me some quotable material for next week’s screed.
Creaky bones.

Tomorrow and Sunday, we return to the Early Years with Memories of Cedric Duryee Guion.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Dear Audience – Dick the Horse Trader – April 23, 1944

Trumbull, Conn., April 23, 1944

Dear Audience:
We open our vaudeville show this evening with a little sketch:
Tme – 1946
Scene: a comfortable little home furnished in green.
Characters: Mrs. Marian Guion and little Alfred, Junior
“Mama, why do I jiggle so,
from my toes to my solar plexus?
Hush, child, your father long ago
Rode a Jeep in the heart of Texas.”

(The absolutely amazing thing is that this was written in 1944 and in the middle of 1946, June 28th, Marian did give birth to little Alfred (Douglas Alfred, not Alfred, Jr. )  but the biggest surprise to all, including Marian, was that she also gave birth to a daughter, ME (Judith Anne Guion), on the same day. He was right about little Alfred but I fooled them all !)

Next, we introduce our educated dog, Smoky. Step this way, ladies and gentlemen, and see the dog who follows the progress of the war and also correctly pronounces Polish. “Smoky, what Polish city will the red Army capture next?”
Smoky: “Lwow, Lwow.”
We are sorry to announce that the great magician, Señor Guionne, having mislaid his wand, was not able to produce any rabbits out of his hat, to say nothing of his inability all this week to produce any letters from his five absent sons out of PO Box 7 during the entire week just past. He hopes to find his wand very soon now, maybe tomorrow ???
So much for nonsense. Art Mantle is due home very soon from the Pacific theater for a month’s furlough. With practically all of his former pals in the war, I am wondering what he will find to do? Paul (Warden, the tenant) came back home Tuesday for a week’s rest before he goes back to find what the Navy is planning for him to do next.
None of the N.Y. Peabodys were able to get up to Elizabeth’s last week, so just the Trumbull bunch served as extras. Not much in the way of local news to report.
Weather has been cloudy and raining all week. In spite of that fact I did manage to get the back yard looking as if Dan was home, but there’s still much to do on sides and front.

Jean (Mrs. Richard) Guion

Jean (Mortensen Guion, (Mrs. Dick)

Through Jean’s (Mrs. Dick Guion) courtesy, I am privileged to quote from one of Dick’s recent letters (Dick is stationed in Brazil and working as a liaison for the local workers on the base.): “I’m still making out per diem for transient plane crews. The Post Commander’s Adjutant came into the office the other day and remarked that the finance department has told him that I was doing very well — turning out more work then anyone else who had been on the job. However, I’m still a lowly T/5. I’m supposed to have from noon to 1:30 for lunch but if there are a lot of men waiting for per diem, I only take 20 or 25 minutes and several times I have worked 2 1/2 to 3 hours overtime at night. Most of them appreciate what I can do for them. That helps.

Richard (Dick) Guion

Richard Peabody Guion (Dick)

Incidentally, you are now the wife of a horse trader, extraordinary. Maybe I shouldn’t say horse trader, but the proud possessor of a beautiful 129 bouncing horse. Accent on the bouncing. But that’s not all. He is also the rightful owner of the Adjacento Riding Academy, with 2 1/2 horses to the credit. Another soldier owns half of one of the horses. (He owns the half that eats. He has to feed his half. Need I go further?) Oh, well, there’s nothing like a little manual labor at the end of a shovel to give one an appetite (Note by editor: I thought you said that was a one horse town you were in?) I plan to rent the horses to the transients at $.50 to a dollar an hour. So far I have spent $57 for horseflesh and $18.25 for feed and care. Now all they have to do is ship me home before I can hock the transients for $75.25.”

Maybe my muse will supply more inspiration next week. Or it might be that one of you will substitute for the muse. Anyway, cheerio for now.

Tomorrow we have another letter from Rusty to Ced and we finish the week with Grandpa’s response to Marian’s little ribbing.

Judy Guion

Early Years – Memories of Cedric Duryee Guion (4) – 1922 – 1940

After my Uncle Dan (Daniel Beck Guion) passed away in 1997, I realized that first-hand accounts of this particular “Slice of Life” would only continue to diminish over time. I needed to record the memories of my Aunt Biss and her brothers and share them with the family. This culminated in the idea of a Blog so that I could share these memories with anyone who would be interested in the personal histories of some members of The Greatest Generation.

