Elizabeth’s Adventure in St. Petersburg, Florida (15) – Expectations and a Story – May 13, 1935

My Grandmother passed away in 1933, when her only daughter, Elizabeth (Biss), was 14. Biss took it quite hard and had difficulties at home. It was decided by her Aunts and her father that it might be helpful for her to live with Aunt Anne in St Petersburg, Florida, go to school and help Aunt Anne with her two children, Don and Gwen. Biss is just about finished with the school year and is looking forward to going back to Trumbull. She had been able to step away from the situation and see it from a different perspective. She has also matured and is in a much better place right now.

Monday afternoon

4:53 PM EST


Dear Pops,

I am truly ashamed of you! Imagine, for six months now you have been writing to me on the average, I should say, of once a week – and yet you still don’t know my address! In fact you have seen the house and lived in it for a few days. I imagine if you had put 2101 like you should have instead of 1201 like you did – I would have gotten it in time to answer it before I sent that letter to you and Dan. I have no special time to write to you so I can’t get back on any schedule – except writing to you at least once a week. You ought to put the time on your letters so I will know whether everything is as it should be at that time.

I wish I had been home for the fire – for I love excitement! Did the boys leave Tessie’s party and go to the fire? I think I would have if I had been there. It is going to seem funny not to see that old landmark – the passing of another one of Trumbull’s landmarks.

Of course we have very little rain down here – I have to stop and get dinner – I have gotten one scolding already because I did not get dinner started on time. All the work of the evening is done now so I am perfectly free to write as long as I wish. I am very sorry I sent that letter Saturday night for I see again it is causing you some worry.

I am very glad for the check this month for I have been doing some extra things, such as having my picture taken and I had hoped you could send my June money before 1 June so it was rather disconcerting to find I could not expect any at all – however I think I can get by if I watch my money like a miser would, so don’t let it worry you.

    Richard Peabody Guion                     (Dick)

I am expecting to find a healthy boy in David when I get home and a considerate Dick – am I expecting too much? They all still have plenty of time to work on their faults, for it is quite definite that we won’t be home before the end of June or the beginning of July. Perhaps the reason for my better understanding in my letter to Dave is – I have gone literacy-minded! I am writing the story of the World War and I have also written some short, short stories. Maybe I will become a good authoress after all – I sadly fear I can’t become a great singer – as much as I would like to.

Don’t forget to send me a picture of the house when the Lilacs are in bloom. Perhaps when you get this letter the first of the Lilacs will be out.

No one has told me about the play. You did, I admit, send me a program that didn’t tell the whole story. How big a success it was, what it was for, etc. and I would like to know all of these reasons and all of the details.

Right at this moment is quite cool for the window is open and the breeze is blowing across me and also blowing all my writing material off the end of the table, for I am at the dining room table. The daytime however is hotter than when I wrote to you and I haven’t gotten the least bit used to it as yet – and I don’t think I am going to. I am still gaining weight so I think you had better repair all of the furniture that needs it. I prefer to say I’m getting stout though rather than “fat”.


  David Peabody Guion (Dave)

Tell Dick and Dave that I don’t think much of them as brothers for they never write to me to let me know that they still exist. I was beginning to think that perhaps there wasn’t a David for no one ever spoke of him and he was there when I left anyway – so you had better warn him to write if he wishes to keep in my good graces – the same for Dick.

Oh, I have some very good news to change the subject – I got my English report today and I had an 85 – if I get my French mark up to 80 – if – and I keep all my other marks where they are, then I will come home with second honors – for the first and last in other words only time in my life.

I am almost sure that I am going to go to the Junior-Senior prom now – the only trouble that I can find with it is that I will have to wear an evening gown.

We made root beer a week ago – I think it was a week ago – and over half is gone already so we are planning to make more. It isn’t very good this time – too much water I think but we hope for better luck next time. I am going to write a paragraph or two of my story to get you interested and then leave off.

Autobiography of a War Dog

My mother, as I remember her, was a thoroughbred collie. My father, she told me, had been a mongrel. I hated my mother’s master although she loved him. He was a drunkard who would beat her unmercifully if she was in his way or if things weren’t quite right with him. My eyes had been opened for three days when my mother was killed – it was a tragic death. Mr. Alcost, the drunkard, came staggering home one morning and as soon as he came into sight, my mother ran to him. He swore at her and kicked her swiftly. She did not seem to understand. He took a board and struck her over the head. She looked at him still wagging her tail and then fell – that is as far as I will go with the story now. Is it okay so far?



