Trumbull – Dear Son (1) – Grandpa Writes To Ced – Christmas Happenings – December 27, 1942

This letter is addressed to Ced alone, since Dan made it home and Lad is driving to California at this time.

Ced and car - 1940 (3)-head shot

Cedric Duryee Guion

Trumbull, Conn., Dec. 27, 1942

Dear Son:

Last letter there was mention of a cold spell that had set us all a-shivering, but that news was a bit premature because that cold spell was followed, or should I say, developed, into a still lower temperature, and if neighbors’ thermometers are to be believed, resulted in the coldest days the family ever experienced since they came to Connecticut. Mrs. Mantle told me that one day the thermometer both at the back and at the side of their home registered 24° below zero. Even well after sunup, the thermometer just outside our kitchen window registered 14 below. In any event, it can be said without any possibility of overstatement that I have never experienced a series of cold days of so low a temperature over so long a period. We had about arrived at the conclusion that it might be a good thing to journey to Alaska in order to find warmer weather. However, I am glad to say that due to the weatherproofing done last year, the installation of storm windows and the operation of the furnace at full capacity, both day and night, temperatures prevailed. I guess we can all remember that winter we spent in the apartment when pipes in the cellar froze and Ced burst forth in his vehement imitation of Bradley Kincaid. The only damage done this spell was a burst pipe in the laundry, but as that is an annual occurrence anyway, it failed to make much of an impression. My car failed to start due to the fact I had not put enough Zerox in the radiator to protect it that low, so it froze to some extent, but not enough to do any harm. However, the weather since then has been normal for this time of year, and even when the mercury crept up toward zero, everyone remarked how warm it was, being almost tempted to leave one’s overcoat at home. Well I guess that’s enough of an opening paragraph about the weather. By the way, it seems to be very popular these days to add a pint of casite to one’s oil for ease in starting.

For Christmas, Dan breezed in, but in spending Christmas Eve in the Warden’s, he evidently drank the wrong kind of wine so that the next day he felt pretty miserable and did not begin to feel like himself again until Saturday. Last night he and Barbara went to New York to see an ice show. About midnight Christmas Eve, (Aunt) Anne and Don (Stanley, her son) alighted from the bus, and Christmas morning the four Zabel’s (Elizabeth Westlin (Guion) Zabel, her husband Raymond, known as Zeke, and their two children, Raymond Jr. (Butch) and Marty) and Elsie (Duryee, Grandpa’s sister) arrived to gather around the tree for the usual procedure.

Trees this year were very expensive, small ones costing two or three dollars and four or five foot trees selling for a dollar a foot. The small ones on sale around here were so scraggly that Dave refused to have anything to do with them, and then he had a brainstorm. He had been busily engaged trimming a beautifully full, fair-sized tree in the church for their pre-Christmas party, which tree had been dismantled Christmas Eve and thrown out back of the church. With some of the base removed it made perhaps the best looking tree we have had for a number of years. The only fly in the ointment came while we were at dinner when Butch (Raymond Zabel Jr., Bissie’s oldest – 3 years old) disappeared for a moment and came back into the dining room grinning and proudly announced he had pulled over the Christmas tree with all its lights and decorations. He wasn’t kidding. He had done just that. Dave, with a great effort of will, maintained a discreet silence, thus winning a great moral victory.

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Alfred Duryee Guion (Grandpa) carving the turkey (You can see the GOOD China and I actually have that Gravy Boat, along with a Soup Bowl and two plates.)

Later the tree was restored but seemed to lack some of its pristine virginity. With Elizabeth’s help, we were able to have a big turkey and Kathryn Warden had generously donated two pies so we got by very nicely in spite of the scarcity and high prices of food.

Tomorrow, I will post the rest of this letter.

Judy Guion

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Trumbull – Dear Boys – Below Freezing Weather – December 20, 1942

If you look closely to the right of center, you can see Dick and Mack between the Packard and the shed

Trumbull, Conn., December 20, 1942

Dear Boys:

For three days the thermometer in these here parts has consistently registered below zero weather. Day before yesterday it was 8 below, yesterday around the zero mark and today, early, it was 14 below, going up to 8 below at 8 o’clock, and when, during the day, it rose to 2 below, it seemed as though it were getting warm. Tonight is cold again but how far the mercury has sunk I don’t know. With furnace going full tilt, oil stoves alight and the alcove fireplace doing its bit, we have been fairly comfortable. Maybe we would be more comfortable in Alaska. Dick has been wearing his Davy Crockett coonskin cap and Barbara bemoans the fact that the moth got into her parka. I feel sorry for the poor guys who have oil burners and have been rationed on their fuel oil. Everyone around here is kicking at the discrimination shown by the bunglers in Washington against New England and the East. Democrats and Republicans alike, if their memory lasts that long, will be apt to register their protests in a very definite manner in November of ’44.

