Special Picture # 315 – Venezuela – 1945


This picture of a very large snakeskin was taken in Veneuela in 1945. Third from the left is Flor Williams, and her husband were good friends with Lad while he worked for the Socony-Vacuum Oil Company (which is now Mobil Oil) from 1939 to 1941.

Tomorrow, i’ll begin posting letters written in 1942. Dan and Lad are both in Uncle Sam’s Army undergoing training and are still able to get home on some weekends.

Judy Guion


Friends – Martin and Flor Williams From Venezuela (2) – July, 1941

Martin and Flor Williams - Trumbull

Martin and Flor Williams visit Trumbull

And now that I have answered most of the points in your letter I will try to give you some of the news around here.

The Ensconatus have been moved to the Siegfus’s house pending move to Cantaura, where they will set up housekeeping again. The house has been given to the Poleo family (you remember him, the radio technician, no?). His wife is very pretty and very simpatica, and their baby girl (about six months) is the most darling thing you ever saw. Although naturally we miss the Ensconatus, I can’t say I’m not so pleased also with our new neighbors; they are very nice indeed. Anita Ensconatus was operated on for appendicitis on Tuesday the 15th, as far as we know to date, is doing nicely.

Frank Borgon, Andy, the Wardlaw’s, Bob Ross, Gutke, Howard and I can’t think who else right at the minute, have left. The Wardlaw’s and Bob will return, thank goodness. The Frost’s arrived and are temporarily installed in the Grubbs house (By the way, Grubbs left for good, and I can’t say I’m not glad). I believe the plan is for them to stay there until the company builds another small house on our row. How long this will take, however, is, well…., you know how those things are.

De la Torre is back from vacation, and Sanchez Martinez has therefore returned to Guario.

The Baiz’s will be terminated on August 5. Maruja came out before they knew about it, but in view of the fact that they will be leaving so soon, Emy has remained in Caracas. Socially I like them tremendously, especially Lucinda, but medically I think this move has been expected for a long time. They will be replaced by a Dr. Delfin Aroila, surgeon, who, I understand, has his own x-ray machine, etc. etc., and if things turn out as the company plans, he will perform operations locally, thus eliminating the necessity of sending everybody suffering from the slightest ailment to Caracas. Let’s hope he’s good.

The Baiz’s leaving will make a big gap in the social season, but then you can imagine that pretty well, can’t you?

John Sheldon, Mr. Sheldon’s oldest boy, is spending some time here in the field. He has been at Guario for about 2 1/2 weeks and I believe he came in here today, although I haven’t seen him yet. The 23rd of this month is his birthday and we have invited him over to dinner, as well as the Pet. Eng. with whom he has been working in Guario. Can you imagine Gruver at our table? Do you think the house, our dishes, and glassware and stand such a tornado? Let’s hope so.

And talking about birthdays and dinners, Claire has invited us over for dinner the 31st, and I think that’s very sweet of her.

Well, Al, something tells me I have taken up enough of your time; I can only hope that I have not bored you; that I haven’t forgotten any bit of news that might be of interest to you.

I believe Sieck will be leaving soon, for good. It’s too bad, he’s such a nice boy.

I don’t know if I mentioned in my last that there was a possibility of our going in September. Well, it’s very doubtful, but what we would like to do is the following. Martin has already ordered a car, with the specifications of the cars the company buys, so that we can travel over these roads safely, to be delivered to his father on August 25th. This can be done whether we go or not, but should we be able to get away, our plan would be to leave here August 29th, catch the clipper of the first of September to Miami, and have Martin’s father meet us there with the car. Do all our tropical shopping down south, visit the Williams’s who have moved to Florida, and then drive north. We would take you in, spent some time in Maine, and if possible go as far West as Minnesota to see the Wrights. This is so far a beautiful dream, after my conversation with Cosh not long ago when he was out here (for just a few hours, as usual) it would seem that it might not work. However, we can enjoy ourselves planning in the meantime, don’t you think?

