January 7, 1983

Anna and Louisa were slated to arrive in Venice tonight at 7:00. Alvise, poised with flowers and I with an unabashed grin awaited as the 7:30 train from Trieste arrived in the station repleat with leering outlookers and No Judges…Tomorrow morning there is a train from Yugoslavia. But I only wonder where they are tonight?

Two days ago, Sandy and I went to Padova and saw Giotto’s fresco-encrusted Capella Scrovegni and the Basilica del Santo, magnificent.

Capella Scrovegni

Last night, I took Sandy out for dinner at Montin’s, the occasion being commissioned by her departure from Venice this morning at 11:40. I was very saddened, “I was sad” as Sandy so charmingly says, to say good-bye to one who has been my best friend here in Venice, she was someone I could always count on to do things with, and ventured to many places others don’t dare. I send my best wishes to her via air waves. I hope she gets a job in Rome with the Daily American – that would be a terrific boost to her morally and financially. Though I guess not really so terrific financially, Sandy introduced me to more people in the 1 ½ months we knew each other than anyone else in Venice has. And she knew the most interesting people. I hope/trust I will see them all again.

And so, the riccio sits in the fridge awaiting Anna as do I (though not from the fridge). Sylvano  reappeared again today, like a Fuller brush salesman returning to his best customer – whatever the hell that means, though I’ve been speaking Italian somewhat, I was surprised at how tongue-tied I was today. Partially contributed to by the fact that I am feeling molto distacca da lui sessualemente. I just realized after talking to MWM the other day that it’s not worth it to me to play these petty little flirtations when I’m not even attracted to him powerfully, except as an interesting intellectual playmate – for that we are well suited. I just won’t let myself be bullied.

Letters from Venice:

What a happy coincidence, that the first letter I picked up was this one.
Letter to Bob:  Labeled “Part 1, stay tuned!!!”

Postmark dated Jan. 1983 (day unreadable)

Dear Bom [sic]

Really, what the fuck was that? I’m blushing. Try again…..Dear Bubberdoobyduckydart! Oh I love you Bob! Stern! I can’ tell you how joyous your pink pelican pouch of love made me. I feel a little silly. This measly little aerogramme hardly seems abastanza in ritorno! We’ll see. Or Vediamo.

Your carta di Natale era bellissima, e benfatto…. Ho travato il cuoro rosso nel centro. E? Rotto? Oppure semplicemente malscritto? Spero che hai sbagliato con la stampa, e infatti, il tuo cuoro non e rotto.

But from the sound of your letter, rumors of which I had heard from Susan, this was perhaps not merely a typo….I can only say I’m very sorry, B ob, that things didn’t work out, but also it’s better to realize that now? But it doesn’t make it any easier, I know. What you said was very lucid, I think it would be a mistake to stay living and “loving” in 55 Park Place- please live with Gary & Michele – I can’t think of two better people whom you could build a very warm home with, however temporary until June. I’m sure, I hope, that your relationship (platonic) with Bill would improve without that separate tension – do the divorce, then mend the fence…. (Thanks, Abby!)
The thought of you quasi-solo at Xmas time made me very sad – I can’t stand seeing good things wasted – damn, damn, damn. I had a party Xmas eve while waiting for Mom to arrive Xmas day, which needed you! It was a good party, but drinking gets fairly dull. My Christmas with Mom was pretty good – I was shocked by how wiped out by the trip she was. I got a letter from her today so I know she’s survived. She said she had a good time, but the letter felt a little formaloso…. Ah well, it can never be the way you plan/dream it!
I am working now – in the morning doing interviews for the hotels that I’m looking at for this guidebook I’m collaborating on. It is fascinating. And well paid, though that harvest hasn’t yet come in. I heard yesterday from Ed the Funk, who is living at home, working 60-65 hrs/week in a warehouse and had been studying for his GRE’s. He’s going to apply to Grad Schools…. he and Raquel are doing well…. together again. He thanked me for the tape of Nightstage, which I had totally forgotten about doing or sending. That made me quite Newstage –sick, MWM sick, etc. But it was good to hear from Eddie. He is really embarrassed about going back to school. Oh hell, why does everyone have these “should” complexes about what they should be doing? They are doing what they are doing now. They will do what they will do. Now, take me, Miss perfection…. I am doing nothing that will advance my Career. I am meeting people, having fun, seeing a lot, and maybe learning Italian. But when I come back to the US (Yes, I still plan to do that in July) I think I will look for a job in Washington, DC – I know this is a jump – Damn. Stay tuned – I’ll continue on another aerogramme. Ciao, Bello!
xoxo  Els

