Trumbull – Dear Ced and Rusty (2) – Business Developments – January, 1942

Alfred Duryee Guion (Grandpa)

Alfred Duryee Guion
(Grandpa)

Page 2 0f 1/4/1942

If you have not already done so by the time this letter reaches you, Ced, old scout, will you please be sure to let me know what packages you have received so that I can follow through from this end if anything I sent has not yet arrived. I sent a stainless steel sauce pan to Rusty to start housekeeping with, your watch which you sent home by Dan to be repaired, sealed beam headlights from Sears Roebuck, a box of Christmas knickknacks and a sweater from Forster Besse. While the total was far less that I wanted to send, perhaps it is all the more important that what did go should arrive safely. I did not renew subscription to the Sunday Post, first, because I did not know how much you cared for it (according to Dick he enjoyed the funnies from Seattle more), and second, your future movements seemed so uncertain that I thought I had better wait and ask you what you wanted done. Even if you go into service and are stationed at Fort Richardson, I suppose the mail would be forwarded to you from Box 822 anyway. Just say the word and I will do the necessary at this end.

Aunt Betty has just piped up and asked to have her love sent to you both.

At the office things are going a bit better or have for the past month or two. I am still having labor troubles but so far Dave has managed to get out what multigraphed letters we have had to produce and I am also able, with outside help, to keep up with the mimeographed jobs. Addressograph work has been quite heavy and I do have a girl that is doing this work very satisfactorily. During the year we have been able to pretty nearly clean up on our old debts, and, unless the nation at war throws another monkey wrench into the machinery, it looks as though we would continue. In this connection, the organization which Miss Platt left me to join, called the ADCRAFTERS, with offices just across the street, composed of the letter shop, run by Miss Platt, Art service (commercial) maintained by Mr. Thorpe, and commercial photography handled by the third member of the organization, has been having hard sledding. They originally had a printer in with them, but he proved to be no good so the rent that had been divided among the four of them had to be shared by three along with the other running expenses. It now develops that the photographer has been called into service and along with that fact, the bottom lately has been knocked out of the demand for artwork, so that Mr. Thorpe is seriously considering getting a job with some of the Bridgeport manufacturers who need his sort of service. This may throw Miss Platt on her own but with the doubtful course of future business in our line, it might be that she will be open for some arrangement whereby she will throw her little business in with mine and again be part of the Guion organization. If this happens, I may be content to let her carry on while I seek a job myself with some of the war industries here who are badly in need of men, due to the fact that so many are leaving to join up with Uncle Sam. All this, however, awaits the course of events.

To Rusty:

It was certainly good to get your letter. You don’t know how much I enjoyed hearing from you. Congratulations on the Dr. Romig painting. Please be sure to let me know about the result of the Court House petition, particularly if you get it. I’m keeping my fingers crossed. It will certainly mean the opening up of bigger things for you, which you richly deserve. Naturally I shall also be much interested to hear what results from the plans to seek other quarters. I suppose this depends somewhat on what happens in Ced’s case. It is good to know you are together. I hated to think of his being all alone so far from friends and home. As to your own personal affairs I have a hunch things are going to come out O.K. And if I can help, you know the offer still stands, to any extent within my power. I would be very happy if I could do anything that would help things to come out of the way you want them.

To Ced:

Write when you can, old son of mine. I’ll be listening.

DAD

Tomorrow, a letter to Lad from a friend from Venezuela, who is now back in the states. Thursday and Friday, another letter from Grandpa to Ced.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Dear Hermit (2) – The Office is Busy – December, 1941

Ced @ 1945

Page 2 of 12/14/41

While Lad has heard nothing from the draft board as to his status, and saying very little as he does, I have an idea he is prepared to go into it whenever the need arises. He does not feel the way you or Dan do about the ethics of the thing anyway. Myself, I shall have to steel myself to the thought that Lad and Dan and you and Dick will all be in it and if it lasts long enough, Dave also. In fact if they are going to draft folks up to 64 as proposed in the latest suggestion before Congress I may be in it myself, and that will make it unanimous. I cannot help but wonder what Mother would feel and say about things as they are opening up as far as her children are concerned.

