It’s August of 1940 and Lad has been in Venezuela for about a year and a half, now working for the Socony-Vacuum Oil Company. Dan and Ced have been in Alaska for about 2 months, Dan working at an airbase and Ced working at Woodley’s Air Field. Biss is married and the mother of a son. Dick and Dave are still living at home, Dick has graduated from high school and Dave will be starting his freshman year in about a month. Grandpa is still writing letters and sending one copy to Venezuela and another to Alaska.
August 4, 1940
That WAS an interesting letter you wrote on the 22nd and the idea of my purchasing a good projector so that we can see here the colored movies you intend to take
with your new 8 mm movie camera, is based on a very generous thought and that is, you will not be able to see the results of your work. I made inquiries and find that that Bell and Howell is the best make and costs about $120. I also inquired about good used projectors and was informed that there have been so many forward strides made lately in the newer models that I’d be wasting your money to get any but the latest. I was told that “a new Ford is much better than an old Packard, because of the many improvements that new cars have, that even the best old cars did not have.” The same holds true for projectors. You have sufficient credit, even without the check from Socony-Vacuum which has just arrived, to take care of this, and while I think you want to save as much as you can, and I am planning to buy some additional stock for you, I will buy the projector after shopping around a bit. It would be good if Dan or Ced could also pick up an 8 mm movie camera and then we could have a regular picnic showing friends and relatives motion pictures of the Guion boys “From the Tropics to Alaska”.
If you move over to Guario, will that mean that you will give up your quarters where you are now located and find new ones at the new location? Who are the Senores Williams from Norwalk? I don’t recall you having mentioned them before. Where did you see Robin Hood? I suppose it is too soon yet for you to have received the brushless shaving cream I sent. You will, of course, let me know as soon as it arrives so that I can send you things from time to time if the system works out.
I am going to send your letter on to Dan and Ced, with the understanding they return it to me in their first return mailing. (Alaska please take note).
Dave is all hopped up about starting an amateur dramatic club, and the little son of a gun, without any prompting from me, went over and had a long talk with David’s which has resulted in the new recreation supervisor, loaned to the town by the WPA, becoming interested in getting the thing going. Our youngest son is going places.
Mr. Matthias just stopped in and was talking to me through the screen door in the alcove, where I am sitting at the typewriter conversing with you boys. He wants the Board of Selectmen to appoint him as one of the new assessors. The reasons he gives are first, that the town owes him something, and second, that he needs the money. Neither sounds very convincing to me.
I am enclosing some extracts from an interesting letter just received from Ced, in which I think you will be interested. By the way, the 19th is Dick’s birthday, and I will assume I have your permission to make a modest expenditure from your finds as a remembrance from you. This afternoon he and Dave and Donnie and Zeke are all up at Plumb’s playing tennis.
This has been a good week – – nice long letters from both you and Lad. Barbara happened to be here when your letter arrived, visiting Biss. She remarked that she
had been waiting for a letter to come from you so that she could find out what was really happening, Dan’s letters not being so strong on the matter-of-fact things. You have made a good start along that line, and, knowing how difficult it is sometimes to know what the other fellow really wants to know, suppose in commenting on your letter I asked a few additional questions as I go along. You are staying at Mrs. Walsh’s House and eating at Mrs. McCain’s. How far apart are they? How far are both of them from the airbase where Dan works and from Woodley’s where you work. As Dan takes his lunch to work I assume it is a bit too far to walk back and forth during the noon hour. Do they have buses running back and forth or do you both have to hoof it morning and evening or can you hitchhike? How about mosquitoes? Col. Weeks told me that when he was in Anchorage some years ago the mosquitoes on the River were sometimes so thick, it looked almost like a fog.
You say both Mrs. Walsh and Mrs. McCain have granted you credit until you are paid at the end of the month, “so funds therefore will hold out indefinitely.” I’d like to know more about that fund business. How much did you have left when you reached Seattle? How much did you sell the Willys for? How much was the fare from Seattle to Anchorage?
I am delighted at Dan having landed so lucrative a job. As I figure it, with one hour off for lunch, he works 7 1/2 hours or 48 1/2 hours a week, times 4 1/3 weeks in a month, at a $1.15, must bring him in about $250 a month which is even more than Lad is making, if you don’t figure in his board and keep, and that’s pretty good pay in anybody’s language these days. You do not say how many days a week you put in at the $.60 rate. I suppose they pay time and a half for overtime, and if you have a 44 hour week, you are not doing so bad yourself. There is one thing I am sure of that your boss will soon discover, which I should think, would be very important in airplane work and that is that whatever you do will be done right and carefully and finished. It may take you longer to do than the other fellow, but you can be more certain of the results. I’ll soon be expecting to hear that because of your dependability you will be given more responsible work at a higher rate. I’ll give Mr. Woodley about a month to get wise to the find he has made in his Conn. Yankee helper. Evidently the certificates and letters of recommendation were not needed by either of you in landing jobs.
And by the way, pardon me for not heading this letter “Dear Duke”.
The hot spell here has ended and the last two days have been pretty pleasant. I got a letter from Anna Heurlin this week giving “any friends of Cedric’s” permission to use the island any time or as long as they wish. I have written and thanked her on both your behalf and my own. Mr. Plumb is feeling better due to the change in weather principally. Tell Dan a dividend check for $4.50 on his Commonwealth Edison stock has been received and credited to his account. The old Plymouth is still running along although I had a flat in Bridgeport Friday, left front, and Carl had to put in a blowout patch. This month I will make the final payment to Sears and Roebuck on the Willys tires. See Lads letter for further small news, and write whenever you get the chance and feel like it.
I find it interesting that there isn’t any “real exciting” events to record this week, but Grandpa still manages to write two single-spaced letters to his sons.He’s just passing news from Venezuela to Alaska and from Alaska to Venezuela, the ultimate “Middleman”. He has no idea that he will continue doing this for another 6 years. I wonder if he’d have known, would he have taken on the job? I’d like to think that he would have.
For FREE copies of New Inceptions Magazine, an e-magazine, with several articles based my family letters , written prior to and during WWII, you can click the following links.
Issue 1 Click Here
Issue 2 Click Here
Issue 3 Click Here