Monday, 1 Aug 1983

Dear Mom & Dad,

Right now I am stuck in the hospital waiting for a girl to deliver. It appears that it will be awhile, so I will try to write you a letter. It has been a very long weekend & I was hoping I could be at home tonight. It has been another week filled with unique experiences.

Last Sunday (24 Jul) I started having trouble getting my car started. I would often have to push it to get it going. At first I thought it was the battery, but it is only 9 months old. After talking to several people, we figured it must be that the battery wasn't charging. It took me till Thursday to figure out how to get it fixed. It was something (brushings? maybe) in the alternator. It cost 70,000 lire to fix. Also, the Italians totally removed the smog pump?, or whatever, & left all the pieces in the floorboard. They said it was rattling because the threads were stripped where one of the bolts goes. The car seems to run ok without it & it isn't necessary to have one in Italy so I wasn't interested in paying someone to put it back on. I thought they said it might cause the oil to leak if it is left off. I need to check that out.

inlaid wood furniture - Aug 1983

Monday, our dining room furniture was delivered. It looks so showy that it took a few days to get used to it. Now it just looks pretty to us. It looks a lot fancier in our house than it did in the store in Sorrento. Jeannie asked the Cummings (our nearest neighbors) over to play cards that night because she wanted to show it off. dining room - Aug 1983

Monday evening just after I got home (before I got into the house), there was a wreck in front of our house. There were at least 100 people around in less than a minute. A car with 2 girls ran into the back of a motorcycle. The guy on the bike hit the car's windshield & landed on the side of the road, quite cut up, especially his head. No one wears helmets over here. I'm glad they were all Italians. Joan Ziebart (our neighbor across the road, where we went for steak the week before) used to be a nurse. She and a hospital corpsman that lives nearby wrapped a bandage around his head. Then, some of the Italians put him into a car & took him to a hospital. The motorcycle was still upright, embedded in the grill of the car about 6 inches. We found several pieces of glass on our front porch. The Italians are very emotional people and very quickly agitated. I stood just close enough to see that the injured guy was being taken care of.

Sometime Monday night, I had to come in to deliver a baby. So, Tuesday afternoon, I took a nap. Another wasted, or at least nonproductive, afternoon off. Tuesday night we made a tape to send you. You may have already gotten it. I was surprised the kids did so well for so long. At one point, they both went to get a drink. When I turned the tape back on, I forgot to push the music table - Aug 1983 record button, so we tried to start over with what we were talking about when the kids came back. The explanation of the music table was much better the first time, but unfortunately wasn't being taped. Angelique read a book on the tape, but it really wasn't a good example of how well she can really read. I'm afraid she had this book almost memorized. We listened through the tape immediately after we quit taping. Then, Angelique understood how loud she was because she held the microphone too close. I think she will do better next time. Now we need to make a tape to send to Jeannie's parents.

Wednesday night we went to Euromercato, but didn't spend much. Jeannie was hoping she could find some Pam and some Scotch-Guard. Our dining room chairs have upholstered seats.

Well, I'm home. That girl delivered much quicker than I thought she would. When I got to the bottom of the previous page, it was 5 pm, so I went to supper. I didn't even get to take one bite because they paged me and said she wanted to push. So I wasted the money for the supper meal, but it was worth it to get to come home at a decent hour & eat with my family. I had sent word by a neighbor to tell Jeannie I would be quite late, so I barely got home in time to get my name in the pot. The patient delivered an 8 1/2 pound girl about 5:30. I figured it would be 10:00 before she delivered. I didn't get to rest when I got home because Jeannie had things I needed to do. Angelique's party is tomorrow and we've been cleaning things up. I trimmed all the hedges & swept up the leaves. But now I'm sitting here in front of the fan, drinking a Coke.

Thursday, Jeannie took Faye to the shoe factory. Jeannie bought 7 pairs for a total of 45,000 lire (about $30). Boy, it's going to be hard to buy shoes in the States again after the prices here. She finally found Angelique & Steven some good sandals.

Friday, when I got home from work, we went to Pinetamare & ordered a cake for Angelique from an American girl. We also found & bought a bicycle for Angelique. It cost 85,000 lire, completely assembled. It seemed expensive to me, but Jeannie thought it was reasonable. It has 14 inch tires and training wheels. While we did all that, Angelique stayed at the Cummings' house.

Friday night late, before I went to bed, I got paged to call the hospital. Saturday morning at 3 AM I left Naples in a Medevac plane. I had to go with a pregnant girl who was carrying twins and ruptured her membranes 6 weeks early. We gave her a drug before we left to stop her contractions. The reason I had to go was that we only have one obstetrician here right now. I was very pleased that the flight to Germany was boring. I was not wanting to deliver twins on an airplane, especially with the 1st one coming breech. The plane was very big for only one patient. I'm sure it cost thousands of dollars to transport her. We landed in Germany in less than 2 hrs.

She was taken by ambulance to the hospital at Landstuhl, which is an army base. I was told that they have about 200 doctors there.

At 9:30 am, I rode in an army truck to Frankfort. It was just the driver & me and was almost like a guided tour. We took the autoban, which is similar to the interstate system in the U.S. There are no speed limits. There were a lot of cars going well over 100 MPH. However, unlike Naples, the Germans are very careful drivers and predictable.

The trip was about 90 miles. Frankfort is right in the center of West Germany. The countryside was very pretty, neat, & clean. I couldn't believe all the clean air. It was nice to see wooden houses. Landstuhl is in the mountains, very similar to the Ozarks. By the time we got to Frankfort, it was a lot like eastern Kansas, with rolling hills. There were a lot of evergreen forests and wheat fields and grape vineyards. It was quite a contrast to here around Naples. The weather was very nice Saturday, but it was cooler than it had been.

