Friday, November 23, 2007
Dear Mom and Dad,
Received your letter today and checks also. Thank you very much. I am glad to hear the house is all fixed and painted again as I know you will leave in a more tranquil state of mind if all looks well there. Since you have already applied for your passport I guess you just have to get your shots and airplane reservations. We would like to meet you at the airport. I don’t know what airlines you are taking but you will land either at
I’m sure Sr. Doritheus is one of the people who will miss you the most – She’ll have to start riding with those cab drivers that she doesn’t like.
I will be so glad to see Jim get back. I have been so busy driving back and forth all day I haven’t had time to miss him. But I’m really beat. I’m going to bed as soon as I finish this letter. I’m so glad I don’t have to do that driving every day.
This morning the man did come to fix the oven so I stayed in town so we wouldn’t be in the way. I did some grocery shopping and then stopped by Mrs. Lawrences. We had a cup of coffee and then I drove her and her oldest dghter to the train. They were going to
I did enjoy going to the French Kdg. meeting the teacher and all the little children I’ve heard the kids talk about. Today I overheard Kenny say “Au Revoir Madame Christen” as he came out the door. It sounded so restful to hear the children and parents talking French after listening to this miserable dialect all day. As one of the Embassy ladies says – it sounds more like gargling than talking.
I stopped to get gas and the lady gasoline attendant (there are many of them) gave me my change counting it out in the Dialect and saying the words of thank you and goodbye which I have finally learned. When she was finished Patricia said in a very loud voice “What did she say to you?” Now when a two yr old notices it must be goofy sounding.
Well more tomorrow,
p.s. so glad the slides arrived.
Dear Mom and Dad,
We had a quite an interesting weekend. Sat. the snow continued so Jim did the weekly marketing – luckily they keep the roads in good condition. It’s very funny. In the fall the men sweep up the leaves with homemade looking brooms – long pole with twigs tied together. Now their snow shovels are long poles with a wooden board on the end of it. Of course they also have the big snow plows on the trucks too.
Sat night we went with Pili and her friends to the Kursual – a big night club type of place but very cheap in price. It was packed – they also have a floor show – singer – bicycle act and tumblers. We really enjoyed it. The band was so funny – Their uniforms looked like the kind the ushers at the show used to use – maroon with gold epaulets etc. they were so old they were a faded pink color. They all had white shoes on and the leader had long frizzy hair – almost looked like a wig. They were dead serious too. There were many It. and Sp. people there. When we went to pick up Pili the crowds were pouring in to the hockey game at the skating rink. One of Pili’s friends was an It. fellow from
Sun. Francisca and her husband came over to give the girls their castanets. F. is already much happier here. She looked so cute with a new fur hat and pretty high boots. Her husband is getting a raise in pay at the hotel. Spain must be pretty bad off because they say they can live so much better here and she was telling me cooking oil, tomatoes etc are cheaper here than in Spain. We find everything like the States or more expensive. Pili’s sister and her husband are also working in
Francisca said too for her to buy new clothes there would be impossible – here she said she can eat and dress and even save a little. Of course she said she didn’t like to talk against her country but she said “ Yo le digo este a Vel. Porque you se que eres espanala, sino a un extrangero you le digo que Espana esta maquico.”
Jim drove them back to
Today we got Jim on the train to
I was disappointed not getting a letter from you today. I guess you are both quite busy. Another thing you can bring me is a Catholic Calendar if they are sending any around now.
I called Mrs. Lawrence to find out about tomorrow. Apparently it is not a Holy day here as nothing was said in church Sunday. She didn’t think it was either but her high schoolers who go to Fribourg have the day off as it is a Holy day there and in fact all the shops etc are closed. It’s a funny mixed up country. It’s as if it weren’t a Holy day in
Well I must answer Jim’s mother’s letter. She said she was glad to know that you were coming to see us.
More tomorrow. Regards to all family and friends.
Dear Mom and Dad,
Forgot to get this in the mail yesterday with all the snow. Today it was still coming thick and fast. The kids took their skates to school but it was snowing too much for them to go. The rink is an outdoor one. In the morning my neighbor Mrs. Guenter called to tell me she had an extra “sledge” in the attic if the children would like to use it. I told her we could use another one and she said “I will go quickly in the attic and fetch it.” I told her no rush but she called me in about ½ hour and said she had found it and hammered in a few loose nails and had put in over the hedge in our yard. She also said she had an extra bed we could use when my mother came to visit. In the afternoon the little girls next door didn’t have school so one of them took K and MB sledding down the long long hill across the road from us. They really enjoyed it and just came home frozen. K went right to bed and slept for a couple hrs. MB was telling me about it. She said K sat in front, then her and then Barbeli. She said “We went down zoom and then ploop, ploop, ploop up the hill. Then down again zoom – then ploop, ploop, ploop etc. She said this about four times and then she said “Then Barbeli said “Home?” and we said “Yes! cause we were freezing.”
As soon as B and Jy got home they took both sleds and went out until supper time.
I can see why Switz. has the reputation for being so beautiful. In the autumn it was so lovely here I hated to see winter come – the trees were such glorious colors and contrasted against the green fields and the distant
Now the snow has come! From every window of our house you could take a picture and make a beautiful Christmas card out of it. The pine covered mts. and bluffs are covered with snow – yet the sky is so blue with lovely fluffy clouds that it almost looks artificial. When the sun shines on these trees they glisten like tinsel. Even today when the snow was falling very thick they sky was bright blue. It looks so strange not to have gray skies in the snow.
In the morning when I get up the sky is still grey and the houses that have lights on on the hillside make it look just like the beautiful snow scenes Mrs. Mall used to have under her Christmas tree every year.
But I haven’t been driving in it yet! I’ll let you know how it looks tomorrow after I go grocery shopping.
Hope to hear from you soon with your preparations under way.
Jim and Dina
Dear Mom and Dad,
Today little Mariska came for lunch. She is a very smart little 6 yr old with two front teeth missing and blonde blonde hair. As Jim says all of their kids look Dutch they should be on paint cans. She speaks perfect English in chipped sort of accent. The children were asking her how to say different words in French. Then they asked her how to say them in Dutch. She’s not too good in Dutch. And she says when she’s in
In the afternoon today the snow began falling again. By the time Jim brought the kids home at – it was really coming thick and fast. He called work and told them he wasn’t going back. So we had supper early tonight.
While we were practicing our Christmas Carols – a face appeared in the window – a little boy dressed as Santa Claus – the kids were very impressed.
About Mr. Briggen our neighbor came over for a short “visit” as he calls it. He apologized for not coming over more often but he has been very busy with the end of the year work. He is such a nice man. It’s a real effort for him to speak English but he wants so much be neighborly. He stayed about 15 min and off he went.
Tonight at the supper table the kids were acting up and Jim said “Jimmy do you want to go to your room until we finish eating?” “Barbara, do you want to go?” “Kenny, do you want to go?” With this Patricia pipes up in a very sweet voice “Daddy, do you want to go?”
Today I overheard K and MB playing. They were writing something and K said ‘Look at it MB right there on the papier.” So I guess little by little the French is sinking in.
I hope everyone there is well. I must answer
I am just about finished my stack of Sun. Post’s, Sunday Visitor and the Review. Needless to say I read every word of them and I keep them in our bedroom stacked up by the bed and as I finish each section I take them downstairs. I am awaiting the issue with Kennedy’s book in it. We should get it soon.
Well, I will say Goodnight until tomorrow. Regards to all.
Jim and Dina
Dear Mom and Dad,
Hope you are both well when this arrives. I hope you are not wearing yourselves out painting the house. Jim got a few magazines at work so I guess they finally have his change of address.
