London Shows, Xmas 1958

January 29, 2013

January 7, 1959

Dear Dad and Russ,

I’m sending this to you at your office, Dad, ’cause I rather think it’s a bit too big to fit into the apartment mailbox. The enclosed is a programme from Sylvia’s show, “West Side Story” and Sylvia has written you both a little note on the back of the programme.

London couldn’t have been nicer – had a splendid time with the old Ottawa crowd (Bob, Joan and Sylvia) – such a good time, in fact, that I’m planning to do an encore visit next month, just for a weekend this time, but long enough to see Sylvia’s show once more and perhaps do a bit of pre-returning-to-Canada shopping. Both Bob and Joan took leave for the full time I was in London so we have lots of time together.

Entertainments included: “West Side Story“, “My Fair Lady“, “Long Day’s Journey into Night” (a beautiful play!), “Roar Like A Dove”(Comedy), “The Mouse Trap” (an Agatha Christie thriller now in its 7th year in London), “Living for Pleasure” (a hilarious review), and “the Nutcracker” by the London Festival Ballet Company. “West Side Story” was by far the best show – not only because of the fact that Sylvia appeared therein – but just generally speaking it topped everything else – a truly terrific show. Sylvia has a wonderful part and, as the newspaper reports indicated, really does come close to stealing every scene she’s in! Unfortunately, “My Fair Lady” was very disappointing – the record is far better than the actual show! Rex Harrison appeared to be drunk all through the first act and almost fell asleep on the stage during the second part of the show. However, the “good shows” more than made up for this one effort.

The West Side Story souvenir book autographed by Sylvia

The West Side Story souvenir book autographed by Sylvia

We had a wonderful Christmas together and I played Santa Claus for Bob and Joan (who were just like a couple of kids opening their gifts). We had a big party on New Year’s Eve too. When we weren’t going to theatres or cinemas, we were sampling all sorts of exotic foods in Soho. Bill of fare included: Italian, Greek, Indian, Chinese (twice), Turkish and French eatables – all very delightful. And, of course, we consumed great quantities of turkey and ham “at home”.

Inside of the Programme - and there's Sylvia's name

Inside the Programme – and there’s Sylvia

Bonn looks particularly horrible after the bright lights and fun of London, but I keep reassuring myself with the knowledge that I do not have very long to go now. I completed and handed in my questionnaire re: sailing on the Homeric so I do feel now that I have at least got a “foot in the door”. I have masses of things to do here before leaving – not the least of which will be an enormous inventory of all my personal effects (a most imposing list after 3 1/2 years of accumulating odds and ends from all over Europe!)

My Fair Lady (Stanley Holloway, Julie Andrews and Rex Harrison) by Richard Searle

My Fair Lady (Stanley Holloway, Julie Andrews and Rex Harrison) by Ronald Searle

The head of our personnel division was visiting here in Bonn for the past two days and I had a little interview with him. He thinks I’m doing a very wise thing completing my university and indicated that if I was looking for summer work during the next four years, I should drop into External and make inquiries. This might be a good idea but we shall see how things go.

Your letter of December 30 was awaiting me when I returned to Bonn on Monday, many thanks for the calendar pads and clipping on Sylvia. I was glad to hear that you were able to get together with the Toughs at Christmas time, even if it meant transporting the turkey all the way across Ottawa, and I hope that your New Year’s Eve with the Toughs and Barb Johnston was a success too. I was also glad to hear that Graham Creelman met you at the “Y”. Yes, the Happys have a new daughter – I wasn’t able to arrange a see them in London as my time was pretty well taken and they live quite a distance out of town as you and Russ probably remember. I was also glad to hear about my airpacks coming to Bonn. As I mentioned before, I will sure be able to use them and will most probably have to supplement my luggage anyways with another trunk.

Your forthcoming trip out west sounds terrific, Dad, and I will try to have a letter arrive in Saskatoon about the same time you do. I wrote to Aunt Clara and Uncle Russ yesterday, thanking them for their Christmas present (socks and handkerchief). By the way, I also received a very nice gift from Pete Hodgins – two tins of good old Canadian maple syrup. Very thoughtful of Pete.

I cannot say for sure just how long it will take my VW to reach Canada as it depends a lot on when the freighters sail from Hamburg. I certainly hope that it will be there when I get back as I will be needing it for Haliburton. However, Johnny York wrote the shipping firm yesterday, making inquiries for both of us, so we should know something within a week or two.

I am thinking of buying myself a portable Remington typewriter before returning to Canada. I can get one through a firm in Copenhagen for $127.50. Before doing this, however, I wonder if you could make some inquiries re: Canadian prices to see if they would be any cheaper in Canada. The model I am interested in has an 11-inch carriage and, I believe, is known as the “Office-Writer”.

Well, I guess that’s about ’30’ for now. Have a wonderful trip out west, Dad!

Lots of love, Dave

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Planning for Christmas and Beyond

January 28, 2013

December 14, 1958

Dear Dad and Russ,

Just before I forget, I wonder if you could send me with your next letter, two Dominion Life calendar pads.

Glad you both like the cufflinks. Boy, they sure arrived in a hurry! I decided to “mail early for Christmas” this year to avoid expensive airmail postage, but I had no idea that they would arrive in Canada so quickly. However, better lots early than lots late. I received your card to “all our friends in Bonn” and have circulated it to interested persons.

Well, I am now tentatively booked a room U-1, Upper Deck, SS Homeric, leaving leHavre on May 20 and arriving in Montreal on the morning of Thursday, May 28. The booking office here cannot give a definite time of arrival as a lot depends on what kind of a crossing the ship has – you know, if we have a few days rough seas we might be delayed by a few hours or a day even. However, as far as that goes, you will be able to check the time of arrival probably the day before with “Home Lines Steamship Agency of Canada Ltd., 1255 Phillips Square, Montreal. Telephone VIctor 9-4571”. It sure would be nice to see your smiling faces on the dock in Montreal if at all possible! The York family, and also Phil Weishar, one of our stenos here, are booked on the same sailing too so it should be a real “ball” for eight days aboard ship. However, as I said last letter, Ottawa (External Affairs) does not know anything about this as yet, as we haven’t written to them officially and, of course, the whole thing hinges on whether or not they approve our departures at the time we have chosen. So please keep all this information more or less “under your hats” until I can confirm that all is settled and approved. Personally, though, I am becoming rather excited about the prospect of returning to Canada and the more I think about it, the more I find that I have to do before closing up my apartment here and leaving Europe. That’s why I am passing on any little bits of information that I think you might be interested in, as I think of them, because if I leave everything until the last minute, I’m sure to forget to tell you something!

About my two airpacks. Yes, I certainly would appreciate having them shipped over here to me as I fear that I shall be rather cramped for luggage space and, even with the addition of the two airpacks, I will more than likely have to purchase another trunk or something. It’s amazing (and a little frightening) what one can accumulate over a period of 3 1/2 years! Shipping them through our External Affairs supply depot sounds like a good idea, but I think you had better check to see when they will be shipped as they will probably be included in a supplies and stationery shipment to Bonn, and it might just happen that such a shipment would not coincide with my hoped-for and expected departure. If such should prove to be the case, perhaps you could ship them through ordinary mail channels (by ship, of course). That way, I would be sure to receive them within a month after they were sent.

