Trumbull – Dear Son (2) – Grandpa Writes To Ced – More Holiday News – December 27, 1942

This is the other half of a letter posted yesterday. It also concludes all the letters I have from 1942. In three weeks, I will begin posting letters written in 1943. 

Trumbull House - Dave, Jean and Dick in deep snow, Feb., 1940

The hill in front of the house going down to the road. Dave, Jeanne Mortensen, (Dick’s girlfriend) and Dick, moving slowly through waist-deep snow. Mack is to the right of the stone pillar. 

On the day before Christmas, not an ounce of butter was obtainable anywhere in Bridgeport or vicinity. The previous day I had been able to get a quarter pound at Herb Hay’s (Grocery Store in Trumbull Center) and the day before that, half a pound in Bridgeport, which, with what I had bought the previous week, was sufficient for our needs. No cream is on sale, but that saved from the top of Laufer’s daily milk deliveries serves just as well. It was interesting to note food prices in Anchorage. Beef is practically unobtainable but when occasionally it is for sale, prices are around $.55 a pound. Codfish is $.43. Turkey is $.51. Bacon, very scarce, but when obtainable $.45. Smoked hams are out entirely. Canned vegetables limited to one can to a customer. Many canned goods are missing, baked beans, chocolate syrup, corned beef, mushroom soup not having been on sale for months. In general, Anchorage food prices are surprisingly close to ours.

A telegram from Lad instructed that all mail hereafter be sent to Camp Santa Anita, Arcadia, Calif., marked “Hold”, so I assume he has either left Flint for the far west or is about poised to go.

The usual flood of Christmas cards arrived. And in this connection, Dan, it occurred to me that if you did not copy Jim Shield’s address, you might want it. It is 1023 Seneca War Homes, Seneca, Ill. Don Whitney is with the 743d Tank Bn., Fort Lewis, Wash.. Col. W. C. Weeks, Hdq., 7th Corps Area, U.S.A. Office of Engineers, Room 1103 Federal Bldg., Omaha, Neb., and Sgt. Nelson G. Sperling, Battery B, 375th Fg (?) Bn., Fort Jackson, S.C.

Two interesting letters arrived from Ced, which served somewhat to ease the pain of not having all members of the family gathered under the family roof at Christmas. The first of the two to arrive was the one written last; the first one written arriving a few days later. Among other things, it set forth clearly and fully the thing we have all been wondering about so long and that is Ced’s status as far as getting into the armed services is concerned. After much effort he has finally passed his examination and now has his aircraft engine mechanic license, on the strength of which Art Woodley has asked his deferment. The local board is averse to granting it but final decision rests in Seattle and up to the time Ced last wrote, no final word had been received. The house the three of them have been living in has been sold and as of December 12th they will all have to find new living quarters. (Correction: change the word Seattle above to Juneau).

I am awfully pleased about that license, Ced. It does my heart good to know you are progressing along your chosen line. The next license you will go after, I suppose, will be your pilot’s license. I’d feel safer to know you are on the ground rather than up in the air, fighting with some treacherous air pocket above a glacier or near a mountain, but that’s just the old man part of it, I suppose. After receiving your explanation as to how you feel about the letters dispatched week after week, I haven’t the heart to carry out what you choose to call threats; but I do want very much to hear from you regularly and hope your kind heart and understanding nature will induce you to do what you might not be led to do with mere threats. Aunt Betty fairly cheered at your sentiments regarding war songs and says she is 100% with you. Lots of love from us all to you and Lad.

In three weeks I will begin posting letters written in 1943, a truly momentous year for Lad and, literally, for me also. 

Judy Guion


Trumbull – Dear Son (1) – Grandpa Writes To Ced – Christmas Happenings – December 27, 1942

This letter is addressed to Ced alone, since Dan made it home and Lad is driving to California at this time.

Ced and car - 1940 (3)-head shot

Cedric Duryee Guion

Trumbull, Conn., Dec. 27, 1942

Dear Son:

Last letter there was mention of a cold spell that had set us all a-shivering, but that news was a bit premature because that cold spell was followed, or should I say, developed, into a still lower temperature, and if neighbors’ thermometers are to be believed, resulted in the coldest days the family ever experienced since they came to Connecticut. Mrs. Mantle told me that one day the thermometer both at the back and at the side of their home registered 24° below zero. Even well after sunup, the thermometer just outside our kitchen window registered 14 below. In any event, it can be said without any possibility of overstatement that I have never experienced a series of cold days of so low a temperature over so long a period. We had about arrived at the conclusion that it might be a good thing to journey to Alaska in order to find warmer weather. However, I am glad to say that due to the weatherproofing done last year, the installation of storm windows and the operation of the furnace at full capacity, both day and night, temperatures prevailed. I guess we can all remember that winter we spent in the apartment when pipes in the cellar froze and Ced burst forth in his vehement imitation of Bradley Kincaid. The only damage done this spell was a burst pipe in the laundry, but as that is an annual occurrence anyway, it failed to make much of an impression. My car failed to start due to the fact I had not put enough Zerox in the radiator to protect it that low, so it froze to some extent, but not enough to do any harm. However, the weather since then has been normal for this time of year, and even when the mercury crept up toward zero, everyone remarked how warm it was, being almost tempted to leave one’s overcoat at home. Well I guess that’s enough of an opening paragraph about the weather. By the way, it seems to be very popular these days to add a pint of casite to one’s oil for ease in starting.

