Trumbull – Dear Sonny (2) – Extracts From Rusty’s Letter to Ced – November 12, 1944


Page 2      11/12/44

Friday’s local paper recorded the death of Tom Cullen, who had been ill for about six months. Cancer, I believe, was the cause of death starting with a face infection and finally going to his brain. In his early 40’s, it is quite a loss to scouting.

These last two weekends I have not only been busy at the office but the breeze has been enough to make it a bit dangerous for me to attempt to put up storm windows alone perched on a rickety ladder, so we are not yet set for old man winter’s onslaughts. I have the furnace running however and so far the house has been comfortable.

Rusty - Rusty at his painting cabin - 1979 (2)

Perhaps this would be a good occasion to send a few extracts from Rusty’s letter to Ced written August 14th from Barrow, Alaska. He describes the perilous run from Nome to Barrow in a 44-foot powerboat, five of them, all together, as crew, the boat 5-tons overloaded on deck, running into storm after storm. “I have seen high waves off Cape Hatteras and in the North Sea but never so close to rough weather as what we ran into on the “ADA”. Conrad would have made a book out of it. None of us ever expected to see land again and I know now why men pray. Hope becomes one concentration and that a tremendous thing. I pumped and pumped and pumped and pumped and never taxed my heart as much before as we kept taking in water and more water. Finally the engine quit. One of the Eskimo crew saved the lives of all of us by getting out 9 fathoms of anchor line and holding onto the end of the line probably two minutes before he could get 2 feet of it to make a turn on the forward bit. None of us could get to him, the sea was so rough. And that was the beginning of a 24-hour battle with the devil in that deep green sea. Finally we could take it no more and made for a lagoon. Breakers were 5 miles long over shoals. When soundings showed we were in only 6 feet of water one of the men yelled “Let’s get the hell out of here.” But it was too late. We struck bottom, went over on our starboard side, shipped water to soak me from head to foot where I stood on one ear in the cabin. Water poured down into the engine room to kill engine. All we could do was to blow the foghorn to summon Eskimos in tents on shore to get out what help they could offer. All this happened so quickly, and the next breaker sucked us so hard that we went some 10 feet sideways, and then the miracle of all miracles happened. The ADA righted herself. We had been smacked over the bar. We rolled helplessly in deeper water until blown into the channel. Finally we got the engine started and motored in to behind a sand spit breakwater. 15 minutes later a gang of Eskimos came aboard saying we were the luckiest people they had ever seen. We all knew that. Not one boat in a million could do the same thing again. After laying up for five days we finally made Wainright. Here we unloaded most of the freight and took on as passengers storm bound Eskimos unable to return to Barrow in their boats heavily loaded with coal. So we left there towing five whale boats and about 25 Eskimos to sweeten the forecastle and share with us the four bunks when the next storm came. We had then run into icebergs 20 feet high and were forced outside of them and land. 60 miles of this. The kids had gotten over their seasickness and there was no more rushing from below to punk pots. One woman had six children. She and all of them had been sick in my bunk. But that was nothing. After one storm I had laid down in more filth than could be found in a garbage can and never felt more clean in my life. To sleep alongside of those shipmates after trying to take what they did uncomplainingly was the finest sensation I have yet experienced. I have made four friends I shall never forget.” More at some later date.


This week will continue with more letters from Grandpa to his sons, so far from home.

Judy Guion


Trumbull – Dear Sonny – Marian’s Birthday Celebration – November 12, 1944

                 Marian Irwin Guion (Mrs. Lad)

Trumbull, Conn., Nov. 12, 1944.

Dear Sonny:

It gets a bit puzzling how to address you youngsters each week without repeating some salutation used in former letters, and in this respect perhaps Dan has the right idea of plunging right into the letter without wasting time on the customary form of address. Sometimes I sit for a couple of minutes puzzling how to begin this week’s screed, so today I just wrote the above applying to each of you individually and collectively.

