Venezuelan Adventure (21) – Latest News From Caracas, Venezuela – April 5, 1939



Apt. 1869

Apr. 5, 1939

Rec’d Apr. 11

Dear Dad:


Enclosed you will find the information asked for, but I will not cash the draft until I hear that you have received the checks.  In fact, I believe that I will have to endorse them before you can cash them yourself.  In following through this letter you will realize why I don’t need the money instantly.  However – thank you ever-so-much for your kind thoughts.

While I was writing the last sentence the dinner bell rang, so now, with a nicely filled abdomen, I shall relate the happenings of late.

My last letter to you I mailed Thursday, Mar. 30, I believe.  At any rate that was the day before things began to start.  During the early part of the week, Mon. or Tues., I had made a visit to the Soc.-Vac. Oil Co. (Socony-Vacuum Oil Co.) at the request of Mr. Christopher, of Ven. Pet., (Venezuela Petroleum Co.) but they had already sent a request to The States and said I would have to wait for another week till they received an answer.  When I told this to T.H., he, as I had already decided, said I had better forget the whole thing.  So I forgot the matter, although I made a note of it in my little book,  to call again on Apr. 3 or 4.  So much for that.

Well, Fri. was a busy day for T.H. and myself.  Rudolph was out so we were not afraid to talk out loud and after raking Max and he  over the coals and leaving them in Hell, we cleaned out both of T.H.’s trunks and packed most of his clothes.  Things he didn’t need further, he gave to me.  We spent most of the day on that and talking about everything or anything and then, late in the day, a phone call came for me.  It was Mr. Capuccio, the Fairbanks-Morse man, and he wanted to know if I could go to Puerto Cabello and start the Diesel-Electric plant they had sold.  The engine had been set up but not piped for water or oil, and the alternator had not been wired to the D.  C.  Generator (for exciting the fields of the alt.) or to the control card. Capuccio would send along an electrician.  Of course I accepted.

I left Fri. night in the electrician’s car and stayed in Maracay.  Sat morning we got to the plant.  It is about ten Ks. before one gets to Puerto Cabello and is the base camp of Christiani and Nielsen, a Danish construction firm.  They are to build a railroad from Cabello to a town further west called Palmasoro.  (45 Ks, + or -).  The plumber was a German but could talk English fairly well so while I checked the engine, oil, water, loose bolts etc., he connected the necessary pipes and the electrician started the wiring.  After working about 3 1/2 hours I had the engine running so I let it continue and helped the electrician.  When it came to wiring the generator to the alternator, we could find absolutely no instructions.  Since it was a 3-phase job, I knew practically nothing about it and the electrician knew very little more so we tried to call Caracas but could not get through.  During the late afternoon we tried a number of times but were unsuccessful.  Between calls we were completing the wiring of some of the new cottages..  Sun. morning and afternoon we completed the wiring but still had not been able to reach Caracas.  I was to leave. Sun. afternoon but because the alt. was not working I could not put any load on the engine for the final adjustments and test.  Monday morning the electrician had to go to Maracay and he said he would get Capuccio somehow.

While waiting for someone to come, I got to talking with one of the men in charge of the camp.  Through him, I met the “Big Shot” and in conversation, finally led him to ask me if I would like to work for them.  I asked for $250.00 and all expenses and they said NO.  They would like to have me very much but at $125.00.  There, I said “no”, not yet, and told him the whole set-up of the possibilities.  I said that if I got nothing else I might consider $150.00 and he told me to write any time and I could have the job.

All day Monday, Apr. 3, I was busy just fooling around with the engine, taking things apart and reassembling and having a grand time.  I had completely forgotten my birthday (Lad’s 25th). Tues. about 9:00 two more electricians from Caracas showed up.  One from U.S. By 12:30, after I was worn out starting and stopping the engine (it is hand starting) while they tried all possible connections, there was still no power.  I noticed that one of their blueprints had different connections for counterclockwise than for clockwise and suggested that maybe they didn’t pay any attention to the fact.  They hadn’t.  By one o’clock we had power.  It was four by the time they had completed all the soldering and I had the motor set to my satisfaction.  It was so late then that we decided to stay until darkness and watch the job for an hour or so under actual load conditions.

