The Beginning (48) Childhood Memories of Trumbull – Dick and Dave Remember

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. 

Back row: Grandpa and Lad,

Middle Row: Dick, Ced, (cousin) Dorothy Peabody;

Front row: Don Stanley, Dave, Biss and Gwen Stanley.

DICK – Ced  was a thorn in my side; he kept trying to make me a more refined person.

Once,  Ced spent his hard earned money to buy me a Tinker Toy truck.

DAVE – How did I get along with my siblings, aside from Dick?  That aside is because Dick used to push my buttons and get me going, on purpose.  Although I have to say,  he did me a big favor, because I have since learned to laugh at myself, to let things  – as people say  – roll off my back, and Dick would turn over in his grave if he knew this, but he was the one who set me on that path.  By the time I was eight or ten, Al, Lad, what ever  ….. by the way, if I had been nicknamed Lad, I would have put an end to it immediately.  But anyway, Al and Dan were already in the CCC camps, and I just didn’t have much of a relationship because of the distance in years

Mack

We had a dog, which came from Rusty, named Mack.  Mack was named after the Mackenzie River up in Alaska.  Rusty is a whole other story.  My main remembrance of Mack was one day, we were out playing in the yard and I had a stick.  I held it up in the air for him to go get it and he jammed his fang into my nail, and it  HURT.

I remember doing something to my sister one day and she threatened me with something and I said, “You can’t catch me” and took off and ran out into the yard.  I was making pretty good headway but she eventually caught up to me.  I don’t remember what she did to me, but I just remember that I got caught

My Mother and Father used to enjoy having parties and, when they got to know Rusty, he was always welcomed at their parties because he was a lot of fun. Invariably, now this was when I was very small, he would take me into the other room and show me a nickel.  Now, a nickel in those days was probably like two dollars today.  He’d say, “Now, if you go into the other room and say what I tell you to say, I will give you this nickel.”  Then he would tell me what to say and I would walk into the room and stand in the middle of all the crowd, and I wouldd say, “Daddy’s car is a piece of junk!” Then I would get my nickel – and Daddy’s car was a piece of junk.

We had a Dodge Coupe, it had for a heater a little opening that had a cover on it.  When you removed the cover, the heat from the exhaust pipe would come up and heat you  – yeah, some heat. It had a space, probably a foot wide, that ran behind the front seat, and whenever we went someplace, that was my spot.  Of course, today, you would get thrown in jail, not just arrested, but thrown in jail for having a kid riding up there, with no seatbelt on.

Tomorrow and for the rest of the week, more Childhood Memories of Trumbull,.

Judy Guion

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The Beginning (45) – Childhood Memories of Trumbull – Driving With Ced and Lad

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. 

                                         Packard and Mack

CED – I’m one of those who brag about the fact that I’ve been driving cars since I was about ten years old.  I got my license – Mother died on June twenty-ninth, and on June first, that same year, I turned sixteen.  I think I got my license on the second.  At that time I had driven quite a few miles with a driver next to me – quite a few miles without, and much more off road then on.  I used to drive on that road along the cemetery.  When they put the cemetery in, there was about a four foot drop to the road.  At the very end of it the drop-off was less and you could turn a car around where it was shallow and come back about halfway on the ledge to the gate.  We had a 1927 Packard Touring car.  I guess this was when Lad was working at Well’s Garage and he was making a little money there.  He saw the 1929 Packard Touring car – it was a beauty – and he asked Dad if he could trade in the old Packard and my Dad told him, “OK”.  We didn’t like that because that was his (Lad’s) car.  Well anyway, I had the car.  This one day I drove up that road, I guess I didn’t have my license yet, I’m not sure.  I was trying to turn around up there and I didn’t have enough room.  I got the front wheel over the bank.  When it went over the bank, it lifted the back end of the car on the right side.  “Oh, no”, I thought.  It was about a foot lower than the other end.  “Oh, brother, so this is it.”  I don’t remember how I got it off the bank; maybe I used a jack and pried it over.  I couldn’t go back and I knew I had to get it the rest of the way over.  I finally got it over the hill and onto the road.

