Sunday, November 20, 2005

Best Wishes from Germany via Canada

My friend Anita Mital forwarded to me an email that her mother, Gisela Mital, sent to her. Gisela lives in Toronto now and doesn't often tell stories about life in Germany during the war. Her hometown is Kassel in Hessen in Germany. It is where Volkswagens are now made.

This is the best, most encouraging reading I've done in the Post-Katrina, Post-Manmade Flood Era in New Orleans.

Dear Anita,

We are sending very good wishes to you and hope that you have recovered from your strenuous car ride from Little Rock. The dogs hopefully were good dogs and remembered the house and their playing space in the yard, and are happy to be with you again.

The temperatures seem to be nice and comfortable, as I could see in the newspaper, and that should help getting back into the old routines, if you can overlook the mess the hurricanes have made in the city. In time the city will heal, and eventually will be more beautiful than it was before the storm.

The same happened in my hometown in Germany, which was 90% destroyed on the 22nd of October in 1943. Your Uncle Wally was born that night (not surprising), and we other children waited out the immense bombing in our cellar.

Those were some fireworks, I can tell you! Our city too was in a terrible mess and shambles. We had a bomb in our backyard, one in our rafters, and one phosphorous bomb (those ever-glowing and ready-to-burn ones) in the sidewalk right in front of our place.

We kids had fun stepping on the sand that was piled on to them to make them less dangerous, and seeing the blue flames start eating our shoe soles. Only sand would quench the fire and save our precious footgear for walking.

All the people who were bombed out were ordered into every house that was still standing. Our place was jug-a-lug-full of families who were ever so happy to have a good place to stay.

Well, you know the feeling now, as you have experienced the same feelings. To make the story short, my city was born again with old and new buildings standing happily side by side. Pride--not only in the people but also in the houses themselves--seemed to grow.

The city of New Orleans will also get back on its feet and will don an ever-so-pretty-garment to feel happy and impress everybody immensely. Stories of hard times and misery will get laced with the funny and moving moments. Sad and happy times and all will get woven into a good piece of cloth that will be admired by future generations to come.

And you and your friends will have been part of it all --and can be proud of it!

This is just a little remembering and an attempt to encourage you all when you see the destruction of your beloved city. There are always hope, hard work, and happy people, all of which will make out of a mess a many-faceted and worthwhile project and place again.

Hoping this finds you happy and very well.

Sending Love, Mom

1 comment:

dillyberto said...

This is awe. That letter lets us know where we must go from here. Did she talk about disfunctional government? She was as concrete as Siddhartha. Simple, concise writing. Just move ahead. Do not expect a touchdown every play. Run the ball and get a first down every third time. Beautiful, patient insight for us all.

Now we can be distracted by good things like the Saints and the track!