Grandma's picture

Grandma's picture
Grandma's Passport photo

Sunday, June 11, 2017

43 - Bank Transaction For Traveler's Checks - 23 June 1936

Click here to read story from beginning

Story so far: Grandma Cecile had reached her relatives back in her home village of Nieder-Mohrau, Czechoslov
kia. She had crossed the United States by train, from Oregon on the Pacific coast to New York on the Atlantic coast. The Europa, a ship with the North German Lloyd ship line, had carried her across the Atlantic Ocean. She had reached her destination of Nieder-Mohrau and had written some letters and even had time for a diary entry.

Some time on the day she got around to writing in her diary, Grandma Cecile had time to run to the bank. She had this receipt among her mementos:

The bank receipt
I had to turn to my friend Al Haunold for help with what this document was. Al sent this translation for the receipt from the Deutsche Bank.  

German Bank for Industry, Trade, Business, and Agriculture
Mrs. Cecile Beitel,
Roemerstadt 23 June 1936

We are booking on your account,
travelers checks 714.-
Fees 3.50
Total: 703. -

Stamp imprint: Sincerely
German Bank
Branch Office Roemerstadt

After the fees of 3.50 and 7.50, she had 703.00 left to spend. Not sure what the currency was or how that would have translated to US dollars.

Included in Grandma's souvenirs was another bank receipt, this one has no date, so I will simply add it here.
Bank receipt - no date

Again, thanks go to Al Haunold for the translation. 

German Business-Credit Bank,
branch office Hannover,  1 M Sophienstrasse 6
Exchange Office Bremen, main railroad station
Purchase: America (USA) 10.—
illegible signature and various numbers
including exchange rate (Kurs) 219.10

 While this receipt has no date, the address of the bank is the main rail road station. Perhaps this was for money Grandma received when she first arrived, but that is just a guess. Again, no way of knowing what this would have been in US dollars.

For a closer view of the receipts, simply click on either of the images.
Story to be continued...... 

Sunday, May 28, 2017

42 - Diary Entry 23 June 1936

Click here to read story from beginning

Story so far: Grandma Cecile had reached her relatives back in her home village of Nieder-Mohrau, Czechoslov
akia. She had crossed the United States by train, from Oregon on the Pacific coast to New York on the Atlantic coast. The Europa, a ship with the North German Lloyd ship line, had carried her across the Atlantic Ocean. She had reached her destination of Nieder-Mohrau and had written some letters back home.

Finally, she must have had a little extra time. On the 23rd of June, 1936, Grandma Cecile sat down and wrote in her diary. Her last entry before that had been June 8! Here is what she had to say:

This is JUNE 23 What a pause I left unwritten. It was just the same till our arrival in Bremen, except for the loss of my glasses. My, how I missed them.

Diary page
I was sitting in the writing saloon by a writing table, when some Ladies called me to come along, they were going on deck. I had just written a letter to Weisers[1] and was taken up with a book in the library, the stewart wanted me to read. I jumped up and of course I couldn’t see unless I took the glasses off, and ran towards those that called me. I thought I had everything but noticed soon my glasses were missing. I went back but they were no place to be found. As a rule, if somebody finds something, it is brought to the chief steward and so I went there and told them. They had several glasses there, but none were mine, and they never were brought there either. They thought maybe somebody had some alike and thought they were theirs, but I don’t believe it now anymore, because by this time, they should have found out. They wanted to send them after me, if they would be found.

And now I want to mark down the most important happenings, that I can remember. At about 8:00 o’clock on the 12th of JUNE we seen BREMEN in the distance. Everybody got excited, and about 8:30 we were there. At CHERBOURG FRANCE we landed just 24 hours before, and in SOUTH HAMPTON ENGLAND we didn’t go in, but a boat came out and got the English passengers. We seen the English coast and some buildings in the distance.

And now Gustie called me for 10:00 o’clock lunch. We had liverwurst and ryebread.[Grandma Cecile must have started writing before lunch then made note of the interruption when she returned to her writing.]

