The Beginning (45) – Childhood Memories of Trumbull – Driving With Ced and Lad

 

                                         Packard and Mack

CED – I’m one of those who brag about the fact that I’ve been driving cars since I was about ten years old.  I got my license – Mother died on June twenty-ninth, and on June first, that same year, I turned sixteen.  I think I got my license on the second.  At that time I had driven quite a few miles with a driver next to me – quite a few miles without, and much more off road then on.  I used to drive on that road along the cemetery.  When they put the cemetery in, there was about a four foot drop to the road.  At the very end of it the drop-off was less and you could turn a car around where it was shallow and come back about halfway on the ledge to the gate.  We had a 1927 Packard Touring car.  I guess this was when Lad was working at Well’s Garage and he was making a little money there.  He saw the 1929 Packard Touring car – it was a beauty – and he asked Dad if he could trade in the old Packard and my Dad told him, “OK”.  We didn’t like that because that was his (Lad’s) car.  Well anyway, I had the car.  This one day I drove up that road, I guess I didn’t have my license yet, I’m not sure.  I was trying to turn around up there and I didn’t have enough room.  I got the front wheel over the bank.  When it went over the bank, it lifted the back end of the car on the right side.  “Oh, no”, I thought.  It was about a foot lower than the other end.  “Oh, brother, so this is it.”  I don’t remember how I got it off the bank; maybe I used a jack and pried it over.  I couldn’t go back and I knew I had to get it the rest of the way over.  I finally got it over the hill and onto the road.

Dad took us down to Baltimore in one of the cars – it must have been one of the Packards – to the Fair of the Iron Horse, this was the heyday of railroading.  They put on a beautiful show.  Dad drove us down and I know we had two flat tires, one going down and one on the way back.  It was a wonderful show.  They had all the old steam engines, the Sturbridge, and the Tom Thumb, they were the originals.  We sat in covered bleachers, and there was a huge stage, with water beyond the stage.  The old locomotives came in and people got out of the coaches, boats came in and out – it was wonderful.  The people wore period costumes.  We probably went in the early twenties, Dan, Lad and I – Dad always did things with us.  Dick and Dave weren’t in the group, they were born later.  I had the big privilege of seeing a very similar show at the Chicago World’s Fair (in 1934).

I guess we used Aunt Betty’s car sometimes because my Dad and Aunt Betty were very close.  Aunt Betty used to buy a new Buick every year and we used it a lot.

LAD – I was driving to Bridgeport (Connecticut) to see Anita Brown.  It was apparently past dark and I was heading south on Main Street.  The Chestnut Hill bus was going slower than I was.  I think he may have just been starting up after a stop, I don’t remember, but in any case, there was nothing coming so I saw an opportunity to pass him.  All of a sudden, my headlights picked up two reflections just a little above my hood.  I didn’t know what it was at first but then I realized it was a horse and buggy.  I pulled over tight against the bus … I was pushing hard against the bus.  The bus driver had seen the horse and buggy the same time I did.  Neither of us could stop fast but we tried and we stopped right together.  Neither vehicle was scratched but I hit the wagon.  I missed the horse but hit the wagon’s left front wheel and completely messed up the wagon.  The older fellow, who was driving, somehow got hold of his daughter and she came.  I remember her telling him, “I told you over and over not to put the lantern between your feet to keep warm.”  There were no charges filed against any of us.

Tomorrow and Friday, more Childhood Memories of Trumbull.

Judy Guion

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The Beginning (44) – Childhood Memories of Trumbull – More Shenanigans

 

Planting a garden in the back yard – back row: Dorothy Peabody (Arla’s youngest sister), Biss, Lad, Dan, Ced, Dick and Grandpa. Front row: Donald Stanley and Dave, circa 1928.

CED – A bunch of us would walk over to Pinewood Lake, you know, it was all forested pine trees.  We would play in the tops of those trees.  We would go from one tree to the next.

DICK – One time, Lad, myself, Dan, Gib (Arnold Gibson) and Nellie Sperling (Nelson Sperling) went to Pinewood Country Club.  They had planted lots of pine trees to hold the soil.  We climbed a tree and moved from tree to tree.  Every once in a while you would hear a crack, thump, “ugh”, as someone fell out of his tree.

One time, me and a couple of my delinquent friends did some malicious mischief (at Center School).  We broke some windows.  Charlie Hall ran across the stage with a stick and broke all the stage lights … Pop … Pop … Pop … Pop.

