Autobiography of Mary E Wilson (12) – A Double Life – 1933-1934

Mary E. Wilson

Not much has changed in Mary’s life so this is a rather short post. She seems quite happy with everything.

1933 – 1934

          My life at this time was quiet, nothing exciting was happening. Life was amiable at home. Doris was a good girl but willful.

My mother had decided that now that I was 22, I could keep half of my earnings. Three other girls and myself decided to take up horseback riding. I loved it and went two or three times a week.

I still dated Fred but I dated other young men to. I love going to the Ritz Ballroom and also danced and Quilty’s and Pleasure Beach Dance Hall. Fred did not like to dance and he worked nights every other week so it worked out just fine.

At this time, Dr. Nasti’s wife died and they had only been married a year. We had a rough time at the office because I could not depend on him to keep his appointments. For almost a year he had a bad time then he met a former girlfriend and they started going out and married.

I still had my part-time work in the G.E. but they were becoming very uneasy because there were more rumblings in Europe. I had a good job in but loved working for Dr. Nastri so I worked longer hours and was able to keep both jobs. I had no time for night school but I was happy doing my thing.

Somehow I felt I was leading a dual life. Two weeks I dated Fred and kept very reserved and had quiet times with him and his older friends playing bridge, etc. The other two weeks I hung around Francis and other friends, did a lot of dancing, horseback riding, picnics, swimming parties and also participated in exercise clubs but we did have fun times.

Celso was still my best friend and my nephew Jimmy had grown into a beautiful boy. My mother adored her first grandchild and spoiled him rotten.

Starting tomorrow and for the next of the week, I’ll be posting letters written in 1945. Dan is married but Paulette cannot come to Trumbull because of travel restrictions. Grandpa keeps everyone in the family aware of what’s happening to the rest of the family.

Judy Guion

 

 

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Autobiography of Mary E Wilson (11) – A Broken Engagement – 1932

1932

          I was now 21 and Bob (Boris) had given me an engagement ring and a “hope chest”. My mother and Bob tolerated each other but there was no love between them.

Celso gave birth to a lovely baby boy but she had a very difficult pregnancy and never could have any more children.

I still worked for the G.E. as well as Dr. Nastri and also continued night high school. Boris went to school with me but he finally made one big mistake which made me very angry and hurt. He persuaded his parents to let him take over the second floor of their home in Devon, Connecticut. He really did a beautiful job of remodeling and furnishing it but I did not know anything about these plans. His brother and his family were visiting from Texas and Boris announced what he had done. He said when we married we would live upstairs and he would help his parents financially.

I was shocked because we did not planned any of this together. He took me upstairs with his family to show us the results of his work and purchases. He did not even notice my shock and amazement but I then realized during our married life I would never be allowed to make any suggestions or discussions. He would do it all himself. I guess that was the Swedish custom.

I did not doubt he would be a hard-working, good husband but he would not be a generous one because he was too ambitious and frugal. They were all talking in the living room of the  house so I quietly left, leaving a note for Boris breaking our engagement. I took a bus from Devon but by the time I had reached my home he was waiting for him. He accused me of humiliating him in front of his family but I realized I did not love him and I felt I needed more out of a marriage than he could give me. I did not want to exchange a dominating mother for a dominating husband.

Boris was so angry he quit his job at Medical Opticians in the building where I work for Dr. Nastri and moved to Norwalk, Connecticut, where he lived with Celso’s sister. His poor mother was such a timid lady but she came to my house as she sure wanted me to marry Boris.

I had been dating Boris for two years and even though I was relieved we had parted, I was lonely.

I was attending St. Luke’s church and had joined the choir and started teaching Sunday school for teenaged girls.

My brother Arthur introduced me to a young man, Fred Williams. He was a lace weaver like my brother and Fred’s dad was the organist in the church I attended. We began dating but he was almost 12 years older than me and again my mother became critical. Fred’s dad was great and we got along just fine because he really liked me. Fred’s mother was very unfriendly because my mother was a divorced woman and the two women disliked each other.

