Thursday, October 19, 2017

September 19, 1943: Fun Facts

Article by Opa for Mercury Chronicle


Refugee Writer For Mercury Interprets Italian Situation

Editor's Note

The following article is the first of a series to be written for this paper by Thomas W. Doeppner, formerly of the United Press Amsterdam, Holland, office, and now a senior in electrical engineering at Kansas State College. The writer was born in Germany and lived there until 1938, when he escaped from a German concentration camp and went to Holland. In November, 1939, he came to this country, entering McPherson College on a scholarship. In September 1941 he enrolled at Kansas State.

Because of his training and experience in Europe, Mr. Doeppner writes with a knowledge not ordinarily possessed by American writers, and it is believed that his column will prove of real interest and benefit to the readers of this paper.

By Thomas W. Doeppner

Observing the difficulties which the Allied armies had in the battle of Salerno, one starts wondering why Italy has been taken as a first step on the road to Berlin. Dominated by high mountains and in every respect rough terrain, Italy forms an almost perfect defense.

Should Clark and Montgomery succeed in occupying the entire southern and central part of Italy, the northern part, which culminates in the natural barrier of the Alps, will form a series of Mt. Etna nests which are as unpregnable as any modern fortress. The only two possible paths which the Allies could take to cross the Alps fro Italy, are the Simplon Pass to Switzerland and the Brenner Pass. The chances that the Allies would violate the neutrality of Switzerland are ?? (minuscule), therefore the Brenner Pass seems to be the only way left. This pass, an ancient cause for arguments between Italy and Germany, is a rather narrow valley which can be defended as easily from the mountains surrounding it as the Strait of Gibraltar from the Rock.

Since the penetration of the Allies appears to be such a terrific job, it seems probable that the Allies used the invasion of Italy for a different reason. Until then, the Allies had not succeeded in diverting any great number of German troops from other Western fronts. Could it be that the Allies are waiting with their major offensive against the Festung Europa until they have forced the Nazis to ease up on other coastal defense lines in order to strengthen Nazi forces in Italy?

If this should be the case, the entire Italian campaign appears in a different light. It would no longer be of primary importance whether the Allies advance 20 or 200 miles in a week or whether they are forced to consolidate their present position: significant could be the number of Nazi troops which the Allies engage in battle and thereby divert from the potential invasion ?bridgeheads along the Western coast.

Apparently this new strategy has been decided upon only very recently and involved complete changes in the original schedule of invasion. This is apparent from Roosevelt's statement in his message to Congress last Friday, saying that the plans for an invasion of Europe were worked out during the conferences at Quebec. The plans for the invasion of Italy must have been laid before that time. Also, it seems improbable that Italy has been invaded without the existence of a follow-up plan for future actions. If, therefore, future actions have been decided upon again at Quebec, the original plans must have been upset for some reason or other.

The sudden collapse of Italy might have been one reason for this; the Italian armistice, however, did not have any effect on the speed of the Italian invasion since the Germans seem to be putting up a rather effective struggle. The only visible effect Italy's surrender has is the fact that German troops now have to defend Italy, while the Italian Army is out of the picture. These German troops, taken away from some Balkan country, perhaps, may have changed the location of the "vulnerable points" to which Roosevelt referred.
There are seven families of frogs and toads in the United States
Ninety-nine per cent of the body's calcium is in the bony structure.
The Indians once believed the consumption of salt hastened death.
An amphibian landing tractor costs $18,000.

This is a fascinating article, but I think even more fascinating is Opa's introduction by the Editor. The Editor presents Opa in such a way that you assume he worked as a journalist for the United Press in Holland. I really don't know for sure if he did. I think he worked for his father's company in Holland, but this introduction makes it sound much more official. I'll have to double check on that.

Once again we hear the tale of the concentration camp. Did Opa tell it again, or had the editor heard of it from previous sources and included it? We discussed earlier in the blog about the accuracy of this story, and where it came from. Long story short- I don't have hard evidence that Opa was ever in a concentration camp. 

The rest is tried and true information, and then we get into Opa's column.

Opa uses his knowledge of the geography of Italy and Germany to educate his readers, and provide smart commentary on the reason why the Allied forces are moving the way they are. Thanks to Opa, those unfamiliar with the territory now know that it wasn't the most logical choice to get to Germany via Italy. Opa guesses that the strategy was quickly developed to take advantages of some weakness in the Italian front to draw Nazi manpower from some stronger fronts. 

