Trumbull – “A Dramatic Club, The Blitzkreig and Wilkie” – August, 1940

1934 - 1940 Timeline

1934 – 1940 Timeline

Dave is 15 now and entering High School. He’s also showing early signs of Leadership. Every week when my Grandfather sat down to write his installment of information for his sons, he used carbon paper so that everyone had copies of each others letters, keeping everyone informed of what was happening in the lives of the family and of friends and family in Trumbull. These two letters were sent at the same time as yesterday’s letter to Dan and Ced in Alaska.


August 11, 1940

Dear Alfred, Dan  & Ced:

I find that our dear father has mentioned the forming of the new dramatic club in Trumbull. Here’s the lowdown: about two weeks ago there

Dave's letter to Lad, Dan & Ced - August, 1940

Dave’s letter to Lad, Dan & Ced – August, 1940

was a dance given by the newly formed Recreation Council. I happened to be there. Why?  I don’t know, but I saw Mr. Davis and asked him if he thought the Trumbull Recreation Council would sponsor a dramatic club if they were approached on the subject. Instantly he seemed to become interested and called Mr. Lynch (the Recreation Supervisor, hired by the state for this town) over and introduced him to me. Mr. Lynch (he wishes to be called Tom) and I made a date the following day and discussed the matter more thoroughly then. I learned that Tom was a professional dancer and that because of the small crowd at the dance, he decided to give free dancing lessons to those who were interested. I am one that is interested and am now enjoying dancing lessons. Next week I am going to Winnipesaukee with the scouts.

Last night I played Bingo and won an electric mixer and beater. It is a cheap one but serves the purpose.

In spite of flunking Latin and Algebra, I am looking forward to the opening of school in three weeks. I will enter Bassick, which will seem like heaven compared to the hellhole they call Whittier……

Well so long…..


Trumbull, Conn., U.S.A.

August 11, 1940

Dear Lad:

All the news I could think of is contained in the attached letter to the Alaskan branch of the family. Duplicates of the newspaper clippings referred to therein are enclosed to you also.

By the way, did you ever hear any more about oil in the Josephina field? Probably with the oil situation as it is at present with so much of the continental market shut off from U.S. producers there would not be much object in pushing new drillings so your holdings of Venezuela Petroleum may have to be put away in camphor balls for a time.

Aunt Betty is a bit concerned because after having that copy made which she sent you of the Duryee lineage, she has been unable to find the original from which the copy was made. She has looked everywhere it might have been mislaid but so far with no result. It occurred to me that as Duryee has left, you may not have any immediate use for your copy and might send it back so that she can at least have a copy for her archives.

A famous Englishman a century or so ago, the Earl of Chesterfield, once wrote to his son on the benefits of foreign travel, as follows: of journeying’s, the benefits are many: the freshness it brings to the heart, the seeing and hearing of marvelous things, the delight of beholding new cities, the meeting of unknown friends, the learning of high manners. But those who observe and inquire into the situations, the strength, the weakness, the trade, the manufacturers, the government and constitution of every place they go to; who frequent the best companies, and attend to their several manners and characters; those alone travel with advantage; and as they set out wise, return wiser.”  ( Written in October 1747.)

I thought of this the other day when Dave mentioned he would certainly be glad to see you again and asked if it were next May when you intended to come back to Trumbull again at the expiration of your contract. An interesting thought and, while now it seems still a long way off, time has a habit of passing fairly quickly and it will seem to us all so good to have you back again.

With the idea of making it possible to go modern and tell the story of daily happenings by pictures, I am thinking of making your gift to Dick for his birthday take the form of a camera or photographic supplies of some sort, as Dick lately has shown a desire to use a camera. I’m going to try to see if I cannot make some dicker with the people I get a movie projector from to give me a break under the circumstances on a camera, and then we can keep you supplied with snapshots of home doings that we are not able to do at the present time. In checking up further with the projector matter in mind, I learned that Eastman also gets out an excellent quality 8 mm projector at a lower price than that charged for the Bell and Howell, and in view of the fact that you have one of their cameras perhaps it would be wise to stick to the same make throughout.

I have done nothing yet regarding the purchase of a new car, as things financially are not so hot, particularly on the stock market value of securities, and probably will not until the threatened German blitzkrieg on England materializes one way or the other. I hate right now to commit myself to paying $50 or $75 a month installments until I can see a bit more clearly how I am going to get it, and at the present time the look ahead is not too clear. It seems as though business in this country is all ready to go ahead if given half a chance. Wilkie’s election would probably do the trick.


Tomorrow, I’ll be posting the “History of Our Duryee Family”, the one that Aunt Betty (Lizzie) seems to have lost. This is the copy she had made and had sent to my father. Whether she ever found the original or whether my father returned this copy to her, I really don’t know. Just one more mystery.

Just a reminder that gpcox will be doing another Guest Post next Tuesday, the 12th, writing about the various vehicles used by the military during World War II. It’s very interesting and includes quite a few pictures, so don’t forget to let your friends and family know about this special post.

Judy Guion


Trumbull – August, 1940 – From the Tropics to Alaska

It’s August of 1940 and Lad  has been in Venezuela for about a year and a half, now working for the Socony-Vacuum Oil Company. Dan and Ced have been in Alaska for about 2 months, Dan working at an airbase and Ced working at Woodley’s Air Field. Biss is married and the mother of a son. Dick and Dave are still living at home, Dick has graduated from high school and Dave will be starting his freshman year in about a month. Grandpa is still writing letters and sending one copy to Venezuela and another to Alaska.

