Dear Marian and Frank,
We just got a letter from Mary informing us on the birth of your son. Our heartiest congratulations! We haven't heard the weight but she said that you might call him Eric Tomas. He must have been born the day after you sent your last letter. What does Lisa think of him? Two little ones should keep you quite busy. Now we are anxiously awaiting for Julia's news.
It certainly was something about Mike's sudden case of pneumonia. Helen had several colds when we were home but all of us have been well since we came back.
We recently got a letter that Rosie sent in July. It must have come by regular mail. The snapshot she sent of Rachel is very good. Rachel was very happy to get it.
It seems like time flies now that I'm teaching Rachel first grade by correspondence course. It takes 1.5 to 2 hours every day and this is done when Helen naps. There are 160 lessons to do and four covered readers with lovely books on the four seasons, arithmetic, writing, stories to read and a teacher's manual for me. The last lesson was on two different sounds in "th" such as in "this" and "thank" and several words like this. I pleaded with Joey to do this part of the lesson as I never learned to read by the phonetic system. Rachel likes to study but I don't know how it will be now that the hot weather is arriving.
This last week the weather was very variable. On Monday, it was cool- 58 in the morning and in the house. By Thursday afternoon it was hot and stuffy, 90 in the house and outside, then it rained and back to 56 again in the morning and 75 in the afternoon. Actually, I prefer the cooler weather as hot weather makes me tired. Next month we go on daylight savings time.
We have two boys staying with us for another two or three weeks until houseparents come from the States for the hostel. They are gone most of the day. The seven year old enjoys playing with Rachel and Charles and the 11 year old likes to read books.
Rachel and Charles go to nursery school in the morning until the summer vacation comes in December. Now Charles can speak Portuguese much better and always is playing with someone while I teach Rachel. Helen plays many mornings with a four year old girl from our church. Helen has learned a lot of Portuguese, too. I'm amazed at all of the things that she can say. When people come for church, Helen shakes hands with them and says, "Good morning" in Portuguese. As yet, I haven't gotten her toilet trained but now with warmer weather I hope to have it done soon but she loves to play outside all day long.
I certainly have enjoyed the navy blue blouse you gave me for Christmas. I have one skirt I wear it with and hand another skirt made that also goes with it, from a skirt that you gave me. I had a blue lace dress made to go to a neighbor's 15th birthday part. Fifteen here is considered the year for debutante. The party we went to was more elaborate than any wedding I've been to. We didn't stay for the dance which started at 1 am and finished at 3:30 am. I plan to use the lace dress for weddings in the church.
Donna Biel in her blue lace dress.
Joey was gone from Monday until Thursday of this week for a mission meeting. Gloria Grant stayed with me as she didn't want to stay alone and her five boys are at the hostel in Campinas. We seldom see Joey on weekends as he has three services on Saturday and three on Sunday. He has been trying to visit the members plus spent a week three weeks ago in Cianorte at a Bible School teaching the students. I have learned to drive the church's jeep and use it for taking Rachel and Charles to and from school and for getting groceries.
To raise money for the church, the women are embroidering aprons, pillow cases, dresser tops, tablecloths, etc. I'm doing a pillow case. In November they will sell everything and at the same time serve cakes which one can buy. Another thing to get ready for is the last Sunday in October. Our women's group will have women from nearby cities here for a day while we have two guest speakers. One speaker will speak to the older women in German and the other will speak in Portuguese. We will have to feed the women that day but the speaker suggested making soup with potatoes, macaroni, meat, vegetables so not much time would be needed for preparation.
Women from our church in Maringa, 1970's
If we decide to apply for a three month furlough after three years, we have to apply by March of 1970. It would be June to September in 1971 so it wouldn't interfere with the children's education.
Greetings to Rosie and Louie, Cynthia and Nels for I have to write to our parents yet. It seems like Joey doesn't have much time for writing and it is getting harder for me to do it. Tell Rosie Rachel has worn her dress from the wedding almost every Sunday.
We hope all is going well for you. I wrote to Mary to get you a present from us so hope you get something you need.
Donna and Joey