It is March of 1941. Lad is still working in Venezuela and Dick has just left Trumbull to drive a ’37 Buick out to Seattle, where he will load it on a ship bound for Anchorage, Alaska, to be delivered to his older brothers, Dan and Ced. He will also be going to Anchorage, either on the same ship or will take an earlier sailing. Grandpa and the youngest, Dave, are holding down the fort in Trumbull, leaving the big, old house seem huge indeed.
March 15, 1941 Trumbull, Conn. R-121
Random Notes From The Deserted Village
Incoming mail: Lad comes across this week with an interesting letter in which he mentions delay being caused by overhauling and changing plane motor. Here precision is of paramount importance which is one of the things that interests him in diesels. “It always is a surprise to me to see just how carefully airplane work is done. But then you just can’t stop anywhere to make a minor repair or hook a thing up temporarily to get you home, as is the case with a car.” This would seem also to get in with Ced’s urge to thoroughness and putting a thing right. What would you have to do, Ced, to qualify with the Civil Aeronautics Authority for a licensed airplane mechanic? Lad believes there is good pay in the work. Lad says before he comes home he is planning to make a three or four days journey to a practically unexplored portion of Venezuela south of the Orinoco. He also speaks of having attained top rank and distinction in his camp as an expert cocktail mixer.
Dick’s progress: First letter, dated March 5th, from Canton, Ohio, at 5:45 PM, after supper, having traveled 160 miles on the new Pennsylvania Turnpike. Next letter, March 7th (A.M., but no place given) 20 miles beyond the Mississippi River which he had crossed the night before. Cashed his first Travelers Check for $10. Third postal from Iowa State College, Ames, postmarked 6:30 PM, March 8th “I had a slight knock when I started out. It worried me so I had a fellow look over the motor. He surmised it was a tappet knock so adjusted the tappets. The noise left for about an hour but came back so I took it to the Buick people here in Ames, and since they didn’t know what was wrong, pulled it apart. It will cost about $10-$15. Fourth postal (received this afternoon) postmarked ??? Idaho, 7:30 PM, March 11th. I’m just over the Idaho – Wyoming state line. The Buick people in Ames couldn’t find the knock. They took the motor apart (head and pan), tightened the rods, put in a new spark plug and charged me $10 for labor and parts. I’m at a garage now, if the fellow can’t locate the trouble without taking the motor apart, I’ll go on. I think Ced is just about doomed to a life of driving lemons. I only have about $50 left. He fixed me up very well for a $1.25. I’m having more fun now.” (Note to Dick) I have sent you $55 on to Mr. Schurman to take care of your fare to Anchorage.
To New York Sunday: The reason this letter is being written on Saturday is that Elsie phoned today asking me to come down to a meeting so that they could hold a conference with Aunt Betty and myself as to future, if any, of the shop. Aunt Betty writes: “Of course I am somewhat concerned about the future but not so much as you would think because I have learned to trust in a higher power to take care of me and my affairs and I really feel that everything will work out for the good of everybody concerned. Another thing that lifts the burden is to know that I have a nephew who is so quick to put out his hand to help. I thank you and I appreciate your suggestion to go to Trumbull for the summer and I think now that I would like to do just that. However, I think as long as things are being decided, I had best stay right here, as I can do by using what I get from my securities and filling out from savings in the bank until, say the middle of May, or as things shape themselves here. I was so sorry I did not write to Richard before he went away but I guess and hope he did not think anything about it. No doubt he was too busy and interested in getting away. Hope he will arrive safely and am so glad he will be with Dan and Ced. Love to you and David and keep up your courage as I am doing. Everything will come out right. I am keeping busy with Red Cross work.”
If there were more Aunt Betty’s and fewer Hitler’s, how much better a world this would be to live in for the comparatively short time it is given us all to sojourn in it. Truly we reap what we sow, and anything I can do for Aunt Betty will be just partial repayment of the kind acts she has done for us all in days gone by. It is a privilege to help her now when she needs it, as she has helped us when she was able to.
I don’t know whether it was the extra strain on the car during the recent snowstorm but I have developed trouble in the transmission of my Buick and it is now in the repair shop. It is promised for next Tuesday. There has been a delay waiting for parts. Mr. and Mrs. Kurtz are now vacationing in Florida. As there is no other news I can think of I will now close to listen to President Roosevelt’s speech.
Be good boys, prosper, keep healthy and happy and come back some day to the old home, bigger and better for your travels, and thus gladen the heart of your admiring old DAD
The following article was enclosed with the letter to Lad with the thought that it might interest him.
Article entitled “Streamliners” from the March 17, 1941 issue of Newsweek.
The rest of the week will be devoted to one letter, dated March 23, 1941, to all and four letters – one each to Lad, Dick, Ced and Dan, plus a personal note to Lad.
Why not share this look back in time to the lives of an ordinary family from a small town in Connecticut, with someone who might enjoy a trip down Memory Lane.