Dad took us down to Baltimore in one of the cars – it must have been one of the Packards – to the Fair of the Iron Horse, this was the heyday of railroading.  They put on a beautiful show.  Dad drove us down and I know we had two flat tires, one going down and one on the way back.  It was a wonderful show.  They had all the old steam engines, the Sturbridge, and the Tom Thumb, they were the originals.  We sat in covered bleachers, and there was a huge stage, with water beyond the stage.  The old locomotives came in and people got out of the coaches, boats came in and out – it was wonderful.  The people wore period costumes.  We probably went in the early twenties, Dan, Lad and I – Dad always did things with us.  Dick and Dave weren’t in the group, they were born later.  I had the big privilege of seeing a very similar show at the Chicago World’s Fair (in 1934).

I guess we used Aunt Betty’s car sometimes because my Dad and Aunt Betty were very close.  Aunt Betty used to buy a new Buick every year and we used it a lot.

LAD – I was driving to Bridgeport (Connecticut) to see Anita Brown.  It was apparently past dark and I was heading south on Main Street.  The Chestnut Hill bus was going slower than I was.  I think he may have just been starting up after a stop, I don’t remember, but in any case, there was nothing coming so I saw an opportunity to pass him.  All of a sudden, my headlights picked up two reflections just a little above my hood.  I didn’t know what it was at first but then I realized it was a horse and buggy.  I pulled over tight against the bus … I was pushing hard against the bus.  The bus driver had seen the horse and buggy the same time I did.  Neither of us could stop fast but we tried and we stopped right together.  Neither vehicle was scratched but I hit the wagon.  I missed the horse but hit the wagon’s left front wheel and completely messed up the wagon.  The older fellow, who was driving, somehow got hold of his daughter and she came.  I remember her telling him, “I told you over and over not to put the lantern between your feet to keep warm.”  There were no charges filed against any of us.

Tomorrow and Friday, more Childhood Memories of Trumbull.

Judy Guion

The Beginning (28) – Childhood Memories of the Children – Young Lad and Driving

At this point Grandpa’s “Reminiscences of Alfred D Guion” has ended  and the rest of this story will be the memories of the children as they were growing up.

Art Mantle, Biss (Elizabeth Guion) and Lad

LAD – When I was eight, Dad took Dan, Ced and I, possibly Biss, for a walk up behind our property, past the cemetery.  There was a slightly sloping hill on the lot, and all of us were rolling down the hill, including Dad.  When he got up he said there was something wrong with his eyes, some dirt or something, so we went home.  His eye got worse and more bloodshot and it began to hurt more so Mother told him he should go see the doctor.  He was reluctant but finally consented.  I asked him if I could go and he said yes.  When he got to the doctors, the doctor told him that a piece of stubble had apparently pierced his eye.  He sewed it up and when Dad came out he could only see out of one eye, and that was blurred and watery.  He asked me if I could steer the car for him.  So I sat on his lap and steered the car, told him when to put on the brakes.  He did the shifting and used the clutch, but from that time on, I was very interested in driving.  I was only eight!

BISS – When Lad was twelve or fourteen, I don’t remember when, he and Ced and Dan and Dad went for a walk.  Dad’s eye got cut with a blade of grass or something.  So Lad drove him to the hospital, even though he was under the age, too.  Of course, Dad couldn’t drive because he couldn’t see.  So Lad drove him to the hospital and back after they took care of him.

AUTHOR’S NOTE: since Lad remembers sitting on Grandpa’s lap, he was probably closer to eight rather than twelve or fourteen.

