World War II Army Adventure (29) – Thrown Out of Radio – May 24, 1944

 

24 May 1944

Dear Dad —

Not much time – gotta go out on a night operation.  I just want to show you how wrong you were about your youngest son.  Monday they threw me out of Radio – in spite of all my pleading and begging.  They’ve put me in Signal Center School which is supposed to be the best in the Signal Corps – but still – I’ve got the feeling of utter failure hanging over me.  Discouraged?  Yes!  Quitting?  Hell – No!

The way I keep telling myself to look at it is this – Signal Center School – as I said – is supposed to be the best school in the Signal Corps – that is the best life – treatment – and the best for ratings.  You see – a Signal Center is a clearing post for ALL messages from division and up.  All the messages are written by an officer – delivered by a messenger to the Signal Center – where they are classified as to importance – how they shall be sent (Radio – Pigeon – Motor Messenger – Messenger – Telephone – Teletype) – and then they are put into code (cryptographed).  Can you visualize how interesting it would be?  As I understand it – they teach message procedure (I’ve already learned it in Radio) – typing (25 w.p.m.) (I can type 30 w.p.m.) – a little of all the agencies (above-mentioned – Radio – etc.) and they teach Cryptography.  If you do well in Cryptography – I understand you may be sent to Advanced Cryp.  School for three weeks and are graduated as a Cryptographer.

My plan is this – go to Signal Center School during the day – work hard – most of the stuff I know a good deal about anyway – take plenty of notes.  The way the Army teaches is to make it so the dumbest ninnie can get it – that’s why flunking out of Radio is so hard.  Hard on me I mean.  All you have to do is pay attention in class.  Go to night school in Radio to keep up on my code.  And then when my Signal Center course is over – go to Cryp. School.  By the time I get home in August (that’s when it’ll be if I don’t get home for an emergency furlough) I’ll be qualified as a Cryptographer – Radio Operator – and Signal Center Technician – I hope!

I haven’t moved yet – but I expect to be in a new company by Saturday.

This letter – the construction of it – is all messed up because I’ve been carrying on a conversation while writing – but I guess you can figure it out.

Love,

Dave

Tomorrow I will be posting the next letter home from Dave with a special announcement.

Judy Guion

St. Petersburg Adventure (8) – School Grades – March, 1935

 

It’s March of 1935 and Biss is writing to her Dad in Trumbull. She has been staying with her Aunt Anne and Don and Gwen, Anne’s children. When her mother died she was having a hard time at home in Trumbull so she went to Florida to live with her Aunt. The adults in the family hoped that this move would make a difference in her life..

Blog - Life in St Petersburg - School Grades (1) 3.1935

Blog - Life in St Petersburg - School Grades (2) - March, 1935

Elizabeth (Biss) Westlin Guion

Elizabeth (Biss) Westlin Guion

Please Read to Yourself First

Monday afternoon

4:51 PM

3/11/1935

Dear Dad

You make me feel like crying – I realize fully what a thoughtless child I have been and I will try to mend my ways. Here after I will write at least once a week and maybe twice. I have not only neglected you but everyone else to. I will write to Parents Magazine and thank them for they have been very prompt and I barely have time to finish one before the next one arrives, for I wait a few days between each article to let it sink in.

To answer your letters I am glad I came out now ahead of the boys – (Biss had bets with her three brothers that she would get better grades in school)/ don’t tell Ced or any of the others what I am about to say tho’ – but I do hope Ced comes out ahead in the end for I love to see him happy and it would make him so proud to come out ahead. Do you think Ced’s marks are improved this year? From one pencil mark to the other is the part you should keep under your hat – if you have no hat on, then keep it under the gray hair – excuse the last remark but your hair is gray. Here after I think I shall enclose the things I want kept quiet in pencil or between pencil marks. /

Do you think ”Peck’s Bad Boy” is worth going to see? I hope Rusty is beginning to get a taste of Fame for the poor dear has waited such a long time for it. I am sorry the Kermode’s are having such a hard time however I imagine the business will pick up soon. Is he out of work?