We drove to Puerto Cabello to spend the two hours and returned in time to warm up the unit before throwing on the load.  Everything went fine and about 7:45 we left.  We stayed in Maracay again and came to Caracas this morning.  When I got here, T.H. was all excited.  I came in at 11:30 and at 12:30 he was to leave for the Santa Paula at La Guayra (for his trip back to the U.S.).  Jim Pierce, if you remember him, had also quit the Co. and practically ran for the S. V. (Socony-Vacuum) office.  There they knew nothing of the job except that it was in the mechanical end and I am to go out there on the first car or truck they send to the camp.  I didn’t find Pariaguan on the map but I went there.  I will notify you of the address after/when I find out what it will be.

Then I came back, reported to Mr. Capuccio and he paid me Bs. (Bolivars) $100.00 for the 4 1/2 days.  Only about $7.15 per day which is about $.75 more than living expenses, but I hope Int. Inc. (Inter-America Inc.) will pay for the hotel.  They should because they have not paid me yet so I haven’t quit as far as I’m concerned.  I intend to see a second lawyer tomorrow, who has nothing to do with the Co.

When I returned to the hotel again about 5:30, I found two letters.  One written Mar. 28 sending your “damn inexpensive” birthday present, which I really enjoyed, and the second with a really nice birthday present jointly from The State and from you.  Thank you again.  Then about 20 minutes ago I got a third enclosing the letters to the Gov’t officials, which are just what T.H. wanted as far as I know.  Technically they are correct and I think that even T.H. could not have done better as to the wording of his ideas, than you have done.  Since April 6,7,8,9 are holidays here, Easter is apparently a grand celebration, there will be nothing more until next Monday, the 10th.  Then the fun should begin.

And that, Dad, just about covers everything of importance to the present time, except that, as you probably know now, T.H. arrives in N.Y. on Apr. 17 on the Santa Paula at Pier 57 (at foot of W. 15th) sometime in the morning.  Due to the holidays this may not leave here until next week but I hope it does.  I am fine.

My love to all, and the Packard,


Tomorrow, Matunza and a quick not from Lad  to Guions all. on Thursday and Friday, a letter from Grandpa to both boys and individual letters to each. 

Judy Guion


Venezuelan Adventure (15) – Dear Dad – A More Complete Story – March 29, 1939

This week our letters are from 1939. In October o 1938 Dan traveled with Uncle Ted Human, husband of Arla Mary (Peabody) Guion’s sister, Helen, o Venezuela to work for the Inter-America Company. The company, hired by the Venezuelan government, planned to built a road from Caracas to Maracaibo, through the northern mountains of Venezuela. In December, after purchasing the mechanic’s equipment he would need to maintain the company vehicles, Lad sailed to Venezuela himself. Dan was already in the field working with the crew that was surveying the route. Uncle Ted had a terrible car accident on a back road within a few months of arriving.  Lad was still in Caracas and was able to take care of arrangements for Uncle Ted’s care.  Trouble was brewing because the men were not receiving their wages. 

      Alfred Peabody Guion (Lad) @ 1939


Apt. 1861

March 29, 1939

Dear Dad –

Here is a more complete story of what happened and why I am no longer with Inter-America, Inc.

