Elizabeth’s Adventure in St. Petersburg, Florida (2) – Biss Leaves Trumbull – October, 1934

My Aunt Biss was 14 years old when her mother died and she took it rather hard. Her father talked it over with her Peabody Aunts and it was decided that she would go to St. Petersburg, Florida, to live with her Aunt Anne (Peabody) Stanley and help and with Anne’s two children, Donald and Gweneth. In her first letter home to her Dad, she also enclosed separate letters for her brothers.

      Elizabeth (Biss) Westlin Guion

October 16, 1934

Dear Dad,

I promised myself I would write until nine o’clock tonight and then go to bed because I am quite tired. I am going to start high school tomorrow morning and the hours are even longer than I am used to, 8:30 to 3:30, with an hour for each period. We have no gym down here though. At least they didn’t put it down on my card. We have a cute little cottage about seven blocks away from the school. It is quite a way from the noise of the city and yet it is quite close to the city. The name of the school is the million-dollar school because it cost $1 million to build it.

Gee, what meals they served on the boat. You will most likely hear me rave about them for the rest of my life. After we mailed the letter in Charleston, we went into the heart of the city and I bought this pen for a quarter and I swear it is almost as nice as my old dollar one (but not quite).

I imagine the household is being run much better than it has been for a long time.

I think you have to pay for all your school things down here. I won’t know until tomorrow. I know Don and Gwen had to pay for their school supplies and they go to the same school. I think I have spent most of my money on stamps. Well, goodbye until next week. I don’t think I can write before then.



Dear Ced,

Well, that bet still holds good. I can’t get credit for the first four weeks but I bet I will still beat you by the time the end of the year comes. I’ll know my marks before you for we get out early – in fact I expect to get home before you get out of school. The school here is only two stories high but it is awfully long.

Oh, I was shown the engine room on the ship. I couldn’t go in but they let us look in. They have Turbine motors.

I think the highest point in Florida is only 300 miles (she means 300 feet) above sea level. On the way to St. Petersburg from Jacksonville we went along a straight stretch for 10 miles at least and another place at least 8 miles, not even the slightest curve! Gee, it got tiresome after a while because everything is so low and flat. Everything (I mean vegetables) is stubbed in growth.

While I told Dad I wasn’t going to write after nine o’clock and it is now 9:30 so I think I will leave Dick’s and Dave’s letters until tomorrow. You see, I thought perhaps you would like to get separate letters for once



Dear Dave,

Well, how is the world treating you these days? Are they still just as cruel? I suppose you have had about 10 colds so you could stay out of school, haven’t you?

No license is required for driving down here so when I get home you won’t have to be afraid to go out riding with me. I haven’t driven as yet but Aunt Anne is going to let me before many more days have passed.

Bootsy loves the South just like the rest of the Stanley’s. There are sand burrs down here and they are found all over the ground. When you go barefooted, they are like burrs, only twice as small and three times as sharp. We can’t go barefooted unless we are on the beach, although in the lower grades down here, quite a few of the children go barefoot.

There are a lot of boys down here who wear ankle socks. I told you that because you used to call it too sissyish. There are two boats from the Navy anchored out in the bay where we went swimming. They were there when we first arrived. It seems to me that everywhere you look you see at least one sailor, only there are usually four or five sailors going around together.

Have you found a new girlfriend yet? I think it is about time you changed again. It looks as though it is going to rain and boy, when it rains, it pours. Harder than rains we get up there in Trumbull.

Has anyone played the piano since I left or has it gotten rusty from disuse? If you can’t understand any words I feel sure Dad or someone will explain them to you.



Dear Dick,

I am in sixth period on my first day of school. It is a study hall and I haven’t any books as yet because we have to buy them down here.

I had plenty to say to you last night but I’ll be darned if I can think of a single thing to say to you now.

How are you getting along in school? Have you been absent from it yet? Oh, describe Trumbull to me. Have the leaves finished falling yet and have you had any snow at all? It’s pretty hot down here, in fact it’s too hot. I think I would rather be up there where it is cool.

If you see Mary Dolan tell her I will write to her and her family as soon as I can but right now I have to catch up on my schoolwork. I don’t have too very much because I can’t make up the first four weeks, although I will be able to pass. I am writing this on the sly. In each class we have, we are allowed a 5 minute period in which we are allowed to talk. We are in the middle of it.

