Thursday, 18 Aug 1983
Dear Mom & Dad,
I certainly enjoyed your letter. It was certainly full of a lot of interesting things. Many of the questions you asked will be answered by the pictures we sent. I hope you have received them before you read this. I tried to mail them early enough to get there by your birthday.
Sometimes, we just guess at postage. Please let me know if things are being received by you with postage due.
When you come, be prepared to take a lot of things back with you. Bring as few clothes as possible. Some of the things you buy, you may want to mail back if they won't all fit in your suitcase.
Angelique does pretty well riding her bicycle. She is just barely big enough to reach the pedals. She hasn't fallen off very many times. Steven likes to sit on it, too. He can climb on & off by himself. They both like to ring the bell on the bike.
Jeannie laughed at your questions about her being in an opera. I suspect you figured out from another letter that it was only a class about a specific opera ("Carmen"). She still would like to take singing lessons (actually, "voice lessons").
You commented about us being married 7 years. You better count again; it was 8. Now we are on our 9th year.
The money here is pretty when it is new. It soon looks and feels like it came from a garbage dump. I haven't sent you any like that.
Did I tell you that even the American money on base seems a little different? We see lots of $2 bills, Bicentennial quarters, and even "silver" dollars. Some of the $1 bills are over-circulated here and start to resemble the Italian money.
I hope you are keeping all my letters. I may want them to write a book some day.
Jeannie has been writing lots of letters to lots of different people. Her mom & Diane write us frequently. We never get too many letters. It helps us a lot to hear from friends & family. Tell Becky to hurry & write. We haven't heard anything about "Days of Our Lives" in a long time.
By taking art classes you will want to see some famous paintings when you get here. Can you take Art Appreciation or Western Civilization at NACC? You would learn a lot about Europe in either course & then would enjoy seeing some of the things you studied about when you come over.
Every American family seems to think of a different use for their bidet. They are good for sitz baths. We use ours to wash kids hands, give them a short-form bath, and brush their teeth at.
It seems to me that an awful lot of people spent a lot of time planning a reunion that didn't turn out to be much. I don't understand.
I hope Allied's baseball team won in Little Rock since Daddy had to do so much work for them while they were gone. Then again, maybe it would be best if they lost so he won't have to work for them during another game.
The old Montgomery Ward building sounds interesting. I didn't know it was big enough for all those shops.
We are glad you got your passports. For how long are they good?
Did you check to see how much it would cost to fly from Memphis? Also, check the price of flying through Frankfurt, Germany, then to Naples. There are a lot of flights from the States to Frankfurt because there are so many Americans around that area in the military. I know that often people from here fly through Frankfurt to go back to the States.
I thought you could get on a train in London with a Eurailpass. There is a tunnel under the English Channel. What is in Lucerne, Switzerland? I would go to Zurich. You may want to go through Vienna, Austria, if you are going to Venice. It may not be possible to go to Germany or even the Alps in March because there is usually a lot of snow then.
I think you will have fun travelling by train if you can figure out how to get from your hotel or train station to the sights you want to see. You will find that people speak English in the better hotels in the larger cities. Be prepared for culture shock.
I suggest you go to the library and read about what places you will want to see in Europe. Tell us what things you would like to see in and around Naples, so we can be best prepared. All things are not open all days or all hours. We will certainly want to show you Pompeii and Sorrento. What kinds of things do you want to see most? - Museums, archeological sites, historical places & buildings, Italian shops & markets, islands, beautiful scenery, or what?
You do realize that you will be exhausted before you get to Naples and near death by the time you get back to the States.
On our anniversary, Jeannie and I went to a very nice restaurant on a lake. The food was fantastic. Faye kept our kids. Jeannie got me (really us) the videotape to Star Trek II. We watched that after we got home.
It is really nice to watch TV in English. We haven't seen a single Italian show since I brought home the VCR one week ago. Last night Jeannie stayed up till midnight watching "The Sound of Music." I went to bed at 10:30.
Angelique is going to camp. She started this week. It is called Camp Volcano. It's at Carney Park. She goes from 10 AM to 2 PM on Tuesdays & Thursdays till school starts. She gets to play & swim and thinks she is really big.
Jeannie was at Carney Park with some of the girls from church today at lunchtime. Steven got stung on the nose by a bee. Poor kid. He seems fine now.
Yesterday, Sandy Sharp (one of the other doctor's wives), came for lunch and spent most of the afternoon here. She has two kids. She loaned us two Sesame Street video tapes which the kids are enjoying.
Sunday, 21 Aug 1983
Not much has happened since Thursday night. I've been on call this weekend so we haven't really gone anywhere. It has been a quiet weekend.
However, our one and only obstetrician (at present) had to go to Germany today with his little girl. She got 3rd degree burns on her fingers, apparently from sticking something into an electrical outlet. She's lucky it didn't kill her. The outlets here are just 2 round holes, like a colon. We put plastic covers over most of ours.
Anyway, I have to play obstetrician. I hope we don't have any problems. Our obstetrician probably hopes there will be problems to prove his point that we shouldn't be without 2 obstetricians all the time. We've had only 1 for the past month and another is not coming for a couple more weeks. You can imagine how hard it must be to have just one and he on call every night. Anyway, it's a good thing I know how to do C-sections & handle most problems with OB.
We went to a picnic at Carney Park after church. It was with everyone who works at Pinetamare clinic. Jeannie never passes up a picnic even though she didn't know anyone there.
My car's water temperature light came on just after I got into Carney Park. It seems that my electric fan for my radiator isn't working. I drove home with the heater on in the car and the radiator didn't get too hot (i.e., the light didn't come on). Practically all the Italians are on vacation right now and I probably can't get it fixed for 2 weeks. I have a leak under the sink that I can't get fixed for the same reason.
We look forward to your coming. Don't forget to send newspaper clippings.
Michael, Jeannie, Angelique, & Steven
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