The Beginning (44) – Childhood Memories of Trumbull – More Shenanigans


Planting a garden in the back yard – back row: Dorothy Peabody (Arla’s youngest sister), Biss, Lad, Dan, Ced, Dick and Grandpa. Front row: Donald Stanley and Dave, circa 1928.

CED – A bunch of us would walk over to Pinewood Lake, you know, it was all forested pine trees.  We would play in the tops of those trees.  We would go from one tree to the next.

DICK – One time, Lad, myself, Dan, Gib (Arnold Gibson) and Nellie Sperling (Nelson Sperling) went to Pinewood Country Club.  They had planted lots of pine trees to hold the soil.  We climbed a tree and moved from tree to tree.  Every once in a while you would hear a crack, thump, “ugh”, as someone fell out of his tree.

One time, me and a couple of my delinquent friends did some malicious mischief (at Center School).  We broke some windows.  Charlie Hall ran across the stage with a stick and broke all the stage lights … Pop … Pop … Pop … Pop.

LAD – I do remember I used to ride one of the horses we had frequently, possibly every day or two, to go up to a house on the top of the second hill beyond Middlebrook School.  There was a girl living there that I really liked.  In fact, Bill Hennigan and I liked this girl very much.  Ruth Moy was her name.  I used to go up there on a horse and invariably, Mother would call and say, “Send Alfred home, it’s time for supper.”

CED – in Trumbull, I went to the old Don Serene’s house, which was a school.  It had two rooms with a sliding door between them.  The first, second and third grades were in one room, the fourth, fifth and sixth grades were in the other.  The teachers were two sisters, one in each room.  Ms. Hawkins taught in the second building.  That was the building that was moved.  They put a basement under it and made some minor changes and made a firehouse out of it.  We had outhouses outside – one for the boys and one for the girls.  We had a water cooler, a 10-gallon jug with a push button on the bottom, no ice, and a wood stove.  Both buildings had a wood stove – we kids used to get the wood for it.

When they opened Center School, I was in the fourth grade.  It had four rooms upstairs and four rooms downstairs.  It was shaped like a square.

BISS – At Center School I fell in love with the Principal, very much and I couldn’t wait for the eighth grade to come so I could be with her.  She retired to get married, either one or two years before that.  I was in the sixth or seventh grade when she retired to get married.  I was always mad at her, because I wasn’t able to have her as a teacher.

LAD – We started high school in Congress High on Congress Avenue (in Bridgeport).  We went there for two years maybe, then they closed the school and made it into a Junior High.  All of the high school kids moved across the street to Central High.  Years later, some of the Trumbull kids went to Harding High, some to Central High and some went to Bassick High School.

BISS – When I was twelve or thirteen, Mother sent me to Kurtz’s Store to get some groceries. We had always charged it, so when I got to the counter I said, “Put it on our charge.”  He said, “Go home and tell your mother and your father that we can no longer carry them on the charge.  They will have to pay cash from now on.”  I felt like I wanted the earth to open up and swallow me.  I know it took Dad from then until 1954 before he could get out of debt and put a gravestone at Mother’s Grave.  (Since Biss was born in January 1919, this would have been in 1931 or 1932.  Her mother, Arla Mary (Peabody) Guion, passed away June 29, 1933.  She had been severely sick for quite a while before that.)

For the rest of the week I will be posting more Childhood Memories of Trumbull.

Judy Guion


The Beginning (43) – Childhood Memories of Trumbull – Smoking and Other Shenanigans


Trap Door on the Barn


The Maple Tree on the left with the Summer Porch to the left of the house

It was called the Summer Porch because the Maple Tree provided lots of shade and there was always a breeze there 

CED: – At the Trumbull House, one of the things we used to do, one of the high points, had to do with the little trap door over the barn.  We would open the door, tie a rope to the beam at the top of the barn, run it down and tie it to the big Maple outside beside the Summer Terrace.  We used to have a wheel on it, it would go out the door and hang from the wheel.  We’d slide all the way down and get off by the Maple tree.  A pretty fast ride, too.

Possible location of the tree and swing going “almost over the road”.

