Tues., 15 Nov 1983

Dear Mom & Dad,

I got your letter(s) today. We enjoy hearing from you. We also appreciate the pictures you sent.

The weather here is still quite bearable, though the temperature in the house got to 55 this afternoon. I was taking a nap (under the electric blanket) & Jeannie came in to wake me up because she was freezing. The kerosene heaters needed to be filled up before lighting & she didn't know how to do it. (And now still doesn't.) This has been the coldest day yet here. It rained nearly all night yesterday. It is in the 40's outside. We turned on our radiators for the first time tonight. The landlord finally got them fixed. We have found that if we keep the house at 58 degrees or better, we can stand the cold. Otherwise, everyone's hands get too cold. Of course, we are all wearing several layers of clothing.

Last week I learned that beginning 5 December, I will be working full time at the Pinetamare clinic. This is what they wanted to do even before I got here, but I talked them out of it. But I requested to be placed out there now. In my opinion, the advantages outweigh the disadvantages. I will be the only physician out there for awhile. It is just like a small town, private practice. I will be working with a pediatric nurse practitioner & a physician's assistant. We also have 2 nurses & several corpsmen.

I will continue to be on call at the hospital just like now. It will be nice to get out of the hospital every day & all its bureaucratic nonsense. Being the only doctor at Pinetamare may have a few administrative headaches, too.

Most (probably 80-90%) of my patients live within 5 miles of Pinetamare. Most of those I have told seem excited that I will be out there every day. The physician that is presently out there is not very popular & most people prefer to drive to the hospital to see someone else. I presently go out there on Wednesdays and work my tail off all day seeing lots of patients. But, I get to sleep 30 minutes later in the morning, come home for lunch, and get home almost an hour earlier in the afternoon. So, I don't really care how hard I have to work while I am there. Also, I don't have to fight the Naples traffic every day. AND - I will not be working in the earthquake zone at the hospital except infrequently.

We had a strong tremor about noon today. Fortunately, it lasted only a few seconds. I haven't heard yet about any damage it caused. It has been a long time since even a minor tremor had been felt. It was not felt at our house. Jeannie was on the base in front of the Exchange, walking when it occurred. She heard it, but didn't feel anything. That may be because she was holding the hands of two little constant earth shakers.

Last Friday (Veteran's Day) I was off. We got up at 5:30 and drove to Rome. We looked around the Roman forum, the Palatine Hill, & the Colosseum. Angelique rode in the stroller 3/4 of the time & Steven rode on my back 90% of the time. We didn't eat lunch until 2:30. The kids were starved and ate well. We got home at 7 PM & everyone went to bed shortly after supper. The kids did very well looking at ruins & we were very pleased & a little surprised. We prepared them a lot for what we were going to see. Even Steven knew what an arch and a column looked like. Angelique loved the Colosseum & wanted to run all over it.

Roman Forum -- 11 Nov 1983 Arch of Titus-- 11 Nov 1983

We have a Bugs Bunny cartoon on tape that takes place at the Colosseum. When Jeannie was explaining what went on at the Colosseum, Angelique asked if the gladiators also fought big rabbits. Those who understood English at the Colosseum really laughed when they heard her say that.

I was on call Saturday & Sunday. Saturday was a quiet day. We all recovered from a busy Friday. Sunday was a pretty day & not very cold.

I had 2 patients in labor all afternoon Sunday, but didn't go to the hospital until after tapes Sunday night. One of the girls ended up getting a C-section at 3 AM & the other one delivered about 5:30. I came home with just enough time Monday morning to shower & put on my uniform. I didn't even get to lie down for a minute Sunday night. I had to work all day Monday without having had even a wink of sleep the night before. I got home last night at 6:00 with plans to go to bed as soon as I finished supper. My beeper went off at 7:30 and I had to go to the hospital to deliver a baby, barely getting there in time. While I was delivering her, they admitted another patient in labor, so I slept in my office from 10 to midnight. I felt worse than when I got off the plane in Naples with jet lag. To make a bad night worse, the baby boy I delivered didn't have a developed left hand. (The parents are not from the Naples area, so are not my patients.) I got home at 2 AM and slept like a dead man till the alarm went off, and even then it was hard to get up. I slept 2 hours this afternoon.

Jeannie says she needs your cheese cake recipe. (note in margin: He means - "would like to have - please!" Someone needs to teach him some manners. Hi, Jeannie.)

Do you have the telephone numbers for Pinetamare?

We have only gotten one book so far & it came because of a postal service mistake. It took only 5 days to get here. They got it mixed in with the first class mail. Fourth class mail takes at least 4 weeks. But that is fine. The kids have really enjoyed the one they got on colors & shapes. The kids share all their books with each other.

We haven't gotten your Christmas tape yet, but did get the words to the songs on it.

You told me how my uncle is related to his new wife, but didn't tell me her name. Did you all go to the wedding? Where are they living? How old is she?

