World War II Army Adventure (65) – Happy Birthday, Dave – September 29, 1944

This is a birthday card sent to Dave from his girlfriend Eleanor, known as El to friends.  She signs it “Your dollink”.

 

 

 

 

Tomorrow, 

Judy Guion

 

 

World War II Army Adventure (64) – Dear Son – A Birthday Letter – September 27, 1944

Grandpa was in the habit of writing a special “Birthday Letter” to each of his sons who were far from home.  This one goes out to Dave at Camp Crowder, Missouri, where Dave has been stationed for advanced training before going overseas.

 

            Alfred Duryee Guion, (Grandpa)

 

Sept. 27, 1944

Dear Son:

This, obviously, is a birthday greeting letter from an admiring father to his youngest son.  It will have to be pretty good to come within striking distance of the one I recently received on my birthday from my youngest son.

This, to the best of my recollection, is the first birthday you will have spent away from the old home and family and to that extent it marks the end of one phase of your life and the beginning of a new and broader one – – a period still of growth, to be sure, but one in which the piloting will be done by you rather than the guiding hand of the parent.  In the background, as you know, there will still always be the readiness to help when the going is hard and while you know all you need do is reach out for it when needed, you will still be largely on your own.

And that leads me to make certain observations in reviewing the past.  So frequently we fail to let the other fellow know just how much we think of him – – how really important a place he fills.  This can best be measured by asking how difficult would it be to get along without him.  By this test you rate “tops” with me, and the day can’t come too soon when I can shift some of the problems and business worries on younger shoulders.  For the last months I’ve certainly missed you.

Did you ever stop to think that you are peculiarly my boy? (and I’m proud of it) The other youngsters, in measure according to age, had the privilege of being molded and guided by an unusual Mother’s inspiring character and influence, whereas you were too young to really have felt this benefit.  “Home” as you knew it, was minus the mainspring, it is one of those “lacks” that can never be measured.  Yet if Mother were here today on your 19th birthday I know she, too, would be proud of you, which naturally pleases me, because I promised her (and it wasn’t an FDR promise) that I would try to keep the home fires burning and bring up her children and mine so that, in passing the torch of life down through the generations to come, the flame would burn bright.  And that promise, more of a responsibility in your case than in the others, is nearing a happy fulfillment.  The small failings and habits you have (procrastination, management of money, etc.) are offset by so much that is good, that the complete picture makes me a proud and happy father.  (And even these small weaknesses I am hopeful, you will overcome as experience shows you their pitfalls.)

Feeling as I do, I would like to have you go to your P.X. & select the kind of watch you want,  letting me know the cost.  For the rough wear it will probably get in the Army I should think a sturdy rather than a more expensive “gentleman” model would be preferable, but that’s up to you.

We’ll all miss you this week-and when ordinarily we would be celebrating the event, but our thoughts and love will be yours just the same.

And now, to close on an appropriate note, suppose you procure a Bible somewhere, & turn to the 17th Chapter of St. Matthew, verse 5.

Love, Dad

Tomorrow I will be posting a Birthday card from Dave’s girlfriend, El (Eleanor Kintop).

Judy Guion 

 

Trumbull – Dear Lewis And Clark (2) – Mother’s Day and Grandma’s Birthday – May 12, 1939

This is the rest of the letter I posted yesterday from Grandpa to Lad and Dan, both in Venezuela.

The films you sent Ced will use in producing some prints with his Christmas gift.  I will mail magazines occasionally which I hope will reach you without too much delay.  One more thought and then I will get on to the general news.  You speak of the cost of sending airmail letters.  Of course, it is difficult for you to imagine how eagerly we all await your letters, you and Dan, and how empty the week seems when we do not hear from you boys.  I suppose you feel the same way about our letters from home.  However I cannot afford airmail postage as compared with regular rates – – ration of 3 to 25, so while the letters arrived later they arrived just as regularly once a week.  I don’t want to suggest that you quit spending the necessary 75 centimos every week, but as a compromise, why not send letters by regular postage to any others than those at home, and even then don’t deprive us of a long juicy letter when you feel expensive and have some detailed accounts to relate, but put them in a separate envelope with the nine or ten centimos stamp on it and even if it takes two weeks en route instead of five days it will be very welcome when received.  Oh, yes, I will take care of the renewal of the drivers license, but you won’t need it right away and I do want to get my taxes taken care of and if possible quiet some of the other hungry creditors before I make any unnecessary expenditures.