Yesterday was not only Armistice Day but also Marian’s birthday, and following the usual custom we celebrated it today. Elizabeth, who came to dinner with her two boys (Zeke came in later, he having been to his mother’s to see Irv, who is home on leave), was able to get, through her butcher, a nice ham, quite a rarity these days, and that with some of Burrough’s cider of sainted memory, baked sweet potatoes, cauliflower, topped off with Guion’s celebrated prune whip, was followed with the opening of gifts amid the soft glow of candlelight – – in the dining room, of course. Lad had sent me a bottle of Marian’s favorite perfume earlier in the week and this happened to be the last gift she opened which topped off things with an unexpectedly pleasant surprise for her. Doing as much as we can, however, these days still lack that intangible something that used to be present with all you boys gathered around in your accustomed places. It is so pleasant having Marian added to the home circle that she and Jean supply what would otherwise be a very quiet and almost somber occasion.

Yesterday Lad wrote from “somewhere in the United States”, or I should say Marian got a letter yesterday written the day before but from where is one of those wartime secrets. He was unable to give the slightest inkling of what is planned, but at least it is clear he did not sail Tuesday with Carl on his transport, although even this sailing is just conjecture.

Ced saved the day from being a news blank week by making it possible for an Alaskan letter to reach me Saturday. The address on the envelope definitely puts me into the local wood choppers union along with Sidney Hillman of C.I.O. fame and other Roosevelt supporters. In spite of the old saying, there appear to be about 20 million Americans who voted for the wrong man, and being quite disgusted I shall not even comment on the horrible example of poor judgment on the part of the majority of U.S. citizens. Undaunted, however, I shall try again four years from now.

To come back to Ced, from what he says the traditional method of celebrating Halloween is practiced even in far-off Alaska. Here, it was very quiet, most of the Trumbull hell raisers having transferred their affections to pestering Japs and Jerries. Ced also recounts in his usual modest manner that he was duly elected President of the Anchorage ski club and has already gotten his committees working. Among other things they are planning a trip to Independence Mines and their annual ski rally. In his letter Ced enclosed a money order and for Dan’s benefit I quote: “Ten dollars of it are to be put into Dan’s account. It is payment for his Spanish records and I hope he will be satisfied. No one seems to know what they were worth, and as the girls had them in the cellar and wanted to clean out the place, they decided to try to sell them. Eleanor Oman has gone out to live with her mother in the states and before she left she made the deal with some soldiers.”

Tomorrow I’ll post the conclusion of this letter including a few extracts from Rusty’s letter to Ced. For the rest of the week I will be posting more letters from Grandpa. 

Judy Guion

Memories of Arla Mary (Peabody) Guion (7) – 1922 – 1925


Arla Mary Peabody Guion with her first five children - Dan, Lad, Ced, Dick and Biss

Arla Mary Peabody Guion with her first five children – Dan, Lad, Ced, Dick and Biss

In 1922, during a family vacation, Arla found out about a house in Trumbull, built in 1756, went to see it and fell in love with it. She eventually had her way and the family moved in to their new house in December of 1922. The story continues in Grandpa’s autobiography:

Meanwhile, I was having serious commuting troubles. Each winter the trains were frequently late. This, together with the antagonistic attitude of my immediate boss at the office, made my frequent, late arrivals at work increasingly disagreeable incidents. Also, the seven mile auto ride to and from Trumbull in all kinds of weather, the 2 1/2 to 3 hour train ride to Grand Central followed by a crowded subway ride to the Battery, and this twice a day, not only was physically exhausting but also necessitated my leaving home early and arriving home late. There seemed only one sensible alternative – to seek employment in Bridgeport. A letter campaign from New York to Bridgeport manufacturers proving unfruitful after months of vain effort, in desperation I resolved to take drastic measures. With five little ones to feed and clothe I simply had to get a job, so, burning all bridges behind me, I quit my New York job cold to wage an all-out on-site search to find something in Bridgeport. To make this step was one of the most difficult decisions of my life, but within two weeks I became Assistant Advertising Manager of the Bridgeport Brass Company and a few months later, Advertising Manager, which job I held until I left to start an advertising agency of my own.

In Trumbull we became interested in local activities. A local volunteer fire company was started in which I was a charter member. To raise money to buy firefighting equipment we ran annual carnivals which were successful for many years, and which the old Waverley Electric Car played a part.

