Apr. 5, 1939
Rec’d Apr. 11
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.