Monday, January 14, 2013

January 23, 1954 A Letter on an Aerogramme

Dear Mother & Daddy,

"Ann got at the typewriter before I got started.  I thought your letter sounded different last week but I didn't dream anything was wrong.  Is Daddy really all right now or is this apt to happen again?  I couldn't read that letter fast enough and I guess I'm glad.   I didn't know when he was in the hospital.  Has the cold weather made your knees worse?  I wish you both could be really well.

The church in Kobe has organized a new choir so I went to church two weeks ago and helped sing in the new choir.  The order of service was real nice but it took all afternoon.  I went with the missionaries and that meant Sunday School, choir practice, church, choir practice, a board meeting and finally home.  It was much too long for me so I don't know whether we'll try to take the children or not.  They couldn't sit still that long.

I was one of the hostesses for Women's Club and had to make 96 little sandwiches.  The women take turns serving refreshments.  I made part tuna and part pimento cheese.  The club had another meeting last Tuesday in a huge Japanese home.  The house was like a fine American home but we still pulled off our shoes.  The program was a demonstration of the art of bonseki--making pictures on black trays with white sand and black stones.  It is something I can't describe but this artist had a display of her work in Kobe so B went and took some pictures.  The bonseki is used for decoration in homes and some of the American women were remarking how their children would change the picture if they had a chance to rub their fingers through the sand.  The artist said Japanese children bothered them too at first but soon became disinterested and then didn't bother.

Mrs. Tamasu's Bonseki

The highlight of last week was Bob's birthday.  I spent most of Sunday making his cake.  He insisted upon inviting all the children on the hill which meant a big cake for there are 15 of them.  The cake had six layers but there were three different sizes so it really was three tiered when I got it together.  Half of the layers were yellow and half white put together with white icing and had green candles.  The children were certainly impressed with that big cake.   They came right after supper Monday night since most of them go to school and we had ice cream and cake and then games until 8.  They all brought presents and had a wonderful time.  We got Bobby a jeep, a set of paints and a Japanese umbrella.  All the little boys carry them when it rains.

Waiting for guests

I have started taking painting lessons in a class of 5.  The teacher is a Japanese woman I met at Women's Club and she comes next door once a week to give us lessons.  Our first lesson was how to paint bamboo with a special black ink called sumi.  It is quite different from the painting I had in Normal and it is fascinating.

We had an engraved invitation from the Consulate General of Kobe to see a premiere of a documentary film on "Arts of Japan" made by the U.S. government.  It was at 5 p.m. so I decided to stay at home with the children.  They would have had to eat supper alone so B went with some other people.  The film tells about a Kansas boy who is learning to make pottery from a famous potter over here.  The boy lives with a Japanese family about four hours by train from here.

Last night B and I went to a neighbor's house to see pictures of India that the president of Kwansei Gakuin took during his goodwill tour to India just before Christmas.  They were interesting and his English is quite good.  His wife speaks very little English but she goes to Women's Club.  She doesn't say much but has to know English to belong to the Club.  That's one of the regulations.  She is hostess today to the Kwansei Gakuin church women's society and I was invited to go but since we are having a family of 5 here for supper I decided I had better stay home and make a dessert.  Teruko-san will do the rest of the dinner.

I have been making a suit out of the silk tweed that B gave me for Christmas.  I cut it by a pattern I brought with me and did the basting.  Then Teruko-san stitches it for me on her machine.  She is still working on my black suit but really doesn't have much time to sew.  I have had more free time lately and thought maybe I could get some sewing done.  If I had a machine I could really do a lot.

It is real cold today and looks like it might snow any minute.  This house is so big it is impossible to heat it all so we heat only where we spend most of our time.  We keep a fire in the living and dining rooms most of the time and in our bedroom all of the time.  That is really where we spend most of our time for it is a nice big room and has a desk and comfortable chairs.  We use kerosene heaters in the other rooms.  Ann wore a dress when she had her picture done for the first time this winter.  She was so thrilled at putting on a dress but it is simply too cold.  She wears her long underwear and overalls all of the time.

I'll be anxious to hear from you soon."



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