4 August 1983
Thur. Afternoon

Dear Diane,

I know, I know. I haven't written in a while. I have many excuses. Pick whichever you like.

I feel like we've been invaded - by Sahara Dust! For the last 2 weeks it has been so hot and no breeze. Finally, day before yesterday, it cooled off some with a nice breeze, but with the breeze came the dust. I sweep my floors and they still fell gritty. If you mop, the dust just sticks to the floor even better. So I just sweep daily. Forget dusting the furniture. It's just coated again in a couple hours. I guess the dust is better than the heat. Maybe.

Your vacation sounded wonderful. I haven't written you since then, have I? I get confused to whom I write and what I write. When we were in Florida, we went to Sea World, Circus World, Disney World (1 day), NASA and St. Augustine and the Daytona Beach. Three days at Disney World seems more practical - especially since they have Epcot now. It wasn't open when we went. I bet you all had a ball. Sounds like Laura had a "dream come true." I'm sure she'll always remember it. Have you recuperated yet? I bet you were thoroughly exhausted when you got back. We enjoyed the card that Laura sent. Angelique has it on her dresser mirror.

Temple of Apollo at Pompei - 23 Jul 1983 Michael and I went to Pompei last Saturday, July 23. It is impressive. We spent about 3 hours there Sat. morning and didn't even see half of it. We went on a tour from the Navy Base. It was hot and dry but not unbearable. All of the statues and art objects from Pompei have been moved to the National Museum in Naples to protect them from weather and thieves. We hope to go there some time this month. After we ate lunch in Pompei we climbed Mt. Vesuvius. Actually, inside Vesuvius - 23 Jul 1983 the bus took us up most of the way through about three dozen hairpin curves. A ski lift took us up the steepest part and we walked just a short distance. We walked down inside the crater about 30 yards and walked around the top about a third of the way around. It is awesome! It's suppose to be dormant right now, but no one would be too surprised if it erupted soon since there has been an increase in tremors the past 3 or 4 months. Of course we all joked about it erupting while we were there. We decided Michael would be the most interesting excavation in 1000 years since he was carrying a canteen and his camera bag. But, we made it out of there, needless to say.

I went to the shoe store again. This time I bought 7 pairs of shoes for £42,000 - about $32.00! I bought 3 pair for me-2 leather, 1 canvas and 2 pair of leather sandals for each of the kids. Too bad they don't have purses there. The red leather dress sandals I bought would have cost at least $32.00 in the States on sale! Now Michael's wanting to go. I did notice they had some narrow sizes [for your feet] this last time. Their stock changes quickly.

Angelique enjoyed her 4th birthday. We got her a red 14" bicycle with training wheels. She can just barely reach the pedals to make it go. She and Steven both love it. Steven gets on it and she pushes him. She also got a Slinky, books, and Steven got her a "Yankee Doodle Mickey" cassette tape. At 6:00 PM three families from church plus 1 neighbor family came over for her birthday party - 9 adults, 10 kids in all. The kids ate outside while we ate at our new table. Michael cooked hamburgers outside for everyone.

Angelique's 4th birthday - 2 Aug 1983 This was a "Pink Panther" birthday party (not much choice at the Navy Exchange) with Pink Panther napkins, plates, table cloth, etc. I found a lady nearby who made a beautiful Pink Panther cake for me. She only charged me $10.00. I had taken her a pink panther plate and she did a wonderful job of decorating the cake. She's new here, but I'm sure she'll get lots of orders now.

Angelique got a lot of neat presents at her party. One little boy brought her a Barbie doll. She's enjoying that.

I had enrolled Angelique in the Dr. Seuss book club. The introductory set came just before her birthday so I wrapped it up. The day after her birthday, she picked up the Bears on Wheels book and read it aloud. No one had read it to her before. The only word she missed was "twenty-one." The book only has maybe 20 different words in it, but I was still surprised that she could read it so well without hearing it first. She's always doing something to amaze me.

swim class - Aug 1983

Steven finally decided to take off in the pool with his swimmies on. He had been enjoying the pool and kicking well, but only with me holding him. Yesterday, it all seemed to "click" for him and he took off across the pool smiling and giggling and talking away. He even started chasing Angelique around in the pool. They had a ball. Angelique has been diving for hoops under the water. If I had the patience to go one more session (3 weeks), she might be swimming totally on her own without her swimmies. She does well with the teacher helping her come up for a breath at short intervals. But I need a break and it would cost $40 more for both of them. I guess it will wait till next year.

Angelique underwater - Aug 1983 Steven at swim class - Aug 1983

Today I went to Afsouth (Allied Forces Southern Command-NATO) and went shopping at building "L" which is an international gift shop. I bought 2 small leather purses from Italy just big enough to hold my I.D., some money and maybe car keys, to carry when I go sightseeing. I also bought a turquoise shawl and painted bead necklace from Greece. They are beautiful. I'll wear them with my turquoise split skirt tomorrow night when I go to Rome to see the opera "Carmen" at the Baths of Caracalla (ancient Roman ruins). I'm excited. I went to a 6-hour seminar last Sunday night on "Carmen," so I'll be able to tell what's going on. Our instructor was wonderful. She in an American, but has lived here since the 1960's. She has sung in operas and is married to one of the Italian opera singers. The University of La Verne sponsored this class. I just audited it for $45.00. That also includes my ticket to the opera and bus trip to Rome. There were about 40 in the class.

