Trumbull – Dear Exports – Grandpa Writes to Lad and Dan – February 16, 1939


Feb. 16, 1939

Dear Exports:

Helen Plumb is home again.  Her boat arrived in the harbor yesterday morning but because of fog and storm they did not dock until after dark last night.  She evidently is not very fond of long sea voyages from what she says.

Well, all the letters you boys have sent home plus a few others that you have sent to others that have been copied have been mounted in a scrapbook so that those interested may conveniently read a chapter by chapter account of your adventur

es as they unfold.  Included are the only photos so far obtained, and those were two Uncle Ted sent of Dan.  And by the way, when you have anything intimate or personal to write it would be wise to follow Dan’s practice and put such messages on a separate sheet; otherwise if included on the same page with some item of general interest, it would force the whole page to be omitted from the scrapbook, to the general loss.

Just today, Dan, Bar (Barbara Plumb, Helen’s sister and Dan’s girlfriend) gave me your letter to read in which you describe your method of riding a mule.  I enjoyed this so much that I made a copy to put in my scrapbook.  I suppose you have a very good reason for not using your typewriter and making extra copies of your letters, and it does seem too bad that some of the interesting things you write to one person aren’t easily available to the other fellow who was making a collection in a scrapbook for future reference.  What happened to your typewriter anyway?

I have decided to let Dick drop one of his subjects after talking with Miss Gallahue.  He really has too much to do and ever since his attack of pneumonia has not been especially well.  That means he will not be able to graduate this year, but it will also means that he will not have to take a summer course which I cannot afford to pay for if things don’t improve and would be far better for him not to have to bother with anyway.  Then too, what could he do to get a job if he did get through school this June with no jobs running around looking for high school graduates.  He might better spend his time in school.  He informed me tonight he and Benny were fooling in the bus today and broke one of the windows which will cost $7.00 to fix or $3.50 apiece.

          I think I forgot to

number my last letter which

should have been R-5, I think

so this is R-6.

          I am getting pretty well fed up on this repeated failure of your employer to pay any attention to repeated promises re: salaries.  Not one single cent has yet been forthcoming, and while I am especially glad for this reason Lad did not borrow money from some outsider based on his promise to pay back when he received his company check, by the same token it makes it especially hard for me, because there is not only the original and subsequent loans but the amounts bought from Meigs and Reads (Bridgeport Department stores) which are now due and payable and which I figured to take care of from what Dan had authorized me to take from his check until such time as Lad’s money began to come along.  Now it looks as though nothing would be received at all from the N.Y. office.  And their final promise was the end of this month but numerous other promises have been in the Rooseveltian manner and I have but faint hope that unless Uncle Ted can get them from down there we will all be out of luck.  I don’t know, Lad, what understanding you had with Mr. McCarter (R. D. McCarten, Vice-President of INTERAMERICA, INC.), but I hope whatever it was is in writing.  What he writes me is not what I understood you to say was the arrangement, but in answer to one of my letters Mr. McCarter writes: “As regards Alfred P.  Guion’s salary, as he is working on the Venezuelan Fair business, we are arranging to pay him, together with other men on that work, directly in Caracas and are instructing our Caracas office to that effect” so it looks as though I would not get any part of Lad’s earnings from N.Y. Altogether, it’s a tough life.

I am looking forward to receiving soon the long letter Lad wrote when he got back from his trip to the Bush giving details of Stanley’s meeting with Livingstone, which I suppose will arrive not later than Monday.

Well, that’s about all the things I can think of to write about now.  Not a very newsy letter, I am afraid.  Perhaps it’s because my brain is not very alert due to the lateness of the hour and the distant calling of the four-poster.  Anyway it’s good night, me hearties, till next time.


Tomorrow, I will be posting the final letters of condolence Grandpa received after the death of his wife. On Sunday I will begin a new adventure, This story involves Elizabeth (Biss to family and friends) and her watershed year living in St. Petersburg, Florida, with her Aunt Anne (Peabody) Stanley, helping to care for Anne’s two children, Donald and Gweneth.

Judy Guion


Venezuelan Adventure (6) – Comrade – A Letter From Dan in the Field to Lad in Caracas – February 14, 1939

Daniel Beck Guion at the Rudolph Camp

Feb. 14


We of the proletariat must act!  The stage is set!  You do Hamlet and I’ll make Lady Macbeth.  In short, I received your lewd letter with its questionable “estampilla”, and, knowing your address, decided to write, not being certain, however, that you would still be there by the time this letter arrives.

