Friends – Rusty Huerlin Writes to Ced – An Arctic Bum – March 25, 1944

 

This letter is written to Ced from Rusty Huerlin, probably received after he had returned to his job in Anchorage after his lengthy stay in Trumbull and his quick visit with Lad and Marian.

Nome, Alaska

3—25—44

Dear Ced,

Word by mukluk telegraph informs me that you are back in Anchorage. Fine guy you turned out to be not to write to your dear old pal. But perhaps you’ll get the pin out of your tail now and drop us a line to let me know how Al is doing and how you enjoyed your trip outside.

Since arriving here have been tied up with ATG work but going to start painting in a couple of days. The Major and I have located a cabin for ourselves. Real cold weather here and have never seen as much snow. Twill be a late break up this year in case you would like to know. I should say between the fourth and the eighth.

On visit down from Palmer I emptied your pent-up mailbox and left mail with Bob Hall. Hope I did the right thing and that he contacted you or left it where you could get it before he went outside.

If Ted Kogan got luggage left in my wake, kindly get it back from him. Hold everything for me if you are not going into service. May write for frames in a couple of weeks. Keep stretchers and jib sail bag together. If you have no room for them best place may be at George’s. Expect to be in Nome until break up time when I will go north with years supply of grub. But if you should happen to know of anyone traveling to Nome by CAA it would be all mighty swell, if no trouble to that person, to load on my frames, bag and stretchers. If Dale or Dell, the fellow who brought us out, is making the trip this way soon, I am sure he would be glad to do me this favor. You might be driving by his place sometime and can drop in to see him on this. Had I come the way planned for me, I could have handled everything.

Sorry I did not get to see you before I left. Confidentially, as I do not want it to get about, I pulled a fast one on Governor Gruening. It resulted in him commandeering an army car and paying me a visit at Palmer. But it wasn’t exactly a fast one and it took me one month of careful planning. It is too long a story to go over at this early hour of the morning. I only want you to know that it was honest. Or should I not say to a trusted and tried friend that he, the Governor, fell for my rubber salmon egg. Two days later he was in Fairbanks, then came a telephone call from Fairbamks for me to proceed to Nome on next Army transport. At Fort Rich a week later I got my traveling orders but no planes to Nome were available. To wait longer for transportation was like waiting for the invasion. I finally decided to put tongue in cheek and go by Star. That was why I had to cut down on baggage. But trip here is not known to Star officials so I am now one jump and the hop ahead of them.

Water is $.10 a gallon here. Whiskey cannot be had. When you see George again tell him I really like my scotch cut with water. I think he will understand. Ha ha!

Contact Ted Kogan through weather Bureau or Juanita at OPA. Drop out of an evening and see their nice home which they bought. Also see Maurie and Helen. Best to you and Hans and Ruth and all good Scandahoovis. Sorry I cannot or it’s sad I cannot add the name of dear old Kjosen,

Thank Ted for his trouble and will write him soon. Let’s hear from you soon Sonny boy… Till we meet again,

Yours to be an Arctic bum —– Rusty

During stop-over at Nulato I pissed in the Yukon. Did it the hard way too— if you know what I mean? Aim to do the rest the hard way to— if I can— and I have shot and killed a bear.

I believe the following is Ced’s recorded memory of this trip, although he may have incorrectly remembered the approximate dates.I don’t know if we’ll ever know the complete story.

About 1940-41, things were getting red-hot. Major Marston was up there in charge of the Alaskan defense command. He was based in Anchorage. Rusty made friends with him – he made friends with everyone he talked to. He met the Governor of Alaska through Major Marston. Rusty came home one night and he said, “Know what they’re going to do? Major Marston says that the Governor wants to go around the whole perimeter of Alaska and try to develop a reasonable defense system for Alaska. I guess it was Major Marston’s idea. Major Marston said, ’None of us know anything about Alaska, the Eskimos, the Indians. We should go around and meet these native people. They know the land and if any problems develop with the days coming, we’d be lost. We wouldn’t know what to do.’ He said, ‘We want to get an Alaskan defense going with native people.’ Governor Gruening says, ’Well you know what? I don’t know any. I’m the Governor of this territory and I’d like to go around with you and meet these people that I’m supposed to be Governor of.’ “ So, Rusty sat and listened to all this talk and he said, ”You wouldn’t want to take me along, would you? I’ve had this in the back of my mind for years, that I would like to do a series of pictures on the discovery of Alaska.” His whole goal, idea and the love of his life was Alaska. He said, ”I’d like to have a chance to go around to all those places, and make sketches.” “OK, come on along.” they said. That’s where he got this series of 18 pictures, starting with the fellow who came from Russia, sailed to Alaska and took it for the Russians. That was the first painting, he did the Gold Rush and 16 others. This was after he moved to Fairbanks.

