Special Picture # 318 – Dan in Venezuela with Some of His Surveying Crew – 1939


Tomorrow, I’ll begin a week of letters written in 1944. Lad and Marian are in Texas. Ced has been home but is traveling back to Anchorage, Alaska, hopefully with a stop in Texarkana to see Lad and Marian. Dan is quite busy in London, Dick is in Brazil and Dave seems happy with his new situation in Uncle Sam’s Army. Grandpa tries to keep the home fires burning.

Judy Guion 


Special Picture # 315 – Venezuela – 1945


This picture of a very large snakeskin was taken in Veneuela in 1945. Third from the left is Flor Williams, and her husband were good friends with Lad while he worked for the Socony-Vacuum Oil Company (which is now Mobil Oil) from 1939 to 1941.

Tomorrow, i’ll begin posting letters written in 1942. Dan and Lad are both in Uncle Sam’s Army undergoing training and are still able to get home on some weekends.

Judy Guion

Special Picture # 257 – The Swimming Hole at San Tome Camp, Venezuela – @ 1941


Lad at the San Tome Camp in Venezuela

The crew at San Tome Camp in Venezuela

Friends sitting on the dock at San Tome Camp in Venezuela

The Swimming Hole at San Tome Camp in Venezuela

Tomorrow, another Special Picture.

On Monday, we’ll go back to letters from 1942 as Lad and Dan worry about the draft.

Judy Guion

Friends – Letter From Flor Williams to Lad (2) – August, 1941

This is the rest of Flor’s letter to Lad shortly after he left Venezuela to go home.

APG - Flor and Martin Williams, Bob Ross, visiting from Trinidad, April, 1940

Bob Ross, Flor Williams and Martin Williams  

(I wonder if this was taken just prior to the flight she talks about or if it was another flight, but that is Bob Ross with them. Martin could be seeing his wife off on her trip to Caracas.)

I don’t know that there is much new around here. Joe Kelley went up to the states the beginning of July to join the Air Corps, but from a letter we have received from him recently, we note that he failed the eye exam in three different localities, so that leaves that out. He saw Mr. Hardy down there, who offered him a job with the new Seismo crew coming down in December, as sole operator under Judson, whom Joe likes very much, and a good salary, and he is seriously thinking of accepting. It would be nice to have him back, and what a break for Carmen Luisa.

Bob Ross is on vacation and says he is having a grand time. He is also coming back, and that helps to, because he is a grand boy.

Joe Grant is being sent to the Grav. Meter Crew (near Maturin) tomorrow, and he is not very keen on the idea, because although Gerdes told him it would only be for three weeks or a month, he is afraid that once he gets there it won’t be so easy to get away.

The Enscoonatus will be moving to Cantuara the end of this month.

We have only heard once from the Wrights in the states, and they were still in Minneapolis, not knowing yet what they would do. We’re expecting to hear from them again soon.

There is a fellow by the name of Wood in the garage in your place. I have only seen him once, but he seems nice.

Larry Sieck left on the 15th. I went up on the same plane to spend the weekend in Caracas with my mother and Charlie (my brother) who arrived the 6th. We got as far as Maiquetia and had to turn back because it was impossible to land! We had lunch at home (Gloria’s eyes almost popped out when she saw me back so soon!) and started off again at 12:45. The second time we got there safely, although we were flying so low that as we passed the Hotel Miramar in Macuto it looked to be on the same level as us.

I found my Mother quite a bit thinner, she was very sick while in New York, but otherwise okay. Charlie fine. I had a good rest while in Caracas, which did me a lot of good.

Woody finally quit! He did it very suddenly, when he did do it, and they had to borrow a mechanic from the Pan Am to make the last couple of trips. As you might remember, the company has been thinking for quite a while of sending the plane back, as there was something wrong with it. Well, Woody’s leaving brought this to a head, as they finally decided to send it back, so it can either be fixed or exchanged for another one, and at the same time so that Red can pick out a new mechanic to his taste. We all hope the plane won’t be gone too long because it is only then that I, for one, feel isolated. They left here on the 21st. Ruth went along; and Woody consented to go as mechanic; it will save him a lot of money, too.

Everyone around here is fine and sends you best regards. The Leander’s Tiny is going to have pups. I don’t think she’s too happy about the whole thing, either.