Thank you very much for the money, it certainly comes in handy. I come out about two weeks short each month so your money is always doubly welcome – I am so glad Dave has become interested in something and I hope it will be a raving success. How has Dave been? Tell him I miss his spoiledness immensely and I hope there is no trace of it left by the time I get home. I miss all of you very much and I am looking forward to coming home but I hate to leave St. Petersburg because I have made a few friends down here – one – two weeks ago – and I have gone out with him once, believe it or not! I also am going to miss this weather very much – it is never too hot and never too cold. The sun is always hot but there is always a very cool breeze blowing so that it is quite cool – they say it will get better and then get cool and be cool all during the summer. I am anxious to see the gang though and am quite thrilled to think that I am going to see Barbara Plumb. Has the office paid all of its debts? Saturday our club went to the beach and a storm (wind) came up so that we had the beach to ourselves. The waves would dash against the seawall and send the spray up over the wall – we ran along the seawall and were soaked all the way through to our skin but we certainly had a lot of fun – we ate (there were 8 of us) three dozen tangerines besides about five sandwiches each – 2 pounds of cookies and a bowl of potato salad. Some fun – hey what?

Love,

Biss

Tomorrow, another letter from Biss to her father (Grandpa) back in Trumbull.

Judy Guion

St. Petersburg Adventure (7) – Report Cards (2) – February, 1935

 

We’re catching up with Biss in St. Petersburg, Florida. It seems as though she has stuffed all her letter writing for February into one envelope. It also looks like she skips around in who she writes to when, because these are not all in chronological order.  This is the second half of the letter Biss wrote in February, 1935. The pictures are of Aunt Anne’s children, the ones Biss is helping with.

Dave

              David Peabody Guion

Sunday evening

8:29 PM

Dear Dave:

This envelope is so fat already that I will just be able to write a short note to you because I’m afraid it can’t hold much more junk. Don and Gwen were both put ahead, Gwen to 3A and Don to 5A. I passed all subjects and so don’t have to repeat which I think is quite nice and also quite unusual. I’ll finish this tomorrow.

It is now Monday afternoon at 5:46 PM I got my new guitar today and I am thrilled !!!! It certainly is worth every cent I paid for it.

We had a Chinese man visit our school today and he told us a lot about China. Maybe if you remember it and remind me, I will tell you when I get home. I have a lot of things planned for when I get home and if you and Dick learn to get along well, I feel sure we will have lots and lots of fun together. Be sure to answer this letter for I love to hear from you. I’ll send you a picture of the speaker we had. You will see that he is quite nice looking. I had expected to see a yellow faced looking man with just slanty slits for eyes and what a surprise I got! Well I have to go downtown and get Don for he went for his music lessons about an hour ago. I am expecting to hear from you very soon.

Love,

Biss

Richard (Dick) Peabody Guion

 Richard Peabody Guion (Dick)

Monday evening,   8:16 PM

Dear Dick,

Boy, what a “D” that is in ”Dear”, hey what? I am going to get orange juice in a few minutes but I am going to try to finish it before I go. Tell Dad that the fruit man’s son, who broke his neck, got pendicitis (acute at that) but that he pulled through and is now at home for he did not enjoy the hospital. Tell Jane that I will write to her as soon as possible.

I told Dave that I felt sure all three of us (or four if Peggy will come back only I’m afraid I have lost her for she seems to be so happy where she is) but I will try to take her place and play with you more and go out into the woods, we could have lots of fun and I will have lots and lots of stories to tell you and you will have lots and lots to tell me, I hope. Well, we can tell the stories while doing our work and it won’t take long at all to do it.

I am getting more and more anxious to see Trumbull again. I passed everything and am I glad! Those two hour (each) exams were nightmares!

Don Stanley

Don Stanley

Donald at last has a new friend so he doesn’t have to go around with Billy so much anymore. He still goes around with him somewhat though. Save the football and baseball until I get home. Do you still have skiing? How is skating?

Tell me all about these things in a letter to me and make it snappy! Donald and I tried playing some duets on the guitars and they sounded quite nice. Gee, if I don’t give the guitar any rest it will be all worn out before I can show it to all of you up there. Be sure and not tell anyone about it and I miss the family again.

Love,

Biss

P.S. Hurry up and write!

P.P.S. I couldn’t write two sheets because the envelope is too full!

I think this is a second – or third – installment – to her letter to her father, but since she doesn’t address it to anyone, I’m guessing.

