My Ancestor – Alfred Peabody Guion – Memory Book


On April 2, 2005, a few months after my Mom passed away, my siblings and I organized a gathering to celebrate them and their lives together.  We invited friends from the Marin Amblers, the RV group they had joined, friends from the Marin Power Squadron, friends from the Condo Complex where they had lived for 38 years and Mom’s relatives living in California.  My brother Greg had a friend who put together a slideshow of about 130 pictures, spanning Mom and Dad’s childhood, young adulthood, the war years when they met and married, their lives in Trumbull and their active lives in California.

I purchased a wire-bound journal and created the first page.  All those present were invited to write down their memories of Lad and Marian.  These are a few of the quotes from the 71 pages of memories and tributes.

From Mom’s sister, Peg:

….  Al was always interested in finding something that needed fixing — a big help to me and enjoyable to him.

From their grandson, Tim:

Since I can’t pick just one memory to share (there are so many) I wanted to share a handful of things that will always be with me:

Grandma – going to the park, her keychain money cup, teaching me to swim and her piano.

Grandpa – his lamp timers, reading the newspaper and driving the camper.

I learned many important lessons from Grandma and Grandpa: sense of family, adventure … I get great comfort knowing that they live in all of us forever.

From their granddaughter, Amy:

Grandpa, I miss your tinkering on the back patio and I miss your hugs.

Grandma, I miss your beautiful smile and your contagious laughter.

From their son-in-law, Ted:

I never heard them speak to each other with anything but respect and adoration.  I also realized that I never heard them speak about anyone in a negative tone.  They never complained about anything.

From their niece, Sandi:

I would do something and my mom and dad would look at me and say “She’s a lot like Sis.”  (Marian was known as Sis to her family)

From their son, Greg

Remembering how they lived their lives and maintained their relationships with our family and each other has better prepared me to go on with life and to focus on what’s important in my life.

From their granddaughter, Susan:

When I was 2 years old, our family came out to visit from Connecticut.  My twin sister Colleen and I were to take a nap ….  Somehow we got a hold of some crayons.  Well one thing led to another and well ….  the whole room as high as we could reach was decorated with swirls, lines, and pictures.  My mother was of course upset but my grandma, on the other hand thought …. ART.

From there granddaughter, Collene:

Grandma – a strong, courageous, understanding, adventurous woman.  She approached life head on living each day as she wanted – even if her body sometimes struggled.

Grandpa – a patient, hard-working, gentle man who loved to tinker.  He could just about fix anything.

From daughter-in-law, Euna:

This is my first memory of them, and one that is very dear to me.  It was the holidays and Greg asked me to go to his parent’s house.  I was very nervous, but as soon as we walked in the door, it was like we were already a part of the family.  They accepted my daughter as one of their grandchildren and made no difference between the kids, and that meant a lot to me.

From their son, Doug:

From Mom – a concern for others, a great outlook on life and how important family is.

From Dad – mechanical and building skills, patience and being a precisionist.

From their daughter, Lynn:

(Mom and I) have the same love of the piano.  We both enjoyed “playing by ear” because neither of us had any formal lessons.  We played just for our own enjoyment.  Your genuine respect for all others was always shining brightly and should be a model for everybody today.

From granddaughter, Alisha:

My fondest memory of Nana is of her racing my boys around the courtyard on her walker.  The shrilling laughter of 3-year-old boys as they screamed, “Go faster, go faster Nana” and she did.

From granddaughter, Caryn:

When I was 10 you took care of us ….  My mom was in a car accident and we stayed with you for a month and a half.  Every day was an adventure.  You showed us the sites of California like Lombard Street, the Pyramid building, Pier 39, Golden Gate Bridge, Mount Tamalpais, Golden Gate Park the luminarias and the Rainbow Tunnel.

From members of the Marin Power Squadron:

We have many wonderful memories of them both.  We will greatly miss them with their winning smiles.

We were members of the Santa Rosa Power Squadron but when we went to Marin Power squadron events, Marian was always at the door checking us in with her beautiful smile and happy attitude.  What a different world it would be if more people had such an “up” attitude as Marian.

