Trumbull – Dear Ced – Dan Home and Lad is a Corporal – Aug., 1942

Judy_0003

Trumbull, Conn., August 30, 1942

Dear Ced:

This week I have the privilege of addressing a letter to you alone (carbon copies as usual to brothers two) in acknowledgment of the only mail coming to us last week – – and what a letter it proved to be. Some who read it wondered if softening of the brain had set in, others surmised it must be Rusty’s influence that was taking effect and some even went so far as to hazard the belief that you had imbibed too freely of vodka. Me? I just sat back and let them rave, reveling in the fact that at last the ice jam had broken and a raging flood was sweeping all irresistibly before it, including the welcome promise, tucked in between bits in the swiftly flowing stream, that letters from you would once again arrive with more frequency. There is one thing I missed and that was another chapter in your thrilling rescue mission, perhaps with maps and photos, to complete the scrapbook which I have started to encompass the complete Saga of the North. (To Lad and Dan: I won’t go into a description here of Ced’s letter as Dan was home this weekend and read it himself and I expect Lad will probably be home next week to do likewise).

Dan breezed in about 2 A.M. Saturday morning, much to our surprise, as we had not expected him until sometime after noon Sat.. He is now stationed at Lancaster, Pa., so much nearer home that he has prospects of seeing us much more frequently than before – – may even be able to make it next week again, and if Lad is able to do the same, we will have quite a reunion, except for my much missed old Alaskan boy that has so large a place in his Dad’s heart. Nothing would be quite so good as to see him walk into the room here right now, as Rusty did so many years ago when your mother and I sat here in front of the fireplace and later tried to poison ourselves with leaky gas fumes from the furnace.

Lad, when home last week, sported some corporal stripes on his shirtsleeve, and I don’t believe it will be very long before he mounts another step on the ladder.

There is very little in the way of news to report this week. We had a practice blackout in Trumbull the other day – – supposed to be a surprise in that no one knew exactly when it was to happen. There were “bombings” in each section of town, one casualty and a score of wounded, a fire caused by a dropped incendiary bomb, etc., all in the way of practice to get ready for the time when something of the sort might visit us.

Carl was over the other night with some wild idea of buying the old Waverley, getting batteries for it and fixing it up to run. I told him I would have to take the matter up with all you part owners before I could fix a selling price. Have heard nothing further as to how the Ives are making out at the Mayo clinic. Someone is staying at their house taking care of the dogs, etc. There has been just a suggestion of autumn in the air the last few days. So far I have been sneezing only moderately but there seems to be plenty of ragweed around to remind me that there is such a thing as hay fever. We had dinner early today so that Dan and Barbara, Dick and Jean could go to New York this afternoon in Dick’s car, from where Dan will leave to return to camp.

Glad the watch and tennis balls arrived safely. Let me know what you would like to have me send you for Christmas, so that I can get it off to you early in case they shut down on civilian deliveries.

DAD

Tomorrow, another letter from Lad, then another from Grandpa and on Friday, still another from Lad.

On Saturday and Sunday, I’ll continue to post early memories of Trumbull.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – The Traveling Clan – Aug, 1943

Blog Timeline - 1941-1943

We continue the story of the Traveling Guions in 1943. Both Dan and Dick are apparently overseas, Lad is coming home on furlough and Grandpa’s sister, Elsie, has come up from New York to celebrate her birthday.

Trumbull Conn.

August 22, 1943

Dear Travelers all:

There is something that tells me that now two of the Guion clan “have sailed the ocean blue”, and while no evidence has yet reached us that they arrived on foreign shores, the absence of all word from Dick and Dan over so long a period seems to tell its own story, as for us back here —

A life on the ocean wave,

A home on the rolling deep,

Where the scattered waters rave

And the winds their revels keep.

Like an eagle caged, I pine

On this dull, unchanging shore.

Oh, give me the flashing brine,

The spray and the tempests roar.

I suppose it’s not permissible for the folks back home to know just where Uncle Sam has ordered you boys to be stationed, whether in Sylvia’s native land, or Woolard’s birthplace or the land of Kathryn Wharton’s ancestors, but where ever it be, I hope you arrived safely without excitement more than enough to make the journey interesting.

