Tuesday, February 28, 2017

August 3, 1941: Remember Hanna's Birthday!

Letter from Ella to Opa 


Tom Döppner
1119 Kearny
Manhattan Kansas
Berlin-Charlottenburg 4
August 3rd, 1941
Droysenstr. 14

My beloved child, Today just a short note, so you won't be without news from me. My present situation has not changed, it is very hard to get new pupils now. And it is questionable if my outstanding claims will be paid at any time now. I would feel terrible if I would have to borrow money, although it has been offered to me from several parties in a loving way. Hopefully it will work out without help from anybody. I can manage for two more months, without the money from my former students, and then perhaps I will find  something.  

Tilli is coming tomorrow, I don't know for how long; in any case I am looking forward to her visit. I received news from Patti through Emmi Haupt. She (Patti) studies in Lyon now. Her parents-in-law bought them furniture, and they are happy in their own home now. You can imagine how I am longing to see them both in their happiness. And how for you, my beloved boy. I know you are doing all you can, so I can come to you. Nothing can be done from here, everything has to be handled from there. Have you contacted the State Department and submitted my papers? Write about any prospects.

I am waiting for your letter from Manhattan. My boy is now totally on his own. But you will go your way, my beloved Hunschen.

I kiss  you much!
Your Mama

(Small note on top of the page:)
Remember Hanna's birthday is on September 10th

Ella is diligent in writing to her son even if there isn't much to report. She knows that no news is not good news, and wants to keep her son from worry and stay connected. 

Opa has now moved to Manhattan, Kansas, to attend Kansas State University and finally get his degree in Engineering. McPherson College is behind him, but always in his heart. 

Ella still has few pupils, and for some reason she now suspects her previous ones will be unable to pay her. I don't really understand why that is the case. She seems to have some emergency savings, and I'm sure that's to live very frugally. She is so hesitant to accept help or loans from anyone, she's so fiercely independent. It's interesting because Opa's book talks about how she was plagued with migraines and suffered depression after her mother died, but he doesn't quite capture how insanely strong she is and how self-sufficient she had to be. He does speak of how kind and loving she was, and I don't think anyone can doubt that.

Patti has moved to Lyon and has furniture thanks to her in-laws (a random detail). It seems Ella's communication with Patti is limited still (she mentioned before they communicated through red cross letters).

Ella still holds out hope that Opa can do something for her from America. Has he told her? There seems to be no possibility on his end either. He's barely a legal resident himself.

I love when Ella writes that Opa is on his own completely, and yet in two lines reminds him of his cousin Hanna's birthday. Ha. She can't help herself. Even as she is living on the last of her money, she has the presence of mind to remind her son of a family birthday coming up.

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