This letter explains it all. I just do not know where it was sent or how Grandpa got a copy.
Tomorrow and for the rest of the week, a letter from Grandpa to Lad with the latest news and shenanigans at the Old Homestead in Trumbull.
This letter explains it all. I just do not know where it was sent or how Grandpa got a copy.
Tomorrow and for the rest of the week, a letter from Grandpa to Lad with the latest news and shenanigans at the Old Homestead in Trumbull.
This is the second half of the letter Grandpa wrote to Lad while he was in Venezuela, working for Socony-Vacuum Oil Company.
Alfred Duryee Guion
On the way home from work Friday, I thought to myself, well, when I write to Lad Sunday I shall say “In view of the fact I got two letters from you last week, I shall not expect a letter this week and so will not be disappointed if one does not arrive tomorrow, when lo and behold, when I got home, I found your January 28th letter. That’s the first time it ever arrived on a Friday, and I can only assume the service must be getting better. Incidentally, there is some slight hope that when the improvements on our airport are completed in the summer, we may persuade the government to put Bridgeport on the list of airmail stops and then we ought to get quicker airmail deliveries.
That must’ve been some bullfight. That will take its place also with the Army conscription account, the bug visitation, etc.
Ted (Human, the uncle that hired both Lad and Dan to work with him on the original project with Interamerica, Inc., building a road from Caracas to Maracaibo, across northern Venezuela)) said he had written to you but had not yet had a reply. It may have been because he had been in New York and was tired, but he seemed to me to look older and frailer and thinner. Of course, I suppose he is worrying too, because Helen told me they have made very little progress in collecting from Interamerica, as Max (Yervant Maxudian, Owner and President of Interamerica, Inc.) bears a great deal of hatred towards Ted. I didn’t tell her so, but I felt like saying, “Well, what do you expect when Ted hates Max the way he does and has been trying to do everything in his power, through every available means, to harm him.” In the years I have lived I have found that hate and revenge in getting even with the other fellow is just about the poorest method to follow in accomplishing results. I don’t think a person who wants to get anywhere can afford not to be pleasant and kind and courteous to everyone, whether or not he thinks that one can ever be of any help to him. As it is working out, most of those to whom money was owed are paid and Ted will be the last, in case they cannot evade paying him entirely. And by the way, that brings up the old question which is now becoming a joke as to what happened to the money they owe you. I don’t know how many times I have asked you what the outcome was, and if I did not know you better, I should assume you were sore at me for not handling the matter of the way you suggested a while ago, and were therefore not going to give me any satisfaction by telling me what you have done.
Grandma looks pretty well considering all she has been through. She is thinner, her hair seems to be much thinner, her hands are a bit out of shape, but otherwise she seems her old self. She says her hands are a lot better than they were a while ago, as she can now do some crocheting which she was entirely unable to do when her knuckle joints were all swollen and painful and she was unable to close her hands.
I am looking forward to receiving the photos and wish I had more to send you from here. We just don’t think of taking them, and of course the only time we are all home by daylight is on a Sunday and then usually only at dinner time. We have had more skating this season than for many years past. The boys have discovered a pond up near Shelton where they can go at night, the place being illuminated by floodlights, a warm house furnished where they can change their shoes, and music furnished, all for the sum of $.15. The paper the other day said the record had been broken around here for continued cold with 41 consecutive days below freezing. Today, while not far from freezing, was not so cold as it has been. Even in Florida and the southern states, it has been cold and snowing.
On the back wall, the same Seth Thomas clock mentioned in the letter, this photo taken in June, 2020
Aside from the clippings, Lad, that is about all I can think of to say to you and as the old Seth Thomas in the kitchen here is ticking away the time approaching 11 PM, I guess it is time for your Dad to fold his machine like the Arabs, and as silently, steal away.
How are you coming along with your Spanish? I bet Dan the other day you are getting to be quite fluent but he doubted whether you had much opportunity or rather a necessity, for speaking it to the extent that you would have to learn it fluently.
Be Daddy’s good little boy and don’t forget to say your prayers.