No further word from Lad or Ced, but a letter from Dan arrived holding out just a suggestion of hope that he may be able to get home for Christmas. We’re all keeping our fingers crossed.

I have been using the bus several days lately to get back and forth, due to a combination of gas rationing and difficulty starting the car in this cold weather. The office, too, due to fuel oil rationing, has been too cold to comfortably work in, and for two days the heat was off entirely during repairs. I don’t know what the situation will be tomorrow. Both Dick and Dave were home for a couple of days last week with colds. Dave still has a cough hanging on, but Aunt Betty and I seem to be inhospitable to the little germ.

I am afraid the season will lack some of its old time zest this year due to the absence of some very important sons, but maintenance of a smiling spirit seems to be indicated, which I have tried to capture in the attached effort, in lieu of a Christmas card, I am sending out to sundry friends and acquaintances (see sample attached). (The sample is not attached. Grandpa sent out a creative Christmas card in 1926 regarding the history of the house. Then there was a large gap but in 1945 he started sending yearly creative efforts to friends and family. You can view them in my Blog Category, “Christmas Cards”)

A Christmas box loaded with much goodwill but few articles of much intrinsic value, was sent off to Flint last week hoping it would reach Lad in time, but Dan’s slight remembrances are being retained here in the hope he will come in person to claim them. Ced’s box previously started on its long journey but I have little hope, judging from the delay in letter deliveries from Alaska, that it will reach him by the 25th.

Inspiration seems sadly lacking tonight, if you can miscall anything I write in these weekly efforts by that name, and as it is about time to snatch a bite to eat and try to warm up the bedsheets, it is perhaps just as well to quote the well-remembered lines, “Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night” from one, who in your childhood days, used to pose as

Santa Claus

Tomorrow, the last letter from 1942. It wraps up news from Lad and Ced, who were not home for Christmas, Christmas guests and festivities.

On Saturday, more Special Pictures of the Trumbull House, Then and Now.

On Sunday, another Guest Post from GPCox about the role Sports played for the home folks.

Judy Guion

Early Years – Memories of David Peabody Guion (8) – 1930 – 1946

After my Uncle Dan (Daniel Beck Guion) passed away in 1997, I realized that first-hand accounts of this particular “Slice of Life” would only continue to diminish over time. I needed to record the memories of my Aunt Biss and her brothers and share them with the family. This culminated in the idea of a Blog so that I could share these memories with anyone who would be interested in the personal histories of some members of The Greatest Generation.

Over a period of several years, whenever possible, I recorded the memories of my Dad and his siblings. 

In July of 2004, I sat down with my Uncle Dave and recorded his memories. With the other siblings, the memories were recorded in a somewhat chronological order, but with Dave, after a few early memories, he went right to his Senior year in high school when he made the decision to enlist in the Army. The conversation continued through his service, from Basic Training and his posts in Okinawa and the Philippines until he came home after World War II was over. I then led him back with questions about his childhood. I will present his memories as they were recorded.  

Trumbull House - Blizzard of 1940 - Dave, Mack and Dick shoveling

David Peabody Guion and Richard Peabody Guion with Mack after a big snow storm in 1940

This is a continuation of some of Dave’s memories surrounding sports and the Island.

We had one fellow, of course this was during the war, we had one fellow who usually was the pitcher and he so badly wanted to go into the Air Force.  Whenever a plane flew over, he would stand there holding the ball until the plane got almost out of sight, then he’d resume the game.  It was kind of like commercial breaks, I guess.

Unfortunately, this same fellow – three years before that – was up at the Trumbull Reservoir.  There was a cliff up there and he and a couple of other fellows were at the bottom of this Cliff when some kids from Bridgeport – I say this because kids from Bridgeport were bad – either accidentally or on purpose threw or kicked a rock off the top of the cliff and it hit this kid in the head, so he had a metal plate in his head.  When it came time for him to go into the service, he wanted to fly and of course, they wouldn’t let him.  So he left in the Navy.  I got a letter from him when I was in Okinawa and it had been written maybe two or three days before that, so I said, “My God, he’s got to be here.” As soon I got a chance I went down to the Harbormaster and found out that his ship had just left, so I missed him.