When we arrived in BREMEN, all passengers were called in groups. We were left off into the revision dock, but they never bothered my luggage. I was through in a hurry. I was so dry [thirsty] and drank a glass of bier[beer?], and at 10:30 we left Bremerhaven in the train.
 I guess by this time everybody realized they were no more in America. I was in second class but there was nothing fancy. In my little coupe was a woman from near Prague. She had been visiting her parents in MISSOURI, a thing that was turned around for once. I believe most of the time, rather the children are in America. When we neared Prague, she showed me her place, which was on a hill. She showed me the Wilson bahnhof [train station] and there was her husband dressed in black. He must have been some kind of an officer. She told me her husband was no farmer, she was playing with the farm. I didn’t especially like her because she smoked cigarettes.

I took a little dinner at PRAGUE, which was a big dumpling, vealsteak, and a glass of bier[beer?], with a roll. I figured it out in American money, it was about 75¢, and up to now, I know we can live a lot cheaper in America.

We certainly made good time from PRAGUE to Olmitz then I had to transfer again to the Trappaner Zug [Troppen? Train]. We had a bunch of “Checkish” German soldiers in our car, they were singing because they were going home.

Arriving finally at end station, Grosstohl, it was getting dark. Nobody but I got off and even the little depot was locked already. I was feeling kind of blue, went to a little house next to there and asked if they knew if somebody had a car to bring me up to MOHRAU. They knew of none except one little truck-car and they told me which house I would find the owner. So I went to ask, but left the suitcase by the people I was asking. There was no satisfaction. I was told they couldn’t haul people with their car, it was just for freight, so I left, and went back to the first house, begged them to keep the suitcase overnight and started out to walk.

About 10:30, just 24 hours after we landed, I was by my sister’s house. How tickled my sister was I could see that, and for that matter even the brother-in-law was nothing but gladness. It certainly is more to see a sister after 35 years than when you can see them oftener. I was pretty tired and went to bed just as soon as we could depart again.

When I got up to this room, and that is where I am writing now, I saw some of
my mother’s things and felt quite at home. The next day was Sunday and they
had a big celebration in the village, so I met some of my school chums and what
is the sad thing about half of them are resting on the cemetery already. My sister MINA and brother JOHN I met together and it is a favor from heaven, that I could see them again.

Paragraph breaks were added to the letter to make it easier to read. Grandma Cecile always seemed to write in one giant block of text. Her writing is shown in the diary page included above. The high-lighting in green was probably added years later by Sr Agnes when she was doing the transcription to make the dates more apparent. To view the image, simply click on it.

[1] - Weisers - Grandpa Alois's sister Bertha and her husband Dan Weiser. They lived in Nebraska.
Story to be continued...... 

To read Post "43 - Bank Transaction for Traveler's Checks - 23 June 1936 Click here

Thursday, December 8, 2016

41 - Letter From Betty to Grandma - 22 June 1936

Click here to read story from beginning

Story so far: Grandma Cecile had reached her relatives back in her home village of Nieder-Mohrau, Czechoslovakia. She had crossed the United States by train, from Oregon on the Pacific coast to New York on the Atlantic coast. The Europa, a ship with the North German Lloyd ship line, had carried her across the
Atlantic Ocean. She had reached her destination of Nieder-Mohrau and had written some letters back home. At the same time, her family back home wrote  letters to her. All of those letters would take about three weeks to arrive at their destination.

On the same day that Grandma had written to everyone back home, her young daughter Betty had written to her. The Beitels were parishioners of  St Boniface Catholic Church in Sublimity. In the normally sleepy, small town of Sublimity, Oregon, there had been some excitement, and not of the best kind.

Here is what Betty wrote:   

Stayton, Ore
June, 22, 1936

You can see the excitement in Betty's greeting

Dear Mama!

Papa wanted me to write you a letter. To tell you about what happened to [F]ather Scherbering Friday two men a roman[1] and an American the roman pretended as if his brother lived in Sub. The A.[American] knew he had died but couldn't tell him because of English - Roman people[2] So father acted as interpreter for them then the roman started to cry like a baby.Then he showed father the diamonds he wanted to give to his brother. They insisted right away that they would sell the diamond to father. they would sell them to father for $1300. and if he would go to the jewler [jeweler] he could get at least $2400. for it father inspected one of them and was supposed to be real (it was too) but the men took the real diamond and give father a piece of glass and father bought it. but when he reached Salem the jewler[jeweler] wouldn't even give him $5. for it The Roman man even went to Confession so that to prove he was honest and everything else That's what hurt father most. He told the Police about it and the[y] had the description of those two men and of doing that before. So now you know what happened to father

