Friday, 17 May 1985

Dear Diane,

You now have reservations for two adults and a 10 year old child on British Airways flight 503 leaving Rome Thursday, July 11, at 1:15pm and arriving Heathrow at 2:40pm. The cost is £616,000 or about $308.00 each. Laura's was reduced, I believe, 50%. I have no papers saying you have those reservations; however, the man at the American Express office on base said he had reserved them for you and they should be paid one week before the flight. I hope that is what you wanted me to do. I also found out that one of the charter flights flies out of Naples on Thursday, July 11, at 8:00pm and arrives at Gatwick airport at 9:40pm. The cost of that flight is £240,000 or about $120.00 each. I failed to ask if Laura's would be reduced. I think Angelique's was reduced about 25%. That would be a better deal for you if that flight is not too late in the evening for you. Plus, that is a different airport. Are you flying out from London that night or the next day?

We are getting excited about your coming. You should be here in less than six weeks. I intend to include an interest survey with this letter which should help us plan your two week visit with us to your satisfaction. I don't want to hear "I don't care - Whatever you think," when we ask you what you what to do. This is your vacation and you should see whatever you are interested in - not what we enjoy the most. Please fill it out and return it promptly.

Interest Inventory

This is a list of cities, sites, shops, etc., that are frequently visited by visitors to "Bella Napoli" and the surrounding areas. This is by no means a complete list of all possible sites, but only includes those things I can think of at this time. Please indicate your interests with the appropriate number(s) as follows:

1) Very interested.
2) Somewhat interested.
3) I don't know about this one. You'll have to arouse my interest.
4) This sounds dull. Are you sure it is worth the time and energy?
5) Definitely not interested.

Abruzzi "Bedspread" Factory
Caserta Palace
Caserta Market (very large)
Euromercato (similar to K Mart)
Famolare Shoe Store
Crystal Factory
Cuma (oldest known Greek ruins in Italy)
Solfatara (active mud volcano)
US Navy Hospital
US Naval Base
Bagnoli Joe's (absolutely the best pizza)
Vomero (expensive shopping area)
AFSouth Beach
Carney Park (US facility)
National Museum (treasures from Pompei)
Mt. Vesuvius
Herculaneum (also buried by Mt. Vesuvius)
Cameo factories
Sorrento (inlaid wood shops)
Capri (one day only)
Capri (overnight)
Sorrento cruise - swim at Capri, shop in Positano, etc.
    -- offered by Medical Officers Wives Club, July 6 only *
Amalfi Coast Drive (along coast with cliffs and curves)
Vietri (many pottery shops)
Basket city
Shoe Alley (largest market in Naples)
Capodimonte Royal Palace and Museum
Naples Royal Palace
Paestum (third best preserved Greek temple in the world)

We are slowly getting back into the swing of things around here after our vacation. It always seems to take me a while. I had a little 12-14 hour bug last Thursday and Friday. I sent Steven to school Friday with Angelique, came home and went to bed. Angelique seemed to be warm several times Friday and lacked energy, but didn't complain about feeling bad. Steven had a fever off and on all day Saturday and Sunday (Mother's Day). Michael didn't feel good Sunday, Monday, or Tuesday, but went on to work. By Wednesday he was really sick with a fever, nausea and almost fainting spells. He didn't go to work Wednesday, Thursday or today, Friday. I think he is finally getting over it. I hope that is the same virus the kids and I had. I don't want to go through another one - especially as bad as Michael had it.

I went to open house at Paddington School for teacher conferences Wednesday night. Faye Sigle said Steven was doing super. In fact he is one of only three in his class of about 20 three-, four- and five-year-olds who knows all of his alphabet and numbers. (It sounds like a pretty slow class to me.) They had an oral "achievement test" the other day. We agreed that the only thing Steven needs improvement on is his fine motor skills. He is just not that interested in coloring or writing or even scribbling. But, he has two more years before he even starts kindergarten, so I'm not going to worry about it or push it. I figure he'll do it best when he gets interested in it. He is reading many words and seems to have a good understanding for counting and adding. He really enjoys school. It looks like he will have the same teacher next year. He really likes her a lot.

