Life in St Petersburg, Florida (8) – School Grades – March, 1935

It’s March of 1935 and Biss is writing to her Dad in Trumbull. She has been staying with her Aunt Anne and Don and Gwen, Anne’s children. When her mother died she was having a hard time at home in Trumbull so she went to Florida to live with her Aunt. The adults in the family hoped that this move would make a difference in her life..

Blog - Life in St Petersburg - School Grades (1) 3.1935

Blog - Life in St Petersburg - School Grades (2) - March, 1935

Elizabeth (Biss) Westlin Guion

Elizabeth (Biss) Westlin Guion

Please Read to Yourself First

Monday afternoon

4:51 PM


Dear Dad

You make me feel like crying – I realize fully what a thoughtless child I have been and I will try to mend my ways. Here after I will write at least once a week and maybe twice. I have not only neglected you but everyone else to. I will write to Parents Magazine and thank them for they have been very prompt and I barely have time to finish one before the next one arrives, for I wait a few days between each article to let it sink in.

To answer your letters I am glad I came out now ahead of the boys – (Biss had bets with her three brothers that she would get better grades in school)/ don’t tell Ced or any of the others what I am about to say tho’ – but I do hope Ced comes out ahead in the end for I love to see him happy and it would make him so proud to come out ahead. Do you think Ced’s marks are improved this year? From one pencil mark to the other is the part you should keep under your hat – if you have no hat on, then keep it under the gray hair – excuse the last remark but your hair is gray. Here after I think I shall enclose the things I want kept quiet in pencil or between pencil marks. /

Do you think ”Peck’s Bad Boy” is worth going to see? I hope Rusty is beginning to get a taste of Fame for the poor dear has waited such a long time for it. I am sorry the Kermodes are having such a hard time however I imagine the business will pick up soon. Is he out of work?

Thank you very much for the money, it certainly comes in handy. I come out about two weeks short each month so your money is always doubly welcome – I am so glad Dave has become interested in something and I hope it will be a raving success. How has Dave been? Tell him I miss his spoiledness immensely and I hope there is no trace of it left by the time I get home. I miss all of you very much and I am looking forward to coming home but I hate to leave St. Petersburg because I have made a few friends down here – one – two weeks ago – and I have gone out with him once, believe it or not! I also am going to miss this weather very much – it is never too hot and never too cold. The sun is always hot but there is always a very cool breeze blowing so that it is quite cool – they say it will get better and then get cool and be cool all during the summer. I am anxious to see the gang though and am quite thrilled to think that I am going to see Barbara Plumb. Has the office paid all of its debts? Saturday our club went to the beach and a storm (wind) came up so that we had the beach to ourselves. The waves would dash against the seawall and send the spray up over the wall – we ran along the seawall and were soaked all the way through to our skin but we certainly had a lot of fun – we ate (there were 8 of us) three dozen tangerines besides about five sandwiches each – 2 pounds of cookies and a bowl of potato salad. Some fun –hey what?



Tomorrow I’ll begin posting a week of letters written in 1941. Lad is home from Venezuela and Dan, Ced and Dick are in Anchorage, Alaska. Dave keeps Grandpa happy in Trumbull, keeping busy with school activities and helping Grandpa at the office of the Guion Advertising Agency in Bridgeport.

Judy Guion



Life in St. Petersburg, Florida (6) – Report Cards (1) – Feb., 1935

We’re stepping back a bit and catching up with Biss in St. Petersburg, Florida. It seems as though she has stuffed all her letter writing for February into one envelope. It also looks like she skips around in who she writes to when, because these are not all in chronological order.  The pictures are of Aunt Anne’s children, the ones Biss is helping with.

Don Stanley

Don Stanley

Gwen Stanley

Gwen Stanley

Sunday evening

5:39 PM

February 4, 1935

Dear Dad:

I’m awfully sorry I haven’t written sooner but I have been having exams so that I couldn’t have told my head from my feet – I can’t anyway. Each subject lasted for two hours. The first exam was from 8:30 to 10:30 and then the second from 10:30 to 12:30. Then we got out of school for the day. We had the last test Friday – they were more than tests – exams! I will send my report cards home for the first half of the year and you may keep them for we get new report cards for the second semester. As for the not newsy letter, I don’t do very much so I couldn’t very well tell about an incident that didn’t happen – but here is one. Today when I got my report card for history I was very much surprised to find I had gone up and one of the boys remarked that he must have been asleep when he marked mine. So during lunch I went to him and said “Mr. White, are you sure you weren’t sleeping when you made out my report card?” And he looked questioning for a moment and then he said “Oh! No, I wasn’t asleep but I thought for a long time before I put that mark down.” I then told him he was a lifesaver for that kept my average the same for I had gone down so far in French.

