Army Life – Marian Writes to Grandpa From Jackson, Mississippi – September 23, 1944

 

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Dear Dad —

The week is practically over and it suddenly occurred to me that we haven’t written to you as yet, so if this violent stationary of mine doesn’t put your eyes out, I’ll try to acquaint you with our latest happenings.

Which really aren’t very many. Things go on just about as usual – swing shift still in session. Lad’s working quite hard – he’s the only one of the instructors, I believe, who has classes right straight through until 1230. The others get off early two or three nights in the week. Consequently, it’s pretty tiring.

The photograph that I mentioned sending to you hasn’t gotten in the mail yet! Were awfully sorry, but there seems to be a shortage of boxes and cardboard around here, so that we are having difficulty trying to find something to wrap it in. But will get it to you eventually.

The hot weather is with us again, and believe me it is rather hard to take – it is so darned unpleasant being so “sticky” all of the time, and when the nights don’t cool off it’s hard to get decent sleep. Our only consolation is that the hot spells don’t seem to last very long.

If you have the opportunity, may we recommend Bing Crosby’s latest picture, “Going My Way”,    ( http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0036872/  ) as a definitely “must see” for me. I think Aunt Betty would enjoy it, too, as well as Jean, for to our way of thinking, it is the best picture we have seen this year. The title is a little confusing, and it is hard to imagine Bing Crosby in the role of a priest, but he and Barry Fitzgerald do an exceptionally fine job in the picture. I saw it twice, and would thoroughly enjoy seeing it again. Perhaps you’ve seen it already. If so, I hope you enjoyed it as much as we did.

Incidentally Dad, we thought your last letter (Dated September 10th) was a “top – notcher” – particularly Dave’s reminiscent contribution. And to think it came from an ancient 18-year-old! You must feel exceedingly proud, Dad, when you receive such letters, and what satisfaction you must have, knowing that you were in a large part responsible for such perfectly grand results as five wonderful sons and an equally fine daughter.

Pleasant surprise! Lad just came home early (Wonder of wonders) and he is hungry, so I’d better get busy and fix him something to eat.

Lad brought your latest letter with him, tonight. The news of the hurricane was not too good, to say the least. It’s a shame about all those lovely treats. We hope that the house, however, is none the worse for wear.

Lad says to tell you he is going to follow through on Uncle Ted’s suggestion. We’ll keep our fingers crossed. It sounds wonderful as far as we are concerned – hope Uncle Sam feels the same way.

Love to all – Lad & Marian

Tomorrow another post Voyage to Venezuela, Day Five on the Santa Rosa. On Sunday, more of My Ancestors. This one will be about Elisha Bradford and his wives, Hannah Cole and Barsheba Brock (or Bathsheba LaBrocke). 

Judy Guion

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Trumbull – Dear Lumbermen at Large (4) – The Human Equation – September 17, 1944

 

A little background information. Ted Human married Helen Peabody, Grandma Arla’s sister. He was a Civil Engineer, I believe. He is the uncle who hired both Lad and Dan to work for him and the Inter-America Oil Company in Venezuela, Lad as a mechanic for all their vehicles and Dan to to help survey the route the road would take from Caracas to Maracaibo.

A one act play, entitled:

THE ‘HUMAN’ EQUATION’

Or

Bolivering with the Guions

SCENE – Headquarters of huge American engineering organization in LaPaz, Bolivia.

TIME – Late 1945.

Curtain rises on luxurious offices with Chief Engineer Human seated at his desk, busily engaged in looking over reports. Three doors shown opening out from main office – LEFT, marked “Labor – Richard Guion; CENTER – “Survey and Map Division – Daniel Guion; RIGHT – Correspondence and General Office – David Guion. Overhead is heard the hum of airplane motors, interspersed with sharp, irregular discharge from diesel motors, which suddenly assume an even hum as Chief Operator evidently adjusts them to perfect running condition. Human glances up from papers to push buzzer on his desk. Office boy appears.

