Trumbull – Dear Son – Grandpa Writes to Ced – 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

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) alighted from the bus, and Christmas morning the four Zabel’s and Elsie 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.


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. 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’ll begin posting letters written in 1943, a truly momentous year for Lad. 

Tomorrow more Special Pictures of the Trumbull House, Then and Now.

On Sunday, The Role of Sports, a Guest Post by GPCox.

Judy Guion


Trumbull – A Box of Cigars (2) – March 19, 1944

And there you have it, Marian dear, as complete an exhibit of the wild ravings of an unbalanced mind as one could find anywhere. Since the secret can no longer be kept you have probably already concluded that there must be a touch of insanity in the family to which you have recently united. It is too bad that poor old Dan is going so rapidly “off the deep end”, as they say in jolly old London. But then the other children have also exhibited like tendencies from time to time. I am really the only sane one in the family. Lad at times has shown traces of irrationality, one time choo, chooing and saying “all aboard”, Ced early developed the habit of jumping out of second-story windows. Elizabeth tried walking a tightrope on the back fence falling off and breaking her arm, while Dick and Dave developed glass breaking complexes, Dick picking out country clubs for his activities and Dave kicking in stair windows claiming it was unintentional, that he was just wiggleing his toe and it wiggled too far. Dan, even as a child exhibited clear tendencies, taking such forms as painting his little baby brother Cedric’s face with black shoe polish, almost scaring his aunt to death, breaking eggs by the half-dozen lots on the kitchen floor, deciding to sleep out-of-doors on a summer’s night and then rushing in the house after dark with tales of being chased by bears. We of course tried to overlook these things and hope for the best, the years showing no improvement, as you can see from his letter, his mind seems rapidly going to pieces. I will mention just a few instances, as I might as well make a clean breast of the whole thing while I am at it. You will notice Dan puts no year on his letter, never knowing what year it is, as can readily be seen from his opening paragraph. Then after admitting the Christmas package was definitely received his irrational mind jumps to the conclusion that the package is still traveling as he says in the same breath “you should hear about it before it goes too far.” See what I mean? And of course it is quite untrue about Aunt Betty smoking cigars as you will realize when I tell you that for the last 20 years she has invariably smoked a corncob pipe, and being quite consistent, uses only corn silk. The farmers in the neighborhood look charitably upon this peculiarity, and it is a frequent occurrence of summer evenings in Trumbull to see Aunt Betty with a small wicker basket on her arm and a blue sun bonnet on her head trudging through the cornfield gathering corn silk for her winter humidor. Then that reference to Aunt Betty sitting on the stairs and blocking my way is a pure figment of the imagination. As you well know, I always slide down the banisters.

Perhaps we should excuse these harmless little aberrations on Dan’s part, but one thing I cannot overlook is his habit, when at home, of scattering snuff here and there throughout the house to make me sneeze, in the hope that I will think I have hay fever.

Of course I wouldn’t for the world let him know we realize his mental condition and it might be well therefore for you to humor him to the extent of a bolt or so of pink ribbon which you can secure from your department store for his monocle, cautioning him, of course, not to trip over it; also while you’re at it, you might send him some shoelaces with little tassels on them, as I know this would touch him deeply. We’ll just have to make the best of it, hoping he doesn’t reach the stage where he thinks he’s Joe Stalin and goes around ordering caviar, vodka and borsht at Kurtz’s store.

This family confession has completely exhausted me and I shall now have to close this letter as I have to try catching my thumb.

Lovingly yours,


I’ll finish this week spent in 1944 with another letter from Rusty Huerlin sent to Ced in Anchorage.

Judy Guion


Trumbull – Dear Fugitives From the Home Fireside (1) – News From Dan – January, 1946


Trumbull, Conn., Jan. 13, 1946

Dear fugitives from the home fireside:

There is nothing much to report so far this year as far as eventful happenings at home are concerned. Lad has been busy all week devising and putting into practice ideas for burning garbage accumulations in our open air incinerator, Dick goes tomorrow for his aptitude test in Bridgeport, Jean for the past week has been valiantly fighting grippe germs (she is better now, in fact the four of them have gone skating this afternoon to the Shelton Rink), Marian keeps well, as does Aunt Betty and yours truly. Paul (Warden, he and his family rent the small apartment) is expected home this afternoon; I have been busy getting my new file into shape. The cold spell gave place last week to some milder weather which melted most of the snow but today it is colder again with “very cold” promised for tomorrow.