Arla’s children shared a few memories of her in their recorded childhood memories.

LAD – I don’t have many memories of my mother. I remember that she was involved with the Women’s Club, and was very, very well-liked by everybody. We always had a lot of visitors. She was very outgoing and friendly and quite pretty. She was very active in the community. Other than the fact that Mom was involved in the community a great deal, she was a good mother. We all like her very much, got along with her.

CED – I don’t believe Mother had a single enemy in Trumbull. She was President of the Women’s Community Club, and she was very, very good to the family. She had practically all of our aunts and some of our uncles living with us in Trumbull at various times. We had a big house and most of them lived in New York City. When they had vacations and when we had holidays, they’d all come up on the train from New York. Sometimes they would drive – it would take them about four hours on the Post Road. I remember those trips too. Traffic was all over the place, stop and go, stop and go.

I always said that I knew one person in town that my Mother didn’t like. This woman had two sons who were friends with us. I don’t believe that the woman ever knew that my mother didn’t like her because this woman was very critical of other people and that bothered my mother.

My Mother was very active in town, she was very public spirited. She helped plant flowers on the green, that sort of thing.

Our house was the center for the local population. All the kids our age congregated in our house because of everything, and my mother, of course. She was very pro-social, in her own life and in ours. She was a wonderful woman. We were really one big happy family and we really had fun growing up. Arnold Gibson was part of the group; he was more a part of the family group. He was very fond of our family, and spent a lot of time with us. Arnold was devoted to my mother, too. Everybody that knew her loved her.

DICK – One of my earliest memories is Mom at the front Dutch door, talking to someone from the Red Cross. I was standing next to her and she was running her hand through my hair… It was heaven.

BISS – Dick and I were sitting on the radiator in the back bathroom and it was so cold there was frost on the window. We take one of the pieces of our Erector Set, putting it in a hole of the oil heater to heat it up and touch the frost on the window. At one point I leaned over a little too far, fell down on top of the oil burner and tipped it over. I had always been taught that if there’s a fire you run out and close the door… which I did. Dick was still on the radiator in back of the fire, and then the fire started up the curtain. I screamed for Mother and evidently she heard the panic in my voice and she responded immediately. As soon as she got upstairs and realized what was happening, she yelled for Lad to bring the fire extinguisher. As she got to the top of the stairs and started walking towards the bathroom, her very flimsy gown caught on fire and I remember she put it out. Mother then took the rug from the hallway and threw it on the fire and put the fire out, but the door was scorched where the flames had licked at it.

Dick, Dan, Ced, Lsd and Biss

Dick, Dan, Ced, Lad and Biss

Tomorrow, I’ll begin a week of letters written in the beginning of 1944.

Memories of Arla Mary (Peabody) Guion (6) – How We Came to Trumbull – 1922


In last week’s “Memories of Arla Mary (Peabody) Guion”, we learned about the very early years of the marriage of Alfred D Guion and Arla Peabody, including some early memories from the children. This week we will learn how Arla played a major part in the decision to move to Trumbull.

The Old Homestead

The Trumbull House

A.D. – And now having recorded some of the events in the first two decades of my life spent in the state of New York, let us look further east to Connecticut, were up to the present time, two or more decades have seen the childhood, youth and adulthood of most of my children and their families.

How did we come to settle in Trumbull? Almost purely by chance. And it all happened because of a vacation spent at my brother-in-law’s summer camp in Connecticut. One day, Fred Stanley, who had married my wife’s sister Anne, told us he had rented a little shack in the woods near Sandy Hook, Connecticut, on the Housatonic River, and as he could use it only part of the time, he asked if my family would be interested in occupying it for a couple of weeks. We were, and one summer morning we loaded up the old Franklin with beds, mattresses, clothing and food, and with five children and two adults, escorted by Fred to show us the way, we started merrily on our adventure.