LAD – I do remember I used to ride one of the horses we had frequently, possibly every day or two, to go up to a house on the top of the second hill beyond Middlebrook School.  There was a girl living there that I really liked.  In fact, Bill Hennigan and I liked this girl very much.  Ruth Moy was her name.  I used to go up there on a horse and invariably, Mother would call and say, “Send Alfred home, it’s time for supper.”

CED – in Trumbull, I went to the old Don Serene’s house, which was a school.  It had two rooms with a sliding door between them.  The first, second and third grades were in one room, the fourth, fifth and sixth grades were in the other.  The teachers were two sisters, one in each room.  Ms. Hawkins taught in the second building.  That was the building that was moved.  They put a basement under it and made some minor changes and made a firehouse out of it.  We had outhouses outside – one for the boys and one for the girls.  We had a water cooler, a 10-gallon jug with a push button on the bottom, no ice, and a wood stove.  Both buildings had a wood stove – we kids used to get the wood for it.

When they opened Center School, I was in the fourth grade.  It had four rooms upstairs and four rooms downstairs.  It was shaped like a square.

BISS – At Center School I fell in love with the Principal, very much and I couldn’t wait for the eighth grade to come so I could be with her.  She retired to get married, either one or two years before that.  I was in the sixth or seventh grade when she retired to get married.  I was always mad at her, because I wasn’t able to have her as a teacher.

LAD – We started high school in Congress High on Congress Avenue (in Bridgeport).  We went there for two years maybe, then they closed the school and made it into a Junior High.  All of the high school kids moved across the street to Central High.  Years later, some of the Trumbull kids went to Harding High, some to Central High and some went to Bassick High School.

BISS – When I was twelve or thirteen, Mother sent me to Kurtz’s Store to get some groceries. We had always charged it, so when I got to the counter I said, “Put it on our charge.”  He said, “Go home and tell your mother and your father that we can no longer carry them on the charge.  They will have to pay cash from now on.”  I felt like I wanted the earth to open up and swallow me.  I know it took Dad from then until 1954 before he could get out of debt and put a gravestone at Mother’s Grave.  (Since Biss was born in January 1919, this would have been in 1931 or 1932.  Her mother, Arla Mary (Peabody) Guion, passed away June 29, 1933.  She had been severely sick for quite a while before that.)

For the rest of the week I will be posting more Childhood Memories of Trumbull.

Judy Guion

The Beginning (43) – Childhood Memories of Trumbull – Smoking and Other Shenanigans

 

Trap Door on the Barn

 

The Maple Tree on the left with the Summer Porch to the left of the house

It was called the Summer Porch because the Maple Tree provided lots of shade and there was always a breeze there 

CED: – At the Trumbull House, one of the things we used to do, one of the high points, had to do with the little trap door over the barn.  We would open the door, tie a rope to the beam at the top of the barn, run it down and tie it to the big Maple outside beside the Summer Terrace.  We used to have a wheel on it, it would go out the door and hang from the wheel.  We’d slide all the way down and get off by the Maple tree.  A pretty fast ride, too.

Possible location of the tree and swing going “almost over the road”.

We had a swing on the upper end of the property, near the stone pillars.  We would take hold of the rope, take a run and then swing out almost over the road.  Don Stanley fell off it and broke his arm.  His father never really forgave us.

LAD – I don’t remember much about any trouble I got into.  Dick and Ced used to get into trouble.  Mother would get a call from the police, or Constable, as they were called at the time.  What their problems were I don’t remember, but they did get into trouble … Mother had to go get them a few times.

Long before we moved to Trumbull, there was a dam on the Pequonnock River, flooding all the property where the stone house is now, right up to the cemetery.  There was a mill there, run by water which came down through a tunnel.  The tunnel was about three feet by three feet and it came out of a sheer wall.  It was probably a drop of eight or ten feet to the ground.  We kids used to play there quite often; we had a lot of imagination.

I don’t know if Mother smoked as a youngster, but she must have been smoking then because I think I took two of her cigarettes.  Art Christie and I went up and crawled through the tunnel and sat at the edge with our legs hanging over the edge and smoked cigarettes.  Who should come along but Mom!  She crawled through the tunnel and gave us quite a lecture.  It was probably a few years before I started smoking, but Mom smoked with me when I first started.  Then she quit, but I didn’t.

