Trumbull – A Double-Header Birthday Celebration (4) – Aug., 1940

I’m home from Rehab and will be posting letters again. This week, the letters are written in August of 1940, Grandpa’s letter is a real long one so I’ll be posting it over four days and them I’ll be posting a letter from Biss to her older brother Ced in Alaska.

The remarks in my letter to Dan about his stock certificate also apply to your Fairbanks-Morse stock, so I have enclosed for you also, a blank for you to sign opposite the X also. Don’t fill it in anywhere else. No date. Just your signature as indicated.

Blog - Lad in Venezuela walking in field (cropped)Your August 4th letter arrived with news of the new plane, the cutting of your force and arrival of new equipment at Pariaguan. If I remember correctly, Chris is going to leave soon. Will that mean you will be in charge? Are they still drilling on the old wells or have they started new drillings? Ced writes a description of the planes he has to service in his new job but it is too long to copy. In fact I think the only way for me to keep you informed of the many interesting items discussed is to send you the letters themselves, but they seem to be so much in demand from interested friends that I don’t like to send them on a two months journey.

A letter from Rusty just received commenting on a letter he received from Ced, says: “It was my dream for many years to have my father see Alaska with me. I hope you will be able to see a great part of it in the near future — also that Alfred will chuck his job down there in Hell and go to Anchorage for a little cooling off, or why not all of us move right in on the Alaskans and settle down there for good? I swear I’ll never put in another summer in this land of suffocation again. Best to Laddie when you write him and tell him to start his packing for a country where there are no snakes or crocodiles messing around your feet and you don’t spent most of the day scratching lice or getting drunk to forget what a miserable wretch you are.”

I don’t recall whether in my last letter I mentioned that Arnold told me he had sent back your watch which you and asked him to have fixed, that the cost was $6 and that you had said something about my taking care of your finances and that he should apply to me for payment. While I had not heard anything from you on the subject I took it for granted it was all right and drew a check to his order for six dollars, as he said he was planning to go on a vacation around September 1st and wanted to get some things with the money before that.

Aunt Betty has just asked me to remember her to all you boys and to say that she intended to write you sooner or later.

The letter from Fred Chion to Dan says that Inter-America seems to be all washed up, but that due to a stroke of fortune in Max’s absence, Dick Wiberly was able to work things so that all the men got paid in full for their back salary and had left the company. Most of them are thinking of forming a company to do surveys down there. Chion has already had a couple of offers so intends to stick around a while to see what happens. He states it looks as though under no circumstances would Max get another job down there. I guess those tools are yours and there is little chance now of your getting cash in return for turning them back, even if you wanted to, which I sometimes doubt.

I just received notification from the John Hancock Life Insurance Company that they have left to accumulate to your account in accordance with standing instructions, an annual dividend on your policy of $3.90. This notification I have filed with your policy in the safe deposit vault.

Dick’s camera supplies amounted to a little over $11. He MAY write thanking you, but in any event he seems much pleased with his gifts. I have not decided on the projector yet. I tried out both the Bell and Howell and the Eastman and while the former has a slight edge on the B&H as far as quietness of operation goes, I do not think it is worth double the price asked. I am thinking of seeing what allowance I can get in turning in our old camera and projector in the 16 mm size to apply against the purchase price of the new projector or perhaps exchange them for a new 8 mm camera so that we can both be standardized on that one size. I am told I can have the few pictures we have on the 16 mm films copied on the smaller size, so we need not lose the benefit of pictures already taken on the old camera.

Ced writes he received his first pay covering a period of approximately 2 weeks, amounting to $76.80 which included some overtime. He says Dodge, Packard and Oldsmobile are the most popular cars there in the order named. Chevrolets and Fords are almost nonexistent. GMC and Dodge are the most popular trucks.

DAD

Tomorrow, I’ll be posting a letter from Biss to her older brother Ced in Alaska.

I’ll be posting Special Pictures on Saturday and Sunday and next week, I’ll be posting letters from 1941.

Judy Guion

 

gpcox – When Making a Car Was Illegal

This is the latest Guest Post from gpcox all about the vehicles in service during World War II and a little about what the American Family had to sacrifice back home.

When Making a Car Was Illegal

After Pearl Harbor, President Roosevelt ordered all car manufacturers to cease the production of private automobiles and convert the factories to produce military

Utility Truck

Utility Truck

vehicles, weaponry, airplane engines, parts, etc.  But, this would not put an end to man’s love affair with the automobile.  A car manual became priceless to a private owner and a truck manual was an absolute necessity for a farmer or businessman.  With the rationing of gasoline in the U.S., the “National Victory Speed” was 35 mph and driving clubs were encouraged. (Our modern day car-pools).