We had a swing on the upper end of the property, near the stone pillars.  We would take hold of the rope, take a run and then swing out almost over the road.  Don Stanley fell off it and broke his arm.  His father never really forgave us.

LAD – I don’t remember much about any trouble I got into.  Dick and Ced used to get into trouble.  Mother would get a call from the police, or Constable, as they were called at the time.  What their problems were I don’t remember, but they did get into trouble … Mother had to go get them a few times.

Long before we moved to Trumbull, there was a dam on the Pequonnock River, flooding all the property where the stone house is now, right up to the cemetery.  There was a mill there, run by water which came down through a tunnel.  The tunnel was about three feet by three feet and it came out of a sheer wall.  It was probably a drop of eight or ten feet to the ground.  We kids used to play there quite often; we had a lot of imagination.

I don’t know if Mother smoked as a youngster, but she must have been smoking then because I think I took two of her cigarettes.  Art Christie and I went up and crawled through the tunnel and sat at the edge with our legs hanging over the edge and smoked cigarettes.  Who should come along but Mom!  She crawled through the tunnel and gave us quite a lecture.  It was probably a few years before I started smoking, but Mom smoked with me when I first started.  Then she quit, but I didn’t.

CED – We smoked corn silk and cigarettes here and there.  Art Christie was the oldest, your father (Lad) was next, then Dan and me, the four of us.  I like to presume, and it’s probably true, that Art Christie got the idea.  I guess my Mother wasn’t home.  I don’t know how we did it or how we got to it; but anyway, we got money out of Mother’s pocketbook.  We went to Kurtz is – Mother smoked – most of her sisters smoked – of course in those days you didn’t think anything about it.  Anyway, we went to Kurtz’s and said we were buying some cigarettes for our Mother.  We bought a pack of cigarettes, I don’t remember the brand.  Right about where the cemetery gate was, there was a carriage road.  There was a fence at the end, and a field beyond, which was probably Harold Beech’s field.  But right at the gate there had been, at one time, a mill.  They had dammed up the Pequonnock River; they had a dam there, probably four feet high and four feet wide.  They had a big stone wall that pretty much went all the way to the cemetery.  Near that wall, there was a big, square hole, I guess that’s where they had the mill wheel, but that space was a perfect place to go to smoke cigarettes.  We sat at the front of that square and we started smoking.  We had a whole pack of cigarettes and we wanted to enjoy them.  Well we were merrily smoking away and Dan said, “I think I’ll go home.”  He got right up and left.  We suspected that he was getting sick, he was.  Art and Lad and I hoped he wasn’t going to make a fuss.  I guess we talked about it and decided it was time to stop smoking, so we did.  We thought maybe we ought to go down to the brook, pick up some poles and pretend to be fishing in case Mother came looking for us.  So we did.  We went down to the brook and were playing along the side of the brook, and pretending we were fishing.  I don’t know if we could have made that stick, but anyway, sure enough, about ten, fifteen or twenty minutes later, here comes Mother and gulp, gulp, gulp.  She came up to us and said, “What are you doing?”  “Uh, we’re fishing,” we answered.  “Well”, she replied, “Dan tells me you were smoking.”  What could we do?  “You know your father and I both smoke”, she said.  “I don’t like it that you boys smoke, but why don’t you just come home and smoke if you want to smoke.”  Not one of us wanted to smoke again until we were eighteen or twenty.  Not one of us.  Now, if that isn’t  psychology, good psychology … Without even being punished.

For the rest of the week I will be posting more Childhood Memories of Trumbull.

Judy Guion

My Ancestors (38 and 39) – Marian Edith Rider and Mowry Addison Irwin

Last June I read about a Challenge, 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks, and I was intrigued. I decided to take up the challenge. Some Ancestors may take more than one week, but I still intend to write about 52 Ancestors. I hope you enjoy reading about My Ancestors as much as I am looking forward to researching and writing about them.

