Thursday, September 4, 2014

Letters from Esther - Letter 3

I am writing up a series of letters my grandmother, Esther, sent "home" to her siblings in North Dakota as she traipsed around the world working for the State Department as a working woman before it was chic. This letter is the next letter I have from Esther by date.

July 5, 1958

Dear Jennie and all:

I guess, since you heard of no plane crashes, you know that I arrived safely. There was no one to meet me at the airport & scarcely anyone who spoke English so I took a cab to the hotel I knew the Melody's had stayed at. They have moved now but don't seem to have a phone & the Embassy is closed for a long week-end so I'm batting around on my own as a tourist & having a fine time.

Where Tokyo &  Hong Kong were set in mountains, Saigon is as flat as a prairie or like the Red River Valley. Its about as warm as it was in Wakefield last Saturday.

July 8
I don't remember what happened at that point but something interrupted. I guess I went on the last half of my tour of Saigon & surroundings. Saw lots of things. A rubber plantation, a buhdist monastery, the "America road" being built here, well just so much its impossible to list it all. The people on the tour were interesting too.

The office had things fouled up so that the word received here was that I was arriving the 5th. So when the Melody's went to meet me & there was no Air France flight that day, they immediately checked at the Majestic & found I was registered but didn't catch up with me till Sunday. They had rented a temporary apt. for me & hired a temporary maid & even got some groceries. The apt. is not too nice but will suffice temporarily. My trunk & Hi-fi were here ahead of me. I hope to get the Hi-fi converted to 50 cycles today. ["Hi-fi" short for "high fidelity" and referred to a record player. 50 cycles must refer to electrical conversion.]

Its the rainy season & every once in a while lets loose with a bang but in a few minutes the sun is out again. I keep waking up terribly early. They say its the time change but I think its the noise. There are no windows in the houses, just the street & trucks, cart & motor scooters start passing shortly after 3 a.m.  This morning slept till 5:00!

People at the office seem real nice. Lots of them live in this building. The USM bus comes by & picks us up at 7:45. We work from 8 to 12:30 and 2:30 to 6:0.

Mail to the States goes out at 9:00 this morning so thats why I decided to get up & write since I couldn't sleep any more. I got 2 letters from Lucille & one from Sandy & Robbie yesterday.

Well, so long for now.



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