You mentioned the fact that there was not much news in some of my epistles.  When you reply to this, give me a little line on some of the topics you would like me to cover in my weekly news bulletins and I will do my best.  It’s a bit difficult sometimes to know what to write about, so give me a steer and I’ll try to go Chesterfield on you.

Rusty also received a letter from you this week, and was very glad to get it.  He will probably write you in reply when he gets around to it.  All week he has been working on a landscape which is coming along nicely and will probably soon be finished.

       Anna Charlotta (Westlin) Peabody (Grandma Peabody)

Page 3 of R-22

Well, today is Mother’s Day and as yesterday was Grandma’s 74th birthday, the Peabody clan decided to celebrate it by all gathering at Trumbull.  There was Helen and Ted (the Humans) and Grandma (Peabody), of course, (Helen and Ted have been staying in Trumbull while Ted recovers from a bad car accident in Venezuela in March) all of us here, Rusty Huerlin), Aunt Dorothy (Peabody, who has been staying in Trumbull to help care for Grandma), Anne ((Peabody) Stanley), Don and Gwen (Stanley, Anne’s children), Larry (Peabody and wife) Marian  and Alan (their son),Kemp (Kemper Peabody and wife Ethel (Merriam) Peabody), Ethel, Frank and Lyn (their children). Only Burton was absent on business.  Kemper practically took care of the whole thing.  (You know of course that Mrs. Merriam’s death a few weeks ago now means that they will inherit practically a quarter of a million dollars, (somewhere between $200,000 and $250,000). They brought all the eats with them, cooked, and hired a woman from Bridgeport to wash up dishes.  The menu consisted of tomato juice, olives and pickles, Parker House rolls, potato salad, carrots and peas salad with tomatoes and asparagus, ham, tongue and lamb (lots of it) coffee, ice cream and cake.  The latter a big beautiful cake with flowers and decorations and marked Grandma.  Everyone was supposed to help themselves, picnic style.  To start off we all sang Happy Birthday to You which brought tears to Grandma’s eyes. it was happily a bright clear, warm, sunshiny day so after dinner we all went out on the lawn and Mother opened her presents.  We were talking about how much we had all eaten and Dorothy burst out with the remark that she supposed we would all now go out and lie prostitute on the ground.  Of course she realized what she had said the instant we all burst into laughter, and a good time was had by all.

Ethel had brought up a table lamp and some blankets and bedding which she had no use for, some of them, I surmise, being from her mother’s house, and Anne brought up an old suit of Donald’s which fitted David very nicely.

Well, as midnight is fast approaching and tomorrow calls for a full day’s work, I think the part of wisdom is to bring this letter to a close.  It is on days like this that I miss you boys most of all.  Gone but not forgotten is our motto.  Well, a tally who to you both from the old folks at home, and here’s hoping you’re both well and happy and enjoying your experiences and storing up a treasury of memories to draw on in years to come.

D

A

D

Tomorrow I will be posting a letter from Ced to Lad regarding various cars. 

Judy Guion

World War II Army Adventure (57) – Dear Dad – A Birthday Letter – September 11, 1944

 

Alfred Duryee Guion (Grandpa)

Sept. 11, 1944

Dear Dad —

You usually write each of us a special letter each time our individual birthdays roll around.  So I said to myself – “Why not follow in your good Father’s footsteps – and do the same for him?  So here I am.

