Life in Venezuela – Lad – Max, The Super Salesman – July 2, 1939

July 2, 1939

Dear Lad:

Uncle Sam is an old meanie. He did not bring one single word from you this week, and only a brief half page note from Dan, the latter informing us that he has succumbed to Maxi’s blandishments and been persuaded to stay on and work through the month of June, in return for a clean bill of health and fare home, IF MAXI’S WORD IS TO BE RELIED UPON. Wait until I see Dan and razz him about falling for that line, after all he has seen. I am beginning to think that Max IS a Super-salesman.

That will mean Dan won’t sail until July and will therefore not arrive home until sometime in August, making it quite uncertain, what with the rainy season and all, whether Dan will be able to take the time to visit your camp, unless of course the air route is in operation and arrangements can be made for a round trip passenger.

Last Wednesday Kemper came up for Grandma. She had all her things packed and we loaded them into Kemper’s Buick after unloading the things he had brought up to us, consisting of several rugs, an old portable radio (very poor), some draperies, candlesticks, doorstops, etc.

I have added to my other jobs that of chef, with the help of Dick and Aunt Helen. Today for Sunday dinner we had Virginia baked ham (Ted cooked this as his specialty), fresh peas, baked potatoes, grape juice and lemonade mixture, banana salad with ground peanuts like mother used to make, and homemade ice cream and cake.

I have sent for a new cookbook that I like and think I shall try to develop into a real cook. They say it is good to have a hobby, and under the circumstances, that of preparing tasty meals should prove a very useful one.

Who knows but what someday, Dan out prospecting, may run across a gold deposit, you will have to be drafted to take charge of the erection of the machinery, Ced will be the Sales Manager and contact man, Dick can keep the miners in good spirits and amused and Dave, who now intends to be a lawyer, can handle the legal side, and then your old Dad will be right in line to take on the responsibilities of Camp Cook. Whoopee !!

Thursday Dave went down with a group of other scouts and Mr. Keating to visit the World’s Fair. Last night I took Dave to the majestic to see and hear a Technicolor production of Gilbert and Sullivan’s MIKADO. It was very good, beautifully staged and well worth seeing.

Dick had seen it the night before and Ted and Helen expect to go later this week. Arnold has been up here for the last couple of days doing some work in our barn, on Mr. Reyom’s car, a burned-out bearing, I believe.

Politically, the pot is still boiling. Monday I got sore at Mr. Sexton’s manner over the phone and closed off on him, after which he reported in a letter to the newspapers that I was ”rude”. He then followed this with the demand to call another town meeting, which being in legal form, I had to do (scheduled for this coming Friday) for the purpose of “abolishing the Finance Board of the Town of Trumbull”.

This has at last aroused the right-thinking people to a serious realization of the danger of letting him get away with his ideas, and in consequence, on Friday last, there was a meeting of leading citizens from all sections of the town, Democrat and Republican alike, in a combined attempt to get out an overwhelmingly strong

Alfred Duryee Guion

Alfred Duryee Guion

representation and put this fellow and his gang of Bolshoi’s once and for all in their place.

We are calling a meeting of the conservatives again tomorrow night to perfect plans and an organization, and getting out a letter and a real effort is now going to be made to defeat this attempt to break down the town’s machinery.

With Trumbull‘s public enemy No. 1 out of the way, we will then have to devote our efforts to organizing some sort of a police force for the town, as in accordance with the last act of the legislature, no constables can receive any fees for arrest in motor vehicle arrests.

The Legislature also passed a bill legalizing bingo if a majority of those in the town wanted. As the Trumbull Fire Company is planning for their Carnival during the latter part of August, something will have to be done here on that score before that date.

By the way, Father Killian has been transferred to another parish in Bridgeport, and St. Therese’s is now headed by a Father Grady.

I think I had better take your advice and give up worrying. As the Bible says,” The Lord tempers the wind to the shorn lamb.” Anyway, for years, just about the middle of summer I began wondering how I will be able to meet the combination drain of my financial resources of the necessity of meeting a couple hundred dollars demand for taxes and over $100 in interest on the mortgage.

I got by the April 15 installment of taxes and was wondering what I could do about the July 1 interest when, lo and behold, Dan’s letter arrived enclosing a draft for $150, as the second installment on his back salary, and then to take care of the July installment of taxes, what should I receive on Friday but a check from the Socony-Vacuum New York office for $125 on your salary account.