Tomorrow, more Special Pictures of the Trumbull House – Then and Now.

On Sunday, another Guest Post by GPCox, pacificparatrooper.wordpress.com,

Judy Guion

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Trumbull – Dear Off Spring (4) – Local News From Grandpa – March 3, 1946

Alfred Duryee Guion (Grandpa)

Page 4   3/3/46

My watch says 10:25 (I am reminded of one fellow I work with who says the only thing a watch says is “Tick-tock”), so I’d better quit this pounding so as to not disturb others in the house who are probably turning in. I have done a little skiing and a little flying and will tell you more later!

Next day, 7:15 P. M. Went out in the plane Saturday with the schoolteacher from Barrow, “Pirkey”. We flew over to Big Lake and landed there on the snow-covered ice, only to find that the ice was flooded with water about 10 inches deep with another 10 inches of heavy snow on top of that. The outlook wasn’t good, especially with one wearing oxfords and a topcoat. I pulled a duffel bag out of the baggage compartment and by tramping lightly with one foot there was a firm enough crust on top to hold my weight on top of this heavy bag and I gradually worked the ship around toward a footpath which was about 25 feet away, tramping and moving the bag as I got the ship around. Fortunately there were two good Samaritans staying in a cabin nearby and they came out and each pushed on a wing. In this manner the ship finally reached the path and we took off along this path, one of the skis slipping off to one side or the other till we got quite a little speed. These fellows had snowshoes and were able to push lots easier than I could. On the way back to Anchorage we flew low and hunted out some moose. Some were lying down, others feeding and still others walking out in the open stretches. Once we landed on the small lake and tried to get some pictures of them but they skedaddled as soon as we landed and we didn’t see any of them until we took off again.

Rendezvous Week is here and all the men are supposed to have beards. Mine is again flush as are about half the other men’s. The women are complaining — but who cares. There will be big ski events, skating events, a Queen of Alaska chosen and a car raffled off. Should be a gala affair from all appearances, and after the smoke settles I will write more about it if there is much to write about. Love to all. Ced.

Thanks for the check, Ced. They arrived on the second and I had already taken care of the bank payment but they will restore the balance so if you cannot conveniently get the April check to me before the first of the month, I can bridge the gap without inconvenience. Your description of your new ships is a good selling document — at least it makes me want to make a trip in one of them — particularly if the pilot or co-pilot happened to be a near relation of mine. By the way, did you receive my letter in which I mentioned finding your old log? Yes, we were all very much interested in following the account of the Yukon rescue work. Hope Fitz will yet turn up O.K.

Pete Linsley is home again. He is divorced from his wife who I hear “did he wrong”. He has been out with Barbara (Plumb, Dan;s old girlfriend) several times recently. Jack Fillman is now the father of the baby boy. Red (Sirene) and his wife stopped in a few minutes today. He is now working in an architect’s firm in N.Y. All of us here are well and happy and hope you are the same. And that, dear children, is about all that your news monger has found to distribute today, so ta ta until next Sunday when we will take up the tangled threads of our story a new, hoping you will each have something to add to the common fund. Goodbye and good luck.

DAD

Trumbull – Dear Veterans – Quick Note From Ced – January, 1946

Trumbull, Conn., January 6, 1946.

Dear Veterans: (yes, that includes Ced, who has earned the title

by his recent flight to Alaska)

Even if the laws of compensation did not indicate that a 7-page letter one week should be followed by a skimpy one the next week, the fact remains that the holiday let-down leaves little happening to make news. The only quotation is a letter from Ced written Dec, 27th from Fairbanks, Alaska: “Just one more hop and I’m home in Anchorage. Spent last two days in Northway just over from the Canadian border on the Alaskan side. Landed they are about 3:55 p.m., after dark and as I taxied up toward the CAA building I aimed between two field boundary lights and headed for the station. Just as I went between those two lights there came a jolt and something flew past the right side of the ship, the engine weazed weakly and quit. Right between those two lights the Army had placed a marker made of light wood, painted to show in the daytime but virtually invisible at night. Well, of all places to put it they had it right where I wanted to taxi. It shattered the propeller but otherwise did no serious damage. I had to wait, tho, until noon today to get a new propeller from Fairbanks flown in. I haven’t done anything yet about fixing the blame but when I get back to Anchorage I’m going to look into the situation and see if I have any grounds for collecting damages. I’m afraid it’s useless altho I don’t feel it was my fault at all– negligent placing of the marker as far as I can see. Cost will be approx. $35 for the new prop. Was at Teslin on Christmas Eve and got in on a wonderful turkey dinner with all the fixins.  Paid a $1.15 per gallon of gas at Watson Lake. Saw a P-80 jet job take off at White Horse. They make a terrific roar — sounds like a huge blower running full speed. He went from W.H. (White Horse) to Fairbanks in 1/3 the time it took me to go from W.H. to Northway, which is about half as far. Fairbanks checked the speed at 368 mph elapsed time. Expect to get an early start in the morning, weather permitting, and should be in Anchorage by noon time. Will write and tell you about the whole trip later on– one of those now-it-can-be-told reports. Fairbanks is pretty much a hole in the wall and once again Alaskan prices have hit me square between the eyes. Paid one dollar for an ordinary roast beef dinner in a mediocre café tonight. Some difference from Canada where one rarely has to pay over 50-60 for a darn good meal and at low value Canadian money at that. One cashes $20 travelers check and gets back $22 Canadian. Try and change it back and you get $8.50 for a $10 Canadian.”

