Friends – Cars and Mountains – Jan, 1940

Arnold "Gibby" Gibson

Arnold “Gibby” Gibson

The following letter to Lad is from his best friend, Arnold Gibson, who was almost a part of the family, he was at the house so often. He tells Lad about a two-month trip around New England.

Jan, 4, 1940

Dear Laddie,

My card made a bum start, but I hope it finally reached you.

Well I’m fairly familiar with your doings via your letters to your Dad. I go over and get him to read some of them now and then. However a lot has happened around here that may be news to you.

Anne Holt was married in September and has a nice little cottage on a pond over between Nichols and Shelton.

My folks have moved over to a place near the river between Shelton and Stratford, and I am boarding at Pratt’s. Alta and I became engaged

Alta Pratt

Alta Pratt

this New Year’s.

Last summer I worked a couple of months with contractors on the Merritt Parkway at good pay, and so saved enough for a nice trip up into Maine and Canada. I worked in the woods first, and then on the wagon rock drills and bulldozers. By the way, the Parkway is now open from N.Y. to Nichols, so it’s a cinch to drive to the city.

This spring I got a nearly new, slightly damaged canoe, which I repaired and made a rack on Nomad for, so with the Buxtel (2-speed) rear end, new oil pump, fog, reverse, cab and clearance lights, and numerous other new improvements, old Nomad was in great shape for her trip.

We (Alta and I) took off at around noon one day after a couple of false starts due to a lost knife, and a leaky oil line, and spent two months around New England stopping at various relative’s homes and American Youth Hostels. You may have heard of the latter. It is a fine organization of several million persons to further travel in the great outdoors, and provide “Hostels” with proper accommodations (rough and ready ones) and chaperones at convenient overnight stops. It is also international.

We had a great trip all in all, with many minor adventures and only a few mishaps. Nomad performed nobly with only a broken front spring and relapsed generator to her discredit in 2,400 miles. Oh yes, she has the speedometer now to.

I worked for Ruby for two weeks and also cleared the lines around the piece of land I have up there. I had to dig up an “oldest resident” to help find the ancient markers, and do the rest with compass and axe as the deed was written in terms of long dead persons. What a time!

We really swarmed all over Mount Katahdin this time, spending four days at it. You remember the little Chimney Pond in the bottom of the gulf we looked into from the summit? Well, on its shore are a cabin and some shelters operated by one Mr. Dudley, who is certainly a real character, and what yarns he spins by the fire at night! There were around six or eight people there and the women and food all were kept in the cabin at night, as several bears, one monster, came messing around every night, and we got a swell chance to watch them.

We fell in with a couple of fellows from Boston, and after much debate, borrowed Dudley’s Alpine rope, and climbed the Chimney Trail, which is really just a gulley which runs up the nearly perpendicular head wall for around 4000 feet, and contains, among other hazards, ice and three nearly impossible choke stones (boulders) ! The 4000 feet (and return from the top by an easy(?) Trail) took all day, and in one place we hoisted Alta 40 feet up an overhang, but when it was done we were really proud of ourselves.

The Island

The Island

We visited Rusty’s Island in our canoe and had a great time in general in spite of much rain, and even snow (in the middle of September in Canada), and got home with only one flat.

Three days after we got home I went to work at the Stanley Works. I run a machine which cuts steel up into strips for razor blades. The work is steady and the pay pretty good, but it is pretty dull.

Babe still has not gotten her new Ford that was promised for December 15th.

Have you heard about Cedric’s ’33 Plymouth then he got in N. Y. for $50? I did a very complete motor overhaul on it, and it runs fine except that I can’t get quite as much oil pressure as I would like, in spite of new gears and main and  rod bearings.

I just did a valve and carbon job on my Packard and she runs like new. Well almost. For extremely cold starts as low battery I have a hot shot battery and master (Ford) coil independent of the regular system.

Laddie, I’d like to hear about the various conveyances you people use, and the engines you work on, and all that sort of thing. And when do you think you may be home again?

I had Spring Replacement put to front springs in your Packard the other day.

Let me hear from you!

Your friend,


Tomorrow, another letter to Lad from another friend, then on Saturday, another Tribute to Arla, and on Sunday, the next installment of Mary E. Wilson’s Autobiography when she arrives at Ellis Island.

Next week we’ll be checking in on Dan and Ced, in Alaska, to find out what is going on in their lives and the lives of the rest of the Guion Clan.

Judy Guion