Trumbull – Letters From Each Son (2) – More News From Alaska – July, 1945

This is the continuation of Ced’s long letter I started yesterday.

Ced and car - 1940 (3)-head shot

As to flying, perhaps you could find me an airplane cheap. Seriously, the more I think of it, the more I think it would be smarter for me to buy one instead of paying rental on planes here. The cheapest I can fly for is $7.50 an hour and I need at least 150 hours more. That makes $1125 and nothing to show for it but the flying time and experience. The Army is releasing some of the small ships which they used for observation purposes. If I could get an Aeronca Chief or a Taylorcraft or some such thing, I might be money ahead. I think the Army is selling them for around $750 as is. Most need repairs but some need very little. My thought is that if I could get one of these, spend a few dollars on repairs and licensing, I would not only get my flying time a little cheaper but would have something material out of it. As for purchasing wherewithal I would have to scrape up the cash somehow, as the Army, I don’t think, would like a time payment plan. If Dan would permit me, I might sell the car and use that money toward a plane paying him back on time. The biggest hitch is finding the plane as I think I could promote the money. Perhaps the fellows in the apartment could steer you onto something. There were also some good buys on the civilian market, but they are probably not quite as much for the money. If something were available back there, I could perhaps take time off,  dash home to Trumbull on a flying trip, and fly the ship back up here. Then next time I wanted to go to Trumbull, it would be just a matter of packing up the plane and get going. This is perhaps all a pipe dream but I’m enjoying it and if you happen to run across something let me know, post haste. In the meantime I am looking around for whatever I can see and paying from $7.50 to $10 an hour. A plane similar to those I mentioned, in this country, would run from $2500 to $4000, which is slightly beyond my means. Ask Marian if she could get me a helicopter for $25 down and the rest when they catch me.

Marian (Mrs. Alfred (Lad) Guion), is living at the Trumbull House with Grandpa, awaiting Lad’s return from the war. She is employed by Sikorsky Aircraft in Stratford, Connecticut)

I must finish that trip history before I forget that I went on it. I’ll try to include another installment in the next issue. Dave’s moccasins will be on the way soon. I haven’t been able to get them yet but I think this coming week will turn the tide. Now as regards the much discussed touring Grandpa being able to travel after the War) , all arrangements at Trumbull should be comparatively simple. There should be someone interested in renting the house in the event you care to leave on an extended vacation after the war. They should be willing to take over the apartment care if the rent was reasonable, and of course Dave and Aunt Betty would either stay there or move into other quarters, whichever seemed the most adaptable to all concerned. At any rate, it seems to me that a trip such as you mention would be a swell one to take and maybe things can be worked out so that I can start from here and join you somewhere along the road. Perhaps I would fly on ahead and spied out a trail for you in case the highway was too bad. Seriously, it would be fun to start by car from here and go all the way down through the U.S., stopping at the National Parks and wonders which Aunt Betty and Aunt Elsie have raved about, and continuing on through Central America. Wouldn’t a house trailer be a good investment on a trip such as that? Maybe the roads wouldn’t be good enough to take a heavy trailer over, but if they were, and from what I’ve heard of trailers or tourists, it would be a most enjoyable way to go and perhaps as inexpensive as any other way and less than most. We could

page 3 of Ced’s letter

carry a tent for extra sleeping and use the trailer as a cook shack and base camp. Of course, it would be most enjoyable and a WOW of a trip if the whole caboodle clan Guion and spouses could gather together enough rolling stock and equipment to make the trip together, and I for one would be for it, but I suppose that, due to circumstances beyond our control, that would be difficult to manage. However it is something to think about and to work for. Well, I sure have wandered about in this letter and romanced plenty.

Now let’s get down to facts again. Art Woodley is again in the states to see about new planes, new routes, etc. All planes are now running again. Thursday of this coming week, the fishing season closes and again we have that mad rush evacuating the fisherman. At least we are better situated to handle the rush then we have been for a long time.

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

Latest rumor, unconfirmed, is that Rusty is coming back to Anchorage to live. Walter Stoll told me that John Manders had a letter from Rusty to that effect. I have not written him lately nor have I heard from him for five or six weeks. The city of Anchorage has finally oiled many of the streets to keep down the dust, a move which I have felt necessary since Dan and I arrived here in 1940. There is an amusement park at the east end of town opening soon. It consists of a merry-go-round and an airplane loop-the-loop. There are now some 90 odd licenses in the city for the dispensing of retail and wholesale liquor. Whoops, my dear, what a fair city we have, hic, hic. The Community Hall has been converted into a hospital for venereal diseases, which are on the sharp increase hereabouts.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Simon_Bolivar_Buckner_Jr.