LAD – By the time I was twelve, I was able to drive a car by myself.  I talked my mother into letting me drive to Kurtz’s store.  We had a 1925 Packard, and at that time, the road was so narrow that when I got to the junction of White Plains Road and Daniels Farm Road, there wasn’t much room to maneuver a car, so I went on down to Reservoir Avenue to turn around.  On the way back, I saw a car coming towards me.  It was Sheriff Stanley Boughton.  He looked at me, turned around and accosted me in the store.  He asked me if I had license to drive, and I guess I said, “No”.  He then asked me if my mother knew I was driving.  When I said, “Yes”, he told me to take the car home and leave it there … But I didn’t.  I never got into trouble after that until much later.  After I got my license I was driving up in the Newtown area and apparently I was driving too fast.  I got stopped for speeding.  Nothing ever came of it because my Dad was the Justice of the Peace and, at that time, First Selectman of Trumbull.

DICK – One time Lad took the Packard touring car, he was quite impressed with its power and high gear.  He started it rolling and slipped the clutch to get it started and went for a drive to Kurtz’s store.  Johnny Austin was the town cop.  He went to see Dad.  “You’d better talk to your boy … I couldn’t catch him and it’s a good thing I didn’t.”

AUTHOR’S NOTE: We will never know if Lad and Dick were talking about the same incident or two different instances.  I do know that my Dad’s love of cars started very early in his life.

Tomorrow, another excerpt from San Jose, California to the Lewis family back in New York. On Sunday, I will continue the story of Lad and Marian during and after World War II.

Judy Guion 

The Beginning (23) – Reminiscences of Alfred D Guion (1884 – 1964) – Moving to Trumbull

The following memories are quotes from “Reminiscences of Alfred D.  Guion”, written in 1960 while he was on a four-months “around the world” freighter trip. 

At this point I will begin adding the memories of the children as they were growing up.

The Trumbull House – circa 1928

(This picture is preserved on a 4″ x 4″ glass slide)

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, where 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 few weeks 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 onto 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 the proprietor’s wife, who, she told me afterwards, painted a glowing picture of an old house they owned in a small country place called Trumbull, too far away for them to drive in while conducting a business in Danbury, but evidently a dream of a home.  She must have 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 too 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 a job in the lower part of New York City and a Connecticut home seven miles from the nearest railroad station at Bridgeport, itself fifty-five 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 on inquiry, was told that she was figuring out 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.

Tomorrow and Friday, early memories of living in Trumbull. 

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Dear Convalescents (1) – Extracts From Dan and Ced – July 16, 1944

 

This letter from Grandpa to his scattered flock contains excerpts from letters he has received in the last week. It is quite a collection and it will take two days to finish the letter. Enjoy.

 

Trumbull, Conn., July 16, 1944

Dear Convalescents:

As your medical advisor I am recommending this week a full dose of extract of Guion, consisting of vitamins DBG, CDG, MIG a substitute for APG, (at the moment unobtainable) and DPG, to be taken with a little water, before, after or between meals.

Extract of DBG. (Daniel Beck Guion) (July 3, London) Gone completely is the idyllic lull about which I wrote so enthusiastically a few weeks past, and in its place has come a period which keeps us too much on our mettle to indulge in languid philosophy. Now we are engulfed in a realism which focuses war in sharp, unmistakable images, exciting… significant… decisive. The none too subtle curtain of the sensor must set as a haze filter to your perception, but one day soon I shall entertain you all with tall tales of “what Dan did in the war” – – and I promise it won’t be too boring. Thoroughly hail and equally hearty, Dan

 

