In this letter, Grandpa expresses a feeling that many parents deal with and that children do not realize. Young people tend to get wrapped up in their activities, and knowing they are just fine, they forget that parents need to know if they are healthy and doing well.
January 7, 1940
You’ve got me worried this trip, my boy. Your last letter home was dated December 3rd and arrived here on the 16th. Three weeks have since gone by, which leads me to ask a question which I have thought of many times but have not put into words. It is this. In case something should happen to you, either in the nature of a serious accident or sickness, is it the custom of the Company to notify the home or parents of such employee? In the background there always lurks the possibility of something like this happening, made more fearsome by the thought that you are so far away among strangers. When I hear from you regularly that ogre of a thought is kept in its place in the background, but it is always ready to push it’s ugly presence forward when each week in succession goes by without hearing from you. While I say this in no spirit of complaint, life has dealt me some rather disappointing blows from time to time, which I have learned to take on the chin and accept with a smile, so that usually I succeed pretty well in not worrying over the many dire things that might happen but seldom do. Just the same, it’s going to make the sunshine seem a lot brighter if the fourth week does not go by without some word from Venezuela. We can always hope, and generally do, optimistically, but sometimes in the dark watches of the night fear attacks in a rush, and while subdued with an effort of will and without letting anyone know about it, it does persist in popping up more often as the days go by without word. While it is disappointing not to get a full account of your doings when the well-known red white and blue envelopes peek at me through the glass slit in P.O. Box 7, it would be a lot better than nothing to have just a line or two from you saying that you are too busy or too tired or what not, to write a regular letter. Why not address and keep on hand two or three envelopes, stamped and addressed to me, so that if at the last moment before the mail leaves, you have not had an opportunity to write, you can at least scribble a short message so that there will be a break in this dead silence. Perhaps this is all silly on my part and you have been writing regularly and through some slip up in the mail the letters have failed to arrive, the same as my letters to you were held up for several weeks so that you got several in a bunch. With the rainy season practically over, however, this ought not to happen, especially over so long a lapse of time. It took a lot of words, didn’t it, to say “Why haven’t you written sooner?”
This week Dan got a registered package through the mail from an address on Long Island, and was delighted upon opening it to find it contained his watch. It is now at the jewelers for a general checkup, new crystal, new strap, etc. Incidentally, talking of time and the jeweler, I also took down the old Seth Thomas in the kitchen to Abercrombie, who has a place in with Kann as you may know, and he has given old Tom a new lease on life. He found, among other things in the case, evidence that mice have used it as a nesting place. There is a sticker in the clock with the date 1908 on it so that it is at least 32 years old. Abercrombie says they made parts much better in those days and will probably run for another 30 years before it stops short, never to run again.
Trumbull House Kitchen table with the Seth Thomas Clock on the back wall in June of 2020. I believe it was still running, making it 112 years old.
Tomorrow I will post the rest of this letter and continue during the week with letters to Lad from friends and family, but I don’t have a letter from Lad. Perhaps Grandpa mentions getting one in one of his letters. We’ll find out later.