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

St. Petersburg Adventure (5) – My Birthday – January, 1935

 

It’s 1935 and 16-year-old Biss in St. Petersburg, Florida. She is living with her Aunt Anne (Peabody) Stanley and helping to care for her children, Don and Gwen. Christmas, 1934, has come and gone and Biss is back in school.

 

Elizabeth (Biss) Westlin Guion

Elizabeth (Biss) Westlin Guion

Wednesday afternoon

4:31 PM

January 16, 1935

Dear Dad:

I sent you a letter already saying I got the check and thanking you very much for it. It was a surprise to get it for I hadn’t expected an allowance for this month. I had a very nice birthday. I am sorry to say that Dan left two days ago (Monday) although I imagine you know that by now for I expect he has sent you a card. (This is the only mention of Dan making a trip to Florida to visit Biss.  How long did he stay? How did he travel? Did he travel with anyone else? I have no idea.)

I am glad Dick has improved in his school work. How about Dave? It is very nice that Paul (Warden, living in the apartment with his wife) has at last gotten the job.

We ate at the “Gypsy Inn” as a special treat on my birthday and after we got home they had a surprise ready for me by way of a special treat, ice cream and cake and plenty of presents. It was a double surprise, for I hadn’t expected a thing seeing as how I had got one present last year and then to add to that by you coming down for this year. I didn’t see how I could get any.

I am glad (in a way) that they have been busy down at the office for that should certainly be a good sign if anything is. We took Dan about 5 miles beyond Brookesville. (Perhaps Dan (19 at the time) was hitchhiking?)

Well, I want to write a letter, I mean finish a letter I started Friday to Marie P. and send all three tonight, although they won’t go out until tomorrow, I don’t believe.

I will send a Coquina shell up in this letter to show you what they look like when fixed up.

Love,

Biss

P.S. Tell Alfred that I am hoping to hear from him,and also from Dick and Dave. I’m writing on the bed in leisurely fashion, that is why my writing isn’t very plain.

Biss

It sounds like Biss had a special surprise for the holidays. It seems that her brother Dan made the trip to Florida to see her. I’m sure, with her birthday being January 6th, she probably got short-changed over the years.

Judy Guion

St. Petersburg Adventure (4) – Thanksgiving Was Awful! (2) – December 6, 1934-

This is the rest of the letter written to Grandpa on December 6th about a Thanksgiving Biss just could not enjoy. I’m sure she was homesick for Trumbull and was having a difficult time adjusting to this new life.

Art Mantle, Biss and Alfred (Lad) 

The next day we started for St. Pete at about 10 AM and we got back around 11. I drove about halfway. Then we changed into our bathing suits and went to St. Pete Beach. I stayed on the beach for about an hour then went up to the car and took a nap. We came home about six o’clock. I think we went into town for dinner.

The next day Mr. Bailey and the Farmers came and stayed overnight and we went to the beach the next day. I stayed for about three hours then got in the car and took a nap. In other words every weekend we go to the beach and I get into the car. That last one was a mistake. I got into the car and stayed for a half hour just thinking, when they came up after me and told me to come fishing with them. We fished for about two hours and caught eight fish.

Then we came back and ate on the beach. Mr. Bailey had brought some steaks. We didn’t cook the fish there because it was late and would take too much time to cook.

Is the furnace fixed? I gather that Alfred is the caretaker for the furnace?

I should think you would have saved some money by buying your overcoat now instead of dyeing your spring coat – seeing as you have to buy one anyway. That was like saving $.50 and spending a dollar. Aunt Anne does realize what you are up against because she’s up against the exact same thing.

She suggested $10 and I just added more and didn’t have room to explain the whole thing. That ten was for all my extra expenses including dental work. I have all the books I need at present. Later on I have to get another book for English and one for French.

I will see about the Chamber of Commerce – you know we have no phone, otherwise, I would have given you the number long ago.

Tonsillitis is catching so I don’t think it wise for David to play with her or else you’ll have another doctor bill on hand. It rained a few drops last evening. Cloudy half the day today.

School closes the 21st and opens the 7th. Don and Gwen like anything that Dick or Dave would – Anne – you know. I don’t know what I want although I would like a Hawaiian guitar, fairly good – if possible.