Today I got a letter from Betty D. and Jimmy got one from Stephen. Jimmy was so thrilled because it was the first letter that he has gotten. He sat right down and wrote Stevie an answer. It was so funny. I hope Betty saves and brings it over to show it to you. You know how funny he talks when he gets started – his letter was the same. He kept asking me how to spell words as he wrote. He said “Mom, how do you spell “chore”? I told him and I wondered to myself what he was using that word to say but knowing him and some of his vocabulary I didn’t question him. When I read the letter it said - I LIKED YOUR PICHORE.
Today was Sports Day and B had us all laughing with her story. She said the Blue Team won the soccer game because of her. J. said “Oh you’re on the White Team huh?” But no, she’s on the Blue Team and it seems one of her teammates kicked the ball, it bounced in the goal lines and out again hitting B on the forehead and bounced back in again. So they won. She says “It bounced back in the Goldie.” That’s her word for goal. She’s about as good at sports as her mother but you ought to see her skate. Really good.
Tonight my Dutch friend called. They moved out of the Silvahof today and her little girl is coming to lunch with us tomorrow. They had all their furniture etc. shipped from Wash. D.C. She said it’s a “fantastic mess.” She has two babies too but she does have a maid. She got her through the Spanish Catholic Mission. Mrs. Bell was telling me that Francisca took one look at her and said she was a gypsy. So being like she is - completely natural – she went up to her and asked her if she was one. The maid said she was but not to tell anyone because it’s hard to get a work permit if they know that. I don’t know if the Dutch lady knows it. She only tells me that she isn’t too bright and wears her long and black hanging down past her shoulders, until Mrs. M. told her she would have to braid it when she was in their place. I’ve called several times and got her on the phone and she speaks beautiful Spanish. When you say “Muchas gracias” She answers “No se merece.”
When I went to say Goodbye to Pili she said “Ay pero no salimas el sabado.” I almost hated to make the date as it would be the third time we’ve tried to go with her – but maybe 3’s a charm. Anyway I called our sweet little babysitter in back of us. She is about 19yrs old and goes to the Univ. She speaks very little English but the kids love her. Last Sun. when she came she brought us a bouquet of flowers.
Well I don’t know who the kids are most anxious to have arrive – Wela or Santa Claus.
Regards to all the family,
Jim and Dina
Thursday, November 22, 2007
Dear Mom and Dad,
Tues is my day in town. I decided to stop by the Silvahof and say Goodbye to Pili because the days will go so quickly and she will leave the 16th of Dec. I was talking to her and Francisca came by – I told her I had brought her some postage stamps. She sends all of them to a cousin in
From the Silvahof I went to see the
The 18th of Dec is the last day of the semester for all the children. B and Jimmy get their grades then. Kenny and MB’s class is having a Christmas party and program at a restaurant near the school. Jim is going to take off work for that and I sure don’t want to miss it. We keep asking them what they do at school and it so funny to hear them try to tell you. They said yesterday a little boy made poo poo in school and the whole class had to help the teacher clean it up. Jim asked them why the little boy didn’t have to do it – and Kenny said “Oh he had to go home.”
P is really talking a lot now. Today she was in her high chair eating tangerines. She’d say “Gimme one – you peel it.” and then I would say “Oh you want a tangerine.” Then a little later she’d say “Gimme one – look in back of you.” And I would repeat “Oh you want a tangerine.” She just couldn’t say “tangerine.” Finally she asked again “Gimme one – you say it.” She is so smart. Tonight B was playing the teacher and the others were in school. B can really imitate a British accent now since Miss Carter is English. P was playing and she would keep saying “Miss Coater, Miss Coater” Finally B answered her “What is it Patricia?” P says “Miss Coater, I’m going to wook (work) now.”
I received the carbon of Don’s letter today and was glad to get news of him. I will write to him tomorrow.
Our oven didn’t get fixed. Young Mr. Heirle came over to be here and when I got back he came over to tell me that the man had come but as he said “He came but he was a terrible chap.” Anyway the man couldn’t or wouldn’t fix it. So he’s going to call again tomorrow and see if they will send out another man.
Well, I will say good night,
Jim and Dina
Dear Mom and Dad,
Was so glad to get your very welcome letter today. When you say you got the pictures I presume your mean the bl. and white ones. Did you ever get the slides?
I’m glad to hear that
I am going to write to Tia Maria this week and I will be sure to thank her for the $25.00 too.
As for needing things from there I think I have mentioned most of the things I want you to bring in the last few letters.
I wouldn’t advise you to do any shopping in
I’m so glad you heard from Don. I’m sure as he gets more fluent in Portuguese his letters will be less often. I told him in my last letter he needn’t write to us as long as you hear from him we will have news of him.
Miss Edy’s party sounds tremendous. I’m glad they got a good crowd again for her and that Fr. Franey could come too. With Tala doing the decorations and Mary doing the cookies how could you go wrong!
I can just picture your T.V. room. I’ll bet it looks very cozy and warm.
Today Mr. B received a letter from Wash D.C. saying that Mr. Hackney was on vacation until Dec 15th. So I guess Jim’s trip to
His boss from
From your letter I assume that you are still coming alone. We’ll be so sorry that Daddy has to stay behind but then I guess we’ll look forward to his arrival and that will give us something to keep in mind. The kids ask every day when you are coming. I told Mrs. Muerick that at the same time I was so happy you are coming, I felt very sorry for you because once you are here and see us – you’ll be thinking about Daddy – and missing your sisters, friends, calling people up etc. There’s no T.V. to watch and the radio is unintelligible. The kids are darling but the same as ever and you can’t go home when they get on your nerves. She agreed and then asked about my family. Then she said “Oh, your brother is in
We’re sure counting the minutes until we see you.
Jim and Dina
Yesterday we had our Thanksgiving supper. I went downtown to do some shopping and then went by the meat market to get my turkey. It was all nice and brown with some nice thick gravy. The lady had it in a big ceramic bowl and she put it in the car for me. She’s a smart cookie – having a meat market two blocks form the Am Embassy she knew it was good business to learn English. She does very well but I get a kick out of the way she speaks. When I told her I’d be sure to bring her bowl back on Tues. she said “It doesn’t hurry up. We don’t use so much.” The kids enjoyed the turkey and talked about all the nice dinners we had had at Welo and Wela’s house in years past.
Today was our first day of snow. It started early in the morning and continued until around 8:00 P.M. The kids just loved it. They were in and out of the house at least four or five different times. Jimmy made a big snowman in the front yard. He was very proud of it because he made it all alone. They were discussing that big snow we had last Feb. when Jim came home that weekend. Jimmy said Welo had helped them make a snowman then but this was his first all alone. The others had gotten cold and came in the house. Luckily our front room has one wall all windows from top to bottom so P could watch them in the snow. He used some pears (that had fallen off a fruit tree in the yard) for the eyes – a carrot for the nose and a pine cone for the mouth. One stick for the arm was at a funny angle and J had a big laugh when he put in in the snowman – He told us he was signaling for a left turn.
Later on the snow got more heavily packed and the kids took a sled that was in the basement for sledding down the many fields and hills around here.
Tonight we went to the first practice for Christmas caroling. There was a large group of people at one of the Embassy people’s home. We had a nice practice and then they had coffee and different desserts – one of which was homemade apple pie – Just delicious! I haven’t seen any pies in the bakeries here.
Our babysitter tonight is a darling girl who lives in the house right behind us. She goes to the Univ. in Bern – about 5 miles from here. She’s been riding her bike to school but she said tomorrow she’ll take the tram because of the snow. She speaks very little English and you should see how slowly and carefully B. talks to her.
Jim and Dina
Dear Mom and Dad,
Was disappointed at not getting a letter from Don again today. I’ve been hoping to hear from you both soon but I figured Dad was busy painting and Mom was busy with Miss Edy’s party.
