Voyage to Venezuela (13) – Trip to Caracas – January, 1939

 

Alfred P Guion (Lad)

The trip to Caracas was an adventure in itself.  Our car was a large Lincoln of about 1931 vintage but to all outward appearances was in good shape, and was well polished.  It was a touring style body, the top was up and showed no signs of ever having been lowered.  The three of us, Frank Da Cosa, Paul Burkhart and myself rode in back, I in the middle.  I think that that was as good a location as any because I could look out either side with equal ease.  We wound around through the narrow streets of La Guayra for quite a few minutes, having to stop now and then to let a truck that was coming toward us pass, since the roads were too narrow for two large vehicles to pass at the same time in places and on other narrower streets, only one-way traffic was allowed.  It seems as if the bottom of the mountains are the border of the town for as we started up the first incline the houses were no more and after about one mile there were practically no signs of habitation along the right-of-way.

The road was about fourteen feet wide and seemed to go continually upward, winding and twisting like a snake, dipping only now and then to cross a little gully or stream and then on up again.  The turns were apt to be very sharp and our driver apparently thought nothing of them because he would only slow down sufficiently to be sure that the car would stay on the road.  The tires screamed on almost every turn and instead of looking at the scenery we were forced to spend more time watching the road in order to brace ourselves for the next turn.  What little I saw of the scenery however was very pretty.  Now and then the road went up parallel to the sea and with the clear blue sky above, the deeper blue water below and the brilliant green trees and grass between us and the stretch of sand that shone like a river in the bright sunlight, was something that I shall remember for quite a long time.  Now and then the road passed over a quebrada, as they are called, and if there were not too many trees I could look down for hundreds of feet to a deep chasm whose sides were so steep that only grass could get a foothold.  In other places the pavement was washed away or the road partly covered by a landslide and in these places the driver did slow down and once or twice he seemed to be sort of feeling his way across.  At one exceptionally sharp turn there is a monument erected as a memory to drive carefully.  It is an actual car that was wrecked quite badly on this turn, and is mounted on a cement pillar were all who pass cannot help but see it.  If one were to go straight instead of making the curve, or rather, turn, he would go down a steep embankment that is not far from perpendicular from many, many feet.  I doubt that one could live through it.  As we got higher and higher, we could see more and more hills behind this

On the very first page of Life in Venezuela by Alfred  P Guion, Lad writes:

“ Although I am starting off with every intention of bringing this little article, or whatever, to a close, it may never reach this ultimate end.”  Well, this is the end of his epistle.

I have a few letters written by Dan in late 1938 to the family and next Saturday, I will post a portion of one of them. It covers his trip from Curacao and his impressions of Caracas.

On the very first page of Life in Venezuela by Alfred  P Guion, Lad writes:

    “ Although I am starting off with every intention of bringing this little article, or whatever, to a close, it may never reach this ultimate end.”  Well, this is the end of his epistle.

I have a few letters written by Dan in late 1938 to the family and next Saturday, I will post a portion of one of them. It covers his trip from Curacao and his impressions of Caracas.

Tomorrow, I will post the last of the Bradford, Lewis, Rider and Irwin Ancestors. On Monday I will begin a week of The Beginning – Childhood Memories of Trumbull. 

Judy Guion

 

 

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Army Life – An Apartment and Wedding Gifts – December 7, 1943

              Lad and Marian Guion, 1943

Monday

Dear Dad –

Lad is still busy monogramming every article of G.I. clothing he possesses with G-2058 – even his sox – and I finished wrapping some of our Christmas gifts, so I can think of no better time to write you and relate the latest happenings of the very happy A. P. Guion’s of California.

First and foremost – we have finally located a place to hang our hats. Hallelujah! This business of vagabonding in the Buick has been find, but it’s going to be wonderful having our own place. It is in South Pasadena – a living room, bedroom, kitchen and bath over a garage, completely furnished – only four years old and sounds very nice. I haven’t seen it yet, but we’re moving in this coming weekend, we hope! I’ll believe it when we are actually in, and not before. The new address is 1416 Stratford Ave., South Pasadena. I hope it will be fairly permanent. Seems to me that you had quite a time wondering just where to send your letters. Hope you won’t have to think about any other address for quite a while. We are going to spend next weekend collecting our things from various parts of Southern California and concentrating them in one spot, and it’s going to be wonderful. We are actually looking forward to moving!