Friday – 4:36 PM

I received your letter yesterday, and the check, and the letter from Parents Magazine, and the news from Trumbull, and Dan’s second installment. Are you going to have my magazine a free installment? I would like it, if it is all right with you for then I would have no fear of its expiring at the end of the year the way I have been and next year I will be able to ask for “Good Housekeeping” instead and thereby get the two magazines I like best. I wanted “Good Housekeeping  this year but felt that you didn’t have the money for it so I didn’t bother to ask for it.

I got my geometry report today and got 85 – my average is only 76%. It looks as though Ced has the upper hand. I am getting my guitar either Monday or Thursday so you will see me with a guitar when I get home. I am going to put on 3 3-cent stamps so it should get there O.K. There is something wrong if it doesn’t.

Gwen Stanley

Gwen Stanley

Gwen has “water on the knee” and Aunt Anne took her to the doctor today. I think one thing but my hand keeps writing another – I was going to say doc tonight instead of Doctor and today my hand wrote correctly where as my mind didn’t think as it should.

Don has a steam engine just like Alfred’s steam boiler. The one we fooled with so much last year. Well I want to reel off a number of things to Ced so I guess I’ll say goodbye to you for, if I keep on going I won’t stop and then I can’t send the letters for I’ll still be writing and I’ll starve because I’ll be writing instead of eating and then the letter will never be finished because I’ll die of starvation and fatigue before I finish it – soooo, goodbye until the next time.

Love,

Biss

Tomorrow, another letter from Biss to the folks back home in Trumbull.

Next week, I’ll be posting letters written in 1939. Lad and Dan are working with their Uncle Ted Human building a road from Caracas to Maracaibo in Venezuela.

Judy Guion

St. Petersburg Adventure (6) – Report Cards (1) – February 4, 1935

 

Biss in St. Petersburg, Florida. It seems as though she has stuffed all her letter writing for February into one envelope. It also looks like she skips around in who she writes to  and when, because these are not all in chronological order.  The pictures are of Aunt Anne’s children, the ones Biss is helping with.

Don Stanley

Don Stanley

Gwen Stanley

Gwen Stanley

Sunday evening

5:39 PM

February 4, 1935

Dear Dad:

I’m awfully sorry I haven’t written sooner but I have been having exams so that I couldn’t have told my head from my feet – I can’t anyway. Each subject lasted for two hours. The first exam was from 8:30 to 10:30 and then the second from 10:30 to 12:30. Then we got out of school for the day. We had the last test Friday – they were more than tests – exams! I will send my report cards home for the first half of the year and you may keep them for we get new report cards for the second semester. As for the not newsy letter, I don’t do very much so I couldn’t very well tell about an incident that didn’t happen – but here is one. Today when I got my report card for history I was very much surprised to find I had gone up and one of the boys remarked that he must have been asleep when he marked mine. So during lunch I went to him and said “Mr. White, are you sure you weren’t sleeping when you made out my report card?” And he looked questioning for a moment and then he said “Oh! No, I wasn’t asleep but I thought for a long time before I put that mark down.” I then told him he was a lifesaver for that kept my average the same for I had gone down so far in French.

We had a new heater put in this morning and we are very thankful, for it is the first time in about a week that we have had warmth in the house for we have bad weather, cold snaps. I imagine you have been expecting and hoping for this letter for quite a while and are quite disappointed you haven’t received it sooner. I had to pay three cents on that letter so now we are even. If Mary Dolan happens to come up again tell her the great renowned Miss Lizzie is waiting very patiently to hear from her and her family but as yet has not gotten a note and as far as I know – is still waiting patiently with folded hands.

How is Rusty getting along? Has he had any work to amount to anything as yet? I am going to try to write Dan for he said he had to find work that I am hoping to catch him before he leaves. I will put two or three other notes in with this letter so I can once more begin hearing from different members of my writing family.

I hope you haven’t mentioned our guitar lessons to anyone yet. Please don’t. Don couldn’t take his lessons this afternoon because his teacher, Miss Bradley, is sick.

I have to go and do the dishes for the maid didn’t come this afternoon. Oh, that is right, of course. You didn’t know that we got a maid, for Aunt Anne felt that she couldn’t go on, for that work tired her so. I certainly am giving you enough news to make up for the last and for two or three in the future, besides. We all have had quite a mania for solitaire lately so Cedric’s cards are getting plenty of use. Have to go and do the dishes so finish this later.

