Trumbull – Dear Ced and Rusty (1) – New Year’s Eve – January, 1942

Judy_0003

January 4, 1942

Dear Ced and Rusty:

I am so used to writing to more than one of my boys that Rusty will have to substitute, although as far as “love and affection” goes, he fits right into that category anyway. Indeed, as far as realism goes, the fact that I had a very welcome letter from Rusty this week, penned, I suppose, from the very room that housed and still houses a portion of the Guion clan, adds strength to the fact. Rusty’s vivid power of description – – Ced’s tramping across the floor in his jockstrap, his lusty snores, all brought back well-remembered recollections. Somehow or other I had a feeling that trampings ten times as heavy and snores ten times as stentorius would be more than welcome if I could hear them right here in little old Trumbull for a change.

Well, the holidays are over and things have settled down to a 1942 basis. Before bidding it a final adieu, however, there are a few facts to record. New Year’s Eve Anne phoned from New Rochelle that you would like to come up with the children and stay overnight. They arrived in time for supper. The combined party with Paul’s friends did not materialize because Paul (Warden, renting the apartment with his wife Katherine) , a few days previously, developed a very bad sore throat, swollen glands, etc., and was in bed, unable to talk above a whisper and only today has been up and around. However, most of the steady visitors were on hand, and while Aunt Betty and I did not stay up until three or four or whatever time it was the last of the revelers (Don Stanley was the last one in) had retired, there was enough noise and what goes with it to issue in the New Year in the approved fashion. Friday the Stanley’s left for Vermont where Anne felt it necessary to go in order to make financial arrangements so that she could continue on with the children’s schooling in Virginia.

Last night it snowed quite hard and today looks like an Alaskan landscape. The boys who were out in their cars last night had difficulty in coming up the driveway. Today Lad took Dave down to WICC (a Bridgeport Radio station) where he took part in a program sponsored by the American Legion, on Pan-American activities, acted out by students selected from Harding, Central and Bassick. (The three local High Schools) The new ruling that has gone into effect prohibiting the sale of tires here and I suppose all over the country, has caused me to wonder a bit what I will do. I tried to get my spare retreaded recently but was unable to do so because the sidewalls were not strong enough. Lad was lucky enough to get two tires from George Knapp the other day. There is some compensation in the fact that, as both Lad’s car and my own are identical models, the tires are interchangeable and in a pinch we can help out the other fellow.

Tomorrow, the rest of this letter. Wednesday will bring a letter to Lad from a friend in Venezuela who is back in the states, and Thursday and Friday, another letter from Grandpa to Ced.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Dear XXX – Questions for Ced and Dan – October, 1945

page 2    10/14/45

I hope it speeds you both on your way back to the good old U.S.A. in fact, it would be the occasion of quite a celebration if we could commemorate your birthday by having you here in person. By the way, the old Chevy, which has been down in Steve’s direlict car graveyard for so long, has now been retrieved and after an hour and a half of waiting and red tape, I was able to get it registered again in Dan’s name and now Dick and Jean have a car (?) to run around in. Rumor has it that a week from next Saturday, they plan to take a trip up to the island and give it the once over. And while I’m still talking to Dan, I might mention that the Railway express, I believe, has announced the resumption of air express service to France, so that we may be able to send the things for the Rabet’s by air as soon as all finally arrive from Sears, Roebuck; that is, of course, if I hear from you promptly instructing me to send them by this channel rather than the regular overseas box method to you. It will, of course, be more expensive but quicker. Another thing I am hoping to hear from you about by tomorrow, which is supposed to be the last day Christmas packages can be sent to boys overseas, is what your latest plans are, if any, for a return here by that time, so we can know what to do regarding gifts for you and Paulette. And please, be so kind and considerate as to send us a list of things both of you would like to have us send you from the states for Christmas gifts. Then I should like to have Paulette begin to think about a suitable wedding gift from Dad. Marian’s and Lad’s (he’s of course delighted with it) is a Singer sewing machine; Jean and Dick may also decide on the sewing machine but they want first to settle their future plans more definitely before deciding. I should prefer, naturally, to have it some sort of gift that will last a long time, that no one else would be apt to give, the cost to be at least $100. Give it some thought, Paulette, my dear, and don’t be too bashful about expressing your thoughts.

