Edward Guczek and Jennifer Sawyer

Recorded November 29, 2008 Archived November 29, 2008 00:00 minutes
Audio not available

Interview ID: MBX004651


Edward Guczek, 87, is interviewed by his granddaughter, Jennifer Sawyer, 21, about his life.

Subject Log / Time Code

Grew up in West Warren, MA; one brother, one sister; good childhood; remembers getting a licking.
Liked to dance; roller skating in Forest Lake; Butterfly Ballroom in Springfield; danced the foxtrot, the waltz.
wounded in the chest; war was a lot of fun; remembers waving at the enemy; never expected to go home; saw paratroopers go down.
good to be home from WWII; parades in East Springfield for the troops; very close to his family; breaks his heart to see his sister because she’s so frail.
Sings “Elmer’s Tune”; used to sing that song when he was bar hopping; orchestra leader would grab him to sing.


  • Edward Guczek
  • Jennifer Sawyer

Recording Location

MobileBooth East


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00:04 Jennifer Sawyer 21 November 29th 2008 Northampton, Mass. And I'm here today with my grandfather Edward guzik

00:22 Edward music

00:25 87

00:27 November 29th

00:30 2008 location Mary and Northampton, Mass.

00:37 And my granddaughter

00:43 So Papa, where did you grow up?

00:48 I grew up and watch warrant mess.

00:54 How many brothers and sisters did you have one brother and one sister older or younger brother my

01:07 Sister still lives in our house in Springfield.

01:15 And at what was your childhood like?

01:20 I was rather.

01:24 Rather well brother good.

01:29 It was a good child. I had I think I remember if I done anything wrong. I left to go out in the woods because we have woods around the house.

01:44 And pick up the stick bend over a chair and my wife my mother would.

01:53 Give me a Lickin. Did you get in trouble a lot?

01:59 Well normally what did you get in trouble for

02:04 How far

02:09 Skipping school or

02:11 Something like that.

02:14 How far has been nasty to somebody who your parents strict?

02:21 Were your parents strict?

02:25 Your parents, were they strict were they tough?

02:36 My father well when he was in West when we are in West Warren.

02:42 He had three theaters one in Warren West Warren and now we're

02:49 I would love to but of the theater and

02:53 West Warren

02:56 Movie theater movie theater

02:59 Anna

03:03 It was I remember saying.

03:08 Drake tires in the yard a big sand pile

03:13 And

03:15 I was in the window.

03:18 Eating butter. I hear style of butter. I don't know why but then when I was 3 years old.

03:27 Then when they sold the business we move to Springfield and

03:38 He worked at the Westinghouse.

03:44 Go ahead. What were your parents names Albert? And my mother's name was beldina.

03:56 And what about your brothers your brother and sister brother was Stanley?

04:04 And my sister was Stella.

04:09 And what were you like in school?

04:13 A fresh kid

04:18 I was pretty Wallace will I was wrong life.

04:23 I done pretty well. What grade school did you go to?

04:30 I'm at the Samuel Bowles. Are you still there was a friend of mine that I would walk together would fight with.

04:42 Call each other names and everything else. I used to chase him. He chased me.

04:49 The one time when I was chasing then I usually stopped in front of my mother's house.

04:57 Where

04:59 Would try that try to battle with him a fight with him. Did you win one time he beat me. I never touched them again.

05:18 We did you like the classes.

05:26 You Troublemaker know I wasn't.

05:36 What about high school? Where did you go to high school and sports a lot? What did you play football?

05:54 And

05:56 I was pretty good at it.

05:59 But then I started getting old and I just couldn't do it 14.

06:09 I want the Commerce High School Commerce like

06:16 Interesting. I was in the football team there. Oh, yeah, what position?

06:25 I enjoyed it.

06:30 But it was kind of boring but is it a big school? A lot of kids a lot of kids?

06:40 It was now I guess they had over thousands kids in there, but it at different classrooms.

06:49 But today it's not a non-existing.

06:55 So, did you have a best friend in high school?

06:59 I had a lot of best friends girlfriends.

07:08 There are good fats.

07:12 Never never really that close where I could confide in them.

07:19 So you're on the football team. You must have been pretty popular with the ladies.

07:25 Not necessarily. I avoided them as much as I could.

07:34 Did you have a girlfriend in high school? Never had a girlfriend get out of school? And then I had a few of them.

07:48 Did you go to any dances in high school?

07:52 Yes, and we had a good time at the dance pretty good. No, I just don't go roller skating up in Forest Lake.

08:14 The other side of the Palmer Ware, Mass.

08:18 And

08:20 Is so go roller skating there used to dance on the skates.

08:24 There went the ballroom dancing. Remember the butterfly Ballroom in Springfield was one of the most popular places. It was a beautiful place.