Dan Guion surveying cemetaries in France

As to incoming mail, three days in succession this week have witnessed letters arriving from Dan, not in order of their dispatch, however, — 20th of Dec. from Paris, 27th from Passy, 11th from Aix-en-Provence. For the sake of continuity I shall quote them in order of sending rather than receipt. After expressing desire to have a fur coat ordered from Sears as a Christmas gift for Paulette, which I am not sure can be sent because while it is within the weight limit of 11 pounds there is a question as to whether it might exceed the limit imposed by the post office on size of package, which fact I am looking into before ordering, Dan goes on to say: “This is the famous “Midi” of Southern France, but you can’t prove it by me. Ever since we arrived the weather has been quite cold. It snowed three days ago and the sun, shining each day since, has only half melted the inch or so that felt. We are pushing on today for Sraguignan.”

Second letter answers letters asking sundry questions from which I learned all parcels should be sent as before to Army address, it is doubtful whether stamp collection clippings should be continued, and persons for whom wedding and engagement rings were desired are already married, material desired is to trim outside of bassinet. He also asks for civilian clothes, which I shall dig up and send provided the moths have not claimed them first.

The last letter says: Christmas at Calais! One year ago I was just falling in love. We ate dinner on Xmas eve last year at the home of Hubert Desfachelle, not dreaming at the time that it would be he who would marry us and never realizing that he would be Mayor of Calais! He is quite active in the Communist Party and was swept into office unexpectedly last fall. His impersonation of “Monsieur le Maire” for our wedding was prophetic. Chiche and I were his guests this year (Dec. 23rd) in his private loge at the municipal theater. The days in Calais (Sat. to Wed.) flew by incredibly fast. We thought of you all in Trumbull — wondered if we’d be there next Christmas. Papa Senechal says he’s going to write you another letter. Big excitement on the finance front. The rate is suddenly halfway normal — hard to get used to the new value of the Franc. Next survey job will be after Jan. 1st at Epinal, not far from Nancy. My conscience has just given me another lecture on the old “abusing father’s kindness” theme — but what the hell!

I will be posting each day, for the rest of the week, portions of this letter from Grandpa to family members still away from home.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – To My Scattered Flock (1) – A Censor’s Note – January, 1944

Trumbull, Conn.  Jan. 2, 1944

To my scattered flock:

There are several matters of import to record in this my first letter of the new year. First, about Grandma. Burton phoned me at the office early in the week to say that his mother was very weak and the doctor had told them she had not many more days before starting out on the great adventure. Might be a week, possibly two weeks, but to be safe and in accordance with Grandma’s wishes, all the children were summoned to her bedside. Thursday, Ced, Jean and I, together with Elizabeth, her two kids, Flora Bushey and Red all went down on the train together. We phoned to Anne from Elsie’s shop and learned that Grandma would like see us that afternoon, so, Red and Flora having planned to attend some movie, Jean and Ced and I went to Grandma’s while Elizabeth stayed at Anne’s apartment some blocks away with her two children, then Ced and Jean left to meet Red while I went back to Anne’s to amuse the kids while Elizabeth went over to see Grandma. Grandma looks very bad, but is alert and interested in all that goes on. She was interested in reading Marian’s letter and also one from Dan, doing so propped up in bed without the aid of her glasses, too. Physically she is extremely weak, there apparently being a combination of intestinal and liver trouble. Helen was there with Anne. Dorothy had gone to work. Kemper, Marian and Larry had come on but Larry and Marian, with Alan (now 7 years old) had gone to see old friends in New Rochelle and Kemper had gone to Mount Vernon. Before we left Anne’s apartment to come home, Larry phoned from the Grand Central and he and Marian came down and we all had supper together. I neglected to say that Dave had gone down to see Grandma the day before and to my place at the office Thursday, as otherwise I would have had to close up shop.

