Ced’s Coming of Age Adventure (15) – Homecoming Anticipation – Aug, 1934

Noon   Aug 27

Dear Sonny:

Read your Friday letter and note all is going well with you. I suppose you will say goodbye to Uncle Francis on the third and be walking in on us about the fifth or sixth, if the going is good.

Aunt Betty came up Saturday night. I left with David in time to meet the 7:29 at Bridgeport. Going down E. Main St., at the corner of Boston Avenue, a young lad about 15 years old deliberately turned his wheel across my path. I was slowing up for the traffic light and was traveling at about 15 m.p.h. The bumper struck his wheel, knocked him off and he scraped along the road. His hip and leg were badly lacerated and bruised. If I had been going faster my front wheel would have gone over him. He worked in a First National store near the corner. He got up and walked in the store and the manager suggested I take him to a doctor nearby. No bones were broken and a little iodine apparently fixed him up. I was a bit late for Aunt Betty’s train, but she forgave me under the circumstances.

Aunt Elsie arrived Sunday morning. We celebrated her birthday at dinner. I read them all your letters, which elicited the usual comments.

Dan came home last night. I am enclosing a newspaper clipping which please hold or mail back as you please.

Lad came down from campus Saturday on his Harley-Davidson. He started at 9 AM and didn’t reach home until the middle of the afternoon – because of a punctured tire miles away from a service station. After several hours of alternating pushing and resting he finally patched up the tube and proceeded on his way.

Saturday PM he started out to see the man who was fixing his generator and at the base of Reservoir Avenue’s long hill his chain broke, so he pushed his motorcycle for the second time that day home from there. I drove him to Bridgeport in the Dodge were we finally located a secondhand chain at that place on E. Main St. near Crescent Avenue. Lad spent most of Saturday fixing up his junk horse and left Sunday night for camp.

I have decided, after talking things over with him, to have him go back to high school in September and do his best to graduate, so I may have two boys in the graduating class next June.

Otherwise things are going on about the same. We have to be careful in the consumption of water, but it is nowhere near as bad as it was last year.

Dick and George K caught and killed a water snake the other day, in which were 31 little snakes. 15 died and the rest were placed in the big galvanized wash boiler. Some have survived.

Give my very best and then some to Fran and his best girl and to the youngsters and tell them life will be a bit pleasanter when I can see them all again.

I gave Dick a croquet set for his birthday and it seems to have proven quite popular with everyone in the neighborhood. Peggy and Elizabeth have been playing tennis a good deal recently.

Well, it’s bedtime for your old Dad, who misses you a lot and will be most happy to have you home again. Until then, au revoir,

As always,

Dad

DBG - CCC Scholarship - 1934

I believe this article was published in the Waterbury (Connewcticut) News-Times, August 20, 1934, and includes:

The announcement of a CCC Scholarship to Wesleyan University – believed to be the first Civilian Conservation Corps Scholarship to be awarded by any college or university in the country.

James Lukens Mconanghy, President, had visited Camp Cross in Cornwall, Connecticut and was impressed with the men in the camp and the work they have accomplished.

Each Camp Superintendant will one enrolled man from his camp, who will become one of 14 possible recipients.

“Daniel Guion of Trumbull, Camp Cross candidate for the scholarship, is the first contestant to be named. Guion is a recently appointed barrack leader who has been active in all phases of the camp program of work, recreation and education.He has also been associated with the camp newspaper and the camp dramatic society.”

Tomorrow, I’ll begin posting a week of letters written in 1944 when all the boys are serving Uncle Sam in one capacity or another. Grandpa continues to hold down the fort with Dick’s wife, Jean and the Wardens, who rent the small apartment.

Judy Guion

 

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Early Memories of Trumbull – (8)

Before they died, I was able to record childhood memories of five of Grandpa’s six children. When Uncle Dan passed away, I knew I had to start the project quickly before we lost any others. These are some of their memories.

Cedric Duryee Guion

Cedric Duryee Guion

CED – In Trumbull, I went to the old Don Sirene’s house, which was a school. It had two rooms with a sliding door between them. The first, second and third grades were in one room, the fourth, fifth and sixth grades were in the other. The teachers were two sisters, one in each room. Miss Hawkins taught in the second building. That was the building that was moved. They put a basement under it and made some minor changes and made a firehouse out of it. We had outhouses outside – one for the boys and one for the girls. We had a water cooler, a 10 gallon jug with a pushbutton on the bottom, no ice and a wood stove. Both buildings had a wood stove – we kids used to get the wood for it.

When they opened Center School, I was in the fourth grade. It had four rooms upstairs and four rooms downstairs. It was shaped like a square.

At the Trumbull house, one of the things we used to do, one of the high points, had to do with the little trap door over the barn. We opened the door, tied a rope to the beam at the top of the barn, ran it down and tied it to the big Maple outside the Summer Terrace. We used to have a wheel on it and we would go out the door and hang from the wheel. We’d slide all the way down and get off by the Maple tree. A pretty fast ride, too.

