Saturday, August 24, 2013

1973 Joe's Letter - Aug. 24

Joe writes a letter to Grandma from Senegal, August 1973. Transcription follows.

August 24, 1973
Dakar, Senegal

Dear Grandma,

I got your yellow stationary letter yesterday.  The day before I heard from my Mom that I hadn't written you and thanked you for my birthday gift.  I really feel bad about it.  I honestly thought I had written telling you that I had bought 2 art books in Dakar, one on Picasso's Blue Period and another on his later works.  Both are beautiful books with which I spend many pleasant hours reading and looking.  Please forgive my unintentional slip-up.  I don't think any relative would give me an "A" in letter writing this year!  Grandma, thanks for the money.

The drought has brought many problems in not having water but 8 hours a day running through your faucet.  There's been so much arid dust.  Fortunately, all that has halted with the abundant rains that we are having.  The corn and millet crops are tall and tasseled so next lear looks promising.

I've planted, myself, a vegetable garden with watermelons, beets, carrots, tomatoes and lettuce.  I have discovered it too hot for the lettuce and carrots but bearable for the others.  I planted spinach but nothing ever pop up.  The seeds must have been bad.

I'm not taking a vacation this year.  I'm somewhat tired of travelling!  Can you imagine that!  I've had a better time taking it easy at home, doing a lot of oil painting, going to movies and spending the afternoons at the beach – by the 3rd of September I hope to be teaching summer school for a month before the actual school year begins.

I'm looking for a buyer in order to get rid of my mobyletto.  It's three years old and looks like it.  As soon as I can sell it, I'm going to buy a new one.

I went to a "N'gente'" in Rufisque.  An aunt in the Drop family where I eat lunch gave birth to a little girl a week ago.  A Senegalese has only one birthday which comes one week after its birth.  The family puts up a tent in front of the house under which there are chairs.  There are lots to eat and drink.  One dish is called "lax" made of an oatmeal-like paste served with sour milk.  It's gooey because you eat it by scooping it up with your hand.  Of course there were cokes, and 7-ups to drink.  They seem to be at every social function in the world.  We had a good time.

Well my pen is running out – well-timed.  I'll be looking forward to hearing from you.  Say hello to the Uibles for me.  Hope you're all felling fine.

Love, Joe
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