Italy had sort of gone belly up by this point, and now the Nazis had to defend their ground in Italy alone as occupiers rather than allies with shared military resources. Now they can't rely on Italy to hold the line. There is chaos and confusion, and that is perfect for the Allies. If the Allies can gain a foothold in Italy, then Hitler will have to send at least enough protection to hold them back. Like Opa said:
It would no longer be of primary importance whether the Allies advance 20 or 200 miles in a week or whether they are forced to consolidate their present position: significant could be the number of Nazi troops which the Allies engage in battle and thereby divert from the potential invasion ... along the Western coast. 
We as people in the future know that one large invasion on the western front does happen, in June of 1944. I would assume invasions tend to be planned for when the weather is clear, (and to give Hitler enough time to spread his resources thin) so early June makes sense. I would bet money Opa thought/hoped it would happen sooner. 

Back to September of 1943. Opa analyzes the war tactics, and if I were reading his article, I would feel confident and hopeful after his analysis. Especially knowing that a man from Berlin wrote it, with personal knowledge of the area. Opa assumes throughout his analysis that the process and invasion is all well-thought out and careful calculation. That must be nice to have that kind of confidence.

Perhaps my favorite part of this whole thing is the random fun facts at the bottom of the article. My guess is that there was an allotted space for each article, and if one was a little on the short side, these facts acted as great fillers. So now we know about the seven families of frogs and toads in the United States. I tried to fact check that, but it's kinda hard. The information was given in number of species and then I found out over 180 species had died off since 1980. The last fact I thought was about frogs, but then I realized and amphibian landing tractor is a military vehicle/boat for water invasions. I'm sure the paper advertised war bonds.

This article: introduction, essay, and tidbits at the end; is full of fun facts. 

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

September 19, 1943: Come Marging Home

Letter from Opa to Grandmother


September 19, 1943

Hi, Mickey Mouse, darling,

For once I agree with you; I don't like this new schedule any better than you do, for because of it I did not hear from you this week end. If I don't get a letter to-morrow, though, I shall bathe in dreams of suicide. (No flowers; I'm gonna be boined)

How do you like our new stationery? I think it smells, but I don't tell Teeter about that, because he likes it.

If there is a chair in the neighborhood, better sit on it and hold on to it, for what I'm gonna tell you now is going to lay you down flat. Got that chair? All right, here goes:.... I worked today. And I worked yesterday afternoon. And said work was on a farm; yeah, I snapped corn for 65 cents an hour. Dr. Evans, you probably don't know him, but he is a doctor anyhow, wanted somebody on his farm, and I went. I don't think he was very satisfied with my work, since I went terribly slow, he did not say anything about it though; good sport.

Well, I went to the editor of the Mercury and Chronicle and told him what I wanted. We then argued about  Roosevelt for nearly two hours, he con, I pro. When the argument became really interesting, stopped and said: "If I am going to hire you, you are the first democrat who ever sat in our office." Well, he hired me for exactly what I wanted: a weekly column on news interpretation. The pay is shamefully poor for that kind of work, but it is a good start and I shall ask for more after a month or two. He gave me a pretty fair place on top of the news-feature page, but he probably will move me around. By the way, the editor (or rather manager and owner) is a certain Mr. Seaton, brother to our Dean. A nice chap, intelligent and alert, but very conservative for a newspaper man. I like him, though, and I think I will like to work there. He said he may assign me some beats every once in a while for 2 cents a word. That's almost the minimum pay you get for that in ordinary papers...

My article on "Radar" has not been released. The Chief Signal Officer wrote us that he is awfully sorry not to be able to give us permission to print the article "because of the restricted military information which it contains." How I should be in a position to know any restricted information is more than I can figure out. The article was purely non-technical and nothing but a consume of magazine articles. Well, I guess we can't print it, so I shall have to write another one.

It won't be long now till Margie comes marging home, and I know someone who will be awfully glad!

Enough is enough of the best of the stuff.

I think it's as little funny that Opa makes such a big deal about his farm work- (and the fact that he worked at all)- from all the letters it sounds like he does a lot of work and has experience doing farm work. Not sure why Grandmother needed a chair for that news, but he seems happy to have found work. Looks like his idleness got to him! 

His description of his encounter with the editor of the newspaper is fabulous. Yet I can't help but get a "Mad Men" vibe about it with the boys kickin' it back, talking politics and giving out jobs. I also wonder how much of this story was a theatrical telling of a more boring reality. Who knows. Opa did get a writing gig, which makes me wonder if he thought he might end up following in his father's footsteps in journalism, with all the blockades to his engineering career. You'll be happy to know that we found those Mercury Chronicle articles and will be posting them here! 