CED – We smoked corn silk and cigarettes here and there.  Art Christie was the oldest, your father (Lad) was next, then Dan and me, the four of us.  I like to presume, and it’s probably true, that Art Christie got the idea.  I guess my Mother wasn’t home.  I don’t know how we did it or how we got to it; but anyway, we got money out of Mother’s pocketbook.  We went to Kurtz is – Mother smoked – most of her sisters smoked – of course in those days you didn’t think anything about it.  Anyway, we went to Kurtz’s and said we were buying some cigarettes for our Mother.  We bought a pack of cigarettes, I don’t remember the brand.  Right about where the cemetery gate was, there was a carriage road.  There was a fence at the end, and a field beyond, which was probably Harold Beech’s field.  But right at the gate there had been, at one time, a mill.  They had dammed up the Pequonnock River; they had a dam there, probably four feet high and four feet wide.  They had a big stone wall that pretty much went all the way to the cemetery.  Near that wall, there was a big, square hole, I guess that’s where they had the mill wheel, but that space was a perfect place to go to smoke cigarettes.  We sat at the front of that square and we started smoking.  We had a whole pack of cigarettes and we wanted to enjoy them.  Well we were merrily smoking away and Dan said, “I think I’ll go home.”  He got right up and left.  We suspected that he was getting sick, he was.  Art and Lad and I hoped he wasn’t going to make a fuss.  I guess we talked about it and decided it was time to stop smoking, so we did.  We thought maybe we ought to go down to the brook, pick up some poles and pretend to be fishing in case Mother came looking for us.  So we did.  We went down to the brook and were playing along the side of the brook, and pretending we were fishing.  I don’t know if we could have made that stick, but anyway, sure enough, about ten, fifteen or twenty minutes later, here comes Mother and gulp, gulp, gulp.  She came up to us and said, “What are you doing?”  “Uh, we’re fishing,” we answered.  “Well”, she replied, “Dan tells me you were smoking.”  What could we do?  “You know your father and I both smoke”, she said.  “I don’t like it that you boys smoke, but why don’t you just come home and smoke if you want to smoke.”  Not one of us wanted to smoke again until we were eighteen or twenty.  Not one of us.  Now, if that isn’t  psychology, good psychology … Without even being punished.

For the rest of the week I will be posting more Childhood Memories of Trumbull.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Friends, Roamers and Countrymen (3) Grandpa’s Birthday Poem – September 11, 1944

Grandpa always believed it was better to give rather than receive, so every year on his birthday, he presented his children with gifts to commemorate HIS birthday. This year, he wrote a poem about this practice and sent “trinkets” to his sons under separate cover.

???????????????????

September 11, 1944

YADHTRIB

This is a topsy-turvy world

As most folks will agree

The up-side-down-ness of it all

Has much affected me

And Lad, who braves S. A.’s hot belt

And liked it hot and dusty

Now finds old Flora’s torrid heat

Makes him feel short and crusty

And Dan, who recently declared

Amid the big guns boom

From his own individual view

The war may end too soon

And Ced, too, finds things all awry

Up where the salmon run

He says he often can and

Does read by the midnight sun

Of course there’s Dick and Dave and Biss

Who are topsy-turvy too

But why go on and show them up

When all I want to do

Is show “how come” I get this way

And prove some still believe

At birthday time it is more fun

To give than to receive

So on this bright “September morn”

I send these trinkets few

And nudely say I’m glad to know

That I belong to you.

Tomorrow, I will post another edition of Lad’s Voyage to Venezuela.

On Sunday, more about Marian’s Ancestors.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Friends, Roamers and Countrymen (1) – A Family Christmas in 1945 – September 10, 1944

Alfred Duryee Guion - summer, 1946

Trumbull, Conn., September 10, 1944

Friends, Roamers and Countrymen:

Lending me your ears won’t help much – – what I need is a new nose – – one with a sneezeless attachment. However my eyes are still functioning in spite of my advanced age – – sufficient at least to read the interesting letters you boys contribute to the weekly Guion letter exchange.

This week Dave climbs up into first place along with the other top-notch ace correspondents, which now makes it unanimous – – probably inheriting your letter writing ability, according to Aunt Betty, from your father, who of course is too modest to admit the truth of any such statement.