Back to athletics.  In Trumbull, behind McKenzie’s (Drug Store) and a bunch of other stores, there used to be an open lot and we used to play football and baseball there. We had a team called the Trumbull Rangers.  We would play basketball and — I say we — THEY would play basketball, football and baseball. (I believe Dave filled the role of Organizer and Manager) We had a regular club and I was the President.  I wasn’t worth a darn as an athlete so … Besides, we used to meet in the barn at the Big House.  I became the President.  That ran for several years. We played other Trumbull teams, we played Bridgeport teams.  For a lot of years we never got together.  Now, (in 2004) on the first Wednesday of the month, we get together.

One of my earliest memories of the Island was running around naked.  There were no buildings on the Island when we went up there, there was a tent.  We put up a tent and that was it.

(At this point, the Island was owned by Rusty Heurlin’s parents. Rusty was introduced to the family through Fred Stanley, (married and divorced from Grandma Arla’s younger sister, Anne (Peabody) Stanley), who know Rusty from the group of artists who hung out in Westport, Connecticut)

Here’s a couple of little stories.  When I was a kid, I remember it was the first time I was up there (the Island in New Hampshire) – in the first place, it was a two-day trip to get up there – we used to leave, driving up to Rusty’s parent’s house (in Wakefield, Massachusetts), stay overnight, then drive up the rest of the way.  Rusty had a couple of friends who were at the Island one time I was up there.  We had spaghetti for supper that night. About sometime around two or three o’clock I no longer had that spaghetti.  I don’t know what they had put in it, but something made me sick.

Spring Island - Sunset 2007 (Judy)

Red Hill from the Big Flat Rock on the Island

One guy’s name was Eustis and Rusty used to call him Useless.  I don’t remember the other guy’s name. (I told Uncle Dave: His name was Sully and he was called Silly, at least according to Aunt Biss.) (Dave replied:)  Rusty is the last one in the world to call someone else silly.  I remember one time he decided to make himself a meal.  So he got a piece of bread and he proceeded to put anything and everything that was edible on top of that piece of bread and ate the whole thing, stood out on the rock The Big Flat Rock near Bathtub Landing) and belched loud enough so people on Red Hill could hear him, I’m sure.  He was a character, a funny guy.

Tomorrow I will start posting letters written in December 0f 1942.

Judy Guion

Early Years – Memories of David Peabody Guion (7) – 1930 – 1946

After my Uncle Dan (Daniel Beck Guion) passed away in 1997, I realized that first-hand accounts of this particular “Slice of Life” would only continue to diminish over time. I needed to record the memories of my Aunt Biss and her brothers and share them with the family. This culminated in the idea of a Blog so that I could share these memories with anyone who would be interested in the personal histories of some members of The Greatest Generation.

Over a period of several years, whenever possible, I recorded the memories of my Dad and his siblings. 

In July of 2004, I sat down with my Uncle Dave and recorded his memories. With the other siblings, the memories were recorded in a somewhat chronological order, but with Dave, after a few early memories, he went right to his Senior year in high school when he made the decision to enlist in the Army. The conversation continued through his service, from Basic Training and his posts in Okinawa and the Philippines until he came home after World War II was over. I then led him back with questions about his childhood. I will present his memories as they were recorded.  

DPG - with Zeke holding Butch

David Peabody Guion in 1939

I have a Log Book someplace that I should give to you, Judy.  It’s the trip, a couple of trips maybe, with the boat that dad named the Helen.  Now, most boats seemed to enjoy themselves lying on top of the water.  Helen seemed to enjoy it most when she was on the bottom, on solid land, even though it was covered by water.  My father would get more phone calls, “Come down and bail out your boat.”  Or “Come down and somehow raise it up.”  It was forever sinking.  It was, as I recall, it was some kind of a – when you’re a kid your perspective gets kind of mixed up – as I recall it was probably something like the infamous – what’s that movie, you know, the steamboat from the – anyhow it had a bow, it had a stern.  It was kind of rounded like a tug boat … African Queen, probably not nearly as big but to me it was big as a kid.  It had an engine but it was not a steam engine like the African Queen but had some kind of engine in the back.  It was kind of fun for the older boys.  I don’t know what happened to the Helen but my guess is that if you drained the Housatonic River, you’d probably find it.

To read more about the Helen, you can read my posts under that Category.

