The election is over and Grandpa has lost his bid to continue leading Trumbull as it’s First Selectman. He remains on the Board of Selectmen but the position doesn’t mean very much. Lad, his oldest son, is working in Venezuela as a Troubleshooter Mechanic traveling from camp to camp repairing trucks and equipment the other mechanics are having problems with. He doesn’t get to write home as much as Grandpa would like, but Grandpa continues to write to him every week, sending news of the home-folks. I think it helps them both feel connected.
October 8, 1939
Dear Oil King;
There is very little to record of interest, as I sit down to ramble on in conversation (monologue) to my absentee son. So here goes as the small things that made up everyday life for the past week occurred to me. Due to the fact that business is still very slow and that George Elliott has apparently been very inattentive to his job lately I was forced to tell him this week that we could dispense with his services. That leaves George Lipovsky and Miss Denes and myself as the entire Guion Company. There has been talk about business picking up but we have not felt it in our line. And as my only source of income now is what you send, what Ced contributes, the $20 a month from the apartment rent and what I get from the office (eight dollars last week) it looks like a lean winter. The loss of $165 a month from the Selectmen’s salary naturally puts quite
crimp in one’s plans. By the same token, the $50 a month which you so generously authorized me to extract from your salary looms up quite important in the scheme of things and makes me exceedingly grateful that I have the kind of sons that generously help out without making me feel too guilty about using their hard-earned cash. Incidentally I receive checks regularly from your New York office at the end of each month.
The ”gang” went up to the Danbury Fair yesterday. It was an ideal fall day and they report having a good time. There was no particular excitement, although there was one of the drivers that crashed through the fence before they arrived. I did not go as I had several jobs to do (1) wax the kitchen linoleum (2) vacuum clean the alcove, living room, lower Hall, upper Hall, my room, bathroom (3) rearrange the furniture in my room, including the extension of electric light wires which, because of a faulty wire used, caused a fuse to blow out. The boys stopped on the way back at the Pines and watched the dancing. Dave went to the movies with Mr. Keating last night.
Ethel came in a minute ago with Carl and said that Marie Page was engaged to a fellow named Herbert Hoey, who lives on Long Island. He is a graduate of Harding and he thought you might have met him.
Dan came home Friday and reported he had had a blowout on the way up with the Packard but got along all right with the spare. Ced had been expecting tire trouble for some time but this was the first trouble of this sort the car has had since you left. I took Dan’s portable typewriter down to Mr. Mullins this week. It was in pretty bad shape after going through the tropics and cost $10 to fix up.
Davis, the town’s new selectmen has taken office and I am out. Certainly I am still one of the selectmen but it does not mean much. Sexton is still keeping up his campaign of destruction. He is now raking up an item of $75 which was received by Mr. Bradley in return for the sale by the town of the pump to raise water from the Town Hall well and which was no longer needed when they installed city water. Unfortunately the treasurer’s books do not show receiving the money, so Sexton implies of course that the money was stolen. How it will come out I have no idea. Luckily he has been unable to find anything on me yet, but I suppose it is possible he may uncover some innocent mistake of some sort he can enlarge upon until it looks like a major crime.
I think I told you in the letter I mailed Tuesday that I had just received your two letters written respectively on the 14th and 22nd. In the latter you said you would look up some of the questions I have asked from time to time and might find some time in the near future to get a breathing spell when you can catch up on some of these things, so I am hoping that next week I will get another full length epistle. I of course gave your enclosure to Dave as requested.
I shall be interested to know if it was the fuel pump that was the cause of your not being able to get the diesel truck running. Incidentally that note from Buda was only one of several diesel pieces of literature I asked to be sent to you in the hope that you might get some useful hints in connection with your repair jobs. Am interested to know whether you went to the bullfights and whether it was interesting. It must’ve been interesting to meet Mr. Cappucio again. Seems to me you are getting quite as much experience as an electrician as on diesel work. You never can tell when every experience will stand you in good stead in the future.
Have heard nothing from the New Rochelle folks for some time, so I suppose Grandma is getting along all right. Don’t know what progress Ted has made, if any, I’m getting a job or collecting back salary from InterAmerica. I also don’t know what Dan has done in the way of trying to collect back salary still owing him to the extent of some $400. I also would like to know what happened on your claim. Why don’t you make an X mark on the margins of my letters as you get them to indicate questions to answer or things to write about, just so you won’t have to wade through a lot of the small talk I have written to pick out the items that call for replied.
Aunt Betty has just sent a clipping from the New York Herald being an article on Venezuela’s oil fields which I am sending along for your information. Evidently you can go out some weekend and come back with a satchel full of gold or diamonds. Perhaps you met this man Doyle they mention. It will be interesting to have your comments on what is said.
With your interesting style of writing and your technical knowledge combined with your opportunity to make first-hand observations in this interesting foreign country, it occurs to me that if you had the time or took the time you could undoubtedly increase your income by writing articles for various trade magazines in this country on some phases of work down there. I could try to market these articles for you. You remember Mr. Westbrook, perhaps, whom we visited in Center Conway, New Hampshire, who’s business was writing articles for technical and trade papers? The magazines are hungry for articles of this sort, and I am sure you could write some very acceptable papers. For instance, here are a few topics which it occurred to me as suggestions: “Operating Problems of Diesel Trucks in Venezuelan Oilfields”, “Life in the Venezuelan Oil Camp”, “A Typical Day’s Work of a Troubleshooter in an Oil Field In the Tropics”, “An Americans Experiences in Venezuela”, etc. What do you think of the idea? With that thought for the day, I suppose I close this attempt at letter writing to my faithful old curly headed Lad.
As always, your admiring
Grandpa had some cute nicknames for his sons.
I think he thought of it as a mental challenge to come up with salutations, especially, that are different than the usual Dear _____:.
He and Ced actually had an informal competition which, at some point, Grandpa concedes to Ced. It’s in the letters and we’ll eventually get to it. I find his creativity fascinating.
That’s a substantial drop in income, isn’t it? Thank goodness for the boys.
Almost devastating, especially understanding that he hasn’t been putting much time into his business for two years and the economy isn’t that great. I noticed that he was not bemoaning this fact, just stating the facts, and stating his gratitude for his generous sons.
Yes, I noticed that too.