Friday, August 21, 2015

February 23, 1940: Room With a View

Original Letter from Patti to Tom (Opa)


February 23, 1940

My dear little brother,

Don’t get mad at me for not keeping my promise to write to you regularly, please forgive me! When I drew up a (very detailed!) plan for writing letters, I couldn’t know what would happen to me during that time! And now time flies by, and two weeks have passed since I’ve written to you!

This letter must leave within two hours for it to make its plane, so I won’t write a lot.

Do you already know that I now live in a small palace with Maurice? We found a very nice room, large, well-lit, sunny, with two windows, central heating, and a small bathroom. The house is a bit outside town, and the two windows provide a splendid view of the mountains.

And we are settling in so well. Being together, our rent budget is less than before, and we can afford this small luxury. In the bathroom, we have a small gas heater, and we use this Tenfel machine morning and evening. At noon we eat at a student restaurant. Our little “kitchen”, our work, our excursions, our move (i.e., finding places for our things and hanging up pictures) give us an infinite variety of small and great joys. If I ever get the time, I’ll tell you more about this some day.

Fortunately, Emma and Mesz really like Maurice, and so we all make quite a harmonious foursome. The other day, they came here for “supper,” and so we acted as hosts in our own home, with two napkins as a tablecloth, lids for camping pots as dishes, no tea because we don’t have tea glasses, but water in yogurt cups – and the meal was excellent - we were licking our chops after. Truly.

Would you believe that we almost manage to forget the war like this? But I received my authorization to go back to Paris for my studies, and so I must leave at Easter at the latest. However, we are reasonable, and we will endure this separation with courage, in view of our future. If Maurice is mobilized in the summer, our separation will be even longer – but what can we know?

Papa has already answered me, he approves of what I’m doing and is happy for me; from Putschi, I can’t yet have an answer.

I am waiting impatiently for your letter. How did you do on your exams? I’ve been without news from you for a long time.

I wish you lots of luck and send a kiss to my little brother.

How are Putschi’s affairs?

Patti is living her small happinesses in a room with a beautiful view with her new love. In her last letter she wrote: "we can plan excursions, we can get the books we love, choose our friends, set up our little room so that it is pleasant - isn't that all we need?" And that is just what she's doing. She has another couple that get along with them and all this happiness helps to keep the reality of the war at bay.

Patti talks about how the reality of the war will affect her: separation from her love, the unknown. She plans on going back to Paris at Easter time, which is close to the time when Paris is invaded- so we'll find out how that goes soon enough. 

I love the simplicity of her life and needs right now. I know soon everything will change, but in this snap shot- she is happy. 

August has approved of her relationship with Maurice (and I presume the fact that they are living together)- I wonder what Ella will say?? 

Opa's letters seem to be tied up in the journey overseas. Luckily his family still writes. I wonder what days he actually received them. 

So on this day, Patti is happy, with friends and a new love- and a beautiful view of the mountains.

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