Sunday, 11 Sep 83

Dear Mom & Dad,

Wednesday, we had our wall unit delivered. It came in 14 pieces. It took most of the evening to put it all together. It came from Sweden. We ordered it on Memorial Day. We thought it would never come. It is very pretty. It is walnut. One section has glass doors. It has 5 lights (indirect) on it. The VCR, TV, & stereo are sitting in it, but we haven't figured out what else to put on it yet. The speakers from our stereo sit on top of it. They are also walnut. It is unbelievable how many wires there are behind the wall unit.

Thursday, we ate supper at the Cummings'.

Friday, Jeannie's traverse rod (double) came in the mail from Sears. We got the drapes & sheers earlier. It took me Friday night & half of Saturday to get them put up. I'm still not certain they will stay up. It is hard enough just to hang a picture on these walls. Putting up something that is heavy is a real challenge. However, they do add a lot of character to the living room. (It is looking more & more American.)

Much of the day yesterday Jeannie spent shopping with Ann Cummings while I baby sat. Actually, I worked on the curtains & let the kids watch TV. Jeannie about killed me when she got home & found out the kids watched TV for 6 hours. She thought they should have played. It was easier for me to keep up with them in the living room.

the 4-laner - Aug 1983 Looking southwest on the Via Circumvallazione (the "4-Laner").
Our villa is the 2nd house on the right.

Yesterday, the owner of the land around the big blue sign close to our house that reads "Parco Residenziale, Lago Patria," decided to eliminate the dump there. (Look at the picture I sent last month [above].) They cleaned it off & put up a wall around that corner. That would be fine except we are afraid people will start dumping trash around the front of our house now. I think it was cleaned up because the guy building the house next to us has not found anyone who wants it yet. People look, but then say they wouldn't live there because of the dump & all its rats. The rats never bothered us. I'm not sure where they will go now that the dump is gone.

We got to church this morning & found that they had started at 9:00 & we were 30 minutes late. No one had told us that they had changed times. The Italians have gone back to meeting at 11:00. They had been starting at 8:30 so they could go to the beach. (I don't know why the Italians stop going to the beach in September. It is still plenty hot.)

We are supposed to go to John & Faye's house tonight for tapes. Their road is all torn up. There is a back way (a cow path, I think) to their house, but we aren't for sure that we can find it.

The rest of the letter will be the most important part.

Presently, everyone (Italians & Americans) here is quite excited about earthquakes. The tremors are becoming more and more frequent and stronger & stronger. The government with their teams of scientific advisors (not all Italians) has stated they expect no major earthquake or major volcanic eruption. They say this is not even earthquakes, but bradyseism. The government states that it is possible that a new volcano might erupt in the middle of the Bay of Pozzuoli (see map that I sent a few months ago) or the Solfatara might bubble over with mud. The mud could flow as far as NSA.

Last Sunday, at 1:30 pm (while we were in Florence), there was a fairly strong "tremor" in Pozzuoli. It measured 5 on the Mercalli scale. They don't use the Richter scale here & I do not know how that compares. There were a total of about 60 tremors last Sunday. Enough structural damage was done to some of the buildings in Pozzuoli that 68 families were "officially" told to move out. The many campers that we saw last week being pulled by the Italian army had been confiscated by the government to supply these "homeless" with a place to live.

We have heard that a total of 700 families have "temporarily" moved out of Pozzuoli of their own choosing. Many have moved into vacant, summer houses around the area. They just break into an empty house & set up housekeeping. You can imagine that the owners are much displeased with this, but the law permits the homeless from a disaster to live in any vacant building. This happened last week in several houses in Parco Residenziale, close to us. Even though most of these people have homes in Pozzuoli that have not been damaged, they can still legally live in someone's empty house.

This has also caused problems for Americans moving in. Landlords who live in Pozzuoli want provisions in the rental contracts that say they can move into their rent house if their residence in Pozzuoli is damaged during an earthquake.

There have recently been many demonstrations and traffic jams by Italians angry with the government for not doing something about the situation.

There have been earthquakes and volcanic activity around Naples for 1000's of years. We have felt a few tremors since we got here, but have noticed none at our house, though occasionally someone at Pinetamare will say they felt one at their place.

There was a big earthquake here in 1980. It was certainly felt at Lago Patria, however nothing was damaged here. The hospital received very little damage & it was close to the center of the quake. I tell you that because if there is a big earthquake here, we will probably be fine.

The 1980 earthquake did a great deal of damage to certain areas in and around Naples. The initial news stories in the States said that the entire city of Naples was flattened, which of course terrified the families (in America) of the American people living here. So, if there is a major earthquake here, please don't believe everything you hear on the news about it.

Though the Italian government says there is nothing to be alarmed about, most of us who live and work around Naples know that there could be an earthquake. Though we don't believe that we would be hurt during a quake, it would affect us. I would be very busy at the hospital. We would probably be without electricity at home and possibly without water. The major problem would be communication. We would have no way of informing you that we were ok. Therefore, you must assume that we are ok if you hear there has been a big earthquake.

If there are any stories in the paper about earthquakes around Naples, please send them to us.

This is a pretty exciting place. We are glad that we live so far from Naples.

We have had a better attitude since we came back from Florence. It's nice to know that we can drive to a civilized place in just a few hours.

Angelique started to school Wednesday & is having a good time. She goes to a school called Paddington, about a mile from here, on Mon., Wed., Fri., from 8:30 to noon. She is going to school only 30 minutes more per week than she did in Fort Smith. She is reading on about a 3rd grade level, so I'm not sure they will teach her anything at Paddington's.

Going to Florence for 3 days, then coming back to this house made it seem more like "home." There are still many things about the house that seem strange & foreign to us still. We look forward to living in a real house in the States in 3 years. I'm sure that this is very much home to the kids now. They will think houses in the States are strange (smaller rooms, lower ceilings, & no bidet).

We look forward to your coming. Take care.


Michael, Jeannie,
Angelique & Steven

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