08:38 And that's

08:40 Where I really shined, what's your favorite dance to do?

08:49 At that time it was only the Fox Trot and no answers. And so I was doing both.

08:59 And know-how scotcheroos

09:04 Nobody called today. What are you I don't know right dance or something like that.

09:14 So what about after high school? What did you do after you graduated?

09:20 Retina ccc's military

09:27 Camp in Brimfield while we go out there and

09:34 Clean the forest out.

09:38 If there's not pick up the dead Warden and make piles and sometimes we burn them sometimes we just let him go.

09:48 That was a truck driver.

09:53 When I was a truck driver that took care of the truck.

09:59 I had the fire truck then they made me a fire truck driver. So I was driving the fire truck.

10:07 And while that's it was a wreck truck for the pump on this and with it and we'd have to find our own water travel from Springfield to from Brimfield to Pittsfield and some of the fires of forest fires.

10:29 And this is in the ccc's.

10:33 How long how long did you do that for?

10:37 It was only for one year.

10:41 Was it like a job did it pay? Keep me out of trouble?

10:51 It was a government.

10:53 That was the time when Roosevelt was President. Keep me out of trouble.

11:02 So did you decide after that year, did you decide to enter the army?

11:10 Went ahead and bought a gas station.

11:17 I didn't care whether I sold then the gas or not. I was good at that was good as a mechanic and I had a lot of repairs and I made my money on the repairs.

11:30 Buy a car for $5 and sell it for a hundred.

11:35 How did you learn to be a repairman?

11:38 I just picked it up and went to school for that or it just automatically hit me. I was one of the best mechanics in the city at that time. What was your gas station called?

11:54 Eddie service station

11:57 And we had the

12:00 I had the city cab company retinoschisis trucking company. I had a few real outstanding customers take care of the car as make sure they're running.

12:16 And I did buy their get their gas from me and that was it.

12:24 Send the North End of the city.

12:28 And at that time you could leave the door open you can leave the station open. The people would come in and help themselves are gas and leave the money on top of the table. Yeah.

12:42 But today you can't even keep the doors open.

12:51 How long did you have the gas station about a year-and-a-half and they started racing so I decided to get out of there and I went to work for.

13:08 Went to work for

13:12 Pratt & Whitney aircraft

13:21 So they send me to school to learn how to run a lathe.

13:27 What run the what what's that metal cutting machine?

13:35 And

13:38 When I got in the front with me.

13:43 After 5 months, they made me a leader. I was in charge of 25 or 30 girls that run the machines and I had set up the tools for him and show him how to run it and it from it.

14:01 So that was one of my better jobs that make alot of money I moved.

14:11 I made a living just about the traveling back and forth to Hartford. This was a killer.

14:21 How is the race going up there? I had a car without passing on a two-lane Highway with a medium in the middle of jump in the medium in Fastenal. That's not safe. That's what kind of car did you have?

14:41 A 1935 Ford

14:45 It was a good looking car. What color gray?

14:50 I could be there nothing on the road and I saw that one that I bought myself a Lincoln Zephyr 12 cylinders.

15:00 And none

15:02 I could pass anything on the road except the gas station good thing. I own one.

15:11 I want to know Hampshire with it.

15:14 And I had a flat tire I had to blow out. So I had to buy a tire and the road I had a garage full of tires. I had to buy one that cost me $35 and that was a lot of money in those days.

15:31 So you have our vacation short?

15:36 Was that your favorite car that you ever owned?

15:39 The Lincoln Zephyr

15:44 That was my favorite. So after Pratt & Whitney, what did you do?

15:51 Well, they've deferred made from the service. So I'd decided Well, I want to go. I don't want any more deferment to give you a 6-month deferment.

16:04 I had three of them and that was enough.

16:08 So I

16:10 Went up to the boss. I might throw unless his luck. Don't put me in for another different. I want to go in the service.

16:18 Is what service you want to get into Isis the army?

16:24 So it is okay so they sign me up so I could get in the service and I did.

16:33 Why did you want to be in the service?

16:36 I wanted to get away from everything.

16:42 Then I got in the service.

16:45 Fort Devens and from there. They shipped me the California, Fort, Eustis, California.

16:55 How old were you 20?

17:00 And I went from

17:04 Every state in the Union except, Florida

17:09 Went past it one way or the other way the other one they sent me up there. I was supposed to go to the Pacific.

17:20 During the war

17:25 But then they changed their mind they sent me back east.

17:29 And all I remember for training was riding the train.

17:36 And sleeping on the beach in California. That's all in the training. I had a weapon. I don't know what that means.

17:46 But they took me.

17:51 I wanna run from East Fort Eustis, California back to Fort Devens the nicer put me on the ship and sent me three, England.

