Jakarta – 28 Sept 1983….
“A week has passed, as you can see, but I couldn’t find the first draft. I suspected Bob of hiding it from me. I’ve suspected him for a long time of trying to drive me crazy. Today I found it where I had hidden it so Bob couldn’t hide it from me. Only I had forgotten the hiding place which was In some obscure file he wouldn’t think to look in.
A power surge flowed into our house two weeks ago and blew our computer. I’m stuck with the typewriter and I promise the keys strike with a delayed action. My fingers go faster than the punch of the keys. The white-out has disappeared as Bob used it last, so there you have it.
I do want you to understand that I came in to start this letter 40 minutes ago… We have to use a power transformer which I found easy enough as we had been using it with the slide projector the other day. Then I had to look for the correct adapter so I could plug it into the odd shaped holes they have in the outlets in this Pondok Inda house (the name of the housing area we live).
With the first step completed I now had to locate a different adapter so I could plug my American typewriter into the transformer. I had four different adapters lined up on the counter and couldn’t make any of them work because of the ground post on the typewriter plug. As a last resort I decided to call Bob at work. It is not every day I decide to write a letter. It took me 15 minutes to get a line into the Fairchild com/plant. They have only three outside lines and they are usually in use. The secretary only had me on hold for 3 minutes but I was grateful she didn’t give me the usual, “I am sorry, Mrs. Rrrrrobertson, but he is In a meeeeeting.”..
She tried that once when Bob was home. He called the plant, stated his name and she quickly replied, “I am sorrrrry, but Mr. Rrrrrbertson is in a meeeeeting.” He tried several times, gave up and had Lili drive him to the plant. At least he could see what I go thru trying to reach him at work!
By bending the ground post back, I can force it into the adapter…..simple. This second attempt is being typed on Bob’s little Brother comp/typewriter. I promised him I would cook dinner again if I could borrow it. I didn’t tell him I suspected him earlier of sabotaging my first letter.
The priesthood leadership in our branch is either gone, busy, late or dealing with things more pressing. Since I am the only sister ‘available’ or let’s face it, interested enough to become involved with a suffering and difficult sister, I feel I have to take on Martha. Not as a member of the RS, but as a friend. I have struck out alone to help her. When someone calls you pleading for help, you don’t just say, “I am sorry, I am busy”. But a home teacher of someone else in the ward needing help did just that. That isn’t who I am, or Bob or my children. I am so grateful for Bob, he is helping and supportive as are Daniel and Leslie.
Bob finally assigned himself as her home teacher to become acquainted with her husband and give her some consistency. She is addicted to pain pills, desperate and has asked for and is accepting my help. Martha’s husband is military but trained for the Catholic Priesthood and so has a closed mind, but he is appreciative of our friendship. I don’t know if she is positively or negatively addicted but by spending all this time with her, I can prop her up to where she isn’t overdosing.
A Nurse we know through Joint Sound High School Choir has been helpful as well. On Martha’s good days I teach her the gospel and to pray. I am trying a little Reality Therapy on her thanks to Heather Showbrook, who is a trained counselor from Australia. She spent several evenings with Bob and I teaching us the Parenting Effectiveness Training and it has helped with Martha.
It is a very long story and ends up with our driver and me squirreling her onto a flight home to her son. She was convinced her husband was going to kill her. She is very difficult.
Daniel employed a simple listening technique taught by the PET program, with a friend at school. He came home excited at how well it worked.
Everyone I enjoy is preparing to leave. Martha flew out Oct 31, and I felt relief. Heather leaves in December, Scott and Terry, our group dance instructors, are leaving this coming Monday. We have had them come over every Thursday to teach several couples line dancing, etc. They are professionals, young and a lot of fun! I will have to get busy with something else come the first of the year. I think I will throw myself into studying the New Testament. I have completed the Book of Mormon, and the Old Testament over the past three years, studying line upon line with the Newly offered Institute manuals we brought with us.
WaWan, our houseboy has had his four year old son here for a month, now. Our original agreement was no family for a very good reason in his case. The boy’s mother is Gilo (crazy) and WaWan wants the boy here. I know how important it is per hygiene and how we have to be protected. They all go without shoes outside, but the soil is not healthy. WaWan also needed a week off to go to his grandfather’s funeral. His grandfather has died four times now. When he got back he brought two chickens for the boy to play with….chickens?!! The flies increased after just two days so we said the chickens had to go. What to do with the boy now?
WaWan or Tati (our other household help) has to be in the servants area supervising the boy. They won’t clean Valerie’s room (she is at college) unless I press them. If the water sits it forms an icky ring, but they see no reason to clean it as there is no one using it. WaWan and I still have kind of an ongoing conflict regarding the kitchen. He thinks it is his. I believe I am tired of supervising servants.
The laundry soap is going so fast I am sure they are washing clothes for others, maybe for more money, or maybe for friends that sleep and hang around the tennis court across the street. I keep seeing strange clothes on the lines. I think they throw them in with our laundry. Still we have two of the best servants of anyone I know. Nothing has been stolen.
I bought four lovely golden delicious apples yesterday… I paid $7.60 for the package of four. Our favorite food here is rice with chicken sate’ and peanut sauce. I can’t bring myself to buy local beef anymore. Last week I read all cattle in Java and Sumatra have hoof and mouth disease. We buy small rib or tenderloin steaks imported from the states once a week.
Hepatitis is constantly a problem here. Someone always seems to fall prey to it from the branch. Most are a little too unconcerned about safety hazards. Not me, I researched and read and asked a lot while in Singapore before we agreed to come. Never swim in rivers, never go without shoes, be extra careful about how we buy and handle food. The water fountains at the International school is a concern.
We are in another dry spell here. It hasn’t rained since we got back from home leave. We can get radio Moscow once in a while. Their version of the Korean Air Lines incident is interesting and I can see how their own people could buy the story. Two Korean Airlines were shot down by the Soviet Union.
Leslie is enjoying Jr. High. She is finding A’s a little more challenging. She is enjoying her flute but we both wish Valerie were here to instruct her. She was the only one to think to bring back a flute book. The band teacher has xeroxed it for the other players. Dan NOW has a desire to learn the keyboard on the piano. I can’t find a suitable teacher that has the time or is conveniently located. He has sent away for a home study course in art. The talents he should be developing are being neglected here. He is extremely creative and able. He has a writing talent but his 6th Grade didn’t give him the foundation that Leslie’s 6th grade here has given. Math and science are his strong suites, he will have to improve his writing skills, as his ideas are simply too incredible not to put down on paper!
Our Branch President, John Gibbs was sustained maybe three months ago. He has normalized members as much as he can. We are meeting the 3 hour block now and have Sunday School offered to the youth. Things are looking up. The Joint Sound High School Choir is having a party here Saturday. All I have to do is roast peanuts and provide plenty to drink. There will be 20 kids and 3 or 4 adults besides us. I’m elated that I am not buying and cooking the food. The kids are bringing pot luck. We have a very large pool in back and the nicest house among branch members… youth entertainment is mostly done here. Love you all, Carol”
Our next business effort was with Intel in Arizona, where our son finished high school and entered college. Three years and we next moved to New York for another Integrated Circuit manufacturer, Standard Microsystems, where our baby daughter finished high school and left for college. Whew…
My wife and I, now with an empty nest, spent 2 years in New York teaching quality control for a chip manufacturer, finally settling in Cleveland, Ohio, where we began another foreign escapade! We joined a group trying to capitalize on the crash of the Soviet Union and the chance to market quality US goods at attractive prices. What that meant for me and my companion was another expat experience working to elevate Russian product quality to US standards.