But before I get into the Quotables Dept., let me briefly say that everyone was so anxious to see me make the 60th milestone that they anticipated it by a day and celebrated the gruesome occasion today in the traditional Guion manner, candles, cake and everything. Following my usual custom, I passed out a few little items myself, with the accompanying “apology”, but of course, such were not to be compared in any measurable degree with the thoughtful and generous remembrances which came my way. Indeed, the only circumstance which would have made the occasion a perfect one was your absence in person. Biss, Zeke and the two youngsters, along with Jean and Aunt Betty, lent color to the festivities and material evidences of goodwill such as a shirt, necktie, pajamas, after-shaving lotion, book, box of candy and Aunt Betty’s traditional greeting card with its green accompaniment kind of took the edge off the idea of advancing years.

Today’s paper announces the fact that Col. Chas. A. Lindbergh and wife will this month become residents of Fairfield, Conn., having rented a house there. Nothing new to report regarding the post office affairs here. Things temporarily are going along the same as ever. Even if and when they move from Kurtz’s, I don’t anticipate that any of the box numbers will be changed from present holders and that P. O. Box 7 will still indicate the portals through which news of the world is received here.

Now to get to the part you have been waiting for. Dave’s four-page single-space masterpiece is too long, or perhaps I’d better say I still lack sufficient energy to quote it in full, but I shall pull out juicy portions here and there in which you may sink your mental teeth.

“Well, here I am back in Camp Crowder again after a three – weeks sojourn with all of the Missouri rocks, chiggers and ticks that I promised you I would meet up with. It’s good to get back to Camp, but it will be so much “gooder” to get out of here entirely. I’ve spent six months in this place and I’m getting pretty tired of it all. But alas, there are no shipping orders for any of us. I’ll let you know what goes on as soon as I find out. Applying for OCS at this late date would mean nothing but a commission in the Army of occupation or possibly combat duty in the South Pacific. Either of these outlooks would be all right if I were planning to stay in the Army as originally intended; but with the possibility of having my own letter shop, and in later years, my own advertising company all set, established, etc., Why should I waste valuable years in the Army? Well, here it is September 3rd. According to the radios the war is still going on over in Europe. In fact from reports about all that’s going on anywhere is the war. At least that’s all anybody seems to be talking about. I mention this because some time ago, in an optimistic mood, I made the statement that it looked like the war would be over by August 15th, but that date has come and gone and still the Germans are fighting (sort of). Now I won’t make any estimates as to when it will be over. Who cares when it will be over? It is so damn close to the finish now that all I do is sit and think about what a good feeling it is and I don’t bother wondering about any specific date. But I still say that we all should be home by Christmas of ’45. At least that’s what I’m planning on. My brothers can think what they want but I’m looking forward to a Christmas dinner in a little less than 16 months at our “big white home in the East”, with the smell of Evergreen permeating the house, a fire in the fireplace, maybe with the added discomfort of having it fill the dining room with smoke, a tree decorated either in the music room or the living room, Butch and Marty (and maybe more of a new Guion generation), to pull down the tree after they have gotten tired of holding their eager eyes wide open with the joy and wonder of that most important day of the year. I’m looking forward to being there with ALL my brothers and my sisters (all three of them, and more if the case should be) and maybe even all my cousins, uncles and aunts – – but come now, maybe along about now I’m asking for too much. Anyway let’s hope for a complete Christmas in 1945. It will be the first in many years if we’re all their together.

Dad, I guess you’ve been reading stories on what a varied supply the Army PX carries for its soldiers. One thing the Army seems to have slipped up on our jacks for automobiles. Maybe you should write to your friend Franklin. Ask him to have some sent to PX 8 in Camp Crowder. Tell him it’s very urgent because you don’t know how long your son might remain in above mentioned camp. Of course you could have him arrange some deal with the officials so that it could be sent directly to you, but you know Franklin and his boys – – they’d much rather make it complicated. After all, if it took some time to get to you, you might not have any use for it when it does arrive and then you could put it out in the backyard and let it rust. That way, you could do your part in this war like a lot of other executives who are helping to win the war by letting a lot of valuable things rot in their “backyards” – – My, aren’t I bitter today?

