6 July 1983
Wed Night

Dear Diane,

I'm enjoying your "poolside chats." I'm wondering if I'll receive one written from a Florida beach. I realize you won't be home when this letter arrives, but maybe it will be nice to have one waiting at home when you return. You'll have to tell me what all you did and saw in Florida. I'm sure Laura enjoyed Disneyworld. I guess it's a dream come true for 8-year-olds.

I've about decided I can live here in Naples for 3 years. Next week I'll probably be ready to come home again, though. There are a lot of ups and downs here. This week there has been more ups than downs. Next week may just bring new problems.

Michael and the kids and I drove down to Sorrento again Saturday. It was a pretty and interesting drive. I told Michael it seemed as if we were watching the scenery in a James Bond movie through our car window. A lot of the road was curvy hills right along the coast and through pleasant little villages. We ended up buying (ordering) an inlaid wood dining room table, 6 chairs and a hutch. The wood is walnut with gold, cream and rust colored flower inlays. They should deliver them around the first of August.

The 4th of July celebration, "Festa Americana," was at Carney Park (owned by NATO). They had a small carnival and several booths of food and games. We spent a couple of hours there around noon and did all we were interested in. The kids enjoyed the little kiddie car ride. We left before it got too hot. So far the weather has been very pleasant. The 4th was the hottest day I have noticed and still there was usually a breeze and it was nice in the shade. Our indoor-outdoor thermometer got broke in the move so I really don't know how hot it has been. The nights have been in the mid-60's. I heard that on the radio. Normally it is hot in July. I'm sure the real heat is just around the corner.

Yesterday, I got up at 4:00 AM to get dressed in order to leave here at 5:00 AM to get Michael to the airport at 6:00 AM to catch his plane at 7:00 AM. So far I'm doing fine in a foreign country without my husband. I sure did want to go with him, though. He'll be in Philadelphia for 4 nights and get back here late Sunday afternoon. He's planning on calling your house, but I told him you should be in Florida. Hopefully, he'll pick up a few things we need and haven't found here.

His being gone normally wouldn't be too bad, but my neighbor, Ann, who has been my neighborhood anchor and guide and counselor, left Monday and will be gone a month to France and Spain. Her husband's job involves a lot of traveling. He repairs ships (engineer & supervisor) and sometimes has to travel to the ships. Next month she may go with him to Istanbul. Sounds like a hard life, huh? No wonder they are trying to extend their tour for 2 more years. He is not in the Navy, but works for the government.

Michael is trying not to be disenchanted with the Navy medicine, but it may all be in vain. The hospital just doesn't get the funding it needs. Plus the Commanding Officer (C.O.) is not the best in the world. He's leaving soon, but who knows what new problems there will be with the new C.O. Time will tell.

Steven jumping into pool - Aug 1983

The kids are fine. Steven is talking more and more. He's going through a "golden age," I suppose ... that irresistible stage they go through just before the "terrible twos" stage. He really is a charmer with kisses & hugs and stories about kitties and "cycles" and elevators and airplanes. He said the prayer at supper tonight. I understood God, thank you, food, Daddy, Jesus & Amen. There were a lot of mumblings I couldn't understand , tho. He was rather proud. Oh, you should see him in swim class now. Talk about proud! If he had had buttons on the other day, he would have burst them. He finally relaxed in the water and started playing instead of crying. He loves to kick and to jump off the edge of the pool to me. Friday he cried for about 10 minutes then all of a sudden he decided he could have fun. He hasn't cried since then. When he got out of the pool Friday he went up to everyone on the sides telling them, "I kicked. I kicked big!" He was smiling from ear to ear. I couldn't believe the change. Now we all enjoy swim class a lot more.

Angelique is beginning to maneuver some without her swimmies. She enjoys her new "freedom" in the pool.

Jeannie reading to the kids - Jul 1983

Tonight at bedtime she read her Dr. Seuss' I Can Read With My Eyes Shut book to Steven and me. I only had to tell her a few words. Steven really watches Angelique when she reads to him. I've sent off for her to join the Dr. Seuss book club, but they haven't come yet. It would be nice if the 1st set would get here in time for her birthday. She really "mothers" Steven and tries to protect him from all ill. She kind of goes overboard though and he doesn't care much for it.

I'm not surprised that Laura is sewing already. She'll probably be creating fashions in a few years. Then maybe all your compulsive material buying won't seem all in vain. As far as piano lessons go, I don't know that I would have her start them unless she is interested in them. It seems piano takes a lot more discipline than gymnastics or ballet because of the daily practice. Plus you have to sit to practice. Only the fingers move which is difficult for some young children who like to squirm a lot. The results are usually slower coming, too. If she realizes this before she starts then maybe she will do fine. If she is truly interested in it (which she may be because of her cousins), then she'll probably do fine. If it is your (or grandmother's) interest in having an eight-year-old in piano lessons, then I'd think twice about it. We've all known people who "had" to take piano lessons who hated them. If she "thinks" she'd like to take lessons, but isn't sure, you might check into "renting to buy" a piano. She can always start lessons when she's 12, 18, or 82 years old when she is interested.

Personally, I can't imagine why anyone wouldn't be interested in piano lessons. I always wanted to take them when I was young, but couldn't. On the other hand, piano lessons might "spark" an interest on their own in music if she isn't interested now. It sure is a good basic introduction to music theory. You might point out to her that even if she doesn't want to become a concert pianist, piano lessons will give her a good background in music which she would find beneficial in band music, singing and would even help her if she's interested in furthering her gymnastics or ballet since all the routines are done to music. Music is basic to any art form. (Can you even sew to music?)

I guess I've rambled enough and haven't told you anything you haven't thought of already. I guess you won't know how well she'll do till you try. Maybe she'd enjoy it if you'd take lessons, too. (As if you don't have enough irons in the fire.)

I can tell 2 things by looking at this letter:
1. I need a new cartridge in my pen.
2. It's 12:15 AM and I'm very sleepy.

I'm looking forward to Laura's & Mother's tape.

Write soon.



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