Wed., 11 Jan 1984
Dear Mom & Dad,
I got your Jan. 4th letter today. That makes 2 letters this week.
Yesterday we got the Christmas presents from Jeannie's folks. We opened them with the video camera going. You will get to see these home movies someday - hopefully in a few weeks.
Jeannie said please send the Sunday school materials that you have. She will put them to good use. She is also now teaching a class for all the kids on Sunday nights while we listen to tapes. Before sending them, ask a few people at church if they have any similar things they want to get rid of.
Jeannie has 2 uncles and an aunt that live in St. Louis. We have been to 2 of their houses. They are Rex's brothers & sister, & are all members of the church. (I don't have any of their phone numbers.) You may want to leave your car at one of their houses instead of at the airport. It would certainly save some money! They are M. L. (& Ima Lee) JOHNS (1811 Sybil Ct., St. Louis 63125), Ray (& Esther) JOHNS (3727 Parkcrest Dr., St. Louis 63125), Ruby HOLMES (3627 Bobring Ave., St. Louis 63125). You may want to talk to Rex & Velma first to see where they think would be best to leave your car in St. Louis.
I don't get extra pay or extra time off for working a holiday. I only have to work one holiday per year in the ER. I thought 26 December was a good day to call a holiday. Also, now I shouldn't have to work any Xmas in the ER again while I'm here. (That has nothing to do with Family Practice call.)
Did you forget that we don't have a regular preacher over here? The missionary preaches for the Italians but only occasionally for us. Five of the men take turns preaching. John Sigle is the only one that really preaches; the rest of us just talk.
The kids are used to me participating in the service at church. Practically every Sunday, I lead a prayer, serve the Lord's Supper, or lead singing. This is because that is just how many of us there are.
Except for about 2 seconds on the "Camelot" tape, it is perfect; very, very good. We do so appreciate it. If it had only been seen 3 times, it is no different than a new tape. However, I would still think it would be cheaper. I'm glad you could find it. (We watched it again last night.) I'm not sure how the rental companies are able to sell tapes that are used at new prices. Nothing else works like that but coins & stamps. (But, you did good!)
We have about 60 movies now. Some of them are not very good quality. Some of them are excellent. Some tapes copy better than others. Everyone over here shares videotapes. I think John & Faye watch TV all the time the way they borrow our tapes.
Before we put the kitchen set, pedal car, & play house downstairs, the kids never had any reason to go down there. Especially that was true when we opened presents. They stayed close to the Christmas tree.
No one was hurt in any way in the accident Jeannie had.
Angelique is frequently telling us we read the wrong words in her books. Don't worry about the tape.
What did you do with the old carpet?
Monday, 16 January, Dr. Atkinson will be coming to the clinic at Pinetamare from the hospital. She was our sponsor when we got here. She will only be at the clinic for 4 months. She is pregnant. She will take a lot of the patient load off of me, I hope. There will be someone to replace her, but maybe not for 2 months after she returns to the States. Hopefully, it won't be too busy that time of year.
I come home for lunch 3 or 4 times a week. I still have to go to the hospital on Thursday afternoons and Friday mornings for a couple of hours. I still cover the emergency room and Family Practice call at the hospital when it is my turn.
We got a letter from Jeannie's mother today saying it was almost Spring weather.
Lots of new babies end up with big lumps on their heads from the trauma of birth. They are just bad bruises and go away in several days. The harder they are to push out, the bigger their lump will be.
I hope you can sleep on the plane from St. Louis to London. Don't be surprised if you can't. It really won't be a very long flight. They will probably have a movie, but I recommend you sleep instead (if possible). When you get to London you will feel like it is time to go to bed (even if you slept on the plane). DON'T sleep until after supper. It will take about a week to get over the jet lag. It will be a lot easier if you don't sleep till it is really time to. You won't sleep well the whole time you are in Europe. Try not to keep thinking about what time it is in Arkansas.
On the plane back you will want to have a book or crossword puzzle or something to do. It will be a long boring flight going home. You will need to stay in a motel in St. Louis on Friday night (30 March). You will be very tired. (Probably, more tired than you can remember.)
I think you got a good deal on plane fare.
It isn't necessary for you to stay in the best (& most expensive) hotels in Europe. After you go to sleep, you don't know the difference. By your standards you will not like any of the hotels in Italy. Trust me - they are clean enough and safe enough. The smaller places make you feel more at home.
Don't bring any jewelry that is worth anything. Don't wear a gold chain in public (even if it is not real gold). Carry a purse that you can hang on to or else a flight bag. Be cautious, but not constantly afraid of getting ripped off.
"Breakfast" in London will be a pastry or muffin with jam or butter and hot tea or coffee. That's what a continental breakfast is. The water will be safe to drink in all the big cities you are going to. Every restaurant will offer you wine. We haven't found any restaurants that don't serve Coca-Cola. (It is pronounced the same in very country. Say "coca-cola" & not "Coke.") If you like mineral water, most restaurants have it by the liter or half liter.
I HAVE to request leave now. I still am not sure when you will be here. I will attempt to take off from 22-28 March. Jeannie will take care of you other days. Please feel free to come earlier if you like. Let me know as soon as you can exactly when you will be where.
We are excited about your coming & guarantee to make Naples the best part of your trip.
Stay healthy so you can come. We love you & think of you several times every day.
Michael, Jeannie, Angelique, & Steven
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