Fred and I had a lot of fun but Fred was very reserved and his mother thought he could do better than me. Fred and I used to date with Ted Perkins and my friend, Helen Koger.

My mother worked in the D.N. Read Company and Arthur, Doris and I were living at home but she still ruled the roost.

Bert Harbor had been hanging around all these years as a family friend and he asked my mother to marry him. She refused. I think she made a mistake.

Tomorrow I’ll continue the story of Mary E Wilson and her social life. Next week, I’ll be posting letters from 1945. Dan and Paulette are married but because ships are used to move troops, civilians cannot get a ticket and Paulette cannot get to Trumbull. 

Judy Guion

Autobiography of Mary E Wilson (10) – Working Two Jobs – 1931

Mary E. Wilson

Mary is rather happy with her life at this point. She’s going to school, working and has begun dating.

1931

          I was almost 20 when my mother finally decided to divorce my father. He had tried to commit suicide twice and tried to kill my mother once. I realize now my father was a really disturbed man and really should have been in a military hospital years ago. Being a British soldier and because he would not become a citizen of America, he could not qualify for any help in this country. So this time we got together enough money to send my father back to England. He hated this “G.D.” country – “.

My mother, at this time, took a job as an English nanny for the three children of a family in Fairfield. She really loved this job and my father did not know where she was. She loved the freedom and luxuries that came with her job.

We had taken a rent on 68 Edwin Street in Bridgeport where I kept house for my two brothers. So again, I was in charge of our house and my two brothers, worked all day in the G.E. , and cleaned and cooked for us. My mother did not come home at all because she was afraid of my father’s violent moods. Suddenly my father decided he would not return to England without my mother and began yelling again how he hated the “G. damned country” and insisted that he and my mother, minus my brothers and me, go back to England and make a new start in Britain. He could not find out where my mother was and became abusive with my brothers and me.

The police came because somewhere he had gotten a gun and started to threaten us. The outcome of this was the he spent two days in jail before he finally consented to return to England alone. My brother Arthur and myself took him to New York on the sailing date and we stayed right on the dock until the ship out of New York harbor. We did not hear from you for years but when England went into World War II we heard he enlisted again with the R.A.F. as a cook on the ground crew in London. I remember he sent me a tea cozy with the R.A.F. emblem on it but I did not answer his letter.

Later, I found out he had died in Egham in Surry, England, in February 1951. The vicar at St. Jude’s Church wrote me and said he had full military honors because he served in two wars and there was no one at his funeral. I thought that was very sad because he had a large family in England. My mother visited England in her late 60s and put a stone on his grave and paid for perpetual care. It seems so sad that a man’s life ended like that but I blame the war that ruined his life when he was so young.

My mother finally returned home and we moved to a rent on Read Street. I was then 20 years old and met a Swedish boy at Quilty’s Dance Hall. We finally, after six months, became engaged. Boris was a very ambitious man but he and my mother clashed from the very beginning. They were two strong-willed people who really disliked each other. When Boris brought me books to learn how to speak Swedish and started to take me to the Swedish church, my mother had a fit.

I was now working two jobs – the G.E. and for Dr. Nastri. Boris changed his job and took a position in the N. E. Optical Company which was next door to Dr. Nastri’s office. We went to night high school together. I took a course in nursing and he wanted to improve his English.

I had one very close girlfriend, Celso, and we both worked in the G.E. and I really loved her. She fell in love with my brother. Jim and she finally ran away and got married. I was delighted because now I really had a sister.

By this time, my uncle Ernest has served his time with the Coast Guard, married an Indian girl, they had one daughter, Doris. Francis, his wife, died in her middle 30’s so Uncle Ernest came to live with us with his daughter, Doris, who was two years old. He finally met and married another woman called Mildred. She was the typical mean stepmother and when Doris was five years old, she ran away looking for my mother but she did not realize she was in Boston; she was finally found. They moved back to Bridgeport and after another beating from Mildred she ran away again. She was missing for 24 hours. After the police found her and Dr. Charles Nichols had examined her, they turned her over to juvenile court and Judge Bert turned Doris over to my mother as her legal guardian.