The successor to Gen. Buckner, Gen. Mittlestedt, has threatened to call “off-limits” many places in Anchorage if the condition isn’t cleared up quickly. So much for the dirt. To Jean, bon voyage and a pleasant landing. Marian, I hope such joy as Jean is experiencing will soon be yours. To Aunt Betty I promise a letter in the near future. Till then, to all a good night.

Tomorrow, Grandpa gives us the complete letter from Lad, who is somewhere in Southern France. On Thursday, letters from Dan and Dick and on Friday, a letter from Dave and Grandpa’s comments.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Letters From Each Son (1) News From Alaska – July, 1945

Grandpa hit the jackpot this week. He received letters from all five sons and he is thrilled to share the entire letters in this 6-page missive to all family members. I will be posting this one letter for the entire week. Enjoy catching up on the activities of each son away from Trumbull and the Homestead.

Copy of a letter from Ced, postmarked July 24th and addressed to M. Alfredeau de Guion, Baux 7, Trumbull, Conn.

The ski club scheduled a hike and picnic for today (Sunday) but the weather was stinko this morning, consequently the trip was called off. Lad has been doing such a wonderful job of writing and answering your letters that he puts me to shame. So in humility I shall attempt in part to make recompense. To Lad you say he is probably hardest hit by being situated as he is. Reasoning is good and I think you are perhaps right. I hope, whatever happens, that he will find it not too depressing (witness Dave’s glowing account of the beauties of Okinawa). There is always the assurance that each day is one nearer to home, no matter how you look at it. Dan – – ah, there’s a fellow – – our Monsieur Guion. I keep telling all the girls at the office that I’ll write him and Paulette one fine day – – weather sure MUST be stinko – – and for sure I will. I should also take up French but time is so scarce. Perhaps by now Chiche and Dan are probably hitched. I hope so, at any rate, as it must be heartbreaking to have to keep putting off such an important thing in one’s life. How I would like to have been there to witness the ceremony and properly welcome the bride and groom – – wouldn’t we all.

Dave mentions my flying down to Okinawa on a visit. What does he think is going to happen when I fly over Paramushiro? Of course the Japs don’t give much opposition in the air anymore, but if a poor little puddle-jumper such as I happened along, I’m afraid my gas might be so low at that point that I’d have to stop for more, and while it might be fun to steal some Jap gas, it would be a little foolhardy, don’t you think? I’d sure like to be able to do just that tho, Dave.

Cedric (Ced) Duryee Guion

Cedric Duryee Guion  (Ced)

Now you wonder about my future plans. They are not too definite yet but I hope to get a commercial pilot’s license. If I stay in the flying game it will be as a pilot – – of that I am quite sure. Flying is becoming safer every day and I don’t expect to get into trouble. I wish you were up here this afternoon and I’d take you up for a spin. Should we get into trouble, I expect I could land almost anywhere with little or no scratches. The plane might suffer considerable damage but occupants would be comparatively safe. For the present I am sitting tight awaiting developments up here. I’m afraid this will not satisfy your requests for information, but we have this in common. I am just about as set on what to do as the proverbial tumbleweed, which puts me in exactly the same category as yourself concerning my plans.

To Jean and Dick it must be a lovely world just at the moment. I am interested in Dick’s answer to your question as to whether or not he is still expecting to come to Alaska. It might be that I could do something for him in the event he is still serious about it. As to your plans for Dave at the office, I suspect he is going to stoop to a little subversive activity to prolong the war. Certainly the easy life of a soldier stalking through swamps, sleeping on tree stumps, guns firing near misses now and then, nasty officers asking and requiring the impossible, would be a picnic beside the task of upholding a schedule such as you line up. Just because you lean to the Superman-style is no reason you must expect it from your youngest son. Dave’s letter about being in Okinawa was a little worrisome for a while but he came through with flying colors. Incidentally, neither he nor you seem to have realized that Gen. Simon Bolivar Buckner, killed just a few days before the end of the Okinawa campaign, was Commanding General of the Alaska Defense activities, stationed here at Fort Richardson from 1940 through 1944. He was credited with saving Alaska from the Japs, owned land here on which he intended to build and it was here he planned to live after the war. He resided in a house in Anchorage for some time prior to the outbreak of hostilities, along with his wife and family. Rusty has been

Page 2 of Ced’s letter

at several parties at which he was a guest and knew him quite well. I never met him but have seen him many times on the street and at civic and Army gatherings. Dave’s mention of having seen him a few days before his death interested me, and more so, the remarks on his popularity. While here in Alaska he was quite well-liked, both in and out of Army circles. I suppose there were many who didn’t like him but the vast majority seemed quite taken with him. He was a heavy drinker but held it well.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Simon_Bolivar_Buckner_Jr.