Automobiles were produced in massive quantities before the Great Depression and this brought the price down considerably.  Then, the stock market crashed and many people were unable to afford the fuel for the cars they already owned.  There were some that removed the engines from their vehicles and had a horse pull them.  These were nicknamed “Bennett Buggies” in some areas.

FDR gave a long-winded speech on 28 April 1942 called the “Call for Sacrifice,” where he stated, “…Not all of us have the privilege of fighting our enemies in distant parts of the world.  Not all of us can have the privilege of working in a munitions factory or a shipyard, or on the farms or in oil fields or mines…  There is one front where everyone is in action and that is right here at home and that is the privilege of denial.”  (Can any of us even imagine what would eventuate from a statement like that today?)  It was not until June that civilian truck production ceased, except some tightly government controlled heavy trucks produced during 1944 by GMC.

A quote from the Random Memories of Cedric Duryee Guion  (posted  Feb. 1, 2013) – “We had a 1927 Packard Touring car. I guess this was when Lad was working at Well’s Garage and he was making a little money there. He saw a 1929 Packard Touring car – it was a beauty – and he asked my Dad if he could trade in the old Packard and my Dad told him “OK”. We didn’t like that because then it was Lad’s car. I think that’s the Packard with the hidden compartment that Lad found while cleaning it out. We figured it must have belonged to some rum-runners”

Packard

Packard

Packard was known as a “company of premier luxury cars.”  In 1937, they introduced their first 6-cylinder engine since 1928 – right in time for the ’29 Depression, so they designed the “110” model in 1940-41 to serve as taxi cabs.  With the onset of war, air plane engines, such as the Merlin that powered the P-51 Mustang fighter were produced.  Many American and British PT boats were equipped with the Packard 1350-, 1400-, and 1500 horsepower V-12 marine engines.  During this era, the company also produced ambulances and other military vehicles.  All in all, 60,000 combined engines were built by Packard.

GMC had produced nearly 584,000 multi-drive vehicles for use in WWII, the first of which was the amphibious 6×6 “Ducks.”  These were sent to the Army for island landings

1943 "Duck"

1943 “Duck”

and river crossings.  Over 21,000 of these unique vehicles were produced.  GMC also built the first 2 ½ ton 6×6 trucks powered by a 270 cid engine which became the famous “workhorse” of the Army.

The Ford Corporation during 1942-45 built approximately 8,600 of the Consolidated B-24 Liberator bombers.  They also produced aircraft engines, M-4 tanks, spare parts

WWII Jeep Ambulance

WWII Jeep Ambulance

and the ever-famous Jeep.  In England, the Dagenham plant built the Ford military trucks, Bren-gun carriers and more than 30,000 super-charged V-12 engines for the Mosquito and Lancaster bombers.

The transportation department of the U.S. Army performed monumental feats during WWII.  They moved tons of food, weapons, equipment and men despite gasoline, oil and lubricants being in short supply.  If one delves deeper into this research, we find that Congress was not always willing to loosen the government’s purse strings.  As I have mentioned previously on my site, http://pacificparatrooper.wordpress.com, Europe received the majority of the supplies since their slogan at the time was, “Europe First.” (But, even the ETO had shortages.)  I have two specific reports stating that my father’s unit, the 11th Airborne Division while fighting in the Pacific, could not reach the city of Manila before the Sixth Army due to the lack of trucks.  (We once again see why the Technical Forces were so important to the Ground Forces.)( See Guest Post – gpcox –   Technical and Ground Force Coordination, published here Feb. 12, 2013)

Since the first automobile sputtered down the street and caught up to a horse, men have defined themselves by their vehicles, showing their cars off with pride and affection.  They wash them, wax them and individualize them.  It becomes an extension of himself – whereas a woman does the same routine for her home.

The ever-reliable car manual during the WWII era was a lifeline keeping farmers connected to markets, businessmen to their offices and factory workers to their jobs.  What you had, you were forced to maintain or learn to do without.  Just try to picture it – a world without rent-a-cars or gas stations at every intersection, no leasing contracts for new cars, no power windows or GPS or Blue Tooth… What do you see?

Judy and I enjoy these guest posts and want to hear how this situation affected your family or give us suggestions for future articles.

Research & Photo Resources:

Military History Online

Internet History Sourcebooks

Ford Corp./history

History of Packard

From the Great Depression to WWII

Wikipedia

Classic Car History

Fine Art America

Lopez Transport 1941

Surrey Vintage Vehicle Society

GMC Trucks

Please leave a comment and let us know what you think of these Guest Posts. Do you want more of them?

Judy Guion

Life in Alaska – Ced – The Perfect Job, July, 1940

1934 - 1940 Timeline

1934 – 1940 Timeline

In an attempt to help you keep track of where everyone is at the time of each letter, I’ve created the Timeline above. Please let me know if it helps.I do realize that it is sometimes quite confusing.

