My first letter home from college (only two hours away) in 1966 was over 8 pages long. My mom must have gotten rid of those long epistles even before I made my life-changing trip to live in The Netherlands in the summer of 1979.
So I will begin my Share and Tell with a pale pink envelope with a lacy pale pink piece of stationery dated July 1979.
But before I share a piece of my past, I must set up some basic rules for myself:
1. No names, just initials.
2. No slandering.
3. Keep it real and interesting.
4. No fabricated letters. ;)
5. Explanations where necessary.
20 juli, 1979
Dear Mother and Daddy,
Reading your letter about your fantastic trip made me almost as excited as you were. J. said he has always wanted to see the Mesa Verde, so maybe on one of our trips we'll be able to see it, too. I'm glad that you had such a great time. Now start saving your pennies for your European trip. Round trip APEX fare is only around $500. We will take care of you after you get here.
Write me more about F.'s job in Baton Rouge. Where is he living? Tell S. I'm still having nerve exposure pains every night when I go to bed. I take one aspirin and it stops, but the feeling is sure annoying. I thought the bad feeling would go away, but it hasn't.
All of my packages have arrived, but the sewing machine is not working. Something must have jarred the mechanisms loose. J. is going to work on it next week. Luckily he can do things like that. If it is really broken, I'll have to buy another machine. I'd be lost without my sewing machine.
We will travel to Olst tonight. Sunday Mr. and Mrs. S. will receive 8 visitors from Italy. With 3 languages being spoken I should have an enormous headache Sunday night when we return.
I will write more later. I will get ready to walk to meet J. when he gets off work.
P.S. I hope the dryer is working fine!
P.S.S. Daddy, you can write me too if you wish.
[ 35 years later I call my mother "Mom." Don't ask me why I changed.
I was lucky that my parents enjoyed traveling and took real vacations. And $500 for a round trip ticket? I visited Europe in 1976, 1977, and 1978 before I decided to move there in the summer of 1979. My dad thought I was a bit looney to make all of those trips, since my monthly salary as a full time teacher in Louisiana in 1979 was just at $1000.
When I left, my youngest brother "inherited" my furniture, and my parents bought my dryer. Our middle brother had begun his dental practice, and he and his wife and kiddies had settled back in our hometown.
Before I left the US, I mailed eight boxes of my personal belongings to Rotterdam. Each box weighed less than 40 pounds and the cost was about $40.00 per box. I did nothing special to pack those boxes. Was there even bubble wrap back then? My portable Kenmore sewing machine was cushioned with a real cushion--my bed pillow! All eight of the parcels arrived within six weeks time.
My future in-laws often had overnight (overweekend) guests from other countries. So the prospect of a future daughter-in-law from the US was not so unusual.]
Now that you have the gist of the background, I will try to limit my explanations. Questions and comments are welcome.