Tomorrow I’ll post the rest of Ced’s very long letter (two and a half typed pages from Grandpa. (I don’t have Ced’s original). Letters from the other sons will appear later in the week.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Dear Lumbermen At Large (3) – News From Ced – Sneezy Guion – September 17, 1944

A letter addressed to “Sneezy Guion, Ragweed, Conn.” from you-know-who in Alaska, arrived on the morning of September 11th, which shows pretty good timing, and started the day off right. It’s worth having a 60th birthday to find out what one’s boys think of their old man. Ced writes: “Once again I see by the calendar that the natal anniversary date of pater Guion approaches. This being most likely the last letter from an admiring son to be received in Trumbull before that date, must convey a message of thanks for all you have been to us all, and the very best wishes for you in the ensuing year. I wish that all of us could join you at the dinner table on the eventful day in body as well as in spirit. Be it a comfort to you to know that few up here can rival my record of one letter a week from home. One has the feeling that no matter what happens he can always fall back on Dad and be sure of the best that Dad can offer in the way of assistance. A token of appreciation is en route from the sourdough via carrier pigeon, underground telegraph or some other means of transportation but may not reach you until after your birthday. Last night and today have been a definite prelude to winter. Snow fell quite low in the mountains last night while a cold rain and accompanying wind hit town. I am of the opinion that this winter will be early, with lots of snow but not too severe. Some of the Buick parts have arrived and I start tomorrow putting the transmission together. (Ced next gives an interesting account of his watch repairs, and goes on to say) Now I can fly and keep track of my minutes in the air. The ship I am soloing in is the most luxurious of small planes but to operate the radio one must have a radio operators license so that too I must study for and obtain. In the meantime, I use the lights from the control tower. Eleanor Burnham is doing library work in New York with little children. Helen has gone to Syria on missionary schoolwork. Brad is in the Marines in the Pacific. Rusty (Heurlin) is at Pt. Barrow.” He writes he has completely quit drinking.

DAD

P.S. I found Dave’s letter in my car. See attached copy. This reminds me of the famous Sears Roebuck letter: Gentlemen: I git the pump witch I by from you, but why for Gods sake you doan send me no handle. Wats the use of a pump when she don have no handle, I lose to me my customer. Sure thing you don treat me rite.  I wrote ten days gone and my customer he holler like hell for water from the pump. You no he is hot pumper and the win he no blow the pump. She got no handle so wat the hell I goan to do with it. If you doan send me the handle pretty quick I send her back and I order pump from Myers company.                       Goodby.

Yours truly,

Antonio

Since I write I find the dam handle in the box. Excuse to me.

Tomorrow, a Birthday letter from Dave to his Father. On Friday, Grandpa’s One-Act Play with a look to the future.

Judy Guion

Friends – Dear Ced – Rusty and the PBY – August ??, 1944

This envelope contained three letters, the first written in August, 1944, and the second on September 2nd and the third on September 6th, 7th or 8th.  This is the first letter. 

 

Rusty - Letter to Ced - PBY adventure - Aug, 1944

 

Close-up of sketch at the top of the letter

Barrow, Alaska

August   ?

Dear Ced,

How is the old junk dealer. Sure thought about you yesterday and you would have been in your 7th heaven had you been in my gang yesterday.

Barrow as you know is some 12 miles from sand spit known as Pt. Barrow. The point is low, about 2 feet above water and runs out to a shape like  (drawing in the middle of the letter)  so man’s feet can stand in marks as described, but then the sand is running into the water.

A visual and the history of the PBY – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fMJw8845P1o

About 2 miles east of said point a narrow spit ends and a lagoon begins. It was in this lagoon where PBY flyers anchored said plane at western edge and went for a walk to oil drilling quarters (tents) between Pt. B and Barrow. Next day they returned to find plane wrecked by storm and on eastern tip of spit inside lagoon. It was wrecked beyond repair, $25,000 shot to hell.