My problem, aside from Dick, my biggest problem when I was a kid was keeping different groups of friends apart from one another.  I had lots of friends when I was a kid, no real close friends, but they were diverse.  When I was playing with one and one of the others showed up, I had a problem because the two of them didn’t get along

As far as games are concerned, I was the consummate athlete.  The sandlot game was really an un-organized game when I was a kid.  In a sandlot game, a bunch of kids would get together and two would get to be Captains.  One of them would throw the bat in a vertical position to the other Captain, he would grab it and then they would put hand over hand until they reached the top of the bat, and that was the guy, whoever was the last to touch the bat, he was the one who would pick first.  He would pick the best player, probably, and then the other Captain would pick somebody and they go back and forth like that until it got to me.  I always managed to be the last one picked because I couldn’t hit, I couldn’t catch, and no one wanted me as a ballplayer.  When it came to football, I was too light and too scared, so I was never a football player.  I never learned to ice skate until, after I was married, my wife taught me how to ice skate.  So, you can see, I was the consummate athlete.

Tomorrow, more of the Early Years with Memories of David Peabody Guion. 

Judy Guion

Trumbull – R-85 (2) – Dear Polar Bears – July 21, 1940

About June 12th or 13th, Dan and Ced left Trumbull, driving the Willys, bound for Seattle. They were going to ship the car to Alaska, but if that turned out to be costly, they would sell the car in Seattle and board a ship for Anchorage, where they were planning on seeing the Stolls, who, Rusty Huerlin had told them, was hiring. 

Dan, Ced and car

Daniel Beck Guion and Cedric Duryee Guion with the Wyllis.

R-85                                                                                                                          Trumbull, July 21, 1940

Dear Polar Bears:

And I don’t mean Pall Bearers, as you might infer from the number of funerals I have attended lately. (This reminds me of Billy Parks telling us one day that his father had been a polar bear at a funeral.)

Dick has been a very busy boy during his first week at Columbia Phonograph. He worked overtime every night save one until 9:30, and presumably he will be paid time and a half for overtime. He did not have to work Saturday however. I saw Mrs. Kermode the other day and she told me young George was working very hard at the aluminum company plant in Fairfield and is getting about $35 a week. He is saving most of it to go to college with the idea of taking up medicine.

To come back to Dick again, he has brought home a Krupa ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gene_Krupa )  ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cHr4XQ9SEcg )
hot record which one of the men at his plant gave him, and can purchase any records he wants at 40% discount, so that I suppose from now on my life will be hectored with hot music from these modern jazz orchestras, and you know how I’d love that.

Don (Stanley, son of Anne (Peabody) Stanley, who invited himself to Trumbull for an indefinite stay, because his mother was in the hospital and his father had a new wife and there were no young people where he was living) has been alone most of the week with both Dave and Dick working during the day, but is kept fairly busy cutting lawns. We all went to the movies Saturday afternoon, I seeing “Earthbound”   ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Earthbound_%281940_film%29 ) and the boys, Judy Garland and Mickey Rooney in “Andy Hardy Meets Debutante” ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andy_Hardy_Meets_Debutante ).

I am enclosing, in the hope that they will help you get jobs, the following material:

newspaper report of Dan’s Venezuela and experience.

C.C.C. certificate of merit of Dan’s survey work

letter of recommendation from the Tilo Company, (in Bridgeport, where he had been working)  for Ced

( I haven’t found a copy of any of these documents)

I see there is a New Federal Writers Project book out on Alaska, a guide to Alaska, I think it is called, which the Bridgeport library has not yet received but which I have requested when it arrives.

Your airmail letter, Ced, written on the 7th came through pretty promptly and was very interesting. The “great expectations” based on Rusty’s and the Stolls promises sort of dissolved in thin air. Reminds me of my story about not trusting anybody, even your own father. It speaks well, either for the stuff that is in you fellows or the favorable relation between the law of supply and demand in the labor market in Anchorage, that you fellows so promptly got work, even though, temporarily, it is not the choicest sort of jobs you might prefer. In your case, Ced, I think the Stolls have lost out on a good bet. I am not sure Dan would have liked that sort of work well enough to have stuck to it very long anyway. It should give you a safer feeling to know that there are funds back home you can requisition if you need them. Dick, from now on, will be paying me five dollars a week for your car and of course Dan has funds to his credit he has not yet requisitioned, and there is still more to come when we get paid by Ashcroft for his stencil cutting work.

I am rather surprised, after what I read, that milk does not cost more than it does here ($.10 a glass) as I understood dairying in Alaska is not much of an industry.

Have seen or heard nothing from Rusty, but from what Bruce said when I saw him last, Rusty is evidently still with Brita (his sister), and probably will remain there if he is depending on selling a story before earning enough funds to take him to Alaska.

I have not heard anything from the Huerlins regarding the camp (the Island in New Hampshire) and the necessary permission for the Boy Scouts to go up there the last two weeks in August. Dr. Shattuck asked me about it the other day, and thought it might be a good stunt if he got a phone connection someday and put me on to talk to them about it. Will keep you posted as to developments.