If you can use any of my things this winter, go for it, but please be careful not to ruin anything. My ski suit is in the Cedar closet in Mother’s room.

They allow gum chewing in this school! I went swimming yesterday and have begun to get a tan already.



P.S. Give my love to the boys – George, Jim etc.

Each weekend, I’ll be posting more of Aunt Biss’s letters home to her Father and her brothers written during the year she was in Florida. We’ll have the perspective from a teenaged girl, dealing with living away from her home and family, and also adjusting to the death of her mother. Her reference to “the household being run much better than it has in a long time” is a direct reference to the fact that she was expected to take over that role and she didn’t want to and wasn’t prepared to, either.

This time period was especially hard on my Grandfather, who had recently lost “the love of his life” to a long fight with cancer, his two oldest sons were working at CCC Camps during the week to help support the family and his only daughter was living in Florida and he was trying to cope with the whole situation.

Judy Guion


St Petersberg Adventure (16) – The Prom and Some Ping Pong – May 20, 1935

Biss (Elizabeth), Grandpa’s only daughter, has been living in St Petersburg with her Aunt Anne taking care of Anne’s children, Don and Gwen, for the past school year. She was having trouble at home, struggling to adjust to the death of her Mother and her Father and three Aunt’s felt a change of scenery might help her to adjust. The school year is practically over and she will be heading home soon, she just isn’t sure when.


                                                                               Art Mantle, Biss (Elizabeth) and Alfred (Lad) Guion

Monday afternoon

3:36 PM E.S.T.


Dear Dad:

I really have a good reason for not answering your letters as soon as I should. I have been very busy this last week. I went to the prom last Friday evening as I had hoped and played ping pong from about 9:15 to around 1230 or 12:45. I had a very nice time. I had one game with my geometry teacher and another with some other teacher. I didn’t know who he was. I would take a few minutes out of every hour or hour and a half and go over to have something to drink – for refreshments were free. Saturday, I was busy right up until the time that I went to bed. Sunday Carl and Dot Roughgarden went out to the beach with us and we took lunch along. I have not had so much fun in a long time. Carl is my favorite boy and Dot is my favorite girl so it was just perfect. Both of them were quite badly sunburned – my face is the only part of my anatomy which was touched by the penetrating rays. So you see my weekend especially was very busy.

Next Sunday, Jim Wokheiser and his sister, Gwen’s teacher, are going  out to the beach with us. I like Jim a lot too, but I hope to go out with Carl and Dot once more before I go home. I’m afraid I won’t because they are both very nice looking and I imagine they have plenty of other things to preoccupy them.

I hope Ced will hurry and get better – perhaps you will have to feed him with a derrick to get enough food into his system! I am glad Dave is getting over his fear of the dark! He must, if he is willing to sleep out all by himself.

I am very glad you liked and saw ”One Night of Love”  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/One_Night_of_Love– don’t you like Grace Moore better than Jeanette McDonald?

I got four letters today! That is the most I have gotten, at once, for a long time. I was trying to figure out how that sentence should go and so the mistakes. It seems to me that I have made quite a few mistakes in this letter already. Maybe it is because I am trying to write too fast but I have to or fear that my thoughts will slip from my head.

I got my English report and found I had gone up 10 points, almost, and now have 85. Last time I had 75+ so I did not go up quite 10 points. We are studying for exams so I may not write as often this week but I will try. We have exams on the third and fourth of June. I’ll be glad when they are over! The Seniors get their’s next Wednesday and Thursday. That’s all for now.



As I was re-reading this letter, I found myself reading faster and faster, so I wouldn’t loose her train of thought. Biss is jumping all over the place with her thoughts and I’m afraid I might miss something if I don’t get to it fast enough. Do you think that’s what she is feeling as she writes this?

Tomorrow, another letter from Biss to her family in Trumbull.

Judy Guion

St. Petersburg Adventure (14) – Letters to Family Members – May, 1935


I believe this is another letter enclosed with the ones I posted yesterday.  



David Peabody Guion

                                                                                     Monday evening 

 8:33 PM  E.S.T.