Secondly, the photograph of Lad has never arrived. I have inquired twice at this post office, with no positive results. They said the best thing to do would be to start checking from your post office. Perhaps by now it’s come back to you. I hope so.

–      About wedding gifts. It’s rather hard to tell you just what to say to lad’s friends- we don’t want to get too many things so that we will have a hard time moving – and not knowing where we will be after the war makes a difference, too. However, linens of any kind are very acceptable. We haven’t picked out our sterling pattern as yet, and are waiting until after the war to get our dishes – so, that’s out – our Fostoria is the candlewick pattern – we don’t have cake plates or cups and saucers in that – odd pieces of any fairly plain Fostoria would be acceptable. Vases are another thing we could use – does that help?

–      We are sending our Christmas package to you this week. Hope it arrives before Christmas. Isn’t very much, but with it comes a heartfelt wish for happiness for all of you and the fervent prayer that next year we can all be together for Christmas. Will certainly be thinking of all of you.

Mowry Addison and Marian (Rider) Irwin

    Mowry Addison and Marian (Rider) Irwin

–         Quoting from Mother’s last letter, “I received the nicest letter from Al’s father this week. I hope that we will get a chance to meet him sometime soon, for I know we will like him very much.” She also  said how startled she was to have you referred to Al as “Lad” ‘cause three or four times while we were home she started to call him that because it seemed so natural. And she has never known that Lad was his nickname. I’ve never mentioned it in any letter to them. I always referred to him as Al. Strange, isn’t it?

Lad asks me to tell you that, for the record, the pajamas, bathrobe and Christmas box have all arrived safely – and he hereby sends his thanks.

Will write again, soon,

Love to all-

Marian

Lad ads a note:

Lad writes: Thanks for your cooperation. All of the pkgs. have arrived in fine shape. As Marian mentioned, her temporary address will be 1416 Stratford Ave. I think monogram letterhead will be very nice. Something like this:Initials are M I G. More later. Love to all — Lad

Tomorrow, more of the Voyage to Venezuela. On Sunday, more of My Ancestors. 

Judy Guion

Army Life – Dear Home Guard of the Guion Clan – Marian and Lad’s Thanksgiving Wish – November 25, 1943

This week I will be posting letters written in 1944. Lad and Marian have just been married and are looking for an apartment.  Dan is in London, Ced is in Anchorage, Alaska, working as an airplane mechanic for Uncle Sam, Dick is in Brazil and Dave is battling with various Army training schools.

Mowry and Marian Irwin, Marian and Lad Guion, November 14, 1943

Marian’s first letter as a newlywed to Grandpa and everyone else in Trumbull on Thanksgiving Day, 1943.

Thursday

Dear Home Guard of the Guion Clan —

Surely it can’t be a week since Lad wrote you saying that I would be writing to you in a day or two, but after taking a hasty glance at the calendar, I find that it is over a week ago! How time flies by – and all my good intentions, too — nevertheless, we have been thinking of you, and wishing there were some way we could induce Superman to transport us to Trumbull for Thanksgiving Day. Of course, Uncle Sam says that Lad must work today, although he did surprise me by getting off for two hours for lunch – but maybe Superman could convince Uncle Sam, too, that eating at home on Thanksgiving Day would be quite a morale “lifter-upper”.

We are going out for our Thanksgiving dinner — seeing as how we don’t have an apartment as yet– and besides, I’ve never cooked a turkey in my life! There always has to be a first time, however, but perhaps it’s just as well for Lad’s innards that we are going out. Even though you will probably all be in bed, we will drink a toast, too, to the Guion Clan and the fervent wish that another year will find us all together.

