Memories of Arla Mary (Peabody) Guion (17) – 1892 – 1933


             Arla Mary (Peabody) Guion – portrait


Blog - Letter of condolence - J.P. Oppenheimer


Mr. Alfred D. Guion

231 Fairfield Avenue

Bridgeport, Conn.

Dear Mr. Guion:

It certainly was terrible news to me to hear of your bereavement. It was particularly shocking as it came right on top of news of the sudden passing away of a dear friend of mine.

Words cannot express my heartfelt sympathy in your hours of sorrow, and I hope the good God will soften them to make your loss a fond memory of golden hours spent with the most cherished and loved one.

If my lame expressions can only convey to you one half of my feeling and sympathy, I am thankful to be able to add them to those of your many friends.

I sincerely hope that time will heal this very deep wound and that the memory of your loved one will serve to press you forward to greater success for her sake and remembrance.

Sincerely yours,

J.P. Oppenheimer


Blog - Letter of condolence - Frank Hetzel


July 27

Dear Al,

Elsa and I were so shocked that it seems all we can say, over and over again, is, “We are so sorry.” and “Why should it have had to be Al’s wife?”

There is so much one could write and say and after all we could write and say, it would all mean that our heartfelt sympathies go out to you and yours. You know this old-timer.

Elsa is all okay and the kiddies too. I’ll be in Bridgeport soon and would be awfully glad to see you.

Love to all the kiddies-

Frank Hetzel


August 1, 1933


Dear Al:

I was shocked to hear of your loss and want to extend my sincere sympathy. One thinks of such a possibility now and then but it hardly seems possible when it actually happens to a friend, much less than to one’s self.

My “little” family is away for the summer at the beach, so I only see them weekends. Next week is my vacation so that will shorten this month considerably.

I’ll see that you get a Standard Rate Book now and then, if I have to”lose” one.

Sincerely yours,

Irving E. Blaine

These are the final letters of condolence I have that were sent to Grandpa following the death of his wife, Arla, after only 20 years of marriage.


Tomorrow, we will move forward to 1934, over a year since Arla Mary Peabody Guion, my Grandmother, has passed away. Her only daughter, Elizabeth, is 14 and having a very hard time dealing with everything. I think that Grandpa, having his own problems adjusting to the loss if his wife, is thinking that his only daughter, Biss, should help with running the household and she is having nothing to do with that idea. Grandpa and Arla’s sisters, Aunts Helen, Anne and Dorothy, discuss the situation and decide that Elizabeth should move to St. Petersburg, Florida, to live with Aunt Anne and to help her care for her children, Donald and Gweneth, spending a year away from Trumbull.  On Saturday and Sunday, for many weeks to come, I’ll be posting the letters written during this time.

Judy Guion


Memories of Arla Mary (Peabody) Guion – 1892 – 1933


Arla Mary Peabody Guion with her first five children - Dan, Lad, Ced, Dick and Biss

Arla Mary Peabody Guion with her first five children – Dan, Lad, Ced, Dick and Biss

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.



July 10, 1933

Mr. A. D. Guion

Cor. Broad & Fairfield Ave,

Bridgeport, Conn.

Dear Al:

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.







Dear Alfred:

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.

Sincerely yours,

Olga H. Bogart


Parish – Burnham

Advertising   Merchandising

41 Park Row    –    New York City

July 13, 1933

Dear Al:

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 will begin a week of letters written in 1939 when Lad and Dan are working in Venezuela for INTERAMERICA, INC. Their pay is supposed to be sent to Grandpa to help support the younger children but that is not happening.

Judy Guion


Memories of Arla Mary (Peabody) Guion – 1892 – 1933


Arla Peabody Guion on the Island in New Hampshire

Arla Mary Peabody Guion

Grandpa and his wife Arla had friends all over the country and even abroad. Arla passed away at the end of June but here we are in July and August and the news is still spreading. Friends are just finding out and writing to Grandpa expressing their grief and consoling him for his great loss.


24 July 1933

Dear Al –

I need not tell you how profoundly I was shocked when the news of Arla’s death reached me – I had no idea but that she was in the best of health. I remember her as such and mark this as an example of radiant health and tranquility. Your household has always been to me the perfect example of the best in American family life, and it was Arla’s example, her serenity, her grasp of the fundamentals of life and disregard for its trivialities, that set the seal on it.