Well, now I will sign off before you faint.

Give our very best to all who may be interested, and for yourself receive our very very best wishes for a happy future.

Martin and Flor

P.S. Frank Le Ray should have landed in La Guaria the 16th, according to the letter we received from him recently. Although we haven’t heard from Bishop on the subject, rumor has it that he was on the same boat as Frank. We hope so, that’s at least two of our good friends returned.

Since this picture was taken at the Trumbull House, my guess is that Martin and Flor were able to take the trip as planned, although I’m not sure of the date.

Tomorrow i’ll be posting letters from Biss to her Dad from St. Petersburg, Florida where she id staying with her Aunt and two cousins.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Lad, Home at Last (1) – June, 1941

Trumbull, Conn.

June 8, 1941

Mr. Cedric Guion

Anchorage, Alaska.

Dear Sir:

I beg to acknowledge receipt of your favor of the 27th, contents of which have been duly noted. Thanking you for your continued favors, I beg to remain,

Very truly yours.

          Yes sir, it arrived on June 4th, just one week after mailing, which shows considerable improvement in the mail service. Evidently, my letters to you are also arriving more promptly, which helps to make it seem as though you were not so far away.

Well of course the big news (good news) of the week was Lad’s homecoming. The other was Mr. Plumb’s death which you have undoubtedly learned from Barbara. They both occurred on the same day. It’s odd how these events run in pairs. Dick’s departure and poor old Mack’s passing on the same day, also.

??????????????????????????First, as to Lad’s arrival. The newspaper wireless report in the newspaper gave Santa Rosa’s arrival time as 8 AM Thursday, June 5th instead of the June 4th date mentioned in Lad’s cable. This seemed fortunate as Wednesday was a miserable rainy day and the paper and radio promised clearing Thursday. But, Thursday it rained hard and steadily all day long.

We planned to leave here at 7:30, and I did leave that time to get Elizabeth and Butch. They were not ready so I went up after Barbara. She was ready. I then came back for Dave and Aunt Betty and then picked up daughter and grandson. We left Trumbull (Kurtz’s) at 6:45. Jean wanted to go but her parents would not let her.

With the experience in mind of being late for Dan’s arrival, I stepped on the gas and as there were not many cars on the Merritt Parkway, we frequently sailed along at 70 without any effort. We got down to the pier and 8:10 amid pouring, pelting rain. Arnold and Alta were already there. Elsie came in later. With the passes I had secured we (Dave and I) went through the barrier.

The boat had just tied up at the pier but the gangplank had not been lowered. There was Lad on deck looking just the same as ever. We each saw the other fellow simultaneously and waved. In due course, the gangplank was pushed into position and Lad set foot on the good old U.S.A. We hung around a while until seven boxes with his name on them were brought ashore, then a session with the customs and finally loading his stuff in to the cars, some in the Buick trunk and some in Arnold’s rear seat.

I had brought Lad’s driving licenses with me and as he had to go to 26 Broadway to report his arrival to Socony-Vacuum, he drove the Packard downtown. We parked outside the building for an hour or so and then Elsie decided to come to Trumbull with us so we all journeyed to Trumbull, still amid a steady downpour, to Trumbull. Alta, the night before, had brought over a big load of peonies with which to decorate the house. Dave and I had put up welcome signs here and there about the house. Dave had also put a black paper over the French doors in the music room and set up the movie projector. Mrs. Warden had cooked up a nice hot dinner for us, for which everyone stayed, and we then ran off the Venezuelan and Alaskan films. Carl had come over and before the evening was spent we had the following callers: Babe (Cecelia Mullens, Lad’s girlfriend), Don Whitney, Jean Mortenson, Jean Hughes, Mr. and Mrs. George Knapp, Erwin (Laufer), Red (Sirene), Ethel (Bushey) and the elder Feller.