Seems to me that Lad reported quite completely to you about our wedding. It was really lovely and although simple, was quite impressive. Lad, of course, didn’t tell you what a very fine impression he made on the members of my family – you and I know, of course, that it certainly wouldn’t have been any other kind of an impression – but my family has never seen him. All comments were highly favorable, and as mother says, “We have some rather outspoken members in our family too!” But they all think he is mighty fine, as, of course, he most definitely is!

We received a congratulatory telegram from Ced bemoaning the fact that he wouldn’t be around to tie tin cans on the car! I’m surprised someone in our family (West Coast branch) didn’t think of it either. They must be slipping, or perhaps the fact that we didn’t leave until after everyone else did sort of cramped their style! We were so pleased that everyone could come to the wedding – some driving as far as 100 miles in spite of the “gas and tire situation” – then we stayed around talking to everyone until they had to leave.

Isn’t it wonderful that Ced is getting home? For a whole month, too. There will certainly be great rejoicing when he arrives, won’t there? Three years is an awful long time.

If my husband (gosh, that sounds wonderful!) Expects to find me practically ready to go out with him this evening when he gets home, I’d better close this letter and start to get ready.

Can’t possibly tell you how very happy we are – in spite of the fact that we have no home. Perhaps a slight ray of our happiness will shine through the lines of this letter – if you could see us I know you’d see what I mean, for we are just beaming all the time. Our friends just look at us and say, “You can’t possibly be that happy!” But we are — Even more so–

With love and happy Thanksgiving Day greetings from

Lad and Marian

P.S. – The package containing the P.J.s arrived safe and sound.

M

Tomorrow, Wednesday and Thursday, two letters from Grandpa and on Friday, another letter from Marian.

Judy Guion

 

Tomorrow and Wednesday, a letter from Grandpa, on Thursday another of Grandpa’s letters and on Friday, another from Marian.

Judy Guion

Voyage to Venezuela (12) – The Adventure of Landing at La Guayra – January 4, 1939

This is the  beginning of a series of posts concerning Lad’s Voyage to Venezuela, taking a similar route as John Jackson Lewis during the first portion of his journey, about 88 years later. Lad and Dan had been hired by their Uncle Ted Human (husband of Helen (Peabody) Human), Aunt Helen, sister of Arla Mary (Peabody) Guion, Grandpa’s wife who had passed away in 1933 after a long illness. This is Lad’s version of the adventure he was taking and the same trip Dan had taken earlier in the year, traveling with Ted Human to South America.

 

The Harbor  at Curacao, January 3, 1939

Native  Quarters at Curacao – January 3, 1939

Wednesday, January 5, 1939, (actually, Wednesday was January 4th in 1939) was a beautiful day, quite well advanced, by the time I rose from my bed.  We were just outside the La Guayra harbor waiting for the Pilot to come aboard to guide us into the harbor.  With him would also come the Officials to check our passports and issue the landing papers.  While I was eating breakfast the small tender arrived and we proceeded into the harbor.  There were ships at the dock so we were able to tie up at the wharf with no trouble at all.  While the ship was being made ready for passengers to disembark, the Customs men were busily checking all passports of those intending to stay in Venezuela.  After studying the little red book for a few minutes they would ask a couple of questions through the interpreter, fill out a sheet in Spanish, which had to be signed by the person himself, and then with almost a tone of greed they asked for 10 Bolivars.  This seemed to be the thing that they were most interested in and after that you were told that you would get your passport back in the Customs House on shore.  The landing papers were given out at the Purser’s Office and we were allowed to leave the ship.  It was eleven o’clock when I got to the long gray galvanized sheet iron building that was the Office and storage room of the Customs Dep’t. and in Venezuela there is a two-hour lunch period which starts at eleven in some towns and in others at noon.  La Guayra starts its lunch hours at eleven so immediately after reaching the building everyone was chased out in the place was locked up while the men went out for lunch.  Naturally, the wise thing for me to do was to go out and eat also, but where?  Out in front of the office I met two men who had come down on the Santa Rosa with me and one of them had spent a number of years in Venezuela and knew where to eat, so we asked him to be our host and he did a nice job of it.  Had lunch at a famous seaside restaurant in La Guayra, of which I have forgotten the name, and drove around a little, seeing parts of the city.  It was all interesting and new to me and at the time, I didn’t notice particularly the dirt and filth that I saw on a call to La Guayra after I had spent a few months in Venez.

