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

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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

The Beginning – REMINISCENCES of Alfred D Guion (8) – A Bloody Nose and a Black Eye – 1890’s

The following memories are quotes from “Reminiscences of Alfred D.  Guion, written in 1960 while he was on a four-months “around the world” freighter trip.

                     The new Grammar School in Mount Vernon, NY

If this is to be a truthful account of my boyhood, I now come to an incident of which I am heartily ashamed.  It happened early in my grammar school days.  I was rather a reserved quiet type who did not enter readily into the rougher sports and for that reason was not generally popular.  There was an aggressive, rather bullying type of youngster, taller and heavier than I, who evidently took a dislike to me and made things rather rough.  Being of a sensitive nature, this bothered me and instead of shrugging the matter off as some youngsters might, it kept building up day by day until it must have shown in my attitude.  It came to a climax one noon recess over a game of marbles or some other trifling thing, resulting in Emil informing me as the noon bell rang that he would wait for me and “get me” when school got out that afternoon.

Frankly, I was afraid and when the closing bell rang, I hung back and tried to think of some question to ask the teacher to delay matters.  It was no use and as I finally went out the door there was Emil with a gang of ten or twelve cheering boys.  I panicked.  I had three or four schoolbooks strapped together and heaving them in Emil’s face, I started to run toward home, which was about four blocks away.  Off I went with Emil and the yelling band after me – a Fox with hounds in full cry behind.

Sometime during the chase I came to my senses.  It might have been pride; shame for the cowardly way I was acting; realizing how far I had fallen from the ideals my family had preached; the fact that running would do no good; that sooner or later I’d have to fight anyway.  Perhaps it was a combination of all, though none very clear-cut.  The net result was that I decided to quit running then and there and fight to the last ditch even if they had to carry me home on a stretcher.  So I stopped on the lawn of Chivvis’s house right across the street from mine and faced my foes.

The boys all gathered around in a circle to watch Emil knock the tar out of me.  And I guess he did.  I know afterwards I had a bloody nose and a black eye.  But now I was determined no power on earth could make me quit.  On and on we slugged it out – it seems for hours- and whenever I got knocked down, which was frequently, and one of the boys would ask me if I’d had enough, I replied, “No!”,  and went after Emil again.

I don’t know how many times this happened but often enough so that after a while the boys saw no more sport in the thing – just a dogged determination on the part of one badly beaten kid to refuse to give up.  We both finally became so weak that neither of us could punch anymore and upon my still refusing to admit I was licked, the boys forcibly separated us and he and his gang went their way and I, with one or two whose sympathy I had belatedly won, went to my home, someone having restored my books.

Next day at school Emil and I shook hands.  He admitted he had me all wrong and I told him I was sorry for the cowardly act of throwing my books at him.  From that day on, Emil and I were very good friends and continued so for a number of years until he died in his early youth, the cause unknown to me.

I’ll continue the week with more stories from Grandpa’s REMINISCENCES of Alfred D Guion.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Dear High School Graduate (1) – Dave’s Graduation and News From Dan – June 25, 1944

David Peabody Guion – (Dave)

Trumbull, Conn., June 25th, 1944

Dear High School Graduate:

There are certain recurring events in the life and progress of my children that serve as steppingstones, aside from birthdays — such as turning you over to the Shelton draft board, and, what I have immediately in mind, graduation. I saw the youngest of my sons receive his diploma last night and it brought back memories of that same occasion for each of you. As far as I can recollect, however, the whole affair as managed the other night at Bassick (High School in Bridgeport, CT) was arranged and conducted in a more satisfactory manner than any of the previous ones — and that opinion has nothing to do with the fact that Dave had any part in it. To be sure he was one of three, out of a total of 26 who had joined the Armed Forces, who was on hand to receive his diploma, and thereby caused a little special ceremony to be enacted. Most of these affairs are too long. This was not. There was no tedious reading of each name and waiting for that person to come forward to receive his parchment to the accompaniment of reiterated and tiresome applause. Each received his diploma in silence as they walked out. All names were printed on the program given to each of the audience. Speeches were not overlong. The whole affair, with a very satisfying aftertaste, was ended by 9:30. So Dave became the “last of the Mohicans”.

Dave got home much earlier than we expected him. He walked into my office Monday, his army uniform plastered to his body by a naughty shower that hit him walking from the station. He looks about the same, healthy but with no additional weight. He seems much interested in the Signal Corps work and hopes, but is not banking on it, of getting a chance at O.C.S. He goes back Tuesday. Red Sirene is also home on furlough and he too goes back Tuesday. Jean’s (Mortensen, Dick’s wife) married brother, in the Marines, is also on furlough and he too goes back Tuesday.

