Trumbull – Dear Lad (2) – Trumbull Politics – July 2, 1939

      Alfred Duryee Guion (my Grandpa) – First Selectman

Politically, the pot is still boiling. Monday I got sore at Mr. Sexton’s manner over the phone and closed off on him, after which he reported in a letter to the newspapers that I was ”rude”. He then followed this with the demand to call another town meeting, which being in legal form, I had to do (scheduled for this coming Friday) for the purpose of “abolishing the Finance Board of the Town of Trumbull”.

This has at last aroused the right-thinking people to a serious realization of the danger of letting him get away with his ideas, and in consequence, on Friday last, there was a meeting of leading citizens from all sections of the town, Democrat and Republican alike, in a combined attempt to get out an overwhelmingly strong representation and put this fellow and his gang of Bolshoi’s once and for all in their place.

We are calling a meeting of the conservatives again tomorrow night to perfect plans and an organization, and getting out a letter and a real effort is now going to be made to defeat this attempt to break down the town’s machinery.

With Trumbull’s public enemy No. 1 out of the way, we will then have to devote our efforts to organizing some sort of a police force for the town, as in accordance with the last act of the legislature, no constables can receive any fees for arrest in motor vehicle arrests.

The Legislature also passed a bill legalizing bingo if a majority of those in the town wanted. As the Trumbull Fire Company is planning for their Carnival during the latter part of August, something will have to be done here on that score before that date.

By the way, Father Killian has been transferred to another parish in Bridgeport, and St. Teresa’s is now headed by a Father Grady.

Tomorrow and Thursday I will be posting the rest of this letter.  On Friday I will post a letter from Uncle Ted Human to his attorney in Caracas. 

Judy Guion


Trumbull – Dear Convalescents (1) – Extract of Guion (Dan and Ced) – July 16, 1944

This letter from Grandpa to his scattered flock contains excerpts from letters he has received in the last week. It is quite a collection and it will take two days to finish the letter. Enjoy.

Trumbull, Conn., July 16, 1944

Dear Convalescents:

As your medical advisor I am recommending this week a full dose of extract of Guion, consisting of vitamins DBG, CDG, MIG a substitute for APG, (at the moment unobtainable) and DPG, to be taken with a little water, before, after or between meals.

DBG - Dan only (cropped) fron Ced, Dan and car - 1941

Extract of DBG. (Daniel Beck Guion) (July 3, London) Gone completely is the idyllic lull about which I wrote so enthusiastically a few weeks past, and in its place has come a period which keeps us too much on our mettle to indulge in languid philosophy. Now we are engulfed in a realism which focuses war in sharp, unmistakable images, exciting… significant… decisive. The none too subtle curtain of the sensor must set as a haze filter to your perception, but one day soon I shall entertain you all with tall tales of “what Dan did in the war” – – and I promise it won’t be too boring. Thoroughly hail and equally hearty, Dan

Ced and car - 1940 (3)-head shot

Extract of CDG: (Cedric Duryee Guion) Anchorage almanac. Weather today clear, Sun rises before I get up, sun sets about bedtime. Hours of darkness, practically none. Temperature, good for swimming. Hospitalization notice: One 37 Buick seriously ill of spinal meningitis and requiring extensive surgery for return to active health. Medicines unobtainable in Alaska due to shortage of equipment as of war necessities. An emergency requisition has been placed requesting necessary herbs and tonics. The transmission, after a long and quarrelsome disturbance, accompanied by groans of pain for the last three months, finally had a hemorrhage and was partially paralyzed. Low, second and reverse suffered complete collapse of the motovaty nerves and left poor high badly overburdened, thus affecting composure of chauffeur. While injury seemed trivial at first, treatment proved unobtainable and a major catastrophe developed. Patient was unavoidably retired from active service and in lieu of treatment, it was determined that further long-standing elements must be treated and so the heart was removed for observation and repairs. Tragically enough, this disclosed more faults that required unobtainable replacements. Now patient is interned in isolation ward until pistons, transmission parts and other odds and ends can be obtained. Another birthday come and  gone with a very pleased recipient of gifts from home. McDonald’s had a little supper party with cake and candles. My burns (ha ha) have nearly disappeared (all signs of them, I mean). They turned out not half as bad as the other ones did, and I lost only three days work. I finished my course, took the CAA test and made an average of 86 which was up near the top of those grades received by the other students. Now I just need flying time and lots more of it. Can’t you picture me up high in the sky peeking around behind a cirrus cloud to see if the dew point is anywhere near the base of the cloud, or flying blind into the side of the next mountain only to discover I’d forgotten to correct for easterly deviation, and neglecting at the same time to consider the wind drift. Ah. Me, I wonder if I’ll ever get to use any of your laboriously gleaned aeronautical knowledge. Incidentally, if you want to get a good education in meteorology, as it is affected by weather, and get it in an easy to take form, get the book “STORM” from Mrs. Ives, or from the library. It has humor, pathos, drama, suspense and human interest all woven around the birth, growth and passing of a storm and its effects on men and their puny works.