Alas Opa's radar article couldn't be published, and while I'm selfishly glad that I don't have to transcribe it now, I know there are some readers who may have been looking forward to it.

Opa just really can't wait for "Margie to come come marging home" and I think it's adorable.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

September 18, 1943: Green Card Marriage

Letter from INS to Opa


Mr. Thomas W. Doeppner
1011 Moro Street
Manhattan, Kansas

My dear Mr. Doeppner:

Reference is made to your letter of July 1, 1943 wherein you advise that you are considering marriage to an American girl and request information concerning your status and the status of your future wife.

Your marriage to an American citizen would in no way change your present immigration status and you would be expected to maintain that status until such a time as you may be able to effect departure from the United States and reenter in possession of the appropriate immigration visa for permanent residence. Your marriage would in no way affect the citizenship of your wife. Any children born of the union would be United States citizens. In the event children are born of the union outside of the United States it would be advisable to register their births at a United States consulate and to obtain information as to the necessary steps to take to enable the children to retain United States citizenship after reaching the age of sixteen.

Sincerely yours,
Earl G. Harrison, Commissioner
A.C. Devaney, Acting Assistant Commissioner

OK! Now we get the full answer. Opa likely already got this information from his visit to Kansas City, but now we get the full-version of the details. Opa's status in the US would be unchanged with his marriage to my Grandmother. Not that I ever doubted that their union was a legitimate one, but for some reason this information makes me feel glad. I feel glad because Grandmother had this information before they got married. I don't know that she ever doubted Opa's love or commitment- but if she did, here was one less obstacle. Also for her family, I imagine this information cleared up one thing for them.

This also makes me wonder- we hear a lot about "green card" marriages, but it sounds like it isn't as simple as marrying someone and becoming a citizen. I don't know how vast the whole green-card marriage practice is, but I wonder if it isn't as easy as we think. I mean, I think the one thing I have learned through all this is that immigration is anything but easy!

Monday, October 16, 2017

September 15, 1943: Bored Opa

Letter from Opa to Grandmother


T. Doeppner :: W. Sheffer
North Ash Street            McPherson, Kansas
September 15, 1943

Miss Marjorie A. Sloan
Selden, Kansas

My dear Miss Sloan:

We find ourselves in possession of your letter of September 14, 1943. Please accept our thanks for the contents of said object.

In section 1, paragraph 2, of the above mentioned letter, you were kind enough to let us know about the changes which have occurred in the official schedule of the Union Pacific, as well as the Rock Island, Railway Lines. It is our candid and unalterable opinion that said changes have been introduced for the only purpose of causing inconveniences to an oppressed and terrorized minority, viz. the population of Selden, Ks., in general, and the academically trained part of said population in particular. Unfortunately, this office is in no position to declare war on the before mentioned Railway Lines as yet; if, however, your party will succeed in entering an alliance with other powers such the combined allied strength will exceed the strength of the combined Railway Lines by at least 37.8% of the former one, the case will be taken into reconsideration. In that event, please fill out application blank no. 457-A-37-89.

It has come to our attention that the famous Movie Star "Mickey Mouse" is going to debark at the piers of Manhattan on the 27th day of this month. We shall be grateful if you will have your Services find out the exact time of this debarkation and notify our office promptly. It will be our task to take care of the usual welcome ceremonies, as providing the bands, fanfare, skunks and rotten eggs which such arrivals necessitate. Any suggestions from your part will be greatly appreciated. In your correspondence with this famous movie star, you may care to mention the fact that the date of arrival may be hastened without that this would cause any difficulties on our part. Under no circumstances, however, will a later date be accepted.

We acknowledge receipt of your remarks concerning the way cities might affect the moral, ethical, and spiritual qualifications of an individual. One of the members of this committee believed to be able to find a trace of sarcasm in these remarks. In order to satisfy any suspicions on your part, we are happy to be able to inform you that the individual referred to in your letter was able to restrict himself to such a degree as to be able to stay within the limits which he himself had set for himself before he himself proceeded on the trip. These limits formed a very reasonable capacity. Even though the official report has not been published yet, usually reliable sources report that the limits which were not to be exceeded were 8 gallons of whiskey, 23.9 gallons of beer, and 84.7 gallons of wine per minute. As we said before, we are very proud to be in a position to say that the individual referred to stayed within the limits each minute of the day.