B and Jimmy were home these past two days for the Thanksgiving Holidays. Strangely enough they didn’t get too bored and found a lot to keep them busy around here. Next to our house there is a vacant lot – so they have had a lot of fun digging in the rocks and mud there. You know how they were always trying to do that in the yard. So now they can dig away to their heart’s content. Jimmy esp likes it and will go out right after school and stay out there digging until supper at 6:30P.M.
We got a letter from Jim’s mother and she mentions getting the snaps we sent. I hope you got yours. Barbara also got a sweet letter from Chris Dameris and a picture showing an airplane and a car and two girls standing there one saying “Chris” and the other “Barbara” It is a really cute drawing.
Today the landlord’s son came over to tell me that Tues. the man is coming to fix the oven door. He says he will come over so he can watch the man work and see that it is fixed right. Luckily Tues is the one afternoon I am not here so I’ll be glad to get the kids out of here so they can work in peace.
I hope he shows up as I would like to have that oven and broiler.
Right now the children are ready for bed in their pj’s and enjoying some home popped popcorn. We finally found some – Jim did and they are enjoying it. P is in her high chair yelling “more Mommy more.”
Right now we are waiting for Mr. and Mrs. Muerick to come over for a little visit. We had invited them when we asked Mr. and Mrs. B. since Mr. B is Dutch also and there is such a small Dutch colony.
Sat Afternoon, Nov 28
My letter writing was interrupted by the Muerick’s arrival. We had a nice time visiting with them. They loved U.S.A. and Wash. D.C. so it is very easy to get to know them. They are not too happy with Switz. but as they say after Wash D.C. what could compare. Mr. M is very nice – a quiet soft spoken man but very witty. When I told him what Eleanor Messineo’s husband said about the Swiss being aloof and hard to get to know but once they’re your friend they are your friend for life – Mr. M said “I’m sorry but I don’t have time to wait. In 3 yrs. I’m off to another post and if it’s going to take them that long, it’s too bad.” Of course they admitted their first 6 months in the States they were not too happy either. I guess it takes time to adjust.
Well, more tomorrow,
Jim and Dina
Dear Mom and Dad,
Well it didn’t seem at all like Thanksgiving Day today which is fine with me. If it could only be the same with all the holidays when one is away.
In the afternoon Arian Muereck and her three little ones came over for a short visit. Her oldest dghter is 6 yrs. and in Jimmy’s room. Her little boy is 2 ½ and her baby is 1 ½ yrs. They are moving out of the Silvahof into their house next Mon. She liked our house very much but was quite surprised to notice it had only one bathroom. She could hardly believe it when I told her we have always only had one bathroom. An yet she is not the high falutin type in her dress or manner. They are with the Dutch Embassy and were stationed in Wash D.C. for 6 yrs. She is so homesick for Wash and the States and says once you’ve lived there no where else could compare to that.
This morning we received another Sun. Post from Daddy – Included were the Review, Sunday Visitor and Fr. Rahm letters. I spent almost all afternoon trying to decipher Fr. Rahm letters. They are certainly interesting but quite an effort to plow through. Still no letter from Don.
Mrs. Bunning called tonight to tell us they could not come over tomorrow night as Mr. B. still has the grippe. He hasn’t been at work for several days so we were kind of hoping they would do just that. I’m in no mood to have the flu or whatever virus is going around come in the house. We wanted to repay their visit before Jim went to Turkey. He says now he may not go until the first of the year. I hope he doesn’t as we have to get some Christmas shopping done. Getting anything is such a production. I just dread it.
Mrs. B wished us a Happy Thanksgiving and asked what other traditional foods we ate today. Halloween and Thanksgiving are 2 Am holidays I guess.
We keep asking Kenny and MB what they are learning. Tonight Kenny asked me if I knew what a “bougie” meant? I said no and he told me it meant “candle.” Jim looked it up and by golly he was right. So I guess drop by drop he may be learning something. It is fun to hear him say the names of the children in the room. He uses the Fr. Pronunciation for Bertrand, Odile, Marie, Jo Ann, Jacques. “Kenny” apparently is not an easy name for Fr. Speaking people to get. He says the teacher calls him “Teddy” and the children call him “Denny.”
Well Jim has just come in with that big fat Sunday paper so I will dig right in it with him. It is so much fun to read it.
You should have heard P telling Jim tonight how the little girl today took all her toys away from her. She can really express herself well. “Baby take my Lola, Baby take my Lambie, Baby take my Dolly.” She was still very indignant!
Well Goodnight until tomorrow,
Jim and Dina
Dear Mom and Dad,
Well Dad, we received your envelope filled with our magazines so Jim and I are having fun reading through them tonight. I think all the magazines have Jim’s change of address by now so you shouldn’t be getting too many more.
Yesterday, my birthday, I brought Mrs. Bell out to see our house. Her forehead looks much better. She had her hair done in bangs so her scar doesn’t show so much. However she has one finger that is all banged up so she can’t drive or cook, or wash or iron etc. We had a cup of tea and I took her back when I took Kenny to Religion.
In the evening Jim and I went to see a movie about Kennedy. It was a poorly done thing but the scenes in color of the funeral procession were beautiful. Also there were some scenes of him and his family that I had never seen.
When we got home the kids were getting into there pj’s and so we all sang “Happy Birthday” and had a piece of cake. Jim bought a bottle of champagne – so after the kids went to bed, Jim and I had it with our supper. So all it all it was a very nice birthday.
I just wrote a letter to Don tonight. I sure hope you have heard from him. That mail from So. America is sure unpredictable.
Tomorrow is Thanksgiving but it is just a working day for Jim. Barb and J are off school for the next two days but Kenny and MB have to go. The lady at the meat market asked me if I wanted a turkey but I told her my oven is still not fixed (apparently it takes forever to get a repairman to show up. I sure miss that oven). So she offered to bake the Turkey for me in her oven. I told her I would have it on Sat. instead of Thurs. So she said to come by at 5:00PM Sat. and she would have it all ready for me wrapped in Reynolds Wrap and with the gravy too. She won’t charge me for it – just what the turkey costs per lb. So we will have our Thanks. on Sat.
I hope you had a nice Thanksgiving. I must get busy and answer all the Aunt’s letters. I owe one to Lola (Eggie’s wife), Tia Lola, Clorinda, Alice and Trina and Mildred. And I also want to write to Tia Maria to thank her for her wonderful gift.
Well if you are planning to come soon I know you are busy getting the shots, passport pictures, etc.
P. is getting funnier and cuter every day. She talks all the time now and plays so cute with her dolls and with MB. When you ask her a question like “Do you want milk?” she’ll say “no – I mean yes”
Well I’m anxious to get back to my magazines.
Jim and Dina
Dear Mom and Dad,
Patricia and I received our cards this morning and the $1.00. Thank you very much. Also received letters from Tia Trina and Betty D.
Well I couldn’t wait any longer so tonight after night prayers, I told the kids I had a surprise for them. I started to tell them about Tia Maria and they remembered who she was and as I went on with my story Jimmy got ahead of me. His eyes were clicking like computers and he guess at it “ Oh Boy, Wela is coming to visit us.” When I told him that he had guessed right – they next words were Barbara’s and she said “And Welo is coming with her.” I explained that you might come or might come later but that you would definitely come too. They all got very excited discussing it and Kenny got them all laughing by saying “I wonder how many years she can stay. I hope 3 days.” Of course what I knew would happened, Kenny started whining saying “I want her to come this instant.” And B said “Oh, I don’t know what I’ll do when I see Wela.” They were all so excited! MB through all this just listened with her big eyes and her perpetual smile and she finally got a chance to say something – she said “When Wela comes she’ll look real pretty. She’ll wear pretty clothes.” I think she must remember seeing you dressed up to got out somewhere and that’s what she was thinking about. They all went to bed very happy indeed.