I am hoping to bring my Volkswagen back to Canada with me as I feel sure it would be a wonderful little car to have at my disposal for charging back and forth between Kirkwood Avenue and Carleton U. I am planning on having a few things done to it over here (much cheaper this side of the Atlantic) such as having North American bumpers installed and having my divided rear window converted to a single window. I shall also probably purchase all new tires and have a bit of work done on the motor and perhaps a bit of fresh paint applied where necessary. The little car has nearly 98,000 km on it now and it is still operating like a gem. The big deciding factor as to whether or not I shall bring it back with me will be the shipping costs. I could not afford to bring it with me on the Homeric as that would cost approximately $300.00, but there is a German shipping firm that has, in the past, offered to ship Embassy cars to Montreal on freighters as ballast, the only cost involved being the sum of $38.50 to cover handling charges in Hamburg. Johnny York is making inquiries on behalf of both of our VW’s next week so we should know before very long where we stand on this matter.

I was very interested in your comments re: my proposed visit to Turkey. However, I really don’t think a little dirt will bother me too much as I have been in some pretty weird places in my travels and I’m now almost immune to that sort of thing. I shall remember, though, to take along lots of soap.

I do hope that the Toughs can manage to get over to Chez Nixon on Christmas Day, as I rather feel that this would be a form of repayment for the two magnificent Christmas Days that I spent with them here in Bonn. As a matter of fact, come to think of it, it seems that I very nearly lived there all year round! They are certainly wonderful people, and any hospitality you can extend to them and it will be equally appreciated by me.

Your trip to Western Canada sounds terrific, Dad, and your remark about “really spreading” yourself by taking a roomette brings to mind that I, too, am really spreading myself on my Christmas-in-London jaunt. I was booked into a “Deluxe Suite” on the ship coming back from London on the night of January 4th! This wasn’t quite what I had asked for, but it would take so long to change my reservation at this date that I decided to just leave it and live it up.

I received a letter from the Rivoires last week and they and Sylvia will be on the station platform when my train pulls in on the morning of December 24th. Both Bob and Joan have managed to get the week off between Christmas and New Year’s so, as Bob put it, “we should have a ball”. Bob had lunch with Sylvia last Monday in London and he assures me that she hasn’t changed a bit, still as bouncy as ever and still talking a blue streak. Sylvia’s show opened in London on Friday and the Rivoires sent her flowers and I sent her a telegram. Needless to say, I can hardly wait to get to London to see all the old gang again. I will definitely be seeing the Happys sometime during my stay and I shall pass on your best wishes to them.

My stove is, at long, long last, finally repaired and going full blast. The workmen appeared on the scene last Monday and worked at it all day long. Then, at 4:30 in the afternoon they discovered that they had installed the wrong part and had to come back again on Tuesday and do the work all over again. The first day or two that I have the fire going was pretty awful as the smoke had a tendency to pour into the living room rather than go up the chimney. However, the smoke is now departing by the correct route and my apartment is real cozy. Almost too cozy, as a matter of fact, because as soon as my furnace was repaired, we experienced some very mild weather which, I hope, shows no signs of letting up. Today, the sun even made a feeble attempt to come out, but soon gave up and we had rain. We have rain every single day. We have only had about two mornings when there was a wee bit of snow (about 1/16 of an inch) that soon turned to sleet and that, in turn, dissolved into rain. Very depressing.

I am enclosing with this letter, some colored prints that I have made off some of (what I consider) my best slides of Ibiza. I’ve numbered them on the back of each and they are as follows:

1. A view of the town of Ibiza taken from the boat as it arrived from Barcelona at 8 o’clock in the morning. The white houses in the foreground comprise what is known as the “new town” and are built on land reclaimed from the sea. The upper part of the city, or the “old town” is all walled in and you can see the ruins of a Roman fortress and the steeple of an ancient cathedral dominating the whole town.

2. A view of the bay and beach at Port des Torrents where I stayed for my first three weeks on the island. The three white houses in the background are the ones owned by the Thompson’s and we were staying in the house on the left in the picture.

3. This is a view taken from the roof of the house and shows the bay and beach and the open sea out further. The point of land you can see in the distance is known locally as “Little Gibraltar”.

4. This is the Thompson’s boatman, Juan, returning with the provisions from San Antonio, and shows him unloading the boat down at the beach. Note the clarity and colour of the water.

5. View of the town of San Antonio. I have been told by the photography shop where I have these prints made that this is a particularly excellent picture as, evidently, I have captured a difference between “sky blue” and “sea blue” and also managed to keep the buildings and boats pure white. They tell me that in most pictures with so much blue, there is a tendency for everything (including whites) to become the same shade of blue. Of course, I must confess that I wasn’t thinking about all that when I took the picture – it was just a lucky shot.

6. The bay of Portinatx on the northern tip of the island of Ibiza. This was another one of those lucky shots. There was a storm off in the distance (note the dark sky) but the sun was shining like fury where we were, causing a lovely contrast between sky and multi-multi-colored sunlit sea. This was truly a lovely scene to behold with the white yacht (Belgian) seemingly floating in air over a carpet of greens, turquoise, and many shades of blue.

7. And yet another “lucky shot” this time of a sunset, taken without any filters at all – a very dangerous practice with colour film as it has a tendency to absorb just the red or blue rays of the sun early in the morning or late at night. This was taken on the Mediterranean from a boat as we were returning from a day’s excursion to the bay of Portinatx.

Well, anyways, I hope you like them. [The original slides will be scanned and shared here after they have been shipped from Victoria in the next few weeks.]

I must get a letter off to Bob and Joan now, so will close this letter with best wishes for a very Merry Christmas and New Year’s season. My best to the Toughs and all friends you happen to see.

Lots of love, Dave

December 23, 1958

Dear Dad and Russ,

Well, my train leaves for London in exactly four hours from now, and needless to say, I am very, very excited at the prospect of renewing old acquaintances with a goodly representative portion of “that old gang of mine”.

Just thought I would take this moment to quote you the text of a telegram we received from Ottawa this morning:

“Simultaneous departure your mission of Miss Weishar, Mr. York and Mr. Nixon authorized. Accommodation as outlined Homeric ex leHavre May 20 approved.”

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

How’s that for a Christmas present? As I told you in an earlier letter, I had made tentative bookings for Phil Weishar, the Yorks and me on the Homeric sailing on May 20. Last Saturday morning the travel agency called me up to tell me that they regretted that every cabin we had asked for had already been booked, but that they were able to offer us alternative accommodation along the same lines but, as bookings were very tight, we would have to confirm them by Wednesday, December 24! So yesterday morning the Embassy fired a telegram off Ottawa-wards explaining the situation and telling them what accommodation was available, etc., and the above telegram was the reply from Ottawa. I shall have a double cabin (no. U-24) all to myself.

It sure feels nice to have a definite date to look forward to, I can tell you. The Yorks and Phil are very, very pleased with the way things are turning out.

