Autobiography of Mary E Wilson (16) – The Newlyweds – 1937-1938

Mary E Wilson

We returned to our lovely apartment. Archie had to go to work on Monday. He had just started a new job in the General Electric in the drafting department but I took the whole week off. I really wanted to show my new husband what a good cook I was but poor Archie came down with a bad ulcer attack. I had to learn how to cook all over again because he had to go on a special diet for ulcers.

We had only been married a week when my mother fell at work and was taken to the hospital. That took a lot of joy out of being newly married because I went from work to my mother’s house to cook and clean for Doris and Arthur then to the hospital at night to see my mother.

When she finally came home, I did the same thing and did not realize I was neglecting my new husband. We had our first quarrel because Archie said Doris was 15 and Arthur could do more to help out. He said they were taking advantage of me. I realized he was right. I helped my mother but insisted they do more to help around the house until she was well again.

Our first Christmas came so soon after we married that we did not have much money but were able to buy gifts for everyone.

English people love Christmas and traditions run deep and they make a lot of it. This year we included Archie’s parents and brothers and they loved it. The boys ate most of my mother’s Christmas cake and plum pudding to her horror – the cake is supposed to be relished in small portions.

We were both working in the G.E.. I quit Dr. Nastri but Archie got a promotion in the drafting department as a designer on small electric appliances. The General Electric was very slow at this time so they made a new rule that husband and wife could not both hold jobs because the plant was slow.

I knew by now I was pregnant and it was important that Archie keep his job so I resigned. I had worked in the G.E. for over 12 years.

Things were getting rough so we moved into a cheaper flat on Williston Street in Bridgeport for $17 a month, no bathroom and no hot water. Archie made the cheap little flat look pretty comfortable.

We were invited to Archie’s parent’s home for supper during the summer and I ate my first clams. Alec and I were the only two who would eat them. I really enjoyed them because I had never tasted them before. We both became desperately ill from food poisoning and I was only a month away from my baby’s birth. I was rushed to the hospital. Dr. Heedger was so angry because I had been so stupid.

I had a rough delivery giving birth to a breech birth baby girl. My poor baby was so scarred from the instruments and I was so ill I stayed almost 3 weeks in the hospital. Dr. Heedger said I could not have any more babies for at least three years. Careful manipulation of my poor baby’s head while she was in the hospital made it possible for us to bring home a beautiful baby girl. Archie was really delighted as his family had been all boys and the little girl was really welcomed. Archie’s brothers could not keep their hands off her. It was amusing to watch two young men carefully handling a little girl as if she was a doll.

Archie and I were so happy. After all, I was 27 and he was almost 30 so we were mature enough to enjoy parenthood. I always thanked God there had been no children from Archie’s first marriage.

She really was a beautiful, good-natured baby and it was at this time that Archie became interested in photography.

Ed Swartz worked in the G.E. with Archie and he taught Archie a lot and Mary Jean was used as a model and she was a well photographed little girl. She was named after me and Archie’s mother and our baby girl was a joy to us.

Tomorrow I’ll be posting letters written in 1943. Lad is in California and he has become quite interested in a particular woman. Grandpa keeps the rest of the family informed about what everyone else is doing.

Judy Guion

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Autobiography of Mary E Wilson (12) – A Double Life – 1933-1934

Mary E. Wilson

Not much has changed in Mary’s life so this is a rather short post. She seems quite happy with everything.

1933 – 1934

          My life at this time was quiet, nothing exciting was happening. Life was amiable at home. Doris was a good girl but willful.

My mother had decided that now that I was 22, I could keep half of my earnings. Three other girls and myself decided to take up horseback riding. I loved it and went two or three times a week.

I still dated Fred but I dated other young men to. I love going to the Ritz Ballroom and also danced and Quilty’s and Pleasure Beach Dance Hall. Fred did not like to dance and he worked nights every other week so it worked out just fine.

At this time, Dr. Nasti’s wife died and they had only been married a year. We had a rough time at the office because I could not depend on him to keep his appointments. For almost a year he had a bad time then he met a former girlfriend and they started going out and married.

I still had my part-time work in the G.E. but they were becoming very uneasy because there were more rumblings in Europe. I had a good job in but loved working for Dr. Nastri so I worked longer hours and was able to keep both jobs. I had no time for night school but I was happy doing my thing.

