Carmel, October 14th 1970.
Two of yours to answer, one September 8th and 9th. Our trip was superb, car did well, is now sold for $220, which I propose to splurge on a good tape recorder in Fiji. We already have a load of duty free 'orders', from Mrs Rodd for an adding machine and from a Phelan cousin for a camera. Send your orders now, if any, and we'll see what we can squeeze into the framework of our Customs allowances.
What a terrible succession of deaths, accidents and hospitalizations - we feel we should come home to mourn, and not celebrate. Or course we look forward beyond words to our entry into Sydney Harbour and to huge reunions - I loved the photos you sent, particularly the colour one of you all at 'Down Under' - I would never have known what to expect, honestly, only you haven't changed greatly, Mum.
Mrs Rodd has arranged her 'do' for November 21st, she intended two, a 'family and oldies', and a 'youngsters' to follow on the 28th, but we wrote to suggest just one, as hardly any of our friends are now in Sydney, nor perhaps even able to make it there. So I leave it to you to arrange what you would like best - I guess just family and good friends, both yours and ours, as you feel appropriate. Of course I shall have to begin my Controls Co. job, eventually, maybe I can save it till after the Christmas shutdown.
As for accommodation, we've recently begun to give a lot of thought to an idea Pennie remembered you suggesting (years ago, i.e. before she left), that of building the upper floor of 5 Calvert Parade into a Self Contained flat. I would be fully able and ready to do all myself (i.e. cooking, toilet, washing etc. facility installation, plus some redecorating, partitioning etc.) in exchange for our being able to live in at a nominal rental, until such time as our future plans become clear.
We have ideas of going to W.A., to the iron ore mining area, to work up a big of capital, whilst living there in the subsidised family accommodation that the companies provide.
Before trying any of this, and just after we arrive it would be nice to spend some time in Canberra (i.e. during November / December this year), to give Tabitha Taxi a good long run up there, to clear her cobwebs a bit, and simply to say hello to Canberra in general.
The news of Dudu is shattering to say the least, I really do find it hard to believe how much she must have aged in the three short years since I saw her. We only hope the same thought doesn't upset her and that we can provide some uplift in her morale. Not too faint a hope, I trust.
No news still of our U.S.S.R. pictures, the Post Office says to regard them as lost, which is a chilling blow, but that's life I guess, however we now have actual tickets from P&O, thanks largely to the magnificent efforts of Don Joy, Aileen Drury's travel agent, for 'Himalaya' arrive Sydney, November 13th, 8am, via Vancouver, Honolulu, Suva and Auckland - how nice to see them all again, although we've barely left Vancouver where we looked up our ex-Dubrovnik friends the Charlesworth's.
Had an unusual day here today, sat in on a Chemistry lecture at Monterey Peninsula College, with Doug Meyrose, with whom, and his wife Sandra we've been great pals during our stay. Quite an insight into U.S. Education methods.
Quite a gang, 10 to 12, will be sending us off from San Francisco, we've collected a stack of visitor passes to enable this.
Keith and Virginia are bowing out, they are leaving it up to the 'youngsters'. which works our well, they don't like the big city etc.
Much love, David.