For Christmas, Dan breezed in, but in spending Christmas Eve in the Warden’s, he evidently drank the wrong kind of wine so that the next day he felt pretty miserable and did not begin to feel like himself again until Saturday. Last night he and Barbara went to New York to see an ice show. About midnight Christmas Eve, (Aunt) Anne and Don (Stanley, her son) alighted from the bus, and Christmas morning the four Zabel’s (Elizabeth Westlin (Guion) Zabel, her husband Raymond, known as Zeke, and their two children, Raymond Jr. (Butch) and Marty) and Elsie (Duryee, Grandpa’s sister) arrived to gather around the tree for the usual procedure.

Trees this year were very expensive, small ones costing two or three dollars and four or five foot trees selling for a dollar a foot. The small ones on sale around here were so scraggly that Dave refused to have anything to do with them, and then he had a brainstorm. He had been busily engaged trimming a beautifully full, fair-sized tree in the church for their pre-Christmas party, which tree had been dismantled Christmas Eve and thrown out back of the church. With some of the base removed it made perhaps the best looking tree we have had for a number of years. The only fly in the ointment came while we were at dinner when Butch (Raymond Zabel Jr., Bissie’s oldest – 3 years old) disappeared for a moment and came back into the dining room grinning and proudly announced he had pulled over the Christmas tree with all its lights and decorations. He wasn’t kidding. He had done just that. Dave, with a great effort of will, maintained a discreet silence, thus winning a great moral victory.


Alfred Duryee Guion (Grandpa) carving the turkey (You can see the GOOD China and I actually have that Gravy Boat, along with a Soup Bowl and two plates.)

Later the tree was restored but seemed to lack some of its pristine virginity. With Elizabeth’s help, we were able to have a big turkey and Kathryn Warden had generously donated two pies so we got by very nicely in spite of the scarcity and high prices of food.

Tomorrow, I will post the rest of this letter.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – To My Scattered Flock (2) – Letters to Lad and Marian – January 2, 1944

The first half of this letter was posted yesterday and included news of Grandma Peabody and a trip to New York to visit her, news from Dan and also from Marian and Lad.

page 2    1/2/44

Dear Lad:

Alfred (Lad) Guion in California

Alfred Peabody Guion (Lad, my Dad), on his wedding day

Christmas seems to be your moving day — at least it was last year and again this Christmas. Well, there is a good precedent. As I recall the Christmas story there were three wise men, also from the East, who were doing some traveling during the Christmas season some 2000 years ago, which ended up at a lovely manger, the only difference being that they had their star ahead of them all the while whereas you left your star back in Los Angeles. And I’m coming to the definite conclusion that she is a star of the first magnitude. In spite of her disappointment at not being able to spend her first married Christmas with her new husband,  a circumstance which would mean even more to her than it would to many people, she takes it with chin up and a smile on her lips that feel like trembling. And as far as that goes, you’re some soldier yourself. I think I know how bitter the pill is that they handed you but I can find no word of complaint, only the intention to look on the bright side, plus a thought of others. And that brings me to a prediction, which is customarily indulged in by certain privileged persons at this season of the year, and that is that too young folks with the sort of outlook on life that both you and Marian have, meeting reverses and disappointments as they come through life, with a smile, have one of the surest recipes for a long and happy life journey together, and that is what I am predicting for you both right now. In the years to come you will look back on this time with a quiet smile and take deep satisfaction in the fact that you were both good sports about it. Perhaps I am dwelling on this topic too long, but its significance to one who has reached years of discretion is very real. “What are years of discretion?” asks little Johnny, which his father replies, It’s when you’re too young to die and too old to have a good time”.

(Everyone will now get out there address book and record Lad’s new address to wit: Co. 3019, 142 OBAM Bn., OUTC, Red River Ord. Depot, Texarkana, Texas.)  What do these initials stand for: OBAM – OUTC?

Blog - Marian Irwin - 1942

Marian (Irwin) Guion (my Mom)

Dear Marian:

Of course there wasn’t any doubt from the beginning that you were just the right kind of daughter-in-law, because you were Lad’s choice, but now you’ve earned that position in your own right and your last letter puts the finishing touches on it. That’s the real kind of courage that shows just what sturdy stuff you are made of, and I’m proud of you, and glad for Lad and for the future that you are the sort of girl you are.

And before we go any farther, I must right here and now record how very pleased and surprised we were to receive your Christmas packages which arrived during the week. They were also attractively done up, but best of all, they seemed to reveal a surprisingly deep insight into the needs and desires of us all. I needed a pair of gloves, but I did not expect that anyone would give me such a nice pair, and I think Ced felt just the same about his. Aunt Betty is delighted with her woolen jacket and asked me to say that as soon as she feels equal to it (she has been under the weather with a cold lately) she will write you a note. Dave was not around when we opened the box so he opened his present later and Elizabeth has not been here since the box came so she still has that pleasure before her. There was no card on the box of White Owls but I didn’t need to puzzle it out. Here’s a BIG 1944 to you all.