Tomorrow, I’ll be posting letters written to her brothers a little later and enclosed with this letter to Grandpa. She is getting closer to the end of school and closer to coming home.

Judy Guion

Elizabeth’s Adventure in St. Petersburg, Florida – (11) – Letters to Dick and Dave and the Dog Races – April 12, 1935

My Aunt Biss (Elizabeth) was staying in St Petersburg, Florida with her Aunt Anne and going to school while helping Anne with her children, Don and Gwen. She tried to write to her father every week but she wasn’t as faithful in writing to her two younger brothers back in Trumbull. She wrote to all three of them and stuffed the letters into one envelope to save money. The letter to her father was posted last Sunday and today we get to read the letters to her brothers.

Monday evening

6:18 PM

Dear Dick:

It certainly has been a long time since I last wrote either you or David. I wasn’t going to write to you and Dave tonight, because I didn’t have time. I was going to mail the letter about 15 minutes ago but Aunt Anne said she would mail it when she went downtown tonight for then it would leave St. Petersburg tonight so of course I consented. Therefore, I have to steam this letter open so I can put in yours and David’s. I only have one stamp on now but I will of course have to put on a second one for it can’t possibly get to Trumbull for three cents. I’m still not positive that I can get in both letters before Aunt Anne goes out. We’re going to eat in about five or 10 minutes so I don’t think I will be able to finish this letter.

            Don Stanley

           Gwen Stanley

The other night I went to the dog races. The dogs were greyhounds and were, of course, perfect beauties. There is an electric rabbit that runs around the side of the track and all the dogs chase it. The rabbit of course is never caught for the officials pull a curtain across the pathway when the dogs have gone around and the first dog to pass the winning line wins. People place their bets before the race and it costs two dollars to place a bet and if your dog wins you gain. Different dogs are worth different prizes, so of course it is nicer to have a better dog win. One dog, rather two dogs together, brought in $42 and some odd cents. Tonight is the last night for the races and I wish very much that I could go but I was up late Saturday – at the dog races last night – ask the boys – I don’t know which one I told it to and Aunt Anne hasn’t had a chance to see them so she is going to go tonight and someone has to stay with Don and Gwen so I am going to. If there weren’t all those reasons – besides the reason that there is school tomorrow – why perhaps I would consider going tonight for it is the biggest night. Well I have to eat now so I will finish it after supper. Aunt Anne is getting ready to go to the dog races so I am afraid I won’t be able to write a letter to Dave or have time to steam the envelope open either so this will have to go separately – if it does go with the bunch you will know it is because I had time.



Monday evening

7:03 PM

Dear Dave:

It was Uncle Burton’s birthday for you know his birthday comes on April Fools’ Day. Did you meet Sewell Nelson while you were down here? Well he goes to military school now and at present is home on vacation. He has to go back to the school tomorrow. Well, of course, he knows all about the signals and since he has been home on his vacation we have been playing firing squad. Yesterday I was a bad man and I had to be killed. They marched me to the front of the house and shot me. I landed a little too hard and got a headache and full of sand spurs.

It was so much fun though that they marched me out into the alley (so I could have a soft spot to land) and asked me what my last request was. “I regret that I have but one life to give for my country” was my answer. They then shot me. We tired of that soon so I started marching with the rest. Bill Garlington came along to take me to church but I didn’t feel like stopping so I let him wait while I finished playing. We went by the porch where Aunt Anne was sitting and she asked me if I had seen Bill – she was quite disgusted that I would leave a guest standing doing nothing while I finished playing.

I turned around and was talking to her when Sewell – the commander – said “Halt, one, two”. I was turning back as he said that but hadn’t been listening so I kept on walking and banged right square into Donald’s gun. < The gun went off because I saw stars and it cut my eyebrow off so that today I have only one eye – the other is the size of a football.> Where those marks are I began to use my imagination. To tell you what really happened – I banged into the stick (Don’s gun) which was on his shoulder, I mean, over his shoulder and I hit my eyebrow. It’s quite sore today although it doesn’t show one speck. I’m glad I didn’t get a black eye for everyone in school would be asking me who I had a fight with. I’m going to steam the envelope open – ask Dick how it is done – because I have time. Aunt Anne is getting ready to go so I had better hurry up – don’t forget to answer this letter – tell Dick not to forget to answer his either.