Somehow I felt I was leading a dual life. Two weeks I dated Fred and kept very reserved and had quiet times with him and his older friends playing bridge, etc. The other two weeks I hung around Francis and other friends, did a lot of dancing, horseback riding, picnics, swimming parties and also participated in exercise clubs but we did have fun times.

Celso was still my best friend and my nephew Jimmy had grown into a beautiful boy. My mother adored her first grandchild and spoiled him rotten.

Starting tomorrow and for the next of the week, I’ll be posting letters written in 1945. Dan is married but Paulette cannot come to Trumbull because of travel restrictions. Grandpa keeps everyone in the family aware of what’s happening to the rest of the family.

Judy Guion

 

 

Autobiography of Mary E Wilson (7) – 1926 – 1927

Mary E. Wilson

Mary has settled in to life in America and truly enjoys school. That is the one high point in her life.

NOVEMBER, 1926

I had to go back to school as I was only 15 and my brothers and I were ridiculed because of our accent and dress. My poor brothers got into a lot of fights.

Because my father had spent the “landing money”, my mother could not buy us new clothes for a while. She worked in the Stratfield Hotel in the cafeteria and my Uncle Arthur got my father a job as a painter, which he hated.

I loved my school and adored Miss Blood, my teacher, because she was so helpful and kind to me. I was not used to boys and girls being in the same class because in the past I had always attended schools for only girls, so I was very shy and insecure. I did make a nice friend, however, named Polly Griffin, who lived next door to us and she was the one who really helped me adjust to a new country. She was going into nurse’s training in Bridgeport Hospital and she begged me to go into training with her. I still had my old ambition to be a nurse and at that time you were paid a small amount of money plus books and uniforms but my Mother would not allow it.

MARCH, 1927

On my 16th birthday, my Mother took me out of school and brought me to the General Electric Company. They gave me a job on one condition …. I pin up my hair. My Mother also got a job at General Electric and we worked from 7 AM to 5 PM for 5 1/2 days at $.25 an hour.

So ended my childhood, of which I had virtually none at all, as it was taken from me at an early date. Responsibility had been forced upon me at a very young age. I had never learned how to play and I felt cheated and angry because I so wanted to be a nurse.

I had joined the Christian Advent Church with Polly and our Sunday school teacher was named Lena Hilt. She was so nice and friendly to me.

There was so much quarreling in our home between my Mother and Father that we were not a happy family. Mother was a very dominating woman and my father, a weak man.

I started going to night school to lose my English accent and get used to American money. I learned how to type and was fascinated with American history. I think I attended evening school all my unmarried years and I really loved it. I took a practical nursing course which was conducted by Dr. Sprague. I loved it and was so proud the day I graduated.

Tomorrow, the next segment in the life of Mary E Wilson, an English girl who came to America as a child but grew up to achieve “the American Dream”.

Next week I’ll begin a week of letters from 1941. Lad has come home from Venezuela and is working at Producto in Bridgeport, Dan is dealing with the Draft Board in Alaska and Bridgeport, Ced and Dick are both still in Alaska but are concerned about their own draft status. Dave keeps Grandpa company in the Old Homestead in Trumbull.

Judy Guion

Mary E. Wilson Autobiography – Newlyweds – 1937-1938

Mary E. Wilson

Mary E. Wilson

We returned to our lovely apartment. Archie had to go to work on Monday. He had just started a new job in the General Electric in the drafting department but I took the whole week off. I really wanted to show my new husband what a good cook I was but poor Archie came down with a bad ulcer attack. I had to learn how to cook all over again because he had to go on a special diet for ulcers.

We had only been married a week when my mother fell at work and was taken to the hospital. That took a lot of joy out of being newly married because I went from work to my mother’s house to cook and clean for Doris and Arthur then to the hospital at night to see my mother.

When she finally came home, I did the same thing and did not realize I was neglecting my new husband. We had our first quarrel because Archie said Doris was 15 and Arthur could do more to help out. He said they were taking advantage of me. I realized he was right. I helped my mother but insisted they do more to help around the house until she was well again.

Our first Christmas came so soon after we married that we did not have much money but were able to buy gifts for everyone.

English people love Christmas and traditions run deep and they make a lot of it. This year we included Archie’s parents and brothers and they loved it. The boys ate most of my mother’s Christmas cake and plum pudding to her horror – the cake is supposed to be relished in small portions.