Human – “Tell the men I’m ready for their daily reports.”

Boy – “Yes, sir.”      (exit)          (Enter promptly five men who stand at attention in front of desk.)

Human – “Report!”

Lad – “Pleased to report, sir, all diesel-electric installations in perfect working condition.

Dan – “Maps and profiles for “Central cut job” completed and ready, sir.”

Ced – “Sorry to report, sir, we had a little fire trouble with the Sikorsky 12 seater job this morning but she’s now running O.K. New propellers on the Curtis transport will be completed this noon.

Dick – “Complete new gang hired and ready to start on the trestle job in accordance with your orders, sir.”

Dave – “New report forms you ordered printed yesterday now completed and already in use.

Human – “Good. Dismissed.        (Exit men as office boy enters)

Boy – “The President of Bolivar, with a group of high government officials, waiting in the reception room to see you, sir.”

Human – “What’s Bolivar want now?”

Boy:  “He says the Bolivan Congress has voted the highest award in the country for your outstanding achievement in roadbuilding and they want to make an official presentation – it’s a solid tin metal.”

Human – “Tell them to wait. I’m busy right now. Will let ’em know when I’m at leisure.”

Boy – (hesitatingly) – “There’s another party just came in – – says his name is Guion. An elderly lady (Aunt Betty) with him is sewing a button on his coat. They have a dog named “Smoky” – – says you hired him to coordinate all business departments and take charge of all paperwork, bookkeeping, payroll, reports, etc.”

Human: “Well, what are you waiting for? Show him in at once so he can get to work.”

(CURTAIN)

Tomorrow, a letter from Marian to Grandpa filled with news from the Lad Guions.

Judy Hardy

Voyage to Venezuela (9)- Day Three on the Santa Rosa – January 1, 1939

This is the  beginning of a series of posts concerning Lad’s Voyage to Venezuela, taking a similar route as John Jackson Lewis during the first portion of his journey, about 88 years later. Lad and Dan had been hired by their Uncle Ted Human (husband of Helen (Peabody) Human, Aunt Helen), sister of Arla Mary (Peabody) Guion, Grandpa’s wife who had passed away in 1933 after a long illness. This is Lad’s version of the adventure he was taking and the same trip Dan had taken earlier in the year, traveling with Ted Human to South America.

               Alfred (Lad) Peabody Guion

          Sunday morning, Jan. 1, 1939, I presume, dawned as usual but I certainly did not see it.  When I finally arrived at the dining-room at twelve-thirty the hall was practically empty and everyone was eating in comparative silence.  That afternoon there was very little activity above on the decks, and I presume most of the passengers were below, nursing big heads and the other ailments that follow over-indulgence.  I spent a couple of hours at the bow of the ship watching the water gracefully roll away from the prow in a slow sweeping wave and watching the Porpoises and Flying-Fish that seemed to keep ahead of the ship effortlessly.  The strong breeze that blew from the Port Bow was beginning to show the first signs of warmer climates and I thoroughly enjoyed those few minutes that in actuality, were hours.  When I returned to the Club Room I noticed a number of people busily engaged in watching something going on on the rear deck below and naturally I went to see what was causing such intent watching.  There, in the swimming pool, where three of the deck hands with long brushes, rubber boots, which apparently afforded rather poor footing on the slowly rolling tile bottom, water and plenty of soap.  They were getting the pool in condition for the warmer weather that was expected on the following day.  We all had many laughs as the men now and then would go sliding across the pool bottom as the ship rolled a little further than usual and before they had finished each of them had fallen at least once.