Extract of CDG: (Cedric Duryee Guion) Anchorage almanac. Weather today clear, Sun rises before I get up, sun sets about bedtime. Hours of darkness, practically none. Temperature, good for swimming. Hospitalization notice: One 37 Buick seriously ill of spinal meningitis and requiring extensive surgery for return to active health. Medicines unobtainable in Alaska due to shortage of equipment as of war necessities. An emergency requisition has been placed requesting necessary herbs and tonics. The transmission, after a long and quarrelsome disturbance, accompanied by groans of pain for the last three months, finally had a hemorrhage and was partially paralyzed. Low, second and reverse suffered complete collapse of the motovaty nerves and left poor high badly overburdened, thus affecting composure of chauffer. While injury seemed trivial at first, treatment proved unobtainable and a major catastrophe developed. Patient was unavoidably retired from active service and in lieu of treatment, it was determined that further long-standing elements must be treated and so the heart was removed for observation and repairs. Tragically enough, this disclosed more faults that required unobtainable replacements. Now patient is interned in isolation ward until Pistons, transmission parts and other odds and ends can be obtained. Another birthday come and and gone with a very pleased recipient of gifts from home. McDonald’s had a little supper party with cake and candles. My burns (ha ha) have nearly disappeared (all signs of them, I mean). They turned out not half as bad as the other ones did, and I lost only three days work. I finished my course, took the CAA test and made an average of 86 which was up near the top of those grades received by the other students. Now I just need flying time and lots more of it. Can’t you picture me up high in the sky peeking around behind a cirrus cloud to see if the dew point is anywhere near the base of the cloud, or flying blind into the side of the next mountain only to discover I’d forgotten to correct for easterly deviation, and neglecting at the same time to consider the wind drift. Ah. Me, I wonder if I’ll ever get to use any of your laboriously gleaned aeronautical knowledge. Incidentally, if you want to get a good education in meteorology, as it is affected by weather, and get it in an easy to take form, get the book “STORM” from Mrs. Ives, or from the library. It has humor, pathos, drama, suspense and human interest all woven around the birth, growth and passing of a storm and its effects on men and their puny works.

Tomorrow, I’ll be posting the middle section of this letter with excerpts from Ced and Marian. On Wednesday, excerpts from  Dave along with Grandpa’s usual home town news. On Thursday and Friday, another letter from Grandpa.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Dear Sons – News From Dan – August 25, 1946

Trumbull, Conn., August 25, 1946.

Dear Sons:

Well, hay fever (or something) has caught up with me at last. In other words right now I’m feeling pretty low and such is my frame of mind at present that I’m not even enthusiastic about taking off for New Hampshire, which act I promised myself to do a long time ago as a ruse to foil my faithful little annual visitor. If I can get up ambition enough to take off this week you will hear from me next from the Lake.

Dan’s letter, which arrived this week, luckily furnishes substance for this screed, as otherwise not much in the way of interest would arise from the present state of my mind; Dan encloses two interesting snaps of Chiche (Paulette) and the baby, and writes: “It has been quite some time since I last wrote, during which time I have been to Nancy, where Chiche came to spend a week with me, and to Metz where Chiche and I found a hotel with bedbugs, to Longuyon to survey another cemetery, to Calais for the long-awaited baptism which was celebrated quite successfully, albeit somewhat less bibulous than is usual in France, to Languyon again to finish the job, to Paris and Versailles, to Calais for a week’s leave where we were alone for the better part of a week, the rest of the family being away, also on vacation, to Liege (where you found me this morning) enroute to Holland where two more cemeteries will be put on the map. Also during this long period without word from me I have decided (and abandoned the idea) to buy a Jeep. Once again we are planning to come home in the fall, but I have not yet ironed out the details. Speaking of ironing, the G.E. iron arrived, but being 1,000 watts is a little too powerful for Calaisian fuses although the voltage is O.K. I have taken three movies (8 mm) of Chiche and Arla and some of the family. Please continue to send me cigarettes. I shall be needing extra money before we sail to fill out my currency control book which keeps track of American dollars to which each American is entitled. I have credit for $500 for which I have no French francs to convert. I have several additional photos of Chiche and Arla, some in 3rd dimension color. I shall send them to you if I can pry them loose from Calais. That is all for now except we think of you all more and more — and Arla is wonderful. It’s Love. Dan”

I’ll start in sending cigarettes to you again, Dan. Probably five boxes of 10 cartons each, weekly, beginning next week. This will be a total of 500 packages in all which at $1 a pack should give you the requisite $500. Perish the thought, but if you don’t come home this fall, send me the proceeds and I’ll simply have to hop on one of these reconverted liners and visit you. Speaking of photos (and we were certainly delighted to get the two you sent) I am enclosing, with Lad and Marian’s cooperation, some recent views of our two little tykes. They continue to gain and had to have their formula increased just recently, both in quantity and strength. A card from Jean says: The Gibsons are leaving today (19th) so this will be the last mail for a few days. We are looking forward to seeing you soon. The weather has been pretty awful — not too much rain but cloudy and cold.”

