Life in Venezuela – Official Documents – June 20, 1940

This appears to be a temporary Driver’s License issued on June 20, 1940, to my Father, Alfred P. Guion, at Estado Anzoategui (perhaps County?). The letter is dated August 1, 1940

APG - Driver's License letter - June 20, 1940

Partial translation: “Temporary permit for driver of Motor Vehicles. That this Sub-Inspectorate grants to the citizen Alfred P. G(u)ion, older than 26 years of age, of North American nationality, to drive motor vehicles. having consigned from this office A PERMIT EXPIRED BY SIX MONTHS, to request the final title.”

APG - Lad's ID in Venezuela - front - 1940

APG - Lad's ID in Venezuela - 1st page - 1940

APG - Lad's ID in Venezuela - page 2-3 - 1940

APG - Lad's ID in Venezuela - pages 4-5 - 1940

APG - Lad's ID in Venezuela - pages 6-7 - 1940

APG - Lad's ID in Venezuela - pages 8-9 - 1940

APG - Lad's ID in Venezuela - pages 10-11 - 1940

APG - Lad's ID in Venezuela - pages 12-13 - 1940

APG - Lad's ID in Venezuela - pages 14-15 - 1940


This seems to be a very detailed document of identification including his name, nationality, date of birth, gender, profession, religion, political affiliation, physical description, name of his father and mother, to pictures, current residence in the U.S., a fingerprint, and his employer, among other things.

Tomorrow and Sunday, the last two posts of the Early Years, the Memories of Cedric Duryee Guion. 

Judy Guion


Friends – Larry and Russ – The Two Jeeps – June 15, 1940

We have jumped back to 1940. Lad has been in Venezuela for about a year and a half and seems to like the work. Dan and Ced have recently left Trumbull to drive to Seattle and then take a ship to Anchorage, Alaska, where they hope to get jobs working for a friend of Rusty’s (Heurlin), the owner of a mine.

Blog - Lad in Venezuela walking in field (cropped)

Alfred Peabody Guion (Lad) in Venezuela

_ Saturday –

June 15, 1940

Dear Laddie:

We were very happy to receive your last letter and know we were not definitely in your discard file. For a while there you had us very worried; discard from your (we hope) preferred (?) list would be a terrible fate.

Things are pretty much the same as you left them here at 15 Harrison. We manage to keep happy and our bills are paid – so what more can we ask? With the exception of a few new articles our place will be as familiar as a favorite book, when you return.

By the way, when, if ever, are you coming home? I have lost track of your signed up period but don’t they let you off on a furlough once in two or three years anyway? We most certainly would like to see you anytime, the sooner the better.

You’re as good-natured as ever according to your story about your car. We are glad to hear you have a car, for your sake though, not for the entire crew. When your rainy season hits, try to find time to write a couple of lonesome “Jeeps”, if you can.

I think I told you that Cora, Rusty’s sister, was married last October. Well, they expect a little one in September. No as yet, I still have the same figure you last saw, with a little less weight. Seriously, however, if our plans work out right, we will have a baby of our own next summer. There are always a good many “ifs” in such plans but we are hoping and praying – so we shall see. The last order from Russ was twin girls and I would love twins myself, so you never know.

(Interesting mention of twins, because Lad and Marian’s first pregnancy resulted in twins, my brother and I.)

We have not seen Babe (Cecelia Mullins, Lad’s girlfriend in Trumbull) in almost a month now. You know how she goes in fits and starts, we may see her two or three times in one week then not again for a month. Occasionally she drops in with her bag and spends the weekend. We like having her but never know when to expect her.

Russ is earning a little more money now, starting today, working in a self-service store on Fairfield Ave., Bridgeport, as a checker, on Saturdays.

Right now I am up to my ears in Red Cross work, and knitting children’s sweaters for the poor children who are pretty destitute, abroad. You feel as though it was worthwhile work and I like to do it, for, in the same circumstances, I might want help myself – Heaven have mercy on them.