Don’t forget in writing that what may seem commonplace happenings to you is still very interesting news at home. And if each of you depend on the other fellow writing, we are apt to lose out on some of the things we would like to hear about. I still don’t know anything about the sale of the Willys.

Would you like me to send you a check next time I write just to tide you over the starting period?

I miss you both, and send lots of love, as you must know without my writing it every time.

Dad

Tomorrow, I will finish off the week with a glimpse of what Grandpa thinks about the Chicago Convention with an extract from Julius Caesar, Act I. 

Judy Guion

Trumbull – R-85 (1) – Dear Lad – Heat Wave Across America – July 21, 1940

Lad - Anzoategui Camp -Jan., 1940 (2) Lad's bureau and desk

Lad’s bureau and desk at a camp in Venezuela

A cartoon sent to Lad with a quick note: “Lad, this is July 21.The last letter I received from you was dated June 24th. Dad”  (Notice Lad’s face glued on to the male character)

R-85

Trumbull, Conn. July 21, 1940

Dear Lad:

There is a rumor that Dave just brought in that Cecelia (Mullins – also referred to as Babe,  Lad’s girlfriend ) has had another crack up. No details, only that Charlie Hall (neighbor and friend of the boys, but especially Dick) saw her car smashed up in a repair shop. She may furnish you with details. Mr. Mullins, (owner of the local Funeral parlor) I understand, is going to erect a new two-story modern building at the corner of Main and Golden Hill adjoining his present location, but evidently from a paragraph I noticed in the newspaper there is some legal trouble on the thing because Morris Shumofsky, the Bamby Bread owner, is suing the bank, from whom Mr. Mullins bought the property, because they sold the lot to Mullins after Shumofsky had offered a higher price for it.

The last two days have been scorchers as far as heat is concerned. In fact I just listened to a radio report that a heat wave was general throughout the United States. It is hot and humid right now at 4:30 PM although there is a nice breeze stirring and is not really uncomfortable in the house. Poor old Mack seems to feel it as much as anyone.

Enclosed is an article appearing in Bridgeport Life based on an interview their reporter had with Dan at my suggestion. It seems quite interesting to me, but of course, being the father, I am apt to be a bit prejudiced. You need not return it as I obtained several copies. Besides, sending one to Dan who has not himself seen it yet, I thought I would also send one to Ted. (Uncle Ted Human, who hired Lad and Dan for the job in Venezuela)

There is really very little news this week regarding the little home town. As to national affairs, I am sending an extract from Shakespeare’s play, Julius Caesar, which strikes me as being quite amusing.

Neither Barbara (Plumb, Dan’s girlfriend) or I have received any news from the Alaskans, so there is nothing on that score to pass on to you. No, I am wrong. Since writing you last I did get a nice two-page letter by airmail from Ced, telling of their arrival in Anchorage just before the Fourth of July, their temporary quarters in Anchorage’s best hotel at three dollars a day for two of them, with prospects of getting a room with double bed in a house occupied by a young man and his two sisters whom they met on the boat. They met Mr. Stoll and Walter (Rusty Huerlin, a family friend, had suggested to the boys that they contact the Stoll’s because they were hiring.) the day they arrived and were told he was sorry but they had all the men they needed. They registered at the employment office, sought jobs at the airport, but could not qualify because of the year in Alaska requirement. They could have secured jobs as laborers on the Alaskan railroad but as this would mean sending them to out-of-the-way locations where they could not look for permanent jobs they decided against it. Dan got a job as a clerk and delivery boy in a grocery store and Ced as a service station attendant. Eventually Dan hopes to get a surveying job and Ced into aviation. As this all happened on the 5th of July, it would seem as though a man willing to work at anything would not starve to death. I am waiting interestedly to hear what has happened since.

Mr. Heath died very suddenly last week. I went to the funeral Saturday. It was the first Christian Scientist funeral I had ever attended. See other letter for further news, if I can think of any.

DAD

Tomorrow I will post the letter to the Polar Bears and on Friday, Grandpa’s take on Shakespeare’s comments on the Chicago Convention.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Dear Cheechakoes – An Asylum For The Peabodys (2) – July 14, 1940

Dan, Ced and car

Daniel Beck Guion and Cedric Duryee Guion, probably just before they are leaving for their epic drive, ending in  Anchorage, Alaska in mid-June, 1940

