This appeared in the Bridgeport Times-Star, November 11, 1937.
Here is a brief article about Grandpa speaking at Center School in Nichols along with a picture.
This appeared in the Bridgeport Times-Star, November 11, 1937.
Here is a brief article about Grandpa speaking at Center School in Nichols along with a picture.
THE BRIDGEPORT TIMES-STAR NOVEMBER 5, 1937
Drive Starts in Trumbull
Against All Fast Drivers
A drive to make the highways of
Trumbull safe for motorists and
pedestrians began this morning
when Town Constables began stop-
ping all cars on the highway and
passed to them the following bulle-
in which appears to the more hu-
man side of the drivers:
GREETINGS TO MOTORISTS
WELCOME TO THE TOWN OF
TRUMBULL, — a town of
some 4000 inhabitants. Records
show an average of 10,000 cars
a day passing through our town.
Many of our highways are too
narrow for present day auto traf-
fic. Homes extend for miles on
both sides of the road. There are
schools, churches and stores.
The absence of sidewalks compels
children and adults to walk in the street.
Please bear these facts in mind
while traveling through our town
in order that lives and property
may be safeguarded.
SPEED RULES, which we be-
lieve are reasonable under ordi-
nary driving conditions, are post-
ed on signs along our highways.
Police officers are instructed, for
your protection as well as for
ours, to see that motorists observe
Drive carefully as you would
like others to drive past your
home under similar circumstances
and thus help us reduce accidents.
Thank you, — and come again.
BOARD OF SELECTMEN
TOWN OF TRUMBULL
First Selectman Alfred D. Guion,
for a number of years, was
prosecutor of the Town Court, comes
to the defense of the Constables
when questioned about the reputa-
tion they have in Bridgeport.
Guion stated that in the past
years those motorists who were
found to be traveling 20 miles an
hour above certain speed zones were
the ones who were brought before
the court. He added further that
the officers are always willing to
listen to the drivers story.
The First Selectman pointed out
that he could send out the consta-
bles on patrol duty and inside of
one afternoon, so many arrests
would be made that it would take
two days in which to dispose the
docket of the court.
Main St., Trumbull and Long Hill,
are the scenes where the big drive
is taking place. More cars pass
over this highway than the average
person believes. It is the only out-
let to the Berkshires between West –
port and New Haven. It is the third
most used highway in the State.
THE BRIDGEPORT TIMES-STAR NOVEMBER 10, 1937
First Selectman Alfred D. Guion,
yesterday, received a letter from
Motor Vehicle Commissioner Mi-
chael A. Connor, commending him
oon his drive against speeders in
the three villages of Nichols, Trum-
bull, and Long Hill, and al-
so added that the passing out of
warnings at stated intervals was
an excellent idea.
About a month ago I was in Trumbull for my high school reunion. After checking in to the local hotel, I took the elevator to my floor and as I stepped out of the elevator, I saw the picture above mounted on the wall. I recognized it as a picture of the seal of the Town of Trumbull and I remembered reading about it in one of Grandpa’s letters. It took a while but I finally found what I was looking for in a letter dated June 18, 1939. This is what he wrote:
“I will not deny that all this political mudslinging and excitement is extremely annoying, disheartening and even worrisome at times and is getting me frightfully disgusted with the whole business so that I feel very much like refusing to be considered for reelection,(Grandpa is currently the First Selectman of the Town of Trumbull) which of course is just what they would like to have all of the town officials who are under fire do, but I am going ahead and trying to do my job as though everything was lovely. Yesterday, for instance, I received a letter from Hartford telling me that the suggestion I have been trying to put over for some months will probably be effective and that is the incorporation in the bridge design they are building for the Merritt Parkway, the seal of the Town of Trumbull, as shown above. That will last long after this petty bickering is forgotten. However I would not be a bit surprised to receive criticism from our carping friends asking what right I had to take upon myself the authority to adopt a seal design for the Town and foist it on the citizens without a town vote.”
Of course I was full of questions. Where was this picture taken? Was the seal ever incorporated in a bridge design on the Merritt Parkway? If so, is it still there? I spoke to a classmate classmate, Doug Honychurch, who still lives in Trumbull, about my questions. He sent me an email with the following information:
I am having problems with forwarding articles, pictures, etc. via email, so at this time I am not able to send you the photos I took of the Trumbull Seal, which was taken from the Huntington Turnpike overpass on the Merritt Parkway and moved to the lawn at the Trumbull Town Hall. The center is not metal, nor is it painted; it is all the color of concrete. Perhaps there is another one somewhere. I will check into that.
It sounds to me like the seal of the Town of Trumbull was indeed incorporated into the bridge design on the Merritt Parkway. I would think there would have been two seals, one visible from the eastbound lanes and the other visible from the westbound lanes. I will continue researching this to find out what happened to the second one and the next time I’m in Trumbull, I’ll try to get a picture of the seal in the lawn at the Trumbull Town Hall.