Before I forget – I hope you still have those Swiss Air Bags that we left. You could use one and Dad another. If you have room you can throw a couple of them in your bags and Dad can bring the other 2. We thought we would have to turn them in but no one ever asked for them. They’re nice bags. It’s a shame not to use them.
Today was the Onion Festival in
We did pass a Spanish Book store on the way so I went in for a minute to look around. Ask Tia Trina , Lola, Clorinda or Tia Maria if there is any special book they have been wanting in Spanish. This place has everything- even the bible, etc.
Tell Tia Trina I will answer her letter soon.
Well, Goodnight until tomorrow.
Love Dina and Jim,
P.S. Did you get the color slides yet?
Dear Mom and Dad,
Well today is that terrible anniversary and here I saw no mention of it – there was nothing said at the Spanish service and Jim said no mention was made at the English Mass either. Pour Kennedy – already forgotten. It was a beautiful day and after lunch we went for a ride to
By the time you get this Mrs. Edy’s party will be over and you’ll be getting ready to come. I wanted to tell you to bring all your warm clothes and sweaters and of course your tan boots. If you are planning to get a new winter coat – don’t. That is the one thing that is a good buy here and also the other ladies tell me that in Jan. they have a wonderful coat sale.
If you have room please bring those four records “Learn to speak French” and the manuals. I would like to have them. There are many classes here very reasonable in price to learn other languages - but they are not from English to French. Some of the Embassy women have private tutors but that is more expensive. Also Jim claims he left some brand new socks that he bought – we never packed them. (Don’t go looking through all the clothes – but if they are handy bring them – if not he can get them here.) Also in your bookcase is a book of poems by A.A. Milne. Jimmy’s class is learning some of his poems as he is an English poet and his teacher is English. I can’t remember the title but if it is still there and you have room you can bring it. Jim is also going to write to Ron and ask him to get something for the gear shift. He says it is small, then you can pay him for it. Do you think you will have room for any of your clothes? Guess Daddy will have to come with you to help you carry your stuff and ours.
I am anxiously waiting to hear of your definite dates so we can tell the children. They will be so excited.
Jim took a color slide picture of Patricia today with her new bangs and holding her birthday dog. She had on that peach colored dress that Mildred gave her for Easter. It still fits her real cute. She sure looked sweet. I hope it comes out as pretty as she looked.
Well – that long ride made me sleepy - so Goodnight,
Jim and Dina
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
Dear Mom and Dad,
Well today is our littlest darling’s Day. Jim bought her a stuffed toy – a puppy. She loved it – and when the kids asked her what it’s name was she said “Lola” and she sticks to it. Where did that come from, I don’t know? It was a very mild day. Jim took the kids in to skating. Later he went with me to go grocery shopping then we went to pick up the kids at the skating rink. P. got a big kick out of watching them skate. Somehow she thought they were doing something funny.
We came home. By now the sun had come out and all the neighbors were working in their yards. At last it looks like winter is coming soon. The beautiful leaves have almost all fallen and the trees look very bare and drab. The city has certainly lost its lovely appearance – All the beautiful flower boxes of geraniums are gone too. Mr. Hurles son (our landlord’s son) came over to work in our yard. He cut back all the bushes and trimmed away the plants. They told us when we moved in we only had to take care of the plant life in the house. He said he would take care of the yard. The whole back yard is plants and vines and vegetables etc. Jim and the kids washed our VW as were ashamed to ride in it. I think we had the only dirty car in Switz. I haven’t seen a dirty car except ours since we came. After supper we had a little cake and two candles for our little darling. B gave her an envelope with a franc and a Sacred Heart Badge. P ran to show it to me “Look Mommy - a franc - for me.” And you should see her hang on to her money. P’s hair was getting very long and straggly in front so tonight Jim cut it in bangs. It is very fitting for her second birthday because it makes her look so much older and so cute and fat-faced. Right now Jimmy and Kenny are in the tub. B is reading from a book of Swiss Fairy Tales (that Jim got her) to Mary Beth.
Tomorrow if it is nice like today we hope to take a ride to
I have to answer Lola (Eggie’s Wife’s) letter. Did Norma Jean have her baby? I presume you are going to Tia Lola’s for Thanksgiving. Here the children will be off school but Jim will have to work as usual. Be sure to let me know how Miss Edy’s party went. Hope you don’t have repercussions. If the
Well must get those two out of the tub. It sounds like they are having too much fun.
Jim and Dina
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
Dear Mom and Dad,
Have just received your big envelope with your letter and check for $10.00 and other mail of interest and importance. Thanks! For your gift I will use P’s money to buy her a new pair of shoes for Christmas and I think I will buy myself a nice fur hat. They wear them a lot here. So far the weather has been very mild but from the looks of the coats, leotards, fur hats, gloves, etc that are in the store windows – I think a cold winter is the usual.
I’m so sorry I can’t see your appearance on Quiz a Catholic. Also that I can’t go to Miss Edy’s party. I am enclosing a little note for her. I hope you get this before Tues. I think it is a good idea to have her party around Thanksgiving. It fits the idea of the party and also people are not as rushed as at Christmas time.
I’m glad to see you are taking your time in deciding on a job. You need a change even if it is working at home. Then you will be more ready to work again. Also I know how loyal you are Dad, and once you take a job you’ll probably hesitate to quit if you think they need you. I think you should take your time deciding. Perhaps a trip to
I finally decided the reason we haven’t heard from Don. I have been re –reading some of his letters. (I decided to save his letters – they will make a good book someday). In one he mentions that he will buy some stamps and send the letters direct from Itaici. He says this is taking a chance as the letters might be stolen for the value of the stamps. You remember that letter? I think he should go back to mailing the letters from
Well I won’t write anymore today as I want to write Miss Edy a note and I must fix lunch. Today is ice-skating day and they all come home hungry. Kenny had us all laughing this morning. Jim and I had wondered if changing to three schools in 3 months had bothered him – Although we detected no problems. However this morning for a minute he had me worried – he said “I don’t want to go to school today – I don’t want to go back anymore.” the he said “I played with all the toys there – I want to go to a different Kdg.” I guess he thinks he should try out a new one every month! It didn’t take him very long to jump in his clothes and change his mind.
Well Goodbye for today,
Jim and Dina
Monday, November 19, 2007
Dear Mom and Dad,
Hope you don’t mind this awful looking paper but the kids have used up all my white paper. They are all such artists including P. that it is impossible to keep any paper in the house.
I will be anxious to hear from you as the details and actual dates of your trip here. We decided not to say anything to the kids until we heard exact dates and also if Daddy was coming too or not. Otherwise they will drive us crazy. When we know definitely we can mark it on a calendar and they can count off the days.
I sure am glad that you are coming as Jim found out today that he will have to go to Turkey for a week or so next month. So naturally I wasn’t so thrilled to hear that but looking forward to your coming softens the blow somewhat. He is hoping that he will be here when you arrive because we had planned to meet you at the airport either at
I can see right now that all our Christmas gifts are going to arrive very late! My unexpected trip to the hospital set my shopping back a couple of weeks. Now with Jim going away that will stop me cold. I did just a little bit last Wed. but you cannot imagine how long it takes to make a purchase. First of all, all the stores are jammed – unbelievably. But everyone has to shop during the day – nothing open in the evenings and all the stores are downtown – no suburban shopping except for groceries. I bought two little cloth calendars to send to Jim’s mom – and had them gift wrapped. If you could have seen how long it took 2 girls to wrap those calendars, well they’d never make a living working piece work in a factory. It’s not that they are lazy or slow – it’s that they are so meticulous, every ribbon etc had to be just so and when they write out a sales check you’d think they were trying to win an award in penmanship - and then they carefully place the carbon just so in their box. Every store is the same!
