Trumbull – A Missing Friend and Advice – Feb, 1940 (2)

Blog Timeline - 1934-1940

This is the second half of a letter written by my Grandfather to Lad, his oldest son, who is in Venezuela working for the Socony-Vacuum Oil Company so he can send money home to help support his younger siblings.

David was glancing over some of your old letters the other day and noticed that statements that you have not seen or heard of Mac for some time. It evidently made an impression on him with the enclosed result.

In one of Ibsen’s plays one of the chief characters spends most of his time studying books and dreaming of what he will do and say sometime when the opportunity, us. The opportunity does come to him unexpectedly. The crowd calls upon him to give his wisdom. Because he has not been in the habit of giving, because all his life he has been taking in and never giving anything out, he stood before that vast throng with nothing to say it would help them. He realized too late that the best preparation for living a rich life is to live experimentally, to try things out, to plunge into contests with other men, to take risks, to Ed venture, to expose oneself to opportunities.

And that brings me to a suggestion I had in the back of my mind for some time — an idea as to how we may make possible and practical this matter of helping to make

Alfred Peabody Guion

Alfred Peabody Guion

opportunity which you were fitting yourself to me. At the library the other day I came across an article written back in 1937 which told how much diesel engine use have progressed enlisting the leading makers particularly of the bigger units. I try to figure out how you could capitalize on this to your own advantage, and concluded that if you were to write to each of these concerns from Pariaguan, telling them of your experience in diesel work in South America, they said the background with the Wolverine in Bridgeport, it would expose you to a possible opening they might have for a man of your capability either in South America or elsewhere. The idea of course, is not that you were dissatisfied or intend to leave or anything of that sort, but that with the possibility that the oil well might not come through in six months time and that you would then be out of a job, you are now making plans against that contingency, but even more in that as diesel is your chosen field, where justified in seeking experience in that particular field. You wouldn’t expect to develop anything overnight, but it might be just as well for future developments to put yourself on record leading manufacturers, so that when, if and as the time calms for them to see command of your qualifications, they will know where to find him. If you haven’t time to write the letters yourself and like the idea perhaps we can multi-graph a number of duplicates with the salient facts that I can send you to be mailed out from there. The leading companies mentioned in this article were: Nordberg, Wetherington, de la Vergne, McIntosh and Seymour, Busch-Sulzer, Winton, Caterpillar, Fairbanks, Morse, national supply company of Delaware (Superior Engine Division). At this Imperial diesel engine company of Oakland California, Hercules motor Corporation, Western engine Corporation, Cummins and Allis-Chalmers.

Tomorrow being Lincoln’s birthday, it seems appropriate to quote from an article which tells of the difficulties which preceded Mr. Lincoln’s election to the presidency. When Mr. Lincoln was a young man he ran for the legislature of Illinois and was badly beaten. He then entered business, failed, and spent 17 years of his life paying off the debts of a worthless partner. He fell in love with a beautiful girl to whom you became engaged. She died. Later he married a woman who was a constant burden. Again entering politics he ran for Congress and was badly beaten. He then tried to get an appointment to the US land office but failed in that. He became a candidate for the U.S. Senate and was badly defeated. In 1856 he became a candidate for the vice presidency and was again defeated. In 1858 he was beaten by Douglas. His life up to the time he became president was one failure after another; a series of great setbacks.

There comes a time in every man’s life when he gets a not. He may be going along fine when something turns up which discourages him tremendously. It may be the loss of the job, or failure of plans he has worked on for months or years. He may either give up, self, become upset and let it ruin his health or, if he has not the right stuff, he will grit his teeth and work harder than ever.

And now just a touch of humor from my advertising files and I will call it a day: Mark Twain in his early days was the editor of a Missouri newspaper. A superstitious: wrote to him saying that he had found a spider in newspaper and asked whether that was a sign of good luck or bad luck. The following answer was printed in the paper:

“finding a spider in your paper was neither good luck nor bad luck for you. The spider was merely looking over our papers see which merchant is not advertising smoothly that he can go to that store, spin his web across the door, and live a life of a disturbed piece ever afterwards”.

I hope those pictures you sent by regular mail will be coming along pretty soon now. I will have to remind Dan or said to take some other snaps around here for your enjoyment.

Until next, then, auf wiedersehn.