This seems to be the travelingest family! A letter from Lad, and a right welcome one to, reveals that his furlough has at last been verified and unless something unforeseen occurs, he starts on Friday, September 3rd  and comes by train, arriving four days or so later. He has to be back on September 17th, which doesn’t give him a chance to get fed up too much on home routine. He gives some interesting routine that fills his days, and how he does fling time about. Why, years mean absolutely nothing to him. Imagine being on duty since 1730! You’d think the generals like Washington or Grant or Pershing would see that a fellow got a better break than that. It positively makes me feel old to think of a son of mine serving that long at a stretch. Oh, well, if things keep up at their present pace, the war will be over before so very long (I’m still holding out to my original guess that 1943 will see the end of the European struggle), and by that time maybe the Japs will have seen the wisdom of sneaking away from other places besides Kiska.

Marian Irwin - 1942

Marian Irwin – 1942

Thanks Lad, for the picture of Marian. Too bad she can’t get a furlough too and pay a visit to Connecticut.

And Dave, too, is fixin’ to do some land traveling. He had a brainstorm the other day and for the past week has been busy with plans on dolling up the old Waverley electric, putting in a motorcycle motor, locating, if possible, some old model T tires, etc. Privately, I have my doubts but Harry Burr and Arnold (Gibson) think it is possible to make it run. Anyway it will keep him out of mischief and enlarge his knowledge of mechanics. He plans to travel with it to Westport when it is in running condition and call on James Melton who has an exact replica, if pictures published in the Sunday papers are to be believed.

It’s almost 3 weeks since any word has come from traveler Ced. Maybe he’s miffed because for the last several weeks letters have been addressed to him as Dangerous Dan McGraw Guion, Fearless Fosdick Guion, Little Orphan Ceddie, Invisible Scarlet O’Neil Guion, etc., which may give Alaskan postal authorities just an inkling of what we think of him back home. Of course, again, I may have him completely baffled and nonplussed at his failure to think of any names quite so clever to get back at me with, but shucks, Ced, don’t let that stop you.

And now dear children, I have quite a pleasant surprise for you. As you know, August 22nd  is Elsie’s birthday (Incidentally Ced, I never have any trouble remembering your PO Box number on this account). She is making a personal appearance. It gives me great pleasure to introduce …..MISS GUION.

Thank you, thank you, Maestro Guion and howdy Lad, Dan, Ced and Dick. To make this an extra special occasion for myself, I came up Friday night and caught the 10:30 bus. No, I’m not celebrating my birthday anymore! But my brother did in his usual, expansive style.

My home life remains the same as usual – going back and forth to the Shop. I suppose I’m doing my bit by staying on the job, but I’d feel better if the commodities we deal in and were vital to the war effort. I’d feel better if I was riveting something or working on airplanes with the possibility of being sent overseas to do something there or preparing to work overseas in the postwar period. I hate to think of the war coming and going without my having put my finger into the war itself somewhere or somehow.

I’m still at the Tudor and trying to get along on less and less – what with increasing taxes and the increasing cost of food. Restaurant food is so high and the quality so correspondingly low that we try to eat home as much as possible but the heat of summer makes it impossible to keep perishable things without ice. A young woman comes to us every day and helps us until about 7:30 P.M. she comes at 5:00 P.M., after her daytime job in an architect’s office. On Sunday she goes to New Jersey and on Monday brings us nice ripe tomatoes, string beans, squash, etc. Not all at once, of course. But we enjoy the fresh vegetables. It’s a rare treat.

Just now Aunt Betty and I and Smoky took a walk up to the ol’ swimmin’ hole. It looks deserted – weeds are overgrown all around, there’s not too much water running on account of little rain lately, and it looks forgotten. Smoky barked a cow out of her afternoon nap, splashed in the water several times and was the only one to show real activity.

Well, here’s wishing you and you and you and you the best of good fortune in the days ahead. I wish I were on the seas going places. So long,

Elsie

Jean has been spending the last few days at Fairfield Beach with Barbara and some other girls. I think the cottage is owned by Helen Berger. Anyway, she is one of the party. Jean lives in hourly anticipation of hearing from Dick. I had definite instructions to call her anytime of the day or night if word should come from her M.P. (Married partner), but to date this has not been necessary.

