Letter to Marian, February 4, 197?

My Aunt Marian kept many of the letters my mother, Donna Biel, wrote to her.  She recently returned them.  The most interesting parts are recorded here.

Dear Marian, Frank, Lisa, Erik, + Julianna,

About 10 days ago we got two packages with 61 books in them.  Helen showed her Cinderella book all over the neighborhood.  The little book on friends is cute.  I helped her read it.  A few days ago we got another package of books and the calendar you sent.  Rachel was thrilled with her books and says she is going to write to you.  I should have written you right away but read two stories by Agatha Christie first.  As usual, I didn't guess who the murderers were.  Joey has read several westerns.  We had seen a couple of the Condensed Reader's Digest books which we had borrowed from a friend but we didn't read all of the stories.  I think Rachel will be interested in reading them.  Charles was happy to get books but is too busy playing with his friend.

As you probably heard, we talked to my parents and your parents, Marian.  We heard my parents just like they were in the same room but it was hard to hear Mary and Harvey.  We taped their conversation.  I didn't think of much inspiring to say as we couldn't get through when we tried at 10 PM, only at 12:45 AM and I had gone to sleep.  We didn't have my parents number but got through in 10 minutes.  We have direct dialing to many cities in Brazil.

Tell Rosie + Cynthia we got their letters and cards.  I had never seen a card like Rosie + Louie's and thought it was very clever.  Rachel just received a letter from Laurie.  I guess Rachel is a lot taller than her.  Besides being tall, Rachel is putting on wt.  She now weighs 132 lbs.  I bought shorts for her but I had to let out all the seams for her to wear them.  At least Charles is able to wear most of the pants she outgrows as they are for boy or girl.

Last Tuesday we got up at 5 AM.  Six children, ages 11 to 14 went on a bike trip with Joey.  They went mostly on dirt roads the 20 miles to a farm where we stayed for 2 days.  On the way out it took 2 hours but on the way back it took 4 hours due to heavy rain the day before which made mud on some places.  We had fun in the swimming pool at the farm.  It has been hot- about 95 degrees every day.  Rachel's nose peeled + Charles was bothered with dust on the trip out.  Rachel got a bad cold but is much better.  Now Joey went to the doctor to get medicine for tonsillitis.  Helen and I went by car to take food out and bedclothes.  They stopped along the way for a coke or ice cream but they had a pack sack with sandwiches and water.  Two American friends went along and the other two are Brazilians.  The latter can't ride their bikes to school as their mother feels it is too dangerous but she trusted Joey enough to let them go 20 miles with him. 

Rachel is taking an embroidery class- not such simple stitches.  She goes 2 hrs. every day during vacation.  She enjoys it and seems to be doing well.  Her main interest is painting plaster of paris which she can buy for cheap prices.  She spends practically all of her money buying stamps that a Japanese Methodist Missionary sells as she has friends from many countries sending her stamps.

"Bilboquet", the toy that broke Charles's tooth.

Charles was playing with a wooden toy that swings in your hand.  He was pestering Rachel.  She kicked at him and her leg hit the ball toy, then hit one of his front teeth, breaking half it off.  I was sleeping so had quite a scare when they started screaming.  It came close to affecting the nerve for when he breathed in, the tooth hurt.  The dentist put a metal protection on the tooth.  After 6 months if the tooth is alright, he can put a material which looks like real tooth material.

Sunday for church we had 16 singers give a presentation.  They did very well.  They have traveled to several cities.  With them is an American who has been her one month.  He plays an electric guitar as does another who doesn't sing.  Charles like music with a lively beat.  Perhaps when he gets older he can take guitar lessons.  He enjoys hearing the music he sang and played at your house when he was 3.5 years old.

Whenever we get Time Magazine, it has grim news.  I wonder how soon there will be another Arab-Israeli war and if the U.s. will become involved.  Sometimes I think that things are bad but probably will become worse.  Here the food inflation last year was 65%- supposedly highest for index we saw of many countries, yet things don't sound as bad here as in the U.S.

Feb 14th

I didn't get this off for we are having a hot spell of 100 degrees every day.  Fortunately, there is a breeze in the day.

Soon after receiving your last box of books we got the calendar and box of presents.  We got everything that was written on the outside.  We have eaten most of the candy- yum! yum!  and are sipping the coffee.  It is something like coffee with milk that we have for breakfast.  Joey's shirt is too large, but I will take it in.  I have my flowers and corn husk lady on the T.V.  I took the corn husk lady to a coffee we had for women in our church.  It is very cute.  Helen was thrilled with doll clothes and her friends are envious.  She has everything in the Skipper suitcase you gave her.  The little coin bags are adorable.  Rachel has drawn different parts of a horse from one of the books.  She has an artist's ability-  let's see who will the best: Rachel or Lisa?  Rachel helped Charles put the jet motor together.  He likes the gyroscope and plays with that often.  The pictograph is something new and a clever way of seeing many pictures.  We thank you for these many lovely gifts.

We are sending pictures taken from Rachel and Charles birthday party.  We plan to have more made to send to other brothers and sisters.  I'm sending some different ones to Mary and Harvey. 

About how much does it cost for material for each of those animal pillows?  I am going to make some for our church bazaar but don't know how much to charge.




Dear Auntie Marian, Uncle Frank, and wonderful cousins,

Thanks a lot for the books and things.  Frankly, I think I got more than my share of books.  Over 20!  I've read at least 5 of 'em since they came.



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