Trumbull – Too Hot To Write (2) – July, 1940

Dan, Ced and car

Dan, Ced and car

R-86
Trumbull, Conn.
July 28, 1940
Dear Dan:
(and of course, Ced) I was naturally delighted to get your letter with its report of definite progress. And right at the beginning I may as well give you the findings on the difference in mail time between regular and airmail. Both the letter and postal were dated July 13th, but both were postmarked Anchorage July 15th, 11 AM. The airmail letter reached me on July 24th, the postal in the afternoon mail of July 27th. If you can figure this one out you are better than I, Gungha Din. The Bridgeport postmaster informs me that the regular first-class mail time from Bridgeport to Seattle is 83 hours, 12 days to Anchorage. The airmail time to Seattle is 24 hours from Bridgeport and presumably is the same in the opposite direction although I have in mind the remark some small town postmaster on this point, that while it was not so long from Christmas to New Year’s it was a very long time from New Year’s to Christmas, and that may be the answer.
By the way, how is it that while you write on Hotel Anchorage stationary you head your letter Hotel Hopkins? I can assume from the evidence that you failed to arrange with the brother and his two sisters that you met on the boat, for the room they had available and are now booked at the Hopkins. Please don’t forget we are hungry for details, little things that may not seem to be important in the way of news that are interesting to those at home who are following your doings day by day with much interest. By the time you get this you will undoubtedly have received all the letters which I wrote while you were en route, all of which were returned to me here and re-forwarded to Alaska, as well as my regular weekly letters which I have mailed each Monday since you have arrived – – the last by airmail. And I think I shall follow your example and spend the necessary six cents for each letter hereafter to go by airmail on the assumption that they will soon get the schedule worked out so that the time in transit will be considerably shortened.
Mr. Plumb, as you may know from Barbara’s letters, has been quite ill at home, and either has or is threatened with a touch of pleurisy or pneumonia. Yesterday morning Helen told me he was not so well Friday and she left home Saturday morning before he was awake so she did not know how he was feeling yesterday. Barbara has been home from work helping her mother. I understand she has heard from you since the letter I got telling of the fact that you have landed a good job with the airfield company. Is it with Woodley, the same place that Ced is working or another outfit? I suppose I’ll hear all about it in due time, so why bother to ask the question, you say. Well, only to emphasize the fact that (1) we are gluttons for punishment when it comes to deciphering Ced’s scrawl and your sometimes cryptic utterances, and (2) why your imagination and knowledge can supply the home background for a lot of things I don’t need to write because you already know them, your environment, details of your hotel room, characteristics of the people you meet and work with, your amusements, kind of work you do, financial matters, and nosiness in general is what you must paint on an entirely blank page.
Page 2 of R-86
And one other word, before I finish with this subject. With two such diverse personalities as you boys possess, it doesn’t do a bit of good to get yourself into thinking that because one fellow has written the other fellow needn’t. I’ll be willing to bet if you both sat down at the same time and wrote about the same subjects the letters would be entirely different and cover entirely different details. It’s just like asking two artists to paint a picture of the same person or the same scene. How identical do you think they would be? And we’re the ones back home here who lose out because each of you take it for granted the other fellow has told all the news. At the risk of making you mad, I’ll refer once again to my pet peeve, I don’t know a single detail yet about the disposal of my dear little Willys, except that she’s sold. Why, where, to whom, how much? Oh, dear, you’ll say, that’s the penalty of having folks at home who care so much, they get nosy and insistent and bothersome and won’t let us live our lives without being checked up on all the time. Damn. Well, so much for that.
Got a letter from Lad this week – – just a word to say that he was still on deck and things were going on about the same with nothing of them any importance to report. Maybe he might get a bit of inspiration from what I have written you two above. It’s the little details that make letters interesting, like Lad’s description of Caracas’s best hotel in which he explained the plumbing, etc., or to use another example, like Rusty’s description of people or incidents where he gets in the little intimate expressions or anecdotes.
There seems to be little to report from the home plate. The weather is insufferably hot due to a combination of high thermometer readings and humidity. Poor Mack pants all around the house and goes from fireplace to under the dining room table until one mean flea or another arouses him to find some other cooler spot.
Politically the town is in a mess again. All three assessors resigned, Hoffman, Hannum and Christy, and the board of selectmen will have to appoint three others to serve until the October election. The payoff, however, that is causing the most excitement is that the Fifth Column group headed by Sexton has been able to find a weak spot in the recently passed police bill, and the judge, on a technicality, has ruled that Trumbull now has no police force, so that Ray is no longer chief and Nat is not a cop. They are both back to their status as constables without pay. Both Brown of Nichols and Mahoney of Long Hill have resigned as Police Commissioners, leaving only Lane (a Sexton man, it is rumored) of the original board. The selectmen have appointed Kann of Nichols and Judge of Long Hill to take their places and they met last night and reappointed Beckwith and Hayward to serve temporarily until matters can be straightened out somehow. Rightly or not, Davis, of course, is being blamed for it.
Business is practically dead. Friday afternoon we did not have a single order in the place and it being insufferably hot, I sent Miss Denis home (George was on vacation) and followed a few hours later myself. Don’t laugh, you fellows that are pulling down the big money, but I don’t know how much longer my $18 a week will continue on this basis. I am thinking seriously of moving to a new location where the rent will be only $25 a month instead of $50.
DAD

Tomorrow, I’ll be posting the third section of this letter, an extract from Ced’s letter to Grandpa, telling him of the details of their early time in Anchorage.

On Saturday, some more Early Memories of Trumbull, as recorded with five of Grandpa’s six children.

On Sunday,another letter from Grandpa, written Aug. 13, sent to St. Paul, in care of Uncle Kenneth Peabody.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – A Backslider With Excuses – May 29, 1940

Alfred Duryee Guion (my Grandpa)

Alfred Duryee Guion (my Grandpa)

R-77  May 29, 1940

Dear Lad:

Aunt Betty Duryee

Aunt Betty Duryee

For the second week in succession I am a backslider. Here it is Wednesday eventide and I am just starting in to write you last Sunday’s letter. Aunt Betty came up for the weekend and having expressed a desire to see the pink Dogwood in Greenfield Hills and having a nice new Packard on tick to take her in, after dinner Sunday we donned our best bid and tucker and we all tried out the car in that direction. No, I’m wrong, that was Saturday afternoon. Sunday after dinner dishes were washed we loaded up with a car trunk full of Lilacs and started to take Aunt Betty home, making stops en route at Larry’s, Kemper’s, and Grandma’s. Ethel and Kemper were out of town but we saw all the rest who asked to be remembered to you. You must be getting better in your correspondence, by the way, because both Ethel and your lady friend at the cleaners both mentioned having received letters from you. Aunt Helen says however you haven’t answered the letters she wrote you. Well, after leaving New Rochelle we took Aunt Betty to Mount Vernon and after giving Mrs. Seipp some Lilacs nothing would do but we must all come in and have supper — “just a cup of tea” – which consisted of a bowl of soup, hot biscuits, hot turkey sandwich with gravy and generous helpings of rich fruitcake. By the time we reached home it was bedtime. (Incidentally, Ced discovered the borrowed Packard had picked up a nail somewhere and had developed a flat) and I decided to postpone writing you until Monday night. So, with supper out of the way I came in here to the alcove, had just inserted paper into the machine, when a tap  at the window caused me to look up and there was Bruce Lee. He explained he had been up in New England on business and was not expected home until late so decided to stop off and have a chat. You know Bruce. He got started on the war and while I got a yes or no in edgewise once in a while, he pretty well occupied the time with a monologue until nearly 11. So, says I to myself, the letter will have to go to Tuesday, but it must be written then without fail, failing to recall that an important town meeting was called for that night to decide on the budget, being an adjourned meeting from the fortnight previously. It was after 12 before the meeting was over, which brings us at one jump to the present time with almost a page 2/3 completed. Progress, I’ll say.