Ottawa’s telegram, by the way, bore the security classification of “Restricted”. All communications dealing with personnel movements are considered classified inasmuch as Personnel Division would be swamped by requests for postings or complaints etc., if such information was public to all members of the department. In other words, nobody is supposed to know (in theory) of forthcoming vacancies or departures until such vacancies are truly vacant and such departures are truly effective.

But it is perfectly alright for you people to know about it now – Ottawa’s telegram makes it official. However, just in case word should get back to the department, I would appreciate it very much if you could answer all inquiries re: my return along the lines that I “expect to return perhaps in May sometime”.

At any rate I shall keep you posted on developments as they develop.

Oh, by the way, I wrote to George Howell months ago reminding him that I would be returning to Canada sometime around May or June of next year. I mentioned in this letter that I would like very much to spend my home leave someplace by a good old Canadian LAKE as that is one of the frustrations of living in Europe – no lakes. Well, I got a letter from George last week telling me that the family he knows in Toronto has a summer camp in the Haliburton region and that they have offered us a cabin for the whole month of June (or longer, if we want it) absolutely free of charge! George has asked for leave in June so what I think I’ll do will be spent a few days in Ottawa on my return getting unpacked and slightly organized and take off towards Haliburton (mit Volkswagen, I hope) for a month, before settling down in Ottawa.

Well, must do a little work now before starting the Christmas season.

Lots of love, Dave


Dief the Chief, Elmer and “Others”

January 27, 2013

October 14, 1958

Dear Dad and Russ,

This will just be a quicky as I am typing it during my lunch hour and really don’t have too much time to spare as of late what with preparations for Mr. Diefenbaker’s visit next month and all that sort of thing going on around here these days.

First of all, I received your letter of October 7th this morning with the enclosed clippings. I was absolutely delighted to hear about Sylvia’s good luck, even more so because I will be spending Christmas in London with Bob and Joan and undoubtedly we will all be together at that time. It will be like “Ottawa Week” in London. I sent one of the clippings onto the Rivoires as you suggested and asked them to try to get tickets for us all to see the show sometime around Christmas. Should be terrific.

I hate to ask you this, but could you do me a favour? Would you mind very much just sort of keeping an eye on my bank balance for me just in case I might have overdrawn it by a few dollars? I cashed a cheque here last week and I must confess I don’t think I took into consideration onto that $15.00 cheque I gave Russ or my $10.00 life insurance premium! I couldn’t swear to this, but I thought it might be a good idea to have you check with the bank just to avoid any embarrassment. It’s probably is all okay, but should there be any chance of an overdraft of a few dollars, could you cover it for me and let me know next letter?

Winter is beginning to set in here in Bonn now and with it dull days of almost continuous drizzle. Very depressing – makes me wish I had stayed in Ibiza.

And speaking of Ibiza, I received my coloured slides yesterday and they are indeed beautiful. After I label them and have a couple of showings on this side of the Atlantic, I’ll send them Ottawa-wards.

Well, must dash now, so please excuse shortness of this letter.

Lots of love, Dave

PS: I’m still very anxious to hear all about Russ and Pete’s trip. How about dropping me an “illustrated” letter, Russ, telling me all about it?

November 16, 1958

Dear Dad and Russ,

Well, about one visit from a Prime Minister in a lifetime is about all a person should be exposed to I feel, after last weekend’s whirlwind! Fortunately, Mr. Diefenbaker’s visit to Bonn went off without a hitch (in spite of the fact that his plane arrived an hour late) but not without much sweat, strain and toil by the Embassy staff here. We had set up our Communications Office on a 24-hour basis for five full days, being assisted by Frank Poulin from our Embassy in Brussels. And it was very fortunate for me that Frank was here because the chap I work with here, Albert Sauve, became ill on the Saturday morning of the PM’s visit and could not (and has not yet) come into work at all. Which meant that Frank and I had to cover off 24 hours a day between the two of us! A bit hectic, to say the least. But the real fun began after Frank returned to Brussels last Tuesday morning. Then the telegrams started pouring out of Bonn concerning Mr. Diefenbaker’s visit here and also about this latest Berlin tiff* which is making headline news these days in which, naturally, falls under our jurisdiction. As a matter of fact, come to think of it, today is absolutely the very first day I have not been in the Embassy for two solid weeks. Thus, the long delay in getting a letter off to you.

Mr. Diefenbaker’s tight schedule in Bonn did not permit him time to pay a call to the Embassy itself but I was fortunate enough to meet him privately in the hotel he was staying at in Bonn. That was last Sunday morning and I had gone into the hotel to help out a bit in the wee office we had set up in a room on the same floor as the Prime Minister’s party. A couple of the kids and I were just sitting around at the time, drinking coffee and waiting for something to happen when Mr. Diefenbaker came hustling in from church and greeted us all with: “Well, well, well, nice to see you all up so bright and early this Sunday morning!” (He didn’t know it, of course, but the truth of the matter was that I had also been up all night long doing his telegrams!) He stayed with us for a few minutes, exchanging pleasantries, etc., then breezed off to his next appointment. In spite of all the work involved, it was extremely interesting to be “behind the scenes” of a Prime Minister’s tour and to see all the things that have to be done in order to ensure a smooth-running itinerary. It was particularly interesting to talk with members of the Prime Minister’s party, from his private secretary right down to his valet, and to learn about all the funny things that have been happening so far at hotels, airports, etc. One person I particularly enjoyed meeting was Mr. Diefenbaker’s brother, Elmer, who is a truly “Will Rogers” type of character and is very much liked and admired by all the people involved in the tour.

John & Olive Diefenbaker with Chancellor Konrad Adenauer, Bonn, November 1958

John & Olive Diefenbaker with Chancellor Konrad Adenauer, Bonn, November 1958

John & Olive Diefenbaker with Ambassador Escott M. Reid and his wife, Ruth, Bonn, November 1958

John & Olive Diefenbaker with Ambassador Escott M. Reid and his wife, Ruth, Bonn, November 1958

Elmer Diefenbaker, the PM's older brother and advisor

Elmer Diefenbaker, the PM’s older brother and advisor

I was glad to get your note of November 5th, Dad, enclosing my bank balance, and also glad to hear that the bank “carried” me for a few moments on October 28th. That amount of $267.85 had me puzzled for a while too. A pleasant surprise when I found out that the Posting Loan that I had taken out before coming to Bonn, in order to buy my car, etc., has now been paid up in full and I shall now be getting just that much more money each month!

I shall be eagerly awaiting your account of the trip, Russ, and Pete has written to me a couple of times about his slides and he says that you’re doing the trip in installments. Good idea – however, don’t go to a lot of trouble, now. Just whenever you get the time.

I had a long, long letter from Bob and Joan last week and they’ve got all sorts of plans for the Christmas – New Year’s period when I’m in London. I shall be going to London on the night of December 23rd, arriving early next morning and staying right through until the night of January 4th. Really looking forward to it, I can tell you. The Rivoires have already got tickets for several good shows and gave me a list of suggested other shows that we might all try to see together.

