Trumbull – Dear Offspring – Messages and Sundry Answers – August, 1945

Trumbull House in summer

Trumbull, Conn., August 5, 1945

Dear Offspring:

Well, we hit the jack-pot this week. The wheel stopped on the right number – – five it was. So I’ve just spent this Sunday afternoon and evening copying letters for your enjoyment from every single one of you.  (These letters were posted during the week of February 27th – March 3rd)  In consequence, my typewriter finger is kinder frayed and weak but I’ll try to dash off a few more lines before it fails entirely.

First, about Jean. She got off alright Thursday from LaGuardia field. Marian went down with her, as did also Pa and Ma Mortensen. Aunt Elsie (Duryee, Grandpa’s Aunt) joined them at Grand Central and all went over to see Jean take off. She wired she had arrived safely and perhaps tomorrow we shall get more details by letter.

Still no definite word about Dan’s leap off the dock. There is a neck and neck race on as to whether Dan will come through first with an account of the nuptials or Lad will furnish his version. Marian has received letters from Lad written before and ten days after but the one in between, with the real dope, has not yet arrived. Here’s hoping.

To come back to Jean. Monday before she left we were able to obtain some meat and had over for dinner, Mrs. Ives and a friend who was staying with her, Ethel, Southworth’s (Ted and Marge) and Watson from the apartment, and altogether it was a very pleasant party.

Now messages and sundry answers. Lad. No, Bissie never got back her pocketbook or its contents. Ethel says Carl is not enjoying his course at all. He is doubtful of passing as it is given at high pressure and has much mathematics, in which he does not like and always had trouble with in school. Dan. As you have probably already heard, the Army is said to have decided not to lower the point total for the present, which leaves you in the same spot as Lad, except that he evidently is not going to get a furlough in the states. If there is any justice in things however, it seems to me that the boys who are sent to the Pacific without first coming home should be the first to be sent back after the Japs fold up. Ced. The boys in the apartment are going to keep their eyes and ears open and if they hear of a plane that looks suitable, will let you know at once. Dick. Don’t want to rub it in at all, but we had corn on the cob for dinner today and Aunt Betty recalled how you once had consumed 14 ears at one sitting. Dave. The young folks, who are here now, are planning some sort of a blowout here next Saturday to present Vichiola with some sort of gift. He is home from the Pacific and may be discharged. I will see what I can do about lining up a used camera although everything in this line is scarcer than butterflie’s eyebrows.

There are probably a dozen other things I will think about tomorrow that I might have included in this letter but right now I’m sort of washed up on ideas – – probably the shock of hearing from you all within so short a space of time has sort of unseated my mentality for the moment (I hope). Anyway, I am willing to undergo the same sort of thing again. In time I might even get used to it. Try it and see.

In a happy fog,

Dad

Autobiography of Mary E Wilson (6) – Arriving in New York City – 1925

Mary E. Wilson, her father and brothers Jim and Arthur

Mary E. Wilson, her father and brothers Jim and Arthur

At last Mary sees the Statue of Liberty but she still had the ordeal of Ellis Island.

ARRIVAL IN NEW YORK

ELLIS ISLAND – 1925

After nine days, we arrived in New York City. I could see the Statue of Liberty. We had traveled in “steerage” and, being below deck with no windows in our room, coupled with the vivid recollection of being pushed under a beer barrel as a child during World War I, I would suffer from claustrophobia for the rest of my life.

I really thought that now that we had arrived it would be routine getting off the boat and being with my Mother but another nightmare was just beginning. We were taken to Ellis Island where my brothers and father were taken to one building and I to another. I was terrified because I was told to strip. They tagged and tied our clothing and it was put on a conveyor to be sterilized.

I remember crying and a lady, who I think was Polish, took me into her arms and hugged me. She was a large woman and spoke no English but her kindness reassured me and made me feel less frightened. I stayed with her during my whole stay on Ellis Island. We were on the Island for seven hours because, as I later found out, my father had spent the $100 “landing money” while we were on the ship.

