4 Feb 1986

Dear Diane,

It has been a while since I have written, hasn't it. We're all fine. No major illnesses or anything.

This cold, rainy season is the hardest for me here. It is hard to get out from under the electric blanket and it beckons be several times a day. It is too cold and rains too much to plan any trips to the markets or much else. Right now it is sunny, probably in the low 50'sF outside and I have my windows wide open. Crazy, huh? All my walls will turn black with mold if I don't air them. This is the craziest way to live! Right now it would be easy to move back to the States without any regrets. I don't know how I will feel in July.

Mom said in a letter I got yesterday that you were looking good. Are you still having respiratory problems? All I can say is - You asked for it! Keep your chin up! (Maybe your nose won't drip so much then - ha ha.)

My neighbor went to fertility experts, too. She is 30. She decided they could do without a baby over here since she wants to travel a lot. Well, she is now 2 1/2 months pregnant. (Mount Vesuvius strikes again!)

"Melissa Ann" sounds great to me. It is not very Italian, tho. Have you considered "Vesuviana" or "Maria Angela" or "Antoinetta," etc. (Only kidding.) Did I tell Laura that "Laura" is a common Italian name?

Speaking of Laura - I haven't gotten her a birthday present yet. Actually it has slipped up on me. I haven't seen anything that has really jumped out at me for her or I suppose I would have found her something. I guess there is still time, if I find something soon, to get it there on time. Can you think of anything she really wanted while she was here? I suppose I could always pick her up some more jewelry.

Did Laura get the bracelet we sent to Searcy for Christmas? I don't believe anyone mentioned it. It was in a small box. I hope it didn't get thrown away with the packing. It was the pretty blue bracelet she wanted in Capri.

Thanks for the video tapes. We recognized Laura in the Nutcracker scene where the kids come out of the woman's skirt. Wasn't she in another scene? Which one? We couldn't pick her out anywhere else.

We were surprised, but pleased, that Rex & Barbara came to Searcy for Christmas. I wonder why. What is he selling now?

As you can see from the enclosed notice, our phone number finally changed. They had sent a notice in the mail in November saying it would change sometime in December and they would send another notice telling us when. It didn't change in December. It changed Friday night without any warning. Everyone's out here changed. It has been mass confusion trying to call people with new numbers. The clinic's & school's has changed, too. 509-1747

Mother wrote and asked about sending another tea cart for them to give to a friend. I guess that means they liked theirs. I was surprised about the corners being chipped. I'll have to watch that next time. I sent mother a brochure and showed her other items and price ranges to give her friends. After all, not everybody needs a Sorrento tea cart. Ours wouldn't be so special then, right?

Angelique entered an international art contest. There were 114 entries. She didn't win. She was competing against second and third graders. I tried to tell her she wouldn't have much of a chance against the older kids, but she kept hoping anyway. She was rather disappointed. They did give her a certificate for her entry. She was pacified with that. I hope she learned from this experience and it didn't discourage her too much. I liked her painting of a butterfly. We're gonna have it framed.

I'm going with Angelique's class to the circus Thursday. I must be out of my head to volunteer to go with 30 1st graders! I guess that is part of being a room mother, tho.

I had a conference with Steven's teacher, Mrs. Mitchell, the other day. She was all concerned about Steven not wanting to do a lot of coloring & printing on their papers. It really has taken him a long time to get over losing Faye Sigle as his teacher. He always did them for Faye. I told her that Steven would be in a 4-year-old class again next year and not to kindergarten. She was quite relieved and thought he was doing great then. He is just now showing a little interest in writing and coloring. He is leaning more toward right handedness, but still uses his left some. I don't suppose he will show a lot of interest in writing and coloring until he decides for sure which hand he prefers. He may be a reader like his sister, tho. He has several books that he knows most of the words in.

Did I tell you I've been exercising 3 days a week with a neighborhood group? I wish I could tell you I have lost weight and inches, but I haven't. I do feel firmer, tho.

I'm enclosing wallet-size school photos of the kids. I love Angelique's. Steven's were disappointing. Not his pose, but they are not the size we ordered. I sent them back and asked them to correct them or send my money back. She tried to get them corrected, but couldn't. She gave me my money back and the photos! That was nice of her. I need to take him to the studio on the base and get a good picture of him taken.



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