Words cannot express the gratitude we members of the Marin Power Squadron have for the work you (Al and Marian) contributed to the betterment of our organization.

From members of the Marin Amblers RV Group:

Marian and Al’s handsome family through all the generations are their “legacy”.

Marian was a whiz with paper, scissors and a staple gun.  She did a fantastic job of making a great outfit for Al at a Halloween Outing ….  She made a Dalmatian dog costume for Al ….  He won the prize.

My fond memory of Marion is at her last birthday party.  She had the nicest smile on her face when we sing happy birthday.  She looked so cute in the Mexican hat.

Al and Marian were the first people we met when we joined the Marin Amblers.  They introduced us to all the members and soon we were on the road enjoying many outings with this great group – Al always had a big smile for everyone and he was devoted to Marian – she was his favorite lady…

Alfred Peabody Guion – the day he was Christened


Marian Irwin and her Great-Grandmother



Lad in Venezuela

          Marian Dunlap Irwin – SFSU – 1937


Lad and Marian on their Wedding Day

Marian, Doug, Lad, Greg and Judy, 1947

Christmas card, 1952


Lad and Marian in California

Marian (Irwin) Guion and Alfred (Lad) Guion

Susan, Caryn, Judy (me) and Collene

Greg, Ted, AAron, Alisha, Amy, Greg, Euna and Tim

Doug, his wife Carol, Lynn

I realize this is probably one of my longest posts but it was difficult to edit the memories and stories that family and friends shared with us in the Memory Book.  I hope you have enjoyed getting to know my parents, Lad (or Al) and Marian, “up close and personal”.

Next Sunday I will begin tracing Marian’s ancestors.


Voyage to California (43c) – John Jackson Lewis – More of the San Jose Valley

This is the last section of the final letter from John Jackson Lewis. This one is  to Edward, dated May 8th, 1851, describing the San Jose Valley and what he can see from his brother William’s farm. This sketch was made by John Jackson Lewis and enclosed with the letter.


Turning our gaze up the valley towards Monterey, the timber prevents our seeing much of the low land, except in the immediate vicinity of our house, that is within two or three miles, but beyond the timber, and distant, perhaps, five or six miles, the hills, comparatively low, but high notwithstanding, indicate that the valley becomes much narrower, and changes its course very materially.  Looking towards the Bay, the mountains fade away on either side, leaving us one place where we can look out on what I shall call the real horizon.

On the plain, in this direction, there is nothing essentially different from what is visible in other directions.  The same vast fields of grass and flowers, interspersed with spots of timber, or lines of it along the streams.  The timber on the plain is almost exclusively white and live oak, but in some places, dense thickets of Willows border the streams.

Distances on the plain are very deceptive.  This day two weeks, after sitting and writing a considerable portion of the day, I felt desirous to take a walk before supper, and pitching on a timbered spots, which I supposed, after making all due allowances, to be about a mile distant, as the extent of my excursion.  Pointing it out to Wm., I asked him if it was much more than a mile distant.  He replied in the negative, and I started.  The sun, I suppose, was about an hour high, and as I walked and walked towards the trees, the sun appeared to be making almost equal haste toward the horizon.  I reached the trees, however, and found several of them to be splendid Live Oaks, with lots of magpies, blackbirds, woodpeckers, and hanging birds hopping about them or flying from tree to tree, making the air vocal with their notes.  I stayed but a short time, and started back on a tall walk; but the sun had gone to rest; in the dusk of evening was upon me as I approached our humble abode.

I met with another rather curious instance of this deceptiveness.  Nearly all of the farm, (as will be explained more fully hereafter) is open to the plains, and the cattle that roam over them will occasionally trespass upon the land under cultivation.  In driving them off one day, I picked up a clod and threw at one that I thought very near to me, but, to my astonishment, it fell considerably short of its object.  I threw again, harder, but it still fell short, and it was only after repeated trials that I found how much harder I had to throw in order to hit anything that I had been accustomed to doing.  One reason of the deceptiveness in this instance was probably the being out of practice of throwing, for two or three months, reasons for other cases are perhaps found in the clearness of the atmosphere and the background of the mountains.  The rectangular figure on my map, near the Monterey Road and on a branch of the Guadalupe Bay, is where Wm. and his partners were farming last year.  one of them, Capt. Winslow, is on it this year.  He rents it, I believe, at $30. per acre.