I received a letter from the Reader’s Digest telling me that my subscription had expired and going on to say that they had a little stencil with my name on it which had been directing my copies to me and that before they threw it out they just wanted to remind me that the subscription had expired and let me know that it (the stencil) was in fine company – – MacArthur, Sinclair Lewis, Gen. Marshall and a host of others. There was a lot of other dribble which I don’t recall, but it kind of burned me, so I sat down and wrote them a letter explaining that it seemed a little odd that two weeks after sending a gift card from my Dad, and promising me so much, they now tell me the subscription has expired and didn’t I think it good to renew it? I also suggested that my father probably really intended that I get 12 copies of the magazine, not just a gift card. Then I flattered them by saying that I wasn’t surprised that MacArthur, etc., subscribed to the Digest, but that I didn’t give a damn who read it and took it just because I happen to like its contents – – no doubt the same reason the celebrities would profess, and that I was surprised that Roosevelt wasn’t listed, “didn’t he take the Digest, or was it an intentional slight.” I rambled on at length concerning the rest of the letter, but I did have fun writing it. In closing I said to remember me to Sidney Bagshaw if he was around, and signed the thing. I am curious to see what kind of an answer I’ll get, if any. The first copy (June) arrived today. I hope they don’t strike me from the records. In today’s mail there was also a copy of “Federal World Union” and the “Union Now” paper. The more I see the more I am encouraged. You ought to get on the bandwagon yourself. There are more and more people with political power joining the movement every month and I wouldn’t be surprised if it is heard from in some measure in the fall elections. I wish to heck Stassen had been nominated by the Republicans instead of Dewey, and could get the Presidency. He is back of the idea to a large extent and I feel would try to work it out. I don’t know about Dewey although he may be leaning that way too, for all I know. I think he could certainly improve on what we’ve got, anyway. I was reclassified 1-A three days ago and I think I can beat the rap again.

Tomorrow, I’ll be posting the rest of this letter with excerpts from Marian and Dave along with Grandpa’s usual home town doings.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Boiling Politics and Grandpa’s Birthday Money – Sept, 1940

1934 - 1940 Timeline

1934 – 1940 Timeline

This is the second installment of a very long letter Grandpa writes to his sons, Dan and Ced in Alaska and Lad in Venezuela, following his birthday. Yesterday’s post covered all of the happenings involving Grandpa’s birthday – September 11 – when he turned 56. He has followed the strange custom of sending presents to his sons on HIS birthday, maybe his way of giving back.  The letter continues in this post with local politics and what he plans to do with his birthday money.