Well, another Trumbull Fireman’s Carnival has passed into history. I must be getting old. I didn’t even go down there one night. It wouldn’t seem the same with Bob Peterson gone. Things are running along about the same here, except that we have been exceptionally busy at the office. I really ought not to go away and leave Dave to handle it alone but he says he likes it (bless his heart) and maybe in my present state I wouldn’t be much help anyway.

Sincerely yours,

DAD

Tomorrow, a letter from Ced and on Friday, a letter from Dave to “Mr. Guion”, (his father and my Grandpa) who finally made it to New Hampshire.

Judy Guion

Life in Alaska (2) – Ced Writes to Grandpa – June 26, 1946

(Letter from Ced to Grandpa

page 2, June 26, 1946)

Dan and Ced with new Buick delivered by Dick, 1941 

  In spite of all my efforts to counteract the trend, old father time is creeping up on Old faithful (his Buick, the one Grandpa bought in 1941 and Dick personally delivered to Dan and Ced in Anchorage), and aided by my indifference of late, I am afraid it is fast becoming mortal. These Alaskan highways are just too much for even a good car. I still hold fleeting hopes of finding a corrective rejuvenator, but without the finances or time, the old girl is sinking rapidly, tho’ she still holds her head high and pretends virility. I am still debating about performing more necessary surgery. With cars so scarce and so high, I still believe that inroads against senility can be made. Time alone will answer my questions, and in the interim, if you all in Trumbull will put in a good word for her in your devotional services, we may pull her through to a more glorious sunset.

I am in the midst of very similar activities as above on another long suffering and even more ancient member of our Alaskan family. Poor ailing Ben (his alarm clock), still faithfully clucking away in its ceaseless passing of time, was the object of much commendation and praise last week, but the inspection it received at the time was too much for it’s ailing heart, (prompted no doubt by my not to gentle handling and it’s being held in other than face down position) and now I have placed it under a complete rejuvenation program of my own, which I have some reason to believe might be successful. Pirkey’s clock is here as stand in, but it makes so da_n much noise! Big Ben is the quietest running alarm clock I ever heard. Funny thing is that I really have no need for an alarm anymore. I go to bed after work (around 5 A.M.) and of course waking up around 1 or 2 in the afternoon requires very little encouragement from external sources.

P.N.A. is still trying to get into long pants and still waiting for the C.A.B. (Civil Aeronautics Board) to- (what’s that poem about Roosevelt, and riding to the promised land?) What I am trying to say is they haven’t yet decided who will run the Seattle run.

I am enclosing an article about the new source of power for the city of Anchorage for the next two years. This will alleviate the terrible shortages which have caused terrific curtailment of power, affecting restaurants, hospitals and industry, as well as heatless homes, cold dinners in midwinter, etc. The city has also voted for and obtained a city manager at long last. Yours truly did his part to achieve this last by voting yes.

I’m doing some flying, and hope for a commercial license before fall. What after that? — Your guess is as good as mine.

Aunt Betty – Thanks for the card and enclosure, I am still holding the latter till I find something worthy of your thoughts for myself. Maybe a super necktie with the advantage of being a birthday necktie, which pleases both the giver and receiver. My very best love to you, and to all the others in the habitat de la Guion.

Ced

Other items of interest

The draft board has reclassified me 1-A, (silly people)

Some of the fellows out at P.N.A. are trying to form a union (more silly people, but they may succeed and if so, will get a closed shop). Maybe I’ll have to join if it is half reasonable, otherwise I’d go find another job. – Who knows?

Till next time then.

Oh yes, my vision is still 20-20, but I will probably have a permanent scar on my left eye corner. My eyes will perhaps give me a little trouble – tire more easily, etc.

Ced

The rest of the week will be filled with letters from Grandpa about the news in Trumbull.

Judy Guion