Things go on here in the regular routine. Everything, both inside and outside the house, remains about the same. Meantime, Ced, the little blue boats in your room continue to sail on their interminable journeys to unnamed ports, awaiting the day when you will, to the haven of Trumbull from distant Alaska appear, and plop will go the anchor for a bit of shore leave. Until that time, keeping the beacon light burning bright will be the job of your old lighthouse keeper (and cook),

DAD

I won’t make you wait. We’ll stay right here in August and September, 1943, until Lad had come and gone on his furlough. Come back tomorrow for more of this special time in Trumbull.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Birthday Letter to 31324665 – August, 1943

Blog Timeline - 1941-1943

Trumbull Conn.

August 15, 1943

Dear 31324665:

THAT, dear children, may be just a number to you, but translated into Uncle Sam Army language it spells Richard Procrastinator Guion, the

Richard (Dick) Peabody Guion

Richard (Dick) Peabody Guion

middle name having been earned at birth and as far as correspondence to the home front is concerned, has been reaffirmed weekly since that time with an i\Ivory Soap score – 99 and 44/100 pure, (In view of my chosen profession I just have to get in these little advertising ideas in my correspondence, you know).

Is that, you may well ask, the approved method of having a letter addressed to one? No, NO, perish the thought! It isn’t even in spite of that fact. But by this time you may have guessed. In just a few days now we will celebrate a birthday but it will be a party without the main guest. We can’t even send him greetings, much less a gift because we don’t know in what corner of the globe he is hiding from Adolph. So we have unanimously adopted the theme song for the occasion: ”I Can’t Give You Anything But Love, Baby”. Of course there is lots of that from each and all of us, although we know full well it won’t buy baby a new pair of pants.

What a lot of accumulated celebration we will have to celebrate when this mess is finally settled. Now, there’s a thought. What is your prescription for a suitable method of rendering due honor to the occasion? How about that auto trip down to Mexico and Central America with enough cars to accommodate the whole family, with Lad and Dan as official interpreters? Ced could entertain and charm the natives with imitations of Bradley Kincaid, Dick and Jean might do a rumba or two, Dave would probably make a beeline for the best looking native girls, while I could profitably employ my time sniffing the native flora to see if it produces I hay fever sneeze.

Incidentally, I read recently an article on how nearly completed this Pan-American road was south of Mexico City, and ran across the following incident: the advanced survey party sometimes encountered situations for which neither engineering texts nor guidebooks had any solution. The disappearing surveyor’s stakes are a good example. In the rural sections, clear, straight-grained, sawed wood is in great demand to patch chairs, to reinforce plows and for 1000 other purposes. The surveyor’s stakes of clean new wood, 1 1/2 in. square by 14 inches long, driven into the ground 100 feet apart to mark the route of the highway, were a treasure trove to the country people who pulled up at night all the stakes placed during the day. Both U.S. and native engineers explained often and at length that the markers were necessary. The people listened, nodded, and the next morning the stakes were gone again. After all, if the yanqui senores valued the little pieces of wood so highly, why would they stick them in the ground and go away and leave them? Gringo foolishness. Finally one of the engineers hit upon the simple idea of nailing a short piece to each stake just below the top at right angles, making a cross. Not a stake disappeared from that day until the end of the survey.

Jean has a new name for me – “Marryin’ Sam”. This week, one marriage at my office, the week before, two; the week before that also two. It all came about in this way. I usually have my ad in the yellow section in the back of the Bridgeport phone directory. A few weeks ago when the salesman called for a renewal for the new edition, I happened to notice that in the New Haven directory several names appeared under the heading “Justice of The Peace”. I told him they could include my name under that heading in Bridgeport, thinking of course, the other Bridgeport “justices” would be included, but when the darn thing appeared a few weeks ago, low, like Abou Ben Adam (May his tribe increase) my name not only led all the rest, but, believe it or not, it was the only name under that heading in the yellow section. So, if the angle of incidence maintains (I have to get these engineering boys into thinking their Dad is not a back number) I may accumulate enough fees to pay the expenses on that Central American tour above referred to.