As you know, about two or three weeks ago I was to be sent to the camp with Dan.  Well, that was all right.  Then the leaving date was advanced one or two days each time we were to leave because there was no money coming in.  Finally, about three or four days ago, money came, only a small amount, and that was to be divided equally into three parts.  One third to each camp and the remaining third to take care of Dr., Hospital and Hotel bills due in Caracas.  Well, immediately, Max sent 1/3 New York.  When I read that, of course, I got a little worried and with TH, we decided that I should demand a payment, in full, to date, including the time taken to go to New York, fare and all expenses.  Of course it would be foolish to leave Caracas and take a chance of being stranded in the field, so when I told Bill R. (Rudolph).  That, he told Max and I was asked to come to Max’s office.  When I got there, he started in by asking me if I had another job and I told him truthfully that I did not have one and added that I would like to return to New York, but would not go without receiving my full salary.  Then he tried another tack.  He tried to get me to admit that I had worked at the Fair Grounds.  As he had worded it, it would mean that I had worked there on my own and since I had only done what T.H. had told me to do, I made that quite clear.  In a few minutes, I learned that I had not acted foolishly in making clear the fact that I had only worked there under orders from T. H.  He produced a letter dated Fe. 9, 1939, saying that the Fair People had refused to pay me any longer and that the bills that they had received covering my fear down, all the tools and my living expenses in Caracas, they were turning back to the Co. (Inter-America) and anyway, they had not hired me and saw no reason why they should pay for someone who was living like a “millionaire”.  Of course I was living as T.H. had directed and certainly it was nothing like it might have been if I had picked on the Majestic or stayed on at the Palace.  Well, the upshot of it all was that Maxudian says that I cost the Co. a lot of money ($1,200.00 he later said without thinking) and that that was the reason I have not been paid, as well as the rest of the men in the fields.  I was living like a millionaire while the “horror” man in the camps starved.  He stated more than once that I was the cause of the present condition of the company.  I could have told him that even now the bills were still unpaid and that they must have spent the $1,200.00 some other place, but I let him do all the talking and even made him phrases questions to suit the case exactly, before I would answer them.  The interview lasted about 15 min.  And by that time, he, Max, would make all arrangements with Bill (Rudolph).  Had I not specified that I “assisted Mr. human” at the Fair Grounds he could have told me that on Feb. 9, I had been fired from the Co. because of the way the letter from the Fair was worded.  Well, so much for that.

Then today, T.H. and I got word that Max is leaving Monday, by plane, for New York, so I went up to see the lawyer.  After a brief chat with him I am convinced that I need not worry about being paid and also that the lawyer, who was a very respectable man, is just about thru.

This is all I have of this letter.  I do not know if there was more but it sounds like he was not finished.

Tomorrow I will have a quick note of congratulations to Lad from Grandpa. on Wednesday, quick letters from Grandpa to Dan and Lad and on Thursday and Friday, a letter from Dan to Lad.

Judy Guion

Friends – Two Letters to Lad – Late February, 1939

It is February of 1939. Dan has been in Venezuela for about five months and Lad has been there for only two. He received two letters from friends. The first is from Mrs. Plumb, mother of Barbara (Dan’s girlfriend). Both her husband and oldest daughter took a cruise and stopped in Caracas, Venezuela, where Lad was able to meet them and show them around tow. The second letter is from Ethel Bushey, Bissie’s (Lad’s sister, Elizabeth’s) best friend. Carl Wang (Wayne) was a friend, along with Arnold Gibson (Gibby) who shared Lad’s interest in automobiles. Ethel Bushey eventually married Carl Wayne. 

 Trumbull, Conn.

Feb. 23/39

Dear Laddie:

Thank you so much for your nice letter.  You have no idea just how much it meant to me.  I was just a little anxious to hear from the fellows and your letter set my mind very much at ease.

The family returned the fifteenth, were delayed in docking for eight hours owing to dense fog, then had blinding snow and sleet to drive home in – reaching home about ten-thirty P. M.

They both enjoyed their day in Caracas with you and said if there was any obligation, a thanks due, it was all on their side, as you helped them enjoy the day very much.

Helen is feeling so much better that I feel that she was fully repaid for making the trip.

Barbara and I got along very nicely keeping house, time passed quickly and nothing more serious than a leaky faucet and burst water pipe helped to make things exciting.

Remember us all to Daniel when you see him, which isn’t very often.  I gather, from what he writes Barbara.

We have just heard of Mr. human’s accident.  I do hope it is nothing serious – will be interested to hear further.

Once we’re thanking you for your letter I am hoping you will consider me the same as the other young folks.

