Ella has a name for her over-protective behavior: "mama illness" - it's perfect. I laughed at this- hey- at least she's aware of her little obsessions about her kids being safe.
Safety becomes sort of a theme of this letter as Ella's attention turns from praising Opa for his good studies and fun times, to her own urgent need to leave the country. She says "by now it is very very urgent for me" and even talks about getting just into any country to help in the process of getting to either Opa or Patti.
A side note- this was a common strategy for refugees, sort of a loop-hole. They would go to a country that had more relaxed immigration rules. Then from there they would apply to go to a more desirable country. Germany was bursting at the seams with people trying to leave, and only so many people were allowed into the United States (the "quota"). Going to another country was kind of like going to a different line in the grocery store- only it's like going to the cashier at the pharmacist. You basically had a different set of rules, a different quota (and less people fighting to be in line), and perhaps a better chance at getting to America from a random country that had nothing to do with the war, then say an aggressive country like Germany that would not welcome you back anytime soon. The problem is that it was still tough to get into these countries, and you weren't guaranteed to get to your desired destination. So you could potentially get stuck in a very unfamiliar country without family or friends to support you. Ella was considering this option- which to me shows how urgent she felt the need to get out of Germany.
She than talks a little about Anni- Opa's crush from the Quaker youth group. She talks so kindly of her- it's sweet how Ella indulges Opa's crush and lets him know how Anni is doing and that she visited and they looked at pictures. I think Ella genuinely liked her, which makes me wonder how much Anni changed from this person to the woman I met in 2013. She was very interesting, but obviously disturbed and scarred by her life experiences.
Ella stays busy with work so she doesn't have to face the silence, the mama illness, or the fear that is rising in her. She also gets visits from family, friends, neighbors, etc. The list of folks she provides is a list of mostly family. Some names we don't know. I love that Ella sends her company away so she can have peace and quiet to write her letters. Ha.
I wonder if some of her habit of listing all the folks she is in touch with and who pay her visits- if that was an act of protection. She knew her letters were being read by Nazi censors. Perhaps she thought that if she appeared to be connected to a good amount of people from all over (which she was), that she was somehow afforded a layer of protection. She wasn't a nobody that wouldn't be missed. I'm not sure she thought it out quite that detailed, but I'm sure she must have thought about it.
It seems the letters are flowing easily now, and now Ella shouldn't have to worry as much because she'll hear more often from Opa. We (readers now) know that Germany is only about a month or so away from a large-scale attack on Western Europe that will be frighteningly successful. Who knows how that will affect their ability to get letters back and forth.