Next April, I hope to take a wee jaunt down to Turkey for a month or so. One of our stenos here, Dorothy Gross, has been posted to Ankara effective next month, and naturally, there has been great interest in Turkey around the office as of late. Sounds like a terrific country to visit and as one of my best friends here is with the Turkish Embassy, I feel as if I know enough about the country to whet my tourist appetite! Tentatively, my plans are to take a train down to Vienna where I shall visit some Australian and American friends of mine for a few days around Easter, then take a bus from Vienna to Athens, stopping overnight at Belgrade, Yugoslavia and Salonika, Macedonia (northern Greece). I would then probably meet Dot in Athens and we would take a boat to Istanbul then on to Ankara by train. However, time will tell. The Rivoires are also interested in an Italian holiday with me around April.

The following information is strictly for Nixon Eyes Only: the Yorks and I are now starting negotiations here to get us all aboard the SS Homeric which departs from Le Havre on May 20, 1959 and arrives in Montreal on May 28th! We may, however, leave from Southhampton on May 21st instead (the Homeric goes from Le Havre to Southhampton before heading for Canada) as the Yorks are rather anxious to see London again before going home. The reason I mention that this is for Nixon Eyes Only is that May 20th is slightly before we are actually due to go home, but for personal reasons, both Johnny and I are slightly fed up with certain things (and people) at the Embassy here and are most anxious to leave here as soon as possible. External affairs doesn’t know about this, of course, but we shall be advising them possibly early in January. The reasons for Johnny and I both being fed up, by the way, are a bit difficult to explain in a letter but I’ll just say that our once “happy home away from home” has undergone some rather drastic changes in the past few months and the arrival of some particularly objectionable types from Ottawa haven’t helped things very much.** Like the old saying goes, it only takes a couple of bad apples to spoil the barrel!! However, it won’t be long now to go so we are trying not to give the matter too much serious thought.

My little stove here in the apartment is still on the fritz and I spend most of my time lately huddled up against a wonderful little electric heater I borrowed from the Embassy. I reported my broken stove well over a month ago, but in true European fashion, nothing has been done about it as yet. The weather lately, incidentally, is ghastly – rains continuously and is foggy all day long. Grey skies all the time.

Must take a bath now and get a fairly early night.

Lots of love, Dave

* Premier Khrushchev had just announced that the USSR wished to terminate the Four-Power Agreement on the status of Berlin. The Plan was rejected by the Western Powers on December 3.

** The new Ambassador, Escott Meredith Reid, was apparently much, MUCH stuffier than Charles Ritchie. David’s later description of Ambassador Reid was that of “the stuffed shirt’s stuffed shirt”.

November 20, 1958

Dear Dad and Russ,

Just a wee note to answer your letter of November 16 which I received this morning.

I was vastly amused by the CBC report of my having met the Queen – however, I assure you that it was another David Nixon who actually had that honour! David Nixon (the other one) is a very famous British TV star and every time I go to London I always run up against the odd skeptic who doesn’t believe that I am David Nixon too! Even outside of London, I am always being introduced to English people who invariably say something like: “Not THE David Nixon” or “My word!” or “Jolly good – but what is your name, really?” So you can see that this is not the first time I’ve had identity trouble on the side of the Atlantic.

I shall look forward to receiving the final version of your short story cum essay, Russ, when you get time to finish it.

This morning was a good day for mail for me! I received an enormous five-page letter from (believe it or not) Bill Glenn!! Good old Bill. A good deal of his letter was devoted to thanking me for the nice time he had over here in 1956 – oh well – better late than never, I suppose. Bill is quite excited about his new venture and his letter was written on very attractive letterhead embossed with “Bill Glenn’s School of Drama” and all that sort of thing. Bill and I have often had our little differences of opinion over the past 12 years or so, but as you once said Dad, I guess old friends are the best friends after all.

Another great fat envelope received this morning had, as the return address: “S. Tysick, C/O West Side Story Co., the Opera House, Manchester, Eng.” Sylvia had enclosed three voluminous letters dating from last April 15 up to November last week. It was terrific hearing from her again, you can well imagine. Her show moves to London on December 12th and, as I think I told you, Bob and Joan and I have tickets to see it around Christmas time. Sylvia is absolutely thrilled with her part and the newspaper reports know no bounds of praise for the show. She enclosed a clipping with her letter and it was from a Manchester newspaper which said: “Nothing like it has been seen in Manchester since ‘Oklahoma’ opened at the same theatre 11 years ago.” The article also says in one paragraph: “A tiny Canadian redhead, 23-year-old Sylvia Tysick as the little girl who wants to be ‘in on the act’ often comes near to stealing the show.” When you consider that there are about 35 or so in the cast and Sylvia was one of about four people mentioned in the whole write-up, this praise is really tops!

Well, must dash now and get back to work.

Lots of love, Dave

Sylvia Tysick in her role of "Anybody's", West Side Story, Manchester, 1958

Sylvia Tysick in her role of “Anybody’s”, West Side Story, Manchester, 1958


From Ibiza to Bonn, via Madrid

January 26, 2013
David's postcard from Ibiza

David’s postcard from Ibiza

September 7, 1958

Dear Dad,

Having a glorious time loafing, swimming and riding a bike I rented for 35¢ a day! Truly a paradise – lives up to all its expectations. Will drop you another card later.

Love, Dave

David's postcard from Madrid

David’s postcard from Madrid

September 23, 1958

Dear Dad & Russ,

I’m visting Madrid for a week then returning to Ibiza for another week before heading back to Bonn. All going well and I’m having a good rest.

Love, Dave

[While David was in Ibiza, regular air service to the mainland began, so, once again, he was in the right place at the right time and experienced a special place before the hordes (tourist or military) descended.]

October 9, 1958

Dear Dad & Russ,

As you’ll see from this letter, I’m back in Bonn again after one of the most glorious holidays I’ve ever spent! It was truly superb and, strangely enough, a very difficult one to try to describe to anyone by letter. I suppose that’s because it was more or less an “atmospheric” type of holiday – that is, a person would really have to be there to get the full appreciation of the atmosphere of life on Ibiza.

And what a life! Swimming, sunning, boating, bicycling, walking and visiting funny little “bodegas” (Cafes?) in the evening and listening to guitar music and singing. I did a lot of “skin diving” in Ibiza, having purchased a pair of rubber flippers, face mask and snorkel. I always was a far better swimmer underwater than above anyways, so this new type of sport suited me to a “T”. This “skin diving” is quite fantastic – like discovering a whole new world.

My itinerary was as follows: for the first three weeks I was staying at the private villa of an English couple who are friends of a Canadian friend of mine at our Embassy in Madrid [Gwen Bottoms]. These three weeks were particularly wonderful as their villa was secluded enough to be nice and quiet and yet only 20 minutes by boat to the town of San Antonio. There was a delightful little beach with top swimming just in front of the villa. Then, I went to Madrid for a week and, while there, took a day’s tour out to Toledo. And the last week was spent in the Hotel Bahia in San Antonio (cost me $2.00 a day – full pension!). While not quite as restful as the first three weeks, this last week was terrific fun – I made all sorts of wonderful friends.