I better go finish my laundry. I'll write more after the opera tomorrow night.

8 Aug 1983
Mon Afternoon

Would you believe this is the 1st chance I've had to finish this letter since Thursday!? The opera was wonderful. On the bus trip up to Rome, I must have been the only one in our group who had not been to Rome. I had a hard time not sitting on the edge of my seat pointing out things and saying, "Look at this; look at that!" Everyone else was reading books or sleeping. I tried very hard to keep my cool. It is a nice 2 1/2 - 3 hour drive. There are many mountains with villages perched up on top of them or nestled down between them. We drove down the Autostrada, which is like an Interstate road. When we got to Rome we drove down the Old Appian Way to the ancient Circus Maximus, around the Palatine Hill and Roman Forum and Coloseum. I wanted to yell, "Stop, let me out!," but I restrained myself. I wanted to see if I could find anyone running around in togas. Oh, well, I'll make it back there sometime in the next 3 years.

The Baths of Caracalla are just a couple of blocks from the Palatine Hill. They are massive. Not only were there baths there, but beautiful gardens, gymnasiums, shops, etc. The Romans would go and spend the day there. The stage of the opera was right up between two massive pieces of ruins. Our seats were on scaffolding facing that. We had some of the best "seats in the house" - back about a third of the way - center - not too close to the orchestra so that we could hear the singers and a good overall view of the stage. "Carmen" is a good opera for outdoor staging since all 4 acts take place outdoors. The opera itself was great. We were there on the 4th night of 7 performances. I wish I could sing like the soprano sang - wonderful! It's kind of funny that Carmen is supposed to be very alluring to men, yet this Carmen was very hefty ... as are most opera singers - I guess it gives them more lung power.

Our neighbor, Ann Cummings, is going to see "Swan Lake" at the Baths of Caracalla this weekend. The Italians seem to take full advantage of their ruins. They were setting up for a rock concert in the Circus Maximus.

Thank you, Thank you for the swimsuits and darling blue puppy dog dress. Michael came home with the package Thursday afternoon. He hadn't gone to the post office since Monday, so maybe the package got here on time for her birthday and we just didn't pick it up in time. Steven will have to wait till next year to were his swim suit - it is a little big yet. Angelique wore her's Friday to swim class, but the straps slipped off some, so maybe she can wear it next year, too. The dress is so sweet. I'm gonna take the buttons up an inch or so to shorten it a little. With that big hem in it, she ought to be able to wear it for a couple of years at least ... maybe 3! She liked the puppy dogs. So do I - and Steven. I'm sure that took a long time to do. We'll take good care of it and hopefully save it for Angelique's little girl someday.

Incidently, she says when she gets big, she's going to marry and have a little girl and live in Germany a few years. Or maybe France, or both. Then she's gonna live across the street from me and visit every day. Did you make such plans like that when you were little? I don't think I did. All I knew was Arkansas.

We got a package from Mother on Thursday, too. She had sent party horns which I guess we'll save for Steven's birthday or for next year. She also sent a cancan slip, puzzle, coloring book, 2 ceramic August dolls and chocolate kisses. We had already gotten a card from her Monday or earlier with $4 in it. She sent Steven a T-shirt and a toy land rover and me a red, white and blue kitchen towel & pot holder.

Have I written you since I got our dining room set from Sorrento? It's nice. A round table that opens up to oval, 6 chairs and a china cabinet and hutch. It's a little flashy until you get used to it. Someone told us we could sell it in the States when we return for 3 times as much as we paid for it. I think we'll keep it, though.

Angelique caught a little 24-hour virus Saturday. A low grade fever and a little vomiting. She slept a lot. She still had a fever Sunday morning so she and I and Steven stayed home from church. Steven could have gone to church with Michael, except Michael was preaching for the 1st time and didn't think he could preach and keep Steven still and quiet, too. Anyway, by 9:30 AM Angelique's fever had broken and she felt fine so we could have gone anyway. I guess she needed the rest, tho. We did go to the church picnic at noon at Carney Park. She's felt fine ever since.

This morning I broke down and vacuumed everywhere except downstairs. Maybe Michael won't complain about all the dusty furniture tonight. It would just be back tomorrow, though.

500 lire coin reverse - 1984 500 lire coin obverse - 1984 The post card of Pompei with Mt. Vesuvius in the background is for Laura. I hope I haven't already sent her one. The "biglietto" (ticket) is from Pompei. I thought you might have fun trying to decipher it. The coin is the most unique Italian coin. It's worth £500 or about 32¢ right now. It's for Laura also. Many Italians save them like we do half dollars or bicentennial coins.

Write soon.



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