Friends (3) – Dear Danny – A Long Letter From Fred Chion About Interamerica, Inc. – May, 1940

This is the last page of a letter written by Fred Chion, a friend and co-worker of Dan’s, in Venezuela. He fills Dan in on some of the happening of Interamerica, Inc., after Dan left to return to Trumbull.

Dan, with co-workers, in the field surveying for Interamerica, Inc. in Venezuela

Now comes the payoff or “the boomerang strikes back”.  Max had given to Dick during a trip that he took to the states last December, a letter which stated that Mr. Richard A.  Wiberley (Dick) was the manager of the company and that all actions by him during Mr. Maxudian’s absence from this country was binding and that his decision was final in all matters pertaining to the company.  Using this letter at it’s worth, Dick applied for payment due to the company from the ministry and imagine his surprise when he was handed the money in cash.  He paid all of us off, all that was coming to him and then he sent a cable to Max saying that he had collected the money from the ministry and that we were leaving the company and the house at the end of the month of July.  Boy …. You should have then seen the cable grams from Max arriving fast and furious.  But it was too late.  Another stroke of good fortune was that in order to ensure our money, we had taken all the valuable equipment from the office, intending to hold it until we were paid in full and the very next day, Herrera Oroposa’s lawyer came into the office with a judgment against the company and attached all the office equipment in satisfaction of the debt due to him still from the days of the eminent Explorer RUDOLPH THE GREAT AND ONLY.  Anyhoe, at least we did Max a good turn, unless somebody else now finds the equipment and gets a judgment against it.  Which brings in Bush.  As I have previously said, Bush had left for the states in the earlier part of February because his wife was sick, and Max had faithfully promised him that his money would be safe with him, Max, and that he would send him a check to cover for all his past salary (six months).  During the middle of June, imagine our surprise when who should walk in the office but Bush asking for Max and his pay.  Max had completely forgotten to even inform him that he was in the states, let alone pay him for past services.  Naturally Bush was highly incensed and was ready to tell Max, if he saw him, where to get off.  He wrote to Max in the states but received no reply.  He then hired a lawyer and was ready to take action against the company when just about at that time, Richard pulled the rabbit out of the magician’s hat. Soooo……. Bush was also paid off in full, then we had a dinner to celebrate the event and everyone was happy except, I believe, that Mr. Karnopp will not be so happy.  You see …. Max owes Karnopp about 6 months’ salary and after we had paid off all just and most pressing claims, besides our salaries, there was exactly Bs. 120.30 left.  This is some chapter, hey what ……

Ricci is going home this coming Friday, in the meantime we are trying to form a company to do the surveys because the director of the MOP told Dick and I that under no consideration would another contract be given to Interamerica, Inc., that Mr. Maxudian had caused too much trouble and that he had called the minister of the MOP a thief and whatnot, that they did not again want to deal with such a person and that he was told this about six months ago.  Besides this, there are a few very good possibilities here, so that for the time being, I’m going to spend a little time here to see what develops.  I’ve already turned down a job offered to me by the Compania Nacional de Construction, you know, that American outfit that was in Barquisimeto.  Furthermore, I have an almost sure promise of a job, as does Dick, for a job in Panama with a Californian outfit who is going to do work for the government over there.  This was the company that Max tried to get interested in our work, telling them that he already had the contract for construction but that he did not have the equipment nor the capital and he strung them along for a period of two months before they finally smelt a rat, went to the MOP and the president of Venezuela, and left again for the sunny fields of California, where they say, there are very few Armenians.  It did Richard and I a world of good because we made very good contacts with them and this is the result.

Well, that’s about all I can tell you except that it is too bad we do not have a writer in this group to write the history of this company.  It would be so unbelieving that it would not even make a good fiction story.  I do not know how long I shall be in Venezuela and I therefore do not expect an answer to this letter of mine in this country.  Hold on and maybe in a few weeks I shall write to you again and then you will be able to answer me.  Remember me to your father and receive the very best from an old man (grown old in the service of Interamerica, Inc. – mostly RED)

So long toots, see you in the Army.

Best regards from the whole family.