Mom Plumb


                      Ethel Bushey (1934)

R.F.D. #3, Box 237

Bridgeport, Ct.

Feb. 28, 1939

Dear Lad:

It’s about time you wrote me a letter.  (It really was a note) You should have more to tell about than you did.

Last week I certainly put you over the coals for not writing, then I received your letter.

Dad has been very sick.  He has low blood pressure.  Doctor said it is only a matter of time now.

My grandmother died today.  I think this year has been a very poor one so far.

Today mother and dad have been married twenty-one years.  I sent them twenty-one red roses.  They are lovely.

I don’t know what you meant by “bed-time stories”, please explain.

Ethel adds a note, “Carl’s announcement, He sent over 500”


“The Good Times” – 1939, Arnold Gibson (Gibby), Charlie Kurtz and Carl Wayne, The Red Horse Station

Carl is taking over Kurtz’s gas station tomorrow.  I’ll bet he is proud. (Kurtz’s was one of two grocery stores in Trumbull Center. They had a gas station they ran right next door. Lad worked there for a while.)

He changed his name to Wayne.  I like Wang just as well.  The Auburn is causing plenty of trouble.  Bissie and I rode up to Candlewood (Lake) Sat. Going up everything was fine, but coming back we had a little trouble.

Mr. Wang had a terrible automobile accident and has been in the hospital for some time.  He broke his jaw in fifteen places!  They think he will be O.K. now.  I hope so.

Trumbull doesn’t seem to be any different without you.  I still think of you when I see the Packard.  I also thought of you New Year’s Eve.  I drank a toast to you.

Bill Hennigan (who was with Lad in 6th and 7th grade when they went out to cut down the Christmas Tree for school and Lad ended up cutting his knee with the hatchet – both times.) is now a proud father.  They named their baby Patricia Marie.  When we went to see Maria, Bill said, “Go look at the baby, she’s a regular Irishman, black curly hair and blue eyes.”  We looked at her and she was so funny I laughed.  There was very little hair and you couldn’t even tell the color of her eyes, but you know how new fathers are.  (or don’t you)

Mr. Chris Wells left for Florida a week ago and Kurtz’s are leaving tomorrow.

I have joined the Chandler Chorus.

Did you know that I have to wear glasses all the time and I have gained 23 pounds since working in Singer’s.  I guess since I’ve seen you I’ve gained about eleven.  Before you get back I’ll probably look like Bar. Jennings.  Then what an arm full I would be!!!

I would like to write more but I too have to get up at 6:30 and I’m very tired so will close hoping your next letter will be longer and send me a picture for my album, will you.



P.S. Don’t call me Bush, you are taking unfair advantage of me. Meany.

The rest of the week will be illed with two letters from Grandpa to his two boys in Venezuela.

Judy Guion

Venezuelan Adventure (7) – Dear Dad (2) – Carnival – February 20, 1939

     Alfred Peabody Guion (Lad) @ 1939

Back again.  Had a fine lunch and feel fine after it.  As yet Mr. Human has not returned from Carora but he should be back this afternoon with Dan’s camp boss, Mr. Rudolph.

The Carnival is a very festive affair and is held once a year.  It usually lasts for one month and the last four days are the high spots of the whole proceedings.  The people from the little babes in arms to the old men and women are apt to be dressed in any kind of a costume that they can find, make or borrow.  That is about 70% of those I saw yesterday were.  Among other costumed there were cats, mice, donkeys, dogs, Indians, Cowboys, firemen, Russians and clowns.  Of course there were just the plain masks and fancy clothes also.  It is a Hallowe’en of Venezuela only lasts four days instead of only one evening.  From 9:00 in the morning until 11:00 last night, with the exception of a couple of hours off at noon and more at night, there was a band playing continually in the Plaza and people dancing and making whoopee and enjoying themselves.  The children from about five years old and on up were all dancing so that accounts for the fact that they are such good dancers when they reach their teens.  A few of the men were drunk but only a very few.  Nothing like one would find in the States on so celebrated an occasion.  Today has been a holiday and tomorrow will also be one, although some of the stores are open in the morning.  Even now people are starting to appear on the streets in their costumes.  By seven or eight o’clock tonight things will be in full swing.

