Trumbull – Eklutna And Wores – Oct., 1940

This week, Grandpa wrote individual letters to each of his four sons. The first two were posted yesterday and the last two are included here. As usual, each of his sons got copies of all the letters.

Dear Dan:

So, you get your electricity from Eklutna, hey? Well isn’t that just great. I would never have imagined it. Do the Eklutnains live in igloos? How

Dan in Alaska

Dan in Alaska

the hell do you expect me to know where Eklutna is? Is it a hydroelectric plant or a steam operated unit? However, I must not be too harsh with you because your note of the 9th gave me some very interesting facts regarding this mushroom-growth city that you are making your home. Barbara showed me some newspaper clippings regarding your first snowstorm. We have not had snow here yet but today, it felt almost cold enough for snow.

You have been very good about writing lately and I really do appreciate it and enjoy your letters with their pungent comments on events and people. Keep up the good work and when you don’t have any news of an extraneous nature to write, it is always interesting to have you lift the curtain on your inside thoughts and let us hear what your impressions are of the future of your job, plans for college, new lines of endeavor which interest you, etc. What, for instance, has induced your present enthusiasm for Anthropology, Ethnicity and Sociology? Have you met and talked with any interesting people who started you thinking along these lines? You remind me of the saying, ”The world is so full of a number of things, I’m sure we all should be happy as kings”. Only kings are not happy these days. And the very fact that the world is full of so many different and interesting activities that we are apt to leap from crag to crag like the nimble mountain goat and develop the habit of leaping indefinitely instead of saying to ourselves, “Well, I’ve leaped enough. Here is a nice, green valley that I can stay and browse around in long enough to get acquainted with the flora and fauna. It even looks good enough to adopt permanently.” So don’t leap so far and so often that you leap right over the right spot without noticing it.

If this letter reaches you in time, here’s fondest birthday greetings to my little leaping amphibian.

Dear Ced:

Ced in Alaska

Ced in Alaska

I was just wondering what you do Sundays without the funnies, or maybe the Anchorage paper puts out a Sunday magazine section and you are able to follow the adventures of the Gumps, Wimpy, Joe Palooka, Li’l Abner et al.

Certain words of advice of yours have been hounding me for the last few weeks and today I finally got around to doing something about it. I referred to the motor which operates the stoker in the furnace. I had left and order some time ago for Mercer’s service man to call, and then your letter arrived with its very sensible suggestion as to the advisability of my having a regular motor man make the repairs, and thus save money. The serviceman had not showed up, so today I thought I would go down, get under and detach the motor so as to take it down to the motor repair man tomorrow. I turned on the switch and got only a little “hum” but no action. Off with the switch and down and under to see what sort of tools would be required unscrew the motor from the base and disconnect it from the blower. I pushed aside the lead-in wores (hand-written note – this should have been an “i”. you’ve got a nasty mind) to see better, and, fearing I might have disturbed the connections as they seemed pretty wobbly, I tried the switch again and this time got absolutely no response at all. This made me a bit suspicious so I checked the lead-in wire’s connections to the motor and found one wire off

Wores - hand-written note

Wores – hand-written note

entirely. I put it back on, screwed up the holding nut, turned the switch, and away we went as strong as ever. So, unless I am greatly mistaken, that was what the trouble was toward the end of last season and not worn brushes or burned-out parts. I felt just like Dan when he found his luggage was not under tons of baggage as he had at first believed.

You have several times mentioned how pleasant and thoughtful the Bragaws are and how much you enjoyed visiting them. I don’t need any more hearsay evidence. I have definite proof. A coffee tin filled with the little red berries arrived this week and are now in the refrigerator waiting for culinary treatment. They are smaller than I imagined. Rusty has mentioned them as being similar to the Swedish cranberries and I am looking forward to tasting them. In fact, I should have cooked them today, were it not for the fact that this is been a very unpredictable 24-hours. Things both inside and outside are getting ahead of me, what with all you boys away and me being extra busy and moving activities. To cap it all I have been feeling somewhat indisposed with a cold. I did hope to get some work done outside yesterday, perhaps some of the screens taken down and storm windows put up, or leaves raked up, or driveways smoothed out, or incinerator cleaned out before freezing weather, but I just didn’t feel ambitious enough to tackle the job alone, Dave having been invited to visit Bruce Lee in Westport for the afternoon, so I cleaned up the kitchen, cleaned up downstairs a bit and puttered around on a few odd jobs and before I knew it Bruce drove up with Dave and stayed for several hours talking as only Bruce can talk. Dave, in the meanwhile, had developed suddenly a very hard cold and had gone to bed. The poor lad did not sleep much during the night so, what with getting his breakfast, carting up wood for a fire in his room, vacuuming and cleaning it, straightening it out, getting dinner, washing dishes, getting more wood, etc., I did not accomplish anything today either.

It looks as though I may have obtained a new tenant for the apartment — a reporter from the Times-Star, who, with his wife and seven months old child now lives in New Haven, has all but decided to move in on November 1st. I am waiting for final word as soon as his wife has given the place the once over.

Tomorrow, we’ll have another Tribute to Arla and on Sunday, the next installment of Mary E. Wilson’s Autobiography. Next week, we’ll be looking in on 1943 to find out what is going on with Lad’s engagement and what the rest of the boys are up to.

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 – Oil Speculation and Properly Sober, Sept, 1939

1934 - 1940 Timeline

1934 – 1940 Timeline

It’s 1939 and Lad has been working in Venezuela for about nine months. Grandpa is thrilled because he has finally gotten a letter from Lad, and a long one at that. I don’t have that letter but Grandpa gives us an idea of what Lad has been up to since we last heard from him.