My Mother was in New York City waiting for us and when she found out what was causing the delay, she was able to borrow the money from her friend Bert Harbor, who was also a friend of the Greenhill family. He had accompanied her to New York to get us.

When we were finally allowed to leave Ellis Island, a ferry took us to New York City. I saw my Mother from the boat as we were landing and she really had changed during her years in America. The reunion was very strange for all of us. She seemed to be so stylish and different and I felt like a waif.

We drove to Bridgeport, Connecticut, where my mother had rented a flat on Hallet Street. Mother had put a couch for me on the sun porch and my brothers had their own room. I thought it was a lovely apartment but I heard my parents quarreling in their room and I truly felt miserable and uneasy.

My Mother insisted I have my hair “bobbed” because that was the style in America but I hated it and let my hair grow long again.

Tomorrow I’ll begin letters describing Dan’s Wedding to Paulette, from several different perspectives.

Judy Guion

 

Autobiography of Mary E Wilson (5) – Leaving England – 1925

Mary's Mom and Dad

Mary’s Mother and Father

Mary’s mother had sent money from America to their father to pay for passage for her children but Mary’s father had spent the money on other things. Mary’s mother, Hezabinda, tries again, but this time she sends the money directly to a Travel Agency. It looks like Mary and her brothers, Jim and Arthur, might actually make it to America this time.

DEPARTING ENGLAND

Meanwhile, my Mother had accumulated more money for our passage again but she sent it to a travel agency this time. My father was furious and very angry because my mother had not trusted him with the money. He seemed willing to go to America but my Mother had tried to get us to America without him. We had our passport pictures taken again and we were vaccinated. My brothers were so excited but I had mixed feelings because I was so hurt. Our Mother had left us and would not return home. I felt she did not love me and she had been away so long.

My wardrobe was awful and my brothers had only the English type of clothing. When the time came for us to embark for America, I was really frightened. Grand-da went with us to the railroad station and he quietly gave me some money for myself before we got on the train.

En route we stopped at Uncle Dick and Aunt Isabel’s house. She was such a beautiful woman and what thrilled me was that she had been a dancer and actress before she married Uncle Dick. They had three children but I was so envious of them because they all seemed so happy together. Aunt Isabel danced for us and I thought she was so pretty and dainty – so unlike the average mother.

Why were Uncle Dick and Uncle George so different from my father? I did not know that they were not in the war like my father.

We proceeded to Southhampton where we took a room near where the boat was docked. My father decided he wanted to go out for a while and I think I started to yell bloody murder. All I could think of was my father had in his possession my Mother’s $100 “lending money”. The landlord came and wanted to speak to my father because we were too noisy. I got a slap across the face but he did stay in the room until morning.

The next day, we boarded the President Harding, which was an American ship and finally we were on our way to America. The second day of our voyage, our father left us and “camped in” with a large Irish family and we did not see him until the day we landed in New York.

It was November and it sure was cold and we did not have the right kind of clothing. The sea was so rough that I was so seasick I felt I wanted to die. There was a stewardess who evidently felt sorry for me. She washed my hair and really cared for me and brought me food that I could keep down.

My brothers were natural sailors and explored every inch of the ship and had a marvelous time. For once they were getting enough to eat. We had what we called Thanksgiving dinner and I did not know what it meant because I did not know anything about American history and customs.

Next Sunday, Mary tells us of her experience landing at Ellis Island . It is quite a story.

Trumbull – Dear Absentees – Ced Misses His Party – June, 1943

This weekly missive from Grandpa catches up on the doings of all his children, Lad (California), Dan (Pennsylvania), Ced (Alaska) and Dick (just left Miami Beach for Indiana), all in the service of their country. Ced’s (Alaska) birthday is June 1st, and his family remembers, as Grandpa mentions in his usual tongue-in-cheek manner. Elizabeth (Biss) is married with two sons, Butch(4) and Marty (2).