We had a swing on the upper end of the property, near the stone pillars. We’d take hold of the rope, take a run and then swing out almost over the road. Don Stanley fell off and broke his arm. His father never really forgave us.

Elizabeth Westlin Guion (Biss)

Elizabeth Westlin Guion (Biss)

BISS – I really liked the Principal, at Center School, and I couldn’t wait for eighth grade to come so I could be with her. She retired to get married, either one or two years before that. I was in the sixth or seventh grade when she retired to get married. I was always mad at her, as I wasn’t able to have her as a teacher.

Alfred Peabody Guion (Lad)

Alfred Peabody Guion (Lad)

LAD – I don’t remember very much about any trouble I got into. Dick and Ced used to get into trouble. Mother would get a call from the police, or Constable, as they were called at the time. What their problems were I don’t remember, but they did get into trouble….Mother had to go get them a few times.

I do remember I used to ride one of the horses we had frequently, possibly every day or two, to go up to a house on the top of the second hill beyond Middlebrook School. There was a girl living there that I really liked. In fact, Bill Hennigan and I liked this girl very much. Ruth Moy was her name. I used to go up there on the horse and invariably, my mother would call and say, “Send Alfred home, it’s time for supper.”

We started high school in Congress High on Congress Avenue in Bridgeport. We went there for two years maybe, then they closed the school and made it into a junior high. All the high school kids moved across the street to Central High. Years later, some of the Trumbull kids went to Harding High, some to Central and some went to Bassick High School.

Tomorrow, I’ll be posting the next installment of Ced’s Coming of Age Adventure as he continues to meet family members and explore the upper Mid-west.

Monday will begin a week of letters written in 1941, after Dan and Ced have been in Alaska for about a year and Lad is getting close to coming home from Venezuela, where he has been working for almost two and a half years.

Grandpa’s letters give an incredibly detailed picture of life for an ordinary family in the United States during the 1940’s. Why not share the piece of history with a friend?

Judy Guion

Ced’s Coming of Age Adventure – 1934

The year is 1934. It has been a little over ayear since Arla poassed away. Grandpa isburied in financial debt because of the duration of Arla’s illness and the boys want to help.We haven’t had much to say about any of  the children during this time except that in the fal,l Biss goes to St. Petersbury, Fla., to help her Aunt Anne Stanley take care of her two children, Donald and Gweneth.

I’ll try to fill in the holes.

LAD and Dan are both working at CCC (Cuvilian Conservation Corps) Camps, Lad in the New London, Conn area and Dan in Willimantic. Lad has a motorcycle and uses it to come home on weekends and Dan tries to hitch a ride withy other young men who come from the Trumbull area.

Ced has taken off in his Coming of Age Adventure and Grandpa is writing this letter to him, although it takes a while to catch up to Ced.

Dick will be 14 in a month or so and is getting ready to go to Camp.

Biss is 16 and having a fun summer with friends and not really listening to Grandpa.

Dave is 9 years old and away at camp right now. It sounds like the family paid him a visit while he was there,

Trumbull, July 30

Dear Ced,

Monday night, dishes are washed and Elizabeth and Peg are out in Irwin’s (Laufer) trunk and Dick is just putting the finishing touches on his packing. He leaves for camp at 8:30 tomorrow.

But to go back. A week ago yesterday Aunt Helen and Dorothy came up and told of your visit at New York and Ossining. Dan and Lad came home. Lad of course spent most of his time on the motorcycle. During the week Arnold took off the generator which I left with Mr. Page and I also had the battery rebuild by Carr. Cost $3.75. Lad came home Friday PM, having first stopped at Page’s and retrieved the generator. We had a rush job Saturday at the office, so the whole gang, including Lad, went down and finished up a 5000 mimeograph job, run both sides – 10,000 impressions. We then got Lad’s battery. Saturday afternoon Rusty came up to get me to help him on an idea for a Lucky Strike advertising series. Dan did not come home at all this weekend and I have not heard from him. Sunday was uneventful.

Tonight I stopped at the store and got your letter from Chicago – which brings us up to date. Incidentally, here is a cartoon from today’s telegram which amused Dick. It might also be interesting to show to some of those, like the man in the Auburn who related his story about his hitchhiker experience, who seemed a bit hesitant.

One day last week we had a severe rainstorm, with wind, which evidently dislodged a chimney Swift nest in the dining room chimney. When we got up in the morning we heard a very queer noise and found two baby Swift’s who had fallen down the chimney into the dining room. In spite of Dick’s and Elizabeth’s efforts at feeding them, they expired within a day of one another and were buried under the Lolac Bush near the back door.

We have been pretty busy at the office this week. George had the automatic going today, imprinting 10,000 letterheads for Mercer.

David is still at camp. After supper one day last week (ink has run out of pen) we all took a trip up to the Hemlocks (on same road as Huntington’s junk place) and paid him a visit. While he did not admit it, he seemed happy and cheerful enough, is eating better and looks well. He may come home next week. Here is a card I received from him. The little boy blue he refers to is a wooden door stop which he made up there under their direction.

