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Letter to Oskar Speck from his friend Elli

Date: 23 January 1935
Medium: Ink on paper
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Gift from John O'Donnell
Object Name: Letter
Object No: ANMS0535[008]

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    Letter to Oskar Speck from his friend Elli handwritten in German over two pages with text on one side only. Dated 23 january 1935, the letter talks about events happening in Elli's life, her engagement and family.
    • Bahrenfeld, 23 January 1935 Dear Oskar, Well, you’re surprised to get a letter from me for a change, aren’t you? Sonja brought your last letter from Karachi over yesterday lunch time. I thought I’d start straight away, so that I can be sure that I do write back this time. But, it may come in instalments anyway. During summer it was completely out of the question to get anything started – you are not the only one who has had such a bad time. I wrote to my sister around Christmas to say thanks for the engagement present. [damaged, illegible] My mother had been suffering from an infected blood vessel and spent the whole time in bed until December. You can imagine what was going on in my mind. Ten hours at work and then housework, sewing, etc. at night and on Sundays. I was a nervous wreck towards the end. I just didn’t want to see and hear anything any more. My own interests were completely neglected. But everything seems fine now, hopefully permanently. Does it actually affect you in any way that I got engaged? The two of us! [damaged, illegible] don’t understand it ourselves, sometimes. We had been thinking about it long enough, though. Anyway, thinking about becoming a dutiful housewife makes me laugh and Hans Kunau as well. For the time being [damaged, illegible] and due to general overspending in the money department we will have to postpone it. Spring 1936 is the first deadline. Provided no major hiccups occur, that will be it. I can’t really imagine it yet. But the human being is a creature of habit and I will eventually grow fond of this one-horse town, i.e. Pinneberg. Let’s hope so. At the moment we are having a big fight again. Both parties are partly to blame, as usual. Hans is a stubborn fellow and I’m not exactly a turtle-dove myself. Better have the bad character traits come out before you get married than after. As far as Mr Schmitz is concerned, I’m afraid he will have cause to be surprised at some stage. I don’t know him all that well personally, but [his chosen] lady does not present herself in the best light. [next page] Maybe everything will turn out well in the end. My motto is, “marry in haste, repent in leisure”. You know it well yourself that one shouldn’t rush into these things. These two have stitched it up too hastily for my liking, but maybe there are grounds that we don’t know of. To my distress I have just noticed that the copy pen I’m using is only legible on a light-coloured surface. Got to go and find ink. Found it. I’m writing from home. My Mum put all my correspondence under the cupboard and I saw it as a bundle of old newspapers. [damaged, illegible] eyes are suffering from old age. I’ve just turned 24 after all. My Dad reckons I’m an old maiden. When I read the newspaper item about your arrival in [damaged, illegible] shortly before Christmas, I assumed that this could possibly be the beginning of your [damaged, illegible, possibly: career as a journalist]. According to your letter this seems to be a false hope. What if you took the offer of 18 Pfennig per line from the DKV? It would be a start. Maybe after the report about [damaged, illegible] something else will come up. A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush. I don’t want to push you one way or the other. It’s your decision after all. I hope you have enough time to decipher my writing efforts. This paper doesn’t seem to be made for ink. I’ll pay a visit to Lindhoff’s in the next few days. They had a baby boy around Christmas. I’ll congratulate them on your behalf as well. Anyway, I wish you all the best for your ongoing travels, and best regards from Hans and my parents as well. Yours truly, Elli [damaged, illegible] RM. 6 (ie. 10 Schillings). If it hasn’t [damaged, illegible] make them forward it to you. Don’t be angry. It will remain our secret. Translator’s note: The onion skin document is seriously damaged on both margins. The writing is inconsistent, in two different types of ink and partly faded.

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