And lastly about my mention of “virgin blood”. Don’t tell me you have any shady ideas about your youngest son, who has had such a sheltered life, having been brought up by a good and wise father – – and we mustn’t forget to mention all the other sons who stuck their fingers in the pie to help to bring up this last of the present generation of Guions. Lad, although he tried to help me with various things and explained very interestingly many things (one of which was a four hour discourse on oil well digging) nevertheless told me more than once – – and I can vividly remember the time and inflections of his voice: “Don’t do that, David.” Then there was Dan. He tried SO hard to get little Davey to go swimming, spending many hours with me up at Ye Olde Swimming Hole – – he who tried to get me outdoors to get some tan on my back – – also to try to get me to play tennis (in this last attempt he succeeded a little anyway). One other thing, he also spent a summer yelling “Hefalump” at me – – our own secret code word meaning “You look like hell – – straighten out your shoulders”. Then there was Ced, who insisted that I stop palling around with the boys who were my friends. Ced, who very quietly made me feel like less than nothing when he found out I had been “borrowing” from his collection of pennies. This, by the way, is something that up till now, as far as I know, has been a secret between Ced, Dick and myself. I hope, Dad, that you and all the rest don’t think too harshly of me. I learned my lesson OH SO WELL from Ced – – although I don’t remember now just how he cured me. Then there was Bissie. The most vivid thing in my mind as to her part in bringing me up was the day I was raising a little hell around the house while she was trying to clean it up. “Do you want me to spank you?” (I still hear her say it now when I’m home, to her too cute little Muchachos). Anyway, my answer, seeing as how she was a girl and couldn’t run as fast as I, was “Yes”. They’re off! I tore out of that old house of ours and around to the lawn over by the screened porch, where, as I remember, fear and exhaustion overcame me and I went down immediately so that she would feel sorry for me and not spank me. But alas, I didn’t know enough about human nature, I guess, for there, out on my own front lawn, in sight of the street, my own sister BEAT me. Oh, the shame of it all! Of course, I may have had it coming to me. Then there was Dick. I could write 20 pages on the way Dick helped to bring me up by hardening me up to the mean people of this world. The idea was a good one – – but I didn’t like his system of teaching. I guess he believed in the “experience is the best teacher” theory. Anyway, he led a happy teenage life teasing the pants off of his kid brother. Come to think of it, we should mention here my good cousin Donald Stanley, who, when with Dick, really did a bang up job of making both Gwyneth and me enjoy their visits. Thinking back on it now – – it was probably the best part of my life – – so far – – but at the time I didn’t think I did anything from the time Dick and Don got together, but cry because they were picking on me. Of course the prize experience was the night that has been so often mentioned in later years, when we were all out on the screened porch raising a little too much commotion for the older set, until finally we were threatened to be split up if we made any more noise. Of course, my version of the story is a little different, and basically it is the same, we all agree that I kicked out the window on the stairs, and we all agree that I took a good tanning from my riled father. But one thing I can say. No one remembers quite so vividly that spanking (my last one, by the way), as I do. Unless, as the old saying goes: “This is going to hurt you more than it does me, son”. Anyway, Dad, if it did hurt you, you didn’t cry like I did. Golly, when I started off I didn’t know I was going to write anything like this. There are no hard feelings left now, of course, and it’s a lot of fun thinking back to those terrible days when nobody liked me and the whole world was against me. Poor Dave. Damn, I’m still but a kid, I guess, but I’d like to live over again all those days that I thought at the time were so terrible. Oh, tell Bissie I grew a mustache while I was out in the field. I’ve still got it. I’m going to try to get some snaps taken of it today and then shave it off. I don’t like it. One of the boys told me it looked “sexy” and I guess that’s about the best description of it.

Reminiscences, Dave, are very appropriate for one’s birthday, and I’m sure all your big brothers will enjoy reading it as much as I have. And speaking of birthdays, won’t you please write us soon after you get this as convenient and give me a list of the things you would like to have to commemorate the day which falls on the last Saturday of this month. Do a good bang up job now, there’s a good fellow.

Tomorrow and Friday I will post the rest of this letter and a Birthday Poem written by Grandpa which was included in this letter.