I thought of this day many times during the last month and a half.  But never once in that time – I’m ashamed to admit it – did I think of sending something home to you.  I had thought of telephoning you – or sending a telegram – but never once did I think of sending a box of cigars – or something else as a reminder to you of how proud I am to be able to have you for my Father.  In view of the fact that I’ve already written to you that I may be home – I decided that to phone you would be a bad policy – because your first thought – upon hearing my voice – would probably be that I am at the Bridgeport RR station.  This thought would probably come to you before I could explain that I am still at Crowder.  And that – pardon my conceit – would only be a disappointment rather than a glad tiding.  I may send you a telegram yet – I don’t know.  At any rate – I’ll send this letter.

Since coming back from C. P. X.  – I thought time and time again that I may be able to bounce in on you on Sept. 11th – but Saturday I finally abandoned all hope – because I would’ve had to leave Saturday night to make it.

I hope this birthday is a happy one – but I know next year’s will be a happy one.  By that time – at least part of your scattered family will be home under the shaded roof of our old house – business will be much improved – with the Bridgeport war plants once again turning – or turned – back to fluorescent lamps – brass fixtures – rivets for peace-time use – and organizations and clubs once again throwing their anniversary parties and the like – without being hampered by gas or food shortages.  They’ll all turn back to the Guion Advertising Company for their ads – business letters – and announcements.  They’ll be the old customers and they’ll be new ones in a bigger and better Bridgeport.  Right now it may seem like a dream – but by Sept. 11, 1945 – it will be far more than a dream.

Maybe by that time – I won’t have to be telling my buddies about the business I’m going back to – about all my brothers  scattered all over the world – about my Father who pulled his small business through the hard times – and who – in spite of losing his wife – brought all of us up so that he could be proud of us.  Maybe I won’t have to lie on my army cot and wish I were home with my Father who brought me up just the way a kid would like to be brought – always advising – seldom laying down the law – letting me think things out for myself – hardening me to the world – being a brother rather than a Lord over me.  Maybe I can be back appreciating it – rather than just remembering what used to be.

I started this letter – and it was going to be a “happy birthday” letter – but it has turned out to be a letter of hope and thankfulness.  I am thankful, Dad, and I always will be – and maybe that will make you happier – knowing it’s true – than just having me say in a lot of words –

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, DAD !

– I hope so – anyway.

Love,

Dave

Tomorrow I will begin posting a week of letters written in the Spring of 1939..  Lad has taken a job with the Socony-Vacuum Oil Company working to maintain their vehicles and oil pumps  and Dan is looking to get paid by Inter-America Inc. before heading home.

Judy Guion

St. Petersburg Adventure (5) – My Birthday – January, 1935

 

It’s 1935 and 16-year-old Biss in St. Petersburg, Florida. She is living with her Aunt Anne (Peabody) Stanley and helping to care for her children, Don and Gwen. Christmas, 1934, has come and gone and Biss is back in school.

 

Elizabeth (Biss) Westlin Guion

Elizabeth (Biss) Westlin Guion

Wednesday afternoon

4:31 PM

January 16, 1935

Dear Dad:

I sent you a letter already saying I got the check and thanking you very much for it. It was a surprise to get it for I hadn’t expected an allowance for this month. I had a very nice birthday. I am sorry to say that Dan left two days ago (Monday) although I imagine you know that by now for I expect he has sent you a card. (This is the only mention of Dan making a trip to Florida to visit Biss.  How long did he stay? How did he travel? Did he travel with anyone else? I have no idea.)

I am glad Dick has improved in his school work. How about Dave? It is very nice that Paul (Warden, living in the apartment with his wife) has at last gotten the job.

We ate at the “Gypsy Inn” as a special treat on my birthday and after we got home they had a surprise ready for me by way of a special treat, ice cream and cake and plenty of presents. It was a double surprise, for I hadn’t expected a thing seeing as how I had got one present last year and then to add to that by you coming down for this year. I didn’t see how I could get any.

I am glad (in a way) that they have been busy down at the office for that should certainly be a good sign if anything is. We took Dan about 5 miles beyond Brookesville. (Perhaps Dan (19 at the time) was hitchhiking?)

Well, I want to write a letter, I mean finish a letter I started Friday to Marie P. and send all three tonight, although they won’t go out until tomorrow, I don’t believe.

