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 7 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 occurred 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 Arla as a friend in addition to the view we have had as a wife and mother.
July 13th, 1933.
First of all… can’t tell you how utterly surprised at how terribly sorry I was to hear the news of Mrs. Guion’s death. Al, old timer, there is mighty little a person can say to a friend in cases like this, but certainly you have my deepest and sincerest sympathy.
Maybe, Al – the saying is true – that those whom the Gods will bless… they first chastise… let us hope so… everything is for the best. Knowing you..and knowing what Mrs. Guion meant to you, I also can realize what this loss means and if there is absolutely anything under the sun that I can do…ask me for it, Al. Friends are people who will share your troubles and if possible lighten burdens….please count me among them.
Words are so damn futile, Al…and you have the capacity of being so understanding and such a damn good friend that you will know that what I don’t say means more than what I do try to say so clumsily.
Now…congratulations on the Forsberg Mfg. Co’s account…good for you. I am sending your letter right along to GHQ and asking for full and prompt cooperation. I know I will get it…it may be a little slow because, although Hector is NOT a deserving Democrat, still the present administration seems to think that he is good and has saddled on him work pertaining to about six people. It means about 24 1/2 hours of labor a day–but it also means promotion.
Hector will, I know, see that fullest information is sent along and I am going to ask him to either send it to me or send it right along to you. All I hope is that it will be the dope you want and can use.
Things up here are slow…but faster than they would be in Bridgeport for me, so I am content. I hope to be home about the end of September and will certainly drop in to say hello…who knows but by that time you may have so many accounts that you can use a would-be advertising chappy. I have hopes of lining up a good account in Ansonia and maybe one in New Haven.
I may lose out by not being on the ground…still I am pretty sure that they are not set to go ahead before fall.
My address up here, Al, is:
% Station WNBF,
and I shall be very glad to hear from you…and better yet, if I can be of any service to you.
My very best to all the staff…and continued success to you, old timer.
P.S. mistakes in spelling – typograph, etc. are to be blamed on the heat – it is hotter than the well-known place.
Jackson Heights, L.I., N.Y.
July 17, 1933
There is little that I can say in the hope of softening your grief, but it may be some small consolation for you to hear that not only do I deeply sympathize with you but that I feel that I have lost a friend whom I shall never forget.
It has not been my good fortune to spend many hours with you and Arla in the years I have known you, but I have nevertheless, counted you as cherished friends, because of the beauty of your feelings towards each other, your children and your friends. I have been in very few homes that are endowed with the joy of living to the extent that yours has been, and I have always felt that the pleasure of visiting you was a rare treat that resulted from the unusual amount of human kindness in both of you.
Arla has left you a wonderful legacy – the memory of her, her spirit in your children and your character, which grew in harmony with her’s. Those are not little things, although in the sorrow of the present, they may seem small recompense for your loss.
Harold La Tour
Tomorrow, we’ll see what has been happening in Mary’s life during 1930. Does she pursue a nursing career?
Next week, we’ll jump forward to the fall of 1940 when Dan and Ced are in Alaska and Lad continues to work in Venezuela. We’ll catch up on what is going on in Trumbull, in the Guion house and in the town.