Trumbull – Birthdays, A Wedding and Lawsuits – Oct, 1939

This weeks chronicle to Lad of happenings in Trumbull include several celebrations. It’s  also been 6 months since Lad left InterAmerica for his current job at Socony-Vacuum Oil Company and four months since Dan traveled home from Venezuela, but the battle with InterAmerica for wages due continues on. This letter does supply some indication that things will be coming to a close fairly soon.

Ye last Sunday in October, 1939

Dear Future General Manager:

Picture to yourself lawns covered with newly fallen tannish-yellow leaves, clear brisk October whether, a cozy fire in the alcove, Mack asleep on the floor and me at my

Alfred Peabody Guion (Lad) in Venezuela

Alfred Peabody Guion (Lad) in Venezuela

typewriter and you will have the proper background for this letter.

Chalk up to your credit some additional heartbeats of joy occasioned by the fact that last Tuesday when I looked in the mailbox there was the welcome letter from you and also one for Dan bringing him birthday wishes. And this makes me quite conscious stricken for it was not until Dan mentioned the cause for your letter that I realized it was his birthday. And then I realized with another shock that I had also utterly forgotten all about Aunt Betty’s birthday – – all the more shameful in that she invariably remembers all of our birth days without fail. She was born on October 11, 1863, which makes her 76 years old. She would probably enjoy hearing from you if you find time to drop her a line.

The most outstanding Trumbull news item of the week was the marriage yesterday of Helen Smith and Bill Slauson. I am enclosing a newspaper account of the wedding. While Ced and the gang were not invited to the reception they went over to the house in Stratford where the Smiths are now living, Ced with the generous collection of old tin cans, shoes, stuffed animals, signs and what not, including one of the old grates from the furnace.

I don’t know how it happened but Ced learned today that after the wedding and as they were starting on their trip, in backing the car, the grate punctured the gas tank and being unable to get it fixed, Mr. Smith had to lend them his car for their wedding trip. Red had fastened to the grate on, but I think Carl got blamed for it. Carl’s part was cutting up an onion and putting it on the manifold where it would stink it up when the car got warmed up. As Ced observed, they were probably pretty sore about the whole incident now, but as they look back on it in future years, it will be something to remember with a chuckle.

Dan, Barbara, Arnold and Alta have all gone down to the World’s Fair today. I think this is the last weekend before it closes.

In the same mail your letter arrived, there came a note from Mr. McCarter asking Dan to come to New York and receive a check that was waiting for him. I called up McCarter and was told he had a check for the full amount owing Dan to close up the account being the sum of $399.14 and that it was necessary for Dan to sign a release which was being handled by InterAmerica’s lawyer next door to McCarter’s office. Dan had arranged to go down there yesterday morning, but later McCarter phoned that he would not be in and neither would the lawyer and asked if Dan could come down Monday (tomorrow) which he is planning to do. I may go down with him to see that everything is straight.

Daniel Beck Guion in Venezuela

Daniel Beck Guion in Venezuela

Dan also received a letter from Mr. Humphrey Nolan written on a letterhead of a New York concern, as follows: “I understand that you have a claim against InterAmerica, Inc. which you would like to press. Burkhardt, Matthews, Miss Easthagen, Gilman and myself all have our claims in the hands of Levy, Wolf and Feingold. Carl Nelson is making arrangements to put his claim with ours, and we also wish to have Shields, Stevenson, and Myers as well as yourself put your claims with ours, so that action taken may be as strong as possible with the least expense to any one individual. It is our plan to proceed to have a receiver appointed in Delaware. If this is carried through, all of InterAmerica’s affairs will be taken over by some company like the Uihlen Company and any assets which exist will be used to pay off our claims. However, we believe that InterAmerica will do everything possible to make payments and stop this action. Will you let me hear from you at once as we understand that InterAmerica has payments of approximately $19,000 due in November we should like, of course,to come in before these payments are made. Levy, Wolf and Feingold are the attorneys who were successful in getting Govin’s money and they have a judgment for Gilman. Awaiting your immediate reply, I am”

I have quoted this letter at length for one reason and that is to urge you to take immediate action in the matter of filing your claim for the balance due you. Simply stated, the proposition as far as you are concerned is this: if the tools are of more value to you than the back salary then you need do nothing about it and let things ride as you have up to the present, with, however, the possibility that if things come to a head with InterAmerica, you might be subject to a claim for the tools which you might have to prove in the law court you had not obtained illegally.