I have “poco dinero” which I don’t use, and, if you need any for developing films or for any other worthy cause, please put it to use.  To date I have forty B’s (Bolivars) in cash, and plenty more in credit, and if the Co. doesn’t take it back to pay Jesus his back wages, I will have it indefinitely, especially the credit.

We all say our prayers faithfully each night, ending by a devout “God bless Maxudian” (the owner of INTERAMERICA, INC.), but now and again we get mixed up on “bless” and “damn”, but it doesn’t make any difference ….. At least not to Maxudian.

Bill Rudolph is in a typical Rudolph fog (only more so) since the crisis has arisen Bill.M. is still making typical Myers mistakes at the expense of Kilometers and time.  Our cook, Simon Straughn, has finally quit and returned to Caracas, where he is now residing at the Pension Yanes, near the Royal.  I told him that you might drop around to visit him.  He could give you plenty of low-down on my behavior in camp and the behavior of todos nosotros tambien.  It would please him if you at least dropped around to say “hello”, and I am sure it would be interesting to you to meet someone who has been in the same camp as I have for over three months.  Simon is rather simple, but tries hard to be intelligent.  He believes in astrology, is a devout Christian (Roman Catholic), is a “philosopher”, and quite a character.

You must have learned that Jim Shields went to Carora on a stretcher with fever, and that Carl Nelson went the same way on a horse shortly after he arrived.  Jim came back to-day.  Carl is still in Carora, will be here in about five days unless Mr. H.  decides otherwise.  Bill M.  has been technically fired, but the Co. cannot pay him, so he stays.  I am supposed to be “promoted” to transit work as soonas  Nelson arrives for topography.  We have cut our peons to 10 men (from about 30) and are reduced program calls for 3 field men and 3 office men + Bill R., who will ball things up for us as fast as we straighten them out.

Here’s to ________________.


Tomorrow, a letter from Grandpa to his sons so very far from home.

Judy Guion

Venezuelan Adventure – Lad Writes Home From Caracas – February 12, 1939


Alfred Peabody Guion (Lad) in Caracas



P.S. I would like Babe (Lad’s girlfriend, Cecelia) to see

the article too. Thanks.


Hotel Aleman

Caracas, Venezuela

February 12, 1939, R-2

Dear Dad: –

Don’t pay any attention to the extra spaces you may find in this letter.  They are due to faulty mechanism in this the cheapest typewriter on the market and of course the ones sent to S.A. are the ones that need parts and I can’t get parts here for at least two weeks more.

Enclosed I hope you found a copy or at least a couple of sheets from the New York Times Magazine section.  This paper reached here about last Tuesday and in looking through it I saw this article on Venezuela.  It is not a very interesting or detailed account but it is true in the statements that are made.  The picture of Caracas is really only a small section of it and since most of the dwellings (90%) are one-story affairs and its population is 136,000, nearly equal to that of Bridgeport, it merely covers the whole valley in which it is located.  The picture shows a small part of the center and only office buildings are located in this section.  The people all live outside the center of the business district and the more wealthy ones live in very nice districts and while I have been here I have noticed a lot of new modernistic homes that were not here at first and there are more going up all the time.  Even the stores in a few cases have been remodeled in the six weeks I have been here and there seems to be a trend toward a general clean-up through-out the whole city.  They’re doing a great deal of patterning after the stores in the States as far as I can see.

The picture of the woman is one of the common type of women peon and is not to be found generally in Caracas.  The real ladies of Caracas are not seen as a general rule except on Sundays at the Bowl Fights or at the Race Track.  During the week they stay home, I guess.

Mr. Human left for Carora today and with him went your letters to Dan (R2 and R3), and a few notes and articles from me.  He is expecting to be back here on Tuesday so long before you receive this he will have returned.

The fair people are kicking that they have me on their payroll when they did not request me so I guess I shall be sent out to the “bush” with Dan in Rudolph’s Camp for a month or two.  That won’t make me too mad anyway, and I can learn Spanish out there quicker than here I believe.

I do not remember whether I told you that I was in bed or not but I seem to have had some sort of stomach trouble but I felt nearly all right today so I got up for lunch and have been up since.  I was attacked by a number of very acute pains in my stomach and intestines which would last for only a few seconds. 20 or 30 at the most and then piece in solitude for sometimes 20 or 30 min.  And then pains again.  Just about the time T.H (Ted Human). had decided to call a doctor the pains started to diminish and now they have completely disappeared.  Diarrhea was also prevalent.

