Carmel, California. 27.7.1970
Dear Mum, Dad, Andrew and Julia,
Thanks a lot for all your best wishes, I had a very nice 1/4 century starting in San Francisco with a Champagne Breakfast party, this was at the home of some friends we met through Virginia, we stayed there a couple of nights while we looked around San Francisco and on the 23rd some of their friends came over and we had a Breakie Party.
Before I forget, the best thing to send Keith and Virginia for Christmas (and I'm not kidding) would be one of those big tins of Arnotts biscuits. I know you can still get them cause my Dad used to get them for Office Tea Time breaks in the shop in Liverpool Street. I think there is a $3 deposit on the tin but this is one thing Keith and Virginia have asked Dudu to send them and she always told them they could get better here, I know that would please them greatly.* They are still great cookie eaters.**
Virginia is a marvelous cook and she remembers everyone's likes and dislikes, I still can't get over the pavlova we had the night we arrived. She isn't one bit as I'd imagined she'd be, she is really funny at times. Up at the mountain cabin last weekend she gave us a very funny imitation of Keith singing 'The Letter edged in Black', when Keith had just arrived in the states. Keith is also a dear, he makes the odd rough exclamation such as... 'GOD - HELL - I don't know... and 'Ooooohhhh Veeerrrrginia' when Virginia says something he doesn't believe or thinks is silly.
They both call us 'The Kids' and treat us as though we were which is a lot of fun, Keith is a little deaf now but he hears what he wants to I think, he takes us everywhere he goes and introduces us to everyone. His dog - (it really was for Virginia but Debbie the dog worships Keith), is very old and is a little blind but when Keith is out in his truck Debbie is put in back in a cage and she barks and barks, you can hear them coming miles off, they were never able to train her to travel quietly in the front, at one stage they discovered that if she got frightened she'd go under the seat and - silence - so Keith would drive along with a cap gun and when she barked he'd shoot the gun, it worked but must have looked a bit cruel so he stopped it and now puts up with it. I'm running out of things to tell you about them that I think you wouldn't know. We love them and we have great outings an times with them.
Julia - in the U.K. the maxi and the midi were in but only worn by a few young girls. What I thought was funny was to see a girl in a nice long coat and underneath she would have on a mini skirt and the coat would have a long slit up the back and front so she could catch the bus and trains etc. so the idea of having a long skirt or coat to keep warm didn't really work. I haven't seen any midi or maxi shirts here, it's really too hot though. There are lots of dirty Hippies around, they are always hitching and they are so lazy they often sit down cross legged and read something with one arm out. Or they even lie down with their head on their knapsack.
We all agree and will be home waiting by the phone on Tuesday 4.8.70 at 7pm U.S.A. time, 6pm is right on Virginia and Keith's dinner time so hope that makes it okay your end, if not we'll wait till we hear from you again.
Hope Julia enjoys the C.G. Dance. Haven't heard from or about Dad for months, I suppose he is busy traveling around. Have you seen Tabitha yet? We've had letters from Newport, they all think she is beaut.
Love for now, Pennie XX
*When David and I settled back in Australia I sent a tin (you could buy smaller tins by then) of Arnotts Biscuits to them every Christmas.
** Every second Tuesday Virginia would bake Keith's favourite cookies, she would bake 60 of them and allowed each of them two a day. On one baking day David waked through the kitchen as these cookies were cooling and he picked up a couple as he moved on... Virginia was outraged! This totally threw her out.