This concludes the entries of the Diary and Journal of John Jackson Lewis concerning his voyage from New York to California to visit his brother William.

My Mother’s Ancestors will be the next series I post on Sundays. Here is a picture of Edith May Lewis, daughter of John Jackson Lewis and Margaret Ann Wilde.

Edith May (DeDe) Lewis, daughter of John Jackson Lewis.


This picture is of Homer Marchant Rider, Edith May’s husband.

Next Saturday I will begin a series of posts concerning Lad’s Voyage to Venezuela, taking a similar route as John Jackson Lewis during the first portion of his journey, about 88 years later.

Tomorrow my final post about My Ancestor, Alfred Peabody Guion. This will be quotes from the Memory Book that was passed around during the Celebration of Life held for Al (Lad) and Marian Guion.

Next week I will begin a week of letters written in 1944 while all five of Grandpa’s boys were scattered arount the world in the service of Uncle Sam.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – To Members of Medical Staff, Everywhere, Just Everywhere – October 17, 1943

This  is a continuation of the letter I posted yesterday from Grandpa to his sons, scattered around the world.

From our London maternity branch, Dr. Daniel Guion reports the successful delivery of a new infant (or will within nine days) in the shape of an additional year to his young and growing family. I am open for congratulations myself in view of the good job along this line I helped your mother do so many years ago. Incidentally, there must be something psychic in his composition, for before he received my former letter with its epic California news, he starts his last note home with the words: “Neath the shade of an imported redwood tree in the famous (deleted by censor), I met a free French soldier whose home and family are in Paris. We spent an interesting afternoon, paying more attention to a discussion of languages and customs then to the imposing vistas of myriad trees and representative flora of the world’s most distant corners. Later in a tea shop in (Censor again) he described the occupation of Paris by the Germans in 1940, and his own escape, first to unoccupied France, then to North Africa. Any wonder I find England fascinating? I have spent literally hours at (darn that censor) with religious fanatics, socialist speakers, salvation army song fests, humorists to speak for the pure joy of pleasing listeners, malcontents who lampoon everything — a melee of people listening, heckling, talking — like a sort of intellectual Carnival. All this has occurred while on pass of course.

There is nothing to report from our First Aid Outpost Station near the Arctic Circle, nor from our Deaf, Dumb and Blind Clinic in Brazil. Intern Richard seems still unable to communicate with any regularity with any of his family but his wife. Guess I’ll have to study the sign language. It is quite evident he still loves her and keeps telling her so from start to finish of each letter. How do I know? The deduction is simple. She passes on to us any items of interest, but day by day the answer comes back “There ain’t no news”. (Am I going to suffer for this when Jean reads this paragraph! Whew.)

Dan, there is a little gift coming to you, if the P.O. will allow packages to be sent after the 15th deadline. It is not a Christmas gift but a wee birthday token, but whether the government will make the distinction, I know not. It was not send sooner because I have not been able to get delivery of what I ordered due to (so they say) the manpower shortage, so while it may not arrive by the 26th it will serve whenever it does put in appearance as a very inadequate token of love and affection that grows in profusion back here in old Trumbull.


Tomorrow the conclusion of the Voyage to California by John Jackson Lewis from January to March, 1851.

On Sunday, final words from family and friends at the Celebration of Life for Lad and Marian Guion.

On Monday I’ll begin a week of letters from 1944. All five sons are in the service of Uncle Sam and Grandpa continues his missives, keeping the boys up to date on each other and friends and family back home.

Judy Guion


Trumbull – To Members of Medical Staff, Everywhere, Just Everywhere – October 17, 1943


This  letter includes a large portion of Grandpa’s dry wit as he tells the boys all about Lad’s fiance and asks quite a few questions, as he does quite often.

This picture was taken in about 1945 when a fellow serviceman of Lad’s visited the Trumbull House and took a few pictures – although he and Smokey are the subjects of this photo taken (probably) by Lad.

