April in Paris and Bonn

April 14, 1958

Dear Dad and Russ,

HAPPY BIRTHDAY RUSS!! Hope it’s been a good one.

I’ve really been too busy to write much lately as I’ve been replacing Marcel Belanger in the Registry for over two weeks now. Marcel was supposed to be back from leave today but as he has just moved into a new house here, he decided to take a few more days off in order to get settled in. I was over at his place all day yesterday helping unpack dishes, etc., and though it was a lot of work, Marcel and his wife and myself really enjoyed ourselves quite a lot. However, I will be glad when he’s back at work as that Registry is quite the busy place to try to run by one’s self!

New arrival in our Embassy is Betty Gravelle who used to work in Passport Office in Ottawa along with Bob and Joan and Bill Jenkins. Betty’s a very sweet person and I’m sure will fit right in with the gang here. Betty, by the way, is the girl who issued you guys with passports when you came over here last fall. She remembers you very well Dad and says that you used to drop in occasionally with news of the Rivoires.

Well, Paris was just wonderful! We had absolutely lousy weather as it rained most of the time and on Easter Friday we had snow, but that didn’t dampen our spirits one little bit! Dorothy and I met Bob and Joan right on schedule at our hotel on Thursday night and then we went out for a few hours to “explore” the town. The hotel was quite nice by the way – just one block from the Arc and I could see the Eiffel Tower from my window. Both Dot and I have been to Paris before, so naturally we saw many things that we had already seen but it was loads of fun to be with Bob and Joan and watch their reactions at seeing things for the first time. A “first” for me was a visit to the Louvre Museum where we saw the “Mona Lisa”, the “winged Victory” and the “Venus de Milo”. All very lovely but somehow we all got the impression that we have seen them before! And did we ever eat in Paris!! One evening we devoted 2½ hours to consuming an eight-course meal complete with an aperitif, snails, fish, steak, potatoes, vegetables, salad, cheese, dessert, coffee and liqueur. All this food was washed down with three magnums of wine (white, rose, and red) with a bottle of champagne served with dessert and a special wine served with the cheese. I am sure Russ would have enjoyed watching the wine steward as he came equipped with a little bronze cup around his neck for tasting purposes! The total cost of this banquet was about five dollars per person! Another day we stopped in for lunch at a little place called “Chez Anna” very near the Eiffel Tower (we had just come down from the tower at the time – no pictures this time!). Chez Anna was quite the place! On the bar sat a poodle; on one of the tables sat a great German Shepherd dog; Charlotte (a hen) was eating radishes at another table and Sophie (a turtle) was munching away on lettuce on the floor. To complete the “zoo” effect there were a dozen or more cats scampering around in addition to two other little dogs who were just visiting (we figured). Other guests for lunch that day at Chez Anna (besides ourselves and the animals) included France’s top movie actress Brigitte Bardot and a Japanese actress named  Miiko Taka who was in a film called “Sayonara” (we discovered later that Chez Anna was a favorite hangout for famous-type people).

In spite of our rather short stay (four days) we also managed to squeeze in a night at the Folies Bergeres and also a night at the Paris Opera where we saw “Les Indes Galantes” (quite spectacular!). And, as I said before, when we were not sightseeing, we were eating!

One night (I think it was the night of the Folies) we all charged down to the Paris Market (les Halles) for real French onion soup! A meal in itself!

Well, not too much news about Bonn. The Arbuckles leave for home next Monday and I’m having a few folks in on Saturday night for a small farewell party for them.

Well, it’s going on 11 o’clock now so think I’ll just take quick bath and get an early night. It’s getting much warmer around here now (March was ghastly!) For the past three days it hasn’t even rained once! So, maybe Spring has sprung at long, long last.

Lots of love, Dave

April 24, 1958

Dear Dad and Russ,

This will just be a “quicky” to let you know that all goes well here in Germany but there really isn’t a darn thing to write about these days – pretty quiet all around.

The Arbuckles left for home last Monday and have promised to get in touch with you when they arrive in Ottawa. We surely miss Buck and Norma – they were a swell couple. I gave a small (20 guests) going away party for them here at “Chez Nixon” last Saturday night.

Bonn is at long, long last blossoming forth in all its spring loveliness. We’ve had a WHOLE WEEK of warm, DRY days and everything is turning green and flowers and blossoms are beginning to put in an appearance. Yesterday afternoon, I just sat out on my balcony here and soaked up the sunshine! I’m thinking of indulging in the same activity over the forthcoming weekend too.

Did I say there isn’t a darn thing to write about? Well, pardon me – I was forgetting a rather important little item you might be interested in hearing about (I sure was!). I have been recommended for Clerk Grade 4!! Yup, a promotion!! Of course, nothing final as yet as these things to take some time to go through but when it does become final it’s effective as of April 1. Don’t know as yet what the monetary advantages are in being a Grade 4 but I don’t think it will be too starting once the income tax people get their share of it. However, it is a step up the proverbial ladder. Besides, when I get back to Ottawa, being a Clerk 4 (Communications) also means I’m a supervisor!!! Boy, was I ever surprised when I heard about this!

Well, write soon and give my best to all,

Lots of love, Dave

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