I will send a Coquina shell up in this letter to show you what they look like when fixed up.

Love,

Biss

P.S. Tell Alfred that I am hoping to hear from him,and also from Dick and Dave. I’m writing on the bed in leisurely fashion, that is why my writing isn’t very plain.

Biss

It sounds like Biss had a special surprise for the holidays. It seems that her brother Dan made the trip to Florida to see her. I’m sure, with her birthday being January 6th, she probably got short-changed over the years.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Dear Dick, Lad, Marian and Dan – Thoughts About the Trumbull House – January 9, 1944

Trumbull, Conn.  Jan. 9, 1944

Dear Dick, Lad, Marian and Dan:

‘Tis only the four of you I am writing to today, but it won’t be long now before Ced and Dave will be added to the list. Dave goes Thursday, and following my usual custom, which has happened so many times now it has almost developed into a habit, I should deliver my youngest at the well-known railroad station at Shelton to swell the ranks of Uncle Sam’s Army, and two days later I shall bid adieu to 6 foot plus Ced who departs again for the far North, with full intentions of making two stops en route, one at Texarkana to catch a glimpse of his oldest brother whom he last saw as he bid him goodbye at the Grace Line here (1939), and the second stop at Los Angeles  (So. Pasadena) in order to meet his new sister in law; two visits which the writer confesses he would like very much to be making himself.

Ced has had an active week, spending two days in New York in which he visited the Burnham’s and Grandma, driving us all down to Pogg’s in Redding, where we had supper, and last night eating dinner with the Platt’s in Westport and showing the Alaskan slides. Last Sunday night we all went up to the Plumbs where also the Alaskan and South American movies were run off. Grandma, he said, was still mentally alert but was visibly weaker.

No letters from either Lad or Dan this week, but surprise of surprises, a letter from Dick, and a nice long letter from Marian.

In reply to yours, Dick, I want you to know how much it is appreciated. I was beginning to think you had just disowned the family. Writing letters to you month after month with never a peep in return makes one realize how a person broadcasting over the radio must feel who never gets any fan mail and doesn’t know whether anyone is listening or not or moreover doesn’t care. I am glad to have your assurance that my weekly efforts do mean something to you. I suppose it must be hard for each of you to realize that I really feel I am writing to each of you individually and not the way a newspaper editor feels when he writes for his public. I often have the feeling, when no comments are ever forthcoming to any of the topics mentioned (except course, big events like Lad’s marriage or Ced’s homecoming), that perhaps they are really of slight interest and not worth the effort, because at times it really is difficult, as you must know from your own experience, to sit down at a regular time, whether you feel in the mood or not, and try to be interesting.

Aunt Betty Durtee

Aunt Betty is very encouraging along this line. She reads every letter after I have finished and always, in a tone of great conviction, says, “That was a very nice letter. I don’t see how you do it, Alfred.” And immediately my ego goes up a point or two and I say to myself, “Well, maybe it wasn’t so bad, at that.” Good old Ced  occasionally adds a few encouraging words and Lad and Dan keep on writing, so I give you the benefit of the doubt and keep on pounding out this stuff, hoping the fact you are away from home will add a bit of the glamour not inherent in the thing itself. It’s good to have Dick’s slant, for instance, in the following quotation:  “I miss the scenes around good old Trumbull — the walks in the woods, the Brook, every room in the house and all the people whom I have known so well. I know I could walk blindfolded through the house from top to bottom without any trouble. It’s been nearly a year since I’ve been home. When I was up in Alaska it wasn’t quite so bad because I was enjoying myself and knew that I could leave for home when ever I pleased. I really don’t get to lonesome though. There is always something to occupy my time, and idleness is the chief cause of homesickness. We all work and are hoping for victory.” Aren’t we all, Dick, feeling much the same, whether at home or in the armed forces?