Angelique is still the only one in her class reading. I was surprised that some of the others in her class didn't pick it up this year. Paddington prides itself in its kindergarten academic program. Mrs. Abbey said this was one of her slower classes. Angelique would have fit in better with last year's class where 10 out of 12 of the class were reading at the end of the year. Angelique is ahead of the class in math, also, although she is not as advanced in math as in reading. I am pleased with her writing. Mrs. Abbey is working with her on dictation. She reads her sounds, words and sentences for her to write without looking at anything. Mrs. Abbey keeps harping on the fact that Angelique has trouble with the "th" sound. She keeps writing an "f" for that sound. That's the way she says a "th" sound most of the time. If she really concentrates she can say it correctly, but usually it comes out as an "f" sound. Oh, well. She has to have something to give her a challenge. Mrs. Abbey seems to think that if she can read on an upper elementary grade level, she should be able to spell on that level, too. She just can't do it. I told her she didn't learn to read from just phonics. A lot of her reading is memory. That seems to be showing up in her spelling. Good grief, the kid can't be great at everything! I think she spells wonderfully for a kindergartner. Next year and a new teacher should prove interesting.

School will be over at the end of the month. Then the kids will go to two weeks of "Summer Fun." That will be at Paddington school with different teachers. The emphasis is on handicrafts and play. Angelique will go five days a week and Steven will go three days a week. That should give me some time to do some running around and do some spring cleaning before you get here.

We are planning to go to Carney Park tomorrow for a picnic if the weather is pretty and Michael feels like it. "The River" and "Far Pavilions" are playing at the base tomorrow night. I hope Michael feels like going to those. We already have a babysitter lined up for tomorrow night. We were supposed to go to a party tomorrow evening, but Michael just doesn't feel like socializing and being on his feet for any length of time. I called the gal giving the party this afternoon and gave her our regrets, but told her not to be surprised if she hears we were at the movie. I explained that Michael might feel like going to a movie, but we felt certain he would not be up to a party. Is that tacky? She seemed to understand. I didn't want her to feel that we were purposely missing her party - especially if she heard we were at a movie!

I wish you were here now. We are having gorgeous weather. July can be pleasant or bordering on hot. I don't want you all to be miserable the whole time you are here. I thought of another culture shock warning: Ice is seldom found in southern Italy. I don't know about the rest of Europe. We haven't done that much traveling during the summer months. Anyway, Italians do not drink their drinks very cold even in the hottest of weather. You can ask for ice in the restaurants, but they very likely will not have it. You may be able to buy chilled cokes or fruit juices, but they are just as likely to come hot. That took us a while to get used to. I like my ice cold cokes or iced tea (another thing you cannot get here - only hot tea) when I get hot and thirsty. You may not get used to that. It certainly took me longer than two weeks to get used to that one. We will have iced tea, cold cokes and ice at our house - that is, IF our refrigerator is working properly. We have to baby it during the summer months. We'll have to explain that one when you get here. It is just too long of a story. We will take a thermos with us when we go to Pompei and such places as that.

Now that I have you prepared for the worst (I wonder if I have left anything out), you can come and enjoy "Bella Napoli" (Beautiful Naples) as we (usually) do. I think you will very much enjoy it. Certainly, it will be an experience you will never forget.

I need to include $30.00 with this letter for the diskettes Bill sent. I hope I remember that. I was suppose to send it in the last letter. Do we owe you money for video tapes? We haven't received any in a while. Is that why? Or are you all just too busy to watch TV yourselves?

Remember we can buy Lire for you at a good rate, so don't feel like you have to save all your Lire while you are in Venice, Florence and Rome. As long as your personal checks don't bounce, we can get you all the Lire you will need for southern Italy.



table of contents | previous letter | next letter