Now turning to Dave. That was quite a little blow out they had back in your old camping place, wasn’t it? I was certainly glad you were in Manila. In the Readers Digest for last May, which I just got around to reading the other day, I ran across the enclosed article on “Stop, Look and Listen! Before Starting Your Own Business”, and I agree so whole-heartedly with everything he says in it that I am sending it on to you for careful consideration.

   Ced, me heartie, I received through the mail this week a book by Thurber from Alaska, which looks to me like very good bedtime reading and I assume it comes from my tall Alaskan lad. As mentioned previously, I am waiting to hear from you that I am right in this, as well as to be brought up to date on your airplane news, your doings in general, ski club, Rusty, Buick, airways news, future plans, etc., and later when you have time, your complete reaction on the island affair.

And that’s about all I can think of at present outside of the fact that Barbara Lee Rubsamen’s engagement is announced in the paper today. The man’s name is S. C. Whiteside, Jr., of Old Greenwich, Conn.

So, the 16th of October passes into the great past and we look forward to the atomic future (and Dan’s birthday), with I hope, some new and interesting news next writing from your reporter, who subscribes himself as

Your loving          DAD

Tomorrow and Sunday, more Special Pictures.

On Monday, I’ll begin posting a week of letters written in 1942. The year is just starting and the older boys are quite concerned about what the Draft Boards are deciding – about them!

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Dear XXX – News About Family -October, 1945

Trumbull, Conn., October 14, 1945

Dear XXX (supply your own name here)

My thoughts this Sunday are errant ones, or to speak brutally, I am scatter-brained tonight and it’s too bad, too, because I must rely on myself and cannot resort to quotes to make the letter appear interesting. So here goes and if my topics appear like the nimble mountain goat that it jumpeth from crag to crag, just put it down to the turmoil of thought incident to the rapid coming and going of soldier boys, here today and gone tomorrow. Lad, for instance, who leaves Wednesday night for Devens (Ft. Devens in Massachusetts), driven thereto by Marian (physically, not mentally), presumably for transshipment to Aberdeen, (Aberdeen Proving Grounds in Aberdeen, Maryland, where he started his training over three years ago) following a 15-day extension of his original 30-day furlough. Marian returns alone, which translated in Guionese means that he has actually departed for Aberdeen. But lo, and behold, as his train passes Bridgeport, off he hops for another visit home, because Army orders read he does not need to report definitely to Aberdeen until tomorrow. So off he goes again this afternoon, to return – – – (write your own ticket.)

Meantime, we’re getting used to seeing Dick around again, and between Lad and Dick, there are a number of things around the house here that are getting done on rapid order, that have been vying for “doing” for some years. The furnace Stoker  regulated, the oven control on the kitchen (electric) stove fixed, the north slide on the kitchen table fixed, arm on the small maple chair in the alcove (the latter two by Dick), and in course of building a moth proof closet in the attic (also I Dick). Lad has also done a number of other mechanical repair jobs and both boys have helped sawing and chopping wood, etc. By the way, did I tell you that, in a small size windstorm the other day, another great branch or section of the north side of the Maple tree in the back of the house, split off about opposite where the other part fell off on the apartment roof, which leaves this particular tree, which I always admired for its symmetrical shape, looking rather anemic. But to ramble on, I’ve just had my car fixed up with new clutch, body bolts tightened, new muffler pipe, shock absorbers refilled, rubber bumper block installed, etc., so that it runs better than it has lately. How’s your Buick, Ced? I haven’t heard you say lately; in fact, I haven’t heard much from you about anything. Careful now, or I’ll begin to get up pressure again and explode right in P.O. Box 822, (and a few days after following usual custom, get a most contrite letter from you acknowledging that you should have written before, etc.). It’s about time also I heard again for Parisian Dan. Dave writes pretty regularly although I didn’t hear from him last week.