Tomorrow, another post about Elizabeth’s Adventure in St. Petersburg, Florida.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – A Letter From A Father To His Son – March 17, 1940

In yesterday’s post, Grandpa ended with an introduction to this post. He wrote:

I suppose this letter will reach you before your birthday and that being the case, I wonder if I can begin to get across to you just how a father feels about birthday greetings to his oldest boy so far away that he has not seen for so many months. Have you ever run across something in print that seems to say in the masterly way something that you have felt but seemed to lack the ability to express in words? Some time ago I ran across a thing of this sort – a letter from a father to his son, and if I may, I will let this sort of substitute for some of the things one would like to say himself if he had the gift of expression.


My boy:

Yesterday a man talked to me about a father who wrote an entire History of Mankind in order to guide his son on his march through life. There must be thousands of ways which the fathers of the world take to bring to their sons the wisdom and the truth which they want them to feel and to understand.

I too, my boy, have felt this urge. From the first day you came into the world, life took on a richer meaning. There was something more to live for — to fight for. Men thought that I was after dollars. How little they knew! Why I would rather earn one honest hour of your faith and your trust then decades of the world’s pomp and glory.

In every waking minute of my life there is one great urge. That you shall know me — not as other men think they know me; not as a neighbor, nor even as a husband. Each of these is a different world. In these other worlds even good men must be something other than their real selves. Fathers take on masks. There is so much they want to be and yet dare not be — so much they want to say and yet dare not say.

But in your world, here, surely, a father may be real. Here he may grope forward. Here he may reach out for his boy to hold him, to touch you, to talk to him. Time and again how I have hungered for this. I wanted to tell you the truth about life as I have come to know it. Time and again, alone in the sacred recesses of my heart I have carved words for you.

Carefully, earnestly, sacredly I have carved them, and yet when I came to speak them they were not the words I wanted to say. The sacredness was gone from them. They were dull and lifeless. A wall seemed to come between us — a wall created by a greater power than yours or mine, and it seems to say:

“Yes. You want to be a part of your boy — a limb of his limbs; to speak for him; to fight for him; to take for yourself the blows which the world is waiting to aim at him. But no, it is not to be. Alone he must fall and creep and climb and bleed and hunger. Alone, even as you did — even as he learned to crawl and walk — by his own desperate sorrows, by the crashing of his own dreams, by the leap of ambition when it fires him, and by the flames of defeat when they scorch him – out of these he must learn.”

Yet, perhaps, this is as it should be.

Listen my boy. I cannot write you a History of Mankind. I cannot pour out tomes of wisdom and reason; but this much I can do, this much I can say: March out on life. Live your own life in your own way — according to the truth as you see it — not as other men do. According to the dreams YOU dream, not those other men dream. March out on life. Come to grips with it. Seek out your birthright and fight for it. A thousand men will come to talk of fear and defeat and failure. A thousand others will frighten you by the futility, the emptiness, the miserable emptiness of their lives. A thousand lies will seek to deafen the song of courage and truth in your ears. But go on — go on and strive and endeavor to find your dreams and your yearnings that I sought for in my own life.


On Wednesday, a letter, written in Spanish, from Dan to Lad, on Thursday, a letter from Grandma Peabody and on Friday, an Easter letter from Grandpa.

Judy Guion

Army Life – Hello! Everyone At Home – Birthday Gifts For Lad – February 1, 1944

Lad ad Marian Guion


Hello! Everyone at Home –

Here we are “deep in the heart of Texas”, and altho’ it isn’t a place that we would choose to build our own home, at least it isn’t too bad. I know that it is quite disconcerting to Lad, but I’ve taught school for three years in a place in California that is exactly like this, so I know what to expect. And as long as it is possible, I intend to stay with Lad, no matter where he is sent.

For the time being we are staying at a fairly nice Auto Court – The Blue Streak! (Room and bath, if you please!) And have our application in at the Federal Housing Tract which is near. We could move in right away, if we had furniture, or wanted to buy it, but we don’t want to get anything right now, so we have to wait until they can furnish some more of the houses.

We are about five miles from Camp, and except when he has a night hike or C.2. (?) scheduled, Lad can get home practically every night. Just so that I will have something to do during the day, I am going to try to get some kind of a job. Exactly what, I don’t know, but am going to see about it in a few days.