So now we had another mouth to feed plus Jim and Celso. Jim was unemployed and Celso was pregnant. My mother then got a rent and bought furniture at a dollar down and a dollar a week at Leventhal’s. Jim finally got work in the garage and things calmed down waiting for their baby to come.

Next weekend, we’ll see what Mary is doing in 1932. Does her life continue as it is now or are there changes again?

Tomorrow I’ll begin posting letters written in 1943. Lad continues to train mechanics for the Army in Santa Anita and spend time with Marian Irwin when he ca,We’ll have news of other family members also.

Judy Guion

Autobiography of Mary E Wilson (9) – Making Friends – 1930

At this point in time, Mary seems to be very happy. We’ll find out tomorrow if it lasts for quite a while or is just a fleeting moment.

 

1930

I took an extended course in nursing so that kept me busy four nights a week. Dr Sprague commended me on my efforts and advised me to go into training. I loved nursing but realized that this course would be the only chance I would have in my nursing career. My mother still dominated my life.

We did so much moving, or “flitting”, as the English people called it. When my father worked, we moved into a nice flat. When he lost his job we moved into a cheaper one. It seems as though, at that time, we were “flitted” on an average of twice a year. One flat on Asylum Street had no direct electricity because we used gas mantles. It seemed as though in all those years, I had never had my own room. I always slept on a couch in the living room.

At this time, I was not feeling well so my mother insisted I go to a doctor and he said I was run down and anemic, and insisted I drink two glasses of port wine a day. It is amazing that I did not become a ”wino”. I do remember I had to hide the bottle so my father would not find it.

I had become acquainted with a group of girls and we started our own club. We called it the “Stitch and Chatter Club”. We did very little stitching but we really did have a good time with each other and we remained close for a lot of years. None of us at this time had boyfriends, so we attended dances together, joined the Y.W.C.A., attended dance class and gymnastics.

I realized that this was the happiest time of my life..a a carefree, nice part of my life. Celso, Ruth, Irene, Myrtle, Alberta and I were friends even during our married lives, when we were all raising children.

Jim now had a steady job in a garage as a mechanic and Arthur was a lace weaver.

When I was 18, I started dating, but I was very wary of boys. I think I was shy and insecure and a little nervous of American boys.

My mother seemed to dominate the whole family. All events such as Christmas, Easter and birthdays were planned by my mother. The whole clan was always at our house for any event at all.

Tomorrow, the next chapter in the continuing story of Mary E Wilson and her new life in America.

Check out the new addition to an earlier post when Mary arrives at Ellis Island. Her granddaughter and great-grandchildren just went to visit Ellis Island and see what they found. https://greatestgenerationlessons.wordpress.com/2017/03/19/autobiography-of…w-york-city-1925/

If you’re enjoying these stories, why not share them with a friend or two. They might appreciate it.

Judy Hardy

Autobiography of Mary E Wilson (8) – 1929

Mary E. Wilson has been working at the General Electric plant in Bridgeport, Connecticut, for two years and is feeling pretty good about her life. Then the Depression hit and Mary has to face another disappointment, but she is growing up and developing her own social life.

1929

The depression came and things were getting rough. I still worked at General Electric part time but took another part-time job with a chiropodist. Between the two jobs, I made out pretty well but my Mother demanded all my money and she gave me two dollars allowance a week. I also took a course in Swedish massage and I used to go to ladies homes to work on them.

I really felt wealthy because I saved the money they gave me and put it in the Morris Plan Bank. I believe I was able to save $100 and I kept the money a secret from my Mother which I suppose was deceitful. When the crash came, I lost my precious savings when the bank failed. I felt I was being punished for trying to deceive my Mother.