Letter to Bob labeled “Part 2 wherein the author describes future plans & passions

Postmarked Jan. 14, 1983

Dear Bobby,

Now where was I. I was talking about when I come back to USA. I got a letter from Bob Edgar who moved to Washington, DC and works for Wolf Trap Center. He had a job for me in January. But if he still has a job I will go there in July. Now…MWM…I am more in love and more uncertain…scared than ever visa-vi MWM. He is coming in May and may stay until July when I go back. I do want to make a go of it with him wherever. I don’t want to live in New York, but I want to see how he’s doing. It’s so weird being here without him—sometimes I get scared that our idyllic relationship was a figment of our mutual imaginations. Obviously I can’t make any decisions based on only three months with him and so far, four without. I know I love working with him, and I support his work and he mine. Yes, I have met other men here –no, no one has touched MWM in my mind – I really think he’s an incredible individual. Anyway back to the job issue. I will go to Washington if there is a job – I will definitely want to talk with you about where you’ll be going –if to Yale, etc. When you come to Venice (I wonder if he noticed how subtly and easily that sentence co-opted Bob Stern to come to Venice?) …Seattle has all the old appeal of the Old West, and I could be coerced into going there to live. Susan says she’s planned my baggage move to Hopewell, but I couldn’t work at McCarter, I don’t think.

I think we need a conference –can you come to Venice, bring MWM, Susan, Bill and 4 sharp pencils? I have found out where all the good conference facilities are.

It started to snow today, but it was so pathetic, it was barely noticeable. But I noticed! It even made me get that happy first-snow feeling.

Anna and I are having a rough honeymoon- Poor Louisa seems really tired out and sometimes a bit short-tempered. I hardly blame her – she has quite a bundle of a 6-year-old…I am counting the days until July – I wish I knew more Origami. We have carnival to plan for, too. Wee are going as due porcini and uno porchino. (Get out yer dictionary, it’s really quite clever – I was berry proud).

Allora; siamo arrivati al fine di questo discorso, questo saggia. Scrivero di piu nel futuro. Fai la stessa roba, ok? Oppure vienei qui e noi possiamo parlare noi stessi…

Skiddly doo dad a. Good fortune and find a cozy housetta in Princeton to share with Gary & Michelle. Thank you for your magnificentary epistolary spedition. I hope I have given you enough nitty gritty – I realize none is very specific, but that I keep daily in my journal, which will be published in July – color of napkins at the luncheon table, etc…. I love you!  Ciao, Els xoxox

January 11, 1983

Coming back to write in this journal A.A. (after Anna). I see the closing sentence of my last entry, and it seems to be my theme song. The first two days of Anna were incredibly rough, due to a bad case of jet lag, culture shock, parental change, any number of factors. But today, Anna was one of the happiest kids I’ve seen around. She had glowing reports from her teachers, who said she was 100% more responsive today. Louisa and I had a great talk tonight – I’m in a very luck position, hired by someone who is sensitive to not dream of taking advantage of me, and we will settle into a very workable arrangement, I’m sure. Lots of mail these days, from MWM, Susan, Tim Stone. I guess just the rebound after my partying over Christmas, and worrying that I’ll be dropped out of the social scene, though there is no reason to fear that. A liberal dose of insecurity goes a long way.

Incredible letter from Kaja on Sunday, with the news of her imminent return to Bali & Indonesia. I never dreamed of such exotic end for Kaja, or for myself, for that matter. She talks of perhaps coming to Venice – what a wild reunion that would be. Ah, dreams!

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