Trumbull – Dear Awayoffs (2) – Thanksgiving – November, 1941

Page 2 of 11/15/41

Biss - with Butch and family - 1940          Dan, this morning, about finished up getting up the storm windows. This, with the insulation and furnace ought to keep us comfortable this winter. We still have had no cold weather.

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DPG - with Zeke holding Butch

Between Lad and Dave at the office we have now put the old automatic feed in condition and are turning out Wheeler labels in fairly good shape. Lately we have been busy with mimeograph work on architect’s specifications, 50 to 100 pages, each run off from 40 to 50 stencils.

There is some talk about the Remington-Rand dry shaver building a factory in Trumbull in that big empty field opposite Rakowski’s store, running from the railroad by Iron Ledge back to the rear of Noyes house, provided the Zoning Board will grant the necessary permission.

I took some more chances for you, Ced, on a 1942 Nash to be raffled off last night but as I did not receive a phone call by midnight telling me you were the lucky man, I guess we’ll kiss that goodbye also.

Next Thursday is supposed to be our Thanksgiving this year. I have already ordered a turkey from Kurtz’s and have invited Biss and her family over to dinner. Elsie writes it is very questionable as to whether she will be able to get up on that day and Sylvia will also be working, so I guess we won’t have to put a couple of extra leaves in the table as we have on some occasions in the past. There is one thing you can be sure of and that is that we will be thinking very much of you two boys and wishing you were home with us.

My car is not running as well as I would like it to at present. When I slow down in high and step on the gas it has a tendency to buck, and this morning I found most of my antifreeze had leaked out. Carl had put in new hose connections and I guess they were not tight. Otherwise we’re doing pretty well.

As you may surmise from the rambling tone of the foregoing, there is again not much news of interest, but I am writing it anyway for what interest it may have, as I know from experience how disappointing it is to look, week after week, for the expected letter and not have it materialize. This has been the case here for the past two weeks but I am hoping the spell will be broken on the morrow when I twist the dial on P.O. Box 7.

Aunt Betty has asked me to send her love to both of you. As far as the writer is concerned, you probably know what to expect along this line from your    DAD

Tomorrow, I’ll be posting two post cards from Helen (Peabody) Human from Guatemala and on Friday, another letter from Grandpa to his two boys in Alaska.

Saturday and Sunday I’ll continue the story of Mary Ellum and Archie Wilson..

Next week, I’ll be posting letters from 1943 when four out of five of Grandpa’s sons are dealing with Uncle Sam..

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Dear Awayoffs (1) – A Trip to New Rochelle – November, 1941

Trumbull, Conn., Nov. 15, 1941

Dear Awayoffs:

Not five minutes ago (it is now a few minutes after nine) we arrived home from a visit to New Rochelle, (New York). Dan had not seen any of the New Rochelle folks since he arrived home, so he decided that as the weather was good, we could, today, make the journey. Lad had been invited to Long Island for dinner, so after our own meal had been consumed, Dan picked up Barbara and then Zeke, Biss and the two kids and off we started, Dan, Barbara, and Aunt Betty in the front seat, Biss, Zeke and myself and the two kids in the back. Almost the entire length of the Hutchinson River Parkway below Portchester is torn up as they are widening it on both sides. Coming back they allow no northbound traffic until Portchester, so we followed the Old Post Road as far as that city.

Helen Human, Anne Stanley, Dorothy Peabody

          Our first stop was Kemper’s. We found that Kemp (Peabody) had been confined to his home the last week with the flu but was intending to go back to work for a short time tomorrow. Later, Burton (Peabody) arrived with Grandma (Peabody) and Aunt Dorothy (Peabody), and after a light tea and conversation of the same tint, we started back home. Dave did not go along with us as he had his Young People’s meeting to attend. We learned that Helen (Peabody Human, Mrs. Ted Human) had left Brownsville (Texas) and gone to Mexico City and had just left there in turn for a plane trip to Guatemala City. Larry (Peabody) and (his wife) Marion are in their new home but are having water trouble and will have to put in a driven well in case they are unable to get city water. Doesn’t that bring back recollections?

This morning about 8:30, I took Aunt Betty over to see Dr. Smith as the nurse thought it wise for her to have a check-up. The doctor said he thought she had made a remarkable recovery. He gave her a tonic to pep her up a bit and improve her appetite.