With permission to get some wire from it for picture hangings a bunch of boys found me offering transportation to the plane. We took with us wrecking bars, hammers, pliers, screwdrivers, wrenches (Stilson etc.) two axes and three hacksaws. It was a fine day for pirating and the sea smooth as glass. It was close to shore on way to point. We shot at ______ sitting on bow of boat – seals and ducks. Going eastward around the point we soon could see our prize beached about in center of spit. On landing each man took tool from boat he was best trained at using. I got a heavy but badly nicked axe and a hacksaw, jumped to shore with 10 Eskimos and the schoolteacher (tried to get minister to join us at Barrow but he gracefully backed out of mission). We attacked plane from all sides, then within, and then the fun began. I cut several holes in sides of fuselage to throw our booty out of. Two small boys were delighted to stay outside and pile up the stuff as it came out of these compartment holes. After working diligently for eight hours which was a constant banging and squeaking of hammers, axes and wrecking bars, well the old PBY looked as if it had several bombs go off inside of it or that it had come down after going through much concentrated flack. We removed chairs, sinker boards, magnetos, batteries, 50 unknown gadgets, some 35 coils of wire, nuts, bolts, very light bombs, floating bombs, aluninum this and that and two boys hack-sawed the two halves of pear-shaped shutters to machine gun nests out of which they will make a kayak. The pontoons will soon be turned into kayaks also. The wing had all kinds of gadgets. I got my wire and the _______________.  We returned loaded to the gunwales, as nice a picnic as you ever went on. You sure would have liked the pickings knowing this booty,

I could not read the last bit of this letter, written in tiny letters all around the edge of the page. Rusty’s handwriting is difficult to read. For more information on Rusty, check out these links:   http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magnus_Colcord_Heurlin     and see some of his art work at    https://search.yahoo.com/search?fr=mcafee&type=A211US679&p=Rusty+Heurlin 

Tomorrow, another letter from Rusty to Ced.  On Wednesday, the third letter to Ced from Rusty, O Thursday and Friday, two short notes from Marian to Grandpa.

Judy Guion 

Trumbull – Dear Foreigners (3) – More News From Ced And Some Answers – June 24, 1945

Judy_0003

Cedric Duryee Guion

Page 3       6/24/45

Skiing is done. Summer hikes are coming up but I put in very little time on them. I am singing regularly in the choir when I’m not working Sunday (average once a month). Flying. There we have a little surprise for you. I am the proud possessor of one private pilot’s license with authority to fly any plane from 0 to 80 HP., as of last Wednesday. The inspector told me I did a good flight test. Now I’m anxious to put in more time and get a commercial, but oh, the cost.

Dan’s coming nuptials are considered much as you in Trumbull view them. Does Dan need to make a request for a package to be sent him, and if so, can you get me one from him as I’d like to mail something to him. Paulette is certainly a knockout on looks, isn’t she? I certainly enjoy hearing from Lad and Dave via you and am pleased that Dave is so happy with the whole thing. Sounds as though he’s being a good sport. I don’t intentionally cut out Dan and Dick but lately your quotes haven’t included much from either of them. (Wait to get last week’s eight pager, Ced, about Dan’s experience). I enjoy all the quotes – – particularly enjoyed Lad’s description of the plane trip. Let’s have more descriptions of European experiences – – this for Lad and Dan’s benefit. I finally heard from Rusty. His latest flame is Ann Berg. He has been corresponding with her and trying to get her to come up to Barrow to become his spouse. Rusty is still crazy about Barrow and its inhabitants. Has just returned from a whale hunt and says he has material for two years painting. Love to all the gals. Ced

Now to answer some of your questions. Whether or not a request is needed before sending packages to boys overseas seems to depend on the local postmaster. I know it is required sometimes in Bridgeport but not in Trumbull. Suggest you inquire of your own post office. Above I have quoted a letter from Dave asking for serviceable, not fancy, moccasins. Perhaps that will do. In back letters you will also find quotations from Dan asking for this or that. Perhaps that will be sufficient. I still think I’d like to give you a ring rather than the other items you mentioned. How would a smaller ring for your “pinkey” go? If that, what size would this be? At last I have a picture of you in uniform but I didn’t see any stars on the collar. CONGRATULATIONS in big letters on the pilot’s license. I’m glad for you but I’m just old-fashioned enough, particularly after getting the news in the letter telling of narrow escapes and planes, to wish it were something the insurance companies would consider less of a hazardous occupation. However, the compensating thought is that your mechanic experience must have impressed on you the wisdom of taking no chances with imperfect workmanship, carelessness, etc. I have no fear as to your good judgment or quickness in emergencies. In fact I would feel the same way about you that you do about Ernie and Bill.