Lad’s training is really strenuous, and what with the wet, rainy weather we have been having, is none too pleasant. He doesn’t complain however and I’m so glad to be here that the water could be a foot deep outside and I wouldn’t even notice. It rains in California, too – the Chamber of Commerce, notwithstanding!

We don’t know what our mailing address will be, so for the time being continue to send those very interesting letters of yours to Lad’s address at Camp.

I forgot to warn you, Dad, that I was sending some of Lad’s things home – they are things that can just be stored until he gets there to sort them out.

We think your suggestion about a picture is an excellent one – in fact, we had it in mind to do as soon as we were settled – so we will send one to you as soon as we can.

Needless to say, I’m extremely glad Marian is here. It makes Texas quite a bit nicer, and she apparently likes it better than I had dared hope. Now, you all may get a little more attention from me again. Since Marion wrote, we have acquired a mailing address. It is Box 154, Hooks, Texas.

Our basic training should end this Saturday and on Monday we will begin our 11 weeks of technical training. I am to help out with the instruction, along with 8 or 10 others. I’m supposed to sort of cram automotive electricity into the already cluttered brains of the trainees. It seems that this post is slightly understaffed for a Bn. (Batallion) as large as this. But everyone is glad Basic is nearly finished. We have our inspection tomorrow, and to be on the ball I’ve got to get some sleep so —– Laddie

Dad – I have a Valentine for you, but until we can get suitable packing material I shall have to wait to mail it to you. But it is coming –

With all our love,



P.S. – Fellow conspirator –

I received your letter in the mail tonight and I honestly don’t know what to tell you to get Lad for his birthday. Everything in the way of clothes that he needs is issued to him – and the Army has specific ideas about the type they should be. He does need some plain white (no initial) handkerchiefs – the kind that don’t have much of a border on them. And he wants a small sewing kit – and I do mean small. No bigger than the size of a spool of thread – with needles and pins and tiny spools of black, white or khaki colored thread. I have been unable to find one here. He can always use cigarettes (Luckies) if you are able to get a carton of them – And some plain white stationary – (rather lightweight paper)

Practically the only things he uses outside of things issued by the government are his electric razor (still in good condition) and his fountain pen – (he has two of those).

You see what I mean? I realize that I’m not much help, Dad, but this is absolutely all I can offer. Perhaps you have a few ideas on the subject that would be most acceptable. I think you do remarkably well as it is.

Love –


Tomorrow and Sunday I will continue Elizabeth’s Adventure in St. Petersburg, Florida, living with her Aunt Anne (Peabody) Stanley and helping with housework and the children.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Dear Lad – The Worst Ice Storm (1) March 10, 1940

Blog - Lad in Venezuela walking in field (cropped)

Alfred Peabody Guion (Lad) in Venezuela

A 66    March 10, 1940

Dear Lad:

I don’t know whether you pay any attention to my form numbers at the top of my letters intended as a method of checking up to see that none of them go astray in transit, but if you do, you will notice that this is an “A” prefix for airmail instead of the regular “R”. By a coincidence, as I look back over the schedule, I find that the last “A” letter sent to you was on March 11, 1939. What the reason was (the urgency) I fail to recall. In the present instance, it is occasioned by your letter which arrived yesterday, or rather Friday the 8th , making it in record time, if your date is correct, as it was dated Pariaguan March 4 — four days in transit. You don’t seem so far away on that basis.

Starting from the last paragraph in your letter and the proposed trip to Trinidad for Easter, yesterday I went to the bank to get a draft for the $50 you asked for and learned that the only basis on which they would issue it, because of war conditions, was that I should sign a waiver absolving the bank from any responsibility and assume the entire risk. They added however, that up to the present time, they had had no trouble with foreign drafts. The charge was $1. So enclosed you will find a draft on the Royal Bank of Canada at Caracas, which I take it is negotiable at Pariaguan. I thought at first of having it made payable to Puerto de Espanna, Trinidad, but assumed that if you had wanted it that way, you would have said so. By the way, a dividend check for $5 on your Fairbanks-Morse stock was received during the week and added to your account.

