Monday, November 16, 2015

September 6, 1940: Happy Birthday Patti

Letter from Ella to Opa

Berlin Charlottenburg, 9/6/40
14 Droysen St.

My very beloved boy, today is Patti’s birthday, and I think we would all really like to be together today. One thing makes me feel better: our Patti is not alone. I’m sure Maurice will plan a lovely day for her. I’m just standing in front of her picture again and again today and can’t think anything except: Patti child! I can’t even stroke her hair once. But certainly she’ll be able to feel that I’m thinking of her the whole day and want only happiness for her. She’ll be strong enough to keep everything together, and maybe one day I can be with her again. I still haven’t gotten around to having my picture taken. That’s not so easy for me right now, since I’m very busy.
A few days ago I got a sweet letter from Ellenruth, which I was tremendously happy about. Why did you think that the Stiers were already gone? For now they’re living with me, since they’ve already given up their place and are waiting for their departure. So far it’s going very well. Martha takes good care of me, and Erich is overall very considerate and helpful. Both of them send their greetings to you. Hunschens, you asked about Willi Guttmann’s address. I don’t know it, but you can find out from Ellis Pincoffs, New York City, 2252 63rd Street. If you hear from him, write to me immediately. I would like to know where he is and how he’s doing. And say hi to Miss Pincoffs from me.  
So, my boy, this today is just a greeting on Patti’s birthday. I still have a lot to do.  Sunday I’ll write to the Shellys for sure. I believe Annie (Annchen) is coming back one of these days.
A birthday kiss for you too! 

Have I mentioned how much I love Ella? I love her. She celebrates Patti's birthday today with letter writing and memories. She is grateful that she can at least imagine Maurice doing something nice for Patti- "setting her birthday table" as she would say. I love how much faith Ella has in Patti- she says that she is strong enough to keep everything together and hopes for their reunion one day. She would love to stroke her hair once. For a German woman (and the stoic stereotypes we find there), Ella seems so warm and affectionate.
I did not realize that the Stiers had moved in with Ella! SO now her sister and brother-in-law are all in one place. Ella says it is going well- and I have to assume she is writing this letter in peace, so maybe it is actually going well! It seems like Ella and her sister have had their differences, but I imagine Ella is glad for the company. They are awaiting their departure to Shanghai. I don't know how they've arranged that or if Ella has gotten in on the plan yet- but we should find out soon enough!
For now let us imagine Patti's birthday as a sweet one with little gifts, kind words, and shared memories of birthdays past. Not everyone can say they have people across the world and time thinking of them on their birthday. Happy Birthday, dear Patti.

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