I am still having a hectic time at the office. Difficulty in obtaining labor to turn out what work comes my way. Material shortages are threatening in the paper and Addressograph plate field, and it is too soon yet to say what influence the war is going to have on my business. Enlistments and draft calls will still further thin the ranks of men in the higher brackets in Bridgeport industries. According to Paul Warden, who is in Remington, a great many of the men at the heads of departments are leaving that company. Maybe I’ll have to be looking for a job somewhere myself to take care of taxes, etc.

Elsie informs me that business at the shop since last week has practically stopped in spite of the nearness of the Christmas season. Mrs. Burlingame, who has been in the hospital for an operation, is getting better but for several weeks Elsie has had to run the business alone herself.

It snowed yesterday for the first time this year. Lad remarked it was the first snowstorm he had seen in three years. It rained all last night so there is no snow left today but it is rather cold nevertheless. The furnace is not working too well this year. Maybe it’s a case of old age, hardening of the arteries, or something. Dan wants me to use some of his savings to put in a new furnace before the government orders a ban on use of metal for this purpose. I have asked a heating man to come in and give it a look-see with an estimate on what a new plant would cost.

You are cordially invited to attend a joint Guion-Warden New Year’s party with the three-fold purpose of making whoppee for some guests of the Wardens, to commemorate Red’s birthday and to celebrate Dick’s homecoming. Wouldn’t it be great if my great tall distant son accepted this invitation. What a start for the new year for his Dad!

But there, all dreams must have an end and so must letters. If you can fix up some mathematical formula about the strength of good wishes, particularly at Christmas tide, being as the square of the distance separating father from a well-beloved son, without an X X denoting unknown quantities, I wish you would figure out a good one that I could work out and send to you. The answer in any language would be  “much love from”

DAD

Tomorrow, another letter from Grandpa to Ced in Alaska.

More  from the Autobiography of Mary E Wilson (and another daughter) on Saturday and Sunday.

Next week, letters from 1943 when the boys are serving Uncle Sam in their own unique ways.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Dear Hermit (1) – Attitudes Towards The War – December, 1941

Judy_0003

Trumbull, Conn., December 14, 1941

Dear Hermit:

So they all up and left you, heh! It is interesting to speculate on one’s reactions under the circumstances. See how near I come imagining the various phases one goes through. In some ways you and I are temperamentally more alike than the others so perhaps a little introspection on the way I think I might feel may come within shooting distance of the way you may react. Perhaps the first reaction after the bustle and tenseness of seeing the last brother off would be a sense of relief and a feeling that now you can do whatever you want whenever you want in your own way without feeling that anyone else’s feelings have to be regarded. This might last for a week or maybe a little longer, after which it might seem a bit cheerless coming home to an empty room with no one to know or care or exchange small talk with. This will either induce you to seek other friends or outside recreation unless you are too busy with work or other individual activities to do much more than sleep when you get in. Anyway, as it will be your first experience of the kind it will be interesting to note your own reactions. In time, like everything else, you will get used to it, unless the war situation hastens your induction into service and then of course you will be too busy with that to have time to plan your own activities. By the way, did the Jap attack make you feel any different about getting into the service to defend our own country? Short as the time has been I sense quite a change in the feeling of many who up to last Sunday were opposed to giving up their time to what they considered was sort of wasted in training for something that did not look as though it would be needed. Even Dan, just today, said he did not feel the same as he did before, now that there was actually something tangible to prepare against, although he did still believe the necessity would never have arisen if we had tended strictly to our own business and not try to run other nations on our own ideas of morality. As no letter came from you last week I don’t know your reaction to Dick’s leaving nor the effect on your feelings or that of Anchorage folks in general on the rising Sun’s hot ray that scorched Pearl Harbor without warning a week ago today.