Over a period of several years, whenever possible, I recorded the memories of my Dad and his siblings. 

These are the memories of Cedric Duryee Guion, Grandma and Grandpa’s third child and third son.

SOL - Young Ced on Porch

Cedric Duryee Guion

A bunch of us would walk over to Pinewood Lake, you know, it was all forested pine trees.  We’d play in the tops of those trees.  We’d go from one tree to the next.

We used to play the piano.  We had a player piano, we got it from Aunt Anne, she had it in New Rochelle and they didn’t use it anymore so we got it. (Actually, Grandpa bought it in 1913, the year he and Grandma Arla got married, and I have the original Sales receipt.)

The Young People’s Group in the church was led by Doug and Emily Chandler.  Long after Chandler left, we kept on with the Chandler Chorus.  The only two people who ever directed the Chandler Chorus were Doug Chandler and Laura Brewster.  He was good, very good with young people.  There must have been seventeen or eighteen kids.  He played the piano beautifully and we’d have these meetings once a week.  He played really jazzy music for us, too.  He was very fond of music, good music, and started the Chandler Chorus.  We had everywhere from ten-year-olds to sixty-year-olds, maybe higher.  Maybe not ten-year-olds, but we had young people.  We sang quite frequently.  We went all over the place, up to Shelton.  We were good.  In fact that’s where Fannie and I met. (Ced is referring to
Fannie Pike, from Stratford, who he married years later.)

Anyway, then there was this young group, as I said, our house was the center of activity all over town.  It drew practically everyone in the town of Trumbull.  Mother said every Tuesday night we could have an Open House for all the young people.  We would play the piano, and we’d sing.  We just had a ball, and then we’d have cookies and cocoa or something.  That was so much fun.

Dad took us down to Baltimore in one of the cars – must have been one of the Packard’s – to the Fair of the Iron Horse, this was the heyday of railroading.  They put on a beautiful show.  Dad drove us down and I know we had two flat tires, one going down and one on the way back.  It was a wonderful show.  They had all the old steam engines, the Sturbridge, and the Tom Thumb, they were the originals.  We sat in covered bleachers, and there was a huge stage, with water beyond the stage.  The old locomotives came in and people got out of the coaches, boats came in and out – it was wonderful.  The people war period costumes.  We probably went in the early 20s.  Dan, Lad and I – D’s’sad always did things with us.  Dick and Dave weren’t in the group, they were born later.  I had the big privilege of seeing a very similar show at the Chicago World’s Fair.

Tomorrow I will post a week of letters written in 1944, when all of the boys are in service to Uncle Sam. Grandpa is holding down the fort at the Old Homestead and acting as a Clearing House for news from – and to – all of his sons.

Judy Guion

Early Years – Memories of Cedric Duryee Guion (3) – 1922 – 1940

After my Uncle Dan (Daniel Beck Guion) passed away in 1997, I realized that first-hand accounts of this particular “Slice of Life” would only continue to diminish over time. I needed to record the memories of my Aunt Biss and her brothers and share them with the family. This culminated in the idea of a Blog so that I could share these memories with anyone who would be interested in the personal histories of some members of The Greatest Generation.

Over a period of several years, whenever possible, I recorded the memories of my Dad and his siblings. 

These are the memories of Cedric Duryee Guion, Grandma and Grandpa’s third child and third son.

SOL - Young Ced on Porch

Cedric Duryee Guion

We smoked corn silk and cigarettes here and there.  Art Christie was the oldest, your father was next, then Dan and me, the four of us.  I like to presume, and it’s probably true, that Art Christie got the idea.  I guess my mother wasn’t home.  I don’t know how we did it or how we got to it, but anyway, we got money out of Mother’s pocketbook.  We went to Kurtz’s – Mother smoked– most of her sisters smoked – of course in those days you didn’t think anything about it.  Anyway, we went to Kurtz’s and said we were buying some cigarettes for our mother.  We bought a pack of cigarettes, I don’t remember the brand.