Two airmail letters from Dan, one in the first part of the week and the other the last day of the old year, sort of ended up 1943 in good style. His first letter mentioned having had a very pleasant Thanksgiving Day with Mr. and Mrs. Heath, of whom he says he has never encountered any people more sincerely generous than the Heaths. He mentions receiving three invitations to Christmas celebrations, but “the old fox is waiting to see which invitation will be most worthwhile”. His second letter describes a short furlough which he spent in a visit to Cornwall in a little town called St. Ives (of Mother Goose fame) and a short distance from Penzance, immortalized by Gilbert and Sullivan’s Pirates. He was guest of a very hospitable elderly retired couple named Burnett who were introduced to him by mail through the kindness of one of the Red Cross workers.

Daniel (Dan) Beck Guion

Dear Dan:

Lt. P. R. Martin, the Censor who usually goes over your letters, felt it his duty to remove the Heath’s address, but he very courteously wrote the following note: “Send the articles to T-5 Guion. Sorry I must cut the address out; however it is of little importance.” Accordingly, I had D. M. Read Company make up a package of bath salts, powder and soap and will get it off to you early in 1944. Are you getting some good movies or Kodachrome pictures or won’t they allow the use of a camera in England? Send me another list of things you want sent, now that we know they arrive, even though somewhat delayed. I think hereafter, that with every package I send you, I shall include some item of cosmetic or toilet article as gifts to those who are so good to you, BUT, please, in every letter make a definite request which I can show the post office as otherwise packages will not be accepted for mailing overseas. We all enjoy your letters very much and it’s so good to know you are well and content.

Tomorrow I’ll post the conclusion of this letter, with notes to Lad and Marian. On Thursday, another letter from Marian and on Friday, another letter from Grandpa with some news for the family.

Judy Guion



Army Life – Dear Dad – Life at Aberdeen and Round-Robin From Friends (2) – July, 1942

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

This picture of Dick was actually taken at the wrong time of the year, but it is the only one I have of him at about this age.

Dear Children –                Round-Robin

The usual procedure is to sign one’s name after having completed the customary twaddle. Having received several such paragraphs in round-robins, I realize how stupid it is. Anyone reading the letter will probably have to read a paragraph, notice who wrote it, and then go back and read it over a second time; this time getting a little more out of it, but still feeling that he has gleaned very little from his reading. Realizing the fallacy of this procedure, I will hasten to let you know who is writing this particular stanza. It is I; little Dick.

Barbara mentioned that “WE” almost practically got stuck which is not the case at all. Although I let them all believe that the situation was critical, I had, at all times, the utmost confidence in my driving ability; being the best driver in the family. Anyone of lesser dexterity and driving knowledge would most certainly have become hopelessly engulfed in the treacherous quagmire, but with deft maneuvering, I managed to overcome the clutching, sucking morass in the nick of time. To overcome my habit of minimizing hardships, I will tell you of some of the obstacles I had to overcome. As the water lapped at the windshield, threatening to drown us like the rats they are; with three girls screaming, sobbing brokenly, and throwing their arms about my neck (which I didn’t really mind very much) with occasional bits of droll information from Dave concerning tides in freshwater pools, with little regard for Uncle Sam’s rubber and gas, I applied myself diligently to the task at hand. Waiting for the strategic moment when my sputtering motor slowed to 48 RPM’s, I firmly grasped the gear shikk shipt (one must be careful where he lays his fingers when typing, mustn’t one?) I firmly grasped the gear shift knob in my right hand and eased the car into low gear. With temples throbbing, the blood rushing cold in my veins, I relived in a split second my carefree childhood days. Then, gritting my teeth, I did the only thing possible. Not only my life, but five other tender lives were in my hands. I raced the motor, let out the clutch with a snap. For an instant we moved, but the motor died. Henry Ford had let another sucker down. The three girls had fainted by now and Dave was in the last stages of consciousness (which isn’t unusual) I felt weak and sick, but this was no time to quit, so, with trembling fingers, I pressed the starter and xxxxxxxxxx when the motor had struggled back to life, I again tramped on the gas pedal; all the while releasing the clutch pedal slowly. The motor faltered momentarily but came back to normal with tear-dimmed eyes, I glanced out the side window and noticed that we were moving forward inch by inch. I shut my eyes and prayed a thousand prayers. By the time I had finished the 999th, I had the sensation that we were rolling along forward at a much faster rate, and sure enough, just as I snapped my eyes open, a state policeman blew his siren and motioned me over to the side. Well, bread and water isn’t a very substantial diet for a defense worker, so I told the cop. He kind of smiled, He see I had him.

