Life In Alaska – Rusty’s Harrowing Adventure (2) – August 14, 1944

This is the second half of a letter written by Rusty Huerlin, a family friend, to Ced. Both Rusty and Ced are living in Alaska and they have become good friends.

As most of our freight was for Wainwright, we were able to take on passengers there – storm bound Eskimos unable to return to Barrow in their boats heavily loaded with coal. So we left there towing five whale boats and had 25 Eskimos to sweeten the forecastle and share with us the four bunks when the next storm came up. We had then run into ice – icebergs 20 feet high, and got forced outside of them and land. Most of this was fields of bergs and we wound around it for a day in getting in close to land. This ice ran nearly down to Wainwright but once getting inside of it the water was smooth. 60 miles of this going was the best of our trip and I will never forget the fun. The kids had gotten over their seasickness and there was no more rushing from below with puke pots. They were happy and glad to be going home. One woman had six children. She and all of them had been sick in my bunk. But that was nothing. I had, after one storm, laid down in more filth than could be found in a garbage can and never felt more clean in my life. To sleep alongside of those shipmates after trying to take what they did uncomplainingly, was the finest expression I have yet experienced. I had made four friends I shall never forget – –Eibrulik Rock, Richard Scott, Daniel Attungniak and Andrew Franksen.

First chance I get now Ced, I will attend to the many things I was unable to do in Nome. One – a letter to Beryl, is she still in Anchorage? The painting for McDonald’s: what size would you like? Was it you that wanted it as a present for them or was it a picture they wished to order? And what type of subject would they like? I’m painting Arctic life now exclusively so my subjects will be Eskimos. This is the greatest field of all and a wonder to me why no artist has pioneered it before.

Charles Brown had me over for dinner day after we landed. Most interesting. old-timer in the whole territory. First painting will be of him and that one I will keep for myself. Then will have to get down to making bread and butter – money – or go on all Eskimo diet.

Eskimos on the way said I was the only white man they had ever seen take to all their food and like it. Ate walrus blubber by the pounds, meat dipped in seal oil – dried fish and seal oil – mucktuk and even walrus flippers. This latter dish is a raw one but was bound to try it to see if my stomach could digest it. Eibrulik, who had been seasick in the storm, had expected for a long time to see me seasick. Told me I would get seasick if we left one night following a hunk of said walrus flippers. This dainty dish is very apt to knot up any white man’s stomach if not poison him. If soured by the sunshine it poisons the Eskimo. But they did not keep me out of their gathering in a tent full of friends at Wainwright when the flippers were boiling. I sat around and ate like the rest but excuse from now on for not “taking it” again will be that my false teeth cannot get through it.

The stench from this boiling tough stuff and fat is the most repulsive I have ever experienced. It has not a sour smell alone for it smells of rottenness but I used my imagination in “taking it” like one should use when first eating Limburger cheese. So the imagination used was that my nose was rotting away and that I was starving for food – that a rather spoiled pig’s foot would give some strength to me. A girl cut me off a big hunk of it dripping with rotten fat and handed it to me. I put it in my mouth and started the imagination and began chewing it. “That’s enough for him” said Eibrulik, in Eskimo to her and he stared at me with the rest watching for the effect. But I ate one piece after another. Did not get seasick the next day when we cast off, nor did I get seasick on the whole trip. Don’t know what that is and will never know but back to this flipper dish – anything fished from a sewer of smelly tidbits could never come up to it. Eibrulik has named me now and by muckluk telegraph it has gone a long way – “artist, first white man to eat flippers”.  If I do it again I’ll be the last. Seal guts with crap in them taste like sausage meat in comparison. One day on the trip I lived on raw caribou meat dipped in seal oil – looks like pretty days ahead – my three months grubstake, which was all I was able to afford, is going to last me a year now.

Sending you an ivory knife – soon hope to send all of $50 worth. Tell Morry I am writing him. Have given up rum and all forms of liquor. Sure amazed at any power of the will – Rusty

Here’s a link to some information about Rusty and another to some of his paintings.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magnus_Colcord_Heurlin

https://www.google.com/search?q=Rusty+Heurlin&safe=active&biw=1463&bih=771&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ei=JnN2VOaPGoqqgwTynIPQDA&ved=0CDIQsAQ

For the rest of the week, I’ll be posting a letter from Grandpa and one from Lad. 