R-84

Trumbull, July 14, 1940

Dear Cheechakoes:
Which I understand is the Alaskan term for tenderfoot, pronounced Cheechalker. You are not a sourdough unless you have been in Alaska continuously since 1898. I picked up at the library the other day “The Lure of Alaska” by Harry Franck, which I read with some interest under the circumstances. He reports the following conversation: Tourist: “Say, what’s a sourdough, Mister?” “Well, son, to be a sourdough a man must have done three things: shot the Wild Horse Rapids, killed a moose and lived with a squaw.” “Are you a sourdough Mister?” “Naw, I never did shoot a moose.”
Dan, while I think of it. I came across a certificate of honorable discharge in your name from the C.C.C. camp giving you a first-class rating as surveyor. You might bear this in mind and send for it if you think it will help you in landing a job. And Ced, I have a very nice letter from the Tilo Company, in the shape of a recommendation. When I know your permanent address I will forward both these documents.
Before you left, Uncle Ted (Ted Human, husband of Helen (Peabody) Human, Grandma Arla’s next younger sister. Uncle Ted took Lad and Dan to Venezuela when he was hired by Interamerica, Inc. to oversee the construction of a road between Caracas and Maricaibo.) gave me the names of members of the A.S.C.E. now in Alaska, which he thought it might be well for you to look up in case you were looking for a job, telling them they could refer to Mr. Brown in New York for references. They are: Anchorage, A.M. Truesdale; College, W. E. Duckering; Juneau, M.D. Williams, L.W. Turoff, C.F. Wyller, (the two latter associate members) and R.N. Cruden, a Junior; Kodiak, E.W. Davidson, Jr., Naval Air Station; Sitka, W.J. Stribling, Naval Air Construction. Among Junior members there is at College, T.H. Campbell and at McKinley Park, A.F. Ghiglione.
Ced, I have been letting Elizabeth take the Packard every other week to take the baby to the doctors, but have not let Dick use the car. Now with his job at Columbia Phonograph starting Monday, I told him he could use it getting back and forth to work but not for joy rides. He now tells me he thinks he will buy it and asked had you left any papers home to be signed or already signed for motor vehicle transfer. I told him he had better write to you as to prices, terms, payments of money in installments, etc. He starts in at $16 a week and plans to pay me $5 board a week, get some clothes and pay for the car with the balance. By the way, I took care of your insurance premium yesterday, so that’s out of the way for the next three months.
Did I tell you or did you already know that Donald Whitney (a friend up the street) is working at the Stratfield Hotel? He acts as bellboy next week at a salary of $10 per week, PLUS TIPS, which sometimes, in the busy season or during conventions, amounts to four times that sum. He and Red (Don Sirene, a good friend) and Don Stanley (see yesterday’s post for more on Don Stanley) were all here last night and when I called “Don”, all three answered.
There is nothing to report from Lad this week as I received no letters from Venezuela.
I learned from talking to Don (Stanley) that the real trouble with his mother (Aunt Anne (Peabody) Stanley, Grandmother Arla’s younger sister) is that she has ulcers of the stomach. Both Larry (Laurence Kane Peabody, Grandma Arla’s youngest brother) and Dorothy (Peabody, Grandma Arla’s youngest sister), have, from time to time, complained of their stomach being affected and having to be careful of their diet, so I am beginning to wonder if there is not a tendency towards ulcers in the Peabody family, probably on grandpa’s (Kemper Peabody) side, as he too had trouble before it developed into cancer of the intestines.
That’s all for now, and hopefully next week will bring some more news from both Northwest and Southeast.
DAD

Tomorrow, I’ll post the first half of another letter written by Grandpa to Lad in Venezuela and to Dan and Ced in Alaska.

Why not share these interesting stories with a friend?

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Dear Lad – An Asylum For Peabodys (1) – July 14, 1940

This is the first half of a letter written by my Grandfather to his oldest son, my father, who is working in Venezuela for the Socony-Vacuum Oil Company. Tomorrow, I’ll post the rest of the letter to his next oldest boys, Dan and Ced, who have just driven across the country and sailed to Anchorage, Alaska, in search of better wages and an adventure.