I am hoping to hear from Don this week. It seems such a long time since we have heard. No doubt several letters will arrive at once. I am going to write to him tonight after I finish this letter. So I will say Goodnight –
Love from all the children and
Jim and Dina
Sunday, November 18, 2007
Dear Mom and Dad,
We received your very exciting letter early this morning. I can’t tell you how I felt when I read it. I feel as though I have never been very thoughtful of Tia Maria and she has always been so generous with us and the children. Now for her to do this I feel as though she was giving the money to me as well as to you. Naturally your news makes us very happy. My only thought is I wish Daddy could come too. It is a hard trip to make alone and once you are here and see us I know you will be worried about Daddy all alone. Also I hate the thought of his being alone at Christmas and also we are most anxious to see him too!! Of course if it cannot be I do not mean to discourage you. If we can’t have you both – one will make us very happy. I had half-hoped all along that you both would come at Christmas but then when you wrote about putting in the new furnace – Well I know what that situation is! Once when I mentioned to Jim how homesick I was – he said think how we’ll feel at the holidays. And then when Daddy retired, Jim said very excitedly - “I bet your folks are on their way.”
I think it is quite something the way God works – That you should get the money right at the time I wrote news which I knew would worry you.
I went to the Dr. this afternoon. He said I am fine and that my blood count is good. He told me to continue my tonic and to come back in a month. I feel very good, better than I have in weeks.
Another coincidence is that last evening Barbara said “Did Welo and Wela say they would come and see us?” When I told her yes, she said “Will they come to see us at this house or after we go to
As for P. – she is most faithful to you. And always asks “Where’s Welo – Where’s Wela” – and “I want to see Wela – I want to see Welo” Her eyes tell you that she knows just what she is saying. She is getting very smart. She can climb right into her highchair and she follows me around the house saying “Mom, Mom, I want to tell you something.”
Today Mrs. Guenter stopped in to see how I was feeling. She has her niece of 2 ½ yr old visiting with her for a few weeks. Right now Teresa her daughter and the little one are here playing with the children. The little 2 ½ yr old is coming up to me and talking away. She seems to talk a lot for her age and she looks so surprised when I don’t answer her. She really thinks I’m stupid.
Today while I was at the Dr. and downtown shopping Jim took the three little ones to work. When I got back there they were all having tea and cookies. P of course had tried out everyone’s lap. The people seem to be very nice. The boss is out of town this week so when the cat’s away - .
Well, I will write more tomorrow,
Love Jim and Dina
P. S. Here is the check for Miss Edy & there will be some other things I want you to bring. I’ll let you know later. Mr. Tumbas’ phone number is PL2-6776
Saturday, November 17, 2007
Dear Mom and Dad,
Received your letter this morning with the minuelo recipe. Thanks a lot. Also received a letter from Tia Clorinda and a card for Patricia with $1.00 in it from Mildred. Please give them both my thanks and I will answer them soon. Mildred mentions that Miss Edy’s party is soon. I am sending this check for her gift and also if the Waverly Club has any affair soon you can buy me a sleeper etc.
I am feeling very good. I go back to the Dr. tomorrow for a check. Jim did take off work while I was in the hospital. The kids were very good and I was glad that they could visit because they could see that a hospital wasn’t such a scary place as they thought.
The painter’s name is James R. Tumbus, 5226 Loughbourough.
I’m glad you and Dad had your picture taken. We have a nice cabinet here in the dining room. On it we have Kennedy’s picture & Don’s – also the bank clipping and pic of Dad and 4 little wallet pictures that Betty sent of the children. We are now waiting to put yours and Jim’s folks picture up there. Jim’s mom wrote that they had their picture taken too.
Yes, the Spanish girls are very sweet. When I thanked them for coming to see me, they apologized because they didn’t bring me anything. By the time Jim went by there everything was closed. Every shop closes on Sat. at 5:00 PM and nothing is open on Sundays here. I must go see them soon and tell them good-bye. They will be leaving for Spain in a few weeks. Pili said she would give me her address in Spain so I could keep in touch with her. She will not get the time off from the hotel to go home so she has to quit. When she comes back to Switz. she is going to work at the St. Moritz – a famous lodge. They pay better in the mts. because it’s harder to get help up there because there isn’t any diversions as in the city. But she said her family will forward her mail from Spain to wherever she is. When I told them it was so typical that the Sp. would visit in the hospital – she said “Ay ya se sabe – a los en las carceles y los hospitals – siempre” So I guess if I’m jailed for jaywalking they’ll be right there again. They said in Spain they had to restrict hospital visitors because the places were just buzzing with people.
I went today to visit Eleanor Bell. She looks good except for a nasty looking scar on her forehead where the windshield got it. But she is a very philosophical kind of person and just doesn’t get upset or discouraged. I wouldn’t doubt if she doesn’t have to have plastic surgery done. It’s a shame. She’s a very pretty woman. She said the Lawrences moved out of the Silvahof yesterday. The Bells got there first and they’re still there.
I felt sort of sorry for the man who wanted to rent our house too. But Mr. Laux felt these people would be better and also he wanted to rent from Dec 1st and they rented as of Nov 5th so that saved us a house payment.
Will write again soon,
Love Jim and Dina
P.S. Will send check tomorrow. Jim left the check book at work.
Friday, November 16, 2007
Dear Mom and Dad,
Today I received a letter from Jo Ann Petry telling me about their new daughter born Oct 17th. I also received a letter from Mary Ann O’Connell.
Mary Beth and Kenny really enjoy their Kdg. and have started to say lines in French to songs they sing at school.
I am sending you these pictures which Jim had developed today. As you can see we have a very lovely home and it’s in a beautiful location. I’m hoping some of the color slides Jim took come out because the black and white doesn’t do the scenery justice. All those hills are beautiful shades of green and the trees are all in the most dramatic colors of autumn – deep reds, purples and oranges. It’s almost as beautiful as a St. Louis autumn but the weather is not as nice as at home.
Jim’s new boss from Brussels sent him a letter yesterday. Jim had done some reports for him and he thanked Jim for the work and seemed to be very pleased with them. He sent him some more work to do and will probably make another trip to Bern soon. They want to start moving the office in Dec. so they can start out the first of Jan. in Brussels. Jim says it will be quite a job as they are so meticulous in everything. He says they’ll probably count every paper clip and rubber band in the place.
Some of the children at school who have been around have already told B. and Jimmy that Brussels is not as nice as Bern. They said there are no Swiss houses or mts. and it’s much dirtier. It would have to be dirtier as I am quite sure there couldn’t be any country as cleans as this one is. Jim’s new boss told him that Brussels is much bigger, much noisier, much dirtier and much less honest than Bern. But at least the opportunities for language will be improved. Here it is very frustrating because you cannot learn another language. The German and French that the people speak is not very good (so others tell me) and they really prefer to speak their Dialect anyway. Fribourg (which is about as far as Collinsville from St. Louis) is a French speaking town – no dialect – that’s why Mrs. Rushlow moved there. If the office wasn’t moving to Brussels we would move there too so the children could go to a Catholic school in French. Mrs. R. wanted to have her son board here for a yr. in school but he didn’t want to board. She said since her children are adopted she didn’t want to force it – so instead she came here to stay for the yr. Her husband is coming next month for a visit with them. She said if they are your own natural children you do what you think best but you never know what adopted children will start thinking. So she says no matter what anyone says it’s different when children are adopted and it’s very hard to make it into a natural situation. No doubt she is right.