Alfred Duryee Guion

Alfred Duryee Guion

Locally, things are beginning to boil politically. The new town committee, now under Ellwood Stanley’s leadership since Mr. Woods declined to accept reelection, is composed of people not now holding any political office in the town. One of the first things they did was to put Mr. Sexton, of all people, on the Committee, thinking, I suppose, that they could thus keep close tabs on him, and being only one among many others, could render him innocuous. But the way it is working out, as far as I can learn, is not so good. The rumor is that when it came to recommendations from the Town Committee to be submitted as recommendations to the caucus, which in previous years has been practically an assurance of nomination, none of the conservative members could find any decent people who would accept the nomination of First Selectman, and as one name after another was suggested and refused, Sexton came through with suggestions of names here and there who would accept, and that resulted in the final draft of names being largely Sexton man. There is a man named Northam in Long Hill who was named, both Les Whitney and myself were not included as Second Selectman, and for this job, Dave Wakely of Chestnut Hill was Sexton’s suggestion. Mr. Hughes, who has been suggested as a possibility for the Board of Finance by Mr. Plumb, to replace himself, was ignored, and in consequence, many of the old time loyal Republicans who always voted for the town committee’s recommendations are considerably dissatisfied and at the caucus tomorrow night there is liable to be considerably less harmony then has hither to characterized the Republican caucus meetings. Mr. Woods told me himself he was personally far from satisfied with the way things were going. So we will probably see some fireworks tomorrow. It is ridiculous and disgusting the way this fellow Sexton seems to be edging in. As far as I am concerned, and I seldom feel this way about anyone, he is the towns combined Hitler, Stalin and fifth columnist all rolled into one. As you probably know, Mr. Plumb has been retired on a nice pension by the bank and is dropping his various town activities. I don’t blame him, the way things have been going lately. The Democrats have again put up Davis as First Selectman and Burr Beach as second. As the town has passed the 5000 mark in population, we are now entitled to two representatives in the state legislature and both Bradley and Nothnagle are after the job. I hear that the Democrats are thinking of putting up Danny Wheeler, and I believe if they do so, he will have a very good chance of winning.

I suppose you donors would like to know how I am going to spend all my birthday money. Well, I need a new pair of house slippers, a new electric stove for my bathroom that won’t blacken the walls, a new pair of shoes and a raincoat. (I think I can get along without a new suit although this will be the second year I haven’t bought a suit  – last September I bought a new overcoat as Lad’s gift) and I would like to get some clothes suitable for taking walks in the woods that will keep me warm and dry during fall and winter. I am certainly grateful to you boys, that with all your young plans and hopes and ambitions, still have a thought for the old man’s comfort. The spirit is all the more appreciated because I have not done half the things for you youngsters I would like to have done, if things had been different.

Lad in Venezuela

Lad in Venezuela

And you, Lad, I don’t really feel right about using any of the funds you sent home for myself. The several hundreds of dollars you gave last year for my use and the house and the $50 you send every month is, in all fairness, enough. It is really your contribution that has been keeping us going this last year. That, and Ced’s payments, were the only things that made it possible for me to make the grade. I hope business will pick up next year so things will be better — enough at least to make up for the $10 a month I will forfeit with the loss of the Second Selectman’s job. So, if you don’t mind, I’ll take the will for the deed and not take advantage of your generous offer. My

Dan and Ced in Alaska

Dan and Ced in Alaska

conscience would be clearer. And, Ced, that’s much the way I feel about you. I certainly would feel mighty cheap if you had sent any of last month’s check home under the circumstances. You did just the right thing in keeping it for flying club expenses. You, Dan, haven’t told me what your future plans, if you have yet formulated any, are; but if you were going to the University of Alaska you’ll need to save for that, which makes your generous remittance doubly unselfish. All in all, I’ve got a pretty fine bunch of boys and I’m just a wee bit proud of them.

Tomorrow, the third and final portion of the letter Grandpa wrote to his sons following his 56th birthday. It includes local news, information about his office move and a letter from the Town Clerk, urging the boys to vote in the Presidential Election and the cover of an absentee ballot sent to Lad in Venezuela. Did he vote? I don’t know.

Please share your comments on this letter. I love to read your stories and memories.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Memories and the Election – September, 1939

1934 - 1940 Timeline

1934 – 1940 Timeline

On the one hand, Grandpa is trying to shame Lad into writing but on the other hand, he comes up with all kinds of acceptable reasons why letters from Venezuela haven’;t made it to PO Box 7. He’s also reminiscing about their arrival in Trumbull and the difficulties they had during their first Christmas in the house.

