Sunday, 7 Aug 1983

Dear Mom & Dad,

How's the weather in Arkansas? It got better here a few days ago. It has been in the 60's at night and no hotter than the mid to upper 80's during the day, lately. Actually, it has been quite pleasant. We are sleeping better at night with the cooler temperatures. There has been a nice breeze lately, too.

Enclosed you will find a check to pay for my phone calls. Did you notice that the collect call I made from Italy just before you called back was not listed?

Also, find enclosed a thank you note from Angelique. She told me what she wanted to write and I wrote it on a piece of paper, then she copied it. She wanted to write twice this much, but this took her 30 minutes and she was very tired (bedtime) when she finished. The picture she drew is of Steven, Angelique, & Grandma.

8 - 5 - 83


I couldn't believe the price of your passports! I have to renew mine next year. How long are your passports good for?

Even if we weren't in Italy, you wouldn't find us in Fort Smith.

It sounds like you are keeping busy with blackberries and apples.

We got several sermon tapes from some friends in Fort Smith the other day. So, we don't need tapes for awhile.

The Navy's dental clinic is on the top floor of the hospital. We have a good orthodontist here. Jeannie saw him the first time the day after we got to Naples. I have talked with him several times, one time even as a patient. (He was the patient.) He seems to be a nice fellow. There are three kinds of braces. They have equipment for two of them. Of course, Jeannie has the kind they didn't carry. They considered taking all the wires off and starting over, but the orthodontist here wrote to Jeannie's orthodontist in Fort Smith & he sent everything needed to finish the treatment. We thought that was nice, especially when he really didn't get any money to do it. A couple of weeks ago, a lot more wires were added to Jeannie's mouth & she was sore for a few days. Right now we don't have any idea when they will come off. She has to be careful about eating Italian bread because the crust is so hard it can break her braces.

Apparently, if I had to return to Arkansas to testify in a case where I was a key witness, the state would pay (minimally) my expenses back. The Navy is not obligated to let me go, however. I sure wasted a lot of time talking about all that with the Navy lawyers. One of the biggest problems could have been, what if I got there and they postponed the case? I hope a similar situation doesn't come up in the future.

How much did you pay for your Italian language tapes? Where did you get them? I still suggest you get the Italian For Travellers book that I mentioned last week. It sounds like you will know more Italian than we do by the time you get here. The least you both have to learn is "Non Capisco" ("I don't understand").

We have a box fan that we brought from the States. We use it in the window in the living room during the day and in the window in our bedroom at night. We needed and bought a 12-inch fan for the dining room. It rotates back & forth or will stay stationary. It has three speeds & is very nice. It is Italian and runs on 220 Volts. We leave it on top of the refrigerator most of the time. (The refrigerator is in the dining room.)

We thought we were going to get screens put up yesterday, but the man never showed up. I guess I'll have to call him again tomorrow. Perhaps, he lost the directions to our house. He will do it for a very reasonable price and use my screen. We decided to hire someone to do it because it seems I will never find time to do it.

A big window fan would not match the size of the windows here.

I haven't heard of any houses around Naples that have air conditioning. It is too expensive here. Also, our house (& the average house) has a limit of 3000 watts of electricity that can be used at one time. I'll bet your one air conditioner uses that much.

Last Tuesday morning we had the change of command ceremony. The doctors, along with all the other Navy personnel at the hospital, stood in formation for about 1 1/2 hours. We had to wear dress white uniforms. Fortunately, we were in the shade and it wasn't too hot. Nevertheless, one of the older doctors passed out. At first they thought he had a heat attack. You can imagine how exciting it was for a little while. We are all hoping that the new commanding officer is better than the old one. He seems to be a nice guy so far.

I got home about 11 AM Tuesday and helped Jeannie get organized for Angelique's birthday party. Late in the afternoon I went to Pinetamare and picked up the cake & got some ice. The cake was only $10.00. The decoration on the cake was unbelievable. Jeannie was very pleased and thought the cake was worth much more. We ate only about 1/2 of it at the party; it was so big. We will surely get more cakes from the same girl in the future.

We had 7 adults & 8 or 9 kids here. All were from church. I cooked hamburgers & hot dogs on the grill. The kids played games after supper. Then we had cake & ice cream. Angelique got lots of presents. Before we had cake & ice cream, we asked the Cummings over. Steven and Angelique - Aug 1983

Angelique opened your present & the presents from us before anyone got here for the party. She really liked her bicycle. She thinks she is really big now, though the bicycle is almost too big for her.

Wednesday, I came home for lunch. I get 1 1/2 hours at lunchtime when I work at Pinetamare. This was the first time I came home for lunch. I had about one hour in the house before I had to go back. It was nice. I think I will make a habit of it.

Wednesday night I went to bed early, still trying to recuperate from the weekend.

Thursday night our friends from England came by. Paul took me to the nearby satellite station to show me a better place from which to call the hospital. I had been going through 3 gates, but now I know I have to go only through one gate to find a phone. That will help a lot when I have to call in the middle of the night.

I tried to ride the bus to work Friday morning, but someone who works at the hospital stopped & gave me a ride. Out of 4 times intending to ride the bus, I have ridden it only once. It suits me though since it cost $1.25 to ride. The night before had been windy so all the air pollution was blown away. You could see for miles. It was the clearest it has been since we've been here. I'm glad I wasn't driving so I could enjoy the scenery. I wish I had my camera with me.

