Voyage to Venezuela (15) – A Few Letters From Dan – December, 1938

 

Daniel Beck Guion in the field in Venezuela – the fall of 1938

Dear folks,                                                                                                                                                                                          Dec. 1

Things are rather rushed, now, as we approach the dead-line for November.  We have worked every day, rain or shine, and the field work is virtually finished, altho’ there is plenty of office work to be completed before Dec. 4.

Thanksgiving day was quite wet.  I ran levels during daylight and plotted notes after supper.  We had purchased a turkey, but did not use it on Thurs. because Bill Rudolph (Chief of Party) and Dr. Bosnakian were absent.  The only thing of note on that day was the killing of a rattlesnake and the discovery of a bee’s nest (honey).  Incidentally, I have lost Jesus!  I am “in the field” for a re-birth.  Jesus was given to the cook as a helper, but developed a bad cold and had to be sent to Carora until he recovers.  He might come back this week-end.  The cook does not like Jesus’s substitutes and has given us two weeks notice.  Mr. Human brought him from Caracas with excellent recommendations, and the fellow is a marvelous cook (home-made bread – biscuits, pie, cake etc.) but he doesn’t like the weather and the unfavorable labor conditions.  He was satisfied with Jesus, but Jesus left, and the cook tried two or three other peons who either quit or were fired. *

Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday were days of work without respite.  The first three days were rainy, the last three more sunny with only occasional “freak” showers.  Wet feet from daylight to dark.

*Mr. Human says tell the cook he (Mr. H.) will be at camp in about two weeks to stay a while … Don’t leave till then.

I’m not sure this was the end of the letter. The boys always included a goodbye note and signature.

**************************************

Obviously there is a letter missing, written the night before, but I do not have it. I think it is remarkable that I have so many letters from sixty years ago.  

Gente mia,                                                                                                                                                                             Mon. Dec. 5

The sequel to last night’s letter follows so closely that it will probably arrive with the same mail, some few days before Xmas.

Mr. Human, Mr. Myers and I rose early this morning, expecting to make the necessary purchases for camp, then leave Carora, Mr. Human going to Barquisimeto with the plans, Mr. Myers and I by hired truck to the mired “Campion”, scene of yesterday’s fiasco.

We left Carora at 10 AM, mas and menos, and tried the better branch of the road to Burere.  A body of water soon put a stop to our plans in that direction so we tried the other road, the road, incidentally, over which I had trudged the night before.  It was a futile alternative, so back to Carora we came, and made arrangements (no ink left) for a mule train to take us to the Campion Manana.  What will transpire then, I cannot say, perhaps we shall find the truck buried under a fresh river, perhaps we shall

 

This is the end of this letter. I do not have the rest. I also have no record of yesterday’s “fiasco”. I will leave it up to your imagination, using the clues: rain, bad road, mired Cambion (a transport vehicle) and Dan’s truge the night before.

*************************************

This is just one sheet of paper. I do not know what letter it came with. The stationary is a different size and color, although it was written before Dan knew that Lad was actually coming to join him, probably late November or early December.

Alfred –

Ted, as you may know by now, is trying to get you down here to look after the trucks – the native mechanics are as trustworthy as an old maid on a tear.  I have my fingers crossed ‘til you actually arrive.

Ced – a shame you can’t make it here for the same job, but this job requires real mechanical knowledge on Ford trucks.  Carry on the Guion tradition – “never give up the ship, unless, of course, you want to”.

Biss – I can well imagine how “down-at-the-wheels” poor Willy must be after trying to lead the fast night-life you exact. (Perhaps a reference to Grandpa’s car, a Willys)

Dick – yo no hablo espanol muy bien, pero es no necessito! Los hombres saven!  If you can decipher that, you are on a par with the natives – I did not check with my Spanish books – Quiza mucho errors!

Dave – Still not seasick!

Perriolga – no blackberries acqui!

Grammar – plenty of flowers here, but no way to send you seeds or bulbs.

_________________________________________

For posterity –

Carora is a God-forsaken hole, bounded on four sides by Venezuela.  Every-thing here is wonderful except the towns, nuff said.

Next Saturday I will post a letter written by Lad while on board the Santa Rosa which he says will be mailed from Curacao the next day.

Tomorrow, some more Special Pictures.

Next week, letters written near the end of 1943. Lad and Marian have been married for about a month and everyone is looking forward to the holidays.

Judy Guion

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