19 Feb. 1985

Dear Diane,

How are you? I haven't had a chance to write lately. I suspect you have a letter in the mail to me as I am writing this one. I can't remember if I have written you since I got your last letter. Anyway I can't find that last letter so that means I must have filed it away with letters I have already answered. The only thing I can remember in your last letter were the dates you were planning on coming to see us. That was the last week in June and the first week in July, I believe. That will be great! That will give us time to do a lot of things. I thought of another travel tip the other day: don't bother with ordering pizza in Northern Italy. Pizza is much better here in Naples than in anywhere else in Italy. Northern pizzas are not so bad, it's just that they are so much better here. Are you getting excited about your trip? Or is it too early to think about it yet? We're getting excited about your coming.

I had a wonderful time on the Northern Italy Shopping Trip. I loved Venice. It was very cold with ice in many places. I have heard it doesn't smell nice in the summer time. You all are going through there, aren't you? We were there during "Carnivale" season. That's simular to New Orlean's Mardi Gras. We saw people, young and old, dressed up in the most elaborate costumes. It was really fun. I bought a lace tablecloth there. I'll have to make some colored liners to go under it. I also bought some crystal jewelry and a crystal pitcher there. There are lots of things to buy in Venice, but it is all expensive. Jeannie on Juliet's balcony in Verona - 14 Feb 1985 We were in Verona on Valentine's day. We saw Juliet's house and stood on her balcony. There wasn't a stick of furniture in the house, so it was hardly worth the dollar it cost us to go in. Florence was cold and rainy, but shopping is always good in Florence. There are three different markets, plus the Ponte Vecchio where most of the jewelry shops are and a lot of leather places. We had a guided tour of a leather factory. They engraved things free for us there. I bought some tri-color gold earrings on the Ponte Vecchio ("Old Bridge"). They match a necklace Michael bought for me for our annivesary last year. I bought some pewter and some ceramic pieces in some of the small towns in between. We ate an excellent lunch in a castle high up on a hill in Marostica. It was beautiful. All in all, it was a good trip. The family survived without me for a week with no tears shed.

We don't have anything major planned for March. That suits me fine. I'm a little tired of major ordeals right now. We had been planning to travel to Holland the last week in April to see Susan Combs Krumrei, but it looks like they will be in the States at that time. I'm not sure how much we will change our plans because of that. We were going to go up through Germany to Holland and back down through Paris. Now I'm not sure what we will do. You may get to see Paris before I do.

We are all well at the present. Michael is over his pneumonia he had two weeks ago. (Did I tell you about that?) I came back from my shopping trip with a cold. I'm feeling better, but am still congested. There are a couple of bad viruses going around in the schools right now. I hope we miss them. I keep thinking this will be our year for chicken pox, but so far it is not going around yet.

I hope this makes it in time for Laura's birthday. I have my doubts about it. You can open your birthday present now or wait a month - which ever you want. I bought Laura's doll in Venice. They don't call them harlequins here. I can't remember now what they call this character, but it is major figure in Italy. I'll have to find out what his name is. After I bought it I realized that I sent Laura a clown last year for her birthday. I assure you that is not a reflection of my concept of Laura's personality. It's just that I am not sure what to buy for any girl over the age of six. I'll try to do better next year.

Angelique designed the birthday card she is sending to Laura. Michael has had a ball with this particular program. I'm sure Michael would be willing to send Bill a copy of it if Bill does not have one like it.

I'm suppose to include a check with this letter and package to pay for the diskettes and more video tapes. I hope I don't forget it.

Have you been staying warm? I've heard you all are having another cold spell with lots of snow. Y'all be careful.



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