That’s all the home news I can think of right now. It is certainly good to know you are so nicely fixed at the YMCA. Inside rooms are often quieter and better to sleep in than outside. I’m also glad you had a chance to visit with the Draz’s and renew old family contacts. Will be much interested to hear all about them in detail when you get back.

One man told me of a stunt some boys did in getting to the Pacific coast by your method. They would go to some leading hotel, clean-shaven, neatly dressed, shoes shined, hair brushed, etc. and ask the clerk if they might look over the register for names of people from their hometown who were checking out that day. When any were located, they would waylay them at the desk as they were leaving and briefly explain just what they were doing, where they were going, etc. and if it would be convenient if they had room in their car etc. Very often, in the case of traveling men, they were glad for the company and they liked it better than picking some unknown up on the road. The conversation I suppose would run something like this: “Pardon me, but aren’t you Mr. Smith from Bridgeport? I saw in the hotel register your name listed as from my own hometown and I wondered if you happen to be going in the direction of St. Paul, and could conveniently let me bum a ride. I came out here to see some relatives by hitchhike method and stopped to see the fair.”

I just noticed that your letter mailed Thursday at 7:30 PM from Chicago did not reach me until Monday PM. Even assuming it arrived last mail Saturday, if you stay only the four days, you are leaving today and this note, which can’t be mailed until Tuesday a.m., Wednesday noon is probably the earliest it will reach the YMCA and I’m wondering if you’ll be there.

You haven’t said anything in any of your letters as to how the finances are holding out. Have you tried to cash in any Travelers checks yet?

I’m awfully glad you are making this trip. It’s something you will always look back on with pleasure. While I hadn’t any fear whatsoever about your being able to take care of yourself, it will broaden your knowledge of human nature, affording additional opportunities of practicing self-reliance and add another interesting chapter to your journey through life. The kind of thing I wish I had done when I was your age. Just the same, I miss you, old standby, and I’ll be really glad to see you march up the driveway soon.

Love

Dad

Tomorrow, we start a week of letters written during 1940 while Lad is still in Venezuela.

Judy Guion

Autobiography of Alfred Duryee Guion – I Quit My Job Cold – (25)

Grandpa and Arla have moved to Trumbull with five children and Grandpa is still working in New York City. He continues the story:

sol-alfred-duryee-guion-at-time-of-weddingA.D. – Meanwhile, I was having serious commuting problems. Each winter the trains were frequently late, which, together with the antagonistic attitude of my immediate boss at the office, made my frequent late arrivals at work increasingly disagreeable incidents. Also, the 7 mile auto ride to and from Trumbull in all kinds of weather, the 2 1/2 to 3 hour train ride to Grand Central, followed by a crowded subway ride to the battery, and this twice a day, not only was physically exhausting but also necessitated my leaving home early and arriving home late. There seemed only one sensible alternative – to seek employment in Bridgeport. A letter campaign from New York to Bridgeport manufacturers proving unfruitful after months of vain effort, in desperation, I resolved on drastic measures. With five little ones to feed and clothe I simply had to get a job, so burning all bridges behind me, I quit my New York job cold to wage an all-out on-the-job search to find something in Bridgeport. To make this step was one of the most difficult decisions of my life, but within two weeks I became Assistant Advertising Manager of the Bridgeport Brass Company and a few months later, Advertising Manager, which job I held until I left to start an advertising agency of my own.

Dave

Dave

DAVE – You have to realize that back in those days, only the lowest of the low would swear or cuss or use bad words of any sort so what would have been shocking in those days is absolutely nothing today. My father was Advertising Manager of the Brass Company and Bridgeport Brass Company had to plants. The one that was on E. Main St. had a great big sign on top that said BRIDGEPORT BRASS COMPANY. I don’t know how it fell under Dad’s responsibility, but at any rate, he got a frantic call one night, “You’ve got to come down to the plant. We’ve got a big problem. People are calling it – – – blah, blah, blah.” It seems that the B and the R in the BRASS had failed so that what they had was a big sign that said BRIDGEPORT ASS COMPANY. This was an incredible thing. Dad managed to square it away by making a few phone calls to the electricians and they quickly found the problem and fixed it.

A.D. – in Trumbull we became interested in local activities. A local volunteer fire company was started in which I was a charter member. To raise money to buy firefighting equipment we ran annual carnivals which were successful for many years, and in which the old Waverley electric car played a part.

Cedric Duryee Guion

Cedric Duryee Guion

CED – we still have a series of pictures of the old Waverley in the backyard. Rusty and some of his friends, my mother and my aunts, all dressed up in these beautiful period costumes from the 1800’s that were in good condition in the attic. They all dressed up in these close and we took pictures of them in the Waverley. Rusty pretended to be the groom and Aunt Dorothy was the bride. Rusty had his stovepipe hat on and all the ladies were all dressed up. Of course, the Waverley didn’t have any tires on it but it looked nice.