18:05 And in England

18:08 Full field pack and they made me a bar man Browning automatic.

18:17 And it was like a like a machine gun, but it's a Browning automatic.

18:24 And

18:27 The heaviest gun

18:29 In the service the carry.

18:32 Outside of a machine gun and

18:39 I had an assistant and then I'm in Mission carrier that help me carry some of the ammunition.

18:48 Everyday 25 mile hike.

18:53 That was a routine in England. No training. No nothing.

19:00 Then the first thing and they send us out to the hive.

19:05 Where are on the ship for the sign of ship and send us to The Hive from the hive?

19:14 Another 20 mile hike with a full field pack and that was heavy.

19:21 And it was raining cats and dogs.

19:24 So is

19:26 The first field we came to I was about to 10 to 12 miles. That's okay pitch tents over here. We never did I didn't I just rolled myself up in my half of the pup tent and just flopped on the ground and went to sleep.

19:49 But it was good.

19:52 From England. Where did you go after England? Where did you go?

20:01 True friends into a Belgian and then Dusty V. That's where I was wounded.

20:12 I seen the

20:14 Anime opening

20:18 Quite a ways away from me and we had that.

20:22 Lieutenant that wanted to save the bullets or something because he said don't fire till I tell you

20:30 Have you ever been bombarded by big artillery?

20:40 And they

20:42 They zeroed in on that say killed my assistant and my ammunition carrier knows wounded.

20:51 I wonder if the lieutenant with my gun and I was going to

20:57 Last him out. I looked at my gun and had to the end of the rifle was bent like a u

21:05 I threw the gun Adam and I called them all kinds of nice names that said it shouldn't be a lieutenant. You're not a leader and

21:19 Where did you get wounded?

21:22 I was wounded in my upper and my chest area.

21:29 And

21:31 Well, I still every time I go to the hospital they call me and they say you got some foreign material in your body. That is all that's nothing. That's the shrapnel that they forgot to take off.

21:47 Were you scared during war were you scared during the war?

21:53 It was a lot of fun. How did I remember seeing the end of me up there and wave wave to each other and hang in there close to air dry hair are out.

22:04 Then comes in the morning. We're out there shooting at each other.

22:12 But every morning I would go outside and wave.

22:17 So you weren't scared at all of her clothes are in the sense, but I I never expected to come I never I thought I was going to end up being buried and nothing.

22:32 Some of the country

22:36 I was in the hospital. I seen paratroopers go down.

22:42 German paratroopers at then every time they come down there that Eddie brigati can operate on your now we got to

22:54 We got to move you as if you want it now or do you want I just put me to sleep. I don't care what happens.

23:04 My day is done a rush job and they sending out put me on the train and I ended up in Paris.

23:15 What are your what are your strongest memories from the Army? I was close to 1 because they were working for it with me.

23:36 But we're both were wrong.

23:39 Rather dumb, we didn't that well, I never handled a gun to get in the service and I didn't handle that in the United States. I handle them in England.

23:56 So how long how long did you serve?

24:03 I had to choose a little over two years two and a half years, I guess.

24:11 I know I was overseas for two of then. Do you think it made you a man?

24:19 No, no. No. I thought I was.

24:27 That was just doing my job the song.

24:31 I have met some nice people there.

24:36 What do you think was the biggest lesson you learned from being in the war?

24:41 How to take care of yourself

24:45 Every time we have to make our own bed, we have to keep ourselves clean we have to wash.

24:56 That's a lot more than my son does.

25:02 Where your parents supportive of you being there because they didn't know where I was I was moving so fast and so quick that they didn't know what it where I was so they send my mother a telegram saying that I was missing an action. How did she react

25:31 Hello shoes.

25:33 She was size it heard that it bothers her.

25:38 My mother my poor mother was a diabetic.

25:43 Had she

25:45 She had to be looked after.

25:49 And my brother he was in the service. He was in the airport. He heard that I was missing in action. He was in the airport in the same area where I was so he went around town to town looking for me.

26:07 Wondering if

26:10 If I was to be found anywhere, you know, but

26:17 He finally found me while he called and talked to him on the phone and he was maybe a hundred miles away from me, but he called and asked if I was all right.

26:33 As as yeah.

26:35 I'm all right.

26:38 What was it like when you came home?

26:45 It was good to be home.

26:48 Right away. They had parades up in a Springfield and Martin up-and-down Pace Boulevard.

26:58 It was a lot of fun.

27:02 Are your parents happy that you were going to?

27:11 Were you close to your family?

27:13 I've cost of very close.

27:17 Very close to his family always been crossed alone.

27:22 In fact, I see my sister now. She's two years older than I am and

27:30 Breaks my heart. Sometimes it says here. She's so frail.