Judy Guion

The Island – A Special Tour (1) – September, 2020

My plan is to be up in New Hampshire on our Family Island this week. I have decided to share it with you  with a map and pictures. I hope you enjoy it as much as I will.

Our Family Islan

 

 

1 – The Dock

 

This picture was taken in the summer of 1945 after Grandpa purchased the Island from Rusty Huerlin’s family. 

Left to Right: , Lad (my Dad), my Uncle Dick, my Uncle Ced and Grandpa. Perhaps Rusty or his father took the picture.

 

The old wooden dock which replaced the one built by my Father and his friends in the 1950’s. This one was at least 40 years old.

 

The dock is to the left of this area. This is the “BARGE”, a 16-foot, flat-bottomed, square-bowed boat built by my father, Lad, and his friends. It had a 25 hp Johnson engine and it was perfect for bringing entire families over to the Island in one trip. The rowboat to the right was Grandpa’s rowboat before my brother made it into a sailboat.

 

My brother sailing in the “new” sailboat. To the left of the picture is the back end of our 25-foot “speedboat” used for towing skiers.

 

Installation of the new dock, a composite floating dock, in July of 2007.

Completed Project – July, 2017

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

 

2 – The Point

This is the path that leads to the point. There is a sharp outcropping of rocks. About 4 feet below the waterline was a ledge about four feet wide and then it drops off about 30 feet to the bottom. It was considered a “Rite of Passage” into the “Big Kids Group” when you could dive off the point beyond the ledge. 

 

The “Point” is the cluster of rocks to the right in this picture. “Bathtub Rock” is to the left. More pictures of that tomorrow.

 

For the rest of the week, I will be sharing pictures of our Family Island taken over the years from various place of note.

Judy Guion

 

 

 

Army Life – Paulette Jeane (Van Laere) Guion – The Story of a Brave and Beautiful Woman – 1924 – 2020

On February 13, 2020, the Aunt of my heart, Paulette “Chiche” Guion, wife of Daniel Beck Guion, passed away at home surrounded by members of her family. The following piece was on display during the calling hours and at the Trumbull House (where she lived) after her beautiful Memorial Service. I asked her Granddaughter, Melissa Feller Kascak, if I could post this to tell the story of meeting Uncle Dan from her viewpoint.  Now you have  the same love story from both perspectives. Enjoy.

Paulette Jeane (Van Laere) Guion – 1924 – 2020

On November 1, 2019, my Grama (Paulette ‘Chiche’ Guion) who was 95 years old told me the story of how she came to fall in love with Dan Guion and how she came to America. When I got home, I wrote down our conversation to the best of my memory. Here is her story:

I was 20 years old when I first met Dan, in 1944. I knew him only as ‘the American.’ He had been going to my aunt’s café near Paris when he was stationed there for drinks and dancing with his military friends. He got to know my aunt and when he told her that he was going to be stationed near Calais, she told him to look up my mother. He went to my mother’s house and introduced himself as the American and asked the person that worked at the pharmacy downstairs, (we lived upstairs) to ask my mother to buy him an alarm clock.

The only Americans we knew were the ones in movies who were cowboys or gangsters. So when I came home from work and learned that he had just been in the store I rushed to see if I could see him through the window that looked onto the street. I saw him leaving in his khaki colored uniform. I wanted to see what he looked like. Then we learned that he had bought his own alarm clock, so we thought that was the end of him.

Several weeks later, there was a knock at the door and my mother went to see who it was, and he said “It’s the American,” so she let him up. He sat with my parents at the table in the kitchen while they ate by candlelight. I was sick at the time, so I was laying on a cot in the corner of the kitchen since that was the only place that was warm. I must have had the flu or something. So, all I could see was his hands from across the kitchen and I thought that he had nice looking hands.

A few weeks later, I was coming home from my sister’s place and I came through the door and said, “It smells good in your kitchen, Mrs. Senechal!” …and there was the American standing there! I was a little embarrassed. But he had not seen me up until then. I was the tallest one in my family, my parents both only came up to my shoulders. So there I am, standing there, and I finally got to see what he looked like, not down on the street or in the candlelight! Well, after that he kept coming by and ‘practicing his French with my father’… but we fell in love.