Tomorrow and Sunday I’ll be posting Special Pictures.
On Monday, I’ll begin a week of letters written in 1941, when Lad has returned from Venezuela and Dick has joined Dan and Ced in Alaska.
Grandpa wrote individual letters to each of his four sons this week. I’ll be posting two today and two tomorrow, but as usual, each son got a copy of all four letters. Grandpa really kept everyone connected and aware of what the others were doing.
October 20, 1940
The score is 100% this week — letters from all four absent ones. Quadrapedes, I’d call it. Yours, acknowledging receipt of the album, written
October 6th, arrived on the 12th, and that’s pretty prompt carriage. I am glad it pleased your fancy. In fact, you appeared to be so much delighted with receiving a package by mail that I have sent another wee package of three little items I picked up in the 5 and 10 cents store. You have not said anything lately about the club and how it is going. Are you still on the board? What sort of games do you play? Can I send little trinkets or favors from time to time that would help?
With Chris’s time nearly up and Mr. Breeding out of circulation, it looks more than ever as though they need your ability and experience.
An interesting letter from Dick says they have rented a cottage at Clearwater Beach, Florida, with the kitchen, bathroom, bedroom, shower room, screened porch in front with a hammock and a daybed; also a refrigerator, hot and cold running water and access to the beach at any time, all for $15 a week (which they succeeded in getting reduced to $13). The water, Dick says, is the clearest he has ever seen with the possible exception of Silver Springs. The sand is very fine and smooth and packs well. Evidently they are having a good time.
I was very glad, of course, to receive your letter written from 454 ½ Mandalay Blvd., Clearwater Beach. You can sing your own song about the road to Mandalay now. It was interesting also to know that you located Aunt Anne. While you did not say so, I assume you stayed the night at her house. Incidentally, I have, since receiving your letter, re-mailed the one that was returned, to her again. Sorry you could not have stopped in Washington and looked up your cousin who wrote me that she was expecting you, had a daughter about your age who was very anxious to meet you, etc.
Donald Whitney stopped in the other night and asked me if I would give him a character reference letter to use in applying for enlistment in the Marine Reserve Corps. Incidentally I served on the local conscription enrollment board which met at Center School. During the day we handled the enrollment of 99 men. There were a total of 330 from Trumbull. Many other Trumbull men of course enrolled in Bridgeport. I am waiting with interest to hear from Dan and Ced on their experiences in Alaska and also whether Lad filled out any application sent to him by his company in New York.
Carl and Ethel are thinking of getting married about February 1st and were hoping to get the apartment about the first of the year so Ethel could furnish it. This may yet be possible if the Times-Star man backs out. I told Karl I would be willing to bet that one of Ced’s great regrets about being in Alaska was the fact that he could not be present at Carl’s wedding to “do his bit”, but that probably Bill Slawson would not need any help at that.
Incidentally, I also heard that it was a strong possibility that Benny Slawson, after enlistment, would be sent to Alaska. Wouldn’t it be something if he was stationed near Anchorage?
How long do you expect to stay at Clearwater Beach? Be sure you let me know what your plans are far enough in advance so there will be time for your letter to reach me and me to get a reply back to you, next mailing stop, before you reach it. Two weeks would be a safe margin, I should say.
Dan is anxious to be kept posted on your doings, and in his last letter says,” Dick, you rat, if you head for Florida let me in on the trip as it progresses. You want to keep a day by day record of it for posterity. It is more fun to read over such a journal in later days than it is to live it. Take it from an old peregrine.”
Ced promises to send me, as soon as he can get it from the photographer, an airview of Anchorage. He also writes he got a bonus with his last paycheck, which may turn out to be a raise. He is a bit modest, but if his boss knows him as well as I do, there would be no doubt about it being a raise. He also mentions finding out in the course of a conversation with the only girl member of the flying club, that she comes from New Milford — usual remark about the world being a small place, etc.
Not much local news that I can think of except that Mr. Davis evidently is a poor loser and claims he is going to make trouble for the new Republican administration. It started by Davis claiming the new First Selectman, Bailey, ought pay him the equivalent of one week of his salary for helping him to get started, based on the premise that that was what he (Davis) did in my case, which is about as cold a lie as anyone could tell.
Tomorrow, I’ll post the other two letters. Then on Saturday, we’ll have another Tribute To Arla and on Sunday, the next installment of Mary E. Wilson’s Autobiography. Next week, we’ll look in on 1943 and see what’s going on with Lad’s engagement as well as what the other boys are up to.
This is the second half of a long letter written by my Grandfather to his sons about several items. Yesterday, my post included Item No. 1 – Biss, Zeke and baby Butch moving out of the apartment and Carl Wayne (Red Horse Service Station) wanting to rent the apartment for Ethel Bushey, his fiance, and himself. Item No. 2 was all about the move of Guion Advertising to their new headquarters on Main Street. This post covers Item No. 3, which Grandpa said was the BIG news, as far as he was concerned.