I think the best way to describe Ibiza to you is to wait until I get my coloured slides back and then send them to you so you can see for yourself what a beautiful spot it is.

Judging from reports here at the Embassy, Russ and Pete must have had quite a good holiday too. Our receptionist is still talking about the two black beards that appeared at the Embassy one day. And the Yorks tell me that you all had quite a night out on the town. By the way, how did the car run? It’s really running well for me now and I must thank you for filling up the tank when you left it. Also thanks for filling up the refrigerator. Be sure to let me know, Russ,how your trip went.

Well, as I’m typing this at work, I guess I’ll have to cut it short as we are apt to get into a bit of a flap at any moment. As you know, Mr. Diefenbaker is due over here next month, so needless to say, we are all up to our necks in preparatory work. Will write again soon.

Lots of love, Dave


Who’s Going Where?

January 26, 2013

August 12, 1958

Dear Dad and Russ,

First of all: HAPPY BIRTHDAY DAD! Sure hope it’s been a wonderful day for you.

I received your wonderful letters of August 3rd yesterday morning and was very pleased to hear the plans for this year’s “invasion of Europe” are going so smoothly. I immediately got out my map of Europe and located the town of Seeweisen, about 85 km north of Graz in Austria. I also noted the nearby “mountain of interest” is the “Hochschwab” (2278 metres). I was reassured by your letter that the “foot paths” are provided for beginners “and the top of the Alp can be reached by this means”. Sounds like a glorious way to spend a vacation!

Strangely enough, I also received a long-awaited letter from George yesterday morning. As I had suspected, he had been away from Toronto on rotational duty since May 15th, interviewing and signing up army recruits. He says he has been terribly busy and is having quite a struggle getting his leave. However, he has been promised 30 days leave beginning immediately after Labour Day so he still hopes to make it over here after all. In any case, he is going to let me know, either by letter or telegram, near the end of this month whether or not he is definitely coming. So, I’m afraid that this point, I can’t give you a definite “yes” or “no” as to whether I’ll be able to accompany you up an Alp. However, as I said before, I’ll still be in Bonn on September 1st in any case, so come on ahead and will make our plans from here.

Incidentally, I mentioned in a recent letter to Bob and Joan your impending European jaunt and they wrote right back telling me that I was to offer you their assistance when you are in London this year. It would be nice, I think, to at least look them up while you’re there. In case you haven’t got it, their address is: 1 Upper Addison Gardens, London W.14 (that’s in Kensington) and their phone number is PARk 6776.

I’ve accumulated a grand total of 77 hours overtime during the past six weeks so as you can well imagine, I’m just about ready for my holidays too! Not too bad the last little while though since I’ve replaced Marcel Belanger in the Registry. Bill Jenkins asked me to send you his best regards.

We been having some pretty rough weather over here. Can’t complain though, because we are surely getting our share of the sunshine this year. Only trouble is just keep getting hotter and hotter all the time when – SWISH! – a big storm comes up from nowhere and blows half of Germany down! Fortunately, no damage done to my apartment with the exception of a few shingles blown off the roof and one or two big trees in the neighbourhood were deposited in the middle of the road.

Russ, could you do me a favor and bring along a LARGE bottle of Old Spice aftershave lotion next month? Would also appreciate it muchly if you could pop into the Bank of Montreal and pick me up two or three cheque books (knowing how I like to write cheques, I figure I should have a supply on hand!)

Well, I’m aiming at an early night tonight and because I still must take a bath, I’m afraid I must close this effort off for now. Hope to hear from you soon again, Russ.

Lots of love, Dave

PS: Did I mention that Mr. Towe had written to Ottawa asking whether I could get a four-year leave of absence from the department in order to attend university? Well, the answer came back last week Tuesday to the effect that they regret this is not possible. So, looks like I’ll be making a clean break from External next year if I go to Carleton. Incidentally, I’ve been “toying” with the idea of a journalism course. However, we shall see.

Dave

August 19, 1958

Dear Dad and Russ,

This won’t be much of a letter but I must tell you about a very amusing incident that occurred last night while it’s still fresh in my mind.

The phone rang about 7:30 and when I answered the operator asked me if this was Bad Godesberg 12567. I admitted it and she asked me to hold on for a moment. There was a pause then muffled instructions to “Please drop some more shillings into the phone.” Pause. “Clink, clink, clink, clink, clink, etc., etc., etc. Pause. “Go ahead please”. Pause. “Oh, you must push the button first please.” Pause. “Push the button please.” Pause. “Clink, clink, clink, etc.” Pause. “Now, push the button please.” Pause. “Please – push the button!” Pause. “CLUNK! (Rattle, rattle)”. Pause. “Hello, is that you Dave?”

You guessed it – it was Pete calling me from “a little pub (I think he said) someplace in ——-shire” (never did figure out what “shire” he said he was phoning from). However, the reason he phoned was to tell me that, because of unexpected and extremely high extra expenses involved (i.e., insurance, red tape getting out of England, etc.) he was not going to buy his car as planned previously. He is going on to Norway though (somehow) and still plans on arriving here on September 1st. But he was wondering about whether or not I was going to go to Austria with the Alpine Expedition or go to Spain with my car. Well, the answer to both those questions is “no” but the Alpine Expedition is still on – and in my car! Confused? Here’s what’s happening.

I shall drive up to Düsseldorf on September 1st around 11:30 in the morning to meet you Russ (and possibly Pete too, although he made no mention as to how or exactly when he was planning to arrive in Germany). Then, if you and Pete would be good enough to drive me up to the Wahn airport (halfway between Cologne and Bonn) on Tuesday morning September 2nd at 10:15 in the morning, the car is all yours for as long as you want it! You see, I have now decided to spend my holiday loafing in the sunshine on a sandy beach on the Balearic island of Ibiza (pronounced Ee-BEE-tha) off the coast of Spain in the Mediterranean. I fly from Wahn to Barcelona on September 2nd, then on September 3rd I catch a boat bound for Ibiza that leaves Barcelona at seven in the evening and arrives on the island at 8 a.m. the next morning. I shall be staying at a little village called San Antonio Abad which is described by the guide books and also by one of our German translators at the Embassy, who spent two weeks there, as “paradise”. It honestly sounds just too good to be true, with wonderful sandy bathing beaches, palm and pine trees, colourful and extremely friendly inhabitants and “better weather than anywhere else in the Balearics”. The cost of this Garden of Eden is about $3.00 a day which includes a room at a good, clean hotel and three excellent meals a day! Even I can afford that!

Must get to bed now. See you on the 1st!

Lots of love, Dave

PS: Russ, would you be good enough to bring me two bottles (plastic if available) of SKOL suntan lotion?

Dave

[It seems that George Howell was a no-show.]

Barcelona Postcard

David’s postcard from Barcelona, September 2, 1958

Sept. 2/58

Dear Dad,

This will just let you know that Russ & Pete arrived yesterday on schedule and that this morning we all went our respective ways. I just arrived Barcelona so haven’t seen much – weather is like Phnom Penh – really hot! Will write again once settled on Ibiza.