                  Marian (Irwin) Guion

And as for my newest daughter, Marian, the more I hear from her the tougher my luck seems that we haven’t had the privilege of really knowing her. She always writes such generous, effortless letters, cheery and bright. I rather think she is the sort of person who always sees the best in everybody and makes the best of everything. Her last letter says Lad holds out their prospects of their getting some place to live in Texarkana and Marian is making plans now to arrange her affairs so that she can possibly join Lad sometime in February.

January 6 was Elizabeth’s birthday, so we all piled into the old Buick, with the cake (I tried to get some cider from Boroughs but they have discontinued making it for the season), some presents, including those recently received from South Pasadena for Elizabeth and the kids. Zeke has quit working on the night shift at Singer’s so he was home also. The kids had gone to bed but they both came hurrying down the stairs in their Dr. Denton’s, and a good time was had by all.

Dick’s remarks about the old house here at Trumbull remind me of something I have thought of from time to time but never got so far as putting it down on paper. I look on this place not exclusively as my home, if you get what I mean, but as belonging to Lad and Marian, Dick and Jean, Dan, Ced and Dave (and it would be Elizabeth’s too, if she didn’t have a home of her own), sort of a community owned affair, a place that is really theirs for as long as they want to make it so, a place they can come back to after this war is over, not in the spirit of coming home to Dad’s so much is coming back to their own home, permanently if desired, but in any event, just as long as they need to find what they want to do in the future peace economy, using it perhaps as a springboard to launch off into some new effort, with that feeling of security in knowing that they can always come back to try another spring if the first doesn’t pan out as expected. When you are all settled permanently in what ever and where ever you want to be and do, only then will I feel that the old home will have achieved its final function. I don’t know whether I have put across the idea in the back of my mind, but the idea is to build up a sense of possessive ownership and a feeling of security from a firmly fixed anchor, particularly at the time after the war when the confusion of thoughts and circumstances naturally attendant upon readjustment from war to peace activities, is apt to upset one’s tempo. What fun it would be if we could all live together here for a while, anyway. Then the Psalmist’s words might come true, “Behold, how good and how well pleasant is it for brethren to dwell together in unity.”       He doesn’t say anything about the sistren, and while that is generally conceded as more of an understanding, I guess we could manage that, too. Anyway, let that be the thought for the day, and make your plans accordingly. Here’s to the day when Brazil, London, Alaska, South Pasadena, Texarkana and (Camp Devens ?) all rally around the Trumbull banner, with the war only a memory and long years of peace and happiness and prosperity ahead for all.

With that cheerful note with which to start the new year, add a father’s love and blessing, and you’ll have a suitable message from    DAD

 

Tomorrow, a letter from Lad to Grandpa and on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, a very-long letter from Grandpa to his scattered flock.  

Judy Guion

Army Life – Dear Lumbermen at Large (3) – Dave Writes Grandpa A Birthday Letter – September 11, 1944

 

(copy)

September 11, 1944

Dear Dad:

You usually write each of us a special letter each time our individual birthdays roll around. So I said to myself: Why not follow in your good father’s footsteps, and do the same for him? So, here I am.

I thought of this day many times during the last month and a half, but never once in that time – – I’m ashamed to admit it – – did I think of sending something home to you. I had thought of telephoning you or sending a telegram, but never once did I think of sending a box of cigars or something else as a reminder to you of how proud I am to be able to have you for my father. In view of the fact that I had already written you that I may be home, I decided that to phone you would be a bad policy because your first thought on hearing my voice would probably be that I am at the Bridgeport R.R. Station. This thought would probably come to you before I could explain that I am still in Crowder; and that – pardon my conceit – – would only be a disappointment rather than glad tidings. I may send you a telegram yet – – I don’t know. At any rate, I’ll send the letter.

Since coming back from CPX I thought time and time again that I may be able to bounce in on you on September 11th, but Saturday I finally abandoned all hope because I would have had to leave Saturday night to make it.

