These are the memories of my Father and his siblings, recorded over several years. When my Uncle Dan passed away, I realized that I had better get started recording the memories of Dan’s siblings before they were also gone. I was able to have two recording sessions with my Father, Lad in California; two with Uncle Ced in New Hampshire, a three-day cruise in our boat with Aunt Biss; one session with Uncle Dave in Stratford, CT and one hand-written session (I forgot my tape recorder going up to the Island in New Hampshire, where Uncle Dick lived) with Uncle Dick. I transcribed them once exactly as they were spoken, again removing the ums, ahs, half sentences started over, etc. I then produced a final copy that was easier to read, but it still needs work getting the chronological order correct. Memories are not recorded with a date stamp. I created 75 binders for family members which include all three translations, pages and pages of photos and memorabilia and the actual recording. Now family members can actually heat their ancestors speaking. It was my first project with all the material my Father saved for me and a true Labor of Love. I hope you enjoy these memories of A Slice of Life at a different time and place.
DICK – When I was in Brazil, I rode bareback on a small horse with a broad back, feeling very macho. There were five of us going up this gentle hill, hell-bent for leather. All of a sudden, I was standing on the ground. The horse had stepped into a hole and somersaulted under me. If I’d had a regular saddle, I’d have had my shoes in the stirrups.
Lad, Dick, Ced and Grandpa on the Island for the first time (I don’t know who took the picture, Dan was in France and Dave was in Manila, Philippines, during the summer of 1945.
LAD – Sometime around 1945, we were going to the Island and we stopped at the Heurlin’s house. During the conversation they mentioned that they would like to get rid of the Island. It was just costing them money and they weren’t using it. Dad was interested in it and found out that they owed about three hundred dollars in back taxes. Dad paid that and they gave him the deed to the Island.
Elizabeth (Biss) Guion Zabel
BISS – When Dad bought the Island from the Heurlin’s. I was married and had two children. I tried to talk Zeke into going up there. He wanted no part of it, he wasn’t interested. I figured it would be good for the kids, it would be a vacation and it wouldn’t cost more than food and supplies. But Zeke wouldn’t go. After five or six years, I finally convinced him to try it. Then I could never keep him away. Now, if only I could have gotten him to try traveling once. I’m sure it would have been the same way. Then I would have had my dream of traveling all over. I got the van, the mattress, the gas lantern, the gas stove, and then we never went anywhere, no matter what I would say. I figured when we retired, we would just start out with no particular destination; he could bring his guns and his fishing gear. Anyplace we found a spot, if we liked it, we could spend two or three days there; if we didn’t like it, we could go to another place.
The Barge on the left
CED – The barge was used to move the cook cabin. Your father (Lad) and some of his friends went to the mainland and bought a garage. They sawed it in half, put it on the barge and brought it to the Island. They made it into the kitchen shack.
DAVE – Later on, when my kids were young, when we went to the Island, I would put a piece of plywood on the back seat and they would be there. I used to get going pretty fast, you know, up near Lebanon, New Hampshire, where nobody was around. I used to get up to about eighty miles an hour with the kids in the back. Of course, I was only thinking about the fact that there were no cars around. It never occurred to me that I might hit a deer or a moose.
Tomorrow, more Childhood Memories of Trumbull.