The C.I.O. has gotten into Producto and it is now a union shop. The wage rate has been raised but working hours reduced so that the boys do not earn any more but do work less hours. Lad thinks he may soon be transferred to a salary basis and given charge of their shipping department. He has just been transferred there from his old job and is being groomed for the new work as the man in charge at present has been ordered by his doctor to take a long rest. Dan has still heard nothing more about his draft status, either from Alaska or Conn., so he is working with the Sword of Damocles hanging over his head. If you don’t know what that is, ask Dick, as he seems to be more or less of a specialist in ancient Greek folk lore.

The ambulance drive went well over the top and they are now about to purchase a fine new gray Cadillac ambulance with all the latest equipment, such as red lights, sirens, stretchers, etc.

“The Good Times” – 1939
Arnold Gibson (Gibby), Charlie Kurtz and Carl Wayne
The Red Horse Station

This is Carl’s last day at the Socony station (at Kurtz’s store). He was moving his stuff today over to the new place and tomorrow Eb Joy takes over. He came in the office the other day and together we doped out a letter to go out to Trumbull folk urging them to buy Socony products.

Helen Burnham is up visiting Peggy. The boys went over to see her last night. Rufus, Louise and David are in Fort Pierce, Fla., where Rufus is managing an apartment house and writing magazine articles on the side. Helen is teaching in a girls school in Massachusetts. Eleanor is at college somewhere and Brad is going to Yale.

Tomorrow I’ll post the second half of this letter to Ced and Dick, the only Guion’s away from home at this point. Both Lad (from Venezuela) and Dan (from Alaska) have returned to Trumbull. On Thursday, two post cards from Aunt Helen (Peabody) Human. On Friday, one more letter from Grandpa to wrap up November.

Judy Guion      

Trumbull – To Section 2 of the Guion Family, Far North Division, Greetings – November 9, 1941

Alfred Duryee Guion (my Grandpa)

Alfred Duryee Guion

Trumbull, Conn.,   Nov. 9, 1941

To section 2 of

the Guion Family,

Far North Division,

Greetings:

The shadows lengthen, the evening comes, a busy day’s work is over and the time is now for my weekly chat with my two absent boys.

This week there is little to relate. The weather has been mild – – no cold spells as yet, somewhat rainy, grass still green, leaves mostly brown.

The new gas station being built just this side of Sperling’s is about finished and I suppose Carl takes over in a few days, as they have offered him a much better proposition selling Atlantic gas and oil. I don’t know whether Socony has obtained anyone yet to take over Kurtz’s station. I have told Karl I will patronize his new station for the present. I have never believed Socony gas to be exceptionally good anyway, in which opinion Lad concurs. He says he has been mixing special with regular and finds it gives him better results than straight special. I should think using aviation gas all the time, as I understand you do, would not be too good for your engine.

Monty is back from the hospital and is apparently feeling O.K. after his operation. I have not seen any of them since, but Aunt Betty tells me they all came over to visit her one afternoon during the week and the three boys, Barbara and Babe went over there Thursday night. Last night, at the Klein Memorial, where Fredric March, Alan Reed and Florence Eldridge starred in “Hope For A Harvest”, Dan and Barbara, Lad and Babe, Dave and Evy Hughes splurged on $2.50 orchestra seats and enjoyed it much.

The ambulance drive went over the top in good shape. Several hundred dollars over the 3000 mark assured the town of a good ambulance.

I invited Sylvia up here for Thanksgiving but she says she has to work at the British Consulate that day and at Christmas she is going over to Long Island to take charge of her former wards, so I guess it will be Aunt Betty and Elsie, as usual.

McLevy has again been reelected mayor for two more years. Bridgeport continues to beem and in spite of numerous parking meters, the traffic problem, particularly at closing time, is acute.

Today Dave went to Church and sang in the choir, Lad worked on the heater in his car and Dan took down screens and put up some storm windows. I got dinner and for the first time tried your lemon meringue pie, with the boiling flour. It was my first attempt at a pie and while I would not call it an unqualified success as far as the meringue top went, it was good enough so most of them had two helpings and there is only one small section left.