Received your note telling me all about little Kay. It must’ve been quite an ordeal. I can remember going through a similar experience with you at the time of the infantile paralysis epidemic when we called in Dr. Hubbard, a specialist on the disease, and learned much to our relief that you did not have it. That was on Dell Avenue, the time your little squeaky voice piped up in the middle of the night, “toot, toot, all aboard”.

Just here I have had quite a lengthy interruption by a visit from Carl and Ethel trying to arrange some sort of a farewell party for the Alaskan trippers. It is scheduled to be held Saturday which incidentally is also Ced’s birthday. I have bought him a watch and the gang is talking about giving the boys each a pair of heavy gloves and also a woolen lumbermen’s shirt or something of that sort.

The boys have not decided when to leave. Ced heard from young Stohl saying that as Rusty had decided not to drive with them they have decided not to go to Seattle by car but would probably fly. So Ced decided to take the Willys and Arnold now has it, putting it into shape. He is doing a thorough engine overhauling job, new rings, etc. and is also  re-facing the clutch. It ought to be finished by Monday and then Ced will see how far North they can travel by auto and from that point take the car on the boat to the most southern port in Alaska where they can unload the car from the boat and continue their journey to Anchorage or where ever they decide to go, by auto. I have been trying to get the sailing dope for them from the bank’s Travel Bureau and road dope from the A.A.A. Will let you know the details as they are unfolded.

I think I told you I sent the three dollars check to Mr. Hadley and received a very nice acknowledgment which I will try to remember to enclose. Like most folks who know you, he likes you and also pays your family a nice complement.

I mentioned the other day to the VP of an oil refinery catalog that I am using to advertise Jelliff products that you were with the SV people and he told me he frequently saw in New York one of your bosses, a Mickey somebody, and would mention you to him when next they met.

The stock market is all shot to pieces in view of the war news. It certainly looks pretty serious for the allies but there seems to be nothing we can do about it. F.D., after having run the country into a tremendous debt with his crack-brained experiments, is now proposing to spend billions more for planes, etc. By the way there is enclosed an interesting account of a talk with Mr. Ford about the number of planes we could produce.

A man came into the office the other day and asked us to mimeograph a sheet giving his experience, etc., in business with the idea of looking for another job. He told George he had just been let go by the Standard Oil here, the reason being that while the company was not saying anything about it publicly, the company had lost so many tankers through German sub attacks that they were curtailing expenses by cutting down on their personnel. Whether this is actually true or merely his alibi for being fired I do not know.

Tomorrow is a holiday of course. The boys are not going to school until Monday and both Dan and Ced are also off. The latter are planning to make another trip to the fair and will probably take Dave. I think I shall stay at home and get the house in some sort of shape for the party Saturday. It just occurs to me that as Kurtz’s is closed all day tomorrow, I may not be able to mail this letter to you until Friday and possibly by that time I may have another letter from you and perhaps the regular check from the company. Will this be the last check I will receive from them or have you decided to stay with SV? Have you made any more definite plans for your trip to Caracas? Take a few hours off someday soon and write me a letter in which you let down your hair because, after all, the most interesting things are what you are planning and thinking as well as what you’re actually doing in the physical sense.

My clock says 10:30 and I am getting sleepy after my late hours last night, so I’ll bring a mental night cap to you and pile off to little old bed.

As always,

Dad

Tomorrow a letter from the President of Fairbanks, Morse & Co., to Lad, a new stockho;der, in care of Grandpa.

On Saturday, another installment of the early childhood years in Larchmont. On Sunday, we continue Ced’s teenaged insights of the 1934 Chicago World’s Fair.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Bassick New England Basketball Championship – March, 1940

Blog - Lad in Venezuela, head and chest, in camp

R-67  written on St. Patrick’s Day in the morning – March 17, 1940

Begorry, and how are ye this mornin’, me foine spalpin:

Right at this moment there is a lot of excitement due to the fact that Dick has just come in after having been away since 4 AM Friday morning on a trip to Portland, Maine, to see the Bassick  basketball team win the New England Championship. Stratford was put out of the running early, but Bassick stayed in. The final was played with a Rhode Island team, the final score being 39 to 37. Dick went up with four other boys in Charlotte Barsky’s car. They got a $2 room and slept three in a double bed (if you can call it sleeping), one in an armchair and Dick on the floor. Evidently, from what Dick has revealed so far, the hotel room was somewhat of a wreck when they left, chandelier loose and the glass in the door broken. One of the Bassick boys almost got arrested trying to skin out of a lunch room without paying for a meal. I guess it is one of those high school adventures that Dick will remember for a long time.

Yesterday noon I went to New York in the Willys with Dan and Barbara. It seems Barbara had wanted for some time to see a show which is having a popular run right now called The Philadelphia Story starring Katharine Hepburn. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6CtquHsxoZo   Guess I’d better tell you about it. We started in a wet snowstorm which kept coming down steadily, packing on the windshield and gumming up the wiper all the way down on the Merritt Parkway. We had lunch before the show started (matinee at 2:40). The show was very enjoyable and after it was over, there being not much of a St. Patrick’s Day parade due to the miserable wet snow which still kept up, we walked down Broadway from 44th St., to Times Square on our way over to visit Aunt Elsie to kill time until supper time.

As we arrived at the Times building, we noticed in the running strip of news they make by lights near the top of the building, that a bomb had exploded in the parcel room of the Grand Central Station. On arrival at the shop (inside Grand Central Station) however, we learned that they didn’t even know a bomb had exploded, the only thing Elsie having noticed was some black smoke pouring out of the check room but business going on as usual. Elsie looked fine, is getting stout in fact, asked about you and said that while business in general was pretty punk they had been doing quite well that afternoon. Do you remember some years ago, I think it was when Aunt Betty sailed on her European trip, that we all went down to see her off and she blew us to a very nice dinner at Sharaft’s on 43rd St.? I think you were along although Dan says he wasn’t there. Well that is the same place I took them for supper.