(but who came out alright in the end)

This gives you an idea of the troubles both Lad and Dan had in getting their back pay after they left the company. Dan to return to Trumbull and Lad to employment with the Socony-Vacuum Oil Company in Venezuela. It was a long and tedious battle.

Tomorrow and Sunday, the last two posts of “Liquid Heaven”, Special Pictures and Memories, about our Family Island Retreat.

Judy Guion

Friends – Dear Danny (2) – A Long Letter from Fred Chion about Interamerica, Inc. – May, 1940

This is the second page of a long letter to Dan from Fred Chion, another Surveyor working for Interamerica, Inc. in Venezuela. Fred remained in Venezuela for a while after Dan left in May of 1939, and Fred is reporting some of the things that happened in the Company and to the workers in Venezuela.

Jim Pierce  and Lad Guion at Karnopp’s Camp in Venezuela

The Maxes, and Richard’s wife, left for the states at the beginning of the month of June, I moved in shortly afterwards and that began our worries. As usual, Max had not left enough money and by the end of June we were beginning to be worried.  Max promised that he would be back by the end of the month and a fortnight after he was supposed to have arrived here, Dick had used up what was left of the passage money in order to pay for our current expenses.  In the meantime, two of the boys had found employment, one with an engineering firm from the states, and the other with Texaco Oil Co., one of the other boys had left for the states, and there was Richard, another engineer, myself, my wife and child, left to worry.  During the month of March, in the meantime, Karnopp had been employed by the Ministry (MOP) for a railroad survey job which was supposed to have lasted 2 months.  To date, he has been working 6 months on it and it is not as yet finished.  He took with him the two boys that were working with him on the Coro line.  Max still had a good bank balance at that time and besides that, he still had some Bs. 20,000 to collect from the Ministry for the last payment.  When the balance was getting low, Richard started to send cables to New York to Max, but nary an answer.  He had hired a lawyer who had Power of Attorney for Max, and while he had the right to collect the money from the Ministry and pay us off, he would not do so unless he had explicit instructions to that effect from Max.  He sent a cable to Max asking him to tell him what to do with us, that we were no longer interested in working for his company, that the only thing that we wanted was to be paid off in full and return to the states, in other words, liquidate ourselves entirely from his company.  Max, as usual, did not answer for the simple reason that he wanted us to stay here to help his front.  He was telling everyone that his engineers had so much confidence in him that they were willing to wait until he received his next contract.  As matters stood, it was pretty bad.  I could have taken it on the chin and paid my own passage, lose out on the expense money that he owed me, and return home.  Another bad feature was that the Bolivars had greatly depreciated and while the legal exchange was still 3.19, they could not be had for that price and furthermore the government made it illegal for anyone to buy or sell dollars at a higher price than the official one.  Through the help of the oil people we were lucky enough to be able to buy some at 3.50, meaning that I would have had to take a 10% loss on the money paid to me.  Max had promised that he would take care of this matter while he was in New York and he did as he usually does all these things.

Tomorrow, the final page of this letter about “the boomerang strikes back”.

Judy Guion

Friends – Dear Danny (1) – A Long Letter From Fred Chion About Interamerica, Inc. – May, 1940

This is a long letter to Dan from Fred Chion, another surveyor, who worked with Dan in Venezuela, for Interamerica, Inc. It chronicles the events after Dan returned to Trumbull.

Daniel Beck Guion

Dear Danny,

I guess I’m the one who has delayed plenty in writing to you in answer to your letter.  Well, to tell you the truth, I was forever waiting for new developments and for something important to happen so that I could inform you, but as yet nothing has happened in that particular direction, but plenty in other, so much so that I can hardly know where to begin.  So, do not expect this to be a letter but rather a conglomeration of thoughts and events that might be of some interest to you.

When I last wrote to you, Bush was the chief of the party, but through an unexpected turn of events, Max Yervant Maxudian, President of Interamerica, Inc.) called him to Caracas and I was placed in charge.  Before this, Mr. Roberts was fired (for the second time) and his passage paid to the states.  He had run a preliminary line, under the Honorable Mr. Boshnakian’s orders, which when plotted, turned out to be a 23% grade, besides which, not being a Sunday school boy, he was drunk for a very long time, ran up bills for everything, owed money to Tom, Dick and Harry and the net result was that he was paid his passage home after six months work with Interamerica, Inc.,  and produced very little work and at that, it was no good.