Yours, really sincerely,



My dear Alfred

This morning’s mail brought a letter from Rudolf telling of having had word from Helen Perry of Arla’s going in June. I find it hard to believe that it can be true for when I was in Wisconsin, Aunt Mary had heard from Lawrence (Peabody) that Arla was better. Some of us had had word that she had been dangerously ill, though Arla herself had written us that she had not been well. About Christmas time I had a note from her saying that she hoped sometime this summer you all might drive down to visit us, and I have had it in my mind to write, these last few days, and suggest that there isn’t a great deal of summer left, and that the country is very pretty now. If it would interest you and the children, I would still be most happy to have you come. This is lovely country – the hills would, I know, be very good for weary hearts and souls. If you should come before September 1, I have a house in the country where you and the boys could have things your own way, while Elizabeth could be with me in my apartment in town. In fact, I think I could take care of two women, if Helen or your sister wanted to come.

I have been a gypsy this summer. Friends who are abroad gave me the use of their house and I have been living out there in the country for three weeks and shall stay until the 22nd when I hope to come into a new apartment in town, so right now I have the responsibility of three places. All this to let you know what to expect, and I shall be so happy if you decide you want to come.

One of the bright spots in my life was a lovely Thanksgiving that Rudolf and I spent with you and Arla and your family. It was a rare experience, for to me, yours and Arla’s house was one of the loveliest it has been my privilege to be in. Ever since that visit I have felt deeply flattered at the thought that any of the family had felt there was any resemblance between Arla and me. Not much I’m afraid, but I should like to think there might have been some small excuse for the thought.

Rudolph will have written you I am sure, so he has told you probably of what he is doing. He has married a lovely girl and they both seem very happy at the prospect of making no income go a long way. It will take a lot of scheming but I feel sure that it would not have been right for them to have postponed the wedding any longer.

My very deepest sympathy to you all – and I would so love to have you all drive down some time –


Ruth D. Voer

354 Spruce Street

Morgantown, W. Va.

August fifteenth

Tomorrow more Memories of Arla Mary (Peabody) Guion. On Monday I will begin a week of letters written in 1939. Lad and Dan have been in Venezuela for a few months but there seems to be trouble brewing because the men are not being paid as promised.

Judy Guion

Memories of Arla Mary (Peabody) Guion (15) – 1892 – 1933

Grandpa’s wife, Arla, passed away at the age of 42 from a prolonged battle with, what we believe, was cancer. She left 6 children, the oldest, Lad, my father, who was 19 and the youngest, Dave, who was 8 at the time. She left a void that would never be filled, especially as Grandpa and the older boys struggled to earn enough money to support the household and repay the tremendous outstanding debts incurred by Arla’s illness.

These are a few of the letters of condolence received by Grandpa after Arla’s death. They provide a glimpse of  Grandma Arla as a friend in addition to the view we have had as a wife and mother.

Arla Mary Peabody

July 6, 1933

BPT, Conn

Dear Mr. Guion and Sons,

The members of the Webster Club wish to give you it’s greatest sympathies upon the death of your dear wife. You have been of invaluable assistance to our club both in teaching us and giving us experience in the ways of public speaking.

Sincerely yours,

Stanley Higgs, Sect.




13124 Shaker Square


Dear Al –

We received your note, telling of Arla’s death, yesterday evening, both Dorothy and I extend to you and your family our heartfelt sympathies.

We wish it were possible to be near you at this time to do what little we could to help you.

At a time like this, while we may be materially separated, thoughts and the spirit span this great universe to comfort you and keep you on steadfastly.

Believe us as ever Al –

Your sincere friends,

Dorothy and Fran

July 6 – 1933


July 6, 1933.

My dear Alfred,

Blanche and I were greatly shocked as well as grieved to hear of Arla’s untimely death. It must have been an awful blow to you, and those children. They surely have lost their best friend. Had Arla been sick or was it unexpected? I live so far away that we do not see you often.

Hoping God will bless you all, we remain

Yours sincerely, friends,

Blanche and George


Hampton Institute

Hampton, Virginia

July 7, 1933

Dear Mr. Guion:

Any words of mine at a time like this would be inadequate to express my feelings for you and yours. I just want you to know that I am thinking of you with the kindest of thoughts and in sending you my sincerest sympathy and friendship.


Dorothy M Seeley






My dear Alfred:-

The sad news of Arla’s death reached me Friday and I would have written immediately but we were getting ready to go away over the fourth. Frank joins me in sending our sincerest sympathy to you and your dear family. I was shocked to hear the news from Helen McVickar and to know what you must be going through. She was so needed for her family and was so well loved. I thought a lot of her myself.