We were both working in the G.E.. I quit Dr. Nastri but Archie got a promotion in the drafting department as a designer on small electric appliances. The General Electric was very slow at this time so they made a new rule that husband and wife could not both hold jobs because the plant was slow.

I knew by now I was pregnant and it was important that Archie keep his job so I resigned. I had worked in the G.E. for over 12 years.

Things were getting rough so we moved into a cheaper flat on Williston Street in Bridgeport for $17 a month, no bathroom and no hot water. Archie made the cheap little flat look pretty comfortable.

We were invited to Archie’s parent’s home for supper during the summer and I ate my first clams. Alec and I were the only two who would eat them. I really enjoyed them because I had never tasted them before. We both became desperately ill from food poisoning and I was only a month away from my baby’s birth. I was rushed to the hospital. Dr. Heedger was so angry because I have been so stupid.

I had a rough delivery giving birth to a breech birth baby girl. My poor baby was so scarred from the instruments and I was so ill I stayed almost 3 weeks in the hospital. Dr. Heedger said I could not have any more babies for at least three years. Careful manipulation of my poor baby’s head while she was in the hospital made it possible for us to bring home a beautiful baby girl. Archie was really delighted as his family had been all boys and the little girl was really welcomed. Archie’s brothers could not keep their hands off her. It was amusing to watch two young men carefully handling a little girl as if she was a doll.

Archie and I were so happy. After all, I was 27 and he was almost 30 so we were mature enough to enjoy parenthood. I always thanked God there had been no children from Archie’s first marriage.

She really was a beautiful, good-natured baby and it was at this time that Archie became interested in photography.

Ed Swartz worked in the G.E. with Archie and he taught Archie a lot and Mary Jean was used as a model and she was a well photographed little girl. She was named after me and Archie’s mother and our baby girl was a joy to us.

This coming week we’ll look back to 1940 when Lad is working in Venezuela for the Socony-Vacuum Oil Company as a “trouble shooting” mechanic, moving from rustic, rural oil camp to oil camp, working on equipment. His pay is being sent home to Trumbull to help Grandpa care for Lad’s younger siblings.

For FREE copies of New Inceptions Magazine, an e-magazine, with several articles and stories based on letters and memories of my family, prior to and during World War II, you can click the following links.

Issue 1   Click Here

Issue 2   Click Here

Issue 3   Click Here

Judy Guion

Autobiography of Mary E. Wilson – 1933 – 1934

 

Mary E. Wilson

Mary E. Wilson

Not much has changed in Mary’s life so this is a rather short post. She seems quite happy with everything.

1933 – 1934

          My life at this time was quiet, nothing exciting was happening. Life was amiable at home. Doris was a good girl but willful.

My mother had decided that now that I was 22, I could keep half of my earnings. Three other girls and myself decided to take up horseback riding. I loved it and went two or three times a week.

I still dated Fred but I dated other young men to. I love going to the Ritz Ballroom and also danced and Quilty’s and Pleasure Beach Dance Hall. Fred did not like to dance and he worked nights every other week so it worked out just fine.

At this time, Dr. Nasti’s wife died and they had only been married a year. We had a rough time at the office because I could not depend on him to keep his appointments. For almost a year he had a bad time then he met a former girlfriend and they started going out and married.

I still had my part-time work in the G.E. but they were becoming very uneasy because there were more rumblings in Europe. I had a good job in but loved working for Dr. Nastri so I worked longer hours and was able to keep both jobs. I had no time for night school but I was happy doing my thing.

Somehow I felt I was leading a dual life. Two weeks I dated Fred and kept very reserved and had quiet times with him and his older friends playing bridge, etc. The other two weeks I hung around Francis and other friends, did a lot of dancing, horseback riding, picnics, swimming parties and also participated in exercise clubs but we did have fun times.

Celso was still my best friend and my nephew Jimmy had grown into a beautiful boy. My mother adored her first grandchild and spoiled him rotten.

Next Sunday, we’ll see what 1935 brings into the life of Mary E. Wilson. 

