Career Planning

October 17, 1956

Dear Dad,

This is just going to have to be a very very short note I’m afraid because I’ve got enough work before me to last a good week!

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking lately and I finally decided the best move I could make would be to go to college on completion of my Bonn posting. I talked this prospect over with Harry Stewart, our Admin Officer, and he thinks it would be a very wise move. I’m also making inquiries about leave of absence from the department for a few years and I’m not too sure yet but there may be some chance of their paying at least some sum towards my college education (strictly unofficial by the way).

Just one problem, of course. And that is my lack of senior matriculation. Therefore, I decided to try to write off at least a few of my Grade 13 papers while I’m in Bonn. Would you be good enough to do me a favour, Dad? Could you write to the director, correspondence courses branch, Department of Education, 206 Huron St., Toronto 5 and ask them for information concerning completion of at least some of my Grade 13 subjects. Or maybe you could get me some information from the Board of Education right in Ottawa. Anything you can do would be much appreciated, as I’m anxious to get started as soon as possible.

Hope this won’t cause you too much trouble, Dad. I’m really quite excited about the prospect of college now that I’ve made up my mind. It took a little time to think things over but I’m sure my travels will stand me in good stead someday. Quite an education in itself!

Must dash for now,

Lots of love, Dave

October 28, 1956

Dear Dad and Russ,

Dear me, it seems that the only time I’ve got to write letters these days is on Sundays. I’ve never been so busy since coming to Bonn as I’ve been the past few weeks. [Perhaps it’s something to do with the Hungarian Revolution.] Nothing official as yet, but if I kept my way will soon have two operators instead of one at the Embassy (goodness only knows at times we could use four!).

Well, without further ado, I’ll get on with answering the questions raised and you’re very, very welcome letter of October 21. To tell you the truth I did have it in the back of my mind to go to college outside of Ottawa (to avoid distractions of close friends “on the loose”) but the more I think about it I guess it would be much better to stick to Carleton, both from an economical point of view and also because it would be kind of nice to be home for a couple of years! Yes, I think taking everything into consideration, Carleton is the college.

As for the course. Now this presents a bit of a problem. Actually I had not made up my mind as to which course to take when I wrote you. I was thinking primarily of finishing up my Grade 13 first. However I do believe either Commerce or Public Administration would be the answer. Public Admin rather interests me at this point and I would appreciate very much receiving some pertinent details about this course. Incidentally, Harry Stewart, our admin officer, suggested this would be a more appropriate course of studies rather than general arts.

I’m afraid there’s no way of telling as yet about the possibilities of working part-time in the East Block. However, if such will be the case, then this is all the more reason for attending Carlton.

Glad to hear that you had a chance to meet Sally Swenson. We are all waiting anxiously here for Sally’s first letter from Indochina.

You mention Gordon Happy in your letter. Well, as a matter of fact, just the other day I noticed that a G.A. Happy have been posted on temporary duty from Communications Division, Department of External Affairs to New York. Actually, I didn’t even know that Hap had joined the department. However, I’m sure that once the Happys get squared away we’ll be hearing from them.

Last Wednesday we had a real treat in the form of the New York City Ballet in Cologne. It’s very seldom we get any such form of entertainment in this part of Germany, so needless to say the Canadians turned out in full force.

I guess we can settle on September, then, for your European jaunt. As far as staying over a bit is concerned, Dad, you are more than welcome to stay just as long as you like. A lot of the kids over here have their families visiting for a couple of months. I’ve got lots and lots of room and it would be wonderful if you could share the apartment with me for a while.

Well, as I said, Sunday night is the only time I seem to get to write letters so I’m afraid I must get a few more written before going to bed. I’m very anxious to hear what you can do concerning the completion of Grade 13.

Bye for now and lots of love, Dave

November 25, 1956

Dear Dad and Russ,

Just finished making myself some dinner (pork chops à la Dave), stoked the fire and now must get a few lines off to Canada. By the way, I picked up quite a few kitchen hints since coming to Europe so don’t expect to starve when you to come over here next September!

First of all I must thank you for sending me the Carleton College calendar, which, incidentally, has decided me on the commerce course. Taking everything into consideration I do believe it will be the best course for me. Then yesterday I received your letter of November 19 containing the application form and other information re: correspondence courses. I just filled out the application form for English literature and history. So if you could get the appropriate books to Bonn some way, Dad, it would be most appreciated. Both English literature and history are old favorites of mine and so I think they would be good starters for me to take.

I’m really getting quite enthused over this “back to school” business, let me tell you!

Thank you also for sending me the booklet “Adventures in Christian Stewardship”, Dad. Say, that is a real good picture of the “General Chairman”! I’m sure that last Sunday’s service must’ve been a wonderful experience for you, Dad, and, like Russ, I am real, real proud of my Pop! I just regret very much I couldn’t have been there too.

You might be getting a phone call one of these days from Yvonne Jukes. Yvonne was one of the stenos who went up to Holland with me on Labour Day weekend. She recently left Bonn and is on her way to California, stopping over in Ottawa for just a few days. However, she said she would give you a call if she got the chance.

Which reminds me, Cecile Fyen is due to leave Paris on December 12 for home (Montréal). She will definitely be getting in touch with you Dad because she has the two air-packs for you and Russ. Cecile had quite a lot of clothes and not too much luggage so I gave her the air-packs to take back to Canada with her. However, I don’t expect Cecile will be in Ottawa until after Christmas sometime. Both Cecile and Yvonne are “charmers”, Dad, and anything you might be able to do for them while they’re in Ottawa would be much appreciated by me. George Howell, for one, just couldn’t get over the “Nixon hospitality” during his stay in Ottawa.

I just wish you could see my apartment now. It’s absolutely fabulous!! What a difference a little bit of wallpaper and paint makes in an apartment. I have purchased some wonderful water-colours of German scenes which I shall be hanging in the apartment just as soon as I get them framed. I’m sure you two are going to love this place when you see it’s next year.

The first chilly blasts of winter on the Rhine are making themselves felt the last few days. No snow yet but plenty of frost. I have my little stove going full blast and, I am thankful to say, the apartment is as cozy as can be. My little VW runs just as smoothly and starts just as quickly, of course, as it would in the middle of the Sahara! Wonderful car!

Well, I must get my application off to the Department of Education now so will close this letter for the time being. Hoping to hear from you real soon and lots and lots of love, Dave

PS: I sent a little parcel to you two on November 15 for Christmas. It contains all the slides I’ve taken since coming to Europe and also some of Cape Cod which Bob Rivoire is most anxious to see so maybe you could give him a call when they arrive. Also in the parcel are two pairs of cufflinks – one pair of Topaz and one pair of mother of pearl. I’ll let you two decide who should get which pair. Hope you like them.

David & Bob Rivoire at Cape Cod, c. 1954, doing either Isadora Duncan or Martha Graham

David & Bob Rivoire at Cape Cod, c. 1954, doing either Isadora Duncan or Martha Graham

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2 Responses to Career Planning

  1. ironybynori says:

    Reblogged this on ironybynori and commented:
    Lovely to see this photo of David (at 18?) along with all the great history. His letters and your nimble fingers are an inspiration to all us archivists.

  2. ironybynori says:

    That booklet David mentions, Adventures in Christian Stewardship, is by R.C. Rein. Evidently a prolific Lutheran writer back in the early 20th C, but not well-documented in cyberspace. Published in the mid-fifties.

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