We had a new heater put in this morning and we are very thankful, for it is the first time in about a week that we have had warmth in the house for we have bad weather, cold snaps. I imagine you have been expecting and hoping for this letter for quite a while and are quite disappointed you haven’t received it sooner. I had to pay three cents on that letter so now we are even. If Mary Dolan happens to come up again tell her the great renowned Miss Lizzie is waiting very patiently to hear from her and her family but as yet has not gotten a note and as far as I know – is still waiting patiently with folded hands.

How is Rusty getting along? Has he had any work to amount to anything as yet? I am going to try to write Dan for he said he had to find work that I am hoping to catch him before he leaves. I will put two or three other notes in with this letter so I can once more begin hearing from different members of my writing family.

I hope you haven’t mentioned our guitar lessons to anyone yet. Please don’t. Don couldn’t take his lessons this afternoon because his teacher, Miss Bradley, is sick.

I have to go and do the dishes for the maid didn’t come this afternoon. Oh, that is right, of course. You didn’t know that we got a maid, for Aunt Anne felt that she couldn’t go on, for that work tired her so. I certainly am giving you enough news to make up for the last and for two or three in the future, besides. We all have had quite a mania for solitaire lately so Cedric’s cards are getting plenty of use. Have to go and do the dishes so finish this later.


Saturday I went to the dentist and had my teeth cleaned. The dentist said my teeth were very good and that I didn’t have a single cavity.

I didn’t take my geometry test today because I didn’t feel like it and I was tired. Mr. Mead told me to come in and do it tomorrow.

Gladys the maid didn’t come again tonight so we have to do dishes once more. You see we have the breakfast and lunch dishes for her to do so we have all the dishes of the day to do in the evening. She was supposed to do the wash today also and I’ll have to wait another day now before I can wear my white pants all my white suit. Well I want to write to the rest to so I’ll say goodbye for now.



P.S. I would write more only I am afraid it wouldn’t fit in with the rest of this letter.


Tomorrow, I’ll be posting more letters written in 1945. Dan and Paulette’s wedding is getting closer and everyone wants to know what plans are being made.

Judy Guion

Life in St. Petersburg, Florida (5) – My Birthday – Jan., 1935

It’s 1935 and 16-year-old Biss in St. Petersburg, Florida. She is living with her Aunt Anne (Peabody) Stanley and helping to care for her children, Don and Gwen. Christmas, 1934, has come and gone and Biss is back in school.


Elizabeth (Biss) Westlin Guion

Elizabeth (Biss) Westlin Guion

Wednesday aftewrnoon

4:31 PM

January 16, 1935

Dear Dad:

I sent you a letter already saying I got the check and thanking you very much for it. It was a surprise to get it for I hadn’t expected an allowance for this month. I had a very nice birthday. I am sorry to say that Dan left two days ago (Monday) although I imagine you know that by now for I expect he has sent you a card.

I am glad Dick has improved in his school work. How about Dave? It is very nice that Paul has at last gotten the job.

We ate at the “Gypsy Inn” as a special treat on my birthday and after we got home they had a surprise ready for me by way of a special treat, ice cream and cake and plenty of presents. It was a double surprise, for I hadn’t expected a thing seeing as how I had got one present last year and then to add to that by you coming down for this year. I didn’t see how I could get any.

I am glad (in a way) that they have been busy down at the office for that should certainly be a good sign if anything is. We took Dan about 5 miles beyond Brookesville.

Well, I want to write a letter, I mean finish a letter I started Friday to Marie P. and send all three tonight, although they won’t go out until tomorrow, I don’t believe.

I will send a Coquina shell up in this letter to show you what they look like when fixed up.



P.S. Tell Alfred that I am hoping to hear from him,and also from Dick and Dave. I’m writing on the bed in leisurely fashion, that is why my writing isn’t very plain.


It sounds like Biss had a special surprise for the holidays. It seems that at least her father and brother Dan made the trip to Florida to see her. I’m sure, with her birthday being January 6th, she probably got short-changed over the years.

Judy Guion

Friends and Trumbull – Ethel Bushey and Grandpa – Nov., 1940

October 21, 1940

Dear Ladd –

Ethel Bushey

Ethel Bushey

Have you heard the wonderful news about Carl and I? ( P.S. – We are engaged.) The most scrumptious ring you ever did see is on my important finger. By the time you arrive back in the U.S.A. I’ll probably be Mrs. C. Wayne. (I hope)

Enough bragging for now. Oh, by the way, your Dad was the first person to see my ring.

Carl Wayne

Carl Wayne

I was glad because you know how much I have always thought of your Dad. He seemed to be as happy as Carl and I about it.