At 1:00 we all came back to the Customs Office and found out that before getting our passports we would have to call at another administration building and give some more information concerning how long we were intending to stay in Venezuela, our address, for whom we were working and 5 Bolivars more.  For this last we were given a receipt and told to go back to the Customs Office for the passport.  Arriving back there we were told that we would have to wait because there were a few other people in front of us.  They were terribly slow, and spent more time talking than working.  As our baggage was inspected and passed as O.K. the “jefe” put on a sticker with no regards as to how it would look, with a very messy and sticky glue.  Then it was taken to the car or whatever means of transportation one had, and packed for the trip to wherever.

I am getting a little ahead though.  On board the room Steward had a carton of cigarettes, and offered them to me at a substantial savings, and in answer to my question, told me that if the seal were broken they would pass the Customs.  Therefore I opened each pack and put them in my trunk in a conspicuous place.  However the official must have liked Chesterfield’s for when he saw them he smiled and removed five of the remaining eight, but tobacco, which is definitely taboo, he did not take after I told him that it was all I had with me.  It was a one-pound tin of Briggs about one-third empty.  Everything else that I had went through with no questions.  Our host, Frank DaCosa, had hired a car with our permission, for the three of us and all our luggage was strapped onto the trunk rack on back and by four we were ready to leave La Guayra.

At this point a man who had been hanging around quite closely handed each of us a slip of paper that had all the symptoms of a bill and from Frank I learned that it was one for the unasked for assistance that we had gotten in taking our luggage from the Customs house to the car and for watching it in the locked building during the noon hour.  It amounted to 15 Bolivars, which was ridiculous, but had to be paid in order to avoid a scene.  Therefore by the time we had finally left La Guayra I had paid a total of Bolivars 30, without counting my meal or the charge for the taxi to Caracas.

Tomorrow, more about my Bradford Ancestors.

Next week,  I will begin posting more Childhood Memories of Trumbull.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – The Beginning (55) – Childhood Memories of Trumbull – The Guion Boys at War

These are the memories of my Father and his siblings, recorded over several years. When my Uncle Dan passed away, I realized that I had better get started recording the memories of Dan’s siblings before they were also gone. I was able to have two recording sessions with my Father, Lad in California; two with Uncle Ced in New Hampshire, a three-day cruise in our boat with Aunt Biss; one session with Uncle Dave in Stratford, CT and one hand-written session (I forgot my tape recorder going up to the Island in New Hampshire, where Uncle Dick lived) with Uncle Dick. I transcribed them once exactly as they were spoken, again removing the ums, ahs, half sentences started over, etc. I then produced a final copy that was easier to read, but it still needs work getting the chronological order correct. Memories are not recorded with a date stamp. I created 75 binders for family members which include all three translations, pages and pages of photos and memorabilia and the actual recording. Now family members can actually heat their ancestors speaking. It was my first project with all the material my Father saved for me and a true Labor of Love. I hope you enjoy these memories of A Slice of Life at a different time and place.

Lad in uniform at the Trumbull House on leave

LAD – (During the War) Dan was in France.  He was a surveyor and was coordinating between England and France, I guess helping to make arrangements (before D-Day). Ced was working at Elmendorf Airfield when it was taken over by the military.  He was then employed by the government as a mechanic.  Later on, he was willing to do it, or was crazy enough to do it, but he would take a tractor and an AT Wagon (a little wagon with tracks on it so it stayed on top of the snow) and go out and bring back downed planes.  Sometimes it would take a number of days before he found the plane and was able to bring it back.  Dick, I know very little about.  He went to Brazil and was able to converse with Portuguese civilians.  He spent a couple of years there. I know nothing about Dave except that he was in the Philippines.

