Letter 2 in our series.
Thank you for your letter. I am looking forward to our global pal experiment!
Do you have any idea who our readers are and whether they know anything
about Switzerland like you do?? I hope we get an echo from time to time!
Please tell me what an x-box is – I don't have the faintest notion
and in that case it probably has something to do with a computer-game!!
- Fancy, I have a very similar recipe for a strengthening concoction; only
mine comes from Macedonia – no water, just whiskey, lemon-juice,
eggs and honey. Fantastic to drink and it does a good job!!
I have just returned from a week in Tuscany, Italy, where I stayed at a
friend's house at the foot of the Monte Amiata in the midst of olive trees
and vineyards. The landscape was beautiful, the sun shone – but it
was bitterly cold!! - And before going to Italy I spent a day in Paris
with Sibyl: all in all 11 hours on the train for 7 hours in Paris!! Crazy,
but it was worthwhile: we saw a beautiful Bonnard-exhibition at the Musée
d'Art Moderne, ate Sushi in the Galeries Lafayette, had coffee in the sun
on the Place des Voges and took a walk on Ile St. Louis. And we talked
about the time we met you and your family in Paris. Our kids were teenies
In your letter you mention our living side-by-side in Cambridge. This woke
many and manifold memories. A precious one is the way we two met: It was
on October 1st, 1967, a rainy and cold day, when my husband, our three
small children aged 3, 2, and 6mths, and I moved into our rented house
in Cambridge, where we were going to spend one year. My husband had received
a postgraduate grant to to do research in public law. My father-in-law
increased the grant, so the whole family could go along. It had been a
very exhausting journey and a long day and I was relieved, when at last
all our things were inside the house. And then our doorbell rang: it was
you, dear Ellen, who stood outside with welcoming words and a freshly baked
cake! Our friendship began instantly!
I just read an article in one of today's paper about the reduction of school
classes in the canton (comparable to your "states") of Berne. Since last
year 36 classes have been closed and by 2008/9 there will be a reduction
of 107 classes. We were already confronted with this threatening fact when
I was director of the schools of Berne, but now the fact has become a problem
for the schools and the villages that have to consider closing their school
and sending their children to the nearest larger town. A great loss for
communal life! – Is the drastic decline in birth-rate also a topic
in the US as it is in Switzerland and in the whole of Western Europe?
Maxie had a reading evening at her school last week. This meant her class
(20 nine-year-olds) met in their class-room from 5 – 9 pm and read
the books they had especially chosen for the occasion. Before starting
the individual reading they told each other about their books. Can you
imagine which book Maxie chose? One I had received for MY ninth birthday
in 1944(!), my absolute favorite as a child. I have just started reading
it to her! It is about a teacher's son, Hansi, who gets the opportunity
of traveling around the earth to Japan with a rich Swiss businessman, his
Japanese wife, their daughter, Ume, and a Swiss teacher. Their journey,
life in Japan, and journey back brought the "sweet smell" of the wide world
to me at a time when nobody could travel because the 2nd World War had
closed all the frontiers.
I am so happy that summer is coming! My little garden looks charming and
I shall now go outside and go on reading the papers. This is so time consuming
that book-reading is mostly postponed to my holidays!