What do you think was just handed to me? — A letter from that survey are son of yours and he says that two of the men have gone to Carora with the fever and then as soon as Carl Nelson returns in about a week he is to be advanced from Topography to Transit man.  He seems to be getting a thorough knowledge of surveying and when the job is done he should be able to hold down any kind of job anywhere, as long as it deals with surveying.  He is finding each night they all say their prayers with a devout “God bless Maxudian” but now and then, he says, they are apt to get “bless” spelled damn, but who cares.

Wednesday I guess I’ll start to work on the Co. truck, and will stay in Caracas for a few days more at least.

Tell the members of the family, excepting Dave, from whom I have already heard, that I would like to hear from them also.

Well, Dad, I can think of nothing more except that the machine seems to have behaved itself fairly well and there were only a couple or so places that I had to use the backspace key.  I have no more news about the money and will have to see T.H. Jr.(his Uncle Ted Human) for that.

All the luck in the world——



Venezuelan Adventure (7) – Dear Dad (1) – A Terrible Accident in Venezuela – February 20, 1939


Feb. 20, 1939

Dear Dad:

I’m going to make an attempt to complete a letter on this gol-ding typewriter again.  If it works satisfactorily the letters are really much neater and easier to read.  The smudges are due to the fact that I just tried to change the key pressure and I think that it was a little bit satisfactory but not completely.  So far the ma chine has been doing very well and hasn’t done any excess skipping but that won’t prove that it will continue this way

the holiday proceedings yesterday were accompanied by a rather severe tragedy as you may have seen in the papers if any news got out of Venezuela.  About 2:30 yesterday just as there was a crowd beginning to gather again after lunch and just a few minutes before I reached the spot, a large tree just toppled over for no apparent reason and injured a number of the bystanders plus pinning the busload of people and killing, as I heard, three or four.  Apparently from what I could make out, the driver had seen the trees start to fall and jumped out letting the bus continue on under the tree.  The bus got far enough under the stump before being hit to have the wood practically unscratched but starting at the base of the windshield and going half the length of the body there wasn’t even a piece of a seat left.  The floor looked as if someone had taken a large scythe and just cut the body off at the floor level.  By the time the bus stopped moving the tree had gone as far as the center of the body and from there it tapered up to the original height just back of the rear wheels which left the rear seat and the one on each side of the body just in front of the rear one unscathed but all the rest heap in a pile over the rear axle.  Where the trunk was resting the frame was bent so that it was touching the road but odd as it may seem, there were no flat tires.  However there were nearly flat because of the load.  To show the inefficiency of the people year it took the Police and Fire Depts.  Nearly 3 hours to clean the tree off of the bus so that it could be moved out of the center of the street.  At 9:00 P.M. the street was still closed.  I also believe that if the bus had been equipped with power brakes the driver could have stopped before he got to the tree.  There had been a bus in back of him and he swung to the left side of the street and only got hit by a few light branches the just scratched and dented the hood in a few places.  During the time I have been here there have been a number of branches fall in a couple have been too close for comfort but I don’t think that even after this accident there will be an inspection of the trees.  Some of them are in very bad shape though, and should be chopped down before any more damage is done.  When I arrived at the scene the first ambulance was just leaving and there was a second coming from somewhere in the distance.  Within fifteen minutes there were thousands of people viewing the scene with more or less interest.  The accident had been broadcast over the radio and for a couple of hours the special please were kept busy trying to keep a lane open for the trolleys because due to the narrow streets, they were doing more to block traffic than anything else.  It happened at the busiest corner in Caracas I believe.  Here goes the dinner bell, or rather lunch, so more anon.

