O., on September 12, 1938
Dear Mr. [Nordhoff]!
I wanted to write you yesterday, but my girlfriend’s visit kept me from it. I was a little annoyed by it, especially since my parents were visiting grandmother yesterday — I would have been pleasantly alone and undisturbed. Sometimes I am envious of your solitude. I had to think of you a lot yesterday, in the morning — in the afternoon. We also went for a walk, but not out in the countryside. Luise was more interested in the new fall fashions in the city. A wonderful film was playing, and we watched it. ‘Magda’ starring Zarah Leander, an actress with a very unique voice; if you have the opportunity, you must see this film. They opened the new arena at the Jahn House, I didn’t go.
I think that you still are homesick for O. The area all around does not really suffer scenically, even though it is industrialized, and it has its own charms that some perhaps do not appreciate at all. One must also be somewhat appreciative of nature. When you discover a place on your own, without being told about it by someone else first, then it is doubly dear. Even if there are no significant sights here like there are in other places, I respect this part of the country, it is still the place of my childhood and youth. I am happy that in the time that you spent here, you grew to love my homeland. In my free time, I also go out, where one can really look far out into the countryside – preferably alone.
You so beautifully expressed in your letter what kind of feelings one has when one is confronted by the great wonder of nature. I love it right now in the fall when the sun sets. It is then that I am very quiet and humble, and I am ashamed of the inane things I often worry about in everyday life as if salvation depended on them. Should one not be happy and thankful that one may experience all of the magnificence with a healthy perception?
I don’t like being outside with the weather we are having right now. Endless rain. I am afraid when I go through the woods. The trees sigh in the wind, it is foggy in the valley, and the rotting leaves on the ground are reminiscent of decay. Then I must constantly think of death. I sigh in relief, arriving at home in warm bright rooms.
It is nine o’clock, my parents are already asleep, much to my liking. It is so nice to know you are the only one awake. I will mail your letter tomorrow on the way to work.
I am too afraid to go to the post office this evening, it is too sinister outside. You will laugh. The streetlight on the intersection is burned out, probably because of the storm. If the weather is still like this on Saturday, going out won’t be very enjoyable.
I am grateful to you for your trust. But the only gentleman, for whom an invitation would even be a possibility, won’t be coming. I do not want another.
I also read about the Women Workers [of the Reich Labour Service]. I was at one point very close to volunteering. Just imagine, I wore such a uniform just last Saturday afternoon, it fit like a glove! An acquaintance of mine, who is in a camp near Brandenburg, visited me briefly. She really enjoys it, except for the field work, where you are required to work with farmers or families with many children. Well, I’ll get over it eventually.
Tell me, are schools being vacated in your area as well? Soldiers are being housed everywhere. In L., K., and H. and so on. Nothing is yet known about O. What does that mean?
I’m already counting the days until our parish festival. I can come, do not worry. Whether a visit comes true, I still don’t know. I must confess something! My girlfriend knows now who the secret person is that I always travel to. It couldn’t remain a secret. I had to tell her after I was in Dresden the last time, since her parents invited me over for the afternoon. She was gobsmacked (as we say). I got her to promise not to tell anyone – and I am also not worried; she has, up to this point, not disappointed me. – I now end this letter in the hope that you are healthy, well and send you affectionate greetings from my parents.
Yours truly, [Hilde Laube].