Arla Mary Peabody Guion was 18 when she married my Grandfather, Alfred Duryee Guion, in 1913. This picture was taken shortly after the family moved to the house in Trumbull in 1922. A short 11 years later, she passed away after a battle with, what the family believes, was cancer. Dave was only nine when he lost his mother.
These are some of the many letters of condolence sent to Grandpa after his wife passed away.
C. J. MERCER AND SONS
July 10, 1933
Mr. A. D. Guion
Cor. Broad & Fairfield Ave,
I have just learned of your bereavement.
Please accept my sincere sympathy. Mrs. Mercer and those in the office feel for you, and each one of us wish there was something we could do. Maybe we will be able to help in the days that are immediately to come.
Frank H. Mercer
123 Waverley Place
New York City
My dear Alfred:-
It was such a shock when Elsie told me of Arla’s death. I did not even know she was seriously ill although I had heard that she was not feeling so well. You are such a devoted couple and you all seemed to enjoy life so much but don’t wish Arla back for she certainly would have suffered and been bed ridden and bad would have been harder on you both. You have the children and they are and will be a joy to you and they are so grown up and that they can take care of things.
You have my deepest sympathy in your great loss.
MRS. HARVEY BOGART
385 WESTCHESTER AVENUE
MOUNT VERNON, NEW YORK
It was a great shock to us to learn of Arla’s passing away, and I cannot tell you how sorry we all are for you and the children, for I know how much she meant to you, and how much you all will miss her. I always thought she had such a sweet disposition and manner, and was such a nice Mother.
When Elsie belonged to our club, we always asked about Arla and her family, but not having any news all year, and do not hearing of her illness, it was so much more of a shock to all of us.
Please extend our heartfelt sympathy to all, and we only wish we were nearer, to be of some help.
Olga H. Bogart
Parish – Burnham
41 Park Row – New York City
July 13, 1933
You have been in my thoughts, my dear friend, a great deal of the time since I saw you last week and I am hoping with all my heart that some way I may be able to make your great sorrow a little bit easier to bear. I know very well how very much she meant to you and how her ever cheerful presence kept you pushing hard when material things looked dark. You know, to, how greatly I admired her and felt how much her character contribute to the wonderful home life of your wonderful family. I shall always counted one of my richest privileges to have known her, that only as we all lived near each other in the garden, but especially her in the last three months when I was so much at your home.
I wonder if you know this poem by James Whitcomb Riley and I am assured expresses your feelings at this time:
“I cannot say, and I will not say
That she is dead. She is just away!
With the cheery smile, and a wave of the hand,
She has wandered into an unknown land,
And left us dreaming how very fair
It needs must be since she lingers there.
And you — oh you who the wildest yearn,
For the old-time step and the glad return,
Think of her as faring on, as dear
In the love of there as the love of here.
Think of her still as the same, I say.
She is not dead — she is just a way.”
I expect to be passing through Trumbull Friday afternoon or rather Bridgeport and if you would like to go up to fishers island with me and stay till Sunday night or Monday morning I would be ever so happy to have your company and fellowship. Maybe such a change of scene among old friends for a couple of days would be a blessing to you. I believe Louise is writing Dorothy to suggest that Dick might like to come up then, too, and visit Brad who is crazy to have him come. I think I’ll get to your office about 1:30 or possibly 1 PM and can take any of the children who might like to go. I hope especially you may feel like coming.
Always your true friend,
Rufe (Rufus Burnham, a neighbor and life-long friend, who met Alfred and Arla when they built their first house in Larchmont Gardens, Mount Vernon, NY)
Tomorrow,I’ll be posting the final letters of condolence I have from Grandpa and Grandma’s friends and family.
Next week,we’ll move on to 1945 when Lad and Dan are in France. Dan is on the northern coast, near Calais, where he has met the love of his life and their wedding day id getting closer and closer. Lad is on the southern coast, near Marseilles. He would love to go up to be with his brother on this important day, but it doesn’t look likely. Grandpa keeps the family well informed with his weekly missives, which travel far and wide, to Alaska, Brazil and Japan.