In the meantime, my Father had started to drink heavily and could not keep a job. He accused my mother of having an affair, which was stupid, because my Mother did not like men. She was so independent.

Both of my brothers were taken out of school and sent to trade schools. Eventually, Jim got a job in the garage and Arthur was apprenticed to a man to learn how to become a lace weaver. It would take four years. I think I was jealous because they were both given a chance to learn a trade and I was stuck in the factory.

An event happened which I will always remember. Charles Lindbergh flew his “Spirit of St. Louis” across the Atlantic Ocean to France. I think every woman was in love with him because of his courage and bravery. I think I read every article written about him. In later years his son was kidnapped by Bruno Hauptman who was later electrocuted for the death of Lindbergh’s son.

Work at General Electric was very hard but I had become used to it. I assembled rubber plugs to extension cords. In addition, I became very active with the group who represented the factory workers in any gripes they had. I also was active in a gym group who met every day after work. It was a diversion after a hard day at work.

I met a nice English boy who was my very first boyfriend. He was a year older than I was and he would come to visit me every day on our lunch break and bring me a Milky Way candy bar. He had no money either because his parents took all of his money, too. We seemed to have fun doing simple things.

Later, I met a young man who was a foreman at General Electric. I dated him for almost a year. He was a nice boy and got along great with my family but I was only 18 at that time and he wanted to get married right away. Mother really got upset. My Father would not work and she needed my money. Jim had a part-time job in the garage and Arthur was still in trade school. I guess I was really not in love with him, so it was easier to end my relationship with him than fight with my mother all the time.

Next week, I’ll be posting developments in Mary’s life during 1930 when she considers making a change.

This coming week, I’ll post letters written in 1941. Both Lad and Dan are concerned about their draft status, Lad in Trumbull and Dan in Alaska. Ced and Dick, also in Alaska, are not quite as concerned as yet.

Judy Guion

Autobiography of Mary E Wilson (7) – 1926 – 1927

Mary E. Wilson

Mary has settled in to life in America and truly enjoys school. That is the one high point in her life.

NOVEMBER, 1926

I had to go back to school as I was only 15 and my brothers and I were ridiculed because of our accent and dress. My poor brothers got into a lot of fights.

Because my father had spent the “landing money”, my mother could not buy us new clothes for a while. She worked in the Stratfield Hotel in the cafeteria and my Uncle Arthur got my father a job as a painter, which he hated.

I loved my school and adored Miss Blood, my teacher, because she was so helpful and kind to me. I was not used to boys and girls being in the same class because in the past I had always attended schools for only girls, so I was very shy and insecure. I did make a nice friend, however, named Polly Griffin, who lived next door to us and she was the one who really helped me adjust to a new country. She was going into nurse’s training in Bridgeport Hospital and she begged me to go into training with her. I still had my old ambition to be a nurse and at that time you were paid a small amount of money plus books and uniforms but my Mother would not allow it.

MARCH, 1927

On my 16th birthday, my Mother took me out of school and brought me to the General Electric Company. They gave me a job on one condition …. I pin up my hair. My Mother also got a job at General Electric and we worked from 7 AM to 5 PM for 5 1/2 days at $.25 an hour.

So ended my childhood, of which I had virtually none at all, as it was taken from me at an early date. Responsibility had been forced upon me at a very young age. I had never learned how to play and I felt cheated and angry because I so wanted to be a nurse.

I had joined the Christian Advent Church with Polly and our Sunday school teacher was named Lena Hilt. She was so nice and friendly to me.

There was so much quarreling in our home between my Mother and Father that we were not a happy family. Mother was a very dominating woman and my father, a weak man.

I started going to night school to lose my English accent and get used to American money. I learned how to type and was fascinated with American history. I think I attended evening school all my unmarried years and I really loved it. I took a practical nursing course which was conducted by Dr. Sprague. I loved it and was so proud the day I graduated.