I must see how my stew is coming along
Jim and Dina
Thursday, November 15, 2007
Dear Mom and Dad,
Hope you are both feeling well when this arrives. We are all fine. I received a letter from Betty D. and Tia Lola. Betty told me about their visit to your house. She said they really enjoyed the food and the pie they brought home
Fri Mrs. Bunning (Jim’s boss’s wife) called me to see how I was. We talked for a while and then she told me that she is expecting a baby at the end of Feb. but that I should not say anything as they weren’t telling anyone yet. She is a woman in her early forties and Mr. B must be in his fifties. He has children by his first marriage but this is her first baby. If the poor woman only knew that everyone at work knows about it and in fact told Jim the exact day in Feb. that she is due. But that’s how life is when you’re the boss’s wife. Your life is an open book and you can’t have any secrets.
MB was very thrilled with her note from you and the $1.00. I had to read it to her several times and she walked around all afternoon carrying both the note and the $1.00 in her hand. She enjoyed her first day of school and wanted to go both Sat. and today too.
Yesterday the kids went ice skating. Kenny is starting to get better and he really tries hard. B. is very good at it and Jimmy wobbles around but at least keeps going. MB likes to go and watch them skate.
I called Mrs. Rushlow to thank her for the plant and she told me she is taking French at the U. there in Fribourg and also teaching English a couple a days a week at a girls’ school there. So she is quite busy.
Mr. Briggen just came by to say hello and he took B. and MB with him next door to play with his girls. They are really nice neighbors.
Today Kenny was talking about the story Tom Thumb. He said “I hope Wela doesn’t forget that story because when we go back to
I forgot to mention before Jim sent some slides to you the first part of the month. I think you should be getting them around the 21st of Nov. They are of the trip and at the Silvahof Hotel. He has taken some pictures here at this house but we don’t have those developed yet.
P. is getting cuter and funnier every day. She loves to close her eyes and conduct the music on the radio quite furiously. Also she likes to walk around the basement pointing to all the clothes hanging there and saying “There’s Kenny pajamas” or whoever’s they are. When she finds some of her own things hanging she really thinks that’s great!
Well I will close for now. Don’t work to hard painting. Always glad to get your letters. Keep them coming. Our best to all family and friends.
Jim and Dina
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
Tuesday, November 13, 2007
Nov 13, 1964
Dear Mom and Dad,
Received your letter today and the $1.00 you sent for MB. We haven’t received any pictures from Don yet but his letters seem to come in bunches and I think we will probably be getting several of them in a few days.
I’m glad the renters seem to like the house. Mr. Laux said they signed a 2 yr lease. No doubt the neighbors will approve of them as they will fit right in with that block.
I’m sorry you didn’t ask me for Mr. Tumbas name and number. We could send it to you as we are still paying him for our paint job. I know Mr. Jockenhaeffer will do a good job but I think Mr. Tumbas might have been cheaper. If you decide to paint the exterior and want to get his estimate I will send you his address and phone number.
Be sure to ask Jo Ann’s Dad what Jo Ann’s baby was – boy or girl? And give he and his wife and Jo Ann and Bill and family our best regards.
I didn’t get all my letters answered because all the Sun Post’s and magazines that Daddy sent have been arriving and I have been enjoying reading all of them.
I’m glad to hear that Beatriz and Chic are both doing well. I got a letter for Alice E. Last week. I will answer her soon.
Jimmy is getting to be quite a cartoon artist. I’ll have to find some of his drawings and send them to you.
Yesterday morning the mailman brought me a beautiful cyclamen plant from Mrs. Rushlow in Fribourg. People have sure been nice to us. Yesterday afternoon Mrs. Briggen came over and tried to tell me in Dialect, French and a few words she knows in English that she wanted to help me – wash clothes, or fix my supper. I tried to tell her that Jim had done the washing and that he was going to bring home some barbecued chicken for supper. It is really funny to hear us trying to communicate. I finally listened to what I was saying and it didn’t even make sense to me.
Well Mary Beth was a very excited and happy girl this morning. She has been begging to go to school since Kenny started. She is so lonesome and asks all morning when he will get home. I finally decided to let her go since it’s for little ones too, and might give her a head start on the French. Also the Montessori method is supposed to be effective only if you start out young. Kenny was almost as excited as she and he told her “Well, Mary Beth, at school your name will be Marie.” So I guess he is picking up some French. Jim just called me from work and said MB was all thrilled when they went in and quickly changed into her slippers and sat down at the table.
P has been very good all morning and hasn’t been as pesty as I thought she’d be without MB. When MB gets home and finds that $1.00 she’ll really have a complete day of thrills.
I am feeling very good – better than I had in weeks. The Dr. sent me home with a tonic which I quickly recognized as that beef-liver-iron stuff I used to take when I was a kid. Ugh!
What is the date of Miss Edy’s party?
Love from all the kids, and
Jim and Dina
Monday, November 12, 2007
Sunday, November 11, 2007
Dear Mom and Dad,
Well, Monday night Mrs. Biggen came over and insisted that Jim leave MB and P with her. So Tues morning Jim did. Went to the office and then came by to see me. While he was there Dr. Egger, the pediatrician, stopped in to see how I was doing. He was just in time to help us translate to the Sister who was asking what time I was going home Wed. Jim’s French wasn’t getting through and she kept starting off her sentences in French and ending in the Dialect. A little later in the afternoon I received a beautiful plant of cyclamen and African violets from the Bells. I felt funny about it as she was in the hospital two weeks and I didn’t even send her a card. We have been so fortunate to meet such nice people, Spanish, American and Swiss. After school Jim brought the kids over for a visit. We had to laugh because P really smelled like sausage. She was sleeping when Jim went to get her for lunch so Mrs. B. insisted she stay there. She had lunch with them. Jim says that’s the way everyone on the buses and streetcars smell. It’s really strong sausage.
Last night Mrs. Rushlow called up from Fribourg to see how I was doing. Jim talked to her and she told him that she too is going to the U. taking French and also teaching at some school so she is quite busy and enjoying herself.
Just now the phone rang and it was Mrs.Guenter. She said she went to a bazaar and saw a pair of shoes she thought would fit Patricia so she bought them for her. She didn’t know I had been in the hospital and was so sorry she didn’t know so she could help with the children. As I say we have certainly met fine people.
We received both of the Post Dispatch paper you sent Daddy and also the magazines etc. Did you notice the article about Pat Ware’s sister in the St. Louis Review. It’s wonderful. If you didn’t read it let me know and I’ll cut it out and send it back for you to read. Also the letter Don sent about his visit to R.P. last Sept. was just like reading a short story about Brazil. I wouldn’t doubt if he eventually ends up writing for the Order. He certainly has the talent for it.
Mrs. Guenter just stopped in and brought me a nice pair of lined slippers which will fit P and a pair of lined boots for MB to wear outside to play. They fit her perfectly and she insists on wearing them right now.
The other night while he was in the tub Jimmy said “Well I hope Welo writes to us and lets us know what kind of a job he gets.” I told him I was quite sure you would.
Well P is napping and MB is sitting here coloring so I think I’ll take advantage of the quiet and take a little nap.
Will write again tomorrow,
Jim and Dina
Dear Mom and Dad,
We received Dad’s long letter today telling of your departure ceremonies at the bank. They all sound very nice and touching. It must be funny to do something for 44 years and then suddenly stop. Your other job offers sound very intriguing, Jim can let you know more about the Sp. translating when we get to Brussels. As far as he knows in Brussels it will be his boss Mr. Nedzynski, Jim and two of the women who are now in the Bern office, and one other woman that Mr. N. has hired. So Jim will be able to tell you more after the first of the year.