Tuesday

Saturday I went to the dentist and had my teeth cleaned. The dentist said my teeth were very good and that I didn’t have a single cavity.

I didn’t take my geometry test today because I didn’t feel like it and I was tired. Mr. Mead told me to come in and do it tomorrow.

Gladys the maid didn’t come again tonight so we have to do dishes once more. You see we have the breakfast and lunch dishes for her to do so we have all the dishes of the day to do in the evening. She was supposed to do the wash today also and I’ll have to wait another day now before I can wear my white pants and my white suit. Well I want to write to the rest too so I’ll say goodbye for now.

Love,

Biss

P.S. I would write more only I am afraid it wouldn’t fit in with the rest of this letter.

Biss

Tomorrow, I’ll be posting more letters written from Biss to her Dad .

On Monday I will begin a week of letters written in 1939. Grandpa has started writing weekly letters to his two oldest boys who are in Venezuela, working with their Uncle Ted Human, helping to build a road from Caracas to Maracaibo.

Judy Guion

Memories of Arla Mary (Peabody) Guion (9) – Memories From Her Children

 

Arla Peabody Guion on the Island in New Hampshire

Arla Mary Peabody Guion

A.D. – In Trumbull we became interested in local activities. A local volunteer fire company was started in which I was a charter member. To raise money to buy firefighting equipment we ran annual carnivals which were successful for many years. I became Justice of the Peace, and judge of the local traffic court. Later, for two terms, I served as the town’s First Selectman, during which time we celebrated the 300th anniversary of the town and also saw an old mine property converted into a public park. Arla became President of the Women’s Community Club, and was active in the Parent Teachers and other civic affairs, especially where common sense and sympathetic help was needed.

The following letter was written to Arla by Dan, her second son, in April of 1928, when he was 12.

 

  Daniel Beck Guion (Dan)

April 28, 1928

P.O. Box 7

Trumbull, Conn.

Dear Mother,

You cannot imagine how we all in Trumbull wish for you. Daddy told me this morning that your sores would be grafted this weekend.

We had tests today in school that lasted all day. They began this morning and ended at recess time this afternoon. Aunt Anne went home this week and Daddy told me to be the boss today. I just came back from stopping a quarrel between Ced, Eliz. and Alfred. It was about who was boss, Eliz. or me. Eliz. said that I was supposed to do just a little bit and she was supposed to do the rest but Alf. and Ced said that I was the boss. I heard them while I was writing this letter and went down. I explained to them how it was and told them to stop quarreling. I just asked Eliz. If she was through washing the dishes and she said yes. Then I told Dickie to dry them. He was blowing bubbles at the time. It is now 5:30. Bubbles reminds me of a story that I heard. A farmer saw an automobile and called it an automobubble. We are all getting along all right here and I hope that the time flies until you get here.

It is a cloudy day and not very pleasant but I am happy. Hoping you are the same.

Lovingly

Daniel

P.S. – As I read over this letter I realized that nothing is very interesting but I hope you will enjoy it. Sweet dreams.

              Cedric Duryee Guion (Ced)

CED – As I said, our house was the center of activity all over town. It drew practically everyone in the town of Trumbull. Mother said every Tuesday night we could have an open house for all the young people. We played the piano and we sang. We just had a ball, and then we’d have cookies and cocoa or something. That was so much fun.

 

David Peabody Guion (Dave)

DAVE – My Mother and Father used to enjoy having parties and, when they got to know Rusty (Heurlin), he was always welcome at their parties because he was a lot of fun. Invariably, now this was when I was very small he would take me into the other room and show me a nickel. Now, a nickel in those days was probably like two dollars today. He’d say “now, if you go into the other room and say what I tell you to say, I’ll give you this nickel.” Then he’d tell me what to say and I’d walk into the room and stand in the middle of the crowd, and I’d say, ” Daddy’s cars a piece of junk!” And I’d get my nickel – and Daddy’s car was a piece of junk.