Dear Dead Brother (Dave):

It certainly seems funny to be writing to a deceased person, doesn’t it, but I came to the conclusion that you weren’t anymore, for I had not heard from you except that letter which was written at Thanksgiving. I suppose all your various girls that you used to have a crush on – Barbara M, Elsie Heart, Jocelyn H, etc. are wearing black for mourning. I suppose I have no right to talk though, for I haven’t written very many letters to you either. I wish you to understand however that I am expecting a letter from you in the next outgoing mail to me from the family. I’m afraid you won’t be able to understand what I am writing about so you had better ask one of your brothers or your father, for they have had more schooling than you have and perhaps can explain it – if not you will have to wait until I get home. If you write to me right away I will send a story, a very short one, which I wrote one day in school when I should have been doing my homework. Tell Dad that I forgot to mention one thing. Will he please write to Good Housekeeping and Parents and ask them to change my address after the June issue is out? I don’t know the address and I am waiting until I get home to write to that man on the Parents staff because I’m not sure of everything but to get back to your brown eyes. How are you getting along in school no? I forgot what grade you are in – fourth isn’t it? You still have Mrs. Grabbe? How do you like her? Do you ever go in to see Miss D’Obon? Do you like Miss Stiffron more than you used to? With all those questions to answer you can’t say you couldn’t think of anything to say for these questions alone will keep you up writing all night. You should like that, n’es ce pas? Alfred will tell you what that means. My writing paper seems to disappear very quickly so if you wish to hear from me you had better write for I can’t be able to write to you after I have used up all the paper I have. You should be asleep now for it is 8:50 PM and I am going to bed just as soon as I write a letter to Dick. Oh heck! I forgot to mention something in my letter to Dad that I was going to – well I hope I can send you that story. Your older brothers won’t appreciate my talent – but you will so – until I hear from you – I am Biss – after that – the Authoress, Biss.

Tomorrow, another letter to her brother, Dick. He is closest in age to Biss and they got into quite a bit of trouble when they were younger.

Judy Guion


Friends – Letter to Ced From Peg – April 2, 1944

We’ve moved forward to 1944 when Lad and his new wife, Marian, are in California, Dan is in London but travels to Paris, Ced is in Alaska searching, rescuing and repairing planes, Dick is in Brazil in the liaison office of the local town and Dave os at Camp Crowder, Missouri, completing basic training.


BREEZEWAY                                                                                     LOWER SIESTA ROAD                                                              SARASOTA, FLORIDA


April 2nd

Dear Ced –

I can’t tell you how much good your letter did — it was like a fresh sea breeze, after the heavy, heavy notes of sympathy — it was such fun to read something written for the enjoyment of both of us, and my thanks are unbounded.

The letter I received from your father was one of the loveliest I have ever seen — he took the liberty of copying  Dave’s word to you the night ____ died, and that was one of the two things that really broke through the high, thick wall I have been able to build in the last year and a half to protect myself — there have been two things which seemed to stand out in people’s minds – first ____’s real courage and unfailing sense of honor; and secondly, the fact that so many people realized that ___ and I had something very rare — we have had 11 ½ years that have been very nearly perfect — and our knowledge that it could not last made it possible for us to never hurt each other in any way — I miss him, but somehow he seems to have left both his courage and honor behind for me when I so desperately need them —

I’m at the other end of this land now — visiting my favorite aunt and uncle for five days — This spot is ideal with three miles of gorgeous beach on the Gulf of Mexico. The walking on the sand is good company, and early to bed and early to rise, without a care in the world, have done me a great deal of good. I didn’t think I needed a rest, but the warm sun and swimming are giving me new life – I go from here to Pensacola to visit my brother, who is a lieutenant in the Navy — and doing some instructing at the Naval air station — then I get back to Trumbull the middle of April, to get our garden started –

Remember me to Rusty — I do very well remember him, and his paintings —

Thank you for writing, Ced –

Sincerely, Peg

Tomorrow, a letter from Dan in London, then one from Grandpa, one from Dave and on Friday, one from Marian.

Judy Guion 

Special Picture # 246 – Lad’s Trip to Florida With Friends – March, 1936

I knew that my father had taken a trip to Florida with these guys because Art Mantle’s niece, Cindy, (my friend from childhood) sent me a couple of pictures of my Dad. A while ago,I was looking for a particular picture and I came across this picture. A few weeks later, I was looking for the same picture and came across this letter that I don’t ever remember seeing. Some additional information on that trip.


Art Mantle, Carl Wayne, Arnold Gibson and Lad Guion

I had thought this trip had taken place in 1935 because that’s what my Mom had written on the back of this picture. The letter below is postmarked March, 1936. 