I am feeling very good today. I have been enjoying the good food and rest. Today Mrs. Bell called me. She just got home from the hospital Sat. and had called at home and Jim gave her my number. I was so glad she called as I had been wondering about her auto accident for the last two weeks and she was at a hospital about 50 miles from Bern. Also since I have a private room I have a telephone right by my bed but of course no one to call. So I was thrilled when the phone rang. We talked about 45 mins comparing notes on hospitals and hearing all about her injury. S he is very nice simple person. Never gets excited – nothing bothers her, very natural. You feel as if you knew her all your life. Francisca was cleaning her apt. when she called so she got on the phone too and told me to be sure to let me know if I need her. She said she had a ½ day on Sat. and all day Sun off and would be glad to come out to help. How right Pili is when she says “Nosatros espanales – no tendremos donde caer cuando morimas pero covazanles los tenemos como catedrales.” A little later in the day Mrs. Lawrence called me. She had just heard the news from Mrs. Bell who lives in the apt. below her. She was quite put out with me because I didn’t call on her to help and told me to be sure and tell Jim to bring the little ones to her place so he could go to work. She said she would give the others their lunch too. She only has nine children of her own and is not too well herself with some kind of blood clot she has from a stroke she had several yrs ago. I thanked her anyway for offering and we had a nice chat. She told me Francisca had been telling her a long story today about some new tenants who moved in across from the Lawrences – an old man and a young woman. She said Francisca rattled away in Spanish and winked her eyes and giggled. Unfortunately, Mrs Lawrence does not understand one word of Spanish and Francisca not even “O.K.” in English. So she said to be sure and get that story and tell it to her the next time I talk to Francisca.
Yesterday we received another letter from Mr. Laux telling us he had rented the property as of Nov 5th to four elderly people – 3 sisters and a brother. They agreed to a 2 year lease and would also pay the water license. He said he thought they would be good renters and that he returned the deposit to the other man since these people were willing to rent from the 5th and the other man wanted to wait until Dec 1st. Jim and I got a big kick out of picturing these people fitting right in. They may start their own flag ceremonies. I just hope one of them is spry enough to sweep that sidewalk.
Dear Mom and Dad,
Well I wanted to see all parts of Bern but it looks as if I am seeing the same parts of Switzerland as I did in St. Louis. Sat morning Jim took the three oldest children to the skating rink. Around 11 O’Clock I went to the supermarket with MB and then to pick up the kids at 12:00 noon. As soon as I got the children I knew I had to get home fast (just the day before I had called Dr. Egger (the pediatrician I had taken B to) to recommend an obstetrician for me. I had called and made an appt. for later this month. When I got home I couldn’t get an answer from this doctor so I called Dr. Egger again. He called be back in five minutes and told me another obst, Doctor Andres would come to the hospital to exam me before his office hrs. if I went immediately. Jim got the girl across the street to babysit and when we got to the hospital the Dr. was already there. He took charge of admitting me and they took me right upstairs. By the time Jim got back with my robe and slippers I was already back in my room. I had a “mis” and the doctor cleaned me up. Boy, I never had such efficient service. No interns running in and out with a million questions about your grandmother’s maiden name etc. I guess the Swiss attack everything the way they do dust – get it out, clean it up, get it over with. The Sisters are all very nice – one of them speaks English very well. She was in London ten years. Jim had to take a note to my Spanish friend Pili. We had planned to go out to a dance with them that night.
I feel fine. When I woke up about 5PM I was so hungry as I hadn’t taken anything since breakfast. But the Sr. said I could just have some Zweibach and tea because I had anesthetic. But in the morning I would have breakfast as she said, “ A Swiss breakfast” that means hard rolls and coffee – “Not like your Am bacon and eggs.” That was breakfast all right. By lunch I was really hungry. Imagine my disappointment when the Sr. came in with a bowl of soup and a little plate of shredded lettuce. But by the time I finished eating it - another girl came in with a steaming dish of broiled chicken, mashed pototaes and carrots and then a little later another nurse’s aide came in with a custard filled cake and coffee. I had barely finished when Jim arrived with the kids (children are allowed to visit). They had fun seeing the inside of a hospital and they stayed about an hr. The Doctor came in to see me and said all was well and if I continued the same I could go home Wed. I questioned staying that long but he said “Oh yes, you have five children – you will stay until Wed.” Here everyone think 5 children is tremendous. It’s not like in St. Louis where there are so many large families.
I am feeling very good – in fact better than I had in weeks but I always feel sluggish in early pregnancy.
Our nice neighbors the Buggens offered to cook the meals for Jim but he told them he could manage. Incidentally you’ll be glad to know that they don’t give us glasses of ice water to drink here. Instead they keep bringing glasses of hot tea. I took one sip – and you know what it was good old camomille tea. Instead of the attendant going around filling up buckets of crushed ice she walks around with a thermos jug of this tea. During the night I asked the Sr. for water and she said no “Tea – Tea” and brought me another hot glassful. I must have drank a gallon of that tea since yesterday. I hope it’s good for what ails you! I tell you this because I know you have never approved of all that ice water they give you to drink.
As I say the Sisters are very sweet – just like the hospital Sisters everywhere – all with lovely smiles. I guess good teeth are a requirement for entrance. The nurses aides are also like hospital aides everywhere – frizzy little old ladies in their seventies – very skinny with dyed black or henna colored hair. There must be thousands of them in hospitals all over the world. I wonder why they always dye their hair?
Since I will be here til Wed just resting I told Jim to bring me my stationery and addresses and I guess I’ll get caught up on all my letters to be answered.
If you have time call up Jo Ann Petry Wo 2- 5998 and see what she had in Oct? I am curious to know. I heard from Mary Milligan Fri. She had a baby girl, Carolyn.
Well, by the time you get this I should be home already. Don’t worry – I am feeling good and I will be getting good rest here and some good meals too!
Be sure to write soon.
P.S. Well it is 8:30PM and I just took my sleeping pill so I better write this fast before I fall asleep. About 4:00PM this afternoon Pili and her friend Carmen came to see me. Her friend works at another hotel and doesn’t get off until 3PM so they came as soon as she got off work. Well you can be sure tell the Spaniards. They’re the first ones to visit you in the hospital. I had never met Carmen before but we were to have met her last night at our dance party. They stayed and visited with me and when they brought my dinner they told me to go ahead and eat. And when Jim got back here around 7:30PM with the kids they were still here. They are really nice. I had really begun to get lonesome before they got here as I had read the paper and after they came the hrs. just flew by. It was so nice of them to spend their whole Sun visiting. The nicest part about them is they are great talkers and full of funny stories and happenings. So the time is really happily spent. They are both going back to Spain next month but Carmen said she may win the Lottery and come to Brussels to see us. She said “Como dice mi abuela – meriendas de suenos, barrigas de fame."
Dear Mom and Dad,
Well we received some good news today. Mr. Laux sent a letter saying that they have renters for us as of Dec. 1st. He says they are the best applicants they have had. He works for an insurance company – They have four children 18, 16, 12 and 10 yrs old. They now live at 732 Dover Pl. If we approve of them they would like a one year lease. It sounds good to me and I hope it all goes through. Jim is going to answer Mr. Laux’s letter today. Tell Sr. Dositheus and Sr. Fortunata thanks for their prayers. I hope they turn out to good renters and take care of the place. I’m awfully relieved to get it rented. You still may have to turn the heat on and I’m sure it will get cold before Dec. 1st.
How are you enjoying your leisure Daddy? Not too much I would think – unless Mom has got a nice long list of chores to be done.
Here everyone is fine. Patricia gets cuter and sweeter every day. Last night at supper she wanted to crawl up on Jim’s lap. He said in a loud voice “Oh no you don’t” and she came right back at him in the same tone of voice “Oh yes me am” and of course she had her way. How can you resist anyone so cute? Whenever she sees one of the kids with something she’ll say “Got?” That means “what have you got?”