Papa got a new spring for my bed ($9.00) and for yours ($20.00) also

No one got sick yet and everything is going all right I guess please watch out don't get hurt we are figuring on you to be home the later part of August

Your Housekeeper

Following the message from Betty, the rest of the sheet of paper is filled with a message in pencil, in German, clearly wiritten by Grandpa. I had to have my friend Al Haunold translate it for me. This is what Grandpa had to say: 

the old Braeuner[3] had a stroke,  he cannot talk, and the arm is dead, and is starting to decay, and the Bruer[4] now wants to amputate the arm,  as soon as he finds (sees) a friend he starts to weep;    So you see how quickly bad luck can come  your way.  
Last page of Betty's letter with Grandpa's German note

[1] - by "roman", Betty must have meant "Italian" 

[2] - Betty wrote "one" above the words "English" and "Roman" in this sentence. It's not clear what she meant by that. She does seem to be saying they couldn't understand each other because of language differences. Maybe she meant that they didn't understand each other because one spoke English and the other Italian.

[3] - Braeuner  - not sure who he is referring to. My first thought was Wendelin Brauner, second husband of Grandpa Alois's sister Anna. However, my family tree data shows that Wendelin died in 1934, so he was already dead if that is correct. It could have been a relative of Wendelin's, or just another acquaintance.

[4] - Bruer, perhaps the Doctor's name?

Lots going on here! For one - this is a letter that some fans of history in Sublimity will find interesting since it concerns the swindling of the parish priest.

When I first shared this letter (January 18, 2004) with my Aunt Virginia Beitel, she told us that must be how Fr. Joe Scherbring got his nickname "Diamond Joe". Apparently that was what everyone called him back then, but she didn't remember why. 

The other part of the story here is that St Boniface parishioners were planning to build a new church. Sr Agnes referred to it in her letter of April 19, 1936. Aunt Virginia told us that back in 1936 they had actually started the work. In fact, she said a hole had been dug near where the present day rectory stands. However, that hole was filled back in and the new church never built. Uncle Florence "Squeak" Beitel (Virginia's husband) had done some of the catwork. Unfortunately, I didn't think to ask if he dug the hole or filled it in, maybe both? Perhaps losing the $1300 to these swindlers took too much of a chunk out of the building fund and it was doomed?!

To learn more about Fr Joe Scherbring, go to this web page of the history of St Boniface Parish. It is a long page. Scroll down until you pass a color photo of Silver Creek Falls, then go a little farther. The second photo below the Falls is a picture of Fr Joe and underneath him is the story of the church building project, including blueprints of the proposed church building.

The new church? No, it never was built. The same building is  still in use. 

St Boniface Church & bell tower, in 2015

Besides the excitement about the diamonds, then there is the matter of the note at the end. Good old "Gloom & Doom" Grandpa Alois. This seems to be another ploy to get her moving towards home. He may have been trying to tell her that something bad might happen to her, or maybe it was that something bad might happen to him before she were to return if she lingered too long with her relatives.

Betty's letter has been slightly edited. I added the paragraph spacing at the end, just to separate the thoughts. Spelling and punctuation didn't seem to be very important. I tried to write it as Betty did, but correct the spelling so it doesn't just look like typos. 

I capitalized "Father" the first time, when it appeared as the title in front of Scherbring, the priest's last name. The other times Betty writes "father" she is still referring to the priest, she just didn't capitalize the word.  

Betty was only 12, but her method of writing seems to be in line with that of the adults. Don't waste paper and don't waste time with much punctuation.

Words or letters inside brackets - [ ] - are mine. Words inside parentheses - ( ) - are Betty's.  


Story to be continued......

To read Post "42 - Diary Entry 23 June 1936" Click Here

Sunday, October 30, 2016

40 - Grandma's Letter Home - 22 June 1936

Click here to read story from beginning

Story so far: Grandma Cecile had reached her relatives back in her home village of Nieder-Mohrau, Czechoslovakia. She had crossed the United States by train, from Oregon on the Pacific coast to New York on the Atlantic coast. The Europa, a ship with the North German Lloyd ship line, had carried her across the
Atlantic Ocean. She had reached her destination of Nieder-Mohrau and had written some letters back home. At the same time, her family back home wrote  letters to her. All of those letters would take about three weeks to arrive at their destination.