Next week maybe I’ll have a letter from Lad to quote but the Censor hasn’t taken the lid off as in Dan’s and Dave’s case. Until then, good night and good luck to you all, until we meet again.

DAD.

Tomorrow and Friday, another letter from Grandpa to all his boys in the service.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Dear Foreigners (2) – Ced Writes Of Dramatic Events – June 24, 1945

Ced @ 1945

Page 2     6/24/45

Now for Ced’s quarterly statement. After the expected apology and the discovery that he can forecast the weather in Connecticut by telling us two weeks before we get it what is happening in Anchorage, quite overlooking the fact that if he writes only once in two or three months the information will be a bit late when received here. However, we’ll let that pass. They have had trouble securing competent help (as who hasn’t) leaving him with much work to do alone. Just as they thought they had things in hand, trouble started.

First the Travelair landing gear, then pilot and copilot of the Boeing took off for Juneau one morning. “10 minutes later the radio operator, Chuck, and I were eating breakfast over at the airport café when someone behind us said “Surprise”. It was the pilot himself and a ghost wouldn’t have been more disconcerting. It seems he had just gotten headed for Juneau when both engines stalled simultaneously. By switching gas tanks and manipulating throttles he was able to get the engines going again. There were some 5 gallons of water in the tank when we drained it. Water had apparently leaked under the gasket in a new funnel and we had used a hose which had lain idle for over a month, which had apparently been a full of water. No harm was done other than a scare and lost time. That was Friday.

On Sunday the same two started for Naknek, got to Kenai when the right engine went sour. They returned to Anchorage on the left engine. Trouble – cracked cylinder head.

On Tuesday the same two, returning from the regular run to Juneau, when about 10 minutes out from here and about 6000 feet up, they noticed a smell. A radio operator was watching their approach and listening to their request on the radio for clearance to land. They saw what appeared to be the landing light turned on for a few seconds. A minute later the pilot reported he was in serious trouble and to stand by for an emergency landing. Suddenly the right engine burst into furious flame and while the copilot turned on the fire extinguisher, Ernie prepared for a crash landing at Turnagin Arm. He dove from 6000 to 2000 feet in the time it took the fire to go out (thank the Lord). In the meantime, he had opened the passenger door and told all passengers to fasten on their safety belts. He was afraid they would either panic and start jumping out the door or come forward and try to get into the pilot’s compartment. However, they behaved beautifully, the fire was out and at 2000 feet the pilot was set for a dunking in the Arm with all on board, right engine inoperative, when he suddenly realized the ship might limp into the field. He leveled off and started to strain the left engine to pull into the field. Landing was made without further mishap to the relief of all concerned. Incidentally, I would fly anywhere with these two. They show excellent presence of mind and judgment. The fire burning less than a minute nevertheless did terrific damage under the cowling. The main gas line, due to defective installation at L.A., had broken and had spewed high test aviation gas directly out of the pressure pump into the open engine nacelle at the probable rate of more than 2 gallons per minute, some of which had undoubtedly run out under the bottom of the wint. (A nacelle, in case you haven’t a dictionary handy, is the covered seat for the pilot of a plane).

I’ll continue Ced’s letter later today. On Thursday and Friday, another letter from Grandpa to his five sons.

Judy Guion

Life In Alaska – Rusty’s Harrowing Adventure (2) – August 14, 1944

This is the second half of a letter written by Rusty Huerlin, a family friend, to Ced. Both Rusty and Ced are living in Alaska and they have become good friends.

As most of our freight was for Wainwright, we were able to take on passengers there – storm bound Eskimos unable to return to Barrow in their boats heavily loaded with coal. So we left there towing five whale boats and had 25 Eskimos to sweeten the forecastle and share with us the four bunks when the next storm came up. We had then run into ice – icebergs 20 feet high, and got forced outside of them and land. Most of this was fields of bergs and we wound around it for a day in getting in close to land. This ice ran nearly down to Wainwright but once getting inside of it the water was smooth. 60 miles of this going was the best of our trip and I will never forget the fun. The kids had gotten over their seasickness and there was no more rushing from below with puke pots. They were happy and glad to be going home. One woman had six children. She and all of them had been sick in my bunk. But that was nothing. I had, after one storm, laid down in more filth than could be found in a garbage can and never felt more clean in my life. To sleep alongside of those shipmates after trying to take what they did uncomplainingly, was the finest expression I have yet experienced. I had made four friends I shall never forget – –Eibrulik Rock, Richard Scott, Daniel Attungniak and Andrew Franksen.