Tomorrow, I’ll post the rest of this letter. For the rest of the week, O’ll have another letter from Grandpa, one from Grandma Peabody to Ced and a letter from Barbara (Plumb), Dan’s girlfriend, to Ced.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – News About Everyone Except Ced – May, 1942


APG - Postcard post mark from Ayers, MA the day of induction, May, 1942

APG - Postcard to Dad the day he was inducted - May, 1942Trumbull, Conn., May 24, 1942

Dear Boys:

A postal card from Lad reveals that he is, and expects for the next six or eight weeks, to be at Ordnance Replacement Center,
??????????????????????????Aberdeen Proving Grounds, Maryland, Co. B, 1st Ordnance Training Battalion. I am awaiting further details to learn whether this was his choice, based possibly on the fact that his experience with moving heavy equipment with Socony-Vacuum or possibly the use of diesels in transporting big guns, or whether he was just sent there willy-nilly. I asked Harry Robinson one day how he became deaf and he told me that during the first World War, they sent him to Aberdeen and the concussion from the firing of the big guns was what destroyed his hearing.

No news from Dan, merely a request to have Barbara bring down with her his Alaskan slides which he had promised to show to several interested parties in Roanoke Rapids. Barbara left Thursday night and expected to arrive Friday morning, returning to Bridgeport

Daniel Beck Guion - (Dan)

Daniel Beck Guion – (Dan)

in time for work Tuesday morning. I hope to receive, even though it be secondhand, more detailed information from this tantalizing individual who merely writes he now has a specialists rating carrying with it a boost of $20 in his pay, but what the rating is for, how obtained, etc, is left to the imagination. He also refers to the possibility of making application to Officer’s Candidate School, but beyond that bare fact no more information is vouchsafed. He does mention that he has applied for a furlough early in July, which he will not know definitely can be granted for some time, and announces he has definitely decided not to use his car down there.

Dick has just received card notification from Draft Board that he is in Class 1. He informed me today he has decided to see what can

Dick Guion

    Dick Guion

be done about transferring him to a day shift again. He is losing weight due to lack of sleep, which is harder to get in summer day times, and the reflection of artificial light from the pieces he works on affects his eyes. He still spends most of his spare time at Stratford (where Jean Mortensen lives) in spite of the gas rationing restrictions.

Dave, for some time, has been hopeful of making the grade as President of his sophomore class, but finally lost out. DPG - with Zeke holding ButchHe took his defeat in the sporting spirit. Lately he has been seeing a great deal of Natalie Slawson, at whose house he calls, whenever the parental discipline is a little off guard.

Aunt Betty manages to put in a pretty full day divided up between caring for her flowerbeds, darning socks, washing dishes, cleaning house, etc. She says she is not over doing things but I would rather she took it a little easier.


Biss and Butch, 1940

         Biss and Butch

Elizabeth, due to gas rationing restrictions, won’t be able to use the car as much as formerly, so probably will not visit us as frequently.

The sewer drain, under the cellar stairs, sprung a leak and backed up in the cellar and I spent as much time as I could spare from dinner chores this morning and after dinner this afternoon, in digging up the ground to find  where the break occurred and trying to fix it, with only partial success.


For the next 3 days, I’ll be posting a letter Grandpa wrote to honor Ced’s birthday on June 1st, and a report on the entire family, where they are and what they are doing, On Friday, another letter from Lad at Aberdeen Proving Grounds. Judy Guion

Friends – A Letter From Lad’s Employer And A Friend In Venezuela – Jan., 1941

APG - Letter from Socony-Vacuum about pay raise - Jan., 1941


January 4, 1941


Mr. A.P. Guion

Anzoategui Camp


Dear Mr. Guion,


I am pleased to inform you that I have received instructions from the General Manager to increase your salary from $200 to $225 per month.

In consequence, your New York salary allotment will be increased by $25 commencing this month.


