Ch. 21 – I am missed!


Ch. 21 – I am missed!

11/09/84 – Letter from Dad:

Dear Claudine,

What the heck do you mean not writing for two weeks? My letters aren’t so bad that they can’t be answered? Hope you’re spending this time in deep and rewarding study.

I have spent most of today – and will spend part of Monday – getting your loan worked out. I am not sure what the total will be, but you will receive two checks for $1033.00 before the end of the month, I believe. There is a charge for making the loan, so you will owe about $2225.00 from the loan. There are some things they require, such as letting them know of any change in student status, etc. I’ll send you a copy of all of that. Let me know how you want the money handled. I haven’t spoken to your mother about it as of yet. I had thought that I might put part of it in a certificate of deposit or savings account. That way, you won’t have to transfer any back from your account over there when you come back. Let me know by return mail, as the money will probably be a week or two getting back here.

I got the papers from an insurance collection agency on your car wreck deal. I had paid $400, and had then told the man that I would pay the rest when I could. He then apparently turned the matter over to them, and they contacted me. They said that I could pay $100 a month on the balance unless things get better – then I can pay more… I think that things will get better, but I may have to let you pay for part of this. We will see, and I’ll keep you posted. I have still had a call or two from the old man whose son you hit – I saw him at the gym the other day, but he didn’t know who I was.

Fortunately, I have planned to entertain tonight. I have to go and buy groceries and prepare a dip. I have cooked – over a mesquite wood fire – a brisket and some ribs. I am going to get together with some friends who live in the neighborhood. I’ll be able to put a fire in the fireplace. This will get me busy and I won’t have as much time to worry about things.

I am hoping that everything will work out so that you and your mother can get together for Christmas. She really needs it and I know that you may, too, by then. I hope you’ll have the extra money by then.

Dad loves you and misses you. Have fun and do good. Don’t be afraid to take a chance, but be careful. You have a lot of life ahead of you and you will probably return to Europe. If you have any problems, remember there is always someone around to talk to if you look – and it helps.

Love you,


11/11/84 – Letter from my sister, Elaine:

Dear Claudine-

Hi! How’s it going? It’s a pretty fall day over here and we are spending some time at the park. Finally, I have time to write to you.

Grady and Sam and the gang from El Torito say “Hi!” I saw them last night. I haven’t seen Pablo except once when we went to Marcello’s (did you know that he was working there now?). Anyway, he said that nine months was too long for you to be gone!

A funny thing happened the other night while I was there. Some rich man offered Ellen money for her cocktail waitress uniform. His wife wanted it, and he tried to pay for it with a credit card. I wonder what they wanted with that!

I talked to Rita and Tim yesterday. I called them, and they thought it was you at first. They rushed to get to separate phones. Big disappointment – it was just me!

Nothing much has been going on here. Dad keeps asking me if I’ve heard from you. Let him know when you get the stuff he sent you. Don’t bother trying to call him, though, because he’s never home. I’m sending the latest copies of Soap Opera Digest – but they may still be a little out of date!

We are going to Austin for Thanksgiving – I’m sure Mom told you. This time, we will know how to get to the Oasis Cantina – we’ll tell you how the sunset and the margaritas were! Today is our only day off for 8 or 9 days – until we go to Austin.

I start training to work in the office tomorrow. I think that that will be good experience, and it will mean extra money for me. Chad and I have been trying to put money in my savings account every week so we can help out with the wedding expenses. We broke Chad’s piggy bank last night because it was full – it had $60.00 worth of dimes in it!

Let me know if you have any wedding suggestions. I’m almost positive I want it to be at night, and I want it to be formal. I want to wear a sequin dress sometime! I think I would like to go to Ixtapa or Zihuatanejo for our honeymoon – but that’s months away! It will be summertime, and that’s the off-season, so maybe it will be cheaper!

Well, let me go. We have to go home and watch a football game!



11/13/84 – Here is the only record of correspondence from my brother-in-law in the 20 years or more of our knowing each other:

Hi Claudine!

Elaine wrote her letter on Sunday, but we haven’t gotten a chance to mail it. She brought it to work with her and was going to buy an envelope big enough to put everything in it at the post office behind Bennigan’s. Come to find out she left your address and the two Soap Opera Digests at the apartment!

Church (their cat) is doing just fine. We bought a new living room set, so we had to get him de-clawed. That’s when we found out that “he” was a “she!”

Pablo came into Bennigan’s today and was asking about you. He said he was going to try to call you soon.

Elaine’s kidnapping me, so I have to go. I’ll write again soon – only it will be a little more informative, neater, and grammatically correct.

See ya!



11/24/84 – Excerpt from my letter to Tim and Rita:

Dear Tim and Rita-

How are y’all? I’m sorry about the mix-up in phone calls – I have decided that it will be easier to write! It’s really hard to make those trans-Atlantic phone calls – especially from these French pay phones!

I hope that Rita got her birthday card. I’m sorry I had to bend it in half, but I couldn’t find an envelope big enough for the card. Everything – notebooks, journals, stationary, and envelopes – everything is smaller here!

Thanks again for the check. I ended up buying a pair of taupe fleece-lined boots – they are in suede and are really warm. They are dressy enough to wear with a skirt, too. They were not too expensive.

Clothes are really expensive here! I guess that’s why some of my French teachers seem to wear the same thing over and over again! The French seem to have really nice clothes, but they may wear the same outfit twice in one week! I had one female teacher who had – I swear – 5 matching cashmere-looking sweaters and wool skirts, and she wore each on its own day of the week. You know, if it’s Monday, she is going to wear the red!

