Tuesday, November 10, 2015

July 28, 1940: "Enchildened"

Letter from Ella to Opa


Berlin Charlottenburg, July 28th 1940
Droysenstr. 14

My very dear boy,

Day before yesterday your letter of July 11th arrived, in which I read that you continue to feel good.

Hopefully all the dust-inhaling did not hurt you. (She must mean during harvesting, I guessBut then the work at home seems to balance things out again. Hunschenkind, will I get another picture of my boy? By the way I do not fear for my sweet little boy, as you write, and he is still as sweet as I think! Honestly, Hunschenkind, I now have strong (solid) faith in you that you will think feel and act in a decent manner. You now have all responsibility for your actions alone, as you are aware of. I would love to have a detailed letter again, about your thoughts and feelings, I guess that will come for my birthday. 

I am so sorry the Rilke did not arrive. It was sent by the bookstore directly, without any specific mailing instructions. By now I have given up hope that it may still arrive.  Too bad. I will make inquiries, if one can send something again, then you will receive the Knauer Lexikon (Encyclopedia), and if that arrives safely, new books. Write to me what you would like to have. I still have not heard anything from Aust. Please write and ask again, and then write to me what you were told. I am so very worried about him.

Ann’chen received your birthday letter last week already, and was very happy about it. Right away she read it to me over the phone.  Whenever letters from you arrive, Hunschenkind, it is like a holiday for us. Since May, Miss Kuehne is not staying with me anymore, she calls often and today she actually visited me. She is still much in love, but not married yet. I have not heard from Egon for a long time. Kurt writes and sounds contented, he is now in a beautiful countryside, and feels fairly happy, but is longing so badly for everybody. Just like me, for you two, Herting, Erna and Kurt. At the end of August Martha will leave here, then it will be even more lonely. Did you write to Herting? I wonder how she is, I think a lot about that child. I have long conversations with Patti in my mind, stand before her picture, and talk about everything with her.  I wonder if she can feel that? When will I be with all of you again?

I kiss and embrace you my dear, dear boy

Your Mama

Ella seems to be getting Opa's letters in a more timely matter now. This is good- and it seems he is writing fairly often too. Good job, Opa! It sounds like Opa called his mother out on her over-doting and worry about his precious head in the harvest heat. She acts like she has no idea what he is talking about. I love that she does transition that into a sincere compliment that she believes in him and his goodness.

I'm not exactly sure how Ella is sending Opa books. She didn't have much money to spare and she's talking about sending him an encyclopedia. I don't remember those sets being cheap... so maybe this is more like our discount prices. It's too bad Opa didn't get the Rilke book. I know that Opa mentioned that he and his family spoke in code sometimes about matters that they did not want the German censors to catch. Maybe this book business is really about something else.

Still no word from August- and Ella is extremely worried about him. She really cares about him. I don't know how to say this without it sounding mushy - but she is just such a genuinely kind, good, pure soul. She cares so much. I want to hug her. I want to write to her. I want to tell her my hopes and dreams. I want her to critique my picture poses and then tell me how proud she is of me. I wish I was able to meet her and have a connection to her beyond these letters. She is so maternal- it makes me feel... like a daughter? What is it called when you can feel like a child again? There should be a word for that. Beyond "childlike"- the act of being enveloped in maternal love. I'm going to come up with a word... enchildened. Yep- that's my new word. Ella makes me feel enchildened. It's a cross between enchanted, child, and enveloped. 

All she wants is to know this: "when will I be with all of you again?" I want to reach across time and hold her hand that writes these letters and tell her that her voice is still with us.

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