I will close this now and do my cleaning, so until we hear from you, which we hope shall be soon, we are as always,

With loads of love,

Larry and Russ

(Laura Mae and Russell Stanley)

P.S. Please forgive my delay, next time I promise to do better.

Tomorrow and for the rest of the week, I will be posting letters from Grandpa to his three oldest sons, Lad in Venezuela and Dan and Ced driving to Seattle on their way to a possible job at a mine near Anchorage, Alaska. 

Judy Guion

Early Years – Memories of Alfred Peabody Guion (8) – 1938-1942

After my Uncle Dan (Daniel Beck Guion) passed away in 1997, I realized that first-hand accounts of this particular “Slice of Life” would only continue to diminish over time. I needed to record the memories of my Aunt Biss and her brothers and share them with the family. This culminated in the idea of a Blog so that I could share these memories with anyone who would be interested in the personal histories of some members of The Greatest Generation.

Over a period of several years, whenever possible, I recorded the memories of my Dad and his siblings. 

I am beginning with the Memories of my Father, Alfred Peabody Guion, the oldest, and will continue each weekend with his Memories. Then I will share the Memories of his siblings, oldest to youngest.

Lad in Venezuela

Alfred Peabody Guion (Lad)

I got into the oil business in Venezuela through my uncle, Ted Human.  He was a civil engineer and saw an ad in the business paper that requested workers for Venezuela.  He applied for a job with a company called Interamerica, Inc. He got the job and asked Dan, also a civil engineer, to come down and help him.  He also asked me if I’d go along as a mechanic to maintain the company trucks.  We were going to build a road from Caracas to Columbia (Maracaibo), which would go across the top of Venezuela.  Barquisiemeto was the name of the town in Venezuela. Dan left with Uncle Ted (in October, 1938) but I had to buy tools, equipment and other stuff that I would need.  By the time I had everything ready and had arranged transportation, it was the end of December, 1938. I left from New York City on a Grace Line ship on December 26, 1938.  I was at sea on New Year’s Eve.  We had a rather bad storm going across to the port of Caracas and most of the passengers got sick, I was one of the few that didn’t get sick.  I was still able to get around although the ship was pitching rather badly.  After that they put balance wheels or gyroscopes in those boats.  They really helped a great deal.  It didn’t stop the pitching but it did stop the yawing.

I worked for Interamerica, Inc. for a couple of months but I wasn’t getting paid.  Neither were the other guys.  Uncle Ted found out that the pictures sent to the Venezuelan officials showed the road we had built was actually just smoothed out sand, not cement.  He got pretty upset about that because it wasn’t a real road.  He and Dan had done the surveying and figured the angles and the grades, and then instead of pouring cement, they just leveled off the sand.

Ted was injured in a car accident and returned to the United States.  I guess Dan wasn’t interested in staying after that.  Ted had introduced me to a fellow and I had worked on his vehicles.  I was able to get a job with him at Sacony-Vacuum and I worked for them for two years.

While Uncle Ted was in Venezuela, he had a chauffeur named Manuel.  There are going to Caracas down a road and came to a river with a bridge across it.  Many of the bridges in Venezuela are two lanes wide but only one side of the bridge is finished with planking.  Manuel was going a bit fast and he was going up a slight hill and because there was a piece of equipment on the road, he didn’t realize that the other side of the bridge had the planking.  Manuel tried to get over to the left far enough but wasn’t successful.  The car went over the bank and into the river.  Uncle Ted got hurt quite badly.  Aunt Helen ((Peabody) Human) came down from the US and took him back to a New York City hospital.  Although he lived for a few years after that, he was in very poor health.