In December, Max hired another man, a friend of mine from the states, and in January he hired another one.  When this happened all the boys felt pretty good believing that there would be plenty of work for all of us.  Anyhoe, the Barqui-Siqui line was finished in the field on February 18, 1940.  The Coro line was finally finished about the same time (they averaged 5 kms. per month to our 13 kms. per month).  I was offered a good job with the ministry of agriculture on the construction of a dam near Barquisimeto.  I asked Max to release me, pay me, and let me go to the new job, that I would return to him when he obtained the contract for construction or contracts for additional surveys.  Max then gave me a long story on the possibility that I had with his company and that I would make a big mistake in leaving his employ and that since he was going to keep on paying me my salary, there was no reason why he should release me from my contract.  I, being worried about the backpay that he still owed me, plus the expenditure that I had undertaken for him, which as yet he had not paid, complied with his wishes.  Needless to say, all that he said was merely what he was hoping for and had no reason why he should have had such high hopes.  However in May, all the boys, with the exception of Bush and Karnopp, were all paid in full and also all debts due to the boys.  He owed me close to $3000.00, and I was thankful that I finally collected.

During the month of February, Bush had to leave for the states because his wife was very sick and Max promised him that he would send the balance of the salary due to him while he was in the states (which he never did).  At the end of May, he made an agreement with all the boys, Dick excepted, that we were to remain in Venezuela, that he would pay us our expenses, that in the event that the company would obtain any contracts we would receive the salary of the waiting time, that he would leave money with Richard to pay for our fares to the states in the event that we should decide to return or in the event that the company would not receive any more contracts.  The Maxes (Mr. and Mrs. Maxudian, I presume) were at that time living at the Country Club, the swankiest place in Caracas, in a very luxurious home (front for Maxes suckers) called “El Cigarral”.  I was to move my family from Barqui to their home, enjoy a vacation with all expenses, the company to pay for all the bills.  Anyhoe, it was a nice set up if nothing else.

Tomorrow, another page of this very long letter and on Friday, the final page.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – A Backslider With Excuses (2) – News About Dan and Ced – May 29, 1940

This is the second half of the letter I posted yesterday about all of Grandpa’s excuses for not writing his usual weekly letter on Sunday night.

The boys have not decided when to leave. Ced heard from young Stohl saying that as Rusty (Heurlin) had decided not to drive with them, they have decided not to go to Seattle by car but would probably fly. So Ced decided to take the Willys (Grandpa’s car) and Arnold (Gibson, Lad’s best friend and just as fanatical about all things mechanical as Lad) now has it, putting it into shape. He is doing a thorough engine overhauling job, new rings, etc. and is also  re-facing the clutch. It ought to be finished by Monday and then Ced will see how far North they can travel by auto and from that point take the car on the boat to the most southern port in Alaska where they can unload the car from the boat and continue their journey to Anchorage or where ever they decide to go, by auto. I have been trying to get the sailing dope for them from the bank’s Travel Bureau and road dope from the A.A.A. Will let you know the details as they are unfolded.

I think I told you I sent the three dollars check to Mr. Hadley and received a very nice acknowledgment which I will try to remember to enclose. Like most folks who know you, he likes you and also pays your family a nice complement.

I mentioned the other day to the VP of an oil refinery catalog that I am using to advertise Jelliff products that you were with the SV people and he told me he frequently saw in New York one of your bosses, a Mickey somebody, and would mention you to him when next they met.

The stock market is all shot to pieces in view of the war news. It certainly looks pretty serious for the allies but there seems to be nothing we can do about it. F.D., after having run the country into a tremendous debt with his crack-brained experiments, is now proposing to spend billions more for planes, etc. By the way there is enclosed an interesting account of a talk with Mr. Ford about the number of planes we could produce.

A man came into the office the other day and asked us to mimeograph a sheet giving his experience, etc., in business with the idea of looking for another job. He told George he had just been let go by the Standard Oil here, the reason being that while the company was not saying anything about it publicly, the company had lost so many tankers through German sub attacks that they were curtailing expenses by cutting down on their personnel. Whether this is actually true or merely his alibi for being fired I do not know.

