Trumbull – Birthday Letter to 31324665 – August, 1943

Blog Timeline - 1941-1943

Trumbull Conn.

August 15, 1943

Dear 31324665:

THAT, dear children, may be just a number to you, but translated into Uncle Sam Army language it spells Richard Procrastinator Guion, the

Richard (Dick) Peabody Guion

Richard (Dick) Peabody Guion

middle name having been earned at birth and as far as correspondence to the home front is concerned, has been reaffirmed weekly since that time with an i\Ivory Soap score – 99 and 44/100 pure, (In view of my chosen profession I just have to get in these little advertising ideas in my correspondence, you know).

Is that, you may well ask, the approved method of having a letter addressed to one? No, NO, perish the thought! It isn’t even in spite of that fact. But by this time you may have guessed. In just a few days now we will celebrate a birthday but it will be a party without the main guest. We can’t even send him greetings, much less a gift because we don’t know in what corner of the globe he is hiding from Adolph. So we have unanimously adopted the theme song for the occasion: ”I Can’t Give You Anything But Love, Baby”. Of course there is lots of that from each and all of us, although we know full well it won’t buy baby a new pair of pants.

What a lot of accumulated celebration we will have to celebrate when this mess is finally settled. Now, there’s a thought. What is your prescription for a suitable method of rendering due honor to the occasion? How about that auto trip down to Mexico and Central America with enough cars to accommodate the whole family, with Lad and Dan as official interpreters? Ced could entertain and charm the natives with imitations of Bradley Kincaid, Dick and Jean might do a rumba or two, Dave would probably make a beeline for the best looking native girls, while I could profitably employ my time sniffing the native flora to see if it produces I hay fever sneeze.

Incidentally, I read recently an article on how nearly completed this Pan-American road was south of Mexico City, and ran across the following incident: the advanced survey party sometimes encountered situations for which neither engineering texts nor guidebooks had any solution. The disappearing surveyor’s stakes are a good example. In the rural sections, clear, straight-grained, sawed wood is in great demand to patch chairs, to reinforce plows and for 1000 other purposes. The surveyor’s stakes of clean new wood, 1 1/2 in. square by 14 inches long, driven into the ground 100 feet apart to mark the route of the highway, were a treasure trove to the country people who pulled up at night all the stakes placed during the day. Both U.S. and native engineers explained often and at length that the markers were necessary. The people listened, nodded, and the next morning the stakes were gone again. After all, if the yanqui senores valued the little pieces of wood so highly, why would they stick them in the ground and go away and leave them? Gringo foolishness. Finally one of the engineers hit upon the simple idea of nailing a short piece to each stake just below the top at right angles, making a cross. Not a stake disappeared from that day until the end of the survey.

Jean has a new name for me – “Marryin’ Sam”. This week, one marriage at my office, the week before, two; the week before that also two. It all came about in this way. I usually have my ad in the yellow section in the back of the Bridgeport phone directory. A few weeks ago when the salesman called for a renewal for the new edition, I happened to notice that in the New Haven directory several names appeared under the heading “Justice of The Peace”. I told him they could include my name under that heading in Bridgeport, thinking of course, the other Bridgeport “justices” would be included, but when the darn thing appeared a few weeks ago, low, like Abou Ben Adam (May his tribe increase) my name not only led all the rest, but, believe it or not, it was the only name under that heading in the yellow section. So, if the angle of incidence maintains (I have to get these engineering boys into thinking their Dad is not a back number) I may accumulate enough fees to pay the expenses on that Central American tour above referred to.

And speaking of marriages, this week, at the Trumbull Church, Jacqueline French was united in holy wedlock to Mr. John J. Schwarz, son of the Bridgeport lumber dealer. No wisecracks now about little chips off the old block, etc.

I want an answer from someone, Dan or Dick, regarding the Chevrolet out in back. I think it belongs to Dan although Dick may have made some arrangement with Dan about it. Anyway, it is not doing anyone any good standing out unused month after month. I have asked Harry Burr to give me a figure on how much it will cost to fix it up in running condition, and then, depending on the owner’s wishes, I will try to sell it or keep it against the time you boys return and want a car to run around in (and they are getting very scarce now in the East). Please, one of you write me about it.

Dave and some of the boys that forgather in the Clubhouse in the barn have an idea they can fix the old Waverley Electric car up to run either by battery or with a motorcycle motor and have been busy today working on it. I am adopting a “show me” attitude on whether they can accomplish their purpose or not.

For some years now, we have been needing a feminine touch around these here diggins’ and it looks very much as though Jean is the answer to this long felt need. She spent most of the day improving the appearance of the music room, with a bit of help from me, and the result is something to write away about. So we are profiting by Jean’s homemaking instinct, and this is fair warning now that the rest of you will have a high standard to match in presenting me with any other daughters in law.

The supper call is about to sound, so I’ll bring this peculiar birthday letter to a close with many good wishes to my boy “who wears a pair of silver wings”, with many happy returns of the day from all of us and most earnest hope that next August 19th there will be no empty chairs around the table as we sit down to celebrate the occasion. So, Dick old son, here’s more love than you know from your old

DAD

Trumbull – Storm Aftermath and Thanksgiving – Nov, 1939

1934 - 1940 Timeline

1934 – 1940 Timeline

The total destruction of a house leads the weekly news from Trumbull to Venezuela this week. Grandpa follows up with news of family and friends, keeping Lad in the loop.