First chance I get now Ced, I will attend to the many things I was unable to do in Nome. One – a letter to Beryl, is she still in Anchorage? The painting for McDonald’s: what size would you like? Was it you that wanted it as a present for them or was it a picture they wished to order? And what type of subject would they like? I’m painting Arctic life now exclusively so my subjects will be Eskimos. This is the greatest field of all and a wonder to me why no artist has pioneered it before.

Charles Brown had me over for dinner day after we landed. Most interesting. old-timer in the whole territory. First painting will be of him and that one I will keep for myself. Then will have to get down to making bread and butter – money – or go on all Eskimo diet.

Eskimos on the way said I was the only white man they had ever seen take to all their food and like it. Ate walrus blubber by the pounds, meat dipped in seal oil – dried fish and seal oil – mucktuk and even walrus flippers. This latter dish is a raw one but was bound to try it to see if my stomach could digest it. Eibrulik, who had been seasick in the storm, had expected for a long time to see me seasick. Told me I would get seasick if we left one night following a hunk of said walrus flippers. This dainty dish is very apt to knot up any white man’s stomach if not poison him. If soured by the sunshine it poisons the Eskimo. But they did not keep me out of their gathering in a tent full of friends at Wainwright when the flippers were boiling. I sat around and ate like the rest but excuse from now on for not “taking it” again will be that my false teeth cannot get through it.

The stench from this boiling tough stuff and fat is the most repulsive I have ever experienced. It has not a sour smell alone for it smells of rottenness but I used my imagination in “taking it” like one should use when first eating Limburger cheese. So the imagination used was that my nose was rotting away and that I was starving for food – that a rather spoiled pig’s foot would give some strength to me. A girl cut me off a big hunk of it dripping with rotten fat and handed it to me. I put it in my mouth and started the imagination and began chewing it. “That’s enough for him” said Eibrulik, in Eskimo to her and he stared at me with the rest watching for the effect. But I ate one piece after another. Did not get seasick the next day when we cast off, nor did I get seasick on the whole trip. Don’t know what that is and will never know but back to this flipper dish – anything fished from a sewer of smelly tidbits could never come up to it. Eibrulik has named me now and by muckluk telegraph it has gone a long way – “artist, first white man to eat flippers”.  If I do it again I’ll be the last. Seal guts with crap in them taste like sausage meat in comparison. One day on the trip I lived on raw caribou meat dipped in seal oil – looks like pretty days ahead – my three months grubstake, which was all I was able to afford, is going to last me a year now.

Sending you an ivory knife – soon hope to send all of $50 worth. Tell Morry I am writing him. Have given up rum and all forms of liquor. Sure amazed at any power of the will – Rusty

Here’s a link to some information about Rusty and another to some of his paintings.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magnus_Colcord_Heurlin

https://www.google.com/search?q=Rusty+Heurlin&safe=active&biw=1463&bih=771&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ei=JnN2VOaPGoqqgwTynIPQDA&ved=0CDIQsAQ

For the rest of the week, I’ll be posting a letter from Grandpa and one from Lad. 

Judy Guion

Life In Alaska – Rusty’s Harrowing Adventure (1) – August 14, 1944

This is the first half of a letter from a family friend, Rusty Heurlin, famous Alaskan Painter and a roommate for a while, to Ced,  in Anchorage. It tells quite a story, but then, Rusty was always “bigger than life.” By clicking on my Blog “Category”, “Rusty Heurlin”, you can read other posts about Rusty.

Barrow, Alaska

Aug. 14, 1944

Dear Ced,

Here we are and perhaps by thumbing our noses at the devil, were we ever able to make it. The usual run from Nome to Barrow in a 44-foot boat with a 71 hp engine is from 7 to 10 days. We left on 23 July (Nome), sailed into Barrow yesterday. It was a trip we’ll never forget – hair still red but black before I took a bath. The five of us, Louis Riech – part Eskimo and all captain of “Ada”, his Eskimo crew –Eibrulik Rock, Richard Scott, Daniel Attungniak – to Point Hope and Andrew Franksen from there to Barrow, well, all of us have exclaimed time and again that we are the luckiest bums alive today.