I also finally got my packages from home! Now I have warm clothes and don’t have to layer like a homeless person! Dad also sent some sheets and a comforter – the ones Elaine used at LSU. They really brighten up my dorm room! I bought a light yellow rag rug for my floor and traded chairs with a girl I know. That way, my chair doesn’t clash with my color scheme. I know – one semester in design school and I’m spoiled for life! Now my room is almost like a home! I’ll take some pictures and send them to you.

Next weekend, my group is invited to Paris to attend a convention for France-Louisiane. We will be staying with families there, just like we did in La Fleche. I am really looking forward to it – I love Paris, but haven’t been again because it’s so expensive. The following week, a group of dignitaries from Louisiana universities are visiting, and we are expected to attend a reception for them – we are so popular!

While I am in Paris, I am going to see if it is possible to check out the hotel where Mom made reservations for her visit in December. I hope it is nice. I am also going to check out the Ritz because we are thinking about spending New Years’ Eve there. I can’t wait for Mom and David to get here. If they weren’t coming, I don’t know what I would have done for Christmas!

As it is, they won’t be arriving until the day after Christmas. I am supposed to meet them in London, at Heathrow airport. My roommate, Elaine, is from Birmingham, England, which is about four hours from London. She has invited me to come and stay with her for a couple of days, so I may do that.

As I have said before, even though I really am enjoying myself, I miss everyone and will be happy to return home!



P.S. – I have another address. Your letters will still get to me if you send them to the CIDEF, but this is my dorm address. It’s closer, and I can get my mail here even during the holidays, when the school is closed.

Ch. 22 – Our Door

Around December, Elaine and I devised a message board system. Actually, it was just a piece of paper, taped to the outside of our doors. It was meant to facilitate communication when we were out, but it became a source of entertainment and amusement. I tried to leave thought-provoking (or response provoking…) tidbits on my paper, and was amused at the responses. I kept them as a remembrance – I didn’t throw much away!

Room 211 – (Nov. 25 – Dec. 10)

Claudine, you got some mail (under your door!) – Elaine

SLUG!!!!! (Anonymous…)

Yum! I’m going to eat Claudine…

How disgusting!

(Next to picture of a slug in a red dress…) : Oui, oui! Je suis le chef francais celebre mondialement! Et moi, je vais faire la cuisine en utilisant Claudine!

Escargot! LIMACE!!!

C – Gone over to see Nic and Scott. See you later. – E

Hello! (Anonymous)

C – Gone to lecture 6-7:30 then going to cinema with Nadine. See you later, you’all! – E

Your paper looks rather empty, so I thought that I would write you a note:

“A Note”

Ta Ta! Chuck

Salut, mon chou (-fleur) – Chuck is right. You don’t get a lot of notes, just like you don’t get a lot of letters. Poor thing! Do this: write yourself a letter and address it to yourself!

Yabba Dabba Doo!


You Incredible Sex Machine!

Hey woman – just stopped by to say ‘hi!’ I’ll come back to give you your books and stuff. I hope your sex life is coming along nicely! – me (Trisha)

Sex life… What sex life?

Je ne sais pas quoi a ecrire, mais quand meme, j’ecris quelquechose. J’ai entendu parler de ta vie d’amour. Dans un mot….Voila, je l’ai entendu dans un seul mot (de cinq letters…)

– Moi? (devine qui!)

Je, il, nous sommes passes pour boire un “coup” dans l’intention d’en tirer un our plusieurs. Dommage! Tu – vous n’etiez pas la ce soir. J’espere que vous comprenez ces mots. En attendant de nous revoir, je, il, nous te souhaitons plein de bonnes choses.

The Strangler (and compagnie! )



Can you bring your markers down when you come?



I’ve come once again to bring you your books but you are out somewhere making Robert (your pimp!) very rich. When you return, stop by my place and remind me about those books, OK?

Moi (Trisha)

You got a letter! – E

(Note to self: I thought this was from November or December, but now it’s looking like it’s from January or February!)

Room 211 – Question of the Week: If you could have any six people to dinner, who would they be?

Claudine – Nancy Reagan, Marie Antoinette, Kevin Kline (for me!), Cary Grant, Stephen King, and Gracie Allen

Robert – Aristotle, Plato, Abe Lincoln, Sigmund Freud, Jimmy Carter, and Captain Kirk (Spock, if he couldn’t make it!)

Ronald Reagan, Nastassia Kinski (Kinky!), The Boss, The Duke, Christie Brinkley, Sally Ride

(You are supposed to put your name – Chuck! – from Claudine)


Good night! Nadine

The slug’s at it again!

Comme toujours!

Gone to Nic’s for Breakfast. See you later. Who was on the phone for 6 hours? Elaine

You got a parcel. It’s in my room – E

Eddie Murphy, Prince, Richard Gere, Ronald Reagan, Edwin Edwards, Diahann Carroll – no name (probably Keesha)


The femme de ménage wants to do our rooms this afternoon and she wanted to know if you were out. I said I thought you would be, but if you’re not, you can go into my room when she’s finished with it and while she’s doing yours (if you want!).



Gone to Euromarche! Back later – Elaine

Adios Amigos! I’m away! Claudine

Querida Amiga – Please get your f(l)at butt home. We miss you! Love, Trisha

Monday, at some unearthly hour, your dad phoned and I told him you’d gone to Spain!

Tu sais, Claudine, Elaine a la rancane et c’est a cause de toi. Toute le monde passé te chercher et non pas Elaine. Elle se sent laissee a l’ecart. Donne-lui quelques bises pour dire bonjour. Toi, tu es tres populaire!

Un des types qui est passé te chercher,



Can you leave the outer door unlocked so that Nic can wake me in the morning?



We’re in Trisha’s room! – Claudine

Femme de ménage wants to know if you are in this afternoon so she can clean your windows. Please let her know. – Elaine

Can I have my saucepan back – urgent! Have a great time in La Fleche!


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