He escorted my mother to a meeting, and he had his arm in hers, he was walking on the outside like a gentleman should, and he was trembling. He told her that he and I were in love and that he wanted to marry me. Well she said that she would have to talk to my father.

Of course, they ended up saying yes. We got married in July, but the dress maker wasn’t too happy with me because we kept saying July, August, July, August… She made my dress after all.

(Did you know that you would have to go live in America when you said you would marry him?)

Well, yes, but I didn’t care… because I loved him so much!

Then I had Arla 10 months after we got married. Some people thought we ‘had’ to get married, but no. It was 10 months. We just didn’t waste any time!

It was hard enough for my family to have to say goodbye to me, but we also had Arla and they didn’t want to let her go. She was 7 months old. We went to America on a war ship and we stopped at England to pick up more girls, war brides, some of them were going to get married when they got to America. We were on the ship for 11 days. It was all camouflaged still. I was in a bunk room with 5 other women. And one woman came in, all in her fur, and she saw the crib in the middle that they had put for Arla and she said “A crib?? We’re going to have a baby in here??” Well, I ended up getting seasick because it was the open ocean in December and the water was rough. Guess who took care of the baby? That same woman who had complained and she was happy to do it. Dad couldn’t help because he was on another level with 30 something men.

We were on the ocean for Christmas and I was kind of happy about that because I wasn’t with either my family or his, just my baby and my husband.  We had to eat in the dining room with lots of other people, including the captain, and I saw these men that were dressed so differently, I had never seen it before. They were Hasidic Jews (now I know) and they had the black clothing and the black hats and the long curls. I told Dan I didn’t want to eat in that room with them and he was not very happy with me for saying that. Of course, I got over it and we ate with everyone else.

One of the men on board said to me excitedly when I was below deck, “Chiche, do you want to see the statue of liberty?” I said yes and got my coat and went to the upper level and he pulled out a tiny statue replica from his pocket!

When we arrived, it took hours and hours and hours to get off the ship. It was 7:30 at night by the time we got off. We go to the house and the family has dinner all set up, roast beef, mashed potatoes, and MILK to drink. I thought to myself, what am I doing here?!

Then the next day for lunch, my sister-in-law comes and gets us; “Lunch time!” In France, we have a full meal for our mid-day meal. I go into the room and the table has paper plates. Paper napkins. And HOT DOGS! I really thought I was in the wrong place then.

There was a New Year’s Eve party at the house in the next couple of days and they were wearing long gowns. I had never worn a long gown a day in my life. So, we go to Bridgeport and I get a gown that was pink and black, and I had to get black shoes. The night of the party I sat upstairs in my room and did NOT want to go down to that party with all those people! I didn’t even speak English yet! I stayed in my room a long time. Then Bissy came up, and to this day I don’t know what she said to me, but she got me downstairs! And everyone was looking at me! I guess I would have looked at a foreigner, too.

Transcribed as told to Melissa Feller Kascak on November 1, 2019.

I will finish out the week with the rest of Grandpa’s letter, addressed to Dan, in response to his letter of momentous import, including comments and the response of the Trumbull folks to his engagement and other news of Trumbull.

Judy Guion.

Special Picture # 342 – A Short Pictorial History of the Island – 1945 – 2019

Over the years I have posted many pictures of the various views from the Island, but I thought, as this season draws to a close, to show you a little of the history of our “Special Place”, or as my younger brother calls it, “Liquid Heaven”. I hope you enjoy this little history lesson.

This is the oldest picture of the Island that I have, even though the family had been using the Island for about 20 years before Grandpa bought it. It was probably taken during the summer of 1945, perhaps right after Grandpa had purchased it. The family was going up to the Island for a vacation and stopped at the home of Rusty Huerlin’s parents, who lived in Massachusetts, on there way up. They may have even spent the night there. Lad remembers it this way: 

Sometime around 1945, we (I don’t know who “we” are, maybe just Grandpa and three of his sons.) were going to the Island and we stopped at the Heurlin’s house.  During the conversation they mentioned that they would like to get rid of the Island.  It was just costing them money and they weren’t using it.  Dad was interested in it and found out that they owed about three hundred dollars in back taxes.  Dad paid that and they gave him the deed to the Island.