Judy Guion

 

Trumbull – Dear “Offspring of a Small Explosion” – Advice From Grandpa – September 3, 1944

Alfred Duryee Guion (Grandpa)

Trumbull, Conn., September 3, 1944

Dear “Offspring of a Small Explosion”:

Well, why not? That’s the definition of “pop”, isn’t it, and anyway there is justification in the term due to the fact that I have just been sneezing away at accelerated tempo by reason of the fact I have been wandering through fields and brush for the last hour on a child hunt. Sometime late this morning Skipper and Susan disappeared and not having shown up by 2 PM, their mother scoured the immediate vicinity by car and “mother calls”, which proving ineffectual, the neighbors gradually joined in the search, still to no avail. Finally Kit decided to call the police, and being just a big Boy Scout at heart, I decided to brave the naughty pollen and put in my little two cents worth of searching. I chose for my particular territory Reynolds sandpit and thence both sides of the stream and neighboring woodland from there down as far as Levy’s. After an hour the pollen definitely won and here I am jabbing downwards between teardrops with an occasional sneeze for punctuation. However it was a vicarious sacrifice on my part for I learned after returning home that a few minutes after I had left, the two children came nonchalantly strolling in, having been spending the time in a study of animal life watching the horse in Reynold’s barn. If Sue grows up to be a second Rosa Bonheur I shall feel reconciled to the price.

You will be cussing me, I suppose for a bothersome hair shirt, but here goes for another whack at the desirability of knowing where you want to go so that you can set an intelligent course for your goal – – this time it is an editorial from the Bridgeport Post: “It is characteristic of youth to live for the moment, grabbing the fleeting hours with little thought of the morrow. But the theory that life is brief at best and that it is up to the liver to have the best time he can while he may, is not a fancy confined to youth. Among the world’s most dismal failures are those whose schooling, skill, mental power and discipline of will were all invested for a short life and a gay one (My friend, Roger comes to mind). Therefore, one of the best tests of maturity is the capacity of looking far ahead and of realizing that “the road passes on through the long afternoon and stretches away in the night”. Paradoxically, shortsighted people discover that life is not short, but long, much too long. For the day’s work they have insufficient training, capital or experience. For the fullest enjoyment of the sunset of the years they have insufficient health and nerve – force. So, in life planning, as in other issues, the longest way ‘round is often the shortest way home.”

Dan-uniform (2)

Daniel Beck Guion

Personally, I think this view is a bit too austere, but I do sincerely believe that while we can and should snatch enjoyment from life as we go along, there is nothing to prevent us at the same time knowing where we are headed for and having our fun while traveling this particular road. Dan, for instance, seems to have the capacity of getting a great kick out of whatever he is doing, as witnessed the last V-mail letter which has just arrived from “somewhere in France”. And by the way, note his new address. Co. A. 660th Engr. Topo. Bn., Hq. Communications Zone (Forward European Theatre of Operations) APO 887 C/o PM, New York, N. Y. He writes: “Observe our new address! Terse, eh? Mail service is abominable these days, but the war makes up for it. I am finding less and less leisure time as you no doubt are well aware. I am constantly exposed to what I consider to be the greatest enjoyment of life, i.e., the observance of (and participation in) exotic customs, habits, sites and languages. However heretic it might seem, I am almost disappointed to realize that the war is nearly over! It is amazing how quickly one can lose contact with the past. I have no idea what goes on in the U.S. — the latest songs — movies, politics, business trends — even London seems distant now. The other day I was talking to a couple of WACS. I was shocked and disappointed in the way they talked. After becoming accustomed to the English girls the American girls seem vulgar – loud. I realize those WACS were average Americans but I cannot help feeling that those of us who have been in Europe for a year or so will find America a bit difficult at first — and wonderful, too.”

(Query – am I to give thought to the possibility of having an English, or possibly French, daughter-in-law?)

Carl was over here just before dinner time and he read Dan’s letter. His experience with the English girls is at variance with Dan’s. His months leave is up tomorrow and he now goes down for another assignment – – where or on what kind of ship is of course unknown. He told me of meeting a Capt. John Trunk in Cartagena, Colombia, S.A., which he thought Ced might be interested in hearing about. It seems the captain is associated with a branch of Socony-Vacuum known as the Andean National Corporation and is a flying instructor. Carl went out with him to the airport and looked over their 12-seater seaplane.

Alfred Peabody Guion (my Dad)

Both sides of the APG branch have been heard from, and when you realize that Marion wrote en route, from Kansas, and Lad from a place where he says “perspiration is running off me as I write worse than it did in South America, and that is H O T”, it really means they made a big effort to keep us posted, and by the same token it is very much appreciated. Lad’s trip was attended by a hot box on his train, causing a couple of hours delay until they could transfer to another car. They were en route from Monday to Thursday. After diligent search, Lad finally located a place in Jackson which is about 19 miles south of his camp at Flora. Lad hopes his stay will not last more than five or six weeks as the combination of humidity and hot sun makes it extremely uncomfortable. He also speaks of receiving an absentee ballot from Helen Plumb, which I asked be done in the case of each of you (except infant Dave). He’ll love that infant part. Naturally, I haven’t heard from him, and incidentally Marian, if you had been able to stop at his camp you would not have found him as he was out on a hike.