           Elizabeth Westlin Guion (Biss)

BISS – I started driving when I was 12 years old. There was a large lot behind the house and we had a racetrack around it. I started out with the model T Ford, and then and Oldsmobile truck. I can remember one day, I had a flat tire. Axel Larsson was the gardener that time because Mother was already sick so she had to have somebody to take care of us kids. Astrid and Axel and their daughter Florence moved into the cottage, the Little House.

            Alfred Peabody Guion (Lad)

LAD – Dan and I had both applied for and gotten into the CCC (Civilian Conservation Corps) because Dad was badly in debt. My mother had developed cancer and spent a lot of time in a local hospital. A problem developed at that hospital and Mother was moved to a hospital in Pennsylvania where her cousin was a Dr. She was in the hospital for quite a while. All of that is very vague in my mind. Helen and Dorothy, her sisters, were in Trumbull taking care of us kids. They were very restrictive as far as letting us know anything about mother. So we know very little about what was going on.

          Elizabeth Westlin Guion (Biss)

BISS – I started at Central High School in 1932, so it was the day after we got out of school that mother died, (June 29, 1933) my freshman year. Mother died when I was 14, and I hated school. I’d hide in the closet every morning. Dad would make the rounds to make sure everybody was up and had gone to school. I’d hide in the closet and then after he had passed through, then I’d come out. I had the whole day to myself. I think I missed more school that I made.

Tomorrow I will be posting letters written in the beginning of 1944. Dave has just left school to enlist in the Army. Grandpa is feeling the full weight of the war with all five sons now helping the war effort. The Trumbull House seems rather quiet.

Judy Guion 

The Beginning (47) – Childhood Memories of Trumbull – Memories From Dave

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. 

Dave (front, left) next to Gwen Stanley

DAVE – I remember just a few scenes from my early years in Trumbull.  When my Mother was alive, I remember one time she had to walk all the way down to the bridge with me to get me to go off to school, and even then I didn’t want to go.  That stuck with me all my life.  I never liked school.  It wasn’t until I got to college that I began to realize that I finally found something I can enjoy, but that’s another matter.

I have always said that my brothers and sister were a bit different than me.  I was always quicker to enjoy a risqué joke, or worse.  The rest of them fell under the influence of Mother, what I call the Victorian Peabody attitude, and my father was a little bit looser.  To me he was always both mother and father, and whatever I am is probably more influenced by him rather than the others.

When I was a kid, I had quite a temper.  It was a real nice combination.  I had a temper and I was a crybaby.

My problem, aside from Dick, my biggest problem when I was a kid was keeping different groups of friends apart from one another.  I had lots of friends when I was a kid, no real close friends, but they were diverse.  When I was playing with one and one of the others showed up, I had a problem because the two of them didn’t get along.

DICK – Dave was argumentative; he loved to argue with Dad … with anybody.  I used to tease the hell out of him because he would react.  I used to needle him just to make him lose his temper.

This view of the Big House in winter shows the screen porch Dave refers to.

DAVE – Don and Gwen (Stanley), my cousins from Aunt Anne, were here all the time.  They’d plead and beg and finally their mother would give in and they would stay for a few days I don’t know how to explain it because the house, the Big House, has changed so much with renovations but there used to be a screen porch on the southeast corner of the house (Chiche’s formal dining room) and there was a window there that looked from the stairs out onto that porch.  Don and Gwen were there and Dick and I were talking, talking, talking, talking, talking.  We had been warned on two or three occasions to quiet down and go to sleep.  If Dick has told this story it will be a different version than mine because what happened was the last one to speak, when the last warning came, was me.  So, I was sent upstairs away from the rest of them and as I went up the stairs, I kicked at the window to warn them that I was going to cause trouble for them.  Anybody else and everybody else will tell you that I kicked in the window on purpose, but at any rate, I never bought that story.  It was a warning.  I kicked it to warn them but I broke it.  The next thing I knew, my father came charging up the stairs, gave me a good spanking and sent me to bed.  When I got into bed, I began to feel something sticky down around my right foot.  I was already crying and upset, and when I checked it, I had cut my foot on the glass, which made me feel still more hurt and angry, and suffering such a terrible injustice.  I was probably nine or ten when that happened, maybe eight, well it had to be after my mother had died and I was seven when she died.