Yours very truly



W. R. Cosh




APG - Letter From L.K. Sieck, at Guario - Jan., 1941



ENERO 11, 1941

Dear Sir or Friend maybe Palzy walzy;

What have you ever found out in that letter that you wrote to the American Consul in Caracas about your passport. I, if you remember right, was very much interested in the answer that you received. Please inform as to the consequences suffered at the delay of such matter.

What type of bolster did that truck from Guanta come in with. That fellow Erny from Puerta de la Cruz was here and says that a red bolster was left in the building down at the port. Also that he is short a bolster that he left there in the office near the red one from Cubagua. He would like to have his returned if it was sent to Pariaguan by mistake. It was a homemade one with two shoes on it.

About the material that I sent you the requisition or rather returned the requisition on; Mr. Breeding finds that he unloaded it by mistake at his house in Cantuara. He mistook it for groceries. He begs your forgiveness for thinking that you did not send them. If you will please return the returned requisition to me here at Guario things will be straightened up.

Mr. Nelle says that his Drivers permit is not up for another month yet, but that he was just trying to get things in order before it was rushed.

Thank you,


L.K. Sieck

Tomorrow and Sunday, Special Pictures.

On Monday, letters written in 1942. Lad is working in Venezuela but is expected home in late spring. Dan has been drafted and Ced remains working in Alaska. Dick, Dave and Grandpa remain in Trumbull.

Judy Guion

Friends – News From Venezuela For Dan – Jan., 1941

Daniel Beck Guion in Venezuela

Daniel Beck Guion      in Venezuela

Pariaguan, Edo. Anzoategui

Jan. 5, 1941

Dear Danny,

I guess it must be a surprise to hear from me after all this time. Yes Sir, I’m in Pariaguan, with Compania Nacional de Construcciones. Your brother is here in the Socony and I’ve seen him several times. I guess he’s planning on returning home this spring. How is Alaska now? I guess it must be pretty cold, and the mosquitoes that you were complaining about six months ago must be all gone.

Latest news from the front (Inter-America) is that about three months ago Max filed suit against Dick for collecting and distributing money from the ministry. (This story line can be found in the category “Life in Venezuela”.) Of course, he did not have a leg to stand on and I believe the suit was more of a bluff than anything else and I’m pretty sure that it was dropped entirely. I saw Max in Caracas about two months ago and he wanted me to return my passage fair, which I had collected from Inter-America, and also one month’s salary for vacation. I merely told him that I would answer, after due time, giving to deliberation. My deliberation was talking to a lawyer who forthwith answered Max to the tone that I was entitled to more than I collected and that if he, Max, would not drop the whole thing, he would be sued for the difference. To this date, I’ve no longer heard from him.

I’m glad of my experience with Max for it opened my eyes 100%”, “I’ve lost all hope of human nature”.

All the boys, excepting another fellow and I, have returned to the states. Karnopp is working for the M.O.P. on railroad location someplace in Zulia. As a matter of fact, he offered me a job with him about two months ago. But I’m better off where I am at and besides, the M.O.P. pays in bolivars and new dollars are very hard to obtain (contraband dollars sell at 4.00 to 4.50 bolivars to the dollar). Dick is working in Washington DC.

That is about all the news that I can give you. I wish you the very best of health, happiness and success for the coming year – regards,

Hasta luego

Su sincere servidor y ami:

Fred (Chion)


P.S. Did you ever hear from Jimmy anymore?

Trumbull – Dear Partners in Crime (1) – Aug., 1940

Alfred Duryee Guion (my Grandpa)

Alfred Duryee Guion (my Grandpa)

R-93                                September 15, 1940

Dear Partners in Crime:

Gosh, but you boys certainly did make me feel good on my natal day! It started before I was up on the morning of the 11th. I had my radio going as I lay in bed trying to learn what had occurred in the intervening 12 hours in the day of war news and thus did not hear the phone ring, but long legged Dick, clad in his pajamas and with sleep still in his eyes, said Western Union wanted me on the phone. And this was the message: A night letter from Anchorage, Alaska for A.D. Guion. Congratulations to O D A. Birthday greetings we joyously send, to Pop on whom we can always depend, to see to it we are always presented, with swell birthday gifts – kinds not resented. The man who the deep in troubles steeped, has always thought just of our welfare replete. (Signed) Sourdoughs Dan and Ced.