No. 3 might be termed the BIG ONE, at least as far as yours truly is concerned, and concerns the newest five-wheel addition to the Guion garage. I have been having increasing fuss and bother and expense with the Plymouth. I had difficulty in starting it in the morning, and it worried me as to what I would do in the winter if it were hard to start in the mild weather. The other morning I came out and found a flat in the front left. I had to pump enough air into it to carry me to the gas station, but being unsuccessful, I took a chance on running it over flat.The result was that it did not do the inner tube any good, and in view of the fact that a blowout patch caused a shimmy, ( like we had in one of the other cars, I forget which one), and my spare tire had a blowout patch on it, it seemed necessary to spend more money for a tire. Then one day last week on a very rainy day I found my battery too low to start the car and had to call up the Blue Ribbon to send a man around with a hot shot battery (more expense). When the inspection arrived, and I undoubtedly would have to incur more expense in getting it ready for that, the fact that the windshield wiper was very sluggish and sometimes could not work at all, etc., etc., all created in me an urge to do something about it before cold weather set in. So I wrote to the salesman who had been real nice to let us try out their cars and told them I was in a quandary as to whether to buy the 1940 model at a reduced price now or wait on the chance that the steel market would go up and perhaps permit us to buy a 1941 model, — what have they to suggest?
Bill Schott of Packard was the first to respond. He had a 1940 demonstrator, similar to the one we tried out that he could let us have for $900, based on an allowance of $193 for the Plymouth on the price of $1093 which was their sales price. He pointed out that the Plymouth was really worth about $50 and he would stretch this $93 and take off $100 for the fact that it was a 1940 model and had been run about 3000 miles. The car had no extra equipment, no radiator, heater or other accessories, only standard equipment. They would be repaired, cash payment of $140 in addition. We could have the car at the rate of $70.40 for 20 months.
Willys called and said they had no 1940 Studebaker’s on hand but the new 41 models were better, etc.
Eisenman, of Buick, asked us to come down and look at a 1940 car that had just been turned in by a doctor, who every year bought a new model. This was a little better car than the one he loaned us to try out and that it’s was a super, with practically the same body that the 41 cars had. It had the same length as the Special we were considering but 10 inches wider than the Special and lower. It had five white sidewall tires, the spare had never been used, was two-tone green, had been carefully driven, had run 1300 miles, and installed-at-the-factory a 7-tube radio, factory built and installed air heater, clock, air foam cushions, high-grade tan upholstery, division armrests in rear seat, had been sanitized without the extra cost. Originally, $1389 and white sidewall tires $20 extra. The Plymouth was appraised at $60 but they could allow $135 on it on the sales price of $1050, bringing the net cost to me to $925.
The Nash man also had an ambassador-8, with twin ignition and a number of extras – clock, special steering wheel, air conditioner, divided rear seat armrest, cigar lighter, deluxe floor mats, equipped for radio, but no radio, the original cost of which was $1324, he too, estimated the Plymouth as worth about $60 but he also would allow $125 in a trade it, bringing the net cost to me to $875.
Packard gave a years guarantee, Buick a 30 day guarantee. Then I went back the Buick people, not having heard from the Chrysler at all, and told them I had a better offer from the Nash people. Of course they tried to talk me into doing business with them, how much better turn in value there was in the Buick, etc., but I must’ve looked unconvinced so he went back and talked to Mr. A.L. Clark and finally told me he would knock off $50 but that was final, so I AM AN OWNER OF A BUICK.
Glendale, CA, Buick Club, May 2, 2009
|Date||2 May 2009, 12:00:31|
|Source||Flickr: 1940 Buick Roadmaster – green – rvr|
Both Dick and Dave are wildly enthusiastic and I am a little pleased myself. The only bug in the wood pile is the payments, and right here I must confess that your birthday present, Dan, yours, Ced, the amount to your credit, Dan, which authorized me to use in payment for the sale of the Willys, plus odds and ends of cash I have been able to put by for this purpose for the last year, all went into the kitty, which, plus borrowing to be later paid back as I can, still left me $75 short for which I had to give a 3-day note. Perhaps I was foolish in view of the fact that Dick’s weekly payments cease, the apartment rent stops and my Selectmen’s salary ceases, but there is still the hope stock market may boom a bit if the right man is elected in November, so keep your fingers crossed and remember me in your prayers. “Nothing ventured, nothing won” in true gambler’s spirit. So there you have item No. 3. Dick is almost ready to give up his trip with Bobby Kascak in order to drive the new car – OCCASIONALLY.