This picture was probably taken in the 1950’s. You can see the Cook Cabin in the background, painted a dull brown. The canvas fly was used to cover the picnic table where my family and the four or five families that came up with us had their meals.

 

This picture and the ones following show the boats that were used during the 1960’s.  On the left is the Barge (made by hand by my Dad and his friends) and on the right, Grandpa’s original row boat, which he allowed my twin brother to convert to a sailboat.

 

This was called the Speedboat (because it went faster than the Barge) . I’m sitting in the bow.

 

This is my brother sailing his boat. To the extreme left is the back of the “real” speed boat. That one we could use for  water skiing.

 

This is the back side of the Sleeping Cabin which was built by my Dad and his friends in 1956. Before that, we had a 20′ x 20′ Army Tent and four families slept in there, each having a corner. When the 1955 Hurricane struck, it lifted up one corner of the tent and it took 3 days to get all the clothes and bedding dry. The entrance to the tent had been on the opposite side, with a short path leading to the Cook Cabin. Looking out through this door you have a beautiful view of the lake and the location of Bathtub Rock.

Here is a picture of the other side of the Sleeping Cabin. I was cleaning the moss off of the Cook Cabin roof and took this shot. The steps lead up the the Sleeping Loft. the Cabin was 20′ x 24′, with a dog trot from this entrance under the stair landing to the door in the previous picture. There are four 10′ x 10′ bedrooms on the first floor and a 12/12 pitched roof, allowing for a Sleeping Loft upstairs.

 

This Dock is the second one my Dad (Lad) and his friends made. This was the year that we were replacing it with a floating composite dock and I snapped this before it was replaced.

 

Here are the workmen installing our “new” dock. As you can see by the dates, both pictures were taken (by me) on the same day. I went up to “supervise” the installation.

Tomorrow, I will continue the story of the Guion family after the two oldest boys went to Venezuela to work for their Uncle Ted Human and send funds home to help Grandpa raise the other four children.

Judy Guion

 

 

 

 

Voyage to Venezuela (16) – On Board the Santa Rosa – January 2, 1939

 

GRACE  LINE                                                                                                                                                                      Monday, Jan. 2

4:00 P.M.

ON BOARD

Santa Rosa

   Dear Family: –

Well, tomorrow we are scheduled to dock at Curaçao at 9:00 A.M. and will probably lie at rest until 6:00 or 7:00 tomorrow evening. Thence on to La Guayra.  Everything so far has been fine and you can tell Dave, for me too, that I have not been seasick at all.

I have written Cecilia a fairly detailed account of the first day and a half of the trip  so I will just give a short resume and for details you had better see her.  Friday afternoon and Saturday morning I spent in exploring the ship and meeting a few of the many friends I have made up to the present.  Saturday aft.  I spent reading, I believe, and writing.  In the evening we had a Welcome Dinner in order to promote a more universal feeling of good-will among the passengers, which was fairly successful, and then a party in the combination Club Room and Bar.  No, I didn’t get drunk, in fact all I had was a bottle of Pabst Blue Ribbon and then I sat around and watched everyone else have a good or bad time, as the cases may have been.  I retired about 2:00 A.M. Sunday (yesterday), Jan.1, 1939.

I woke up too late for breakfast, which was from 9:00 to 10:00, so I slept again til 1:00 and had lunch.  I made a few trips around the deck and by about 3:00 it began to blow quite hard.  I sat in my deck chair and read a little and then studied my Spanish book until about 5:30.  By that time there was quite a strong breeze but it was very warm so I took a shower and dressed in white for dinner.  At: 9:00 there was a showing of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, which I enjoyed very much and then dancing in the Club Room until 12:00.

I got up in time for breakfast and then spent about an hour watching the waves, sea and flying fish.  Then on the boat deck, way up on top, I played a game of shuffleboard, which I lost 102 to 92, and then went below to dress for lunch.  After lunch there was a game of horse racing at which I won $1.25 for Mr. Burkhardt, I didn’t bet at all, and then I came up here to the lounge which brings me up to the present.

At 5:00 there is to be trap-shooting which I will watch, then supper and at 9:00 a pre-showing of a brand-new movie which has not yet been released at the theaters, so they say.  After that I shall probably retire in preparation for tomorrow.