Dear Dad:

        How do you like our new stationary. We  got some  from   each of  the  numerous  Hotels  here, but I think this is the best. We  are here  in  Sarasota  visiting  some  distant  relatives  here of Carl’s.  It is really a very pretty place and  the  weather is  fine. The  biggest trouble  is  the  sulfur  water  but  we  are  beginning  to  get  used  to  it.

        If  you  want  to  write  you  can  send  it  to  general  delivery, Miami. We  are  leaving  here  tomorrow  afternoon  for  the  last  leg of  the  trip  in  a  southern  direction.  Everything  is  fine  except that  after  leaving  Aunt  Anne’s  * Monday  afternoon  and stopping  at  Silver  Springs  for  a  short  visit, a bearing  burned  just  outside  of  Ocala. This  time  it

was  number one. But  again  the  Ford  is  running  fine. Now I have  invented  an  oil  pump to  keep oi l  in  the  front  of  the motor  to  eliminate  the  trouble  of  overheated  bearings.

        We  all  went  swimming  this  afternoon  and  got  slightly burned  on  the  beach. The water was  cool  at  first  but  after  the first  dip  it  was  pretty  good.

        We  are  going  to  look  the  town  over  tonight  and  I still have  to  get  shaved  and  dressed  so  as  much  as  I hate  to,  I will have  to  let  it  go  until  some  other  time.

        Hope  to  hear  from  you  in  Miami.



* Lad and his friends, Art Mantle, Carl Wayne and Arnold Gibson stopped to visit Grandma Arla’s youngest sister, Anne (Peabody) Stanley in St. Petersburg, Florida. This is where Elizabeth (Biss) went during her Junior year in High School to help Aunt Anne care for her two children, Don and Gwen Stanley, in 1934. This story is told in the Category, “St. Petersburg, FL”.

Tomorrow, I’ll begin posting letters written in 1942. The year is just beginning and Draft Boards are getting busy.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Dear Children – A Momentous Week – August, 1945

 Trumbull, Conn.,   August 12, 1945

Dear Children:

What a momentous week this has been! The atomic bomb – – the Russian declaration of war – – the Jap offer to quit (on condition) – – the full account of Dan’s wedding. Both internationally and personally, what untold future possibilities are opened up for you all! Almost overnight the whole aspect of things changes and the long hoped-for day when you can all be home again draws appreciably nearer. One has to sort of pause and think and even then is unable to visualize the endless changes in present outlook and future potentials of these stirring days. Of course the big thing that is most obvious is the time when you will be coming back, but big as this seems to us now, the harnessing of the atom for man’s service for peace-time use is almost too big for man’s mind to grasp its fullest significance. We are truly living in a great age, and while I may not live to see its maximum development, you boys have a wonderful prospect before you.

Meantime, to get back to earth, I don’t suppose you boys individually know any more about what the next few weeks have in store for you that we do here. Here are a few of the many questions that step on each other’s heels. Will Dave stay in Okinawa? Will he be part of the Jap army of occupation? Will he be home for Christmas? Will the end of the war affect Jean’s permit to go to Brazil, or is that a permanent enough base so that Dick may be expected to stay there for some time yet. If so, how long? Has Lad already left for the Pacific? If so, how far has he gotten and will he continue or will the Army cancel, with VJ day, all shipment of further men to CBI area? How soon will they lower the point release figures so that Dan can qualify for discharge and when can he and Paulette come home? Will Ced stay in Anchorage or come home? Will a lot of planes now be thrown on the market so he can pick up one very cheap, either around here or up there? Anyone finding the answer to any of these questions may earn a generous reward by communicating with the writer. (I can’t forget I’m an advertising man).

As to Dan’s wedding, which refuses to be blacked out by international developments and which we have been all waiting for so long to hear about in detail, I am attaching collateral accounts of the event by one of the victims and a sympathetic spectator. We will lack the feminine touch (what the bride wore, etc.) which, in truly masculine manner, the eyewitnesses have failed to record, but maybe Paulette will supply these details so dear to the feminine heart, for Marian’s and Jean’s benefit, to say nothing of the sisters and the cousins and the aunts. I have received a most friendly letter from M. Senechal written in quaint English, which I prize most highly and in which he speaks in glowing terms of Dan. (This note will be quoted in Grandpa’s next letter.)