(1) Edith May (Lewis) Rider; (2) Marian Edith (Rider) Irwin; (3) Marian Dunlap (Irwin) Guion; (4) Judith Anne Guion

Homer Marchant Rider married Edith May Lewis on 29 July 1885 at Rider’s Ranch (near Coralitas, CA)

Their children were as follows:

  1. Homer Allen Rider, ,b. 8 Aug 1887 at the Rider Ranch
  2. Marian Edith Rider, b.  15 Oct 1888 at Santa Cruz
  3. Louise Rider, b.  12 Sept 1890 at Westport, CA
  4. Child died at birth
  5. Delo Margaret Rider, b. 7 Dec 1898 at Watsonville, CA
  6. Donald Lewis Rider, b. 16 Aug 1901

Marian Edith Rider was born 15 Oct 1888 at Santa Cruz, CA

She married Mowry Addison Irwin on 28 July 1914 in Watsonville, CA

Mowry Addison Irwin was born in Erie, PA on 16 Oct 1888

Mowry Addison Irwin, Marian Edith (Rider) Irwin, Marian Dunlap (Irwin) Guion and Alfred Peabody Guion 

They had the following children:

Marian Dunlap Irwin and Homer Addison Irwin about 1920

1.  Marian Dunlap Irwin, born 11 Nov 1915 in Sacramento, CA

2.  Homer Addison Irwin, born 24 April 1917 in Marysville, CA

3.  Margaret Edith Irwin, born 28  May 1920 in Oakland, CA

4.  Donald Mowry Irwin, born 3 July 1925 in Albuquerque,NM

Mowry Addison Irwin passed away on 10 May 1947.  He was a resident of Berkeley for 10 years.  Mr. Irwin and his family had moved to Orinda in 1940.  He was President last year and a Director this year of the Orinda Association and was instrumental in helping to start the Orinda News, a community newspaper.  He was employed for the past 15 years by the Westinghouse Wholesale Sales Co.

Marian Edith (Rider) Irwin passed away 8 June 1958.

Next Sunday I will be posting more information about Marian Dunlap (Irwin) Guion, my Mother. 

Tomorrow I will be posting a week of the memories of Grandpa and Grandma Guion’s children during their time in Trumbull.

Judy Guion 


Voyage to Venezuela (5) – Venezuelan Government Red Tape – 1939

I decided to put all the documentation together to show the scope of “Red Tape” and also to allow me to post Lad’s written description of his trip on the Santa Rosa to La Guayra and his subsequent overland drive to Caracas. I will begin posting his account next Saturday.

American Consul states that they have Lad’s Passport


Documents pertaining to Lad’s Passport


Official Document signed by Luis Alberto Brito, TRANSAMERICA, INC.


Lad’s Medical Documentation


Doctor’s Certification

Tomorrow I’ll post information about Marian’s parents.

On Monday, I’ll begin a week of the recorded memories of the children during their years in Trumbull.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Friends, Roamers and Countrymen (3) Grandpa’s Birthday Poem – September 11, 1944

Grandpa always believed it was better to give rather than receive, so every year on his birthday, he presented his children with gifts to commemorate HIS birthday. This year, he wrote a poem about this practice and sent “trinkets” to his sons under separate cover.


September 11, 1944


This is a topsy-turvy world

As most folks will agree

The up-side-down-ness of it all

Has much affected me

And Lad, who braves S. A.’s hot belt

And liked it hot and dusty

Now finds old Flora’s torrid heat

Makes him feel short and crusty

And Dan, who recently declared

Amid the big guns boom

From his own individual view

The war may end too soon

And Ced, too, finds things all awry

Up where the salmon run

He says he often can and

Does read by the midnight sun

Of course there’s Dick and Dave and Biss

Who are topsy-turvy too

But why go on and show them up

When all I want to do

Is show “how come” I get this way

And prove some still believe

At birthday time it is more fun

To give than to receive

So on this bright “September morn”

I send these trinkets few

And nudely say I’m glad to know

That I belong to you.

Tomorrow, I will post another edition of Lad’s Voyage to Venezuela.

