May 26, 1984, Athens, Greece
Dearest Joe – I wasn’t intending to write you any letters—but I miss you—and even if you don’t read them, just by writing I have the feeling of talking to you.
The plane ride wasn’t too difficult this time and my only jet lag symptom is that I feel sleepy. I felt very depressed on the plane and yesterday, my first day. Fortunately, I made the decision to come to Athens—not Piraeus. At the airport yesterday (and on the plane) huge crowds of tourists…The airport manager for TWA noticed me and immediately followed me around helping me. He found me a lovely hotel in Athens (about $13 a day) with a beautiful roof garden with a view of the Acropolis—right on the edge of the Plaka (old Athens). He also carried my bags to a bus that goes directly to Athens—so I paid only about 60 cents instead of six dollars for a taxi. This is a 100% improvement on the Omni Hotel. The tourists in this hotel are mostly English, French, Scandinavian couples—very nice. I had a nice walk in the Plaka this evening. The weather is perfect–the best I’ve ever experienced here—warm sun and steady cool breeze. The air is much cleaner.
I’m very concerned about my digestion. On the plane I read East-West magazine about the macrobiotic diet and food balance. Since I know that it cured Carl Dibble of cancer I’m more or less convinced that it could help me. At least I have put myself on a diet—I must lose. Today I hardly ate. Joe, you also must watch your diet. Chew your food also—its really a matter of choosing life or death.
May 28, 1984, Athens, Greece
I decided to stay first few days in Athens instead of Piraeus. My little hotel here has roof garden with view of Parthenon. Trip OK. No jet lag. Last night ate a salad at taverna in old section of city. Danced at a Greek wedding! Everyone surprised at my dancing. I haven’t made any plans yet. Today will decide. Probably to Samos. Feel a little bad. Take care of yourself.
May 30, 1984, Samos, Greece
Arrived in Samos! (Home of Pythagoras). The town where I’m staying is quite tranquil—not as nice as Kos—but pretty. I’m hoping to make a tour of the island, also get in some swimming. Food quite good—the specialty is octopus! But I’m hardly eating—both to lose weight and to help my digestion. Please please eat slower, eat less, and eat mainly vegetables. Keep in good health. Water the plants because they cry when they’re dry. From here I’ll go to the island of Chios, then to Thessaloniki or Kavala.
May 31, 1984, Samos, Greece
Still on island of Samos. Found a hotel right on the water—very nice for $8.00 a day. I just had my first swim. The water is perfect and I feel much better. I haven’t been sick—only very depressed (for a long time). The town of Samos is not as nice as the town of Kos—but the whole island is lovely. Very quiet—people friendly. Many American, German, French tourists. Food good but I’m trying very hard not to eat very much. Of course I took too much. There is windsurfing here. I might try it. Will probably stay here at least till June 4, then I will go to Chios and Lesbos—then to N. Greece by boat—Kavala—then by bus or train to Istanbul. Take care of yourself!
June 2, 1984, Samos, Greece
I forgot to mail this in Athens. Right now I’m staying at the Surfside Hotel in Samos. Its right at the water—lovely swimming! The air is balmy and fresh. The woman who owns the hotel is American married to a Greek. They have a couple of dogs an a really goofy cat named BooBoo who seems to run the place. I feel well—my digestion is better—only am covered with mosquito bites. The food is very good. I’m sticking to vegetarian diet, trying to eat less and walk a lot. A little lonely—met a woman who studied 7 years at Berkeley—and knows where Florida Street is. Samos Island is really beautiful—home of Pythagoras, once largest Greek city before Athens.
I intend to leave Samos Monday for the Island of Chios (not Kos).
June 6, 1984, Izmir, Turkey
I just came from Samos by boat to Kusadasi and to Izmir. Tomorrow I go to Istanbul. Samos was beautiful and I had wonderful swims. Even you would like Samos. The Greeks there were very friendly—it was like paradise. However, I was “alone in Heaven.” Made friends with the many dogs and cats. Everyone lives in harmony—but unfortunately a war shadow on the horizon. Islands heavily militarized. It is getting quite hot now. I might go back to Samos later—but I should try another island. So far, trip fine. The swimming cures my depression. My digestion much better. Food everywhere very good—but I’m trying to lose. Take good care of yourself. Walk—don’t eat too much..