After working in Venezuela for two and half years, the company (Socony-Vacuum) required that I take two months off and go to a temperate climate.  They didn’t care where, just that I had to be out of the tropical climate.  So I went home.  Just before our ship landed in New York City, an announcement came over the P A system that some government employees would be coming on board.  When they arrived, they asked everyone for their passport.  They told me that I wouldn’t get my passport back.  I went to Trumbull and shortly thereafter, got my conscription notice, classifying me 1-A. Because of my draft status, I had trouble finding a job.  I figured that if I signed up, then I could pick which branch of the service I went into.  I went to New York City and tried to get into the Navy and the Air Force but I was rejected because of my eyesight.  It was finally able to get a job at the Producto Machine Company (in Bridgeport).  They made machines and dies.  It was a fairly nice plant, it was considered pretty good equipment.  In December, the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor and shortly after that I got a notice to report for duty.  I was able to get a deferment because of my job but by April, 1942, I had been reclassified 1-A. I received a notice to report for duty in May.  Two days later I got a letter from the Navy saying they had lowered their eyesight requirements and I was now eligible.  I tried to talk the Army out of it, but was unsuccessful.  So I went into the Army.

Tomorrow, I will begin posting letters written in the middle of April, 1944.

Judy Guion

Friends (3) – Dear Danny – A Long Letter From Fred Chion About Interamerica, Inc. – May, 1940

This is the last page of a letter written by Fred Chion, a friend and co-worker of Dan’s, in Venezuela. He fills Dan in on some of the happening of Interamerica, Inc., after Dan left to return to Trumbull.

Dan, with co-workers, in the field surveying for Interamerica, Inc. in Venezuela

Now comes the payoff or “the boomerang strikes back”.  Max had given to Dick during a trip that he took to the states last December, a letter which stated that Mr. Richard A.  Wiberley (Dick) was the manager of the company and that all actions by him during Mr. Maxudian’s absence from this country was binding and that his decision was final in all matters pertaining to the company.  Using this letter at it’s worth, Dick applied for payment due to the company from the ministry and imagine his surprise when he was handed the money in cash.  He paid all of us off, all that was coming to him and then he sent a cable to Max saying that he had collected the money from the ministry and that we were leaving the company and the house at the end of the month of July.  Boy …. You should have then seen the cable grams from Max arriving fast and furious.  But it was too late.  Another stroke of good fortune was that in order to ensure our money, we had taken all the valuable equipment from the office, intending to hold it until we were paid in full and the very next day, Herrera Oroposa’s lawyer came into the office with a judgment against the company and attached all the office equipment in satisfaction of the debt due to him still from the days of the eminent Explorer RUDOLPH THE GREAT AND ONLY.  Anyhoe, at least we did Max a good turn, unless somebody else now finds the equipment and gets a judgment against it.  Which brings in Bush.  As I have previously said, Bush had left for the states in the earlier part of February because his wife was sick, and Max had faithfully promised him that his money would be safe with him, Max, and that he would send him a check to cover for all his past salary (six months).  During the middle of June, imagine our surprise when who should walk in the office but Bush asking for Max and his pay.  Max had completely forgotten to even inform him that he was in the states, let alone pay him for past services.  Naturally Bush was highly incensed and was ready to tell Max, if he saw him, where to get off.  He wrote to Max in the states but received no reply.  He then hired a lawyer and was ready to take action against the company when just about at that time, Richard pulled the rabbit out of the magician’s hat. Soooo……. Bush was also paid off in full, then we had a dinner to celebrate the event and everyone was happy except, I believe, that Mr. Karnopp will not be so happy.  You see …. Max owes Karnopp about 6 months’ salary and after we had paid off all just and most pressing claims, besides our salaries, there was exactly Bs. 120.30 left.  This is some chapter, hey what ……

Ricci is going home this coming Friday, in the meantime we are trying to form a company to do the surveys because the director of the MOP told Dick and I that under no consideration would another contract be given to Interamerica, Inc., that Mr. Maxudian had caused too much trouble and that he had called the minister of the MOP a thief and whatnot, that they did not again want to deal with such a person and that he was told this about six months ago.  Besides this, there are a few very good possibilities here, so that for the time being, I’m going to spend a little time here to see what develops.  I’ve already turned down a job offered to me by the Compania Nacional de Construction, you know, that American outfit that was in Barquisimeto.  Furthermore, I have an almost sure promise of a job, as does Dick, for a job in Panama with a Californian outfit who is going to do work for the government over there.  This was the company that Max tried to get interested in our work, telling them that he already had the contract for construction but that he did not have the equipment nor the capital and he strung them along for a period of two months before they finally smelt a rat, went to the MOP and the president of Venezuela, and left again for the sunny fields of California, where they say, there are very few Armenians.  It did Richard and I a world of good because we made very good contacts with them and this is the result.