Love and everything from
Tomorrow, Thursday and Friday, Another letter from Grandpa with a special letter from Mack, the family pet.
This is the final portion of the weekly letter Grandpa has written to Lad, working in Venezuela.
Alfred Duryee Guion (Grandpa)
Page 3 of R-60
Your account of the Venezuelan method of army conscription is one of the most interesting, ridiculous and altogether impossible and unbelievable things I have heard. It takes its place along with your account of the hotel accommodations in Caracas, the bug storm and the condition of roads as my own private collection of “believe it or not’s”. There are certainly some queer things and people in the world and you have to get off the beaten path and live among strange people for a while before you have the opportunity to really experience the things that, if you read about in a book, you would say were due to the author’s fertile imagination.
Your remarks about the pilot not being able to communicate with anyone for help in case of a forced landing, together with things you have written from time to time regarding being stuck out in the wilds with a flat tire and no spares and others being stranded miles from anywhere, where it involves several days delay to get straightened out, with the consequent expense when drilling operations are held up, brings up something I’ve been thinking about to ask you. It is this. Isn’t there some inexpensive shortwave installation that is commercially possible to install on trucks and planes so that two-way communication can be maintained between camp headquarters and trucks on the road so that in case of breakdowns the word can be got back quickly, much as an S.O.S. on board ship is used. The police cars in various cities have such arrangements but whether the excessive expense or some practical difficulty would prevent an installation of this sort, I of course am unable to say, but unless you know it is and all wet idea it might be a suggestion you could make to Mr. Starr that would, if it did nothing else, show him you are interested in the good of the camp.
In another week or so I will be eagerly looking for that collection of photos that you are sending by regular mail. I hope you have dated them and put captions on the back.
Continued cold, but clear withall, has been the order of the days for about two weeks steady now, but the weatherman at last promises higher temperatures for next week. Both Dave and Dick have colds but seem to be getting them under control. Dan is home again and intends to go to New York soon to see what he can stir up. No further word has reached him regarding the Engineering Society’s offer regarding the Venezuelan job. Elizabeth’s baby is getting cuter daily. He smiles and gurgles in a carefree way and seems to be enjoying life. He brings back memories of my own babies, as far back as 27 years ago. (Lad, Grandpa’s oldest child, was born 27 years ago. In April, it will be 28 years.)
I finally received a reply from the S. V. N. Y. (Socony-Vacuum Oil Company New York) office signed by a Mr. Boynton, Supervisor of Employment, stating that they had checked with the Producing Dept., and learned what I have of course since learned, that you were in good health and that they have learned of no delay in receipt of mail from Pariaguan. “Foolish pa”, I can hear you say.
Well, that’s about all I can think of to say, and as Jack Benny is on in a few minutes and I want to hear the same program that you may be listening to at the same time (this seems some way to bring you a bit nearer) I will call it quits. Here is a letter from Dave, which hasn’t much news but is enclosed anyway.
Tomorrow I will post Dave’s letters to Lad and on Friday, a letter from Grandmother Peabody to Lad.
Lad’s Passport photo
page 2 of R-60
In view of the strong financial position Fairbanks-Morse finds itself in and the growing demand for diesel engines, its outlook is promising.” The present price is around $37 per share. It paid dividends of $1.50 last year, a net yield on this basis of about 3 3/4%, which is a lot better than the savings bank rate, with good prospects of not only an increase in the dividend rate but in the price of the stock also. 10 shares might cost $400, which would be paid for by May, which would bring you to at least $15 a year on last years basis. This would also be following out my plan for you not to put too much money in one form of investment. I have found it very wise not to put all one’s eggs in one basket.
You certainly packed a lot of news in your January 15th letter. Still commenting on the first paragraph, it is quite a coincidence that your letter should mention Mr. Piercefield of the Caterpillar Company, when I mentioned the Caterpillar Company myself in the last letter. Enclosed you will find a reply I received a few days ago from my friend which indicated he will be glad to get snapshots of their equipment in your camp. I at once replied to his letter mentioning your meeting Mr. Piercefield and telling him a bit about your experience with diesels in the hope that he might bring the matter to the attention of some of the big shots in the home office, just in case they might be looking for someone to take a good job with their company on diesel work, and possibly write to Mr. Piercefield for confirmation. The fact that he said what he did to you means probably that he thought you were competent on diesel work. The whole thing is just one of those gambles that probably will not amount to a thing but it is interesting to see just what comes of it, if anything.