November 12, 1939

Lad in Venezuela - 1939

Lad in Venezuela – 1939

Dear Lad:

I think in  my last letter I described to you how the storm caused the lights to go out. There is a sequel to the incident which did not develop until the following morning when the Trumbull fire siren woke us up about daylight. Then shortly after, a second alarm brought over the Long Hill apparatus. Later I learned what it was all about. The Levy’s had been up over the weekend and when they left, Mrs. Levy turned the regulator down to 40 so that the pipes would not freeze in the event of a cold snap. The theory is that when the current went off, the oil burner flame went out but the oil continued to flow and then when the current went on again and the spark ignited the excess oil. There being nobody home, it had time to get a good start, burning up through the cellar and then to the second floor and finally through the roof when the man living in the house opposite, on his way down to work, noticed the smoke and flames and turned in the alarm. By that time most of the inside of the house was completely gutted and many fine pieces of furniture destroyed. The grand piano had fallen down into the basement. The loss was estimated at about $10,000. Erwin Laufer had his baptism as a Constable doing traffic duty in the absence of the regular constables.

Trumbull now has a Police Commission consisting of Mr. Mahoney, the head at the district office of the John Hancock, in which company you have your policy, and who lives opposite Johnny Austin; Mr. Richard Brown of Nichols, and Howard Lane, Elvy Lane’s brother, who lives on Cedar Crest Road. The plan is to hold an examination soon, to be prepared by the state police department and those holding the highest marks will be appointed as regular salaried policeman for the town by the Police Commission.

Things at home here are running along about the same. My new grandson seems to be getting along nicely. Mack is getting heavier, and in spite of the fact that we’re trying to keep his diet down so he does not get too portly, he seems to be hungry most of the time. Dan usually leaves Sunday night and comes back from the University of Conn. at Storrs on Friday. Ced still has his unearthly hours of work when everybody else is asleep and he sleeps when the rest of us are awake. Dick and Dave are still going to high school. Dick has only three subjects and, according to his last report card, is doing very well. Dave, while he is studying very faithfully, is not making very good marks, particularly in Latin.

Dan and Barbara, Ced and Jane Mantle all went down to the horse show last night in Madison Square Garden. It was Barbara’s idea and the others did not think they would enjoy it very much, and perhaps for that reason, they had a pretty good time. Ced is all aroused right now about a new scheme that a fellow named Streit has proposed about a sort of United States of the world, in which all the democracies would pool their fighting forces and raw materials and currencies but maintaining their own internal forms of government. He saw the article first in LIFE and wrote a letter to them and I believe if a branch league of the proposed organization were started here, Ced would join it. He has just learned that Mrs. Hughes knows the author very well, having, in fact, going to school with him.

Just after dinner while Dan was washing the dishes, Ray Wang dropped in. He and his mother were up on a visit. His father is back at work again but is not feeling okay yet.

Last night Dick went to a party at Kascak’s and this morning, because the minister was away, was designated to assist the substitute minister in running the morning church service.

No letter arrived from you this past week so I am looking forward to two letters this week.

I have invited Aunt Betty up for Thanksgiving which occurs in Connecticut on the 30th, while in New York it is set for the 23rd.*  I haven’t heard from Aunt Elsie and I have invited none of the New Rochelle folks, principally because of the lack of funds.

I haven’t heard yet whether Cecelia got her flowers and cigarettes, and you also have not told me whether you want me to renew your driver’s license and your P. S. license.

Ced has put up practically all the storm windows and yesterday afternoon Dan and Dick took all the accumulated ashes out of the cellar and spread them on the drive. We have not yet started the furnace, trying to get along as long as we can with the oil stoves and fireplaces. I have to get some coal some way and start the furnace for Thanksgiving on account of Aunt Betty. If I can weather the financial storm this first year, my hope is that business will pick up and enable us to get by. At present (with the $165 a month Selectman’s salary out), I am not quite able to cover monthly expenses with the income. This is the one thing that worries me more than anything else right now.

It occurs to me that every letter I write has this sour note in it, which is not pleasant for you, and I shall therefore cut out all references to financial difficulties in future letters. There is no use making you the safety valve when I have to blow off steam occasionally.

Have you heard anything recently as to how much of the road is completed that was supposed to connect North and South America? I believe it is entirely finished now as far as Mexico City, but I am wondering if a continuous highway has yet been constructed through Central America, and if it would be possible to drive down, say to Ciudad Boliva, with a fair chance of reaching one’s destination without chartering a marsh buggy.

Dave informs me that Cecelia told him the other day she had ordered a new Ford car. Probably you know all about this.

Election Day in Bridgeport resulted in McLevy going back again for a couple of years, which of course was expected. The voting, however, showed a tendency of not giving him such a large majority as in past years, both the Republican and Democratic votes coming up.

And that’s about all I can think of to keep you up with Trumbull doings. Any inquiries about things or people will have my best attention. Meantime, don’t overeat on turkey and plum pudding of Thanksgiving.

DAD

Thanksgiving or Thanksgiving Day, currently celebrated on the fourth Thursday in November by federal legislation in 1941, has been an annual tradition in the United States by presidential proclamation since 1863 and by state legislation since the Founding Fathers of the United States.

Tomorrow, we’ll be continuing with more news from 1939. Share this blog with others you know who might enjoy this look back at history viewed by one particular family.

Judy Guion