Having spent most of his childhood in Trumbull, Lad had quite a few friends who wrote to him after he went to Venezuela. Marie was one of the young people who came to the Trumbull house often. In addition to the local Trumbull news, she tells Lad of the recent USS Squalus submarine disaster.
June 1, 1939
Gee, whiz, Lad, I’m sure sorry that I delayed this letter so long but for a few days after I started this letter I was out sick, and since then I have been so terribly busy here at work that I haven’t had an instant to do anything on the side.
By the way, since I started this letter I saw the World’s Fair Poetry Contest Poem in the paper and it’s so high brow that I can’t even read it. I brought it in to show the others and they agree with me so it isn’t injured pride that prompted my saying so. My poem compared with the winning poem as the Bowery compares with Park Avenue. It just doesn’t stack up. When you get back I will show you both.
It has been terribly hot the last few days and several people have been overcome with the heat. Today it was nice and cool though. Bet it’s more than two terribly hot down there. How would you like a nice cool drink of whatever you like best and a nice dip in the quarry swimming hole right now? Oh, boy, am I glad that you can’t reach me. I bet you would like to wring my horrid little neck for bringing up such a subject. Well, maybe that will make you come home faster – I mean thinking of the swimming hole, not wringing my neck.
We had quite a terrible sub disaster last week (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USS_Sailfish_%28SS-192%29 ) perhaps you heard about it on the radio (if you have one). 26 men died and 33 others were saved. Several men distinguished themselves by heroic services. I suppose eventually they will find out what caused the trouble. The first story was one of the 31-inch valves failed to close as they were submerging and the sub filled with water so quickly that the weight held it down and damaged so much of the apparatus that they were without radio, heat and lights. It must’ve been terrible down there. The Navy Officials claim that several of the survivors made statements to the effect that certain lights were on when the dive was made that proves the valve was closed and not open. It seems that an electrical contact is made when all valves are closed and that the lights will not go on until this contact is made, and that once the valves are closed, they cannot open. The sub was one of the new ones and it was on a test run. They haven’t raised it yet so the 26 dead men have not been brought out as yet. Two Bridgeport boys and one Milford boy were on the boat, and the Milford fellow and one Bridgeport boy died. The boy from Bridgeport had a brother on the same boat who was saved.
You will have to come back soon if you want to see the World’s Fair. They won’t stay open forever, not even for you. So if you really want to see the most colossal, stupendous, gigantic, amazing, terrific, etc. show on earth you had better come soon. (Incidentally, I haven’t been yet) but I have heard others rave about it.
June 2, 1939
Well, Lad, this will have to be all, for today is Friday and I don’t go back to work until Monday the 12th. Just in case you are in doubt as to what I am getting at – it’s my vacation – one week of it anyway. The other week will come about the beginning of August.
By the way, Lad, I would appreciate it very much if you would send me any canceled stamps that you may have on old letters, all kinds. I am starting a stamp collection and every little bit helps. I should be able to get some very interesting stamps as I know the girl who handles all incoming correspondence here at the factory and I also get a chance at some of the packages that come in by parcel post. But even though I have a chance at all of these, they are not exceptional stamps. But to get foreign stamps or even our own airmail stamps, I would really have something. I don’t imagine they have any objection to your sending stamps in letters. By the way, if you should have any from Alaska that would be swell, or correspondence from another part of Venezuela. You know anything and everything. I can’t wait to hear from you just in case you may have some. Even if you haven’t any others, perhaps those on this letter will not be too badly damaged.
June 12, 1939
I received your last letter during the week and I feel terribly ashamed for not having sent this one sooner. Incidentally I spent my vacation on Long Island with the Hoey’s, old friends of ours and have been asked and accepted the right to marry Herb. I imagine this will come as a surprise but I have known and liked Herb for years. We are not announcing it for several months yet so keep it under your hat, so to speak. More about this later. Please write,
An interesting side note – When I was in high school and living in Trumbull, my friends and I used to go to a sandwich and ice cream shop in the center of town named Marie’s. It wasn’t until I read this letter that I put two and two together and realized that Marie, whose family owned a bakery and started this restaurant, had grown up and known my father so many years earlier.