Tomorrow and Friday, two more letters from Marian to the folks in Trumbull., 

Judy Guion

Trumbull – A Christmas Report From Trumbull, Connecticut (4) – December 30, 1945

This is the forth installment of a long report on Christmas activities at the Trumbull House and news from family and friends.

A winter view of the Summer Porch.

And now back to the last part of my Christmas Report, concerning messages from relatives and friends, which of course you distant ones are expected to share along with us at home. Aside from those who are my friends and not known to you, we have Christmas greeting cards from Don Whitney (Italy) (a Trumbull friend of the boys); Aunt Dorothy (Peabody, Grandma Arla’s youngest sister); Astrid, Axel and Florence (Larsen, the caretaker family who stayed in the Little House for many years in the 1920’s and early 1930’s, Axel did all the stonework around the house, including the steps and pillars); Uncle Burton (Peabody, one of Grandma Arla’s brothers); Eleanor Kintop (Dave’s girlfriend); Dudley, Peggy and Sandra Sanford (Dudley was a cousin of Grandpa’s and a childhood friend); (Trumbull friends:) the Mullins family ; the Laufer’s; the Burr Davises; Mrs. Ives; Mrs. Beebe; Audrey Switzgable; Harold La Tour; the Bagshaw’s (Rusty Huerlin’s sister and her husband); (more Trumbull friends:) the Kascak’s; Ray Beckwith; the Pages; the Charlie Kurtz’s; the Wardens; Helen Plumb; the Kircher’s; the Mortensen’s; and the announcement of the wedding on

Christmas Report    page 5

Christmas afternoon of Corporal Donald Fairchild Sirine (a good friend of the older boys mentioned quite often in these letters) to Miss Geraldine Ruby Fisher.

In addition we also have the following messages along with Christmas greeting cards; From the Burnham’s: (neighbors at the Larchmont Gardens house in Mount Vernon, New York and lifelong friends)

Greetings from the Burnham Crew

Though those at home are all too few,

Yet over all the Yule Star shines

And bids us send to you these lines.

Rufus and Louise  –  17 E. 84th St., NYC, Helen, under the Cedars of Lebanon, Eleanor, on a Michigan back-to-school project, Brad, marooned on Guam for his declining years, Dave, preparing in Conn. for a brave new world.

From Marian, Larry (Peabody, another of Grandma Arla’s brothers) and (son) Alan: two Al and ALL the Guionites. We have to write a hello and add our good wishes to your already festive season. As you may know by now, Ced dropped in to see us last Wed. night which surprised and thrilled us no end. We met him at the Norwalk airport just before dark and he took Alan for a spin which of course will be the most exciting present Alan gets this Christmas. Ced spent the night with us and was off early the next A.M. Up to here he had had bad flying weather. Hope it is better from here on. Hoped I would get a card from him along the way but haven’t so far. His visit brought us up to date on the Guion news and what good news it was! Can just imagine what a glorious Thanksgiving you must have had and what a pleasant Christmas is coming up. We’re so happy Lad and Dick are out and home with the girls and you. It is good to hear that Dan is out too and his homecoming with Paulette is certainly something to look forward to. Hope David’s turn will come up soon now. This is surely a happy time for you all and we add our good wishes for a happy Christmas season. Much love to each of you from us all.”

From Cousin Ruth Noer: we are hoping that your family may be reunited for the holidays this year. The announcement last summer (of Dan’s marriage to Paulette Van Laere in France) was most interesting to us of course and we shall be interested to know where the young couple decide to establish their home. Rudolph returned to the states three weeks ago and plans to take his family back to Detroit immediately after Christmas, since he plans to get back to teaching when the new quarter begins early in January. He seems quite himself except that he has aged about 10 years and is very thin. Perhaps when he gains some weight he won’t look so old. Mother stays well and carries full responsibility for the housekeeping. We should be most happy to have any of the Guion’s who may come in this direction stop off for a visit (Morgantown, W. Va.)

Grandma Arla’s Peabody sisters: Helen Human, Anne Stanley and Dorothy Peabody

From Ted and Helen (Peabody), Grandma Arla’s oldest sister) Human): We were in Nassau until November 27th and then came over to Spanish Wells (Bahamas), a small island of 700 people. Ted and his party are working over on Charles Island– uninhabited. I go along too and find it lots more fun than staying home. We carry our lunch since it takes time going back and forth. If the tide is high the trip is 10 to 15 minutes; if low, about half an hour because we have to go so far out. I imagine we will go to Eleuthera (where the real job is) sometime in January, but that is not certain yet. I had hoped to get up to see you before I left but I was too rushed. A very happy Christmas to all of you from both of us.