Tomorrow, more news from Lad about happenings in Caracas.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Dear Lad – Grandpa Writes to His Boys (2) – February 19, 1939

                         Alfred (Lad) Peabody Guion in Caracas

Dear Lad:

This last thought leads me to discuss the matter of salaries at greater length.  Based on a hint from Aunt Helen, I wrote Mr. McCarter (McCarten) on Feb.  6th, in accordance with the attached copy of letter, received a reply dated the 7th in which the hope is expressed that when I am next in New York I can drop in and receive a fuller explanation verbally.  I thought it best not to back water and so replied as per copy of the 9th.  To this letter I have received no further reply.  I shall wait to see what the end of the month brings forth in the way of the check now promised  by that time, but I am beginning to be very skeptical as to whether any funds can be expected from the New York office, and if any salaries are to be collected at all, it will be by the grace of Uncle Ted in the field.  It seems too bad to blast so promising and outlook both from a company and a personal standpoint, just as things are starting out in such an interesting manner.  Of course, it may all be straightened out and these clouds of so threatening a nature which now darken the horizon may prove to be but notice of a passing shower and not the herralds to the approach of a long rainy season.  We will have to wait and see.

Yesterday was a mild, sunshiny, spring-like day, so Mack and I took a walk.  We started out about 3:30 and took the old path out past the cemetery.  I thought of the time we followed the same route playing follow the leader when I laid down and rolled down the hill and split my eyeball with a piece of sharp stubble.  We followed the old Park Road until about abreast of the upper end of the reservoir and then out across West, forded the stream and walked the rest of the way home on the railroad track, thinking of Dan’s story of the monster in the shape of the train.  Alas, no train came along.  The tracks were all rusty and many of the ties were rotting away.  I understand an occasional train makes the run when material is needed for the Merritt Parkway construction.  With the spring I believe it is the intention to rush work on the Parkway and to open it as far as Nichols by early fall.

The clock says eleven, and so to bed and to dream perchance of fortune and adventure in the wilds of Venezuela.


Tomorrow, a letter from Dan to Lad with instructions. On Thursday and Friday, a letter from Lad to Grandpa about some happenings in Caracas.

Judy Guion

Venezuelan Adventure – The End of Lad’s Voyage (1) – The Hotel Palace – January 5, 1939

      Alfred Peabody Guion (Lad) @ 1939

Written Jan. 5th

Received – Jan.  17th

(The Bold notes written by Grandpa)

          Well I am here in Venezuela and arrived here without mishap.  If you ever plan to come here, don’t just bring money, bring a bank.  It is practically impossible to buy a meal for less than $2.00 and the waiter expects at least $1.00 for a tip, which means that one pays $3.00 for a meal here that you could buy at home for a $.25 price.  And even at that the meal you would get would at least not be overcooked and the food wouldn’t be more than a few days weeks old at the most.

Another thing, this Hotel (?),  at which I am staying, is the best in all Caracas.  It is The Hotel here.  Now for a description.  In your rural training you probably saw a number of cases where the children, thinking it smart, wrote on the “Johnny” walls and although the phone numbers and learned writing here may be of a higher type, the preceding description very nicely shows what I think of the Hotel Palace.  The floors are dirty, scum and mock in the corners, fingerprints and dirty spots shoulder high all over the places where one is apt to touch with his hands and shoulders, and writing, as I said, here and there around the place.  Doorknobs missing, locks broken, doors won’t close because of warping, lights hung here and there in terrible locations on wire held in place by nails or staples, and the glass shelf in our bathroom was at one time fastened to the wall by screws but the plaster broke so now it is held by nails with the heads bent over so that they won’t go through the holes in the brackets.