David Peabody Guion

DAVE – on December 23 (1944) I was sworn into the Army and on January 16th I went off to Ft. Devin’s to begin my training. One of the deals in the processing up there was a situation where you could sit down and some guy with a typewriter and a form would ask you questions and then type the answers.  Well, one of the questions further down the line was, “What would you like to do while you are in the service?”  I said, “I’d like to get to talk to people.  I’d like this job.”  A few days later – George Knecht (a friend and neighbor from Trumbull) and I went into the service at the same time – a few days later they called me down to processing and said, “We can keep you for, we don’t know how long, it depends on how you orders are written, but we can keep you on this job doing this typing.”  And I said, “Yes.”  I could see some weekends home with my new girlfriend, so that’s fine with me.  A couple of days later George shipped out and went to Europe and slogs through mud and muck during the whole war.

I got home three weekends; it was a pretty nice job at Fort Devens.  Of course at the time I said I’d like to do this job I didn’t realize that it was done by people who were just recruits as I was once.  Anyhow, the guy behind me – there were four of us who were doing this job – was telling me about his brother who was in the Signal Corps in New Jersey.  So I figured that was a good deal.  I’ll joined the Signal Corps and from New Jersey, get home some more weekends.  What I neglected to say is that they told us, “When they ask you this question of what you would like to do, nobody ever reads that.  At this point, we are just filling a quota, but those who work here, we actually do try to put them where they want to be.”  So that’s when I said, “New Jersey.  I’d like to go into the Signal Corps.”  So I went into the Signal Corps.  After I got into the Signal Corps I found out that New Jersey was the advanced training for radar or something and I ended up in Missouri, but at least I was in the Signal Corps.

I was sent to radio school and radio school was – what you had was earphones on your head and there were all these dits and dahhs, dit-dit-dahh-dit, all this business, and you were supposed to write down these letters as they came out.  I found out they were random letters.  I didn’t want to be a radio operator, didn’t want to hear all those dits and dahhs in my head, in my ear.  What I used to do – it’s tough to beat the service, they’ve seen everything – but I managed to get away with this.  I don’t know how, but there was a key that you could send messages, I guess that was advanced training, and I found out that the messages, the letters, came through that key.  So I used to take a little piece of paper and stick it in a spot where it broke the connection and then when the instructor went by I would sit and write any letter that happened to come into my head because they were all random letters.  When he moved on, I would switch papers and write a letter to my girlfriend.  Roundabout that time I got the mumps.  I was in the hospital and when I came back out ….. I guess it was maybe before I went to radio school I got the mumps; I guess that’s what it was.  I remember my finest hour  I begged and pleaded with the officer to let me stay in radio school even though I wanted desperately to get out and he didn’t buy my act so they sent me off to cryptography school.  That was a better deal.  I was encoding and decoding messages and I had to get an FBI clearance and people back home were interviewed, a big fuss made, but at eighteen, how much trouble could I have gotten into in my life.  So I got into Cript School and that’s where I stayed and although I didn’t do a lot of encoding and decoding, I was officially a cryptographer.

For the rest of the week I will be posting more of the recorded Childhood Memories of Trumbull.

Judy Guion

The Beginning (54) – Childhood Memories of Trumbull – Lad and World War II

These are the memories of my Father and his siblings, recorded over several years. When my Uncle Dan passed away, I realized that I had better get started recording the memories of Dan’s siblings before they were also gone. I was able to have two recording sessions with my Father, Lad in California; two with Uncle Ced in New Hampshire, a three-day cruise in our boat with Aunt Biss; one session with Uncle Dave in Stratford, CT and one hand-written session (I forgot my tape recorder going up to the Island in New Hampshire, where Uncle Dick lived) with Uncle Dick. I transcribed them once exactly as they were spoken, again removing the ums, ahs, half sentences started over, etc. I then produced a final copy that was easier to read, but it still needs work getting the chronological order correct. Memories are not recorded with a date stamp. I created 75 binders for family members which include all three translations, pages and pages of photos and memorabilia and the actual recording. Now family members can actually heat their ancestors speaking. It was my first project with all the material my Father saved for me and a true Labor of Love. I hope you enjoy these memories of A Slice of Life at a different time and place.