I doubt if you will find this letter of much interest but there seems to be a dead space in the news and no letters from you to reply to. Aunt Betty sends love and is coming along nicely. Hoping you are the same, love from your old

DAD

The rest of the week will include two letters from Grandpa and two post cards from Helen (Peabody) Human.

On Saturday and Sunday, I’ll be posting more on the romance between Mary Ellum and Archie Wilson..

Next week, we’ll move forward to 1943, to a time when all five sons are involved in war work for Uncle Sam and Lad’s interests seem to be focused on Marian Irwin.

If you are enjoying this “slice of Life” from the 1940s, why not share this blog with a friend or two, who also might enjoy this look into the past.

Judy Guion

Autobiography of Mary E Wilson (2) – Mary Meets Archie Wilson – 1935

Mary E. Wilson

We really had a marvelous time in New York and somehow Archie managed to be able to drive me home alone in his car. I don’t know how he arranged it but we did not get home until 4 AM. The Perkins were furious because they stayed right with us on our drive home. I hate to mention what my mother said when I arrived home. She made it her business to call Mrs. Perkins to find out if she had really been with us in New York. I was very angry, I was 24 years old and we have been closely escorted even though we were in separate cars.

But Archie and I talked on our way home. He hated his wife and was waiting for his divorce to be finalized. He worked in New Haven for the Shell Oil Company. He lived with his parents and two brothers on Bond Street across from the G. E.. Archie was born in Scotland but had lived in Canada prior to moving to the states.

We started to see each other for a few minutes at the G.E. gates while I was en route to work and I also saw him at dances. He started attending church at St. Luke’s so we smiled at each other from a distance. Fred was not stupid, he knew what was going on, so he told my brother, Arthur. I was not dating Fred anymore but Arthur told me I should not see Archie but he did not tell my mother. We finally did start to date very discreetly with the help of Francis, Celso, my two brothers, and Archie’s two brothers.

It was evident by now we were in love with each other and we started to plan a life together when he got a divorce.

Alec, Archie’s younger brother, would come to the house to take me horseback riding. He was so handsome, he reminded me of Tyrone Power and my mother told me I was robbing the cradle because he was so young. Alec and I truly became good friends and we both loved horseback riding and I really think Archie encouraged Alec to take me out while he was working.

In spite of Archie’s impatience waiting for his divorce to become final, we really had a nice courtship. I would take a day off and we would spend it at the beach. Archie’s good friend,  Bill, and we would double date, but Bill would have to come to the house to get me.

Archie and Bill both worked for the Shell Company and I often wondered what Bill’s girlfriend thought about it all.

My mother thought Bill was really nice and I really think she was having hopes again for her spinster daughter because by now I was 25 years old.

Next weekend, we’ll find out what 1936 and 1937 have in store for Mary. Will she marry Archie or will they have to continue to wait?

On Monday, I’ll start a week of letters written in 1941. Lad, Dan, Ced and Dick are all very concerned about the draft and what it will mean for each of them.

Judy Guion

Autobiography of Mary E. Wilson (1) – Mary Meets Archie Wilson – 1935

Mary E. Wilson

1935

          I was now 24 years old and my mother was beginning to worry I was not going to get married. It was at this time I had gone to a dance at the Ritz Ballroom with Francis and I met a good-looking man who asked me to dance. He was with Herbert Perkins, the brother of Ted. Herb formally introduced us and his name was Archie Wilson. I think we were attracted to each other the moment we met. We danced every dance together that night and a very popular dance tune at the time was “When I Grow Too Old to Dream”. He took me home. I really don’t know who took Francis home, maybe Herbie but Archie was cute.

I remember telling my mother about a nice young man I met and as usual my mother asked, “What is his nationality?”, “What is his religion?”, And, “What did he do for a living?”. I had not asked and did not know.

I thought about him often. I had to go to a Sunday school meeting at Mrs. Saul’s house and believe it or not she was discussing her godchild and saying how sorry she was for him. He and his wife had separated and they were getting a divorce. She was referring to Archie, he had been married less than a year. I felt really disappointed but figured you can’t win them all but we had seemed to be mutually attracted to each other.

I started to see him in charge and as I said he was friendly with the Perkins’. I saw him again and the dance but did not go home with him. He was a nice person and I loved dancing with him. He seemed to be showing up at places I attended. I very discreetly started to question Fred about him but he said nothing nice about Archie.