Love,

Biss

Tomorrow I will begin posting the last few letters in 1944 and the beginning of 1945. All five of Grandpa’s sons are helping Uncle Sam win the War. Both Lad and Dan are in France, Ced is in Alaska, Dick is in Brazil and Dave is in Okinawa. Jean (Mrs. Dick) and Marian (Mrs. Alfred or Lad) are helping Grandpa keep the home fires burning while waiting for their husbands to come home.

Judy Guion

St. Petersburg Adventure (3) – Thanksgiving was Awful! (1) – December 5 and 6, 1934

 

Having had a New England Thanksgiving dinner her whole life, Biss can’t quite accept spending the day at the beach. It just doesn’t feel right!

Elizabeth Westlin Guion and Mack

Wednesday, 3:45

Study Hall

December 5, 1934

Dear Dick,

You forgot to tell me about the Shrine Circus your teacher took you to see. What is your teacher’s name? I am still in seventh period. I was half a minute late yesterday so I

Elizabeth (Biss) Westlin Guion

have to stay one whole hour. Isn’t that the dumbest luck? I have been writing all afternoon and my hand is tired. That is why my writing looks so funny.

What became of that hut out by the playhouse? What were your marks in school? Marks close Friday down here, I think.

Thanksgiving was awful! We went to see Mr. Bailey but I don’t like him and then he took us to the beach. I don’t like the beach either. I saw a peachy collie at the hotel where Mr. Bailey stays. Mr. Bailey is going to spend Christmas with us too. Darn it. If Alfred would come down, which he wants, it would be all right for us kids and I suppose we must make the best of it because he likes Aunt Anne. She is going to see if Uncle Fred won’t come down. I only have 5 minutes of my seventh period left. Aunt Anne is going to call for me and then we are going to the movies. Dave can tell you what one we are going to see. I am sorry my reply has been so tardy but it takes time to write to each one of you and answer your letters. I want to glance over your letter and it is at home – please don’t call me Bets. How was Dick and Mrs. Boyce. Methinks I better write to them.

Love,

Biss

&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&

Thursday, 4:20 PM

December 6, 1934

Dining room

Dear Dad:

You certainly wrote a letter and a half. I will try to answer it fully. Right now Don and Billy are out in back playing marbles. Billy is a little boy who lives across the street. Gwen is out riding on her bicycle. Aunt Anne is over in Tampa at the Farmer’s. She is going to stay overnight so I am chief cook and bottle washer.

I wished that I was home for Thanksgiving. It didn’t seem at all holiday-ish to me. We got up early – 8:15 AM – and got the work done and took baths. At about 10:45 AM we got into the car and drove over to Tampa to Mr. Bailey’s hotel. We arrived at 11:15 and got into our bathing suits.

Then we drove over to the Farmers and waited while Mrs. Farmer and Mr. Bailey got ready. We waited there for about 15 minutes then went down to pick up Mr. Farmer who had to work at his office for a while. We then went to Clearwater to swim. Mr. Farmer changed into his bathing suit there. No one went in until Mr. Farmer was ready for everyone was tired and wanted to rest.

We stayed there until 5:30. I stayed on the beach until 3:30 and then went to the car and took a nap. I don’t like salt water and I don’t like Mr. Bailey so I had more fun in the car.

We went back to the hotel to change and Mr. Bailey took Mr. and Mrs. Farmer home and they changed. They got back in about half an hour. We then ate dinner – which was pretty good considering where we ate it – down in the dining room of Mr. Bailey’s hotel. In the middle of the dinner an old man came in with a collie and stayed for a minute – that was the best part of the whole meal.

By then it was about 7:30 PM so Don and Gwen went to bed or at least lay down on Mr. Bailey’s bed. They all went up two stories and had a get together. I stayed until 10 then went down to the lobby where a girl was sitting. I talked to her for a few minutes and then a boy came and took her out – thank goodness.  At 11 Aunt Anne decided to stay over so we registered and went to bed.

Next Saturday I’ll finish the letter Biss is writing to her Father concerning other happenings in Florida.

Judy Guion

 

St. Petersburg Adventure (2) – Dear Dad – The Lion And Football – November 14, 1934

 

My Aunt Bissie has been in St. Petersburg for about a month now and seems to be getting annoyed at the boys – and girls – who promised to write and haven’t. She starts her letter to Dick by trying to sound like a Southern Belle but gives up on that rather quickly. I guess it just wasn’t her style.