 

LAD – After working in Venezuela for two and a half years, the company required that I take two months off and go to a temperate climate.  They didn’t care where, just that I had to be out of the tropical climate.  So I went home.  Just before the ship landed in New York City, an announcement came over the PA system that some government employees would be coming on board.  When they arrived, they asked everyone for their passport.  They told me that I wouldn’t get my passport back.  I went to Trumbull and shortly thereafter, got my conscription notice, classifying me 1-A.  Because of my draft status, I had trouble finding a job.  I figured that if I signed up, then I could pick which branch of the service I went into.  I went to New York City and tried to get into the Navy and the Air Force but I was rejected because of my eyesight.  I was finally able to get a job at the Producto Machine Company (in Bridgeport).  They made machines and dyes.  It was a fairly nice plant, it was considered pretty good equipment.  In December, the Japanese bombed Perl Harbor and shortly after I got a notice to report for duty.  I was able to get a deferment because of my job but by April, 1942, I had been reclassified 1-A.  I received a notice to report for duty in May. Two days later I got a letter from the Navy saying they had lowered their eyesight requirements and I was now eligible.  I tried to talk the Army out of it, but was unsuccessful.  So I went into the Army.

Dan and I were both in France in 1945.  I had been corresponding with Dan and I knew he was going to be married on a particular day in mid-summer.  I talked my Captain into a three-day pass but it was limited to Paris.  That was as far as I should go.  So I went to Paris and checked into the Hospitality Hotel.  I left my duffel bag there and put a little sack in my pocket with a toothbrush and that’s about it, I guess, maybe a comb too.  I decided to try to get to Calais (where Dan was to be married).  I didn’t know how far it was, maybe fifty or sixty miles from Paris, north of Paris, up on the coast.  I got a ticket on a train and the train went about five or six miles per hour for about ten or fifteen minutes, then it stopped.  It stood there for a long, long time, then it went a little further and it stopped again.  I was noticing that cars kept going by so I got off the train and hitchhiked.  I beat the train by a day.  I didn’t have much trouble hitchhiking.  An English soldier came along on a motorbike and asked me where I wanted to go.  I told him Calais.  He said, “That’s not far.  I’ll take you up there.”  So that’s how I made the last two-thirds of the trip to Calais.  I had no trouble finding the house; it was Chiche’s mother’s house, her mother and father’s house.  He was a pharmacist.  It was fairly late in the afternoon when I got there.  I stayed the night and the wedding was the next day.  As I recall, they were expecting me when I got there.  The third day, my pass was up but I didn’t hurry to get back.  I went back to Paris on the train, and this time, it went pretty well.  I grabbed all of my equipment out of the Hospitality Hotel and checked out.  I took the usual bus to go from Paris to Marseilles, but by this time, I was one day over my pass.  When I got back to camp there was nothing there, just damaged grass and fields.  Everything was gone!  I finally found an officer who was walking around and asked him what had happened.  He said that everybody had shipped out, Saturday, I guess it was, or Sunday.  I told him my name and he said, “Oh, yeah.  They tried to get a hold of you but the Hotel said they couldn’t find you.”  So he told me where to go and what to do.  I went to the location he told me about and they knew all about me.  There was another fellow there, Bob Mark.  I was with the 3019th and he was with the 3020th.  He had been left behind to gather all the equipment.  I said, “That’s what I’m supposed to do.”  So, Bob and I got together and found our equipment, we both belonged to the hundred and forty-ninth Battalion.  We got all the equipment rounded up, got it to the dock and finally were able to get a ship that would take it to Okinawa.  I think it took us close to a week to get everything ready and get aboard.  We started out but when we were about two hundred miles from the Panama Canal, the word on the PA system was that the US had dropped a bomb on Hiroshima.  We got the message in the afternoon, and the next morning the ship turned around, went back out to the Atlantic and up the coast to New York.

