This weeks chronicle to Lad of happenings in Trumbull include several celebrations. It’s also been 6 months since Lad left Interamerica for his current job at Socony-Vacuum Oil Company and four months since Dan traveled home from Venezuela, but the battle with Interamerica for wages due continues on. This letter does supply some indication that things will be coming to a close fairly soon.
Alfred Peabody Guion at one of the camps in Venezuela
Ye last Sunday in October, 1939
(October 29, 1939)
Dear Future General Manager:
Picture to yourself lawns covered with newly fallen tannish-yellow leaves, clear brisk October weather, a cozy fire in the alcove, Mack asleep on the floor and me at my typewriter and you will have the proper background for this letter.
Chalk up to your credit some additional heartbeats of joy occasioned by the fact that last Tuesday when I looked in the mailbox there was the welcome letter from you and also one for Dan bringing him birthday wishes. And this makes me quite conscious stricken for it was not until Dan mentioned the cause for your letter that I realized it was his birthday. And then I realized with another shock that I had also utterly forgotten all about Aunt Betty’s birthday – – all the more shameful in that she invariably remembers all of our birthdays without fail. She was born on October 11, 1863, which makes her 76 years old. She would probably enjoy hearing from you if you find time to drop her a line.
The most outstanding Trumbull news item of the week was the marriage yesterday of Helen Smith and Bill Slauson. I am enclosing a newspaper account of the wedding. While Ced and the gang were not invited to the reception they went over to the house in Stratford where the Smiths are now living, Ced, with the generous collection of old tin cans, shoes, stuffed animals, signs and what not, including one of the old grates from the furnace.
I don’t know how it happened but Ced learned today that after the wedding and as they were starting on their trip, in backing the car, the grate punctured the gas tank and being unable to get it fixed, Mr. Smith had to lend them his car for their wedding trip. Red (Don Sirene) had fastened to the grate on, but I think Carl (Wayne) got blamed for it. Carl’s part was cutting up an onion and putting it on the manifold where it would stink to high heaven when the car got warmed up. As Ced observed, they were probably pretty sore about the whole incident now, but as they look back on it in after years, it will be something to remember with a chuckle.
Dan, Barbara (Plumb, Dan’s girlfriend) , Arnold (Gibson) and Alta (Pratt, the future Mrs. Arnold Gibson) have all gone down to the World’s Fair today. I think this is the last weekend before it closes.
In the same mail your letter arrived, there came a note from Mr. McCarter(a manager at the New York office of Interamerica, Inc, the company that still owes Dan back pay from his work in Venezuela) asking Dan to come to New York and receive a check that was waiting for him. I called up McCarter and was told he had a check for the full amount owing Dan to close up the account being the sum of $399.14 and that it was necessary for Dan to sign a release which was being handled by Interamerica’s lawyer next door to McCarter’s office. Dan had arranged to go down there yesterday morning, but later McCarter phoned that he would not be in and neither would the lawyer and asked if Dan could come down Monday (tomorrow) which he is planning to do. I may go down with him to see that everything is straight.
Daniel Beck Guion in the field in Venezuela
Dan also received a letter from Mr. Humphrey Nolan written on a letterhead of a New York concern, as follows: “I understand that you have a claim against Interamerica, Inc. which you would like to press. Burkhardt, Matthews, Miss Easthagen, Gilman and myself all have our claims in the hands of Levy, Wolf and Feingold. Carl Nelson is making arrangements to put his claim with ours, and we also wish to have Shields, Stevenson, and Myers as well as yourself put your claims with ours, so that action taken may be as strong as possible with the least expense to any one individual. It is our plan to proceed to have a receiver appointed in Delaware. If this is carried through, all of Interamerica’s affairs will be taken over by some company like the Uihlen Company and any assets which exist will be used to pay off our claims. However, we believe that Interamerica will do everything possible to make payments and stop this action. Will you let me hear from you at once as we understand that Interamerica has payments of approximately $19,000 due in November we should like, of course, to come in before these payments are made. Levy, Wolf and Feingold are the attorneys who were successful in getting Govin’s money and they have a judgment for Gilman. Awaiting your immediate reply, I am”
I have quoted this letter at length for one reason and that is to urge you to take immediate action in the matter of filing your claim for the balance due you. Simply stated, the proposition as far as you are concerned is this: if the tools are of more value to you than the back salary then you need do nothing about it and let things ride as you have up to the present, with, however, the possibility that if things come to a head with Interamerica, you might be subject to a claim for the tools which you might have to prove in the law court you had not obtained illegally.
On the other hand, if the cash seems to you more useful than the tools, then I should let no grass grow under my feet, in view of the action which these other people intend to take as expressed in the letter above, because if they put the company out of business, (and I think I can see Ted’s fine Italian hand behind this move) and your claim is not in with the others you will be out of luck and may have to return the tools anyway on a court order.
My advice to you is to get busy at once. In any event I should be interested to know what you decide to do and the outcome in case you demand the cash. I still feel you are entitled to the balance of your back salary and the equivalent of your fare home and believe that is what you should demand as a requisite of releasing the tools to Maxudian (Yervant Maxudian, owner and President of Interamerica) . As I suggested in a former letter, if there is no one there among the higher ups that can advise you in the matter and you can’t get to Caracas to talk to McMillan, you had best write him and get his help, sending the tools to him with the request not to release them to Maxudian until your back claims are entirely satisfied.
Zeke has just informed me that Elizabeth and your new nephew are expected to return home Tuesday.
Assorted clippings are enclosed. Does this look like your marsh buggy? I wonder which tires are bigger, the marsh buggies or Bird’s snow cruiser. Thanks for the Building and Loan card. Here is your statement. Oh yes, I have been asked to be in a play the Parent-Teachers Association is giving in December. I am to take the part of the judge. Will tell you more about it when I know more about the cast.
Thoughts have run dry again, so until next week, when the old Remington will be exercised again, I’ll be gathering news for my Venezuelan branch of the family. Meanwhile I’ll be thinking of you often and fondly,
For more information on how the Interamerica situation developed, check out earlier posts in the category “Life in Venezuela”.
On Saturday and Sunday, I will post more Special Pictures, ones that do not fit into the to the time frame of these letters.