I had better sign off now, as I have some more letters to write, among them to Joe Kelley, and one to Bishop’s wife, at his request, giving her an idea what she should bring (and believe me that’s going to be a whopper).

Martin joins me in sending Cecilia and your folks best regards (even if we don’t know them, we’ve heard so much about them from you) and for yourself the very best of luck and don’t forget us, even if you do go in the Army.


Tomorrow, a few other letters from friends and then a letter from Grandpa to his three boys in Alaska.

Judy Guion

Friends – Letter From Flor Willians to Lad (1) – August, 1941

This is the first half of a letter written by Flor Williams, wife of Martin Williams, friends from Venezuela who also worked for Socony-Vacuum Oil Company. Flor is answering a letter from Lad. He has been home since early June and is quite concerned about his draft status.

APG - Flor and Martin Williams, Bob Ross, visiting from Trinidad, April, 1940

Bob Ross, Fl;or Williams, Martin Williams


August 25, 1941

Dear Al,

Starting today, with you, I am commencing to make carbon copies of the letters I write to you boys, because it is becoming every day more difficult to keep track of who I have told what and when, and I am afraid that if I repeat myself too much my letters will become very boring. For instance, I don’t remember if I told you that the Baiz family has been terminated as of August 1; they left here August 5; all except Emy who stayed on for a couple of weeks more and left today. You can imagine how much we miss them socially; but medically we are probably way ahead, as we have a Doctor who, I am convinced, is far superior. His name is Delfin Aroila. We also have a streamlined nurse, very easy on the eyes, by name, Helena Rotundo; divorced, and has two little girls.

But, of course, the biggest news is that…….sit down if you are standing up….. Bishop is married! He did it while on vacation, without asking any of our permission; can you imagine? All kidding aside, though, I think it is grand, because he seems to have picked out a lovely girl, judging by the pictures he brought back. She is 22, her name is Dorothy Elise Schaeffer, although he says nobody has ever called or anything but Memphis; she is from Memphis, Tennessee, he knew her for years, it seems, although he had never mentioned her to anyone, as far as we know. Mr. Bartlett has promised that he will be able to bring her down for Christmas, and I am tickled silly over the idea because I was hoping that she will be able to fill the gap that Pat left.

Before going on with the news around here, which isn’t terribly much, I will answer your letter. The paragraph dealing with the Martin Williamses was very flattering, I must say, and I hope we can live up to it and Cecilia won’t be disappointed “when and as if” (as Mr. Sheldon would say) she meets us. We are also looking forward to meeting her, and seeing you again, and we certainly hope it will be before 1945. We had hoped to get away at the end of this month, in order to spend September and October up there, but they won’t let me go until Wardlaw returns, which won’t be until October, and as that is too late to do the things we want to do, and buy the things we will need for another two years down here, we are forced to wait until spring. At any other time we wouldn’t have minded this, but with things as they are, we’re not too sure what the spring might bring. At any rate, we already have the car, so that helps. We have also ordered, and hope to get soon, our new photographic equipment, namely, a new magazine load Kodak 8mm, a new projector, and a new screen. Whooppeee! I hope it comes soon.

Tres Matas is still with us and probably will remain for an indefinite period; for which we are glad, because he is a little “loco” and a lot of fun.

We hope you have by now acquired car to your taste. My driving has improved considerably, believe it or not, and I’m just itching to get my hands on OUR car. I’m going to try to get a driver’s license while up in the states, it will save me money when I apply for one here.

You ask about the radio frequencies and hours of our broadcasts here. Well, at 7:45 AM sharp, on 4.321 frequency, you will hear yours truly chirp cheerily “Good morning, Frank. Come in, please”. (I’m getting kind of sick of that little phrase, but haven’t found a good substitute yet). Then he gives the daily radio well report, which I take down and then repeat to him; we then give any messages we may have, and sign off, but communication is maintained all morning until 12; and again from 130 to 4:30 PM; only at 2 PM the frequency is changed to 8.642. If there is any testing, or anything else of importance going on, we have another report at 4 PM, as we’re going to do today because Anaco No. 1 is testing.

I’ll post the rest of the letter tomorrow. I’ll be posting more letters from friends later this week.