We kept the Waverley electric car in the barn. Dick, poor Dick, got all excited about the war effort. He thought, “Well gee, here’s this old junk and it’s pretty well shot.” The fire Department was looking for scrap metal. Dick was very patriotic and he thought he’d give them the Waverley, and at the same time, help the war effort

A.D. – I became Justice of the Peace, and Judge of the local traffic court. Later, for two terms, I served as the town’s First Selectman, during which time we celebrated the 300th anniversary of the town and also saw an old mine property converted into a public park. Arla became President of the Women’s Community Club, and was active in the Parent Teachers and other civic affairs, especially where common sense and sympathetic help was needed.

We have actually come to the end of the Autobiography of Alfred Duryee Guion, but his children recorded many more memories of their childhood in Trumbull. I will continue to post their memories, in as close to chronological order, every Saturday. One of the interesting things is that our memory doesn’t have a “date stamp” and unless there is another significant event that you can associate the memory with, it is hard to sometimes figure out exactly when something happened.

Another interesting fact is that individuals may share an experience but have no memory of the other person being present, or may remember details differently. But sometimes, the memories are strikingly similar and those memories are special.

I hope you will continue to enjoy the Early Childhood Memories of all six children as they recorded them in interviews with me. I readily admit that I have taken the actual transcription and edited it to make it easier to read.

I do have the original recordings and if I can figure out how to do it, I’ll let you listen to some of the recordings.

Judy Guion

Friends – Larry And Russ – The Two Jeeps – June, 1940

–      Saturday –

Blog - Lad in Venezuela walking in field (cropped)

This may have been the picture Grandpa was referring to when he mentions the watch band and the low shoes.

June 15, 1940

Dear Laddie:

We were very happy to receive your last letter and know we were not definitely in your discard file. For a while there you had us very worried; discard from your (we hope) preferred (?) list would be a terrible fate.

Things are pretty much the same as you left them here at 15 Harrison. We manage to keep happy and our bills are paid – so what more can we ask? With the exception of a few new articles our place will be as familiar as a favorite book, when you return.

By the way, when, if ever, are you coming home? I have lost track of your signed up period but don’t they let you off on a furlough once in two or three years anyway? We most certainly would like to see you anytime, the sooner the better.

Your as good-natured as ever according to your story about your car. We are glad to hear you have a car, for your sake though, not for the entire crew. When you’re rainy season hits try to find time to write a couple of lonesome “Jeeps”, if you can.

I think I told you that Cora, Rusty’s sister, was married last October. Well, they expect a little one in September. No as yet, I still have the same figure you last saw, with a little less weight. Seriously, however, if our plans work out right we will have a baby of our own next summer. There are always a good many “ifs” in such plans but we are hoping and praying – so we shall see. The last order from Russ was twin girls and I would love twins myself, so you never know.

(Interesting mention of twins, because Lad and Marian’s first pregnancy resulted in twins, my brother and I.)

We have not seen Babe in almost a month now. You know how she goes in fits and starts, we may see her two or three times in one week then not again for a month. Occasionally she drops in with her bag and spends the weekend. We like having her but never know when to expect her.

Russ is earning a little more money now, starting today, working in a self-service store on Fairfield Ave., Bridgeport, as a checker, on Saturdays.

Right now I am up to my ears in Red Cross work, and knitting children’s sweaters for the poor children who are pretty destitute, abroad. You feel as though it was worthwhile work and I like to do it, for, in the same circumstances, I might want help myself – Heaven have mercy on them.

I will close this now and do my cleaning, so until we hear from you, which we hope shall be soon, we are as always,

With loads of love,

Larry and Russ

(Laura Mae and Russell)

P.S. Please forgive my delay, next time I promise to do better.

Tomorrow we’ll revisit the move to Trumbull and include memories the children have of their early years there along with some early pictures.

On Sunday, we’ll find out where Ced is going after he leaves Chicago.

Next week will be devoted to 1941 and Lad’s impending trip home from Venezuela after two and a half years away from home.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Report of the Purchasing Agent – June, 1940

We’ve jumped back to June of 1940. Lad has been in Venezuela for about a year and a half, and he is the only child, at this time, not living at home in Trumbull. Both Dan and Ced are scheduled to leave shortly for a drive from Connecticut to Seattle, and then plan on taking a ship up to Anchorage where they have been told by friends that they can have a job. This is the first half of the letter, I’ll be posting the last half , with all the news of family and friends, tomorrow.

Blog - Big work truck - 1940

Work Truck in Venezuela – 1940

R-78

Dear Laddie;

Your letter arriving yesterday, appointing me Purchasing Agent, has born immediate fruit. I have nicked you for about $412 within the last few days. The biggest item was $397 in full payment for 10 shares of Fairbanks Morse stock, certificate for which, in your name, is in the Bridgeport City safe deposit box. Enclosed is a letter from the President of the company welcoming you to the fold as a stockholder. It occurs to me that this might be a good opportunity for you to acknowledge said letter on the Socony-Vacuum stationary, thanking him for the courteous note, mentioning your experience briefly in installing Fairbanks Morse equipment and telling him of your interest in diesel’s and the opportunity there seems to be for this type of equipment in Venezuela, etc. It cannot possibly do any harm and might do some good. You never can tell.