Trumbull Hospital, Clinic and Sanatorium

A.D. Guion, Chief Butcher

October 17, 1943

To members of medical staff

Everywhere, Just Everywhere


Last week we sent you a new package of our famous Cupid Serum specially developed by Dr. A. P. Guion of California. It is now time for a follow-up treatment. This one is stronger and more potent than the last. In fact, its effect is said to be permanent. It has been aging in the wood (my head) for about a week and is now ready for administering. Hold your chair, brace yourself. The needle, Dr. Watson. “Arrangements have been made, so far as is possible for a soldier, for us to be married at her home near San Francisco, on November 14th. We may have to suddenly changed plans but to date everything looks O.K.” Marian has an apartment in South Pasadena which they will continue to occupy, which, though small, will do, because neither of them will be there during the day. Indeed, its small size will be a convenience in that housekeeping problems will be simplified. Now I suppose you will be interested in the

Case History of Miss Marian Irwin

Marian Rider Irwin and Marian Dunlap Irwin - 1915

Marian (Rider) Irwin and Marian Dunlap Irwin

 Marian Dunlap Irwin - Berkley High School - 1933

Berkeley High School Graduate

Marian Dunlap Irwin - SFSU - 1937

San Francisco State University Graduate

She was born some 27 1/2 years ago on the West Coast, and is a college graduate. She taught school for a few years, after which she did some traveling, but whether she got as far as Connecticut the record fails to say. She then accepted the position she now holds as Executive Secretary of the Campfire Girls, and presumably, like Boy Scouts, can start fires without matches, so that Lad will not suffer from lack of hot meals. She has one sister (married, so you bachelors need not let any false hopes arise) and a married brother. Her father, whom the prospective bridegroom has not yet met, is a factory distributor for Westinghouse (did somebody mention an electric toaster for a wedding present?). In spite of the fact that Marian is in an electrically minded family, Lad writes “things have been running like a well-built turbine — direct connected, I assume.

P.S. to Marian: under separate cover last week I mail you a photo of my eldest son, so you can see what you are getting, through the camera’s eye. Object, matrimony. (That gives me an idea — perhaps I’ll start a matrimonial bureau for my other unmarried sons).

Lad: you did pretty well in covering some of the high spots, but to complete the record, here are a few questions that occur to one: Will it be an afternoon or evening wedding? Will you wear your uniform? As long as I cannot officiate as Justice of the Peace in California, I assume it will not be a “justice” wedding but at her home by a clergyman. (Episcopal or some other denomination?) Can you secure a long enough leave to permit any sort of honeymoon, and if so, what and where? Are you driving to Frisco in the Buick or going by train? Do you need any money? (Foolish question). How much? What did you do about an engagement ring? Will Marian be entitled to the $50 wife allowance monthly from the Army, or does this happen only when the soldier is married before he starts working for Uncle Sam? What would you like for a wedding present? (Better let Marion answer about 75 % of this one).  Would you like me to send you any of your belongings? What are your plans, or perhaps we had better say, hopes, after the war is over? And by the way, while we have that small photo of Marian, I don’t know whether she is short or tall, blonde or brunette, plump or slim (I know your answer to this one – “just right”). Whether she has voted for Roosevelt all her life, and still intends to do so the rest of her life, and whether she likes a father-in-law with Hay Fever? Oh I could go on and on, but real generous answers to these few questions as a starter will do for now. You can think of a lot of other things I’d like to know. There is one thing I do know and that is one month and one week from today I am going to feel like a very distant relative. In my wildest dreams I have never envisioned the fact that anyone of my boys would be married without my being there to help shove him off the dock into the sea of matrimony. That just shows to go you, that you can’t count on anything for certain in this old universe — a runaway married daughter, A hand-tied son and now this one by remote control. I know how busy you both will be from now on until the big day, but if you, one or both, can seek a few minutes to write more it will do somewhat in taking the disappointment out of the fact we can’t be on hand to throw a few handfuls of rice.

Tomorrow, the conclusion of this letter.

Judy Guion

Peabodys and Duryees – Grandma Peabody Writes to Ced – October 15, 1943


Grandma Anna Charlotta (Westlin) Peabody

5 Minetta St.

New York 12, N.Y.