Approaching Danbury, the most awful bangs, rattles and clanking left no doubt that something was seriously wrong with my car. Luckily, a Franklin repair service was located nearby and here we learned that a main bearing had burned out, which would take a couple of days to repair. By dint of persuasion, seeing our plight, the headman finally consented to put all hands to work to try to finish the job by nightfall. Fred was to go on to the camp with the children in his car and Arla and I would stay with the Franklin until repairs were completed. While I watched the mechanics at work, Arla spent several hours chatting with the proprietor’s wife, who, she told me afterward, painted a glowing picture of an old house they owned in a small country place called Trumbull, too far away for them to live in while conducting a business in Danbury, but evidently a dream of a home. She must’ve been a good saleswoman because Arla was so enthusiastic from the description given that when vacation time was over and I had to get back to work, she persuaded Fred to drive over to the place. It was a case of love at first sight and nothing would do but I must see it too and discover what an ideal place it would be for the children. I, too, was pleased with it.

It was obviously out of the question as a practical proposition because, with the job in the lower part of New York City and a Connecticut home 7 miles from the nearest railroad station at Bridgeport, itself 55 miles from Grand Central Station, only a madman would give the matter a moment’s consideration. She reluctantly agreed and the subject was abandoned, in my mind at least. As it has often been said, it is unwise to underestimate the power of a woman. Returning home from work several weeks later I found her, one afternoon, busily sketching at a table covered with several sheets of paper, and, upon inquiry, was told that she was figuring how our present furniture would fit in the Trumbull house. Seeing how serious she was, there followed several weeks of weighing arguments pro and con, ending in the decision that, for the children’s sake, I would take the chance and try commuting between Bridgeport and New York.

The Larchmont house was sold for considerably more than it cost and the Trumbull property bought for considerably less than the proceeds from the Larchmont property. We moved in one late December day. There was a furnace of sorts heating a potentially good hot water heating system, water was pumped from a nearby broke to a large storage tank in the cellar,and no lights, as a storage battery system in the barn had frozen, so we celebrated our first Christmas with candlelight under rather primitive conditions. Early the following year the local power company installed electric lights but heating and water supply still furnished problems. There were six fireplaces to supplement the furnace and firewood was plentiful. With foot valve troubles at the brook end of the water supply, water pipes freezing and frequent pump failures, it became necessary at times to draw water from the three wells on the property, until some years later when city water mains furnished adequate supplies.

In Tomorrow’s “Memories of Arla Mary (Peabody) Guion”, I’ll share some of the early memories the children have of their mother in the Trumbull house. On Monday, I’ll begin a week of letters written in 1945.

Monday through Thursday, one 4-page-letter from Grandpa, On Friday, one from Lad.

Judy Guion

Venezuelan Adventure – Lad’s First Trip into the Bush (2) – January 30, 1939


This is the second half of a long, detailed letter from Lad to family and friends in Trumbull about his activities between January 20th and January 30th, 1939.

Image result for "Camionette" vehicle

This is an older model Citroen Camionette. I don’t know the year but it

gives you an idea of the vehicle Lad is writing about.

Tues: –

After a good breakfast we left on the mules for the truck at 6:05.  It was too dark to cross the river safely before that.  We turned the truck around and in crossing a stream about 1 ½ miles from camp we got stuck.  Sand in the bank kept us from going forward, and a large rock prohibited us from backing up.  Finally we all got out by climbing over the front fender to the shore and Manuel, with the aid of a crowbar, succeeded in removing the rock.  Then in backing and going forward successively to get into position, the transmission case almost exploded, and parts went all over the sand on the river bottom.  That left the truck in the river and no way to get it out under it’s own power. T.H. Jr. and E. K.  went to La Cruz on the mules to get a truck or a pair of oxen and Manuel went back to camp to get some Peons to cut down the bank to make it easier to pull the truck out.  I stayed with the truck to watch the things.  Around there things not watched just seemed to disappear.  I learned from the Natives that the nearest place to buy parts was Coro and that a bus left La Cruz at 9:30 every other day and this was one of the days. T.H. Jr. and also found that out and when he returned he came back with the bus.  Around there the buses were trucks and the seats were made by placing the cargo so as to form some sort of a seat.  Also, the gas, which had been stored in a 50 gallon drum, had leaked out so that there was no gas in La Cruz and the driver would have had to wait until a truck or car came through with a few gallons to spare.  That may have been two or three days or a week, so we killed 3 birds with one stone.  The bus pulled the truck out of the river, we gave him some gasoline, and he took us to Coro for about 1/3 usual price.  But that’s getting ahead of myself.  We gave him the gas after he had pulled us to La Cruz and then he had to go San Luis for cargo and would stop by for us on the way back. Coro was in the opposite direction.  We put the car in a hotel yard and put everything we didn’t absolutely need in a room, E.K. went to camp and got some food, and we waited until 2:10 for the bus.  Our seats were made of bales of tobacco and were not very comfortable but served the purpose.

