Monday, April 10, 2017

January 1, February 4, 1942: Red Cross Postcards

Red Cross Postcard from Ella to Opa, January 1, 1942


1 January 1942
Beloved boy, 
Heartfelt wishes for the new year! Are you able to keep studying? Are you healthy? Write Patti often. Am healthy, have work.

Red Cross Postcard from Ella to Opa, February 4, 1942


4 February 1942
Beloved boy,
How are you? Are you able to keep studying? Keep in frequent contact with Patti. You all be good! Greet and thank the Shelleys! We are healthy. Kisses!

So it begins. Red Cross postcards are now the only allowed method of communication between Opa and Ella. He no longer has pages of his mother's guilt trips, detailed questions of his health, and advice on dating. I bet he misses it. 
Red Cross provides this service in war time, with the cooperation (and likely censorship) of both sides at war. It is a blessing that Ella gets to continue any correspondence at all. 
You will notice we are now in 1942, and already in February. These two notes are all we have from Ella the first two months of 1942. Just Ella' notes to say she is still OK, has work, and that she still can fit a guilt trip and health question into what is essentially the shortest letter allowed.
Opa now must be focused on school and friends, anything to keep him busy and occupied. Anything to keep the pace of life going until he hears that his mother is OK. Has Patti written? Are we missing letters or did they stop writing? We haven't heard from August directly since the invasion of Holland in May of 1940. Almost two years of silence from Dad. Ella, the most vulnerable of the lot, is the one still writing. 
Does Opa's heart leap every time he sees the Red Cross postcard? Does he think "She's alive!" Does he know to doubt it? 

1 comment:

  1. A stark change in Tom's world. A subtle reminder to us that it has begun in the US. I look forward to seeing this from Tom's eyes.


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