          Supper was also a quiet affair although about half of the passengers were there, and the Cruise Director, during the meal, announced that a dance would be held in the Club Room that evening.  The first few dances were rather sad affairs, but as the evening wore on, they became more lively and when the band tried to stop playing at twelve, there was such a cry for more that they finally consented to play on ‘til one.  I did no dancing but thoroughly enjoyed watching and listening to the music.  That night was the first time that the wind really began to get warm and after the dance I spent half an hour or so wandering about the decks and watching the sky and stars, which were beautiful, and wishing that there were more of those I had left behind with me then to also enjoy that first wonderful southern night.  I retired that night full of the expectations of the warm weather that the following day would bring.

Tomorrow, more of My Ancestors.

On Monday I will begin a week of letters written in 1943 with Lad and Marian’s wedding imminent.

Judy Guion

The Beginning (52) – Childhood Memories of Trumbull – Friends

These are the memories of my Father and his siblings, recorded over several years. When my Uncle Dan passed away, I realized that I had better get started recording the memories of Dan’s siblings before they were also gone. I was able to have two recording sessions with my Father, Lad in California; two with Uncle Ced in New Hampshire, a three-day cruise in our boat with Aunt Biss; one session with Uncle Dave in Stratford, CT and one hand-written session (I forgot my tape recorder going up to the Island in New Hampshire, where Uncle Dick lived) with Uncle Dick. I transcribed them once exactly as they were spoken, again removing the ums, ahs, half sentences started over, etc. I then produced a final copy that was easier to read, but it still needs work getting the chronological order correct. Memories are not recorded with a date stamp. I created 75 binders for family members which include all three translations, pages and pages of photos and memorabilia and the actual recording. Now family members can actually heat their ancestors speaking. It was my first project with all the material my Father saved for me and a true Labor of Love. I hope you enjoy these memories of A Slice of Life at a different time and place. 

 

                                   “The Good Times” – 1939
            Arnold Gibson (Gibby), Charlie Kurtz and Carl Wayne
                                      The Red Horse Station

This picture was taken several years after Lad worked there, Carl Wayne had bought the station from the Kurtz family

CED – Lad worked at Well’s garage, the Well’s Bus Company.  He was there maintenance man for years.  Later he ran two different gas stations in town.  The first was the Mobile station, next to Kurtz’s store.  The second was the Atlantic station after it opened.

DAVE – One more thought when your father, Al, had a gas station in Trumbull.  I don’t have witnesses but I think Ced told the story.  Somebody came in one day, knowing what a great diagnostician your father was, came in and said, “You hear it?  Something is wrong with my car.  Can you hear that noise?”  Your father, without saying a word, turned around and walked away.  “Well, what is this?  Here I am, asking a question, and the guy ignores me and just walks away.”  He was about ready to take off when your father came back and he says, “I think the problem is …”, but he never told the guy he was going off to think about what to say.

BISS – I would not repeat anything about my teenage years.

Dan and Lad used to be competitive with the girls; they always seemed to like the same girls.  There would be in upheaval because she would pick one or the other.  It might have been Adele O’Brien that they both liked.  She was another pretty girl.  Jimmy, her brother, was in my class and Adele was older.  I think both Lad and Dan took a shine to her.  I think it was the most serious difference of opinion; apparently they both liked her, so neither of them married her.

“The Gang” on the  Summer Porch at the Trumbull House – 1938

Front row, L to R: Edna Traphagen, Tessie Mikita, Edna Bebee, Jane Mantle, Richard Christie, Dave Guion, Dan Guion,

Back row: Peg Bebee, Lois Henigan, Helen Smith, Bill Slausen, Arnold Gibson. Barbara Plumb, Lad Guion, Ethel Bushey, Pete Linsley, Doris Christie 

There were a whole bunch of us that were friends and hung around together.  There was Ethel Bushey, Doris Christie, Jane Mantle, Barbie Plumb and Jean Hughes.  Some of the guys we hung around with were Zeke (Raymond Zabel, her eventual husband) Zeke’s brother Erv, Fred Karn and his brothers Earl and Al, and Rudy Mahulka.  At this time Zeke lived up on Daniels Farm Road and I guess they were playing with guns.  Anyway, Rudy shot the gun and the bullet hit a tree and ricocheted and hit his sister.  I guess the bullet was lodged too close to her heart; anyway, they couldn’t operate on it.  I think it was about five years later when she died from the gunshot wound.  Indirectly, the gunshot wound was the cause of her death.  She was another pretty girl.