Jumping  now to the island proposition, which is the next thing that pops into my wondering mind, I am eagerly awaiting comments on the numerous questions I raised in my last letter and your several suggestions on the whole business. I know Lad and Marian have something in the works and Dick and Jean have something in contemplation. Elizabeth has not referred to the matter on the one or two occasions I have been in touch with her since, so I don’t know how enthusiastic she is about the thing. What do you think of the idea of planting, at some suitable spots on the island, a cherry tree, maybe some nut trees, fruit trees (apple, peach, pear, plum) possibly some grapevines, and how about an asparagus patch?

Aunt Betty Duryee

It was Aunt Betty’s birthday Thursday, and as that was our regular day for visiting Elizabeth, Dick and Jean also came over (Lad and Marian were enroute to Devens) we celebrated over there. And speaking of birthdays, one is coming up pretty soon for Dan. And in that connection, Dan, I neglected to mention in my last letter that a week ago Tuesday, I did receive your birth certificate from Mount Vernon with its assurance that you actually had been born, and this was sent on the same day to the government office requesting it at Philadelphia.

Tomorrow, the second half of this letter from Grandpa to Dan, Ced and Dave – Lad and Dick both being home.

On Saturday and Sunday, more Special Pictures.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Dear Travelers All (2) – Elsie Pinch Hits For Grandpa – August, 1943

And now dear children, I have quite a pleasant surprise for you. As you know, August 22nd  is Elsie’s birthday (Incidentally Ced, I never have any trouble remembering your PO Box number on this account). She is making a personal appearance. It gives me great pleasure to introduce …..MISS GUION.

Thank you, thank you, Maestro Guion and howdy Lad, Dan, Ced and Dick. To make this an extra special occasion for myself, I came up Friday night and caught the 10:30 bus. No, I’m not celebrating my birthday anymore! But my brother did in his usual, expansive style.

My home life remains the same as usual – going back and forth to the Shop. I suppose I’m doing my bit by staying on the job, but I’d feel better if the commodities we deal in and were vital to the war effort. I’d feel better if I was riveting something or working on airplanes with the possibility of being sent overseas to do something there or preparing to work overseas in the postwar period. I hate to think of the war coming and going without my having put my finger into the war itself somewhere or somehow.

I’m still at the Tudor and trying to get along on less and less – what with increasing taxes and the increasing cost of food. Restaurant food is so high and the quality so correspondingly low that we try to eat home as much as possible but the heat of summer makes it impossible to keep perishable things without ice. A young woman comes to us every day and helps us until about 7:30 P.M. she comes at 5:00 P.M., after her daytime job in an architect’s office. On Sunday she goes to New Jersey and on Monday brings us nice ripe tomatoes, string beans, squash, etc. Not all at once, of course. But we enjoy the fresh vegetables. It’s a rare treat.

Just now Aunt Betty and I and Smoky took a walk up to the ol’ swimmin’ hole. It looks deserted – weeds are overgrown all around, there’s not too much water running on account of little rain lately, and it looks forgotten. Smoky barked a cow out of her afternoon nap, splashed in the water several times and was the only one to show real activity.

Well, here’s wishing you and you and you and you the best of good fortune in the days ahead. I wish I were on the seas going places. So long,

Elsie

Jean has been spending the last few days at Fairfield Beach with Barbara and some other girls. I think the cottage is owned by Helen Berger. Anyway, she is one of the party. Jean lives in hourly anticipation of hearing from Dick. I had definite instructions to call her anytime of the day or night if word should come from her M.P. (Married partner), but to date this has not been necessary.

Things go on here in the regular routine. Everything, both inside and outside the house, remains about the same. Meantime, Ced, the little blue boats in your room continue to sail on their interminable journeys to unnamed ports, awaiting the day when you will, to the haven of Trumbull from distant Alaska appear, and plop will go the anchor for a bit of shore leave. Until that time, keeping the beacon light burning bright will be the job of your old lighthouse keeper (and cook),

DAD

Letters from Grandpa will fill the week but there will be a quick telegram from Lad.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – A Birthday Letter to 31324665 – August, 1943

Trumbull Conn.  August 15, 1943

Dear 31324665:

THAT, dear children, may be just a number to you, but translated into Uncle Sam Army language it spells Richard Procrastinator Guion, the middle name having been earned at birth and as far as correspondence to the home front is concerned, has been reaffirmed weekly since that time with an Ivory Soap score – 99 and 44/100% pure, (In view of my chosen profession I just have to get in these little advertising ideas in my correspondence, you know).

