Trumbull – Dear Lad (2) – West Point And Election Results – October 1, 1939

This is the conclusion of the letter I posted yesterday, with an addition added after the election.

Today is the most miserable ,rainy, cold, raw, cheerless day. I have the fire going in the alcove. The youngsters have all gone down to Foote’s more for something to do, I imagine, then because they want something to eat. Dick was invited by Mr. Ives to go down to New York to a ballgame this morning, but they had just about reached New York when it started to rain, so they came home again.

Richard Peabody Guion

Yesterday, however, Dick got in what he feels was a very enjoyable trip. The senior class of Basssick, of which he is now a member, made up a party yesterday to visit West Point. They were to meet about seven at the school (Dick left here about 630 in the Packard.) Then they went by train, I think, to New York, boarded a Hudson River Day Boat, visited West Point, stopped and did some roller skating at Bear Mountain Inn and arrived home at 1 AM this morning, tired but happy.

A link to the Wikipedia entry – The History of the United States Military Academy:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_the_United_States_Military_Academy#:~:text=The%20history%20of%20the%20United,on%20the%20site%20in%201802.

    David Peabody Guion

Well yesterday was officially Dave’s birthday. I was so occupied with political duties that I could not pay much attention to him and in consequence we held a very modest celebration today. I gave him a sweater, a pair of shoes, jockey shorts, socks, handkerchiefs, a fountain pen, flashlight (small pocket edition) pocket nail file, candy and of course ,we had store ice cream for dessert. Aunt Betty sent her regular card with its dollar enclosed, Dan also gave him a dollar, Ced bought some cider just made a few hours before from Boroughs, and yesterday the New Rochelle folks sent him a telegram of congratulations.

Politics has been given quite a bit of prominence in the daily news during the past week or so. There have been repeated attacks on the Republican Party of those in power in the town including your poor old father who is being accused of all kinds of indirect and indefinite wrongdoing, but in the opinion of many these mudslinging tactics are boomerangs which do more harm than good to the throwers, principal of whom is our old friend Sexton. However, tomorrow will tell the tale and while I think from some standpoint it would be a good thing if I were relieved of the job and could devote more time to my business, I do need the extra income and anyway, I would not want to quit under fire and have my critics say I couldn’t take it, etc. The Times Star has been publishing a series of articles on public officials in various towns in the vicinity. I am enclosing the one about me in which you will note that Mack has made the grade as a celebrity.

I think I shall stop this letter right here (I can’t think of anything more to tell you anyway) and finish it after election returns have been received.

Tuesday night. The sad news is told in the newspaper clippings attached. Your dad went down to defeat by 21 votes, but the rest of the Republican ticket got in. This is primarily due to the nice things our friend Sexton has been saying. My feelings are mixed at this time. My pride naturally is a bit hurt and from a financial angle it will put quite a serious crimp in my affairs, but aside from this, I feel a lot freer, as though a weight has been lifted off and it will give me an opportunity to devote more time to my lame business which I have sadly neglected for the last two years.

One thing that cheered me up today was receipt of two letters from you, one written on the 14th with birthday wishes and the other on the 22nd. As to the birthday thought, you had already put your okay on a wonderful birthday set of gifts which I am still enjoying. Will write you more next week when my mind has been adjusted to the sudden change in my fortunes. Until then, old hotshot, except this as a shock from your old, dry battery,    DAD

Tomorrow I will post the article which appeared in the Bridgeport Times Star newspaper prior to the election.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Dear Lad (1) – Danbury Fair Week – October 1, 1939

We are in to October, 1939, and Lad has been in Venezuela for nine months. He has been promoted to the “Trouble Shooter” and travels from one rustic camp in the hinterlands of northern Venezuela to another, to repair vehicles that other mechanics are unable to fix. This keeps him out of Caracas and makes it difficult to write home weekly, as he used to. Grandpa doesn’t like it one bit.

Alfred Peabody Guion (my Dad)

R-43

October 1, 1939

Dear Lad:

It is getting kind of monotonous to have letters from me being the same each week, so I’ll fool you this time and say nothing about the empty mailbox. Whether my restraint will hold out next Sunday, if no news is received in the interim, marking the fourth week of silence, is too soon to forecast.