Christmas Report    page 6

From Sylvia Ward-Campbell , c/o Bank of Montréal, 9 Waterloo Pl., London, S.W. 1, England. To all the Guion’s, where ever they may be. I feel a pretty big apology is needed for the way I left Canada last year without even writing to say goodbye, but Douglas was sent back almost as soon as our son Iain was born and I got my passage far sooner than I expected so it was all rather a rush, and since we got home, domesticity (and several moves) have engulfed me pretty thoroughly, to the detriment of all my correspondence. However, this Christmas I’m really coming up for air and trying to reestablish communication with everyone again. So do forgive me, cousin Alfred, and write back and tell me all the family news. I suppose the boys will be gradually disentangling themselves from the services. If Dan should still be in these parts, though, I hope for your sake, he’s got back before now, do send me his present address and I’ll try to get hold of him. Douglas is just out of the RAF and goes to his job with INTAVA (International Aviation), subsidiary of Standard Oil group in 10 days time. We shall probably be living in London for a year or so (when we find somewhere to live, if ever) which will be nice in a way, though we’ve had such a satisfactory year in the country here in Wiltshire that I’m loath to change for a city, even being an old Londoner myself. Douglas has been seriously troubled by asthma this past year and London suits him better, so maybe it’s just as well. I suppose Elizabeth’s two boys are practically driving their own cars by now. Iain is getting quite a young tough. He rushes about and talks a blue streak though most of it is pretty unintelligible. Bless you all, and our love.

Tomorrow, the final installment of this rather complete Christmas Report from Trumbull, Connecticut, in 1945. I hope you are enjoying this look into the Christmas holiday of an ordinary family celebrating this special holiday  near the end of World War II.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – A Christmas Report From Trumbull, Connecticut (2) – December 30, 1945

This is the second portion of a very long letter from Grandpa reporting the Christmas Activities at the Trumbull House. 

And it is perhaps in keeping with the story of the First Christmas, that in my case there were three high spots to make “my day” a particularly bright one. And speaking of this First Christmas, let me digress a moment by quoting a columnist we all read quite regularly here – Walter Kiernan, writing under the daily heading “One Man’s Opinion”. Here is his account in modern parlance of this first Christmas:

Well, it was quite a night there at the Inn. Some of the boys were in town to get enrolled with the tax collector and one reunion led to another and the joint was jumping. And along came this couple and wanted to put up for the night. The man got the proprietor over in the corner and gave him a sales talk on why he needed the spot for his wife. But they weren’t regulars and didn’t look like much fun — the quiet type — and out they went. The “No Rooms” sign was up anyway. It was his hometown but he had been away and he didn’t know which way to turn. Bethlehem can get pretty cold at night. So they finally headed for a cattle barn. Anyplace was better than just being outdoors, and the cattle didn’t seem to mind. In fact, cattle aren’t supposed to be very intelligent, they were more friendly and gave the people a better break than the mob at the Inn. And during the night the woman had a baby. And they put it in the manger and the cows breath kept it warm. And one of the boys came stumbling out of the Inn later, buttoning his coat up. It was cold, like I said before. And there was a big bright star shining down on the old barn. BUT HE DIIDN”T SEE IT.

Here are my three big moments. First, I must explain that as you know for some ten years I have been receiving and sending letters to you boys and have accumulated clippings and booklets on travel, island cottages, Income taxes, investments; accumulated records that must be saved such as Justice of the Peace records, old checks (canceled), receipts, etc., so that the place had become pretty much cluttered. For some time I have wished I had a filing cabinet in which I could store these things for easy record, so much to my surprise and gratification, toward the end

Christmas Report    –    page 3

of the gift distribution, Lad and Dick left the room and came back carrying a four-drawer Shaw-Walker metal filing cabinet, which all had chipped in to purchase — one of those lasting gifts that one longs for for years but, because of the cost, never gets around to purchasing. It was a most welcome gift.

The second high spot is a bit difficult to get over to you in the way it hit me. You would have had to be here, seeing the sequence of events that led up to it, observed the lordly, yet gracious manner in which the deed was done, the expression of voice, and of face, in fact all those intangibles that lose so much in the telling. It illustrated for me the true spirit of Christmas, innocently and unconsciously symbolized by the youngest of us all. Following the old custom, Butch and Marty, some days ago, had dictated to Elizabeth a letter to Santa Claus in which a formidably long list of gifts wanted by each of them was duly recorded. As the great day drew nearer, perhaps warned by their mother that they might not expect to receive everything on their list, they began to be a bit fearful that they would not get enough presents, but when the Day came and one after one, presents from the big pile under the tree were labeled Marty or Butch, it must have dawned on Marty that his erstwhile fears were indeed unnecessary. At least he was thoroughly enjoying himself, stopping quite frequently in his job of handing me packages to unwrap his own, keeping up meanwhile a running comment on events, not noticing or caring whether anyone heard him or not. During one spot when a particularly frequent run of gifts bore his name, he said, half to himself, “I guess I’m getting too many presents. I’ll give some to Butch”, and tearing off the gift wrapping of an attractive picture book he had just received, he unconcertedly, but with a kingly grace and nonchalance, yet with a conscious knowledge that he was bestowing something of real value, he carelessly passed the book to Butch and went on with the business of the day. It was all so matter of fact I don’t believe he really remembers even now that he did anything to give his Grandpa and perhaps, others that may have noticed it, such an big kick.