I nearly lost my own life this winter, but thanks to our wonderful Dr. Anne Frank’s giving me such good care, I am alive today and feeling very well, except for one leg which still bothers me. I presume you heard from Elsie (Duryee) that I had pneumonia and a heap of other things. I was three months in the hospital and am just getting around again. Frank was a peach while I was sick and spent every cent he had for me to get well. With many regards and heartfelt sympathy from us all, I am sincerely,

Edna M. Lee





Dear Al:

Mother (Aunt Anne Peabody Stanley) told me about Arla the other day, when I went over to spend an evening. It was a shock. You are facing the possibility but somehow facing it and meeting it when it comes also completely different, and if it hit me hard – it must have been terrific for you and your family.

There’s nothing I can do, of course; and words are so awkward at a time like this; but that can’t affect the wish that my deep sympathy for you all might help to lift a grain of your burden. If it can, you know it is yours. Arla’s sweet courage (and Kemper told me how deep that must have been) is a real memory for which I shall be indebted all my life.


Donald  (Stanley)

Tomorrow, I will begin posting letters written in late 1944. The holidays are fast approaching and Grandpa is facing them for the first time without all of his sons  far from home.

Judy Guion

Memories of Arla Mary (Peabody) Guion (13) – 1892 – 1933


Arla Mary Peabody Guion

Arla Mary Peabody Guion

Arla Mary Peabody Guion passed away, probably from Cancer, when Lad, my father, was 19 and her youngest, Dave, was 8. It was quite a blow to the entire family and they spoke of it very rarely.

After the death of his wife, Grandpa continues to receive letters of condolence from family,friends and business acquaintances who also feel the great loss of Arla.

The Roost

New Paltz, N. Y.

Dear Alfred,

We were terribly shocked when we received Cousin Betty’s (Aunt Betty) note letting us know about Arla. There were no details whatever and we did not even know that Arla was ill.

Alfred, words are so futile but you must know in your heart that we are exceedingly grieved for you and for ourselves. We have been so far away from the families in the last few years that now it seems horrible and a matter of keen regret.

In this modern age of skepticism and unbelief, I have tried hard to keep to the one truth that God does have us after we leave here, and if you try to think that Arla is the guest of God, I am sure that it will bring you some comfort.

When you feel like it, I should love to hear from you and if you can possibly come up to New Paltz for over some week and, I wish you would come. We are renting a little place called the “The Roost” as our own house is leased for the entire year now.

If you could come just drop me a postal or telephone New Paltz 127 F 3.

Please remember us to the children and with love to you I am

Yours sincerely,

Nan (Duryee, Grandpa’s cousin)

July third

Nineteen thirty-three


Washingtom, DC

Dear Mr. Guion,

A letter just received from Helen Plumb has told us of Mrs. Guion death, after a long illness. That is quite a shock to us, for although I knew, years ago, she was in a hospital, we did not know of any recent illness. Please accept our heartfelt sympathy. I recall with pleasure our most happy visits with your wife, and shall ever remember her as a wonderful, loving and cultured soul. Between the two of you, you certainly got that tribe of fellows started right – and the girl.

These will be tough years for you and I only wish I might be able to personally help you. But keep close to God and His church, and you will the better come through. Mrs. Lineback and I are here in Washington. We left Ohio two months ago. In this setting, I was (am) V.P. of the Huroquois Council in West Virginia. That is an area Council with 84 troops in it. My church here has a huge troop of 50 boys, a Scoutmaster and seven assistants. All the boys in uniform. It’s a great troop.

Today, the fourth, Mrs. Lineback and I are at home – she doing the wash, I with the bad cold. She joins me in expressing our sympathy and love to you and to the family. God strengthen you.

As ever your friend,

W.J. Lineback


Blog - Condolence - Hollis S. Stevenson


745 North Avenue

Bridgeport, Connecticut

July 4, 1933

My dear Al:

I was not only surprised, but genuinely concerned, when I read in the paper the other morning of the passing of your good wife. For I had no idea that she had been ailing of late, nor that you had any cause for alarm. In questioning Clayton Buckingham at the office, I learned that Mrs. Guion had not been at all well lately, which was indeed news to me. Al, at a time like this your friends can’t do an awful lot. Maybe your immediate neighbors can and were of some service. But those of us who only met occasionally on business, and other projects in which we are mutually interested, find it rather difficult to let you know how we feel. However, I, who have valued your friendship over the period of a number of years, can at least drop you a line and say that I feel very deeply for you in your sorrow and loss. That will probably be of as much comfort to you as if I dropped in and personally shook your hand. I know from experience how many friends and acquaintances there are who take up one’s time and thought in a moment like this, when possibly you would prefer the company of your immediate family.