Well, that’s about all I can tell you except that it is too bad we do not have a writer in this group to write the history of this company.  It would be so unbelieving that it would not even make a good fiction story.  I do not know how long I shall be in Venezuela and I therefore do not expect an answer to this letter of mine in this country.  Hold on and maybe in a few weeks I shall write to you again and then you will be able to answer me.  Remember me to your father and receive the very best from an old man (grown old in the service of Interamerica, Inc. – mostly RED)

So long toots, see you in the Army.

Best regards from the whole family.


(but who came out alright in the end)

This gives you an idea of the troubles both Lad and Dan had in getting their back pay after they left the company. Dan to return to Trumbull and Lad to employment with the Socony-Vacuum Oil Company in Venezuela. It was a long and tedious battle.

Tomorrow and Sunday, the last two posts of “Liquid Heaven”, Special Pictures and Memories, about our Family Island Retreat.

Judy Guion

Friends – Dear Danny (2) – A Long Letter from Fred Chion about Interamerica, Inc. – May, 1940

This is the second page of a long letter to Dan from Fred Chion, another Surveyor working for Interamerica, Inc. in Venezuela. Fred remained in Venezuela for a while after Dan left in May of 1939, and Fred is reporting some of the things that happened in the Company and to the workers in Venezuela.

Jim Pierce  and Lad Guion at Karnopp’s Camp in Venezuela

The Maxes, and Richard’s wife, left for the states at the beginning of the month of June, I moved in shortly afterwards and that began our worries. As usual, Max had not left enough money and by the end of June we were beginning to be worried.  Max promised that he would be back by the end of the month and a fortnight after he was supposed to have arrived here, Dick had used up what was left of the passage money in order to pay for our current expenses.  In the meantime, two of the boys had found employment, one with an engineering firm from the states, and the other with Texaco Oil Co., one of the other boys had left for the states, and there was Richard, another engineer, myself, my wife and child, left to worry.  During the month of March, in the meantime, Karnopp had been employed by the Ministry (MOP) for a railroad survey job which was supposed to have lasted 2 months.  To date, he has been working 6 months on it and it is not as yet finished.  He took with him the two boys that were working with him on the Coro line.  Max still had a good bank balance at that time and besides that, he still had some Bs. 20,000 to collect from the Ministry for the last payment.  When the balance was getting low, Richard started to send cables to New York to Max, but nary an answer.  He had hired a lawyer who had Power of Attorney for Max, and while he had the right to collect the money from the Ministry and pay us off, he would not do so unless he had explicit instructions to that effect from Max.  He sent a cable to Max asking him to tell him what to do with us, that we were no longer interested in working for his company, that the only thing that we wanted was to be paid off in full and return to the states, in other words, liquidate ourselves entirely from his company.  Max, as usual, did not answer for the simple reason that he wanted us to stay here to help his front.  He was telling everyone that his engineers had so much confidence in him that they were willing to wait until he received his next contract.  As matters stood, it was pretty bad.  I could have taken it on the chin and paid my own passage, lose out on the expense money that he owed me, and return home.  Another bad feature was that the Bolivars had greatly depreciated and while the legal exchange was still 3.19, they could not be had for that price and furthermore the government made it illegal for anyone to buy or sell dollars at a higher price than the official one.  Through the help of the oil people we were lucky enough to be able to buy some at 3.50, meaning that I would have had to take a 10% loss on the money paid to me.  Max had promised that he would take care of this matter while he was in New York and he did as he usually does all these things.