I have not yet made by contemplated trip to New York that I mentioned in one of my former letters, but if I can make arrangements, when I do, to have someone at the SVOC N.Y. office who is going down to your camp, take some things with him for you, I will make up a package, and for this purpose won’t you please in your next letter to me, make a list of the things you would like to have, such as an itemized list of toilet articles, toothpaste, shaving supplies, hair tonic, Listerine, talcum powder, perspiration deodorant, skin lotion, insect bite salve, sunburn lotion, dark glasses, grease remover, aspirin, headache powder, shoe polish (white?), Shoe brush or polisher, strap for watch, articles of clothing, leather shoelaces, gloves, belt, garters, razor blades, fountain pen ink, pads and pencils. That is quite a list !!) And be sure to send me the size of your Agfa camera and the makers model number so I can get the proper kind of developing outfit. Make the list as large as you can, not with the idea of my sending everything, God forbid, but so as to give me a wide choice. However, I wouldn’t count too definitely on getting them promptly to you, as there are too many uncertainties involved.

Early this week we have had one of the worst ice storms that have visited this section in years. It can only be compared in the extensive damage done to trees, etc., to last year’s hurricane. I drive to Danbury Friday and was appalled at the amount of damage done to trees. It seems to me that every single tree had lost some limbs as the streets were literally lined, like a stone wall, with dead limbs that had been removed from the roads. The rain, as it fell, froze on the limbs, and while a very beautiful site, the weight was so great that many trees were bowed down so far that when they did not break they were bent out of shape. In some places it looked as if some giant had taken a huge telegraph pole and used it like a sythe on the tops of trees, the same as you or I, in walking through a field, would, with a cane, slash off the tops of weeds. Our own trees suffered comparatively small damage. Two fair-sized branches were broken off the big Maple tree outside the screened porch, the Maple growing near Ives’s fence had a big limb broken off and the Apple tree outside of the apartment had the limbs sticking out toward Laufer’s broken off — you remember the branch that I rigged up a swing for you kids on when you were little tykes? The Lilac bush outside the kitchen window was bent way over and may be permanently harmed.

Tomorrow I will post the rest of this letter from Grandpa to Lad and on Thursday and Friday, letters from friends who were visiting at the time this letter was written.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Dear Boys (1) – Lad is in the Army – May 10, 1942

Trumbull, Conn., May 10, 1942

Dear Boys:

Lad is in the Army.

At least that is what he announced after coming back from a trip to New York in which he applied successively but unsuccessfully for enlistment in the Naval Reserves, the Marines and the Coast Guard, failing in each to meet eyesight minimum requirements, so Wednesday he is off for Derby to see what happens.

Well naturally I am sorry for Lad’s sake that he did not get into the branch of the service he felt would interest him most. As I think the whole thing over, I believe I would rather have it the way it is. Speaking from the viewpoint of a parent whose uppermost thought these days is the welfare of his sons, it would seem as though the Army is the best bet.

I reach this conclusion along the following line of thought. As the basic premise, this country is all out to win the war. We must put into this effort everything we have – – both men and materials. However at the present time, the outstanding need and our foremost contribution is, and for some time must be, not so much man as materials – – planes, ships, guns, tanks, ammunition for all the allies, and secondarily men to use such proportion of these war materials as we reserved for ourselves.

But of all the manpower fighting on the side of the Allies I should surmise that the U. S. proportionately would expect to have the least number of men engaged in actual fighting.

The main objectives for victory, in order of their importance, seem to me to be the destruction (1) of Hitler’s Army, (2) the Jap Navy and (3) the Jap Army.

To accomplish the first would seem primarily the job of the Russians, aided by the British flyers, Navy and perhaps later their Army.

Number two seems to be our meat, the brunt of losses falling on our naval and flying forces.

Number three just naturally falls to the lot of the Chinese.

If and when the invasion of the continent is decided upon, and in Australia, Africa and China, our Army will undoubtedly have a part, but on account of geographical location, shortage of shipping and less shortage of manpower among our allies near the scene of conflict, and then of materials, it seems as though demands on our army would be far less than that of our other services such as navel and flying personnel, with consequently smaller losses.

That is the way things look today, and unless the character of the war changes considerably (and I suppose we must expect surprising changes with the world at war), I would expect our losses in manpower to be in the following order: Navy, flying service (both Army and Navy) and Army ground forces. Theoretically, then, the best chance of survival would seem to be with those in the US Army. You can understand therefore why the selfish part of me is glad to have my boys serving in the Army rather than in the Navy or flying forces.