Tomorrow is a holiday of course. The boys are not going to school until Monday and both Dan and Ced are also off. The latter are planning to make another trip to the fair (The New York World’s Fair) and will probably take Dave. I think I shall stay at home and get the house in some sort of shape for the party Saturday. It just occurs to me that as Kurtz’s is closed all day tomorrow, I may not be able to mail this letter to you until Friday and possibly by that time I may have another letter from you and perhaps the regular check from the company. Will this be the last check I will receive from them or have you decided to stay with SV (Socony-Vacuum Oil Company, which eventually became part of Mobil Oil)? Have you made any more definite plans for your trip to Caracas? Take a few hours off someday soon and write me a letter in which you let down your hair because, after all, the most interesting things are what you are planning and thinking as well as what you’re actually doing in the physical sense.

My clock says 10:30 and I am getting sleepy after my late hours last night, so I’ll bring a mental night cap to you and pile off to little old bed.

As always,


Tomorrow, Thursday and Friday, a letter from Fred Chion, who worked with Dan for Interamerica, Inc. in Venezuela, telling him all the news since Dan left Venezuela about a year ago.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – A Backslider With Excuses (1) – All The Excuses – May 29, 1940

This week I will be posting two letters, today and tomorrow, one from Grandpa, and on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, a long letter to Dan from a co-worker of Dan’s in Venezuela with some very detailed information on what has transpired with the Interamerica, Inc. company since Dan left Venezuela.

Alfred Duryee Guion - summer, 1946

Alfred Duryee Guion (Grandpa)

R-77  May 29, 1940

Dear Lad:

For the second week in succession I am a backslider. Here it is Wednesday eventide and I am just starting in to write you last Sunday’s letter. Aunt Betty came up for the weekend and having expressed a desire to see the pink Dogwood in Greenfield Hills and having a nice new Packard on tick to take her in, after dinner Sunday we donned our best bid and tucker and we all tried out the car in that direction. No, I’m wrong, that was Saturday afternoon. Sunday after dinner dishes were washed we loaded up with a car trunk full of Lilacs and started to take Aunt Betty home, making stops en route at Larry’s, Kemper’s, and Grandma’s. (all Peabodys) Ethel and Kemper were out of town but we saw all the rest who asked to be remembered to you. You must be getting better in your correspondence, by the way, because both Ethel and your lady friend at the cleaners both mentioned having received letters from you. Aunt Helen ((Peabody) Human) says however you haven’t answered the letters she wrote you. Well, after leaving New Rochelle we took Aunt Betty to Mount Vernon and after giving Mrs. Seipp some Lilacs nothing would do but we must all come in and have supper — “just a cup of tea” – which consisted of a bowl of soup, hot biscuits, hot turkey sandwich with gravy and generous helpings of rich fruitcake. By the time we reached home it was bedtime. (Incidentally, Ced discovered the borrowed Packard had picked up a nail somewhere and had developed a flat) and I decided to postpone writing you until Monday night. So, with supper out of the way I came in here to the alcove, had just inserted paper into the machine, when a tap  at the window caused me to look up and there was Bruce Lee. He explained he had been up in New England on business and was not expected home until late so decided to stop off and have a chat. You know Bruce. He got started on the war and while I got a yes or no in edgewise once in a while, he pretty well occupied the time with a monologue until nearly 11. So, says I to myself, the letter will have to go to Tuesday, but it must be written then without fail, failing to recall that an important town meeting was called for that night to decide on the budget, being an adjourned meeting from the fortnight previously. It was after 12 before the meeting was over, which brings us at one jump to the present time with almost a page 2/3 completed. Progress, I’ll say.

Received your note telling me all about little Kay. It must’ve been quite an ordeal. I can remember going through a similar experience with you at the time of the infantile paralysis epidemic when we called in Dr. Hubbard, a specialist on the disease, and learned, much to our relief, that you did not have it. That was on Dell Avenue (Mt. Vernon, NY), the time your little squeaky voice piped up in the middle of the night, “toot, toot, all aboard”.