About two or three weeks later Archie was waiting for me outside of the G. E. gates and he asked me to accompany him to a Shell Company dance at the Commodore Hotel in New York. He carefully explained we would be well chaperoned by Mrs. Perkins, Ted and Herbie, her sons, and their dates. I accepted the date but did not tell my mother about Archie’s marital problems. I remember I splurged on a beautiful white coat with a rhinestone belt and silver shoes. I really felt elegant but a little uneasy about dating a married man even with plenty of chaperones.

I sensed that Mrs. Perkins did not approve because she knew I dated Fred and she was friendly with the Williams’s. I had spoken to Fred about a week before and he had given me an ultimatum… I refused to go with RT to New York for we were through seeing each other. I decided to go to New York with Archie.

Tomorrow, I’ll continue the story of Mary and Archie.

I interviewed my Dad and some of his siblings to have a record of their childhood memories. Dave told me about his trip from Okinawa to Manila. I have updated the post from earlier this week. You can use this link to read his memories of that fateful trip. https://greatestgenerationlessons.wordpress.com/2017/04/12/trumbull-dear-benedicts-and-bachelors-dave-sent-to-manila-september-1945/

Next week, I’ll be posting letters from 1941. Lad is working at Producto in Bridgeport. Dan has left Alaska and is back in Trumbull. Ced and Dick remain in Anchorage, but the Trumbull house is filling up.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Dear Benedicts and Bachelors (3) – The Chandlers and Local News – September, 1945

Here is a letter from the Westminster Theological Seminary. (Doug Chandler is a good friend of the family. was the music director at the Trumbull Congregational Church, which the family attended, and where several family members sang in the choir. The families have kept in touch and Grandpa, Ced, Dick and Dave went down to visit them in December of 1939.)

A visit to the Chandler’s in December, 1939.

Grandpa (lower left), Ced and Dick and possibly Dave (top, left to right)

This is to thank you, belatedly I know, for the letters from Dan and Dave and for the more recent announcement of the wedding. I am sorry I have not reported to you sooner about this and about the doings of the Chandlers, but here I am now with enough brass to face the music. The memory of the Guion deluge upon us some several Christmases ago is a classic note sounding out of a rather nondescript past. We are hanging on stubbornly to the hope that we may get together again when the hurley burley’s done, etc. I expect that there will be some changes in all of us but never enough to break the continuity. My own gray hairs and sagging “chest” are evidence of passing years and when I see my six-foot sons I find myself on the verge of panic – – for just a moment. Then I start muttering, as we always do about “the best is yet to be – – the last of life for which the first was made”. I think that Emily must have given you the not-too-low-down about us when she came by your office early in June. I enjoyed her account of her trip to Trumbull and Bridgeport. We met in New York and “helled” around a little – – too timid souls up from the provinces expecting the wrath that fell on Sodom to hit us any minute. I am afraid I enjoyed some of the theater more than I really should have. Last night, as we sat under the apple trees in the backyard, we agreed that it would have to be done all over again soon. Teaching is still fun – – most of the time. There is a breathing spell, I will not say vacation, just here before school opens the 18th of September. We’re spending this weekend in Washington, as I have done each weekend in August. But Washington isn’t a place for vacationing anymore, if it ever was, which I doubt. I had the interesting experience two weeks ago of meeting a man who had been born in Washington, D.C., I hadn’t thought of it but there must be others too who have been born there. Our August is going out in a blaze of heat. Still the thin air and the thinner shade on many of the trees speak of fall, just another “haircut away” as my brother says. By the way, Chan and his family are still on the home place at moors. Joel, his son, is just 18 and waiting. Anytime you can find your way down here you will find us ready to kill the “fatted calf” in your honor. Let us have the fun of a visit with you soon, will you? Greetings and best wishes to you and all the family – – and it is getting to be quite a family, isn’t it? Doug Chandler

The apartment is again vacant and while three or four have looked at it, for one reason or another, each has found it not suitable. Meantime, Catherine (Warden, former tenant in the apartment with her husband and two children) has written and phoned that she must leave where she is, wants to get back to Trumbull and would very much like to have the apartment again. Because of Aunt Betty and the children, lack of prideful upkeep, child nuisance, etc., I would prefer childless tenants but my conscience would bother me if, under the circumstances, I turned her down. And of course the financial aspect of not bringing in the usual income along with other recent changes here is an important and quite necessary consideration. I have been holding off making the final decision hoping that over this weekend someone would definitely take the place but here it is early Monday morning and no takers.