               Gwen Stanley

November 14th, 1934

Dear Dad,

I had too much ink on my pen. I ran out of paper so I had to buy this new paper so now I ain’t got no sense (cents) left. I am glad to hear that you will soon have your jury work over with although I suppose you will miss the money that you have been getting. I am glad Dick had a chance to go to the circus.  Gwen insists that there is a lion around here running loose because she heard it roar – it sounds to me like a cow in distress. She heard a dog yelp and has told everyone around here that it (the lion) ate the dog up because it stopped yelping.

Are all of you going down at once or into groups the way Mrs. Burnham suggested? I am sorry the well isn’t anymore, I thought it very picturesque and pretty. I’m sure if I had been at home I would’ve kicked up a big fuss so I think it’s just as well that I am down here.

Did it snow hard? I got a letter from Aunt Betty in answer to the one I sent her and have  written another one to her. I’ll have to look up the actors and actresses as I don’t know any. My brain isn’t working today anyway – which isn’t anything unusual. I have just finished giving my room its weekly cleaning and Aunt Anne now has to vacuum cleaner and is doing her room. As soon as I finish this letter I have to peel potatoes for the potato salad tonight.

I got your letter about 10 minutes ago, just before I finished my room. I sat down to answer it as soon as my room was finished and expect to have it start out for Trumbull in about an hour or an hour and a half. Tell Mr. Laufer to write to me and to tell Erwin to write to me. I got a letter from Si yesterday and I can’t think straight now – at least that’s what I told Si. I still think he is my favorite of the whole gang because he gets into so much mischief.

Love

Bissie

P.S. -I am going to the football game this afternoon. I hope we win.

Dear Dick – (Ricardo)

Ah have decided ta rest mah weary bones by sittin’ me down and writen ya a lettah. I pardoned ya pencil for I realize that may hap you haven’t any pen, Hey what? Or was it because you couldn’t find it? I’m very sorry you didn’t write sooner and I hope you will answer this one in record time. I am actually writing this the day after instead of the same day. I can imagine just how busy you have been lately. I didn’t cut on the dotted line like you asked me to but I showed the letter to him – what on earth took you 10 minutes between the time you wrote me and the time you wrote to Dan? I am sorry about your finger if you are but otherwise I didn’t worry. Has Ced built-up the snow house yet? I suppose you will help him with it – Dave too.

If you think I am nuts – I know you are NUTZ and seeing  as you demanded who won I won’t tell you !! So there— the score was Hillsboro: 13 and St. Petersburg: 7. We went to see another game but I don’t know what the score was. I just know that we lost. This Saturday we might go to see another game. Last night we were invited to tea by Cmdr. Berry of the Trenton – a cruiser (you know – next smallest to the battleship). He had a special motorboat sent over to get us and we ate in a little private dining room. I had both lemonade and tea. Gee, they were good – what crackers they served! Boy! Oh boy!! Oh Boy! Oh Boy! We also had cinnamon toast and little sandwiches. I’m writing this letter to you instead of doing my homework like I should be doing. I ran out of paper (writing) so I am using this school paper for you. I am in sixth period (study). Ask Mary if she got my letter and if she did, give her a bawling out for me. Show her this part of the letter or the whole thing if you want to.

Love,

Bissie

P.S. – I noticed you had a great deal of trouble with your P.S.’s. Tell Art, Irv, Irwin, Eddie, Nellie and Elliot that they are either afraid of me or are bashful. Also tell them that they promised faithfully to write to me – before I left they told me that. So tell them I am still waiting patiently and getting gray-haired while waiting. Tell the girls to write again too.

Biss

Tomorrow, another letter about Bissie’s life in St. Petersburg. She seems to be adjusting quite well. We’ll be checking in on her every weekend.

Judy Guion

St. Petersburg Adventure – Biss Leaves Trumbull – 1934

 

My Aunt Biss was 14 years old when her mother died and she took it rather hard. Her father talked it over with her Aunts and it was decided that she would go to St. Petersburg, Florida to live with her Aunt Anne and help and with Anne’s two children, Donald and Gweneth. In her first letter home to her Dad, she also enclosed separate letters for her brothers.