Such as it is, I got off a Christmas box to you last night. I am disappointed in it and I fear that you will be also. In fact so much uncertainty has attended your future doings and there has been such poor mail service in hearing promptly from you that things did not go as they normally would. Even the headlight I ordered sent to you from Sears Roebuck in Seattle was delivered to me from that city and had to be reshipped to Anchorage. I also mailed your watch which Dan brought back to be repaired, but I have much doubt as to whether any of these things will reach you by the 25th.

Have heard no word from Dick and I am wondering if war conditions will make any difference in the boat’s scheduled time of arrival and whether after he reaches Seattle transportation or blackouts or other circumstances attendant on the outbreak of war on the Pacific coast will necessitate any radical change of plans on his part and whether he will be able to get home by Christmas.

Tonight Dan is giving a talk on Alaska illustrated with colored views before some young people’s society of the Stratford Congregational Church. Barbara and Dave went along also, and possibly Lad and Babe.

Page 2 of this letter tomorrow, and on Friday, another letter to Ced from Grandpa.

On Saturday and Sunday, Mary E Wilson writes about the move to Trumbull and another daughter.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Dear Network Stations (3) – Life in Brazil – September, 1945

This is the final portion of a 4-page letter from Grandpa, informing the rest of the family about the lives of Dave, Dan and Dick and Jean.

 

And Jean, who is probably the American belle of Brazil, writes: “Did you think we had forgotten all about you? We haven’t, honestly. Just that we’ve been so busy fixing up our house and keeping up with all the social obligations that I haven’t had a chance to write. We are quite popular, you know! We spent quite a lot of time out at the base —  it’s more of a necessity than a desire. We haven’t a refrigerator yet so we can’t keep food for any length of time. Once in a while though, we get a few cans of vegetables and a can of meat and come home for dinner. It is a little hard cooking, tho, because we have only a small gasoline stove, but it’s fun. Dick usually goes to the base at 7 and I get a ride in at 11. This gives me a chance to do a few of the necessary things around the house. I spend every afternoon sitting at Dick’s desk knitting or talking to some of the Brazilians. They’re trying just about as hard as Dick is to teach me Portuguese. I’m afraid I’m a hopeless case but I’m trying anyway. All the Brazilians I’ve met so far seem to be very nice — they go out of their way to do things for us. Being here with Dick is almost as good as civilian life. I see him practically all day during the week. He gets off at 4:30 and doesn’t have to report back until eight the next morning. Sunday is his day off. It’s really wonderful. We’ve been out almost every night — most of the time we stay at the base and see the movies or go to N.C.O. club where they have an outdoor dance floor. It is wonderful dancing under the stars. I’ve learned the Samba and the March. They’re lots of fun. The Polish couple that Dick mentioned in one of his letters lives a block away from us so we see quite a lot of them. They both speak English so it’s a lot more enjoyable for me being with them. One night we visited a Brazilian family. The man spoke English but his wife didn’t, so we sat and smiled at each other all evening. This same man took us to the Club last night — quite an affair. The Brazilian General and the American Consul were there. There were five