This was getting off to a good start. With the warm glow in my heart I shaved (without cutting myself), had my usual frugal breakfast, started the old Plymouth, which quite surprisingly started without the usual trouble, sailed down the drive and made my first stop at the store. P. O. Box 7 was bursting with mail. Yes, sir, believe it or not, letters awaited me from Aunt Betty, Lad, Dan and Ced, all with birthday greetings right on the nose. (And this has no reference to hay fever). And what greetings! Aunt Betty, the usual card with the usual dollar bill parked underneath the first sheet, Lad with a nice letter accompanied by a blank check, as it were, to get me something for myself, Dan with a $25 money order together with a letter and verse, and Ced with a four-page letter willingly me his entire bank balance here. Dick offered to blow me to the movies, which offer I could not accept because I had a job I had brought home from the office which had to be completed by the morrow and Dave donated his service in getting supper and also with a birthday greeting card. As soon as I poked my head in the office door George and Miss Denis burst out singing “Happy Birthday to You”, and Mr. Coville dropped in during the day and left his felicitations and asked to be remembered to Dan. I splurged a bit on the supper which consisted of a thick juicy beefsteak, delicious green asparagus (a frosted food), potatoes and Apple pie à la mode. All in all, a most momentous day. My little contribution took the form of a box of writing paper to each of the Alaskan contingent, a photo album to Lad, a waterproof, windproof jacket made of airplane cloth to Dick and to book of complete Gilbert and Sullivan operas for Dave. I hope the parcels post packages reach you “outsiders” promptly and in good shape.  Lads three-page letter, just to hit the high spots, mentions the fact that because of high costs of everything down there he is losing his perspective on the cost of things and the value of money and sites as an instance the fact that his watch, which Arnold had repaired here in Bridgeport for him, cost six dollars, were down there it would have cost $16-$17 for the work. The smallest denomination in paper money down there is 20 Bolivars (about $6.50). The movies he gets down there are two or three years old. He has seen “Robin Hood” and “Juarez”. It looks now as though at long last some of the oil wells they have drilled are coming through in the Guario field and they are starting another — the fourth — in the same location. His two years under contract with Socony-Vacuum is up May 31st but that does not mean necessarily that he is coming home at that time. His boss, Chris, may be leaving early in November when his contract expires, and Lad will probably get his job. Lad and the new airplane mechanic have struck up a friendship and he spends quite a bit of his spare time at the airport. He is thinking of the possibility of buying himself a small plane when he gets home and says they can be run more economically than even my little Willys that was.

Incidentally, both stock transfer blanks were received, duly signed. Thank you both.

This is another very long letter and I’ve broken it up into five parts. I’ll be posting a new piece each day the week. Judy Guion

Peabodys and Friends – Aug., 1941


My dear Lad,

Since early in August I wanted to write you and say thanks for that beautiful piece of artwork by the gold worker – and I thank you for remembering me – it’s a beautiful gift. But have been holding off until I could see what we could line up here – the results you already know – anyway I have another angle and today I sent Helen a letter from Hebard which she will let you read – you of course will not tell Hebard that you know I’m employed by Uncle Sam. You see how discrete he is – you too think I work for P.A.A. (Pan American Airlines) if the subject ever comes up – The Hebard outfits is a good one with worldwide connections. He has the power to pass you on to good things – if they come up –

So best of luck and best of wishes



Let me know just what happened in the interview – if any, etc.



June 30, 1941

Dear Dan, Ced,

Sometime ago I gave your dad a bill for lubrication, oil filter etc. contracted by Dick before his departure to the wilds with no results.

When I asked him about it he could not remember whether you wanted him to pay it or if you intended to but had forgotten.