I hope this birthday is a happy one, but I KNOW next year’s WILL BE a happy one. By that time at least part of your scattered family will be home under the shaded roof of our old house – – business will be much improved with the Bridgeport war plants once again turning or turned back to fluorescent lamps, brass fixtures, rivets for peace time use and organizations and clubs once again throwing their anniversary parties and the like, without being hampered by gas or food shortages. They’ll all turn back to the Guion Advertising Company for their ads, business letters and announcements. There’ll be the old customers and there’ll be new ones in a better and bigger Bridgeport. Right now it may seem like a dream but by Sept. 11, 1945, it will be far more than a dream.

Maybe by that time I won’t have to be telling my buddies about the business I’m going back to, about all my brothers who are scattered all over the world, about my father who pulled his small company through the hard times and who, in spite of losing his wife, brought all of us up so he could be proud of us. Maybe I won’t have to lie on my Army cot and wish I were home with my father who brought me up just the way a kid would like to be brought up – always advising, seldom laying down the law, letting me think things out for myself, hardening me to the world, being a brother rather than a Lord over me. Maybe I can be back appreciating it rather than just remembering what used to be.

I started this letter and it was going to be a “happy birthday” letter, but it has turned out to be a letter of hope and thankfulness. I AM thankful, Dad, and I always will be – – and maybe that will make you happier knowing it’s true, then just having me say in a lot of words HAPPY BIRTHDAY, DAD. I hope so, anyway. Love, DAVE

Tomorrow, Grandpa’s One Act Play, entitled “Bolivering with the Guions”. On Friday, a letter from Marian to Grandpa with lots of news.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Friends, Roamers and Countrymen (3) Grandpa’s Birthday Poem – September 11, 1944

Grandpa always believed it was better to give rather than receive, so every year on his birthday, he presented his children with gifts to commemorate HIS birthday. This year, he wrote a poem about this practice and sent “trinkets” to his sons under separate cover.

???????????????????

September 11, 1944

YADHTRIB

This is a topsy-turvy world

As most folks will agree

The up-side-down-ness of it all

Has much affected me

And Lad, who braves S. A.’s hot belt

And liked it hot and dusty

Now finds old Flora’s torrid heat

Makes him feel short and crusty

And Dan, who recently declared

Amid the big guns boom

From his own individual view

The war may end too soon

And Ced, too, finds things all awry

Up where the salmon run

He says he often can and

Does read by the midnight sun

Of course there’s Dick and Dave and Biss

Who are topsy-turvy too

But why go on and show them up

When all I want to do

Is show “how come” I get this way

And prove some still believe

At birthday time it is more fun

To give than to receive

So on this bright “September morn”

I send these trinkets few

And nudely say I’m glad to know

That I belong to you.

Tomorrow, I will post another edition of Lad’s Voyage to Venezuela.

On Sunday, more about Marian’s Ancestors.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Dear Members of the General Staff (1) – Grandpa’s Birthday – October 24, 1943

 

Today and tomorrow’s letter is filled with the weekly minutiae of daily life on the Home Front. Just Grandpa keeping his boys informed of the usual and unusual happenings in and around Trumbull and the Old Homestead.

Trumbull Conn.

October 24th, 1943

Dear Members of the General Staff:

While you war lords plan we’re next to axe the Axis, we of the WPA at home go about our job of raking leaves, sawing wood, etc., looking to the day when you come home, medals glittering on your manly breasts, and demand the various freedoms which you have fought so valiantly to achieve. Meanwhile, as the seasons roll around, I miss you each in a practical sense. Right now for instance, the wood sawing and chopping sure goes very much more slowly than it did when you axe wielders were around. Today, some of the eight and 10 foot lengths of Locust that were split and piled up on the west side of the barn, yielded grudgingly to my comparative puny efforts. I have let the leaf raking slide entirely, as being of less import than other more essential jobs, but soon must tackle the storm windows. Sunday is the only full day I have to do anything around the house, and that is spoiled by having to spend most of the morning getting dinner. For a while, when Grandma was here, I did get things accomplished on Sundays, as the long morning was mine to work steadily at a given job, but as Aunt Betty practically get supper every night, she certainly ought not to do more than she now does in helping with the Sunday dinner. And of course every afternoon I have a date with the typewriter, so Sunday is pretty well shot. Dave, with his numerous religious and social activities, doesn’t have time to even wash the dishes, and I haven’t the heart to say anything about it as there is no telling how soon he will be taking the trip up to the Shelton railway station in the early hours of the morning following in the foot-steps of his older brothers.