Today as you may recall is Elizabeth’s birthday and they all came over to dinner. In fact, they have just left. Jean was not feeling too well, had a headache and cold and did not feel equal to coming down for dinner. She is feeling a bit better now, however.

Ced. Thanks for your pleasant surprise Christmas gift from Great Falls. I’m looking forward to that account you promise because I really feel it was an unusual accomplishment. I still get a thrill every time I think of it and a buoyant feeling of relief at your safe arrival and in such good condition as regards both you physically and the plane materially.

Dan. It’s about time we had a report about your married life and all the things you have been doing, to say nothing of comments on some of the news I have been dishing out to you for several months past with nary a peep from you in comment. Let’s know what you think of the Island idea, where you spent Christmas, the details of your work, news of Paulette, Homecoming arrangements (if any, yet), receipt of packages, what places you have visited, etc.

Happy 1946 to you all.                            Dad.

I will devote the rest of the week to another letter from Grandpa.

Judy Guion

Special Picture # 302 – Rusty Huerlin – End of the Trail – Tribute to A Pioneer – February, 1960

The following piece was printed in the column, On The Inside”, printed in the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner (Fairbanks, Alaska) on February 3, 1960.

TRIBUTE TO A PIONEER – Rusty Heurlin of Berry, Alaska, has written an open letter to the citizens of Valdez, proposing that Mt. Sugar Loaf be named after the late Anthony J. Dimond.

He suggests this mountain for its gentle slopes and balance in simple contour, which made it one of the most photographed peaks of the early days and perhaps even yet.

Also, he says, if a play on words would not be objectionable, this mountain is quite similar in shape to that of a diamond when reflected into the Bay of Valdez.

“As there are many other such named mountains (as Sugar Loaf) the world over, little controversy should arise from the change …” Rusty says.

“At any rate we trust that the last request of Art Lutro’s will be honored to help perpetuate for all time the name of Anthony Dimond.”

Lutro, the late Grand President of the Grand Igloo of the Pioneers of Alaska, proposed recently that an “unnamed peak” be honored with Dimond’s name. His request has been presented to the Board of Geographic Names of the U.S. Department of the Interior.

Heurlin, who was an early resident of Valdez and next-door neighbor of Dimond, recalls his qualities of greatness and what he meant to fellow Alaskans. “Towering above all was a simplicity that was greatness in itself.”

Dimond was long a territorial delegate in Congress and later a federal judge.

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

END OF THE TRAIL – Rusty has also written this tribute to an old friend:

The going had been rough in places and the pack heavy but the uncomplaining Sourdough stuck to his lonely trail. At times the sleet pained his eyes, and it was hard to see when friends passed him as they hurried on their way. At the end of the day a light appeared around the bend of a river. Was it home, he wondered, or was he lost? He wasn’t sure until he arrived there, and not even then until the cabin door opened. He got out of his snowshoes. Old friends helped him with his pack. They called him into the cabin fragrant with wood smoke,,, happy with light and laughter and the warmth of those companions of old who had passed him on the way.

It was the End of the Trail for another sourdough. This time a man known throughout Alaska and Yukon Territory,  – big, good-natured, helpful and friendly Art Lutro, Grand President of the Alaska Pioneers.

http://thompsonpass.com/valdez-place-names-mt-dimond/

Check out this video :  https://vimeo.com/91885957

I appears that the request of Art Lutro and Rusty Heurlin was honored as there is a Mt. Dimond near Valdez, Alaska.

Tomorrow, I will begin a week of letters written in July, 1942. Both Lad and Dan are serving Uncle Sam and receiving training.