During the whole trip we stopped about every two hours at a private home or a hotel which served coffee and native refreshments but only E.K. took much relish in eating at these places.  About 10:00 P.M. we came to a hotel called San Maria and we were told that we would stop there for the night and get an early start.

Wed. –

T.H. Jr. woke the driver up at 1:30 A.M. and by 2:05 we were on our way again.  The stars were very bright since the moon had set, and T.H. pointed out the Southern Cross to me.  It was not as I had pictured it but it looked like this:-

We could also see the North Star and the Big Dipper.  The road was not much better than the one we had come over and we could not sleep.  We got into Coro at 6:00 A.M. and just got everything in the hotel when the lights went out.  In most of the cities they only have electricity during the hours of darkness, and as soon as the first streaks of daylight begin to show in the East, off go the generators.  The Hotel Occidental, although native, did wonderfully well and after cleaning up we had a rather nice breakfast.  After the stores opened we went our devious ways. T.H. and E. K. about their business with the State Presidente, Manuel off for a good time until noon and I, after the necessary parts for the Camionette.  About 11:00, upon returning to the hotel with the parts, I found some letters to be mailed for T.H. and then returned again and had a short nap till the Chiefs return.  Had lunch and then The Two went off on business and I took another short nap.  The bus was to leave for La Cruz at 2:30 and at 4:00 P.M. along it came.  About 7:00 we had some crackers and cheese and about 10:00 we again stopped at San Maria for the night.


Although T.H. Jr. had everyone up at 3:30 it was 5:00 before we finally started.  Of course, for breakfast we had had our usual coffee and as many cigarettes as we wished to smoke.  En route, we had some more cheese and crackers and pulled into La Cruz about 12:30 Noon.  Manuel and I started immediately to put in the new transmission and T.H. Jr. with E. K. and two mules went to the Camp.  In about 2 hrs.  lunch arrived from Camp and we stopped work long enough to eat, and then on again.  Everything went fine and about 6:30 I left Manuel pack the truck, eat and sleep in the truck, and I went to the Camp on the mule sent back for me.  I had a late supper and went to bed. T.H. was already in bed.

Fri.: –

Was awakened by violent shaking by T.H. Jr. at 4:00 and with full stomachs we left camp at 5:00 in spite of the darkness, using flashlights to light the trail for the mules.  We had left Jim Pierce there but was taking a fellow, Carl Nelson, back to Caracas with us.  No trouble at all and about 7:00 I took the wheel because we were to drive all the way through to Carora and Manuel, who knew the road was to drive after it got dark.  We had a few crackers about noon and later on stopped for beer.  Oh, yes.  Down here, even in Caracas, the tap water is not good to drink so during the duration of the trip we had to drink beer.  Because of the alcoholic content there are no harmful germs in it and it also furnishes quite a bit of nourishment, to my surprise.  I’m getting to the point where I can drink it like a man.  About 5:00 Manuel took over the wheel and going over the last range of mountains he hit a rock and bent the steering apparatus.  It had to be taken out and straightened and we had to work fast to finish before dark.  Not having the proper tools for straightening the post with us, we had to take the outside pipe off and leave everything loose to allow for the few bands we could not straighten and then we proceeded.  After getting into the flat country again Manuel drove so fast that he broke the center bolt in the rear spring and the body shifted enough to drag on the tire and we spent about an hour trying to fix it temporarily to finish our run to Carora which was only about 25 Kilos. more.  As we drove on, each bump shifted a spring leaf until it finally began to drag on the brake drum but we continued on and by the time we got to Carora, 5:00 A.M., it was making enough noise for you to hear, but you were probably all in bed and asleep.  At least I hope so.  We went to bed immediately with orders not to be awakened before 9:00 the following morning.