Some of the other people who hung around with us were Art Christie and George Brelsford.  When Zeke’s family moved down onto Park Street, it was George Brelsford’s family that bought their house.  Then George moved away and I never heard from him again.  But there was Art Christie, Dick Christie went more with Ced, he was the younger brother, then there was Floyd Smith who was an acquaintance.

Tomorrow, Lad’s third day on the Santa Roas as he heads to Venezuela.

On Sunday, more of My Ancestors.

Judy Guion

The Beginning (51) – Childhood Memories of Trumbull – Assorted Memories

These are the memories of my Father and his siblings, recorded over several years. When my Uncle Dan passed away, I realized that I had better get started recording the memories of Dan’s siblings before they were also gone. I was able to have two recording sessions with my Father, Lad in California; two with Uncle Ced in New Hampshire, a three-day cruise in our boat with Aunt Biss; one session with Uncle Dave in Stratford, CT and one hand-written session (I forgot my tape recorder going up to the Island in New Hampshire, where Uncle Dick lived) with Uncle Dick. I transcribed them once exactly as they were spoken, again removing the ums, ahs, half sentences started over, etc. I then produced a final copy that was easier to read, but it still needs work getting the chronological order correct. Memories are not recorded with a date stamp. I created 75 binders for family members which include all three translations, pages and pages of photos and memorabilia and the actual recording. Now family members can actually heat their ancestors speaking. It was my first project with all the material my Father saved for me and a true Labor of Love. I hope you enjoy these memories of A Slice of Life at a different time and place. 

The Beginning (51) – Childhood Memories of Trumbull – Assorted Memories

Dick – Lad did some wrestling for a while – he was extremely proficient – he could beat guys older and heavier than he was.

Lad and Gibby (Arnold Gibson) had an old Model T Ford.  They would tie a rope to the differential, tie a tire on ten or fifteen feet back, and ride it like a surfboard or sled.

CED – We used to play the piano.  We had a player piano, we got it from Aunt Anne, she had it in New Rochelle and they didn’t use it anymore so we got it.

DAVE – The big draw was the player piano.  Each one of us, as we got to a certain age, would have people over and we would stand around the piano, play a few songs and sing to them, sing to the music.

Grandpa, Ced and Dick (not sure if Dave was there) visited the Chandlers after they moved to Maryland.

CED – The young people’s group in church was led by Doug and Emily Chandler.  Long after Chandler left, we kept on with the Chandler Chorus.  The only two people who ever directed the Chandler Chorus were Doug Chandler and Laura Brewster.  He was good, very good with young people.  There must have been seventeen or eighteen kids in the group.  He played the piano beautifully and we would have these meetings once a week.  He played really jazzy music for us, too.  He was very fond of music, good music, and started the Chandler Chorus.  We had everywhere from ten-year-olds to sixty-year-olds, maybe higher.  Maybe not ten-year-olds, but we had young people.  We sang quite frequently.  We went all over the place, up to Shelton.  We were good.  In fact, that’s where Fannie and I met.

Anyway, then there was this young group, as I said, our house was the center of activity all over town.  It drew practically everyone in the town of Trumbull.  Mother said every Tuesday night we could have an Open House for all the young people.  We would play the piano and we would sing.  We just had a ball, and then we would have cookies and cocoa or something.  That was so much fun.