Oct. 15, 1943

Dear Cedric

I hope you will forgive me for waiting all these months and delaying writing and thanking you for the lovely birthday greeting. Coming a little “late” did not change the charm of your note, I wish I was worthy of all your praise.

Of course I take it for granted you know I have been under the weather for over a year. Kemper and Ethel (Peabody) took the best of care of me, but yet, there was something lacking. I had a lovely room and their whole house is beautiful. They really have a fine dairy farm. Besides the manager there were seven hired men. Uncle Kemper was kept busy in his office. There was so much detail for him to learn. He was here two weeks ago and had dinner with Dorothy (Peabody) and me. He said Ethel will be down later in the fall, she is very busy canning vegetables out of their own garden. That makes me think of my planting Four Hills of Potatoes. I left Trumbull too early to know if there would be enough or one meal. Bugs got after them and Mrs. Warden (The Wardens are renting the apartment in the Trumbull House) sprayed them but that was done probably too late. The Wardens seem like nice people, and how Skippy and Susan love to come in to the big house. Uncle Burton (Peabody) was home for a short visit the last week of August and was looking fine. Do you know he was promoted to Major just a year after he got his commission as Captain? He is stationed in Washington in the air service, as a liaison officer.

Aunt Anne ((Peabody) Stanley) spends her weekends at our apartment. It is so nice to be where anyone of the family is welcome. When she is with us she does most of the work and I just rest. I was terribly sorry I flunked in Trumbull. I did enjoy being there. Everybody was so nice to me and Aunt Betty and I got along fine as far as I know. She is such a sweet woman. But we were both old and I believe she was not always feeling any too well, but she is better off than I was. I had a letter from your father this week telling about all the family which is always so interesting. I do hope you can come home for Christmas and that you can make us a visit. In his letter he tells of Alfred and Marian’s being engaged, and that Jean is fixing up the house beautifully. I am so glad she can help out. She is such a lovely girl. I believe Dick was lucky to get such a fine wife. You seem to keep away from any love affairs, – but Aunt Betty believes you will fall hard when that time comes. I think it’s a good thing and not to be in too much of a hurry. (Ced was just 6 months shy of his 40th birthday when he married.)

Are you and Rusty still living together? Nice you have somebody to be with that you have known so long. Is he married?

Allen, Uncle Kenneth, Joyce, Aunt Nora and Muriel Peabody

(Muriel had just been born when Ced visited Uncle Kenneth and Aunt Nora, in Star Prairie, Wisconsin during his Coming of Age Adventure in 1934.)

I hear from Nora quite often. Allen graduated from high school last June and sent me an invitation to be present. At Christmas time he sent me a photo of himself. He is quite a nice looking young man. Nora has mentioned you many times and wishes you belonged to her, you can see how well she thinks of you but she is not the only one who loves you. We all do. When you come to visit D. and me at Christmas I hope I can make you a pie. I would just love to do it. The bird you sent me I still have and the basket I keep my crocheting in.

Loads of love,


Please remember me to Rusty

Tomorrow and Friday, a two-part letter from Grandpa To the Members of the Medical Staff – Everywhere, Just Everywhere.

Judy Guion

Friends – Dear Lad – Congratulations From Babe – October, 1943


This is a letter of congratulations from Lad’s former girlfriend after his engagement was announced.

Dear Lad,

Can’t write much as this is class time – as usual – couldn’t wait, though to send you both my best wishes.

Congratulations to you – and tell your bride to be that I wish her much happiness.

Would write more – but between graces operation scheduled for today and he old classroom, I’m in a dither.



P.S. do you think a few Californian vitamins might help us out back in old cold New England????                                                                – over

Kick-a-Poo Joy Juice is what I’ve been taking but the caloric content is too high.

P.S.S. Incidentally – it’s up to you two love birds to find me something tall, dark and ugly (don’t like pretty men) – who can boss me around!


Incidentally- Lad – better send my old picture back – sure would look funny in someone else’s home! I could use it myself, anyhow.

Gotta  have something for the old family album.