I never liked school.  I started at Center School.  That wasn’t too bad.  The family name meant something in the immediate vicinity of Trumbull Center.  We had a Principal there whose name was Carson and I thought he treated me fairly.  I didn’t know if he was trying to make points with my father or what.  We had a court (in school) and whenever there was some kind of infringement, the culprit was dragged before the court.  For some stupid reason, Mr. Carson decided that I should be the prosecutor.  I was never very good at it but I made it through.

I remember one day, Dick and I used to fight all the time and he did or said something that made me annoyed and I picked up a box of matches … Now a box of matches was probably one hundred little wooden matches in a very thin wood box.  Anyway, I picked up the box and threw it at him.  Unfortunately my aim was good that day and I hit him in the forehead.  He started to bleed.  Again, I don’t remember what happened after that but I’m sure it wasn’t anything good for me.

Tomorrow I will be starting Lad’s written record of his Voyage to Venezuela.

On Sunday, I will be posting another of My Ancestors, this time, more about my mother, Marian Dunlap Irwin. 

On Monday, I will begin a week of letters written in 1943, a time when all five of Grandpa’s sons are working for Uncle Sam and Lad and Marian’s wedding is real close.

Judy Guion

The Beginning (46) – Childhood Memories of Trumbull – Bissie and High School

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. 

Bissie and Mack

BISS – I started at Central High School in 1932, so it was the day after we got out of school that Mother died (June 29, 1933), freshman year.

Mother died when I was 14, and I hated school.  I’d hide in the closet every morning when Dad would make the rounds to make sure everybody was up and had gone to school.  I would hide in the closet and then after he had passed through, then I would come out.  I would have the whole day to myself.  I think I missed more school than I made.  Now Dad made a mistake because I needed a permission slip to go back to school.  He was supposed to tell why I stayed home.  He said it was none of their business.  “You write it and I’ll sign it”.  So I would write, “I stayed home with my father’s permission.”  And then he would sign his name.  So I just copied his name over and over until I got it down pat.  Then I would just write the thing and sign his name.  I would go to school only when I felt like going to school.  How I got through, I’ll never know.

I went to Central High School in Bridgeport my freshman year.  That was great.  I loved that school because they treated you like an adult, you were a grown-up, and you felt like you were really something.  Then the following year, they transferred us to Bassick High School, because they were going to make that into a Senior High and it was a Junior High at the time.  I hated that school intensely, because they still had monitors in the hall, you had to walk in a line and you couldn’t talk.  I mean, after being an adult in high school, I got this?

In my sophomore year, we were transferred to Bassick High School and I didn’t want to go because it was a new school and I didn’t like school anyway.  I liked Central and I wanted to go back there.  So, the first day of school, Dad wanted to know and I said, “No, I don’t have to go to school today because were starting a new school.”  He said, “You are going to school.”  So he took me.  He took Ced and I, he took us to school.  I told him my clothes weren’t ready and any other kind of excuse but he was adamant that we were going to school.  So he let us off in front of Central, maybe I told him I had to go to Central to get transferred, anyway, he let us out in front of Central and we walked through the hall and out the other side, and walked home.  We were walking up the railroad tracks and we met some friends on Reservoir Avenue who told us that Ruth Moy had just died.  So anyway, we were walking up the tracks and the train came along.  The engineer stopped and said, “Would you like a ride?”  We said, “Sure” and we climbed up into the cab and he let us off at Church Hill Road.  Boy. That was exciting for me.  I told everybody about it.

We never had an allowance, and I can remember, in high school, we would bring sandwiches to school.  All the other kids, with their allowances, would get ice cream and stuff.  My mouth would be watering as I wished that I could get one of those ice cream sandwiches.  Once in a while, Barbie Plumb would treat me and boy that was great.  That ice cream sandwich – when they put them in the freezer now, the cracker gets all soft.  I don’t like them that way.  I like the fresh ones with the crisp cookie and then the ice cream.

Tomorrow, more Childhood Memories of Trumbull.

Judy Guion

The Beginning (31) – Childhood Memoreis of Trumbull – Biss and Dick

At this point Grandpa’s “Reminiscences of Alfred D Guion” has ended  and the rest of this story will be the memories of the children as they were growing up.