Did you boys listen to Churchill’s inspiring talk this afternoon? As an orator I think he has our own chief executive beaten to a frazzle.

Tomorrow, page 2 of this letter. On Friday, the Induction Booklet, “FALL IN”, given to Lad by the American Legion on the day of his induction, May 14th, 1942 at the Shelton Railroad Station.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Dear Lad (2) – Advise Concerning Lad’s Future – February 11, 1940

This is the second half of a letter written by my Grandfather to Lad, his oldest son, who is in Venezuela working for the Socony-Vacuum Oil Company so he can send money home to help support his younger siblings.

Page 2 of R-62

David was glancing over some of your old letters the other day and noticed that statements that you have not seen or heard of Mack for some time. It evidently made an impression on him with the enclosed result.

In one of Ibsen’s plays one of the chief characters spends most of his time studying books and dreaming of what he will do and say sometime when the opportunity comes. The opportunity does come to him unexpectedly. The crowd calls upon him to give his wisdom. Because he has not been in the habit of giving, because all his life he has been taking in and never giving anything out, he stood before that vast throng with nothing to say that would help them. He realized too late that the best preparation for living a rich life is to live experimentally, to try things out, to plunge into contests with other men, to take risks, to adventure, to expose oneself to opportunities.

Alfred Peabody Guion

Alfred Peabody Guion (Lad) in his Passport photo

And that brings me to a suggestion I had in the back of my mind for some time — an idea as to how we may make possible and practical this matter of helping to make the opportunity which you were fitting yourself to meet. At the library the other day I came across an article written back in 1937 which told how much diesel engine use had progressed and listing the leading makers, particularly of the bigger units. I tried to figure out how you could capitalize on this to your own advantage, and concluded that if you were to write to each of these concerns from Pariaguan, telling them of your experience in diesel work in South America, based on your background with the Wolverine in Bridgeport, it would expose you to any possible opening they might have for a man of your capability either in South America or elsewhere. The idea of course, is not that you were dissatisfied or intend to leave or anything of that sort, but that with the possibility that the oil well might not come through in six months time and that you would then be out of a job, you are justified now in making plans against that contingency, but even more in that as diesel is your chosen field, you are justified in seeking experience in that particular field. You wouldn’t expect to develop anything overnight, but it might be just as well for future developments to put yourself on record with leading manufacturers, so that when, if and as the time comes for them to seek a man of your qualifications, they will know where to find him. If you haven’t time to write the letters yourself and like the idea perhaps we can multi-graph a number of duplicates with the salient facts that I can send you to be mailed out from there. The leading companies mentioned in this article were: Nordberg, Worthington, de la Vergne, McIntosh and Seymour, Busch-Sulzer, Winton, Caterpillar, Fairbanks, Morse, National Supply Company of Delaware (Superior Engine Division). Atlas Imperial Diesel Engine Company of Oakland, California, Hercules Motor Corporation, Western Engine Corporation, Cummins and Allis-Chalmers.

Tomorrow being Lincoln’s birthday, it seems appropriate to quote from an article which tells of the difficulties which preceded Mr. Lincoln’s election to the presidency. When Mr. Lincoln was a young man he ran for the legislature of Illinois and was badly beaten. He then entered business, failed, and spent 17 years of his life paying off the debts of a worthless partner. He fell in love with a beautiful girl to whom he became engaged. She died. Later he married a woman who was a constant burden. Again entering politics he ran for Congress and was badly beaten. He then tried to get an appointment to the US Land Office but failed in that. He became a candidate for the U.S. Senate and was badly defeated. In 1856 he became a candidate for the vice presidency and was again defeated. In 1858 he was beaten by Douglas. His life up to the time he became President was one failure after another; a series of great setbacks.

There comes a time in every man’s life when he gets a knock-down. He may be going along fine when something turns up which discourages him tremendously. It may be the loss of a job, or failure of plans he has worked on for months or years. He may either give up, sulk, become upset and let it ruin his health or, if he has got the right stuff, he will grit his teeth and work harder than ever.

And now just a touch of humor from my advertising files and I will call it a day: Mark Twain, in his early days, was the editor of a Missouri newspaper. A superstitious subscriber wrote to him saying that he had found a spider in newspaper and asked whether that was a sign of good luck or bad luck. The following answer was printed in the paper:

“Old subscriber: Finding a spider in your paper was neither good luck nor bad luck for you. The spider was merely looking over our paper to see which merchant is not advertising so that he can go to that store, spin his web across the door, and live a life of a disturbed piece ever afterwards”.