Sat.: –

At 9:15 I had breakfast and then went to the garage to help Manuel repair the spring.  I forgot to tell you that on the way to Carora from Caracas a stone had rubbed along the bottom of the car and had punctured the gas tank.  Therefore, after getting Manuel busy on the spring, I took out the gas tank and after repairing it, put it back and then helped with the spring.  Just as we finished the spring, Dan walked up.  I had been told that I wouldn’t see him for another month, so it was quite a surprise.  We went back to the hotel, had lunch at 3:00 and then spent the rest of the day chatting and swapping experiences.  He looks very well, better than he did in Trumbull, but you have seen a picture of him so you know.  He can converse with the natives fairly well, and gave me a few pointers that will help a great deal.  As we were to start for Caracas Sun. morning at 4:00 and Dan had to return to his camp, we said goodbye about 9:00 P.M. and retired.

Sun.: –

With our usual native breakfast behind us we left at 4:30.  Manuel, in the Camionette with the luggage, and T.H. Jr., Nelson and myself driving in the car.  Just before daylight we had a tire blowout on the car and it pulled the car off the dirt road into a 3 foot washout on the right shoulder.  This sudden stop bent the axle very badly but by using the Camionette and rope we were able to bend tie-rod enough to compensate for the bent axle and we only took about one and ½ hours.  About 11:00 we arrived in Barquisimeto and had a very good breakfast at a German Hotel.  Manuel stayed there to buy the 1939 plates for the cars and we continued on.  We drove into Valencia before it got dark and since we were all tired, decided to stay there for the night.  After a good supper at another German Hotel, we went to bed.

Mon.: –

Since Caracas was only about 200 Kilos. further we didn’t get up until 8:00 and we left the Hotel about 9:30 after having a flat fixed.  The remainder of the trip was very uneventful except that with the bent axle, we had a little trouble going around the curves thru the mountains and a little more trouble trying to make the turns here in Caracas.  All the roads here are narrower than the narrowest street I can think of anywhere except a few I saw up in Canada.  We came directly to the Hotel Aleman and they had room for the three of us so Mr. Human is here now also.  That finishes the trip and this paper too, so instead of using another sheet, I’ll bid you all adieu.  Remember me to everyone.

Good luck to all,


Tomorrow and Sunday, more Memories of Arla Mary (Peabody) Guion.

Judy Guion

Venezuelan Adventure (4) – Lad’s First Trip into the Bush (1) – January 30, 1939


January 30, 1939

Caracas, Venez.

Dear Families of “G’s” and “M’s” –

Because of the lengthy description the trip will require, I have decided to send it by regular mail.  I will give it quite complete, by memory (?), day by day.

