Letter from Ella to Opa
Guestrow, June 2nd, 1941
My beloved boy,
Now it finally came true, I am in Guestrow. On the trip to here, I saw for the first time this year, green meadows and green forests, so beautiful, I was really moved. Now I have been here for 2 days, and I enjoy everything; the kind people, the hometown and the silence. It is not as hot as where you are, but we are glad the sun shines sometimes, that it doesn't rain. Yesterday and also the day before yesterday the weather was actually very nice, but a bit cool. But we are not giving up hope: spring has to come and maybe summer soon as well.
Before I left home I received your letter of May 1, Mother's day. Lydia was here and we had a good laugh about the (not sure what the word is, perhaps ‘balkon’ which means balcony) story, how strange that you thought of that as well. Little Hunchenchild, I would love to have such a position in a girl's dormitory. One would not only be the dragon, the most important thing would be to establish a trusting relationship with the girls, replacing the mother as a close friend there. If one is successful, such a position can be great, if not, one has to give it up. Here I actually found the right note to almost all of my pupils, but it may be that the American girls have a different mentality, and since I am not that fluent in their language, might not find the proper words, but I would want to try it. Lessons in Hebrew and Russian I have to refuse, you overestimate me there, I master neither one of them.
Much work does not frighten me, I now start my lessons at 7:00am, before that I make up my bedroom, prepare breakfast, enjoy it in peace, wash the dishes, put them away, and on my way to work. You know how fresh (bright, lively) I am in the mornings.
It would be a bit different in the evening; but I could lie down for a bit at 10:00 pm, set the alarm if I have to make a control walk. (I think she means bed check) At this time here my work gives me much joy, so it does not tire me at all. Yes, Hunchen I received the lesson plan from H.---O. I am glad that all like to be taught by me.
But the fact, that in addition to your studies, you have to do such heavy physical work, I do not like especially felling trees. Be careful with your health. Again your letter was so dear. (Sweet) I read it to everybody here the same evening, and Aunt Berta and Tilli were happy for me and you. Aunt Berta will come home with me for a few days, so that I am not so isolated again so soon.
Write to me, how are you coming along in my travel to you? The day before my trip, I received news from the consulate that the affidavit from Mrs. Shelley is not sufficient. I talked to the Friends (Quakers), they are also of the opinion that you should apply for legalization as soon as possible, since you are now 21 years old, and can request for me to come. Hunchen you know yourself that everything must be sped up now. Have you corrected some of the dates in the meantime?
on the side of the paper:
Write a lot, my beloved boy. What do you hear from Pattilein and her husband? Always tell them hello from me, when you write to them.
I kiss and hug you very much,
How was the junior-senior banquet?
Today I am going home. Yesterday we went to the forest (cannot read the name). It was very nice. I plan to come again in the summer.
Ella would be shocked by Kansas' June weather if she was still waiting for Spring in Berlin. Forget about Florida! How lovely that Ella gets to enjoy a vacation in the country, to see green meadows and forests, something you don't see in the city. She seems to have some extended family that lives out there and who she can rest and find silence with.
Ella enjoyed Opa's funny story he told her (how good of him to give her funny stories to laugh about). She imagines herself as a house-Mother of sorts for what seems to be a girls dorm or boarding school. She thinks she could do it. I bet she would be the kind of house-mother that everyone hates at first, but when they find how kind and loving she is- they would forgive her strict nature. Ella tells Opa she is not afraid of hard work- especially in the morning (so this is where my Dad and Opa get their cheery morning disposition. I did not inherit that. Ella can take the morning shift and I'll take the night shift.
I love that Ella is fine with herself working hard, but isn't so excited to her how hard Opa works. I guess he confessed to her that he works doing manual labor in the park. She's particularly concerned about him cutting down trees. Maybe Gisela showed Ella his letter to her and that's how she found out. I doubt it. I bet Opa told his mother, thinking she would be pleased that he was outside getting sunshine and fresh air. He should know better, she'll find a reason to be worried.
Embedded in this letter is actually very bad news. I'm not sure Ella realizes how bad it is (or perhaps she assumed it would happen). The affidavit from the Shelley's was deemed insufficient for Ella. This is a rather large blow. At least for me it is. I think everyone was expecting this to happen, but I still don't get it. Opa must be trying to get another affidavit set up. I wonder how that's going? Is he avoiding writing about it because a series of rejections is pretty much a downer? Ella seems to think his ability to "apply for legalization" is easy and simple. I'm not even sure what that means, but we have seen that it is not that simple. That's Ella's fall-back plan. She reminds Opa of the time-sensitive nature of his endeavors to get her to the US. It's not because her number has been called, it's likely because she sees the writing on the wall and knows that the US will join the war very soon, and then the chances of her emigrating to the US are cut off.