On Sunday, more about Marian’s Ancestors.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Friends, Roamers and Countrymen (2) – From Jackson to a French Coastal City – September 10, 1944


Marian Irwin

Marian Dunlap Irwin

And now some late news from Marian. “Practically a week since I’ve been here in the fair city of Jackson – – and high time that I got a letter written to you. On the last day of our trip we had tire trouble – – not too bad, really, and considering the roads we went over I’m surprised we didn’t have more. One of the trailer tires went out and we had to use the spare for the car, but as it was the last day of the trip I didn’t mind too much – – I was sure we could limp in for the last hundred miles and we did. We stopped by the Camp to see if we could reach the fellows by phone to tell them we had arrived safely, and while I was waiting in the Provost Marshal’s office for the message to be put through, the fellows arrived at the gate ready to go out for the evening. We really timed that meeting well and Lad, wonderful person that he is, had already found a place for me to stay, so I didn’t have any house hunting problems the very first night. We are looking now, however, for an apartment, but they are few and far between. I have plenty of time during the day, however, and if the weather were just a little cooler it would help a lot. It is awfully hot and very humid and the nights don’t cool it off at all. There are thundershowers quite frequently and they help a little. Lad’s present training set-up consists of night classes – – he is to do part of the instructing – – so I might be able to see him just on weekends. I’m waiting to see what Lad’s hours are going to be before I look for a job. It will help if I have something to do and also keep my mind off the foul weather. Two letters from Ced last week – – one written in March which failed to reach us at Pomona. He mentions a package we were supposed to have received, which we are tracing.

Daniel Beck Guion

And another letter from La France. “It is early morning in a coastal town, and I am sitting by a window of a second rate hotel near the waterfront. A dismal rain accentuates the drab grayness of the narrow street – four stories down. Most of the windows up and down the street are still shuttered tight from last night but slowly the place is becoming alive. Across the way, the door of a stenographer’s school is opened. One of the American soldiers greets the young lady who has appeared by saying, “Bon jour” in rather bad French. The girl looks up and smiles. “Cigarettes?” questions the soldier, holding up a package for her to see. She nods, still smiling. He tosses the package down. It lands in the street in front of the door. She runs out, picks it up, says “Thank you” in equally poor English, waves goodbye and disappears into the building. A few men pass by dressed in faded blue trousers and shirts, wearing dark blue berets. They are on their way to work – – perhaps to work for the Americans who have recently arrived. They seem quite oblivious of the rain as they pause in front of a shop to exchange a few words with the proprietor who is loitering in his doorway beneath a bedraggled French flag. A few more shutters are thrown open and I can see a woman shaking out the blankets of her bed. Down the street in the direction of the docks is a hotel with a gaping hole which reveals a mass of charred beams, rubble and a bed half hanging over the edge of the remaining foundation. The destruction has been wrought perhaps by the blowing up of the harbor installations, but more probably, by an American bomb before Jerry pulled out. Back up the street the woman has finished making the bed and is standing just inside the window fixing her hair. There is electricity in town but many of the houses must wait until the wires are repaired before they can have lights again. I hear above the drizzle of the rain a sudden splash on the pavement. Someone up the street has emptied a basin of water out of the window. All this I have just seen in the rain. But yesterday noon it was quite different – – the soldiers were forming a “chow” line; the street was alive with khaki, the rattling of mess kits, the voices of many children who played or watched nearby or even canvassed the line for “souvenirs”, bonbons, chewing gum, insignia, pocket knives, etc. A small girl stood near the rinsing pan, insistent that each passing soldier should permit her to dip his mess kit into the hot water and hopeful, of course, that she would be rewarded occasionally. Older folks stood in doorways looking on with amused tolerance.”

Dan         And that’s all this week. DAD

Tomorrow, a Birthday Poem written by Grandpa. Judy Guion

Trumbull – Friends, Roamers and Countrymen (1) – A Family Christmas in 1945 – September 10, 1944

Alfred Duryee Guion - summer, 1946

Trumbull, Conn., September 10, 1944

Friends, Roamers and Countrymen:

Lending me your ears won’t help much – – what I need is a new nose – – one with a sneezeless attachment. However my eyes are still functioning in spite of my advanced age – – sufficient at least to read the interesting letters you boys contribute to the weekly Guion letter exchange.

This week Dave climbs up into first place along with the other top-notch ace correspondents, which now makes it unanimous – – probably inheriting your letter writing ability, according to Aunt Betty, from your father, who of course is too modest to admit the truth of any such statement.