My third big moment came toward the last of the gift distribution and while not strictly material, like my filing cabinet, nor purely a thing of the spirit, like Marty’s symbolization of the Christmas idea, it occupies sort of an intermediate niche of its own, and no one, not a Grandfather, can fully appreciate it. It came by way of one of Lad and Marian’s attractive homemade photographic Christmas cards, addressed to Dad, and reading as follows: “We can’t let the rest of the family get too far ahead of us. The doctor tells us that we can expect our baby in July”. Now what more appropriate than Christmas Day for the great news. We have our own “herald angels” singing to us, and while coming to us not strictly speaking “on a midnight clear”, it was nevertheless a “glorious song of old”, and as the secret had been well-kept, it was a real Christmas surprise to all of us. (Lad and Marian’s “baby” was actually twins, my brother and I, born at the end of June, 1946.)

Since this is a 7-page letter, this week’s posts will be longer than usual, but I think you will enjoy them. O

Judy Guion

Trumbull – A Christmas Report From Trumbull, Connecticut (1) – December 30, 1945

Trumbull House

Alfred Duryee Guion

December 30, 1945


To loved ones in

Europe, Asia and Alaska, U.S.A.

(As an observer on the scene we shall try to bring you a comprehensive account of the day’s doings, realizing that much of the true spirit of the season refuses to be captured and confined to paper by mere words.)

Christmas Eve. I had not been feeling too energetic for a week or more due to the enervating effects of a cold. Then, too, for many years past, as Christmas Day approached, the burden of the responsibility for the multitude of “must” things to be done seemed to pile up to the point where much of the peaceful spirit appropriate to the season was snowed under by considerations of tree trimming, stocking filling, giftwrapping, food arrangements, home decorations, cleaning up, and a hundred and one other last-minute jobs that left one little time for serene contemplation of the great day and its proper impact upon children. So it was with sincere relief that I saw this year all these burdens taken over by younger and more energetic hands, and never a doubt or worry arose to the efficient way in which all necessary arrangements would be taken care of. And my confidence was fully justified. Tree bought, set up, tastefully decorated; stockings filled and “hung by the chimney with care”, dinner arrangements taken care of, house cleaned up and bearing a jaunty festive holiday air that I must leave to your imagination. The tree this year was located just inside the alcove archway on the north wall, just adjacent to where the floor lamp usually stands. During the evening Anne, (Peabody Stanley and her son and daughter) Don and Gwen first arrived, three wise men of legendary fame bringing their gold, frankincense and myrrh in the shape of a huge pile of boxes containing plum pudding and bottles of the necessary “spirit” to make that blue flickery flame so typical of a Christmas plum pudding. Later Elsie (Duryee, Grandpa’s sister) arrived fresh from conquest of numerous holiday customers in the Grand Central, adding a “light” touch to the festivities by her contribution of big fat red holiday candles. And outside the weather was behaving in typical Christmas manner, white snow mantling the green trees and fences and making the glowing logs and the big living room fireplace all the cozier for the bluster outside. There was so much to see and do and talk about that I am afraid I did not get to bed very early, but at that, I left the younger ones still carrying on. Lad had taken Anne and Gweneth over to Biss’s for the night while Don slept in the attic and Elsie slept on the living room couch — unofficial guard of tree and stockings. Gradually however the radio left off its caroling of the old familiar Christmas hymns (interspersed with Rinso White, happy little wash day song, and such like), and eventually all “had settled our heads for a long winter’s nap”. However, the “clatter” which then arose, according to the old and beloved verse, did not materialize until later the next morning when the younger Stratford contingent arrived, but that account belongs more properly to Christmas “Day” then to Christmas “Eve”, to the account of which we will now proceed.

Christmas Day. We all slept late the next morning, there being no little pattering feet of fond memory to rouse us from well-earned rest by insistent clamoring in the gray light of dawn to find what Santa had left in the bulging stockings that hung so invitingly on the bedpost. After a desultory breakfast by stragglers undertaken in

Christmas Report    –    page 2

leisurely manner, the day really began with the arrival of the Zabel’s (Elizabeth Guion Zabel her husband, Zeke, and two sons, Raymond Jr. (7), and Marty (5)) and Stanley’s from Stratford. As you may imagine it was not long thereafter that the two youngest members insisted that the stockings be taken care of. The usual procedure, which you so well remember, then followed with all of this in the living room, the tree in the background with attractively wrapped gift packages piled high around its base, giving promise of even better things to come. Tangerines, nuts, candy bars, lollipops, etc., having been customarily disposed of, there then ensued a brief interval during which dinner was started, repairs to broken airplanes, which the two youngsters had received in their stockings, and which were greatly enjoyed by the “big” boys, in the course of which, under the guise of showing Butch and Marty how they worked, Don (Stanley, son of Anne (Peabody) Stanley, Arla’s younger sister) and Lad and Zeke and Dick illustrated several crash landings with the inevitable toll to wings, tail, nose, etc. It reminded Don of the time his father had given him an electric train for Christmas and was then forbidden to touch it while Fred (Stanley, married to Anne (Peabody) and Grandpa (Kemper Peabody, Building Inspector for the New York Central Railroad, father of Grandma Arla), who was of course an enthusiastic railroad man, played with it most of the day while Don sat and looked on.

Finally we got around to the big event — distribution of gifts. Again, we were seated in the living room, I in the entrance to the alcove, Marty passing me the gifts and Butch distributing them to the proper party. As usual, I think that each one felt that he had been particularly fortunate in the gifts bestowed upon him. I can only speak for myself.

Because this is a 7-page letter, this week’s posts will be longer than usual but I certainly think you will enjoy them. 