September 24, 1939

Dear R. S. B. S.:

which in this instance stands for Rainy Season Back Slider. A second week has again gone by without news from my oldest chick. Maybe the war has upset schedules in the boat service as far as mail transportation is concerned or maybe it is just the fact that now the rainy season must be approaching its peak and throws various kinds of monkey wrenches into the machinery. The last straw came yesterday when daily for two weeks I have hustled over to the store the first thing in the morning bubbling with hope and expectation that THIS time there would be a letter from you. Well, the only thing in the compartment of PO Box 7 was a bill for box rent and I tell you, I was disgusted.

I don’t feel much like writing letters today, so if this note is not bubbling over with interest it’s because I’m feeling rather low. Yesterday I came home at noon after going to the office in Bridgeport and arranging for the payroll and buying food for today’s dinner, and went to bed. I’m up and around today but with not much pep. I am entertaining some very active cold germs that Dicky has been carting around with him for the last week. I was very hoarse yesterday but that seems to have cleared up to a large extent today. Dan cooked most of the dinner.

Well, this month marked the 17th anniversary of the fall day when a new family moved to Trumbull — a mother, father and five small children, the oldest a stripling of

Arla Peabody Guion and the five children that moved to Trumbull in 1922.

Arla Peabody Guion and the five children that moved to Trumbull in 1922.

eightand the youngest a two-year-old boy. As we look back on it now and recall the oil lamps and the candles we had to use for the first few months, and the old pump, a one-lunger, that pulled water up from the stream, and occasionally pulled up a fat eel to clog up the pipe, and the little eight-year-old youngster helped his daddy with odd mechanical jobs around the house, it is hard to think of them looking forward in those far-off days to a future where the boy, grown to manhood, would be in far-off Venezuela, north of the Orinoco, that we studied about in geography, making machinery

Elizabeth Westlin Guion, at 5, with her broken arm

Elizabeth Westlin Guion, at 5, with her broken arm

work that would help to supply the civilized world with oil and gasoline. Memories come crowding back of your gentle mother, the little old one room school where Miss Lindley taught you the 3 R’s, Geneva, the pony, Elizabeth’s broken arm, etc. somehow or other these are the real permanent things in life. material possessions, money, etc., that you can actually see and feel vanish with the years but the things of the spirit remain. It might be interesting someday when you’re in a reminiscent mood and have the time, to jot down some of the things YOU recall most clearly about those days. Naturally they would be different things that would impress a boy that would stick in an adult’s mind.

Yesterday the Bridgeport City Bank reported that Dan’s draft had been collected and $255 was being credited to Dan’s account. Now all he has to do is to get the $400 balance. Simple. By the way, what ever happened to your own claim? I thought you were going to send the tools to McMillan with instructions not to surrender them to Maxy until he had the check. What was done along this line? Did you collect? If not, what is the present status?

You may recall that when you were a mere infant a savings account was started for you in a New York building and loan association. The same procedure was followed for each of the children as they came along. Due to depression, etc., these never grew to any sizable amount. Just lately I have had the accounts transferred to the Bridgeport Building and Loan Association of which Mr. Hughes is an officer, and am enclosing a card for you to sign. I have signed up for 10 shares for you and shall, each month out of your check, take the necessary amount to keep up these payments. It is very safe and pays more interest than do savings banks. Anyway, I think it is wise to diversify your sources of investment. The balance I may invest in stocks of some sort, and in this connection don’t forget to let me have an answer to the question in my last letter as to whether your present contract provides for a certain portion of your money that you are not ordering sent home, go for purchase of Sacony-Vacuum stock, as Ted thought might be the case.

Guion, Davis Head Ticket

Guion, Davis Head Ticket

This is the last week before election — Monday, October 2. They have now a full-fledged Socialist ticket in town so that it will be a three cornered fight for first Selectman: Guion on Republican, Bill Davis of Nichols on Democrat and Flick of Chestnut Hill on Socialist. Sexton has been quieter lately although he is probably behind the recent move to embarrass me by presenting a position asking me to call a special town meeting for the purpose of placing Town Clerk and Tax Collector on a salary basis instead of, as they are at present, on a fee basis. I am refusing to do this because I believe it is illegal for the town to vote to do something which the state legislature does not give a town power to do. Schwimmer, the new judge and Bill Davis both signed the petition. Mr. Judd, the Tax Collector for 19 years, has resigned, which is quite a blow to those who knew how well he does his work. Mr. Monroe Blackman has been nominated to fill the office. Most people seem to think that the Republicans will again and there are some who say that I will go in and by a bigger majority that I ever got, but you never can tell, and if I’m not reelected, while it will cramp me financially, it will give me more time to devote to boosting up my business. Well, I’ll know more about it next time I write you.

