20 Oct 83
Thur Nite

Dear Diane,

Thank you for the pictures of Laura. They are sweet. She looks older, but really hasn't changed much. How did her school play go? Was it just her class or all grades or what? Was she nervous? Excited at least.

Here it is Thursday night and we still haven't heard if the Razorbacks won or lost to Texas last Saturday. Is Arkansas even ranked this year? We heard Texas was #2.

Did the truck in the yard run into your fence or your neighbor's fence. Did the hamburgers burn that Bill was cooking since he was supervising the truck extraction?

Plumbing may be inferior all over Europe. It is here in Southern Italy for sure. So are the utilities, i.e., electricity, telephone, etc. That's one of the little stresses of living here. You have to learn to overlook these inferiorities and concentrate on the good and benefits of living here, i.e., food, culture, history, etc.

Michael & I toured Cuma last Saturday with Professor d'Ambrosio and about 10 other Americans. Cuma was the 1st Greek settlement here in Italy. Michael & I had been there before, but we learned a lot by going back with this archeology professor. It was interesting. Cuma is only about 10 miles from our house. Next Saturday we are going with him to the National Museum in Naples where all the treasures are from Pompei & Herculaneum. We should gain enough knowledge to be reasonably good tour guides.

This professor was lamenting because he had just been evacuated from his home (along with about 75,000 other people) because he happens to live in the "red zone" of an expected earthquake. And guess what. The Naval Hospital happens to be right on the edge of that red zone. But are they evacuating? No, of course not. The earth wouldn't dare attack an American Naval Base, right?

Don't worry, our house is well out of that area. We should be safe here. But I'm not excited about Michael being at the hospital or us going in to the base for groceries & shopping. Remind me to tell you some day of how it feels to be living on top of a time bomb that may or may not go off. This area had an earthquake a couple of years ago that measured 3.9 on the scale, but no one seems to know if that was the "biggie" that was supposed to happen or if it was just a premiere of future events. It did some minor damage, but no one was hurt. We didn't even feel it here at the house. Michael said it really shook the hospital. By the way, he has recovered from his pneumonia. He's back to his ol' feisty self.

Haven't you taken the NTE? I did. It was required at Harding in '76. If you have taken it, will you have to take it again? Michael & I both agree that spending more money on education will not necessarily improve education. (Yes, I know Arkansas teachers need the raise to keep them in Ark.) What will improve education more than anything else is improving the discipline in the schools. No? The knowledge is there to learn and the students' brains are there to learn it (supposedly), but the atmosphere has to be clear and open for learning without any undue stress or strife. But, yes, tell them I'm in favor of raising teachers' salaries.

We were glad to hear of Bill's promotion. Is there some logic in spreading his states out all over the country? Sounds expensive to me.

Were Bill's parents in London on vacation or was he lecturing or something? Next time tell him Italy is nice. Mother said Daddy was acting more favorably toward coming. Do you know anything about that? How about you?

Angelique absolutely loves her school. So do I. She has art class & music class plus they are learning to write their ABC's. She has also seemed to learn that not all children have to obey their parents. Once or twice lately she has tried not to heed our instructions. - Needless to say, she learned what the consequences of that was - a "smack" as the British say.

Michael says I should help you out and tell you what we like tapewise. For the kids, Sesame Street is a must - preferably all on one tape. Other tapes for them might include Electric Company, Smurfs and other cartoons - Great Space Coaster. They really enjoy the Pinwheel you sent and of course the Walt Disney things. Michael says one tape of nothing but Pinwheel would be nice. That's a lot of trouble, isn't it? The Dr. Seuss segment was a big hit. Also Charlie Brown. We all liked the "Great Muppet Caper." Can you put movies & specials on one tape and Saturday cartoons on another tape?

Movies for us may be a little harder. It's hard to know beforehand what is good and if it's going to be good to someone else, right? We very much appreciated your cutting out of the paper the previews of movies you sent with the explanations and lengths of time. We are currently passing that tape around to a few friends and then we'll probably send it back to you for re-taping. We like Science Fiction movies, musicals, historical events & people, legendary events (mythology, chivalry), comedies, (Michael said horror movies if they are done with taste. Figure that one out if you can ... i.e., "Poltergiest," etc.) By the way, we haven't seen "Annie" yet. We did see "Little Miss Marker" the other night. It was cute. Probably any Academy Award winning movies would be nice. Please don't feel like you have to send tapes on a regular basis. We realize it is an inconvenience and you have other things to do. We'll be patient. They are very much appreciated.

I just figured out why I'm sleepy. It's after 11:00 pm. Tomorrow I must take Angelique to school ready to get her school picture taken at 8:30. Come home. Get ready for Ladies Bible class at my house at 9:00. Take Steven back to Paddington at 11:00 to get his picture made. Pick Angelique up at 12:00 noon. Hopefully the afternoon & evening will be uneventful. Occasionally that happens here.

Michael brought home a kitchen set similar to Laura's for a Christmas present for Angelique today. It's unassembled in boxes so it shouldn't be too hard to hide for a few months. She'll love it. Steven is getting a pedal car so he shouldn't feel slighted.

I cleaned house for 5 hours today so I'm tired. Guess I'd better get to bed.

Will Laura understand her Halloween card? It's awfully corny, but after I got it I wondered if she knew much about the French language.



P.S. The check is to cover the tapes you bought. Let me know when we get behind on our payments.

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