Adios, Hermanos, Mios



Alfred Duryee Guion (Grandpa)

Alfred Duryee Guion


This is Dad again

          Well, who says I’m not an opportunist. As I sat down to write you-all, a cunning idea stole into my mind, what with Jane and Barbara and Jean and Dick decorating the vicinity. And so, the result you have above.

I have been thinking of you boys in Maryland and North Carolina today and wondering if the weather was correspondingly as hot as it has been today in Trumbull.

Two letters this week – – one from Lad and one from Grandma. Lad reports he has just received his grading on the strenuous 5-weeks course he has been working so strenuously on. The class was divided into five groups by final score on the complete course. He was in the fourth group (the fifth being the top notchers), so he was not as good as the best but well up in the class, but what pleased him as much as anything was the fact that he was given the job of instructing a class in diesel engineering, and while it means a lot of work on his part, being a new course, he looks forward to enjoying the work. He has another fellow working with him on the task – a Corporal Frankenhauser. I took the liberty of calling up Mr. Hagan, his old instructor in diesel and ________________________( this part was lost at the bottom of some of the carbons, so Grandpa began again on the next page)


his old instructor in diesel and reading Lad’s letter to him, knowing he would be interested in one of his old pupils progress in this particular field. He was and took Lad’s address so that he might write offering any assistance that might be welcome under the circumstances. I also inquired if any new textbooks on the subject had been published lately and he said, “no”. Don’t forget, Lad, if your new course gets to the point where mimeograph copies will aid in your successful teaching of the subject, I guess I can do something for you and Uncle Sam until the point is reached where it is putting me financially in a hole, and then maybe if the government red tape will not permit payment of costs, maybe the fellows benefiting would be willing to chip in, but there, the idea may be running away with me. It’s just an idea, anyway.

Grandma says that on Burton’s birthday (April 1st), a letter from Washington came to him addressed to Capt. Burton Peabody. He had passed his tough physical exam O.K. and since May 1st has been stationed in Washington. His address is 1223 11th St., N.W., Dorothy (Peabody) completed her secretarial course in June and almost immediately got a job at the Traphagen Art School in New York. About July 1st, Donald (Stanley) arrived unexpectedly and a few days later, left for St. Albans, to join his father with the latter’s new family. Anne (Stanley, Donald and Gweneth’s mother, and sister-in-law to Grandpa) and Gwyneth arrived a week or so later. Anne took Gwyneth to Burlington where Fred (Stanley, divorced from Anne) was to meet Gwyneth to visit them. Anne is coming back to New Rochelle to stay with Grandma while Kemper and Ethel (Peabody) are on vacation until Labor Day. She ends her letter with these words – “When you write to your boys please give them my love”.

Tiny (?) has reported to have said that Nelly (Nelson Sperling) is now stationed at Aberdeen so it is possible that Lad and he may run into one another someday, although from the size of the place and the number of men there are, it is just as likely not to happen.

New gasoline ration cards go into effect this week. I have put in an application for a supplementary card to enable me to continue doing business but have not yet learned whether my request will be granted or not.

As your news commentator seems to have run out of communiqués for the present, I shall close by saying that is all from Trumbull at this time.


Tomorrow and Sunday, Special Pictures.

Next week I’ll be posting letters written in 1944. By the middle of the month, all five sons will be away from home and Grandpa will be holding down the fort in Trumbull without any sons to help.

Judy Guion 

Army Life – Dear Dad (1) – Life at Aberdeen and Round-Robin From Friends – July, 1942

Lad Guion

July 12, 1942

Dear Dad:

You asked me to let you know how I made out in my teaching course. The class was divided into five groups, by final score on the complete course, and I was in the fourth group. Not quite as good as the best, but well up in the class. And, to top matters, I’m now, plus everything else, instructing a class in Diesel Engines. Anyhow, that could hardly be bettered in the Army, as far as I’m concerned. But it does mean a lot of work on my part, because it is a new course, and I have to lay out a teaching program and the fellow who is in on the ground floor with me (there were only two of us in the whole Dep’t.) knows very little about Diesels. In fact, I’ve had to teach him quite a bit so far. However, we get along together well, and I think I’ll enjoy the work. He is a corporal and his name is Donald Frankenhausen. Our first class starts tomorrow.