DAD

Tomorrow, you’ll see the letter written by Mack, the family dog, written to Lad – through the youngest child. David.

On Saturday, another portion of Alfred Duryee Guion’s Autobiography about his early years at the turn of the last century and on Sunday, the latest developments with Mary E. Wilson and Archie.

Next week, we’ll move ahead to 1943 in the waning month and find out what is going on in the lives of the newlyweds, Lad and Marian.

If you are enjoying these letters about famoly life in the 1940’s. why not pass along the link to a friend or two who might also enjoy this look back at history through the eyes of those who lived it?

Judy Guion

Random Memories of Cedric Duryee Guion – Rusty Huerlin

After my Uncle Dan passed away, I realized that if I was going to record the memories of his siblings, I’d better get busy. Aunt Biss was the first. She joined my late husband Don and me on a cruise on the Erie Canal and I spent three days recording her stories. I was able to interview my father (Lad) and Uncle Ced on two occasions each and Uncle Dick and Uncle Dave, once each. This is the fourth installment of Uncle Ced’s memories.

The final installment of the Random Memories of Cedric Duryee Guion is all about a very close family friend who became a rather famous painter of Alaskan Life. Colcord (Rusty) Heurlin was brought into the family fold by Fred Stanley, another artist who had married Anne Peabody, sister of Grandpa’s wife Arla and the Aunt Anne that Bissie lived with in St Petersburg. Rusty’s name has come up over and over throughout the random memories of the children and in grandpa’s letters. I believe it was Rusty who originally wanted to go to Alaska and convinced Dan and Ced that they ought to go there also and make their fortune. They all planned to go to Alaska in mid-1940, but unfortunately, when Dan and Ced were ready to go, Rusty didn’t have the money. I know that Uncle Ced was in Alaska for about six and a half years and he lived with Rusty for some of that time.

 

The Island belonged to the Heurlin’s and they let us use it. We used it long before we bought it. Through Rusty, we met his family. His mother and father came over from Sweden, his father spoke with a strong accent. He was a Custom’s Agent in Boston. They were a nice couple, they lived in Wakefield, Massachusetts in a nice house.

Rusty Heurlin gave my mother a painting – it was a rather famous one – he was very fond of her. He was younger than my mother and father by a little. We did a lot with him – we’d go hiking with him. He made quite a name for himself. All his life he lived by sponging. He was so charismatic that he could get away with it. He walked out of school, he took art lessons, he was a hobo for a while. The only thing that really interested him was painting. He spent all his life painting beautiful pictures. He was a good artist but he didn’t make any money at it. He knew all the artists in Westport – Red Heurlin – they knew Red Heurlin and they loved him. He loved dogs, oh, he loved dogs with a passion. There are a lot of his paintings around Fairbanks, Alaska, at the University of Alaska, in banks, in hospitals, they’re mostly outdoor scenes, some have to do with the early settlers, the Russians. Colcord Heurlin – he always signed C. Heurlin.

One painting did more to make him famous than anything else he did. Rusty made friends, he lived with me for a time in Anchorage. He made pictures. He made a mural, he

Cedric (Ced) Duryee Guion

Cedric (Ced) Duryee Guion

filled the whole wall with it, for one of the bars in town, a whole Hawaiian scene. He used to drink quite heavily at times. I come home at three or four o’clock in the morning and he’d be painting. We lived with an old Norwegian guy, he slept in the upstairs bedroom, you had to climb up a ladder. I worked for the airline there, mostly Bush piloting – scheduled passenger service came later – but most of the time I was there, it was all Bush pilot. Rusty and I would go down to George’s living room, George was a bachelor. Rusty would paint in that living room until three or four in the morning. During the day he’d go out partying up and down the street. They called it the longest bar in Alaska – that was Main Street in Anchorage.