             Elizabeth (Biss) Westlin Guion

October 16, 1934

 

Dear Dad,

I promised myself I would write until nine o’clock tonight and then go to bed because I am quite tired. I am going to start high school tomorrow morning and the hours are even longer than I am used to, 8:30 to 3:30, with an hour for each period. We have no gym down here though. At least they didn’t put it down on my card. We have a cute little cottage about seven blocks away from the school. It is quite a way from the noise of the city and yet it is quite close to the city. The name of the school is the million-dollar school because it cost $1 million to build it.

Gee, what meals they served on the boat. You will most likely hear me rave about them for the rest of my life. After we mailed the letter in Charleston, we went into the heart of the city and I bought this pen for a quarter and I swear it is almost as nice as my old dollar (but not quite).

I imagine the household is being run much better than it has been for a long time.

I think you have to pay for all your school things down here. I won’t know until tomorrow. I know Don and Gwen had to pay for their school supplies and they go to the same school. I think I have spent most of my money on stamps. Well, goodbye until next week. I don’t think I can write before then.

Love,

Biss

Dear Dave,

Well, how is the world treating you these days? Are they still just as cruel? I suppose you have had about 10 colds so you could stay out of school, haven’t you?

No license is required for driving down here so when I get home you won’t have to be afraid to go out riding with me. I haven’t driven as yet but Aunt Anne is going to let me before many more days have passed.

Bootsy loves the South just like the rest of the Stanley’s. There are sand burrs down here and they are found all over the ground. When you go barefooted, they are like burrs, only twice as small and three times as sharp. We can’t go barefooted unless we are on the beach, although in the lower grades down here, quite a few of the children go barefoot.

There are a lot of boys down here who wear ankle socks. I told you that because you used to call it too sissyish. There are two boats from the Navy anchored out in the bay where we went swimming. They were there when we first arrived. It seems to me that everywhere you look you see at least one sailor, only there are usually four or five sailors going around together.

Have you found a new girlfriend yet? I think it is about time you changed again. It looks as though it is going to rain and boy, when it rains it pours. Harder than rains we get up there in Trumbull.

Has anyone played the piano since I left or has it gotten rusty from disuse? If you can’t understand any words I feel sure Dad or someone will explain them to you.

Love,

Biss

Dear Ced,

Well, that bet still holds good. I can’t get credit for the first four weeks but I bet I will still beat you by the time the end of the year comes. I’ll know my marks before you for we get out early – in fact I expect to get home before you get out of school. The school here is only two stories high but it is awfully long.

Oh, I was shown the engine room on the ship. I couldn’t go in but they let us look in. They have Turbine motors.

I think the highest point in Florida is only 300 miles (she means 300 feet) above sea level. On the way to St. Petersburg from Jacksonville we went along a straight stretch for 10 miles at least and another place at least 8 miles, not even the slightest curve! Gee, it got tiresome after a while because everything is so low and flat. Everything (I mean vegetables) is stubbed in growth.

While I told Dad I wasn’t going to write after nine o’clock and it is now 9:30 so I think I will leave Dick’s and Dave’s letters until tomorrow. You see, I thought perhaps you would like to get separate letters for once

Love,

Bissie

Dear Dick,

I am in sixth period on my first day of school. It is a study hall and I haven’t any books as yet because we have to buy them down here.

I had plenty to say to you last night but I’ll be darned if I can think of a single thing to say to you now.

How are you getting along in school? Have you been absent from it yet? Oh, describe Trumbull to me. Have the leaves finished falling yet and have you had any snow at all? It’s pretty hot down here, in fact it’s too hot. I think I would rather be up there where it is cool.

If you see Mary Dolan tell her I will write to her and her family as soon as I can but right now I have to catch up on my schoolwork. I don’t have too very much because I can’t make up the first four weeks, although I will be able to pass. I am writing this on the sly. In each class we have, we are allowed a 5 minute period in which we are allowed to talk. We are in the middle of it.

If you can use any of my things this winter go to it, but please be careful not to ruin anything. My ski suit is in the Cedar closet in Mother’s room.

They allow gum chewing in this school! I went swimming yesterday and have begun to get a tan already.

Love,

Biss

P.S. Give my love to the boys – George, Jim etc.