Lad in Venezuela

Alfred Peabody Guion, Lad, in Venezuela

R-84                                                                    Trumbull, July 14, 1940
Dear Lad:
Tuesday of this week I received a letter from Donald Stanley (The son of Anne (Peabody) Stanley, Grandma Arla’s younger sister, probably a few years older than Dave) informing me that he would arrive the next day for an indefinite stay. Upon arrival he said his father wanted me to write him regarding board, etc., that Fred did not want him to stay with him in view of the fact that he had a new wife, and that there were no youngsters of his age up there in St. Albans that he wanted to pal around with, so he told his father the place he would prefer to be was Trumbull. With Ced’s board, which he paid regularly while employed by Tilo stopped, and the considerable amount of food Donnie is able to put away between meals, the financial burden of this additional mouth to feed is not too good; besides we had planned, with only two boys left, to make numerous weekend visits to friends and relatives which I did not feel as if I ought to do with a big flock of kids in the past, and these plans have been knocked into a cocked hat. I so wrote Fred but have not had time to get his reply. Another thing that bothers me a bit is that Don has been subject to fits. Still another angle to the situation is that Dick, on Saturday last, received a call from the Connecticut Employment Bureau about a job for an Addressograph operator being opened at the Columbia Phonograph. He went over and interviewed the employment man and starts in Monday at $16 a week. Dave has a two-weeks job at the office enclosing Ashcroft blotters, and this will leave Don at home alone here all day. With his mother in the hospital and naturally inclined to worry about him, and not wanting to hurt the poor lad’s feelings, I suppose the only thing for me is to accept the situation with a smile. This house seems to be an asylum for Peabody’s who have nowhere else to go. I am of course glad to be able to do it but as it is partly your monthly contribution that is keeping us going, it doesn’t seem quite fair to you to be too charitable.
I had to go down to New York Wednesday on business so we got out the old Plymouth and the three boys and myself drove down and back. They went to the movies while I did my stuff.
For a long time I have been behind in my rent at the office, but Miss Denis has gradually been getting caught up with it so that now we are just about square. As the landlords have not done anything to my shabby looking place since the beginning and as we have a very unwholesome heating system, I have been looking around for some other quarters. Last week, on Main Street, just south of State Street, and next to the Bridgeport Land and Title office I located the entire third floor of a small building owned by the Bridgeport City Trust Company, the two lower floors of which are occupied by a law firm. The rent is only $25 a month including heat in winter. To be sure it is up two flights of stairs and there is no elevator, but there is a parking place right next door. I am seriously thinking of making the change.
During the week the only mail received from my absent ones was a letter from Ced dated June 30th, or rather a picture postcard showing the boat they sailed in and indicating on it the location of their stateroom. He says they had seen many miles of virgin forest, small icebergs, whales, a shark, numerous fish and porpoises. By this time I expect they are at Anchorage but it takes so long for letters to cover the distance that it may be a week or two before I know anything definite. I will of course keep you posted.
I noticed in today’s paper that Mr. Cronin’s father and Bob Peterson’s father both died last week.
See attached letter to Dan and Ced for other home doings.
DAD

Tomorrow, I’ll be posting the second half of this letter, written to Dan and Ced in Alaska. 

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Dear Brigands Large And Small (2) – Ced’s Fire And Dave’s Furlough – June 11, 1944

This is the second half of a letter started yesterday.

Cedric Duryee Guion

                            

We will have to re-baptize Ced “Arson the Second”. He’s been playing with fire again, the naughty thing. He says: “This time I picked on the poor, defenseless Fleetster, which, however, refused to bend to my will as readily as did the hangar last June. (Instead of June weddings, Ced seems to prefer fires). For myself I fared about the same as before though a little less severely. It all came about through mixing gasoline and static electricity on a warm sunny day (yesterday). Incidentally, the letter is dated May 29th, received June 5th. “Here was I nonchalantly gassing the Fleetster for a trip to Naknek, finishing filling the first tank and starting to move the gas funnel when, wham, here’s me skidding in colossal haste to the ground amidst flaming gas hose, funnel and a loud explosion from the gas tank and sheets of flame. As luck would have it, the danged wing is plywood and wouldn’t catch like fabric, so I lost my chance – – besides my eyebrows, half my mustache, a good handful of hair, and my composure. From now on I think Woodley’s gassing operations will be done only when hose, funnel and plane are grounded. Really, my listeners, you have no idea how fast it can happen. It recalls the time when Pete Linsley had the same thing happen to his old Franklin. Moral: when gassing, see that at least the metal nozzle of the hose touches the edge of the gas tank.”

His school lasts two weeks longer and then comes the test. The pre-induction physical proves his good health and it only remains for Art (Woodley, his boss and the owner of the airfield)  to use his influence (in obtaining another deferment) , or else…

Yes, Ced, you are right about the source of my information being that Kiplinger newsletter, but didn’t you notice at the bottom of their letter where it says “No quotations”, so of course I had to make it sound original. Why do you show up your old Dad in his harmless little mind wanderings? I am sure the Pamonaites (This refers to Lad and Marian, in Pomona, California) did not receive your package from Tacoma, or they would have mentioned it. Make a note to ask me to send you an asbestos suit for Christmas.

