Letter, November 1, 1974

Hi & Happy Anniversary Mom & Dad!

Thought I’d better translate the message of the card for you, though it is pretty easy to figure out with even the little Spanish I know! I’ll leave the other phrases to you’all:

  The children, when very young,
    can not comprehend
  all the depth and nobility
  of the love of their parents…
    they don’t understand the affection
  in the hands that shape and guide
    the soul of a small child…
      but despite all this
    a child loves his parents
      more than the other things
      loved in the childhood…
    and while the child grows,
  also grows the love for his parents,
    until at last he understands
    the greatness of their sacrifice,
  the afflictions that they have suffered in silence,
    the noble people they have always been…
    and the soul of the child, full of gratitude,
    wants to express what it feels so strongly…
  as my soul wants to express it today
    in these felt words which I dedicate
    to the most beloved parents in the world.

Sounds awfully mushy in English, but I thought it was very pretty in Spanish, so I guess it will have to do!

Am living with another volunteer in a house in San Salvador with a family right now. Don’t know if I already told you that or not. Sorry about sending that letter postage-due, (have no idea if you got it or not) but I didn’t know they had just upped the postage rates. My job is in a very hairy stage at this point. Don’t know exactly what they want me to do or if what they want is at all realistic to expect from any social scientist. Have a meeting tomorrow with the Director of the department and he speaks a little English so maybe we can get a few things straightened out. Sure hope so.

Hope you managed to find those books I’ve been asking for. They have to be either in the boys room or over at Stevens’ in my trunk or a box. Sorry for all the trouble. If you want to try that thing with the film go ahead. Chances are good it will go right through like other mail. Film is about three times higher here & besides I don’t get paid much when you convert it into American money. I was doing better working summers for Dad.

There is a larger middle class here than they led us to believe in Costa Rica, but the poor are really poor. Out at my site in Atiocoyo there is a family of 15 or so living in a house of mud and sticks (bajareque) {or bahareque} with a roof of straw & floor of dirt which is smaller than the granary & they aren’t real bad off. People also sleep on the sidewalks and in doorways in parts of San Salvador.

The U.S. Embassy here is a big, fancy building of modern design, but its front gates are always closed and its primary use is as a roosting place for a million & one noisy birds. I have been to a couple movies there. You have to buzz for the guard & get him to release the door latch electronically & when you get in you have to sign in & sign out! Just like a spy movie!

Su hijo {Your son},


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