29 Nov 1983
Dear Mom & Dad,
How are you? Did everyone make it for Thanksgiving?
I hope your rolls turned out better than mine. Actually mine were okay, but not quite as good as yours. Besides the rolls, I fixed 2 hams - 4 pounds each, baked beans, broccoli casserole, & rocky road cake. We had 25 people and enough food to feed all of Lago Patria since everyone brought 2 or 3 dishes with them. We ate about 1:15 PM and everyone stayed until 4:30.
We quickly put Steven down for a nap and the rest of us collapsed in the living room. We got Steven up and went to the base to see "Snow White & the Seven Dwarfs" at 6:30. The kids loved it. Michael & I couldn't remember ever seeing it either, so we all enjoyed it. Of course, Steven loved the popcorn. He's turned into a popcorn monster.
Saturday we went to Caserta which is about 45 minutes from here. First we went to the Royal Palace there which was built in the mid 1700's. It was very nice and interesting. Angelique enjoyed seeing where kings & queens lived. She tried to imagine where a little princess might ride her tricycle. We stayed there about an hour and then went to the market.
The Caserta market is one of the biggest and best in this area. They sell a little bit of everything there ... shoes, clothes, sink stoppers, baskets, pots & pans, toys, dishes, etc. It reminded Michael of a flea market. We stayed about 2 1/2 hours and maybe saw half of the market. I bought two brass kerosene lamps. They are pretty, but will have to be polished. I also bought sheer printed curtain material for my bedroom and for the dining room. Now I've just got to get them made up. I don't have a good place to set up my sewing machine. We also bought Angelique some red sweater tights. I would have bought me some, but I couldn't figure out which size would fit me. They measure differently.
We drove home a different way and saw some of the countryside. It looked like decent rice country, but all we saw was water buffalo. I haven't seen very many field crops here except corn & vegetables. There are a lot of citrus groves around and I think olive groves. I can't remember seeing any cotton or soybeans or rice. I think we have seen some tobacco fields & some milo looking stuff.
Monday a man rang my doorbell and said he was putting up 2 telephone poles for us. At least I think that's what he said. My Italian is not too great, yet. Anyway, they did get 2 poles up. Today they came and ran the wire into the house and installed the jack. I think all we need now is a phone. A different company from the telephone company installs the wiring so he wasn't sure when we would get a phone. I thought he said they would probably come this afternoon, but they didn't. Anyway, when we do get a phone we will let you know. Surely, by Christmas. Maybe we'd better cross our fingers. It's pretty remarkable to request a phone and get it within 6 months, so we feel very fortunate. When we do get our phone it will cost us about 3 times as much for us to call you as it will for you to call us. My 6 minute call to you cost about $16.00, I believe. Michael called and talked to his parents & Becky at Becky's house the day after Thanksgiving and paid $36.00 for 11 minutes, I think. So, we won't be calling every month, but we will be able to call when we need to -- and it will be a lot more convenient than calling from the Base. Of course, you're welcome to call whenever you want.
Our radiators are still not working. We're trying to stay warm with 3 kerosene heaters and electric blankets. Our landlord tried all day to get the radiators going. The repairman is suppose to come back tomorrow morning. It would be nice to have a warm house by Christmas. I'm tired of cold hands and runny noses. We wear thermal underwear about half of the time. Angelique is doing well with her electric blanket. But, poor Steven has trouble staying under his covers. I may have to try putting him in a sleeping bag so he won't kick it off.
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