But before I get into the Quotables Dept., let me briefly say that everyone was so anxious to see me make the 60th milestone that they anticipated it by a day and celebrated the gruesome occasion today in the traditional Guion manner, candles, cake and everything. Following my usual custom, I passed out a few little items myself, with the accompanying “apology”, but of course, such were not to be compared in any measurable degree with the thoughtful and generous remembrances which came my way. Indeed, the only circumstance which would have made the occasion a perfect one was your absence in person. Biss, Zeke and the two youngsters, along with Jean and Aunt Betty, lent color to the festivities and material evidences of goodwill such as a shirt, necktie, pajamas, after-shaving lotion, book, box of candy and Aunt Betty’s traditional greeting card with its green accompaniment kind of took the edge off the idea of advancing years.

Today’s paper announces the fact that Col. Chas. A. Lindbergh and wife will this month become residents of Fairfield, Conn., having rented a house there. Nothing new to report regarding the post office affairs here. Things temporarily are going along the same as ever. Even if and when they move from Kurtz’s, I don’t anticipate that any of the box numbers will be changed from present holders and that P. O. Box 7 will still indicate the portals through which news of the world is received here.

Now to get to the part you have been waiting for. Dave’s four-page single-space masterpiece is too long, or perhaps I’d better say I still lack sufficient energy to quote it in full, but I shall pull out juicy portions here and there in which you may sink your mental teeth.

“Well, here I am back in Camp Crowder again after a three – weeks sojourn with all of the Missouri rocks, chiggers and ticks that I promised you I would meet up with. It’s good to get back to Camp, but it will be so much “gooder” to get out of here entirely. I’ve spent six months in this place and I’m getting pretty tired of it all. But alas, there are no shipping orders for any of us. I’ll let you know what goes on as soon as I find out. Applying for OCS at this late date would mean nothing but a commission in the Army of occupation or possibly combat duty in the South Pacific. Either of these outlooks would be all right if I were planning to stay in the Army as originally intended; but with the possibility of having my own letter shop, and in later years, my own advertising company all set, established, etc., Why should I waste valuable years in the Army? Well, here it is September 3rd. According to the radios the war is still going on over in Europe. In fact from reports about all that’s going on anywhere is the war. At least that’s all anybody seems to be talking about. I mention this because some time ago, in an optimistic mood, I made the statement that it looked like the war would be over by August 15th, but that date has come and gone and still the Germans are fighting (sort of). Now I won’t make any estimates as to when it will be over. Who cares when it will be over? It is so damn close to the finish now that all I do is sit and think about what a good feeling it is and I don’t bother wondering about any specific date. But I still say that we all should be home by Christmas of ’45. At least that’s what I’m planning on. My brothers can think what they want but I’m looking forward to a Christmas dinner in a little less than 16 months at our “big white home in the East”, with the smell of Evergreen permeating the house, a fire in the fireplace, maybe with the added discomfort of having it fill the dining room with smoke, a tree decorated either in the music room or the living room, Butch and Marty (and maybe more of a new Guion generation), to pull down the tree after they have gotten tired of holding their eager eyes wide open with the joy and wonder of that most important day of the year. I’m looking forward to being there with ALL my brothers and my sisters (all three of them, and more if the case should be) and maybe even all my cousins, uncles and aunts – – but come now, maybe along about now I’m asking for too much. Anyway let’s hope for a complete Christmas in 1945. It will be the first in many years if we’re all their together.

Dad, I guess you’ve been reading stories on what a varied supply the Army PX carries for its soldiers. One thing the Army seems to have slipped up on our jacks for automobiles. Maybe you should write to your friend Franklin. Ask him to have some sent to PX 8 in Camp Crowder. Tell him it’s very urgent because you don’t know how long your son might remain in above mentioned camp. Of course you could have him arrange some deal with the officials so that it could be sent directly to you, but you know Franklin and his boys – – they’d much rather make it complicated. After all, if it took some time to get to you, you might not have any use for it when it does arrive and then you could put it out in the backyard and let it rust. That way, you could do your part in this war like a lot of other executives who are helping to win the war by letting a lot of valuable things rot in their “backyards” – – My, aren’t I bitter today?