It is funny why Mr. Starr takes the attitude he does regarding your desire to get into diesel repair work. Maybe, as he says, you are more valuable in your present job then you would be in the other. He has to look at things from the viewpoint of his responsibility for the camp efficiency as a whole, and it may seem to him that the proper upkeep of equipment in the transportation end, which you are evidently doing well or you wouldn’t get a raise, is more essential to the camp’s well-being than having a diesel man. His remark regarding the possibility of the new man taking your place and releasing you for the diesel job holds some promise, but I should say this depends almost entirely upon whether the new man would be able to take over the garage end. Naturally he will want to wait and see what the new man is capable of before he makes any definite promises.
I am glad to have you tell me about your needs. I should think that in addition to the diary and photo album and developing outfit you would also like to have a scrapbook. I shall see what I can find along these lines and see if some arrangement cannot be devised so that they could be sent down to you without having to have duty paid on them. Maybe some arrangement can be made with the S. V. (Socony-Vacuum Oil Company) New York office when someone is going from here down to Caracas, to take them along as excess baggage. It’s worth a trial anyway. I expect within the next week or so to go to New York where I can pick up what I want along this line to better advantage than I can in Bridgeport, where I have looked around to some extent and can at the same time visit 26 Broadway and see what arrangements can be made also for transportation. Will write you later when I learn more.
Tomorrow, the final page of this ;letter from Grandpa and on Thursday, two letters from Dave to his big brother whi8ch were enclosed with this letter. On Friday, a letter from Grandma Peabody.
This is the first portion of a rather lengthy letter from Grandpa to Lad, working in Venezuela, concerning Lad’s position with the Socony-Vacuum Oil Company and stock purchases.
Alfred Duryee Guion (Grandpa)
January 28, 1940
It occurs to me to ask if you are receiving my mail with reasonable regularity; for instance, your last letter received yesterday, the 27th, was written by you on the 21st, last Sunday, and assuming my letters take two weeks to reach you by regular mail, you should have had, before you, mine, written here two weeks previously, or January 7th, which was the long complaint about not receiving any word from you for the past month, also enclosing your new licenses, but as you did not return them signed nor mention them, I am wondering if it really takes three weeks instead of two for my letters to arrive or whether they are received far more irregularly than this, and in your non-complaining way you have not mentioned anything about the delay.
The laws of compensation seem to be working again, because this week, oh joy, oh bliss, two letters arrived from you– the first, written on the 15th, was received on the 22nd, and the second, as mentioned above, came yesterday. That means I shall not get a letter next week unless the one you are writing today comes extra quickly as the last one did and reaches here next Saturday.
Of course the item of news that transcended everything else was the announcement of the raise in salary, not so much the fact that it means a little more money to invest per month for you, but rather the evidence it brings to you of the fact that the big boss felt you were entitled to it. This fact taken into consideration with the doubt as to whether oil would be found or not, is doubly significant, it seems to me, and naturally makes one wonder if, should the well not come in and the site was abandoned, you would be one of those whose services seemed valuable enough for the company to retain somewhere in one of the company’s other properties in Venezuela, or possibly elsewhere, so that the prospects of getting home would not materialize as you were sort out speculating it might.