Just for old times sake I strolled down to the carnival Saturday night. Things were much as you can picture them from past memories except on a smaller scale. Instead of knowing 50% or more of the people, one occasionally spotted one or two I knew of old. I chatted with a few – – Charlie Kurtz, Bert Searles, Lewis Pack, from across the street, Herman Strobel, Monsanto, whose hand is getting better, and a few others known by sight but not by name, and then, as it started to sprinkle a little, I took a few chances on the main prizes and went home.

Jimmy Smith came in yesterday afternoon and entertained us in his inimitable matter relating his experiences getting into the ARC for overseas duties. Apparently he made it although he is going first to Washington for a few weeks special service.

Well, if this is to go into the morning’s mail I suppose I had better quit right here and now and then hope there is something waiting for me in the mailbox that will give me some quotable material for next week. Come on, Dan, it’s your turn.

DAD

Trumbull – Dear Benedicts and Bachelors (2) – News From Ced – September, 1945

This is the next portion of a 5-page letter from Grandpa to his 4 sons away from home. Lad has been discharged from the Army and is home in Trumbull with Marian.

And from Ced, bless his heart, comes the following under date of August 23rd. “Last week I wrote up the missing link of the Farwell trip, included with this letter. Next week I’ll try to get off a new chapter in the adventures of the three invincible, or should I say, “three men on a cat”. Since you have been so patient in waiting I shall try to finish the balance soon. Now, the last letter you sent mentioned a great many planes down in Georgia and I have mailed the R. F. C. a request for information on these ships. In the meantime, I learned that the new planes will be out very soon and so I am looking into that angle also. I have made tentative arrangements to go on a 50-50 basis in buying the plane with Leonard and Marion Hopkins. They’re the people who have the clothing and sporting goods store in Anchorage at which I got those clothes just before going home two years ago. They are both ski club members and I think you have pictures of them in that ski club rally set of pictures. Marion was the head of the membership committee who stood behind the desk. They have given me absolutely free rein in getting the plane but I think they rather favor a new one. The new Aeronca will sell for approximately $1800 f.o.b. Ohio. They will be available around the first of Sept., and just how soon after that I could get my name on the waiting list is problematical. The Aeronca is the most likely choice at present. The Hopkins are extremely generous people, and I have no qualms about going in with them on this deal. Fact is, Leonard really bends over a little backwards on this deal, although I suppose he figures that a mechanic is a good one to tie in with, just for the purpose of maintenance. At any time either of us want, we can either buy or sell to the other, whichever is most agreeable. The upkeep will be jointly carried with my biggest share of being in the labor while his will be capital. Felis, the radio operator at Woodley’s, is co-dealer with another local man for the Anchorage Aeronca Agency, and he could probably get me some extra considerations. I am still waiting to hear from the R. F. C. before taking any definite action. In any case, I hope to get out fairly soon to pick something up and fly it back to Alaska. Don’t be surprised if I dropped in on you at the office one of these days.

Enjoyed the dual blow-by-blow account of the Guion nuptials and hope I can soon meet both the major parties. I have now three wedding gifts to present after the family’s return to a home somewhere. Incidentally, I am looking forward to seeing Marian again – – our meeting was so brief and under such turbulent circumstances, with she and Al about to take off for California when the clutch was repaired on the Buick and I hastily grabbed the proverbial last rail on the observation car as I beat a hasty retreat from Texarkana in my whirlwind scamper across thecountry.

Think what all this war will mean in experiences as we look back. All the hardships and headaches and for much too many, heartaches. I feel especially privileged in looking back and realizing that to the best of my knowledge, there have been no members of our immediate family, relatives or close friends who have had to undergo the real hardship which has been the misfortune of so many. We are indeed a lucky family as we not only came out virtually unscathed but acquired two fine additions to the family (and Jean) in the persons of Marian and Paulette.

