This letter is addressed to Ced alone, since Dan made it home and Lad is driving to California at this time.
Cedric Duryee Guion
Trumbull, Conn., Dec. 27, 1942
Last letter there was mention of a cold spell that had set us all a-shivering, but that news was a bit premature because that cold spell was followed, or should I say, developed, into a still lower temperature, and if neighbors’ thermometers are to be believed, resulted in the coldest days the family ever experienced since they came to Connecticut. Mrs. Mantle told me that one day the thermometer both at the back and at the side of their home registered 24° below zero. Even well after sunup, the thermometer just outside our kitchen window registered 14 below. In any event, it can be said without any possibility of overstatement that I have never experienced a series of cold days of so low a temperature over so long a period. We had about arrived at the conclusion that it might be a good thing to journey to Alaska in order to find warmer weather. However, I am glad to say that due to the weatherproofing done last year, the installation of storm windows and the operation of the furnace at full capacity, both day and night, temperatures prevailed. I guess we can all remember that winter we spent in the apartment when pipes in the cellar froze and Ced burst forth in his vehement imitation of Bradley Kincaid. The only damage done this spell was a burst pipe in the laundry, but as that is an annual occurrence anyway, it failed to make much of an impression. My car failed to start due to the fact I had not put enough Zerox in the radiator to protect it that low, so it froze to some extent, but not enough to do any harm. However, the weather since then has been normal for this time of year, and even when the mercury crept up toward zero, everyone remarked how warm it was, being almost tempted to leave one’s overcoat at home. Well I guess that’s enough of an opening paragraph about the weather. By the way, it seems to be very popular these days to add a pint of casite to one’s oil for ease in starting.
For Christmas, Dan breezed in, but in spending Christmas Eve in the Warden’s, he evidently drank the wrong kind of wine so that the next day he felt pretty miserable and did not begin to feel like himself again until Saturday. Last night he and Barbara went to New York to see an ice show. About midnight Christmas Eve, (Aunt) Anne and Don (Stanley, her son) alighted from the bus, and Christmas morning the four Zabel’s (Elizabeth Westlin (Guion) Zabel, her husband Raymond, known as Zeke, and their two children, Raymond Jr. (Butch) and Marty) and Elsie (Duryee, Grandpa’s sister) arrived to gather around the tree for the usual procedure.
Trees this year were very expensive, small ones costing two or three dollars and four or five foot trees selling for a dollar a foot. The small ones on sale around here were so scraggly that Dave refused to have anything to do with them, and then he had a brainstorm. He had been busily engaged trimming a beautifully full, fair-sized tree in the church for their pre-Christmas party, which tree had been dismantled Christmas Eve and thrown out back of the church. With some of the base removed it made perhaps the best looking tree we have had for a number of years. The only fly in the ointment came while we were at dinner when Butch (Raymond Zabel Jr., Bissie’s oldest – 3 years old) disappeared for a moment and came back into the dining room grinning and proudly announced he had pulled over the Christmas tree with all its lights and decorations. He wasn’t kidding. He had done just that. Dave, with a great effort of will, maintained a discreet silence, thus winning a great moral victory.
Alfred Duryee Guion (Grandpa) carving the turkey (You can see the GOOD China and I actually have that Gravy Boat, along with a Soup Bowl and two plates.)
Later the tree was restored but seemed to lack some of its pristine virginity. With Elizabeth’s help, we were able to have a big turkey and Kathryn Warden had generously donated two pies so we got by very nicely in spite of the scarcity and high prices of food.
Tomorrow, I will post the rest of this letter.