The next item of expenditure is not strictly a purchase. It amounts to three dollars, the sum sent at your request to Hadley, which he acknowledged receiving and which acknowledgment I sent you in the last letter. I agree with you that the mail service in your adopted country is lousy. They could do with a little American business system. I think if they were to put yours truly in charge for about six months I could do something about it. Take this Hadley incident as an example. Your letter asking me to send him the check was written on May 2nd and received by me May 13th (10 days, whereas by contrast the letter I got from you yesterday dated May 26th reached me May 31st – – five days). To this letter I replied the same day – – May 13th and told you I would take care of it. Yet apparently on May 26th you had not received my letter. It would help, if in replying, you would tell me what letters you had received since last you wrote home giving either the date or the R number I keep carbon copies of my letters to you so that I can refer back to any reference you might make to statements in them.

Item number three in my A.P. accounting has to do with Marie Page’s wedding gift. I enclose a clipping which has to do with the affair scheduled to take place this afternoon. As your letter reached me only last night and was read at the supper table, it meant that if I were to be on time I should have to do some hustling this morning, so as soon as I reached Bridgeport I hustled over to Read’s, intending to purchase a very fine double boiler I had seen there some weeks ago which I should very much like to own myself in view of the fact that our only double boiler developed a hole the other day. It was a highly polished stainless steel affair with copper bottom made by the Revere Copper company, a deluxe piece of equipment, a lifelong practical gift which anyone would be proud to own. The price was $6.50. However when I consulted my sales lady friend (perhaps you know her, Mrs. Banthin, who used to live in Trumbull and whose husband, I think, is the one who owns the body repair shop), she called my attention to a very fine electric table stove combination they had just placed on sale for the day, it was a combination Broiler, cooker, grill, with varying heat control, all chromium plated and originally selling for about eight dollars which was priced at $5.50 in which seemed ideal for in an apartment. So I had this shipped off at once to Marie’s address with a card inside with your name and the words “Greetings from Venezuela”.

The fourth item was Ced’s present. This had to be done in a hurry also because today also was Ced’s birthday. Dan had mentioned that Ced, in talking about the trip in the little Willys to the coast had mentioned that he did not have any bag of any sort to pack is clothes in and asked if Dan had room in his trunk. That of course gave me an idea. So at Read’s I looked at their luggage was the intention of keeping within the five dollar limit, but the only really appropriate thing I saw was a folding canvas leather trimmed with zipper and handles duffel bag contraption that was a beautiful piece of work but cost 10 smackers. I then went to the luggage shop across Broad Street and there found an ideal bag with a zipper made to carry four men’s suits without wrinkling them and supplied with a contraption so that you could hang the thing up in an auto. There were also two separate zipper compartments for shoes, shirts etc., and places to hang neckties. It was so ideal for their car trip across the continent that I felt if it was at all reasonable it should be the thing. The price was $6.65 but after talking with the salesman a while, he agreed to let me have it for six dollars. I hope this was not more than you wanted me to spend. I know Ced will be everlastingly grateful to you for it. So that is the account of my stewardship. If this is not in line with what you had hoped I would do, give me a hint as to what approximate amount you would like to spend, or the top limit that I will be governed accordingly.

Tomorrow’s post will be the second half of this letter. The rest of the week will be more Trumbull news.

Judy Guion

Autobiography of Alfred Duryee Guion – From Larchmont to Trumbull (1)(25)

Landsdown Dr. house

Alfred and Arla are the proud parents of five children and are looking for a house bigger than this one and further out in the country.. Purely by chance, they were introduced to Trumbull, Connecticut and a particular house, and the rest,as  they say, is history.

A.D. – And now having recorded some of the events in the first two decades of my life spent in the state of New York, let us look further east to Connecticut, were up to the present time, two or more decades have seen the childhood, youth and adulthood of most of my children and their families.

How did we come to settle in Trumbull? Almost purely by chance. And it all happened because of a vacation spent at my brother-in-law’s summer camp in Connecticut. One day, Fred Stanley, who had married my wife’s sister Anne, told us he had rented a little shack in the woods near Sandy Hook, Connecticut, on the Housatonic River, and as he could use it only part of the time, he asked if my family would be interested in occupying it for a couple of weeks. We were, and one summer morning we loaded up the old Franklin with beds, mattresses, clothing and food, and with five children and two adults, escorted by Fred to show us the way, we started merrily on our adventure. Approaching Danbury, the most awful bangs, rattles and clanking left no doubt that something was seriously wrong with my car. Luckily, a Franklin repair service was located nearby and here we learned that a main bearing had burned out, which would take a couple of days to repair. By dint of persuasion, seeing our plight, the headman finally consented to put all hands to work to try to finish the job by nightfall. Fred was to go on to the camp with the children in his car and Arla and I would stay with the Franklin until repairs were completed. While I watched the mechanics at work, Arla spent several hours chatting with proprietor’s wife, who, she told me afterward, painted a glowing picture of an old house they owned in a small country place called Trumbull, too far away for them to live in while conducting a business in Danbury, but evidently a dream of a home. She must’ve been a good saleswoman because Arla was so enthusiastic from the description given that when vacation time was over and I had to get back to work, she persuaded Fred to drive over to the place. It was a case of love at first sight and nothing would do but I must see it to and discover what an ideal place it would be for the children. I, too, was pleased with it.

