Tuesday, 5 Feb 1985

Dear Alisa,

How is everything in "the Promised Land"? (That's the local slang for the good ol' USA.)

I'm glad you enjoyed the Christmas presents. We had fun collecting the things from everywhere we had been. I leave Monday for a five-night shopping trip to Venice, Verona, Florence, Siena, etc. I'm going with a bunch of gals from the Navy Officers' Wives club. It should be fun. All I know I want is a lace tablecloth from Venice. I'm sure I'll find other things elsewhere to make the trip worthwhile. Between Michael, Paddington School and my friend, Faye, the kids should get lots of attention while I'm gone. It is hard to leave them, though.

You asked how we felt after returning from the States. Overall we felt good about the trip. It was a nice shot-in-the-arm to see all our loved ones again. But we still have a lot more to see and do here, so it wasn't difficult to return to Naples. However, we will be ready to come home next spring! Michael is so fed up with the system here. I can't begin to tell you how frustrated he is now that they have moved a lot of the doctors out to the clinic where he was all by himself for a while. They are falling all over themselves in this tiny clinic and having to work in shifts which is frustrating to all the staff and their families. (They had to move all the clinics out of the hospital because the building was becoming structurally unsafe from all the earth tremors.) So, to make a long story short, professionally, we are ready to leave Naples. Culturally and educationally, we are not. There is a possibility that if we agree to extend our tour of duty here by three months, thus leaving here in the summer of 1986, we could get out of the Navy entirely since they have an overabundance of doctors at this time. But that would leave us without a job to go back to in the States. Michael said he could always get a job with Humana until he found somewhere else. Probably, we will end up staying in the Navy one more year and be stationed at Millington, near Memphis, so we will have that year to decide where to set up a practice.

No, I did not notice that the Americans seem materialistic. That's probably because 90% of our time is spent with fellow Americans trying to see and experience as much of Europe as we are. The Italians we come in contact with seem just as materialistic also. I've learned a lot about Catholicism since being here, but I've got a long way to go before I understand it.

Angelique and Steven talk a lot about Tim and Claire, too. Angelique has decided that she wants to live right between her Granny Lee and Tim when we get back to the States. She is sending Tim a few pages with this letter (if Mama remembers to put them in).

Say! We got the nicest surprise in the mail yesterday. The book is marvelous! We have read several pages out of it at each reading period (before naptime and bedtime) since it came. Angelique knows a lot of the stories and is enjoying hearing them in rhyme, and she and Steven are learning some new storys, too. Michael and Angelique worked the tabernacle puzzle last night. I used it this morning in Ladies Bible class to show the gals what the Hebrews used for worship before the temple was built. I'll probably let the older kids in my Sunday night class work it some night. The box came in pretty sad shape. Actually, one end was ripped open. The book and the puzzle were in fine shape, however. Was there anything else in the box? If there were, it was lost. In particular, I was looking for a LETTER. Anyway, we really appreciate the Valentine gifts. The kids were thrilled and so were we that we were remembered in such a thoughtful way.

Oh, by the way, Michael has pneumonia again. He had it a year ago last fall. We thought we were going to escape it this year, but we were fooled. He actually did not have to stay at work last night. They reluctantly let him come home to get some rest. Of course, he had to go in to work tonight. I guess they don't care if all their patients get infected. It's pretty sad when the doctor seeing patients is sicker than all his patients. Military families come in with any minor complaint since they get free medical care. He feels lousy and I can tell he is trying real hard not to be grouchy with us. He's got to be well by next week so I can go on my trip! How is he going to get well if they won't let him rest? He is on call tomorrow night, too. Plus our telephone is not working presently which means being on call will be a real hassle even without pneumonia. Hopefully, by the time you get this letter he will be well on the road to recovery.

As you can see, I am trying to master computers and printers. Do you find typed letters too impersonal? It sure is easy to write with a word processor program. Mistakes are easy to correct and additional thoughts are easy to insert. Actually, Michael does have to help me a bit to get started. Then he has to help me with the printer. But it is getting simpler to me each time I use it. You have to admit the printer's handwriting is better than mine. The kids are enjoying the computer, too. They have learned so much.

I can't think of anything else new. I'll get this in the mail as soon as Michael is well enough to help me print it out. Write (or type) soon!

Love you,


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