On the other hand, if the cash seems to you more useful than the tools, then I should let no grass grow under my feet, in view of the action which these other people intend to take as expressed in the letter above, because if they put the company out of business, (and I think I can see Ted’s fine Italian hand behind this move) and your claim is not in with the others you will be out of luck and may have to return the tools anyway on a court order.

My advice to you is to get busy at once. In any event I should be interested to know what you decide to do and the outcome in case you demand the cash. I still feel you are entitled to the balance of your back salary and the equivalent of your fare home and believe that is what you should demand as a requisite of releasing the tools to Maxudian. As I suggested in a former letter, if there is no one there among the higher ups that can advise you in the matter and you can’t get to Caracas to talk to McMillan, you had best write him and get his help, sending the tools to him with the request not to release them to Maxudian until your back claims are entirely satisfied.

Zeke has just informed me that Elizabeth and your new nephew are expected to return home Tuesday.

Assorted clippings are enclosed. Does this look like your marsh buggy? I wonder which tires are bigger, the marsh buggies or Bird’s snow cruiser. Thanks for the Building and Loan card. Here is your statement. Oh yes, I have been asked to be in a play the Parent-Teachers Association is giving in December. I am to take the part of the judge. Will tell you more about it when I know more about the cast.

Thoughts have run dry again, so until next week, when the old Remington will be exercised again, I’ll be gathering news for my Venezuelan branch of the family. Meanwhile I’ll be thinking of you often and fondly,


Tomorrow, we’ll have a rare letter from Aunt Helen Human, wife of Ted Human, also known as T.H. Jr., the uncle who hired Lad and Dan for the job in South America.

For more information on how this began, check out earlier posts in the category “Life in Venezuela”.

Judy Guion


Random Memories of Cedric Duryee Guion (4 of 5)

After my Uncle Dan passed away, I realized that if I was going to record the memories of his siblings, I’d better get busy. Aunt Biss was the first. She joined my late husband Don and me on a cruise on the Erie Canal and I spent three days recording her stories. I was able to interview my father (Lad) and Uncle Ced on two occasions each and Uncle Dick and Uncle  Dave, once each. This is the fourth installment of Uncle Ced’s memories.

As you go across the bridge from Stratford to Milford on the Post Road, on the left of some buildings at the end of the bridge. There is a dock down below on the Housatonic River. Just below the bridge on the Stratford side there were some fishermen’s homes. One of the fishermen had a boat for sale. Dad never liked to buy new stuff. He bought this boat. It was about 21 feet long and a round cowling. It had an old motor, a one lunger, that went putt, putt, putt. It was in nice shape, nice looking, a nice bow, but it was pretty old. That’s why they sold it, but Dad knew that. We named it the “Helen”.

Very soon after we got this boat, Dad decided it needed to be dressed up a bit. He got some lumber and he got someone else to do it, and they made a canvas top. It came up from the two ends and fastened in the middle somehow, you could walk around in it. At the same time, he put in a Ford Marine conversion engine which was a lot heavier than the original one. It made the boat lower in the back. He also decked over the whole back, with cabinets for storage. It was pretty high sided and very seaworthy.