Tomorrow, the final page of this letter about “the boomerang strikes back”.

Judy Guion

Friends – Dear Danny (1) – A Long Letter From Fred Chion About Interamerica, Inc. – May, 1940

This is a long letter to Dan from Fred Chion, another surveyor, who worked with Dan in Venezuela, for Interamerica, Inc. It chronicles the events after Dan returned to Trumbull.

Daniel Beck Guion

Dear Danny,

I guess I’m the one who has delayed plenty in writing to you in answer to your letter.  Well, to tell you the truth, I was forever waiting for new developments and for something important to happen so that I could inform you, but as yet nothing has happened in that particular direction, but plenty in other, so much so that I can hardly know where to begin.  So, do not expect this to be a letter but rather a conglomeration of thoughts and events that might be of some interest to you.

When I last wrote to you, Bush was the chief of the party, but through an unexpected turn of events, Max Yervant Maxudian, President of Interamerica, Inc.) called him to Caracas and I was placed in charge.  Before this, Mr. Roberts was fired (for the second time) and his passage paid to the states.  He had run a preliminary line, under the Honorable Mr. Boshnakian’s orders, which when plotted, turned out to be a 23% grade, besides which, not being a Sunday school boy, he was drunk for a very long time, ran up bills for everything, owed money to Tom, Dick and Harry and the net result was that he was paid his passage home after six months work with Interamerica, Inc.,  and produced very little work and at that, it was no good.

In December, Max hired another man, a friend of mine from the states, and in January he hired another one.  When this happened all the boys felt pretty good believing that there would be plenty of work for all of us.  Anyhoe, the Barqui-Siqui line was finished in the field on February 18, 1940.  The Coro line was finally finished about the same time (they averaged 5 kms. per month to our 13 kms. per month).  I was offered a good job with the ministry of agriculture on the construction of a dam near Barquisimeto.  I asked Max to release me, pay me, and let me go to the new job, that I would return to him when he obtained the contract for construction or contracts for additional surveys.  Max then gave me a long story on the possibility that I had with his company and that I would make a big mistake in leaving his employ and that since he was going to keep on paying me my salary, there was no reason why he should release me from my contract.  I, being worried about the backpay that he still owed me, plus the expenditure that I had undertaken for him, which as yet he had not paid, complied with his wishes.  Needless to say, all that he said was merely what he was hoping for and had no reason why he should have had such high hopes.  However in May, all the boys, with the exception of Bush and Karnopp, were all paid in full and also all debts due to the boys.  He owed me close to $3000.00, and I was thankful that I finally collected.

During the month of February, Bush had to leave for the states because his wife was very sick and Max promised him that he would send the balance of the salary due to him while he was in the states (which he never did).  At the end of May, he made an agreement with all the boys, Dick excepted, that we were to remain in Venezuela, that he would pay us our expenses, that in the event that the company would obtain any contracts we would receive the salary of the waiting time, that he would leave money with Richard to pay for our fares to the states in the event that we should decide to return or in the event that the company would not receive any more contracts.  The Maxes (Mr. and Mrs. Maxudian, I presume) were at that time living at the Country Club, the swankiest place in Caracas, in a very luxurious home (front for Maxes suckers) called “El Cigarral”.  I was to move my family from Barqui to their home, enjoy a vacation with all expenses, the company to pay for all the bills.  Anyhoe, it was a nice set up if nothing else.

Tomorrow, another page of this very long letter and on Friday, the final page.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Dear Son (1) – A Circus and Visiting the Peabody’s – May 13, 1940

We are back in May of 1940. Lad is in Venezuela working for the Soconey-Vacuum Oil Company as a mechanic for their vehicles and Diesel pumps at their oil fields. Dan has returned from Venezuela, after not being paid for six months, and he and Ced are planning to travel to Alaska to see if they can find good-paying jobs. Elizabeth, Grandpa’s only daughter, is married and raising her first born. Dick and Dave are at home, going to school. 