We had a very enjoyable meal and then started back on our homeward journey. It had turned colder and the streets were generally icy. We got along pretty well accept that we came across an accident on the Merritt Parkway up near Greenwich caused I believe by a car colliding with the snowplow which was traveling in the opposite direction from which cars were supposed to be going in that lane; and with the darkness, poor vision through the windshield, curve and assuming at a distance that the two headlights coming toward you were in the other lane, we almost ran into it ourselves and only a sharp swerve as we came around a curve, with cars in front and behind us, prevented us from the crash, particularly as the combination of speed and a slippery pavement made maneuvering difficult. However we reached home without mishap. Today the sun and higher temperature melted most of the fall.

Because I did not come home from the office before starting for New York Saturday, I did not have a chance to see if there was a letter in PO Box 7 that came from you yesterday afternoon, but at least there was none up to and including Saturday morning. I’m hoping I may find one tomorrow and possibly the photographs, and speaking of the latter, Dan has just gotten some of the snaps he took of the ice storm which I shall probably enclose with this letter.

There doesn’t seem to be much else to make interesting news. Here are a few odds and ends. Baby Zabel has had a cold for the last few days which has worried his parents a bit but he seems to be better today.

Dan was up on the third floor of the Stratfield Hotel one day last week making a delivery when he saw Alice Reyom with a nurse’s apron on. He did not stop to speak to her but it looked to him as though she might have a job in some doctor or dentist’s office.

Dick has been coming to the office after school and working on addressograph plates. Dan took his place while he was away at Maine.

Carl, I hear, returned Monday but I have not seen him and have learned no details about his trip.

Dan got in touch with the highway people and they told him they were putting their spring crew on the end of April, so he has put in his application for a job as in years past.

I suppose this letter will reach you before your birthday and that being the case, I wonder if I can begin to get across to you just how a father feels about birthday greetings to his oldest boy so far away that he has not seen for so many months. Have you ever run across something in print that seems to say in the masterly way something that you have felt but seemed to lack the ability to express in words? Some time ago I ran across a thing of this sort – a letter from a father to his son, and if I may, I will let this sort of substitute for some of the things one would like to say himself if he had the gift of expression. I will attach it to this note.

All of us at the old home send are fondest and best birthday wishes, boy, and most of all

Your,

Dad

Tomorrow, I’ll finish off the week with the Letter From A Father To His Son that Grandpa mentions here.

On Saturday, Grandpa tells us about his cousins, the Duryee’s, that were playmates for him and his sister, Elsie.

On Sunday, we’ll find out what has been going on in the lives of Archie and Mary E. Wilson during the years from 1942 to 1946.

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

Issue 1   Click Here

Issue 2   Click Here

Issue 3   Click Here

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Car Thieves in Trumbull – March, 1940

March 3, 1940

Dear C.D.E. (Chief Diesel Engineer)

The big news this week concerns the theft of my Willys. Perhaps I’d better go back a bit. It has been Dick’s custom lately to work at the office after school and to drive home with

Alfred (Lad) Peabody Guion

Alfred (Lad) Peabody Guion

me, and because he likes to drive, I usually let him occupy the driver’s seat. He lets me out at the back door and backs the car in the barn for the night. I have had to caution him over and over again about bringing the key in the house and not leaving it in the car, pointing out to him that it is an invitation to anyone who is snooping around trying to swipe a car to leave the key in it. This attitude has been scoffed at as being quite unlikely and a foolish precaution on my part. However, just to humor the old man, Dick has lately been bringing the key in and putting it on my hat, which I usually place on the armchair in the dining room near the telephone booth. Well, Friday night I had to stop at the Town Hall for a meeting at 5:30, and as there was some food in the car, I told Dick after he dropped me at the Town Hall, to take the food home and get dinner started. I walked home after the meeting was over, found supper had been prepared, and in due course went to bed. Yesterday morning I found Dick waiting for me when I came down for breakfast and as he had eaten I told him to get the car out and running so we could get started promptly. The key was not on my hat so I asked him if he had left the key in the car and while he was sure he had brought the key in and put it on my hat, he said he might not and would look. He came in a few minutes later and said the car was not in the barn. Ced had started to work at 7:30, which was evidenced by the fact that the Packard was gone (he had not registered the Plymouth as he had expected to sell it and that was in the driveway). Our first thought was that Ced might have started off with the Packard, had a flat or something, had left it at Carl’s and taken my Willys and because he was late, had not taken time to tell me about it but left a note. However, we could find no note from Ced. We thought Dan might possibly have taken it, intending to be back soon, but Dan and Rusty were both asleep in bed. We then called up the gas station but Ray said the Packard was not there and he did not know anything about it. Our last hope then was Ced might know something about it. We called up Tilo and after considerable delay, got Ced, but he knew nothing about the Willys. I was in doubt about its being stolen because Dick said he remembered putting the key on my hat the night before and I did not see how anyone would know enough to come into the house to get the key if he wanted to swipe the car, but Dick’s theory was that someone might have come in the house in the early morning, snooped around, seeing the key in plain sight on my hat with the name “Willys” on it, and having seen the car in the barn, did the logical thing. So the only thing left to do was to call up Ray Beckwith and report the car stolen. Dick had gone upstairs again to talk to Dan about it and I was sitting down to dial Ray’s number when Dick came down and said that Dan had an explanation that sounded reasonable. It was this: when Dick arrived home Friday night alone and with no meat for supper, Dan asked him about what we were going to have for supper and Dick told him I had said there were scallops home for supper. There were not. Then Dick assumed he may have misunderstood me and that I meant the scallops were in the car, WHICH DICK HAD LEFT AT THE TOWN HALL FOR ME AND WALKED HOME. He then went over to the Town Hall, got the package out of the car and brought it home. After my meeting was over at the Town Hall, it was dark, and as I had intended Dick to take the car home with the food in it, I did not look for the car parked over there. Anyway, when I had gotten out of the car it looked to me as I went in the door that Dick was preparing to back out. However, it looked now as if the car had been parked all night at the Town Hall with the key in it, so I hustled over to the Town Hall expecting to see the car there where he had left it. Whalen has a gray Willys, the same as mine, and as I approached I thought for a moment it was my car, but on second glance I saw it was not. I had already passed through to reverses a feeling that morning — one when the car seemed to be stolen from the barn, the other when I believed it was at the Town Hall. Now I was going to be plunged into the dumps again? I hustled on, and there, behind another parked car which hid it, was my little, old, banged up, shabby Willys, just as Dick had left it the night before with the key in the switch and everything O.K. and that’s the news about the stolen Willys. I hope you got a thrill out of the telling and some of the suspense that I experienced. “All’s well that ends well”. “I am an old man and I’ve had many troubles but most of them never happened”.

If you Google 1937 Willys Coupe, you’ll get an idea of what Grandpa’s car looked like, although I’m not sure of the year for his and it was “a little, old, banged up, shabby Willys.”

Tomorrow, I’ll be posting the rest of this letter concerning the doings around the old homestead of the rest of the bunch. I note that yesterday’s letter from Rusty wasn’t sent with last week’s letter, but with this one. The date fooled me as it was also written on the 25th, just not delivered to Grandpa in time.