Judy Guion

Special Picture # 298 – Rusty Huerlin – ‘Lady Known as Lou’ Comes to Town – 1960

This picture and the story appeared in the Fairbanks (Alaska) Daily News – Miner on Friday, November 4, 1960. I found it in a pile of newspaper clippings Grandpa saved. Across the top, Rusty added a note: “a very poor representation, am sitting some 25 feet in front of it.Will send you a color shot of it _____.

‘Lady known as Lou’ Comes to Town

by Kay J. Kennedy, News-Miner Staff Writer

“Lou” and her crew of fascinating,fictional characters out of Robert W. Service’s “Shooting of Dan McGrew” came to town the other day.

They stayed at the Travelers Inn where they were seen by visitors to the Alaska State Chamber of Commerce convention. This week they all moved out again, but they’ll always be together.

Lou (“That lady that’s known as Lou”) is the central figure in a love (and art composition) triangle in a 5-by-9-foot oil painting by C. (Rusty) Heurlin, one of Alaska’s best known artists.

He re-created the tense, dramatic moment in the poem when the “kid from the creeks” is playing the piano. Seated in the card game is McGrew studying the kid. Lou stands between them. An overhead lamp, which is not shown, throws a circle of light which encompasses the figure at the piano and casts interesting shadows. Subtle cigar smoke drifts across the canvas until you can almost smell it.

You have a feeling that the clicking of glasses and chips suddenly stopped as the music rose.The red velvet of Lou’s dress is vivid, encasing an uncensored womanly shape.

This painting, which is different from anything Heurlin has done previously, has been a gestating in his subconscious creative mind for many years. It may be his silent answer to those who have pegged him strictly an ice and snow artist, a master of hollow Arctic light, a painter of Eskimos, Arctic seas and whale hunts.

There are three parts in the painting – any one of them could stand alone as a complete composition. One is the “kid from the creeks” at the piano. Lou herself, is a splendid portrait. McGrew and the men around the green felt gaming table are done in a dark and sinister pallet.

Authentic Touches

Subdued nudes on the walls, the old Dawson City piano, a potted palm popular in that day, together with other authentic touches make you feel you could walk into the picture.

It may be that “Lou” will take her place in Alaska art history as Heurlin’s masterpiece.

Current comment indicates that the painting will pick up a following – even more than the infamous Lady Lou  herself.

 

Friends – Rusty Writes to Ced – Pictures From Their Trek Around Alaska – Dec., 1943

 

Palmer, Alaska

Dec. 21, 1943

Dear Ced,

The enclosed line will perhaps make you feel more welcome at the lovely home of the Stoll’s in Seattle and you will see there the beautiful Sylvia. – No kidd’n now – be sure to make it so you can spend three or four days with her. If you do I’ll wager you will never get over it. She is a knock out — brilliant, tall and queenly and nothing that I could say in her favor would be flattering. This I clipped from a letter from Walter whose business address is 609 Coleman Bldg., — Alaska Pacific Mining Co. — home address is Larkhurst, 4204 or something like that. Get in touch with him as soon as you arrive in Seattle.

Hear that Walt Gronhert (?) Is trying to get helicopter agency in Alaska when, or to be set for such business, when war is over. Why don’t you look into that for yourself? Perhaps after the next war the Zep (Zeppelin?) will come out in gala colors and competition for our outdated mode of air travel — Sikorsky’s Helicopter. (Ced actually went to work for Sikorsky Aircraft in Stratford after he returned from Alaska in late 1946.)

Eggs in the valley are now $1.50 per doz.

Saw Bob Schottler (?) on street enroute to Barrow – again to follow info — one of Governor’s (Alaska’s Governor Ernest Gruening) eskimos discovered while on our trip. Bob said Governor was anxious to get name of my Eskimo sketch. When he showed pictures to President Roos- (President Roosevelt) in Washington President asked what was her name. He could only say Lottie, said one in his party fell for her and he could find out easily enough. Bob said pictures Governor took of her were knockouts. One that I took of the governor with Bob’s camera and which I had some job of posing G.G. (Governor Gruening) also was shown to President Roosevelt and G.G. is very proud of it. I had him clamber into a hunk of preserved ice about 5 miles out of Pt. Hope. He, as I remember, is looking out over the pack ice and pictures looked swell in Bob’s Graflex finder. Will be anxious to see it.

Guess I’ll stay here over the holidays and skip all the excitement down there. Hogans and Danford’s and _______’s  have invited me for Xmas dinner. Schafer has made two trips to town with his small truck and sold 24 small Xmas trees cut from my rabbit patch. He got $121.00 for the two loads and will make two more trips. That boy is smart.

We are over the hump tonight.

Love to all and don’t forget Seattle — Rusty