Blog - Lad in Venezuela with his car - 1940

                          Lad in Venezuela with his car

R-75 of May 13, 1940

Dear Son:

Saturday on the way down to see Cecilia Mullin’s (Cecelia Mulloins is Lad’s girlfriend and a teacher at the local elementary school)  circus I stopped at the store and, with high hope in my heart, glanced at PO Box 7 to see if a red, white and blue envelope awaited me, and being disappointed in this regard, I thinks to myself, thinks I, well, tomorrow I won’t be able to write to Lad anyway, so I’ll just wait until Monday to see if it happens then, and sure enough this morning yours dated May 2 was awaiting me, hence this note.

The circus was quite good and while I did not stay to see it all, there was Tiny dressed up in a flowered vest as a regular barker announcing events through a megaphone, boy clowns galore, the high school band from Bethel in blue, white and orange uniforms going through a drill, the Nichols fire patrol putting on a comedy on how to extinguish a fire, some wild West riders on horses, a wrestling match, sideshows and everything. Babe (Cecelia’s nickname) may write you further details so I will not steal her thunder here.

I then went down to the Buick place and borrowed a car for the weekend and got a fairly early start Monday morning, stopping first at New Rochelle to see Grandma (Peabody, Grandma Arla Mary (Peabody) Guion’s mother) and wish her a happy birthday. She seemed quite well under the circumstances. Ted is still not able to take up active work. (Ted Human, married to Arla’s sister Helen, who was involved in a serious car accident while working in Venezuela (he took both Lad and Dan down there to work with him))The doctor has advised removal of his gallbladder and has warned Ted in the meantime not take a job too far away from civilization. He has been offered a job in Uruguay, but for the above reason has turned it down. His case against Max (Yervant Maxudian, owner of Interasmerica, Inc., the company Uncle Ted Human was working for as a Civil Engineer when he hired Lad and Dan to work with him in Venezuela) comes up in court today but as Max is on his last legs (according to Ted) even if the case is settled in Ted’s favor he will get very little on this claim. I asked him if he had heard from you and he said yes and had replied briefly advising you to make the change, but added that as you had not taken the trouble to answer several letters he wrote you some time ago he didn’t see the necessity of going into very lengthy correspondence on the matter. I thought of reminding him of the time you stuck by him so loyally after his accident, but concluded to say nothing. What’s the use when he feels that way about things. He feels the same towards Dan, saying that he knew a couple of engineers in Alaska but decided that because Dan had not treated him right what the hell’s the use of him putting himself out. A queer temperament but easily playable if you care to do a little flattering and make him feel he is a big shot. However he did say to me that in view of the fact that you knew the president of the company, had eaten with him in fact, and that he knew and liked you, it would seem as though you would have a better break with his company, particularly as there seem to be chances of their drilling a well in territory soon that would seem to promise big things. He also said that no matter what company you were with, after being down there for two years you would have no trouble at all getting a job any time at all. As to Socony-Vacuum, he said that the line for you to take would be for you to tell your people that you had another offer and as they had not pushed you along very fast, would like to take it, and then if they offer you a bigger and better job for the duration of your contract would be duty bound to take it, as under no circumstances should you leave Socony-Vacuum other than with an amiable feeling. If you can arrange to leave with their good wishes you had better take O’Connor’s offer.

Tomorrow I will post the second half of this letter regarding Oil Company Stocks.

Judy Guion

Life in Venezuela – Bits and Pieces – May, 1940

Here are several short pieces of mail or documents that pertain to Lad which showed up in May, 1940. I decided to include all of them in one post.

Lad - bill of Sale for the Ford - May, 1940

I believe this is the receipt for the Ford Lad bought in Venezuela for $1200 Bolivars, dated in Pariaguan, May 4, 1940.