Is that, you may well ask, the approved method of having a letter addressed to one? No, NO, perish the thought! It isn’t even in spite of that fact. But by this time you may have guessed. In just a few days now we will celebrate a birthday but it will be a party without the main guest. We can’t even send him greetings, much less a gift because we don’t know in what corner of the globe he is hiding from Adolph. So we have unanimously adopted the theme song for the occasion: ”I Can’t Give You Anything But Love, Baby”. Of course there is lots of that from each and all of us, although we know full well it won’t buy baby a new pair of pants.

What a lot of accumulated celebration we will have to celebrate when this mess is finally settled. Now, there’s a thought. What is your prescription for a suitable method of rendering due honor to the occasion? How about that auto trip down to Mexico and Central America with enough cars to accommodate the whole family, with Lad and Dan as official interpreters? Ced could entertain and charm the natives with imitations of Bradley Kincaid, Dick and Jean might do a rumba or two, Dave would probably make a beeline for the best looking native girls, while I could profitably employ my time sniffing the native flora to see if it produces I hay fever sneeze.

Incidentally, I read recently an article on how nearly completed this Pan-American road was south of Mexico City, and ran across the following incident: the advanced survey party sometimes encountered situations for which neither engineering texts nor guidebooks had any solution. The disappearing surveyor’s stakes are a good example. In the rural sections, clear, straight-grained, sawed wood is in great demand to patch chairs, to reinforce plows and for 1000 other purposes. The surveyor’s stakes of clean new wood, 1 1/2 in. square by 14 inches long, driven into the ground 100 feet apart to mark the route of the highway, were a treasure trove to the country people who pulled up at night all the stakes placed during the day. Both U.S. and native engineers explained often and at length that the markers were necessary. The people listened, nodded, and the next morning the stakes were gone again. After all, if the yanqui senores valued the little pieces of wood so highly, why would they stick them in the ground and go away and leave them? Gringo foolishness. Finally one of the engineers hit upon the simple idea of nailing a short piece to each stake just below the top at right angles, making a cross. Not a stake disappeared from that day until the end of the survey.

Jean has a new name for me – “Marryin’ Sam”. This week, one marriage at my office, the week before, two; the week before that also two. It all came about in this way. I usually have my ad in the yellow section in the back of the Bridgeport phone directory. A few weeks ago when the salesman called for a renewal for the new edition, I happened to notice that in the New Haven directory several names appeared under the heading “Justice of The Peace”. I told him they could include my name under that heading in Bridgeport, thinking of course, the other Bridgeport “justices” would be included, but when the darn thing appeared a few weeks ago, low, like Abou Ben Adam (May his tribe increase) my name not only led all the rest, but, believe it or not, it was the only name under that heading in the yellow section. So, if the angle of incidence maintains (I have to get these engineering boys into thinking their Dad is not a back number) I may accumulate enough fees to pay the expenses on that Central American tour above referred to.

And speaking of marriages, this week, at the Trumbull Church, Jacqueline French was united in holy wedlock to Mr. John J. Schwarz, son of the Bridgeport lumber dealer. No wisecracks now about little chips off the old block, etc.

I want an answer from someone, Dan or Dick, regarding the Chevrolet out in back. I think it belongs to Dan although Dick may have made some arrangement with Dan about it. Anyway, it is not doing anyone any good standing out unused month after month. I have asked Harry Burr to give me a figure on how much it will cost to fix it up in running condition, and then, depending on the owner’s wishes, I will try to sell it or keep it against the time you boys return and want a car to run around in (and they are getting very scarce now in the East). Please, one of you write me about it.

Dave and some of the boys that forgather in the Clubhouse in the barn have an idea they can fix the old Waverley Electric car up to run either by battery or with a motorcycle motor and have been busy today working on it. I am adopting a “show me” attitude on whether they can accomplish their purpose or not.

For some years now, we have been needing a feminine touch around these here diggins’ and it looks very much as though Jean is the answer to this long felt need. She spent most of the day improving the appearance of the music room, with a bit of help from me, and the result is something to write away about. So we are profiting by Jean’s homemaking instinct, and this is fair warning now that the rest of you will have a high standard to match in presenting me with any other daughters-in-law.