Judy Guion

Friends – Martin and Flor Williams From Venezuela (2) – July, 1941

Martin and Flor Williams - Trumbull

Martin and Flor Williams visit Trumbull

And now that I have answered most of the points in your letter I will try to give you some of the news around here.

The Ensconatus have been moved to the Siegfus’s house pending move to Cantaura, where they will set up housekeeping again. The house has been given to the Poleo family (you remember him, the radio technician, no?). His wife is very pretty and very simpatica, and their baby girl (about six months) is the most darling thing you ever saw. Although naturally we miss the Ensconatus, I can’t say I’m not so pleased also with our new neighbors; they are very nice indeed. Anita Ensconatus was operated on for appendicitis on Tuesday the 15th, as far as we know to date, is doing nicely.

Frank Borgon, Andy, the Wardlaw’s, Bob Ross, Gutke, Howard and I can’t think who else right at the minute, have left. The Wardlaw’s and Bob will return, thank goodness. The Frost’s arrived and are temporarily installed in the Grubbs house (By the way, Grubbs left for good, and I can’t say I’m not glad). I believe the plan is for them to stay there until the company builds another small house on our row. How long this will take, however, is, well…., you know how those things are.

De la Torre is back from vacation, and Sanchez Martinez has therefore returned to Guario.

The Baiz’s will be terminated on August 5. Maruja came out before they knew about it, but in view of the fact that they will be leaving so soon, Emy has remained in Caracas. Socially I like them tremendously, especially Lucinda, but medically I think this move has been expected for a long time. They will be replaced by a Dr. Delfin Aroila, surgeon, who, I understand, has his own x-ray machine, etc. etc., and if things turn out as the company plans, he will perform operations locally, thus eliminating the necessity of sending everybody suffering from the slightest ailment to Caracas. Let’s hope he’s good.

The Baiz’s leaving will make a big gap in the social season, but then you can imagine that pretty well, can’t you?

John Sheldon, Mr. Sheldon’s oldest boy, is spending some time here in the field. He has been at Guario for about 2 1/2 weeks and I believe he came in here today, although I haven’t seen him yet. The 23rd of this month is his birthday and we have invited him over to dinner, as well as the Pet. Eng. with whom he has been working in Guario. Can you imagine Gruver at our table? Do you think the house, our dishes, and glassware and stand such a tornado? Let’s hope so.

And talking about birthdays and dinners, Claire has invited us over for dinner the 31st, and I think that’s very sweet of her.

Well, Al, something tells me I have taken up enough of your time; I can only hope that I have not bored you; that I haven’t forgotten any bit of news that might be of interest to you.

I believe Sieck will be leaving soon, for good. It’s too bad, he’s such a nice boy.

I don’t know if I mentioned in my last that there was a possibility of our going in September. Well, it’s very doubtful, but what we would like to do is the following. Martin has already ordered a car, with the specifications of the cars the company buys, so that we can travel over these roads safely, to be delivered to his father on August 25th. This can be done whether we go or not, but should we be able to get away, our plan would be to leave here August 29th, catch the clipper of the first of September to Miami, and have Martin’s father meet us there with the car. Do all our tropical shopping down south, visit the Williams’s who have moved to Florida, and then drive north. We would take you in, spent some time in Maine, and if possible go as far West as Minnesota to see the Wrights. This is so far a beautiful dream, after my conversation with Cosh not long ago when he was out here (for just a few hours, as usual) it would seem that it might not work. However, we can enjoy ourselves planning in the meantime, don’t you think?

Well, now I will sign off before you faint.

Give our very best to all who may be interested, and for yourself receive our very very best wishes for a happy future.

Martin and Flor

P.S. Frank Le Ray should have landed in La Guaria the 16th, according to the letter we received from him recently. Although we haven’t heard from Bishop on the subject, rumor has it that he was on the same boat as Frank. We hope so, that’s at least two of our good friends returned.

Since this picture was taken at the Trumbull House, my guess is that Martin and Flor were able to take the trip as planned, although I’m not sure of the date.

Tomorrow i’ll be posting letters from Biss to her Dad from St. Petersburg, Florida where she id staying with her Aunt and two cousins.

