Mom and Charles with Duchess, the cat.
My Aunt Marian kept many of the letters my mother, Donna Biel, wrote to her. She returned them in 2010. Most are recorded here. They were not entered in chronological order, so the best way to view them is by year, found in the index on the sidebar.
Dear Marian and Frank,
It seems like ever since we got back it has been raining a lot. We got some big leaks fixed but have more to do. The hard rains were starting to damage the wheat crop which was being harvested. we were fortunate to have a beautiful day last Sunday when we had our annual fund raising dinner, bazaar and cake selling. Everything sold well.
I was gone for four days to Londrina for orientation for leaders for Ladies Aid. The next week cliff and I were gone for two days to a district pastor's meetings with the wives. Cliff has gone to several meetings. One was for a regional meeting of our church and now he is gone for three days where a study will be given on "Our faith, Our Life", a pamphlet which was put out by the church and many studies are being done by the lay people in which they seem to be well accepted.
A week from tomorrow, Helen will be a flower girl in a wedding at our church. She is quite happy about it and has a light blue long dress that is being made for her. The children are happy that Duchess has three kittens- two are almost all white like she is. Rachel painted some boards and with some bricks made a bookshelf for her room. Charles has his 3-speed on his bike, but hasn't been using it much. He has been roller skating some, but Rachel has let her friend use Charles's skates and she has done a lot of skating.
Helen in uniform, 1972
The children are in a Catholic school about four blocks from our home. They are there from 8 a.m. to noon, Monday through Saturday and have English at the American school from 1 to 2:30 P.M. they like the school and it seems quite neat and orderly compared to many public schools that I have seen. One thing that I find a nuisance is that the Brazilian school doesn't furnish books, so we run to several book stores to get what we want. the children have to wear uniforms- navy blue skirt or slacks, sweater, white knee socks for the girls, black shoes, white blouse or shirt.
Rachel in a Regina Mundi Parade, 1974
Helen doesn't get any science in the Brazilian school and Charles doesn't get much so I'm buying the American textbooks from the school here and giving it during the three month vacation in December to February. Charles needs help on math for the Brazilian school gives more things sooner than the American system- we have been working on the multiplication and division tables. Charles and Rachel have English at the Brazilian school but don't have a textbook as it is very simple- names of animals, parts of the body and they know more than the teacher. This next Monday students from the small American school in Londrina will come to have a sports day in the afternoon.
This next week I plan to go on a bus at night with one of our church members who has to go to the Swiss Embassy in Curitiba. She has huge sores due to varicose veins on her legs and needs to show them so that she can get help from the Swiss government to help pay for medical bills and for a helper to do the housework. Her husband is from Switzerland. Last year, I helped her get a document stating that she is an invalid and can't do her work. She suffers from high blood pressure and has liver problems, so she can't travel alone.
Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo have many Jews living there. We have many Arabs in our area- mainly from Lebanon. I don't know what percentage of petroleum Brazil gets from the Arab countries, but they will be getting more from Venezuela, however, this may not be enough and if the war continues for some time, gas may have to be rationed here.
When our large suitcase ripped across the top on the way back, I thought a sheet was missing, but now have checked through everything and can't find the material for two pillow dolls that Cynthia gave me, the green and white checked dress Marian gave Helen, and Rachel's music sheet. Helen feels bad about the dress you gave her and when she mentioned the dress I looked for it and discovered that we don't have it. Don't buy a suitcase like the one you paid us for, for in the long run it is expensive and can't be used again. Helen forgot many words so we have to practice reading. How does Eric like the picture Rachel took of him? Your family picture turned out well.
Love, Donna and Joey