The supper call is about to sound, so I’ll bring this peculiar birthday letter to a close with many good wishes to my boy “who wears a pair of silver wings”, with many happy returns of the day from all of us and most earnest hope that next August 19th there will be no empty chairs around the table as we sit down to celebrate the occasion. So, Dick old son, here’s more love than you know from your old

DAD

Tomorrow, the final two posts from the autobiography of Mary E Wilson. Enjoy the final chapter of this inspirational story and the photo album on Sunday.

Next week,  I’ll be posting letters from 1945. Dan and Paulette are still trying to figure out what their final plans will be. Grandpa continues to write to his sons who are still far from home. Dan is in France, Ced is still in Alaska and Dick is in Brazil. Lad is on the east coast, presently on furlough from Aberdeen Proving Grounds – the place where his Army adventure began – and getting ready to go back, but unsure of actual plans.

Judy Guion

 

 

Trumbull – Dear Ex-Trumbullites – Where Are Dan and Dick? – August, 1943

It’s 1943, late summer, and Grandpa’s four oldest sons are all in the service of Uncle Sam around the world. Lad, the oldest, is in California training vehicle and diesel mechanics  for the Army. He met Marian Irwin at the South Pasadena Hospitality Center when he arrived in January. They have become a social couple. Dan, second oldest, has been in Pennsylvania, but the rumor has been that they will be shipping out soon. Grandpa has not had word from Dan in a while so he doesn’t quite know where he is or when he will arrive wherever he is going. Ced is still in Alaska working at the Woodley Airfield, which has been taken over by the military, working as an airplane mechanic, retrieving crashed planes and flying as a Bush pilot to various locations. Dick, who was in Miami with his wife, Jean, while receiving training, was shipped to Indianapolis, prior to being shipped out to no one knows where, and Jean has returned to Trumbull. For the next few days I’ll be posting letters from Grandpa telling us what has transpired in the lives of family members.

Trumbull, Conn.       August 1, 1943

Dear Ex-Trumbullites:

Daniel (Dan) Beck Guion

Daniel (Dan) Beck Guion

If “no news is good news”, the entire country from Alaska to California is unquestionably contributing largely to Trumbull’s happy circumstances. Dan was the only Santa Claus during the week who opened his sack for the Trumbull children. A letter from the St. Nicholas Club at Rockefeller Center, N. Y. C., revealed that on Thursday he was still “somewhere on the eastern seaboard”. By now, however, he may be on the high seas and bound for parts unknown to anyone but the General Staff. As for Dick, he has just dropped out of the picture. Even his wife doesn’t know a thing about him – – yet.

The change in Ced’s status raises two questions which are much in my thoughts and which Ced may answer when his next letter arrives. First, will he be able to secure further

Cedric (Ced) Duryee Guion

Cedric (Ced) Duryee Guion

occupational deferments and thus continue in his civil status, or will he be inducted into the Army; and second, in either event, what effect will that have on his present hope of making a flying visit home before 1944.

I suppose being sons of your father, you all have inherited, in some degree, that quality of temperament (troublesome at times) which, for lack of a better word, is termed “idealism”. The other day I ran across a poet’s attempt to put on paper what a father feels as he regards his infant son, as I have, in like circumstances, with each of you boys. A copy is enclosed. I can’t say I go along all the way with the author. He’s a bit too gloomy about it and I don’t agree that no one ever has a clear sight of his goal, and may, at rare times, for a few moments at least, reach the heights, but it is enough thought provoking to make it interesting. My own idea is that even if ideals are sometimes uncomfortable bedfellows, they are good to have. Remember what someone said about

Tobacco is a dirty weed, I like it.

It satisfies no normal need, I like it.

It makes you thin, it makes you lean,

It takes the hair right off your bean.

It’s the worst darned stuff I’ve ever seen.

I like it.

The alternative, I suppose is to be a moron, and I have a verse for this, too.

See the happy moron,

He doesn’t give a damn,

I wish I were a moron –

My God, perhaps I am.

If someday you felt in the mood it would be interesting to get your reaction on this Father’s soliloquy.