September 3, 1939

Dear Adolph:

You and Hitler have one thing in common as far as I am concerned and that is the faculty of keeping the other fellow guessing. For three weeks, up to a couple of days ago, I had not heard from you and was beginning to wonder what it was all about. However, as I write on this sunny Sunday afternoon, with war clouds gathering darkly in Europe, and read over again your short letter in lead pencil written August 15 from Iguana # 2, I think I have discovered the reason for the delay. Enclosed you will find the envelope in which the letter came. You will note that the extra postage represented by the stamps on the back were not canceled, due to the fact that probably some careless postal clerk only glanced at stamps on the front, figured there was not enough postage for airmail and sent it by regular mail. You therefore have three good stamps to use over again. I hope this means that someday soon I will be likely to get two letters during one week.

I suppose that with radio what it is today you are receiving foreign news as quickly as we get it here. There is not much use therefore in my commenting on the situation because it is hourly changing so rapidly that two weeks hence, when you receive this, the foreign lineup will be entirely different. There is one aspect regarding this war situation however, as far as you are concerned, that gives rise to some interesting speculations. Oil products are a very important war commodity, and while the US may adopt measures in the interests of neutrality that will prevent American companies from directly selling oil and its derivatives two nations at war, your company is producing oil in a foreign country and some way may be found to supply the undoubted demand for oil from the fighting nations that will cause a great increase in demand for production, which in turn, I should surmise, would step up your activities in drilling, which in turn might mean that those already engaged in this work, who have had some experience, would be given additional opportunities to forge rapidly ahead. There is another phase of the thing which has interesting speculations for you. If greatly

Alfred Peabody Guion (Lad) in Venezuela

Alfred Peabody Guion (Lad) in Venezuela

increased gallonage of oil is to be shipped abroad there must be a correspondingly greater number of tankers to carry it, and if these new tankers are powered by diesel engines,there might well be an increased demand for men with diesel engineering experience. This, of course, is a longer range proposition, and it may be the war will not last long enough to permit the building of enough tankers in time to make the demand for diesel operators acute. I confess I don’t altogether like the idea of a boy of mine on board a ship during wartime carrying so important a war material and so naturally a target for enemy subs.

If the war does last and the nation’s production of machinery and metal products is speeded up, I assume that as before, New England and specifically Bridgeport, would have another boom, which will be good while it lasts, no matter what may happen afterwards. In this case I may be able to climb back a little bit from an income standpoint and not have to depend so much on the generosity of my loyal sons even though I appreciate the willingness and the great spirit that is back of it all.

For three days now Mr. Smithson has been working here, taking off old wallpaper and applying a fresh coat of paint. The upper and lower hall ceilings are being painted white and the side walls a very light green. Tomorrow we will tackle the living room and the music room and will paint these walls a light creamy tan.

Aunt Anne says Grandma is getting along very well. Larry and Marian are spending Larry’s vacation time in Vermont with the baby, of course, at Munson’s, and will probably be back shortly after Labor Day (which is tomorrow).

Aunt Betty is sitting on the sofa in the living room as I sit in my big chair, looking over your scrapbook. She just asked me to give you her love. She says she wrote you a letter some time ago but if you replied to it, she never received it.

The Trumbull Fireman’s Carnival ended last night. We went down for a short time. There was not much of a crowd for Saturday night. I don’t know who won the Chevrolet car but I heard it was someone from Southbury. Dan Ced and Dick went down to New York last night to have a fling at the big city. They went to a nightclub, but evidently all remained properly sober. Don Whitney and Redd and another chap from Westport went with them. Rusty, from all reports, is back in Wakefield with his folks. Ced has a new kind of work at the Tilo Plant, night work at that. It has something to do with heating up the tar and asphalt in huge kettles to prepare the mixture for the next day’s run. At present he does not get more money but that is likely to come later.

Dan got a letter from McCarter this week telling him he could put through his check for collection as the money was now on hand. I therefore started the check through the bank Friday and we’ll see what happens. If this gets through all right there is the balance of his pay still due which he will have to wrangle out of Maxy in some way. Am anxious to know what you did about collecting your back wages and what you did about the tools. I am also looking forward to hearing about your trip to Ciudad Bolivar, and what you think of the Orinoco. Saw Mr. Page again yesterday. He asked to be remembered to you and said he thought Marie would be getting married within the next six months. Yesterday’s paper carried the announcement of the death of William Vincent Judge, after a short illness.

Just a few minutes ago a man drove up in an auto and asked if Dan were home, and then if Mr. Human were here. He said he was Myers who had just arrived from Caracas. I immediately telephoned Dan, who was at Plumb’s (you might have guessed it) and for the last 20 minutes they have been chatting about affairs at InterAmerica. Myers plans to see Uncle Ted tomorrow and then start war against Maxy, or perhaps I might say, will join up with the reinforcements. He says that Benedict and Nelson are both back in the states now. He is going back in a few weeks on another job which will take him either to Caracas or to Pariaguan with a construction company, so you may run across him sooner or later. And that’s about all I can scratch up, in the way of news right now. So, toodle do and don’t forget to write more and oftener.

DAD

Tomorrow we’ll have another post from Trumbull with some interesting tales of what has been going on there during the past week. We’ll then check up on the boys in Alaska during 1940. I hope the timeline is helping you keep track of where everyone is at the time of each letter so you aren’t totally confused.

Judy Guion