Fri. Jan. 20

Mr. Human gave orders to Jim Pierce and myself to leave at 4:00 A. M. (If you don’t know Jim, he was the man Mr. Human went to La Guayra to meet) (an awfully nice fellow and a very good draftsman). At 3:00, the alarm I had set disturbed my slumber, and I went in the next room to wake Jim.  Boy does he sleep!  He finally responded and I went back to shave and dress.  At 3:30 my womanly intuition told me that I had better go back and see if Jim were up.  He was asleep again and this time he woke up a little bit easier and I stayed there till he was out of bed.  By 3:55 we had our bags and my tools out in front of the Aleman and then we had to wait until 4:20 for Manuel and then we had to go about 4 blocks to get the cook who was from Trinidad and was to go to Carora with us.  He was going to assist Simon, the cook in Dan’s Camp (known as Rudolph’s Camp, Bill Rudolph is in charge of the camp).  Howard was still in bed when we got there and we had another 10 min. wait.  When we got to the Majestic at 4:45 Mr. Human was still in bed, I’m pretty sure, but he won’t admit it.  We woke the doorman, and in a few minutes the lights went on in T. H’s room and about 15 min. later, down came his luggage.  Then he came down and we left for our trip to the bush at 5:10.  How would you all like to have been along?  On the outskirts of Caracas we stopped to have coffee, it is impossible to get breakfast in the hotels before 7:00, and that with a cigarette completed our first breakfast.  Manuel, as usual, drove like hell, and at 9:00 we had a good breakfast (orange juice, Quaker Oats, ham, eggs, rolls, coffee and more cigs.) and continued.  The Station Wagon (Camionette) in Carora needed some parts and in Caracas they had told us to get them in Puerto-Cabello, and since that would only be about 40 mins. out of our way, we went there.  After an hour’s search, the parts were found and we went back to the road to Carora.  In this country, to go from one state to another or into and out of large cities, one has to get permission from the authorities located at strategic points and in most cases, because we are Americans (Del Norte, they are also, but del sud) we just slow down and they motion us on.  As we turned toward Carora they stopped us and after a few questions, with answers course, they let us proceed.  As we went, the road gradually got worse.  So gradually that one does not realize it except that the speedometer gradually came down from 90 or 100 (Kilometers of course, 60 or 70 m.p.h.) to around 20, much slower of course thru big holes, mud and rivers.  About 3:00 we came to a town of perhaps 2 or 3 hundred occupants, and had a meal (?)  in a native hotel.  Then on again over a road that would be considered impassable in the States, but is the only road here running east and west over the Andes Mountains and is a National Highway.  The town roads are unfit to walk on.  Even the mules are apt to have trouble.  We got into Carora about 8:30 and there we met Bill Rudolph and had supper.  Jim and I did a little exploring there while B. R. and T. H. Jr. discussed the business and about 11:00 we all turned in.

This is one of the big work trucks that Lad was hired to keep running.

Image result for "Camionette" vehicle

This is an older Citroen Camionette.


Since we could take the car no further then Carora we had to fix the Camionette before we could proceed.  We could not get breakfast before 7:00 A. M. so I slept until 6:45.  Then with a full stomach I began the first bit of repairing down here.  Among many minor things we had to put in a new steering mechanism, rear engine mountings and adjust the brakes.  It was a 1938 De Luxe model but sounds and looks like a 1928, even though it has not yet been 10,000 miles.  Mr. Human came down in what I thought was about 2 hrs.  and told me that if I didn’t hurry back to the hotel I would have to go without lunch so I did.  (hurry back). By about 4:30 the truck was finished and I returned to the Hotel del Comercio to clean up and have dinner.  That evening we listened to American Music, which sounded awfully good but brought back memories, on the radio there, and then went to bed fairly early, about 8:30.


Had coffee and cigarettes and left for the bush at 4:00 A. M. Mr. Human had food so when it got light enough to see easily we had breakfast on the go and began to feel better.  Cigarettes don’t offer much food value.  The roads began to get even worse, and worser, but not worstest as we found out later in the day.  About 10 we started to climb over mountains. 6 ranges altogether and I will give you a general description of the roads with Cedric’s help.  Cecilia can also give you a description of some of the best sections.  Just ask her about the first time we were out in “Whimpy”.  And believe it or not, Babe, that stretch is as good, if not better, than the best sections of the road through these mountains.  Cedric can describe the road from Park St. over to Long Hill.  That road will give you an idea of the not so good stretches and the worstest sections would involve too much writing to describe.  Ask me about them sometime and I will try to make you believe what I tell you of them.  We cleared the last range and hit a road like the one to the reservoir, only more washouts, just before sunset.  This road seemed like a godsend after what we had been through and we could get the car up to 10 or 12 M. P. H.  Every once in a while and made comparatively good time.  We had eaten lunch and dinner en route and about 10:00 P. M. we stopped at a town called Paraiso to spend the few hours we could spare, sleeping.  This was the first hotel of the kind I had seen.  I have seen more since.  The complete furnishings for the room consisted of an orange crate, a miniature kerosene lantern, a picture of Jesus Christ and a number of pegs upon which we string as many native hammocks as desired.  These are woven from native material and some are quite highly colored.  They are about 5 ft. long and 4 or 41/2 ft. wide; are hung very loosely, sometimes nearly touching the dirt or cobblestone floor, and one lies with his head at one end and on either edge and his feet directly opposite.  Believe it or not, they are quite comfortable.  It took me half an hour or so to get used to the thing, but it got to be 3:30 before I knew it.