Each weekend, I’ll be posting more of Aunt Biss’s letters home to her Father and her brothers written during the year she was in Florida. We’ll have a perspective from a teenaged girl, dealing with living away from her home and family, and also adjusting to the death of her mother. Her reference to “the household being run much better than it has in a long time” is a direct reference to the fact that she was expected to take over that role and she didn’t want to and wasn’t prepared to, either.

This time period was especially hard on my Grandfather, who had recently lost “the love of his life” to a long fight with cancer, his two oldest sons were working at CCC Camps during the week to help support the family and his only daughter was living in Florida and trying to cope with the whole situation.

Judy Guion

Life in St. Petersburg (18) – The Last Letter – May, 1935

Elizabeth (Biss) Westlin Guion

Elizabeth (Biss) Westlin Guion

Friday night

12 PM E.S.T.

5/24/1935

Dear Dad,

This may be a long letter or it may be a short one – as yet I know not. We will be sending the package up sometime at the end of next week. This is the third letter I have written to you this week so a two letter week will seem small after this.

I have a proposition to make with you. I was wondering if you would let Aunt Anne stay with us for two or three weeks until I once more get settled, for if I have her with me for my first one or two weeks at home I think it will be easier for me. It could be on the same basis as it was while you were down here at Christmas time. You could give her the apartment if Astrid has moved out by the time we get home.

I got a Good Housekeeping for June yesterday and it says to give 3 to 5 weeks notice for change of address – but to get back to my proposition – I figured it would be nice for the kid brothers to have Don and Gwen for company for a while for they are here so seldom and I also thought it would be nice for you to have a grown person to keep you company for a while. She has no place to go when she does get up there and that is one reason why we are staying on here. Of course the other reason is money. Aunt Anne is thinking of getting a job. It is now Monday and Gwen and Aunt Anne have gone down for a lesson in knitting.

We took Carl and Dot out for a picnic lunch yesterday. We had loads of fun playing baseball and catch. I am going to miss them frightfully when I leave and how I wish I could bring them home with me for keeps. The only thing I can bring home is a picture of them but I am hoping that they will come up and visit me – but I doubt it for they haven’t much money. I ate dinner there yesterday and had lemon pie! How it makes my mouth water to think about it. Carl is going to graduate this year and he’s going to have a picture of himself taken in his graduating cap and gown – what a laugh I’m going to give him. Dot is only a sophomore but she looks more like a Junior. Exams commence next week. How I dread that! We have two weeks counting this one – left of school. I hope I pass – and thinking of learning how to knit. Have you seen Peggy since she has been home? How is she – I mean how sick? I have finally written to Grandma. I am hoping to get a letter from you this morning. Have you gotten any pictures of Mack? This seems to be limited to asking questions and so I had better quit and give you a chance to draw your breath and answer the questions.

Love,

Biss

This is the last letter I have found from Biss. If Grandpa agreed to the suggestion that Aunt Anne and her children stay in Trumbull for a few weeks, it would make sense that they would leave as soon as possible. There are only two more days of school this week and then exams next week. School would be finished and it would make sense for Aunt Anne to leave by May 31st to avoid paying rent in June.

On Monday I’ll start posting letters written in 1945. Dan and Paulette’s wedding is getting closer the war continues to effect everyone else in the family.

Judy Guion

Life in St. Petersburg (17)- Letters to Dave and Pops – May, 1935

Biss (Elizabeth), Grandpa’s only daughter, has been living in St Petersburg with her Aunt Anne taking care of Anne’s children, Don and Gwen, for the past school year. She was having trouble at home, struggling to adjust to the death of her Mother and her Father and three Aunt’s felt a change of scenery might help her to adjust. The school year is practically over and she will be heading home soon, she just isn’t sure when.

Wednesday afternoon

3:59 PM E.S.T.

5/22/1935

Dear Dave,

I enjoyed your letter very much. I hope that scene you put on the back of the letter won’t come true but it will let you go to bed when I tell you to. That word, scene, up

Dave

Dave

above means picture. I hope you will be able to read this letter, I have no hard words to write, I don’t think, so you should be able to understand all of it. What is Ardith’s sister’s name? I suppose you play with Tubby quite a lot, don’t you? I was naming your past girlfriends as well as your present one. I bet a lot of other boys like Evelyn besides you, don’t they?