I think unless you have some other ideas, I shall use the $100 a month on your account for the purchase of 10 shares of Fairbanks-Morse stock. I mentioned that because in the first place it is a company in whose products you have a natural interest, but most of all, because it is been favorably mentioned as an investment with a promising future. One recent report says: “Classed as a heavy goods producer, the manufacture and development of diesel engines accounts for approximately 25% of total sales. Diesels range through all types and sizes from light portable engines to heavy installations in which Fairbanks leads. Industries using the diesel include public utility, manufacturing, Marine work and agriculture. This division is growing in importance and bids fair to contribute substantial earnings to the total income in the present year. Other products consist of a line of internal combustion engines and an electric division. The latter produces motors, generators and other electrical apparatus. Other branches make railroad motorcars, track maintenance supplies, scales of all types and sizes and water supply equipment. Earnings following 1929 declined rapidly. Beginning in 1934 improvement was shown. Although earnings in the final six months of last year have not yet been announced, for the six months ending June, 1939, net income was equal to $1.20 a share compared with three cents a share for the same period in 1938. Now that heavy industry is beginning to take hold and indicate a recovery from its recent inactive state, this condition should gradually become accelerated and run through most of 1940.
Tomorrow and Thursday, I’ll post the more of this letter. On Friday, a letter from Grandma Peabody.
This is the second page of the letter I started yesterday. Grandpa is telling Lad all about the local news and asking questions, hoping Lad will answer them in one of his next letters.
Alfred Duryee Guion (Grandpa)
Nothing much in the way of news events to record this week. Dan is urging me to consider sometime in the future taking a trip down to Pariaguan to see you. I don’t know whether his reason is that he knows I have a hankering to see my oldest boy, or that he thinks I ought to take this sort of vacation, knowing I enjoy the water or whether he thinks, for my health sake, I ought to take a vacation, (which I have not done for many years) and forgot all about problems and office worries and financial cares — maybe it’s a combination of all three. In any event he had hoped I was putting aside some funds to make it possible to take a Grace Line trip down there sometime, pointing out that I could go third class or steerage or whatever it is for about $60, one way. I told him I already had had a pipe dream of going down on one of the S-V tankers, but he hardly thought you were in a position just yet to do or arrange anything of this sort — possibly being able to, as the limit, arranging for transportation from Caracas to Pariaguan. I haven’t yet had a reply to the letter I wrote to the Company’s New York office asking about delay in mail, but if and when I do, I might be able to follow up this contact with a personal visit someday and see if I could arrange, under the circumstances, to go down on one of their tankers at a special rate. Dan said he had some idea that your company sent all their men down there on their own boats. Do you know if this is a fact?
Daniel Beck Guion
Dan as yet has had no further news regarding his offer in Venezuela, so I cannot give you any further enlightenment there. Arwin Zabel had another accident with this new car the other night, due to a combination of a slippery street, a nearby telephone pole and the fact that he dozed at the wheel. He was not hurt but there was about $200 worth of damage to his car.
I received no letter from you this week, but shucks, after waiting four weeks so recently without word, a mere matter of one week is nothing. I can always look forward to the next Tuesday, and if not then, to the next Saturday, and so on ad infinitum.
We’re in the midst of a sustained cold spell now, which has lasted for over a week and promises to endure for a few days more. Maybe, knowing how I hate cold weather was one reason Dan thought of having me sail to a sunnier clime. If the price of coal wasn’t so high and that darn automatic stoker didn’t burn so much, it would take off some of the curse, but I guess from what I read in the papers this cold spell has been pretty general, even in the southern part of the U.S. Someone told me the other day that Finland was reported over the radio to have had temperatures as low as 70° below zero.
I stopped on the period above in order to listen to Jack Benny and wondered if you were doing the same thing at the same time. I assume from your last letter that Chris got back from his vacation. When you are at a loss to know what to write you might tell me a bit more about how you got along when he was away. Did he come back feeling better? Am sorry to hear about the political situation, but am not surprised. It seems to be the same in very big organizations. I have learned no formula as to how to play the game. Perhaps the best way is not to try to play it at all but to just go ahead and do one’s job regardless of who may be on top at any one time.
Well, I’m fresh out of ideas now so goodbye now, from
Tomorrow, I will be posting the response Grandpa received from the Caterpillar Company.
This is the second half of the letter from Grandpa to Lad in Venezuela that I started yesterday.
