Thursday, 20 Oct 83

Dear Mom & Dad,

I got your letter today. Actually, it got here yesterday while I was out at Pinetamare. The kids are sitting here watching Sesame Street. Steven really likes it & watches real close & repeats a lot of things & learns a lot.

A couple of nights last week we watched the Smurfs on Italian TV. They are called Puffi here. Angelique really liked it even though she couldn't understand anything. I would explain anything to her that I could understand. I pointed out several words and phrases that she should learn. I guess the kids won't learn any Italian while we are here because they don't have enough exposure to it.

One of my patient's yesterday had on a T-shirt from McDonald's in Harrison. It is red with something about 5 years in Harrison on the front & all the employees names on the back. She got it in Harrison a few months ago. Her husband is from one of the counties adjoining Boone, but I have forgotten exactly where. She wanted to know who won the Arkansas-Texas game. I told her so did I. Also, she complained that so many people wanted to read her back, but she didn't have time to stand around while they read all the names. I read all the names but didn't think I knew any of those people. I suppose most are several years younger than I am. Do I know who any of them are? I thought I should know a few of the families anyway. It was nice to see something from Harrison. She knows I'm from Harrison & I think that's why she wore the shirt.

Last Friday at school, Angelique came home quite dirty because some boy had thrown dirt on her. (She probably deserved it.) Anyway, Jeannie let Angelique play outside with Steven after lunch with plans to clean her up before nap time. The front door is usually left open while the kids play outside. Jeannie noticed that Angelique had black stuff all over her & asked her what she had been into. Angelique had to think a long time before she remembered where it came from. - She said she had looked up the chimney (above the fireplace) to be sure there was an opening so Santa Claus could get down. Needless to say, we thought that was awfully cute. She did inform us, quite happily, that there is a hole up through there.

One of Steven's tricks is that he always runs behind the couch when something comes on Sesame Street that he doesn't like, such as the ugly monster. He still watches, but he feels safe there. If you take him back closer, he has a fit. He did enjoy getting to turn the TV off in the middle of a part that he likes the least. But he found it was still there when he turned it back on after supper & ran away from it.

Last Wednesday night I went to an archeology class, but the teacher never showed up. Saturday morning, Jeannie & I went (with the same class) to Cuma. Fortunately, the archeology professor, an Italian, did show up and did an excellent job. We learned a whole lot about Cuma that we wouldn't have learned otherwise. We are ready to take you there.

Jeannie & I then went to a good restaurant before going to pick up the kids from the babysitters (who were at John & Faye's house, also babysitting their kids). Steven didn't cry at all (5 hours). We were pleasantly surprised. They also commented on how well Steven was talking now. It has been about a month since they kept the kids.

There haven't been any tremors for the past few days. I am sending several newspaper clippings so I won't have to write as much. There are so few people left in Pozzuoli that it is like a ghost town almost.

I am also sending an article on Philadelphia Cream Cheese. We all thought it was really cute. This is a weird place.

Is It Cheese?
(translated from local news)
printed in the Panorama, 14 Oct 1983

    The Philadelphia Brand cream cheese, produced by the American corporation Kraft, can no longer be imported and sold in Italy. As a matter of fact, this product cannot be called a cheese at all, according to Italian law. Italian law forbids the production of cheese without milk, and Kraft uses whey instead of milk extensively in the production of its cream cheese. Tests on the product were carried out by the Agrarian Industries Institute of the Agrarian Department at University of Milan. According to these tests, the Philadelphia Brand cream cheese contains too much lactose for a cheese which is supposed to be made out of liquid milk and so does not meet the requirement of Italian regulations on cheese manufacturing. The cheese also represents a sort of fraud, according to an article in "Il Corriere" newspaper. It is sold for cheese while it is only partially cheese, containing whey powder or powdered milk, which are definitely less expensive than milk.

You do not need to send copies of these articles to Jeannie's folks because I got an extra paper so Jeannie can send what she wants to them. I do hope you will keep them, though, because I am sure we will find them quite interesting in several years. We may look back & think we were quite daring to live here.

Monday night I worked in the hospital. (I wrote Becky.) I delivered a baby at about 3 AM & it took me almost an hour to get her to stop bleeding. I finally called the obstetrician to come in & help me, but I had the problem resolved before he got there. This is one of the worst problems I've ever had delivering a baby. I was wondering if she was going to bleed to death. I only got 2 hours of sleep that night.

It has been raining just a little every day lately. It is usually in the mid-60's in the house so we dress relatively warmly.

We have 3 kerosene heaters but won't be using them for a while yet. We were already aware of what precautions to take with them. We don't even have any kerosene yet. We don't even have any cans to put it in.

I appreciate your newspaper articles. They were interesting, but a little heavy on suicide I thought. The kids will enjoy the little books you sent. They are right on their levels. I think the ER doctors in Harrison are getting paid plenty.

Ask Congressman John Paul Hammerschmidt if he knows about all the earthquakes at the Naval Base in Naples. Most everyone here thinks the base should be relocated. A lot of families want to go back to the States. We all think it is crazy that the U.S. leaves their base in a zone which the Italian government has evacuated. I'm not sure Congress is aware of the problems here.

Angelique had a bad earache last Monday night (a week ago). She had an ear infection and has been taking medicine ever since. She had a cold for several days before & had a cough that sounded a lot like mine did a couple of weeks before I got pneumonia. Anyway, she got better & well soon after starting on an antibiotic.

The kids are really starting to get rough with our furniture lately. Any suggestions?

I didn't realize that Daddy has to sign up for 3 years at a time with the Guards.

Surely the Harrison Daily Times is not worth 25 cents.

I have to wear my uniform only while I am at the hospital. When I am in the hospital at night I wear a scrub suit. When I see patients I wear a lab coat over my uniform.

The people who moved into vacant houses after leaving Pozzuoli do have to pay some sort of rent to the owners, though it is less than they would have to pay under different circumstances. The government is paying each Italian family, that has been officially evacuated, 350,000 lire a month.

Bristle Buddies sound like something Steven would enjoy.

I am not sure about trick or treat Halloweens here among the Americans. The kids have costumes & Jeannie plans on going with them to 3 or 4 houses. Halloween is a religious holiday in Italy & in no way resembles the American holiday. The Italians do not dress up or have trick or treat.

We have no definite indications that Jeannie's folks are coming. See you in March.


Michael, Jeannie,
Angelique, & Steven

table of contents | previous letter | next letter