             Elizabeth Westlin Guion (Biss)

 

           Richard Peabody Guion (Dick)

BISS: My favorite game was Caddy.  You got a stick and put a point on either end.  You had a paddle and you hit the pointed end and it made the small stick go up and then you hit it with the paddle.  I don’t remember where it was supposed to go or anything.  I think it was how far you could hit it but I don’t remember what the exact rules were.  My brothers probably could remember, but I can’t, but I enjoyed that Caddy a lot.

DICK: I spent most of my time with Dad.  He was full of information and enthusiasm.  He’d say, “Want to take a walk?  I want to show you something.”  After walking a while, he’d say, “Sh-h-h-h, now lie down and crawl forward.’  And we’d see Fox cubs.  There was always interesting things in the field in back of the house.

I went to White Plains School for one year.  I started at Center School in second grade.  In eighth grade, I went to Edison School.  I went to Whittier Junior High School for a year, and then went to Bassick High School in Bridgeport.

Nelson Sperling tied a rope to a big Hickory Nut tree on the side driveway, near the steps.  We would take off from the steps, swing out in a big circle and come back to land.  The neighborhood kids couldn’t do it so well.

One time I rode our pony, Gracie, down the railroad tracks.  Heading back to the barn, I lost my footing and one leg got caught, held me as she galloped home.  I can still hear Mother saying, “Whoa, whoa!”

We also had a little cart that was pulled by a goat.

At Christmas time, we’d drive down Noble Avenue and look at the Christmas decorations.

We had a circus horse named Goldie, and while she was cropping grass, I would lie down on her back.  When I’d had enough I’d slide off her back.  I didn’t realize that it might annoy her.  The last time I did it, she kicked me.

BISS: I remember Dad always brought his work home with him and had to sit at the desk in the upper hallway.  Beyond the staircase there was a space and he had a desk there, and he always worked there.  Dick and I would be in bed, we’d be talking and he yelled in to us to keep quiet.  So we’d keep quiet … for maybe thirty seconds or a minute, and then start talking again.  He’d say, “I told you children to go to sleep, now keep quiet.”  So we kept quiet for thirty seconds, a minute maybe, and we’d start talking again.  So he’d say, “The next time you talk I’m coming in and spanking you.”  So we waited maybe a minute this time, and started talking again.  Well, boom, boom, boom, boom.  He came in and I was the closest to the door, so he spanked me and spanked me and spanked me, and of course, I was too proud, I wasn’t going to cry.  He could spank me until Doomsday and I wasn’t going to cry.  I guess his hand got sore after a while, I don’t know, but anyway, he went to Dick.  The first time he hit Dick, Dick started wailing, so Dad only gave him a couple of whacks, or something.  When Dad walked out of the room I said, “You big baby, what did you cry for?”  He said, “But Biss, he stopped spanking me.”  I said, “I still wouldn’t cry.”

Tomorrow and Friday, more early childhood memories of Trumbull from recordings I made with five of the six children.

Judy Guion

The Beginning (30) – Childhood Memories of Trumbull – Memories of School From Biss

At this point Grandpa’s “Reminiscences of Alfred D Guion” has ended  and the rest of this story will be the memories of the children as they were growing up.

BISS – I used to climb the trees and if my brothers went up three branches, I had to go up four, just to show them that I was just as good as they were.

I started school in Trumbull in the house that the Sirene’s bought, which was originally a two room school.  It was at the top of the hill just before Kascak’s Garage, on the left-hand side, the same side as the gas station.  It looked like a house even though it was a schoolhouse.  I think I spent my first, second and third years there, while they were building Center School.  I loved that one, the original, because the brook was running right behind it.  There was a great big rock that went down to the brook and I always loved rocks, for some reason or other.  I have a love affair with rocks.  I always look at them as I’m coming up the Thruway, you know, all those different colored rocks … I love them.  Anyway, there was this big rock and we’d sit out there at recess.  I guess some of the boys went skinny dipping in the brook and they would be late coming back.

We always came home for lunch and one day I climbed to the Maple right behind where the old dollhouse was.  There was a Plum tree there, the dollhouse and the sandbox was there.  It was just this side of where the parking lot is now.  I can remember the Plum tree because, I was maybe five years old, the car was parked in there.  I climbed in the car to play, driving or something, and I must have hit a gear or something and put it into neutral, because it ran down and hit the Plum tree.  And of course, I got into trouble for that.  I was always getting into trouble.