Tomorrow, the next segment in the life of Mary E Wilson, an English girl who came to America as a child but grew up to achieve “the American Dream”.

Next week I’ll begin a week of letters from 1941. Lad has come home from Venezuela and is working at Producto in Bridgeport, Dan is dealing with the Draft Board in Alaska and Bridgeport, Ced and Dick are both still in Alaska but are concerned about their own draft status. Dave keeps Grandpa company in the Old Homestead in Trumbull.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Just Met Captivating Blonde Without Shirt – Sept., 1942

Trumbull, Conn., Sept. 20, 1942

Dear Clan:

Highlighting the news this week is the announcement of the engagement of Charley Hall and Jane Mantle. I believe it happened last Tuesday. Anyway they dropped in here Thursday and Jane exhibited her sparkler which naturally was admired by all. Red is home for a week before he goes back to school again. For his thesis he is planning to submit plans for a civic center for the Town of Trumbull. Jack Fillman, we learn, is now at Guadalcanal while Benny Slawson is a rear gunner on a bomber. Three Bridgeporters have been nominated for Governor of Connecticut – – Ray Baldwin (rep) Robert Hurley (present dem. Incumbent) and Jasper Mc Levy (soc).

Dan in uniform @ 1945

Saturday I received a telegram from Dan as follows: “Just met captivating blonde without shirt. Please wire $15 for philanthropical purposes. No particular rush – – just want to avoid long wait in bread line.”

The blonde particularly interests me, Dan. What I can’t figure out is whether the blonde is one of those generous girls that will give you anything she has, including the shirt off her back, which she did, or whether you got into trouble because of her and lost the shirt off your back. In other words, please wire at once who’s shirt it was that was without. Meantime the mere matter of the 15 bucks has been attended to, being merely incidental to the main question raised by your telegram. Barbara is also interested, as you may imagine. “What does he do with all his money?” Was the thought spoken out loud as she read the intriguing message. This was followed by visions of an embryonic loan business being started within U.S. Army circles – – the Daniel in the Lion’s Den Loan and Financing Association or some such name – – perhaps that is where the philanthropy comes in. And as for the bread line, perhaps you ought to begin to wonder about the waste line. Well, so much for that episode.

Lad popped in early this morning and soon after dinner filled up his car’s tank with all the gas he could legally buy on his A ration card and started, with five weak tires, off to Maryland. We’re all keeping our fingers crossed.

The last item of real news, to me at least, was receipt from Ced of a package containing one of the most unique and attractive belts it has ever been my good fortune to encounter – – not only because it was an unusually fine piece of cowhide, but because of the unusual buckle – – a hand-carved Ivory depiction of a typical Alaskan scene, personally signed by the author. It is quite different from anything I have ever seen with a personality and individuality all its own. Everyone who has seen it makes enthusiastic comments. “Worth waiting for”, “something you can be proud to wear”, “never saw anything like it”, “truly suggestive of Alaska”, etc. Then following on the heels of this most welcome momento of my faraway Alaskan son, I also received a short but right welcome letter (with m.o., for which thanks much, Ced) announcing his departure on another plane salvaging trip. He is fast developing into a veteran plane wrecking repair expert.

With radio jazzing in my ear, conversation bantering back and forth, coupled with the fact that I’m about written out anyway, induces me to consider the end of the page is approaching with the usual accompaniment of its good bye, from         DAD

Tomorrow, a letter from Lad to his father, and on Friday, another letter from Grandpa.

Saturday and Sunday, I’ll be posting more memories of Trumbull.

Judy Guion

Army Life – Aberdeen Parade Ground Review – May, 1942

APG - 2nd letter - Aberdeen Proving Grounds - Aberdeen Parade Ground Review - May, 1942

THE ORDNANCE TRAINING CENTER

ABERDEEN PROVING GROUNDS

MARYLAND

May 31, 1942

Dear Dad: –

Although it was hotter by 10° or 15° in Venezuela, I don’t think that I was ever more uncomfortable due to high humidity.Regardless of how little energy I use, even just using my brain, I perspire. It really is HOT.