Money matters seem to be getting nearer and nearer to being straightened out and T.H. slept quite well for the first time since I have been here, the night before last.  I believe there was a phone call from New York shortly before we set down to supper and I know that he seemed to be in the lighter frame of mind the rest of the evening.  That was also when he decided to go to Carora.  Cheer up Dad, I don’t think it will be long now.  Lots of luck —–    and




                                          Packard and Mack


Dear Ced: –

Let me hear from you about your trip and how your old new car (I believe Lad is referring to the Packard which he drove when he was in Trumbull)  is behaving.

I don’t remember whether I told you that the oil I found to be the best was Conoco and probably Cliff Wells can get it for you if you so desire.  Even with a little off, perhaps.

The battery is an extra-large Shephard and if you take it around to them once or twice a month they will service it for you free of charge and in that way if anything happens to it they will have no kick about improper servicing.  The guarantee is not expired as yet, I believe.

If you sell the car be sure to get plenty for it if sold fully equipped.  The extras on the car could not be replaced for less than about $75.00 or more so it would not pay to give them away.  These include: – heater, radio, carburetor, Mallory coil and condenser, Briggs clarifier, Trippe Safety Light, and fog light.  That is all I can recall but there may be more.

You probably say the radio is no good but I was told by supposedly one of the best in Bridgeport that it is the car and not the radio.  He had taken it out and it had played very well giving some of the newer sets excellent competition.  He also said that if the Mallory were taken off it would improve the reception about 60%.  By the way, I believe the old coil and condenser are down in the toolbox on the workbench in the cellar.

What have you been doing?  What has the town been doing, etc.?  According to T.H. as long as I stay in Caracas and the fair people don’t send the necessary equipment out that is required, I’m doing the Company.

I hope the world is treating you squarely if not fairly and that you will get good service out of “Packy”, or what have you?

Remember me to all and if you behave yourself, the Lord will find it out someday.  So long now –


Tomorrow, a letter from Dan (in the “bush”) to Lad . On Friday, a letter from Grandpa to his two sons.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Dear Boys – A Letter From Grandpa – February 12, 1939


Alfred Duryee Guion

Sunday, Fab. 12, 1939

Dear Boys:

Dan asked in one of his recent letters if we would ask questions as to those things we wanted to know.  I think the little anecdotes he writes to Bar once in a while are very interesting in that they give an intimate glimpse of the life down there which may seem commonplace to you but is entirely foreign and new to us.  Remember how interesting Rusty’s accounts are because he remembers and relates the small details of manner or speech or appearance?

There is an article on Venezuela in the January issue of the National Geographic, based on which I am going to ask some questions.  Have you seen or had any experience with anacondas, fer-de-lance, bushmasters or mapanares? Are scorpions and tarantulas, common?  For a number of years as a boy I had a tarantula preserved in alcohol.

As to eats, have you had any heart of palm salad, avocado pears, papayas or mangroves?  Describe them.  How do “plantanos” compare with our bananas?  Have you eaten any cassava bread?  Round red baked beans?  How common in the streams are caymen?  How careful does one have to be in their vicinity?  Have you seen any cockfight’s?  Ever had any experience with caribes?

You have not mentioned troupiels.  Are they common in the trees?  You mentioned a dead parrot?  How difficult a job would it be to capture a parrot or macaw and teach him to talk — English? What scavenger birds do they have down there?  What game animals?

.       Grandma was quite thrilled the other day, Dan, to notice that semilla seeds you sent here were sprouting.  Can you corrall a few orchid seeds?  By the way, you might explain reference in one of your letters to “Olga’s Oriental friend”.  Neither she nor anyone else can imagine to whom this refers.

Lad, we have enjoyed your letters very much.  Everyone is surprised at the writing ability you show.  He rather expected it of Dan because of his tendency in that direction, but your interesting style and clear were hardly anticipated in a mechanical expert.

Dan, I am still using the Carora address.  Let me know when to change.


Tomorrow a letter from Lad, on Thursday a letter from Dan and on Friday, another letter from Grandpa to his two oldest boys in Venezuela.

Judy Guion


Trumbull – A Firm Letter to Interamerica, Inc. – February 9, 1939

       Alfred Duryee Guion – (Grandpa) – in the Alcove at his typewriter

February 9, 1939

Mr. R.D. McCarten, Vice Pres’t.

Interamerica, Inc.,

111 Broadway,

New York City, N Y

Dear Mr. McCarten,

Thank you for your letter of February 7th.  I directed my former letter to the Company rather than to you, because I have an idea from my talks with you that you were doing all you can personally, but that matters beyond your control, make your position at times rather embarrassing.

Unfortunately, as you must realize, I cannot persuade the Insurance Companies to overlook the due date of premiums, nor Tax Collector’s to defer due dates, or even the tradesmen to keep on extending credit by passing on to them promises which are not fulfilled.