Good morning!  Left Paraiso at about 4:00 after our usual early morning breakfast and got into La Cruz about 8:00.  Inquired about the location of the Karnopp Camp (Edward Karnopp is in charge of the camp on the Churuguara road to Coro) and learned that it was only about 1 league or 5 kilos.  We got a native guide to take us and proceeded.  At 9:15 we came into the camp after taking the Camionette as far as it would go, walking about ¾ of a mile and then using a mule to cross the stream.  The camp was about 200 ft. from the other side of the stream.  There we had an excellent breakfast, one of the best since I left home, and prepared to spend the rest of the day there.  Mr. Human went with E. K.  to look over the line and Jim, who was to stay there, took a nap in his tent, and I, who am T. H. Jr’s secretary, right-hand man, and whatnot, sat down to straighten out accounts.  The gasoline out there in the bush is sold from any kind of cans or bottles they can procure and sometimes it takes half an hour to fill the tank.  It is Shell gasoline.  The luncheon was excellent and during the afternoon we went for a walk and then took a swim and cleaned up in the river.  However we saw no crocodiles but the men claimed that there are some small ones in it. T.H.Jr. and E.K.  returned in time for supper and had decided to go into Coro the following morning leaving camp at 4:00.  With that in mind, we all retired about 9:00.

Tomorrow, the rest of this very long, descriptive letter from Lad to the folks back home telling them about his first trip into the Bush.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Dear Laddie (no date) and Querida Alfredo From Dan (January 29, 1939)


Dear Laddie:

I am wondering if either of you boys have had a touch of homesickness — if you have missed the old home as much as the old daddy has missed you both.  “Absence makes the heart grow fonder” must have been written by someone who had passed through the experience both of you and we are going through.  Perhaps we will be all the stronger for the experience as long as we don’t let it get us “down”.

Mr. Reyom says he sent you the magazine section of last Sunday’s N. Y. Times in which there is an article on Venezuela.  I sent a similar clipping in the last letter I mailed to Dan.

Mr. Ives is confined to bed with bronchitis and Mrs. I.  has been having considerable difficulty in making the new car start, which evidently is one serious fault with the foreign model. Ced took it down to Bridgeport for her today to leave it at some garage to be looked over and fixed up if possible.

Have you had occasion to use the new set of tools you took down with you or has your work in connection with the Fair prevented your having to “get out and get under”?

Aunt Dorothy is still in N. Y.  We haven’t heard a word from Rusty since you left.

There was another big fire in Bridgeport the other night, corner of Wall and Water, where that auto accessory store is on the ground floor.  There was $100,000 worth of damage done according to the paper.

Dan sent with his last letter a garrapata to Dick, which made quite a hit (the word is hit) excuse it please.  He also sent some seeds to Grandma which she has planted in an old Maxwell House coffee jar and keeps on the kitchen table with her other plants.  Send some more seeds.  It’s interesting to see what they will bring forth — sort of an agricultural grab bag.

Well, Big Ben chimes out the march of time, and so to bed until the hopper of time grinds out more news, if you can dignify it by that name, for me to send on to my Venezuelan branch of the family.

As ever, DAD


Sun. Jan. 29

Querida Alfredo,

Helen arrives on the “Kungshoten” on Feb. 3 at La Guayra and dines in Caracas at noon.  Have the band at the dock to sound mess call.  Give Helen and Mr. Plumb my sincerest regrets tambien.

Jim Shields drives to Caracas this Saturday.  I shall send in some films to be developed.  If reprints are nominal in cost, I should like 3 copies of each, providing they come out well.  I finished the roll already in the camera, and put another in, but the roll in there now feels as if it has gotten wet, and the pictures may be spoiled.

On the way out to-day we saw a snake (Boa, I believe) of which I took a photo.  Later I pursued and Ant-eater, and took a picture of its diminishing stern.

Between now and Sat. I may think of more.  I’ll send further word by way of Jim.  I’m feeling perfectly well to-day.

Hasta luego –


Tomorrow and Friday, I will post a 20 page letter from Lad to the folks at home about his activities from January 20th to January 30th in Venezuela.

Judy Guion