Trumbull – Dear Sons (1) – Hay Fever, Vacation and Possible Trip to France – August 18, 1946

Trumbull, Conn.,  August 18, 1946

Dear Sons:

Summer approaches it’s end, as announced by the katy-dids who mightily have have their age old argument as to whether she did or didn’t, making no more progress towards a definite decision than the meetings of the United Nations. The coming of fall is also presaged for me by the advent of the hay fever season although thus far only a few vagrant sneezes have so far served as a reminder of what is to come. I am still in Trumbull, not having yet escaped to the Island. This delay in carrying out my vacation plans is due to the fact that, for the mid-summer business let-up we have been exceptionally busy at the office and I don’t like to leave Dave head-over-heels in work, and also, as above mentioned, the ragweed pollen has not yet made it’s presence objectionable. Also I am somewhat beset by problems of the house. It seems we must have a new roof, and materials and especially labor add to the difficulties of the problem and also to the expense. The winter heating problem also bothers me. I started back in June to see what I could do about installing an oil burner and here again shortage of equipment and Labor put the prospective buyer in the position of a supplicant. Dealers have so many requests they cannot take care of that they pay no attention to what, in ordinary times, would be the occasion for keen competition. Cost of re-roofing runs about $500, and in addition I shall either have to spend several hundred dollars additional to rebuild the front porch and replace roof timbers or tear down the front porch entirely and build a small front door vestibule. But enough of my home worries.

Jean and Dick are still at the Island and apparently enjoying themselves. Arnold Gibson and his wife are up there with them and from a postal just received from Jean, she is becoming a seasoned camper, fisher woman, etc. and plans to stay there until they are forced to return.

No letter from Dan last week, which circumstance is beginning to bother me a bit. In my more gloomy moments I have visions of him in the hoosegow by reason of his father having sent him several shipments of cigarettes for sale on the black market. Incidentally my passport arrived O.K. last week, so that hurdle is out of the way. Of course, I really have not decided to visit France, as there are still a number of “ifs” in the way. If Dan does not come home in October, if home expenses do not make the trip impossible from a financial standpoint, if work at the office does not make it unwise to leave the country for an indefinite stay, etc., etc.

My car, I believe I told you, has a new motor which has to be coddled a bit for the first 500 miles. I have not yet decided when I shall take off for New Hampshire but when I do I shall go by way of Claremont so that the service station that installed the motor can give it the 500-mile check. I am afraid the 500 mile limit will be exceeded by the time I make the 200 mile trip to the Buick place.

Tomorrow is Dick’s birthday and of course I cannot let the occasion pass without the usual mental recognition of the event. We celebrated it in absentia today, the menu for today’s dinner consisting of roast smoked ham, corn on the cob, ice cream (donated by Aunt Betty) and as a special guest, Dave invited Eleanor Kintop. (The woman he married in 1947.)

Doug – August, 1946

Judy – August, 1946

The twins (6 weeks old) make steady progress, keeping both their father and mother and at times, Aunt Betty, pretty busy with the feeding schedule, to say nothing of the laundry.

Tomorrow, I’ll post the rest of this letter, which is a look back at the lives of family members one year ago, in 1945.

Judy Guion

Life in Alaska – Dear Marian and Al – Ced’s Take On His Niece And Nephew – July 25, 1946