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Christmas Greetings (2) – December 25, 1939

This post contains the rest of the holiday greetings written by family members and guests around the Christmas Dinner table in Trumbull in 1939, and a Christmas Card from Arnold and Alta Gibson sent to Lad, in Venezuela.

Alfred Duryee Guion carving the holiday turkey

                                                Alfred Duryee Guion carving the holiday turkey


Ced - 1938

Cedric Duryee Guion

Trumbull - Christmas Greetings to Lad (2) - Ced - December 25, 1939Dear Alfred:

Hope you had a Merry Christmas – we did. I received a pair of ice skates, and unbreakable thermos bottle to use for taking milk etc. to work, the book “union now” which is a theory written on the principles of uniting the democracies of the world in which I am much interested in, a photograph album, and other incidentals. I understand that you are largely responsible for the nice gifts received by all. Many thanks to you and incidentally, I am using the heater you gave us for the new Plymouth and it works very well. I wish I could say the same for the Plymouth. It has been a sort of disappointment as I spent a great deal of money on it and it still has internal troubles. Your Packard is gradually aging but still runs beautifully. I will write soon and let you know more about the cars and my doings, and don’t ask me why I haven’t written you as I really have no excuse and am much ashamed of the fact, especially as I promised in the last letter I would. Well, keep your fingers crossed and perhaps, who knows?



Elsie May Guion, summer, 1946

Elsie May Guion (Grandpa’s sister)

Trumbull - Christmas Greetings to Lad (2) - Aunt Elsie Guion - December 25, 1939

December 25, 1939

3:15 PM

Dear Lad:

I was elected to start this. I suppose because I am the most diligent in my correspondence. We are still at the dinner table after a most delicious Dad-cooked meal. He is getting very expert.

I can’t tell you – maybe you don’t want to hear it – what a peach you are always, but in particular are thinking of us and me to the extent you did when providing for such a sumptuous Christmas. For me some of the check was turned into a beautiful electric clock – alarm, radium hands, Telechron, n’ everything. Also a “ducky” box of dusting powder. Now I really will have time to write you a real letter real soon.

So long –



ADG - Jean Guion, Aunt Betty and Grandpa outside in winter, Ja. 27, 1945 (2) Aunt Betty only

Aunt Betty Duryee – Grandpa’s Aunt)

Trumbull - Christmas Greetings to Lad (2) - Aunt Betty Duryee - December 25, 1939

Trumbull - Christmas Greetings to Lad (2) - Aunt Betty (2) - December 25, 1939

Alfred dear,

The only lack in this beautiful and happy day is your absence around the tree and offering the presents that you have contributed, to our happiness. Thank you very much for I know I shall enjoy what you gave me. May you have all the joy and happiness and health and what you most desire all through the coming year.


Aunt Betty


Biss (Elizabeth) Guion Zabel

Elizabeth (Biss Guion) Zabel

Trumbull - Christmas GHreetings to Lad (2) - Elizabeth ((Biss) Guion) Zabel (1) - December 25, 1939

Dear Alfred—–

Raymond (“Little Zeke”, “Butch”, “Spike”, “Chummy”, “Oscar”) was talking a greeting to you in his language a few minutes ago but he has gone back to sleep now. I am sorry I have neglected you so –  but I promise to write you in the very near future and I hope it will make up for the past year. I will write a book then – if I can remember everything I have to say. I am sorry you weren’t here for the holidays and I do think of you even if I haven’t written. I am a great deal busier than I used to be and stay home a good deal more (believe it or not). My writing still seems to be as bad as ever, if not worse, but you can forgive that because I haven’t written in ages!

Trumbull - Christmas Greetings to Lad (2) - Elizabeth (Biss Guion) Zabel (2) - December 25, 1939

Little chummy thanks you for the high chair (and so do I) although he says he is, as yet, a wee bit too small to fit into it – but it won’t be so very long. I’m afraid he will be a spoiled brat by the time he is a year old. Well more later (and it will probably be full of his doing and saying) and a Merry Christmas to you —




Dave - 1938

David Peabody Guion

Trumbull - Christmas Greetings to Lad (2) - Dave - December 25, 1939

Hello Chum,

No doubt you saw my writing paper, one of my presents. I got a secondhand Waltham watch (wrist) which was originally an $18 watch. Also I received a tennis racket, and a lettering set with 25 different kinds of pen points. I’ll write you soon again, maybe.

Bonus Dies (Latin – good day)



Mack - Snow Dog - March, 1940


Trumbull - Christmas Greetings to Lad (2) - Mack

Mack –

With a couple of woofs –

His mark

as recorded by

the undersigned,

Elsie M Guion

Aunt Betty

Witness: AD Guion

Tomorrow, I will post two Christmas Cards sent to Lad in Venezuela. 

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Christmas Greetings to Lad (1) – December 25, 1939

Grandpa leads off the holiday greetings to Lad in Venezuela with an original poem. It is followed by letters from some of the family members and guests at the Christmas Dinner table in 1939. 

Trumbull - Christmas Greetings to Lad (1) - ADG - December 25, 1939

December 25, 1939

Dear Alfred the Distant:

I am the Spirit of Christmas.