This north-east room of the first floor of the Zimmerman mansion on 1011 Moro Street, Manhattan, Kansas, has been occupied by a new roomer. This new roomer, according to visual examination by experts, appears to be a lady of female sex. Her official name is hereto unknown; the business in which she is engaged at the present is the pursuing of studying to be an aircraft inspector. This above all degraded her to the wearing of a pair of flexible tubes, commonly designated as "slacks." It is needless to say that these slacks lower the sales-value of said specimen by approx. 30%. Unfortunately the face value, or at least the face, of the specimen is detrimental to any interest in further investigations. It might be argued, though, that the lack of better specimens at the present time would justify the use of the prevailing one; this, however, is a question for debate which has not been decided as yet.

It is our understanding that your party bears in mind to consider playing with the idea of possibly thinking about maybe accepting a job to help pass the time during the coming academic year. If this should be the case, and, if your party is not too condemned particular about the nature of this job, this office may be in a position to send a representative to the assistant of the second assistant to the assistant of the assistant librarian. This representative, then, might be able to reserve a seat in the waiting list of the candidates for a position. It will be appreciated if answer to this will arrive at this office within the near future.

Very respectfully yours,
Thomas W. Doeppner.
Thomas w. Doeppner, Esq.
Asst. to the Chief Spy.

Oh Opa. He kept his character throughout the entire letter, God bless him. I'm going to be honest- I was bored out of my mind with this shtick. It's cute, but I don't know if it's two pages cute.

The translation: Grandmother is due to arrive sooner rather than later, although Opa wishes sooner. A new girl moved in on the street and Opa doesn't think she's attractive. Grandmother made fun of Opa's affinity for big cities and perhaps teased that they were a bad influence. He responded with similar sarcasm. Grandmother is thinking about getting a job and Opa might be able to get her a gig with the library.

I think Opa is bored, wants Grandmother to just get there already and is giddy about it. So he wrote a long letter with too many words. He definitely didn't think I'd be scrutinizing it a lifetime later, so I won't give him too hard a time.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

September 10, 1943: Completely Reliable

Letter from Opa to Grandmother


Kansas City, 9/10/43

Dearest Margie,

I am sitting in the bus depot and have an hour's time before my bus leaves. So I shall just have time to tell you how I got along. I am very glad that I went, for there were many things I found out which I could never have done by mail. In the first place, my status is completely secure as long as the war is on, i.e. I shall be able to accept any kind of employment after graduation which I can get. If the war is over, I would theoretically be required to leave the country. Practically, however, this would not be enforced unless they have something special against me. My record with the F.B.I. is "completely reliable," the same holds for the Immigration Dept. As far as naturalization is concerned, things don't look quite so good, yet better than I thought. There is a chance of my getting the first paper during wartime, due to my peculiar citizenship. Under American law, I am an alien-enemy all right; under Canadian law, though, I am a resident of Holland. For that reason, I could apply for the first papers in the U.S. from a Canadian port of entry. The procedure would run some-what like this: I would apply to the State Dept. for what they call pre-examination. If this should be granted, I go back here to Kansas City and get examined like I would at New York or any port of entry. If I pass this, the State Dept. applies for a visa for me to Canada. Since under Canadian law I am no longer a German, this visa would probably be granted. Then I wait here, i.e. anyplace in the U.S., till my number is called up, go to Canada, stay there a few days, just long enough to see the American Consul, and return to the U.S.A. as an immigrant, ready for my first paper. The drawback is, besides the financial point, that the whole procedure takes lots of Red Tape and plenty of time; about a year, they say.

There is one easier way of getting the first papers in a very short period of time; I shall tell you about that when you get here. Anyhow, I won't make any final decision till I have talked to you about it.

Since I did not get a reply from Philadelphia on the letter I wrote concerning your status after we get married, I inquired about that, too. You would retain your American citizenship without any question whatsoever, and our children would be citizens if they are born in this country. If they are born abroad, they may become citizens if they and we want to. I also inquired about other minor things; I shall tell you about that later. 

Kansas City is all right; it felt good to spend a day in a "big city." 

Yesterday was rather enjoyable, too. Teeter and I went up to County Club Hill(?) and played golf; it was my first attempt, and you can imagine how he beat me. Last night, the SignalCorps gave a farewell banquet at the Wareham. Troutman talked; rather mediocre.

Time for the bus.


