Wednesday, September 23, 2015

May 29, 1940: Invent Peace

Letter from Ella to Opa


May 29th, 1940

My beloved boy,

You can imagine how I have been thinking of you these last days. How was the exam?  Hopefully a letter is on the way telling me about everything I want to know: of your birthday, of the tests, and about everything that will happen with you next. I don’t even know if you are still at the college. And so many more worries I have about our Patti-child. If you have heard anything, please write to me right away. If only I knew if Maurice and his parents are looking after her, or if she is all alone. Day and night I worry about that child! Papa is doing well again, as I heard through (some name) yesterday. And also yesterday I had a nice letter from Kurt (her brother). He writes so very nicely and kind.

Henschenchild definitely stay in contact with him, he is very fond of me and both of you. I hope he can give me some news about Patti.  Henschenchild please write regularly, as you are the only one from whom I hear anything at this time. If both of you were here, I would feel good, (happy). I have been very busy, mostly nice students.

For you I have this great wish: Make your life strong and profitable for all people, and if possible that all people love one another. Create (she actually says invent) something that will make all misunderstanding and envy impossible. If that cannot happen immediately, do your share to prepare for that. But before make sure you write many more times to me.

I kiss my beloved boy,

Your Mama

Have you heard from Ellenruth?  Otherwise write to her right away. Her new address is now:
Mrs Ellenruth Grove, 4 W.Avenue  N.Y.

Ella has high expectations. She asks Opa to "create something that will make all misunderstanding and envy impossible." Piece of cake, Mom. I write this tongue-in-cheek. I know Ella is only dreaming of a happy and hopeful time, and sharing this with her son- hoping that he is also dreaming of peace and doing everything he can to make it a reality.

This shows you just how much Ella craves peace and hope. She has this great wish for her beloved son to invent peace. There is little evidence of it around her, so she calls out to her hope in America, to her beacon of light in the darkness. She pleads that if nothing else- that he "do your share"- and not forget to write to her in the meantime.

Opa is the only communication from her little family that she receives. And as we saw from the last blog, that communication is about three months delayed. His news that Patti is OK likely won't reach her for a long time. She is isolated, knows very little of what is happening with her children. She only knows what is happening around her- which is terror.

It's a short letter- she just wants to know how her children are doing- and she wants to send out her hope for peace. 

I listened to a podcast today with Rob Bell and Elizabeth Gilbert that tackled the quintessential question of why bad things happen. They had something interesting to say that added a nuance to the age-old question. Elizabeth Gilbert (author of Eat, Pray, Love) said that if you question all evil, you must also question everything else. Why are there rainbows? Dolphins? Flowers? Grace? People we love? It doesn't answer the question but it turns the table and demands that we give thanks for that which gives us hope. For Ella, her hope is her children.

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