To those who are gathered to celebrate the “birthday of a King” in a spirit of goodwill and to men, “Peace on Earth” at the Guion home, I am the messenger of him who in distant Venezuela has made possible a day of joy and gladness in a very practical and material form. Though far from the old home and those with whom his boyhood and youth have been spent, in a clime far different from the snow-covered hills of Connecticut, memory has built a strong chain of kindly thoughts connecting both places so that you are near and dear and real to us all as we gather around the tinsel decked Christmas tree, and as the little lights shine out cheerily, trying with their steady glow to express the warmth and steadfast affection we feel toward our far away boy, we are endeavoring to make real in some slight measure this same spirit of Christmas by each writing you a message –

In distant Venezuela

Perhaps the day is hot.

No matter, we will try to say:

“Indeed, you’re not forgot.”



Don Stanley

Trumbull - Christmas Greetings to Lad (2) - Donald Stanley - December 25, 1939

Merry Christmas

Dear Junior,

Please come home. A light burns in the window every night. We miss you. Your Packard is being mistreated, though everyone will deny it, but you know I would not mislead you. Well, this is Christmas and everyone has made a pretty good haul. Dickie is ecstatic over a pair of skis (he just pushed my elbow) and David likewise over a tennis racket. I got mostly stuff, but good stuff. I certainly hope that all’s well with you, and I hope to see you within the next decade.

Hasta luego,


(Cousin Donald Stanley, son of Anne (Peabody) Stanley and one of the children that Biss cared for in St. Petersburg, FL)



               Aunt Helen Human

Trumbull - Christmas Greetings to Lad (1) - Helen Human - December 25, 1939

Dear Lad,

All of the weathermen said we would have a green Christmas but it snowed a little this morning and made it a very pretty white Christmas. I know if my sister was down here she would want to wish you a Merry Christmas so I’ll send a double one for both of us.

Aunt Helen ((Peabody) Human)


ADG - Dick atThe Chandler's - Group on steps (cropped) - 1939

Richard Peabody Guion

Trumbull - Christmas Greetings to Lad (1) - Dick - December 25, 1939

Chico –

We just came back from skating, boy, it’s the best! I hope I don’t make you green with envy, there was a coating of snow but it didn’t cramp our style. Dan, Ced, Flora, Lucille Becker, a friend of Benny’s, Benny Slawson and yours truly. Dave was there, but he didn’t have skates. Ced had a pair of skates that he got for Christmas. I got skis. They’re “Paris” with the ski harness.

Until later,



SOL - (DAN) Family picture in 1938 (2)

            Daniel Beck Guion

Trumbull - Christmas Greetings to Lad (1) - Dan - December 25, 1939


Oigame, Hermano,

Este muchacho qui escribia arrib sabe nada!

To express myself colloquially, to enjoy real ice and snow is the nuts! But I am planning definitely to line me up a job in some sector of Latin America, for which I continue to prepare myself by studying Spanish etc. Dick and I have acquired a complete “Cortina method” set of recordings and books for learning Spanish.

Ced, Dick and I have set out to learn to speak it well enough to carry on conversations with you later in the event that you have forgotten Ingles!

Hasta luego, pues,


Tomorrow, I will post the rest of the Greetings from those who gathered at the Trumbull House on December 25, 1939. On Friday, two Christmas Cards sent to Lad in Venezuela.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Dear Lad (2) – Christmas Visitors and Happenings – December 24, 1939


The house is quiet here now as everyone who has skates has gone out to find a frozen pond. Ced, who has no skates anyway, is working on his car. Incidentally, I have bought him a pair of skates with your Christmas money and Dick a pair of skis.

While we were at dinner the phone rang and Dave, who answered it, reported that the American Railway Express in Bridgeport had a box of fruit from Florida consigned to us and asked if we were coming down to get it. With the possibility that we might stop in there when we went down for Elsie (Duryee, Grandpa’s sister) we said maybe, but no one has gone down yet, so we don’t know who sent it to us and will have to wait now until Tuesday to find out.

Mack has just come in and squatted down near this machine. Oh, how I wish Santa would send him a bath for Christmas. He’s almost ripe. Even the fleas are getting discouraged.

For dinner today, ye amateur chef supplied: tomato juice cocktail, roast Turkey with sausage dressing, cranberry sauce, sweet pickles, stuffed olives, baked white potatoes, giblet gravy, fresh peas, cider and fruit pudding a la Guion.

Tomorrow I plan to have fruit cocktail, Virginia baked ham, celery, currant jelly, ripe olives, sweet potatoes, Brussels sprouts, plum pudding with hard sauce, cider, nuts and raisins. And much of this, dear boy, was made possible by your generous check, part of which was spent on some of the good things to eat.

Christmas day in the evening.

Christmas Dinner Table - Trumbull

                                                                  Dinner Table in Trumbull

Aunt Elsie came up last night. Ced went down for her in his car accompanied by Dave. By the time she arrived we had filled all the stockings and Aunt Betty had just gone up to undress. This morning, at a few minutes after nine, we all assembled in my room and went through the procedure of opening stockings. The baby was also present, accompanied by his mother. After this ceremony had been duly disposed of we all came down and had breakfast. I then delayed matters for a few moments to get the ham started in the oven and we then went into the living room where the tree was aglow and passed out the presents, David acting as the caller off and distributor. Everybody seemed to agree that they had had a wonderful Christmas (and you know the reason). After this was over I got most of them working in the kitchen helping to get dinner, after which we sat around for a while and started writing a round-robin letter to you which will be enclosed with this. Aunt Betty and Aunt Elsie are leaving in about an hour to catch the train home  in a short while so that we will have to finish this letter without undue delay.

