Monday, 28 Jan 1985
Dear Mom & Dad,
Hi! It was nice to get a letter from you both. We were just thinking the other day that no one is writing us lately. Today, we got a letter from you, Diane, and Jeannie's mother. I guess it is just too cold in Arkansas for anyone to go to the mailbox.
The weather here is very nice lately. It is getting up into the 50's and 60's lately. We are not even having to wear our long underwear much.
When are the postage rates going up? No one here seems to be sure.
I have finally written enough letters that I can get my printer to do just about everything it is supposed to. It will print in italics. It can print with emphasis and in reverse. I have finally figured out how to get it to underline. I can even change the size of the print. However, to do all that in the middle of a paragraph makes the letter print a little funny. It will also do several other neat things. I am finally feeling like I am the master of this machine instead of its slave.
This thing is fantastic for writing genealogy letters because I can keep a copy without writing it all out twice. Also, I don't even have to keep a paper copy of the letter. I can just call it up on the computer. I even keep copies of the letters I write you now. I should go into the business of selling computers. I probably know the sales pitch better than many salesmen in the States. When you come I will show you why you should get a computer.
We had tapes at our house last night. Actually, we didn't listen to a tape, but played "Bible Trivia" instead. John and Faye got it for Christmas. I suppose for one time it was okay in place of tapes. Everyone seemed to enjoy it.
Just before everyone went home, the Sharps came over. He (Vic) is a doctor. They are the family that flew with us to London. They are going back to the States later this week. He is getting out of the Navy and going into practice with another doctor in Michigan. He said his office will be paperless. That means everything will be done with computers, even the patients' charts. There will be terminals in all the exam rooms. (He doesn't even know how to type yet!) He will also have a terminal at his house that he can use to call up the patient's record from home when the patient calls. It sounds fantastic. He was very interested in how we use our computer, especially for the kids.
Vic went on a tour to Egypt last week. One night while I was working, Jeannie had his wife (Sandy) and kids over for supper. A couple days later, while the kids were playing at Carney Park, their son fell and broke out his top four front teeth. He is almost 3 years old. (What a surprise to find when you get back from a trip!) Sandy called that night and cried to Jeannie about it all. They are really excited about leaving this place. Vic said he was told he would probably make $300,000 a year.
The letter from Diane today also had a videotape of Christmas in Searcy. They are going to be here from 26 June to 11 July. I will try to take off a week and show them around.
I need to request soon to be off a week while you are here. I will take off 3 to 10 Oct, unless you tell me real soon that you aren't coming then.
The only significant problem I have with typing letters on my computer is when the electricity goes off. Yesterday, I had typed something for about 30 minutes and we tripped our multibreaker switch. Jeannie was washing clothes. So, all I could do was to start over. I try to save however much I have written about every 30 minutes or so. In the States, I would never imagine such a thing.
I can't believe it so cold in Harrison. I don't remember the temperature getting to -17 before. I am sure the band was awfully disappointed that they had worked so hard to go to Washington and then didn't get to march. But, I never liked marching when it was below 30. I can't imagine -25. I was quite impressed that President and Mrs. Reagan personally apologized to all the bands. (Mondale would never have done that.)
Since we are getting SEB (Southern European Broadcasting Network) on our T.V. now, we turned it on to watch the inauguration, live. However, the reception is never good and then they were getting an awful satellite picture. We couldn't hear or see it well enough to watch it. It didn't take me long to find it live on Italian T.V. and on the American radio station. I put the two together and it was just like watching it in the States.
The kids are still enjoying the things they got for Christmas. Saturday, on base, we bought the last Care Bear that Angelique didn't have. She still doesn't have Hugs, Tugs, and Grams Bears, though. Our warmup suits fit fine. Thank you.
The "weird" electricity here does not harm our T.V. It was made to thrive on all types of voltages. I am somewhat concerned about my computer equipment, but I have taken every possible precaution to prevent it from being damaged. We used to have a lot of trouble with the refrigerator and microwave. Now, that I have a volt meter, I change the transformers every once in awhile to get things to work right.
I know that you had nothing to do with me choosing to join the Navy. After being here I have discovered that the Air Force would have been a better choice. But, I will not rush to join the Air Force after my time is up in the Navy. Everyone should spend time in the military. I am getting tired of so many people telling me so many things that I have to do, as if I am not "big enough" to decide for myself what I need to do. I am not in medicine to make big money, but I had always thought that was one of its side effects.
All these people who think it is a big vacation over here, need to stop and think just why we are really here. Everyone here gets so discouraged that we are here to help keep America free, while we are virtually ignored by the politicians unless we have a major problem. We are having to make more sacrifices than are really necessary. America lives with 24-hour-a-day heat, television, telephones, prompt service, and advanced technology and wonder what we could possibly have to complain about.
The Anri woodcarving factory is near Bolzano, in northern Italy. Only members of the Anri club can get inside.
I am glad that the tape of Christmas around here wasn't too boring. We will keep them coming until you get tired of them.
The latest that I have heard about the snow that we had here is that it hasn't been that bad in a hundred years. One of our lemon trees looks bad. A couple other trees in the yard look dead. I hope they come out of it. It killed a lot of the flowers around the yard. There are brown trees all over the place. They didn't turn that color last year.
There is little else new here. The ad for my class on Evolution finally got into the paper. The class is alot of work. I also have to preach this Sunday. Work at the clinic goes on as usual. We are all well at the moment. There is an awful virus going around the community right now that we will probably get, though.
You all take care.
Love you lots,
Michael, Jeannie, Angelique, and Steven
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