I hope those pictures you sent by regular mail will be coming along pretty soon now. I will have to remind Dan or Ced to take some other snaps around here for your enjoyment.

Until next, then, auf wiedersehn.


Tomorrow, you’ll see the letter written by Mack, the family dog, written to Lad – through the youngest child. David.

If you are enjoying these letters about family life in the 1940’s, why not pass along the link to a friend or two who might also enjoy this look back at history through the eyes and words of those who lived through it?

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Dear Lad (1) – Concerns About a Friend – February 11, 1940

During the rest of the week, I’ll be posting a letter from Grandpa, in two parts and a letter from Mack, the family dog, to Lad, who has been working in Venezuela for over a year. The rest of the children are in Trumbull, 

ADG - Grandpa in the alcove at his typwriter

Alfred Duryee Guion in the alcove at his trusty Remington typewriter

February 11, 1940

Dear Lad:

Another week rolls around and brings the Laddie hour. There is not much of moment that has accumulated during the week to form the subject of interesting news, nor has a letter arrived from you since a week ago last Friday, so there is no chance for “rebuttal”. Let’s get the weather out of the way. It has at last moderated. The last two days and last night it has been raining. Today, however, is quite mild and sunshiny and I suppose, instead of sitting in by the fire, I ought to be out walking and getting some fresh air and exercise. Motorcars are not good for the health from that standpoint.

One day last week, toward the end of the afternoon, a man walked into my office who looked vaguely familiar. He announced himself as Dick Gerrity’s father. He had been calling on the Sperling’s to see if they had heard anything of Dick lately and they had referred him to me, thinking you might have mentioned him in one of your letters. It seems that last spring and summer Dick and a partner worked up with a little awning business in Middletown. I recall Dick coming in a long while back and telling me about it. Mr. Gerrity said he had frequently seen Dick during this time; that Dick was always thoughtful about remembering his birthday, because Mr.Gerrity was on a big estate, all alone, while the owners were away for the summer. In any case, it was Dick’s custom whenever a week passed without his hearing from his dad, to drop in on the weekend and visit him. Well last September, Dick decided, in view of the fact that the awning business was dead during the fall and winter, he could save telephone and light bills by closing up shop and finding something else to do during the winter. No definite plans were made however, and the next Mr. Gerrity knew was that the Middletown police were notified that one of the trucks belonging to Dick’s company was and had been for some days, parked in the road. An effort to find Dick was unsuccessful. They found in Dick’s desk in his office checks which had come in and which were more than enough to pay some bills he owed, but they had not been deposited or cashed. All of Dick’s clothes, except the ones he wore, were in his room, including a new overcoat. At first Mr. Gerrity thought he had suddenly heard of a job and was going out of town to see about it and would write or come back within a few days, but from that day to this not a single word had been heard from Dick by any member of the family, and because this thoughtlessness was so unlike Dick, it has worried his dad until it brought on heart trouble. They have tried to get the police to find some trace of him and Mr. Gerrity has even asked the Salvation Army if they can find some trace of him either in this country or abroad, but so far without result. Knowing that Dick was interested in what you had done and having some wanderlust in his system, Mr. Gerrity came in to see me with the idea that possibly Dick decided to embark for Venezuela and that you might have mentioned him in some of your letters home. I assured him you had not said anything about Dick being down there with you but that I would write and ask you definitely if you had heard anything of or from him and would let him know the answer, so if you will put this down as one of the answers that should be supplied at once, it will help to relieve the anxiety of a worried father. It is queer that what causes disappearances like this. Amnesia, foul play, possibly an accident, but some trace you would think would be left, particularly in the latter event. I know I gave Dick your address when he called the office and he was going to write you to see if it would be possible to get a job there. I discouraged it.

Tomorrow’s second half of this letter includes advice from Grandpa to Lad about his future plans. On Friday, I will post a letter from Mack.

Judy Guion

Ced’s Amazing Adventure (2) – Grandpa’s Letter of Introduction – July, 1934

Cedric Duryee Guion

Cedric Duryee Guion


Dear Dad:

At the present time I am in Ossining with Grandma and Burton (his Mother’s brother) and Aunt Dorothy (her sister), who came up for one or two days.