Tomorrow, I’ll begin posting letters written in late 1940, when Dan and Ced are working in Alaska and Lad is in Venezuela. Grandpa continues to keep his boys aware of what is happening in the family and in Trumbull.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Radios, Radios and More Radios – Jan., 1940

1934 - 1940 Timeline

1934 – 1940 Timeline

Inscribed on the 14th day of January, 1940 at Trumbull Connecticut

Dear Lad:

“The sun shines bright in my old Kentucky home” today because the silence of exactly one month has been broken by a welcome letter

Alfred Peabody Guion (Lad) in Venezuela

Alfred Peabody Guion (Lad) in Venezuela

from you telling me that all’s well and all my worries were in vain. Again I am reminded of the old saying ”I am an old man and have had many troubles but most of them never happened”. You did have me on the hot seat, especially as Tuesday of this week came and still no letter from Lad, which, based on past experience, meant that I need not expect word until Saturday. I got thinking of it more and more all day Wednesday, so Thursday, I sat down and wrote a letter to the Socomy-Vacuum Oil Company in New York, personnel department, and asked them if they knew of any reason why mail from Pariaguan at been delayed. On Thursday when I got home, however, there was a well-known airmail letter, Ed boy, wasn’t I glad to get it ! I am afraid getting supper that night was delayed for as long, at least, as it took me to read about the series of circumstances that made it impossible for you to carry out your plans for getting letters off. I once had an aunt (Aunt Lillie) who made life somewhat miserable for me by her demand for affection and attention because she thought so much of the. I don’t want ever to have any of my boys feel irked by the thought that they must do this or that because I expected of them, and I should hate to think you feel you HAVE to write when you don’t feel like it, from a sense of obligation or duty. Perhaps I should apologize here and now for practically the full page of semi-complaint I wrote last week, or at least do penance by writing equally as long an apology this week. However I don’t believe this would be particularly interesting reading so we’ll let it go at that. Before we close the book on that subject however, let me say that immediately on Friday morning I stopped at center school and interrupted Babe’s better pedagogical pursuit long enough to show over your letter and give her your P.S. message. She admits she too was concerned and was going to call me up and asked if I had heard. One of the surmises they had cooked up was that you were on the way home and wanted it to be a surprise. She informed me that she had purchased a new Ford, which fact I assume you already know. Incidentally, to answer a point raised in your letter, the fact that you had not sent a New Year’s greeting never entered my head (I don’t see anything of that sort from you to know how you stand) but it was the possibility that something had gone wrong with you that prevented your writing that was the big thought.

No Sir, you did not hear me. 80 Bs. on your old radio, and here’s the reason. With some of the money you sent home I intended to have our old G.E. radio overhauled and put in first class condition. I therefore hired a fellow who had formerly had a radio repair service on his own in Bridgeport, but through some misfortune had to give up the business, and was now applying for W.P.A. help. He promised not only to do a good job on our old machine which I think was in 1931 model, but also to fix it up so that a record player device which Ced has, could be plugged into it for reproduction. He made one or two visits but evidently was taken sick or had some more important offer or something. Anyway, he never completed his work in spite of the fact I had gotten after him a couple of times. Ced, in the meantime got disgusted and learned through Carl that a friend in the radio business had a very good buy, in the shape of a radio that his company had acquired for nonpayment of a repair bill, and was ready to get rid of it for the cost of repairs, said to be $24. He went down with Dan one day recently to look at it but found it was not at all as good a bargain as purported. Having started on the quest, however, Ced thoughts of the fellow that had fixed up his other radio some time ago and went over to see this chap. Ced called me up and told me there was a very good G.E. radio that not only was a much more expensive model than our old one (it looked like at least a $200 model ) but it had short wave, radio and foreign reception Dan’s, had a much better looking cabinets and a very good tone– and eighth two super heterodyne model, whatever that means, but without a record playing device, but with an arrangement so that a record playing attachment could be plugged in without additional expense. Dan was also particularly interested, and that with it, he could get Spanish speaking broadcasts, and as it only cost $12, I told Ced to go ahead, which he did and it is now installed doing business. Your old radio is now installed in the kitchen and our old G.E. is up in my room. If we keep this up every room in the house eventually will be radio equipped, along with other first-class hotels. So now you understand why I am not bidding on your old model.

The weather has been very unpleasant this week, cold, wet, snowy, some less. Today it is raining, has been all day, with a cold wind — a home and fireside day, if there ever was one.