So, Al, I just want you to know that I have been thinking of you these last few days, and have asked the Supreme Father to give you the comfort of your splendid boys and girl to sustain you during this trying time of readjustment of your family life.

With my very best wishes for you and yours,

Cordially your friend,



New Paltz

July 4, ‘33

Dear Alfred,

I cannot express to you my deep sympathy in this time of trouble – words are so inadequate and help me a little.

But you will know, my dear, that I grieve with you and for the children. May God give you strength to carry on and you will find comfort in caring for those lovely boys and your dear daughter.

You will have to be both mother and father, whereas she will need you most. I can really say no more except that it is a great shock to me – for I thought Arnold was getting along nicely.

All my love to you and your little ones.

Aunt Mamie

Tomorrow, I will begin a week of letters written in early 1944. Lad and Marian have been married for only a few months. Just before Christmas Lad was transferred to Texarkana, Texas, and Marian is making plans to join him as soon as he finds a place for them to live. Dave leaves high school and  enlists in the Army. He has just started his basic training.  Dan is in England, probably working on maps for D-Day, Dick is in Brazil and Ced returns to Alaska after an extended visit to Trumbull.

Judy Guion

Memories of Arla Mary (Peabody) Guion (12) – 1892 – 1933


Arla Mary Peabody Guion

            Arla Mary Peabody Guion

Arla Mary Peabody Guion, wife of Grandpa and Mother to all the children Grandpa is writing to, passed away after a battle, probably cancer, in 1933. In many of my earlier posts, Arla is mentioned in Grandpa’s early memories and the recorded memories of her children. We see her as a wife and mother. These letters give us a glimpse of the woman she was to family and friends, both near and far. It is a totally different perspective.

1837 Huntington Turnpike

Bridgeport (Nichols), Connecticut

July 1, 1933

Dear Mr. Guion,

We saw the sad news in the paper last night and we all want to tell you how very sorry and how shocked we were. We send you and the family our heartfelt sympathy in all sincerity and pray God to help you all over this dark spot.

Sincerely yours,

All of the Linleys of Nichols

If there is anything we can do for you please let us know and we shall be glad to help in any way, because words seem so useless when one is so helpless to do anything.

Mrs. A. H. Linley


The Belknap Manufacturing Co.

Bridgeport, Connecticut

July 1, 1933

Alfred D Guion

My dear Al,

I was told this morning of Mrs. Guion’s death by one who reads the local newspapers more regularly than I. As one old friend to another, I sent you my love and deepest sympathy to you and all the “bairns”.

Most sincerely yours,



1329 Huntington Turnpike

Bridgeport Connecticut

July 3, 1933

Dear Alfred:-

I am shocked and grieved on learning of the sudden passing of your dear wife and companion. Please accept my sincere and heartfelt sympathy in your bereavement. She was a very exceptional woman and a wonderful mother. My heart goes out to your family of fine children. There is only one such and I mourn with you all, believe me.

Most sincerely,

Romeo Williams


Pitcher’s Pond

near Belfast, Maine

July 3, 1933

Dear Alfred:-

I am too sorry to hear of Arla’s passing to adequately express myself. All I can say is that I extend to you my sincere sympathy and hope that you’ll have the strength and courage to carry on.

Especially I am mindful of your motherless children. I hope you can keep the family together and carry on successfully.

Florence forwarded your note here where I am with some friends over the fourth.

They’re going into town with the mail so I cannot write more now.

Of course this is quite a shock to me as I did not know Arla was not in normal health.

Well, words are empty things and change the only thing that doesn’t change.

Hope to see you some time soon.




North American Newspaper Alliance

The New York Times Annex

247 West 43rd St.

New York


My dear Al:

I know you will excuse the machine; I am still a bit shaky.

There is little that I can say that will help you, just now. You know that we share your grief, because the great loss is ours, also. Never was there a finer, more unselfish character, and it seems unfair that she must leave us now, when all of us need so much her brave smile, her deep and quiet understanding.

It is perhaps because she has already done far more than one person’s share to make life happier and more endurable for others.

I know that that realization on your part will do more than any written or spoken words to give you the courage and strength to be what she would have wished all this time.

We most earnestly should like to help. Could you let us have one of the children for a while, or longer? He would be welcome as one of our family, without taking him from you. I know you will not hesitate if there is any appeal to you in this thought.

God bless you and yours,


Tomorrow, I’ll be posting more of the letters of condolence written to Grandpa at the lowest point in his life.

