7 May 1985

Dear Diane,

Your letter came while we were on our trip. I was glad to see it. I had to talk myself out of calling you before we left. We hadn't heard from you in so long we were afraid you were changing your summer plans. Glad to hear that's not true.

I'm glad your daughter is growing. Mine is still very petite - so petite she may have to stay in the toddlers' class for swim class again. That may break her heart. But, I don't think she's tall enough to stand up in the pool yet - a requirement for the older class. The pool is suppose to be only 3 feet deep at the shallowest end, but it was deeper than that last year. I know she is about 41"-42" tall now. Maybe she'll be tall enough.

Steven and Angelique - 5 May 1985

I'd like to read Laura's book, "Nicole's trip." Sounds interesting. I'm curious about what she is expecting. (The tremors have stopped for awhile.)

The Color Connection gal did not squeeze my wrist or look into my eyes - only drapes. Then she looked for color around the neck & cheek area close to the ear. I don't see much color - if any - when I squeeze my wrist. You'll have to do it for me when you come.

How did your mock-wedding go? Sounds like fun. I found out today that we - 4 or 5 people from church - may sing at an Italian's wedding in one of the cathedrals downtown. One of the gals from the Italian congregation is marrying a Catholic. So they are marrying in a Catholic church with an Italian Church of Christ preacher and American singers trying to sing in Italian. Sounds pretty confusing, huh! We'll see how that goes. Michael and maybe one other guy will sing bass. We have a good tenor. We have only one alto - who hasn't had much experience, and I'll sing soprano. Should be interesting, anyway.

Michael is all excited about the new Commodores. I'm sure we'll get one of the new ones sooner or later.

Answers to your questions:

  1. People wear anything and everything touring. Most people dress casually - some more casual than others. You will see very few shorts. (Skimpiness is reserved only for the beaches.) I like my culottes. Pants, skirts or casual dresses are typical.
  2. It will be warm/hot here in Italy. 75-90F. We will probably not have much rain while you are here. We were in London (65-80F) last year in June. It rained one day. Long & short sleeves were comfortable. But maybe you could get by with all short sleeve and sleeveless with a sweater or jacket. (I know it is very difficult to pack for multi-climate trips. On our trip to Pairs we went thru a snow storm in Switzerland - then rolled up our sleeves and got hot on the Riviera - our bodies are still confused over that.) Bill will be fine with jeans or slacks & casual shirts.
  3. Comfortable, but dress shoes are a problem. I usually go with comfort first - especially for tours. How about an in between casual/dressy sandal? I've seen many tennis shoes with skirts at Pompei where walking is not on level ground - and climbing Mt. Vesuvius!
  4. Dress on city streets is optional, too. There are so many tourists in London, Paris, Rome, etc., that no one is surprised at much they see. I wore slacks everywhere in Paris & London and didn't feel out of place - of course, since we had our kids along we didn't go into the fanciest places. I wanted to take a dress, but just didn't have the room.
  5. Do bring one pair of shorts for Carney Park and relaxing at home (?) and a bathing suit for beach & pool. (Or mail them to us in early June, 1st class, if you don't want to carry them all over Europe first.)
  6. Do SEND a copy of both the itineraries of your trips. I'd like to know where you are each day - especially in Rome I'd like to know the name of your hotel. I can't find the letter that told everywhere you were going. I think I remember 1 week of touring England. Then Paris, Switzerland (Lucerne?), Liechtenstein, Venice, Florence, & Rome. Where else are you going?

Do you want me to pick you up in Rome or are you brave enough to take the train down?

We had a wonderful time on our trip. Michael wrote a very detailed account of our trip to his mother on the computer. I'll see if he will print out that part of the letter for me so I won't have to go through that all again.

When we were in Lucerne, I got a cassette tape of Swiss music & yodeling. Now I wish I had gotten one for Mother, too. I think she would really like it. Maybe you could pick one up for her (from me, if you'd like) when you go through there. The title of the one I got was "Swiss Folklore - Jodel - Alphorn Swiss Music." But probably any similar tape would do.

We've picked up folk music from Greece, Germany and Switzerland and Italy and have enjoyed them all. I had never thought of doing that until we were in Athens and our friends stationed there had a good Greek tape.

I need to start some Spring cleaning but I am lacking some motivation, inspiration - or whatever. There just doesn't seem to be much time for such petty things as sparkling windows and spotless cabinets. I'd rather be out running around. You'll be here in about a month and a half. Maybe I should wait closer to the 1st of June. It's still raining too much to wash windows here anyway.

Oh, here's some reminders to avoid culture shock here:

  1. Our house and car are not air conditioned. Tell Laura.
  2. Dust settles back an hour after dusting.
  3. We drive a mixture of Italian and American ways. (We may not stop at all red lights, stop signs, etc.)
  4. The unexpected is expected.
  5. Our electricity is not super reliable.
  6. Our commodes are rectangular shaped with less water. (Trivial things can blow your mind.) They are flushed with a strong push on a button.
  7. Trash abounds in the Naples area.
  8. Strange smells have a lot to do with culture shock.
  9. Dogs are allowed in Italian & French restaurants - very chic in Paris.
  10. The best foods quite often come out of the "hole-in-the-wall" places. Angelique has already asked if we can take Laura to our favorite "hole-in-the-wall," Bagnoli Joe's Pizzeria. Best pizza in all Italy - this place has an "atmosphere"(?) all of it's own.
  11. Not being able to ask all the questions you want about something because of a language barrier can be frustrating.
  12. Bargain for prices in the market places - but only if you really do intend to buy an item if you can agree on a price. In other words, don't bargain just for the experience and then not take the article. That will produce great wrath. But do try to bargain for a reasonable price.

If you plan on attending a cabaret show in Paris, you will need a dress and Bill will need a coat & tie. You can wear slacks or a dress to our church service. I always wear a dress. Bill will not need a coat & tie for church. It is not air conditioned. Most of the men just wear slacks and a shirt - maybe a tie.

Maybe I'll think of more later.

0823-858-744 is Michael's phone number at work. Ann Cummings, our neighbor's number, is 081-855-1067.

- 081-867-7747 -
This is our number. I'm giving you these numbers as they should be called from Rome. Please call us when you get to Rome. I'm giving the 2 extra numbers because it is not unusual for phones to be out of order here. The phones are about as reliable as the electricity. Surely one of these 3 phones will be working.

I've gotta get to bed. I have a meeting tomorrow and it is almost midnight now.

Buy as much as you want in Europe. We'll mail it from here to you.



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