dair Country Inn & Restaurant is proud to tell the story of Dorothy Adair Guider and her home. We are collecting stories and reminiscences of Dorothy and bringing them to life once more.
Many people in Bethlehem and the surrounding area remember Mrs. Guider or worked for her over the years. You are invited to Adair Country Inn & Restaurant for afternoon tea, home baked goodies, and the opportunity to share your memories of Dorothy and her home, Adair.
Over the years, Adair has hosted many distinguised guests; among them presidential hopefuls, Supreme Court justices, senators, actors and sports figures. One of Dorothy's lifelong friends, Helen Hayes, spent many happy times at Adair.
Your reminiscences will add to the long and eventful period of history that makes Adair Country Inn & Restaurant such a special place.
History is kept alive and communities strengthened when people share stories and remember the past. Locals are invited to meet at Adair Country Inn and Restaurant to reminisce about the life of Dorothy Adair Hogan Guider, their connections to her and the joy Dorothy brought to all the lives she touched.
Upon her marriage to John William Guider 1927, Dorothy was presented with the beautiful home, known as Adair, by her father Frank J. Hogan, a prominent Washington, DC attorney. Adair remained Dorothy’s home for the rest of her life and it is where five generations of the Guider family lived until Dorothy’s passing in 1991.
One of the stories
On March 2nd, Shari Thompson and Gail Griggs met with Ilja Chapman, Innkeeper at Adair Country Inn and Restaurant, for tea and to share their memories and photographs. Following are the stories that came from that gathering.
From 1949 until the early 1970’s, Mary and Milledge Thompson, worked for Dorothy Guider; Mary as the family’s cook and her husband Milledge as caretaker and groundskeeper. Shari remembers “Grammy Thompson” speak of bringing all 9 Thompson children to Adair for parties. As the Guider’s cook, Mary would prepare bountiful meals and Dorothy, well known for her gracious and caring ways, would happily entertain the Thompson family. Over the years Mary and Milledge would often bring their grandchildren, Greg, Wanda and Alex to Adair for play groups with Dorothy’s grandchildren. The kids spent many happy afternoons together riding bikes and swimming; even Sooner, the Thompson family dog, shared in the fun. Photographs taken at Easter in 1950 show the Thompson family gathered for a bountiful meal prepared by Mary who had full exclusivity of the house for this celebration. This was also the day that Greg Thompson, Mary and Milledge’s grandson, fell through the ice on the pond. It was an eventful day in many ways.
Known by many for her generous and caring ways, Dorothy had a special place in her heart for the Thompson family. In 1954, when Richard Thompson, Mary and Milledge’s youngest son, married Maud Lang, photos taken that day show the lovely Maud wearing a wedding gown worn years earlier by Dorothy’s daughter Dorothy Adair Williams. This generous gesture to Maud is one of many examples of Dorothy Guider’s kindness.
In May of 1982, when Richard and Maud’s son Greg married Shari, Dorothy was a guest at the wedding. This was when Shari met Dorothy for the first time. They were to continue a friendship until Dorothy’s passing in 1991. “I’m so glad to see someone ask for and compile these stories” said Shari. “Since Dorothy’s death the property has had a few owners but this is the first time anyone has done a project like this. There is historical significance here and it’s important to get this information before everyone who holds these memories has passed away.”
Gail Griggs remembers her mother, Florence Sylvester, “taking in laundry” from the Adair. Before today’s modern laundry service, it was not uncommon for homemakers to “take in laundry”. Dorothy met Florence through St. Rose of Lima Church in Littleton. Florence, crippled by Polio, worked from home as a laundress. Her biggest customer was Dorothy Guider, who would bring her household’s laundry to Florence’s home. Dorothy’s business and her generous acts of kindness were of great help to the Sylvester family. Gail, 10 years old in 1948, often sat in the kitchen with her mother and Mrs. Guider when Dorothy dropped off the wash. They would discuss family, friends and the news of the day. Gail remembers that she would sit down next to Mrs. Guider, who would put her arm around Gail and ask how school was and what she wanted to be when she grew up. Gail dreamed of becoming a nurse, a dream she realized before becoming a bookkeeper several years later.
Gail would often help her mother with the washing; done with a wringer washer set up at the kitchen sink. She also helped hang the clothes to dry. A common occurrence of the time was to hang all the wash outdoors; winter or summer. Gail remembers her mother often telling her that “the freeze would kill the germs...” “The smell of fresh clean laundry throughout our home still lingers in my memory.” said Gail.
Florence Sylvester took in the Guider laundry until 1975 when she stopped in order to care for her ailing husband full time. For many years thereafter, Dorothy would often see Florence at Mass and come to sit with her for a time. “This meant the world to my mother”, said Gail. “Dorothy was so kind and loving. I think she found solace in helping others. It was her Christian way. She was not just an employer, she was part of us.”
Stories such as these are a testament to the strong ties that bind friends, family and community. Shari Thompson and Gail Griggs have held these memories for years and are happy to be part of a project that brings part of local history back to life. Please look for the next installment of these stories exclusively in the Ammonoosuc Times in April.