Did you know that I am your nephew’s godmother and a very proud one too? I love him, he is the most wonderful child alive. Yesterday was his first birthday.

Arnold and Alta are keeping the home fires burning in their trailer.

Edna and Frank are living in Bridgeport at Sage Street, just below Bridgeport Hospital.

October 12th I was a bridesmaid for a friend of mine at a very large wedding. It was beautiful. My gown was maroon velvet top and maroon taffeta skirt. Next letter I’ll send a picture. Having some made in my gown.

A few of the girls started my hope chest for me. Officially I really haven’t one, I hate the clumsy things. Here are the starters:

1 can opener – Mrs. Chris Smith

1 dishcloth – Helen Slawson

measuring spoons – Barbara Plumb

potholders and salad fork and spoon from mother

          You can easily guess where I’m going to be doing most of my work.

Here is a snapshot Bissie took this spring.

Bissie is here now talking while I’m trying to concentrate on this letter. Flora and Bissie are now commenting on the picture that I’m enclosing. You can probably guess what the comments are about.

Write soon.





R-100    Nov. 3, 1940

Dear Backsliders:

My eyesight is strained from peering into the gloom of the interior of P.O. Box 7 in an effort to discover a letter either with a Venezuelan stamp or an Alaskan postmark on it. 14 times during the last week (that’s two Saturdays, so no remarks about Kurtz’s not being open on Sunday –nh, nh, so there!), So with no letters to answer and little local news there is not much skeleton to build the body of this letter on. A preposition is a bad word to end a sentence with. (I got you that time too.)

The box with the skates and music was dispatched this week. Cost, including insurance was a $1.25. Thanks for your thoughtfulness in sending the dollar, Ced. It almost made the grade. I did not know which Spanish grammar Dan wanted, so I picked the one that looked as though it had been used the most. As a matter of fact I did not discover the other one until after the box had been all but sealed with my orange tape. I did however include the two magazines that Carol Ravell sent. I should think you would follow Lad’s idea, Dan, and let me subscribe to the Spanish edition of Reader’s Digest for you.

Just after I had finished writing to you boys last Sunday and was thinking about going to bed, who should breeze in without previous warning of any kind but old boy Dick. They had left Florida the Friday before on receipt of a telegram from Mr. Kascak telling Bob he had work for him to do at home. They had practically lined up jobs to, which they badly needed, as their cash had about vanished. Apparently most of their time down there was spent helping a tennis pro who gave instructions to amateurs who desired to improve their game. The boys would work on the courts long enough to earn the privilege of playing the rest of the day, which, while enjoyable, (using $20 rackets, etc.) did not bring in any cash with which to buy grub or pay rent, so that they found themselves in Philadelphia on the way home with $.50 in cash and no gas. Luckily, Bob had relatives in Philadelphia where they replenished their gas tanks, pocketbooks and the inner man and arrived in Trumbull with $.50 to the good. Dick thoroughly enjoyed himself and said it was worth all it cost. He feels much better mentally and is now looking for a job. He tried to get on the Easton Reservoir job but they said they had more than enough men and were not interested in taking on any more. He does not want an inside job. He has been doing odd jobs around the house here for the past week, and today I got them to go to town. The three of us. I got them up about nine and put them in good humor by giving them a pancake breakfast and then set them to work getting up the storm windows while I started to clean up around the incinerator. I worked at this for an hour or two and then came in and started dinner. After this important function was over and dishes washed, I got them working on the incinerator again until dark. Barbara, Don and Jean have just come in and are now reading last weeks Alaskan letters. I have just asked them what news there might be for me to pass on to the absent ones with the result as follows:

Jean and Don were the committee appointed by the choral society to arrange a Halloween party at Mrs. Miller’s last night. Ghosts, corpses, empty rocking chairs rocking, dark rooms with eerie sounds, etc. apparently sent shivers down many choral backs and undoubtedly put the proper tremolos and the voices of those members of the choir went to church today.

Jean has had her fang removed and asked me to tell you that she is downhearted, Ced, because you have not written her. She asked me to tell you that she had an infected finger from knitting you a pair of mittens (Don says she is knitting you a pair of infected mittens) and still you have not written.

Tomorrow, I’ll finish out the week with the last half of this letter from Grandpa to the Backsliders – all three of them.

On Saturday and Sunday, I’ll post Special Pictures.