        Daniel Beck Guion – (Dan)

I don’t suppose any of you have had the experience of a 300-pound object resting on your chest, but perhaps you can imagine the relief when he gets off. In that case you may have somewhat of an idea how I felt when I received a V-mail letter from London dated June 6th, as follows: “Today the war seems much nearer to its conclusion than only yesterday. For so long have we been working towards this day that it began to seem that it would never really happen — that it was just a distant “certainty” which we all took for granted — but never quite visualized! This morning I heard the first “rumor” third-hand, by word-of-mouth, ‘Allied paratroops have landed in France’. But false reports had already been spread days ago, and a glance out of the window at the streets of London failed to reveal any abnormality. No church bells, no horns blowing, just the normal traffic — both vehicular and pedestrian. London was characteristically undisturbed on the surface, but by noon-time when I went out to eat, I found that the newspapers had been sold out immediately and the invasion was the predominant topic of discussion. At the Red Cross Club I listened to the radio over which the BBC was broadcasting recordings of the opening stages. Later in the evening the radio was the center of interest. Never have I seen so many of the boys so interested in a news- cast. I suppose each of us realizes how, by a stroke of fate, we might have been one of the men going into France on ‘D’ Day! I am on duty tonight which prevents my finding out how London is spending the evening but I suspect there will be little hilarity because most of the people have friends and relatives in the invasion armies. The fall of Rome created hardly a ripple of excitement, and the staid BBC announced that item in its regular laconic fashion. The newspapers permitted themselves rather large headlines, but certainly not in the manner you could call sensational. I believe today marks the great speeding of the tempo that will carry this degenerate martian symphony to a brief but perhaps terrible coda. Then – peace! and home! and a convalescent world turning toward the healing sun of hope.”

Trumbull – Dan’s Furlough and Dick’s Physical – June, 1942

 

Trumbull, Conn., June 28, 1942

Dear Boys:

Dan-uniform (2)

The big News this week is the telegram I got from Dan Thursday telling me his 10-day furlough had just been granted and to wire him 20 smackers so that he could pay his fare home. He arrived Friday about supper time but alas, having eaten something that did not digest so well along with hot weather, lack of sleep etc., he felt rather low upon arrival, but after heaving up what remained of the causus “belli” and getting some sleep, he attained his pristine condition and has since been luxuriating in doing just what he darned pleases to do whenever and wherever the fancy strikes him. No high-pressure parties or exciting doings such as you see described in LIFE as the typical doughboy on leave doin’s, but all that is necessary is for it to satisfy him. He has to be back by reveille July 4th and there is just a bare possibility I may be able to arrange things so that I can go back with him, stopping at Aberdeen enroute to check up on my other soldier. Of course what I should like to do would be to make this trip via Anchorage and drop in on my pilot son and find out why he doesn’t write a bit more frequently, but until they get that road finished I guess I’ll have to forgo that pleasure. Dan says he has come to place little credence on the many rumors that continually float around as to where his unit might be sent, but one which he hopes will materialize is a report they might be sent to Alaska to do some mapping work.

Dick took his physical at Shelton Tuesday and apparently the doctor found no reason why he should not be acceptable to his Uncle Sammy, so I suppose hefore long I shall be driving my third boy up to the Derby railroad station. Apparently I’m supposed to keep this up indefinitely.

As for your requests, Lad old bean, don’t you know one way to make me happy is to give me something to do for any of you boys. I only regret in true Nathan Hale style that I can do so little. Perhaps I will bring down with me what you want in the way of boxes, watch and coat hangers. If I don’t go I’ll mail them to you. On the battery, I called up Remington Rand and they told me they did not handle these anymore but did give me the name of a concern in the west to whom I immediately wrote for information, prices, but have not yet had a reply. I was a bit puzzled on the razor matter. You asked if we had one we could spare. I could not dope out whether you meant a dry shaver or a safety razor. If the former and you did not have a battery I could not see how that would help it, if the latter, you said the Army had furnished you with a Gillette, so I’m kinder up a tree on that one.

Aunt Betty

 

Aunt Betty says: “Give my love to the boys and tell them I think of them often even though I don’t say anything.”

For your information, Ced, Lad is out of the hospital. His stay was brief and on return to duty he was transferred to Co. D, 8th Bn. for his second period of training. It lasts 8 weeks and he will not be able to get leave until sometime after the middle of July. He is now being trained for a non-com rating and instructorship which means a pretty heavy schedule from _ A.M. to 8 P.M.

And Lad, I have been intending in every letter to tell you that the Gladstone bag with your clothes in it arrived safely. I had the soiled things washed and put away and your woolen outerwear hung in my moth proofed closet.

DAD

*************************************

This penny postcard from Lad to his father, Grandpa, was written on June 30, 1942 and post marked July 1, 1942. It was sent to Grandpa’s business address in Bridgeport, probably because mail sent there would be delivered sooner.Notice there is no zip code. Penny postcards really did exist.

APG - Postal from Lad at Aberdeen - June, 1942

APG - Postal from Lad at Aberdeen - message - June, 1942

Tues. Aft. 6/30/42

Dear Sir:-

I am trying to put 4 years of teacher training into my head in 6 days__!  Wow!!! I shouldn’t even be taking this time, but I have 10 minutes between classes for a smoke and instead of writing my lessons, I’m trying to tell you that this is the longest “letter” you will get this week. I spent Sunday in a little preparatory reading and didn’t write at all. I got your letter this noon and sincerely hope you can find time to make a stop in Aberdeen. However, I would not be able to see you if you come before Friday, I’m afraid. Also, there is a rumor that there may be a parade in Balto (Baltimore?). Saturday, and if so, I may have to go. If so, why not wait here for me to return? Anyhow – here’s hoping. I don’t remember if I mentioned the receipt of the $5.00. Anyhow I got it. Thanks. See you soon, and there goes the whistle – Lad

Tomorrow and Sunday, more Special Pictures.

On Monday, I’ll begin posting a week of letters from 1943. It is December and the is coming to a close.

Judy Guion