A few more days had passed, Grandma Cecile had not had time to sit and write in her diary, but she did sit down to write another letter home.

Start of Grandma's letter

June 22. 1936.

My dear children & grandchildren:

I want you to know I am here at my sisters, and am feeling quite good again; only first I was shaken up to some extent.

This country looks very good, the fields are certainly a fiest [feast] for the eye, everything is green and the people are making hay. The barns are build a lot bigger as they were at the time I was working around here. There are so many new houses  and how swell they look; there is rarely a place to be found that is the same as when I left. I do have fun to hunt up something that is the old way yet.
Nider-Mohrau, postcard format photo[1]
And when I came to the graveyard my parents grave looked so forlorn towards all the monuments, my sister Mina has one too already for the girl that died last Jan.[2], their father in law had it all fixed up.

Grandma Cecile, Gustie & Wihelm Weiss
 My sisters are both hard workers but Mina has it a little better than Gustie in spite that Gustie is a pretty rich one. They get up at 1/4 to four in the morning & work like cr. fools all day long. I don't see how they can stand it; but Gustie is just about once more as heavy as I am so I guess it must not hurt her. At Schallner ["Hedwigs" is written in above the name "Schallner"] it is supposed to be worse.

Hermann[3] is here he came to see me rightaway and he helped in the hay there yesterday he said he didn't want to go over today he doesn't like it.

When I see an old acquaintens [acquaintence] (yesterday I've seen Tost Anna) they look so worn out I just can't get over it. One of their sons got married (I was told) they gave him about 100 tousend [thousand] cronen as a wedding gift. I am invited to come to many places but how in the world could this be done, they are always in the fields and on Sun. I want to go with my Sisters to see some wonders of nature.

Last Sun. we went to Karlsdorf to see Papa's birthplace, when we got there we have not found Aschers anymore they are both dead also the son that was feebleminded. That house was so clean inside and out they are expecting sommerfrischlers from some city to move in and as I was told they make good money by renting houses out like that. That village is so build up too Papa would not know it anymore.

They have no priest at present here in Mohrau just early Mass on Sun. and if I am not mistaken I believe I would not like to be a priest here.

And now how are you all at home, I hope everybody is well I received Betty & Stella's letter yesterday, how tickled I am & thank you very much. I don't think I will stay here very long and I'll be very glad to get home, tell Papa he can expect me in a short time. I like it in a way, but it is a tousent [thousand] times nicer at home. People got so money hungry here my dollars wouldn't go very far. The autos are running by here every once in a while and make a terrible dust to Karlsbrunn. So take care of yourself & write once more, before I lieve [leave].
[1] - Not sure if this postcard is from this trip, but it was included with Grandma's materials. It was not mailed but has writing on the back, it looks like Hermann Schiebel's handwriting.
Back of the postcard
Translation by my friend Al Haunold:

What is indicated here is our parent’s house. Since the village street has been reconstructed, there are some changes, as well as the hill, we always called it the “bishop’s hangout” and added to the house of the hired servants is a stable for the animals 
In the background you can see a new house, it is a “Konsum” or grocery store
I assume you can figure that out for yourself

If you click on the photo to get an enlarged version of it, you will see a house in the center, to the right, with a line drawn under it. This must have been the Schiebel family home, where Cecile, Gustie, Mina, and their brothers all grew up.

The blue scribbles on the back of the postcard below the writing were added by "some mischievous children with crayons" many years later.

 [2] - Elfrieda Bernt, Mina's daughter who died earlier

 [3] - Hermann Schiebel, Grandma's youngest brother

 So Grandma Cecile had started to feel less anxious and enjoy herself, but was still ready to head for home. The photograph shows her with her sister Gustie, and Gustie's husband Wihelm Weiss. Grandma wrote in German on the back of the photo. My friend Al translated that as "Gustie, the brother-in-law and I myself". The building in the back is probably Gustie & Wilhem's house (house #39 in the village).

As before, I inserted the paragraph breaks just to make it easier to read. Grandma wrote it in one block of text.

Again, to see the pictures up close, click on any one of them and you will be able to scroll through them. And check out the linked words to read more about what a "sommerfrischler" is and what Karlsdorf looks like today. 