Trumbull, Conn.      June 6, 1943

Dear Absentees:

With all this talk about the naughtiness of absenteeism, it seems to me it’s about time some of you stay-away-from-homer’s would take the lesson to heart and come back

Alfred (Lad) Guion in California

Alfred (Lad) Guion in California

once in a while and help me mow the lawn. But there is this — after working my fingers to the bone and staying up until the small hours of the morning sewing on your pinafore’s, you up and away, leaving me to shovel snow in winter and chase moths out of your clothes in summer, which reminds me, Lad, to report the sad news that even after what I thought was sufficient precaution those pesky little insects did get one pair of your gray pants and ate some ventilation holes in them. Unless they come with a blowtorch next time, however, I don’t think mama moth will lay any more eggs in your clothes this time.

Daniel (Dan) Beck Guion

Daniel (Dan) Beck Guion

Dan and his General don’t hit it off very well, it seems. He didn’t get home this week either end of the slice of Grandpa’s pie I have been saving for him now for five weeks is beginning to look a little green around the gills. Three more weeks of this delay and we will have to make it into a pudding. Anyway, he keeps me posted regularly once a week which is a lot better than neither hearing from him or seeing him. As the old saying goes, “It’s a long lane that has no ash barrel”, and sooner or later he’ll nonchalantly drop in and ask how the crops are coming. Which reminds me: instead of taking my daily walk, I have been grasping a hoe these mornings and aiding Mr. Laufer hoeing potatoes.

No letters from either Lad or Ced this week, but Jean (Dick’s wife) sent two excellent snapshots which I was very glad to get, and says in the letter accompanying them that Dick has finally departed for Indiana along with the husbands of the two other girls Jean has been living with in Miami Beach. As soon as they learn more definitely as to destination, the three of them will pack up their duds and will trail their fleeing husbands to their lairs, their present plans being to make the trip by bus for economy’s sake.

Your youngest brother, in company with two girls and Howard Mehigan spent yesterday in New York, devoting most of their time to Radio City. Elizabeth reports Marty will

Elizabeth (Biss) Guion Zabel

Elizabeth (Biss) Guion Zabel

have to have his tonsils out. Next Sunday she plans to have Marty baptized at the Trumbull church. In order to have it “take” she has had his head shaved so that he looks positively bald.

We have had lately some of the rare June days immortalized by the poets, some of them have been pretty hot in Bridgeport, but the shade trees in Trumbull make the house delightfully cool, as perhaps you may recall from the long-ago days when you used to live here. Both Aunt Betty (Duryee, Grandpa’s Aunt) and Grandma (Peabody, his Mother-in-Law) seem to be thriving and enjoying themselves. As usual they asked to be remembered to you all. We celebrated Ced’s birthday by burning incense before his picture, discussing all his faults and eating a good dinner on his behalf, but somehow or other it didn’t go over so big with the main guest absent.

As by now you must have discovered there is not much news to write about, so there is no use my bluffing any longer. Moreover my bathtub beckons, so I’ll toddle off to my trundle bed and dream of my pretty toys — boys.

Hasta luego and buenos notches, as usual, from

DAD

Tomorrow, another letter from Grandpa, reporting news from Trumbull for his sons in far off places.

Saturday and Sunday I’ll post two more segments of the Autobiography of Mary E Wilson.

Judy Guion

Trumbull (1) – Dan is Married – July, 1945

Trumbull, Conn., July 29, 1945

Dear Boys:

Well, there’s news this week, sure enough. Dan’s married. Yes sir, it happened on July 17th. Incidentally, we were celebrating Jean’s birthday at the time also. A V- mail from Lad, received yesterday, brought the glad news and also informed us that he was able to be present. That’s about all. He said he would write details later. Haven’t yet heard from the new bride and groom but the news was not a complete surprise because early this week I received a July letter from Dan, as follows:  “At last, the good news. The marriage will take place at Calais the 17th of July. It has been a long and difficult struggle, compromising between the demands of the Army (to get married as soon as possible), and the requests from Calais (to wait until August 4th). The final critical score is keeping me on edge, because my 76 points may prove to be too few. Since we have been placed in Category II (Pacific bound) you can readily imagine that I am more than mildly interested in the final score. With a wife in Calais, the hills of China would not prove exceptionally attractive.”