The “Ada”,  overloaded by 5 tons on deck, ran into one storm after another – worst was between Katzebuc and Kivabun when we hit into the sea to try out-running the storm. It is too long a story to attempt describing on paper. Conrad would have made a book out of it. I have seen higher waves off Cape Hatteras and in the North Sea, but never so close to rough weather as what we ran into on the “Ada”. None of us ever expected to see land again and I know now why men pray. Hope becomes our concentration and that is a tremendous thing. Eibrulik and Richard were religious which made their hardships not as great. I pumped and pumped and pumped and pumped and never taxed my heart as much before as we kept taking in water and more water. Finally the engine quit. Richard then saved the lives of all of us in getting 9 fathoms of anchor line out and holding on to the end of the line – probably two minutes before he could get 2 feet of it to make a turn on the forward bit. None of us could get to him, the sea was so rough. And that was the beginning of  a 24-hour battle with the devil in that deep green sea. It was bad again from Point Hope to Point Joy. Had taken a beating from 12 at noon till 5 AM the next morning, could take it no more and made for a lagoon 7 miles from Point Joy. Breakers were 5 miles long on shoals and some 30 or more rows of them from deep water to shore. Channel was hideous. Eibrulik made fast some things. When it came down from “half one” (6 feet) Louis Riech said – rather yelled it – “Let’s get the hell out of here.” but it was too late. We struck bottom – went over on our starboard side – shipped water to soak me wet from head to foot where I stood on one ear in the cabin. Water poured down into the engine room to kill the engine. All Louis could do was blow foghorn for Eskimos in tents near Armundsen’s cabin to get out with what help they could offer. All this happened so quickly and the next breaker smacked us so hard that we went some 10 feet sideways. Then the miracle of all miracles happened. The “Ada” righted herself. We had been smacked over the bar. Then we rolled, helplessly in the deeper water, were blown into the channel and Louis got the engine started. We motored in behind a sand spit breakwater as if the way we had come was the right way to do it. 15 minutes later a gang of Eskimos came aboard saying we were the luckiest people they had ever seen. We all knew that not one boat in a million could do the same thing again. It took place about a quarter of a mile from shore and it hardly makes sense that we were not shipwrecked, that of all times, on the trip. But the whole thing was laughable or we were greatly excited. It was Davy Jones locker one second then the next, a certainty of fooling him. We made the lagoon more gracefully from Point Hope to Point Joy where we had to lay for five days.

Here is some further information about Rusty:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magnus_Colcord_Heurlin

https://www.google.com/search?q=Rusty+Heurlin&safe=active&biw=1463&bih=771&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ei=JnN2VOaPGoqqgwTynIPQDA&ved=0CDIQsAQ

Tomorrow, I’ll post the rest of this very interesting letter. For the rest of the week, I’ll be posting a  letter from Grandpa to his sons and a letter from Lad to his Father.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Lizzie of The Klondike (1) – Ced’s Thank You Letter to Aunt Betty – August 6, 1944

Aunt Betty

Aunt Betty

COMMUNICATION CENTER 42928

DFR TR C/O POB-7

6 August 1944

GREETINGS…..

From the ex-mayor of Trumbull:

Copy of communication

Addressed to “Lizzie of the Klondike, Igloo?”

From C.D. Guion, Alaska.

“I can’t begin to tell you how disappointed I am in you for not packing up and running on up here. Why, the weather is so nice here that it is only on the rarest of occasions that I am prevented from basking in the sun all day long. The temperature stays at a comfortable 15° above zero all summer long, and only slightly cooler than that in winter, which is only nine months long anyway. I do hope you will reconsider immediately, and if you feel you don’t want to cook or drive taxis, I’m sure you would enjoy mining or fishing, and the pay for either is excellent. You could work at fishing for just the short three-months season and live on your earnings for the balance of the year. If you chose to mine you could probably get a job “mucking” (digging out the ore) on the graveyard shift and have the whole day to run around the country and hunt bear or go sightseeing to your heart’s content. You could probably grab a couple of cat naps on the job when the boss was away and so not get too tired. As an added inducement you might always remember that a gal up here has every opportunity to go out with nice fellows to dances, nightclubs, etc., and  then you might even find the man of your dreams! Who knows? There was a woman up here (Rusty Dow) whom I have mentioned as a friend of mine in a previous letter, who just recently drove a 10 wheel truck over the new Alaskan Military Highway with a full load. (Query by editor –  the girl or the truck?) She reports the road as good, and if you can disguise yourself as a service man you might be able to get onto the road which is closed to civilians. Perhaps Dad would let you take the Chevy which seems to be idle since Lad and Marian and Dave are again away from home. I am sure you could get gas enough by buying at black market stations, although you would have to pay a little extra. I’d advise bringing along a few spare tires as you might have to make repairs along the way. Extra supplies of gas would also probably be necessary. A good sleeping bag and some grub, a rifle and axe will complete your gear, and I’ll buy you a barrel of rum when you get here. Another advantage to this country is that women are more likely to smoke pipes and cigars here than back in the East, and your Between The Acts cigars would entail less embarrassment than back there. Another thought just occurred to me. You are there near the Sikorsky airplane plant. Why don’t you see Mr. Sikorsky and get the Alaskan franchise distribution ship for the helicopter and then fly one up here yourself. That might be more exciting then the Chevy. Of course all this is just a suggestion, and you could do what ever you like, even trying a rocket or jet propulsion. There is good future in trapping, as in almost any other occupation you desire to try. The sky’s the limit, but if you just want to stay in that dreadful old stuffy East where they have those horrid toilets inside the house and messy faucets and sinks that can’t be put outside when not in use – well, then I’m sorry for you, and don’t ever say you didn’t have the opportunity. “There is a tide in the affairs of men, which taken at the flood leads on to fortune”. And don’t turn your deaf ear at me! How is be Acousticon working? What a pleasant glowey feeling it gave me to open up my little box # 822 just before my birthday a month or so ago the find of good old “Aunt Betty” card and the famous old portrait of a President. Should have acknowledged your thoughtfulness long ago, but I am much a dreadful correspondent, as you well know.

