Random Memories of Cedric Duryee Guion (3 of 5)

I had the privilege of interviewing and recording the memories of my father and 4 of his 5 siblings. It was the death of his closest brother Dan that was the trigger for doing this. I’ll be continuing to post these segments periodically, so enjoy a trip down Memory Lane.

Cedric Duryee Guion

Cedric Duryee Guion

Dad took us down to Baltimore in one of the cars – must’ve been one of the Packard‘s – to the Fair of the Iron Horse, this was the heyday of railroading. They put on a beautiful show. Dad drove us down and I know we had two flat tires, one going down and one on the way back. It was a wonderful show. They had all the old steam engines, the Sturbridge, and the Tom-Tom, they were the originals. We sat in covered bleachers, and there was a huge stage, with water beyond the stage. The old locomotives came in and people got out of the coaches, boats came in and out – it was wonderful. The people wore period costumes. We probably went in the early 20s. Dan, Lad and I – Dad always did things with us. Dick and Dave weren’t in the group, they were born later. I had the big privilege of seeing a very similar show at the Chicago World’s Fair.

I’m one of those who brag about the fact that I’ve been driving cars since I was 10 years old. I got my license – my mother died on the 29th of June and on June 1st of that same year I turned 16. I think I got my license on June 2nd. At that time I had driven quite a few miles with a driver next to me – quite a few miles without, and much more off road then on.

I used to drive on that road along the cemetery. When they put the cemetery in, there was about a 4 foot drop to the road. At the very end of it the drop-off was less and you could turn a car around and we could come back about halfway on the ledge to the gate. We had a 1927 Packard Touring car. I guess this was when Lad was working at Well’s Garage and he was making a little money there. He saw a 1929 Packard Touring car – it was a beauty – and he asked my Dad if he could trade in the old Packard and my Dad told him “OK”. We didn’t like that because then it was Lad’s car. Well anyway, I had the car.

This one day I drove up the road, I guess I didn’t have my license yet, I’m not sure. I was trying to turn around up there and I didn’t have enough room. I got the front wheel over the bank. When it went over the bank, it lifted the back end of the car on the right side. “Oh, no”, I thought. It was about a foot lower than the other end. “Oh, brother, so this is it.”

I don’t remember how I got it off the bank; maybe I used a jack and pried it over. I couldn’t go back and I knew I had to get the rest of the way over. I finally got it over the hill and onto the road.

Lad worked at the Well’s Garage, the Wells Bus Line. He was their maintenance man for years. Later he ran two different gas stations in town. The first was the Mobil gas station, next to Kurtz’s store. The second was the Atlantic gas station after it opened.

Playing Dress-up

Playing Dress-up

We had an old Waverley electric car in the barn. Dick, poor Dick, got all excited about the war effort. He thought, “Well gee, here’s this old junk and it’s pretty well

shot.” The Fire Department was looking for scrap metal. Dick was very patriotic and he thought he’d give them the Waverley, and at the same time, help the war effort.

We still have a series of pictures of the old Waverley in the backyard. Rusty and some of his friends, my mother and my aunts, all dressed up in these beautiful period costumes from the 1800’s that were in good condition in the attic. They all dressed up in these clothes and we took pictures of them in the Waverley. Rusty pretended to be the groom and Aunt Dorothy was the bride. Rusty had his stovepipe hat on and all the ladies were all dressed up. Of course, the Waverley didn’t have any tires on it but it looked nice.

Since Uncle Ced is the only one to have this memory, I wonder if the little boy in front is Ced.  It could be because he had the lightest hair of all the boys.

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

Issue 1   Click Here

Issue 2   Click Here

Issue 3   Click Here

Judy Guion

Lad – Army Life – Camp Santa Anita, Spring, 1943

This letter gives you a pretty clear picture of Lad’s life right now. He’s out socializing, probably with my Mom, and teaching during the day.

Camp Santa Anita

April 28, 1943

Dear Dad –

Again, weeks have passed. I just have too good a time to sit down and spend some of it writing, and I really should. However, you can rest assured that if anything of importance happens, you shall know of it. No news will be good. I have definitely decided to keep the car, but not as you suggested.

Tonight I’m again on company duty, but instead of C.Q., I’m Corporal of the Guard. The few times I’ve been on company duty are so infrequent that I really have nothing to complain about. For instance, tonight is the first night I have stayed in camp since I got here January 9, with the exception of that first night, due to quarantine.