Please stop worrying about our kerosene heaters. We know very well how to use them safely. The kids are good about staying away from them. We always open a window an inch or two when we turn them on. Without them, we would freeze.

Jeannie called her parents last week on Rex's birthday. They thought Steven was Angelique when he sang happy birthday. They couldn't believe he could talk so well.

Would you see if you can find me a sticker or decal of an American flag, about 2 X 2 inches?

You all are spending a fortune on camera equipment. Is it going to be worth it? If you are going to take slides, you need to get a carousel projector. You might want to take slides in Europe & have prints made of the ones you like best to easily show other people. That is what I did when I went to Tanzania.

Your patio looks really nice. Even Angelique thought so. Angelique enjoyed seeing the cat she named. I'm not sure she was convinced that it existed before. She really did think of that name all by herself. It took her several days though.

Paint us a picture & send it. (Jeannie is doing better in her watercolors, too.) You realize that you will have to see some of the famous oil paintings in Europe's museums now.

We mailed you a box with Christmas presents about two weeks ago. You will not find that everything is listed with a price on the outside this time. We learned a better method. The list is inside the box in a sealed envelope - only to be opened by customs officials. We trust (at least hope) you will destroy it without opening it. I hope no one is expecting anything too fantastic from us. We are still learning what types of things make good gifts for the States.

I don't remember ever riding in a helicopter before.

What did you see on the news that was in Naples besides the airport? Did the newspaper mention anything about Naples? If so, what?

Yes, yes, send all your unwanted insulated underwear. Jeannie will put it to good use.

Jeannie & Angelique both enjoyed the Halloween Carnival. Steven didn't go because Jeannie was afraid he would be frightened by a lot of things there. I didn't go because it was wall to wall people. (I cannot go anywhere without seeing lots of people I know & it interferes sometimes with my enjoyment of leisure time. Most of the Americans here recognize me. It drives me nuts. I can understand how the movie stars feel in public.) Steven & I had a good time staying home.

Jeannie is doing fine now. I keep catching a cold as fast as I get over another one. I'm sure Naples air pollution is a factor in that. Perhaps, working at Pinetamare will help in that regard.

We watch Italian TV once in awhile. The TV is on daily for Sesame Street; and about 2-3 nights per week after the kids are in bed we watch a movie.

We do not know where Dr. Corey & Dr. Davis are from. Dr. Corey is not married. We haven't figured out why he lives along in such a big house. He has a lot of original video cassettes. We will probably make copies of a lot of them for ourselves since many are musicals. Dr. Davis's kids are going to college here. Their classes are in English, but I don't fully understand the system here. There are only a few things you can major in. Yes, Dr. Davis is a captain in the Navy.

Some museums here have a lot of different things in them. However, most seem to specialize in certain areas. Be sure & see the British Museum in London. They have things from all over the world, including a lot of things from the Egyptian pyramids, as well as from all the countries that were once British colonies of one sort or another.

We want you to stay with us just as long as you can. What are you going to see in Italy? Why not fly back to the States from Rome?

I am not sure what there is to do in Capri in March, but will find out.

If we can get you on to the NATO base, you will be able to buy things at the shops from several different countries. Don't worry about your $300 customs limits. If you want to spend more than that, we will mail the excess to you. The same applies to film. Kodak 35mm film is easy to find all over Europe, but will be more expensive than in the States. Also, we can develop some of the rolls here in Naples (though it costs more), then those rolls will no longer be a part of your 10 roll limit. I can buy film for you on the base which is not expensive.

There are a few other ways to get to the hospital besides going down the Tange. No, I didn't have any trouble getting to the hospital after the mud slide. Actually, the road was closed only from about 9 AM to 1 PM. Even on Sunday, they are pretty good about keeping the main roads open around here.

We had a long discussion with Angelique about a week ago about her unpleasantness, uncooperativeness, and downright meanness (sometimes). Since that time she has settled down considerably and is back to her nice self again most of the time. I think the biggest problem was school and a couple of kids in her class. She experimented for awhile in behaving like they do, but found we didn't like it and decided acting that way really had few advantages.

Jeannie is just beginning to learn how to use lemons, so most of them are still on the trees. Our lemons are sour. What do you mean how did they taste? They look & taste just like lemons you see at the grocery store. Angelique thought it was fun to squeeze them.

I don't know what the toothpick is made of. I sent it to show you how rough it looked.

Thanks for the calendar. Yes, we will enjoy its pictures of the U.S.

From here, the United States seems a little like heaven. If we patiently endure, we know we will eventually get to go there someday.

Since it is late, I had better stop & get to bed. I am not on call again till next Monday, so I ought to catch up by then.

We love you and think of you often. Keep us informed about your plans of coming and exactly when & where you will be in March. Please encourage Jeannie's parents to come, too.

Lots of love,

Michael, Jeannie,
Angelique, & Steven

Steven and Angelique - 11 Nov 1983
Angelique & Steven in the Roman Forum

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