Opa's visit to Kansas City seems like it went well. It's really intriguing to see the details of how refugees and immigrants have to navigate a pretty jumbled process, especially when it's my own grandfather. 

If I'm not mistaken, Kansas City was the first "big city" Opa got to visit since his arrival to the United States. He spent time on the East coast in New York and Philadelphia before heading to Kansas, but after that he was fairly confined to the plains. The hustle of a city must have been a little nostalgic for him- even if it was completely different from Berlin. 

Opa shares the answers to some of the questions he brought up, but not all of them and I'm really curious! We know that he is secure in the U.S. as long as the war is on. After the war ends his status gets a little shaky, but as long as he stays out of trouble, he should be able to buy enough time to get his citizenship papers rolling. One way for him to get citizenship is to jump through a thousand loopholes. I volunteered for an organization that helps vulnerable immigrants, and one such person was in the United States on a special visa that marked her as a refugee of sorts. There was an insecurity in the person's status, because at any time the policy could change in a way that might declare the country of origin to be "safe" and therefore she was no longer in need of refuge. The problem was that under her special status, the only way she could start a path to citizenship was to leave the country and come back in as a different kind of immigrant (under a different status). This is exactly what Opa was being told to do some 75 years ago. 

Opa said that there was an easier, shorter way of getting his first papers towards citizenship and then leaves everyone hanging by saying he'll tell Grandmother when they see each other. Seriously?! You went into the gritty details of the other option but won't even give us a hint on this one? What was it? I'm wondering if it was joining the military. We know Opa eventually joins the military, but it didn't happen till later, and we know he didn't (at least period to this) have any interest in joining. So I am super curious what happens and what the letters will tell us from here!

He answers the question about the marriage- but leaves out the most obvious answer we were looking for! Of course Grandmother retains her citizenship, but what about Opa? Maybe that was the quicker route and he didn't want her to feel pressured or rushed? 

Opa played golf for the first time, which cracks me up because I can't imagine playing an entire game with zero experience. 

So far Opa has options, seems fairly safe in his status as a visitor to the United States. Anything and everything can change in a heartbeat, but for now, in the eyes of the United States, he is "Completely Reliable." 

Saturday, October 14, 2017

September 8, 1943: Lucky Days

Letter from Opa to Grandmother


September 8, 1943

Dearest Margie,

Whether I want to or not, I have to believe in lucky days; today was one of them. First your letter, which made me feel a lot better, (comment on that in another paragraph), then the unconditional surrender of Italy, which came rather unexpected, and also an introduction to our new librarian, who will take Mr. Smith's place. Apparently Miss Roberts has laid some groundwork for this introduction, for he asked me to work for the library any number of hours I want to at the highest possible rate for a student. So now I have three jobs to select from.

Thanks for your letter: it took quite a load off my heart. No, Margie, I was not offended by your frankness, in the contrary, I always did and will appreciate that. The reason I was worried was that I feared that you were preparing me for some bad news. Probably I was a little unjust in my letter; a little jealousy had kept up to me. You need not fear that my feelings may change. As long as I am sure of you -- and I am now -- I will be glad to wait and fight together with you against anything and anybody who wants to separate us. It won't be hard if the two of us stick together. You are perfectly right concerning that plan of yours. Under the circumstances, it is better that I won't come up to see you. I won't have come anyhow as long as I would have the feeling that I am not wanted by your folks. It won't be long now anyhow till you'll be back in Manhattan, and I think we have passed the test of separation already.

I'll send you under separate cover a play in which I had a part in McPherson; it might be something for your mother to read. The play itself is very amateurish and definitely poor from the artistic point of view. It might have some bearing on our problem, though. Even though the analogies are just a very few, some parallels can be drawn. Better read it first, though, because it also might aggrevate things. Let your psychological experiences decide whether or not to show it to your folks.

I had written to the Immigration Service in Kansas City last week and asked for an interview with them, and they agreed to have me come this weekend, so I shall leave tomorrow morning at 5:57 per bus for K.C. Among the questions I am going to discuss with them are the possibilities of applying for first papers now; I just read in a new Executive Order that the President has the power to grant first papers to alien-enemies "in special cases." There is no reason why I shouldn't apply for that. The odds are 1000 to one I won't get it; however, when I was in Holland, the odds against my getting here were worse than that. Also, I shall ask them about the steps I have to take to be able to accept employment in essential industry. Also, I shall ask them about what happens to you and our children when we get married, how it will affect the question of citizenship, etc. I never did get an answer on my letter to Philadelphia concerning that matter. Also, a question about the draft need some clearing up and similar things, so I decided it would be better to just go there and talk things over instead of waiting for their letters. I shall probably return tomorrow night, unless they want me longer.