Telegrams and letters from Jean announced safe arrival at Miami. She says: “The plane trip was quite wonderful, except from Washington to Columbia, where it was really pretty rough. We ran into such a thick fog I couldn’t even see the wing of the plane, and we had many air pockets making the plane drop and rock and roll. That’s when my stomach did a few flip-flops and my heart skipped a few beats. I was more than a little scared. After we left Columbia, tho, it was really beautiful. The weather was clear and I could look down and

Page 2 of 8/12/1945

see all the cities. Then I relaxed and concentrated on my magazines. Why, I feel just like an old timer at flying. They served us lunch after we left Washington – – stew, mashed potatoes, frozen peas, radishes, olives, hot rolls, butter, tomato salad, peach tart and coffee. It was so good I ate every bit of it. When we left Jacksonville they gave us our dinner – – fried chicken, beets, string beans, roles, melon and cherry salad, coffee, pudding and cookies. It’s pretty wonderful, the things they can do on a plane. Of course they don’t cook these things on it – – they are put on the plane at a stop nearest the time were supposed to eat and then kept warm in containers. We got to Miami a little after 9 and the Danby’s met me. They have a darling house about 7 miles from the city. It’s nice and cool out there – – not at all as I had expected it. Wednesday I reported. They gave me two shots, one in each arm, for typhoid and yellow fever. I have to have three more, so I’ll be here for a while yet, and then, when my passport comes, I can be on my way. (Later letter said the passport had come).

Ced, Just a few minutes ago Ted Southworth came in and told me that last week he had been hired to fly a ship back from Georgia to Mass. and that down there were from 3 to 4000 planes of every description that the Army is selling (the bigger ones on time) and that Art Woodley, if he hasn’t already covered his needs, might write, as you could also, to the R.F.C., Bush field, Augusta, Ga., and ask for a list of the planes for sale. Taylorcraft, Aeronca and Pipers such as you are interested in, and of which there are hundreds, sell from 550 to 1150, while the larger biplanes such as the Fairchild (open job) sell from $850 to 1275. The 1-2’s, he says, seem to be in excellent condition. Art might be interested in the Lockheed transports they have, Lodestar, Ventura, Hudson or possibly the Twin Beaches. What they can’t sell they will probably scrap or burn.

Dave, there is nothing new about the camera. The Rangers did not hold any blowout here for Johnny Vichieola last Saturday.

Dan, I am wondering if you received the package containing your tripod. What happens if you have sailed for the states? Do they follow you back home or return to sender?

Dick, I asked Jean if she would ask you to send me another box of Brazilian cigars. Let me know the cost and I will remit. If this gets to you before your birthday, many happy returns I’ll be thinking of you and hoping and wishing all good things.

Lad, thanks for sending me the maps of Paris prepared for servicemen. I tried to locate Drancy but the maps were not on a large enough scale, showing Paris only. It was interesting to see the location of various places one hears so much about.

How would you boys like to have some nice homemade rhubarb pie, rhubarb from our own garden baked by Marian’s masterly hand? We had some for dinner today. In our present frame of mind, I’ll gladly pick some more and she’ll gladly bake if you’ll promise to drop in before the month is out. Are you on? Meanwhile, atomically yours,


Tomorrow, another letter from Grandpa letting us know what has been going on in Trumbull for the past week. Things are moving fast right now and it is hard to keep up.

On Saturday and Sunday, more installments of the Autobiography of Mary E Wilson.

Next week, we’ll jump back to 1941 as the war moves closer to Trumbull and Grandpa’s sons.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Dear Guion Squad, Quartette…. – Family News – April, 1943

Alfred Duryee Guion

Jean and Dick Guion

Trumbull, Conn, April 4, 1943

To the Guion Squad, Quartette, or what have you, GREETINGS:

Here again it is time to sum up the weekly events as it affects far-flung Guion family, it’s relatives and friends. First in the field of Correspondence Received, there is a three-page letter from our Alaskan outpost, all in red (probably inspired by the income tax he so lately filed), which relates in some detail a week-and skiing adventure conducted amid great tribulations due to a combination of meeting army trucks on narrow roads too narrow to permit passing, necessitating backing up a hill for a quarter of a mile, plus the back wheel of his car coming off; the damaging of one of their planes through the failure of a five-ton tri-motored Boeing to properly take off, etc.