Let me know whether I am to collect from him.

Have they no stationary up there or you are you making so much money you can’t write? Hope to hear from you soon.

With best regards to all.



August 21, 1941

Dear Dan & Ced: Dick too !

Since the gasoline situation is fast becoming acute, as you probably have already heard, Ethel and I are seriously considering going to California or Alaska shortly. That is within the next couple of months if possibilities there are good.

Please write as soon as you possibly can as to types of jobs open, wages, living conditions, cost of transportation by car or anything else that we might need to know on the subject.

Let me know if it is difficult to get work there and what the possibilities are.

With our best regards,


P.S. Just heard tonight that a cut of 70% in gas over what I bought last month has been just ordered by Socony for their dealers.

Tomorrow I’ll post the first half of a letter from Grandpa to his three sons in Alaska.

I’ll have Special Pictures on Saturday and Sunday.

On Monday I’ll be posting letters that were written in 1944. Lad is waiting not-so-patiently for final plans for overseas duty. I think by this time, they just want the Army to make some plans – any plans.

Judy Guion

Life In Alaska – Dear Frere – Ced to Lad (1) – Sept., 1940


September eighteenth

8:45 PM

Dear Frere

The Lord knows when your letter was posted, but it arrived in Anchorage on 11 September. The Venezuelan postmark was about as legible as a North American Chinamen’s left-handed signature as seen at 50 yards through the wrong end of Opera glasses. However it must have made fair time and Dan and I were both delighted to hear from you. Your letter was excellent reading too. Well written and newsy. I hope for a repeat performance soon.

As for your baby Lockheed, our Stinson, not Travelaire, should vie with it in instruments. Sometime I’ll count them and let you know. Then you’ll retract your belittling statements. I confess a feeling of envy, however, as there is a P.A.A. (Pacific Alaska Airways) plane which hits Anchorage once in a great while which is a new Lockheed, I think 10 passenger, and is probably the same design as S.V.O.’s (Socony-Vacuum Oil). It answers your description as far as exterior goes, but the inside I haven’t seen.

The further news on the Packard is this. To the end of my stay in Trumbull it seemed “faithful forever”, having masterfully served both Dan and I through two hard winters and at the last, with the new coat of top dressing and two new tires, looked good for another stretch. The top still went up and down frequently and didn’t leak to speak of. On leaving, unable to sell it through the papers, I left it with Dad with the understanding that Dick buy it for $40 if he got a job on the highway Department. P.S.  Dick got the job but not state Highway, instead Columbia photo, and now he has paid to Dad the full $40, which you by now have most likely heard through Dad’s carbons of letters to Dan and I.

The money, which rightfully belongs to you, along with $60 now from me, I took the liberty of temporarily deeding to Dad as help along financing. I am so situated now that I will soon be able to make it up to you. I am ashamed of having let it go so long, but I always figured that you didn’t have any immediate need for it and it was very convenient for me to have it in circumstances up to the present. Thanks for your kind, brotherly patience.

Dad so religiously tells you news of Dan and my doings that I feel unnecessary when I write news of happenings here only to learn (through Dad’s carbons again) that he has also told you the same things.

Tomorrow, I’ll post the rest of this letter.

On Wednesday and Thursday, a two part letter from Dan to Lad.

On Friday, An Absentee Ballot mailed to Lad from the Town Clerk.

Judy Guion

Special Picture # 59 – The Clubhouse At Pariaguan – 1940

Each of the Socony-Vacuum oil camps were rather primitive but they all had at least two buildings besides the sleeping quarters…. The Mess and the Clubhouse. These were the natural gathering places for the men when they were of duty.

APG - Clubhouse at Pariaguan - 1940

Clubhouse at Pari8aguan

APG - Clubhouse iInterior at Pariaguan - 1940

Clubhouse Interior at Pariaguan

APG - The Gang at the Clubhouse in Pariaguan - 1940

The Gang outside the Clubhouse at Pariaguan