Story to be continued......

To read Post "41 - Letter From Betty to Grandma - 22 June 1936" Click here

Sunday, July 17, 2016

39 - Who was Alexander Schipka?

Before I return to the story of Grandma's Trip, I have to tell of an amazing connection that happened for one reader, Margit Pohl, who recognized a name in one of Grandma's letters. 

Here are excerpts from what she wrote to me:

For us a real surprise was contained in Chapter 36 Cecilia's letter home on June 17, 1936. She writes about having attended the funeral of Alexander Schipke on June 16.
Alexander Schipka
Alexander Schipka born 22 Feb 1874 married to Hedwig Tschöp born 15 Oct 1878 is my (Margit's) Grandfather on my mother's side.

  Here is a picture we have fortunately got from one of his daughters. It shows Alexander in uniform which seems to be from the Austrian-Hungarian period.

His name is Schipka, which in Czech means "Arrow". The picture looks like being taken by a professional photographer of that time.
When I wrote back to Margit, I asked when Alexander got married to Hedwig. I was curious because of the way Grandma mentioned that he had "often spoken about me and always asked questions"... It made me wonder if perhaps Grandma Cecile had left behind an admirer when she set sail for America the first time.  Here is Margit's reply to that question:

Elizabeth, your comments on Alexander and Cecilia makes us wonder, indeed, if Cecilia had left a "broken" heart in Nieder-Mohrau. Who knows. Returning after 35 years to come to his funeral ...  

Alexander Schipka, born 22 feb 1874, died June 1936 got married in 1903 to Hedwig Tschöp, born 15 Oct 1876, died 01 Aug 1954.

Alexander's widow Hedwig, my Grandma, lived in Nieder-Mohrau until we had to leave the country and died in Staufenberg / Hessen.

That's where my cousin Erni lives, a daughter of my mum's sister. Erni was 6 years old, when Alexander died and she remembers the funeral that your Grandma attended. 

Quite interesting! Grandma immigrated in 1901. Alexander did not get married until 1903. My Grandparents did not meet and get married until 1905. So it is possible that there were some broken hearts involved, but that is all just speculation at this point. It does add a little more dimension to the story!

I guess we will never know, but I thank Margit for sharing this information with me!

Another interesting twist, Margit started reading this blog because she heard about it from a cousin, who also happens to be a distant cousin of mine. The relations, though, are not on Grandma's side, but rather on Grandpa's side! It is indeed a small world! 

In fact, in the letter in entry #36, Grandma mentions that Alexander lived next to the Bernts. But which Bernts? There were Bernt relatives on both sides of the family tree......

I could go on, but it is time to get back to Grandma's travels. 


Story to be continued......

To read Post "40 - Grandma's Letter Home - 22 June 1936" Click here

Sunday, March 20, 2016

38 - Marie Lulay's Letter to Grandma - 18 June 1936

Click here to read story from beginning

Story so far: Grandma Cecile had reached her relatives back in her home village of Nieder-Mohrau, Czechoslovakia. She had crossed the United States by train, from Oregon on the Pacific coast to New York on the Atlantic coast. The Europa, a ship with the North German Lloyd ship line, had carried her across the
Atlantic Ocean. She had reached her destination of Nieder-Mohrau and had written some letters back home. At the same time, her family back home wrote  letters to her. All of those letters would take about three weeks to arrive at their destination.

The same day that Grandpa Alois had written, so had my Aunt Marie.
Marie in 1942
Marie, or Mary as was her real name, was Grandma
's step-daughter and oldest child.
We can get an idea of what life was like on the farm back then by the contents of the letter. It was all written in one block of text. I added paragraphs to make it easier to read. Here is what she wrote:

Beginning of Marie's letter

Stayton, Ore
June 18 - 1936

My Dear Mamma.

Always wanted to write always am busy. I hope you got there alright and are having a good time. My pen won't write [the ink fades in and out on the paper and here she switches to pencil] We are all well. Betty Papa & boys[1] are all well. They are getting along fine. 

Gus got announced[2] in church Sun. So will get to go to a wedding dinner soon.[3] 

we canned 38 jars and later 11 more jars Papa says thats enough strawberries I want to make some jam yet for myself and you folks. we sure are busy now with the kids picking berries. It sure does rain every day & how it pours today is the first day of Sun-shine again. How long it will last I don't know. 

