Letter from Ella to Opa
April 1st 1941
My very beloved boy,
Today is April 1st! Do you remember how we used to fool each other? Like we fooled Ann'chen (she is using slang, actually says something like the English version "pulling one's leg”). Today we do not enjoy such fun, we are so terribly serious! I did not have a chance to write to you on Sunday, because Ellenruth received a letter, and then there was so much activity in my place, that there just was no time left for it. I believe that Ellenruth, especially now in her new position, will take well care of all things for me. She is smart and capable, energetic, has good intentions and willpower.
Hunschen, you misunderstood me, are informed wrong: My number has not been called up and in no foreseeable is there the possibility that it will be called up. Because I always thought to be able to get to Patti, I registered much too late. But I heard that one will receive preferred treatment, if one has children there. All of that is very vague, but I am not losing hope, or my will to survive. The passage (travel cost) has to be paid from over there, also a room on a steamer, the trip to Lisbon I can pay from here. All that Ellenruth will know best, she will also be informed about all changes, which come daily. What is valid for the passage today, can be different tomorrow. I cannot initiate anything from here, until I have the sufficient affidavit. Do you think we will see each in the summer of 1941, I actually thought it would be much earlier. What do you think, if perhaps I should go to Jenny's uncle temporarily? I would not like to do that, I don't like him very much, although he is very nice to me, and seems to value me. I value him also, but an intimate relationship does not develop because he is a stranger to my inner feelings, and I am afraid, if I go to him, he will want to keep me there. I will definitely not do that!!
I have not seen Anni for a long time, I believe she declined the scholarship, naturally she could have another one, if she wanted to. As soon as she comes to see me again, I will talk to her about it again. I also have not talked to Mr. W. for a long time. I am afraid he does not feel well. He received your letter, it was read to everybody at the Friends, Heini told me about it.
Hunschen, what does leap year mean? I thought it was the German Schaltjahr, but since 1941 is not one, it must have another meaning. I think I will have to learn an awful lot of English when I get there. It makes me happy, when I read in your letters how happy you are in your work. I believe that your work is work and your play is play. That is so splendid, my beloved boy, and I am happy that you can have all that. If only I would hear from Pattilein! Always write to me when you hear from her. H. H. told Ann'chen that Papa receives letters from her regularly, but bad (mean) Papa does not write to me at all. I think I wrote to you that H.H., through Ann'chen, brought a picture of August to me. He did not bother to come to see me or call. Up to now, I could write at the H.V., because the sales representative was thoughtful enough to return later than planned, so I had a free hour. Then when I came home, I found your letter, which made me very happy. My dear boy, you are so correct. Enjoy your life!
On Sunday I will reply in detail to your letter, today just thanks and thank you for the pictures.
When your last letter arrived, asking about Lux and Lise, they just happened to be here with me. They are so very much interested and will love the picture you sent. Why can't you write to Papa?
Hunschen boy, continue to write so regularly and nicely as in these last letters.
I kiss my dear boy
Mrs. R. says thanks for your greeting. She is taking such good care of me!
I've occasionally made it a point to pay attention to Ella's handwriting. This letter is vey neat, even lines, long in length. She's happy. She's full of hope, something seems to have happened from Ellenruth's end that makes Ella almost sure she will see Opa by the summer. She makes it sound almost as if Ellenruth has some sort of inside track on what will get her across to the US. If I were Opa, unless Ellenruth has been sharing this same information with me, I would be very cautious and maybe even annoyed. Is Ellenruth really able to help Ella? Is she giving Ella false hope? I would be so skeptical, yet the last letter from the folks at the AFSC also seemed hopeful. It is so drastic how quickly the pendulum swings from one extreme to the other for immigration. One minute there is no hope for anyone, the next it seems a broad highway has been suddenly cleared.
Ella doesn't engage in her April fools antics, but her spirit is light today.
I love how she asks about the leap year meaning. Is Opa writing in English? Or using english phrases? That would be interesting if he is writing to her in English. I don't know why that seems odd to me.
What is also odd is that it seems (I had to reread this part several times to make sense of it) that Patti is able to write regularly to August. I think Ella is angry because she doesn't hear word from Patti and August doesn't forward the news. Then there is this mystery of why August won't write Ella or, more oddly, Opa. And Opa seems to be returning the favor- he doesn't write August. I want to give August the benefit of the doubt that he has his finger on the political pulse and knows about some things and has very specific reasons why he isn't writing people. I still don't know who H.H. is.
It seems that Opa is writing more regularly or that his letters are making it through. This makes Ella very happy- and it's nice to see Ella happy.