Page 4    9/16/45

American officers but Dick was the only enlisted man who was invited — that made him feel pretty good. Tomorrow night the enlisted men are giving a Labor Day dance at one of the Brazilian Clubs, where there is a beautiful tile swimming pool. There will be a swimming meet during the dance — it should be fun. I’ll probably be the only American girl there because the only other wives who are here are officers wives and that’s only two. I’m sort of getting used to being the only American. I felt uncomfortable at first with everyone staring at me. They still stare but I don’t mind it so much. The people in Portaleza are pretty poor and about 40% or more of them are illiterate. They can’t even sign their names. The school problem here is really bad. They have to pay for both grammar and high school. Most families can’t afford it so the children just don’t go. Three-quarters of the people are suffering from mal-nutrition. Before I got here I was under the impression that the cost of living was very low but it isn’t. Food, clothing and everything else is very high. Most of the people don’t even wear shoes and if they do, they’re just a scuff made of cheap leather or wood with a piece of material over the toes to hold it on. I get the creeps every time I go downtown and see the conditions that exist here. The Government does nothing at all for the poor people –if they can’t get work that pays them enough to live, they die in the streets. Out where we live tho, all the rich people have homes. It’s really a very pretty section. Our house isn’t one of the finest but it’s quite nice. We’re going to try to get some pictures of it soon and when we do, will send some to you. The weather is ideal –there’s always a strong breeze from the water. We live about a mile from the beach. Received your weekly letter the other day. Now I know how much that letter means to the boys. It made me feel a little closer to home. Dick gave me a beautiful Ronson cigarette lighter the day I got here. It has my monogram on it –JMG — pretty snazzy. Love to all. Jean.

Now for a few asides, comments, remarks, criticisms, insults or what have you. Dave, your letter cleared up a number of points I have been wondering about. The comments I would make to most of the things are obvious. I’m thinking the way people back home here are kicking up a fuss with Congress in the Army that you will be home long before Christmas, 1946. Dan, Airmail from your and might also cut down the 16 day transit time for regular mail. Last week I got off to you and adapter made to Lad’s specifications of aluminum by the Singer Mfg. So. Through  Zeke’s courtesy. I tried to send it by air mail but P.O. said no. I also sent a box with a couple of cans of meat for the Rabets, a few items for the Senechals and a couple of items for Paulette. More clothing items will be sent this week. All on the list have either been purchased or ordered, excepting the watch and wool. I am also greatly elated about the grandchild news. I am hoping it can be born here in little old Trumbull, but as you say, we’ll just have to wait for developments. Jean, enclosed is Paulette’s letter to you, with translation by Dan. Your check was mailed last week. The Washington phone calls totaled $4.85, if you must know. Thanks for the ration books.

Next week, along with new quotes (I hope), I will probably have an account of the APG’s trek through upper N.E. and N.Y. Coming up, one birthday for Dave. Hope he gets that raise, or better yet, an H.D., along with that phantom camera I have not yet been able to find for him. Dan, the latest, according to a Paris radio report, is that Adolph Hitler is hiding out in Bridgeport, Conn. I haven’t had any orders recently from a man named Schickelgruber so I cannot vouch for the authenticity of the rumor. I’m sneezing off now until next week.

DAD

Tomorrow and Sunday, I’ll post more of the autobiography of Mary E. Wilson, as she and Archie move to Trumbull and expand their family again.

Next week, I’ll be posting letters written in 1941. The war is getting closer and all the boys are concerned about their draft status.

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

Autobiography of Mary E Wilson (13-2) – Mary Meets Archie Wilson – 1935

Mary E. Wilson

We really had a marvelous time in New York and somehow Archie managed to be able to drive me home alone in his car. I don’t know how he arranged it but we did not get home until 4 AM. The Perkins were furious because they stayed right with us on our drive home. I hate to mention what my mother said when I arrived home. She made it her business to call Mrs. Perkins to find out if she had really been with us in New York. I was very angry, I was 24 years old and we have been closely escorted even though we were in separate cars.

But Archie and I talked on our way home. He hated his wife and was waiting for his divorce to be finalized. He worked in New Haven for the Shell Oil Company. He lived with his parents and two brothers on Bond Street across from the G. E.. Archie was born in Scotland but had lived in Canada prior to moving to the states.

We started to see each other for a few minutes at the G.E. gates while I was en route to work and I also saw him at dances. He started attending church at St. Luke’s so we smiled at each other from a distance. Fred was not stupid, he knew what was going on, so he told my brother, Arthur. I was not dating Fred anymore but Arthur told me I should not see Archie but he did not tell my mother. We finally did start to date very discreetly with the help of Francis, Celso, my two brothers, and Archie’s two brothers.