A letter to Jean from Dick urged her to come to Miami in view of the news he had just received to the effect that Dick had been notified his group were being trained for service overseas after a short period of training was completed. So Jean promptly applied for and received a leave of absence, bought her ticket, wired Dick to get ready for a second honeymoon and this morning left on the Silver Meteor for Florida. Dave and Aunt Betty and yours truly made sure she and her baggage were properly entrained at Bridgeport. Barbara (Plumb), too, accompanied us, intending to go to New York with Jean. On the way down in the car, the lure of adventure was too much for Dave so on the spur of the moment he decided to skip Sunday school and go along to New York with Barbara and Jean.

Still another item of correspondence was a letter from Anne ((Peabody) Stanley) announcing receipt of a cable from Donald (Stanley), reading “All well and safe, love”. No date or place given, but the words “sans origine” furnished a slight clue. She also enclosed a clipping from a war correspondent, which in part reads: “Those who don’t know the M.P.’s are ignorant of one of the finest groups in the Army. The military police don’t have the taint to them that they had in the last war. This time they are a specially picked, highly trained permanent organization. Their training starts where commandos leave off, and from the M.P.’s I’ve seen, their demeanor and conduct, I believe that next to Rangers and Paratroopers, they are really the pick of the Army.” Also a letter from Grandma to Aunt Betty quotes Anne as writing: “Jean and Dick’s wedding was the most beautiful and strange wedding she had ever seen. She said “I don’t believe there will ever be one like it.” Grandma’s letter also mentions that Burton was in N.Y. recently. He looks fine and has gained 10 pounds. Helen and Ted (Human) are in Mexico, and Larry (Peabody) plans to have a big vegetable garden this summer. Kemper and Ethel (Peabody) are busy helping to relieve the meat and milk shortage. We all owe Grandma a big vote of thanks for interesting and newsy letters. If it were not for her, we would have difficulty in keeping up with the Peabody doings. If you boys could find time to write her once in a while, it would be fine.

It was Lad’s birthday yesterday. For over a month now I have been trying to get him an army (khaki colored, with Army insignia) pen and pencil set, but each time was told they were on order but not yet received. Yesterday, I did find a set not as good as the one I saw some time ago, and of course not good enough in my opinion for Lad, but I sent it to him anyway. (If the nib does not suit your hand writing, Lad, almost any shop out there where they sell fountain pens will substitute the pen itself for one of your liking, at a small fee.

Love from us all here.


Tomorrow, I’ll finish off the week with a letter to Grandpa from Lad with some very interesting news.

On Saturday and Sunday, I’ll continue posting more of  Ced’s Coming of Age Adventure as he heads west from Chicago.

Judy Guion


Trumbull (2) – More Lots of News – March, 1943

pp pic 1

Page 2    3/14/1943

Don Whitney writes under date of March 6th, on letterhead of 743d Tank Battalion, as follows: This stationary is a holdover from the halycon days when I was a member of the good old 743d Tank Bn., Insignia as above, but what in hell is a halycon day, and am I spelling it right in the first place? The G. O. 743d incidentally, is now dispersed on the burning sands of the Mohave Desert, Calif., where they convert soldiers into Desert rats, the better to harry Der Schweinhunde Rommel (my German is also weak but I’m not sorry). So you see I got out of the 743d just in time, and I am now in the 737d, which is brand-new but definitely on the beam. I am Personnel Officer, or red tape specialist. Your sheet dated January 10, 1943, on the current status of the Guion family, was much appreciated. My far-flung reconnaissance scouts reported one important change in status since your last advice. Poor Richard has altered his life (haw!) I understand that you officiated at the ceremony, enunciating what are probably the most important words either of them will ever hear. (Do I sound like Mr. Anthony?) Incidentally, I was married five months yesterday, which is a long time, or don’t you think so. I remembered the occasion anyway, lucky me. David has my express permission to read the contents hereof if he cares to. Possibly, one still in the toils of adolescence will find nothing of interest here. It sure is a trying period, isn’t it, Dave? If you have any questions about the Army (or adolescence) which you think I can answer, I would be glad to hear from you (I would anyway, dope). Naturally some things about my work cannot be revealed, such as how much I REALLY do every day. Eventually I shall get around to writing to all of your sons but it will no doubt be very slow – – like winning the war. The War Dept. is holding me in reserve to strike the telling blow and bring Germany to its knees in subjugation. Adolph already tremble’s at my name. Soon his mustache will be streaked with gray. Grass will grow in the streets of Berlin after the cavalry rides through triumphantly, etc., etc.