Now to come back to the reason for this letter being late. Last night, Dick was so anxious to drive the car before he went away and wanted so much to use it in driving the gang to New York, that I let him have it for the evening. This threw into the discard a promise I made to Dave to take him to see “The Ramparts We Watched” Saturday PM if he cleaned the downstairs, which he did. I then arranged to have an early dinner today so we could go to the afternoon show because Dave had a Young People’s meeting at seven. Dick was supposed to go to a football game but thought he would be able to be home at 1:30. I had prepared a special going away dinner for him and told him it would be ready at 1:30. It was. No Dick. 2:30, no Dick, so Dave and I ate. At 3:30 Dick had not even been put in an appearance, so we left anyway and have just gotten back. I have not seen Dick since but suppose he will show up before he leaves which he expects to do at about 10:30. They expect to drive all night and spent the day in Washington, and then on South, eventually to Clearwater, Florida, where they have heard some Trumbull people live and where they expect to get a job. Depending on circumstances, they may head for California but there is a chance that they will be back in time to eat Thanksgiving dinner at the Knolls, where we have been invited by Aunt Betty.
Dave, today, “joined the church.” His school work is going satisfactorily, he is thrilled with the new car and he told me tonight the world looked rosy, or words to that effect.
Your birthday letters to him with their “interesting” enclosures arrived a day or so late but were nonetheless welcome on that account. On your account, Lad, I gave him a five dollar bill for clothes and promised to have his watch fixed at the jewelers. The latter, I have since learned, will cost about five dollars, which is more than I anticipated, so if you think a total of $10 is a little steep, say the word and we will make some other arrangement.
Your interesting letter, Lad, written on the 23rd, contains news that will surprise Dan. I referred to the fact that Fred Chion is working for Socony-Vacuum on a road construction gang. He has sent his wife back to the states because the country did not agree with her. It is a coincidence that I should have sent you his letter to Dan, last week. Thanks for your letter, Ced, re: the ski slide and your airplane drunk.
Good night, my boys three.
Tomorrow will be another Tribute to Arla and on Sunday, we’ll check in to 1943 and find out what is happening to Lad, in California, Dan in England, Dick in Brazil and Ced in Alaska. We’ll take a break on Tuesday, the 11th, for another Guest Post from gpcox about the involvement of Hollywood in the War effort. We’ll finish out the week in 1943.
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.
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.
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
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.
The total destruction of a house leads the weekly news from Trumbull to Venezuela this week. Grandpa follows up with news of family and friends, keeping Lad in the loop.
November 12, 1939
I think in my last letter I described to you how the storm caused the lights to go out. There is a sequel to the incident which did not develop until the following morning when the Trumbull fire siren woke us up about daylight. Then shortly after, a second alarm brought over the Long Hill apparatus. Later I learned what it was all about. The Levy’s had been up over the weekend and when they left, Mrs. Levy turned the regulator down to 40 so that the pipes would not freeze in the event of a cold snap. The theory is that when the current went off, the oil burner flame went out but the oil continued to flow and then when the current went on again and the spark ignited the excess oil. There being nobody home, it had time to get a good start, burning up through the cellar and then to the second floor and finally through the roof when the man living in the house opposite, on his way down to work, noticed the smoke and flames and turned in the alarm. By that time most of the inside of the house was completely gutted and many fine pieces of furniture destroyed. The grand piano had fallen down into the basement. The loss was estimated at about $10,000. Erwin Laufer had his baptism as a Constable doing traffic duty in the absence of the regular constables.
Trumbull now has a Police Commission consisting of Mr. Mahoney, the head at the district office of the John Hancock, in which company you have your policy, and who lives opposite Johnny Austin; Mr. Richard Brown of Nichols, and Howard Lane, Elvy Lane’s brother, who lives on Cedar Crest Road. The plan is to hold an examination soon, to be prepared by the state police department and those holding the highest marks will be appointed as regular salaried policeman for the town by the Police Commission.
Things at home here are running along about the same. My new grandson seems to be getting along nicely. Mack is getting heavier, and in spite of the fact that we’re trying to keep his diet down so he does not get too portly, he seems to be hungry most of the time. Dan usually leaves Sunday night and comes back from the University of Conn. at Storrs on Friday. Ced still has his unearthly hours of work when everybody else is asleep and he sleeps when the rest of us are awake. Dick and Dave are still going to high school. Dick has only three subjects and, according to his last report card, is doing very well. Dave, while he is studying very faithfully, is not making very good marks, particularly in Latin.
Dan and Barbara, Ced and Jane Mantle all went down to the horse show last night in Madison Square Garden. It was Barbara’s idea and the others did not think they would enjoy it very much, and perhaps for that reason, they had a pretty good time. Ced is all aroused right now about a new scheme that a fellow named Streit has proposed about a sort of United States of the world, in which all the democracies would pool their fighting forces and raw materials and currencies but maintaining their own internal forms of government. He saw the article first in LIFE and wrote a letter to them and I believe if a branch league of the proposed organization were started here, Ced would join it. He has just learned that Mrs. Hughes knows the author very well, having, in fact, going to school with him.
