Carnival Time

January 26, 1956

Dear Dad & Russ,

Last week at this time I was practically standing on my head trying to get the work done. This week has been quite the contrary. There’s still work, mind you, but nothing whatsoever like last week. Ah well, that’s the way it goes in this job.

Nothing really very exciting has happened since I last wrote you (last Friday, I think). George is over his tonsillitis now and is not sure whether or not they have to come out. It has been fairly quiet social-wise this past with the exception of a small party last night and another one tomorrow night. George and I are planning on taking in a movie tonight. I had a very interesting offer from the American Little Theatre group today. They would like me to play the juvenile lead in their production of “The Little Foxes“. I haven’t said yes or no as yet, but am going to a try-out on Saturday. I think it would be lots of fun to get in with a group of this sort. Evidently, last year they produced a play that was quite good – so good in fact, they were asked to take it to Berlin for a week’s run!

My apartment is so comfortable now with all the bright new furniture in it. I’m thinking of giving a “house-warming” party shortly after Bill Glenn arrives in Bonn. Still no word from Bill but he wrote that he plans to arrive in Glasgow around the 21st of January and stay there for a week or so. Then he is going down to London for a while before coming to Bonn. I expect I’ll get word from him sometime next week. Sylvia, by the way, is also planning to come over to Europe next summer for a two or three months’ visit. She’s got some money saved up already for the trip. How about you two? There’s lots of room at Austrasse 14 should you decide to go a-wandering.

I don’t know if you’ve ever heard of the German “Carnival” back in Ottawa. The Carnival is a little celebration that begins each year in November and carries on to the middle of February. Of course the climax of Carnival is all rolled into three days in February when everything closes down tight and the people go mad with parties, parades, etc. for three days and three nights non-stop!! George and I are working on plans for our own little Canadian Carnival party here at the Embassy next week. Everyone must come come in costume, of course, and it should be lots of fun.

German Carnival, 1956

German Carnival, 1956

Speaking of lots of fun, I received a hilarious letter from Kay and Les a few days ago. The letter was typewritten and explained how Kay survived the Christmas season’s culinary activities. The highlight of the letter was the making of the Christmas cake. If the cake was half the work of art that the letter was, it sure must have been some cake!

Another little discovery at the corner store: they have all sorts of frozen foods (vegetables, fruit, etc.) and even frozen orange juice!

I’ve decided to hire a cleaning woman to come in about three times a week. Frau von Studnitz (upstairs) is scouting about for one ow. These cleaning women cost only 1 mark an hour (about 25 cents!) and it’s really worth it to have the apartment kept nice and clean all the time. Besides, they wash up the dishes, make the bed and do clothes washing to boot!

The cleaning women here at the Embassy will press my trousers for me anytime I want. Price: 1 package of Canadian cigs!

Well, folks, as I said, there’s not too much news this, but I thought I’d take advantage of the slack in work to keep you in touch with German affairs.

Lots of love, Dave

January 31, 1956

Dear Dad & Russ,

Yesterday I received your MOST welcome letter of January 26. Boy! Would that ever be swell if you two could come over in the summer of 1957!!! As yet I don’t know for sure which would be the most pleasant of the summer months to visit Germany, but I’ll be able to tell you better after this coming summer. By the time you get here I will be sure to have a little car and the three of us can just wander around the countryside to our heart’s content! As for accommodation, well that’s all taken care of. Two can share my HUGE bed and there is also a day-bed in the living-room. No Problem there. I’m surely looking forward to it, believe me. Let me know how the “saving like mad” operations are coming along from time to time.

Well, I finally heard from Bill Glenn. I received a letter from him last Saturday – written in Glasgow! He had quite a trip judging from this letter. When he was in New York he went to a party where he met Mary Martin, Marlene Dietrich and Orson Welles, just to mention a few notables. He’s having the time of his life up in Scotland with about 30 relatives of his mother. Bill is planning on going to London this week and after a few days in London, on to Bonn. Which means, all being well, I should have my first house-guest early next week. Will let you know more about Bill next letter.

Las Friday night George decided it was about time I went “native” so he took me to a fabulous little “Bierstube” that was built in 1687 or thereabouts. It was so typically German! Great buxom bar-maids served the beer and a little man played an accordion. There were lots of students from the Bonn University there, and of course, the music led to dancing and singing. It was quite a wonderful sight to see and a good time was had by all!

A typical German Bierstube, mid-50s

A typical German Bierstube, mid-50s

Last Saturday I had to work here at the office from 10 in the morning until 7 at night! I was so tire that I went to bed at 10 o’clock that night and slept till noon on Sunday! A very quiet weekend indeed! Tonight we are having a bit of a stag party for an airforce chap who is going home soon, and tomorrow night I (George and I) are having dinner at the home of Miss Pam McDougall – Second Secretary at the Embassy. Then, on Saturday night, we are having a great costume party in honour of the German Carnival here at the Embassy. George was “Crown Prince” of Carnival last year but he has abdicated in my favour this year and will be my Court Chamberlain. As I am going as an Oriental Emperor (Slo Mo Shun by name) George and I decided that all the stenos will be harem girls. SHould be lots of fun!

Glad to hear about Mr. Towe! I’ll be looking forward to getting the slides.

Not too much other news this time. I just wanted to write and tell you how happy I am about your plans for 1957. Sure will be wonderful!

Lots of love for now, Auf Wiedersehen!

Dave

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