Marian Dunlap (Irwin) Guion (my Mom)

Marian says the trip as far is Wakeeny, Kansas, from which she wrote, was accomplished without more than the necessity at the start of having to have a couple of small part replacements. There is someone with her because she says “we”, but I don’t know whether one or two are along beside herself. “We have been through some beautiful country. The Salt Lake desert was very hot and dry but the past two days have been cool and comfortable. In fact this morning we were downright cold. We were going through the Rockies and at one time were at an elevation of 11,315 feet.

Your insurance, Ced and Lad, is due this month and I shall, of course, take care of the premium as usual.

And that’s about all, except that Aunt Betty and Jean send their best, being wafted on to you on a couple of sneezes from

DAD

Incidentally, according to the radio, today is the 1000 day of the war.

Tomorrow I’ll post a letter from Marian to Grandpa from Jackson, Mississippi. Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, another letter from Grandpa.

Judy Guion. 

Trumbull – Dear Halloween Pranksters (2) – News From Dan and Lad – October 31, 1943

This is the second half of a letter written by Grandpa to his four sons scattered all over the place.

page 2   10/31/43

The next letter in chronological order is from Dan. He starts out by saying it seems like his lot to miss the most interesting parts of the air raids — he has not yet even heard a piece of flak fall. “But the other day I witnessed another type of “warfare”. Two men and two ferrets were exterminating a rabbit colony in Wimbledon common. For the occasion the men were dressed in riding habits complete with black “Bowler” hats. They were armed with several nets and two ferrets — these animals look like white rats with a long wheel base. The nets were staked down over all the entrances and exits of the rabbit colony. Then the ferrets were given the signal to advance. Down the holes they went. Minutes passed. Suddenly one of the nets bounced up in the air with a flurry of brown fur. One of the men sprang toward it and seized it in his hands. Deftly he extricated a rabbit from the meshes, broke its neck and thrust the limp form into a sack. Soon a ferret reappeared and was promptly introduced into another hole. A questioning of the pseudo-nimrods revealed the following facts. Ferrets are raised by breeders who “bring out the beast in them” to be most effective in flushing rabbits. Finished products cost from 15 “bob” (shillings) to L 1. Naughty ferrets sometimes bite the hand that picks it up. Other undisciplined characters commit mayhem on its victims underground, leaving the exasperated hunter tapping his foot impatiently for an hour or two while the ferrets enjoys a subterranean banquet (or as one of the salacious Yanks suggested, the ferrets having heard of the reputation of rabbits, as he approaches his victim, “Put out or get out, rabbit!” thus explaining the long delay). Ferrets, while not on active duty, consume chicken heads or bread and milk, better results being obtained by the chicken heads. I learned later that the practice of ferreting is illegal, but, what with the scarcity of meat, officials are prone to overlook infractions of this law.

Lad’s letter is dated October 25th. He writes that he and Marian (spelled with an “a”) are to be married at the ”Little Chapel of the Flowers” in Berkeley on the afternoon of November 14th. He will, of course, wear his uniform. A Presbyterian minister of Marian’s choice will tie the knot. Lad is trying to secure a 7-day leave but thinks it will more likely be a 3-day pass. Financially, with their combined income and a budget, they expect to get by in good shape (at the time Lad wrote he had not received my letter telling him his Venezuelan Petroleum stock, which I had bought in 1940 for $75, skyrocketed, so that it is now worth $1100. Ain’t that sumpin’?)

To complete the record, I may as well give you Dick’s address, but if you don’t have any better luck hearing from him than I do, it won’t be much use writing him with any hope of a reply.

As Lad’s wedding date draws near, I have to fight a rising desire to throw caution to the wind and depart for Berkeley. It would mean closing the office (which, in the present circumstances, would mean going out of business permanently), leaving Aunt Betty with the entire burden of shopping, cooking, etc., to say nothing of the difficulties of civilian travel these days (and of course, the cost). So I’ll let my brain rule my heart and stay home.

DAD

Tomorrw, more Venezuelan Red Tape for Lad’s Voyage to Venezuela.

On Sunday, more about Marian’s ancestors, the Lewis, Rider and Irwin families.

Judy Guion