9 Nov 1983
Wed Afternoon

Dear Diane,

Oh - for the conveniences of home! (Arkansas) Sigh - I'm sitting here at 5:30 PM (about 10:30 AM there in Little Rock) trying to cook a roast for supper without burning it. The kids are coming in every 5 minutes asking for supper, but it won't be ready until 6:30. I have an old Magic Chef (American) stove with a huge oven, but the thermostat does not seem to function most of the time. It just keeps heating & heating. So every 15 minutes or so I jump up, go open the oven door, turn off the heat, and let it cool down, then go back and close the door and turn it back on. Think my roast will turn out ok? I doubt it. I should have used the crock pot or microwave.

I'm expected to cook a ham for our church Thanksgiving dinner here at our house. I guess I should have someone out to try to fix my oven before then. How do hams do in the microwave?

Michael is finally getting disgusted with this oven. Maybe that's a good indication something will get done about it.

I'll try and remember to include a swatch from my living room curtains that I'm hemming up ... not that they are particularly exciting but I hate to send a letter back empty handed. Oh, I'm in too weird a mood to be writing a letter!

We're planning a one day trip to Rome Friday - Veteran's day or something. Michael has to work Saturday & Sunday, unfortunately. Otherwise we would have spent the whole weekend up there. We plan on visiting the Forum and markets if the weather permits. If it's cold or rainy, we'll go to the Vatican.

I fooled you this time, didn't I? I waited until I got a letter from you this time before writing. Actually I'm must getting slower and slower about writing. Michael manages to find time to write 2-4 letters a week. I do good to get 1 or possibly 2 out. Of course, he doesn't do laundry or cook & clean up supper and all that other after 5:00 PM stuff.

I've mailed my Xmas packages. I mailed Searcy's yesterday. Last Thursday Michael mailed one to your house. It's just a little extra for taping for us. There is a sealed envelope inside that you should throw away without opening! It is a customs form that tells what each article is and how much it cost. We are required to list such information on any package we send. It seems the U.S. is very particular about what comes into the country. I think they rarely open a package with an FPO address, but you never know.

Anyway, go ahead and open the one package that is marked open immediately. If you are not familiar with this particular item, see if Dillard's or Cohn's or some such store has this or can tell you about it. I'll try and remember to tell you about it in some future letter after I'm sure you've opened it.

I guess the Razorbacks can use all the help they can get this year. So tell Bill we don't mind being preempted. We copied several Sesame Street tapes a couple weeks ago with our neighbors' VCR while they were in London so we are in good shape to be on standby for a while. Most of our friends are very willing to share their tapes, so we're not hurting yet.

Well, Michael got his wish and now we're hoping he wished the right thing. Starting in December he will be the doctor at the Pinetamare Clinic. This is a clinic run by the hospital, but it's 20 miles from the hospital - only 5 miles from our house. He's rather nervous about being in charge out there, but excited because it will almost be like a private practice clinic. Eighty percent of the American population lives out here in this area, so he should have no trouble getting plenty of patients. As soon as he gets 250 families signed up, the Navy will put another family practice doctor out there. Two or three times a week someone will come up and tell me how much they like Michael as a doctor. He has become one of the most popular here. Of course, if you could meet his "competition," you would know why. A lot of people want to become Family Practice patients here, but only if they can have Michael as their doctor. There is a waiting list. He should be able to take more patients out at Pinetamare (translates "Pines by the Sea"). There are a lot of little problems to be worked out with him being out here such as where do we pick up our mail, can he continue to do O.B., etc. But he'll get to sleep 1/2 hour later every morning, come home for lunch most days and not get a lot of hassle from all the senior officers. Oh, well, time will tell.

Halloween costumes -- 31 Oct 1983 Both kids were clowns on Halloween. Steven even let me paint his face some. They were cute. We went to about 10 or 12 houses. Steven finally caught on to what was going on by watching his big Sis. The most excitement came from the Italian kids who have learned to trick or treat since they live close to Americans. These kids were 10-15 years old - not dressed up - and spoke just enough English to say "Give me more," "I want gum," "Can I have a little water or birra? (beer)," etc. They would come in large groups (8-10) and try and grab in my bag or be the 1st in line and then go to the back of the line to come through again. Boy, what an education. We were cracking up. I felt like I should give them a lesson on Trick or Treating. It was fun, though. Angelique & I went to the carnival Friday night before Halloween. It was wall-to-wall people, but she really enjoyed it. She wasn't even afraid of all the scarey faces. She especially enjoyed the cake walk, but didn't win. She got several little prizes at the other booths, tho.

Steven is a "cutie" these days. He's finally gotten to where he doesn't cry when I leave him. What a relief! The other day I left him at my neighbor's so I could go to my watercolor class. As I was leaving, he said, "You be good, OK?" When I came back, he said, "No, I don't want to go home. I wanna watch Donald Duck!" Later we were going to pick up Angelique from school. I had to wait awhile before I could get out on the street. When I finally got out there, he said, "Oh, Mama, I'm so proud of you!" He's really good with one liners. Sometimes he gets to talking and won't shut up - just like his sister. He's really into popcorn, Sesame Street, puppy dogs, kitty cats & tricycles.

Today is Daddy's birthday. We're going in to the base today to call him. Hopefully, we'll get through. It cost about $14 for 5 minutes, so it will be a short call. I'll mail this letter when I go in so I'd better close and go get my makeup on. I'll think of something else to say this afternoon after I mail this.



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