This letter and the one to Cecilia will leave Curaçao by plane tomorrow, I believe, so it will probably be a few days before you get another.  Well, so much for that.

The sea has been quite smooth and the weather fine so far.  Right now I am perspiring sitting on the deck in the shade of an open window with my white suit on so you can see it is a little bit warm.

Lots of love,

Laddie

The Beginning (58) – Childhood Memories of Trumbull – Random Memories (1)

These are the memories of my Father and his siblings, recorded over several years. When my Uncle Dan passed away, I realized that I had better get started recording the memories of Dan’s siblings before they were also gone. I was able to have two recording sessions with my Father, Lad in California; two with Uncle Ced in New Hampshire, a three-day cruise in our boat with Aunt Biss; one session with Uncle Dave in Stratford, CT and one hand-written session (I forgot my tape recorder going up to the Island in New Hampshire, where Uncle Dick lived) with Uncle Dick. I transcribed them once exactly as they were spoken, again removing the ums, ahs, half sentences started over, etc. I then produced a final copy that was easier to read, but it still needs work getting the chronological order correct. Memories are not recorded with a date stamp. I created 75 binders for family members which include all three translations, pages and pages of photos and memorabilia and the actual recording. Now family members can actually heat their ancestors speaking. It was my first project with all the material my Father saved for me and a true Labor of Love. I hope you enjoy these memories of A Slice of Life at a different time and place.

 

DICK – When I was in Brazil, I rode bareback on a small horse with a broad back, feeling very macho.  There were five of us going up this gentle hill, hell-bent for leather.  All of a sudden, I was standing on the ground.  The horse had stepped into a hole and somersaulted under me.  If I’d had a regular saddle, I’d have had my shoes in the stirrups.

Lad, Dick, Ced and Grandpa on the Island for the first time (I don’t know who took the picture, Dan was in France and Dave was in Manila, Philippines, during the summer of 1945.

LAD – Sometime around 1945, we were going to the Island and we stopped at the Heurlin’s house.  During the conversation they mentioned that they would like to get rid of the Island.  It was just costing them money and they weren’t using it.  Dad was interested in it and found out that they owed about three hundred dollars in back taxes.  Dad paid that and they gave him the deed to the Island.

                Elizabeth (Biss) Guion Zabel

BISS – When Dad bought the Island from the Heurlin’s.  I was married and had two children.  I tried to talk Zeke into going up there.  He wanted no part of it, he wasn’t interested.  I figured it would be good for the kids, it would be a vacation and it wouldn’t cost more than food and supplies.  But Zeke wouldn’t go.  After five or six years, I finally convinced him to try it.  Then I could never keep him away.  Now, if only I could have gotten him to try traveling once.  I’m sure it would have been the same way.  Then I would have had my dream of traveling all over.  I got the van, the mattress, the gas lantern, the gas stove, and then we never went anywhere, no matter what I would say.  I figured when we retired, we would just start out with no particular destination; he could bring his guns and his fishing gear.  Anyplace we found a spot, if we liked it, we could spend two or three days there; if we didn’t like it, we could go to another place.

The Barge on the left

CED – The barge was used to move the cook cabin.  Your father (Lad) and some of his friends went to the mainland and bought a garage.  They sawed it in half, put it on the barge and brought it to the Island.  They made it into the kitchen shack.

DAVE – Later on, when my kids were young, when we went to the Island, I would put a piece of plywood on the back seat and they would be there.  I used to get going pretty fast, you know, up near Lebanon, New Hampshire, where nobody was around.  I used to get up to about eighty miles an hour with the kids in the back.  Of course, I was only thinking about the fact that there were no cars around.  It never occurred to me that I might hit a deer or a moose.

Tomorrow, more Childhood Memories of Trumbull.

Judy Guion

Voyage to Venezuela (12) – The Adventure of Landing at La Guayra – January 4, 1939

This is the  beginning of a series of posts concerning Lad’s Voyage to Venezuela, taking a similar route as John Jackson Lewis during the first portion of his journey, about 88 years later. Lad and Dan had been hired by their Uncle Ted Human (husband of Helen (Peabody) Human), Aunt Helen, sister of Arla Mary (Peabody) Guion, Grandpa’s wife who had passed away in 1933 after a long illness. This is Lad’s version of the adventure he was taking and the same trip Dan had taken earlier in the year, traveling with Ted Human to South America.