On Saturday, the autobiography of Alfred Duryee Guion tells the story of what happened when he tried to take a gun apart… his thinking process was so typical of a young boy at any time. I think you’ll enjoy it.

On Sunday, Archie and Mary E. Wilson face up to struggles during World War II.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Item No. 3 and Incidentals – Oct., 1940 (2)

1934 - 1940 Timeline

1934 – 1940 Timeline

This is the second half of a long letter written by my Grandfather to his sons about several items. Yesterday, my post included Item No. 1 – Biss, Zeke and baby Butch moving out of the apartment and Carl Wayne  (Red Horse Service Station) wanting to rent the apartment for Ethel Bushey, his fiance, and himself. Item No. 2 was all about the move of Guion Advertising to their new headquarters on Main Street. This post covers Item No. 3, which Grandpa said was the BIG news, as far as he was concerned.

No. 3 might be termed the BIG ONE, at least as far as yours truly is concerned, and concerns the newest five-wheel addition to the Guion garage. I have been having increasing fuss and bother and expense with the Plymouth. I had difficulty in starting it in the morning, and it worried me as to what I would do in the winter if it were hard to start in the mild weather. The other morning I came out and found a flat in the front left. I had to pump enough air into it to carry me to the gas station, but being unsuccessful, I took a chance on running it over flat.The result was that it did not do the inner tube any good, and in view of the fact that a blowout patch caused a shimmy, ( like we had in one of the other cars, I forget which one), and my spare tire had a blowout patch on it, it seemed necessary to spend more money for a tire. Then one day last week on a very rainy day I found my battery too low to start the car and had to call up the Blue Ribbon to send a man around with a hot shot battery (more expense). When the inspection  arrived, and I undoubtedly would have to incur more expense in getting it ready for that, the fact that the windshield wiper was very sluggish and sometimes could not work at all, etc., etc., all created in me an urge to do something about it before cold weather set in. So I wrote to the salesman who had been real nice to let us try out their cars and told them I was in a quandary as to whether to buy the 1940 model at a reduced price now or wait on the chance that the steel market would go up and perhaps permit us to buy a 1941 model, — what have they to suggest?

Bill Schott of Packard was the first to respond. He had a 1940 demonstrator, similar to the one we tried out that he could let us have for $900, based on an allowance of $193 for the Plymouth on the price of $1093 which was their sales price. He pointed out that the Plymouth was really worth about $50 and he would stretch this $93 and take off $100 for the fact that it was a 1940 model and had been run about 3000 miles. The car had no extra equipment, no radiator, heater or other accessories, only standard equipment. They would be repaired, cash payment of $140 in addition. We could have the car at the rate of $70.40 for 20 months.

Willys called and said they had no 1940 Studebaker’s on hand but the new 41 models were better, etc.

Eisenman, of Buick, asked us to come down and look at a 1940 car that had just been turned in by a doctor, who every year bought a new model. This was a little better car than the one he loaned us to try out and that it’s was a super, with practically the same body that the 41 cars had. It had the same length as the Special we were considering but 10 inches wider than the Special and lower. It had five white sidewall tires, the spare had never been used, was two-tone green, had been carefully driven, had run 1300 miles, and installed-at-the-factory a 7-tube radio, factory built and installed air heater, clock, air foam cushions, high-grade tan upholstery, division armrests in rear seat, had been sanitized without the extra cost. Originally, $1389 and white sidewall tires $20 extra. The Plymouth was appraised at $60 but they could allow $135 on it on the sales price of $1050, bringing the net cost to me to $925.

The Nash man also had an ambassador-8, with twin ignition and a number of extras – clock, special steering wheel, air conditioner, divided rear seat armrest, cigar lighter, deluxe floor mats, equipped for radio, but no radio, the original cost of which was $1324, he too, estimated the Plymouth as worth about $60 but he also would allow $125 in a trade it, bringing the net cost to me to $875.

Packard gave a years guarantee, Buick a 30 day guarantee. Then I went back the Buick people, not having heard from the Chrysler at all, and told them I had a better offer from the Nash people. Of course they tried to talk me into doing business with them, how much better turn in value there was in the Buick, etc., but I must’ve looked unconvinced so he went back and talked to Mr. A.L. Clark and finally told me he would knock off $50 but that was final, so I AM AN OWNER OF A BUICK.

1940 Buick Roadmaster

1940 Buick Roadmaster

Description
Glendale, CA, Buick Club, May 2, 2009
Date 2 May 2009, 12:00:31
Source Flickr: 1940 Buick Roadmaster – green – rvr
Author Rex Gray

Both Dick and Dave are wildly enthusiastic and I am a little pleased myself. The only bug in the wood pile is the payments, and right here I must confess that your birthday present, Dan, yours, Ced, the amount to your credit, Dan, which authorized me to use in payment for the sale of the Willys, plus odds and ends of cash I have been able to put by for this purpose for the last year, all went into the kitty, which, plus borrowing to be later paid back as I can, still left me $75 short for which I had to give a 3-day note. Perhaps I was foolish in view of the fact that Dick’s weekly payments cease, the apartment rent stops and my Selectmen’s salary ceases, but there is still the hope stock market may boom a bit if the right man is elected in November, so keep your fingers crossed and remember me in your prayers.  “Nothing ventured, nothing won” in true gambler’s spirit. So there you have item No. 3. Dick is almost ready to give up his trip with Bobby Kascak in order to drive the new car – OCCASIONALLY.

Now to come back to the reason for this letter being late. Last night, Dick was so anxious to drive the car before he went away and wanted so much to use it in driving the gang to New York, that I let him have it for the evening. This threw into the discard a promise I made to Dave to take him to see “The Ramparts We Watched” Saturday PM if he cleaned the downstairs, which he did. I then arranged to have an early dinner today so we could go to the afternoon show because Dave had a Young People’s meeting at seven. Dick was supposed to go to a football game but thought he would be able to be home at 1:30. I had prepared a special going away dinner for him and told him it would be ready at 1:30. It was. No Dick. 2:30, no Dick, so Dave and I ate. At 3:30 Dick had not even been put in an appearance, so we left anyway and have just gotten back. I have not seen Dick since but suppose he will show up before he leaves which he expects to do at about 10:30. They expect to drive all night and spent the day in Washington, and then on South, eventually to Clearwater, Florida, where they have heard some Trumbull people live and where they expect to get a job. Depending on circumstances, they may head for California but there is a chance that they will be back in time to eat Thanksgiving dinner at the Knolls, where we have been invited by Aunt Betty.

Dave, today, “joined the church.” His school work is going satisfactorily, he is thrilled with the new car and he told me tonight the world looked rosy, or words to that effect.

Your birthday letters to him with their “interesting” enclosures arrived a day or so late but were nonetheless welcome on that account. On your account, Lad, I gave him a five dollar bill for clothes and promised to have his watch fixed at the jewelers. The latter, I have since learned, will cost about five dollars, which is more than I anticipated, so if you think a total of $10 is a little steep, say the word and we will make some other arrangement.

