Baalbeck, Lebanon

April 1972

Dear Va

Thinking of you as we travel with Mary and David (Rome, Algiers, Tunis, Beirut). They go their own way for 2 1/2 more weeks starting Fri – and we head for a week’s work in Nairobi, planning to stop in Athens on our way home.

Loved catching up with you all during Bill’s visits. Hope everything was fine in Wis. How we enjoyed the reports of your new home – and your young folk’s worlds. Sure do miss you but you are one of our best correspondents – Gracias.

Fondly, Lowell and Mary

France, Eclipse 1999

August, 1999

We decided Metz would be a good place to view the total eclipse of the sun in 1999. We rented a car in Paris and drove to Metz stopping on our way to see the cathedral in Reims with its stained glass windows designed by Chagall.  Once in Metz, we scoped out the area and early the next morning, we headed out with the telescope, video camera and other cameras.  We set up our camp in the middle of the Esplanade, a nice park right by the river.  The town had organized a big festival around the eclipse and there were parades, music, etc. going on all day long. 

It was cloudy.  I decided I should have an umbrella just in case, so I ran to a nearby department store and managed to fight my way through the crowd. I wasn’t the only one with the idea. During the first half of the eclipse we were able to see it off and on.  But about 20 minutes before total eclipse it started to rain.  We could tell when the total was, though, because it was completely dark. All the flowers closed up and all the lights came on and it was really night and everybody was quiet and it was kind of eerie.  Then during the second half it cleared up a bit and we were able to see more.  My son kept looking at the “moon” through his glasses.  When we got back to Paris our friends who had gone 25 minutes north of Paris on the train said they had seen the whole thing perfectly. 

From Metz we drove into Lorraine and the Vosges area.  We stopped at the Haut Konningburg castle which is a huge restored castle with a moat and drawbridge and inner yard. It sits on top of a mountain in the middle of the forest.  It would be very hard to penetrate.  The path up to it was steep and muddy. I commented on how “mucky” it was and my son responded, “monkeys?  Where are the Monkeys??”  He would not let it go and kept asking for the rest of the day.

From there we wound our way around down to La Bresse in the heart of a big ski area amid mountains and forest.  Really beautiful.  Our hotel was very nice with a good restaurant.  We drove throughout the area and went hiking around a glacial pool where my son spent the better part of an hour throwing rocks into it and hunting for dragonflies.

Amman, Jordan

El Hussein Mosque

February, 1982


I’ve just come from the top of the Mt. where Moses was buried and saw the Dead Sea from there. I’ve got to read my bible when I get home!! Such a nice young college prof. has been “sightseeing” me and I’ve learned much from her. It is a lovely little city with an almost perfect climate (tho a bit chilly this morn.) built on hills with terrific views. I go home on Sun., Bill to Africa.

Love, Va.

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

October 1986


Arrived OK yesterday morning. Found my visa had expired even though there was not expiry date indicated on it. However, got a new visa here.

Weather cool – 40 to 50 – dry and nice. I get the BBC news very well so will keep up on World news. All the team members are here and we start work today.

Love, Bill

Gaspe, Quebec

July 1995


We are on the gulf of St. Lawrence now and it is windy an a bit rough. Walking the decks is fun! Spent the morning in St Pierre. Very typical little French town with lace curtains and garden plots. They even use francs. The boat crew is Ukranian and my Russian is lacking.

Marilynn and Edna

Archipel de Saint-Pierre et Miquelon – La place Charles de Gaulle – Saint Pierre

Johannes Vermeer (1632-1675)

View of Delft

June 1981


We tried to call you Sun. to see how your party went. We had Mikey and Alicia, Alex and Rosie here for wild rice and strawberries last night. It was a wine-y, late eve. Mikey returns to Mexico today. We four drove up north to Friesland – learned much about dikes, dunes and poulders. Fantastic what these people have done! It is very chilly, tho sunny and very windy as usual. Alex and Rosie leave for a camping holiday in Spain during July. I’m finally washing the curtains. Have a nice trip to Cal.

Love and kisses, Va.

Agra, India

January 2010


Happy New Year! We are having a great time in India. It is definitely an adventure here, you never know what is going to happen tomorrow. The Taj Mahal was amazing. Stunning from every angle and so peaceful compared with all the people and honking on the street and sidewalks.

Love, Kelly

Pretty much everybody has been to the Taj Mahal but me.

Here is a photo my father took in the early 1950’s.

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