It was evident by now we were in love with each other and we started to plan a life together when he got a divorce.

Alec, Archie’s younger brother, would come to the house to take me horseback riding. He was so handsome, he reminded me of Tyrone Power and my mother told me I was robbing the cradle because he was so young. Alec and I truly became good friends and we both loved horseback riding and I really think Archie encouraged Alec to take me out while he was working.

In spite of Archie’s impatience waiting for his divorce to become final, we really had a nice courtship. I would take a day off and we would spend it at the beach. Archie’s good friend,  Bill, and we would double date, but Bill would have to come to the house to get me.

Archie and Bill both worked for the Shell Company and I often wondered what Bill’s girlfriend thought about it all.

My mother thought Bill was really nice and I really think she was having hopes again for her spinster daughter because by now I was 25 years old.

Next weekend, we’ll find out what 1936 and 1937 have in store for Mary. Will she marry Archie or will they have to continue to wait?

On Monday, I’ll start a week of letters written in 1941. Lad, Dan, Ced and Dick are all very concerned about the draft and what it will mean for each of them.

Judy Guion

Autobiography of Mary E. Wilson (13-1) – Mary Meets Archie Wilson – 1935

Mary E. Wilson

1935

          I was now 24 years old and my mother was beginning to worry I was not going to get married. It was at this time I had gone to a dance at the Ritz Ballroom with Francis and I met a good-looking man who asked me to dance. He was with Herbert Perkins, the brother of Ted. Herb formally introduced us and his name was Archie Wilson. I think we were attracted to each other the moment we met. We danced every dance together that night and a very popular dance tune at the time was “When I Grow Too Old to Dream”. He took me home. I really don’t know who took Francis home, maybe Herbie but Archie was cute.

I remember telling my mother about a nice young man I met and as usual my mother asked, “What is his nationality?”, “What is his religion?”, And, “What did he do for a living?”. I had not asked and did not know.

I thought about him often. I had to go to a Sunday school meeting at Mrs. Saul’s house and believe it or not she was discussing her godchild and saying how sorry she was for him. He and his wife had separated and they were getting a divorce. She was referring to Archie, he had been married less than a year. I felt really disappointed but figured you can’t win them all but we had seemed to be mutually attracted to each other.

I started to see him in charge and as I said he was friendly with the Perkins’. I saw him again and the dance but did not go home with him. He was a nice person and I loved dancing with him. He seemed to be showing up at places I attended. I very discreetly started to question Fred about him but he said nothing nice about Archie.

About two or three weeks later Archie was waiting for me outside of the G. E. gates and he asked me to accompany him to a Shell Company dance at the Commodore Hotel in New York. He carefully explained we would be well chaperoned by Mrs. Perkins, Ted and Herbie, her sons, and their dates. I accepted the date but did not tell my mother about Archie’s marital problems. I remember I splurged on a beautiful white coat with a rhinestone belt and silver shoes. I really felt elegant but a little uneasy about dating a married man even with plenty of chaperones.

I sensed that Mrs. Perkins did not approve because she knew I dated Fred and she was friendly with the Williams’s. I had spoken to Fred about a week before and he had given me an ultimatum… I refused to go with RT to New York for we were through seeing each other. I decided to go to New York with Archie.

Tomorrow, I’ll continue the story of Mary and Archie.

I interviewed my Dad and some of his siblings to have a record of their childhood memories. Dave told me about his trip from Okinawa to Manila. I have updated the post from earlier this week. You can use this link to read his memories of that fateful trip. https://greatestgenerationlessons.wordpress.com/2017/04/12/trumbull-dear-benedicts-and-bachelors-dave-sent-to-manila-september-1945/

Next week, I’ll be posting letters from 1941. Lad is working at Producto in Bridgeport. Dan has left Alaska and is back in Trumbull. Ced and Dick remain in Anchorage, but the Trumbull house is filling up.

Judy Guion