Tuesday Afternoon
27 Dec 83

Dear Diane,

Well, we survived the holidays. We kept busy with parties, presents to assemble & wrap and last minute shopping, etc. It was a relief when Christmas finally got here. We celebrated on Saturday instead of Sunday to avoid all the rush. It took all morning to open our presents. Your package got here in plenty of time since you sent yours 1st class. The 4th class mail has been held up somewhere along the line so most people here went without packages from home. We got packages from you, Brenda, Becky Newberry and a small last minute package from Michael's mom. She mailed a large 4th class package 3 November and is still not here. Neither is Mother's. It's just as well. The children had plenty, and presents later on when they do finally get here will get more attention. Someone told me all of our packages are sitting on a ship off from Beirut, because they are catering to them first and then we'll get ours. They also got Bob Hope and Company. They stopped here to rehearse, but it was a closed rehearsal so, once again, the real fighting men got first place and we came in last.

Angelique, Michael, and Steven -- 24 Dec 1983 Italian playhouse -- 24 Dec 1983

We were thrilled with the kids' outfits. Steven may not be able to wear his for more than a month, though. I suppose I should send you their current measurements and such, but I suppose they would just change before you got around to making something else. Angelique's will be fine. She wears a size 4 well now. In blouses I've been buying 5's for her lately just so they will last an extra year. Steven is wearing 3's although the last shirt I bought him was a 4. But size 3 shirts still fit him fine. I like the blue nightgown. I'll let you know this Spring how it sleeps. It's too cold in the house at nights for it now. After we figured out what the gadget was you sent Michael, we decided that was a good present. We'll put it in my car since we use it for all our travels.

It was good to talk to you briefly on the phone. Did Laura understand what Angelique was trying to tell her. We finally got around to watching the Peter Pan play and Angelique just loves it. She sits and grins all the way through it. I don't think she's ever seen a children's play before. She goes around singing, "I won't grow up, I won't grow up. I don't wanna go to school, I don't wanna go to school," etc. I know that was a lot of trouble to prepare to send over here, but Angelique would tell you it was worth it to her. Our neighbor, Joan, saw some of it one day and commented on how intelligent all the kids seemed to be. Then we had to tell her all about Anthony's, of course. Do you ever have any regrets about sending Laura there?

We'll have to decide this Spring whether to send Angelique to the public DOD (Department of Defense) kindergarten here about 5 miles from our house with 30 kids to a class or send her to Paddington's kindergarten with about 8 kids to a class. There will be advantages and disadvantages either way. I guess I need to ask around more and perhaps talk to the 1st grade teachers before I make a decision. I've heard that it is their opinion that Paddington children do better because they have had more individual attention. But, then some of that may be a socio-economical advantage since it does cost quite a bit to send a child to Paddington kindergarten. Steven will be going to Paddington twice a week next year, hopefully (if he'll potty train this summer), so that would be convenient to have them both in school at the same place. If Angelique went to the DOD school she would ride a bus. She'd like that, but I'm not ready for her to pick all kinds of trash from the older kids. Plus for one semester she would go to school in the mornings from 8:30 to 11:30 and then switch to afternoons 11:30 to 2:30 next semester - either way I would always have to be home at 11:30 every day - a very big inconvenience if you have errands to run 20 miles away at the base. At Paddington's, I'd leave her at 8:30. She'd be finished at 12:00 noon but I wouldn't have to pick her up until 5:00 since they also have a child care center. Paddington's is only a mile from our house. Any opinions?

Did everyone slide in for Christmas OK? Really, if we were going to miss a Christmas in Searcy, I guess this one was a good one to miss. It sounds like we may not have been able to make it down from Fort Smith even. We did miss everyone, though.

I had my first fender bender the other day. It was my fault, I suppose, even though the other two cars really were the cause. I was going along on the inside lane with two lady friends with me. Two other cars were in the outside lane ahead of me. The car in front in the outside lane decided to stop for some unknown reason. The car behind him didn't stop behind him, nor did he pull in front of me and keep going. Instead, he pulled into the middle of the two lanes and then stopped. I hit my brakes, but the pavement was wet. I couldn't swerve to the right into the outside lane because of traffic, nor could I swerve to the left because of a barrier in the median. So I went straight ahead. My right front bumper hit about 2 inches of his left rear bumper. His rear end was already banged up, so we couldn't tell if we had done any damage at all to his car. Mine has a small dent and some paint chipped off. He sure wasn't interested in calling the police or Shore Patrol, though. I doubt if he had any insurance so he's probably dodging all the authorities. Who knows. He may be crazy enough to claim I totaled his whole car. Life is exciting here.

Michael has great sympathy for you. We're suppose to make a few tapes for our neighbors while they are in the States and we have their VCR. When asked what kind of movies they liked they just said, "Oh, anything, we don't care." So every time we copy a movie for us, Michael says, "Do you think the Cummings will want a copy of this?" I say, "I don't know, what do you think?" He says, "I don't know, either." I watched "Monsignor" the other night. We are both looking forward to watching "Grace Kelly." (Michael's mother sent us "Camelot" for our Xmas present.) We hope "Grace Kelly" is a more uplifting move than "Mommie Dearest." (Doesn't this letter sound rather schizophrenic?)

Michael is debating whether to buy a portable VCR next or the camera next. I'm sort of leaning toward the camera myself. It seems you can't hardly buy one without the other following closely. You either have the whole set up or you're lacking a major ingredient.

Have you all decided whether to come this summer or next? If Mom & Dad decide not to come this year, it's gonna be hard for me not to beg you to come on this summer. Mother says she hasn't given up on this summer, but she doesn't sound very promising. I'll feel better when one of you get your passports. I'll be glad when they get some plans made for future housing.

If you're out shopping and see little girls' Christmas dresses on sale, could you get one for Angelique? The Exchange was suppose to get some in before Christmas this year, but they didn't make it. I'd rather not take that chance again next year. That's what the $100.00 check is for - a dress and tapes. I think I've always managed to find the velvet dresses on half price or better in January or February. Since I'm not there to pick one out, we won't be too picky. I'd prefer red, but will take whatever I can get. She'll probably need a size 5. She's always liked the Martha Miniature type dresses so anything similar will probably be OK. If you see little boys' suits on a good sale, send one of those, too, size 4 for Steven since these are for next year. Or even a nice sweater & pants for him. If you can't find a good sale or even if you can't find time, that will be OK. Just apply the money to our tape fund and please let me know when we get low again. I can tell I'm gonna miss all the after Christmas sales. I used to get such a "high" from them.

The material is scraps from my curtain material I got at the Caserta market. The white is in my dining room. As you can tell, it was not cut on the straight of grain. The material is about a third again as wide and has the ruffle on the other finished side as well. I thought you'd like to see the tag that came on the material as well. I just put an inch heading at the top and bottom and hung them with tension rods. The blue and beige is in our bedroom. It looks nice with our bedspread.

Soon we'll send a list of all the tapes we have - whenever Michael gets a list typed. Did I tell you the children would enjoy a whole tape of Pinwheel? They really enjoy what you sent earlier. Thanks for the Xmas special we requested. It turned out well. Did you watch it?

Tell Laura to give Chocolate a hug for us.



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