It seems that the course in Diesel Engine Principles has finally gotten through to the right authorities by fair or foul means, and pressure has been applied to the effect that the course is to have its first sanctioned appearance on May 3, if it can be put into workable shape by then. Art Lind and I have been working on it and it looks possible. We are hoping.

Our new showers have been opened in the camp with plenty of hot water. There are 197 of them, so we no longer have to the go to the Y in Pasadena to get a hot shower, and speaking of cleaning up – my razor finally begin to show signs of excessive wear, so I turned it in for a new Schick Colonel – eight dollars. The new one operates very nicely. If you remember, you sent me a clipping concerning the need for men with the knowledge of other languages? I had taken you on it, but nothing as yet has been heard from it.

Don’t worry about my operator’s license. I have already written to Hartford asking them to send them to me, but if they come to Trumbull, please forward them. As regards grandmother you, I believe, did the right thing. Personally, I certainly would never have even hesitated, as you probably know. My love to all, and to all a good night –

Laddie

Alfred Peabody Guion (Lad)

Alfred Peabody Guion (Lad)

Trumbull, Conn.

May 2, 1943

Dear young uns,

You are in an airplane. You are on a mission and your course has been set. The country below slides by. It is interesting and you study it, for part of that landscape may fit into another assignment one day. But you keep on your course. You are on a mission!

In the busy round of duties the Army has set as your daily routine, don’t become so absorbed in the present that you neglect once in a while to get off by yourself and try to fit this into the larger scheme of things that will constitute your regular living after this war interlude is over. You too, have a mission – – to enlarge your knowledge and experience and make it serve as a “landscape”, because someday it may be a useful postwar brick in your life work structure. The simile is a bit mixed but I assume you have intelligence enough to get the thought I am trying to get over.

This afternoon a telegram came from Jean, as follows: “Have changed plans (She expected to be home tomorrow). Decided to stay. Letter to follow explaining. Please call my mother( I did and she said she was glad Jean was having such a nice vacation). Please forward any allotment check (Sorry, Jean, but none has arrived). We are both fine. Love. Jean”

Lad has written and the big news in his letter, at least so far as I am concerned, is that he is now a Sergeant. How de do, Sarge. Congratulations from your old man. He is been given the same type of job he had in Aberdeen, Chief of Section, which calls for a staff rating. He therefore expects in two or three months he will have an opportunity to take the staff exam. And the rest of you will have to watch your reputation as bowlers, as he now bowls 180 and expects to top 200.

Barbara was just in and has about decided to apply for a job open to her doing drafting work for the Signal Corps, involving a six-month training course on the N. J. coast. I learned that George Laufer is now at Fort Bragg, N. C.

Grandma wants me to write you all that she is SO happy to be here. Aunt Betty wants me to thank Lad for his lovely letter to her, and I, well I’m just glad I have such a bunch of nice boys. If I were “that way” I might even be a little bit proud.

Ced, I’m having trouble getting your Buick parts shipped. Both the post office and express company refused to send it. I am taking the matter up with Washington. Did you get the package of books?

DAD

It seems that now that the hustle and bustle of Dick and Jean’s wedding on Valentine’s Day, Dick going into that Army, Jean following him and grandma arriving, things are finally starting to settle down a little at the old homestead. I wonder what comes next, don’t you?

For FREE copies of New Inceptions Magazine, an e-nagazine, with several articles and stories from my family, you can click the following links.

Issue 1   Click Here

Issue 2   Click Here

Issue 3   Click Here

Judy Guion

Lad’s Army Life – Trip to Aberdeen Proving Grounds (1)

It’s May 1942 and Lad has just been inducted into the Army. He had been appointed as a leader and his Dad figured he probably would be busy and that the absence of a father would relieve him of one additional burden, so he said goodbye as the empty train pulled into the station. He didn’t know for sure but the plan was for the boys to go to Hartford for their final physical exam then to camp Devens and parts unknown. Lad shares the details of what, where, and when with his Dad in this first communication allowed.

May 18, 1942

Dear Dad:

Thursday – We left Derby on time and stopped at Ansonia. Here a second car was filled, and after a stop at Waterbury a third car was filled. Our next stop was Hartford. Here we detrained and walked about two blocks to the Induction Center. There were so many of us that the complete inspection was not over until 2:45 PM. The actual inspection per person was not more than 30 or 35 minutes, if that much.