Yes, they do have a tub and shower of some B.C. origin, perhaps from Caesar’s time, and it looks as if the plumber had been out on a two-week bender, just before he made the installation, and when you take a shower, even if there were a curtain, the water would spray on the floor so perhaps that’s why they don’t have one.  There are no windows in the room but in front of the door there is an 8 or 10 ft. balcony so I can at least see what I am writing here, since I have the door wide open and the sun is shining.  The bathroom has one window in the ceiling that serves for two bathrooms.  They are next to each other, with a 12 or 15 foot wall between them.  The window is about 20 ft.  from the floor.  The lower walls and floors are tile so that instead of sweeping, they come and dumped the water on the floor, swish it around with a mop and then diverted it out onto the balcony.  From there it flows through holes down to the Center Court, around which are the dining tables and from there it seeps into the ground.  This, however, is not a daily procedure.  I could continue on and on but since I haven’t a great deal of money left, I don’t want to spend too much on stamps so that will have to suffice for a description of this room No. 29 and the rest of the “Dump”.         Here are a few items of comparison as to living conditions.  Rooms $7.00 per day, Amer. Cigs. $.60 and up, shoes $15.00 and up.  Everything here is about 3 times as expensive as in the States.  This location is right in the high-class business district of Caracas.  Do you recall what Greenwich Village looks like?  Well, all of Caracas is just like that except the streets are narrower, dirtier, “hillier”, “noisier” and not room for more than two people abreast on the sidewalk (where there are sidewalks!).  However, there is one redeeming fact, Caracas, although only about 20 miles from the shore, is about 300 feet above sea level and, at that, is surrounded, by not merely hills, but real mountains going up 3, 4, 5, and 6,000 feet.  By standing about 300 feet from a 2-story building, you can see the tops of them over the buildings.  They are really very close and very high.  Well, so much for Caracas.

Tomorrow, I will post the rest of this letter by Lad from Caracas. On Friday, another short note from Lad, also from Caracas.

Judy Guion

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



Life In Venezuela – 1939-1941

Grandpa’s next letter to his sons is a three-pager, so I decided not to post it this week but to save it. Instead, I’m posting pictures of Lad and Dan’s time in Venezuela. Enjoy.

Alfred (Lad) Peabody Guion

Alfred (Lad) Peabody Guion

Alfred Peabody Guion in Caracas @ 1939

Alfred Peabody Guion in Caracas @ 1939

Alfred Peabody Guion in Venezuela in 1939

Alfred Peabody Guion in Venezuela in 1939

Alfred Peabody Guion (Lad) in Venezuela

Alfred Peabody Guion (Lad) in Venezuela

Daniel Beck Guion in Venezuela

Daniel Beck Guion in Venezuela

Dan in Venezuela - 1938

Dan in Venezuela – 1939

Lad in Venezuela

Lad in Venezuela

Lad Guion and Jim Pierce in Camp in Venezuela

Lad Guion and Jim Pierce in Camp in Venezuela

Lad in Venezuela

Lad in Venezuela

Lad in Venezuela with his car

Lad in Venezuela with his car

Lad Guion - Pariaguan - 1940

Lad Guion – Pariaguan – 1940

Lad Guion in Pariaguan, Venezuela

Lad Guion in Pariaguan, Venezuela

Triaga Venado - Guario - April, 1940

Triaga Venado – Guario – April, 1940

Lad's Bureau and Desk

Lad’s Bureau and Desk

Cabins for Two 1 - Paul Dutton - Bob Jones 2 - Stanley Barnes - Frank Borgon 3 - Herb Hadley - Al Guion 4 - The Mess Hall

Cabins for Two
1 – Paul Dutton – Bob Jones
2 – Stanley Barnes – Frank Borgon
3 – Herb Hadley – Al Guion
4 – The Mess Hall

APG - Flor Wiliams with snakeskin - 1945

Some kind of BIG snake….

DBG - Dan in Venezuela with two peons - 1940

Dan Guion surveying in Venezuela with two helpers

APG - Pool at San Tome Camp, Venezuela, Lad on high dive

Lad Guion on the diving board

APG - Pool at San Tome Camp, Venezuela

The swimming hole at one of the camps

APG - Pool at San Tome Camp, Venezuela - sitting on the dock

The swimming hole at one of the camps

APG - Pool at San Tome Camp, Venezuela - floating Dock and High Dive

The swimming hole at one of the camps

Just a small glimpse of what life was like for Lad and Dan Guion while they worked in Venezuela.