Daniel Beck Guion with his nephew, Raymond Zabel, Elizabeth’s firstborn

The only big news, relatively speaking, that has happened this week is that Dan has returned to college at Storrs. He had written to them about the possibility of re-enrollment but not having heard anything in reply, I telephoned Tuesday to  the registrar and learned that Dan could enroll, but that he ought to go up there at once and arrange for a room. So bright and early Wednesday Ced drove him up. He came home yesterday and reported that he is again on the debating team, is boarding with a retired professor of geology, and is a Junior. He’s taking the Packard up as Ced prefers the old Willys as being cheaper to run back and forth.

And speaking of cars, Carl is trying to sell his all Auburn. He has it outside the gas station was a big for-sale sign on it. He has officially changed his name to Wayne as you may have heard. Nellie (Nelson Sperling) is still working off and on as the spirit moves him at Steve’s (Steve Kascak’s garage, where Lad started working as a mechanic during summer vacations when he was 14, and continued for several years) garage. Art Mantle is somewhere on the high seas on one of Uncle Sam’s warships, but at just what location I have not heard lately. Chris Smith and family, I learned, have sold their house on Cottage Place and moved to California St. in Stratford. I understand they have taken a big enough house so that when Bill and Helen are married, which is scheduled to take place towards the end of this month, they can live there also. Irwin Laufer, as I may have told you, is on the Democratic ticket nominated as Constable from the Center. Barbara (Plumb, Dan’s girlfriend) is working for Judge Miller in Bridgeport.

This is Danbury Fair week once again, and it is the present intention of Dan and Ced and the gang to go up there next Saturday. If I go too, I shall naturally miss you. I was trying to figure out the other day whether it was more logical, you suppose, that we miss you here more than you miss home, and decided that the former was the case because at home here, I particularly am reminded by a thousand familiar things that have associations with what you did or said, whereas you are in entirely new surroundings with little to remind you of former scenes or people. Just as an example, the air was quite chilly the other morning when I got up and because I have a cold that is still hanging on, I thought it would be more comfortable to shave in a warm bathroom, so I upped and lights the old oil stove, and as I was turning it out I pictured you stalking in in your 6 feet 1 or whatever it is, and promptly moving the stove outside the door where it would not smell. Go on, say it, you are quite hurt that a stinky stove should have reminded me of you, to which my reply would be that the sweetest perfume is made from what a sick whale throws up, so you needn’t get all worked up about that remark. I was only trying to make conversation anyway, so there’s no sense in your flying off in a temper. There, that’s disposed of.

Tomorrow I will post the rest of this letter and on Friday, an article published by the Bridgeport Times Star about the Republican Candidate for First Selectman of Trumbull …. Grandpa, up for re-election.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Dear Lad (3) – Old-Fashioned Politics – September 17, 1939

I am enclosing a clipping which will give you a line on the political news. You will recognize your Dad’s homely face peering at you from amongst the type. Erwin Laufer is running for Constable from Trumbull Center on the Democratic ticket.

ADG - The Bridgeport Times-Star picture, Sept. 12, 1939- September 12, 1939 (2)

Guion, Davis Head Ticket

I will share below some of the pieces of news included in this article from the Bridgeport Times Star, September 12, 1939

G.O.P. Insurgents Beaten; Guion, Davis Head Tickets

Special to the Times-Star -TRUMBULL – Sept. 12 – camp and attempt by an insurgent Republican group to overthrow the twenty-five year domination of the George H.  Woods political machine failed last night when Alfred D. Guion was nominated for the third consecutive year as the standard bearer in the annual October election.  He defeated Burril L. Northam of Long Hill, candidate of the insurgent group, 145 to 80.

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

The placing of the name of Monroe J.  Blackman in nomination for First Selectman to oppose Alfred Guion, choice of the town committee, and Burril l. Northam, candidate for the anti-Woods faction, was seen by political observers as a clever piece of work by the Woods machine to upset the insurgents and walk off with the town party caucus.

SEXTON SURPRISES

George Sexton, president of the Trumbull Taxpayers a Leaguenti-Woods and member of the faction, offered the only real excitement of the evening when he surprised the Republicans by nominating Constable Joseph Kane, Democrat, for Constable on the Republican ticket.  Kane drew a vote of 104, more than at his own caucus, at which he received 44 votes.

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

It is remembered that three years ago George L. Sexton headed a dissatisfied Republican movement to block the nomination of Alfred D.  Guion for First Selectman.

Tomorrow and Sunday, I will be posting the Program from the Manila Symphony Society performance on October 11, 1945 and another letter from Dave to his Dad in Trumbull.