Cedric Duryee Guion
Ced, in the meantime got disgusted and learned through Carl that a friend in the radio business had a very good buy, in the shape of a radio that his company had acquired for nonpayment of a repair bill, and was ready to get rid of it for the cost of repairs, said to be $24. He went down with Dan one day recently to look at it but found it was not at all as good a bargain as purported. Having started on the quest, however, Ced thought of the fellow that had fixed up his other radio some time ago and went over to see this chap. Ced called me up and told me there was a very good G.E. radio that not only was a much more expensive model than our old one (it looked like at least a $200 model ) but it had short wave, radio and foreign reception band’s, had a much better looking cabinet and a very good tone — and eight tube superheterodyne model, whatever that means, but without a record playing device, but with an arrangement so that a record playing attachment could be plugged in without additional expense. Dan was also particularly interested, in that with it, he could get Spanish speaking broadcasts, and as it only cost $12, I told Ced to go ahead, which he did and it is now installed doing business. Your old radio is now installed in the kitchen and our old G.E. is up in my room. If we keep this up every room in the house eventually will be radio equipped, along with other first-class hotels. So now you understand why I am not bidding on your old model.
The weather has been very unpleasant this week, cold, wet, snowy, sun less. Today it is raining, has been all day, with a cold wind — a home and fireside day, if there ever was one.
Dan has probably written you that he is going to quit courses at Storrs. He is thinking of taking a course at Columbia. Incidentally, he received yesterday a form from the Engineering Society Employment Service which states that they have an opening which he is qualified to take and asks him to write a letter to be forwarded to the prospective employer. “Topographical draftsman, not over 35, single. Experience in topographical work essential. Salary $175 a month plus traveling and maintenance expenses. Two-year contract, location, Venezuela.” He has written to find out more about it and will then decide what he wants to do about it.
You haven’t yet told me what you have done about settling your back claim with Interamerica. (Interamerica, Inc., the company that hired Lad and Dan to work in Venezuela and then did not pay their workers. Dan came home after six-months but Lad was able to get a job with the Socony-Vacuum Oil Company and likes the work.)
A move is underway in Trumbull to equip Center School and Edison School auditoriums into basketball courts for the young folks. Dick is quite interested in basketball and has bought a pair of light green shorts that would do justice to a jockey. They are also using the floors as roller skating rinks (see enclosed clipping). (I do not have that clipping)
One of Ives’s (the neighbor across the street) dogs was run over and killed by a hit-and-run driver the other day. Mack has escaped so far but I am afraid that as old age comes on he will not be as alert or quick and that someday we will find he has met the same fate rather than expire of natural causes. Do they have any dogs as pets in the camp?
I wrote Grandma (Grandma Peabody, the mother of Grandpa’s wife, Arla Mary (Peabody) who passed away in 1933.) a week or so ago telling her that if she would let me know what she wanted for Christmas, it was your wish that she be remembered. I am enclosing her reply. I shall take care of sending her a check for $5. so she can get what she wants with it. I am also enclosing a letter from Aunt Betty so you can keep up with the news from the relatives.
I guess that covers all the news this week, old Laddie boy. I’ll be interested in hearing more of the political situation when you feel like writing about it. There is usually someone in every outfit that makes one’s life miserable. Is there someone like that there? It was because I observed how politics made life miserable in a big corporation often times, that I decided to have a business of my own.
Tomorrow and Thursday, another letter from Grandpa to Lad in Venezuela. On Friday an interesting letter from the Caterpillar Company regarding pictures and a Meeker Harrow.