About 1940-41, things were getting red-hot. Major Marston was up there in charge of the Alaskan defense command. He was based in Anchorage. Rusty made friends with him – he made friends with everyone he talked to. He met the Governor of Alaska through Major Marston. Rusty came home one night and he said, “Know what they’re going to do? Major Marston says that the Governor wants to go around the whole perimeter of Alaska and try to develop a reasonable defense system for Alaska. I guess it was Major Marston’s idea. Major Marston said, ’None of us know anything about Alaska, the Eskimos, the Indians. We should go around and meet these native people. They know the land and if any problems develop with the days coming, we’d be lost. We wouldn’t know what to do.’ He said, ‘We want to get an Alaskan defense going with native people.’ Governor Gruening says, ’Well you know what? I don’t know any. I’m the Governor of this territory and I’d like to go around with you and meet these people that I’m supposed to be Governor of.’ “ So, Rusty sat and listened to all this talk and he said, ”You wouldn’t want to take me along, would you? I’ve had this in the back of my mind for years, that I would like to do a series of pictures on the discovery of Alaska.” His whole goal, idea and the love of his life was Alaska. He said, ”I’d like to have a chance to go around to all those places, and make sketches.” “OK, come on along.” they said. That’s where he got this series of 18 pictures, starting with the fellow who came from Russia, sailed to Alaska and took it for the Russians. That was the first painting, he did the Gold Rush and 16 others. This was after he moved to Fairbanks.

Rusty moved to Fairbanks and got married. He was probably in his sixties, and he married a girl from the Fairbanks News. At this point he decided that he would teach art so he got a job teaching art at the University. He did that for quite a while. After he got these pictures done, the University said to him ”Why don’t we set up ta building for you and fix it with the huge rotating platform and you could put these 18 pictures all the way around the building.” They talked it over and they got the Poet Laureate of Alaska to narrate the story. He did a beautiful job and that’s up there. If you ever get to Alaska, you should see it in Fairbanks. Alaska is different than any other state. They have a huge boat there that they have on display, probably like the boats they used up there. This one building is all Rusty’s pictures. They also have a Museum and other historic stuff.

Rusty was an amazing person. He did posters during the war with ”Uncle Sam Needs You!” on them. My wife and I planned a trip to Alaska to visit Rusty and I called him a few weeks before we left. He said,”I hope I’ll see you when you get here.” He passed away a week later. We went to the University of Alaska, we told them what we were looking for and they took us down to the basement and showed us some of his work.

Tomorrow, I’ll start posting a few letters written during 1940, the first year that Dan and Ced are in Alaska.

Judy Guion

Alaska to Venezuela – Running Into Art – 1940

It is the end of July, 1940, and Dan and Ced have been in Alaska for almost 2 months. Fortunately, they found jobs immediately, but have now found jobs that are much closer to what they had wanted. Ced is working at the Woodley airfield and Dan is working at the military air base.

The following letter is from Dan to his older brother Lad, still in Venezuela. It’s longer than my usual posts, but Dan is such a colorful writer that I decided it wouldn’t be fair to make you wait for the “rest of the story”.

Anchorage

July 28

Hermanito Mio,

Here I be where you might have been, well there you are where I might of been, and opposite sides of the continent, at that! I suppose you never appreciate the present…. Even the future or the past seems more important. At least, that is how it seems to me. Here I am in Alaska, sort of wishing I were home or in South America. When I was home I was wishing to be either in Alaska or South America. When I was in Venezuela I was wishing I were home or in Alaska! And apparently I am not getting over it! I often think of Venezuela with nostalgic yearning. The few times we spent together crop up in my memory now and then…. The first time in Carora, when Carl Nelson was on his way out…. That time you came out to Totuche with news of Ted’s accident…. And later, when you picked me up on the way to Carora, with a bar of chocolate and ”Bush”, and the meal of cheese and crackers in a café…. and the pounding on the door of the hotel Commercio to wake up the mozo who slept just inside the door…. Alas! You appreciate such things only in perspective.

The present soon becomes the past, so it seems most important to make the most of it. The only news you have heard of our present (Ced’s and mine) has come to you, indirectly, through Dad. Naturally the reports have been colored by his point of view.

Here is mine!

We drove, neither loitering nor hurrying, to Seattle in what was not a very interesting trip to make. Uncle Sam’s USA seems rather drab after the exotic atmosphere of Latin America. We saw the plains and the Badlands and the mountains, but for the most part they were very much what I had expected them to be. Further, living in a car is not a very restful experience, so I was glad to get to Seattle and find a few days on my hands in which I could relax. There is a nightclub on Second Avenue called “MUSIC”. It is a beer and dance joint with no cover, no minimum, an orchestra, two floor shows nightly, and the large percentage of sailors on shore leave.