Betty wants me to say Hello & for you to not worry & Have a good time and then she said (You could come home again) ha ha But you should have a real good time. first. I sure hope you feel good

the children were at Betty's Sun. Stella Ruth & Margaret.[4] they said Papa was real jolly they went to the other place & said Gus had that house scrubbed good.[5] Conrad Spenners[6] were there to[o]. Mr. Soope was at Dad Tues. so you see with all the work no-body has time to think much

I must close & get busy will try and write again next week So don't worry write soon
With love - from all to all
How is your Sister did she know you Did you see all your Bro. already
By By
Me & all
Give these Pictures to your Sis. I'll send those that Clara took next time.[7]
End of Marie's letter, note torn bottom edge

Apparently Marie did not take time to worry about things like punctuation or spelling. Sometimes words are spelled wrong, sentences end with no punctuation or paragraphs, as mentioned before. Not all sentences start with capital letters. 

Nor does she use fancy stationery. She wrote on what looks like a sheet of tablet paper, and the bottom was torn off. She must have been using scraps. This was in the days of the Depression, and people made do with what they had.

[1] "boys" - meant John, Tony, Gus and FB Beitel, Grandma's sons

[2]  "announced" meant that they had read the banns of marriage in church that Sunday. It was then the custom to both read aloud the banns and publish them in the church bulletin for three weeks in a row before the wedding took place. That way if anyone knew any reason why those people should not be married, they could bring it up.

[3] Gus Beitel would marry Anna Krantz on June 30, 1936.

[4] "the children" refers to Marie's older daughters, Stella, Ruth & Margaret; when she says they were at "Betty's", she means they had gone to Grandpa's house down the road on the farm, Betty and Stella were the same age and they all played together 

[5] By saying "the other place" and "that house", I believe she is referring to the property and house where Uncle Gus and Auntie Ann would first live.That was the house across Thomas Creek, next to the Jordan Bridge in Linn County, Oregon. Betty's letter of June 9, 1936 indicated that Gus was starting on the house on Fern Ridge Road, but it would not be done before they were married.

[6] Conrad Spenner was a friend and neighbor of the Beitel's. He & his family must have been there helping with the house preparation.

[7] Apparently Marie enclosed photos. Grandma must have given them away, they were not with the letter. Not sure who Clara was. If I remember correctly Clara Lulay lived in Sublimity and would have been an in-law of Marie's, it could have been her.

To see the images larger, click on any and you will be able to scroll through them all.

Story to be continued......

To read Post "39 - Who Was Alexander Schipka?" Click here

Sunday, November 15, 2015

37 - Letter From Grandpa To Grandma - 18 June 1936

Click here to read story from beginning

Story so far: Grandma Cecile made on her way to visit her relatives back in her home village of Nieder-Mohrau, Czechoslavkia. She had crossed the United States by train, from Oregon on the Pacific coast to New York on the Atlantic coast. The Europa, a ship with the North German Lloyd ship line, had carried her across the
Atlantic Ocean. She had reached her destination of Nieder-Mohrau and had written some letters, one home and one to Grandpa.

Every good story needs a little drama. Only one day after Grandma had written her letter to Grandpa, he sat down on his side of the globe and wrote to Grandma. What did he have to say? The normally taciturn Grandpa Alois wrote seven pages, three sheets both sides, plus one more sheet on one side. Apparently he had something on his mind. Enter the drama - as translated by my friend Al:

Envelope Grandpa's letter came in

First page of the letter

Stayton, Oregon June 18, 1926

My far-away Cilli

[First page:]

When these lines reach you, you have been away already for over 3 weeks, for me twice as long, in the old home country with your much beloved siblings, relatives and our friends and since I am so far away from you, so you can now enjoy your life with your loved ones as you wish without my being in your way or me even finding out a little about that. It is probably also easy for you to find somebody with whom you are happy who was around with you and with whom you would rather be and where you can trust better when sleeping than with me, but the reason for me not being able to trust you…
[unnumbered page: ]
Well, I hope that you do not forget so much, even though you have lost your wedding ring which reminds you of your promise that you have given to me. You have said it yourself and also to many other people, namely that in the old home country they don’t take it that seriously with the marriage promise and since you showed it to me plainly enough how much you still care about me. Since you know, however, that is was my greatest happiness to take you into my arms, and to be able to sleep with you but you were not satisfied and I had to sleep alone and I had certainly thought that you would sleep with me the last night, but this was not worth much to you even though it might have been the last time in our life to be alone together and why did you not do it.

