Wednesday Afternoon
25 Jan 1984

Dear Diane,

Are you still there? I don't believe I've gotten a letter from you in awhile. I'll probably get one in the mail the day after I mail this. That happens to me quite often. Is school keeping you busy?

Jeannie's Italian language book -- Jan 1984 Things are so helter skelter here lately. I've started a "Gateway to Italian" course five days a week from 11:30-1:30. It will last about 4 weeks. So far Angelique and Steven are adapting to it well. I leave them here or there or whatever. It really messes my day up. I haven't got time to do much in the morning or afternoon. But, I am enjoying the class and getting more comfortable with the Italian language. I hope to follow up with the Gateway II course twice a week in the evenings.

Last Tuesday we took the kids to the Nando Orfei circus that's in Naples for a while. We all enjoyed it. It was much better than what we saw at Circus World in Florida. It lasted for 2 1/2 hours. Steven got a little restless toward the end. We saw tiger, dove and elephant acts, jugglers, acrobats, trapeze artists, tight rope walkers, clowns, trick riders, etc. Of course, it was all in Italian and we couldn't understand much. Angelique got to shake hands with a chimpanzee dressed up like a little boy. She thought that was neat. Steven enjoyed entertaining the audience as much as he enjoyed the circus.

Saturday we got up early and went to Rome to see the Vatican. We toured the Vatican Museum, saw the Sistine Chapel, ate lunch then rode on one of their shuttle buses through the grounds to St. Peter's square and Basilica. Man, I wish I had just a small fraction of the wealth tied up in that place. There are gold and costly art objects everywhere, Rafael, Michelangelo and Bernini works everywhere. It was a very interesting day. The kids enjoyed it somewhat. Angelique enjoys all these objects if you take the time to explain them to her. Steven always enjoys the people. But mostly he enjoyed his 1st bus ride.

Michael & I didn't enjoy getting lost on the streets of Rome. We could find no signs to the Vatican. That was frustrating.

Thursday Afternoon

This week, I'm the neighborhood babysitter. Ann, my nearest neighbor, has gone to Turkey for the week. I've been keeping her 2 boys, 9 & 10, an hour before they catch the bus in the morning and 1 1/2 hours after school before their father comes home from work. They are nice boys, so I don't mind. My kids really enjoy them. Of a different matter are the 2 kids (boys) from across the street. They are 10 & 14. Their parents have gone skiing for 10 days leaving them at their home. I'm suppose to feed them supper every night. In return they are suppose to "babysit" with my kids while I cook. (My kids always watch Sesame Street while I cook.) Plus the 14-year-old is suppose to wash the dishes for me after supper. Have you ever had a 14-year-old boy wash your dishes? Don't. It takes him forever. He does an almost fair job. But he washes in such a weird way. I can't even stay in the same room with him. I know 14-year-olds are typically weird, but this one takes the cake. Last night he tried to tell me how to raise my children-what to do and what not to do. Fortunately, their parents will be home Sunday. I find it hard to believe that parents could leave a 10 & 14-year-old alone in their house for more than a week. I suppose I'm getting away from my sheltered life and seeing how the real world lives. This family is nice, but different. The boys check in with me after school and then come over around 5 pm and stay till 7:30 or 8:00 pm. They are good kids, but just strange. My kids do enjoy them, though.

I went shopping the other Saturday with some ladies from church to the Vomero section of Naples. That is the nicest section of Naples. We got in on all the after Christmas sales. I bought a purple dress for about $8.50 and a two piece blue herringbone fully lined wool suit for about $12.50. I loved it. Then we all went to lunch at a very nice restaurant downtown. We all had a good time.

Then Friday I went to Maria Knits again. That's the knit lady from Capri that comes over and takes orders for tailor-made knit clothes. I ordered a pink sweater and four gored skirt made of linen and silk. The sweater will have some purple stripes and some hand worked knitting worked into it. I nearly fell over when she told me it would be £140,000. That's about $90. In the States that wouldn't be expensive, but here it is. This one will be expensive because of all the hand knitting required. Anyway, it should be a very fine outfit. I mentioned to her about getting pants to coordinate later, but she thought this sweater would be too dressy for pants. I didn't think it looked that dressy. (I picked it out from a Christian Dior picture or Oscar de la Renta or something.) I guess I'll see next month when I go back to pick it up.

My kids have gone "Peter Pan crazy" thanks to your daughter. They have sword fights with the long balloons, pretend to fly, etc. Angelique sings, "I won't grow up, I won't grow up ..." Angelique is wanting to be in a play now.

What's Laura up to these days? We enjoyed watching her sledding in the snow. Did you get more snow last week? We heard it had gotten cold again.

Gotta run. Michael needs to take this letter to mail it.



P.S. I just heard that everyone's 1st class mail is not coming well, so maybe that's why I haven't heard from you. I guess you're off the hook.

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