Militantly yours,

Field Marshall Von Poop

Perhaps you have already heard the following:

The Fighting Irish

First soldier to kill a Jap was Mike Murphy

First bomber to sink a Jap ship was piloted by Collin Kelley

First sailor to bag a Jap plane was Ed O’Hare

First Coast Guard to detect a German spy was John Cullen

First to be decorated by the President for bravery was Pat Powers

First to get four new tires from the Rationing Board was Nathan Goldstein

Now, Ced, as report to you on my activities as purchasing agent. On receipt of your letter telling me you wanted to go all out on a real wedding gift for Jean and Dick, at first it seemed quite a problem but one day, when helping Jean tidy her bed, with an old worn cover, I asked her if she would not like to have a candlewick spread. She said she had in mind getting one someday when she had enough funds to get a good one. Right then and there I made an appointment with her to go down to Read’s and pick out the best they had. She has been busy fixing up her room, and wanted something in blue. We saw what both she and I thought a particularly attractive design, the most expensive they had in the place, by the way – – $14.50 – – and this is what is now adorning her bed and has been greatly admired by a procession of people who have examined it today. You will probably hear from her direct as she is quite enthusiastic about it. I hope my action will meet with your approval. It was charged to my account so you need feel under no necessity for reimbursing me right away. In fact, take your own good time about this – – when you have recovered from your income tax shock.

There is some doubt whether Mr. Ives will live the night through. He is delirious and the Doctor intends giving him a powerful narcotic. He has eaten nothing for five days – – cannot hold anything in his stomach, so the end is not far off. After the last blood transfusion at the hospital a few days ago, they sent him home as there was nothing more they could do for him. He is only 35 years old.

Well, Dick, old boy, I did not send you last week’s letter when I finally got your address, but it is enclosed with this. Good luck to you.


Life in St. Petersburg, Florida (11) – Tests, Projects and Lilacs – April, 1935

My Grandmother died when my Dad was nineteen and her youngest, Dave, was only seven. Biss was fourteen, a terrible age to lose her Mother, and she didn’t take it well. She acted out and my Grandpa and Arla’s sisters thought it would help Biss if she went to St Petersburg and lived with Aunt Anne, also helping Anne, a single parent,  with her two children, Don and Gwen. She tries very hard to write to her Dad every week, sometimes more often, and he writes to her every week.

Tuesday morning

11:26 AM


Dear Dad:

I better explain first about the letter you just received (yesterday or today). You see I was getting sort of worried about my allowance. I just stated that I would write to you whether you did to me or not and so I did. I did not send the letter until after I had read yours but I figured that I might just as well send it anyway for it was all sealed and ready to go. The bell has rung so I will finish this later.

It is just after lunch period now and my history teacher has disappeared so I am taking time to write a little bit further. I am going to a play with Bill tonight and do not

Art Mantle, Biss and Lad Guion

Art Mantle, Biss and Lad Guion

expect to take a vacation tomorrow as I had planned, but Friday instead. There was a boy in this history class who drew a picture of President Roosevelt which looks more like him than he does himself. Ralph – the painter – is going to send it to President Roosevelt in a week or two so you see our history class is quite “fed up” about it and we look at the world as though they were trash.

We had a geometry test yesterday and it was quite stiff but I think I passed it. I’ll let you know when I get my paper back today. My daily use of the King’s English has become quite careless and I am trying to work myself back to a high standard – Aunt Anne is helping me immensely. We are starting a contest hear in history so I have to stop.

I am now in geometry and there is such a commotion that I cannot hear myself think. There is going to be a school exhibit and I am making a project for French and also for geometry so I am quite a busy child which is quite unusual for me. In English we had to write some informal letters – I wrote one to Dan and I am going to send it on up to him. Am glad Alfred’s party was such a big success. It reminds me of my birthday party about five years ago – as I remember it. We did not get our papers back so I cannot give you my mark. We’re going to have a departmental test day after tomorrow – I don’t mind them especially. I like writing these letters like this for it makes the day go so much faster. At last we can have peace to do what we like! I’m in sixth period study – I suppose that has become a familiar phrase. How do you like Peggy’s Westport friends? I imagine they are a very nice bunch. We are all gradually becoming very dark because we go out to the beach at least once a week and the sun is very hot! I don’t see how it can be done but if you can figure out a way I would love to have some lilacs when they come out.



