c/o Venezuelan Oil Concessions Ltd.
Cabimas,
Maracaibo,
VENEZUELA

19th March, 1928

Dear Chas,

I was pleased to hear you had received the last letter I wrote, as it had some pictures that I thought would be of some interest to you. I have some more that I will send you and also one of myself that was taken last week for passport purposes – it flatters me, I think. There will be an opportunity for more pictures of Cabimas, as our Club will have its opening the 1st April – also the new Golf Course is rounding into fine shape, and I understand the Club will have Camp pictures for sale. Incidentally, I haven’t seen a picture of a locomotive for so long that it would be a feast for the eyes now.

When this reaches you, your winter will have seen its worst weather. It’s mighty fine to remember the weather in Iowa in April. I have noticed that even the tropics look their best in the spring. There are many trees that shed their foliage as in the North – to blossom out afresh here, as there. It is also the commencement of our rainy season; it will last to the first of October. I observe that it is also the mating season for the birds and animals. It is the time of the year that the call of the North is the strongest, and I see more men going home now than at any other time of the year. Believe me, I envy them.

I have seen other times when it was a time to be happy, but nothing like the joy in these parts when it’s “Estadas Unidas” bound. I have heard a good many “Vivas” for this, that, and the other, but for real enthusiasm, witness the departure for a couple of Yanks, who have completed a three year contract in the tropics. It generally means a Champaign bath for all concerned, and the homeward bounders are “poured” onto the boat happy and carefree.

You mention the clothes that Joe has of mine; you might tell him to give them to anyone who can wear them as I have no need for them. There are some letters and other papers that I would like to keep, so tell him not to destroy them. I have written him several times, but he was always very weak in writing letters.

The enclosed draft for $50.00 is for Decoration Day purposes, and the renewal of the Monitor and Oil and Gas Journal. I also wish to subscribe to the Cosmopolitan Magazine for one year; also enquire about my Legion dues for 1928 – this is quite a large order Noisy, but it won’t happen again this year.

April 4th – Since writing the above, I have had seven days in the Hospital due to an infection to my eye, which was caused by a scratch in the Monte. It is now fine, other than one eyebrow missing I’m O.K. I have an interesting letter to write concerning the political situation here, and ask you to use discretion in showing it around.

Hastily, Always,

Frank

 
 

INTER-OFFICE
THE VENEZUELAN OIL CONCESSIONS LTD.
CABIMAS
Cabimas, Venezuela

June, 15th 1928

Dear Noisy,

It is great to be in tune with the fine weather we are now having. Really I have never been in better health... as my work is rolling along smoothly, everything looks bright to me. I have never written very much about our leisure time pleasures, so while I am in the mood it might be interesting to you.

The Club Commitee of course, is in charge of all entertainment, sports, bar etc. In the case of sports; each sport section has its committee member to represent them. I believe at this time there are five sections of sprts – i.e. golf, base-ball, cricket, foot-ball and tennis. In addition to this they have committee representatives of purchasing, dancing, music and transportation. The Club organization functions smoothly and of course the card is full at all times. Last evening I saw “Alias the Deacon” and a few days ago “The Campus Flirt”. Both films were very good. The cinema shows here are quite different from anything of its kind in the States – its best you come along with me Noisy, and I’ll explain as we go.

Arriving at the club we enter a large well furnished and well lighted dance pavilion. There are six rows of tables with five tables to the row and four chairs for each. They are all set with fans, drinking-pads, and ash-trays. Although the hall is surrounded with electric fans, you will find the service fans are welcome as well. You will notice that different groups will be talking in several languages; that the women are just as free with their drinking as the men and as time goes on you will see a lot of flushed faces and an atmosphere of general good feeling. The catering is done by four native waiters in whites --- so to start with we will make use of the electric button to call a boy. Perhaps you will like a gin and bitters so early after dinner? – I would suggest a Vermouth. For myself, a cold glass of beer will do. You will notice there is no fumbling for the check; that everyone seems eager to buy and in turn you too, will join in this thing. An exchange of the news of the days work and a bit of gossip and we are all set for our second round of drinks. In the interval you have noticed that the native waiters have been real busy. That the piano or victrola is doing its best and the tables are all taken and the waiters are arranging chairs in the rear of the hall for the overflow crowd.

It will do you good to see the Spirit of good fellowship among the people in the Club. This for the reason that blood is much thicker among the white people in the Tropics. After all we are all in the same boat when it comes to trouble. – We have our third drink and we are ready to settle back and sip during the first reel. Noisy, did you notice what I was wearing? Khaki shirt, khaki trousers and a pair of Chinese slippers with no socks. You will notice many others with a like outfit. On the completion of each reel time is taken out for service and another buzz of conversation. You will notice the increasing number of men visiting the bar which adjoins the hall and every now and then you will recognize a strain or two of the “Old Songs” – in fact a medley of “Ober All”, “The Faterland” and “Katie”. Each group in the bar will be augmented by their kind until the wee small hours they go their happy way home.