Tomorrow, letters to Lad from his soon-to-be in-laws, Marian and Mowry Addison Irwin, who have never met him. Wednesday, a letter to Ced from Grandma Peabody, and on Thursday and Friday, Grandpa fills in the blanks for the family in the Case History of Miss Marian Irwin.

Judy Guion 

My Ancestors (33l) – Alfred Peabody Guion – The End of the Story


As I sat down to write this post about my Dad and his life with Marian Irwin, I got caught up in reading the entries in their Memory Book.  This Memory Book was passed around at the Celebration of Their Lives we held for friends and family in California.

But I’m getting ahead of myself.  In September of 2002, the Marin Amblers monthly outing was a trip to Gold Beach, Oregon.  Dad was 89 (Mom was 88) and my brother Greg and his wife Euna tried to convince them that this trip might be a little too strenuous for them.  Dad’s reply was, “Marian really wants to go.”  Mom’s only response was, “But Al really would like to go.”  Greg and Euna thought they had succeeded in convincing them and came down on Saturday morning with the usual food for the next week and plans to clean the apartment, just as they did every Saturday.  They were quite surprised when they realized Mom and Dad were not home.  Greg went down to the back parking lot where their RV was kept and saw that it was gone.  They had left on Friday, as usual, to arrive for dinner Friday night.

On the drive north the RV had a flat tire.  They didn’t have a cell phone so they couldn’t call for road service.  They sat on the side of the road for hours until someone stopped and helped Dad change the tire.  They finally arrived four hours later than expected.

The group was thrilled to see them and they had a wonderful time visiting with friends for the weekend.  They planned to leave on Sunday and stop at a familiar campground once they had crossed into California.  When they arrived they discovered that the campground was closed for the season.  Not familiar with the area or other campgrounds nearby, they decided to drive another six hours to reach home.  Needless to say, they were both exhausted from the weekend.  I think it took a heavy toll from Dad and he didn’t recover completely.

In December Dad came down with the bad cold and just couldn’t shake it.  In his typically thorough way, on Sunday evening, December 21st, he arranged all the important papers and then told Mom that he thought he ought to go to the hospital because he wasn’t feeling well.  They treated him with antibiotics and on Tuesday he was feeling much better.  A nurse told him that if he kept this up, they were kicking him out on Wednesday.  As he was eating breakfast Wednesday morning, he aspirated something into his lungs and within a couple of hours he was in a coma in the ICU on Life Support.

Wednesday evening (Christmas Eve) when I got home from my last day at work as a seasonal cashier in a department store, there was a message on my answering machine from Greg, asking me to call him.  I immediately called and he explained what was going on.  I told him I would fly to California the next day.  My oldest daughter, Caryn, flew out with me on Christmas Day.

My sister Lynn arrived on Friday and we all went to see Dad in the hospital.  I spoke with his doctor who explained the seriousness of the situation.  He told me it would be a miracle if he came out of the coma and if he did, he would be in a vegetative state.  We had a family meeting when we got back to their apartment.  Mom told us that she did not want to see him like that again.  She wanted to remember him as he lived, full of life.  We made the decision to turn off Life Support.  Since technically I did not have a job to go back to, I told Mom that I would move to California to take care of her.  On Saturday, December 27th, Greg stayed with Mom and Doug, Lynn and I went to the hospital.  We had the staff remove Life Support and I sat holding Dad’s hand and talking to him until the end.

Caryn had flown home but I stayed until New Year’s Day.  I flew home, closed up my apartment, packed my car and drove back to California, arriving January 15th.

For the next year, Greg, Euna and I had our individual responsibilities.  Greg took care of the financial and estate business, Euna provided already prepared lunches and dinners and also cleaned the apartment.  I was on duty 24/7 covering daily duties, medications and doctor’s visits.

In December 2004, Mom developed an infection and I took her to the hospital.  She was there for a few days and was on the mend when she had another stroke.  A few hours later I was with her when she had a seizure.  I held her and told her I loved her and then she was gone.  She joined my father on December 16th, less than a year after my Dad had passed away

Next Sunday I will share quotes from the Memory Book and pictures of their lives together.

Tomorrow, I’ll begin a week of letters written in 1943, the brginning of the Love Story of Lad and Marian Guion.

Judy Guion