It was obviously out of the question as a practical proposition because, with the job in the lower part of New York City and a Connecticut home 7 miles from the nearest railroad station at Bridgeport, itself 55 miles from Grand Central Station, only a madman would give the matter a moment’s consideration. She reluctantly agreed and the subject was abandoned, in my mind at least. As it has often been said, it is unwise to underestimate the power of a woman. Returning home from work several weeks later I found her, one afternoon, busily sketching at a table covered with several sheets of paper, and, upon inquiry, was told that she was figuring how our present furniture would fit in the Trumbull house. Seeing how serious she was, there followed several weeks of weighing arguments pro and con, ending in the decision that, for the children’s sake, I would take the chance and try commuting between Bridgeport and New York.

Next Saturday I’ll post more on this story.

Tomorrow I’ll be posting the last section of “What I Saw at the Chicago World’s Fair – 1934 with Ced’s sometimes cryptic notes about each exhibit.

On Monday, I’ll be taking you back to 1940 when Lad is in Venezuela and Dan and Ced are talking about going to Alaska in June.

If you happen to know a personal history buff, why not send them a link to this blog, which certainly has a lot of information about ordinary family life in the 1940’s? They might really enjoy it.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Waiting For Reinforcements From Venezuela – March, 1941

Blog - Waiting For Reinforcements From Venezuela - March, 1941

Lad, one evening this week, the girl that works in the Bridgeport Blue Print Company called up and asked what your address was. She said she had received a birthday card from you. Dad

R-120  (Page 2 – March 9, 1941(

Dear Lad:

Dan got a letter a while ago from Fred Chion which you sent home with the thought that Ted might like to read it (I am enclosing it for your information). I sent it to Helen and she returned it with the following note:

“Thank you for sending the letter from Daniel’s friend. Ted was of course interested in reading it, as I was. What a man that Maxudian is! I can imagine how you are looking forward to Lad’s return. It really is only about four months away. It scarcely seems that he’s been gone for over two years. Good luck to Dick on his new venture — he’s bound to enjoy himself. I had heard that Roger is a captain in the Army and I think it’s the biggest piece of humbug I ever heard of. Of course his one ambition in life is to strut his ego in uniform. God knows he’s not fit to handle men — but I suppose the family push and pull is a big aid. I have delayed writing you because I sent Dan’s letter to New Rochelle for mother and Dorothy to read and it just came back. There is no particular news from Brooklyn — the Navy yard is still pounding away as hard as it can.”

We are in the midst of the worst storm of the winter. Yesterday (Saturday) I did not even attempt to get out my car but took the bus to Bridgeport. The roads had been plowed but not my driveways. There was only about a foot of snow but the high wind that accompanied it piled drifts high, and I had no chains. It is still snowing or I should say snowing again, so I don’t know what I will do tomorrow.

Well, Dave and I are holding the fort alone now, keeping the banners flying bravely just biding our time until reinforcements arrive from Venezuela. Barbara (Plumb, Dan’s girlfriend) seems to think it not unlikely that Dan may be home sometime this summer, but nothing he has written in any letters to me, mention anything along that line. It is about time he wrote me again so he may take the occasion to mention some of his future plans at that time.

Blog - Clayton McClinch

I heard the other day that young McClinch was going to a diesel engineering school run by the Army or Navy rather, or maybe it was the naval reserves. If when you land and have to register for the draft and are unfortunate enough to be called, there might be some compensation if you could get into the diesel end of the national defense program.

I have heard no more from Elsie about her business nearing the rocks, but I am a bit concerned about Aunt Betty (I haven’t heard from her either) but as she depends on what they pay her from the shop for living expenses, I can imagine she is a bit worried even though she may not admit it. I think I shall invite her to make her home here for the summer starting as soon as the weather gets warm enough.

As I did not get a letter from you last week I am looking forward to tomorrow’s mail. Nothing else I can think of now.

DAD

P.S. to Alaska: In today’s post save article on  B-5 for Dick. In the third section there are articles on skiing, Bridgeport flying service news and an article on South America that Dan might be interested in.

This piece was not with any letter but it falls here chronologically so I’m including it with this post for your enjoyment.