Your interesting letter, Lad, written on the 23rd, contains news that will surprise Dan. I referred to the fact that Fred Chion is working for Socony-Vacuum on a road construction gang. He has sent his wife back to the states because the country did not agree with her. It is a coincidence that I should have sent you his letter to Dan, last week. Thanks for your letter, Ced, re: the ski slide and your airplane drunk.

Good night, my boys three.

DAD

Tomorrow will be another Tribute to Arla and on Sunday, we’ll check in to 1943 and find out what is happening to Lad, in California, Dan in England, Dick in Brazil and Ced in Alaska. We’ll take a break on Tuesday, the 11th, for another Guest Post from gpcox about the involvement of Hollywood in the War effort. We’ll finish out the week in 1943.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Grandpa’s Natal Day – Sept, 1940

1934 - 1940 Timeline

1934 – 1940 Timeline

This is the first installment of a very long letter Grandpa writes to his sons, Dan and Ced in Alaska and Lad in Venezuela, following his birthday. This section covers all of the happenings involving Grandpa’s birthday – September 11 – when he turned 56. He has followed the strange custom of sending presents to his sons on HIS birthday, maybe his way of giving back.

September 15, 1940

Dear Partners in Crime:

Gosh, but you boys certainly did make me feel good on my natal day! It started before I was up on the morning of the 11th. I had my radio going as I lay in bed trying to

Alfred Duryee Guion

Alfred Duryee Guion

learn what had occurred in the intervening 12 hours in the way of war news and thus did not hear the phone ring, but long-legged Dick, clad in his pajamas and with sleep still in his eye, said Western Union wanted me on the phone. And this was the message: A nite letter from Anchorage Alaska for A.D. Guion. Congratulations to O D A. birthday greetings we joyously sand, to pop on whom we can always depend, to see to it we are always presented, with swell birthday gets – kinds not resented. The man who the deep in troubles steeped, has always thought just of our welfare replete. (Signed) Sourdoughs, Dan and Ced.”

This was getting off to a good start. With a warm glow in my heart I shaved (without cutting myself), H my usual frugal breakfast, started the old Plymouth, which quite surprisingly started without the usual trouble, sailed down the drive and made my first stop at the store. P.O. Box 7 was bursting with mail. Yes sir, believe it or not, letters awaited me from Aunt Betty, lad, Dan and Ced, all with birthday greetings right on the nose. (And this has no reference to hay fever).Aunt Betty the usual card with the usual dollar bill parked underneath the first sheet, lad with a nice letter accompanied by a blank check, as it were, to get me something for myself, Dan with a $25 money order together with a letter and verse, and Ced with a four-page letter willingly his entire bank balance here. Dick offered to blow me to the movies, which offer I could not accept because I had a job I had brought home from the office which had to be completed by the morrow and Dave donated his service in getting supper and also with a birthday greeting card. As soon as I poked my head in the office door George and Miss Denis burst out singing ”Happy Birthday To You” , and Mr. Coville dropped in during the day and left his solicitations and asked to be remembered to Dan. I splurged a bit on the supper which consisted of a thick, juicy beefsteak, delicious green asparagus (a frosted food), potatoes and apple pie à la mode. All in all, a most momentous day. My little contribution took the form of a box of writing paper each to the Alaskan contingent, a photo album to Lad, a waterproof, windproof jacket made of airplane cloth to Dick and a book of complete Gilbert and Sullivan operas for Dave. I hope the parcel post packages reach you “Outsiders” promptly and in good shape.

Lad in Venezuela

Lad in Venezuela

Lad’s three-page letter, just to hit the high spots, mentions the fact that because of high costs of everything done there, he is losing his perspective on the cost of things and the value of money, and sites as an instance, the fact that his watch, which Arnold had repaired here in Bridgeport for him cost six dollars, whereas down there it would have cost $16-$17 for the work. The smallest denomination in paper money down there is 20 bolivars (about 6.50). The movies he gets down there are two or three years old. He has seen Robin Hood and Juarez. It looks now as though at long last, some of the oil wells they have drilled our coming through in the Guario field and they are starting another —  the fourth  —  in the same location. His two years under contract with S.V. is up May 31st but that does not mean necessarily that he is coming home at that time. His boss, Chris, may be leaving early in November when his contract expires and Lad will probably get his job. Lad and the new airplane mechanic have struck up a friendship and he spends quite a bit of his spare time at the airport. He is thinking of the possibility of buying himself a small plane when he gets home and says they can be run more economically than even my little Willis that was.

Incidentally, both stock transfer blanks were received, duly signed. Thank you both.

Dan’s letter, enclosing the money order was a lollipaloosa. It starts:

Dan in Alaska

Dan in Alaska

Father dear, I sadly fear, this letter will come late.

But what the hell! You can’t foretell the vagaries of fate.

Uncle Sam don’t give a damn if ponies can’t express,

The tidings here, of luck and cheer, your natal day to bless.

Chorus

Sing hey to oats and barley,

And give this cheque to Farley,

The old fifth wheel

To Frank’s new deal

Will cash it without parley.

After that it is up to you and may it bring you as much fun as it is bringing me to send it to you.

Well spoken, me lad. It will.    (Note by the editor)

He mentions going to Matanuska for the Colonist’s Fair on Labor Day and enjoyed himself in spite of the rain.

Ced in Alaska

Ced in Alaska

Ced’s long Labor Day letter was quite interesting. He gave quite a detailed account of his first ride over Anchorage and vicinity with the boss in one of their big 5 ton ships, which experience makes him all the more eager to learn to fly. This he has a chance of doing if one of the members of the local flying club gives up his membership as he is apt to do if present plans to leave Alaska materialize. This will cost said about $200 cash. They have invested member’s money in a jointly owned Aeronca Chief (four-cylinder, 65 h.p., air cooled, Continental engine, two passenger, dual control, a year-old). He related several interesting anecdotes of the dictator-like manner in which Col. Olson manages the affairs of the Alaskan R.R., and also on the crime situation. Because of the cost of prosecution, most murders are labeled suicides. Robbery is practically nonexistent. Cars are left by the roadside for two days with keys in the glove compartment, untouched; gasoline, in 50 gallon drums, left in airway ramps unguarded, is untouched; houses are seldom locked and the two banks in town have stored type plate glass windows, no bars.

I finally learned that the Willys brought about $190 on a forced sale, but under the circumstances they were facing, it was undoubtedly the wise thing to do. Both Dan and Ced are thinking of joining a ski club and also a singing group.

Tomorrow, the letter will continue with local news of boiling politics and what he plans on doing with his birthday money.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Cars, More Cars and a Play – Nov, 1939

1934 - 1940 Timeline

1934 – 1940 Timeline

Lad is still in Venezuela, working as a mechanic for an oil company, Dan is a student at the University of Connecticut at Storrs, Ced is working the night shift, Biss is a new mother, Dick and Dave are still in school.The subject of cars seems to be the theme of this weekly missive to Lad, old ones, new ones and everything in between .