I say, you fellows have a pretty good idea of timing, so that now, instead of adding a few more gray hairs to my top piece, I can now devote my energies to saving the hair I have left to get gray in the natural course of events.

I take it the reason I have had no letter from you this week is that the rainy season has slowed up the normal mail procedure, and you may have to reroute your mail via Ciudad de Boliva, provided the expected airplane arrangements have not been completed. So I may have your experience of this week or next, having more than one letter arrive from you.

By the same token, my letters may be delayed in reaching you. By the way, be sure to let me know when the magazines I have subscribed to for you begin to arrive. I have also sent you some books, which I hope will arrive okay.

I don’t know why I started a third page, because usually I get newsed out at the end of the second page, if you can call what I write news, and then I have to scratch my head to find something to say to fill up the balance.

Elizabeth seems to keep well and happy, but it is beginning to be apparent that you will be Uncle Alfred to someone before you see the good old U.S.A. again. And I? I will be Grandpa. In spite of the fact I don’t feel particularly aged, I’ll have to admit, I’m getting along when that happens.

Ted is still making progress, feels better each week, but still is not in condition to rough it. He has to be very strict about his diet and cannot do anything strenuous, as he would have to count on doing in a reasonable way, if he took a job.

He will probably be here for another month anyway. He is a bit concerned because four or five letters he wrote to Venezuela to his attorney, the Minister of Public Works, etc., have not even been acknowledged.

Ced is still working at the tile factory. We haven’t heard from Rusty at all, and of course Ced’s Alaskan job is just as much in the air as ever.

Kemper and Ethel, I believe, have gone to Vermont for the summer and have rented Fred’s cottage. Fred has also gone to Vermont with the intention of living in his studio. Donald is going on a six weeks Western tour with a party of some sort, and there is some rumor of Gwen going to some camp. What Anne will do I have not heard.

If Dan reads this letter before I see him myself, he will be interested in knowing I have received the last college catalog I sent for, that from the University of Alaska, making now about 31 booklets for him to look through.

Ted also suggests going down with him to the Engineering Society and introducing him to several of the big shots there, to get their dope on the best college for him to attend.

Incidentally, Ted just told me he is writing you a letter and Aunt Helen adds she has been intending to write you also for a month or so and will definitely get at it soon.

Well, I guess that is about all I can collect in the way of items to include, except to say that the foliage and vegetation, encouraged by the rains we have had recently, have sprung up lustily and are now sadly in need of a “Dan”, particularly the front lawn, although under Ted’s prompting Dave has done some work on cutting down the long grass in the front gutter.

The back and side lawns have been kept in fair shape with the combined efforts of Dick and Dave, Ced not having much time for this sort of thing with his present job.

I have just been talking with Ted. He is quite enthusiastic about you. He says if you stay with the company for two years you will be in line for a “damn good job”. That’s as good a way to end this as I can think of.


Well, Dan isn’t leaving Venezuela yet but the boys are getting paid something. I’m not sure if it is everything they are owed, but it is a start, at least. Elizabeth (Biss) is happily married and expecting their first child. Grandpa will become “Grandpa”.

For FREE copies of New Inceptions Magazine, an e-magazine, with several articles and stories from my family, you can click the following links.

Issue 1   Click Here

Issue 2   Click Here

Issue 3   Click Here

Judy Guion


6 thoughts on “Life in Venezuela – Lad – Max, The Super Salesman – July 2, 1939

  1. gpcox says:

    Sending money home was an obligation of many I suppose. My dad was doing it also. You do what it takes to keep the family going. Great letter.

  2. Mrs. P says:

    I couldn’t help but laugh at the first part of the letter. He was being unusually jovial…a side of him I hadn’t seen before.

    • Did you catch the piece at the end of “I an a backslider?” If it doesn’t ring a bell, go back and look it up.
      He generally tended to be a wit rather than a funny man, his son Dan taking after him in that respect. I remember both of them spouting these silly little witticisms and I groaned inwardly at their puns.

  3. Gallivanta – He continued to learn about cooking and healthy eating for the rest of his life. He was even into “juicing” in the 50’s.

  4. Gallivanta says:

    It is interesting to read of your grandfather’s interest in cooking and that he wasn’t afraid to try out a new cookbook. Very modern.

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