4 June '84

Dear Diane,

I know, I know. I'm getting slower and slower at writing. Same ol' excuse, different verse.

We got your package last week with the tape, books and BD present. Thank you for whatever it is. I haven't opened it yet. Both the kids love the Hello Kitty book. See, you can be on the ball, too. My present came at least 20 days early.

Thanks for the tape. Little Jeremy was really posing for the camera. He looked awfully sweet and trouble free. HaHa. He looks a lot like Brenda to us. Their house looks nice. I wish I had half the storage space they have. We couldn't tell a whole lot about Mom's and Dad's house yet. I assume with that expensive a foundation, the house should be earthquake proof. Freda, I think, sent us an article out of a paper saying the New Madrid fault along the Mississippi River may be building up for another quake before the end of this century. That's all I need - leave earthquake alley here and move into another earthquake zone.

It was obvious from your letter that I haven't written you about Vanilla's accident. We were getting ready to leave the house for the day. I was going around closing shutters and the kids were trying to coax Vanilla out from under the rocker-recliner to take him downstairs where he stayed while we're gone. Well, apparently they both lifted the chair up from behind. The cat started to run out. The kids just couldn't hold it up any longer. The chair fell with the platform right across the cat's neck. He was dead instantly I'm sure. I didn't see any of this. Angelique came running saying the cat had his head hung. I pulled the cat out. Both the kids knew by looking at the poor thing that he wasn't going to play any more. I sent them on down to the car while I disposed of the cat. They never cried, but they were rather upset. It was 3 or 4 days before Angelique got it off her mind. She had trouble sleeping. I think she really felt guilty. She kept saying she didn't want another kitten - maybe a big mama cat sometime who could take care of itself. But after about a week she was asking for another kitten. We haven't found another one yet. I haven't looked too seriously. I have a slight allergy to cats anyway and I was sneezing those few days we had Vanilla. I'm just thankful we had not had the cat too long and the kids were not terribly attached to it yet.

We enjoyed "The Last Days of Pompei." They did a good job of reproducing the town. The Isis cult was big in Pompei, but there is no historical evidence to support Christianity being that big - if at all - in Pompei. Everyone around here is eager to see the tape.

We haven't watched the others yet. We sat down to watch "Second Sight" sometime last week or so and were in for quite a surprise. Instead of "Second Sight" with Elizabeth Montgomery, there was a movie with no title with Mariette Hartley & Ed Asner, about a couple about to go on a long awaited vacation to Europe. The woman dies of an aneurysm the night before they are to leave and the rest of the movie she comes back to "haunt" her husband until he agrees to go ahead and go travel. It was really a cute movie. We enjoyed it. We assume there was trouble over all the switches and channels to choose. But it turned out fine anyway.

Angelique narrating 'The Little White Rabbit' - 25 May 1984 I suppose you've gotten our videotape. I'm afraid there is not too much excitement going on over here to rate prime time coverage. Angelique was a narrator in a school play last week. After a 30-minute "crash course" in videotaping the night before, I convinced the headmistress of the school that I should tape the plays and make copies for any of the families who wanted one. Surprisingly, the tape turned out fine. A copy of it will be on our next tape we send. No, it's not exciting either, but it shows how good a reader Angelique is. She seems to be reading better than any of the kindergarten kids at her school.

By the way, did I tell you that we want all the tapes back that we are sending you, when we get back to the States? We are sending you our masters and we want them to keep for memories of our kids in Italy. Is that being tacky? We are considering them "on loan." OK? Does that make sense? I think we had originally said something about taping over them, but we have since changed our minds.

We're flying to London on a MAC (Military Airlift Command) flight 21 June - 3 July. The flights are practically free for us - $10.00 a person, I think, on a space available offer. So hopefully, they will have room for us. Of course, that does not include our hotel, food, etc. That's only transportation to & from. Anyway, we'll be there awhile. We'll probably hop a train & ferry over to Paris from there and spend 3 or 4 days there. I'm excited about it. I can't wait to get a Quarter Pounder with Cheese & a real fountain Coke. It's been over a year since I've had either of them. Fly over here and meet us, OK? More about London in my next letter which almost certainly will be after we get back.

Our summer schedule looks something like this:

  • June 4-15 - Angelique goes to "Summer Fun" day camp 5 days a week 9-1 PM, Jeannie & Steven clean house, run errands, make copies of school plays, transport Angelique back and forth, etc. Michael continues work.
  • June 21 - July 3 - London & Paris
  • July 9 - Aug 15(?) - Swim classes for Angelique & Steven, Mon, Wed, Fri at 11:00 AM. Mom provides transportation and is required in the pool also. Michael returns to work.
  • School starts back in September. Angelique will go to Paddington Kindergarten. Steven will go Tues & Thursdays to Paddington Preschool.

    As soon as you make even tentative plans to come over here, please let us know so we can work around your schedule. We can make some plans well in advance, but we have no guarantees that they won't fall apart. Michael wants to see a little of everything while we're here so we'll be planning trips throughout our stay, but we want to be available whenever you want to come - or meet you somewhere. Sometime next Spring we want to make a 3-week trip up through Germany like we had planned for late this summer, but fell apart 'cause Michael can't take off then.

    We're also planning a major trip to Israel & Egypt possibly next fall. By then we will have seen most of the major sites of Europe. Michael's parents want to come back next Spring I think to see us, Venice, Switzerland, & Athens. You'd better get your name on the list & calendar. (Hint, Hint.)

    One of the mother's who sent a tape for us to copy the school play for her sent a tape with 5 hours of Pinwheel for us to copy over. So we'll copy the Pinwheel for us before we copy over it for her. Nice, huh!

    Steven is doing extremely well potty training. He had only one accident last week I believe. For only 3 weeks of training I think he's doing super. I'll probably put him in regular pants when we get back from London if he keeps this up. He's dry most mornings now, too. Strangely, he has reverted back to thumb-sucking since we got back from Athens. The people we ran around with there had a 6-year-old daughter who sucked her finger and I think that's what started it again. Anyway, the last couple of days he's been going at it pretty strong. He doesn't seem stressed - even the potty training doesn't seem to bother him. But I looked this morning and the first of his 2-year molars is finally coming in. That may be the major cause of it. If I can keep Michael from climbing the walls about it, maybe it will just go away one day when all these teeth get in - just like it did last winter. Oh, well. At least we have dry pants, if not dry thumbs.

    Dummy me agreed to be co-chairman of the Program Committee for our Hospital Wives Club. That means I've gotta find something for us to do each month ... tours, fashion shows, etc. I must have been out of my mind! Actually, the Vice Pres of the club buttered me up all day on our last outing with attention & compliments and then sprung the question on me. I fell right into her trap. Maybe if I plead insanity ... Actually, it will be fun and enlightening if it doesn't drive me insane. I have 2 neighbors who have been here 3 and 4 years. They know a lot of things to do so I'll just rely on them.

    Have fun at the World's Fair. Laura ought to enjoy it a lot more than our two young ones did. It was on that trip that Michael decided to have a vasectomy. Anyway, y'all will enjoy the gulf & beach I'm sure. Our pool & beach are open, but it's still quite cool for that. It only is getting into the low 70's at midday now.

    We just got a good copy of 6 Star Trek episodes. Michael is happy.

    Guess I'd better get this ready to mail. Will Laura take swim lessons again?



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