 

Alfred Peabody Guion (Lad)

Alfred Peabody Guion (Lad)

Yesterday, according to custom, we all here in Aberdeen had a review. We went out on the Parade Grounds in our best uniforms, cartridge belts and Rifles at 11:30 and were there until a few minutes after 1:00. It was hot out there too and quite a number of the fellows passed out under the strain of standing at attention. However, I was not affected in the least. (I just refilled my pen.)

As luck would have it, our quarantine was called off early, and half of our Co. was allowed to leave camp. I was o
ne of those given a pass but I had a detail, night, at that, good old K.P. and could not use it. The next time passes are issued I’ll have a preference because I turned mine over to one of the other fellows. But it will not be this coming week since Co. B. is apparently going on to guard duty, and there will be no passes issued. The weekend of the 14th, if we do not go out on a bivouac, I’ll have a chance to come home, and will arrive in Bridgeport at the same time Dan did, since it will be the same train he took, I think. Somewhere in the neighborhood of 10:30 PM. However, I cannot know definitely until 4:30 on the afternoon of the day I come home so I cannot give you any further definite information. If I call you at Trumbull you will know I made it. If I don’t, you could be sure I didn’t make the pass. That’s rather a cruel way of putting it, but it’s the best I can do. We have been asked to write home frequently by the 1st Corps Area, but then they put so many restrictions on what we can say about interesting things that I have very little I can write about.

As long as information is only general it is OK to mention it. For example – I can tell you that Camp Rodman here is rather a nice place and is nicely situated as far as terrain is concerned, but I cannot give any definite information, like the number of men here or the size of the camp or how many rounds of ammunition we use for rifle practice or the number of rounds we carry on guard duty, etc.

But anyhow, I’ll answer, to the best of my ability, any questions you care to ask.

Well, Dad, if luck holds out, I may see you on the second weekend in June. If not then – “quien sabe”.

Lad

I’ll post more Special Pictures on Saturday and Sunday.

Next week I’ll be posting letters written at the beginning of 1945. Both Lad and Dan are in France, Dan north of Paris and Lad, near the Mediterranean. Ced remains in Alaska working at Woodley Airfield as a Bush Pilot and airplane mechanic. Dick is in Brazil. Dave is in Okinawa. Both Dick’s wife, Jean,  and Lad’s wife, Marian, (my Mom) are living in Trumbull with Grandpa and Aunt Betty.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – My Dear Little Shavers – Jan., 1941

R-111     Trumbull, Conn., January 19, 1941

My dear little shavers, all:

During the last few years in my position as Advertising Manager of the Bridgeport Brass Co., the series of advertisements I had been running in the trade papers having to do with the “History of Sanitation”, involving much original research, led to demands from various trade organizations, technical schools, societies, etc., for lectures on the subject, illustrated with stereopticon slides which I had someone prepare, and on one occasion my schedule took me to Alabama, New Orleans, Jacksonville, etc. Your mother was fond of travel, Aunt Helen and Aunt Dorothy, at that time, were in library work in Jacksonville and in view of the fact that the Brass Company was paying my expenses, I figured I could economically take