Just here I have had quite a lengthy interruption by a visit from Carl and Ethel trying to arrange some sort of a farewell party for the Alaskan trippers. It is scheduled to be held Saturday which incidentally is also Ced’s birthday. I have bought him a watch and the gang is talking about giving the boys each a pair of heavy gloves and also a woolen lumbermen’s shirt or something of that sort.

Tomorrow I will post the rest of this letter, which includes more information about Dan and Ced’s anticipated trip to Alaska.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Dear Lad (2) – Oil Stocks and Family News – May 21, 1940

APG - Lad (head only) on horseback in Venezuela - 1940

Alfred Peabody Guion

And speaking of oil, I received your letter about the possibilities of an oil well in the Josephina field, so I looked up the financial standing of the Venezuela Petroleum. The highest price at which the stock of this company has sold since 1934 was 3 3/8 in 1937, the lowest three eights in 1934. No dividends have been paid on its stock since 1930 when five cents a share was declared. Its stock is listed on the New York curb. In 1928 it sold as high as nine and 1/8. The company owns royalty interests in Venezuela oil properties and has stock control of:

Cia. Consolidada de Petroleo, an exploration company owning government concessions covering 939,000 acres in Venezuela, most of which have been explored. During 1938 it acquired the assets of several former subsidiaries.

Sinclair Central American Oil Corp., owning concessions in Panama. No Wells recently drilled — no production.

Venezuelaen Oil Company (inactive) sold its interests in Texas

As over half of the company’s stock is owned by the Sinclair Oil interests and is controlled by the Consolidated Oil Corporation, K. Porter and P.W. Thirtle are two of the directors of Venezuela Petroleum who are also officials in the big company, while two officers of Venezuela Petroleum, M. L. Gosney, Assistant Treas. and O. M. Gerstung, Secretary, are also in the big company as directors. Based on your tip I bought some of the stock for your account today at $.75 a share.

And speaking of Sinclair, I noticed that on May 13th this company ordered 10 oil tankers. Presumably they will be powered by diesel engines, so if you join Mr. Kuhnhard’s company you may be a step nearer to your goal. By the way, none of your recent letters have made the slightest reference to the matter of your contemplated move. Of course I am deeply interested and hope you will keep us posted on anything you hear or do that affects the situation.

On the way home from the office tonight I picked up Ethel Bushey. She says she is mad at you because you have not answered her 29 page letter or whatever it was. I told her, “She ain’t seen nothing yet.”

Mrs. French informed me the other day that her daughter had just given birth to a boy, so Danny is a papa again.

Ced got a telegram today from one of the Stohl boys attending M.I.T. saying that he was not going out to the coast by car unless Rusty was going and since Rusty is apparently lacking any plans for immediate departure, Ced and Dan will probably leave the first part of June instead of May 27th.

Received your letter of May 9 in which you answer some long overdue questions, tell me about the Monopoly game Mrs. Becker and informed me that at long last you are going to Caracas with the much discussed tools. Hope you will find nothing serious the matter with your teeth but it is by far the wisest thing to take care of any trouble before it has a chance to get worse.

Aunt Betty writes she is coming up Thursday to stay over the weekend as sort of a farewell visit to the Alaskan adventurers, which is about all that my sleepyhead can find to tell you tonight. Adieu, then, till my next.

As ever,


Tomorrow and Sunday, more of “Liquid Heaven”, Special Pictures and Memories of our Island Family Retreat.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Dear Lad (1) – War News, Oil Stocks and the Alaskan Adventurers – May 21, 1940

Alfred Duryee Guion (Grandpa)

Alfred Duryee Guion (Grandpa)

R-76 of May 21, 1940

Dear Lad:

I am in no mood for writing letters right now. I agree with Hamlet that “the times are out of joint.” The evening paper blares forth the headline: “Germans Reach the Channel   1,000,000 Allies Cut Off    French Ninth Army is Broken.” Here in this country we are in a wave of hysteria, hastily voting billions of dollars for rearmament, the stock market goes haywire, and no one knows whether they are going or coming. Maybe you’re not so bad off away from it all, minding your own business.