On Monday, We’ll move forward to 1941 when both Lad and Dan have come home and are working at the Producto Plant in Bridgeport. Ced and Dick are still in Alaska.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Score is 100% This Week (1) – Leaping Amphibian – Oct., 1940

I’ve jumped back to 1940 when Lad was still working for the Socony-Vacuum Oil Company, maintaining their fleet of vehicles and well drilling equipment at their various well sites in Venezuela. Dan and Ced left Trumbull in June for Alaska and have each found suitable jobs. Dan is working as a Surveyor for the Army at their airbase in Anchorage and Ced is working as an airplane mechanic and learning to fly at Woodley Airfield, also in Fairbanks. Dick has left Trumbull with a friend, Bobby Kascak, and traveled to Clearwater Beach, Florida where they have rented a cottage and having a great time. Dave is in High School and he and Grandpa are holding down the fort in Trumbull.

No. R-98

Oct. 20, 1940

Trumbull, Conn

Dear Lad:


Alfred Peabody Guion in Venezuela in 1939

Alfred Peabody Guion in Venezuela

Score is 100% this week – – letters from all four absent ones. Quadrapeds, I’d call it. Yours, acknowledging receipt of the album, written October 6th, arrived on the 12th, and that’s pretty prompt carriage. I am glad it pleased your fancy. In fact, you appeared to be so much delighted with receiving a package by mail that I have sent another wee package of three little items I picked up in the 5 and 10 cent store. You have not said anything lately about the club and how it is going. Are you still on the board? What sort of games do you play? Can I send little trinkets or favors from time to time that would help?

With Chris’ time nearly up and Mr. Breeding out of circulation, it looks more than ever as though they need your ability and experience.

An interesting letter from Dick says they have rented a cottage at Clearwater Beach, Florida, with the kitchen, bathroom, bedroom, shower room, screened porch in front with a hammock and a daybed; also a refrigerator, hot and cold running water and access to the beach at any time, all for $15 a week (which they succeeded in getting reduced to $13). The water, Dick says, is the clearest he has ever seen with the possible exception of Silver Springs. The sand is very fine and smooth and packs well. Evidently they are having a good time.

Dear Dan:

So you get your electricity from Eklutna, hey. Well, isn’t that just great. I would never have imagined

Dan in Alaska

Dan in Alaska

it. Do the Eklutnains live in igloos? Is the Arctic Circle anywhere near it? How the hell do you expect me to know where Eklutna is? Is it a hydroelectric plant or a steam operated unit? However, I must not be too harsh with you because your note of the 9th gave me some very interesting facts regarding this mushroom growth city that you are making your home. Barbara showed me some newspaper clippings regarding your first snowstorm. We have not had snow here yet but today it felt almost cold enough for snow.

You have been very good about writing lately and I really do appreciate it and enjoy your letters with their pungent comments on events and people. Keep up the good work and when you don’t have any news of an extraneous nature to write, it is always interesting to have you lift the curtain on your inside thoughts and let us hear what your impressions are of the future of your job, plans for college, new lines of endeavors which interest you, etc. What, for instance, has induced your present enthusiasm for anthropology, ethnology and sociology? Have you met and talked with any interesting people who started you thinking along these lines? You remind me of the saying, The world is so full of a number of things, I’m sure we all should be happy as kings”. Only kings are not happy these days. And the very fact that the world is full of so many different and interesting activities that we are apt to flit from crag to crag like the nimble mountain goat and develop the habit of leaping indefinitely instead of saying to ourselves, “Well, I’ve leaped enough. Here is a nice green valley that I can stay and browse around in long enough to get acquainted with the flora and fauna. It even looks good enough to adopt permanently.” So don’t leave so far and so often that you leap right over the right spot without noticing it.

If this letter reaches you in time, here’s fondest birthday greetings to my little leaping amphibian.

Tomorrow I’ll post the next segment of this letter addressed to Ced.

On Wednesday, the last piece addressed to Dick.

On Thursday, I’ll post a quick letter from Ethel Bushey to Lad and also the first half of a letter from Grandpa to his boys.

I’ll finish that letter on Friday.

Judy Guion

Special Picture # 48 – Florida Trip – 1936

I believe these pictures, from Cindy Hall (a lifelong friend and daughter of Charlie Hall) were all taken around a trip to Florida that several guys took in the mid-1930’s. There may have been two trips and those who took the trip(s) were Art Mantle (Cindy’s Uncle, brother of Jane Mantle, wife of Charlie Hall), Arnold Gibson, Carl Wayne (future owner of The Red Horse Service Station), and my Dad, Lad Guion.

Art Mantle, Biss and Lad Guion, with Model T - 1932

This is Arnold Gibson’s Model T camper,maybe a 1924.  