I understand Dan to say you have his watch which he asked you to keep for him when he was out in the bush. Do any of your men from New York come to visit you through whom I can send some small parcels down to you by or who would take back with them some small article like a watch? The more I think of it the less I like the smuggling idea mentioned in my last letter, but I do want in some way to evidence, at Christmas time, the fact that those at home have remembered you in some tangible manner.

Mike Whitney is building a house across the road from his parents place and is trying to get it finished before the new year. Dan goes back to college today. Dan has not yet heard definitely from Alaska and is beginning to question the wisdom of starting at so late a date for so distant a point. He may go back to Connecticut State College, now that he has received part of his back salary.

Dave is tackling his school work with interest and the determination to make good his first year, particularly in Latin. That’s all the news I can think of now, so until a week from today, as always, your loving    DAD

Tomorrow, we’ll find out the results of the election and Grandpa’s feelings about it.

I  thought you might find this interesting. If you would answer these two questions, you could be surprised by what your answers  reveal about your personality.

1. Which of the following shapes would you tend to like the most? 2nd? 3rd? 4th?

   _____ Cube     _____ Pyramid     _____ Wavy Line     _____ Ball

2. Which of the following situations would cause you the most frustratuion in any area of your life?

   _____ Things not being done properly or out of order?

   _____ Things out of control?

   _____ Things not being fun or being boring

   _____ Conflict with others

If you would leave your answers as a comment   (   like this:   2  4  1  3         4  1  3  2   )  and then call me at 860-435-0883,  I’ll let you know what your answers usually reveal about your personality.

Judy Guion

Politics and Spineless Jellyfish

Alfred Duryee Guion – (Grandpa) – in the Alcove where he typed his letters

I thought the timing was appropriate to re-post this letter.

Grandpa was somewhat involved in politics. He was elected First Selectman in our small town in the early 1940’s, and he had very strong opinions and a way with words. It also helped that his business was advertising and printing. 

The following diatribe was penned as part of a letter dated October 3, 1943:

The political pot is beginning to boil around her but they are mild compared to what they will be next year when the national election is held, and while on the subject you may as well have my opinion for what it may be worth on what it is all about, so that when you are asked to cast your ballot you may know how at least one Elector feels about matters.

The question is not Republican versus Democrat, not Roosevelt versus Wilke, or what have you, not liberals versus conservatives, not new deal versus good deal, not capital versus labor, not isolationist versus interventionist but rather federal government planning of our daily lives from cradle to grave which the present administration in Washington stands for, versus the good old American way of life based on being on one’s own and depending on individual resourcefulness and making ends meet and thus calling out the best in us to make conditions when the job seems impossible – – the spirit epitomized by the saying; ” the difficult we do at once, the impossible takes a bit longer”.

The New Deal provisions for old age dependency, WPA leaf-raking jobs, sick benefits, while all very alluring in providing freedom from fear, is enervating, laziness breeding and is more apt to develop a nation of spineless jellyfish. There is something to be said for “coming up the hard way”.  Some day the war will end and we will have to pick ourselves up and go on our interrupted way. If we cut out all these present artificial restraints and rely on our own resourcefulness which we are showing we can do, we will have come through the fire like a finely tempered blade, but I don’t think we can do this under the Roosevelt theory of government.

There you have what to my mind is the main issue – – mollycoddle’s versus molders of our destiny. That is the way we have grown during our short history and I don’t want to live to see the day when the paternalism at Washington will shield us from all harm and guide us from cradle to grave and do our thinking and planning for us. We are not members of a governmental Harem.

Grandpa had some very strong opinions and didn’t pull any punches expressing them.

You can check out my website at       You can also post comments there about the letters and any memories you may have.

Judy Guion