Blog - Lad's vacation from Venezuela - March, 1941

It is an Inter-Office Memorandum to Mr. A. P. Guion and reads:

In reply to a recent enquiry regarding your status in respect of vacation we have received information from the Caracas Office to the effect that you will be given the usual Comprehensive Transportation Allowance and two months’ vacation at whatever time may be convenient to the Company after April 14th next.

Yours Very Truly,

Blog - Lad's vacation - JH Wardlow's signature

J.H. Wardlow

Tomorrow, Grandpa tells us about the first “home of their own” in the Autobiography of Alfred Duryee Guion.

On Sunday, we’ll have more of Ced’s impressions of various exhibits at the Chicago World’s Fair in 1934.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Ced’s 200% And Cars – Feb., 1941

R-117   Trumbull, Conn.,  Feb. 22, 1941

To the several members

of the

Trumbull Expeditionary Force

GREETINGS:

Today, as you will observe, is Birthington’s Washday.  It is Saturday and my office has taken a holiday to show the right “I am an American” spirit. The habitues that still frequent the old haunts erstwhile yclept “Babbling Brook”, have been busy all day engaged in such menial tasks as dusting, cleaning silver, washing floors, sweeping, etc., in order to get the house in proper condition for the expected visit tomorrow of some old friends named the Burnham’s in the person of father Rufus, mother Louise and sons David and Bradford, who plan to partake of a Guion Sunday dinner. After dinner the two old cronies will get together for a heart-to-heart business talk in which Guion will attempt to inform Burnham what the possibilities are for the latter to start a letter shop business in Florida. This schedule, as you can readily appreciate, will completely warp the standard Sunday afternoon schedule, which, come flood or high water, is invariably devoted to foreign correspondence, hence, looking forward to such a contingency I am taking time by the “fetlock” and writing Saturday evening instead. So much by way of explanation.

Ced Guion

Ced Guion

Ced gets the Legion of Honor medal this week. His letter score is 200%. My old Danny boy also came across, but Lad missed the bus entirely. Ced’s letter started on January 31st, completed on the 3rd and post marked the 5th, received here the 17th, starts with a spirited defense against my occasional flings at delay in receipt of letters from you boys. I am forced to the conclusion that a large part of the trouble is attributable to the poor mail service particularly on the Alaska end. As you know, even when laid up in bed as has happened on a couple of instances in the past, I religiously make it a point to write to you Sunday afternoon. These letters are just as certainly mailed Monday morning and if you don’t get your weekly letter regularly, it means either that I am completely non-compus mentis or the mail service is on the bum. It is because I cannot count on such exact regularity that I am not always sure the mail is at fault when more than a week passes without word from you. I do hope the airmail service will soon be improved because it ought not to take more than two weeks en route for an airmail letter.

And that brings me to the matter of the news regarding the car purchase. In Ced’s letter of February 7th (received here 2/20) he mentions receiving a letter from Arnold mentioning trying out a Buick. That is the Buick I bought. I closed the deal the day following the trial run referred to Jan. 29th, and the Sunday following, Feb. 2nd, I wrote you a full account of the transaction. Either Arnold wrote within a day of the time we tried out the car or my letter to you was delayed in transit. However I hope you now know the worst. I was quite pleased to get Ced’s letter a couple of weeks ago after I had bought the Buick saying he would place first on the list a 1937 Buick. Ced speaks about a canvas cover. I went to Sears Roebuck and looked up samples of the various weight of canvas on the many different types they list, and finally decided on one that seems to be a good deal tougher than the cheap ones but not so heavy as the most expensive ones. I finally picked one that will set you back about $20 delivered. I also bought at Bridgeport Chain Factory a set of their best grade heavy-duty de luxe tire chains, getting the employees price of $4.20 for the pair. Of course Carl will grease the car thoroughly before Dick starts but I doubt if that will do much good in protecting the car on board the boat as it will have run over 3000 miles in the meantime. I will tell Dick to be sure to have it greased in Seattle before he delivers it the Berger pier. Dick has already sold the Packard to Arlton Monsanto and doubts that he can now come back at him and remove some of the parts. Your new Buick already has a factory installed heater switch. Arnold, according to Carl, took a week’s vacation after leaving his old job and before going to the new, and has gone to Maine. Carl says Arnold has definitely decided not to come to Alaska now. Being away, Dick has not been able to talk to Arnold about a Briggs clarifier, but I will have Carl put it in.

By the way, Mr. Whitney, Don and Myron’s father, is quite seriously ill with an ulcer of the stomach. He had a severe hemorrhage the other day at home and lost a lot of blood. He is flat on his back now and when he recovers his strength sufficiently will have an x-ray taken to see if an operation is necessary.

Ced’s second letter, received this week, brings up the question of registration and suggests wiring information to Rose Walsh. I did not do so because I figured that if you had not already gotten my report on the purchase of the Buick giving you all the needed information for license purposes, and had already obtained the forwarded plates, it would be too late to count on getting them here before Dick starts. March 3rd, the scheduled starting day, is now so close that I am a bit concerned as to whether the Alaskan plates will arrive in time. He has to get renewal plates by March 1st and I am waiting until the last day to see what the mail brings in the way of plates from Alaska. With your’s and Dan’s last remittance of $50 each for the car, there will be some excess after paying for chains, cover, Prestone, etc., but not enough to count much as far as Arnold’s needs are concerned. Anyway, as related above, Carl says he is not intending to go.