If you take the trouble to check up the date of this letter you will see it is Tuesday– the first time in over a year that I have been so far behind schedule in writing to you. It came about through the fact that Dan wanted to go to the fair before he left for Alaska and thereupon all decided to go last Sunday. I was trying out a Studebaker for the weekend. Ced had to go to work at Tilo at eight o’clock Sunday night, so some of us decided to get an early start. Ced, Dave, Jean and myself therefore left Trumbull at 7 AM in the Studebaker, leaving Dan and Barbara and Dick to come down later in Ced’s Plymouth. We all met by prearrangement at the Danish building at 1:00 for dinner and then separated again until five o’clock when Ced had to leave. He went alone. The rest of us reached home at 11. I had at first decided to come home with Ced and write to you as per schedule, but Dave and I lost track of the time and when we finally arrived at the meeting place where we were to find Ced at 5 PM, he had already gone. Well, methinks, I’ll write to Lad on Monday night after supper, entirely forgetting that I was to attend a big town meeting to decide on the town’s budget for the coming year. When that was over it was time to go to bed, which brings us up to tonight and the present moment.

Blog - Lilac Bush

The Guion lilacs came out this morning. I left a bunch for Mrs. Kurtz and Mr. MacKenzie, took some to the office and very tactfully gave some to the cop who directs the traffic at my corner to take home to his wife. And speaking of cops, Johnny Austin died Sunday morning and I attended the funeral this afternoon. Enclosed is a clipping — the final piece of publicity that Johnny will ever get.

And speaking of clippings, here is a rather interesting “column” on the oil situation with references to Venezuela. Things are moving so rapidly internationally, however, that by the time this reaches you the setup may be entirely different.

Tomorrow I will post the rest of this letter concerning various stock prices and history, and a few final tidbits of family news.

Judy Guion

Family – Dear Alfred – Bobo and the Eel – May 15, 1940

The very beginning confirms the fact that Lad didn’t hear from his only sister, Elizabeth (Bissie to friends and family alike) very much. In fact, it sounds like this is the first letter she has written to him since he went to Venezuela on Dec. 26th, 1939. Grandpa has mentioned her and her family in many letters so Lad certainly knows what’s been going on in her life, but he just might have fainted when he received this letter.

EWGZ - Bissie and Raymond Jr. (Butch) at baptism - June, 1940

Elizabeth Westlin (Guion) Zabel and her son, Raymond Zabel, Jr. after his Christening

Thurs. nite

11:15 P.M.


Dear Alfred –

Zeke is out fishing for bullheads and I am thru for the night so I figured I would surprise you by actually writing. Happy Birthday from last year and this year and Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year too. You probably know all of the news that there is to know. Just in case thou’, Marie Paige is getting married and so is Edna Traphagen. Babe (Cecelia Mullins, Lad’s girlfriend) moans all the time about your not being around and taking the next ship south. I saw Nell (Nelson Sperling) the day he received your letter and he almost fainted, as I imagine I’m doing the same to you. Butch (nickname for Raymond Jr.) has become the town pet and I can get rid of him very easily and quickly if the spirit should ever behoove me – which I don’t think will happen on account’a because I think he is pretty cute myself and getting cuter every day. He has gotten to the stage where he has to try out his wings but so far he has only been able to go in reverse which plagues him frightfully. After five-minutes of trying to get something in front of him just out of reach and seeing it recede instead, he starts exercising his lungs -he doesn’t cry – he just plain yells. Once in a great while he reminds me of you in the pictures of you as a baby. Erwin (Laufer, a neighbor across the street and Lad’s motorcycle buddy) broke down after all these years and got himself a zip, looks nice in (or rather with) one – better than before. Nell (Nelson Sperling) has also got one – but he doesn’t look as hot, which reminds me – Bobo (that’s my name for Butch) got his first haircut the other day. Erwin has high-hatted us and now rides around in the 1938 or 9 (I forget which) Buick convertible coupe. Here comes Zeke now so I’ll have to cut this short and write again sometime. The girls were in tonight and we had a nice confab followed by eats. Zeke brought home an eel, all skinned for me. He also got 8 bullheads, which he is now cleaning. It is pouring and Zeke came in, with the other two fellows he was with, soaked to the skin, so I am heating up some milk for hot chocolate. I have my first cold of the year and it is making up for all the colds I haven’t had. It is a head and chest cold with watering eyes and a touch of sinus – you can imagine how I feel. The saddest part of the whole thing is that I gave it to Bobo. The milk has gotten hot so I had better close right here and get something hot into those fellows. I am expecting an answer from you within two years.