Judy Guion

Memories of Arla Mary (Peabody) Guion (11) – 1892 – 1933

Arla Mary Peabody Guion

Arla Mary Peabody Guion

Grandpa was a prolific writer and corresponded with friends and family all over the country. Word of the death of Arla traveled quickly and Grandpa received many letters of condolence from near and far.

2806 Drexel Lane

Drexel Hill, PA.

July 1, 1933

Dear Alfred,

You have been in my thoughts all day, for your very sad message came in the early morning’s mail. Elsie joins me in sending our heartfelt sympathy to you and the children. We grieve with you in this very great loss to you all.

Arla’s passing came as a very great shock to us, for we had heard of no serious illness.

We shall love to remember her as she was the last time we saw her at your lovely home in Trumbull, when we all had lunch together on the terrace. Our children often speak of the pleasant hours they spent their.

Our school closed yesterday and we’re looking forward to a much needed rest. We will be home during July, but are planning to spend August and a little cottage in Maine, on Sebago Lake, about 18 miles from Portland. We were there last summer during August, and felt so delightfully rested by September 1, that we are returning to renew the experience.

As soon as you feel able, I hope you will write me again. We wired some flowers today and hope they reach you in good time. With all my love and prayers to help you in this time of sorrow, I remain

Faithfully your old friend



817 Mountain Ave.

Westfield, N. J.

July 1 –

Dear Al,

We were all very much shocked to receive your note about Arla – I never was any good at expressing myself, but you know how we all feel for you and how fond we were of Arla even though we saw each other but now and then. I can well understand how you will miss her and only hope that you will find comfort and help in those fine children of yours.




25 Wallace Ave.

Mount Vernon, New York

July 1, 1933

Dear Alfred –

We were very much shocked to hear about Arla. Although we never saw you folks, we spoke about you frequently, and it really seems as if she has been taken from among our daily companions.

To offer our sympathy is a poor way in which to comfort you, but please know also that you have our earnest prayers. The comfort that comes in such times as these through faith in Jesus Christ is far greater than we can give by any words of ours, but we can ask Him to give you the peace that He has promised to all who believe in Him. This we do that your sorrow may be lessened and your burden made easier to bear.

Sincerely yours,

Emily and Joe Van Tassel


 Arla Mary Peabody c. 1911

Saint Luke’s Rectory

406 Jefferson Ave.

Scranton, Pennsylvania

July 1, 1933

Dear Alfred,

Your brief line about Arla really speaks volumes, for the years slip away and I think of you both before even you were married! I believe I know right well what this means, even though I have not seen you for a long time. I do wish I might have come to you and been with the family and you. I would so like to see and know them all. What a comfort they must now be. I am in Saybrook after the seventh – I shall promise myself to see you or write again.

We will think of you in church tomorrow and no more fervent prayers were ever offered them my own heartfelt petitions for the comforting presence that brings peace and balm to such as you.

My affectionate interest is yours still and I recalled the dear, lovely girl, whose picture is as of years ago, but was yours to hold it devotion and loyalty all through them. May the good God bring you peace and comfort.


Robert P. Kreitler

(The minister at the Church of the Ascension in Mount Vernon, N. Y. where Alfred and Arla grew up and who officiated at their wedding.


Tomorrow, I will begin a week of letters written in early 1939. Lad and Dan are working in Venezuela, building a road across the northern terrain between Caracas and Maracaibo.

Judy Guion

Memories of Arla Mary (Peabody) Guion (10) – 1892 – 1933


Arla Mary Peabody

Arla Mary Peabody Guion

The only thing definite that I know is that Arla Mary Peabody Guion died on June 29, 1933. My guess is that she was in the hospital, but I’m not sure where or what the final cause of death was. I believe she suffered from cancer but that may not have actually caused her death.

I think my grandfather found it difficult to talk to his children about her disease and her sisters, Helen, Anne and Dorothy, wanted to protect the children as much as possible.

The letters of condolence written to my Grandfather after Arla had passed away give us a glimpse of the person she was, apart from the Mother that the children knew. There are quite a few letters and I will be posting them in the coming weeks.

The following letters are from friends that Alfred and Arla knew while they were living in Mount Vernon. After moving to Trumbull, they didn’t see these friends as often as they used to, but kept in touch over the years.

303 Sheridan Blvd.

Mount Vernon, N. Y.

June 30, 1933

Dear Alfred,

I was simply stunned when Stanley Hubbard phoned and said Arla had passed away – I feel it’s a personal loss. Although I have not seen her in many years I can still remember her calm and quiet manner and it has helped me so many, many times when I have been all hot and worry.