At 3 PM the 88 who had passed the examinations, out of 169, were put into a separate car and in a few minutes a train coupled onto the car and we were off. The train

Alfred Peabody Guion (Lad)

traveled to Worcester, Massachusetts where we were switched back and forth, and ended up on a track going in the opposite direction.

Our next stop Ayer, Massachusetts there is no platform of any kind. The tracks run through the backyard of camp Devens. Here with our baggage we were again given a short march and after a little discussion concerning behavior in the camp we were issued raincoats and a barracks bay, another hike to Company B, first Battalion, and we were issued blankets. Then came supper, bed making instructions and at that point, we were more than glad to turn in at 9 PM.

Friday – We rose at 5:45 AM, policed the barracks and fell out for breakfast. Immediately after that we were taken to Q.M.C. and issued our uniforms. What a system! It takes about four or 5 min. from the time you start, stark naked, until you emerge at the other end very well fitted from the skin out, with six complete uniforms and two complete changes of everything else.

Then came and aptitude test – lunch – and a private interview. Back to the theater to be shown a film on the evil side of sex, a couple of short welcome speeches – supper – a couple of fallout calls to advise  some of the men that they were leaving early Saturday morning and then to bed.

Saturday – Up at 5;45 and out for reveille where 10 fellows and myself were told we would be ready to leave at 7:15 AM. A rush to breakfast, again to the medical section for immunizations and a vaccination, back again for clothes and we fell out for the trip to wherever it was. We were marched out to the same lot at which we detrained when we first arrived and here we were told to wait for further orders.

We waited until 8:30 and then were assembled and marched back to the road again, a distance of a couple of hundred yards, and were put on a truck. By truck we were taken a few miles to Fitchburg where we again waited and at 9:20 the train pulled in. At the rear was a special car and we were loaded into this.

By now we numbered 88. A sergeant was in charge. He would give us no information as to where we were going, not even if it was going to be a long trip. However, spirits undaunted, we had a good time. At Greenfield, Massachusetts we were shunted again and changed direction the of travel from West to South. Our next stop was at Springfield, Massachusetts where we were put onto a siding and taken into the station for lunch.

After lunch we boarded the car again and in a couple of minutes another train backed up and again we were off. We stopped at Hartford, New Haven, Bridgeport, Stamford, and Pennsylvania station. We were ordered not to mail anything or make phone calls until we arrived at our destination, so I could not write anything to you.

During our half hour stop in Penn station, a Pennsylvania engine was put on in place of the New Haven, while we ate a box lunch. And then began a  real ride. On the New Haven railroad we had made good time, with only a few stops, but the track was quite rough and I don’t think we traveled better than 45 or 50 mph.

The first stop on the new leg was at Newark, New Jersey, and then began a fast nonstop trip. The only times he slowed down below 75 mph were when we switched from the local track to the express or vice versa. Our next stop was Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, then Wilmington, Delaware and then Aberdeen, Maryland.

Here, to our surprise, we all got off and were taken by truck, in the rain, to our present location: The Ordnance Training Center, Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland. We were issued blankets, assigned to barracks and were glad to go to bed even though it was only 9:30 PM.

Sunday – We had nothing to do, and also, being in quarantine for two weeks, we could do nothing. I acquainted myself as well as I could with our limited grounds and made a few purchases at the PX, which we are lucky enough to have within the grounds and again retired.

Monday – We began our training and learned marching fundamentals. Today, Tuesday, we heard from a few of the big shots on the duties of the Ordnance Department, and this afternoon, more drilling. Just now we are having an inspection of all equipment issued to us. And so I’ll end for today. And believe me, we are all glad to hit the hay at 9:00 PM when the lights go out.

(TO BE CONTINUED)

This is typical of the type of letter Grandpa would receive from Lad… very detailed and meticulous. Believe it or not, I took out quite a few even more minor details – like how he figured they slowed down to about 75 mph by figuring the mile posts were going by about every 44 or 45 seconds. This was the first 6 pages, there are 5 more, but never having been in the Military, I find the structure and the process fascinating, even though it also means hurry-up-and-wait. I will try not to give you too many of these detailed letters, but his description of the hotel in Caracas was very life-like.