P.S. I just had to put it in. Make it one year, three months.


The following letter is pretty much self explanatory. but it was very short so I decided to include it with the letter from Biss, since they were both written about the same time.

8057 So. Carpenter Street

Chicago, Ill.

May 22, 1940

Mr. Guion

Trumbull, Conn.

Dear sir: –

Thank you kindly for your check for three dollars which I received several days ago. I had the pleasure of rooming with your son while employed by Socony in Pariaguan. I enjoyed knowing Alfred and will tell you as you no doubt already know – you have a fine young man for a son. He is highly respected not only by his employers but also by all the men in camp. He must have had a fine home life and family to be as he is today.

Thank you again,


Herbert D. Hadley

Tomorrow and Friday, another letter from Grandpa to Lad.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Dear Son (2) – Driving Along the Hudson River – May 13, 1940

This is the second half of a letter I began yesterday. 

Trumbull House - Grandpa and kids - 1928 (2) Little Driveway view - 1928

The Trumbull House, prior to 1950

After leaving New Rochelle, we went down to Mount Vernon for Aunt Betty.

With what you might expect, she insisted on our staying for dinner at The Knolls, which we did and enjoyed very much. It was a clear sunshiny day, a bit cool, but very pleasant in the Buick. We crossed the Hudson at Tarrytown, and followed the West shore, through West Point Military Academy, around Storm Mountain, thence to Newburgh where Aunt Betty’s friends, the Smiths, live. We had a very pleasant visit there and after a stay of about two hours, crossed the river by ferry again at Newburgh and took the road inland til we struck the newly completed Eastern States Parkway, thence South to its junction with the Bronx River Parkway, then to Mount Vernon where we unloaded Aunt Betty and home again via the Merritt Parkway, arriving at little old Trumbull at 9:15 PM. The car runs very smoothly and seems to have an edge as to driving and riding qualities over the Nash we tried out last week.

Am feeling much better now, thank you. The walks I take every morning before I go to work seem to be beneficial. I am out usually for about an hour. This morning I started in just about where the Parkway crosses White Plains Rd. and took the boy scout trail north. I followed this for some distance and thence struck off through the woods in a westerly direction and came out near Brock’s sandpit and then across the fields coming out and Laufers. Mack goes along on these walks but soon is trailing along sedately behind. I guess his age is beginning to tell.

I shall of course do as you suggest and get off a check for three dollars to Herbert D. Hadley.

Ced is quite disgusted that you have so much praise for the Ford. He thinks the new Chevrolet has it all over the Ford in every way.

I do not know Mr. Carson’s address myself, as he is not listed in the phonebook but I should think a letter addressed to him in care of Center School would either be delivered to him there or forwarded by the post office, during vacation time, to his home address.

As far as your congratulations are concerned on the rise of the Fairbanks Morse stock just the last few days due to war developments in Holland and Belgium, all but a few stocks have slumped, including Fairbanks-Morse, and while still a few points higher than the purchase price it is not what it was. However I think it will go up again. As you suggest I will make some inquiries on the Venezuelan Petroleum stock with the idea of making an investment.

Aunt Betty asks again not about the birthday card but whether you had received the Duryee family tree which she sent you last December. I do not recall your having mentioned anything about receiving this although I think I asked you about it once before when Aunt Betty mentioned it.

Not much here to report. Of course everyone is deeply concerned about the German invasion of the Low Countries and listening to the radio reports as they are received hour by hour. I suppose you get these as quickly as we do over your radio although in none of your recent letters have you made reference to the doings in Europe.

Ced has heard nothing more from young Stohl who is studying at M.I.T. and to whom he wrote regarding going out with him on May 27th. So those plans are more or less in the air. However he and Dan are planning to start anyway about June 1st. Ced has already given notice to Tilo and they are breaking another man in on his job.