August 4, 1940

Dear Lad:

That WAS an interesting letter you wrote on the 22nd and the idea of my purchasing a good projector so that we can see here the colored movies you intend to take

Alfred Peabody Guion (Lad)

Alfred Peabody Guion (Lad)

with your new 8 mm movie camera, is based on a very generous thought and that is, you will not be able to see the results of your work. I made inquiries and find that that Bell and Howell is the best make and costs about $120. I also inquired about good used projectors and was informed that there have been so many forward strides made lately in the newer models that I’d be wasting your money to get any but the latest. I was told that “a new Ford is much better than an old Packard, because of the many improvements that new cars have, that even the best old cars did not have.” The same holds true for projectors. You have sufficient credit, even without the check from Socony-Vacuum which has just arrived, to take care of this, and while I think you want to save as much as you can, and I am planning to buy some additional stock for you, I will buy the projector after shopping around a bit. It would be good if Dan or Ced could also pick up an 8 mm movie camera and then we could have a regular picnic showing friends and relatives motion pictures of the Guion boys “From the Tropics to Alaska”.

If you move over to Guario, will that mean that you will give up your quarters where you are now located and find new ones at the new location? Who are the Senores Williams from Norwalk? I don’t recall you having mentioned them before. Where did you see Robin Hood? I suppose it is too soon yet for you to have received the brushless shaving cream I sent. You will, of course, let me know as soon as it arrives so that I can send you things from time to time if the system works out.

I am going to send your letter on to Dan and Ced, with the understanding they return it to me in their first return mailing. (Alaska please take note).

Dave is all hopped up about starting an amateur dramatic club, and the little son of a gun, without any prompting from me, went over and had a long talk with David’s which has resulted in the new recreation supervisor, loaned to the town by the WPA, becoming interested in getting the thing going. Our youngest son is going places.

Mr. Matthias just stopped in and was talking to me through the screen door in the alcove, where I am sitting at the typewriter conversing with you boys. He wants the Board of Selectmen to appoint him as one of the new assessors. The reasons he gives are first, that the town owes him something, and second, that he needs the money. Neither sounds very convincing to me.

I am enclosing some extracts from an interesting letter just received from Ced, in which I think you will be interested. By the way, the 19th is Dick’s birthday, and I will assume I have your permission to make a modest expenditure from your finds as a remembrance from you. This afternoon he and Dave and Donnie and Zeke are all up at Plumb’s playing tennis.



Dear Ced:

This has been a good week – – nice long letters from both you and Lad. Barbara happened to be here when your letter arrived, visiting Biss. She remarked that she

Cedric Duryee Guion

Cedric Duryee Guion

had been waiting for a letter to come from you so that she could find out what was really happening, Dan’s letters not being so strong on the matter-of-fact things. You have made a good start along that line, and, knowing how difficult it is sometimes to know what the other fellow really wants to know, suppose in commenting on your letter I asked a few additional questions as I go along. You are staying at Mrs. Walsh’s House and eating at Mrs. McCain’s. How far apart are they? How far are both of them from the airbase where Dan works and from Woodley’s where you work. As Dan takes his lunch to work I assume it is a bit too far to walk back and forth during the noon hour. Do they have buses running back and forth or do you both have to hoof it morning and evening or can you hitchhike? How about mosquitoes? Col. Weeks told me that when he was in Anchorage some years ago the mosquitoes on the River were sometimes so thick, it looked almost like a fog.

You say both Mrs. Walsh and Mrs. McCain have granted you credit until you are paid at the end of the month, “so funds therefore will hold out indefinitely.” I’d like to know more about that fund business. How much did you have left when you reached Seattle? How much did you sell the Willys for? How much was the fare from Seattle to Anchorage?

I am delighted at Dan having landed so lucrative a job. As I figure it, with one hour off for lunch, he works 7 1/2 hours or 48 1/2 hours a week, times 4 1/3 weeks in a month, at a $1.15, must bring him in about $250 a month which is even more than Lad is making, if you don’t figure in his board and keep, and that’s pretty good pay in anybody’s language these days. You do not say how many days a week you put in at the $.60 rate. I suppose they pay time and a half for overtime, and if you have a 44 hour week, you are not doing so bad yourself. There is one thing I am sure of that your boss will soon discover, which I should think, would be very important in airplane work and that is that whatever you do will be done right and carefully and finished. It may take you longer to do than the other fellow, but you can be more certain of the results. I’ll soon be expecting to hear that because of your dependability you will be given more responsible work at a higher rate. I’ll give Mr. Woodley about a month to get wise to the find he has made in his Conn. Yankee helper. Evidently the certificates and letters of recommendation were not needed by either of you in landing jobs.

And by the way, pardon me for not heading this letter “Dear Duke”.

The hot spell here has ended and the last two days have been pretty pleasant. I got a letter from Anna Heurlin this week giving “any friends of Cedric’s” permission to use the island any time or as long as they wish. I have written and thanked her on both your behalf and my own. Mr. Plumb is feeling better due to the change in weather principally. Tell Dan a dividend check for $4.50 on his Commonwealth Edison stock has been received and credited to his account. The old Plymouth is still running along although I had a flat in Bridgeport Friday, left front, and Carl had to put in a blowout patch. This month I will make the final payment to Sears and Roebuck on the Willys tires. See Lads letter for further small news, and write whenever you get the chance and feel like it.



I find it interesting that there isn’t any “real exciting” events to record this week, but Grandpa still manages to write two single-spaced letters to his sons.He’s just passing news from Venezuela to Alaska and from Alaska to Venezuela, the ultimate “Middleman”. He has no idea that he will continue doing this for another 6 years. I wonder if he’d have known, would he have taken on the job? I’d like to think that he would have.

For FREE copies of New Inceptions Magazine, an e-magazine, with several articles based my family letters , written prior to and during WWII, you can click the following links.

Issue 1   Click Here

Issue 2   Click Here

Issue 3   Click Here

Judy Guion