December 15, 1998
Tamarind Tor
Jones Bay
Nevis, West Indies

Greetings from Paradise
"Settling in Among the Stars and Our First Holidays in Nevis"

Dear Gayle, Nick, Tamar, Robert, Greg, Karen and Rebecca,

Well, we are here, settling in at Tamarind Tor for what hopes to be our home until our own dream and our very own home--Nevisian Paradise--is finished. The house that we are renting is forty years old and built to withstand any hurricane! We have the most incredible view overlooking the mountainous St. Kitts--our sister-island across the channel which juts as a green jewel rising out of the dark blue water. On a clear day, we can see the island-countries Saba and St. Eustatius. This home-away-from-home will be comfy for us, that is for sure.

Happy Chanukah to all of you. I hope that you are enjoying the holiday. We think of you as we light the candles. Tamar and Robert, how was your trip? Gayle and Nick how are you? Greg and Karen sounds like your party was great fun. And Rebecca, maybe one of pop's and my trips to Nevis, you can come down and one of us can fly down with you and then the other fly you back to Atlanta. We will wait and see. You would love it here. Today a monkey was in our front yard, but got scared off by a car and ran back into the forest. Nana had to get her glasses to see what it was.

Well, Dad and I are settling in, and it feels wonderful. A beautiful full rainbow welcomed us as we drove up to the land. The panoramic views beckon us as always, but now awaits our home to be built. Then Sunday night, while we were sitting on the patio at Tamarind Tor just gazing out, we were struck with our own celestial fireworks, at least 20 shooting stars in 15 minutes. All of the times in our travels to so many hidden nooks and open spaces of this wondrous planet, when Dad and I specifically lay under the stars anxiously waiting for shooting stars, we never saw any. And here lo and behold, the stars just kept coming, shooting in many directions. Dad and I sat as enthralled as young children beholding something spectacular for the first time and shrieked, "Did you see that one?" We don't have television and there are no movies in town, but we have a nine foot screen to the heavens just on our front verandah.

We continue our usual swimming; Dad swims daily and I either swim for ½ hour or walk down to the island road and up the hill for 20 minutes. I am getting plenty of exercise hanging out clothes as this house is built on hill, so I am carrying laundry baskets either up hill or down. The wind, too, has its own force and so I reach as high as I can to pull the laundry back into my fingertips. Dad's been lifting weights in form of groceries.

Tomorrow we meet with Meredith our builder to hopefully finalize the plans. Saturday, Dad is throwing a birthday party for me: Leonard, Sunshine and his new girlfriend whom we haven't met. (Sunshine's restaurant was blown away by hurricane Mitch, but it's up bigger and better than ever. Dad's and my picture still up on the wall.) Shirley, Johnson and their two kids whom we have never met, Leonora, Dexter and their three children, Denreike, Spencer and Deanza who Rebecca's age are also coming. Sunday Dad and I are going to Deanza's school program with them. There is a carnival on the island from December, 24 thru January 3. The locals stay up till 5:00am Christmas day and then go to church. Till church, they gather in town and carnival, compete in calypso, party, street jam and eat lots of delicious homemade food. It is all great fun!

Dad and I are not going to Monique and Leonard's wedding in St. Vincent. It turned out the airfare was much more expensive than we thought so we both decided against it. We are invited to Leonora and Dexter's New Year's Eve.

As you know, the phone calls and faxes are very expensive, $2.50/minute. We have applied for a second line and the internet which will take about 7-9 working days or whenever it happens. They are still repairing from Mitch. Till then, we are using the phone and fax on the same line. During the week, we will be receiving fax's between 6-7pm our time. Once we are on line, communication will be much easier.

Tamar, I am listening to Gipsy King. Remember?

Certainly we miss the conveniences that we have in LA, but EVERYONE has gone out of their way to make our stay easy. Dad got a phone line without the usual $600 deposit. Twice today, he had a flat tire and both times they fixed it. We just sat down and had a drink and waited for the young man that Dad had met earlier. This time, we got a newer tire. People on the island do their job well and are polite at the same time; there is baloney.

Just a note on my birthday; it was great. Dad and I did all the cooking in the tight quartered, old fashioned kitchen. Company was great. Musical chairs is the game of choice on birthdays. Young and old alike compete with some children's tears streaming down faces when they are "out" while others shouting with glee as the persisting children and adults make fools of themselves vying for the coveted remaining chairs to be declared "winner."

Well, that is it from here. Dad and I feel truly blessed to be here and hopefully get started on our dream. We are both more comfortable here than in LA. Take care and hope that you are all well. Thanks again for all your love and support from this tiny jeweled paradise out in the distant sea.

Dad wants to add a few lines for the holidays, too.

Love, hugs and kisses,
Mom, Ruth and Nana.
 

Dear Children,

This is a family universal message to all my children their spouses and significant others and my only granddaughter. Mom has probably given you most of the news. As always we really are

comfortable on the island, both with the people and the physical beauty of the place. It is a bit of a pain getting things set up. It's sort of like moving and getting both a house and office in order at the same time. To top it off, it's not like the big city where things are readily available and on short notice. But it will all get done and be easier as time goes on.

I hope you are all well and that Tamar and Robert enjoyed Napa Valley. Greg and Karen, when mom and I talked to Rebecca last week we told her we were building a house in Nevis. She asked if she could come and help us build. Send her over with hammer and nails and let her build away. Gayle, how are your articles coming along? Make sure you send us copies of the articles to Nevis. We won't be getting Seventeen forwarded to us here. Nick, I presume all is well in the Bronx and that the library is treating you well.

Love to you all!
DAD