Judy Guion

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Trumbull – Dear Sonny (2) – News From Aunt Elsie – September 10, 1939

My heart was cheered by receiving your long letter on the sixth written on August 27th from camp — AND with the brand-new black ribbon. This will make my birthday present of new glasses seem extra good. My impression from your letter is that Cuidad de Bolivar is mainly a circus town. That of course is just facetious, but you seem to have gotten behind the scenes of a circus in a very interesting way. You didn’t mention getting intimate with the bearded lady, the snake charmer, the sword swallower, the tightrope walker and the “man on the flying trapeze”, but I suppose it takes time to ripen such friendships. I am a bit surprised that you liked this city better than Caracas.

With all this experience, you are getting to be quite an oil man. That’s good, because you never know what knowledge will come in unexpectedly handy in the future. I noticed you also got in some duck shooting. To say nothing of the airplane rides. Shall look forward to hearing about the trucks at San Joaquin. Your four-page letter made up for lost time, but somehow or other one is never satisfied, is one?

ADG - Grandpa and Aunt Elsie on porch, 1946

Grandpa (Alfred Duryee Guion) and Aunt Elsie (Elsie May Guion)

(Time out for a note from Elsie Guion (pronounced Geon).) Here I am up here today on one of the New Haven Railroad excursions. I decided only last night to come so when I arrived at the station I phoned and found out later Dick was routed from a delightful dream to come down to meet me. I came for many reasons – it was a long while since my last visit, my brother’s birthday tomorrow, Aunt Betty was here, to say nothing of the rest of the family. When I arrived I found my cousins were expected later. So altogether it has been a delightful day. Business is startlingly bum. If it doesn’t pick up soon, something will pop – and I don’t mean corn!

My only other excitement is moving from the Tudor hotel last spring when the rates were jacked so high I couldn’t stay. I went down to Gramercy Park Hotel at 20th St. and

when the Tudor Hotel found out the money wasn’t pouring in as they had expected – in fact they were losing money – they lowered the rates and back we came. Oh, it is so much better at the Tudor in every way, service, equipment, location, etc. I’m paying more than when I left but I can’t do better. ”That’s all, folks”, says Mickey Mouse and so says I. I’m terribly ashamed of myself because I haven’t written to you and won’t make a lot of fool excuses. But I’ll really try to write you soon and until then keep on being the grand lad that you are. Love and lots of it, from ELSIE.

That was a little surprise I pulled on you. It must get monotonous getting one ”style” of writing all the time, so I thought I would bring in a variation by a substitute for a change. I shall miss you tomorrow, as I always do at family celebrations of one sort or another (Grandpa’s birthday celebration) , but there will be many things besides memories of a more tangible nature to remind us of our generous absent boy — a new fresh looking home that makes us all feel a lot more comfortable when guests come in. I hope you will like the new colors. The halls are light green, the upper hall floor a red, the living room sort of a light peach tan, and all the woodwork and ceilings white. To most people that see them they are blank but to me “Laddie” is written all over every square inch, and I can see it much more clearly too, with my new glasses.

Elsie has just gone to get her things on to go to the station, so aurevoir until next week. I’ll be a year older than.

DAD

On Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, I will be posting a letter from Grandpa to Lad with a newspaper clipping regarding Trumbull politics with Grandpa right in the middle.

  Judy Guion

Trumbull – Dear Lad (2) – Friend Sexton And Trumbull Politics – July 9, 1939

This is the second installment of a long letter from Grandpa to Lad, who has been in Venezuela, working for Interamerica, Inc. and then the Socony-Vacuum Oil Company.

                        Alfred Duryee Guion (my Grandpa)

About 7:30 I strolled around to the side door, where most of the Sexton group had gathered and was met with scowls and threatening looks.

Someone came up and asked me why I did not open the doors and while I was explaining to him that they were not to be opened until 7:45, friend Sexton appeared at my elbow. He was in such a temper that he was sweating and all a tremble. He said in a voice shaking with emotion: “Do you own this school?”  “No” I said quietly. “Well, then what the hell do you mean by keeping these people standing out here?” I said, “Mr. Sexton, I didn’t come down here to be heckled, but I will say that I have given instructions when the doors are to be opened and have announced that fact and to change it now would open me to the accusation of playing favorites and being unfair and I wanted to be fair to both sides.” “That’s the trouble with your damn tactics. You ought to be run out of town on a rail”. No rail seemed to be handy and so the suggestion was not put into effect.