R-58 Inscribed on the 14th day of January, 1940 at Trumbull Connecticut
Alfred Peabody Guion (Lad)
“The sun shines bright in my old Kentucky home” today because the silence of exactly one month has been broken by a welcome letter from you telling me that all’s well and all my worries were in vain. Again I am reminded of the old saying, ”I am an old man and have had many troubles but most of them never happened”. You did have me on the hot seat, especially as Tuesday of this week came and still no letter from Lad, which, based on past experience, meant that I need not expect word until Saturday. I got thinking of it more and more all day Wednesday, so Thursday, I sat down and wrote a letter to the Socomy-Vacuum Oil Company in New York, Personnel Department, and asked them if they knew of any reason why mail from Pariaguan had been delayed. On Thursday when I got home, however, there was a well-known airmail letter, and boy, wasn’t I glad to get it ! I am afraid getting supper that night was delayed for as long, at least, as it took me to read about the series of circumstances that made it impossible for you to carry out your plans for getting letters off. I once had an aunt (Aunt Lillie) who made life somewhat miserable for me by her demand for affection and attention because she thought so much of me. I don’t want ever to have any of my boys feel irked by the thought that they must do this or that because I expect it of them, and I should hate to think you feel you HAVE to write when you don’t feel like it, from a sense of obligation or duty. Perhaps I should apologize here and now for practically the full page of semi-complaint I wrote last week, or at least do penance by writing equally as long an apology this week. However I don’t believe this would be particularly interesting reading so we’ll let it go at that. Before we close the book on that subject, however, let me say that immediately on Friday morning I stopped at Center School and interrupted Babe’s better pedagogical pursuit long enough to show her your letter and give her your P.S. message. She admits she too was concerned and was going to call me up and ask if I had heard. One of the surmises they had cooked up was that you were on the way home and wanted it to be a surprise. She informed me that she had purchased a new Ford, which fact I assume you already know. Incidentally, to answer a point raised in your letter, the fact that you had not sent a New Year’s greeting never entered my head (I don’t need anything of that sort from you to know how you stand) but it was the possibility that something had gone wrong with you that prevented your writing that was the big thought.
No Sir, you did not hear me bid 80 Bs. on your old radio, and here’s the reason. With some of the money you sent home I intended to have our old G.E. radio overhauled and put in first class condition. I therefore hired a fellow who had formerly had a radio repair service on his own in Bridgeport, but through some misfortune had to give up the business, and was now applying for W.P.A. help. He promised not only to do a good job on our old machine which I think was in 1931 model, but also to fix it up so that a record player device which Ced has, could be plugged into it for reproduction. He made one or two visits but evidently was taken sick or had some more important offer or something. Anyway, he never completed his work in spite of the fact I had gotten after him a couple of times.
Tomorrow I will post the rest of this letter. Wednesday and Thursday, another letter from Grandpa and on Friday, a letter from Caterpillar Tractor Co. in Peoria, Illinois, regarding pictures.
Alfred Duryee Guion (Grandpa)
Page 2 of R-57 (nothing to do with Heinz products)
Last week when I finished my letter to you, Dave had not yet returned from New Rochelle. He barged in about 10 PM however, and undoubtedly the trip was too much for him, because he complained of feeling none too hot in his stomach and did not, therefore, go to school. He reports all the folks well (he saw them all) and apparently nothing newsy to report.
We have been visited with a cold wave last week which did not please me at all, the only compensation from the children’s standpoint being the opportunity to slide, ski, skate, etc. That’s where they are right now, by the way. The ornaments have been taken off the tree and things are beginning to look normal again. Ced is getting his car into good running condition. The only thing he needs now is tires and I believe he has just placed an order with Carl (Wayne, owner of The Red Horse Service Station (Mobil) next to Kurtz’s store) for two Goodyear all weather treads.
I am enclosing for you to sign and return if you wish, 1939 operator license 593647, good until April 1st and the P. S. license number 200, expiring the same date, in accordance with your wishes. I am also paying your life insurance premium this month. Incidentally, the regular company check came through as usual so that I know you weren’t fired anyway. I am also enclosing a Trumbull news clipping which gives sort of a summary of the last year’s doings. In a week or two I shall probably be able to tell you what the results of the police examination showed as to the appointment of a permanent Trumbull police force.
I got a picture postcard from Rufus Burnham last week, postmarked Tampa, Florida, and stating “The whole Burnham crew down here for the holiday. Have been having a grand time”. Johnny Kurtz informed me yesterday that he is now the father of a new 9 pound baby boy. The population of Trumbull is increasing as you see.
I mailed you last week another batch of commercial car journals, each with an article in it on some phase of diesel work, as well as general articles on keeping fleets of trucks in repair. I think one of the unanswered letters or rather questions had to do with whether or not these were worthwhile sending to you. The postage costs more than the magazines and I don’t mind sending them if they are of the slightest help to you, but there is obviously no use sending them if you don’t find them valuable.