Lad - Mr. O'Connor letter re job - May, 1940

This is a letter from Mr. O’Connor, Material Department of Venezuela Petroleum, discussing the fact that while Lad (my father) is under contract with Socony-Vacuum Oil Company, he is unable to discuss possible employment in any official capacity because of a standing agreement between various oil companies in Venezuela. The transcription follows:

May 4, 1940

My dear Guion,

I received your letter this morning. In reply to it, I cannot treat the matter of your employment in an official manner, as you are probably aware of an understanding among the oil companies that their employees are not to be approached regarding employment while under contract.

I gathered, during my visit to the Guario Camp, that there was a possibility that your company would reduce it’s personnel in the near future, It was with this contingency in mind that I suggested you get in touch with me, as we are likely to need additional mechanics within a few months.

However, in the present circumstances, I shall be unable to give you any encouragement as to employment with us until you are definitely off Socony’s payroll.

With best personal regards, I am

Sincerely yours,

F.A. O’Connor

This is an invitation to the wedding of Marie Page, a friend of Lad’s from Trumbull, to Herb Hoey, with a personal note on the back.

Lad - wedding invitation to Marie Page's wedding - May, 1940

The following is a note written on the back of the invitation for Marie Page’s wedding. Marie has written Lad several letters while he has been in Venezuela and had hoped that he would be home for the wedding.

Lad - letter from Marie Page re wedding announcement - May, 1940

This is a transcription of the note:


Dear Laddie,

I thought you might like to have one of the invitations. It’s too bad that you can’t be here. Herb is very anxious to meet you. You must look us up as soon as you get back. Our address is 1522 Unionport Road, Apt. 5E, Bronx, NY

As soon as we are settled, I will write and tell you all about the wedding and the World’s Fair.

You will hear from me later on.

Hope things are all right down there. So for now,

As ever,


Tomorrow and Sunday, pictures of some of the sunsets we have witnessed from Sunset Rock, one of the special places on the Island covered in “Liquid Heaven” – Special Picture and Memories, our Family Island Retreat.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Dear “Love and Kisses” (2) – A Few Points – April 28, 1940

This is the second half of a special letter written to Lad concerning a possible move to another job with a different company.

ADG - Grandpa in San Francisco - 1960

Alfred Duryee Guion (Grandpa)

It is sometimes helpful, in getting one’s thoughts organized when faced with a decision like this, to sit down with a paper and pencil and head up a big sheet with two columns — Advantages and Disadvantages, putting down everything you can think of opposite one another in respective columns, cancel out like against like and see what the final result is when you get through. This is not of great use however if you cannot do it impartially, and if you’re already inclined toward one way or another, and after you get through the black and white answer does not jive with your wishes, it won’t count for much, except to give you the satisfaction knowing you have not jumped in the dark without knowing just what you are doing and why.

A few points on the advantage side might be: more pay, knowing and liking your new boss, a step up in position (if it is, I don’t know), a different experience with another company, better prospects for the future (?). And in this connection I have often seen this sort of thing happen. A man is hired for a certain job. He does well, and is sort of tagged as a truck man, or a diesel man or a garage repair man, or what have you. And when there is an opportunity open up ahead along a different line that he could fill with benefit all around, they pass him up because he is regarded as a good truck man or diesel man or garage repair man, etc. You see what I mean? And perhaps some man is taken in from some other company that is not any more capable than you and may have had no more experience for the new job than you, but because he is not so tagged by the new outfit he joins, he gets the bigger opportunity. “Once an office boy, always an office boy” is the exaggerated spirit of the thing. If that is your case at Pariaguan, the only thing that will change it is your getting a new job with another outfit or a change of bosses that will not have the handicap of “knowing you when”. On this theory, if you are sure of a change of the administration it might be better to take a chance on the old organization where you have already accumulated a year of satisfactory service. Again this is only a theory based on an “if” and must be weighed in the light of your more thorough knowledge.

As to disadvantages, there would be the losing of the chance at the end of another year of coming home for a visit with pay, and also as I mentioned above, the surrender of a certain amount of prestige based on the time already put in on the SVOC payroll.

