It was just the four of us again, Dad driving, Mom talking quietly to him, and Susie and I tucked into the back seat, me on the left side, her on the right side, headed off into an adventure. Instead of the Italian blue book country guide, Mom had an American map open on her lap; a hotel guide was at her feet.
Here I was on July 4, 1955, expected to assume duties as Press Attaché and Information Officer, American Embassy, Caracas, Venezuela - after only two months of practical orientation in Washington, preceded by five years of corporate public relations, a BA from Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota, courtesy of the GI Bill, and roots reaching all the way back to a one-room schoolhouse on the prairies of South Dakota. Not exactly elite.
In South Dakota, where my dad's from, you swim in a crick, you put a ruhf over your head and you set down ruhts. In the Foreign Service, where I'm from, they sent Dad and Mom and Susie and me back to his ruhts every few years to remind us that we were Americans. It was called Home Leave.
This month, you are among nearly 300 readers in 40 countries to have had a look, or two, at Raisedintheforeignservice!
The question was posed casually to my mother by a woman not quite retirement age on Cape Cod, where Mom and Dad had retired to in the 1980s: "What did you do while you were overseas?" Here is her answer, which she wrote out instead of saying, leaving the record for me to discover some 40 years later....
July 3, Hotel Potomac This is our first report from Venezuela. We are set up in an unpretentious hotel called Hotel Potomac, accent on the first syllable. Looking out at the afternoon sunshine from our hotel rooms we can see why Caracas is called beautiful. The city is situated in a high valley and all…
I wished that Mom could have been with my husband and me during our visit to Amsterdam (too late to see tulips in bloom, but found some in a vase) and Paris in May, and especially when we visited Claude Monet's home and gardens .
on Venezuelan Independence Day, she set down in another letter about how the American Independence Day seemed to be done in Caracas. She was an outsider, sharing her observations with perhaps more enthusiasm than she could yet feel.
When I was nine, I thought I’d become an archeologist when I grew up. We lived in Rome, and so the evidence that such a job existed was all around me. One of my friends had her birthday party in the Forum.
Behavior matters,especially when you're in a Foreign Service family in the Italy of the 1960s.