 

The Harbor  at Curacao, January 3, 1939

Native  Quarters at Curacao – January 3, 1939

Wednesday, January 5, 1939, (actually, Wednesday was January 4th in 1939) was a beautiful day, quite well advanced, by the time I rose from my bed.  We were just outside the La Guayra harbor waiting for the Pilot to come aboard to guide us into the harbor.  With him would also come the Officials to check our passports and issue the landing papers.  While I was eating breakfast the small tender arrived and we proceeded into the harbor.  There were ships at the dock so we were able to tie up at the wharf with no trouble at all.  While the ship was being made ready for passengers to disembark, the Customs men were busily checking all passports of those intending to stay in Venezuela.  After studying the little red book for a few minutes they would ask a couple of questions through the interpreter, fill out a sheet in Spanish, which had to be signed by the person himself, and then with almost a tone of greed they asked for 10 Bolivars.  This seemed to be the thing that they were most interested in and after that you were told that you would get your passport back in the Customs House on shore.  The landing papers were given out at the Purser’s Office and we were allowed to leave the ship.  It was eleven o’clock when I got to the long gray galvanized sheet iron building that was the Office and storage room of the Customs Dep’t. and in Venezuela there is a two-hour lunch period which starts at eleven in some towns and in others at noon.  La Guayra starts its lunch hours at eleven so immediately after reaching the building everyone was chased out in the place was locked up while the men went out for lunch.  Naturally, the wise thing for me to do was to go out and eat also, but where?  Out in front of the office I met two men who had come down on the Santa Rosa with me and one of them had spent a number of years in Venezuela and knew where to eat, so we asked him to be our host and he did a nice job of it.  Had lunch at a famous seaside restaurant in La Guayra, of which I have forgotten the name, and drove around a little, seeing parts of the city.  It was all interesting and new to me and at the time, I didn’t notice particularly the dirt and filth that I saw on a call to La Guayra after I had spent a few months in Venez.

At 1:00 we all came back to the Customs Office and found out that before getting our passports we would have to call at another administration building and give some more information concerning how long we were intending to stay in Venezuela, our address, for whom we were working and 5 Bolivars more.  For this last we were given a receipt and told to go back to the Customs Office for the passport.  Arriving back there we were told that we would have to wait because there were a few other people in front of us.  They were terribly slow, and spent more time talking than working.  As our baggage was inspected and passed as O.K. the “jefe” put on a sticker with no regards as to how it would look, with a very messy and sticky glue.  Then it was taken to the car or whatever means of transportation one had, and packed for the trip to wherever.

I am getting a little ahead though.  On board the room Steward had a carton of cigarettes, and offered them to me at a substantial savings, and in answer to my question, told me that if the seal were broken they would pass the Customs.  Therefore I opened each pack and put them in my trunk in a conspicuous place.  However the official must have liked Chesterfield’s for when he saw them he smiled and removed five of the remaining eight, but tobacco, which is definitely taboo, he did not take after I told him that it was all I had with me.  It was a one-pound tin of Briggs about one-third empty.  Everything else that I had went through with no questions.  Our host, Frank DaCosa, had hired a car with our permission, for the three of us and all our luggage was strapped onto the trunk rack on back and by four we were ready to leave La Guayra.

At this point a man who had been hanging around quite closely handed each of us a slip of paper that had all the symptoms of a bill and from Frank I learned that it was one for the unasked for assistance that we had gotten in taking our luggage from the Customs house to the car and for watching it in the locked building during the noon hour.  It amounted to 15 Bolivars, which was ridiculous, but had to be paid in order to avoid a scene.  Therefore by the time we had finally left La Guayra I had paid a total of Bolivars 30, without counting my meal or the charge for the taxi to Caracas.

Tomorrow, more about my Bradford Ancestors.

Next week,  I will begin posting more Childhood Memories of Trumbull.