I was sitting at a table, brazenly sipping a glass of beer and watching the dance. One of the sailors who drift past looked just like Art Mantle! I had heard, just before leaving home, that Art was in Honolulu. Further, I knew that most of his time in the states was spent in San Diego. So I figured it must be a coincidence that a sailor looking like Art, was in Seattle. The dance ended, and that sailor walked over to his table, nodding of greeting to one of his buddies sitting near me. I leaned over, saying, “Pardon me, but what is the name of the fellow who just waved to you?” “Claude Mantle”, was the startling reply. “God!” I muttered, “I know him well!” Then, rising, I picked up my glass of beer and walked over to Art’s table. There were two girls there, one of them just staring off into space, the other, the one Art had been dancing with, was listening to something Art was confiding to her.

Art Mantle, Biss and Lad Guion

Art Mantle, Biss and Lad Guion

“I guess you know me, Art!”  I said mysteriously.

“No I don’t”, he replied truculently.

“Yes you do”, I continued, unabashed.

“The hell I do”, he growled, giving me a hostile stare.

I was a trifle discomfited by this time, thinking I must have changed considerably since I had seen him last. “Ced and I are on our way to Alaska”, I said pleasantly. A look of puzzlement and bewilderment turned to consternation. “Jesus Christ!” He stood up. “I ought to be shot!” He grasped my hand. “Jesus, Dan, I didn’t know you. I ought to be taken out and shot!” He stared at me, worried lest I resent his earlier attitude. He turned to the girl at the table. “Can you imagine that?” He asked her “This is an old pal of mine. He is a good egg. He’s not like you.” She ignored him. He turned to me again. “Christ, Dan, I was just going to take a sock at you!” He laughed a little.

Art was quite put out about the whole thing, admitting that he had been drinking too much beer, and taking time out, now and then, to insult the girl at the table, he asked about everybody, particularly Biss and Zeke, expressing surprise and annoyance to think that they, of all people, had been married. He gave me some lurid stories of the lives the sailors lead, and later we went to the YMCA hotel where Ced and I were staying, to waken Ced out of a sound sleep. We talked until nearly 12:30, then went back to the ”MUSIC”, had another beer and parted.

***********

The boat trip was perfect. There were several young people on the boat who we happened to click with, and we organized what we called “the family”. We visited ports on shore together, Ketchikan, Juneau, Cordova – – and at Valdez the family disintegrated, most of them leaving for other destinations.

Ced and I arrived in Seward on July 2, and came by train to Anchorage. We had a hell of a time finding lodgings, since many of the Alaskans to come into town to celebrate the fourth, and many newly arrived “Cheechakos” had come up from the States (“outside”) to get jobs at the new Army air base under construction. I left Ced guarding the baggage on Main Street while I went from hotel to rooming house, searching in vain for rooms.

At length I approached Dennis rooms, as announced by a sign over the door. I knocked. The door, after a bit, swung open, and a frowzy girl, clad flimsily in a pair of girls overalls, smiled up at me. “Have you any rooms?” I asked. “Rooms? We have no rooms!” She paused, then added, “only girls!” “I beg your pardon”, I apologized. “I’m looking for rooms.”

*************

We searched for Mr. Stohl, and found him soon. Ced asked if he had heard from Rusty that we were coming. “Did Heurlin tell you to come up here?” He questioned rather brusquely. “Yes”, we told him. “Well, I am full at the mine. But you boys won’t have any trouble finding work”. We thanked him, and left.

After trying several places, we learned that the railroad was shorthanded because all its employees had found more lucrative employment at the airbase. The airbase office told us that they were employing only Alaskans. So we decided to wait until after the fourth, then if we still could find no work, we would work for the railroad.

On July 5 both Ced and I found temporary jobs, Ced at a gas station, I at a grocery store. After a week Ced landed a job at the airport as Assistant Mechanic, where he hopes to learn aviation from the ground up, literally! In the meantime, by persistently haunting the office of the Army air base, I was permitted to fill out an application, and, after further high pressuring, I was hired as level man on a survey crew.