Today’s letter is filled with the weekly minutiae of daily life on the Home Front. Just Grandpa keeping his boys informed of the weekly happenings in and around Trumbull and the Old Homestead.

Trumbull Conn.

October 24th, 1943

Dear Members of the General Staff:

While you war lords plan we’re next to axe the Axis, we of the WPA at home go about our job of raking leaves, sawing wood, etc., looking to the day when you come home, medals glittering on your manly breasts, and demand the various freedoms which you have fought so valiantly to achieve. Meanwhile, as the seasons roll around, I miss you each in a practical sense. Right now for instance, the wood sawing and chopping sure goes very much more slowly than it did when you axe wielders were around. Today, some of the eight and 10 foot lengths of Locust that were split and piled up on the west side of the barn, yielded grudgingly to my comparative puny efforts. I have let the leaf raking slide entirely, as being of less import than other more essential jobs, but soon must tackle the storm windows. Sunday is the only full day I have to do anything around the house, and that is spoiled by having to spend most of the morning getting dinner. For a while, when Grandma was here, I did get things accomplished on Sundays, as the long morning was mine to work steadily at a given job, but as Aunt Betty practically get supper every night, she certainly ought not to do more than she now does in helping with the Sunday dinner. And of course every afternoon I have a date with the typewriter, so Sunday is pretty well shot. Dave, with his numerous religious and social activities, doesn’t have time to even wash the dishes, and I haven’t the heart to say anything about it as there is no telling how soon he will be taking the trip up to the Shelton railway station in the early hours of the morning following in the foot-steps of his older brothers.

Up to the last moment, I thought the week past would go down in the records as one during which no word from any of my ”furriners” was received, but at the 11th hour, so to speak, I came home from Bridgeport yesterday (Saturday), after tying two folks in the knot of matrimony, to find a special delivery letter from Dan (of late he has been sending V-mail letters which arrived in record time). I don’t mean special delivery. I should have said airmail. Anyway, said letter contained the most generous money order and best birthday wishes. So, here I sit smoking one of the cigars Lad gave me for a gift, holding down papers with the ivory paperweight Ced dispatched from Alaska, and between pauses to try to think of something interesting to write, entertaining visions of all the good things I will supply myself with out of Dan’s largess. In moments of leisure I often wonder, out of all the fathers there are, how many are blessed with the number and quality of sons that have fallen to my lucky lot — each of you so different in personality and yet each with many qualities that make a secret feeling of pride and thankfulness steal softly into my inner consciousness, and when things tend to go wrong, stand as a bulwark to put new courage and purpose into life. And with that thought comes invariably another regarding how proud Mother would also be of her boys. While I promised her I would carry on as best I could with the job of holding the family together and bringing them up as she would like them to be, I realize in all humility that it is not so much me as it is your own innate characteristics, some of which of course you inherited jointly from both of us, but most of which you alone are responsible for. But, shucks, let Papa nurse his little prides  — it won’t do him any harm.

Tomorrow I’ll be posting the second half of this letter. On Wednesday, a letter from about Marian from Lad to Grandpa with a P.S. from Marian, and on Thursday and Friday, another missive from Grandpa to the whole family.

Judy Guion 

Voyage to California (35) – John Jackson Lewis – January to March, 1851

(1) John Jackson Lewis, (2) Edith May (Lewis) Rider, (3) Marian Faith (Rider) Irwin, (4) Marian Dunlap (Irwin) Guion, (5) Judith Anne Guion.

The following are transcriptions of John Jackson Lewis’s diary and journal of his voyage to California in 1851. He was travelling  from New York to visit his older brother William in San Jose.