It’s the car Art Mantle, Arnold Gibson and
Carl Wang(Wayne) drove to Florida when Art was home on boot camp leave in about 1936.
l to r : Art Mantle, Biss Guion, Lad Guion.
APG - Arnold Gibson's Motel T Ford Camper before FL trip - 1936
Arnold Gibson’s Model T Ford Camper, possibly a 1924 model.
APG - Lad resting on beach in FL - @ 1936
Lad Guion resting on beach in Florida @ 1936.
Cindy told me a story about this trip that she had heard about for years. It seems that, on the way home, they stopped for gas. One person was asleep in the back of the car, the others went in to the restroom, came out and hit the road again. The person who had been sleeping in the back had gotten out and gone inside the gas station, but no one had noticed. By the time they figured it out, apparently the person who’d been asleep had hitchhiked and had gotten home before the others.
Judy Guion


Friends – Martin And Flor From Venezuela – July, 1941


Martin and Flor Williams - Trumbull

Martin and Flor Williams – Trumbull

And now that I have answered most of the points in your letter I will try to give you some of the news around here.

The Ensconatus have been moved to the Siegfus’s house pending move to Cantaura, where they will set up housekeeping again. The house has been given to the Poleo family (you remember him, the radio technician, no?). His wife is very pretty and very simpatica, and their baby girl (about six months) is the most darling thing you ever saw. Although naturally we miss the Ensconatus, I can’t say I’m not so pleased also with our new neighbors; they are very nice indeed. Anita Ensconatus was operated on for appendicitis on Tuesday the 15th, as far as we know to date, is doing nicely.

Frank Borgon, Andy, the Wardlaw’s, Bob Ross, Gutke, Howard and I can’t think who else right at the minute, have left. The Wardlaw’s and Bob will return, thank goodness. The Frost’s arrived and are temporarily installed in the Grubbs house (By the way, Grubbs left for good, and I can’t say I’m not glad). I believe the plan is for them to stay there until the company builds another small house on our row. How long this will take, however, is, well…., you know how those things are.

De la Torre is back from vacation, and Sanchez Martinez has therefore returned to Guario.

The Baiz’s will be terminated on August 5. Maruja came out before they knew about it, but in view of the fact that they will be leaving so soon, Emy has remained in Caracas. Socially I like them tremendously, especially Lucinda, but medically I think this move has been expected for a long time. They will be replaced by a Dr. Delfin Aroila, surgeon, who, I understand, has his own x-ray machine, etc. etc., and if things turn out as the company plans, he will perform operations locally, thus eliminating the necessity of sending everybody suffering from the slightest ailment to Caracas. Let’s hope he’s good.

The Baiz’s leaving will make a big gap in the social season, but then you can imagine that pretty well, can’t you?

John Sheldon, Mr. Sheldon’s oldest boy, is spending some time here in the field. He has been at Guario for about 2 1/2 weeks and I believe he came in here today, although I haven’t seen him yet. The 23rd of this month is his birthday and we have invited him over to dinner, as well as the Pet. Eng. with whom he has been working in Guario. Can you imagine Gruver at our table? Do you think the house, our dishes, and glassware and stand such a tornado? Let’s hope so.

And talking about birthdays and dinners, Claire has invited us over for dinner the 31st, and I think that’s very sweet of her.

Well, Al, something tells me I have taken up enough of your time; I can only hope that I have not bored you; that I haven’t forgotten any bit of news that might be of interest to you.

I believe Sieck will be leaving soon, for good. It’s too bad, he’s such a nice boy.

I don’t know if I mentioned in my last that there was a possibility of our going in September. Well, it’s very doubtful, but what we would like to do is the following. Martin has already ordered a car, with the specifications of the cars the company buys, so that we can travel over these roads safely, to be delivered to his father on August 25th. This can be done whether we go or not, but should we be able to get away, our plan would be to leave here August 29th, catch the clipper of the first of September to Miami, and have Martin’s father meet us there with the car. Do all our tropical shopping down south, visit the Williams’s who have moved to Florida, and then drive north. We would take you in, spent some time in Maine, and if possible go as far West as Minnesota to see the Wrights. This is so far a beautiful dream, after my conversation with Cosh not long ago when he was out here (for just a few hours, as usual) it would seem that it might not work. However, we can enjoy ourselves planning in the meantime, don’t you think?

Well, now I will sign off before you faint.

Give our very best to all who may be interested, and for yourself receive our very very best wishes for a happy future.

Martin and Flor

P.S. Frank Le Ray should have landed in La Guaria the 16th, according to the letter we received from him recently. Although we haven’t heard from Bishop on the subject, rumor has it that he was on the same boat as Frank. We hope so, that’s at least two of our good friends returned.

Since this picture was taken at the Trumbull House, my guess is that Martin and Flor were able to take the trip as planned, although I’m not sure of the date.

Tomorrow, another letter from Grandpa to the boys in Alaska.