Just after dinner while Dan was washing the dishes, Ray Wang dropped in. He and his mother were up on a visit. His father is back at work again but is not feeling okay yet.
Last night Dick went to a party at Kascak’s and this morning, because the minister was away, was designated to assist the substitute minister in running the morning church service.
No letter arrived from you this past week so I am looking forward to two letters this week.
I have invited Aunt Betty up for Thanksgiving which occurs in Connecticut on the 30th, while in New York it is set for the 23rd.* I haven’t heard from Aunt Elsie and I have invited none of the New Rochelle folks, principally because of the lack of funds.
I haven’t heard yet whether Cecelia got her flowers and cigarettes, and you also have not told me whether you want me to renew your driver’s license and your P. S. license.
Ced has put up practically all the storm windows and yesterday afternoon Dan and Dick took all the accumulated ashes out of the cellar and spread them on the drive. We have not yet started the furnace, trying to get along as long as we can with the oil stoves and fireplaces. I have to get some coal some way and start the furnace for Thanksgiving on account of Aunt Betty. If I can weather the financial storm this first year, my hope is that business will pick up and enable us to get by. At present (with the $165 a month Selectman’s salary out), I am not quite able to cover monthly expenses with the income. This is the one thing that worries me more than anything else right now.
It occurs to me that every letter I write has this sour note in it, which is not pleasant for you, and I shall therefore cut out all references to financial difficulties in future letters. There is no use making you the safety valve when I have to blow off steam occasionally.
Have you heard anything recently as to how much of the road is completed that was supposed to connect North and South America? I believe it is entirely finished now as far as Mexico City, but I am wondering if a continuous highway has yet been constructed through Central America, and if it would be possible to drive down, say to Ciudad Boliva, with a fair chance of reaching one’s destination without chartering a marsh buggy.
Dave informs me that Cecelia told him the other day she had ordered a new Ford car. Probably you know all about this.
Election Day in Bridgeport resulted in McLevy going back again for a couple of years, which of course was expected. The voting, however, showed a tendency of not giving him such a large majority as in past years, both the Republican and Democratic votes coming up.
And that’s about all I can think of to keep you up with Trumbull doings. Any inquiries about things or people will have my best attention. Meantime, don’t overeat on turkey and plum pudding of Thanksgiving.
* Thanksgiving or Thanksgiving Day, currently celebrated on the fourth Thursday in November by federal legislation in 1941, has been an annual tradition in the United States by presidential proclamation since 1863 and by state legislation since the Founding Fathers of the United States.
Tomorrow, we’ll be continuing with more news from 1939. Share this blog with others you know who might enjoy this look back at history viewed by one particular family.
It’s 1939 and Lad, the oldest, is in Venezuela working for the Socony-Vacuum Oil Company as a troubleshooting mechanic. This letter is from Cliff Wells, owner of the Trumbull Coach Line Inc. where Lad worked before he went to Venezuela. He has known Cliff for a long time since they both grew up in Trumbull, although Cliff is a bit older than Lad.
October 8, 1939
Gee! I certainly was surprised to receive your letter. Not only surprised but pleased. I received your letter last Wednesday which was October 4. I was just about to write you again because I was talking to Cecilia (Babe) and she said that there could be a possibility that you did not receive my last letter. You asked how ”Babe” was because you
had not heard from her in a long time. I don’t want to make you feel badly or feel homesick but the last time I saw her she looked swell. And when I say swell, I mean swell. I started off talking about” Babe” because I believe that is what you are most interested in, but I will now go on to the less important things.
I am writing this letter tonight because Dot and a group of girls have started a bowling team and bowl on Monday nights so that leaves me home alone as baby tender, results, an answer to your letter.
The Trumbull Coach Line Inc. has been doing all right this summer. We have had approximately 75 trips to the New York World’s Fair and there are about 10 more on the books for the rest of this month. I was down there yesterday (Sunday) with Walter, two buses (2 & 9), Dan is down today and is going down again tomorrow (Tuesday) and that is just about the way it has been all summer. High school football is now underway and you should know what that means.
I don’t know whether I told you in my last letter or not but we did a motor job on # 3 (Big Stud) kingpins and clutch and had it inspected in New York State and have kept it busy all summer also. Eddie has worked steady all summer, in fact to steady, he says. We did valve jobs on 4 – 6 – 7 – 8 this summer along with the rest of the work we had. Eddie has been driving # 3 all summer, New York World’s Fair several times, Springfield, Poughkeepsie, etc. Dan went to Boston for Greyhound on Labor Day.
And now for the big news: we bought another bus, a GMC three sizes bigger than #9 with the Bender body. I think it should be a swell bus but we will not get delivery on it until about the 21st of this month so I can’t say too much yet, 37 passengers adult, 55 children.