My deepest sympathy goes out to you and your little family. I only wish I could say something to comfort you – but at this time words seem futile. Experience has taught me that only God and time can ease the Harding. May God bless and help you.


Bessie Rice


149 Chester St.

Mount Vernon, N. Y.

June 30, 1933

Dear Al,

My heart goes out to you in deepest sympathy, for I know from personal experience what you are going through, and how empty and desolate life seems at the present moment. Of course no words of mine can make this burden of grief easier to bear, but the knowledge that our friends are thinking of us at such a time, and that we have their sympathy, does, I think, bring some comfort.

You know how much I admired Arla and how fond of her I was, so, though our lives had been for long, far apart, her going brings to me a deep sense of personal loss.

Her life was a short one, but a full one, and you have the comfort of knowing that it was happy in the love and devotion of her husband and children.

Yours sincerely,

LeRoy W. Hubbard


Esplanade Gardens

Mount Vernon, N. Y.

June 30, 1933

My dear Alfred –

My heartfelt sorrow for you and yours goes to you in your great bereavement. I remember Arla so well – she was such a sweet, lovable girl – I could not forget her.

When we have gone through sadness and sorry heartbreaks as I have done, we can only say, God bless and comfort you.


Laura E Buck

(Mrs. Adrian A.)


149 Chester St.

Mount Vernon, N. Y.

June 30, 1933

Dear Al,

This is just about the hardest letter that I have ever tried to write to anyone for my heart is so full tonight and there are so many things that I want to say to you and to your family. However, words at such a time are so inadequate even though they are the only means of expression between those space separates.

Although our paths, of recent years, have led us far apart, my thoughts have frequently been with you and yours and it has been a joy to me to hear from time to time how you were all progressing. My reports regarding Arla had all been so heartening that I had hope for complete recovery and a continuation of the happiness that I know you were enjoying.

And then, yesterday afternoon, from Larry through Dad, we heard about the serious illness followed this morning by the news that God had called her home last night. It was a terrific shock to us, Al. We cannot fully comprehend it yet.

However, we are so thankful that it did not drag along with pain and suffering, for she was so patient. For her sake it is far better as it is and I think we can safely say that God was truly merciful.

Fannie and I are so happy that our memory of her can be a truly pleasant one, for the last time we were up, she was so much like her old self except a little tired.

Some time before so very long, I want to run up and see you all. I would come now only I realize full well that it would be no kindness as there is nothing I could do to help and I would only be in the way. But I do want you to know how deeply both Fannie and I feel for you all and we pray that God may give you strength and courage to “carry on”, that He may comfort you as only He can.

As ever,


Tomorrow, more Memories of Arla Mary (Peabody) Guion in the form of letters from friends and family to Grandpa after the tremendous loss he has suffered.

Next week I will be posting letters written in early 1939. It has been a little over a month since Lad left Trumbull to travel to Venezuela by ship to join his Uncle Ted Human and his brother, Dan. They are all working for INTERAMERICA, INC. and working to construct a road from Caracas to Maracaibo through the mountains, valleys and jungles of northern Venezuela.

Judy Guion

Memories of Arla Mary (Peabody) Guion (9) – Memories From Her Children


Arla Peabody Guion on the Island in New Hampshire

Arla Mary Peabody Guion

A.D. – In Trumbull we became interested in local activities. A local volunteer fire company was started in which I was a charter member. To raise money to buy firefighting equipment we ran annual carnivals which were successful for many years. I became Justice of the Peace, and judge of the local traffic court. Later, for two terms, I served as the town’s First Selectman, during which time we celebrated the 300th anniversary of the town and also saw an old mine property converted into a public park. Arla became President of the Women’s Community Club, and was active in the Parent Teachers and other civic affairs, especially where common sense and sympathetic help was needed.

The following letter was written to Arla by Dan, her second son, in April of 1928, when he was 12.


  Daniel Beck Guion (Dan)

April 28, 1928

P.O. Box 7

Trumbull, Conn.

Dear Mother,

You cannot imagine how we all in Trumbull wish for you. Daddy told me this morning that your sores would be grafted this weekend.

We had tests today in school that lasted all day. They began this morning and ended at recess time this afternoon. Aunt Anne went home this week and Daddy told me to be the boss today. I just came back from stopping a quarrel between Ced, Eliz. and Alfred. It was about who was boss, Eliz. or me. Eliz. said that I was supposed to do just a little bit and she was supposed to do the rest but Alf. and Ced said that I was the boss. I heard them while I was writing this letter and went down. I explained to them how it was and told them to stop quarreling. I just asked Eliz. If she was through washing the dishes and she said yes. Then I told Dickie to dry them. He was blowing bubbles at the time. It is now 5:30. Bubbles reminds me of a story that I heard. A farmer saw an automobile and called it an automobubble. We are all getting along all right here and I hope that the time flies until you get here.

