Patti is studying hard for her exams in Paris. She finds the time to sit and write Opa a nice birthday letter full of guilt trips. Patti seems to have taken lessons from her mother. Whew! She lays them on thick! To add insult to injury, she continues to write to him as her dear little sweet baby brother, although he is the same age as her fiancé. She is cracking me up. I'm sure Opa had a different reaction.
Patti remembers the birthday table just as fondly and hopes that Opa might have someone to do that for him. She can't do it for Maurice (who shares Opa's birthday), and she recognizes that since the war began - even birthdays aren't quite the same.
You can tell that although Patti is writing light-hearted and guilt trip filled words- she is underneath it all - concerned about her brother- wishing she could feel connected to him again- and anxious about their mother's future.