P.S. Is this a quick enough answer to your letter?

Life in St Petersburg, Florida (10) – Dog Races and a Firing Squad – April, 1935

My Aunt Biss (Elizabeth) was staying in St Petersburg, Florida with her Aunt Anne and going to school while helping Anne with her children, Don and Gwen. She tried to write to her father every week but she wasn’t as faithful in writing to her two younger brothers back in Trumbull. 

EWGZ - Biss and Mack, 1933

Monday evening

6:18 PM

Dear Dick:

It certainly has been a long time since I last wrote either you or David. I wasn’t going to write to you and Dave tonight, because I didn’t have time. I was going to mail the

Don Stanley

Don Stanley

letter about 15 minutes ago but Aunt Anne said she would mail it when she went downtown tonight for then it would leave St. Petersburg tonight so of course I consented. Therefore, I have to steam this letter open so I can put in yours and David’s. I only have one stamp on now but I will of course have to put on a second one for it can’t possibly get to Trumbull for three cents. I’m still not positive that I can get in both letters before Aunt Anne goes out. We’re going to eat in about five or 10 minutes so I don’t think I will be able to finish this letter.

The other night I went to the dog races. The dogs were greyhounds and were, of course, perfect beauties. There is an electric rabbit that runs around the side of the track and all the dogs chase it. The rabbit of course is never caught for the officials pull a curtain across the pathway when the dogs have gone around in the first dog to pass the winning line wins. People place their bets before the race and it costs two dollars to place a bet in if your dog wins you gain. Different dogs are worth different prizes, so of course it is nicer to have a better dog when. One dog, rather two dogs together, brought in $42 and some odd cents. Tonight is the last night for the races and I wish very much that I could go but I was up late Saturday – at the dog races last night – ask the boys – I don’t know which one I told it to and Aunt Anne hasn’t had a chance to see them so she is going to go tonight and someone has to stay with Don and Gwen so I am going to. If there weren’t all those reasons – besides the reason that there is school tomorrow – why perhaps I would consider going tonight for it is the biggest night. Well I have to eat now so I will finish it after supper. Aunt Anne is getting ready to go to the dog races so I am afraid I won’t be able to write a letter to Dave or have time to steam the envelope open either so this will have to go separately – if it does go with the bunch you will know it is because I had time.



Monday evening

7:03 PM

Dear Dave:

It was Uncle Burton’s birthday for you know his birthday comes on April Fools’ Day. Did you meet Sewell Nelson while you were down here? Well he goes to military school now and at present is home on vacation. He has to go back to the school tomorrow. Well, of course, he knows all about the signals and since he has been home on his vacation we have been playing firing squad. Yesterday I was a bad man and I had to be killed. They marched me to the front of the house and shot me. I landed a little too hard and got a headache and full of sand spurs.

Gwen Stanley

Gwen Stanley

It was so much fun though that they marched me out into the alley (so I could have a soft spot to land) and asked me what my last request was. “I regret that I have but one life to give for my country” was my answer. They then shot me. We tired of that soon so I started marching with the rest. Bill Garlington came along to take me to church but I didn’t feel like stopping so I let him wait while I finished playing. We went by the porch where Aunt Anne was sitting and she asked me if I had seen Bill – she was quite disgusted that I would leave a guest standing doing nothing while I finished playing.

I turned around and was talking to her when Sewell – the commander – said “Halt, one, two”. I was turning back as he said that but hadn’t been listening so I kept on walking and banged right square into Donald’s gun. <The gun went off because I saw stars and it cut my eyebrow off so that today I have only one eye – the other is the size of a football.> Where those marks are I began to use my imagination. To tell you what really happened – I banged into the stick (Don’s gun) which was on his shoulder, I mean, over his shoulder and I hit my eyebrow. It’s quite sore today although it doesn’t show one speck. I’m glad I didn’t get a black eye for everyone in school would be asking me who I had a fight with. I’m going to steam the envelope open – ask Dick how it is done – because I have time. Aunt Anne is getting ready to go so I had better hurry up – don’t forget to answer this letter – tell Dick not to forget to answer his either.




Judy Guion