November 19, 1939

Dear Lad:

Alfred Duryee Guion (Grandpa) carving the turkey

Alfred Duryee Guion (Grandpa) carving the turkey

Elsie has just written that she too will be coming up for Thanksgiving, the 30th (this is the day that Gov. Baldwin has set for this state while Roosevelt has made the date the 23rd, which is now being referred to here as Franksgiving). So that makes two extra, Aunt Betty and Aunt Elsie. That is one of the days that we’re going to miss you an extra lot.

As I told you in one of my previous letters Ced registered his old Packard, the closed car, a while ago as Dan had been using your old Packard getting back and forth from Storrs. Since that time he has been having a series of troubles, the top blew off one rainy, windy day, he had to get a couple of tires, retreads, one of which seems to be no

good; the battery gave out and he bought another used one which doesn’t seem to be functioning; it uses a lot of oil, is heavy and gas consumption, and in general has been disgusting him more and more lately. So yesterday he decided to go to New York and see if he could not pick up some bargain down there. He took the train down and visited several dealers whose ads have appeared in the New York papers. He made the rounds and wound up finally at the New York Packard place where they sold him in 1933 Plymouth sedan. It needs an engine job, one of the spring shackles is worn and the clutch slips out. The body is in fair condition, upholstery under the slipcovers fairly good, and in view of the fact that cars of this make and age are advertised in the local Bridgeport papers as selling for from $125 to $250, he feels he got a fairly good buy at $50. He has already arranged with Arnold to overhaul the engine. He will now try to find a buyer for the old Packard in order to reimburse himself for at least part of the cost.

Ced also stopped in at the Willys dealer place and found that the delivered price of the Deluxe sedan (1940) is $687 and that the top allowance they would make for 1937 Willys would be $250. He is very anxious to have me make the switch, claiming that it would be economical for me to do so, but – – –

We have been having pleasant fall weather lately. Some of the days have been pretty cold, but we have managed to get by so far without starting the furnace. I have been

A MERRY DEATH Playbook - 1939

A MERRY DEATH Playbook – 1939

busy about three nights a week rehearsing for the play the PTA is giving in December. It is a pretty good comedy entitled “A MERRY DEATH”. It is being coached by a young lady named Doris Card who is teaching dramatics in the local schools. In the cast are a Mrs. Herlihy, Mrs. Drescher, Evelyn Wells, yours truly, Barbara Plumb, Mrs. Ehrencrona, Jean Hughes, Richard Guion, Skippy Wildman, Mrs.Rubsamen and Mr. Herlihy. This scene is laid in the living room of the Taggart household (I am Judge Taggert in one act and take the part also of his twin brother in the second act) in the suburb of a medium-sized city in the middle West. Mr. Carson is also in it, taking the part of the Dr. and not doing it any better than he did his part in other plays in which he has acted. It really is a highly amusing comedy and, if played well, ought to make quite a hit. Why don’t you folks plan to put on some sort of amateur play in connection with your newly formed club? You are on the entertainment committee, I think you said, in one of your letters.

Your letter written on the ninth was duly received. So it was the pump on the white that was at fault, just as you had thought. Dan has the scrapbooks up at school, so I was unable to follow the course of your trip to Guanta via Guario. I note, however, that Mr. Breeding’s place, where you went in for a swim with all your clothes on, is near Barcelona, so I can get a fairly good idea of the location. Better look out for sharks, which I suppose they have down there. We don’t want you coming home speaking in a squeaky voice. If the experience on the way back didn’t do anything else it probably learned you not to repeat the stunt of taking chances of your getting sick, so far away from home. There is one comfort and that is you don’t refrain from telling me when you are laid up. If I thought you did otherwise I would be considerably worried when I didn’t hear from you each week, fearing that you are laid up and no way of knowing just how serious it was. That is one of the assuring things about the English war news. When one of their ships is sunk by the Germans they promptly announced that fact and tell the whole truth about it so that when they deny some rumor that the enemy has spread, you can rely on its being so. Am glad the rainy season is about over, which means that you have had a full years experience of Venezuela and climate and are earning your classification as a veteran. You say that because of  the rains you have had no second class mail for the past two or three weeks so you have received no letters from me. Is anything but airmail classed as second-class? The letters I send you regularly are classed in the US as first-class, but maybe the Venezuelan government does not take the same view. I cannot understand the reason for the government not allowing letters to come to Pariaguan via airplane, particularly as they are technically free of responsibility when they deliver letters to your Caracas office and what you do with them from then on, whether they read them in Caracas or send them on to Pariaguan, I should think was nobody’s business but your own – – that is assuming the plane is a company plane and not run by the government. Anyway, that accounts for the fact that you haven’t answered the questions I have asked you my last few letters, particularly as to what you were doing about your back salary. Apparently most of the InterAmerica employees have received their back salary and you want to get yours while the getting is good. No one knows when something may happen, particularly with Ted on the job to close up the company, and then you would have lost your chance and really be throwing $250 away.

I am enclosing a clipping from the Bridgeport paper to show you that Venezuela makes the first page locally once in a while. I suppose you have already heard about this fire in Laguanillas, but I thought it would be interesting to get it the way the news reaches us here.

As Dave has been asking me all the afternoon when he can use this typewriter for his school work, and I am nearing the end of the page (I can’t think of any other news anyway) I suppose I may just as well close now with all the good wishes you know come pouring out of here to there, all concentrated on my little old laddie boy that holds such a large place in his Dad’s heart. We’ll drink a toast to you on Thanksgiving.

DAD

* Thanksgiving or Thanksgiving Day, currently celebrated on the fourth Thursday in November by federal legislation in 1941, has been an annual tradition in the United States by presidential proclamation since 1863 and by state legislation since the Founding Fathers of the United States, according to Wikipedia.

Tomorrow, I’ll be posting a soliloquy on Man’s Military Strategy based on Nature’s example.

Saturday, I’ll be posting another Tribute To Arla, this being the second half of the announcement that Lad had joined the family. This was supposed to be posted last Saturday, but I forgot I already had the post and created a new one. I apologize for the confusion.

Then we’ll move on to 1940 where Lad is still in Venezuela and Dan and Ced have moved to Alaska and found jobs they truly enjoy.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Individual Letters – Sept, 1940

1934 - 1940 Timeline

1934 – 1940 Timeline

Yesterday, I posted a long letter from Grandpa to all of his sons, Lad in Venezuela and Dan and Ced in Alaska. He continued the letter by writing individual letters to each of his sons, addressing more personal matters to each. Those letters follow.