So, my hearties, we now have a new sister and daughter and of course the big thing to look forward to now is the gathering of the clan when we can all get acquainted. You might tell Paulette, Dan, that I have written and will enclose a few letters to her, kind of gradually creeping up on this acquaintance business, so she can get “eased” into the family without too great a shock. It will probably be shock enough to find out the sort of chap she is hitched up with, as soon as she gets the rice combed out of her hair. It was tremendous good news to learn that Lad had been able to be there for the wedding. He sort of represented the rest of us who would have liked to be there but couldn’t. I hope tomorrow’s mail will bring either a letter from you or Lad, giving us more details then he could compress in a short note. From what he says, he is practically on his way, but where to or when or from where is one of those things. I think I shall prepare and send out to relatives and friends a semi-formal notice of the event of Dan’s marriage and would like to have you send me Dan, as soon as convenient, a list of names and addresses of any friends you would like to have receive a copy.

jean-on-lawn-1945

Jean Guion

Now for a few random notes before we come to the quotes dept. These are busy and exciting days for Jean. In the first place, she was about due for a nervous breakdown last week when she learned that she had to have a passport, although instructions from the government failed to mention the fact, and that obtaining it might be a matter of months. However, by telephoning to various bureaus in Washington she got things started and hopes to have it before she leaves Miami. Another cause for worry was the fact that returning soldiers, both discharged and enroute to the Pacific, has so taxed already inadequate railroad facilities, that the authorities have shut down on reservations for civilians, and in order to reach Miami on time, she will have to fly from N. Y. to Miami and has already, through Aunt Elsie, made reservations on a plane from LaGuardia Field Tuesday next, July 31st. Just as a nerve soother, the papers announced today that an army Mitchell bomber had crashed into the 79th floor of the Empire State Building in a blinding fog, 913 feet above ground, setting fire to the building and killing 13 people, also sending two elevators crashing down 80 floors. Firemen earned their pay dragging hose up 80 flights of stairs to fight the fire.

I’ll spend the rest of this week with three more pages from this letter. Dave did have quite a bit to say.

Judy Guion

Ced’s Coming of Age Adventure (15) – From Grandma Peabody – Bus Accident in Ossining – July, 1934

Grandma Peabody

Grandma Peabody-Anna Charlotta Westlin Peabody

(Grandma Arla’s mother)

August eight

Dear Cedric,

I was so relieved when I received your card telling of being at Uncle Kenneth and Aunt Nora’s. You did not state how long you expected to stay with them but I am taking a chance hoping this letter will find you still there on the farm.

It’s wonderful to know you are meeting so many of the relatives. I’m sure you will enjoy knowing them all. Don’t you think Uncle Kenneth and Aunt Nora very nice? I fell in love with her when I met her.

Last Sunday afternoon Burton (Peabody) and I went over to Trumbull, having received a letter from Elizabeth inviting us, also telling us Aunt Corinne was there on a visit. I don’t suppose you remember her very much, do you? It was nice to see the family again. Laddie and Daniel were home. Dickey was away at camp. They all seemed fine.

Monday afternoon I was very pleasantly surprised by Anne (Peabody Stanley)and Dorothy (Peabody, Arla’s sisters) arriving unannounced. They are both fine. Aunt Anne expects to leave for Vermont the latter part of this week. Uncle Larry (Peabody) and Aunt Marian are leaving today. If you could hitchhike to Vermont too, you would have some more happy times.

Things here in Ossining are running along the usual way again. That gruesome accident made quite a stir up. ( http://archives.chicagotribune.com/1934/07/23/page/1/article/14-are-killed-in-bus-crash-23-others-hurt)  (https://www.facebook.com/HistoricOssining/posts/559085660800614) It was horrible. Most of those injured were brought up St. Paul’s Place to the hospital which is some blocks away on the street above us. Also the dead were taken to the undertaker who lives on the other side of St. Paul’s Church. As only one person could be carried in the ambulance and trucks, it took a long time before all were cared for. There was such a clanging of bells, and noise from autos. Hundreds of autos passed our place. Burton (Peabody) was very busy getting all possible information and did not get home till after midnight. One young man lost his father, mother and a sister, 13 years old.