After leaving Trumbull, Burnham’s (Rufus Burnham, neighbor from Mount Vernon)  got their Aunt who was staying with their Uncle (who, by the way, is connected with Success Park Development) and we made the trip to about 15 or 20 miles from Dan’s camp in peace. After leaving Dan and drinking tepid lemonade we started on and went up hill exactly 1 1/2 miles where we ran out of gas. We got the car turned around after much pushing and coasted all the way back down the hill and a few feet further to a gas station, and there stood Dan. We started on and about 5 miles further reached Brady’s Camp. We journeyed the rest of the way in peace.

That night, of course, I slept at Burnham’s and the next day I fixed the generator, tightened a rattle, and greased the springs on the car as Mr. Burnham was going to Boston the next day. I was glad to do something in payment for the hospitality.

That afternoon I started to New York with Brady who was going to Lewis’ in New Rochelle to see operator 13. I stopped and saw Marian; missed Larry (Larry Peabody, Arla’s brother and his wife Marian); Aunt Anne (Stanley, Arla’s sister) was out so I started for the city. After walking about 2 miles a man picked me up and carried me to the 42nd and Grand Central subway, which I took into the city.

I saw Aunt Betty (Duryee, Grandpa’s Mother’s sister) and Aunt Elsie (Guion, Grandpa’s sister) and later Helen (Peabody Human, another of Arla’s sisters) and Ted (Human). I stayed with Helen and Ted for supper and bed.

Tuesday I went to lunch with Aunt Dorothy (Peabody, Arla’s youngest sister) who took me to see “Sorrell and Son” and “Here Comes The Groom”, both good. That night I ate with Aunt Betty (Duryee, Grandpa’s Mother’s sister) in an open air restaurant and she gave me the choice of the Empire States Tour or more Radio City Music Hall. I took the latter and we saw “Whom The God’s Destroy” and a marvelous vaudeville.

I slept again with H and T (Helen and Ted Human) and Wednesday went to the News Building where I had nowhere near enough time (someday I would like to see it again in more detail). I ate with Aunt Elsie (Duryee, Grandpa’s sister) and started out for Ossining. I went as far as Yonkers on the subway and was picked up after walking about 2 miles. I was carried on this ride with two elderly women, one of whom had a son or somebody at West Point, and they both seemed like nice people. They took me about a fifth of the way and then I walked about 4r or 5 miles almost to Tarrytown where I was again picked up, this time by a man who seemed a little nervous but as we rode he asked my age, destination, etc. etc. etc. He let me off at Tarrytown saying if he came along that road later he would pick me up again. Then I walked another 4 or 5 miles and was picked up by a nice seeming young man on a “run” (as he came along he stopped and opened the door and asked me to hurry, there was a big truck behind him and he did not want it to pass him. He stopped in the middle of the downhill grade which I thought was very nice of him.) He lives in Peekskill and goes by every day, but today (Thursday) he goes by about 3 AM (worst luck).

He carried me to Ossining center, about 3 or 4 blocks from Grandma’s and I arrived at about six o’clock to find Aunt Dorothy (Peabody, Arla’s sister) there, much to my surprise. Last night Burton (Peabody, another of Arla’s brothers) took us all over town in the Ford, about 16 miles. We saw the Hudson from several points and looked at Sing Sing Prison and Briarcliffe Manor (Burton says the depression was so hard that some of these people fired their servants).

This morning I bought some clothes to use in place of those you sent, the shirt being winter style. Nevertheless, the pocketbook and letter are very important so it was a great help. Thanks and lots of love to all.

(If you keep all my letters you will probably have  a diary of the trip.)

Lots of love again and remember me to anyone you might see.


Grandpa wrote the following letter for Ced in case he had any trouble.

CDG - Letter of Consent from Grandpa - 1934

The letter reads:


          Cedric D. Guion, my son, has with my full knowledge and consent started from his home in Trumbull, Connecticut, to visit relatives in the Middle West and enroute take in the Chicago Fair. If the unexpected happens and he gets into trouble of any sort, I will stand by him without limit.

                                                                                                          Alfred D. Guion

Imagine how Ced must have felt reading the last few words:  “I will stand by him without limit.” What a comfort those words must have been as he began this momentous journey, having no idea what would transpire or how it would change him.

Tomorrow I will begin posting letters written in 1942. Pearl Harbor has been attacked and the United States is at war.

Judy Guion