27:41 Here I am almost 2 years younger and

27:48 Like I say

27:51 A little and vinegar

27:58 So what else you want to know after you after you came back from the war? Is that when you met nanny?

28:08 Is that when you met nanny?

28:13 When I first came back, I didn't know what to do. So my father of North someone that was a manager of a Polish Club.

28:26 So ask me if I wanted to be a bartender. I said he'll try it.

28:33 That's it. Wasn't to my liking.

28:38 So a bartender is a manager does.

28:43 Introduced me to my wife.

28:48 And I took her home.

28:52 Start talking to her then. I forgot about it a couple of days later. I happened to see her again and we decided.

29:05 Get together and be boyfriend and girlfriend.

29:10 So we're going out for about six months and asked her if she wanted to get married. She said yes.

29:24 Well, it was the fact that the mother didn't her mother didn't like me. I don't know.

29:33 But the

29:36 At first she didn't like me but then after when I get married

29:43 She loved me.

29:47 So

29:50 So when you first when you first met Nanny, what did you think of her?

29:58 Natalie Nora

30:05 Oh, I thought you was she was beautiful she was nice looking girl should have had you all remind me of her

30:13 But she was little thinner so she was at the social club Cheerios dancing at the what does a dance with their girlfriend verus are they all went together dancing?

30:36 Never shows never

30:39 That's what they anybody flowers to did on occasions, but what if she knew him but if anybody come over and approached her in the wrong way she and it would turn them down right away. So did you dance?

30:56 Yesterday that's where they're at. And

31:00 We took a liking to each other and it was decided one day was over her house and then her mother started slowly turning to like me just all it's a nice guy and I want to

31:18 So when you got married, how did you propose?

31:26 Hello.

31:28 I just asked her.

31:31 Would you marry me and she says?

31:34 When when she wanted to get out of the house her house?

31:45 So you got a little Lebanese flooding a little polish.

31:52 So how soon after was your wedding? When was your wedding at Norton? I'm in the package machinery and I was there for 35 years. So when I met her I just got the job and it was July 4th.

32:21 That we got married. I figured what the heck might as well get married on a day that we can always have off because July 4th is a holiday. So we got married July 4th.

32:46 We're happy.

32:50 I had does wonderful years for their ads over 40 years for there was when she was living in a wonderful family is asking proof of that.

33:06 Do you have a favorite memory with her?

33:09 I have a lot of memories were there sometimes I when I was sleep I dream of her.

33:17 Road, I'll see her again.

33:20 I don't know when but

33:23 By Motel

33:26 How hard was it when she passed away?

33:34 She has she was on dialysis and I had to take her every other day for.

33:44 Treatments

33:46 So I'd leave my job or whatever whatever I was doing and not take her down to stay with her till it was time to come home.

33:58 And we had the evening appointments mostly so I get out of work at 3 and not take her at 6 and stay with it till 9 and then come home.

34:14 But

34:16 Once you get up, she had one of the spell but she snapped out of it. But this time she didn't do it and she died in my arms. So I called the I called your mother.

34:32 Had she called the ambulance to pick her up. And by the time the ambulance came within 2 minutes because we're down the street. I just happened to turn up the street and they are there.

34:50 I missed her ever since.

34:56 You see your one and only was she your one and only

35:04 That sure was a good wife and the best baker, especially when we bought the house.

35:13 Chetola

35:15 We decided that.

35:18 We're going to just stay there.

35:22 And

35:24 We had more friends. I had Bishops archbishops and everything else of the house. All the teachers are the nuns from Cathedral of the house always have a party birthday parties or whatever. It was always my always full of priests and nuns.

35:55 But we had a good time and they all enjoyed it.

36:01 Are you proud of the family that you had and very proud of them?

36:17 You're my special. Oh, yeah.

36:32 I think we only have a couple minutes left, but I wanted to ask you to sing Elmer's tune for me used to sing it all the time.

36:47 Please why are the Stars song was thinking and blank and above for makes the fellas that they can the falling in love? It's not the reason the reason is playing us no more. It's just down there. Why does a lady of AD go out on the road again durmiendo in search of a goose with put stick in the truck and the Man in the Moon. It's just down there.

37:25 Listen, listen, there's a lot you're liable to business and swing it away. And then the old anzine hurdy-gurdy the birdie the cop on the street.

37:46 Candlemaker The Bakers

37:56 A McChicken that Madame on it

38:06 Amber the song. Yeah, she used to sing that in the in the clubs.

38:13 Yeah, I will when I was go out bar hopping there's something that that's one place. I forgot the name of it. It's on Boston Road. There used to be at Italian restaurant I did have dance in there.

38:29 And I just I know they are custard later and he was his band and you always grab me and with singing on the over the mic.

38:43 Can you sing it to me?

38:52 Well, thank you so much for doing this interview Papa.