27 Nov 1984

Dear Diane,

We got home in one piece. (I can't believe I haven't written you yet.) The kids did super on the flight back home. The extra food goodies we took with us helped a lot! We were quite tired when we got home, but no jet lag - i.e., waking up at the wrong time, not wanting to sleep at the right time, etc.

Michael went to get the car at the Rome airport for us and found it wouldn't start. The kids and I sat out under an awning in cold, wet weather for 2 1/2 hours waiting and not knowing for sure what was going on. Have you ever tried to find a mechanic in Rome on Sunday? They don't exist. Michael finally found someone who worked at the airport who knew something about cars. Anyway, they got it going. It was so nice to get home.

We really enjoyed our visit. It did us a lot of good morale-wise + all the goodies we got that we desperately needed. Would you believe I got an all-weather coat at our Exchange here when we got home! I only paid $50.00 for it. Do you remember the crinkley nylon coat we looked at that you said would be nice to wad up and throw into a suitcase or top of a bus? Well, that's what I got here. It's a pretty, medium blue with a zip out lining. I've had a lot of compliments on it already. No it's not fitted in the back, but it is pretty and will function well for my needs ... especially for that price.

I'll need it next week. I'm going on a 5-day, 4-night shopping trip with the Navy Officers Wives group to Bolzano, Italy (Anri's made here); Salzburg, Austria; Munich, Germany, to the Kris Kringle market (German Christmas products); Florence, Italy; & back home.

I'm a little leery about leaving the kids, but I guess we all need the experience. Michael, Faye Sigle & Ann Cummings will be in charge of them. That should be interesting. Michael's new shift schedule is causing the most problems with scheduling the kids here, then there, then who knows? Anyway, that's their problem. I have a schedule all worked out for them. We'll see how well they stick to it.

Anyway, I'm all excited about going to the Anri factory and the Kris Kringle market. Michael wants me to pick up a cuckoo clock while I'm there. I'd rather wait till next Spring when we're there together. I'll tell you all about the trip next letter.

Michael's new schedule is confusing to both of us. We have to look at our calendar before we can even start planning anything.

I'm gonna be gone December 3-7. Michael has to be in La Maddalena Dec 10-20. So we'll see each other for 1 weekend before he leaves. There is an American submarine base on the island of La Maddalena just off the coast of Sardenia. Anyway, they are without a doctor for a while so all of our docs are taking turns going over there for 10 days. At least he won't be over there the next 10 days during Christmas. I guess that's better than being out on a ship. We have been advised not to accompany him. It is a remote base with nothing to do and you have to hop a ferry to go anywhere. So we'll stay home. I hope we can get a Christmas tree up this weekend anyway, while we're all here.

Michael lives and breathes computers these days. Genealogy fever is nothing compared to "64 fever." He brought home a 64 monitor yesterday and explained, "I got the next to the last one!" He's got a new switch added to his keyboard called a "cold start." Does that need explanation? He also has a new switch on his disk drive that is a "write protection bypass." It pays to have computer experts for patients. Now people are coming to our house for instructions and demonstrations. Commodore should be paying us commissions. Are there any other programs you're interested in? We may have it and will gladly send you a copy.

Halloween costumes -- 31 Oct 1984 The kids are fine. Not a whole lot new. Angelique was Tenderheart Bear for Halloween (bought costume when in Searcy). Steven was Superman. He had some superman thermal underwear that I added a cape to, along with a pair of red shorts. He was so cute. Of course we got a lot of Italian Treat or Treaters. I wish someone would teach them the rules.

I'm trying to help organize a Christmas party for the children of the hospital employees. Of course, I'm in charge of the sing-a-long. I just found someone to accompany us on an accordion. That should be interesting. I hope it is an improvement over the guitar we had last year. Also, I'm arranging an overnight shopping trip to Rome, January 10-11, for our hospital officer wives group. All the after-Christmas sales should be on since the Italians don't exchange gifts till 6 January. Plus I'm in charge of the January meeting at the Allied Officers Club on 8 Jan. We're having a color consultant come from Rome - an American whose husband is a military attache to the Embassy there. Anyway, we'll be busy for a couple more months. But we're leaving June/July open for you! So y'all come!



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