Right about where the cemetery gate was, there was a carriage road.  There was a fence at the end, and a field beyond, which was probably Harold Beech’s field. But right at the gate there had been, at one time, a mill.  They had dammed up the Pequonnock River, they had a dam there, probably four feet high and four feet wide.  They had a big stone wall that pretty much went all the way to the cemetery.  Near that wall, there was a big, square hole, I guess that’s where they had the mill wheel, but that space was a perfect place to go smoke cigarettes.  We sat at the front of that square and we started smoking.  We had a whole pack of cigarettes and we wanted to enjoyed them.  Well, we were merrily smoking away and Dan said, “I think I’ll go home.”  He got right up and left.  We suspected that he was getting sick, which he was.  Art and Lad and I hoped he wasn’t going to make a fuss.  I guess we talked about it and decided it was time to stop smoking, so we did.  We thought maybe we ought to go down to the Brook, pick up some poles and pretend to be fishing in case Mother came looking for us.  So we did.  We went down to the brook and we were playing along the side of the Brook, pretending we were fishing.  I don’t know if we could have made that stick, but anyway, sure enough, about ten, fifteen or twenty minutes later, here comes Mother and gulp, gulp, gulp.  She came up to us and said, “What are you doing?”  “Uh, we’re fishing” we answered.  “Well,” she replied, “Dan tells me you were smoking.”  What could we do?  “You know your father and I both smoke”, she said.  “I don’t like it that you boys smoke, but why don’t you just come home and smoke if you want to.”  Not one of us wanted to smoke again until we were eighteen or twenty.  Not one of us.  Now, if that is in psychology, good psychology … Without even being punished.

Tomorrow, more Early Years with the Memories of Cedric Duryee Guion.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Dear Clan – Just Met Captivating Blonde Without Shirt – September 30, 1942

Trumbull, Conn., Sept. 20, 1942

Dear Clan:

Highlighting the news this week is the announcement of the engagement of Charley Hall and Jane Mantle. I believe it happened last Tuesday. Anyway they dropped in here Thursday and Jane exhibited her sparkler which naturally was admired by all. Red (Don Sirene) is home for a week before he goes back to school again. For his thesis he is planning to submit plans for a civic center for the Town of Trumbull. Jack Fillman, we learn, is now at Guadalcanal while Benny Slawson is a rear gunner on a bomber. Three Bridgeporters have been nominated for Governor of Connecticut – – Ray Baldwin (rep) Robert Hurley (present dem. Incumbent) and Jasper Mc Levy (soc).

Dan in uniform @ 1945

Daniel Beck Guion

Saturday I received a telegram from Dan as follows: “Just met captivating blonde without shirt. Please wire $15 for philanthropical purposes. No particular rush – – just want to avoid long wait in bread line.”

The blonde particularly interests me, Dan. What I can’t figure out is whether the blonde is one of those generous girls that will give you anything she has, including the shirt off her back, which she did, or whether you got into trouble because of her and lost the shirt off your back. In other words, please wire at once who’s shirt it was that was without. Meantime the mere matter of the 15 bucks has been attended to, being merely incidental to the main question raised by your telegram. Barbara is also interested, as you may imagine. “What does he do with all his money?” Was the thought spoken out loud as she read the intriguing message. This was followed by visions of an embryonic loan business being started within U.S. Army circles – – the Daniel in the Lion’s Den Loan and Financing Association or some such name – – perhaps that is where the philanthropy comes in. And as for the bread line, perhaps you ought to begin to wonder about the waste line. Well, so much for that episode.

Lad popped in early this morning and soon after dinner filled up his car’s tank with all the gas he could legally buy on his A ration card and started, with five weak tires, off to Maryland. We’re all keeping our fingers crossed.

The last item of real news, to me at least, was receipt from Ced of a package containing one of the most unique and attractive belts it has ever been my good fortune to encounter – – not only because it was an unusually fine piece of cowhide, but because of the unusual buckle – – a hand-carved Ivory depiction of a typical Alaskan scene, personally signed by the author. It is quite different from anything I have ever seen with a personality and individuality all its own. Everyone who has seen it makes enthusiastic comments. “Worth waiting for”, “something you can be proud to wear”, “never saw anything like it”, “truly suggestive of Alaska”, etc. Then following on the heels of this most welcome momento of my faraway Alaskan son, I also received a short but right welcome letter (with m.o.(money order), for which thanks much, Ced) announcing his departure on another plane salvaging trip. He is fast developing into a veteran plane wrecking repair expert.

With radio jazzing in my ear, conversation bantering back and forth, coupled with the fact that I’m about written out anyway, induces me to consider the end of the page is approaching with the usual accompaniment of its good bye, from         DAD

Tomorrow, a letter from Lad to his father. 

Judy Guion

Friends – Barbara Plumb Writes to Ced in Alaska – September 14, 1942

This letter was written by Barbara Plumb, Dan’s girlfriend, to Ced in Alaska. In the body of the letter, Barbara explains the timeline quite well. 