On Saturday, a few more early memories of Trumbull.

On Sunday, were getting close to the end of Ced’s Coming of Age Adventure.

Judy Guion


Trumbull – Car Thieves in Trumbull – March, 1940

March 3, 1940

Dear C.D.E. (Chief Diesel Engineer)

The big news this week concerns the theft of my Willys. Perhaps I’d better go back a bit. It has been Dick’s custom lately to work at the office after school and to drive home with

Alfred (Lad) Peabody Guion

Alfred (Lad) Peabody Guion

me, and because he likes to drive, I usually let him occupy the driver’s seat. He lets me out at the back door and backs the car in the barn for the night. I have had to caution him over and over again about bringing the key in the house and not leaving it in the car, pointing out to him that it is an invitation to anyone who is snooping around trying to swipe a car to leave the key in it. This attitude has been scoffed at as being quite unlikely and a foolish precaution on my part. However, just to humor the old man, Dick has lately been bringing the key in and putting it on my hat, which I usually place on the armchair in the dining room near the telephone booth. Well, Friday night I had to stop at the Town Hall for a meeting at 5:30, and as there was some food in the car, I told Dick after he dropped me at the Town Hall, to take the food home and get dinner started. I walked home after the meeting was over, found supper had been prepared, and in due course went to bed. Yesterday morning I found Dick waiting for me when I came down for breakfast and as he had eaten I told him to get the car out and running so we could get started promptly. The key was not on my hat so I asked him if he had left the key in the car and while he was sure he had brought the key in and put it on my hat, he said he might not and would look. He came in a few minutes later and said the car was not in the barn. Ced had started to work at 7:30, which was evidenced by the fact that the Packard was gone (he had not registered the Plymouth as he had expected to sell it and that was in the driveway). Our first thought was that Ced might have started off with the Packard, had a flat or something, had left it at Carl’s and taken my Willys and because he was late, had not taken time to tell me about it but left a note. However, we could find no note from Ced. We thought Dan might possibly have taken it, intending to be back soon, but Dan and Rusty were both asleep in bed. We then called up the gas station but Ray said the Packard was not there and he did not know anything about it. Our last hope then was Ced might know something about it. We called up Tilo and after considerable delay, got Ced, but he knew nothing about the Willys. I was in doubt about its being stolen because Dick said he remembered putting the key on my hat the night before and I did not see how anyone would know enough to come into the house to get the key if he wanted to swipe the car, but Dick’s theory was that someone might have come in the house in the early morning, snooped around, seeing the key in plain sight on my hat with the name “Willys” on it, and having seen the car in the barn, did the logical thing. So the only thing left to do was to call up Ray Beckwith and report the car stolen. Dick had gone upstairs again to talk to Dan about it and I was sitting down to dial Ray’s number when Dick came down and said that Dan had an explanation that sounded reasonable. It was this: when Dick arrived home Friday night alone and with no meat for supper, Dan asked him about what we were going to have for supper and Dick told him I had said there were scallops home for supper. There were not. Then Dick assumed he may have misunderstood me and that I meant the scallops were in the car, WHICH DICK HAD LEFT AT THE TOWN HALL FOR ME AND WALKED HOME. He then went over to the Town Hall, got the package out of the car and brought it home. After my meeting was over at the Town Hall, it was dark, and as I had intended Dick to take the car home with the food in it, I did not look for the car parked over there. Anyway, when I had gotten out of the car it looked to me as I went in the door that Dick was preparing to back out. However, it looked now as if the car had been parked all night at the Town Hall with the key in it, so I hustled over to the Town Hall expecting to see the car there where he had left it. Whalen has a gray Willys, the same as mine, and as I approached I thought for a moment it was my car, but on second glance I saw it was not. I had already passed through to reverses a feeling that morning — one when the car seemed to be stolen from the barn, the other when I believed it was at the Town Hall. Now I was going to be plunged into the dumps again? I hustled on, and there, behind another parked car which hid it, was my little, old, banged up, shabby Willys, just as Dick had left it the night before with the key in the switch and everything O.K. and that’s the news about the stolen Willys. I hope you got a thrill out of the telling and some of the suspense that I experienced. “All’s well that ends well”. “I am an old man and I’ve had many troubles but most of them never happened”.

If you Google 1937 Willys Coupe, you’ll get an idea of what Grandpa’s car looked like, although I’m not sure of the year for his and it was “a little, old, banged up, shabby Willys.”

Tomorrow, I’ll be posting the rest of this letter concerning the doings around the old homestead of the rest of the bunch. I note that yesterday’s letter from Rusty wasn’t sent with last week’s letter, but with this one. The date fooled me as it was also written on the 25th, just not delivered to Grandpa in time.