Douglas Alfred and Judith Anne – summer, 1946


P.O. Box 822

Anchorage, Alaska

July 25th

Thursday evening

Dear Marian and Al,

The crowd collected instantaneously as it always does, and one old lady in a rather dirty pair of slacks and the foul stench of stale liquor on her breath, elbowed her way toward the man sprawled grotesquely on the post office steps where he had fallen. Someone had run for a doctor and another man had tried to keep the crowd back while he wiped the forehead of the victim. The old lady finally worked into a good vantage point, not without receiving several sour glares, remarked to anyone who cared to listen, “Geese, he don’t look like he was sick, does he?” To which someone else replied, “Probably ain’t as sick as you, lady”. This last brought an ominous rumble from the old woman, but she thought better of more banter, and contented herself with studying the victim again. “He got a letter clutched in his hand “, she remarked, “maybe he got bad news”. About this time the figure of the man stirred and his eyes flickered, then opened, and he sluggishly raised himself on his elbow while the man who’d been wiping his head helped him to rise, and finally got him to his feet. The victim looked around at the crowd and flushed deeply. It was very embarrassing to be stared at by so many people, and he wasn’t too pleased with his public spectacle. It had all happened so suddenly that he had been caught off guard; he had stopped in to get his mail, and received a letter from his folks across the continent, and while that was a weekly occurrence, the news it contained was such, that as he sauntered from the post office, opening the letter and glancing at its contents, he was so shocked that his mind had gone blank, and the next thing he knew was this moment of awakening with a pain-racked body. While the news was very good, it still had this startling aspect – the man had become an uncle, not of a niece alone, or a nephew, but both at once! Well, the crowd, disappointed at nothing more gruesome than a case of fainting, quickly dispersed, a few well-meaning souls hanging on embarrassingly to offer help if it seemed needed, but as the man’s mind cleared, he started off down the street, first thanking the doctor, who had arrived, and assuring him that he was quite well. As the old lady departed she was heard to muse, “What in the hell was wrong with that guy?”

Now it seems that this young man has recovered his equilibrium sufficiently to address this selfsame missile to his brother and sister-in-law, jointly guilty of this great event, and in the same joy which they no doubt feel, he wishes to congratulate them on their dual role in the appearance of dual offspring. I am tempted to ask, “How did you do it?”, but will think better of it, and content myself with the pleasure of knowing that I have more relatives. Wish I were there to say hello to all the A.P. Guions.

This is probably the first letter I have addressed to you since way back when you were in California, but I don’t feel that we don’t correspond, as Dad keeps us up on the family doings so completely and efficiently. Nevertheless, I am ashamed of my correspondence record in general, and hope that time will cure this bad habit of omission.

Have Dad, Jean and Dick left for the island? I could really drink in a little bit of “Winnipesaukee (sp?) myself about now. I would have about two weeks vacation with pay, and what a treat it would be. The distance is a little prohibitive and probably I’ll wait till next summer when I should have four weeks added up with pay, and possibly a little sick leave to add in.

Will you tell Dad, or yourselves, to take care of mailing the package of color slides which were mentioned in a previous letter home? They are supposed to be mailed to Miss Margaret Pirkey. Saybrook, Ill. They should be sent express, and as soon as possible, as she will be leaving there about the 20th of August to return to Anchorage. It was too, too stupid of me to forget to include the address last time.

Enclosed is a bunch of odds and ends which might be of interest to one and all. In haste as usual.

Written with my new pen –

Thanks, Dad – it works fine.


Tomorrow another segment of the Diary and Journal of John Jackson Lewis about his Voyage to California – 1851.

On Sunday, another of My Ancestors.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Dear Absent Sons – A Boat And News From Dan – July 23, 1946



Aunt Elsie Duryee holding Douglas, Grandpa holding Judy, July, 1946

Trumbull, Conn., July 21, 1946

Dear Absent Sons:

If you listen very hard you may at the moment here Judy and Doug hailing you over all the miles of land and water that lie between you and them. Of course I cannot be absolutely sure what message they are loudly proclaiming, the words being interspersed with demands for more supper and protests against the pain now and then that may trouble their little insides, for in spite of the fact that they are both being fed “milk from contented cows” in Carnation cans, they believe, with Einstein, that contentment may be one of those relative subjects. However, they are steadily adding to their avoidupois which is all we can ask at this stage of the game. Both father and mother are standing up very well under the double strain, and as for Grandpa, he takes it in his stride, remembering those distant days when each of you acted in similar fashion.