Dave


Spain with George – Yes or No?

January 25, 2013

July 9, 1958

Dear Dad and Russ,

I sure meant to write you folks last week but time did not permit so this will have to be a rather belated “thanks” for the wonderful parcel. Couldn’t have done better Russ – those shirts are terrific and just exactly what I had in mind. As for not being “no-iron” that doesn’t matter at all – I just happened to see some of that kind of shirt advertised in an American magazine over here and was wondering if they were yet available in Canada. Also the flints and razor blades filled the bill to an “T”. And speaking of “T” I was wondering if the T-shirts (Fruit of the Loom) are perhaps on their way in another parcel or maybe you can’t get them in Ottawa?

Still haven’t heard a word from George as to whether or not he still plans on “doing” Spain with me in September. I am beginning to wonder if maybe he has been transferred from Toronto or something.

Terribly terribly busy these days as my associate (Albert) has been on three weeks’ leave and is now in Paris on a month’s temporary duty. Oh well – it’s all pensionable time I guess.

Sorry this is just a note but must get back to the grind. Thanks again for the shopping and give all my best to all old Bonn-ers who are presently residing in Ottawa.

Lots of love, Dave

PS: Got a postcard from Sylvia last week and she’s doing summer stock in Pennsylvania. She is coming over again next April and, as I had planned to take one last, long European holiday, I suspect we shall be motoring down to Italy together.

D.

July 1958 telegram

July 17, 1958

Dear Dad and Russ,

The moral to this story is “Never take your car into a conscientious German garage for a routine check-up between paydays”.

Bearing in mind the fact that I intend to take my VW either to Spain or Austria this year, and because my muffler was slightly noisy, I decided yesterday to take my car into the garage for a general checkup and a new muffler. Russ, you would have really appreciated the efficiency with which they handle cars at a big VW garage over here – first of all you drive up a glass-encased office (like the ticket booth at a drive-in theatre) and they issue you with a number; you then drive on into the main yard of the garage where a white-coated attendant interviews the drivers by number priority. When you have finished telling the white-coated attendant what’s wrong with your car, he whistles up a car-jockey who whisks the car away. Real sharp. Well, anyways, once this VW garage got my car up on the blocks, they discovered all sorts of things wrong with it including the necessity to install a complete new front axle assembly or something and also a new brake system. The reason I took my car into the garage for the new muffler is only going to cost about DM 22 ($5.50) but those other little incidentals are going to bring my bill up to between $80.00 and $100.00!! Thus, the telegram of today’s date requesting financial aid from the Royal Bank of Nixon. I am enclosing a $100.00 cheque dated August 1 for repayment. While all of this is a bit of a shock all at once, I really don’t feel too badly about it inasmuch as I have spent the grand total of only $3.50 in maintenance on my car during the past year. That was for a new indicator-arm.

1953 VW turn signal "indicator arm" - famous for sticking

1953 VW turn signal “indicator arm” – famous for sticking

I went to the dentist a few weeks ago to have some maintenance done on my teeth and I was very pleasantly surprised when he discovered just one filling to be done! This was the first time I had been to a dentist in almost four years so needless to say I was expecting the worst.

Summer has long last arrived in Europe. We’ve been having some glorious sunny weather of late with temperatures in the 80s. Just a bit too humid for my liking though.

Must dash now as I’ve got quite a lot of work to do and I’m typing this on Embassy time. Hope my telegram doesn’t cause you a lot of trouble.

Lots of love, Dave

July 25, 1958

Dear Dad and Russ,

I certainly meant to write you before this, but what with current world affairs being in such a mess, we foreign service types have been in an almost continuous “flap” for the past week. I’ve chalked up nearly 40 hours overtime (just about six days leave) since July 1 and there’s every indication that I’ll have more overtime to my credit before the end of the month. However, for some inexplicable reason, things seem to have quietened down, for the moment, at least. [The “flap”: On July 15th, 5,000 United States Marines landed in Beirut to protect the pro-Western government.]

I think you might like to know that I now have a VW to beat all VWs! I’m not kidding, it’s honestly just like a new car. When I picked it up at the garage last Friday, I asked the man if, perhaps, it might be okay to take the car on a long trip in September, he replied: “Mr. Nixon, that car can now go anywhere”. People have always told me that 1953 was a good year for VWs and I’m inclined to agree with them.

I have here your letter of July 13 and I’m delighted to hear that Russ and Pete have “firmed up” their travel plans. As I haven’t heard a word from George as yet, I must assume that something has come up and he won’t be coming over after all. So I think I can pretty definitely say that I will be able to accompany you guys (with VW) on your jaunt to Austria. However, even if George does appear at the last minute and we do go to Spain after all, I will definitely still be in Bonn as of September 1, because my leave doesn’t start until then and I’m sure that George will want to spend a few days here before we take off. From your letter I take it that Pete will be meeting Russ at the Düsseldorf airport on September 1 in his car. Is this correct? If not, just let me know and I’ll hop up to the airport to meet you, Russ. However, if Pete does meet you, your best bet to get to my place is as follows: when you leave the airport, look for the “Autobahn” signs. Follow them until you see a sign saying “Autobahn Frankfurt” or “Autobahn Köln” – be sure you got on the autobahn heading south, else you’ll have to drive for miles before you can turn around again. Once you do get on the autobahn heading south, just carry on until you see a turn-off marked either “Siebengebirge” or “Königswinter” – that’s where you should leave the autobahn. This turn-off, by the way, is after the Bonn turn-off so don’t leave the autobahn too soon. When you get off the autobahn keep following the road to Königswinter – it’s a very windy road through the hills. When you get to Königswinter you’ll see signs pointing the way to the “Rhein Fahre” or “Wagen Fahre” which is (naturally) the car ferry across the Rhine. This will deposit you on the other side of the Rhine about 100 yards from my front door. You’ll recognize my place, Russ, when you see it. Should you require elaboration on these instructions, just drop me a line and I’ll be glad to give you further details. Just in case you get lost – my phone number at home is Bad Godesberg 12567.

If this glorious summer weather but we are having now keeps up, we should have a wonderful trip this year. This is by far the nicest summer I’ve spent in Europe.

I had a very interesting day last Sunday. Marilyn Philp, who is our newest steno, invited me along to visit a friend of hers who used to live in Toronto with Marilyn’s grandmother. He’s a young German chap about our own age who lives in a little town called Höhr-Grenzhausen which is only other side of the Rhine between Koblenz and the autobahn. Gerd (Marilyn’s friend) lives with his mother and father (Mr. and Mrs. Kessler) in a beautiful home with a garden the size of a small park. The Kesslers, by the way, have been in the ceramic business for over 400 years! Gerd Kessler is engaged to a charming girl from Dresden. Well, anyways, the six of us spent the whole day visiting what is known as the “Schuetzenfest” – an annual festival of marksmanship. There were wonderful parades with terrific German bands during the morning and then in the afternoon the whole town went off into the woods to a clearing way up high overlooking the surrounding countryside. There they had a rifle range set up and also a pavilion where beer and sausages were the order of the day. The band continued to play all afternoon. There was a great ceremony where they chose the new “king” of the festival – this is accomplished by all the marksmen taking a shot at a wooden bird and the first one to shoot it down becomes the “king” for a whole year. In the evening there was a torchlight parade to the home of the new king and all the townspeople had to pay “homage” to their new monarch. This was followed by a dance in the town hall. Well, it was after one in the morning when the dance broke up so the Kesslers invited Marilyn and I to spend the night – which we gladly did. We were up at 5:30 Monday morning and drove back to Bonn after breakfast, arriving here around 8 a.m. Needless to say we were both pretty weary all day Monday, but we both figured it was well worth it.