The battery for my razor arrived yesterday to the tune of $3.22 which isn’t too bad at all.

Do you remember the parade ground on which they were building? Instead of four buildings there are now 19 completed, 27 others with the floors laid and ready for the sides and roofs, 23 more with the floor frames in place and 46 in various stages of completion. In two or three weeks the complete layout will be ready for occupation.

I’ve not had a chance to see the Captain about insurance or anything else as yet, but I hope to find time this week.

Well, I’ve got to get going on my lesson plans again, so – hasta luego –



The Gang at the Trumbull House - 1934

Trumbull, Conn., July 19, 1942

Dear Boys:

Sunday afternoon has rolled around once again, and a hot one it is, too. Around the festive board at dinner today were gathered, in addition to the regular denizen, Biss and Jean and Catherine – – my two little grandsons having joined the two Wardens in a Child’s Restaurant meal, just previous to our meal in the grand salon (no, it is not spelled incorrectly) in the Guion ménage.



I have just been interrupted (however not rudely) while playing a very interesting game of Bridge. Barbara was a student of mine along the same line, but so far has succeeded in winning almost every hand. Hereafter, the next to potential learners shall not be included when it comes to discussing the why’s and wherefore’s of such little items as trumping your partners aces, etc. All this really boils down to the fact that my forefinger is getting a bit numb from trying to hit the wrong keys. Hoping you are the same —— Jane

(6th female from the left)


Dear Bo s, I mean Boots, I mean Boys:

I bet you can never guess who? After what Jane wrote, I mean. I mean Hello! WE went swimming this afternoon. It was hundred and 62° in the shade of the Old Apple Tree ?-/%. Wow! Dick Jean, David, Bob Shadick, Jane and I started out in Dick’s car for Tungstyen Mine. There were so many kids there we couldn’t even See the Water, so– after getting almost practically stuck in a big mud puddle, — “we left”. From there in three jobs we landed in the Pequonnock back of Sirene’s. (Where we went swimming) so now everyone is nice and cool and happy, too cool and happy to play tennis event. I can’t figure any way to use the other marks (#$^*&) I don’t know any jokes with cussing, and don’t even know what $ and % mean. I can’t even discover another word to use instead of even even.


(partially hidden, directly behind boy in front row, center, wearing white)


hello !!!!

Jean (Mrs. Richard) Guion

this is me  –  jean  –  guess what? something new has been added. another year. yep, i’m getting on in years now. i guess barbara and jane told you all the news, but barbara was mistaken, i’m happy but I’m not so cool. oh, I forgot to tell you, i’m twenty-two now. this is modern design – no capitals. hope you are all fine and happy —–

ced, lad,dan,

bye now, jean


This is the first page of a Round-Robin letter from friends to Lad, Dan and Ced. They are all at the Trumbull house, as happened quite often on Sunday afternoons. Tomorrow, a very long section from Dick, and the conclusion from Grandpa with more news about friends and family.

On Saturday and Sunday, more Special Pictures.

Judy Guion

Dear Sons (3) – The Old Man Goes To Town – July, 1942

Grandpa included this poem in this week’s letter to Lad, Dan and Ced, his three oldest sons who are away from home.


Well, wife, I’ve been to ’Frisco, and I called to see the boys

I’m tired, and mor’n half deafened with the travel and the noise.

So I’ll sit down by the chimbly, and rest my weary bones,

And tell how I was treated by our “ristocratic sons.

As soon’s I reached the city, I hunted up our Dan

You know he’s now a celebrated wholesale business man.

I walked down from the depo’ — but Dan keeps a country seat

An’ I thought to go home with him, an’ rest my weary feet.

All the way I kep’ ‘n thinkin’ how famous it ‘ud be

To go ‘round the town together – – my grown-up boy an’ me,

An’ remember the old times, when my little “curly head”

Used to cry out “Good night, daddy” from his little trundle bed.