Dick was quite thrilled with his skis and Ced put on his new skates at once and has gone out to try them with the other skaters in the family and visitors who are inclined the same way. I don’t know where they went but I have an idea it was Pinebrook.

While we were talking of you today, Aunt Betty asked if you got your own meals in your little home that you referred to in one of your recent letters. I couldn’t answer her as to the meal arrangements because I don’t recall you ever having mentioned whether or not you get all your meals at a central dining hall or whether each group of cabins has their own chef, etc. You might tell us some time more about your eating arrangements.

Did the company give you a bonus for Christmas? Did they have a tree, or Christmas party, or what? I’ll be anxious to hear what sort of a Christmas you had and just how you celebrated it. Meantime, while this will reach you after Christmas has been a memory only, it is very real right now, as is my old but sincere wish that this may be a Merry Christmas.


Thursday and Friday, you will be reading the Christmas letters written to Lad from all the guests at the Trumbull house on Christmas Day, 1939. On Friday I will post two Christmas cards received by Lad in Venezuela.

Judy Guion



Trumbull – Dear Lad – Christmas Visitors (1) – December 24, 1939

This is the  first part of a very, very long letter written to Lad, in Venezuela, on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, 1939. For the rest of the week, you’ll be reading some of the twelve original letters each day, written by all the guests on this Christmas Day in Trumbull, Conn. I’ll also include 2 Christmas Cards sent to Lad in Venezuela.

ADG - Grandpa about 1945 or 1946 near a tree in winter (cropped) (2)

Alfred Duryee Guion (Grandpa)

Dear Lad: R-56 December 24, 1939

I suppose you have heard the new song which begins: “Last night I saw upon the stair a little man who wasn’t there”. It goes on to tell that he wasn’t there again today, and climaxes with the words: “Oh, how I wish he’d go away.” Well, that’s you — except for a direct reversal of the last wish.

Last week I wrote to you from bed, but this week, as you can see, I am back in circulation again. It has been a busy week, too, what with the Christmas rush at the office, (not so much volume as the necessity for getting them out promptly), the Christmas shopping to do, the house to get in order for Christmas guests, the meals to prepare, etc., so while I have not been feeling quite up to snuff I’ve been too busy to pamper myself. Dan got home (from the University of Connecticut) Wednesday and helped, while Dave is doing quite a lot in the Christmas decorating line, trimming the tree (a live one which Dan and Ced bought), fixing the table decorations, putting up wreaths on the front door, hall and living room. Dave decided to place the tree in the living room between the two windows opposite the fireplace where there was a plug handy. All the youngsters who have been away to college are back home for the holidays and have been dropping in on and off, including Dick Christie, Don Whitney, Cy and Pete Linsley, Charlie Hall, Red Sirene, also Benny Slawson, Jean Hughes, Barbara Plumb and a few minutes ago, Wop and Agnes Ives, with some brownies and other Christmas cookies. Aunt Betty arrived yesterday and Aunt Elsie is due sometime today. We expected her in time for dinner but that is long past now (4:30) and no word from her yet.

Today it is quite cold, the coldest we have had this year and the weatherman says snow tonight and probably tomorrow morning. There is some talk of our all going down to visit the Chandlers between Christmas and New Year’s but nothing definite has been decided yet. Oh, by the way, the Ives asked about you and when I told them I was writing to you, they asked me to send you their best wishes for a Merry Christmas. I read them your last letter which began with the paragraph about your coming home in June, 1941. I did not get the expected letter last week with the new snapshots in it, but whether that was because of the seasonal delay in delivery of Christmas mail or because you did not write is unknown at the present writing. We have had the usual mass of Christmas cards, although I have not sent out any myself. Some of them are: Cecelia Mullins (Lad’s girlfriend), Helen Plumb, Mrs. Lee, the Ives with pictures of their three dogs, Don Quaintance, Larry with a picture of the baby, Charlie Kurtz and family, Burr Davis and family, Mr. in Mrs. Searles, the Cudlipps, Brita (Heurlin Bagshaw )and Sidney Bagshaw), Ray Beckwith, Mr. and Mrs.  Kascak, Alice Reyom and Barbara (Plumb, Dan’s girlfriend). Also Rudolph  Noer, George Woods and Mr. Blatz.

I don’t know what is behind it but Elizabeth asked me yesterday if she could come in and celebrate Christmas with us because Zeke has never made much of Christmas and was going to his home for the day. Elizabeth wanted to come in for stocking opening time (I hadn’t up to that time thought of including her in the stocking filling ) right through including dinner. Of course, I said, “Yes.”

Tomorrow I will continue this letter with more news of Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. On Wednesday and Thursday, a collection of notes written on Christmas Day to Lad from those present, and on Friday, two Christmas cards sent to Lad.

Judy Guion