26 June 1983
I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm sorry! I didn't think about a letter might be following the package. You mailed the letter on Monday and I got it on Friday. That's the fastest we've gotten one. It sure was nice to get your letter. Don't worry about remembering to buy some stationary. We'll take letters on toilet paper if that's all you can find. You sure write neat. Why don't I? Some teacher didn't encourage me the right way I guess.
I'm glad y'all are getting to the pool. I'm actually tanning some. It may be easier on my skin here with the difference in latitude. I'm not dark by any means, tho. The kids look good.
- I just got back from Angelique's room. It's 11:30 p.m. and she just woke up crying, but not telling me what was the matter. This is about the 3rd time this has happened this month. I guess she's having bad dreams. Sometimes it takes her awhile to settle down.
Did Bill like his recliner? That sounds like a nice present.
What did Laura do with the money from the garage sale? Can you send me her sizes for future references? I can send her some beautiful Italian socks for Xmas if I can get close to her size. I also need Christmas sizes, too.
Angelique may have made some progress in swim class this week. Towards the end of class she was maneuvering pretty well in her swimmies - which you call waterwings. Steven hasn't tried them yet.
I just realized you may be in Florida when this letter comes. I can't remember what I told you in the other letter so I may repeat as I try to answer your questions. The new house is nice by Italian standards - we're adjusting. I still wish I had my house in Fort Smith. I miss the garbage disposal and garage door opener most and also my linen closet. The dust is never-ending since there is no air conditioning. I'm still eager for curtains.
European cars are much like American cars - 4 wheels, doors, hoods, etc. They have a more "European look." American cars look a little out of place here. Most Italians have never driven an automatic. I doubt if many have even heard of one. Air conditioned cars are very rare. Our Fiat 131 standard isn't air conditioned. We'll probably take Michael's Rabbit to church on Sundays when it gets real hot so we won't arrive all melted. You'll just have to see the driving to believe it. It's hard to believe the system works, but it usually does. It's hard for me to drive through red lights just because everyone else is. There are written laws, but everyone drives by the unwritten law which goes something like this ... "If I am in front of you, you can see me. Therefore, you can keep from hitting me." "In front of you" is defined by whose ever bumper is in front. Sometimes there are 6 or 7 lanes of traffic on a 4-lane road. It's a test of nerves and everyone tries to play it cool and act more important and in a bigger hurry than the other.
Some of the shopkeepers are very nice and even give small things to the children. The kids' cheeks just have to be pinched. A few merchants act like they are fed up with Americans. Many of them speak at least a small amount of English. We're slowly speaking more Italian. Maybe this fall I can take an Italian course.
The only "Americanized" facilities around us are at the Navy Exchange. Even there, most of the workers are Italian. The selection there is nice for gift items, records, camera equipment, etc. The clothes selection is awful! I haven't found a dress there I would have. The Italian clothing is either cheap and looks it or very nice and very expensive. I don't know what I'm gonna do. Most Americans order from Sears or Penney's, but I've never been wild about their clothes. Shoes are wonderful out on the economy. I bought a pair of nice leather sandals for £700 which is about $4.50. There are many brands you would recognize. Bring about $50 or $60 for shoes when you come and you'll go back with about 10 pair!
There is one big department store (Euromercato) here in Naples that reminds us of K-Mart.
Our furniture arrived with a minimum of damage. A few scratches here and there. Angelique's chest had two nail holes in it where they nailed the crate shut I suppose.
We'll probably get a microwave whenever the Exchange gets the one we want back in stock. It's an Amana that will work on both 220 and 110 current. Life without a dishwasher isn't too bad. My hands and fingernails are worse, tho.
Church here is different. If you sit on the 6th row back, you're on the back row. It is very casual. We meet in a basement of a building. There are about 6 kids in Angelique's class, but only 1 other in Steven's. There is an elementary of about 5. Usually there is only one teenager. We all total about 40. Most everyone has young kids. The men take turns preaching. There is a missionary here, but he preaches for the Italian congregation and prefers not to preach again for us.
Michael can tolerate the Navy. The patients are nice. The hospital doesn't get as much funding as it needs. That creates problems - so does the commanding officer, but he's leaving soon.
Our neighbors are nice, but the youngest kid is 9 years old. We'll be getting some new neighbors soon. Maybe they'll have young kids. Our kids enjoy the 9 & 10-year-old boys across the street. They are teaching Angelique about knuckle sandwiches. Oh, brother!
Saturday I went to Sorrento with Faye, a friend from church. Michael kept the kids. I bought a big picture of inlaid wood and 4 smaller pieces to hang around it to go over my bed. It is beautiful. The man said it would be a family heirloom and was an excellent work. Of course he would say that - I paid him enough to say it! It's a Mediterranean seashore scene with a sailboat. Luckily, Michael likes it, too. Sorrento is a beautiful town and so pleasant. I'll have to take you there. Michael & I may go back this weekend to look for a dining table. We had a wonderful time. And came back on the train with our arms and bags loaded. Trips like that make all this other hassle worth it. I'll have to work more of those into my schedule.
Oh, it's 12:40 AM and I have to get up early tomorrow to go to swim class at 9:30.
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