For the last week or two Dick has been busily constructing a row boat to serve as a ferry between the mainland of New Hampshire and our island. Unable to obtain any new lumber, we have, like Robinson Crusoe, done the best we could with old boards of nondescript length and in a doubtful state of preservation, and the result under the circumstances in surprisingly good, due to the careful workmanship and skillful patience in which Dick has pursued the task. A few more screws in the bottom boards and a coat of paint over all will finish the job, and in about a week more it will be loaded onto Lad’s trailer and off we shall start (Dick, Jean and myself) for a week’s preliminary visit to our future summer home. This is planned to be sort of a sample visit, giving Dave a taste of running the business alone, pending the time, beginning about the middle of August, just prior to the onslaught of the hay fever attack, and continuing, if all goes as per schedule, until the middle of September when the naughty ragweed pollen quiets down for another season. During that time I shall be thinking many times of past years when as little tykes, you kids and your mother and Rusty, etc. camped and ate and slept and in general enjoyed your selves, and it will be hardly strange if sometimes I should wish, as the sun shines on old Mount Chichorua, that you too-distant ones were there too to mark the return of the wanderers.

Aunt Elsie came up for dinner today and brought along with her a bit of burgundy with which to drink a toast to the new babies in the family. After dinner, Mr. and Mrs. Mortensen came over for a visit with Jean’s brother-in-law’s 8-mos. old baby.

We were again gladdened with a letter from Dan, written on July 12th from Paris, as follows: “So Lad and Marian have done it! That is your real American principle, renowned throughout the world — mass production! But seriously, we are waiting impatiently for a photograph. Just last weekend Chiche mentioned Marion’s coming event and told me her plans for a gift to our new nephew (orniece), but of course we didn’t dream that we would have one of each. Tiens, tiens!  Quelle bonne nouvele!

I received the egg beater package, Dad, which brings me up to date except for the cigarettes. I have enclosed another order to keep you busy if you can take time off from your knitting. As for Barbie’s wedding, (Barbara Plumb, Dan’s old girlfriend) you can judge better than I what is available — I suggest something practical — a toaster or some such electrical appliance. I am disappointed in your findings about the “travel to Europe” situation. Everyone at Calais, who are certain that you are one of the finest persons in creation, will be desolate. But maybe we will get home in October after all. I am leaving Monday for n.e. France near Longuyon for a couple of weeks. I’ll see Chiche and Arla tomorrow in Calais. In haste. Dan.”


Tomorrow I’ll finish out the week with a letter from Ced with his reaction to the birth of a niece and nephew.

On Saturday, another chapter in the Voyage to California by John Jackson Lewis.

On Sunday, another of My Ancestors.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Dear Gilbert and Sullivan (3) – Grandpa Replies To Dan And A Shower – July 14, 1946

Google Map of Gorron, Calais and Paris, France

Page 3    7/14/46

What you say about the futility of insuring anything may be true, Dan, but there is no qualification made as to condition when the government hands you the little receipt as evidence that the package is insured, and as far as I am concerned, the fee paid ensures delivery of the contents of the package to the person to whom they are addressed, and if safe delivery is not made, no matter what the reason, I am entitled to the amount for which they are insured. Let’s hope we never have to test the fact. Registering, unless package also is insured, does not reimburse sender for value of articles sent but merely indicates that unusual precautions are taken to see that delivery is made — at least that is my layman interpretation of the thing.

I have just taken out the old Atlas and tried to locate the towns of Gorron and St. James. I cannot even locate the point at which Normandy, Brittany and Maine meet, possibly because my map shows France divided into “Departments” and fails to distinguish the ancient provinces. I did find one Department with Maine in its name so I guess I came pretty near it. I shall take your advice and see if I can get hold of a copy of Paul’s book. It sounds interesting.

I am eager to learn whether the cigarettes reach you safely or whether a post office inspection of packages will lead the authorities to believe that because of the quantities, you are selling to the black market, and in consequence will confiscate them. There has been an effort on the part of the post office, I am told, to stop just this sort of thing and post offices are supposed to demand to see letters from servicemen overseas, and the envelope in which they came, specifically requesting articles inside package presumably. The post office in Trumbull, however, accepts my word that the articles I send you have been requested by you although I have offered to show them your letter if necessary.

Word came this week that Red Sirene is the father of a seven-months premature baby, that it was a very close call and for a time the doctor was doubtful whether he could save either the baby or mother. I understand however that everything turned out all right, although other than above statement no details are available.