DICK – Dad, Ced, Dave and I went on a trip to the Gaspé Peninsula in Québec.  At Lewis we crossed over and went up the south side.  Dad got violently sick from rancid bacon.  At Cape Bon Homie there is a high, steep precipice – about two hundred feet high.  At the top, we all lay down on our bellies and inched forward to the edge.  Nearby, we had found some rotten logs – one of us would throw one over the edge and the rest of us would watch.  It was fascinating watching it fall – almost in slow motion.

Art Mantle, Biss and Lad with the Model T

DAVE – Where did I learn to drive?  I guess I never did.  I don’t remember.  I don’t think it was in the back lot.  I remember a game the older boys used to play.  Someone would stand on the running board (if you don’t know what a running board is, look it up) and stick their bottom out.  There had to be a little bit of teamwork between the driver and the person on the running board, and they would try to see how close they could come to a tree without hitting their butt.  That’s all I remember about it.

Tomorrow I will finish off the week with one more Childhood Memories of Trumbull.

On Saturday, Day Three for Lad on his Voyage to Venezuela.

Judy Guion

The Beginning – REMINISCENCES of Alfred D Guion (9) – Church Picnic and the Measles – 1890’s

 

         Possibly the Church of the Ascension, Mount Vernon, New York

          Our church, the Church of the Ascension in Mount Vernon, New York, early occupied an important place in my life.  Both parents were active workers, my father as a vestryman and my mother as a member of the Ladies Aid and other church societies, and of course, we children attended Sunday School regularly.  From this same church my father was buried with a big Masonic funeral, later my mother, and here also I was married and most of my children were baptized.

The big church event of the year from my boyish standpoint was the annual Sunday School Picnic.  On the day appointed, Mother put up a box lunch, took along some blankets, extra jackets and sweaters, and we all assembled at the church where trolley cars, in sufficient number, were waiting to transport the whole group to some seaside vacation, usually not more than an hour’s ride away.  Games of all sorts were played, sack races, three-legged  races, high and broad jumps and regular foot races.  From one of these I proudly brought home a bronze medal for winning a foot race.  Then, tired but happy, the trolley took us home.

I had measles in 1893 at the age of nine.  I remember the year distinctly because while I was in bed the postman delivered a copy of Harper’s Young People, which I preferred to Youths Companion, and on the front cover was an interesting illustration and story about the Chicago World’s Fair, then in full swing in Chicago.  I was tired of staying in bed and this was something interesting to occupy my mind, but my mother mercilessly pulled down the window shades in spite of violent protests, so that it was too dark to read, which she said had to be because “it was bad for my eyes”, until I recovered from the measles

The interval between moving out of the Lincoln Avenue house and carpentry work on the renovated Dell Avenue house was finished, we spent in a rented house, and while there I contracted Scarlet Fever.  The day before I was sick enough to have a Doctor, I felt extremely tired and listless, and that night I had a horrible dream.  The facts of themselves were not so bad but the realism was terrifying.  I was on a very large globe, the service of which was so slippery I continually fell down each time I started to stand up.  No matter how many times I tried it was no use in the prospect of never being able to regain standing position was horrifying.

The house, of course, was quarantined, and my patient mother was my nurse.  The only after-effects, which sometimes are quite serious following the disease, were, in my case, severe earaches which apparently left no permanent injury.  Even now at age 75 my hearing is normal.

While I failed to realize it at the time, my father’s death put an end to carefree boyhood days in made me take a more serious view of life.  The idea gradually grew in my mind that as the only “man” in the family, it was my duty to do what I could do to support it.  Soon I was to leave my childhood spent in the old Lincoln Avenue house to start a new chapter in the Dell Avenue house where I spent my teens and early manhood.  How little anyone event, large as it looms at the time, really matters much when viewed from the long stretch of a person’s years.

Tomorrow, I’ll post the first of section of Grandpa’s  story at the Dell Avenue house in Mount Vernon, New York.

On Saturday, another excerpt from the Voyage to California by John Jackson Lewis, about his trip from New York to San Jose, California in 1851. 