You should always make it a capital I when you are referring to yourself, like “I went to the store when I was home.” instead of “i went to the store when I was home.” Do you see what I mean? I am very glad that Miss D’Alier is all well now. How long was she out of school? You better get your marks up in school or I will…. I don’t know what I will do. I am glad that Miss Grabber is a good teacher. What is the matter? Don’t you like her when she isn’t teaching? I knew you would like Miss Shiffron more. I think she is very nice and I have had a lot of nice times with her. Will you send her my best regards?

It seems to me that you have a pretty long tongue! I was just studying the picture on the back. It is supposed to be a picture of you and myself? Is it in the past or in the future? I hope I will hear from you again very soon for I enjoy your letters very much. Tell Dick to write to me please – I’ll send the story some other time.

Love,

Biss

Wednesday afternoon

4:13 PM E.S.T.

5/22/1935

Dear Pops !

I get a great kick out of your letter today but wish to tell you that it isn’t the first time that I have written twice in one week nor is it going to be the last time. Why is it that the lilacs out by the kitchen are always the first ones to come out? We are studying very hard for exams and it is hard to find time to write however, I skipped today consequently have found some time to write. I have been trying to straighten my clothes out.

There was a dress I saw which I wanted to get for a dollar 59 but I have decided to save my money instead. I have been fighting with myself all morning trying to decide and I still haven’t come to any conclusion! Avid feeling that my brothers are going to cooperate with me quite a bit more than they did and I feel sure that we can make a go of it. I feel sure that I will be able to make the great – because, ”I’m a Guion.”  It will certainly take a lot to trim me down to any kind of size, I’m afraid.

Richard (Dick) Peabody Guion

Dick

I am glad Dick and Dave are well but I do think that Dick could have written me while he was in bed. I enjoyed Dave’s letter immensely and have

already answered it  – I hope you will give me just an immediate answer is I have given him. I am glad Mr. D’Alier liked me for I simply adore the whole D’Alier family and expect to go down and see them the very first night I am home – unless I get home at night, then I will wait until the next day. My writing is very uneven this evening, have you noticed? Maybe it is my change of thoughts.

If you see Carl tell him to write to me although I haven’t written to him – maybe I will before you see him again – it all depends on how much time I have. I loved that “Town of Trumbull” writing paper which you used last time. I thought it quite aristocratic. I hope you expect to see “Les Miserables”. I saw “Mississippi” and thought it was very uninteresting. How did the boys like it? I imagine Grandma liked that quite a lot.

I have a picture of the gang but thanks for a glimpse of them in the enlarged – I only have the small. As for my photographs – I have decided as the senior one and as yet have not received them from the studio. I will bring one or two of them home with me for I promised Ced one. Tell Dan you will never know how I appreciate that dollar and those stamps. I am going to break my rule and by a popsicle this afternoon with a nickel of that dollar for I am boiling over.

I went to Tarpon Springs but I’d don’t like Bill – I like Carl and Dot Roughgarden – you will probably hear plenty about them in the future. The reason why I wanted to write to Good Housekeeping and Parents is I haven’t the address and I don’t know how to word the letter – will you do it? If you don’t mind I would like to use the stamps for personal letters. I’ll hold onto them until I receive your answer.

Send Mack down here. I won’t mind one speck! Tell him I miss him and hope he misses me too. He wags his tail – it means he does. Well I have to close now because I have no more room.

Love,

Biss

Tomorrow, I’ll be posting Biss’s last letter from St. Petersburg. After that, we jump to 1939 with politics in Trumbull and Lad, the oldest, living and working in Venezuela, sending his pay home to Trumbull to help support his younger siblings.

Judy Guion

Life in St. Petersburg (14) – Letters to the Family – May, 1935

This is a continuation of the letter posted yesterday. It’s later that night and Biss writes a note to 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 as 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!

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 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 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 four, 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

Life in St. Petersburg (13) – Expectations and a Story – May, 1935

My Grandmother died in 1933, when her only daughter, Elizabeth (Biss), was 14. She took it quite hard and had difficulties at home. It was decided by her Aunts and her father that it might be helpful for her to live with Aunt Anne in St Petersburg, Florida, go to school and help Aunt Anne with her two children, Don and Gwen. Biss is just about finished with the school year and is looking forward to going back to Trumbull. She had been able to step away from the situation and see it from a different perspective. She has also matured and is in a much better place right now.