On Saturday, the autobiography of Alfred Duryee Guion tells the story of what happened when he tried to take a gun apart… his thinking process was so typical of a young boy at any time. I think you’ll enjoy it.

On Sunday, Archie and Mary E. Wilson face up to struggles during World War II.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Thanksgiving Dinner – 1940

1934 - 1940 Timeline

1934 – 1940 Timeline

This is a rather short letter for Grandpa but he explains the circumstances contributing to that in the letter.No news from Dan or Ced, but great news from Lad.

December 1, 1940

Dear Boys:

This note is like to be a brief one because it is now 10 o’clock and I have just sat down to the typewriter. Dave was invited to a party in Westport this afternoon, from 2 to 8 P. M., and after leaving him there I went over to call on Bruce. The party was over later than anticipated and I have just reached home.

The most noteworthy news this week was a letter from Lad in which he informs me that he is now in complete charge of the garage and transportation, and has under his charge eight Foreman and 49 men. To a father, news like this, evidencing what according to the world’s standards is an evidence of material success, is one of the most important and stirringly  pleasing things that can happen and while I tried not to be too obvious in my pride in front of others, I did go around hugging the thought to myself with a great deal of satisfaction and if anybody had heard me chuckling to myself after I got in bed the night the letter came, they would have thought I was either crazy or having a pleasant dream. Congratulations, old sock, and while it was not unexpected, it is great news nevertheless.

 Dinner Table in Trumbull

Dinner Table in Trumbull

Wednesday night Dick and Dave drove down to New York in the Buick to pick up Aunt Betty and Aunt Elsie. I filled my usual role as chef. Biss and Butch were also present, and the meal must have been good because Bissie, who is not given to complements, said it was the best meal she has had in six months and even mentioned it the next day to David when she came down again. We had jellied consommé with breadsticks, salted nuts, celery and olives, Turkey (15 lbs) with mushroom stuffing and Alaskan cranberry sauce, mashed white potatoes with giblet gravy, fried mushrooms, green peas, lettuce salad, French dressing with cheese wafers, plum pudding with a special brandy flavored sauce, Burrough’s cider, nuts and raisins and fruit. Dave made up a fancy piece for the center of the table — an Indian tepee scene, and after dishes were washed, we had a private showing of Lad’s Venezuelan movie colored films and some rented scenes, and later Barbara brought down Helen’s machine and showed colored films, including some Dan had sent which were really beautiful. There was one of the Alaskan sunset and some two or three other woodsy scenes which were veritable art gems and as paintings, would have taken first prize Academy awards.

Dick seems to like his job with the Underwood people but still thinks he prefers outdoor work.

We had a white Thanksgiving day here, the snow being a blanket, or perhaps I should say tablecloth, over all the ground. It is still with us although the roads are clear now.

Col. Weeks has been called back to the Army again and has been assigned to Jacksonville, Florida, and in stopping in at my office Saturday to say goodbye, asked to be remembered to you boys. He is selling his place in Trumbull under the circumstances and says he wants to come back here when and if conditions will permit.

No letters from Alaska last week which I hope means I will hear from the division of the north this week. And that’s all the news until my next broadcast.


Over the radio tonight it was said the Italian army put up signs during their March on Greece, “The Italian Army cannot be stopped”, to which the Greeks, who were chasing them, added the words, “When retreating.”

Tomorrow, I’ll be posting some childhood memories of Dick, which I  recorded in an interview with him a few months before he passed away. I find it quite interesting that the children have some memories that seem to be of the same event, even though they are 10 years between the oldest and the youngest, but each have very different and personal memories too.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – No News From Lad – Jan, 1940

1934 - 1940 Timeline

1934 – 1940 Timeline

In this letter, Grandpa expresses a feeling that many parents deal with and that children have no idea of. Young people tend to get wrapped up in their activities, and knowing they are just fine, they forget that parents need to know if they are healthy and doing well.

January 7, 1940

Dear Lad:

You’ve got me worried this trip, my boy. Your last letter home was dated December 3rd  and arrived here on the 16th. Three weeks have