Judy Guion

Friends – Martin and Flor Williams From Venezuela (1) – July, 1941


APG - Lad with Flor and Martin Williams in Trumbull

Lad with Flor and Martin Williams in Trumbull

Anzoategui Camp

July 17, 1941

Dear Al,

We received your very nice letter of June 29th in due time, and I’m really sorry not to have answered sooner, but truly I haven’t had a breathing spell in ages. The fact that Mr. Wardlaw left Tuesday the 15th on vacation and Mr. Lodge is in his place for these coming two months doesn’t help much either, because, although Mr. Lorge is the best suited to replace Mr. Wardlaw, there are a million little details that keep coming up in which I have to put in my hand. I don’t object to long, uninterrupted work, except that it interferes with my own letter writing, and by no means do we wish to lose contact with you folk. The plane made its last trip Tuesday for a couple of weeks to change the motor (Paul could change a motor in a couple of days, if I remember correctly), and for this reason this letter may take a little while in reaching you. It is now 4:15, however, and I’m going to dedicate the next 15 min. to you, because it’s no use starting to file at this late hour (that’s as good an excuse as any).

I humbly apologize for my outrage to “TRUMBULL”, but as I pride myself on the fact that I never make the same mistake twice  (if I can help it ), you can be sure that “TRUMBULL” will be done right by me henceforth.

We are truly glad that you are having such a nice time, but naturally regret that you will not be one of the “crowd” anymore (I have to pick up my own glasses after a party now).

Would you believe it, we haven’t heard from Pat or Willie after a couple of letters we received from them written the same day they landed in Caracas. However, I have absolute confidence in them and am sure that they have good reason for not writing. Probably are too busy and unsettled yet. You’ve no idea how much I miss them, really. Claire and Kay arrived very well and we are terribly glad to have them back. You know I always hit it off well with Claire; there is something about her that reminds me of one or the other of my sisters occasionally; and then too, she has always been very sweet to me. We had a party ready for them at their house when they arrived. It was really Mr. Leander’s party and idea but as he went to Caracas to meet them he left me in charge, and between Mrs. Wardlaw, Ruth and I, we fixed the place up, made some sandwiches, etc.

Margot and Tucker seem to be very happy indeed, and I’m certainly glad. It’s a wonderful break for both Margot and Rosemarie, as it must be tough to be left husbandless and fatherless so young. I doubt that I would ever recover if anything like that happened to me.

Little bird is singing merrily as always in spite of being minus one leg, the poor thing. What caused the accident is clear enough; Gloria dropped the cage (the top of which was loose and she had been warned to be careful) and somehow his little leg got caught. We are making a study of nature, and attempting to record it in color (on our camera). In the tree right in front of our house (a very sparse one, in fact) to little gray birds with blue wings and blue tail have made a nest. We have been watching the proceedings since the eggs, and now the two little birds (the children) are almost ready to fly. I have taken pictures of the parents feeding the little ones (which I hope turnout in spite of lack of telephoto lens), and hope to get some shots of the parents teaching the little ones to fly, which is, I believe, the next step.

July 18, 1941

The ungrateful little wretches flew out today (must have been during office hours) without even saying goodbye. And after me feeding them bread crumbs! Humph! I feel slighted.

I’m enclosing your copy of the famous “Reunion” and hope you will cherish it fondly until the date set therein. After all, one year is gone already. Can you imagine?

We certainly hope that you will get a good job, and won’t have to settle for only $30 per month. That sounds pretty awful, but of course, no sacrifice is too much when it means helping your country in critical times; and from the radio news we get here, times seem to get more critical every day. I pray every day that the US can manage to keep from sending men over. I want them to help lick the tar out of Hitler all right but I do hope they can do it without sacrificing any lives.

I’m terribly sorry that you have wasted two trips going to see my mother. When you left I didn’t know it, but since sometime in June she has been with my brother in Long Island. I should have let you know, but it wasn’t until recently that I received her address. It wouldn’t do you any good to give it to you now, as she is sailing for Caracas on August 1. Charlie, my brother, is sailing with her.

Judging by the statistics you give me relating to your dates with Cecelia, I’d say you’re doing all right, keed!

Tomorrow I’ll be posting the rest of this letter, with news from the happenings in Vemezuela since Lad’s departure.

On Saturday and Sunday, I’ll post letters from Biss, the only female in the family, about her new adventure in St. Petersburg, Florida, where she is living with her Aunt Anne (Peabody) Stanley and her children, Donald and Gwen.

Judy Guion