Monday afternoon

4:53 PM EST

5/13/1935

Dear Pops,

I am truly ashamed of you! Imagine, for six months now you have been writing to me on the average, I should say, of once a week – and yet you still don’t know my address! In fact you have seen the house and lived in it for a few days. I imagine if you had put 2101 like you should have instead of 1201 like you did – I would have gotten it in time to answer it before I sent that letter to you and Dan. I have no special time to write to you so I can’t get back on any schedule – except writing to you at least once a week. You ought to put the time on your letters so I will know whether everything is as it should be at that time.

I wish I had been home for the fire – for I love excitement! Did the boys leave Tessie’s party and go to the fire? I think I would have if I had been there. It is going to seem funny not to see that old landmark – the passing of another one of Trumbull’s landmarks.

Of course we have very little rain down here – I have to stop and get dinner – I have gotten one scolding already because I did not get dinner started on time. All the work of the evening is done now so I am perfectly free to write as long as I wish. I am very sorry I sent that letter Saturday night for I see again it is causing you some worry.

I am very glad for the check this month for I have been doing some extra things, such as having my picture taken and I had hoped you could send my June money before 1 June so it was rather disconcerting to find I could not expect any at all – however I think I can get by if I watch my money like a miser would, so don’t let it worry you.

I am expecting to find a healthy boy in David when I get home and a considerate Dick – am I expecting too much? They all still have plenty

Dick

Dick

of time to work on their faults, for it is quite definite that we won’t be home before the end of June or the beginning of July. Perhaps the reason for my better understanding in my letter to Dave is – I have gone literacy-minded! I am writing the story of the World War and I have also written some short, short stories. Maybe I will become a good authoress after all – I sadly fear I can’t become a great singer – as much as I would like to.

Don’t forget to send me a picture of the house when the Lilacs are in bloom. Perhaps when you get this letter the first of the Lilacs will be out.

No one has told me about the play. You did, I admit, send me a program that didn’t tell the whole story. How big a success it was, what it was for, etc. and I would like to know all of these reasons and all of the details.

Right at this moment is quite cool for the window is open and the breeze is blowing across me and also blowing all my writing material off the end of the table, for I am at the dining room table. The daytime however is hotter than when I wrote to you and I haven’t gotten the least bit used to it as yet – and I don’t think I am going to. I am still gaining weight so I think you had better repair all of the furniture that needs it. I prefer to say I’m getting stout though rather than “fat”.

Dave

Dave

Tell Dick and Dave that I don’t think much of them as brothers for they never write to me to let me know that they still exist. I was beginning to think that perhaps there wasn’t a David for no one ever spoke of him and he was then when I left anyway – so you had better warn him to write if he wishes to keep in my good graces – the same for Dick.

Oh, I have some very good news to change the subject – I got my English report today and I had an 85 – if I get my French mark up to 80 – if – and I keep all my other marks where they are, then I will come home with second honors – for the first and last in other words only time in my life.

I am almost sure that I am going to go to the Junior-Senior prom now – the only trouble that I can find with it is that I will have to wear an evening gown.

We made root beer a week ago – I think it was a week ago – and over half is gone already so we are planning to make more. It isn’t very good this time – too much water I think but we hope for better luck next time. I am going to write a paragraph or two of my story to get you interested and then leave off.

Autobiography of a War Dog

My mother, as I remember her, was a thoroughbred collie. My father, she told me, had been a mongrel. I hated my mother’s master although she loved him. He was a drunkard who would beat her unmercifully if she was in his way or if things weren’t quite right with him. My eyes had been opened for three days when my mother was killed – it was a tragic death. Mr. Alcost, the drunkard, came staggering home one morning and as soon as he came into sight, my mother ran to him. He swore at her and kicked her swiftly. She did not seem to understand. He took a board and struck her over the head. She looked at him still wagging her tail and then fell – that is as far as I will go with the story now. Is it okay so far?

Love,

Biss

Tomorrow, I’ll be posting the next letter is the series as she gets closer to the end of school and closer to coming home.