We get a big kick out of Barbara and Jimmy. You know how B notices how everyone talks. She loves to imitate the little Korean children at the school and Jimmy can get a marvelous English accent. There are children there from Tunis, So. Africa, Turkey, Korea etc. But the boy they really got a kick out of is a new boy from Texas. B said yesterday at sports he said “I plumb wore out ma shoes already.” I don’t think they can believe he’s from America.
The other day MB said to me “We’re not going to stay here all the time are we? We are going back to our other house, aren’t we? You know the one we can walk to Wela’s house from.”
Well I must fix some lunch for the working and school people. MB, P and I just eat all morning. I don’t know what it is about this climate but I can’t fill any of them up. They are all eating so good. Yesterday I made minuelos from a mix I bought. However it wasn’t a big enough amount. Send me your recipe for them and I’ll make them from scratch next time. They all enjoyed them and said they’re almost as good as Wela makes.
I hope you will write soon. Daddy, you have more time now – be sure to write too.
Jim and Dina
Dear Mom and Dad,
When we went to bed Tues night the returns were just starting to come in. I must confess that I woke up before the alarm went off – just a bit nervous about the outcome. You never know! We were very relieved to see it was such a crushing defeat for Goldwater. I’m sorry but I just can’t get too enthusiastic about Johnson’s “folksy” ways but then there will never be another Kennedy.
Yesterday afternoon my nice neighbor Mrs. Guenther came by and took MB and Kenny for a walk with her and one of the other neighbor ladies. When they came back they said both ladies had given them some candy.
We received a letter from Jim’s mother today and Kenny received your card with the bubble gum today too. He was really thrilled with it. The card is so cute. It looks just like him.
Jim talked to his teacher today and he “thinks” she said that Kenny is very fast to catch on. Jim has a hard time understanding her because she speaks so fast. He (Kenny) seems to love to go to school so I guess he has a pretty good idea of what’s going on.
B and Jimmy went ice-skating this morning and everyone else is doing fine. P is getting cuter and fatter every day.
Hope you both are feeling well. How is Chic doing? And Beatriz? My poor friend Mrs. Bell that had the auto accident just got home from the hospital today.
Well I want Jim to mail this when he goes back this afternoon so I will close wishing you lot of love
Jim and Dina
Dear Mom and Dad,
Today we received the magazines that Dad sent on to us. I am anxious to get my letter writing over with tonight as I am dying to read them. One thing that I have enjoyed at this house is reading in bed again. I put P. in with MB and Kenny and that way I can leave our bed light on and read – Something I have not done since we left Maplewood. Of course the Spanish girls were shocked to see that P was “alone” as they put it. That’s never done in Spain – Apparently the babies are really spoiled in Spain – always rocked or walked to sleep. They were also quite shocked to see me put P in bed and close the door and leave her. That’s never done.
I think the French kdg. is going to work out very well for Kenny. He seems very happy to go – and MB and P sure have fun together in the morning. K already asked me how to say “Good Morning” in French. I guess the other children greet him and he wants to say it too.
On our way home from Catechism this evening we saw our neighbor girl B walking home - we gave her a ride home and when we got in the drive she thanked me and said “adieu” to each of the children and shook hands with all of us – P included.
I also received letters today from Lola – Eggie’s wife and Mary Murphy (she had a girl Oct 15th). I certainly have a lot of letters to answer but it sure is wonderful to get them. I really appreciate them so much.
Well tonight I also want to write to Don so I will make this short. Give everyone our love and keep writing.
Jim and Dina
Dear Mom and Dad,
Received your welcome letter of Oct 30th this morning. It was fun to get it here at home – when Jimmy went out to get the milk he noticed it in the mailbox – the mail comes about 7:30 or 8 in the morning. (They do everything early here.) I also enjoyed the picture and clipping of Daddy – it was very good article, Daddy, and my eyes spotted that line “are planning to visit their children as soon as possible” I hope both of you have made arrangements to have your picture made – That is what we want for Xmas from you. Jim’s folks have already had theirs taken.
I hope Neva finds a change of scenery helpful but as you say it’s quite a problem. It’ll be waiting for her when she gets back.
By the time you get this the election will be over – even from this distance it sure leaves a sick feeling in your stomach. I think it’s been the worst campaign on record. I think Adelino pegged Goldwater right when he said he looked and acted like an old lady gossip – “murmurando, criticiando” Serve him right if his wife ran off with his campaign manager – he acts like he’s running for Savior of the World instead of President.
I’m glad to hear that you will take charge of Miss Edy’s party. I think Miss Edy will like having different ones in charge – if different persons took it every year it would be a little different each time and show that everyone wanted to do something for her. Be sure to include my name in the gift. I will mail you a check.
We have also been hearing from Don quite often. I try to write to him once a week.
I didn’t exactly understand your references to Mrs. Laux but Jim and I took it to mean that he was trying to rent the house to adults only. We did receive a long letter from him last week telling us all the ads he had placed etc and saying that all the calls he had gotten on the house were people with 3 or more children. At that time I thought that meant the people wanted a bigger place with 4 children. Today Jim wrote him a letter and told him we had never said we didn’t want children and who would want a house that big without children. I hope that is the explanation of why it hasn’t been rented as yet.
I don’t think you need to worry about Patricia forgetting you. She talks about you both more than the other children. Today I showed her the bank clipping and she said in a very high excited voice – “Oh, that’s Welo, Mommy” She recognized you Dad immediately.
Today Kenny came home from his 3rd school in as many months and I sure said a prayer that this would work out for him. While he was gone this morning MB and Patricia played so cute – P was her baby and they played the piano and went outside on the patio and had a lovely morning. When he got home he showed me his steamboat and rocket ship he had made. He said it was lots of fun. Jim talked to the teacher and made himself understood in his pitiful French. The teacher speaks no English at all. Imagine my surprise when I saw the form explaining the courses and fees etc. to notice that the school is a Montessori method. All that I have heard about it is very good. Visitation and some private schools are using that method of teaching now. It is more well known in Europe, I believe. Katie Schadell knows a lot about it and can tell you how it works. Jim said there were about 10 or 12 children in the classes and the teacher said Kenny had behaved very well. He said they used clay and made puzzles, did some exercises and their drawings and sang some songs. We’re hoping he can learn enough French to be our interpreter when we go to Brussels. There is one other Am. child in the class – all the rest of them French speaking children. The fee is very reasonable and she takes children as young as 3 yrs old as this is when the Montessori method is most effective. Jim would like to send MB too but she makes such a good baby sitter for P I hate to send her – and she’s got such a long time to go school why start before you have to!
I found out Fri. night that the U.S.A. is the only country with Halloween Trick or Treating – Somehow I thought it was an English custom too. The Sp. maids were asking me about it as some of the children running around the hotel with sheets and skeleton masks gave them quite a scare.
I asked Mrs. Mureck (the Dutch girl) if there was any similar custom in Holland. She said they had one – on a certain Sun. of the year the children would get up very early and go out in the streets making noise and ringing doorbells – It was called “Sleepyheads Day.” However during the war when the Germans would come to get someone they also would ring the doorbell very hard and long and as a result – when the children tried to observe the custom after the war people would get hysterical on hearing the doorbell or try to hide someone – It evoked such painful memories that the custom has just died out – another casualty of the war.
Yesterday afternoon we took a ride around parts of Bern that we hadn’t seen yet. I got a big kick because in the restaurant windows you see signs LOTTO – there through the windows you can see the people eating or drinking their coffee with their Lotto cards by their plate. It’s a very strict Protestant town and you can’t buy a liter of milk on Sun. but you can play all the Lotto you want.
Jim and Dina