At about 1 pm, I left Germany on Lufthansa (the German airline). We stopped in Genoa, Italy, but did not have to change planes. We got to Naples about 4 pm and I was home before 5:30 p.m.

I didn't say so, but I was the only one who went to Germany from Naples with this patient. The other people on the plane were from Germany at the Air Force base.

It was quite an adventure. Next time, I will stay a little longer. I had a lot of reasons to get back quickly this time. I never even saw any German money. That was my greatest fear before going up there because I didn't have any and was sure I would need some. It worked out that I didn't. If I had stayed longer, I'm sure I would have needed some. (I took a year of German at Harding. I remembered more than I thought. With a little more review, I could probably get along well there.) I'm afraid that if I ever take Jeannie to Germany, I won't be able to get her back to Italy. Germany looked so much like America. Many Germans speak English.

I was very tired when I got home. I could hardly believe my beeper went off at 4 AM Sunday. I went & called the hospital, then came back home and took a quick shower before going in. The patient delivered before I got there. I sewed her up, then went down to sleep in my office, because I had another patient in labor. She still hadn't delivered by church time, so I went to church. Jeannie was the last to get there & my beeper went off before she sat down. I went back to the hospital and delivered a patient that wasn't even supposed to be delivered by me. Those silly nurses! I could have stayed at church the whole time.

Jeannie & the kids came up and ate lunch with me at the hospital. I sat around all afternoon at the hospital waiting for my patient to deliver. She finally delivered about 6 pm.

Jeannie went to a class Sunday afternoon at the University of La Verne starting at 3 pm about an opera. She left the kids at John & Faye's, so I went over there to pick them up and ate supper with them. When I got home, Ann Cummings said that Jeannie had just been there. She got out of class earlier than she thought she would. Anyway, she assumed I was still at the hospital & went to John & Faye's to pick up the kids. We came in & started getting ready for bed, waiting for Jeannie to get back.

About 9:00 last night, just as Jeannie got home, the British couple that we met on Jeannie's birthday came to visit. They stayed till 11 pm. It was enjoyable, but my was I tired.

I'm still tired! I got practically no sleep Friday night and only about 6 hours Saturday night. It has been a long weekend. It was a very nice weekend here as far as the weather goes. It was breezy and blew all the smog out of Naples so you could see for miles. Unfortunately, I was in Germany or in the hospital most of the weekend and couldn't enjoy the weekend. Usually, when I'm on call, I don't do anything. This weekend made up for it. I think Jeannie & the kids are about to forget who I am.

There are three things enclosed in this letter. While we were at Euromercato, we were given a card to register for a car. We didn't fill it out. I was afraid we might win & I wouldn't be able to figure out what to do with the car. The picture of the sun is apparently their advertising symbol at Euromercato. It's always in their commercials on T.V. Also, at Euromercato, we were given the 2000 (due mila) lire note in change. I thought you would like to see what a brand new Italian bill looks like. It is worth about $1.30. Hold it up to the light and you will see the watermark & the silver thread.

Tell me what to do with my tax bill that is enclosed. What if I don't pay it?

I don't remember if I told you, but we did get Angelique's present the other day. She will open it tomorrow. We appreciate the trouble it was to send it. It is things like that that help her remember you and know that you love her.

Angelique thinks she is really going to be big by being 4 years old.

The temperature during the day is in the upper 90's here and around 75-80 at night.

They changed the name of the hospital to Naval Hospital (in place of Naval Regional Medical Center). We are all glad of the change. It will be easier to live up to what is expected of us now.

The aircraft carrier, the U.S.S. Coral Sea, left today to go to Central America. In your opinion, what is going to happen down there? I am certain that they will leave me here in Naples till Spring 1986 regardless of where a war breaks out (with the exception of Italy).

I haven't heard from Becky. It would probably help if I wrote her. When will I find time?

I still don't understand about your tutoring. How do you teach someone comprehension, especially if they have some brain damage from a wreck? Where and how did you learn to tutor? How well do you get paid? How many hours per day do you work?

I got a letter from David Campbell last week. I need to hurry & write to him so he will know he'll be welcome to visit with us.

I suppose the traffic in Branson is a little like here. However, the Italians would make extra lanes that I'm sure wouldn't be done in Missouri.

The "Compendium of Patient Information" would be nice to have, but you can keep it. It's too expensive to mail.

Tell Richie Poe, I expected to hear from him about the class reunion. Jeannie got a bunch of stuff about hers. Ask Richie to write and tell me about it. I knew that Mr. Van Deven wasn't going to be there. I wonder why they didn't find someone else to speak.

You need NO shots to visit any country in Europe.

Even if we weren't in Italy, we wouldn't be in Fort Smith.

The best book to learn practical words & phrases in Italian is Berlitz Italian For Travellers. I always have it nearby. You can get it at large book stores or get a smaller one to order it for you. (Cost about $4.00.) You can order a tape from the book publisher for about $8.00. I would not spend more than that.

My pen is getting tired. I was tired before I started. I sure hope my beeper doesn't go off tonight. I may throw it out the window.

We love you. Take care. Good night.


Michael, Jeannie,
Angelique, & Steven

P.S. - 2 Aug
Well, I got to bed about midnight last night & my beeper went off at 2 AM. I have been in the hospital since. I think they are trying to kill me.

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