Tomorrow, I’ll be posting more childhood memories about growing up in Trumbull during the 1920’s and 1930’s.

Judy Guion


Life In Alaska – Dan writes to Grandpa And Lad – Sept., 1940



Dear Poppa,

So it comes your birthday again! You are growing up, and I think it high time that you learn a few of the facts of life.

I should like to relate to you a little allegory, from which you are to extract the seeds of truth.


Once there was a Poppa who had many children. He spent all his waking hours (poetic for not sleeping) planning for the success and happiness of his offspring. This went on at such great length that he over-looked much of his own happiness, which, at times, made his children sad! Often they gathered in Conclave (several miles out of Boston) to discuss their Daddy’s obsession.

“What can we do to show our appreciation?” They asked one another.

“Yes, what can we do?” They answered sagely.

And what do you think they did? They gave him some money, and told him to do whatever he wanted to do with the money. And what do you think he did? He spent it all to further the success and happiness of his offspring!




Wed. Sept. 11


Saludo, Ladito. It is with the utmost confidence that I undertake this letter….because it is apparent that you, too, miss-spell words in the heat and hurry of typing! So when you fnid worsdxxxxx that look funny, you will redliez that maybe I’m not so hot, but neither are lots of othre guys!

I still cherish a latent desire to pay a visit to Venezuela again, e’er long. What sort of welcome would be my lot if I were to drop into camp some afternoon? Would I have the bridal suite at my disposal, with a band and the Alcade to greet me? Would I have my choice of the finest arepas and cocny, and a caja de chimo for my very own? Platanos fritos? Un cafecito? Or would I have to put up with lamb, and peas, and ice cream, clase de los Yanquis? Shall I bring my chinchorro, hecho de coquisa? Or shall I have to contend with a Beauty-rest mattress? Ever since I got as far as Palenque (I think that was the name of the place… several kms. south of the San Juan do los Morros) I have had a feeling of frustration that must be alleviated.

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

Flor and Martin Williams are the couple on the right.

Please give my regards to the Williams-es. It is with gratification that I learned of Martin’s arrival back in Pariaguan country. Ever since he broke his leg and they failed to shoot him, I have been under the impression that he was settled permanently in Caracas! The first day I saw him, in October, 1938, I was disillusioned. Instead of hobbling about in bed with a pair of crutches, he breezed into the office (the old office) with the grace and stamina of a gazelle! And when I left for home in July, 1939, he was still in Caracas, figuring out the best place to dig for the water and silt of which, I have been told, you have produced plenty! If you can get past the 19th hole, tho’, it will go down in the annals of golfing history. But now, with Martin back on the old stamping grounds, I suppose it will just be a matter of time until he gets his divining rod to functioning, or breaks another leg! I’m sorry I didn’t meet Mrs. “Flor” Williams. I heard on good authority that she was one of the most stunning women living, but Martin hid her light under a bushel so well that I didn’t have a chance to meet her! I really have no excuse, because they were both still in the states when I got home (I think), but I didn’t drive down to Norwalk to find out. Que virguenza!

Una cosa mas….Usted me dijo que luego me ascribire una carta completemente en Espanol. Temo que me tome el pelo! Verdad? De Missourri yo soy! Y ahora, espero.

Dad’s clearing house of news has probably informed you that I am no longer working on a wage basis… I am now employed by the Army under a “per annum” basis, involving a cut in pay, but the acquiring of several advantages, such as sick leave, vacation with pay, Army Commissary privileges, etc. $2300 per year is my salary… if I work a year without being laid off! I have heard a rumor to the effect that there will be an Air Base constructed in Columbia under the Pan American Auspices. It would be a great thing if I could tie up with that! Have you heard about it?

No aado mas! Escribame pronto… en espanol.


I’ll be continuing the week with other letters written from Dan to his father and the folks in Trumbull. These are letters I have recently been given by Dan’s daughter, so I’m posting them all together, up until they catch up with this story line.

Judy Guion