It is a cloudy day and not very pleasant but I am happy. Hoping you are the same.



P.S. – As I read over this letter I realized that nothing is very interesting but I hope you will enjoy it. Sweet dreams.

              Cedric Duryee Guion (Ced)

CED – As I said, our house was the center of activity all over town. It drew practically everyone in the town of Trumbull. Mother said every Tuesday night we could have an open house for all the young people. We played the piano and we sang. We just had a ball, and then we’d have cookies and cocoa or something. That was so much fun.


David Peabody Guion (Dave)

DAVE – My Mother and Father used to enjoy having parties and, when they got to know Rusty (Heurlin), he was always welcome at their parties because he was a lot of fun. Invariably, now this was when I was very small he would take me into the other room and show me a nickel. Now, a nickel in those days was probably like two dollars today. He’d say “now, if you go into the other room and say what I tell you to say, I’ll give you this nickel.” Then he’d tell me what to say and I’d walk into the room and stand in the middle of the crowd, and I’d say, ” Daddy’s cars a piece of junk!” And I’d get my nickel – and Daddy’s car was a piece of junk.

           Elizabeth Westlin Guion (Biss)

BISS – I started driving when I was 12 years old. There was a large lot behind the house and we had a racetrack around it. I started out with the model T Ford, and then and Oldsmobile truck. I can remember one day, I had a flat tire. Axel Larsson was the gardener that time because Mother was already sick so she had to have somebody to take care of us kids. Astrid and Axel and their daughter Florence moved into the cottage, the Little House.

            Alfred Peabody Guion (Lad)

LAD – Dan and I had both applied for and gotten into the CCC (Civilian Conservation Corps) because Dad was badly in debt. My mother had developed cancer and spent a lot of time in a local hospital. A problem developed at that hospital and Mother was moved to a hospital in Pennsylvania where her cousin was a Dr. She was in the hospital for quite a while. All of that is very vague in my mind. Helen and Dorothy, her sisters, were in Trumbull taking care of us kids. They were very restrictive as far as letting us know anything about mother. So we know very little about what was going on.

          Elizabeth Westlin Guion (Biss)

BISS – I started at Central High School in 1932, so it was the day after we got out of school that mother died, (June 29, 1933) my freshman year. Mother died when I was 14, and I hated school. I’d hide in the closet every morning. Dad would make the rounds to make sure everybody was up and had gone to school. I’d hide in the closet and then after he had passed through, then I’d come out. I had the whole day to myself. I think I missed more school that I made.

Tomorrow I will be posting letters written in the beginning of 1944. Dave has just left school to enlist in the Army. Grandpa is feeling the full weight of the war with all five sons now helping the war effort. The Trumbull House seems rather quiet.

Judy Guion 

Memories of Arla Mary (Peabody) Guion (8) – Memories From Her Children

The following are some of the memories of their mother that I recorded during interviews with five of Arla’s children. The death of my Uncle Dan was the catalyst for these interviews.


Arla Mary Peabody Guion

      Arla Mary Peabody Guion

Elizabeth Westlin Guion, at 5, with her broken arm

Elizabeth Westlin Guion (Biss)

BISS – When I was five, Lad and George Brellsford, and I think Dan, were on the fence behind the grape arbor. They were picking grapes, sitting on the fence and picking grapes. I came over and I wanted to climb up on the fence too, because the grapes were much nicer on the top than they were on the bottom. They told me I could pick them from the bottom… so I climbed up on the fence. When I got to the top, I fell over into Dan Ward’s field, and evidently, my elbow hit a rock, because every single solitary bone was broken, so it was just hanging loose. George looked over and said “Hey Al, your sister broke her arm.” I can remember my arm spinning. I was trying to get up as I was afraid Dan Ward was going to come with his shotgun and shoot me if I didn’t get over on my side of the fence. And of course, I couldn’t do it. So anyway, they picked me up and took me into the house. Mother wasn’t home and I was lying in the living room, on the couch. I don’t remember any pain; I was probably in shock because I don’t remember any pain at all. I guess Mrs. Parks called Mother, wherever she was, Mother and Dad, and they came home. Evidently, Rusty (Heurlin) was there but I don’t remember Rusty. They told me that he carried me in his arms, cradled me in his arms all the way to the hospital so that I wouldn’t get jiggled. I can’t remember that at all. When we got to the hospital, the doctor was going to cut my dress off and I was not about to let them cut my dress off because it would kill my dress. My Mother said, “But I can sew it back together”, and I said, “But it won’t be the same. You can’t do that.” Obviously they cut it off.