Well, did you enjoy you first visit to the Club? Did you think it would be otherwise? Sorry to have taken so much time in just going to a movie, but it is much more common place when it becomes a habit. Some time I will tell you more of our entertainment or will take you into the Monte or a trip down the Lake --- just now I am coming back to work with a jerk. Rest assured I am OK in every way and you have my permission to use any of my letters as you wish.

P.S. I have just heard that the Town of Lagunillas is on fire. I went to the window and although it is located about fifty kilometers from here, the smoke is plainly visible.

Always,
Frank

 

 
 

July 23, 1928
Dear Noisy,

I have just returned from a wonderful vacation in the Andes – accounting for the break in our correspondence – I also find a letter which was overlooked before going away, which is enclosed.
Have been hard pressed for time and will write a letter later. In the mean time I’m just OK and real busy.

Frank

 

 
 

THE VENEZUELAN OIL CONCESSIONS, LIMITED.
MARACAIBO - VENEZUELA
Cabimas, Aug. 12th, 1928

Dear Noisy,

I have been mindful of my promise to write of my trip into the interior, but I have been so confounded busy that even now my work is way in arrears. While on my vacation the order came to start a competitive drilling campaign, and I arrived back just in time to take over four new wells. Production is a constant source of work and of late I have often thought that there are other ways of making a living that would require less effort. Have no fear that I am tired of my present work however, as it makes me go my best to keep in the swim and like other fish I am better off in the water.

The fields are growing daily; we now have 176 wells in this field and 130 wells are on our production daily. Gas Lift and general field work has reached a point where it now requires considerable more organization. With all the proposals in the budget for the last half of 1928 I should be in line for further advancement. I am now the oldest man in my department in length of service here and our former Supt. has been transferred to Maracaibo as District Supt. of Venezuela, which looks favorable to those who have been with him the past two years. You will remember that I sent you a small snap of him in this office a few months ago. His present position pays him 1200.00 per month and it is the biggest job in S.A. production.

Golf and other sports have been on the shelf the past three weeks but I hope to get more time for the game soon. Among other things I am a member in the Literary Guild and receive a book a month through them. To-date I have received four books: “Trader Horn,” “Bad Girl,” “Harold the Webbed” and “The Happy Mountain.” With all the other reading material I now have, I manage to use all my spare time of an evening very nicely. The Monitor arrives regularly but seemingly there is a little news of the RR men.

Thanks very much for your attention on Decoration Day. Certainly pleased to hear that everything was in good order. Surprised to hear that Ora still has an interest there. What, may I ask, does she work at? This leaves me Noisy the very best of health and spirit and with plenty of work for both.

Hastily,
Frank

 

 
 

THE VENEZUELAN OIL CONCESSIONS, LTD.
CABIMAS - VENEZUELA
Production Department.

Aug. 25th 1928

Dear Chas,

The promise I made to you in regard to the writing up of my vacation trip has turned out to be my biggest literary effort. I have also discovered that I am not equal to it. However, there is so much that was interesting to me that I feel you, too, would be disappointed without at least an effort from me.

The narrative is written from notes that were hurriedly jotted down and later I made an effort to verify the truth of some of the stories that in part make up the whole. Of course, you know I am no historian, neither am I gifted when it comes to descriptive or any other kind of writing. When you realize that all of my information was gathered through conversations in Spanish and that there is nothing in the line of books at my disposal that would be a help to me, then you know at least, I tried. The trip itself would make material for a large book. I have cut the whole down to possibly ten typewritten sheets. You can use it as you wish. Each week I intend to send you a part.

The enclosed part covers one leg of the trip to the edge of the Indian country. The next I send you will cover my trip through a jungle country by narrow gauge railroad to the Andes, and my stay there and return to the river country. And last my trip up the Tarra Rio to the very heart of the Motolone country.

Rest assured I make no more rash promises, for in addition to my effort to make a living days I am now occupied writing nights. I am pleased though to be busy in this fashion although I make such a mess of it.

Conditions in the fields are still humming, we are busier than ever; so much so that I think fondly quite often of the United States. I read considerable of an effort to curtail production here but don’t think it will ever materialize for the good reason that Venezuelan oil can be laid down so cheaply in the States that the major operating companies will shut down their fields in the north while they draw on this country’s resources while drawing is good.

I have been feeling much better since coming back from my trip and good health permitting I am still put indefinitely.

Regards to all,
Frank