Jeannie picked me up at the hospital at 3:30 Friday afternoon. I took her to meet a bus to Rome. She went to the opera "Carmen" with her class (that she went to last Sunday afternoon). She had a really good time and got to see a lot of things, though most only from the bus window. She said the class had some of the best seats in the opera, not far from the front. The ticket was included in the price of the class, as was the chartered bus. She got home (via our neighbors, the Ziebarts, who also went) at 4:30 Saturday morning. She slept till 10.

I just heard that "the phone company" in the States is on strike.

Late Saturday afternoon some friends, we met on the plane coming over, stopped by to be sure we are going to their daughter's birthday party. She will be 4 on Wednesday. They are Mark & Janet Moranville. They have 2 little girls who Angelique likes to play with. We just happened to have 4 steaks & a pound of hamburger meat that Jeannie had just bought, so we cooked it outside & they all stayed for supper. The eight of us sat comfortably around our new table. All the other food on the table came from a couple of shops just down the road that Jeannie & Janet visited just before we started cooking. One of the things we had was "Insalata Caprese" (Capri Salad), made with tomatoes and mozzarella cheese & some other minor things. We had eaten it at restaurants several times. Janet showed Jeannie how to make it. Jeannie said they bought the mozzarella at a cheese factory & could see them making it. It's within walking distance of our house.

Angelique played & seemed to be doing ok while they were here. But much of the rest of the day she had a fever & upset stomach. Before going to be she threw up. Jeannie stayed home with her this morning, but by noon she felt fine & hasn't had any fever since.

I preached this morning on angels. I guess you could call it "preaching." I need a lot more practice. I'm sure everyone was tired of me by the time class was over, since I am also the adult Sunday school teacher.

I will always remember that when I was in high school & trying to decide if I wanted to be a preacher or a doctor, you said that I could become a doctor and still preach, but I could never practice medicine if I became a preacher. I believe you helped me make the right decision. I thought of that today. By being a Christian doctor, I've worked with the church in Tanzania and in Italy. I'm sure these things wouldn't have happened if I'd become a preacher. Thanks for advice given me about 11 or 12 years ago.

We all went to Carney Park for lunch today (pot luck). It was the church's going away party for Jim & Lynn Elkins. In a couple of months, Ricky & Cindy are going back to the States. This will really decrease our membership here. In December, 2 others are leaving. Then there will be 5 families (counting the missionary's) and 3 single guys. We hope more will be moving in or we have some converts.

For the past couple of weeks we have had trouble with our refrigerator being too warm. A repairman from the base came out yesterday afternoon to tell us that there is nothing wrong with the refrigerator. It seems that the electricity is presently at 240 volts when it is supposed to be at 220 volts. It is causing the compressor to overheat quickly & not stay on long enough to cool the refrigerator. He said we could solve the problem by getting a 240 to 220 transformer. In the meantime, he said to put a fan blowing on the compressor to keep it cool. We did that last night & it was actually cold in the refrigerator this morning. You see, we seem to have unique problems over here. Most of them can be solved, fortunately, but it's always a lot of trouble. Ask Billy Joe what he thinks about that. Oh, the refrigerator is 110 volts except for the compressor which was replaced 3 years ago with a 220 Volt one.

The Cummings came over & played cards tonight. We played Shanghai twice. We weren't sure how to count the cards for the score. Would you tell me what counts how much?

Do you have trouble reading my handwriting? I know some letters are worse than this one.

Angelique has played with the doll you got her a lot. Steven likes his tractor, too. One of the books Angelique got for her birthday was Bears on Wheels. As far as we know, she had never seen the book before. She read it to us before we read it to her. She knew every word except "twenty-one."

The kids finished their swimming lessons last week. On the next to last day, Steven finally let go of Jeannie & swam all over the place & had a really good time. Then he didn't want to be touched.

Steven has stopped crying every morning when he wakes up. Recently, when Jeannie went in to get him out of bed, he said, "Good morning, Mama. How are you?" Jeannie said, "Fine. How are you?" He said, "I'm fine." Can you believe it? For an hour after he gets up he will talk your head off. Much of it we don't understand. The Cummings said they can even hear him at their house.

Angelique got a couple of presents (a puzzle & a coloring book) exactly like she already had so we decided we would just give them to Carrie Moranville at her birthday party Wednesday. However, Jeannie had already gotten Carrie a present and thought that would be too many presents from Angelique. Within a couple days, Angelique astonished us with the solution when she said we could have Steven give Carrie the puzzle & coloring book. Jeannie & I felt dumb that we didn't think of that.

Anyway, the kids are growing bigger & smarter. We are experiencing a lot of fascinating things. We are all getting quite adjusted to living here. We are having a good time and are glad we came. This house feels more and more like "home" all the time. Nevertheless, it's not America, and we look forward to moving back to the U.S.A. some day. But while we are here, we will take advantage of it. (For example, Jeannie and I could go on a tour of Israel for less than $700 each. Unbelievable. That is the total cost from here & back.)

We look forward to when you will come see us.

Love you lots,

Michael, Jeannie,
Angelique, & Steven

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