Arla Mary Peabody Guion - portrait

Arla Mary Peabody Guion – portrait

your mother along with me. I did and we had a very enjoyable trip (I don’t recall now just how we arranged to have you children taken care of in our absence). The last leg of our return journey was a steamer trip from Savanna to New York. We set sail one windy afternoon, the weather just having cleared beautifully after an all-day rain. As the pilot guided the ship out of the harbor, many of the passengers crowded to the port side of the boat to witness an old woman in one of the lighthouses whose custom was to wave to outgoing steamers, to be answered by a toot from their whistles. This she had done, so the story ran, for some 20 years, never missing a day, in memory of first sailor lad who, years before, had sailed away with the intention of coming back to marry her. She never heard more of him and as the days passed and she waited and watched every ship for the long expected one, her faith grew into a tradition which the sailor folks respected and aknowledged by their whistle tunes each day they passed her home, with the light at night shining in the window and her waving a white cloth in the daytime. Now of course my little ones, there must be a moral to this story, which is this: the father that waits for letters from absent ones that don’t come, gets a species of toots from the local post mistress when he hurries in of a morning all agog and hies with a soul full of hope and nervously twitches the dial of P.O.Box 7 and finds – – no, you’re wrong, only a Bill from the plumber, a circular from the local Congressman offering to send a government pamphlet on the love life of the Honeybee and a trenchant remark as to why one should take a public speaking course in 10 lessons.

The above is just a brief introduction to the statement that neither from Venezuela nor Alaska, during the last fortnight, have there been any missives. Of course, it may be that horrid little flu germs have attacked all the airplane pilots that carry mail from these distant ports to the land of the free and the home of the brave, but the fact remains that I have not had any real messages from you boys THIS year – – think of that! “Oh judgement thou art fled to brutish beasts,” etc. And if I don’t get something tomorrow to fill in the void, I’ll almost be afraid to approach the mailbox and will gradually develop the habit of sneaking up on it, in a furtive manner, and glancing rapidly to left and right to make sure nobody is ambushed, ready to laugh. I will hastily dart forward, wrench the knob and rifle through the contents with mingled hope and fear, and I am sure you will not want to see your erstwhile, stalwart Dad reduced to such a role.

You may surmise from the length of the attempt above to get across the simple facts that no letters have been received from you this week that there is not much news of a local nature to record and in this assumption, you would be correct. Carl has heard nothing more about when he will be called and told me the other day he had about decided to take a chance and get married anyway. He invited me to go to the Motor Boat Show with him last week at Grand Central Palace, but due to short notice, I was unable to do so. He went alone.

Page 2     B-111

This week I have had Mr. Smithson here to paint the kitchen and my bathroom. He will probably work a few days this coming week to do some odd jobs here and there. If I can manage to get the floors treated and some new rugs we will look fairly presentable.

FullSizeRender

Town affairs have been seething again this week. Following a bitter town meeting called by Sexton’s group for the purpose of putting the Town Clerk and Tax Collector on a salary basis, Dave Cronin, who presided, ruled the meeting had been properly adjourned but Sexton’s crowd did not think so and called another meeting of their own on the basis that the former meeting was illegal. They then resolved to sign a petition calling a town meeting over again for the same purpose and threatened to have the States Attorney rule on the illegality, but the second meeting the selectmen refused to call, stating it was called by an “un-American group”. This, of course, aroused Sexton’s wrath and they are threatening all sorts of dire results, but up to the present time nothing tangible has developed.

A letter from Aunt Dorothy (Peabody) says Kemper and Ethel (Peabody) have gone to Florida to close a real estate deal down there and that Ted and Helen ((Peabody) Human) have moved to Brooklyn, 269 Prospect Place (for your address book).

We all went down to see a movie last night at the Warner Theater. Gary Cooper and Madeleine Carroll starred in a Technicolor picture of the Canadian Northwest Mounted Police (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/North_West_Mounted_Police_(film) ). It was very good. Dick was thrilled with the scenes of the Canadian Rockies and hopes the Alaskan scenes will be just as good.

Last week visited upon us a real winter blitzkrieg – – one of those famous ice storms which did so much damage last year, only this was not so severe. It was bad enough, however, so that the school authorities decided it was too dangerous for school buses to run, much to the delight of sundry school children. It started out as a cold rain which froze as it landed. My car, when I came to start it for the homeward trip, was completely encased in ice. Of course the windshield was obscured, but, ah, methinks, my defrosting device will soon remedy that, but, sad to relate, it had picked that very occasion to go out of business, so Dave spent some miserable moments scraping my windshield with a nail file until some measure of vision was afforded. Next day I took it around to Doyon who found that the fuse which was on the circuit which operated the defroster motor had burned out. A light covering of snow still covers the ground and the weatherman predicts possible light snow tonight and colder tomorrow. Dick has been skating quite a bit lately and feels ambitious enough now to try figure skating. They have been going to that Shelton place where they charge for renting shoe space.