Well, it seems as though I shall have to work harder next year than I thought I would. A friend of mine in Seattle took sick and went to the hospital for an operation. Since he has neither folks nor money, the hospital refused to perform the operation, so I sent him hundred bucks. I shall still have enough to enroll the first semester, but will have to make enough for the second semester during the next few months. If things become tough, I could always borrow from the Student Loan Fund, but I much rather make the money myself.

We are having a little trouble with the "Engineer." My article on Radar may not be printed without special permission from th e Chief Signal Officer, a certain Lieut. Col. McIntyre. I forwarded the article to him, but I am afraid that he won't send it back in time for us to print it in the October issue. Furthermore, we may not even get the permission. So, I just started writing on some thing else which we shall put in in case we don't get the release of the article in time. I would hate that, because I spent quite a bit of time on that stuff.

I'm longing to see you!

I try to remind myself of the rich blessing it is to learn that your Grandfather was a really good man, even in private. In my luxury of letters, I forget that this is not normal. For me to have evidence of Opa's goodness, as 23 year old man writing to his fiance in 1943.

Opa was not intimidated by Grandmother's candor, nor did he  hold back his own feelings and opinions. He respected her. You know, it's interesting, my Dad can say some of the most ridiculous sexist stuff ever- but he has never and would never disrespect my mother. And same goes for his daughters- he never told us that we couldn't do something because we were girls. He learned that from Opa. 

Opa's generosity pops up here too. I remember hearing about this loan to his friend in Seattle, I think his roommate's wife told us about it when we interviewed her. My guess is that this friend is also a refugee. Opa gives $100, today's equivalent of $1,418.50 to his friend in need of surgery. That's a chunk of change! As a child, I was very generous, I think I still am but perhaps less innocently. I have heard many stories of Opa's generosity. Renate, his cousin, tells of when he sent money to Germany to her mother who was struggling. Then there's the fact that Opa and Grandmother single-handedly paid for the college tuition of myself and my two sisters. 

Opa's meeting with the INS agent should be fascinating. I'm anxious to hear about it, he's got a lot of questions! I'm most interested to hear about the marriage question and the draft question. He doesn't really specify about the draft and what he wants to know about it. Perhaps he is concerned that gaining American citizenship or going after it would require that he sign up for the draft? Till now, we have only heard of his pacifist views (other than his advice on how Americans can win the war). He seems to be shifting, but is he shifting to the point that he wants to join the military?

For Opa, lucky means hearing from his fiance, getting another opportunity for work, Italy's surrender, and helping a friend. For me, a lucky day is when you realize what a good man your grandfather was.

Friday, October 13, 2017

September 4, 1943: Adulting with the INS

Letter from Opa to INS in Kansas City


st. 16645

U.S. Immigration and 
Naturalization Service
Kansas City, Missouri


I would like to obtain some information and advice concerning matters dealing with my present status as a student and my future status in the United States, as well as some other problems which have come up.

It will be possible for me to go to Kansas City on Friday, September 10 and Saturday, September 11. Could you arrange for somebody who is acquainted with my case to give me an interview on one of these days?

I shall appreciate if you will let me know about this soon and give me details as to the place and time of the interview. Thank you.

Very truly yours,

Thomas W. Doeppner

A quick little note to the INS. Opa has questions and he's hoping for answers. I think about the effort he has to take in order to talk to someone. Cheap phone calls and emails are a luxury he doesn't have. Plus, I imagine he feels that meeting in person might give him a boost if anything is subjective. 

I wonder if the problems he is referring to is the job he's trying to nail down. The Physics department is trying to hire him, but the government is getting in the way. We don't know the exact issue, but I have seen some of the complications of immigrants needing their employers to sponsor them for a work visa. It's a costly and paper-stacked endeavor. I wonder if Opa is going to see if the INS can help him out in this at all. Plus we haven't heard back on the marriage thing, have we? Opa wrote a bit ago about whether marriage to an American would affect his status or his children's. So far- no answer.

Opa is nearing the end of his time as a student, and he knows that his status will change, and likely become more complicated. Just like any kid graduating into the "real world" except Opa has just a few more things to worry about!

I hadn't really thought about it as clearly as now, but Opa really had to become an adult completely on his own. Instead of talking to his parents about his decisions after college, he's talking to an INS agent.