Marian was given a surprise “shower” here last night, due to Jean’s contrivance. Something had to be done, you see, to compensate for the fact that all preparations had been made to amply provide for one young Guion, but two sort of called for doubling up on some essential items. So some 12 or 14 girls, mostly young mothers themselves, filled to overflowing a little pink-trimmed bassinet that Jean had attractively fixed up, and then, when they were all seated in a big circle in the living room, Marion was invited to come down under some pretext and received quite a surprise. In the midst of the ceremonies, Douglas protested he was ready for his hot dog or hamburger or what not, and his mother had to leave to fix him up. Sensing that something unusual was up he used all his baby wiles and kept her on one pretext or another from joining the “mothers club” downstairs until about an hour later, when all repaired to the dining room where Jean and some of the girls had prepared a dainty spread, the motif being a little pink cradle. Apparently all kept sober, which however, is a statement which might not literally apply to the husbands of all, although this phase of the matter is shrouded in deep secrecy, and is far from the ken of the present scribe to touch upon in any detail.

It is quite possible that with the sentence above I have said enough and safely tells me I better quit at once, with the usual ending


Tomorrow, another letter from Grandpa and on Friday, a letter from Ced, with a unique reaction to the news of a Niece and Nephew.


Trumbull – Dear Gilbert & Sullivan (1) – Musings About Babies – July 14, 1946

Marian and Lad


Trumbull, Conn., July 14, 1946

Dear Gilbert & Sullivan:

Today as I lazily lay in bed and listened to the Sunday morning radio broadcasts, one program was devoted to selections from the Mikado followed by another which opened with a poem. The combination was too much for me, as witnesseth below:

The great “Ah Hem”

(with apologies to Sir Arthur)

Seated one day at my office

I was jotting down notes on my pad,

When the telephone Bell gently tinkled

And a voice said, “Dad, this is Lad.”

Now twixt boy and girl t‘was a question

As to which, so I said, “Who wins?”

And the father’s voice quietly answered:

“They both won, Dad, — it’s TWINS.”

It may be that Judith and Douglas

As they grow will astound us some more

It will take some time, tho’, I venture

To equal their first great score.

It may be that far in the future

This may happen to me again

But if so, I hope I can utter

More than a surprised “ah hem!’

Note: Grandpa didn’t live to see them, but he has 4 more sets of Fraternal twins and my own set of Identical twins as his descendants.

Both little tykes are coming along nicely. The father however has not quite recovered and has been feeling a bit under the weather for the last week with an upset alimentary canal. Judy is not yet home but reports indicate steady gain and possibly tomorrow or the next day she will join her little brother and Marian will be quite modern with her dual control. With Doug and Judy (I have been waiting for someone to dub them Punch and Judy) competing for the nightly bottle, I anticipate some unusual duets. How it brings back my own fatherhood days ! “Turn backward, turned backward, Oh Time in thy flight. Make me a boy again just for tonight “. Even with six of my own, I have never been able to overcome my surprise at how tiny the little chaps are. They grow fast, too fast almost, particularly when they pass their wee babyhood stage and begin to talk and toddle about. Luckily for Dan, his traveling days in the hinterlands of England, France and the Continent, which now keep him from full enjoyment of family life, seem likely to end just about the time baby Arla will begin to “sit up and take notice”. And that will make it all the more desirable for us to have the Dan Guions back home here again.

The Wardens have bought a lot down near the river beyond the Grange Hall on Pequonnock Street and are planning to get a house started this summer. I have told them Dan and his family will probably want to live in the apartment and if the Warden’s house is not ready they can move temporarily into the cottage and the Burrs will have to find some other place to stay.

And speaking of Dan, the expected letter arrived this week, along with two interesting photos of Chiche and baby. The latter looks chubby and while I cannot truthfully say “he looks just like his father”, I daresay others with more discernment than I possess will undoubtedly recognize a resemblance — they always do.

Tomorrow, page 2 of this letter and on Wednesday, page 3. Then another letter from Grandpa and one from Ced in Alaska.

Judy Guion