A Paris Fling and A Farewell

May 24, 1956

Dear Dad & Russ,

Spring is definitely the time of year to visit Paris! Golly, but it was beautiful! And the weather was absolutely made to measure – warm sunshine and blue sky the whole time.

George and I left Bonn early Saturday morning via the “Paris-Ruhr Express” (a sleek red diesel) and arrived in Paris in time for lunch. The countryside en route to Paris was really delightful and, of course, being spring-time made it even prettier. The train trip took us across the northwestern part of Germany, clear across Belgium and halfway across France! We were staying with “Buck” and Norma Arbuckle (Buck’s our communications technician). Buck met us at the Gare du Nord and we went right to their place for dinner. The afternoon’s activities included sort of a grand tour de Paris, with stops at the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, Arc de Triomphe, Champs Elysees, etc. etc. etc. WONDERFUL!!! On Saturday night the Arbuckles threw a great party for George and me. The entire Communications Division was there along with some people George knew from the Embassy. Also, Cecile Fyen, our steno from Phnom Penh whom I went with to Bangkok last year. It was a marvellous party, believe me.

On Sunday we spent most of the day strolling through the Bois de Boulogne with occasional stops for iced cafe francais at quaint little outdoor restaurants. I was over to Cecile’s for dinner on Sunday night and a girlfriend of hers dropped in so the three of us went back tot he Arbuckles with a bottle of champagne to celebrate (rather prematurely) Buck’s birthday, which was on Monday.

We all slept in late on Monday and then took off on a last whirlwind tour of the sights. I returned to Bonn on Monday night, but George stayed on until last night – he figured it would be his last visit to Paris for goodness-knows how long so he wanted to get lots and lots of pictures before he left. He surely did get lots of pictures – over 100 in all!!

And that was Paris.

Still pretty busy these days. Also, am in the process of helping to organize a farewell garden party for George a week from tomorrow. Some fun! George and I are going for dinner with the Mitchells tonight and dinner with the Yorks tomorrow night. I was over to the Yorks on Tuesday to help do justice to some wonderful pies Yvonne had just baked. You know, a fellow could exist here in Bonn just on dinner invitations!

Well, that’s about all for now. The V.W. is running like a charm. The weather is much warmer and the countryside is too beautiful to describe.

June 16, 1956

Well, you’re probably wondering whatever has become of me these days – it’s been so long since I wrote you last. So long, indeed, that I honestly quite forget what I said last letter or even when that last letter was written! I do believe, however, that it was shortly after George and I returned from Paris. Right?

So here are the latest Bonn doings. Well, I quite frankly couldn’t even begin to tell you about the social events prior to George’s departure for Canada. We had parties every single night during his last week here (quite exhausting but lots of fun). Two weeks ago last night (June 1), of course, there was the huge farewell party at the Embassy. I must admit the Embassy surely looked quite lovely – we decorated all of the downstairs offices and extended an awning out over the patio at the back of the Embassy. The patio was all decorated with green branches, Chinese lanterns and coloured lights hidden in the ivy that grows up the back of the Embassy. And all through the garden we had more Chinese lanterns hung casually amongst the shrubs and trees. Quite effective!

As George didn’t want to have to pay another month’s rent where he was living he moved in here on June 1. Barry Leahy from Berlin arrived in Bonn on June 1 as well, so needless to say I had quite a house-full that weekend. As I said before, the following week was just one party after another. Then on Saturday night (a week ago) we had about 30-some people over here for a party. My apartment certainly lends itself admirably to a party! Having a spare room, of course, solves the problem of dancing. Lots of fun. On Sunday night George and I were invited out for dinner and then went over to visit George’s “family” where he used to live. The Kesselheim’s are marvellous people and insist that I drop in to visit them at least twice a month. You would honestly think that they were losing a son the way they felt about George leaving. Also, they told me that the would not rent George’s apartment out to anyone but a Canadian! I can move in anytime I want to, according to them.

Last Monday was quite the most hectic day I’ve ever experienced. George had all his last-minute packing to do and about a million and a half people to say last-minute farewells to. His train was due to leave Bonn at 7 p.m. and he was still packing at 6:30! He even took my toothbrush in the confusion! However, we just made the train and there must have been at least 20 people down at the station to say good-bye – we all sang “Auf Wiedersehen!” and away he went.

We shall certainly miss George a great deal round here – me especially I guess. He was a grand friend to me and a marvellous help in getting me settled and introduced to many people. However, his parting words were something to the effect of “I shall return” so I look forward to that day very much. George expects to be in Ottawa during the last week of July, Dad, and I gave him your address and he hopes to be able to look you and Russ up. Being a bachelor, I’m sure he’d appreciate one of your steak dinners! He’s an excellent cook himself and I had no qualms about recommending “Nixon’s Steakhouse” while he’s in Ottawa.

I don’t know if it’s the result of all the excitement of George’s departure or the perfectly dreadful weather we’re having here lately (nothing but cold, rain and clouds and dampness for weeks!) but I’ve been laid up with a bad cold for the past week! I’m one of four Canadians that have been absent from the Embassy all week! However, I did manage to struggle from my bed last night to go over to the Toughs for a spare-ribs dinner and an evening of Canasta. I’m feeling much better today and do believe I’m shaking the cold – they’re very hard to get rid of in this climate!

Well, Cecile Fyen (Phnom Penh steno) is arriving from Paris for the July 1 weekend and Sylvia (Montreal dancer!) is due to arrive in Europe for five weeks or so about July 12. It’s wonderful having so many visitors! I’ve already lined up tentatively a trip to Holland for Sylvia some weekend, then all being well, we hope to drive down to Lake Lugano which lies on the Swiss-Italian border. Should be lots of fun!

I have about another six letters to write today so I really must close this one for now. All the best and lots of love,

Dave

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