Wednesday, October 19, 2016

May 22, 1941: Happy 21st Birthday Opa!

Letter from Ella to Opa


Berlin-Charlottenburg, May 22nd 1941 
Droysenstrasse 14

My beloved birthday boy
The whole day I spent with you and my other birthday boy. (Maurice, Patti's husband)
And Pattilein was there also. In the morning, just before 6 AM I congratulated you. I wonder if you felt that? Then right away early I put on my best dress, so to look festive on the outside as well. For my student it was a great mystery, I had taken the afternoon off, and then showed up dressed so nicely. In the afternoon first came Ann'chen, then Luz and Lise, Mrs. E with her niece, who happened to be here for a visit (by the way already married at only 18 years), and then in the evening Rosa. Everybody brought beautiful flowers. I placed 21 candles in the middle of the table and 2 life candles (one for you and one for Maurice), all the flowers were on the table as well, and in between you pictures. And I am longing for all of you so very much. We were thinking of other birthdays from years ago, especially the last one in Uncle Tom’s Cabin* with Luz and Lise. I kept asking myself again and again how you might be spending your day. Patti will naturally take care of Maurice, he also has his parents there, but does anybody make it a pleasant day for you?  

All day long I had the strong wish, that both of you are planning to accomplish something of importance and that I may be with you soon. Hunschen, yesterday I mailed the letter to your principal (maybe the President of the college?). I felt a bit inhibited, didn't know if I found the right tone telling him how grateful I am. Perhaps I can soon thank everybody who is nice to you, personally.  

Sadly enough, no letter from you arrived today even though it is Thursday. Now I will be waiting for it every day again. We want to write to each other every week, even if it is just a short note. I plan to go to Guestrow on Pentecost. Hopefully it will work out. I already requested vacation time. The request is just a formality; naturally I can stay as long as I want to. I think I already wrote to you that I now have especially nice students, so I actually regret it when I have to cancel an hour. They all enjoy the hours with me, and when one of them goes away, immediately several others claim the hour. Naturally it gives me great joy. Hunschen, it is already late. I am telling all of you a loving good night and I will go to bed also.  

Write to me in detail how you spent the day, who was with you and gave you some joy. And tell all of them hello from me.

I embrace and kiss my boy especially much today.

Your Mama

*(Onkel Tom's Huette is Lichterfelde Berlin, a lovely area, the underground station is named that way as well.)

Ella writes Opa on his actual birthday, telling him of how she celebrated with friends and family despite his absence.  I love the way she wore a festive dress for the occasion, such that her students would be puzzled. I thought that was really sweet. It's a way to keep spirits high and the memories and warmth of family close. They sat around with twenty one candles on the table, celebrating and remembering birthday celebrations past. Ella has now missed three birthdays, three years of her son's life.

She tells him she hopes he will do something important soon so she can join him. She wants to be able to tell people thank you in person. 

She is planning a vacation to Guestrow, which I hope she does, I think she has family out there and it might be nice for her to get some country air. She seems happy today, in light of Opa's birthday. She has students she enjoys tutoring and family who love her children. She even has some energy to nag Opa to write her more. Which he really should get into the habit of at least writing a little note weekly. I'm kind of on her side on this one.

Happy Birthday Opa, I bet your 21st was very different from mine.

No comments:

Post a Comment

I would love to hear feedback! Share your thoughts and your stories.