Dan is probably written you that he is going to quit courses at Storrs. He is thinking of taking a course at Columbia. Incidentally, he received yesterday a form from the engineering society employment service which states that they have an opening which he is qualified to take and asks him to write a letter to be forwarded to the prospective employer. “Topographical draftsman, not over 35, single. Experience in topographical work essential. Salary $175 a month plus traveling and maintenance expenses. Two-year contract, location, Venezuela.” He has written to find out more about it and will then decide what he wants to do about it.

You haven’t yet told me what you have done about settling your back claim with InterAmerica.

A move is underway in Trumbull to equip center school and Edison school auditoriums into basketball courts for the young folks. Dick is quite interested in basketball and has bought a pair of light green shorts that would do justice to a jockey. They are also using the floors are roller skating rinks (see enclosed clipping).

One of Ives’s dogs was run over and killed by a hit-and-run driver of the other day. Mack has escaped so far but I am afraid that his old age comes on he will not be as alert or quick that someday we will find he has met the same fate rather than expire of natural causes. Do they have any dogs as pets in the camp?

I wrote grandma a week or so ago telling her that if she would let me know what she wanted for Christmas, it was your wish that she be remembered. I am enclosing her reply. I shall take care of sending her a check for five dollars so she can get what she wants with it. I am also enclosing a letter from Aunt Betty Sue you can keep up with the news from the relatives.

I guess that covers all the news this week, old Laddie boy. I’ll be interested in hearing more of the political situation when you feel like writing about it. There is usually someone in every outfit that makes one’s life miserable. Is there someone like that there? It was because I observed how politics made life miserable in a big corporation often times, that I decided to have a business of my own.

Love,

DAD

Mary E. Wilson Autobiography – 1929

Mary E. Wilson

Mary E. Wilson

Mary E. Wilson has been working at the General Electric plant in Bridgeport, CT for two years and is feeling pretty good about her life. Then the Depression hit and Mary has to face another disappointment, but she is growing up and developing her own social life.

1929

The depression came and things were getting rough. I still worked at General Electric part time but took another part-time job with a chiropodist. Between the two jobs, I made out pretty well but my Mother demanded all my money and she gave me two dollars allowance a week. I also took a course in Swedish massage and I used to go to ladies homes to work on them.

I really felt wealthy because I saved the money they gave me and put it in the Morris Plan Bank. I believe I was able to save $100 and I kept the money a secret from my Mother which I suppose was deceitful. When the crash came, I lost my precious savings when the bank failed. I felt I was being punished for trying to deceive my Mother.

In the meantime, my Father had started to drink heavily and could not keep a job. He accused my mother of having an affair, which was stupid, because my Mother did not like men. She was so independent.

Both of my brothers were taken out of school and sent to trade schools. Eventually, Jim got a job in the garage and Arthur was apprenticed to a man to learn how to become a lace weaver. It would take four years. I think I was jealous because they were both given a chance to learn a trade and I was stuck in the factory.

An event happened which I will always remember. Charles Lindbergh flew his “Spirit of St. Louis” across the Atlantic Ocean to France. I think every woman was in love with him because of his courage and bravery. I think I read every article written about him. In later years his son was kidnapped by Bruno Hauptman who was later electrocuted for the death of Lindbergh’s son.

Work at General Electric was very hard but I had become used to it. I assembled rubber plugs to extension cords. In addition, I became very active with the group who represented the factory workers in any gripes they had. I also was active in a gym group who met every day after work. It was a diversion after a hard day at work.

I met a nice English boy who was my very first boyfriend. He was a year older than I was and he would come to visit me every day on our lunch break and bring me a Milky Way candy bar. He had no money either because his parents took all of his money, too. We seemed to have fun doing simple things.

Later, I met a young man who was a foreman at General Electric. I dated him for almost a year. He was a nice boy and got along great with my family but I was only 18 at that time and he wanted to get married right away. Mother really got upset. My Father would not work and she needed my money. Jim had a part-time job in the garage and Arthur was still in trade school. I guess I was really not in love with him, so it was easier to end my relationship with him than fight with my mother all the time.

Next week, I’ll be posting developments in Mary’s life during 1930 when she considers making a change.

This coming week, we’ll be looking back at the early months of 1940 when Lad is the only one away from the Trumbull house. He continues to work in Venezuela and we’ll find out what the rest of the family is up to.

Judy Guion