Life In Alaska – Dan writes to Grandpa And Lad – Sept., 1940



Dear Poppa,

So it comes your birthday again! You are growing up, and I think it high time that you learn a few of the facts of life.

I should like to relate to you a little allegory, from which you are to extract the seeds of truth.


Once there was a Poppa who had many children. He spent all his waking hours (poetic for not sleeping) planning for the success and happiness of his offspring. This went on at such great length that he over-looked much of his own happiness, which, at times, made his children sad! Often they gathered in Conclave (several miles out of Boston) to discuss their Daddy’s obsession.

“What can we do to show our appreciation?” They asked one another.

“Yes, what can we do?” They answered sagely.

And what do you think they did? They gave him some money, and told him to do whatever he wanted to do with the money. And what do you think he did? He spent it all to further the success and happiness of his offspring!




Wed. Sept. 11


Saludo, Ladito. It is with the utmost confidence that I undertake this letter….because it is apparent that you, too, miss-spell words in the heat and hurry of typing! So when you fnid worsdxxxxx that look funny, you will redliez that maybe I’m not so hot, but neither are lots of othre guys!

I still cherish a latent desire to pay a visit to Venezuela again, e’er long. What sort of welcome would be my lot if I were to drop into camp some afternoon? Would I have the bridal suite at my disposal, with a band and the Alcade to greet me? Would I have my choice of the finest arepas and cocny, and a caja de chimo for my very own? Platanos fritos? Un cafecito? Or would I have to put up with lamb, and peas, and ice cream, clase de los Yanquis? Shall I bring my chinchorro, hecho de coquisa? Or shall I have to contend with a Beauty-rest mattress? Ever since I got as far as Palenque (I think that was the name of the place… several kms. south of the San Juan do los Morros) I have had a feeling of frustration that must be alleviated.

APG - Flor and Martin Williams, Bob Ross, visiting from Trinidad, April, 1940

Flor and Martin Williams are the couple on the right.

Please give my regards to the Williams-es. It is with gratification that I learned of Martin’s arrival back in Pariaguan country. Ever since he broke his leg and they failed to shoot him, I have been under the impression that he was settled permanently in Caracas! The first day I saw him, in October, 1938, I was disillusioned. Instead of hobbling about in bed with a pair of crutches, he breezed into the office (the old office) with the grace and stamina of a gazelle! And when I left for home in July, 1939, he was still in Caracas, figuring out the best place to dig for the water and silt of which, I have been told, you have produced plenty! If you can get past the 19th hole, tho’, it will go down in the annals of golfing history. But now, with Martin back on the old stamping grounds, I suppose it will just be a matter of time until he gets his divining rod to functioning, or breaks another leg! I’m sorry I didn’t meet Mrs. “Flor” Williams. I heard on good authority that she was one of the most stunning women living, but Martin hid her light under a bushel so well that I didn’t have a chance to meet her! I really have no excuse, because they were both still in the states when I got home (I think), but I didn’t drive down to Norwalk to find out. Que virguenza!

Una cosa mas….Usted me dijo que luego me ascribire una carta completemente en Espanol. Temo que me tome el pelo! Verdad? De Missourri yo soy! Y ahora, espero.

Dad’s clearing house of news has probably informed you that I am no longer working on a wage basis… I am now employed by the Army under a “per annum” basis, involving a cut in pay, but the acquiring of several advantages, such as sick leave, vacation with pay, Army Commissary privileges, etc. $2300 per year is my salary… if I work a year without being laid off! I have heard a rumor to the effect that there will be an Air Base constructed in Columbia under the Pan American Auspices. It would be a great thing if I could tie up with that! Have you heard about it?

No aado mas! Escribame pronto… en espanol.


I’ll be continuing the week with other letters written from Dan to his father and the folks in Trumbull. These are letters I have recently been given by Dan’s daughter, so I’m posting them all together, up until they catch up with this story line.

Judy Guion


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