September 8, 1940

Dear Ugda Tablet:

Greetings, my little pill, I mean pal. My days of watching and waiting and praying have at last been rewarded – – a real letter has reached me in which, in your own inimitable

Daniel Beck Guion

Daniel Beck Guion

style, you acknowledge clippings, paint a picture of Army life, give a thumbnail sketch of the aftermath of fish spawning, and envision the coming of fall as only a true child of nature can feel it, for all of which my respects and thanks. Someday when you feel practical and inclined to talk of mundane, everyday things like dirty socks, rough fingernails, dull razor blades, garlic breath on your working companion, etc., drop me a line just as interestingly written about your hopes and disappointments, new friends, your clothes, etc., you know. By the way I have just gotten from the Bridgeport Public Library the new Federal Writers Project book on A Guide to Alaska – Last American Frontier. Author is Merle Colby. The two most interesting pages I have run across yet are popular errors about Alaska. Have you been to Palmer yet or to Matanuska?

Dear Ced:

Cedric Duryee Guion

Cedric Duryee Guion

Thanks for the delayed letter about the Willys but I still don’t know what finally happened. I will look forward to the history to which you refer to clear up the matter. I don’t think I told you that Don Whitney has a 1934 Ford he bought through his cousin in the business in Black Rock. Dick is quite thrilled because he has now paid into your account the $40 that he says you told him he could purchase the Packard for, and it is now all his own. In honor of the event he spent yesterday afternoon repairing the back door so that it would not fall off by the hinge every time it was opened. What are you boys doing for suitable clothes and bedding for the cold weather? I hope the box of clothes I sent will reach you safely and in good time. I have insured them so that if they do not arrive at all or are damaged in transit, be sure to call the attention of the postmaster, in the latter event, before you remove them from the post office.

Dear Lad:

Evidently from all I can learn, not so much directly from the parties themselves as that might be colored a bit, but from outside sources, that your gift to the new Mr. and

Alfred Peabody Guion (Lad)

Alfred Peabody Guion (Lad)

Mrs. Arnold Gibson, as negotiated by your esteemed Purchasing Agent, made unquestionably a true bull’s-eye, for which of course we are both glad. They’re still away, of course, but I have heard from several sources that before leaving several, highly flattering remarks were made regarding the stainless steel double boiler. I stopped in at Reads the early part of last week and was told that the Spanish book you wanted, and which I ordered through them, had already been sped on its way to you. Cost was two dollars, I believe. I hope it reaches you promptly and in good condition. Did you ever send that second batch of negatives? If so, they have failed, as yet, to put in an appearance.

My clipping department has not been as productive this week. Dan’s vicious attack on the Ugda tablet episode probably gave them pause, and when they catch their breath again they may resume activities.

Meanwhile, hay-feverishly and with tears in my eyes, I bid you all a fond achoo!

AD.

Tomorrow, we’ll be looking forward to 1943 when four of Grandpa’s sons are away from home, serving Uncle Sam. Dan and Dick are headed overseas soon,  Ced continues his work in Alaska, at the same place but for the military who have taken over the airfield, and Lad continues his teaching duties at Camp Santa Anita and his social life with Marian in California. We’ll catch up on things in 1943 for the rest of the week and then see the next installment of A Tribute To Arla on Saturday.

Do you know of someone who might enjoy reading these stories of life during the 1930’3 and 1940’s? Why not pass along the link to these stories? It’s even easier if you visit my blog and click on the FOLLOW button. When you enter your email address, the posts will automatically be sent to your inbox. What could be easier?

Judy Guion

Trumbull – A Surprise And A Cowboy? – Oct. 1939

In this weeks letter, Grandpa starts off with a  very mundane piece of information before getting to  some surprising news for Lad and the family is quite excited about it. He rounds out the letter with lots of news about everyone else before he runs out of steam.

October 22, 1939    

Dear Uncle Alfred:

I am starting this letter a little late today due to the fact that I have taken time out to fix the space bar on this typewriter which has been broken in two for some months and which was, I believe, the reason for the tendency to skip spaces which you undoubtedly have observed in former letters. Some time ago I did try to fasten the two pieces together with rubber insulation tape but that still allowed the bar to sag in the middle. Then I asked Dick to cement it with a hard rubber cement but that did not hold, so today I got an old hack saw blade, broke it in pieces of the proper length and using these as splints, fastened them in place with cloth adhesive tape so that, while it does not look especially neat, it seems to have been doing the trick, if the foregoing paragraph is any criterion.

Well, the big news of the week lies in the salutation above. I am a grandfather and you are an uncle, Grandma is a great grandmother, and Aunt

Elizabeth (Biss) Guion Zabel

Elizabeth (Biss) Guion Zabel

Betty is a great-great aunt. You have a nephew. Thursday evening after coming home from work I was looking for David to help with the supper and suspecting he might be in with Elizabeth I went into the apartment and there they both were listening to some comedian. Elizabeth was feeling chipper as ever. Late Thursday night however, Elizabeth began to have pains and because they were becoming worse and more frequent, she called up the hospital and they told her it didn’t mean anything. However, as time went on and she had no letting up, she finally decided to go to the hospital anyway at about midnight and about 2:30 AM Friday morning the little fellow arrived. Friday morning as I was shaving Ced came up with a big grin on his face, knocked  on my bathroom door and said, “Good morning, Grandpa”. Suspecting nothing, I didn’t show enough excitement to suit him whereupon he asked me if I had seen the note Zeke had left on the top of the stove downstairs? This note said, “Biss gave birth to a daughter this morning”. Both Zeke and I naturally told those interested that the baby was a girl. It was not until later in the day when I called at St. Vincent’s to see Elizabeth that she told me it was a boy. “It looks just like a little Dutchman,” she said. Both are doing very nicely.

Ced did not have to work yesterday so he started off at 7 AM to visit the World’s Fair. After that closed, he drove into New York and went to the automobile show. This morning he is all excited about the new Willys, which he feels is ace high this year. He even offered today to help me on payments for a new Willys if I would turn in the old on a trade and let him use it some of the time. If I make a killing in the stock market or something I might be tempted to do this as my old boat is getting to the point now where it is beginning to need frequent repairs and adjustments. It has gone over 30,000 miles and I suppose this is quite natural.

Dave wanted me to tell you that he noticed Wells has a new bus which was bigger than the regular buses and as it had a charter sign on it, he assumes it will be used for that purpose.

In another session of the adjourned town meeting held Friday night under Mr. Sexton’s leadership, they decided to refuse to select the report of the town officers.

Dick is down in the dumps today because yesterday Bassick lost (20 to 0) to Central. The Robinson’s have a young horse that they use for farm work that has been trained also to the saddle and Dick has been going up there after school several days a week and, with Aunt Elsie’s saddle, has been riding him around. He now thinks he would like to go down to Texas and be a cowboy.

So, you sort of got swindled on the watch, hey? You wrote in a previous letter that Boccardo went with you when you bought the watch so that you felt you not only got good merchandise but good prices also. Maybe it was just one of those things that no one could foresee. The main spring could not have been broken when they sold you the watch or it would not have gone an hour even. They will probably make it right under the circumstances. With good cameras selling around here for five and $10, it seems to me you must have a super excellent camera at the price you mentioned, which as I recall was $100. Maybe you meant 100 Bolivars.

