Monday, August 24, 2015

March 1, 1940: Mama Without Children

Original Letter from Ella to Tom (Opa)


Translated by Rosemarie
March 1st, 1940
My much loved boy, I am full of despair, I still have no mail from you. I hope, that now with the warmer weather, it will work better.

What do you say about our Pattilein, becomes engaged without asking her Mama’s permission? How I hope, that the great happiness she is feeling now, will be long lasting. Her letters are so glowing, one can be full of joy with and for her. At first I was a bit frightened, both of them are still so very young, but now I am happy for her especially since I received a comforting letter from Mrs. H., in which she emphasizes, that Maurice made an unusual good impression on her, he is nice, smart and understanding far above his age. He wrote very nice and touchingly to Aust (August) and me, maybe to you also. 
I was, when I received the news, in such a state, that I was not able to write to you. 

After a long long time, I finally received word from Rose, possible before she heard from you. The letter was written on Walter’s birthday, the day I also had thought of her a lot.

No message from Ellenruth. Martha is waiting as longingly as I wait for your letters. I do not know how you are, how you continue your studies, how your exam went?

And every day I am with you in my thoughts in terrible longing. You can imagine, how, especially now the separation feels very hard (painful). How I would love to see Pattilein in her new happiness and be at her side to help. And how I would love to have my big boy back! We have to hope, that it can be done somehow. A Mama without children is nothing!!!

Keep on writing, some day your letters will get here. By the way, last week I received your postcards , II.III. and IV, 4 weeks later than the first one. When will the letter finally get here?

I kiss my beloved boy

Your Mama

Sweet Ella. She throws a couple of guilt trips in this letter, but mostly she is just aching for news from Opa. It seems odd that his postcards are making it but not his letters. To me, that means that perhaps the mail is being held up by censors, not cold weather. Why didn't he write at least: "Exams went well!" on the postcard??

This is when we get Ella's reaction to the news that Patti is engaged (does she know they are living together?). She's taking it pretty well, actually. Besides the little jab that "little Patti" does this without her permission, she seems happy that Patti is happy. Ella hopes for Patti that her happiness endures. This is sort of a weighted hope, as Ella's own marital happiness did not pan out. 

Even though Ella is nervous about how young Patti and Maurice are, she feels better after getting a good report from Mrs. H (we don't know who that is). But I love how Ella has her resources everywhere!

This Rose that Ella heard from is a cousin that she has bugged Opa to write multiple times. (Maybe she wants him to write her so she has a source in America!) So when Ella mentions that she heard from Rose who wrote before she heard from Opa (my guess is Rose's letter did not mention any word from Opa)- this is a total guilt trip- haha. 

Ella says that the letter from Rose was written on Walter's birthday- Walter is Ella's brother that died in the first war. Ella was very close to this brother, and from the fact that she says she thinks of Rose on his birthday- I wonder if Rose was also close to Walter. That loss really has been a dark shadow for Ella that has never left her spirit. She mentions Walter enough times in the letters that I can tell he is a constant memory. 

Both Opa and Ellenruth's letters are being held up (Ellenruth is Opa's cousin, Ella's niece through her sister Martha).
Ella and Martha have their waiting in common. Ella's despair over lack of news and inability to share in her daughter's joy is palpable. She says "A mama without children is nothing!" How this line made me ache. Ella really is empty without her children. She can't even communicate to them without difficulty.

I am now anxious for Opa's letters to arrive. For Ella to receive a pay day of letters in one fat clump for her to sit and read multiple times over and over.

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