Ted ought to be able to give you a more seasoned view of the question in view of the fact he has been in Venezuela, knows the oil game to some extent and is acquainted with both Mr. O’Connor and some of the SVOC officials in New York. On the other hand, he is apt to have very decided views that may not be based on full knowledge of just what the specific situation is, there and now.

To sum it all up, I think you’re wise in doing just what you are doing, get as many different viewpoints and slants on the thing from as many different sources as you can and then make your own decision.

Mr. Wardlaw seems to me to be a good common sense one. When one is in the thick of things and the men in the ranks, very close to things, are pessimistic, it is often because they are not far enough off to get the right perspective. I suppose it is like soldiers in the Army. If the regiment retreats it looks as though their country was losing the whole war where the high command may just be getting ready for a big smash elsewhere.

All in all and based on a very meager knowledge I think I should accept Mr. O’Connor’s offer. Love and kisses yourself, from


Judy Guion

Trumbull – Dear “Love and Kisses” (1) – One or Two Questions – April 28, 1940

At this point in 1940, Lad is the only son away from home. He is working for the Socony-Vacuum Oil Company , maintaining their vehicles and the diesel oil pumps.

APG - Lad (head only) on horseback in Venezuela - 1940

Alfred Peabody Guion (Lad) in the field in Venezuela                           

A-73    April 28, 1940

Dear “Love and Kisses”:

Got your letter yesterday, written from Guario on the 17th concerning the question as to whether you should stay put or try another brand of boss. From the tone of your letter, and reading between the lines, I have an idea you have already made up your mind to make the jump and just want me to confirm it. This is as it should be, (Your making the decision, I mean), because being right there on the job and knowing the man and conditions and your own feeling, based on certain intangibles that you cannot convey to another in the letter and which are quite important, you are the only one in position to weigh the thing materialistically. All I can do at this distance is give you my theory which you will realize is not so important as long as it involves no deep principles of right and wrong.

There are one or two questions that have arisen in my mind that would have some influence on my decision, which you did not discuss in your letter. You know how I feel about a young fellow following the line he has elected and not let himself be sidetracked by something that at the moment looks more alluring. Along this line of reasoning, you did not say whether the job Mr. O’Connor had in mind would lead you any nearer to your goal, although I infer there is no direct chance along that line as you later referred in your letter to sometime in the future tackling the diesel prospect. Let me express myself this way: if the new job has MORE chance of leading you into your promised land, whether it pays more money or not, I would take it; if your present job has more possibilities of getting you into the diesel end than the new job, then I would stick to the old. If neither job holds out any promise along that line, or both hold equal promise then the basis of your decision to change must rest on other facts.

Another phase you did not mention was whether the new job would bring you into a better location geographically. Would you be out in the wilds in some camp as you are at present or would you be stationed at Caracas or some other civilized place where you could have the opportunity of meeting other people, where your work would bring you into contact with big shots where you could improve your rankings with influential men, putting yourself in the better political situation?

You speak as if a change in the old management at SVOC would invariably result in the present gang being fired. Might there be just as much possibility as far as you are concerned of a change being beneficial to you? I don’t know and of course you, being on the ground, can size up this far more accurately than I, but change of management does not always mean retrogression for the personnel. It may mean the new man, unless he brings an entirely new staff with him, looks carefully over the available manpower and picks out the best so that he could make a good showing on the new job. He will need friends and I think it would be most foolish for him to take on an entirely green crew, being also green himself. He would need friends and competent help and the chances are he would, for a time at least, carry on with the old gang until he got on to the ropes himself and was able to gauge what was what and who was who. In other words, you might be better off financially and otherwise by sticking then you would by changing. Here again you must be the final judge on this score. It is true you have made a certain satisfactory record with SVOC, a big company with lots of other jobs and would be throwing that cumulative record overboard when you quit and go with a new outfit.

I will post the second half of this letter tomorrow.

Judy Guion