Monday, October 5, 2015

June 26, 1940: Mama Fear

Letter from Ella to Opa


Nr. 29
Berlin, Charlottenburg, June 26, 1940

My very dear boy,

You were correct, you should have written something about your inner feelings again.
Both of us have been busy with Pattilein’s life at this time, who now has her own, and is starting her own family, but will always remain a part of us. More and more I can feel how strongly we belong to each other. I always feel, if I stretch out my arms widely, I could physically reach you. I want you to feel and give to you lots of love and strength. I wish, henschenkind That both of you should have this and also give to me. I also believe that everything you (both of you) do and think is good and will contribute to encourage all good things. How much I would love to be with Pattilein, especially now. I have strong feelings of gratitude for her in-laws, who made her happiness possible.  Hopefully soon I can tell them all of this and prove my thankfulness. I have not received a letter from you this week. I still have not heard about your birthday, if you received Rilke. I am also very worried if you can tolerate 10 hours of harvesting in that Kansas sun and heat. Whenever I suffer a bit from heat here, I think of my little boy, and then have the Mama fear. I hope that soon I will get a detailed report about everything.
Did Hanna sent you a reply? Are you in contact with Ellenruth? Did you write to Rose?  

Through Mrs. Halle I heard that Gis received a letter from you, but she did not know anything about its contents, because she talked to Gis only for a short time. I think I will hear from her soon.  

Do you know if Pattilein will still make her exam, even though she is married now? I would be delighted if she would continue to work. She must have a profession to be able to stand on her own feet. I am waiting for your grades!!

I will now write to the Shelley’s on Sunday, I could not do it last Sunday.  

Remain my good boy,
I kiss you many times 
Your Mama

Your last letter was dated June 2, 1940

Here we have Ella reminding herself and Opa to write with their inner feelings. The last few letters have been sort of casual and wrapped up in news of Patti's marriage.

Ella takes her step by sharing her thoughts of how connected she feels with her son, and how she imagines she can just reach out and hug him. She longs to do that with him and Patti. She is grateful that Patti has in-laws who are acting as surrogates right now- and hopes that soon she can show them her appreciation. 

Ella has so much faith in the goodness of her children. It makes me so happy. Her faith in them translates into hope for humanity- it's what keeps her going. Her love for her children is profound, deep, enduring. I wonder if Opa or Patti realized just how dedicated their mother was to them. I imagine they had an inkling. 

I love that Ella calls her concern for Opa working in the fields in the hot summer "Mama Fear" - and she has a point. Kansas farms aren't a picnic. I bet Opa got pretty strong that summer!

I love also how supportive Ella is of her daughter's independence. She is thrilled for her to have a husband and to be supported spot kindly by her in-laws, but she wants her to be able to support herself and be independent if necessary. Ella was so pragmatic and seemingly ahead of her time! She knew from experience that a woman should be able to be self-sustaining. I love that she supports Patti's marriage and also her endeavor to study and succeed in that way. 

How may times I wish I could have met Ella, spent time with her, be near her. She feels like a mother to me and I sometimes have this strange longing to know her better and to talk to her. 

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