Spain – Yes or No?

February 28, 1956

Dear Dad & Russ,

First of all, I really think I forgot to mention in my last letter that my first issue of Reader’s Digest Condensed Books arrived. Thanks a million.

Well, Bill will have been here two weeks as of tomorrow. Sure is nice having company from home. He may stay on for another 10 days or two weeks but is not sure as yet. He bought himself a sketch pad and some water colours to keep himself out of mischief. Last Friday Sally had a bit of a party so Bill was able to meet some of the Canadians here in Bonn. And tomorrow night we are both invited to Pam and Art Tough’s for dinner. This afternoon Bill is baking a cake (so he says) in a cake-tin he borrowed from Pam. Should be something!

On Sunday I took George into the hospital and yesterday morning he had his tonsils removed. I was over last night and again today but he is really quite miserable as yet. However, I expect by tomorrow he’ll be feeling much better. He’s quite glad to have the operation over with so that he’ll be in good shape for Spain next month.

I received your letter of February 22 a short time ago for which I thank you very much. I quite agree that my bank balance has taken quite a beating lately, but as you say, I now have a VW to show for it! I feel quite proud to be the owner of a car at 21 and certainly don’t regret once cent of the investment. I honestly don’t know what I did without it!

We’ve had a slight break in the weather these past three days – today it is raining. The snow and ice is beginning to thaw now and I’m sure before long spring will be here. Certainly has been a rough winter – at least on THIS side of the Atlantic.

Well, I figure that’s about all the news for now. I’ll certainly try to get another letter off next week.

lots of love, Dave

March 5, 1956

Dear Dad & Russ,

This morning I received your most welcome letter dated March 1st and it just occurred to me that you will probably have this letter by next Thursday, just ONE week after writing me! What a difference from Phnom Penh-Ottawa letters.

I read Bill the appropriate sections of your letter and he was glad to hear from you and to hear that his letter had arrived O.K. I think Bill is planning on staying for another week (he isn’t sure yet) because he wants to see the Milan Opera Company when they come to Bonn next Saturday. It really has been fun having Bill here these past few weeks. Did I tell you that Bill knew Mrs. Ritchie (Ambassador’s wife) in Ottawa? We were invited to lunch at the Residence in Cologne a short time ago and Bill has since been asked back for afternoon tea with Mrs. Ritchie.

Last Saturday Bill and I took off in my V.W. for a little trip into the country. It was really wonderful. We found a little river called the Ahr just a few kilometres south of Bonn which we followed way into the wine-growing district. We visited an ancient walled city and poked around an old castle. The weather was rather wet but we both enjoyed the outing in spite of it.

Ahr Valley

Ahr Valley

Speaking of weather. Well, the snow has all left this part of Germany and we have had real spring weather for the past few days. Things are beginning to turn green again and a few trees are starting to bud. However (alas) today is just “one of those days”. It started off cloudy and rainy then developed into hail. At noon the sun came out and the sky was deep blue. And at this moment it is snowing!!

A castle above the Ahr

A castle above the Ahr

Say. Here’s news. I just found out today that I have been promoted to a Teletypist Grade 2!! This probably won’t affect my salary to any alarming extent, but at least it’s a step upwards.

Well, poor George has had quite a rough time of it with his tonsils. His operation was a week ago today and it is just within the last two days or so that he’s begun to feel slightly better. The doctor says he’ll have to stay in the hospital for another two or three days at least. As I think I told you before, neither George nor I are going to have too terribly much money to go to Spain this month. However, we are still planning to make an attempt at it anyways.

Well, not too much news this time but I do like to bring you up to date on my doings. Will write again next week before taking off for sunny Spain (I hope!).

love, Dave

March 13, 1956

Dear Dad & Russ,

Yesterday I received your letter of March 7th for which many thanks. No, I wasn’t affected by the Rhine River flooding, although, last year I understand the water was right up to the apartment front door. In spite of all the snow this year, however, it was a comparatively slow thaw and the river didn’t come any closer than across the street from my place. Bill kept saying that if the Rhine came any closer he would have to leave because he “didn’t bring any rubbers”!

I’m sorry that I haven’t been able to get a line off to Clara and Russ as yet. I’ve been so very, very busy (even weekends!) here at the office that you folks are the only people hearing from me lately. However, if all goes well I should be able to get off a line or two to them from England next week.


Oh, really, things do happen so quickly here that one hardly knows whether one is coming or going! As you well know George and I were planning to spend two weeks in Spain this month. Well, due to the lack of sufficient finances (very important for travelling purposes) we decided not to try to see all of Spain but rather to just go down to Minorca or one of the other islands in the Mediterranean off the Spanish coast. This was fine up to about half an hour ago when we heard that there is snow in Spain and the natives are freezing on Minorca!! And here in Bonn you don’t even need a coat anymore! So Minorca and Spain generally went down the drain. George and I then tried to figure out where to spend our two weeks’ leave. Going south was definitely out – too cold. So we decided to go to London instead. I phoned one of our chaps in London and we reserved hotel accommodations for next Saturday night (we leave here on the boat train Friday night) and also made reservations for the Old Vic, Sadlers Wells, Covent Garden, etc., etc. (should be a cultural two weeks anyways).

PUERTO DE POLLENSA 1956 (courtesey of


You know, that’s the wonderful thing about Europe – you can be anywhere (even London) within a few hours. Yesterday morning Bill left for London (at 6:21 a.m. – we were up at 5!). Very quiet around the apartment now with Bill gone. Oh yes, I nearly forgot to mention that last Saturday night the La Scala Opera Company from Milan came to Germany with La Traviata. It was performed in the theatre of the nearby RAF base (about 30 kilometres from Bonn) and a great gang of us attended. After the opera about six of the kids came back to my place for a drink and comments on the performance.

George came out of the hospital las Saturday – he’s much better but rather depressed after two weeks “in solitaire” as he calls it. So I think two weeks in London will do both of us a world of good. I know that I’m ready for a wee rest from the office – very hectic lately!

A phone call just came in from London confirming my hotel reservation, etc. It’s really fantastic the way one uses the telephone over her. Hardly a week goes by that I don’t have some phone business with London, Paris, or Brussels. More fun!

People keep telling me (within the last hour or so) that London is really beautiful around Easter. Encouraging. At least we won’t have snow like in Spain (I hope)!

Well, this letter was really going to be just a note but it has got a little out of hand. I must get on with my work or I’ll be here all night.

lots of love, Dave

P.S. I figured out my Income Tax last week so you’ll find a $1.92 withdrawal in my account very soon!


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