David Peabody Guion

I don’t know who is the more delighted, Dave or his sire, but the fact remains that he is coming home on an emergency furlough June 21st, the reason being, from an Army viewpoint, that the legal matters in connection with the settlement of Grandma’s estate will be up for consideration at that time. The fact that his class at Bassick (High School in Bridgeport) graduates two days later, of course, is just incidental good luck. His account of the matter is rather interesting:

“It WORKED!!! I guess I don’t need to say any more than that, but I think you might like to hear the details. I got your letter and was even more relieved than happy – – and I was plenty happy – – you can see I must’ve had quite a conscience. It still doesn’t seem quite right to me to use Grandma’s Will as an excuse to get home. Anyway, this morning I went to see the Captain. He was very informal, gave me the “at ease” right away and I stated my business. I showed him your letter and the documents from the lawyer and at the same time said, “Sir, I don’t know if the Army will consider this of enough importance to grant me a furlough because of it, but my father seems to feel that it is. I thought there would certainly be no harm in trying.” He picked it up and started to read it to himself. There I was hopes high, but common sense telling me: “you’re wasting your time, Dave”. It seemed like a whole night of guard duty before he finally looked up and said: “Yes, we’ve granted emergency furloughs for these things before. I’ll see the Colonel about it and see if we can get one for you.” It was then I realized I had done a good job of holding myself back because I was actually surprised when he said “Yes”. But the surprise quickly led to “sweet ecstasy”. So, even if it isn’t anywhere near definite I think tonight I’m the happiest of all your sons – – yes, even happier than Ced who is celebrating his birthday today, and even happier that Lad, who has the best of wives from all reports, and a furlough besides.

What it is to be young and get such a big kick out of life !

Well, I guess I’ll hobble off to bed.

DAD

Tomorrow  and Sunday, I will post more of the Early Years, with Memories of David Peabody Guion.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Dear Brigands Large And Brigands Small (1) – Dan In A Vicious Mood – June 11, 1944

Trumbull, Conn., June 11, 1944

Dear Brigands large and Brigands small:

It was a dark and stormy evening. Gathered around the campfire were Brigands large and brigands small. The Captain said to his trusty lieutenant: “Antonio, tell us one of your famous stories”. And Antonio began, as follows:

All right, all right, that’s enough. Don’t want to hear any more of that, hey? Don’t like to be reminded of your cheerless childhood days, Mary Morey, etc. Very well, if you’re so uppity about it we’ll come down to the present.

Surprise, got a v-mail letter from Dan last week, just when I had given up all hope of hearing further from him until the invasion stress was over. And guess what! He’s a T-4 now, which, according to the only way I can figure it, must be a cross between a Corporal and a Sergeant. The letter is dated May 21st, postmarked June 7th, received on the 9th. They evidently waited that long for the letter to cool off, but even at that, there were a couple of blisters on the envelope, and here’s why:

Daniel Beck Guion

“Today I am in a vicious mood because of circumstances beyond my control. The immediate cause: my being restricted over the weekend for something over which I had no control. We were invited to a dance on Friday night. The Special Service office sponsored the affair and allotted transportation to and from the dance. In good faith we accepted the invitation, but the trucks were late in returning to the Post and we were all restricted. I don’t understand how any of us, as individuals, could have gotten back earlier, no one, as far as I can determine, was put in charge. We had to return with the trucks and that they were late was not the fault of those of us who went as guests under the premise that ‘transportation would be furnished’. It seems doubly unjust during these trying days when we have so little time for relaxation and amusement”

I admit it sounds monstrously unfair the way you tell it, Dan, but this seems to be part of Army training and I’d like to bet you that each one of your brothers in the service has had similar experiences, if that is any compensation. It has its brighter aspects for me, however, because, were it not for this enforced idleness, do you think I would have gotten that letter? NO, chorus they all in loud voices. What a weight off my harried mind to know that you were well, if not particularly happy, on that date. I see you are still with the topo. bn., (Topographical Battalion) which has been of immeasurable comfort since D-Day, in the hope, mistaken or not, that such duties as you have been trained for will not be of such nature as to expose you to Nazi shot and shell. I suppose that is selfish, but if so, I admit it unblushingly. If you were my only boy I couldn’t want you safe and sound home again any more than I do right now. I’m glad you’re so near to “history in the making” but I also have that niggling feeling, “River, stay away from my door”.

The newlyweds, in flitting from roost to roost (After their visit to Trumbull, they travelled to Marian’s parent’s home in California, so Lad could go through the same process of meeting the family, as Marian had just concluded in Trumbull), have been too busy traveling and getting acquainted with the other in-laws to find time to write this week but I expect we’ll be hearing from them before long.

Tomorrow, the rest of this letter.

Judy Guion