We received a contract for another bus for school work in the town of Fairfield. That makes three buses over there now. The C. R. & L. gave up the work over there so we
almost had two more contracts over there besides the one we did receive. Do you remember Perry? He is working for us again.
I went on a short vacation to Cape Cod this summer with Dot and her brother and his wife, Thursday through Sunday. While I was away Dan went to the World’s Fair four days in succession. Maybe I sound as though business is too good. It isn’t. The fleet has held up remarkably well this summer though.
Am sorry to hear that you are getting homesick, because I gather from what you tell me, that you have a good future ahead of you there. I suppose you will know before this that your Dad lost out as First Selectman. You never can tell about politics.
The Bowling League just got started for this year last Thursday night. I can’t tell you much about it yet except that our team was so good last year that there is a new set of teams this year. Speaking of politics as I was, Erwin Laufer is now a Constable. He also has a bad case on Helen Berks so I have been told and have been able to observe. Now that this is getting into the second sheet I think I shall start to end up because you will be so tired of reading and you will not send an answer.
I am glad to hear that you are working on diesels now because I believe that you enjoy that type of work. The Merritt Parkway is fast nearing completion. Traffic is now using it through to Nichols one-way on Saturdays for the Yale football games and it is expected to be completed for traffic two ways in about three weeks. There is an entrance and exit off White Plains Rd., at Mack’s, all completed, so you can see how convenient it is going to be for us.
I went down to the Yankee Stadium last Thursday to see the second World Series game between the New York Yankees and the Cincinnati Reds. I don’t suppose you care but the Yankees won the series in four straight games, setting a new record.
I will now tell you something which should make you feel good. Every time I see “Babe” the first thing she mentions is you. This is an actual fact, not something added to
make you feel good. I have referred to Miss Mullins in this letter as “Babe”. I trust that neither you nor she have any objections to this.
I guess I have said about everything I can think of now that will interest you. I could rattle on here for hours but I don’t suppose it would make sense so I will say So-Long. Just before Dot left tonight she said she wanted to add a P. S. to this letter so I cannot seal it yet.
Lots of luck
P. S. (Reserved for Mrs. C. H. Wells)
As Cliff has taken the typewriter back home and he has the ink in the garage (I think he’ll take me to the garage next!), please excuse the pencil — how’s your foreign country? I think I still like Trumbull air. At least I’m still getting fat. Better where you are though, then Europe. As you can see by this letter I have been a bus widow all summer, getting to the fair twice myself. I drove down by myself once with Bootsie, with many a wrong turn (Good for me), still hoping to go once more. Now for the purpose of this P. S. your salutation in your last letter was ”Dear Cliff, Dot, etc.” – were you undecided as to the number in our family now? It’s still Cliff, Dot, Bootsie and Joan. He says that’s all – in our last edition of Esquire there was a picture of a woman in bed in a hospital, talking with a woman visitor – and she says “Henry says no more, but you know Henry.” (I might add Cliff’s middle name is Henry) Cliff showed that to me – very special. As you probably know Bootsie isn’t in “Babe’s” room now, but she might just as well be. She’s in visiting all the time. I think I’m getting old – Bootsie is in third grade and Joan is going on three years old. Remember the day Cliff brought us home from the hospital? She looks a whole lot different today. Long curls just like Bootsie, a duplicate of Bootsie.
I better close now. Suppose “Babe” will mind that I wrote this note to you?
Tomorrow, we’ll move forward to 1943 when three of Grandpa’s sons are in the Army and a fourth is working at an airfield taken over by the military in Alaska. We’ll spend a few days catching up on the family news before I begin the storyline of Arla Mary Peabody Guion, Grandpa’s wife and the mother of these six children that you’ve read so much about.
The election is over and Grandpa has lost his bid to continue leading Trumbull as it’s First Selectman. He remains on the Board of Selectmen but the position doesn’t mean very much. Lad, his oldest son, is working in Venezuela as a Troubleshooter Mechanic traveling from camp to camp repairing trucks and equipment the other mechanics are having problems with. He doesn’t get to write home as much as Grandpa would like, but Grandpa continues to write to him every week, sending news of the home-folks. I think it helps them both feel connected.
October 8, 1939
Dear Oil King;
There is very little to record of interest, as I sit down to ramble on in conversation (monologue) to my absentee son. So here goes as the small things that made up everyday life for the past week occurred to me. Due to the fact that business is still very slow and that George Elliott has apparently been very inattentive to his job lately I was forced to tell him this week that we could dispense with his services. That leaves George Lipovsky and Miss Denes and myself as the entire Guion Company. There has been talk about business picking up but we have not felt it in our line. And as my only source of income now is what you send, what Ced contributes, the $20 a month from the apartment rent and what I get from the office (eight dollars last week) it looks like a lean winter. The loss of $165 a month from the Selectmen’s salary naturally puts quite
crimp in one’s plans. By the same token, the $50 a month which you so generously authorized me to extract from your salary looms up quite important in the scheme of things and makes me exceedingly grateful that I have the kind of sons that generously help out without making me feel too guilty about using their hard-earned cash. Incidentally I receive checks regularly from your New York office at the end of each month.