Arnold "Gibby" Gibson

Arnold “Gibby” Gibson

Arnold came in yesterday afternoon, after having spent about eight weeks, mostly on his Aunt’s farm. Some of this time he spent trying to figure out the boundaries of the 6 acres that his grandmother left him. He went out with Alta. He asked if he could occupy the cottage until such time as I was able to rent it. He suggested five dollars a month but I pointed out I was paying for the electricity in view of which fact he said $7.50 would seem fair. His other alternative was to get a trailer that was for sale and live in that in Pratt’s backyard.

Just as I was getting dinner today Malcolm Baker, his wife and mother stopped in to see us. They were on their way to the cottage at Madison but it had started to rain so they decided to turn back. By the time they arrived here, however, it had stopped raining.

Aunt Betty is spending the week with her friends in Newburgh. I sent postals yesterday to Aunt Betty, Aunt Elsie and the New Rochelle folks. I have not heard from any of them yet.

I am just about at the end of my news tether. Ask me a few questions about things you would like to know and I’ll try to answer them a little more thoroughly than you have answered my various queries over the last several months. (The trouble with making statements like this last is that before you get it, you may already have made up for lost time and then one’s guilty conscience points its finger at you).

The Merritt Parkway is now practically finished as far as Nichols and for the last two Saturdays those traveling to and from the Yale football games have used one side. Now both sides have been completed although the planting in the center has not yet been started. There is also a bridge to be built over the Parkway at the continuation of N. Park Ave., and if the weather keeps up for a few months more, I assume the highway will be opened to traffic both ways, although not really finished. Then next year they expect to have the new bridge they are building over the Housatonic completed and the traffic which is now being dumped in Nichols will become the problem of Devon or whatever town the other end of the bridge enters.

And that exhausts the last bit of news that I can cudgel up, so my hearty, good night and take good care of my oldest son until we meet again.

DAD

I’ll continue with two more posts about friends and family in 1939 before moving on to Dan and Ced, the Klondike Kids, in Alaska in 1940. We’ll also be hearing more from Lad who is still in Venezuela.

Judy Guion

Life in Alaska – Dan and Ced – Happiness Reigns in our Little Domicile – 1940 (1)

The last we heard from Dan and Ced, they were on a boat headed for Fairbanks, Alaska. My grandfather is getting frustrated because he hasn’t heard from them. In this letter he passes on information in his weekly letter to Lad, in Venezuela, along with the cartoon below. 

Blog - Lad wooing a blonde - 1940

My grandfather has pasted Lad’s face in this cartoon and at the bottom, has scrawled: “Lad, This is July 21st – The last letter I received from you was dated June 24th.    DAD”

Trumbull, Conn.

July 28, 1940

Dear Lad:

I was glad to get your letter this week, even though it was only a short note to let me know that you are on the job.

I am sending the last letter I got from Ced a week or so ago, and one just received from Dan, which may be more satisfactory than trying to rehash what they say. Please

Alfred Peabody Guion in Venezuela in 1939

Alfred Peabody Guion in Venezuela in 1939

return them in the next letter you send after receiving this.

Elizabeth informs me that probably in January sometime I may be a second grandpa.

Yesterday afternoon Dave accompanied Zeke on a fishing trip to the reservoir and rowed the boat for him. Zeke caught two small pickerel and Dave a full-grown healthy sunburn.

I fear this week’s letter is not very exciting, but at least it will keep up the weekly schedule.

It’s too hot to write anyway.

DAD

Dear Dan:

(And of course, Ced) I was naturally delighted to get your letter with its report of definite progress. And right at the beginning I may as well give you the findings on the difference in mail time between regular and airmail. Both the letter and the postal were dated July 13th, both were postmarked Anchorage July 15, 11 AM. The airmail letter reached me on July 24, the postal in the afternoon mail of July 27. If you can figure this one out, you are a better than I, Gungha Din.

Daniel (Dan) Beck Guion

Daniel (Dan) Beck Guion

By the way, how is it that while you write on Hotel Anchorage stationary you head your letter Hotel Hopkins? I can assume from that evidence that you failed to arrange with the brother and his two sisters that you met on the boat, for the room they had available and are now booked at the Hopkins. Please don’t forget we are hungry for details, little things that may not seem to be important in the way of news, that are interesting to those at home or following your doings day by day with much interest. By the time you get this you will undoubtedly have received all the letters which I wrote while you were en route, all of which were returned to me here and re-forwarded to Alaska, as well as my regular weekly letters which I have mailed each Monday since you have arrived – the last by airmail. And I think I shall follow your example and spend the necessary 6 cents for each letter hereafter to go by airmail on the assumption that they will soon get the schedule worked out so that the time in transit will be considerably shortened.

I understand from Barbara that she has heard from you and she told me that you have landed a good job with the airfield company. Is it Woodley, the same place that Ced was working for, or another outfit? I suppose I’ll hear all about it in due time, so why bother to ask the question, you say? Well, only to emphasize the fact that (1) we are gluttons for punishment when it comes to its deciphering Ced’s scrawl and your sometimes cryptic utterances, and (2) while your imagination and knowledge can supply the home background for a lot of things, I don’t need to write because you already know them. Your environment, details of your hotel room, characteristics of the people you meet and work with, your amusements, kind of work you do, financial matters and nosiness in general is what you must paint on an entirely blank page.

Just one other word, before I finish with the subject. With two such diverse personalities as you boys possess, it doesn’t do a bit of good to get yourself into thinking that because one fellow has written the other fellow needn’t. I’ll be willing to bet if you both sat down at the same time and wrote about the same subjects the letters would be entirely different and cover entirely different details. It’s just like asking two artists to paint a picture of the same person or the same scene. How identical do you think they would be? And we’re the ones back home here who lose out because each of you takes it for granted that the other fellow has told all the news. At the risk of making you mad I’ll refer once again to my pet peeve, I don’t know a single detail yet about the disposal of my dear little Willys, except that she’s sold. Why, where, to whom, how much? I had a faithful serving man, he taught me all I knew. His name is where and why and what and when and how and who – and how much. Oh dear, you’ll say, that’s the penalty of having folks at home who care so much, they get nosy and insistent and bothersome and won’t let us live our lives without being checked up on all the time. Damn. Well so much for that.

Got a letter from Lad this week – just a word to say that he was still on deck and things were going on about the same with nothing of any importance to report.  Maybe he might get a bit of inspiration from what I have written you two above. It’s the little details that make letters interesting, like Lad’s description of Caracas’s best hotel in which he explained the plumbing, etc., or to use another example, like Rusty’s description of people or incidents where he gets in the little intimate expressions or anecdotes.

Business is practically dead. Friday afternoon we did not have a single order in the place and it being insufferably hot, I sent Miss Denis home (George was on vacation) and followed a few hours later myself. Don’t laugh, you fellows that are pulling down the big money, but I don’t know how much longer my $18 a week will continue on this basis. I am thinking seriously of moving to a new location where the rent will be only $25 a month instead of $50.

DAD

The second half of this post is an Excerpt from Ced’s letter to his father. He gives quite a description of the place they are staying and an update on the work situation. Enjoy.

Judy Guion