Dad, Lad, Dan and I decided we take a trip out the Housatonic and up the coast to Milford. We were going to go to Hartford and it would take a couple of days. We started out – we had found out that we had a problem and we had done some caulking on it. It wasn’t quite watertight. There was a little storm over Long Island Sound and just about the time we got to the Connecticut River a real storm came up with high waves. We had a rough time of it, we really bounced around quite a bit and we were low on gas. It had gotten fairly calm, I guess the storm was over. We pulled over to get some gas and decided we’d stay overnight. We had kind of a rough trip. We pulled across the River to the other side where there was the beach and some houses. We anchored out, put the canvas over us, made up the beds and went to sleep. I was the first one awake the next morning. The Sun was out and it was quite nice. There was a small space between the canvas and the gunwale, and I was lying there with my head at gunwale height, looking outside. All of a sudden I realized there was water just a few inches below the gunwale. I yelled for everyone to get up. “Hey, guys, were thinking.” Dad had the seats made up as beds so we lifted one and the water was right up there. Anyway, we bailed and bailed real fast and we finally got the thing so we had plenty of free board, but my mother had baked us a beautiful cake. It was sitting in salt water. They don’t float well and they don’t taste good after being in salt water.

We had some friends named Burnham who had lived sort of caddy corner to us on Lansdowne Road in Larchmont. They had a cottage on Fishers Island in Long Island Sound. We started out to visit the Burnham’s in the Helen. It took us about an hour or so to get there. When we got there, Dad talked to Rufus Burnham. Dad was very interested in sailboats and asked Rufus if there was anyone on the island who could help us with this problem we had with our about. Rufus said “Yeah, he lives right around the corner.” He got him to come over and look at the boat. It was light enough so that we could pull it up on shore and turn it over. He stood there, puffing on his pipe and looking at the hull of the boat. Finally, he said “You came from the Connecticut shore in this?”

We kept the boat tied up at place on the Housatonic River and one day the owner called and said “This is Mr. French. Your boat sank.” it must’ve happened about six times. We go over there, drag it up on shore and dump it out. Dad got tired of this after a while.

Arnold Gibson’s father, stepfather actually, was an old seagoing man. I guess he’d been in the Navy. He had a Sea Scout troop and Dad said “You know, this boat is getting beyond us. Why don’t we give it to the Sea Scouts and maybe they can get some fun out of it.” He gave it to them and I don’t know what they did with it.

The Island

The Island

When we first went to the Island, probably about 1924 or 25, there was nothing on it at all. We’d take a tent. My Dad would load up the big old touring car. To begin with, we used a canoe and a rowboat to get out to the Island. Later Lad and his buddies built a barge that was hand-built in Trumbull. It was 15 or 16 feet long, it had a square bow and a flat bottom. It was always nice to have when you are moving your stuff out to the Island. Then the guys started getting motorboats, outboards, a lot handier to go here and there.

The barge was used to move the cook cabin. Lad and some of his friends went to the mainland and bought a one car garage. They sawed it in half, put it on the barge and brought it to the Island. They made it into the kitchen shack.

I will post other memories periodically.

For FREE copies of New Inceptions Magazine, an e-magazine, with several articles and stories based on letters and memories of my family, prior to and during World War II, you can click the following links.

Issue 1   Click Here

Issue 2   Click Here

Issue 3   Click Here

Judy Guion


Trumbull and Friends (1) – July 30, 1939

Grandpa has just seated himself in front of the typewriter to type his usual missive to Lad when he is interrupted by a carload of teenagers.                                                                                                          

July 30, 1939

Dear Lad:

Here is an opportunity we must not miss. Just as I started this letter to you, a car came up the drive and out piled a bunch of young folks. It reminded

Notes from friends (1)

Notes from friends (1)

me of the picture “A Yankee in King Arthur’s Court” were a bunch of knights unfolded themselves as they emerged from a bunch of Austins or Fords. In order, the arrivals are: Barbara (Plumb), Dick (Christie), Don (Whitney), Redd (Sirene), Jean (Hughes) and Dick (Guion). I am going to pass this typewriter around and suggest that each one take a crack at writing this letter for me, so here goes:

Hello Lad! I’ve been going to write to you for some time now, (still am) but this can serve very well as a preliminary. We Plumbs have been following your doings via your letters home with much interest and are so glad to learn you’re doing so well. Your Dad says you’re interested in the local news…. Yesterday the Chandler Chorus had its first beach party of the season. The day was rather cold and rainy but, as you can imagine, that didn’t make much difference in the fun. It was held at the same place as last year, the cottage having withstood the hurricane with only a few minor injuries. We all ate too much and then went over to the amusement area. I was exhausted and have been taking it rather easy today. No one could think of anything to do, so after a hamburger and ice cream cone at Foote’s, we landed here. Of course I’m looking forward to Tuesday when Dan will arrive. As many of us as possible are going down to meet him. Now I really think I should give someone else a chance at this typewriter and (so help me, cross my heart etc.) I’ll write a genuine letter soon. – – Barbara

Hey Lad! Boo! Where have you been? Somebody said you were away. Is that ture, I mean true? Come back quick before Ced ruins your car. He has been letting me drive it, the fool. Be careful of the señoritas down there. Spaniards are very hot-blooded and will not stand for any strange goings-on. In closing I hope we recognize Dan when we see him Tuesday. – – – Goodbye – – – Don (and not Red either) (Whitney)

Dear squirt! Too bad you couldn’t see Dan before he came home but, as you have probably heard, he didn’t want to take a chance in getting stuck out in the llanos. Commo se llama? Mack sends his best regards and wants to know if you have seen any nice-looking Spanish dogs. Well, hasta luego, buemos moches, hasta la noche and all that stuff.      Ricardo (Guion)

Lad, DEAREST o/o(?) How are you gitin on with hot tamale, llamas, and señoritas/? This typewriter is a bit bad ky ) G35887 . Say old chump chap, you’re invited to Dan,s RETURN PARTY next WESnesDAY. Let me no if you kin make it…. (It shudders)  say maybe you,d like some pictures of Dan,s homecoming/? OK. Good Luck, Lad, if you get tired of S.A. the school bus is waiting. Question of the day, Will RooOvelt run for a third squirm/?   REdd

Dear Lad,

How are you? Having a wonderful time, wish you were here. (How’s this for-one-finger-and-can’t-think typing?) Maybe someday we’ll be giving a coming home party for you????

Jean or

Francis Eugenia Hughes

Lad, my Lad: I suppose that everyone else has asked you how you are so I shall omit saying. I can’t give you any news from around this town as I have just returned from R.O.T.C. camp. After trying to reform the Army for six weeks, I have given up as the captains and sergeants don’t see things the same as I do. Well, after being in Virginia with the ticks, and jiggers and other insects, I can feel for anyone out in South America. Well carry on and come back soon so that we may once again see your handsome countenance.

Dick Christie,/.

Dear Alfred;

please forward to me a couple of native girls for my hope chest huhh?   Look what Bar did %*^&(#$^&

well n ow I seem to be straightened out again

Whoops I guess not. I meant the typewriter but as you see I ran into more trouble    I mean words. I spent all this morning trying to repair the top on the Packard – – I succeeded somewhat. You see it is really on its last legs I mean car or should I say it is going to pieces. Attempts to sell the car haven’t proved at all assuring but I still have hopes. The upholstery is also ripped from age. But it still runs well. I was on the way to Stratford on Nichols Avenue en route to work when suddenly from the side of the road ambled a cow. I started to swerve dear bossy came right along and finally I turned up a bank at the roadside and just missed her. now I guess we both have something against this type of animal.

I’ll be posting the rest of this letter tomorrow. I’ve scanned the original so you can see that some of these kids had a real hard time typing and you can understand why they were at it for over two hours!  I can just imagine the nostalgia my father was feeling reading these notes from friends because he had been away from Trumbull for only about six months. I’m sure he remembered many a Sunday when he would have been right in the middle of this crowd at Guion’s.

Judy Guion