Sunday, March 30, 2014

May 11, 1939: Opa is on a Roll, and in English!

Letter from Tom (Opa) to Charlotte Salmon at AFSC


Dear Miss Salmon,

Please accept my most sincere thanks for the quick and effective way in which you have taken up and assisted me in my affairs.

Today I have forward an outline of my career and a copy of my report of my final examination of the High-School to the Oberlin College. A copy of my letter and of my career and examinations-ciphers, I enclose hereby.

I understand Professor Einstein's letter of recommendations has been already sent to you direct by his secretary Miss Helen Dukas. I have also asked professor Albert Martin, of 212, Chesterroad, Swarthmore, to send a further letter of recommendation direct to the Oberlin College and a copy of his letter to you. A third letter of recommendation is forthcoming from Mr. Virgil Pinkley, European Business Manager of the United Press associations of America, which will also be sent direct to the Oberlin College. I will send you a copy of Mr. Pinkley's letter as soon as I receive it.

I assume you know that Professor Martin was good enough to write about me to the American Friends Service Committee and that Miss Derenburg has taken it up there. Most probably the two reports have already been incorporated into one.

Thanking you very much again and with kind regards

Yours sincerely

Thomas Doppner

Opa is on a roll now. He writes two letters on May 11th, 1939. This blog covers the letter he wrote to our friend at the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC), Charlotte Salmon. The next blog will cover the letter he wrote to Miss Helen-Mary Forbush at Oberlin, and in good time too! Time is ticking away!

Opa thanks Miss Salmon for her hard work (as he should!) and gives her all the information she has asked for. Yay! Finally! You might notice right away that Opa has written this letter in English, so he must be getting more confident in his English skills. He doesn’t do too badly, although if Opa were alive today- he would be embarrassed to see that he sent anything that was grammatically or any other way incorrect. Opa would correct my Grandmother’s notes. The irony that she was born and raised in America and English was technically his second language has never been lost on me. I say that Opa knew English better than most native English speakers, because he learned it so precisely and with that little inch of perfectionism that he had. My Dad inherited this penchant for correct grammar and spelling and was constantly correcting my papers. I appreciate it- and hope that I would make Opa proud, and that I make Dad proud.

So Opa’s venture into English writing is going fairly well, with a kind note of appreciation and a report of his enclosed documents. He then lists the three sources for his American letters of recommendation, and tells Charlotte that they should all be on their way to Oberlin College.

I’m weirdly proud of Opa in this letter. He takes care of business, gets things settled and communicates effectively in a language that is not native to him. Way to go, Opa!

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