Judy Guion

Voyage to Venezuela (11)- Day Five on the Santa Rosa and Onshore in Curacao – January 3, 1939

This is the  beginning of a series of posts concerning Lad’s Voyage to Venezuela, taking a similar route as John Jackson Lewis during the first portion of his journey, about 88 years later. Lad and Dan had been hired by their Uncle Ted Human (husband of Helen (Peabody) Human), Aunt Helen, sister of Arla Mary (Peabody) Guion, Grandpa’s wife who had passed away in 1933 after a long illness. This is Lad’s version of the adventure he was taking and the same trip Dan had taken earlier in the year, traveling with Ted Human to South America.

Lad wearing the suit he bought in Curacao

 

We were a little ahead of schedule due to the exceptionally fine weather and sea Tuesday Morning so that even though I got up at 6, the Island was only a few miles away, having been cited about four A. M. Being Dutch, it is a free port so there was no rigamaroll in landing and by ten we had navigated the very beautiful, winding channel with its picturesque brightly colored houses and lovely green foliage, and were in cars heading for the center of the only town on the Island, Curaçao.  While on the boat watching the shores gliding by I had spoken to a girl beside me at the rail and she told me that she and her mother and father were Venezuelans and had been in the States for the past nineteen years, she having gone there at the age of nine months.  They seemed to be rather nice people so on shore I stayed with them.  After wandering around the city for a couple of hours, Mr. and Mrs. Baptista were getting tired so they returned to the ship but the girl, Gabriella, and I wanted to see more so we stayed and continued our meanderings.  All articles were quite cheap since import duty is charged for goods coming into the Dutch West Indies and because of that reason I bought a linen suit for use in Caracas.  The material was a very fine and the suit only cost about half as much as it would have cost in the States.  At home I had worn a hat on only one or two occasions so I had no hat with me and being ignorant of the customs of the tropics, and also believing a hat necessary, I bought a cork helmet.  I have been sorry ever since that I let Briella, as I later came to know her, persuade me to buy it.  I believe that I have worn it no more than a total of two hours although it has been with me constantly.  We found no place on the Island that looked inviting enough to eat in so we went without lunch and saw quite a bit of the town before returning to the ship at about four-thirty.

The sailing time was set for six and we both wanted to change our clothes and be on deck to see the way the ship was warped away from the dock and maneuvered around in the small inland harbor in order to proceed on its way. By six we were on deck again but preparations for leaving were nowhere near completed and since supper was served at seven we went below to get ready for supper.  After supper they were still loading so we played a few games of Ping-Pong and waited about the decks watching the loading of the cargo. Twenty-two new cars had been unloaded and they were loading coffee and sugar into the space vacated.  By ten o’clock in the evening everything had been loaded and the gang-plank was hauled up the side and made fast.  The portholes were closed and the hatches sealed and battened down and we threw off the last line about ten-thirty.  To my surprise, all the maneuvering was done under her own power and therefore it took nearly an hour and a half to turn and get out of the narrow channel.  Then the Pilot left and we proceeded under the direction of the Captain for La Guayra and the end of my first sea voyage.  As the lights of the Island were fading in the distance, Briella and I went below, knowing that the coming day would bring the final preparations for leaving the ship, including the Venezuelan Customs Officials.

Tomorrow another post about My Ancestors, Elishe Bradford and his wife Bathsheba Brock.

Next week, I will begin another week of Childhood Memories of Trumbull.

Judy Guion

Voyage to Venezuela (10) – Day Four on the Santa Rosa – January 2, 1939

This is the  beginning of a series of posts concerning Lad’s Voyage to Venezuela, taking a similar route as John Jackson Lewis during the first portion of his journey, about 88 years later. Lad and Dan had been hired by their Uncle Ted Human (husband of Helen (Peabody) Human, Aunt Helen), sister of Arla Mary (Peabody) Guion, Grandpa’s wife who had passed away in 1933 after a long illness. This is Lad’s version of the adventure he was taking and the same trip Dan had taken earlier in the year, traveling with Ted Human to South America.