Well, I guess that is the end of my thought path this evening. I have been sitting here for some time trying to think of some other interesting facts to write, but they don’t seem to be flooding in on my mental screen.
Barbara (Plumb, Dan’s girlfriend), Dan, Carl (Wayne) and Ethel (Bushey, the future Mrs. Carl Wayne) have just come in, having been in Carl’s car (Ced, Dick and Dave also went along) on a trip to Redding Ridge in an effort to find Valley Forge. Since they put in the new reservoir and changed the roads around, I guess it was difficult to find. Apparently they didn’t get the right road, but had a good time anyway.
Well, here’s hoping. I’m thinking of P. O. Box 7 when I say this. Thus beginning and ending with the same thought with news in between. Maybe you’d call it a hope sandwich.
This week I will continue with letters to Lad from friends and family, but I don’t have a letter from Lad. Perhaps Grandpa mentions getting one in one of his letters. We’ll find out later.
In this letter, Grandpa expresses a feeling that many parents deal with and that children do not realize. Young people tend to get wrapped up in their activities, and knowing they are just fine, they forget that parents need to know if they are healthy and doing well.
January 7, 1940
You’ve got me worried this trip, my boy. Your last letter home was dated December 3rd and arrived here on the 16th. Three weeks have since gone by, which leads me to ask a question which I have thought of many times but have not put into words. It is this. In case something should happen to you, either in the nature of a serious accident or sickness, is it the custom of the Company to notify the home or parents of such employee? In the background there always lurks the possibility of something like this happening, made more fearsome by the thought that you are so far away among strangers. When I hear from you regularly that ogre of a thought is kept in its place in the background, but it is always ready to push it’s ugly presence forward when each week in succession goes by without hearing from you. While I say this in no spirit of complaint, life has dealt me some rather disappointing blows from time to time, which I have learned to take on the chin and accept with a smile, so that usually I succeed pretty well in not worrying over the many dire things that might happen but seldom do. Just the same, it’s going to make the sunshine seem a lot brighter if the fourth week does not go by without some word from Venezuela. We can always hope, and generally do, optimistically, but sometimes in the dark watches of the night fear attacks in a rush, and while subdued with an effort of will and without letting anyone know about it, it does persist in popping up more often as the days go by without word. While it is disappointing not to get a full account of your doings when the well-known red white and blue envelopes peek at me through the glass slit in P.O. Box 7, it would be a lot better than nothing to have just a line or two from you saying that you are too busy or too tired or what not, to write a regular letter. Why not address and keep on hand two or three envelopes, stamped and addressed to me, so that if at the last moment before the mail leaves, you have not had an opportunity to write, you can at least scribble a short message so that there will be a break in this dead silence. Perhaps this is all silly on my part and you have been writing regularly and through some slip up in the mail the letters have failed to arrive, the same as my letters to you were held up for several weeks so that you got several in a bunch. With the rainy season practically over, however, this ought not to happen, especially over so long a lapse of time. It took a lot of words, didn’t it, to say “Why haven’t you written sooner?”
This week Dan got a registered package through the mail from an address on Long Island, and was delighted upon opening it to find it contained his watch. It is now at the jewelers for a general checkup, new crystal, new strap, etc. Incidentally, talking of time and the jeweler, I also took down the old Seth Thomas in the kitchen to Abercrombie, who has a place in with Kann as you may know, and he has given old Tom a new lease on life. He found, among other things in the case, evidence that mice have used it as a nesting place. There is a sticker in the clock with the date 1908 on it so that it is at least 32 years old. Abercrombie says they made parts much better in those days and will probably run for another 30 years before it stops short, never to run again.
Trumbull House Kitchen table with the Seth Thomas Clock on the back wall in June of 2020. I believe it was still running, making it 112 years old.
Tomorrow I will post the rest of this letter and continue during the week with letters to Lad from friends and family, but I don’t have a letter from Lad. Perhaps Grandpa mentions getting one in one of his letters. We’ll find out later.
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