And by the way, when you boys have money orders drawn, will you please make them payable to me at Bridgeport and not in Trumbull, as I have to wait three and four days for Eleanor Kurtz to accumulate the necessary funds before she can cash the money orders. This has happened on several occasions. When drawn on Bridgeport I don’t even need to go to the post office to get the cash but can deposit them like a check in my bank. Thanks Ced for the $25 which I assume is your regular payment home in addition to the $50 for the car. If I am wrong in this please let me know.

I enjoyed reading the clippings in yours and Dan’s letters and would like to see a photo of you with the beard! My God, you must be a sight.

The new airmail service will be good but how many years do you think it will be before the million dollars appropriated to establish fueling stations at Regina, Edmonton, Grand Prairie and Whitehorse, will result in actual starting off airmail service?

Aunt Elsie writes they are having serious financial difficulties and may have to go into some sort of receivership and perhaps bankruptcy. Will know more later.

DAD

I’ll finish out the week with a rather long letter, first a note to Lad and then one to Dan and Ced, all written on March 2, 1941.

In honor of Christmas, there will not be a post tomorrow, From my family to yours, may this holiday season bring you joy, peace and happiness.

Judy Guion

Autobiography of Mary E. Wilson – Trumbull – 1948

Mary E. Wilson

Mary E. Wilson

1948

When we finally moved from Edwin Street and followed the moving truck, I never looked back. I had a feeling of utter relief to be out of that house. As I stated before, everything seemed to change drastically in our favor. Mary Jane and Archie’s health seemed to improve so much. The children were able to play in clean air and lovely surroundings.

When I enrolled the children in school, Mary Jean seemed to adjust beautifully but David had to repeat his school year. Thank God for Mrs. George because she really helped David, who was not a good student, to adjust to a new town. It did not take David long to adjust to his country living. One of his closest friends was Charlie Heimann, the Kurtz children, and when the Pencoff’s moved next door with three boys, they all had a great time.

We only had a $3000 mortgage on the Laurel Street house so the Edwin Street house had paved the way to Trumbull as we had planned, plus Archie’s hard work. Archie’s brother had bought the lot next to us and finally built a house. He moved in with Jerry, my sister-in-law, their three-year-old son, and Archie’s mother.

Beverly was only two years old and I remember tying a 20 foot rope around her waist because we had an electric fence at the back of our property. Mr. Laufer was a farmer with cows, which fascinated Beverly.

We became active in community projects and also in the Congregational church because I did not have a driver’s license.

There was a river near the house so the children were able to swim nearby. We were very busy. Archie had a garden and we bought shrubs for landscaping. We wanted to do so much to improve the house. I remember how thrilled I was about the thermostat. We had never lived in a home with central heating. To be able to control the heat with the turn of a knob never ceased to amaze me.

We now needed extra money so I took a night job at Briarwood Farms restaurant in Bridgeport. We really wanted to furnish  the Laurel Street home. We also wanted to build a garage. I did not go to work until 6:00 in the evening but with Archie working on the property after work, I realize now that my Mary Jean really had the responsibility of meals, homework, etc. for her brother and sister. Beverly could be defiant but David was more even-natured. As a very small boy his favorite expression was “I love all bodies”. I think that, of all my children, David was the most good-natured. When he was a baby he developed pneumonia and we almost lost him. Thank God sulfur drugs had been discovered and used and I am positive it saved his life. He had a severe break in his arm as a three-year-old but mostly he was a very healthy child. Beverly was spoiled rotten and I think at my age, which was now 37 years old, it was easier to give in to her rather than argue with her. She was a strong willed girl and her brother and sister gave into her all the time. There were eight years between Beverly and Mary Jean and David was caught between two sisters. They were all good children and except for Mary Jane’s asthma, they were all healthy and I am sure they were very happy in Trumbull.

We had only been in our new home two weeks when Mary Jean, playing by the river, got a fishhook in her eye. The boy who did it was a neighbor’s son. The Minister from the Congregational church witnessed the accident and had the sense to cut the line rather than pull out the hook. We rushed her to the hospital and Dr. Sim’s operated and her eyeball required stitches, but thank God he saved her eye. She was in the hospital 10 days. She was home only two weeks when they all came down with chickenpox.

Next Sunday I’ll post the rest of 1948 with more informati9on about Archie and Mary’s life in Trumbull with their three children.

Tomorrow, I’ll be posting a correction and for the rest of the week, we’ll be reading letters from 1944, when the boys are in the Army. Lad has just been sent to Texarkana, Dan is stationed in London, Ced is still in Alaska and Dick is in Brazil. Grandpa is still writing his weekly missives trying to keep his sons as close to home as possible.

Judy Guion