On top of that I get a half reduction in my January rent due to the bet with Chuck Morgan, and that I took the side that the war with Japan would be over by the first of the year. It certainly is wonderful to realize that the war is apparently finished, if only we can avoid anymore. I presume the celebrations were as hilarious back there as here, perhaps more so, as we only celebrated the cessation of hostilities, while for you poor ration plagued individuals, it speeded the unshackling of so many of the restrictions with which you have been forced to put up. Well it looks as if it’s all over now and I look for a lot happier  and more prosperous period  for a while at least. In Anchorage, the horns, sirens, whistles and bells all sounded out the glad tidings and, the streets were alive with people it brought to mind Dan’s description of the celebration in Holland, even to the rain which pattered down steadily all night long which, just as in the case of Dan’s invention, failed to dampen in the slightest the glowing spirits which prevailed.

The report is that there were 10,000 gallons of liquor consumed on that first night on 4th Ave. in Anchorage! What headaches there must have been the next morning. The police were out, as were the M.P.’s, but the order was to apprehend no one unless the violations were severe. Of course there were lots of arrests – – a bunch of soldiers and civilians stormed the South Seas Club and walked out with half the furniture from the place, damages running to about of thousand dollars over the days gross receipts. There were many fights but most of it was just good friendly fun. Servicemen appeared in bright neckties, suit jackets, army pants, sailor hats or any other outlandish mixture which came their way. One M.P. accosted Bob Barnett while he was en route to the house here and said: “Hey soldier, unbutton your collar.” That was typical of the type of feeling which prevailed. Officers insignia were a dime a dozen and there must’ve been lots of fraternizing between enlisted men and their officers, judging from the number of privates who blossomed out major and Col. clusters. There was a two day holiday to go along with the celebration, although it, of course, didn’t affect me. We worked right along just as we would any other day.

For Dan’s benefit, Harold Rheard, with whom he used to work and ride to work and who is now Anchorage’s City Engineer, ran  in to me at one of the bars (no, I wasn’t there to drink) and yanked a handkerchief out of my jacket pocket and threw it to a soldier and shouted, “Here, soldier, here’s a civilian handkerchief for you.” The handkerchief was one of those nice ones which Aunt Elsie gave me when I was leaving to come back up here a year ago last February, but under the circumstances I willingly let it go.

One of the more bawdy incidents of which I only heard was the case where a girl in an upper window of the Anchorage Hotel did a striptease, throwing her clothes out of the window one at a time while she stood in full view and the crowd cheered her on. I questioned the fellow telling the story as to how far she got and he said, “All the way”.

Woodley’s is in an extreme state of flux again, the shop men are fighting among themselves, all telling their troubles to me. There is a new man who is going to take over the operations, leaving Art free to run the Washington D. C. end of the business, and to make new financial contacts – – I think he has tied up with Mr. Boeing of Boeing Aircraft and United Airlines in some way or other – – and other executive duties. The Anchorage-Seattle run is still not out of the frying pan but rumor has it that we are going to get two new DC-3’s (C – 47 Army designation) in 4 to 6 weeks anyway. We started the Kodiak run last week and it looks as though it would be a good one. I am still flying when I can – – put in an hour and a half today. Love to Marian and Aunt Betty. CED

I share the doubt that is evidently in the back of your mind as to the advisability of joint ownership. There are so many unforeseen circumstances that might occur, conditions change, people apparently change and what looks favorable today may tomorrow become a headache. I don’t mean to be pessimistic and in your case, everything may work out, but my observation and experience teach me that a situation of this sort has potentialities for unpleasant development. So, if you can swing it, is better to be all on your own. One thing about this plane business to my mind is of paramount importance and that is no economy should be practiced at the expense of safety. Guard against “familiarity breeding contempt” lest your knowledge of airplane mechanics lure you into taking a chance that a less confident person would avoid. “There speaks the cautious father”, I hear you say. All right, I’ll admit it but who has a better right. After all, I’ve only one Ced, and you’re it.

Tomorrow, I’ll be posting the final sections of this very long letter with a note from Doug Chandler and other local news.

On Saturday and Sunday, more of the life of Mary E Wilson, an English girl who arrived in 1925 as a young teenager. She is in her early 20’s and experiencing life.

Judy Guion