And speaking of marriages, this week, at the Trumbull Church, Jacqueline French was united in holy wedlock to Mr. John J. Schwarz, son of the Bridgeport lumber dealer. No wisecracks now about little chips off the old block, etc.

I want an answer from someone, Dan or Dick, regarding the Chevrolet out in back. I think it belongs to Dan although Dick may have made some arrangement with Dan about it. Anyway, it is not doing anyone any good standing out unused month after month. I have asked Harry Burr to give me a figure on how much it will cost to fix it up in running condition, and then, depending on the owner’s wishes, I will try to sell it or keep it against the time you boys return and want a car to run around in (and they are getting very scarce now in the East). Please, one of you write me about it.

Dave and some of the boys that forgather in the Clubhouse in the barn have an idea they can fix the old Waverley Electric car up to run either by battery or with a motorcycle motor and have been busy today working on it. I am adopting a “show me” attitude on whether they can accomplish their purpose or not.

For some years now, we have been needing a feminine touch around these here diggins’ and it looks very much as though Jean is the answer to this long felt need. She spent most of the day improving the appearance of the music room, with a bit of help from me, and the result is something to write away about. So we are profiting by Jean’s homemaking instinct, and this is fair warning now that the rest of you will have a high standard to match in presenting me with any other daughters in law.

The supper call is about to sound, so I’ll bring this peculiar birthday letter to a close with many good wishes to my boy “who wears a pair of silver wings”, with many happy returns of the day from all of us and most earnest hope that next August 19th there will be no empty chairs around the table as we sit down to celebrate the occasion. So, Dick old son, here’s more love than you know from your old

DAD

Random Memories of Cedric Duryee Guion (3 of 5)

I had the privilege of interviewing and recording the memories of my father and 4 of his 5 siblings. It was the death of his closest brother Dan that was the trigger for doing this. I’ll be continuing to post these segments periodically, so enjoy a trip down Memory Lane.

Cedric Duryee Guion

Cedric Duryee Guion

Dad took us down to Baltimore in one of the cars – must’ve been one of the Packard‘s – 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-Tom, 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 20s. 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.

I’m one of those who brag about the fact that I’ve been driving cars since I was 10 years old. I got my license – my mother died on the 29th of June and on June 1st of that same year I turned 16. I think I got my license on June 2nd. 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 4 foot drop to the road. At the very end of it the drop-off was less and you could turn a car around and we could 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 a 1929 Packard Touring car – it was a beauty – and he asked my Dad if he could trade in the old Packard and my Dad told him “OK”. We didn’t like that because then it was Lad’s car. Well anyway, I had the car.

This one day I drove up the 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 the rest of the way over. I finally got it over the hill and onto the road.

Lad worked at the Well’s Garage, the Wells Bus Line. He was their maintenance man for years. Later he ran two different gas stations in town. The first was the Mobil gas station, next to Kurtz’s store. The second was the Atlantic gas station after it opened.

Playing Dress-up

Playing Dress-up

We had an old Waverley electric car in the barn. Dick, poor Dick, got all excited about the war effort. He thought, “Well gee, here’s this old junk and it’s pretty well

shot.” The Fire Department was looking for scrap metal. Dick was very patriotic and he thought he’d give them the Waverley, and at the same time, help the war effort.

We still have a series of pictures of the old Waverley in the backyard. Rusty and some of his friends, my mother and my aunts, all dressed up in these beautiful period costumes from the 1800’s that were in good condition in the attic. They all dressed up in these clothes and we took pictures of them in the Waverley. Rusty pretended to be the groom and Aunt Dorothy was the bride. Rusty had his stovepipe hat on and all the ladies were all dressed up. Of course, the Waverley didn’t have any tires on it but it looked nice.

Since Uncle Ced is the only one to have this memory, I wonder if the little boy in front is Ced.  It could be because he had the lightest hair of all the boys.

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

Issue 1   Click Here

Issue 2   Click Here

Issue 3   Click Here

Judy Guion