June 9, 1984, Buyukada, Turkey
Today I went to this island in the Sea of Marmara—about an hour from Istanbul by boat and rode all around the island in horse drawn buggy—no cars allowed here. Very beautiful. Formerly sultans relatives exiled here—many beautiful old wooden homes.
(Later [Istanbul]) Today I went to see Pierre Loti’s famous café on a hill behind Istanbul and then to the famous Eyup Mosque—it is Ramazan and nobody eats (openly) during the day. Food good but am trying to lose. So far, health very good—only mosquitoes bother me. No problems but prices high—cherries more than a dollar a pound, sometimes. I must find cheaper hotel. Tomorrow I will go to the Black Sea and try to swim. I miss you—you had better miss me. Time seems to pass slowly but trip is very interesting. Hard to find newspapers so I don’t have too good an idea of what is happening there.
June 16, 1984, Sile, Turkey
I am now in Sile, Turkey—a village on the Black Sea. Name means “wild flower.” There are many here. The Black Sea hills are beautiful—forested, green. However, the sea is very cold—like the ocean near S.F. I still go swimming. You were right—a small place by the sea is best. I have eaten something that has made me feel a bit dizzy, nauseated, the last few days—however, a little better now. Everyone here in the village is nice. This whole month is Ramazan—therefore no people—no tourists hardly. June is a very good month to travel—next month there will be many crowds everywhere by the sea. My Turkish is greatly improved—but still difficult. Everyone very surprised I can speak. Fruit expensive but very good—strawberries like Japanese farmer in Santa Barbara. I don’t know where I’ll go next—but back to Greece soon. Love to you.
June 20, 1984, Istanbul, Turkey
I am in Istanbul and trying to decide where to go next. I will try to go to Troy—then on to Greece. So far everything fine. I spent a week in a Black Sea village—Sile—and swam a lot. I had a wonderful day there—danced Turkish folk dances—and in the evening watched The Argonaut sail into the harbor. Ate a fish dinner on a terrace above the sea. Beautiful green countryside, many wild flowers, 500 year old tree. However—looking forward to coming home.
June 25, 1984, Ayvalik, Turkey
I finally got to Troy—a rather difficult trip by boat and bus—two nights at the Dardanelles. Very sad because of all the graves. People say there is still a smell of death. Then on to Troy—all alone there. A very interesting experience. Only wildflowers, lizards and birds alive there now. After that I went to Pergamos—also very interesting. At Asklepion I drank at the sacred spring and ran along the sacred corridor—saw the museum. Now am in Ayvalik in Turkey—a village on the Aegean near Lesbos. Tomorrow I’ll take a boat to Lesbos. I will later try to get to Israel. Health good. I have seen so many things —Ayvalik sad because once Greek—beautiful old Greek buildings in ruin—church now a mosque. Every night I eat sardines (like Portugal), rice, salad, watermelon. I saw real camel caravans!
. . .
MR. JOSEPH TUSSMAN
74 FLORIDA AVENUE
BERKELEY, CALIFORNIA 94707
WITH DEEP REGRET, THE AMERICAN EMBASSY IN ATHENS, GREECE INFORMS YOU OF THE DEATH OF YOUR WIFE, MRS. LORRIE SHADBOLT TUSSMAN ON JULY 11, 1984. ACCORDING TO SYGROU HOSPITAL, ATHENS, HER CAUSE OF DEATH HAS NOT YET BEEN DETERMINED. WE HAVE IDENTIFIED HER THROUGH HER PASSPORT…
WE EXTEND OUR DEEPEST SYMPATHY TO YOU AND YOUR FAMILY IN YOUR BEREAVEMENT.
AMERICAN EMBASSY, ATHENS, GREECE