Post 72 — It’s Quarter to Three . . .

palm_originalwebTink. Tink. Tink. Tink.

Jean sat at the typewriter and tried to concentrate. The house felt airless and she wished she could abandon this letter and take Karen over to the pool at the hotel. Karen could use the swimming practice and Jean could sit in the bar, or even get in the water. Anything to delay the inevitable storm this was going to churn up.

Tink. Tink. Tink. Tink.

There was a tapping sound coming from somewhere and it was driving her crazy. It sounded like metal against metal, but in a tinny sort of way. She looked out the front door but didn’t see anyone out there. She listened hard but could not figure out which direction the sound was coming from. It seemed like she had been hearing that noise for weeks now but she couldn’t figure out what it was. She thought about going outside to hunt down the source but realized she was stalling and went back to the typewriter. It was actually Larry’s turn to write but he was busy at rehearsal for the latest incarnation of The Samoan Fales.

April 21, 1967

This is Jean this week, trying to get the letter out before three o’clock.

I guess what I have to say next won’t come as a complete surprise. We won’t be coming home this summer. Larry didn’t get the job he applied for in the states because it was in a supervisory capacity. We have learned that no matter how much ability you have, the teaching profession just doesn’t recognize a plain old teacher as much unless he has “supervisor” after his name. So Larry is going to try to get it here. We don’t know yet exactly what he will be doing but it won’t be teaching on T.V. He is tired of that and the last month or so has been a grind. There is a lot of pressure and tension involved and he has been on T.V., including Detroit, for four and a half years now.

The girls are all agreeable to staying. Kathy has some doubts about her high school work here and so have we, but the advantages out weigh the disadvantagess. Larry will be getting a raise of some sorts and so will I, so between the two of us, we can make a considerable start on a substantial fund for the girls. We figured up the salary he would be getting if we went back plus all the possible expenses and we were right back where we started, breaking even. The girl’s needs are so much greater now and I am afraid we wouldn’t have anything left over for a college fund, and we both feel very strongly about the kids going to college. I know the the thought of another year seems a little dismal to everyone at home but I don’t think it will be much of a hardship for us. We love the house and have many good friends and you can’t beat the social life.

It has bothered us very much knowing that if something happens, we wouldn’t be there to help or just not seeing the family for long and missing everyone. But it boils down to how we can best take care of our family and this seems to be it. I must be honest and say we love it here and the life and the people, coworkers and Samoans. I will also say that if a chance comes for a job somewhere else, we will probably jump at it.

The girls all have itchy feet now and would like to travel when they get on their own. Larry and I will probably be sitting somewhere in our old age waiting for letters from God knows where, too. Still, both sets of parents raised us to be independent so I’m sorry if we are are over doing it!


The year had flown by so quickly that it seemed impossible that it was time for them make the decision about staying again, but the TV program was losing teachers in droves as their contracts expired and the administrators were getting desperate to hang on to experienced personnel. The decision to stay had not really been that difficult for Jean and Larry, but they knew the relatives back home might not feel the same way.

Tink. Tink. Tink. Tink.

Relieved that she had finished the worst of the news, Jean jumped up from the typewriter and threw open the back door. Carolyn was sitting on the step with a spoon in one hand and a quarter in the other, tapping the edges of the silver coin to flatten it out enough to make a ring out of it. She had been working on this particular piece of change for weeks now. She jerked up in surprise at the sight of her mother and dropped the quarter, which bounced on the driveway and then disappeared into the drainage ditch.

“MOM!” she shrieked. “I hate you!” She ran sobbing into the house, slamming the screen door behind her. Jean sighed and went back to the typewriter. Maybe she could stay on the island and all the teen-agers could go back to Detroit.

One Comment to “Post 72 — It’s Quarter to Three . . .”

  1. I LOVED the initial set-up and the clever denouement!


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