The ”gang” went up to the Danbury Fair yesterday. It was an ideal fall day and they report having a good time. There was no particular excitement, although there was one of the drivers that crashed through the fence before they arrived. I did not go as I had several jobs to do (1) wax the kitchen linoleum (2) vacuum clean the alcove, living room, lower Hall, upper Hall, my room, bathroom (3) rearrange the furniture in my room, including the extension of electric light wires which, because of a faulty wire used, caused a fuse to blow out. The boys stopped on the way back at the Pines and watched the dancing. Dave went to the movies with Mr. Keating last night.
Ethel came in a minute ago with Carl and said that Marie Page was engaged to a fellow named Herbert Hoey, who lives on Long Island. He is a graduate of Harding and he thought you might have met him.
Dan came home Friday and reported he had had a blowout on the way up with the Packard but got along all right with the spare. Ced had been expecting tire trouble for some time but this was the first trouble of this sort the car has had since you left. I took Dan’s portable typewriter down to Mr. Mullins this week. It was in pretty bad shape after going through the tropics and cost $10 to fix up.
Davis, the town’s new selectmen has taken office and I am out. Certainly I am still one of the selectmen but it does not mean much. Sexton is still keeping up his campaign of destruction. He is now raking up an item of $75 which was received by Mr. Bradley in return for the sale by the town of the pump to raise water from the Town Hall well and which was no longer needed when they installed city water. Unfortunately the treasurer’s books do not show receiving the money, so Sexton implies of course that the money was stolen. How it will come out I have no idea. Luckily he has been unable to find anything on me yet, but I suppose it is possible he may uncover some innocent mistake of some sort he can enlarge upon until it looks like a major crime.
I think I told you in the letter I mailed Tuesday that I had just received your two letters written respectively on the 14th and 22nd. In the latter you said you would look up some of the questions I have asked from time to time and might find some time in the near future to get a breathing spell when you can catch up on some of these things, so I am hoping that next week I will get another full length epistle. I of course gave your enclosure to Dave as requested.
I shall be interested to know if it was the fuel pump that was the cause of your not being able to get the diesel truck running. Incidentally that note from Buda was only one of several diesel pieces of literature I asked to be sent to you in the hope that you might get some useful hints in connection with your repair jobs. Am interested to know whether you went to the bullfights and whether it was interesting. It must’ve been interesting to meet Mr. Cappucio again. Seems to me you are getting quite as much experience as an electrician as on diesel work. You never can tell when every experience will stand you in good stead in the future.
Have heard nothing from the New Rochelle folks for some time, so I suppose Grandma is getting along all right. Don’t know what progress Ted has made, if any, I’m getting a job or collecting back salary from InterAmerica. I also don’t know what Dan has done in the way of trying to collect back salary still owing him to the extent of some $400. I also would like to know what happened on your claim. Why don’t you make an X mark on the margins of my letters as you get them to indicate questions to answer or things to write about, just so you won’t have to wade through a lot of the small talk I have written to pick out the items that call for replied.
Aunt Betty has just sent a clipping from the New York Herald being an article on Venezuela’s oil fields which I am sending along for your information. Evidently you can go out some weekend and come back with a satchel full of gold or diamonds. Perhaps you met this man Doyle they mention. It will be interesting to have your comments on what is said.
With your interesting style of writing and your technical knowledge combined with your opportunity to make first-hand observations in this interesting foreign country, it occurs to me that if you had the time or took the time you could undoubtedly increase your income by writing articles for various trade magazines in this country on some phases of work down there. I could try to market these articles for you. You remember Mr. Westbrook, perhaps, whom we visited in Center Conway, New Hampshire, who’s business was writing articles for technical and trade papers? The magazines are hungry for articles of this sort, and I am sure you could write some very acceptable papers. For instance, here are a few topics which it occurred to me as suggestions: “Operating Problems of Diesel Trucks in Venezuelan Oilfields”, “Life in the Venezuelan Oil Camp”, “A Typical Day’s Work of a Troubleshooter in an Oil Field In the Tropics”, “An Americans Experiences in Venezuela”, etc. What do you think of the idea? With that thought for the day, I suppose I close this attempt at letter writing to my faithful old curly headed Lad.
As always, your admiring
The following is an article that I believe was published in The Bridgeport Post some time in October, 1939, just before the town elections.
The Bridgeport Post
BY Don Quaintance
15 years ago, if someone had suggested to Alfred D Guion, that he enter the political arena, he would have laughed, shrugged, and labeled the suggestor a wag. At that time he
was Advertising Director of a big industrial concern.
