Smorgasbord Letters from America – 1985-1987 – Hanna Barbara Land, BBQ and Lilo races

It is now July 1985, and the weather in Houston is very hot and muggy. The pool became the centre of entertainment in the evenings and the weekends as everyone stripped off and cooled down.

July 16th 1985.

Dear M & D,

Just back from the airport, David is off to Dallas and then Kansas, putting together another order, and won’t be back until Thursday.

Despite the fact that lovely Vicki has now left, I am still very busy, playing tennis, swimming and aerobics. The little girl that I have been looking after will be over later this morning and we are reading Black Beauty at the moment. I am enjoying sharing the story as it is a lot of years since I have last enjoyed.  It has been fun looking after her and tomorrow I am taking her and two others to Hanna Barbara Land, which is like a mini Disneyland. Three toddlers… will I survive?

I got your last letter yesterday and was pleased to hear that the flower festival went well. You will need a rest when you to visit Mollie. I have checked on the weather for November and it is a bit mixed. Temperatures around 70 mostly with some cooler rainy days, but people say it is usually lovely. You will be pleased to miss the 95 degrees and the 95% humidity would be unbearable without air conditioning. I am learning to live with it but when you walk outside the apartment or out of a shopping mall, you are soaking in sweat by the time you reach your car. Not a good look…..

Just to let you know in advance that when you fly over you will need to fill out an immigration form before you land with passport details and home address etc. You will also have to put us down as being financially responsible for you during your visit (you have waited a lifetime for me to say that haven’t you!). I am enclosing David’s business card so you can use those details and also a dollar bill in case I forget. You will need that for the luggage cart to take you through to customs where they take your luggage off you, and send it down to baggage reclaim for you to collect.

I am enclosing a lock of hair to show you the effect of sun and chlorine. It gets blonder by the day and is now quite long again, by the time you get here it will be the same length as when we got married.. If I have not had it all chopped off because of the heat and swimming every day!. The weight continues to come off although I have a medical condition called ‘lack of self will’ specifically when it comes to chocolate milkshakes with lashings of vanilla ice-cream. I am working on it.

As I have not much to report, I will finish this letter after the weekend.

July 20th….

We went off to Hanna Barbara Land as planned and there were thousands of screaming children and stressed looking mothers. Every one was hyped up on sugar and my three charges dived straight into the mayhem and had a great day. When Hailey’s father arrived to pick her up I was ready for a gin and tonic or two! I don’t get paid as I am not allowed to work here but it helps keep me occupied. But her father kindly brings us a bottle of spirits or wine from time to time…

Tennis is great fun and I am getting my form back. Debby still beats me but I am working on it. We play at 8am. before the heat builds up and the storm clouds gather in the afternoon. Then back to the complex and an hour’s swimming to set me up for the day. David has bought a racket too and we are going to play when he is here. He is either in the office or on a plane, and apart from a daily swim he feels he needs more exercise.

One of the weekend activities is lilo racing in the pool.. sometimes as a solo or if you are really good friends as a double act. Debby and I are really quite good at it. It gets a little rowdy and people do not play by the rules so getting to the end of the pool is quite an achievement especially if the lilo sinks due to the number of boarders. You can end up with more than when you started.

Vicki and Kelly kindly left us their Barbecue kit, and David has been practicing on our friends. It is a little smokey but does the job and it reminds me of the days when we would go up to Ceres and have a braai with those delicious boerewors sausages. Happy memories. We keep on our balcony but it is light enough to carry downstairs into the central area where we can sit around the tables with friends and enjoy the food and company. Everyone brings something, a salad, wine, beer or dessert so nobody has to bear the cost of everything.

We decided that as we are going to be here for at least another six months, that rather than spend 100 dollars a month renting that we would buy our own furniture from a second hand store. We are pretty sure that we will be here until the end of 1986 at least and we could save 1000 dollars.  I went over yesterday and bought two matching settees, a six seater dining room set, a king-sized bed, two singles and a computer table for David to put in the spare bedroom rather than the dining room table. We have to move the machine every time we have someone over for supper so it makes sense.

Anyway, this should keep you busy until the next letter when I will be reporting on the Hawaiian Lua this weekend..

love from us both  Sally and David.

©Sally Cronin 2018

41 thoughts on “Smorgasbord Letters from America – 1985-1987 – Hanna Barbara Land, BBQ and Lilo races

  1. Those lilo races look like a lot of fun! And the milkshakes sound wonderful. I didn’t realise lack of ‘self will’ was a recognised medical condition – I’ve got it, too, though not specifically for milkshakes. David looks pretty fit on a daily swim.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh my goodness, look at that picture of David. So handsome, even wearing shorts that are “so 80’s” 🙂. Lilo racing sounds like a blast. That must have been a Texas thing. Give me a glass of wine (gin and tonic back then, like you) and I’m game…maybe for 20 feet. Ha! Delightful letter, Sally!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I love your sense of humor, Sally. “A medical condition called ‘lack of self will.’” Ha! I have that problem too, decades later. The pool looks like a godsend in that heat. I hope your parents’ visit went well. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Pingback: Smorgasbord Weekly Round Up – With friends – William Price King, Paul Andruss, Carol Taylor, Esme, Billy Ray Chitwood and other brilliant writers. | Smorgasbord – Variety is the spice of life

    • I was lucky in as much as I could not work without a visa and I took the opportunity to write which was great. But, also you could not walk anywhere as there were not sidewalks from the apartment so great to have the pool and court handy. There were quite a few cabin crew in the complex and so they would be off during the day which meant there was always someone up for a game of tennis.. xxx

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      • I have noticed that when we visited Florida last year that pavements were few and far between. Also we went out a couple of evening we walked and we seemed to be very much the only ones.
        It must of been great for you, did you ever get bored or lonely. I am glad it worked well for you. 💜💜💜

        Liked by 1 person

      • I am glad of that, I know in my twenties and thirties when the children were young I lived in out of the way places, my husband way away alot and I did get lonely. 💜

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