And lastly about my mention of “virgin blood”. Don’t tell me you have any shady ideas about your youngest son, who has had such a sheltered life, having been brought up by a good and wise father – – and we mustn’t forget to mention all the other sons who stuck their fingers in the pie to help to bring up this last of the present generation of Guions. Lad, although he tried to help me with various things and explained very interestingly many things (one of which was a four hour discourse on oil well digging) nevertheless told me more than once – – and I can vividly remember the time and inflections of his voice: “Don’t do that, David.” Then there was Dan. He tried SO hard to get little Davey to go swimming, spending many hours with me up at Ye Olde Swimming Hole – – he who tried to get me outdoors to get some tan on my back – – also to try to get me to play tennis (in this last attempt he succeeded a little anyway). One other thing, he also spent a summer yelling “Hefalump” at me – – our own secret code word meaning “You look like hell – – straighten out your shoulders”. Then there was Ced, who insisted that I stop palling around with the boys who were my friends. Ced, who very quietly made me feel like less than nothing when he found out I had been “borrowing” from his collection of pennies. This, by the way, is something that up till now, as far as I know, has been a secret between Ced, Dick and myself. I hope, Dad, that you and all the rest don’t think too harshly of me. I learned my lesson OH SO WELL from Ced – – although I don’t remember now just how he cured me. Then there was Bissie. The most vivid thing in my mind as to her part in bringing me up was the day I was raising a little hell around the house while she was trying to clean it up. “Do you want me to spank you?” (I still hear her say it now when I’m home, to her too cute little Muchachos). Anyway, my answer, seeing as how she was a girl and couldn’t run as fast as I, was “Yes”. They’re off! I tore out of that old house of ours and around to the lawn over by the screened porch, where, as I remember, fear and exhaustion overcame me and I went down immediately so that she would feel sorry for me and not spank me. But alas, I didn’t know enough about human nature, I guess, for there, out on my own front lawn, in sight of the street, my own sister BEAT me. Oh, the shame of it all! Of course, I may have had it coming to me. Then there was Dick. I could write 20 pages on the way Dick helped to bring me up by hardening me up to the mean people of this world. The idea was a good one – – but I didn’t like his system of teaching. I guess he believed in the “experience is the best teacher” theory. Anyway, he led a happy teenage life teasing the pants off of his kid brother. Come to think of it, we should mention here my good cousin Donald Stanley, who, when with Dick, really did a bang up job of making both Gwyneth and me enjoy their visits. Thinking back on it now – – it was probably the best part of my life – – so far – – but at the time I didn’t think I did anything from the time Dick and Don got together, but cry because they were picking on me. Of course the prize experience was the night that has been so often mentioned in later years, when we were all out on the screened porch raising a little too much commotion for the older set, until finally we were threatened to be split up if we made any more noise. Of course, my version of the story is a little different, and basically it is the same, we all agree that I kicked out the window on the stairs, and we all agree that I took a good tanning from my riled father. But one thing I can say. No one remembers quite so vividly that spanking (my last one, by the way), as I do. Unless, as the old saying goes: “This is going to hurt you more than it does me, son”. Anyway, Dad, if it did hurt you, you didn’t cry like I did. Golly, when I started off I didn’t know I was going to write anything like this. There are no hard feelings left now, of course, and it’s a lot of fun thinking back to those terrible days when nobody liked me and the whole world was against me. Poor Dave. Damn, I’m still but a kid, I guess, but I’d like to live over again all those days that I thought at the time were so terrible. Oh, tell Bissie I grew a mustache while I was out in the field. I’ve still got it. I’m going to try to get some snaps taken of it today and then shave it off. I don’t like it. One of the boys told me it looked “sexy” and I guess that’s about the best description of it.

Reminiscences, Dave, are very appropriate for one’s birthday, and I’m sure all your big brothers will enjoy reading it as much as I have. And speaking of birthdays, won’t you please write us soon after you get this as convenient and give me a list of the things you would like to have to commemorate the day which falls on the last Saturday of this month. Do a good bang up job now, there’s a good fellow.

Tomorrow and Friday I will post the rest of this letter and a Birthday Poem written by Grandpa which was included in this letter.

Judy Guion