In the first or second grade, I swore in school and the teacher washed my mouth out with soap.  The soap was so sweet, so I went home and washed my mouth out again.  I don’t know what kind of soap it was, but it left a very sweet taste, it didn’t while you were doing it, but afterwards it did.

Back in the first school, I think I was in second grade.  I was a jumping jack.  I just couldn’t sit still.  I never did like school anyway and I couldn’t sit still.  I forget what it was she said, but the teacher said something about a jumping jack and then, “Sit still.”  I can remember that.  I don’t remember what punishment she did or what threat she gave me but I do remember her putting me up on the mat for not being able to sit still.

One day, Ced was going to give me a ride to school on the handlebars of his bike.  He got down to Sunset Avenue and a car was coming out of there. Ced panicked and I went down.  I got my face scraped in the tar on the side of the road.  We had to go back home to get my wounds taken care of, so we started back.  A truck came along, a big Mack truck and the driver asked if we wanted a ride, so we said, “Sure.”  I was sitting in the middle and I was all ready to grab the brake if he went beyond Kurtz’s Store because I didn’t know if he was trying to kidnap us or what.  I was watching that brake and of course he let us off at Kurtz’s Corner and we went home.  Mother washed the cuts with alcohol … Talk about the screaming mee-mee’s

Another time, when Dick was in first grade and I was in second, he hurt himself and I had to take him home.  It was about a mile and a half, a pretty good distance.

One thing I remember about Center School was that I would wait for the first bell to ring and then I would cut across the lots because it was that close to the brook and I’d get to school on time.

I will continue these memories for the rest of the week.

Judy Guion

The Beginning (27) – Memories of the Children – Lad’s Memories of School

At this point Grandpa’s “Reminiscences of Alfred D Guion” has ended  and the rest of this story will be the memories of the children as they were growing up.

          Alfred (Lad) Peabody Guion

LAD – When we started grammar school in Trumbull, we had Emma Linley as a teacher.  She and my mother were quite friendly.  In fact, she would take me to the Linley’s house, which was in Nichols, and I’d play with the older brother, Bill.  Later on, when I could ride a bicycle, I used to go there by myself.

We went to grammar school in the house that the Sirene’s bought.  There were two buildings.  The one Dan and I went to was divided into two rooms, first through third grade on one side, fourth through sixth grade on the other side.  The seventh and eighth graders were in the other building.  The two buildings were parallel to White Plains Road with their entrances facing each other.  The town moved that other building to the center of town and made it into a firehouse.  That was quite a project because they had to have the electric company people and the telephone company people going along with the building.  They would take down the wires, and after the building went by, they would put them back up.  I guess I went to Sirene’s house for about three years.

Dan and I started school together in Trumbull.  I was sent back.  I was in second grade in Larchmont but when I got to Trumbull, I was sent back into the first grade and Dan and I started together.  We went right together until seventh or eighth … Dan was more of a scholar than I.  He skipped seventh grade, I think.  I must have skipped a grade (or two) because we didn’t graduate at the same time.  I went to high school first and then Dan came.

When we first moved to Trumbull, I met Art Christie, who was a year or two older than I, but we were pals, we played together all the time.  Later, he went to school in what became the firehouse.  I never got to go to that building, because in 1925, they built Center School, so we went there.  The kids who were in the other building, the old firehouse, went to high school.  They went to Congress High School in Bridgeport, not Central High School.

        Alfred Peabody Guion (Lad)

At Christmas time, when I was in sixth grade, the teachers selected Bill Hennigan and I to go out and get a Christmas tree.  I was a Boy Scout so I had a little hatchet available.  Bill and I went out and found the tree we thought would be satisfactory and cut it down.  I don’t know how it happened, but maybe we were trimming limbs or something at the bottom, but the Axe slipped and hit my knee.  I had quite a bad cut on my knee.  I don’t remember the details now, but they must have bandaged it and took me home or sent me home or something.  It cleared up all right.  Then the next year, Bill and I were selected to go out and get the tree again.  They told me to be careful, and I was, but I cut my knee again.  For the third year, we didn’t do that.

Tomorrow and for the rest of the week, I will be posting more memories the children have about growing up in Trumbull.

Judy Guion