But today, he plays his role of leader to Trumbull’s 5000 citizens with the skill born of true executive ability.
Trumbull can thank the depression for Guion. For if business conditions in the advertising field had been better than they were, he would still be plotting nationwide advertising campaigns, working far into the night, with no time for the mundane tasks of a New England town selectmen.
Guion has been in the advertising business most of his life. He spent six years of it as Advertising Manager of the Bridgeport Brass Company, and also held executive jobs with Allied Chemical, the Celluloid Company of New York and Century Company Publishers.
His entrance into the field of public service was inspired, he says, by the late Mrs. Guion, the former Arla Peabody of Mount Vernon, New York. Those who knew her can readily understand since the Sales Manager’s wife was devoted to the community in which she lived. An ardent worker for civic improvements, she never tired of doing things for other people – little kindnesses, in addition to large-scale organizing for new roads, Social Service and better local government.
There are many who remember Arla Guion and her work, her friendliness. She took care of her own home and was interested in work that made for the betterment of
Trumbull. In addition to that she inspired a career. Those who get to know the First Selectman, regard him as an all-around booster. He never knocks. As a matter of fact, he is rather inclined to be indulgent, deplores, for instance, the town’s self-separation into Trumbull – Nichols – Long Hill. He thinks it should be all one, and becomes very unhappy at the “feeling” between the sections which crops out at intervals.
According to Guion, there should be no “cross the railroad tracks. If that’s going to be the case”, he says,” let’s tear up the railroad tracks.”
Guion’s political ideology is predominately Republican, although locally, he says, politics shouldn’t mean a thing.” He knows his people so well, who serves a small
community, that It’s always the individual work of the man that counts, rather than his politics,” he maintains.
“In a community minded town liked Trumbull, for instance, political questions affecting the state or nation have no place. The only local interest should be the common welfare. Because of this belief Guion has more than once discussed the prospect of a change in the form of Trumbull’s town government, from the unwieldy town meeting system to a nonpartisan, businesslike town managership. “There should be no selfish axes to grind, and the nonpartisan governments should take an interest in such things as education and the religious activities instead of some of the things they do now”.
Guion proves beyond a doubt that he is a square shooter where, regardless of his political following, he makes open declarations of where he stands. “I’m convinced that Trumbull could get a good deal more for its taxes than most critics would be willing to admit” – redeeming it with,” and that’s what we are constantly striving to do.”
Alfred Duryee Guion was born September 11, 1884, son of Alfred Beck and Ella (Duryee) Guion in the city of New York. He went to Mount Vernon high school and took a B.S.C. at the NYU School of Commerce, Accounts and Finance in 1912.
Mr. Guion has six children, five of them boys; Alfred, Daniel, Cedric, Richard and David; and the sixth, a girl, Elizabeth.
He was employed in various corporations in New York from 1912 to 1921, throughout the war period and was associated with the Bridgeport Brass Company during the next decade. In 1929, he formed his own Corporation, the Alfred D Guion and Company Advertising Agency and has been President and Director since.
He has served as Justice of the Peace since 1928 and was assistant prosecutor of the town court in 1934-5.
He is a member of Delta Sigma Phi fraternity, is a Mason and a member of the Algonquin Club.
True, he has an impressive business and public service record, but the private life of Mr. Guion is much more intriguing.
His hobby, to begin with, is cooking. Like many other business executives of today, he is an expert chef. Along these lines, he likes home life and has five sons and one daughter. His “oldest boy” is in charge of the mechanical equipment on an oil well in Venezuela. Another son, has been building a road through the jungles of Central America, is now visiting his father in Trumbull, and will continue college work in geology in the fall.
The first Selectman of this landlocked town likes water and boating. He has often dreamed of owning a yacht, just like most of the other people in town. If he had the money, that’s what he might do.
He likes dogs. He has one at home called “Mack”, short for Mackenzie, the son of an Alaskan malamute brought by a friend from the Mackenzie River in Alaska.
He loves to read ancient history, mysteries and sea stories. He says it permits him to relax.
Best known of Guion’s social activities, of course, are those which take him out among his neighbors. Primary among these is interest in young people. He is a member of the national and local Boy Scout councils and an executive board member of Pomperaug Council.
He is vitally interested in promoting the activity of young people in Trumbull. He thinks more young folks should be interested in government. “They’ll be running the show tomorrow”, he says.
Guion likes the youngsters and they like Guion. It’s not supposed to be known, of course, but rarely do they approach him for a favor to ask that he is not granted with alacrity. Locally, the First Selectman favors bipartisan boards and commissions, which in many towns, have found constant opposition from the parties in political power.
The “hecklers” rap him in print and speech, he usually refrains from defending his actions, believing in the old adage “Don’t chase a lie, let it alone and it will run itself to death.”
Grandpa was defeated this time after serving for two years. He has very mixed feelings which he explores more in tomorrow’s post.
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