24 July 83, Sunday
Dear Mom & Dad,
It seems that time is going by quickly now. We have been busy this week. I suppose that helps make time go by so fast.
Last Monday night I had to stay in the hospital all night to cover the emergency room. That happens once or twice per month. About 10:30 pm the fire alarm went off & it appeared that we had a fire in the basement. On nights that I am the medical officer of the day, I am the acting commanding officer. No one ever told me how to be in charge if there is a fire. Fortunately, after the fire department arrived, it was determined that there was only smoke. It was caused by a fan belt (a great big one), which was broken in two when I saw it. Anyway, it was pretty exciting for about 20 minutes. I really didn't care for the responsibility of deciding whether to evacuate the hospital. I was the only one who had the authority at the moment to make the decision. I'm glad I made the right decision. However, the new mothers decided for themselves to grab their babies and run out of the hospital. Otherwise, the patients just stayed put, ready to go, if I gave the word.
Tuesday afternoon, I came home & slept.
Wednesday night we put up a curtain rod in Steven's room & put up his Winnie-the-Pooh curtains. Now at least one room looks American.
Jeannie has ordered a curtain rod & curtains from Sears to put up in the living room. It will help make the house less foreign.
Eventually, we plan to put some screens up. I can't figure out when. We did bring enough screen. I know where to get the wood & how to build them. I think we will all be more comfortable if we had curtains & screens.
Thursday night I didn't get home until 7:30. I don't know how Jeannie can stand not knowing when I'll be home.
Friday night we went to eat supper with our neighbor, the Ziebarts, across the 4-laner. They have the same landlord that we do. Our nearest neighbors, the Cummings, just returned from France that day. They ate supper there, also.
Yesterday morning we went to Pompeii with a bus from NSA. The kids stayed at home with two teenage girls that live in the same building as John & Faye, from church. The kids did just fine. We got really tired & hot.
We were at Pompeii from about 9 - 12. It is very impressive. I thought it was more interesting than any Indian archeological dig I have seen. It helped to have a guide for our first visit. Next time we go, we won't need one.
The post card enclosed [above] shows what it looked like. Mt. Vesuvius is in the background to the north. It was a typical, hazy summer day and we were not able to see Vesuvius while we were there. An unbelievable amount of dirt had to be removed to uncover Pompeii. The scene on the postcard was a public area, sort of like a square, near the center of town. We also saw several houses. Apparently, they didn't hang pictures on the wall, they just painted pictures on the walls. We saw lead pipes that they used for plumbing. We saw pots in kitchens. We saw a bakery. We saw several bodies.
Yesterday afternoon we went to Mount Vesuvius. The bus drove most of the way to the top of the higher peak seen on the post card. From there, we rode in a chair lift to the top. We walked (climbed in places) about 1/2 of the distance around the crater. It was cooler up there. There was also a nice breeze. The most impressive part of it is the very deep hole in the center. It is impossible to go down to the bottom because the sides are too steep. I'm sure that on a clear day one could see a very great distance. There were several places around the inside of the crater that had a little bit of steam coming out. At the very bottom of the crater, all there is is dirt. I wanted to see some lava. We brought back a couple of small rocks from the top. The ticket enclosed is from the chair lift. "Vesuvio" is Italian for Vesuvius. Jeannie had never ridden on a ski lift before. She was afraid to move.
We got home about 5:30.
Today after church we went to John & Faye's house for lunch. This afternoon we all took naps for about 2 hours.
Tonight, Angelique read 95% of the words in the book Go, Dog, Go! It wasn't from memory, either. She hasn't seen the book in the last 3 1/2 months. We just tonight figured out where to put a box full of books of the kids that we hadn't unpacked yet. Angelique finally convinced me that she does know how to read at age 3.
Tomorrow, our furniture from Sorrento is supposed to be delivered. Since Friday, we have hidden 4,020,000 lire in the house so Jeannie can pay the balance due when it comes. It took us a long time to figure out where we could hide it and be sure it wouldn't get stolen. We put it in the bottom of the diaper pail under the plastic bag. Surely, no one would steal our dirty diapers. Over here, you can't hide it in the refrigerator because sometimes they will steal everything in your refrigerator.
When we went to the Solfatara, we did not go to the rim at the very top. We entered straight into the crater. However, it is small compared with Mt. Vesuvius.
It has been very hot & very humid here for the past several days. It is always above 80°F in the house, even early in the morning. The fans help a lot.
Did I tell you about Angelique eating eight ears of corn for supper one night recently? They were only about 4 inches long. I cooked them on the grill and Jeannie & I didn't like them. But Angelique just kept eating them. I took her picture with all the corn cobs stacked up in her plate.
I don't know why the Italian kitchens are so much smaller than in America. It's probably because the men build the house without asking for the woman's opinion. The Italian women are generally very nice looking until they get married, then they start getting chubby, just like you said you see on T.V. It seems that the average family has 3 to 5 kids.
Milk at the base grocery store (commissary) comes only in quarts & half gallons. A half-gallon only costs 60¢. It looks American. The Italian milk is also from cows but most of it we are not sure about how pure it is. The milk that can stay on the shelf till it is opened is also sold at the commissary & is safe to drink.
What is this "tutoring session" that you mentioned? I've never heard of it. Are you being tutored or doing the tutoring? Are you paying to do this or getting paid? What subject(s) is it about?
We drive on the right hand side of the road here, just like in America. All of Europe, except England, drives on the same side. Actually, in Naples, we usually drive on the right side of the road. Sometimes, the Italians drive wherever they want.
Angelique wears a size 4 shirt. Steven wears a size 3.
It is nearly 11:30 so I better get to bed.
It is funny that people spend thousands of dollars to see Pompeii and we spent only a few. I guess we will have to figure out some way to spend the money that we saved. Ha!
Good night. We love you. We all look forward to getting to see you again. Take care till then.
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