In my opinion it would have been very much better if, instead of on two occasions, your telling me that salaries would be forthcoming within a few weeks of that time, you had frankly stated that there was no prospect of payment, I would then not be in the very unfortunate position I am now, of relying on your promises and finding no fulfillment.

Now in your letter of February 7th, there are still no payments, but a further promise of a “very short time” and further that Mr. Human feels confident you will receive a substantial sum of money before the end of the month and possibly much earlier.  Honestly, what would you expect to do if you were in my shoes and received such and indefinite promise, and it was necessary for you to obtain funds without further delay.

I can assure you Mr. McCarten that there is nothing personal in my attitude, I merely believe, from the standpoint of legal protection, I ought to do something in the interest of my boys.  I am sure you will appreciate this feeling, and really must have more than an indefinite promise, which in the past has not proven resultdful, before feeling that I have done the proper thing with my boys interest in mind.

I hope, therefore, for both our sakes, that by return mail you can enclose a check.

With kindest personal regards, I am,

Very sincerely yours,

Tomorrow, a letter from Grandpa to his boys, Wednesday a letter drom Lad, Thursday, a letter from Dan and on Friday, another longer letter from Grandpa.

Judy Guion


Trumbull – Dear Dan – Grandpa Writes to Dan Faithfully – February 6, 1939


February 6, 1939

Dear Dan:

The snow had begun in the gloaming

And busily all the night

Had been heaping field and highway

With a silence deep and white.

          Such is Trumbull as I write, which is probably far different from the scene your eyes behold as you look out over the land of Venezuela where you sit as you read this letter.

Maybe I should have addressed this letter to El Sabino, because if, as I assume, you have paid your visit to Carora, you must have received a large batch of mail from us all which has accumulated.  It is hardly fair to blame us for not writing just because the Postal Dept. of Ven.  or your own local delivery system fails to get to you the letters which we try faithfully to write.  That doesn’t lessen your desire to hear from us or your disappointment in not receiving our mail, but at the same time we don’t quite deserve all the harsh thoughts that you have been heaping up in your mind at our failure to write.  I can’t to speak for the others but I believe I have been quite faithful in writing you regularly.  I hope you got a good batch of letters and that they were not lost through the carelessness of Mr. Farley or his Venezuelan duplicate.

I have just come upstairs from listening to the WICC broadcast of the Chandler Choral Society accompanied by Miss Barbara Plumb Dan’s girlfriend).  It was very good, although I don’t suppose the reception was very good over your Camp receiving set (?)  The last letter you wrote which arrived yesterday written from the river Tortuila or something to that effect, I left with Mrs. Plumb this afternoon, so that Bar could see it tonight.  Mrs. Plumb answered the door and said she was just writing a “foolish” letter to you.  She naturally misses Helen and Mr. Plumb.  They certainly chose a good time to make the trip because it has been very wintry here since they left.  Tomorrow they are supposed to arrive at La Guayra and I am naturally curious to know whether Helen has been able to make contact with Lad.

Still no check or word of any sort from the N. Y. Office which reminds me of the man who on learning that his wife had run off with another man remarked, “My God, I was annoyed.”

Well, so long, Danny old scout, until my next chapter.


Tomorrow and Sunday, more Memories of Arla Mary (Peabody) Guion. Next week I will post letters written in the beginning of 1944.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Grandpa Writes to Interamerica, Inc. Regarding Lack of Pay – February 6, 1939

                    Alfred Duryee Guion

February 6, 1939

Interamerica, Inc.

111 Broadway,

New York City


My two sons are in your employ in Venezuela – Daniel B.  Guion, as of October 25th, 1939 and Alfred P. Guion as of December 30th.  The agreement was that salary checks, in payment of their services, were to be mailed to me on the first of each month.

On February 1st Daniels salary was three months, six days overdue, and Alfred’s one month, two days.  In spite of repeated promises made verbally by your representative, no payments of any amount have so far been received by me on their account.

You will understand that under the circumstances no further promises are acceptable.  A substantial payment must be made at once, or I shall be forced to seek some legal safeguard.

I write this with regret.  I feel it only fair to you however, to say that in less a certified check is immediately forthcoming, the matter will be placed in the hands of an Attorney.  I want to avoid this, as I am sure do you.

Yours very truly,


Alfred D.  Guion

Tomorrow, a letter from Grandpa to Dan in Venezuela. On Saturday and Sunday, more Memories of Arla Mary (Peabody) Guion.

Judy Guion