Patti is pleased with Opa, he's written a more personal letter. Now that he is not solely responsible for all the information from Ella and August, I think Patti can relax her standards a little bit.
I love how gifted Patti is with language. That genetic trait did not carry over to the rest of the family. We are fantastic over here with English - but that's about it. Patti just decides to practice her English and writes an entire letter in it. Although it isn't perfect- it's significantly better than what I could write in Spanish after many years of learning it. I bet Opa found it a little bit fun to be able to correct something of his sister's related to language. (Side note, Opa was the supreme editor in his later life- even of personal notes- he loved to make things grammatically correct.)
Once again everyone is worried about Opa working himself too hard. Little do they know it is the American Way to work hard. We could probably learn a little of the French lessons on leisure.
Patti's mention of how Opa feels lonely, like he can't find a true friend - reminds me that Opa is still a German boy in a foreign country. Few speak his language, fewer still (if any) can understand his situation. I can't imagine how isolating that must have been to be the only refugee for miles. No one really has an understanding of what he is going through. Opa has lost contact with many of his friends, he does not hear from his father, his mother is in danger every day she remains in Berlin. His sister's safety is marginal. He hasn't seen his family for at least a year, more like two or three for his sister and mother. He has no guarantee of ever seeing them again. His culture and world-understanding is completely foreign to everyone around him. On top of that- he's in Kansas, a landscape and culture further removed from his own than perhaps a town on the north east coast would be. I have these moments when I feel alone because of how I see the world and what I care about- it's hard to find friends as an adult who you can truly connect with. It's hard enough within your own culture. I imagine Opa's loneliness weighed on him- who can he tell about his fears and worries?
Patti doesn't seem to be overly worried about Opa's visa- like everyone else. I think he isn't convinced or he wouldn't have shown concern to Patti. She's most concerned about Ella (Putschi) and whether or not she should go to Shanghai. Apparently the foreigners aren't being treated well there. However, I did little searching, and though that might have been the case at some point- here is a link to an article on the Holocaust Museum website. There you can read a little bit about why Shanghai actually became one of the only valid locations to emigrate to from Germany. When other countries where closing their borders, Shanghai remained open. The article is really interesting- don't forget to read it!
Now we have more information on August's situation, but it isn't helpful in any way. All we know is that somehow he's managed to write to Patti and Ella, but not to Opa - and not directly to anyone. I'm really confused about all of this. Patti also says he still has his job- but not the full job. I wonder if this is right, or if the information is old and Ella was right when she said he lost his job. He is learning professional photography- so hopefully that is helpful to him. How entrepreneurial everyone had to be when their options were slowly stripped away.
August and Patti both approve of whatever plan Opa has for Ella- they talk about friends having better information. That may have been intended to be code- but it really is likely the "Friends" or Quakers that they are referring to. I'm confused though, because last time we checked- the Quakers basically told Opa that there was no hope for Ella. Maybe something has opened up? Patti and August trust him - what responsibility!
Patti leaves her letter and comes back to it a week later- she and Maurice are moving in with their friend Emma. I'm sure that wasn't the plan- but she's being positive about it. They have a place to live and furniture- that's good! Patti then hands the letter over to Maurice, who writes a nice note. He reassures Opa of their situation, and reminds Opa to ask if he needs anything. It's funny because it's kind of like Maurice is taking the big brother role- but he's exactly the same age as Opa. He is being sweet though- which I appreciate. He calls Patti by her real name "Brigitte" which reminds me that likely she is only known as Patti to her family.
This was a good letter! So now- go read that article on the refugees in Shanghai.