At the local church, they are trying out various candidates each Sunday. Today the man who married Bessie Lee of Long Hill, took the pulpit, but Dave did not express himself as being very favorably impressed.

And that, my little shavers, is just about the limit of any mention of anything that even slightly resembles news, and as I have not the ability of Dan to write interestingly about mundane topics, I may as well quit, with the usual love and kisses.

DAD

I’ll be posting a letter from Grandma Peabody to Laddie tomorrow. On Wednesday, another letter from Grandmother Peabody, this one to Ced. I’ll finish the week with another letter from Grandpa to Venezuela and Alaska.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – A Letter From Rusty And Business Is Slow – Feb., 1942

pp pic 1

Trumbull, Conn., February 15, 1942

Dear Cathbut:

A surprise in the mail – – a letter from Magnus instead of Cedric; another surprise – – no letter at all from Dan. I have an idea that the Army caught up with him. In his last letter home he bemoans the fact that so far they had taught him only those things he had previously learned; now maybe the top sarg. Is showing him a few new tricks that make him want to hit the hay instead of bothering to write the folks back home. Incidentally, in the December, 1941 issue of Scientific American there is an article on how they train engineers at Ft. Belvoir. I have just finished reading it. As to Rusty’s letter, containing as it does real he- man stuff that would not make suitable reading forthe Aunt Betty’s and Barbara’s, it has been read only by the male members of the family, the circuit being completed by my sending it herewith to Ft. Belvoir, hoping it will get past the YMCA sensor. Rusty makes one revealing statement in his letter which may clear up some of the mystery that his been obscure since last December, which is the last time we have heard from Ced. He said something about cleaning out cabin. Now we have heard that their intention was to leave Rose Walsh’s but because of Rusty’s need for light a cabin did not seem indicated. However, it looks as though a cabin was finally decided upon but where it is, how big, how furnished and other pertinent details might still form the subject of a very interesting letter, n’est pas?

To Rusty, in his own right, and as a pinch-hitter for runaway Ced, I send best St. Valentine’s Day greetings and thanks for his typically Rustorian letter. No matter how fortune may buffet this veteran of many wars, his sense of humor remains unquenchable, one of the things, incidentally, we love him for. I sometimes wonder if the true measure of a man is not the number of heart aches he conceals under a smiling outside. Our Rusty stacks up high on this basis. So did Lincoln and so did another whose birthday also we commemorate this month in the inner quietness of our being.

Eb Joy sold out his station to Vernon Pert, and leaves with some Boy Scouts for a few days and then to Florida for a few weeks and then he enlists with a ski troop corps.

Business (it’s a shame to call it that) for the last few weeks has been terrible, one or two orders a day totaling four or five dollars. At this rate we are getting nowhere fast. I don’t know whether this is the new order and will be permanent or whether it is just a phase of readjustment from “business as usual” to a full wartime basis, but if it is not the latter and things don’t pick up soon, I will lose money more slowly by quitting work altogether and seeking some other job on a salary basis.

One day this week we had an air raid drill. Mantle’s house was supposedly bombed and Bob Shadick had two ribs broken. I helped as did also Dave, Ives, Reynolds, Laufer, etc., direct traffic so that they would not pile up on the main road and prevent fire apparatus and ambulance getting through. Evidently we did our job O.K. as we were congratulated by the judges on the result.

Dick registers tomorrow, Lad is deferred until April, Ced, per last news until this month, and Dan is in but silent. Dave is out but not silent. As for me, I just write letters which occasionally elicit an answer. During the interim I remain, yours truly,

DAD