After I returned to New York I was stationed at Fort Dix.  I don’t know how many months, a couple or three months.  They didn’t know what to do with me.  I went home every weekend and came back on Monday.  Finally they said to me, “We don’t know what to do with you so you might as well go home and get discharged.”  So that’s what finally happened.

For the rest of the week I’ll be posting more Childhood Memories of Trumbull.

Judy Guion

The Beginning (53) – Childhood Memories of Trumbull – Working in Venezuela – 1939 – 1941

These are the memories of my Father and his siblings, recorded over several years. When my Uncle Dan passed away, I realized that I had better get started recording the memories of Dan’s siblings before they were also gone. I was able to have two recording sessions with my Father, Lad in California; two with Uncle Ced in New Hampshire, a three-day cruise in our boat with Aunt Biss; one session with Uncle Dave in Stratford, CT and one hand-written session (I forgot my tape recorder going up to the Island in New Hampshire, where Uncle Dick lived) with Uncle Dick. I transcribed them once exactly as they were spoken, again removing the ums, ahs, half sentences started over, etc. I then produced a final copy that was easier to read, but it still needs work getting the chronological order correct. Memories are not recorded with a date stamp. I created 75 binders for family members which include all three translations, pages and pages of photos and memorabilia and the actual recording. Now family members can actually heat their ancestors speaking. It was my first project with all the material my Father saved for me and a true Labor of Love. I hope you enjoy these memories of A Slice of Life at a different time and place. 

Lad in Venezuela

Dan in Venezuela

LAD – I got into the oil business in Venezuela through my uncle, Ted Human. he was a civil engineer and saw an ad in the business paper that requested workers for Venezuela.  He applied for a job with a company called  Inter-America, Inc. he got the job and asked Dan, also a civil engineer, to come down and help him.  He also asked me if I’d go along as a mechanic to maintain the company trucks.  We were going to build a road from Caracas to Columbia, which would go across the top of Venezuela. Barquisimeto was the name of the town in Venezuela.Dan left with Uncle Ted (in October, 1938) but I had to buy tools, equipment and other stuff that I would need.  By the time I had everything ready and had arranged transportation, it was the end of December, 1938.  I left from New York City on a Grace Line ship on December 26 (actually he left on December 30th)1938.  I was at sea on New Year’s Eve.  We had a rather bad storm going across the port of Caracas and most of the passengers got sick, I was 1 of the few that didn’t get sick.  I was still able to get around although the ship was pitching rather badly.  After that, they put balance wheels or gyroscopes in those boats.  They really helped a great deal.  It didn’t stop the pitching, but it did stop the yawing.

I worked for Inter-America for a couple of months but I wasn’t getting paid.  Neither were the other guys.  Uncle Ted found out that the pictures sent to the Venezuelan officials showing the road we had built was actually just smoothed out sand, not cement.  He got pretty upset about that because it wasn’t a real road.  He and Dan had done the surveying and figured the angles and the grades, and then, instead of pouring cement, they just leveled off the sand.

Uncle Ted was injured in a car accident and returned to the United States.  I guess Dan wasn’t interested in staying after that.  Uncle Ted had introduced me to a fellow and I had worked on his vehicles.  I was able to get a job with him at Socony-Vacuum Oil Company and I worked for them for two years.

While Uncle Ted was in Venezuela, he had a chauffeur named Manuel.  They were going to Caracas down a road and came to a river with the bridge across it.  Many of the bridges in Venezuela are 2 lanes wide but only one side of the bridge is finished with planking.  Manuel was going a bit fast and he was going up a slight hill and because there was a piece of equipment on the road, he didn’t realize that the other side of the bridge had the planking.  Manuel tried to get over to the left far enough but wasn’t successful.  The car went over the bank and into the river.  Uncle Ted got hurt quite badly.  Aunt Helen came down from the US and took him back to a New York City hospital.  Although he lived for a few years after that, he was in very poor health.

Tomorrow and the rest of the week, more childhood Memories of Trumbull.

Judy Guion