I’ll probably stick to this job until the work is done for the summer, because I am being paid well, $1.15 per hour, 52 hour week. It amounts to about $59 weekly, which is more money than I have ever earned. Ced and I are living cheaper than seems possible in a booming town where prices are high. I figured that I shall spend about $15 per week for expenses. Whether I shall go to school this fall at Fairbanks, or work all winter, or return “outside”, I do not know. It depends, of course, on circumstances.

*************

Rusty has not told us when he will come to Alaska. I have written to Jim Shields, asking him to come up and join the boom. He has always wanted to go to Alaska. He and I used to discuss the possibilities by the hour in Totuche and Bobare.

*************

I have been disappointed in many ways in Alaska, mostly because it is not sufficiently different from “outside” to be interesting. I make an exception of the scenery. I suppose that by comparison with South America it seems to commonplace. I wish, and even hope, that I might get down to see you before you leave Venezuela permanently (if you ever do).

Whether you “have time” or not, I insist that you escribame pronto y mucho. Se puede enviar cartas por avion o por correo ordinario. No importa. Y ahora, yo espero,

Dan

Tell me, was it worth the extra 500 words?

Tomorrow, we’ll have another Guest Post from gpcox. I think you’ll gain a new perspective with this one. Send the link to your friends so they can enjoy it too.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – August, 1940 – From the Tropics to Alaska

It’s August of 1940 and Lad  has been in Venezuela for about a year and a half, now working for the Socony-Vacuum Oil Company. Dan and Ced have been in Alaska for about 2 months, Dan working at an airbase and Ced working at Woodley’s Air Field. Biss is married and the mother of a son. Dick and Dave are still living at home, Dick has graduated from high school and Dave will be starting his freshman year in about a month. Grandpa is still writing letters and sending one copy to Venezuela and another to Alaska.

August 4, 1940

Dear Lad:

That WAS an interesting letter you wrote on the 22nd and the idea of my purchasing a good projector so that we can see here the colored movies you intend to take

Alfred Peabody Guion (Lad)

Alfred Peabody Guion (Lad)

with your new 8 mm movie camera, is based on a very generous thought and that is, you will not be able to see the results of your work. I made inquiries and find that that Bell and Howell is the best make and costs about $120. I also inquired about good used projectors and was informed that there have been so many forward strides made lately in the newer models that I’d be wasting your money to get any but the latest. I was told that “a new Ford is much better than an old Packard, because of the many improvements that new cars have, that even the best old cars did not have.” The same holds true for projectors. You have sufficient credit, even without the check from Socony-Vacuum which has just arrived, to take care of this, and while I think you want to save as much as you can, and I am planning to buy some additional stock for you, I will buy the projector after shopping around a bit. It would be good if Dan or Ced could also pick up an 8 mm movie camera and then we could have a regular picnic showing friends and relatives motion pictures of the Guion boys “From the Tropics to Alaska”.

If you move over to Guario, will that mean that you will give up your quarters where you are now located and find new ones at the new location? Who are the Senores Williams from Norwalk? I don’t recall you having mentioned them before. Where did you see Robin Hood? I suppose it is too soon yet for you to have received the brushless shaving cream I sent. You will, of course, let me know as soon as it arrives so that I can send you things from time to time if the system works out.

I am going to send your letter on to Dan and Ced, with the understanding they return it to me in their first return mailing. (Alaska please take note).

Dave is all hopped up about starting an amateur dramatic club, and the little son of a gun, without any prompting from me, went over and had a long talk with David’s which has resulted in the new recreation supervisor, loaned to the town by the WPA, becoming interested in getting the thing going. Our youngest son is going places.

Mr. Matthias just stopped in and was talking to me through the screen door in the alcove, where I am sitting at the typewriter conversing with you boys. He wants the Board of Selectmen to appoint him as one of the new assessors. The reasons he gives are first, that the town owes him something, and second, that he needs the money. Neither sounds very convincing to me.

I am enclosing some extracts from an interesting letter just received from Ced, in which I think you will be interested. By the way, the 19th is Dick’s birthday, and I will assume I have your permission to make a modest expenditure from your finds as a remembrance from you. This afternoon he and Dave and Donnie and Zeke are all up at Plumb’s playing tennis.