CDG - Barbara Plumb Writes to Ced - Sept., 1942 - front

CDG - Barbara Plumb Writes to Ced - Sept., 1942 - back

Notice seal on the end of the envelope, Examined By 13833

CDG - Barbara Plumb Writes to Ced - Sept., 1942 - l1st pageMonday – September 14

9:00 A M

Law offices –

Miller, Bent & Smith


As you know, yesterday a round robin was written to you – but because of the numerous participants etc., I didn’t write a single word – so will have to write you a special edition or rather addition)

Dear Ced:

We certainly missed you at the birthday gathering yesterday – but the pictures helped out considerably, even though that bearded fellow doesn’t look much like Old Ced. But I like the beard – must try one myself some time. (Maybe I’d enjoy circus life.)

My occupational status is still the same – working, not too hard, for four very nice men.

I have had one weeks vacation – when Dan was home on furlough at the end of June and have another week coming. I’ll probably take it in another two or three weeks and visit Lancaster. If I have as nice a time as when I went to Roanoke Rapids, N.C., it will be O.K. Dan and I are going to see the ice show in NY too. I’ve been trying to get to see it for at least three years. I’ve been down twice for the express purpose of seeing it and both times something happened.

Doesn’t the time go fast though?! You’ve been in Alaska for over two years – Dan has been home one year, minus 2 weeks, (I believe she is referring to the time he has been home since leaving Alaska, although he has been in the Army since mid-January, 1942) – I’ve been out of high school for six years – Butch is nearly 3 – it doesn’t seem possible – I’ll be happy if the time continues to race, at least until the war is over – then I can go very slowly please.

I like your house a lot – especially the corner windows. I wish Dan and I lived right next door. I studied the picture of Anchorage which you sent and asked Dan “What’s this? – Where’s so-and-so?” Until now I feel that if I were dropped in front of the P.O., I could find you without asking directions. I want very much to see Alaska – someday – but that’s as far as plans can go just now.

I seem to have plenty to do always – in fact there are always two or three things “I’m going to do this week”, which I never get to – such as practicing piano exercises or reading – But all I do is knit and play bridge – go to choir rehearsal and church and just buzz around doing nothing much. Lately I’ve been going over to Bissie’s about once a week right after work and stay all night –

Well, as it’s almost 10 o’clock, and as I haven’t done anything in the line of work so far, I better close this and try to look busy anyway. Give my regards to Rusty. Judging from the picture, he’s looking younger than ever – Dan said – “He looks like a big kid! – Almost 21″.

As you can see, I enjoy your letters to your family, so that I really owe you a letter or two – I like to write when I get started – In fact, when I do get started I ramble on and on and don’t know when to stop – so, abruptly,



P.S. Color of paper means absolutely nothing.

Tomorrow, another letter from Grandpa and on Friday, a quick note from Lad.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Dear Tall Son (2) – More of Grandpa’s Birthday Celebration – September 13, 1942

is is the final page of a long round robin letter to Ced, from family and friends, gathered to celebrate Grandpa’s 58th birthday.

Dan in uniform @ 1945

Daniel Beck Guion


Alfred Peabody Guion (Lad)

In line with my somewhat radical idea that it is the fellow who has successfully reached another milestone on life’s journey who should be grateful enough for the privilege to remember his family with a token or two, I passed out a few small trinkets which seemed appropriate for each personality, and then turned my attention to a peculiar looking package which had just been brought in tied with a battered clothesline, to which a large placard was attached reading as follows:

“Steeped in the traditional Guion sentimentality, a

group of your progeny and assorted admirers have

donated this gift for your smoking pleasure, or

any other dissipation that might appeal to you.”

Inside a large cigar box was a tiny little cigar, around which were wrapped bills in the amount of FIFTY dollars. For a moment I guess I was sort of knocked speechless.

After dinner dishes were washed, the family went out in the bright sunshine of the backyard to have a birthday snapshot taken to send to you, Ced, in due course. Cards with birthday greetings from Aunt Betty, Aunt Elsie (Grandpa’s sister), Jean (Mortensen, Dick’s girlfriend) and Dick, and a flashlight from Barbara (Plumb, Dan’s girlfriend) rounded out the day in a very pleasant manner.