On Sunday another segment of My Ancestors about the Rev.  Elijah and Clara Maria de los Dolores Marina de Beck Guion.  The Rev.  Elijah, as an Army Chaplain, has been transferred to the Presidio, in San Francisco, and eventually all four daughters, with their families, moved to the San Francisco Bay area.

On Monday, I’ll begin posting a week of letters written in 1943 when Lad and Marian’s lives are becoming more entwined. 

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Dear G.I. Joe – Local Bits and News From Dan – July 1, 1944

Trumbull House

Trumbull, Conn., July the oneth, 1944

Dear G.I. Joe:

A while ago I told you what a wonderful linguist Smoky was getting to be. He still is improving, lately he has shown interest in the doings of our Navy in the Pacific. I asked him recently if he could name one of the islands which had recently been bombed and without an instants hesitation, he replied “Yap, yap.” You see?

Darn it all, Dave has gone back to Missouri. It’s awfully good to see you boys when you come home but it’s darn hard to say goodbye again. One of those questions which no one will ever definitely solve is, “Which is harder, for the soldier to say goodbye after a furlough or for the home folks to have him go?” Jean made a good suggestion tonight. She said: Send each of them a telegram reading “come home at once stop supper is ready”.

I am going on a one-man strike tomorrow. Yes sir, I’ll defy all the bureaucrats in Washington and stay home from work. I worked Saturday afternoon at the office and then because I wasn’t feeling so chipper about Dave having left, and thinking of a movie he had recommended, I went to see, “Between Two Worlds”,  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Between_Two_Worlds_(1944_film)went back to the office, married two couples and did some more work. And by the way that movie is worth seeing. It’s a bit usual in concept and points some good morals without one ever knowing he is being uplifted. The gold digger actress, the selfish wife, the unselfish husband, the big businessman, the rough guy, the reporter, Mrs. Midget — all have their counterparts in people we have met. See it if you have the opportunity. (Thanks, Dave, for recommending it. Your judgment is good.)

And by the way, Dave, in cleaning up after you left, gathering up pieces of my auto tires, radio buttons, etc., we came across a pair of puttees and a necktie. I suppose you left them on purpose but if you change your mind let me know and I’ll send them on to Camp Crowder. To you, Lad, if you are back from the camel riding exploits in the desert, has gone by parcel post, insured, the camera, light gauge and a box of films. Let me know as soon as they arrive safely as otherwise your Uncle Sam will be owing me one hundred smackers.

Dear old Limey Dan has come through with another welcome letter. It was the only voice from the void this week, so it is doubly welcome. “This letter is primarily designed to allay any misgivings you might harbor about the new “robot plane” raids on southern England. Every indication shows that aside from their rather disconcerting erraticism, they are much less important than a plane-pilot-bomb raid. Of course the fact that they come during daylight hours makes it rather inconvenient, too. I have heard from Don Whitney who is in Calif. Also received a notice from the American Red Cross in N.Y. that Mrs. Dudley Sanford had given a blood donation in my honor! We are quite busy these days which is a much truer statement this time than it was if I ever said it before. There is plenty I should like to tell you but time and the censors frown held back my hand. It is permissible however to say I am well and highly impatient, now that the end of the war seems closer.”

And it might be as well to close on this hopeful note, particularly as no other items of interest present themselves for recording. So, be good boys, vote the straight Republican ticket.

DAD

Tomorrow, another excerpt from the Diary and Journal of John Jackson Lewis, written during his Voyage to California in 1851.

On Sunday, I’ll be posting more information about the Rev. Elijah Guion and his wife, Clara Maria de los Dolores Marina de Beck and their early married life.

Next week I will post a few Special Pictures and then start posting the personal Christmas Cards Grandpa created over the years. I posted then two years ago but I believe they are interesting and they tell the story of the family, primarily after the letters end. I hope you enjoy them and will perhaps share them with friends.

Judy Guion