Today’s papers are telling again of the terrible heat wave in the middle west, and that we will get it. Thermometer shows 80° today. I would love to hear from you again. Please give my love to everyone and keep a lot for yourself.

Lovingly,

Grandma

Tomorrow, we hear from Ced who is now in Star Prairie, Wisconsin. On Monday, I’ll begin posting letters from 1943. Lad has met Marian and he even wrote home about her so I guess things are going well for them.

Judy Guion

 

Trumbull – Dear Guion Squad, Quartette…. – Family News – April, 1943

Alfred Duryee Guion

Jean and Dick Guion

Trumbull, Conn, April 4, 1943

To the Guion Squad, Quartette, or what have you, GREETINGS:

Here again it is time to sum up the weekly events as it affects far-flung Guion family, it’s relatives and friends. First in the field of Correspondence Received, there is a three-page letter from our Alaskan outpost, all in red (probably inspired by the income tax he so lately filed), which relates in some detail a week-and skiing adventure conducted amid great tribulations due to a combination of meeting army trucks on narrow roads too narrow to permit passing, necessitating backing up a hill for a quarter of a mile, plus the back wheel of his car coming off; the damaging of one of their planes through the failure of a five-ton tri-motored Boeing to properly take off, etc.

A letter to Jean from Dick urged her to come to Miami in view of the news he had just received to the effect that Dick had been notified his group were being trained for service overseas after a short period of training was completed. So Jean promptly applied for and received a leave of absence, bought her ticket, wired Dick to get ready for a second honeymoon and this morning left on the Silver Meteor for Florida. Dave and Aunt Betty and yours truly made sure she and her baggage were properly entrained at Bridgeport. Barbara (Plumb), too, accompanied us, intending to go to New York with Jean. On the way down in the car, the lure of adventure was too much for Dave so on the spur of the moment he decided to skip Sunday school and go along to New York with Barbara and Jean.

Still another item of correspondence was a letter from Anne ((Peabody) Stanley) announcing receipt of a cable from Donald (Stanley), reading “All well and safe, love”. No date or place given, but the words “sans origine” furnished a slight clue. She also enclosed a clipping from a war correspondent, which in part reads: “Those who don’t know the M.P.’s are ignorant of one of the finest groups in the Army. The military police don’t have the taint to them that they had in the last war. This time they are a specially picked, highly trained permanent organization. Their training starts where commandos leave off, and from the M.P.’s I’ve seen, their demeanor and conduct, I believe that next to Rangers and Paratroopers, they are really the pick of the Army.” Also a letter from Grandma to Aunt Betty quotes Anne as writing: “Jean and Dick’s wedding was the most beautiful and strange wedding she had ever seen. She said “I don’t believe there will ever be one like it.” Grandma’s letter also mentions that Burton was in N.Y. recently. He looks fine and has gained 10 pounds. Helen and Ted (Human) are in Mexico, and Larry (Peabody) plans to have a big vegetable garden this summer. Kemper and Ethel (Peabody) are busy helping to relieve the meat and milk shortage. We all owe Grandma a big vote of thanks for interesting and newsy letters. If it were not for her, we would have difficulty in keeping up with the Peabody doings. If you boys could find time to write her once in a while, it would be fine.

It was Lad’s birthday yesterday. For over a month now I have been trying to get him an army (khaki colored, with Army insignia) pen and pencil set, but each time was told they were on order but not yet received. Yesterday, I did find a set not as good as the one I saw some time ago, and of course not good enough in my opinion for Lad, but I sent it to him anyway. (If the nib does not suit your hand writing, Lad, almost any shop out there where they sell fountain pens will substitute the pen itself for one of your liking, at a small fee.

Love from us all here.

DAD

Tomorrow, I’ll finish off the week with a letter to Grandpa from Lad with some very interesting news.

On Saturday and Sunday, I’ll continue posting more of  Ced’s Coming of Age Adventure as he heads west from Chicago.

Judy Guion