The following letter is from Ced to his older brother, Lad, who is still in Venezuela. It was included in the same envelope as Dan’s letter dated the day before.  Both boys have been in Alaska for about 6 weeks and found jobs very quickly. It didn’t take them long to find jobs that were better suited to their plans. Dan is working as a surveyor at the military airfield and Ced is working at an airline transport company.

Monday – July 29, 1940

9:35 PM our time

3:35 AM New York time (Daylight Savings)

Dear Alfred:

I have been intending to write to you for a long time and it seems as though I finally got around to it. I won’t be sure until it’s in the mailbox however.

Cedric Duryee Guion

Cedric Duryee Guion

I suppose you must feel that I am either a lousy correspondent or just a terribly dis-interested person as concerns you – rest assured, it’s undoubtedly the former. I can’t begin to tell you how I appreciate all you have done for Dad and also the rest of us. I know that your help has been invaluable to Dad and he, I’m sure, is very grateful. As concerns myself – ahem – I wanted thank you for the birthday gift of the bag which Dad got for me with your money. Even coming as it does, within two days of two months late, it is none the less sincere. It (the gift) came in very handy on the trip out and I’m afraid I would have been hopelessly short of luggage if it hadn’t been with me. Golly, it’s hot to write. Dan and I sit in our room sweltering with the window and door wide open, just imagine, this in Alaska. The paper says there has been a heat wave in the eastern states too, so I don’t feel so badly.

Just took time out to read Dan’s letter to you so that I wouldn’t duplicate. I agree with him in his disappointment in Alaska, but perhaps I enjoyed the trip out a little better than he, though at times it did get monotonous. At present, I’m in the middle of writing a trip history and when it’s finished, I will send you a copy.

It occurs to me that you might be interested in my work at the airport. Mr. Woodley runs an airline which operates commercial planes for hire. He was one of the four concerns in the commercial flying business upon whom I called on the first day out looking for work. The reason being that I have decided, pretty definitely, to get into aviation (on the top side I hope) and concluded that work in any capacity at the airport would help me get on the “inside”. Mr. Woodley was the last one I contacted as he had been out the first three times I tried to get him. When I finally did get to see him, instead of being the gruff, executive type I had expected to find, he was friendly and reminded me somewhat of Uncle Fred, though not in appearance. He knew Rusty when I asked him if he had known him and when I told him where I was from he was quite interested and said he had come from Boston. He said he would look around and see what he could find and I left, hopeful, but not expecting. The next day I found work at Glover’s gas station and the day after started in there. I told Mr. Woodley I was working but still hoping to get out on the airport. This second visit, I suppose, convinced him I was interested and two days later I was walking to work when he drove up in his car (39 Packard 6) and hailed me. He said I could go to work as soon as I wanted to. I told him I’d see Mr. Glover and let him know that noon. (I of course did see Art Glover, and did let him know the answer was “YES”.) He told me the work wasn’t much – gassing planes, cleaning them inside and out and being a general handyman. So far the job has been just that. My pay is $.60 an hour which is what I was making at the Tilo Company when I left, but Art Woodley told me it would be increasing if I did all right. Soooo,

The company has three pilots: Art himself and two others, a girl and two men in the office, a large hangar at the airport, and old shed at the Lake where they have two ramps for planes on pontoons, a ‘39 panel GMC and a ‘40 station wagon GMC, two planes on wheels – one undergoing complete repairs in the hangar and two on floats or pontoons. All six place and pilot Travelaires with Whirlwind engines, weighing under 400 pounds and developing 310 hp, and one eight place, pilot and copilot, Stinson tri-motor with Lycoming engines and retractable landing gear. The Travelaire‘s are around 10 years old and the Stinson eight. The Stinson is a sweetheart. The seats are overstuffed and pivot; a card table, large map of the US, reading lights, a fan, sick berth and small lavatory and sink are part of its equipment. It will cruise at 150 to 160 miles per hour and what an instrument panel! It has about 30 dials and 35 or 40 switches and about as many telltale lights. The only thing is that it doesn’t get used very often as it is so costly to operate. It hasn’t left the ground since I have been here (two weeks).

The country up here is particularly hard on cars because of rough roads, very dusty and about two thirds of all the cars are Packard‘s – almost no Fords, Chevrolets, Plymouth’s, Buicks and practically all Dodge GMC’s.

It’s bedtime now. Best of luck to you, and I’ll send you that trip report.

Ced

Please let me know if the Timeline helps. Tomorrow, we’ll be going back to Trumbull and see what Grandpa has been up to… or in to… as the case may be.

Judy Guion