It appears that Opa began this letter drunk- and sobered up as he wrote (or gave up and came back to it after he sobered up). I'll admit the Hitler talk in the beginning caught me off-guard. But honestly, you can't be serious and sober (literally and metaphorically) all the time. It'll kill you. Honestly- it's interesting that when under the influence, the stuff that pours out is Hitler and Mein Kampf mixed with some anger. Sounds about right.
Opa apologizes for his "drowsiness" and describes his mood as nostalgic and missing his "micky mouse" (grandmother). If I were in Opa's shoes, I think I would feel compelled to get drunk every now an then and also be terrified of what would come out of my mind and mouth when all inhibitions are gone. Sweetly, he mostly just misses things.
Then Opa does something cheeky, especially since Grandmother does not have the luxury of google translate (although I'm sure by this point she may have had a German-English dictionary). He writes a fairly important update- all in German. He has quit his job as a bus-boy (which I think is hilarious because he only lasted a week!). He's set his sights on easier and better paid work. Not a bad idea.
I'm sure his mother would approve- she would not have liked the idea of him being in a bar-like atmosphere working such hard labor for such late hours. "Are you getting enough rest? Sleep?" I can just hear her now- chastising him for working too hard and not focusing on his studies.
Then Opa continues his joke about his new rule on short length, and somehow remembers his last letter told Grandmother not to read past a certain point. I wonder if it was custom to send the letter that you were responding to so that people could follow your response? If not- Opa has a good memory!
It sounds like Opa has a job as a Teacher's Assistant and is managing the lab part. In my undergraduate and graduate school experience, all the TA's were one level up (a graduate student for undergraduate students, a phD student for graduate level). He's just an upperclassman- I wonder if that was a normal thing.
Opa talks about Herb's sort of drafting experience as a conscientious objector (CO). This brings us all back into the context of the war and what it means to be a male in America. Herb was able to defer his draft (my guess is on the basis of being a student) but now his time has come up and he finally succeeded in registering as a CO. This doesn't mean he doesn't have to serve. In fact, CO's often were sent to their own sort of boot camp and training for service towards the war effort in production or other types of support. I guess it didn't really comply completely with their rejection of war, but it was a way for them not to have to carry weapons and act as soldiers. Opa has compassion for Herb's case, as he himself as identified as a Conscientious Objector. Yet, he is invested completely in America winning the war.
So my two favorite parts of this letter: Opa's little pun about sun bathing: "I really had intended to use this Sunday afternoon to let a sun-of-a-beach shine on me..." I mean- clever right?
Then of course this sweet line: "I wished September would get here before the end of August, or at least you would." Don't we all have those moments? When we wish we could skip a month, squeeze states or countries so that they are closer together? It's been a while since I had that yearning for someone - it's a bittersweet feeling. You find out just how much you care for them, and in finding out you realize that you really don't care for the distance.