[page] 2

You have sent several post cards but I did not see a single word and now I have to be satisfied with my fate as good as God wills it, even if I cannot sleep at night and I have no peace during the day and my head feels like exploding but I am not angry with you because you did not tell me the reasons that you cannot love me anymore and I pray every day that God may protect you and keep you safe from all adversities
[unnumbered page:]

…with body and soul may keep you but perhaps you get to know me again. But if you don’t feel very well there which, however, I do not wish for you and even if it should be to my detriment and I cannot think that it is because of your sister alone that you would gamble away your whole happiness since, as you know very well,that it was not worth very much to her to see you since she did not have to leave anyone and that I wanted to send her your free passage, but often I believe that there are still other reasons that you went which, according to your opinion I did not have to know but I hope that I am mistaken and that you still love me which you could prove to me, so God willing, and that not one of us as punishment is being called away so that we cannot see each other again, but if you are despising me, then relish your [illegible]….
[page] 3

…..and that you may live as you like it and you may stay as long as you like and that you do not have a great longing for me as I do, as you asked the agent whether you could stop over in Florida on your way back and to see the land there which we own and you might plan to spend some time there and I would just like to know whether you still love me and that a day that I can be with you means more to me than all the land in Florida. You, however, may think differently, and if that is so you may be better off to stay with your loved ones in the old home country, I am satisfied with my lot to be alone until the hill of my grave which perhaps is not too far away, … whether you still love me or not only God knows and you alone with your answer …..

[Last page ? (not numbered) on top of this page is an insert: ]

I sent the “Josefs Blatt” (A German print newspaper, named after St Joseph, it was popular among the German Catholic community in the United States.) to your sister – did she receive it ??
The back of page 3

But I hope and pray that you come back again soon and that we can enjoy a happy and long life together. I feel strangely, however, a lot of time that we may not see each other again, I cannot say why that is. Should this letter of mine be unpleasing to you or not worthy of an answer from you then simply toss it into a fireplace together with remembrances of me. So I hope for the best and pray that God may protect you and that I can have you healthy and happy again and loving in my arms.


[unnumbered page: This is a separate page, just 16 lines, and clearly written, perhaps in anger, and quite different in tone from the other pages of this letter. - Al ]
The final sheet

If you think of your promise that you gave at the altar before God and the priest, to cherish love and faithfulness to me and to remain faithful to me and not to leave me until death parts and separates us and don’t do it willingly, because then it is not a promise, then just stay in your beloved home country and don’t appear anymore before my eyes.

Wow! I did not expect to read that! When I first got the translation from Al, I almost stopped this whole project. Never had I ever heard of any of this back story. Had Grandma really lost her wedding ring? Was something wrong between the two of them?
I almost felt like I was intruding into a personal space that I had no business in.

The letter itself does not read smoothly. Al found it difficult to translate, partly due to grammar, spelling and handwriting. Grandpa Alois only had a few years of elementary school, so he was not highly educated even though he was an intelligent man. Add to that, Beitels always did have a way of talking in slang that might not be easy to understand. 

It is also possible that he started this letter, and then worked on it for a while, writing more each time without picking up from where he had stopped. On the back page of the first sheet he started writing two lines within one for three lines and then erased what was in the last line below. 

I talked to my cousins and my Aunt Virginia Beitel, who was still alive at the time. Had she ever heard of any of this? She was a teenager in 1936, so may not have been as aware as an adult might have been. She had no idea. No one had ever mentioned it as far as she could remember. My cousins urged me to press on to find out what was going on. 

The next letter I sent to Al for translation was the one in the previous entry, the one from Grandma. It did not sound so brooding or mysterious. So, was this all in Grandpa's imagination, or would further letters give some indication of something else?

To see the photos closer, simply click on any of them and you will be able to scroll through them all.

Story to be continued...... 

To read Post "38 - Marie Lulay's letter to Grandma - 18 June 1936 Click here