Well, I guess that’s just about it for today. Be sure to let me know, Russ, whether or not Pete will be meeting your plane. I’m looking forward to your visit very much. Too bad you can’t come along too, Dad, but I expect Camp “Y” – vacated – will be a pretty welcome sight after a hectic summer.

Lots of love, Dave


Cars & More Travel Plans

January 21, 2013

May 29, 1958

Dear Dad & Russ,

The day after I mailed you my last letter (in which I think I said: “Hope you haven’t changed your mind about buying a VW”), I received your letter of May 4 containing THE NEWS about your acquiring a 1955 Bel Air. Well, you’ll both be glad to know that I approve! Next to a VW I guess the Bel Air is one of the nicest cars on the road. I was visiting Norm and Helen Mains last Sunday afternoon (and evening – they insisted that I stay for chicken dinner) and when I told him that you have bought a Bel Air they were very interested. They have a 1954 Bel Air themselves and think it’s a terrific car. Norm insisted that I take a trial spin in his car just to see what kind of car you guys are driving back home. After I have not used to all that nonsense up front (motor, fenders, etc.) I must admit it was just about the smoothest car I’ve ever driven. And that automatic transmission! WOW! Took me a little while to get on to it (I was forever trying to change gears with the turn signal!) but once I realized that the car wouldn’t stall at every stop sign it was pretty smooth sailing.

1955 Chev Bel AIr

1955 Chev Bel AIr

Not really very much to write about these days is everything over here is pretty quiet. I spent May 10-11 in London with Bob and Joan. On the Thursday of that week I received a letter from them in which they just casually mentioned that they had moved into a new flat in Kensington and were having a few kids over on Saturday night, the 10th for a bit of a housewarming party. So, on the spur of the moment, I just decided to go up to London and “crash” the party! I left here on Friday night and after two trains and a boat, arrived in London at 9:15 Saturday morning. I don’t think I’ll ever forget the expression on Bob’s face when he answered the doorbell and saw me there!! Anyways, it was a wonderful weekend and a terrific party. And you should just see the Rivoires’ new apartment! It’s simply fabulous – absolutely the nicest apartment I’ve seen since coming to Europe. It’s on a lovely residential street in the heart of Kensington and their landlord is Dutch and his wife is American. The apartment has always been occupied by Americans (including General Mark Clark, according to Bob) so you can well imagine that it has all sorts of little advantages and conveniences not present in the average European apartment. By the way, Joan has adjusted to her father’s death very well.

I had two houseguests here last Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. They were Harry Morrison and Gerry Emon, both from our office in Geneva. Harry’s our Communications chap in Geneva and Gerry is one of the security guards. We had a lot of fun while they were here and Gerry is a tremendous cook so, needless to say, we ate like kings. I now have a standing invitation to drop into Geneva anytime I would like to so if George Howell and I pass through there on our way to or from Spain in September, our accommodation problem is now solved!

With the exception of Spain, I have no definite plans for any other holidays this summer. However, I’m planning on five days in Berlin around the end of June or first of July and, if possible, I might dash over to Brussels sometime during the summer to take in the World’s Fair. I was planning on going to Corsica either late this year or early next year. The reason I picked Corsica for a holiday was because nobody ever goes there and you never hear anything much about it. Of course, the moment I start thinking of going to Corsica they would have to have a revolution, so that’s out now I guess. Maybe I’ll just go down to Capri next winter and loaf in the sunshine.

Do you ever hear of or from Sylvia these days? She seems to have vanished in New York. The last I heard from her was in February when she sent me a Valentine’s card and wrote: “Will write soon – have exciting news!” Oh well, I suppose I’ll be hearing from her one of these days. Sylvia has a funny habit of writing her letters a bit a time or writing two or three letters and mailing them all at once. The last real letter I got from her was 32 pages long and covered a three months’ period!!

On Saturday, June 7, I have been asked to attend the christening of Michael Small, Doug and Helen’s baby son. The Smalls continue to be wonderful friends and I’m over there quite a lot. Helen’s mother is visiting with them at present. Helen, by the way, has made me promise to say to myself, every morning when I wake up: “I am going back to college when I get home”. And you know what? I just might do that after all. However, we shall see how things work out and how I feel on the subject next summer.

Goodness, next summer seems so close! It’s hard to believe that, as of June 1, I will have been here in Bonn for exactly 2 1/2 years. Time sure flies.

Speaking of time flying, it’s getting on towards midnight so I really must call it a day and get to bed now.

Lots of love, Dave

PS: just thought of something. Do you think you could send me a parcel containing a few “unobtainables”? There are a few things that I am running out of which cannot be bought at all over here. They are:

  1. Eversharp Schick injector razor blades – I would like about six injectors. (Shades of Indochina!)
  2. Ronson “Redskin” flints – about six packages of these. We can only get Ronson “Firebronze” flints over here and they are not so hot, I find.
  3. “Fruit of the Loom ” T-shirts – I think four of these would be enough – size 38 (medium). You might mention to whoever you buy these from that as far as I’m concerned these are the best T-shirts on the market. I’ve had one now for about four years the collar hasn’t stretched one centimetre! The only trouble is that my cleaning woman boils all my laundry twice a week my last remaining T-shirt just fell apart last week as a result of being “boiled to death”!

Well, anyways, if it’s not too much trouble I sure would appreciate getting these few things. Let me know the total cost and I’ll send you a check to pay for them.

Dave

JUNE 9, 1958

DEAR DAD AND RUSS,

SORRY FOR THE PECULIAR APPEARANCE OF THIS LETTER, BUT I AM TYPING IT AT WORK ON A COMMUNICATIONS TYPEWRITER WHICH (AS YOU CAN SEE) ONLY TYPES IN CAPS. HOPE IT DOESN’T GIVE YOU EYE-STRAIN TRYING TO READ IT!

