This is the second half of a letter written by my Grandfather to Lad, his oldest son, who is in Venezuela working for the Socony-Vacuum Oil Company so he can send money home to help support his younger siblings.
David was glancing over some of your old letters the other day and noticed that statements that you have not seen or heard of Mac for some time. It evidently made an impression on him with the enclosed result.
In one of Ibsen’s plays one of the chief characters spends most of his time studying books and dreaming of what he will do and say sometime when the opportunity, us. The opportunity does come to him unexpectedly. The crowd calls upon him to give his wisdom. Because he has not been in the habit of giving, because all his life he has been taking in and never giving anything out, he stood before that vast throng with nothing to say it would help them. He realized too late that the best preparation for living a rich life is to live experimentally, to try things out, to plunge into contests with other men, to take risks, to Ed venture, to expose oneself to opportunities.
And that brings me to a suggestion I had in the back of my mind for some time — an idea as to how we may make possible and practical this matter of helping to make
opportunity which you were fitting yourself to me. At the library the other day I came across an article written back in 1937 which told how much diesel engine use have progressed enlisting the leading makers particularly of the bigger units. I try to figure out how you could capitalize on this to your own advantage, and concluded that if you were to write to each of these concerns from Pariaguan, telling them of your experience in diesel work in South America, they said the background with the Wolverine in Bridgeport, it would expose you to a possible opening they might have for a man of your capability either in South America or elsewhere. The idea of course, is not that you were dissatisfied or intend to leave or anything of that sort, but that with the possibility that the oil well might not come through in six months time and that you would then be out of a job, you are now making plans against that contingency, but even more in that as diesel is your chosen field, where justified in seeking experience in that particular field. You wouldn’t expect to develop anything overnight, but it might be just as well for future developments to put yourself on record leading manufacturers, so that when, if and as the time calms for them to see command of your qualifications, they will know where to find him. If you haven’t time to write the letters yourself and like the idea perhaps we can multi-graph a number of duplicates with the salient facts that I can send you to be mailed out from there. The leading companies mentioned in this article were: Nordberg, Wetherington, de la Vergne, McIntosh and Seymour, Busch-Sulzer, Winton, Caterpillar, Fairbanks, Morse, national supply company of Delaware (Superior Engine Division). At this Imperial diesel engine company of Oakland California, Hercules motor Corporation, Western engine Corporation, Cummins and Allis-Chalmers.
Tomorrow being Lincoln’s birthday, it seems appropriate to quote from an article which tells of the difficulties which preceded Mr. Lincoln’s election to the presidency. When Mr. Lincoln was a young man he ran for the legislature of Illinois and was badly beaten. He then entered business, failed, and spent 17 years of his life paying off the debts of a worthless partner. He fell in love with a beautiful girl to whom you became engaged. She died. Later he married a woman who was a constant burden. Again entering politics he ran for Congress and was badly beaten. He then tried to get an appointment to the US land office but failed in that. He became a candidate for the U.S. Senate and was badly defeated. In 1856 he became a candidate for the vice presidency and was again defeated. In 1858 he was beaten by Douglas. His life up to the time he became president was one failure after another; a series of great setbacks.
There comes a time in every man’s life when he gets a not. He may be going along fine when something turns up which discourages him tremendously. It may be the loss of the job, or failure of plans he has worked on for months or years. He may either give up, self, become upset and let it ruin his health or, if he has not the right stuff, he will grit his teeth and work harder than ever.
And now just a touch of humor from my advertising files and I will call it a day: Mark Twain in his early days was the editor of a Missouri newspaper. A superstitious: wrote to him saying that he had found a spider in newspaper and asked whether that was a sign of good luck or bad luck. The following answer was printed in the paper:
“finding a spider in your paper was neither good luck nor bad luck for you. The spider was merely looking over our papers see which merchant is not advertising smoothly that he can go to that store, spin his web across the door, and live a life of a disturbed piece ever afterwards”.
I hope those pictures you sent by regular mail will be coming along pretty soon now. I will have to remind Dan or said to take some other snaps around here for your enjoyment.
Until next, then, auf wiedersehn.
Tomorrow, you’ll see the letter written by Mack, the family dog, written to Lad – through the youngest child. David.
On Saturday, another portion of Alfred Duryee Guion’s Autobiography about his early years at the turn of the last century and on Sunday, the latest developments with Mary E. Wilson and Archie.
Next week, we’ll move ahead to 1943 in the waning month and find out what is going on in the lives of the newlyweds, Lad and Marian.
If you are enjoying these letters about famoly life in the 1940’s. why not pass along the link to a friend or two who might also enjoy this look back at history through the eyes of those who lived it?