The photos in your letter, Ced, certainly aroused quite a bit of comment. Dick and Dan as well as myself were especially interested to see the airplane view of Anchorage. Your tire trouble has a familiar ring. Just yesterday I had much the same experience myself and am now without a spare until Carl picks up a tire he expects to come in tomorrow which may serve the purpose. I am also going to see if I can’t get a Briggs filter to send to you as requested. There is also on its way to you a little birthday remembrance in addition to the Reader’s Digest, which I hope you will find interesting.

Attached you will find some round robins which you will perhaps appreciate all the more when I tell you most of the writers did not have to be urged, but in most cases, eagerly volunteered to add their bit when it was announced that you were to be the recipient.

About the only other incident I think of is that the man came to put our Stoker in condition yesterday, so with coal in the bin and the furnace ready for duty, the onset of winter can be faced with a fair amount of composure. Lad and Dan both go back tonight and probably will not be home for a week or so. Lad is now wearing his sergeant stripes and looks very well in his uniform. Both boys look very fit and Army life seems to be agreeing with them.

Have not heard from Grandma or the other Peabody’s lately so I assume no news is good news.

Write again soon and don’t forget to include further chapters on the plane rescue expedition.


Tomorrow, a letter from Barbara Plumb, Dan’s girlfriend, to Ced. On Thursday, another letter from Grandpa and on Friday, a short letter from Lad.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Dear Tall Son (1) – Grandpa’s Musings – September 13, 1943

We are moving forward to 1942. Lan is in Aberdeen, Maryland, at the Aberdeen Proving Grounds and Dan is in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, both getting more training for their positions in the Army. Ced has been in Alaska for over two years, working as an airplane mechanic at Woodley Airfield. Dick and Dave are still in Trumbull going to school. Aunt Betty, Grandpa’s Aunt, has moved to Trumbull to help take care of the house while Grandpa runs his advertising and printing company in Bridgeport.

Arla Mary Peabody Guion - portrait

Grandma Arla – Arla Mary (Peabody) Guion


Trumbull, Conn., September 13, 1942

Dear Tall Son:

This is the day on which my birthday was officially celebrated and what a day it turned out to be. Before I plunge into the details, let me say there was only one of my stalwarts missing to make the day perfect. (Of course, just between you and me, there is always someone else I miss very much on all family gatherings). Even that was partly compensated for, because a few days before, a letter arrived from Alaska enclosing a photo of said missing son and that was passed around from hand to hand, as well as those of his bearded double. And by the way, Aunt Betty just came in and asked me to say to you that although she could not use the typewriter to add her message to the other round robins attached, and was also unable to write by hand, she wanted me to tell you she also missed you and was glad you had become so good-looking — and I don’t think she was thinking of the man with the beard.

Well, to return to my theme song. Of course, the 11th was the official date, and just as Dan has an attachment to his camera that in taking two pictures at one exposure adds a third dimension and thus results in a finished product far superior to either one alone, so a double celebration (probably because the increasing age of the victim could not be adequately justified by one celebration) seemed indicated. Anyway, Friday, as I came home from work with my arms full of supper, and proceeded to take off my coat preparatory to donning the chef’s apron, Aunt Betty informed me I need go no further because the whole family had been invited next door to the Wardens for supper — it being by a strange coincidence also the birthday of Paul Warden. So, in we marched to an excellent Italian spaghetti dinner with birthday cake and everything, followed by a very pleasant evening. Barbara had also been invited and Jane and Charley Hall, arriving later, made quite a little party.

With the hope that my two soldier boys might arrive for this weekend, it was decided in family conclaves that, reversing Armistice Day procedure of the First World War, the false but more exciting occasion should take place today. Both Dan and Lad were able to wangle passes, Elizabeth and her family found enough gas to pilot their chariot from Stratford to Trumbull, Barbara Plumb, Dan’s girlfriend) and Jean (Hughes), who are practically part of the family anyhow, and Catherine Warden, whose husband was away for the day, made up, not counting the little ones, a gathering of 10 with the regulars (Zeke arrived a bit late as he had gone fishing this morning) all gathered around the festive board in the old dining room which you can easily reconstruct on the canvas of your mind. (In case you are interested, tomato aspic, standing rib roast, candied sweet potatoes, cauliflower, fresh corn on the cob from Laufer’s, Brown (aunt) Betty, lemon and lime fruit drink, cake and coffee formed the menu).

Tomorrow, I will post the rest of this letter. 

Judy Guion