I will admit however that I had told Mr. Shearer to open the front door first, as I had told a lot of folks on the right side to group themselves near the front door. In consequence, as many of our own group as of theirs finally found places in the Hall and a big overflow group occupied the chairs outside, where it was much cooler and one could smoke while listening to the loudspeaker to what was going on inside the hot hall, which of course was crowded to capacity.

All in all it was a good natured crowd, and the taxpayers group was told very definitely where to get off. I am afraid however that this will not stop them but that Sexton will try to pull off some other stunt. He promises some new development the later part of the week. Well, we shall see.

Dan broke the record last week. He sent me an airmail letter. I quote from it in case Dan is not able to get down to Pariaguan.  “My little meeting with Maxudian was highly amusing. It was the opposite of what I expected, instead of a lion I found a lamb whose psychology was “I need your help. Will you let me down?” Of course I was not prepared for such tactics, so I agreed to stay for three weeks more on his verbal promise to pay  salary and transportation home.  I heard his side of the whole story which I took with the usual mental grain of salt. He claims he has connections with the president, Contreras, and no matter what dirt is slung against the fair name of Interamerica, new contracts are forthcoming.

I believe this part of his story, because he has supplied evidence that he has censored personally the outgoing mail, including a letter I had sent to the Engineering Society in New York which was never received! ‘Be careful what you write’ was his advice. What surprises me, if this is true, is not that he should do this but that he should admit having done so.”

What do YOU think? Have politics changed much in the last 80 years? I wouldn’t be surprised if every incumbent had a “Friend Sexton” and cronies to deal with.

Tomorrow and for the rest of the week, I will be posting the rest of this letter.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Dear Lad (1) – Friend Sexton and Trumbull Politics – July 9, 1939

Lad has been in Venezuela for about 6 months, Dan has come back to Trumbull, and Lad is the only son away from home at this point. Grandpa continues to write every week and this letter gives us some insight as to one of the reasons he does it.

Alfred Peabody Guion (Lad, my Dad)

July 9, 1939

Dear Lad:

I was thinking the other day how much of a task this writing to you every week would be as a matter of duty, if one did not feel the way one does towards the person to whom he is writing, if you get what I mean. As it is, I suddenly found myself looking forward to Sunday afternoon when I could sit down and have sort of a long-distance chat with you. It is sort of a substitute, poor though it be, for a personal visit. And in this connection I have, in chatting with Ted from time to time, mentioned your interest in marine diesel engineering, and he very naughtily implanted a thought in my mind which, while it may never materialize, is nevertheless fun to think about. It was something like this: “Lad is all set for a real good job with Socony-Vacuum, and I mean by that, that within a very few years Lad ought to be holding down a $5000 job if he watches his step and doesn’t get mixed up with the two curses of the white man in the tropics, drink and women. Lad’s a good boy and I’m sure, now that he likes it, that he is all set. He will probably be in a position, possibly within the year, where he can pull a few strings and get his father a pass to come down to Venezuela on a pass on an oil tanker.” And boy, would I enjoy forgetting all my business and town problems and spending Christmas or New Year’s with my firstborn! However, that’s probably just one of those daydreams we indulge in now and then to take our mind off of some bothersome thoughts.

Well, this week has been a busy one for yours truly. Our friend Sexton started to abolish the town’s Finance Board, and boy, what a hornets nest he stirred up. It seemed as though the seeming indifference of the townspeople in not attending the town meetings in which he had been able to put over his wishes one after another, had made him too bold and at the same time had caused a strong public feeling to develop which at last burst out into a real demonstration against him and his crazy plans.

Friday was the day set upon for the town meeting, and it soon became apparent from the interest shown that the school would not begin to take care of the crowd. I therefore arranged for a number of chairs from Edison School to be placed on the grass plot at the southeast end of the building and then arranged for lights and a loudspeaker. Having heard a rumor that the taxpayers bunch intended to get there early, crowd around the door and rush the place as soon as the doors were open, crashing the gate as it were, I gave instructions that the doors were not to be opened to anyone until 7:45.

I had three state cops there in addition to our own constables to help keep order as our own boys were having their hands full anyway with parking problems. (Mr. Thornton let us use the lot in back of the drugstore for parking, and this was packed full, as was the lot between the firehouse and the school and some of the churchyard and of course along both sides of the street.

Tomorrow I will post the next installment of this long letter from Grandpa to Lad in Venezuela.  This letter will fill the coming week. 

Judy Guion