David Peabody Guion (Dave)

        David Peabody Guion (Dave)

DAVE – I remember just a few scenes from my early years in Trumbull. When my Mother was alive, I remember one time she had to walk all the way down to the bridge with me to get me to go off to school, and even then I didn’t want to go. That stuck with me all my life. I never liked school. It wasn’t until I got to college that I began to realize that I finally found something I could enjoy, but that’s another matter.

Richard Peabody Guion (Dick)

Richard Peabody Guion (Dick)

DICK – One time I rode our pony Gracie down the railroad tracks, heading back to the barn, I lost my footing and one leg got caught, which held me as she galloped home. I can still hear mother saying, “Whoa. Whoa!”

Alfred Peabody Guion (Lad)

Alfred Peabody Guion (Lad)

LAD – I do remember I used to ride one of the horses we had frequently, possibly every day or two, to go up to a house on the top of the hill beyond Middlebrook  School. There was a girl living there that I really liked. In fact, Bill Hennigan and I liked this girl very much. I used to go up there on the horse and invariably, my Mother would call and say, “Send Alfred home, it’s time for supper.”

Long before we moved to Trumbull there was a damn on the Pequonnock River, flooding all the property where the stone house is now, right up the cemetery. There was a mill there, run by water which came down through a tunnel. The tunnel was about 3′ x 3′ and it came out of a sheer wall. It was probably a drop of eight or ten feet to the ground. We kids used to play there quite often; we had a lot of imagination. I don’t know if Mother smoked as a youngster, but she must’ve been smoking then because I think I took two of her cigarettes. Art Christie and I went up and crawled through the tunnel and sat at the edge with our legs hanging over the edge and smoked cigarettes. Who should come along but Mother! She crawled through the tunnel and gave us quite a lecture. It was probably a few years before I started smoking, but Mom smoked with me when I first started. Then she quit, but I didn’t

Cedric Duryee Guion

Cedric Duryee Guion (Ced)

CED – We smoked corn silk and cigarettes here and there. Art Christie was the oldest, your father was next, then Dan and me, the four of us. I guess Mother wasn’t home. I don’t know how we did it or how we got it; but anyway, we got money out of Mother’s pocketbook. We went to Kurtz’s – Mother smoked – most of her sisters smoked – of course in those days you didn’t think anything about it. Anyway, we went to Kurtz’s and said we were buying some cigarettes for our mother. We bought a pack of cigarettes, I don’t remember the brand. Right at the gate there had been, at one time, a mill. They had a big stone wall that pretty much went all the way to the cemetery. Near that wall, there was a big square hole, I guess that’s where they had the mill wheel, but that space was a perfect place to go to smoke cigarettes. We sat at the front of that square and we started smoking. We had a whole pack of cigarettes and we wanted to enjoy them.

Young Dan on Porch

Daniel Beck Guion (Dan)

CED – Well we were merrily smoking away and Dan said, “I think I’ll go home.” He got right up and left. We suspected that he was getting sick, which he was. Art and Lad and I hoped he wasn’t going to make a fuss. I guess we talked about it and decided it was time to stop smoking, so we did. We thought maybe we ought to go down to the brook, pick up some poles and pretend to be fishing in case Mother came looking for us. So we did. We went down to the brook and were playing along the side of the brook, and pretending we were fishing. I don’t know if we could have made that stick, but anyway, sure enough, about 10 or 20 minutes later, here comes Mother and gulp, gulp, gulp. She came up to us and said, “What are you doing?” “Uh, we’re fishing,” we answered. “Well”, she replied, “Dan tells me you were smoking.” What could we do? “You know your father and I both smoke”, she said. “I don’t like it that you boys smoke, but why don’t you just come home and smoke if you want to smoke.” Not one of us wanted to smoke again until we were 18 or 20. Not one of us. Now, if that is in psychology, good psychology… without even being punished.

DAVE – I’ve always said that my brothers and sister were of little bit different than me. I was always quicker to enjoy a risqué joke, or worse. The rest of them fell under the influence of my Mother, what I call the Victorian Peabody attitude, and my Father was a little bit looser. To me he was always both mother and father, and whatever I am is probably more influenced by him rather than the others.

Tomorrow, I’ll be posting more of the children’s memories of their Mother.

Judy Guion