WELL, FIRST OF ALL, YOUR LETTERS OF JUNE 4TH!!! WOW!!!! WAS I EVER TICKLED TO HEAR ABOUT RUSS AND PETE PLANNING TO INVADE THE CONTINENT THIS YEAR! I’VE ALERTED THE EMBASSY GANG AND WE’RE ALREADY MAKING PLANS FOR A BIG PARTY WHEN YOU GET TO BONN. I AM GO-AHEAD NOW AND ANSWER RUSS’S NUMBERED QUESTIONS WHICH WOULD GIVE YOU AN IDEA OF HOW THINGS MIGHT WORK OUT:

  1. MY PLANS FOR HOLIDAYS THIS YEAR: I MUST STAY IN BONN UNTIL THE END OF AUGUST SO AS TO ACCOMMODATE OTHER PEOPLE’S LEAVE PLANS. HOWEVER, I’VE BOOKED THE WHOLE MONTH OF SEPTEMBER AND THE FIRST WEEK OF OCTOBER FOR MYSELF. AS FAR AS DEFINITE PLANS ARE CONCERNED, I AM STILL WAITING PATIENTLY TO HEAR FROM GEORGE HOWELL TO CONFIRM THAT HE IS STILL PLANNING ON VISITING EUROPE THIS FALL (SEPTEMBER) AND IF SO, WE ARE HOPING TO TAKE A SMALL JOURNEY SOUTH TO THE CÔTE D’AZUR, BARCELONA, MADRID, LISBON, GIBRALTAR, NORTH AFRICA (TANGIERS) THEN BACK NORTH ALONG THE SPANISH RIVIERA. OUR MILITARY ATTACHE (COL. DEANE-FREEMAN) JUST CAME BACK TODAY AFTER DOING PRECISELY THE SAME TRIP IN MERELY THREE WEEKS AND HE SAID IT WAS NOTHING LESS THAN TERRIFIC. THERE WAS ALSO SOME TALK BETWEEN GEORGE AND I ABOUT POSSIBLY GOING FIRST TO VENICE AND APPROACHING THE CÔTE D’AZUR ACROSS NORTHERN ITALY.
  2. LEAVE IN SEPTEMBER? YUP – THE WHOLE MONTH.
  3. WOULD I CONSIDER JOINING YOU ON THE GERMANO-AUSTRIAN PART OF YOUR TOUR? WILL ALL DEPEND ON WHETHER OR NOT GEORGE STILL INTENDS TO COME OVER. IF HE CAN’T MAKE IT, THEN I WOULD BE ABSOLUTELY DELIGHTED TO ACCOMPANY YOU.
  4. (A) USE OF MY CAR: GRANTING I WILL NOT BE MAKING SAID SPANISH TRIP WITH GEORGE, I WOULDN’T CONSIDER TRAVELING IN ANYTHING ELSE THAN MY VW! AS YOU WELL KNOW, RUSS, A VW IS THE CAR FOR THOSE MOUNTAIN “SHORTCUTS”. (B) NO, YOU’RE NOT ASKING TOO MUCH AS I LOVE TO TRAVEL ALL OVER THE PLACE!
  5. WOULD I WANT TO TRAVEL THE SAME CIRCUIT? ONCE AGAIN, GRANTING THAT OLD GEORGE DOESN’T APPEAR, I WOULDN’T REALLY MIND TOO MUCH TAKING THE SAME TRIP AGAIN THIS YEAR. HOWEVER, QUITE FRANKLY, AS THIS WILL PROBABLY BE MY LAST LONG TRIP IN EUROPE, I WOULD PREFER TO SEE SOMETHING NEW THIS TIME.

THIS IS REALLY A BIT OF A THING AS EVERYTHING SORT OF HINGES ON WHETHER OR NOT GEORGE IS COMING OR NOT AS WE TENTATIVELY PLANNED THIS TRIP BEFORE GEORGE LEFT EUROPE TWO YEARS AGO. BUT I HAVEN’T HEARD FROM HIM SINCE CHRISTMAS AS HE HATES TO WRITE LETTERS. HOWEVER, AT CHRISTMAS HE DID SAY THAT HE STILL PLANS TO “DO” SPAIN WITH ME THIS YEAR BUT SO FAR I HAVEN’T BEEN ABLE TO GET ANY DEFINITE DATES OUT OF HIM. I DO HAVE A PLAN THOUGH. WHEN AND IF GEORGE DOES GET HERE HE STILL WANTS TO GO FIRST OF ALL TO VENICE, THEN WE CAN PERHAPS TRAVEL THAT FAR TOGETHER IN BOTH CARS, I MEAN AT LEAST AS FAR AS INNSBRUCK, THEN YOU AND PETE COULD DASH OFF TO VIENNA WHILE GEORGE AND I MAKE FOR SPAIN. ALTERNATIVELY, WOULD YOU TWO BE INTERESTED IN ACCOMPANYING US ON OUR TOUR OF SPAIN, PORTUGAL, TANGIERS, ETC.?

WHATEVER YOU DECIDE, I HOPE IT WILL BE POSSIBLE FOR YOU TO SPEND A DAY OR TWO (OR AS LONG AS YOU LIKE) IN BONN. I IMAGINE GEORGE WILL WANT TO LINGER AROUND HERE FOR A DAY OR TWO AT LEAST TO RENEW OLD ACQUAINTANCES AND IF YOU TWO COULD MANAGE TO ARRIVE BEFORE WE TAKE OFF ON OUR TRIP IT WOULD BE TERRIFIC. FAILING THIS, HOWEVER, YOU WILL FIND THE KEYS TO MY APARTMENT AT THE EMBASSY WHEN YOU GET TO BONN SO YOU CAN MAKE IT YOUR EUROPEAN HEADQUARTERS WHILE YOU’RE OVER HERE. JUST THOUGHT OF ANOTHER IDEA. IF YOU COULD TAKE YOUR LEAVE DURING THE LAST WEEK OF AUGUST AND FIRST TWO WEEKS OF SEPTEMBER, THEN I WOULD BE SURE TO SEE YOU.

I GUESS THAT JUST ABOUT COVERS IT. LET ME KNOW WHAT YOU DECIDE AND I’LL GET WORKING ON GEORGE TO GET DEFINITE DATES FROM HIM. NOW I KNOW HOW COOK’S MUST FEEL WHEN THEY’RE TRYING TO ARRANGE TOURS FOR PEOPLE IN THREE DIFFERENT CITIES ON TWO DIFFERENT CONTINENTS!

DAD, YOUR BONN PICNIC AT CAMP “Y” SOUNDS TERRIFIC I HOPE IT CAME OFF OKAY. OF COURSE, TO BE AN AUTHENTIC “BONN PICNIC” YOU MUST HAVE HAD RAIN – DID YOU? ALSO, THANKS FOR LOOKING AFTER THOSE “UNOBTAINABLES” FOR ME.

HAD A VERY HECTIC TIME LAST SATURDAY. FIRST OF ALL I ATTENDED THE CHRISTENING OF THE SMALL’S BABY BOY. HELEN’S MOTHER, AS I THINK I TOLD YOU, IS VISITING WITH THEM. THEN FOLLOWING THAT A VISIT TO THE JENKINS, THEN SUPPER WITH THE BLACKBURNS AND FINALLY A HOUSEWARMING PARTY AT THE ELLIOTTS (BUCK’S REPLACEMENT). SO AS YOU CAN SEE, NO LACK OF SOCIAL LIFE IN THESE PARTS.

MUST CLOSE FOR NOW AND TRY TO GET A LETTER OFF TO GEORGE TO TRY TO CLEAR UP OUR TRAVEL ARRANGEMENTS FOR THE COMING FALL.

LOTS OF LOVE, DAVE


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