Lad Guion

Lad Guion

There is a little news. Jean starts work tomorrow with her old employee, Harvey Hubble, Inc. I have just paid Dick’s life insurance premium and in a few days will have to renew Lad’s note at the bank. Last Friday we were all invited to Jean’s grandparents for supper and had a very enjoyable visit. Marilyn, Jean’s youngest sister (aged eight) had dinner here with us today. Lad’s suitcase is on its way, insured. Dan, you didn’t tell me what you wanted done with your old car, or does Dick now own it, in which case, Dick, you tell me. Anyway it’s about time you wrote a letter to your Dad. You needn’t be so snooty just because you are married. I was married once myself and I still write letters. You should be guided by nature and outside my door at the present moment I hear a voice which says “Katy did”. So go thou and do.

Love

DAD

The poem, TO MY SON, by John Weaver, enclosed with this letter, is quite long so I will save that for tomorrow’s post.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Dear Silent Ones – November, 1941

Trumbull, Conn., November 30, 1941

Dear Silent Ones:

           Grandma Peabody

Ten o’clock in the evening is the time. Lad (driving), Dan, Barbara (Plumb, Dan’s girlfriend), Aunt Betty and myself left here about 1 o’clock with our movie equipment and motored, I believe that is the word, to Mt. Joy Place, New Rochelle, there to partake of a very nice meal. It was the first real Sunday dinner I had not cooked myself for months, and I did enjoy it. Later, (Aunt) Dorothy, Burton (Peabody) and Grandma (Peabody) came over. Dan showed his stills first and then Lad followed with the movies. I tried to find out from Grandma what Anne’s plans were for Christmas but she had not heard from Anne for some time and could give me no information on that score. Babe (Cecelia Mullins, Lad’s girlfriend) was supposed to go along with us today but she called up this morning and said she had a cold and did not feel like going along. Dave had his Young People’s meeting to attend so he did not go along, though I suspect the real reason was his dislike of having to be questioned by Aunt Dorothy as to the progress of his school work.

Dan has about decided to purchase a 1933 Chevrolet coupe which Carl has had for sale since August. I think it is one which he bought from Mr. Powell. I know little about it except that the price is $75. He has decided that he needs some means of getting back and forth from work. Since the shop has become unionized, he has to be at work by seven and quits at three in the afternoon, and as Lad does not have to report for work on his job until 9 AM, and leaves when his work is done, which may be anywhere from 5 to 7, it leaves Dan without timely transportation. He plans to get his markers tomorrow.

The weather continues quite mild. We have yet had no real cold days and not a speck of snow. Some of the trees have still not shed their leaves and we noticed today on the Parkway, that the Dogwood trees still carry leaves that have not entirely changed from green to brown.

I have been a waiting anxiously for a letter from you last week to tell me what the latest news is about your deferment. I hope there will be a letter either from you or Dick in the mail tomorrow.

Again there seems little noteworthy of transmission to you under the general subject of news. After recovering from his attack of flu, Kemper (Peabody)  was informed by the doctor that he had a mild case of diabetes and, while he does not have to take insulin, he does have to diet.

ADG - China - the good set

ADG - China - detail

Ethel (Bushey) presented me with a dinner plate exactly matching that gold bordered set of dishes (the good set) that we inherited from Aunt Mary Powers. She said she was in an antique shop in Mamaroneck and happened to notice this one dish and recognized that it was exactly like our set and she bought it for me. She said it was the only one they had.

Last week, very suddenly, the Times Star folded up. They had been losing money for some months but nobody expected it to discontinue so abruptly. Even the employees did not know anything about it when they came to work that morning. At 10 o’clock orders went around to write a swan song for the addition just going to press and at noon all employees were paid a week’s salary and dismissed. That leaves the Post-Telegram Cock of the Walk although there is a rumor that the Harold is going to put out a daily edition. I hired one of the girls temporarily that had been in their editorial department.

DAD

Tomorrow, more on the continuing story of Mary Ellum and Archie Wilson.

Next week I’ll be posting letters from 1943. Each week Grandpa anxiously awaits letters from his four oldest sons, all away from home and working for Uncle Sam.

Judy Guion