         Alfred Peabody Guion (Lad)

Monday morning I woke up with the warm, fresh sea breeze blowing into the room and discovered that, Jimmie, my room Steward, had opened the port hole earlier in the morning because the wind was so warm.  The exhilaration of that breeze was wonderful and it only took me a few minutes to dress and get out onto the deck.  Everything seemed wonderful.  The breakfast was good, the people were friendly, I had not been seasick at all and the sea had been smooth, even while we had passed Cape Hatteras, which is always the roughest part of the trip.  That morning, after spending an hour wandering about in meeting and talking to many new people, I asked for permission to go down to the engine room.  I was told that after the ship left Puerto Cabello there would be a conducted trip down below, but after explaining that I would leave the ship at La Guayra, the stop previous to Puerto Cabello, I was taken to meet the chief engineer, and when I had explained the circumstances he was very friendly and helpful and referred me to one of the assistants.  He took me down to the bowels of the ship and I spent another very pleasant hour or so asking questions and seeing how a modern steam turbine engine and the oil heated steam furnaces work.  It was quite enlightening and everything was fairly clean, but even with my coat off it was very warm.  Then, since I still had some time before dinner, I went up to the control and radio rooms and talked with a radio operator.  I could not get onto the bridge, however, because of very strict laws made by the owners.

After lunch and a game of Shuffle-board, I was beginning to get a little bit tired of waiting for the ship to land at La Guayra and as the day passed I found myself wishing more and more that I were already on Land.  That evening there was another movie – Walt Disney’s “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” – which I had seen previously but thoroughly enjoyed seeing again.  Then afterward, another dance and since on the morrow we were to land at Curaçao, a Dutch West Indies Island, I retired fairly early so I would be on hand to see the Island as it came into sight.

Tomorrow I will post what little I have found about Joseph Bradford amd his family. I may also post information about his son, Elishe Bradford. J

udy Guion

Voyage to Venezuela (9)- Day Three on the Santa Rosa – January 1, 1939

This is the  beginning of a series of posts concerning Lad’s Voyage to Venezuela, taking a similar route as John Jackson Lewis during the first portion of his journey, about 88 years later. Lad and Dan had been hired by their Uncle Ted Human (husband of Helen (Peabody) Human, Aunt Helen), sister of Arla Mary (Peabody) Guion, Grandpa’s wife who had passed away in 1933 after a long illness. This is Lad’s version of the adventure he was taking and the same trip Dan had taken earlier in the year, traveling with Ted Human to South America.

               Alfred (Lad) Peabody Guion

          Sunday morning, Jan. 1, 1939, I presume, dawned as usual but I certainly did not see it.  When I finally arrived at the dining-room at twelve-thirty the hall was practically empty and everyone was eating in comparative silence.  That afternoon there was very little activity above on the decks, and I presume most of the passengers were below, nursing big heads and the other ailments that follow over-indulgence.  I spent a couple of hours at the bow of the ship watching the water gracefully roll away from the prow in a slow sweeping wave and watching the Porpoises and Flying-Fish that seemed to keep ahead of the ship effortlessly.  The strong breeze that blew from the Port Bow was beginning to show the first signs of warmer climates and I thoroughly enjoyed those few minutes that in actuality, were hours.  When I returned to the Club Room I noticed a number of people busily engaged in watching something going on on the rear deck below and naturally I went to see what was causing such intent watching.  There, in the swimming pool, where three of the deck hands with long brushes, rubber boots, which apparently afforded rather poor footing on the slowly rolling tile bottom, water and plenty of soap.  They were getting the pool in condition for the warmer weather that was expected on the following day.  We all had many laughs as the men now and then would go sliding across the pool bottom as the ship rolled a little further than usual and before they had finished each of them had fallen at least once.

          Supper was also a quiet affair although about half of the passengers were there, and the Cruise Director, during the meal, announced that a dance would be held in the Club Room that evening.  The first few dances were rather sad affairs, but as the evening wore on, they became more lively and when the band tried to stop playing at twelve, there was such a cry for more that they finally consented to play on ‘til one.  I did no dancing but thoroughly enjoyed watching and listening to the music.  That night was the first time that the wind really began to get warm and after the dance I spent half an hour or so wandering about the decks and watching the sky and stars, which were beautiful, and wishing that there were more of those I had left behind with me then to also enjoy that first wonderful southern night.  I retired that night full of the expectations of the warm weather that the following day would bring.

Tomorrow, more of My Ancestors.

On Monday I will begin a week of letters written in 1943 with Lad and Marian’s wedding imminent.

Judy Guion