Will be interested to hear as soon as you make your decision on the job or learn of any new developments in that connection, and whether you have given notice yet and how it is received, etc. Good night, old scout and don’t forget,

Your loving

Vera Vague

Tomorrow, a letter from Bissie (Elizabeth, Lad’s only sister) and a response to the check sent by Grandpa to Mr. Hadley.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Dear Son (1) – A Circus and Visiting the Peabody’s – May 13, 1940

We are back in May of 1940. Lad is in Venezuela working for the Soconey-Vacuum Oil Company as a mechanic for their vehicles and Diesel pumps at their oil fields. Dan has returned from Venezuela, after not being paid for six months, and he and Ced are planning to travel to Alaska to see if they can find good-paying jobs. Elizabeth, Grandpa’s only daughter, is married and raising her first born. Dick and Dave are at home, going to school. 

Blog - Lad in Venezuela with his car - 1940

                          Lad in Venezuela with his car

R-75 of May 13, 1940

Dear Son:

Saturday on the way down to see Cecilia Mullin’s (Cecelia Mulloins is Lad’s girlfriend and a teacher at the local elementary school)  circus I stopped at the store and, with high hope in my heart, glanced at PO Box 7 to see if a red, white and blue envelope awaited me, and being disappointed in this regard, I thinks to myself, thinks I, well, tomorrow I won’t be able to write to Lad anyway, so I’ll just wait until Monday to see if it happens then, and sure enough this morning yours dated May 2 was awaiting me, hence this note.

The circus was quite good and while I did not stay to see it all, there was Tiny dressed up in a flowered vest as a regular barker announcing events through a megaphone, boy clowns galore, the high school band from Bethel in blue, white and orange uniforms going through a drill, the Nichols fire patrol putting on a comedy on how to extinguish a fire, some wild West riders on horses, a wrestling match, sideshows and everything. Babe (Cecelia’s nickname) may write you further details so I will not steal her thunder here.

I then went down to the Buick place and borrowed a car for the weekend and got a fairly early start Monday morning, stopping first at New Rochelle to see Grandma (Peabody, Grandma Arla Mary (Peabody) Guion’s mother) and wish her a happy birthday. She seemed quite well under the circumstances. Ted is still not able to take up active work. (Ted Human, married to Arla’s sister Helen, who was involved in a serious car accident while working in Venezuela (he took both Lad and Dan down there to work with him))The doctor has advised removal of his gallbladder and has warned Ted in the meantime not take a job too far away from civilization. He has been offered a job in Uruguay, but for the above reason has turned it down. His case against Max (Yervant Maxudian, owner of Interasmerica, Inc., the company Uncle Ted Human was working for as a Civil Engineer when he hired Lad and Dan to work with him in Venezuela) comes up in court today but as Max is on his last legs (according to Ted) even if the case is settled in Ted’s favor he will get very little on this claim. I asked him if he had heard from you and he said yes and had replied briefly advising you to make the change, but added that as you had not taken the trouble to answer several letters he wrote you some time ago he didn’t see the necessity of going into very lengthy correspondence on the matter. I thought of reminding him of the time you stuck by him so loyally after his accident, but concluded to say nothing. What’s the use when he feels that way about things. He feels the same towards Dan, saying that he knew a couple of engineers in Alaska but decided that because Dan had not treated him right what the hell’s the use of him putting himself out. A queer temperament but easily playable if you care to do a little flattering and make him feel he is a big shot. However he did say to me that in view of the fact that you knew the president of the company, had eaten with him in fact, and that he knew and liked you, it would seem as though you would have a better break with his company, particularly as there seem to be chances of their drilling a well in territory soon that would seem to promise big things. He also said that no matter what company you were with, after being down there for two years you would have no trouble at all getting a job any time at all. As to Socony-Vacuum, he said that the line for you to take would be for you to tell your people that you had another offer and as they had not pushed you along very fast, would like to take it, and then if they offer you a bigger and better job for the duration of your contract would be duty bound to take it, as under no circumstances should you leave Socony-Vacuum other than with an amiable feeling. If you can arrange to leave with their good wishes you had better take O’Connor’s offer.

Tomorrow I will post the second half of this letter regarding Oil Company Stocks.

Judy Guion