Did I ever tell you the story of the three divinity students at Yale, a Protestant, a Catholic and a Jew, who were comparing how far each might eventually get in their chosen professions. The Protestant said he could start as a curate, become rector of the large parish, advanced to Archdeacon and eventually become Bishop. The Catholic snorted and said in his church after being a priest, a Monsignor. and a Cardinal, and in turn he might eventually become a Pope, which is right next to God himself, and what could be higher than that! The Jew shrugged his shoulders and said, “Well, one of our boys made it”.

This is only the first quarter of this five-page letter from Grandpa to his boys in Alaska. This particular portion is a letter from Ced to Aunt Betty giving her numerous possibilities for jobs if she were to move to Alaska.

On Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, I’ll post the other three parts of this letter.

On Friday, I will post a letter from Marian.

Judy Guion

Friends – A Letter From Nome, Alaska and A Postcard From Honolulu, Hawaii – July 10 and 11, 1944

 

Rusty Huerlin

Nome, Alaska

July 9, 1944

Dear Ced,

Stormy weather for about one week. Expect “ada” down from Kotzebue any day now, then it will be a mad rush to get everything aboard her and pull stakes for Pt. Barrow where I finally decided to locate, if they’ll have me there.

Many, many thanks for green stuff. They arrived in O.K. condition same day boat brought first greens we’ve had here since fall, three more boats with more greens – then a tanker with whiskey and beer. But I went in for the milk on first boat – drank so much of it (40 cents a paper quart) that I quit when I noticed that my tits were growing.

Who am I to thank for the beautiful scarf? Hardly a chance of wearing such finery until I get back to Anchorage again.

As for the paintings you wrote about, will take care of the matter as soon as I get situated up north. Will write Byrl first chance I get. These are busy days.

Thanks for sending pictures. Swell to look at and letters to read from home. Will return slides to you in care of Fiske when he looks in this way again. If possible for him to handle frames you have and deliver them to Major Marston – Wallace Hotel, Nome, for me, that would be swell. But if it runs into money for this, skip it, as I could not take care of that now. He may not be coming this way again for some time. He has been flying Mackenzie’s ship and with “Mac” back in Anchorage now he may fly his own ship to Nome. I could get “Mac” to fly them through, however, if either of them coming here soon. I could not take them on first trip this way. I had better not have them sent here as I would not care to have them sent up to Pt. Barrow unless I took personal care of them.

Hell of a rush now. Will write you at greater length first chance I get.

Love to all,

As ever,

Rusty

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

 

Gibby - Post card to Ced from Hawaii - front, 1944

“Isle O’ Dreams”, Hawaii

Gibby - Post card to Ced from Hawaii - message - 1944

Honolulu, June 28

FROM

Arnold Gibson

Ship 51 N Y

Pearl Harbor,

 Dear Ced,

Here I am back in Hawaii. Alta (Alta (Pratt) Gibson, his wife and another friend from the old gang in Trumbull) is in Cal. and will follow later.

We saw Lad and Marian in Orinda (where Marian’s parents live) and had a swell day. Wish I had a little Alaska  weather right now.

Aloha, Gib

Tomorrow and Sunday I will be posting a long letter from Dave to his Dad and all concerned.  

Judy Guion