I never thought a minute that he wouldn’t want to see

His gray and worn old father, or would be ashamed of me,

So when I seen his office, with the sign writ out in gold,

I walked in ‘ithout knockin’ – – but the old man was too bold.

Dan was settin’ by a table, and a-writin’ in a book,

He knowed me in a second, but he gave me such a look!

He never said a word o’ you, but axed about the grain,

An’ ef I thought the valley didn’t need a little rain.

I didn’t stay a great while, but inquired after Rob,

Dan said he lived upon the hill – – I think they called it Nob.

An’ when I left, Dan, in a tone that almost broke me down

Said, “Call and see me, won’t ye, whenever you’re in town?”

It was rather late that evenin’ when I found our Robert’s house

There was music, lights and dancin’ and a mighty big carouse.

At the door I nigger met me, and he grinned from ear to ear,

Sayin’ “Needs ob invitation, or you nebber get in here.”

I said I was Rob’s father, an’ with another grin,

The nigger left me standin’ and disappeared within.

Rob came out on the porch – – he didn’t order me away;

But said he hoped to see me in his office the next day.

Then I started fur a tavern, fur I knowed there, anyway,

They wouldn’t turn me out so long’s I had money fur to pay.

And Rob and Dan had left me about the streets to roam,

An’ neither of them axed me if I’d money to git home.

It may be the way with rich folks – – I don’t say as it’s not,

But we remember some things Dan and Rob have quite forgot.

I didn’t quite expect this, wife, when twenty years ago

We mortgaged the old homestead to give Rob and Dan a show.

I didn’t look for Charley, but I happened just to meet

Him with a lot of friends of his’n, a-comin’ down the street.

I thought I’d pass on by him, our youngest son

would show he was ashamed of me, as Rob and Dan had done.

But as soon as Charley seen me, he, right ‘afore ‘em all,

Said: “God bless me, there’s my father!” as loud as he could bawl,

Then he introduced me to his friends, an’ sent ‘em all away

Tellin’ ‘em he’d see ‘em later, but was busy for that day.

Then he took me out to dinner, an’ he axed about the house

‘Bout you and Sally’s baby, an’ the chicken, pigs and cows.

He axed about his brothers, addin’ that ‘twas ruther queer,

But he hadn’t seen one of ‘em fur mighty nigh a year.

Then he took me to his lodgin’ in an attic four stairs high,

he said he liked it better ‘cause ‘twas nearer to the sky.

An’ he said, “I’ve only one room, but my bed is pretty wide

An’ so we slept together, me an’ Charley, side-by-side.

Next day we went together to the great Mechanic’s Fair

An’ some of Charley’s pictures was on exhibition there.

He said if he could sell ‘em, which he hoped to, pretty soon,

He’d make us all a visit an’ be richer than Muldoon.

An’ so two days and nights we passed, an’, when I came away,

Poor Charley said the time was short, an’ begged me fur to stay.

That he took me in a buggy an’ druv me to the train,

An’ said in just a little while he’d see us all again.

You know we thought our Charley would never come too much,

He was always readin’ novels, and poetry and such.

There was nothin’ on the farm he ever seemed to want to do

An’ when he took to paintin’, he disgusted me clear through!

So we gave to Rob and Dan all we had to call our own

An’ left poor Charley penniless to make his way alone;

He’s only a poor painter; Rob and Dan are rich as sin;

But Charley’s worth the pair of ‘em with all their gold thrown in.

Those two grand men, dear wife, were once are prattlin’  babes, an’ yet

It seems as if a mighty gulf ‘twixt them and us is set;

An’ they’ll never know the old folks till life’s troubled journey’s past,

An’ rich and poor are equal underneath the sod at last.

An’ maybe when we all meet on the resurrection morn,

With our earthly glories fallen, like husks from the ripe corn,

When the righteous SonoOf Man the awful sentence shall have said

The brightest crown that’s shining there may be on Charley’s head.

Tomorrow, another Special Picture.

On Monday, I’ll begin posting letters written in 1944. Ced will be going back to Alaska and Dave, Grandpa’s youngest child, will be going into the Army. His five sons are away from home because of the war and letters will be going out to each of them, and Marian, Lad’s wife of 2 months.

Judy Guion