Diary

(March 6th) This morning, feeling a desire to devour some fish, I went out to the market, bought some, cleaned them, and cooked them for breakfast.  After breakfast, took a walk around the beach toward the Golden Gate.  The hills in the vicinity of the city are laid off in lots, and a number of them fenced in, some with houses upon them in the ground partially cultivated, in gardens; others had sheep and goats pasturing in them.  I found a number of wildflowers, among them the flag, yellow violet, and buttercups.  Among the scenes partaking of the ludicrous, witnessed today, was a mule on the plaza chewing on an old boot leg.  The expression on his countenance was very serious.

(March 7th) This morning I strolled through the fish and game markets.  The former is well supplied, with sturgeon and a variety of small fish.  The latter with elk, deer, ducks, geese, brant, and quail etc. Among the game was one raccoon.  In conversation about the size of trees in this part of the world, I was informed that there were trees in the Humboldt 99’ in circumference, and one that had been burned out inside, until the cavity was 21’ in diameter.  In the afternoon I engaged passage to San Jose in the “Surprise”, a small craft of 25 tons, Captain West commanding, took my trunks onboard, and left San Francisco about 4 o’clock.  The wind blew strong, and the bay was somewhat rough, but the little vessel danced merrily over the waters, and the motion was rather agreeable than otherwise.  I retired to sleep in the hold of the vessel, and had a little experience of the rats and fleas of California.

Extracts from a letter dated San Jose – 3 Mo.12 (March 12th)

(3rd. Mo. 6th)

(March 6th) I endeavored to learn something about the means of conveyance to San Jose.  There is a daily line by stage direct to the Capital, charge $20, the two lines of steamboats running on alternate days, (first days excepted) to Alviso, connecting there with stages to this place; charge all the way through $16.  Opportunities by sailboats to Alviso are quite frequent.  Finding that I could get passage on one of these, which the captain said was to sail the next day, for $4, and that freight from Alviso to San Jose was but 50 cnts. per 100 lbs.,  I chose this latter method of getting here.  The intervening time was spent in walks about the city and suburbs, conversations with its inhabitants etc.  San Francisco is rapidly advancing in civilization and refinement.  The streets are nearly all graded and planked, with good sidewalks, generally of plank, but occasionally of brick or flat square stones.  As nature has given little but hills to build upon, American enterprise exhibits itself in making use of the bay.  Piles have been driven, and wharfs and buildings erected on them, to a distance of half a mile from the water’s edge.  One called Long Wharf I was told extends a mile beyond high water mark.  They now use the dirt removed in grading the streets, to fill up between the piles, and by thus cutting away the hills on one side of the city, and filling up on the other, are creating a plain, with but very moderate elevations and depressions, on which a handsome city is rising with a rapidity entirely unprecedented.  The streets are wide, and kept tolerably clear of rubbish, the houses, many of them, substantial and elegant, iron, brick, and frame, is abundantly supplied with game, such as deer, elk, ducks and geese of several species, curlew, quails, and fish of various kinds, among which sturgeon and most splendid salmon were conspicuous.  There was also a plenty of good beef, pork, mutton and veal.  Potatoes are tolerably abundant, and I saw cabbage, onions, beets, carrots, and radishes, tho’ not in large quantities.  The three last mentioned were selling at 2 bits or 25 cts.,  a very small bunch of very small vegetables.  Cabbages were 2 bits a head, for a bunch of leaves that we would think had hardly begun to head.  Potatoes I heard were 4 c. per lb., but whether that was for the Sandwich Island or Californian potatoes I cannot tell.  There is generally, I am told, considerable difference, the latter being much superior.  I saw one grizzly bear and one raccoon also in the market.  At one of the stalls where game is sold, they have the stuffed skin of what they call the Californian lion, an animal larger than the panther, but considerably like it in shape, of a light brown, or rather yellowish brown color, and more properly, I should think, a species of panther than lion.

Tomorrow, I’ll begin a wek of letters written in 1943.  Lad is in California and planning a furlough to Trumbull. Dan has been shipped overseas but Grandpa doesn’t know where he is or where he will be stationed, Ced is still in Alaska, Dick is in Brazil and Dave is home in Trumbull, still attending Bassick High School.

Judy Guion