Alfred Duryee Guion

Alfred Duryee Guion

since gone by, which leads me to ask a question which I have thought of many times but have not put into words. It is this. In case something should happen to you, either in the nature of a serious accident or sickness, is it the customer of the Company to notify the home or parents of such employee? In the background there always lurks the possibility of something like this happening, made more fearsome by the thought that you are so far away among strangers. When I hear from you regularly that ogre of a thought is kept in its place in the background, but it is always ready to push it’s ugly presence forward when each week in succession goes by without hearing from you. While I say this in no spirit of complaint, life has dealt me some rather disappointing blows from time to time, which I have learned to take on the chin and accept with a smile, so that usually I succeed pretty well in not worrying over the many dire things that might happen but seldom do. Just the same it’s going to make the sunshine seem a lot brighter if the fourth week does not go by without some word from Venezuela. We can always hope, and generally do, optimistically, but sometimes in the dark watches of the night fear attacks in a rush, and while subdued with an effort of will and without letting anyone know about it, it does persist in popping up more often as the days go by without word. While it is disappointing not to get a full account of your doings when the well-known red white and blue envelopes peek at me through the glass slit in P.O. Box 7, it would be a lot better than nothing to have just a line or two from you saying that you are too busy or too tired or what not, to write a regular letter. Why not address and keep on hand two or three envelopes, stamped and addressed to me, so that if at the last moment before the mail leaves, you have not had an opportunity to write, you can at least scribble a short message so that there will be a break in this dead silence. Perhaps this is all silly on my part and you have been writing regularly and through some slip up in the mail the letters have failed to arrive, the same as my letters to you were held up for several weeks so that you got several in a bunch. With the rainy season practically over, however, this ought not to happen, especially over so long a lapse of time. It took a lot of words, didn’t it, to say “Why haven’t you written sooner?”

This week Dan got a registered package through the mail from an address on Long Island, and was delighted upon opening it to find it contained his watch. It is now at the jewelers for a general checkup, new crystal, new strap, etc. Incidentally, talking of time and the jeweler, I also took down the old Seth Thomas in the kitchen to Abercrombie, who has a place in with Kann as you may know, and he has given old Tom a new lease on life. He found, among other things in the case, evidence that mice have used it as a nesting place. There is a sticker in the clock with the date 1908 on it so that it is at least 32 years old. Abercrombie says they made parts much better in those days and will probably run for another 30 years before it stops short, never to run again.

(That Seth Thomas wall clock remains in the Trumbull kitchen today, making it 105 years old, still running and keeping perfect time. I have no idea how many times it has been repaired or serviced, though.)

Last week when I finished my letter to you, Dave had not yet returned from New Rochelle. He barged in about 10 PM however, and undoubtedly the trip was too much for him, because he complained of feeling none too hot in his stomach and did not, therefore, go to school. He reports all the folks well (he saw them all) and apparently nothing newsy to report.

We have been visited with a cold wave last week which did not please me at all, the only compensation from the children’s standpoint being the opportunity to slide, ski, skate, etc. That’s where they are right now, by the way. The ornaments have been taken off the tree and things are beginning to look normal again. Ced is getting his car into good running condition. The only thing he needs now is tires and I believe he has just placed an order with Carl for two Goodyear all weather treads.

I am enclosing for you to sign and return if you wish, 1939 operator license 593647, good until April 1st and the P. S. license number 200, expiring the same date, in accordance with your wishes. I am also paying your life insurance premium this month. Incidentally, the regular company check came through as usual so that I know you weren’t fired anyway. I am also enclosing a Trumbull news clipping which gives sort of a summary of the last years doings. In a week or two I shall probably be able to tell you what the results of the police examination showed as to the appointment of a permanent Trumbull police force.

I got a picture postcard from Rufus Burnham last week, postmarked Tampa, Florida, and stating “The whole Burnham crew down here for the holiday. Have been having a grand time”. Johnny Kurtz informed me yesterday that he is now the father of a new 9 pound baby boy. The population of Trumbull is increasing as you see.

I mailed you last week another batch of commercial car journals, each with an article in it on some phase of diesel work, as well as general articles on keeping fleets of trucks in repair. I think one of the unanswered letters or rather questions had to do with whether or not these were worthwhile sending to you. The postage costs more than the magazines and I don’t mind sending them if they are of the slightest help to you, but there is obviously no use sending them if you don’t find them valuable.

Well, I guess that is the end of my thought path this evening. I have been sitting here for some time trying to think of some other interesting facts to write, but they don’t seem to be flooding in on my mental screen.

Barbara (Plumb), Dan, Carl (Wayne) and Ethel (Bushey) have just come in, having been in Carl’s car (Ced, Dick and Dave also went along) on a trip to Redding Ridge in an effort to find Valley Forge. Since they put in the new reservoir and changed the roads around, I guess it was difficult to find. Apparently they didn’t get the right road, but had a good time anyway.

Well, here’s hoping. I’m thinking of P. O. Box 7 when I say this. Thus beginning and ending with the same thought with news in between. Maybe you’d call it a hope sandwich.

Buenos botches.


This week we’ll continue with letters to Lad from friends and family, but I don’t have a letter from Lad. Perhaps Grandpa mentions getting one in one of his letters. We’ll find out later this week.

Judy Guion