Love,

DAD

Dear Ced:

This has been a good week – – nice long letters from both you and Lad. Barbara happened to be here when your letter arrived, visiting Biss. She remarked that she

Cedric Duryee Guion

Cedric Duryee Guion

had been waiting for a letter to come from you so that she could find out what was really happening, Dan’s letters not being so strong on the matter-of-fact things. You have made a good start along that line, and, knowing how difficult it is sometimes to know what the other fellow really wants to know, suppose in commenting on your letter I asked a few additional questions as I go along. You are staying at Mrs. Walsh’s House and eating at Mrs. McCain’s. How far apart are they? How far are both of them from the airbase where Dan works and from Woodley’s where you work. As Dan takes his lunch to work I assume it is a bit too far to walk back and forth during the noon hour. Do they have buses running back and forth or do you both have to hoof it morning and evening or can you hitchhike? How about mosquitoes? Col. Weeks told me that when he was in Anchorage some years ago the mosquitoes on the River were sometimes so thick, it looked almost like a fog.

You say both Mrs. Walsh and Mrs. McCain have granted you credit until you are paid at the end of the month, “so funds therefore will hold out indefinitely.” I’d like to know more about that fund business. How much did you have left when you reached Seattle? How much did you sell the Willys for? How much was the fare from Seattle to Anchorage?

I am delighted at Dan having landed so lucrative a job. As I figure it, with one hour off for lunch, he works 7 1/2 hours or 48 1/2 hours a week, times 4 1/3 weeks in a month, at a $1.15, must bring him in about $250 a month which is even more than Lad is making, if you don’t figure in his board and keep, and that’s pretty good pay in anybody’s language these days. You do not say how many days a week you put in at the $.60 rate. I suppose they pay time and a half for overtime, and if you have a 44 hour week, you are not doing so bad yourself. There is one thing I am sure of that your boss will soon discover, which I should think, would be very important in airplane work and that is that whatever you do will be done right and carefully and finished. It may take you longer to do than the other fellow, but you can be more certain of the results. I’ll soon be expecting to hear that because of your dependability you will be given more responsible work at a higher rate. I’ll give Mr. Woodley about a month to get wise to the find he has made in his Conn. Yankee helper. Evidently the certificates and letters of recommendation were not needed by either of you in landing jobs.

And by the way, pardon me for not heading this letter “Dear Duke”.

The hot spell here has ended and the last two days have been pretty pleasant. I got a letter from Anna Heurlin this week giving “any friends of Cedric’s” permission to use the island any time or as long as they wish. I have written and thanked her on both your behalf and my own. Mr. Plumb is feeling better due to the change in weather principally. Tell Dan a dividend check for $4.50 on his Commonwealth Edison stock has been received and credited to his account. The old Plymouth is still running along although I had a flat in Bridgeport Friday, left front, and Carl had to put in a blowout patch. This month I will make the final payment to Sears and Roebuck on the Willys tires. See Lads letter for further small news, and write whenever you get the chance and feel like it.

Love,

DAD

I find it interesting that there isn’t any “real exciting” events to record this week, but Grandpa still manages to write two single-spaced letters to his sons.He’s just passing news from Venezuela to Alaska and from Alaska to Venezuela, the ultimate “Middleman”. He has no idea that he will continue doing this for another 6 years. I wonder if he’d have known, would he have taken on the job? I’d like to think that he would have.

For FREE copies of New Inceptions Magazine, an e-magazine, with several articles based my family letters , written prior to and during WWII, you can click the following links.

Issue 1   Click Here

Issue 2   Click Here

Issue 3   Click Here

Judy Guion

Life in Alaska – Dan and Ced – Happiness Reigns in our Little Domicile – 1940 (1)

The last we heard from Dan and Ced, they were on a boat headed for Fairbanks, Alaska. My grandfather is getting frustrated because he hasn’t heard from them. In this letter he passes on information in his weekly letter to Lad, in Venezuela, along with the cartoon below. 

Blog - Lad wooing a blonde - 1940

My grandfather has pasted Lad’s face in this cartoon and at the bottom, has scrawled: “Lad, This is July 21st – The last letter I received from you was dated June 24th.    DAD”

Trumbull, Conn.

July 28, 1940

Dear Lad:

I was glad to get your letter this week, even though it was only a short note to let me know that you are on the job.

I am sending the last letter I got from Ced a week or so ago, and one just received from Dan, which may be more satisfactory than trying to rehash what they say. Please

Alfred Peabody Guion in Venezuela in 1939

Alfred Peabody Guion in Venezuela in 1939

return them in the next letter you send after receiving this.

Elizabeth informs me that probably in January sometime I may be a second grandpa.

Yesterday afternoon Dave accompanied Zeke on a fishing trip to the reservoir and rowed the boat for him. Zeke caught two small pickerel and Dave a full-grown healthy sunburn.

I fear this week’s letter is not very exciting, but at least it will keep up the weekly schedule.

It’s too hot to write anyway.

DAD

Dear Dan:

(And of course, Ced) I was naturally delighted to get your letter with its report of definite progress. And right at the beginning I may as well give you the findings on the difference in mail time between regular and airmail. Both the letter and the postal were dated July 13th, both were postmarked Anchorage July 15, 11 AM. The airmail letter reached me on July 24, the postal in the afternoon mail of July 27. If you can figure this one out, you are a better than I, Gungha Din.

Daniel (Dan) Beck Guion

Daniel (Dan) Beck Guion

By the way, how is it that while you write on Hotel Anchorage stationary you head your letter Hotel Hopkins? I can assume from that evidence that you failed to arrange with the brother and his two sisters that you met on the boat, for the room they had available and are now booked at the Hopkins. Please don’t forget we are hungry for details, little things that may not seem to be important in the way of news, that are interesting to those at home or following your doings day by day with much interest. By the time you get this you will undoubtedly have received all the letters which I wrote while you were en route, all of which were returned to me here and re-forwarded to Alaska, as well as my regular weekly letters which I have mailed each Monday since you have arrived – the last by airmail. And I think I shall follow your example and spend the necessary 6 cents for each letter hereafter to go by airmail on the assumption that they will soon get the schedule worked out so that the time in transit will be considerably shortened.

I understand from Barbara that she has heard from you and she told me that you have landed a good job with the airfield company. Is it Woodley, the same place that Ced was working for, or another outfit? I suppose I’ll hear all about it in due time, so why bother to ask the question, you say? Well, only to emphasize the fact that (1) we are gluttons for punishment when it comes to its deciphering Ced’s scrawl and your sometimes cryptic utterances, and (2) while your imagination and knowledge can supply the home background for a lot of things, I don’t need to write because you already know them. Your environment, details of your hotel room, characteristics of the people you meet and work with, your amusements, kind of work you do, financial matters and nosiness in general is what you must paint on an entirely blank page.

Just one other word, before I finish with the subject. With two such diverse personalities as you boys possess, it doesn’t do a bit of good to get yourself into thinking that because one fellow has written the other fellow needn’t. I’ll be willing to bet if you both sat down at the same time and wrote about the same subjects the letters would be entirely different and cover entirely different details. It’s just like asking two artists to paint a picture of the same person or the same scene. How identical do you think they would be? And we’re the ones back home here who lose out because each of you takes it for granted that the other fellow has told all the news. At the risk of making you mad I’ll refer once again to my pet peeve, I don’t know a single detail yet about the disposal of my dear little Willys, except that she’s sold. Why, where, to whom, how much? I had a faithful serving man, he taught me all I knew. His name is where and why and what and when and how and who – and how much. Oh dear, you’ll say, that’s the penalty of having folks at home who care so much, they get nosy and insistent and bothersome and won’t let us live our lives without being checked up on all the time. Damn. Well so much for that.

Got a letter from Lad this week – just a word to say that he was still on deck and things were going on about the same with nothing of any importance to report.  Maybe he might get a bit of inspiration from what I have written you two above. It’s the little details that make letters interesting, like Lad’s description of Caracas’s best hotel in which he explained the plumbing, etc., or to use another example, like Rusty’s description of people or incidents where he gets in the little intimate expressions or anecdotes.

Business is practically dead. Friday afternoon we did not have a single order in the place and it being insufferably hot, I sent Miss Denis home (George was on vacation) and followed a few hours later myself. Don’t laugh, you fellows that are pulling down the big money, but I don’t know how much longer my $18 a week will continue on this basis. I am thinking seriously of moving to a new location where the rent will be only $25 a month instead of $50.

DAD

The second half of this post is an Excerpt from Ced’s letter to his father. He gives quite a description of the place they are staying and an update on the work situation. Enjoy.

Judy Guion