March 25, 1887

Fahrlander Family

Waldkirch 25 March 1887
Finished Whitsuntide

Dear Hermann!

I almost do not feel free to start my letter with the personal "Du" (familiar form of You) since when I look at your photograph you have now grown up to be mannish. But since we still have an image of the industrious good boy Hermann clearly before our minds, it is still not possible for us to address you by "Sie" (formal form of You). It sounds too strange, for how often already has my husband said: "I wonder how our good Fahrlander is. One really does not hear anything from him. He really has gone out of here into the big world and in addition to that, to a foreign country." But God, who does not leave His own, has protected you wonderfully and permitted to blossom into a strong, handsome man, whose picture my husband looks at again and again, deeply moved, and which picture has added much to his 49th birthday, since it arrived here the night before, 23 February. You can well imagine, dear Hermann, what deep joy he experienced when he learned from your lines that you are well and healthy and have adjusted to America well, and that you feel happy in your work. As the poet Hoelty said, the estate of the farmer, even though very difficult, is the first, the most necessary and the noblest vocation. Out in the free, beautiful nature one feels closer to God, keeps a healthy, sound body, happy state of mind, a sincere heart that loves God and man, prudent industry, virtue which consists more in work than words and religiosity or faith which does not make more scholarly but makes you better and more peace of mind. That you are surrounded mostly by Germans will probably make your stay there much more pleasant.
Apparently you do not know anything about Steiert. His parents are very sad. They have not had any news or message in the last five years. I wonder where he could be. If he is well it is hard to understand why he does not write his parents, but perhaps the poor man is no longer alive. If you should hear anything from him or about him, please notify us. Joseph Hoefler is in New York. He is well too, after having experienced much. Of Steiert he does not know anything.
Perhaps you are also interested in what has become of your classmates. I want to review them for you. I pick up the list of students in order not to forget anyone. Joseph Baumer is a bookkepper in Berlin in a factory. He learned bookkeeping in Ringwald's plant here. August Hoch was a university student and is now a middle school teacher in Karlsruhe, but suffered much; has not been well. Last fall he passed the PhD examination in Science. Joseph Ihringer is an office worker. Franz Ruth went to divinity school and died last year of consumption. Gustaf Sifferle is a worker in gold, and really a soldier in Leipzig. August Singler is a wagon builder. Baptist Volz is a watch maker in England. Fehrenbach Adrian* is an organ builder. Emil _________*** is a mechanic. Adolph Mezzer is a butcher in America. Emil Hoch is in a polytechnical institute. Hoch Joseph Kiefer is a soldier in the artillery. Hodapp is an office helper with a business man in Heidelberg. Kaufsinger Karl Lacker is married in Schoenwald. Karl Mark is a clerical worker in Wrzburg.
Emil Stoper Schreiner is a carpenter, but in the military now. Karl Sutterer is in America; Joseph Hoefler as well. Juchem of the Lirnau in Haegers Fabrik at present. Pfiefer is a painter, Trenkle Richard is a shoemaker, but really in the military in Berlin, Steiger Zaver a saddler's journeyman in Freiburg. The teaching situation is still about the same, only Rev. Chaplain Berger is now chaplin in Heitersheim. State chaplain Hauser is dead. _________ teacher Adolph still holds his position, principal teacher Mueller as well. Still everything as before.
Your kind remembrance of the school pleased my husband a lot. Your views in this regard are very true. He said that he often found it difficult himself to be stricter with the students but the idea as to how knowledge would be valuable made him very strict. The school bench on which you once used to sit and on which you sat again saying farewell, is still in its own little place. May God give that when you return sometime that you can sit there again. As Schiller says so beautifully: "Do you know the golden age with the faithful dreams of children; well, it should not wait long. It is some place like far away".
We never saw your dear parents again, but as I learned from the housekeeper of Rev. Pastor Hummel from Siegelau who lives here, your dear loved ones are healthy and well.****
With us that is unfortunately not the case. My dear husband fell ill two years ago on St. Joseph's Day. For when he went to school the morning before, he felt ill, but not for long. He did not pay much attention to it; went to school in spite of it and worked as usual, in the afternoon too. He took a short walk our Emil into the city and returned just half an hour later and said he did not feel well at all. He felt as if he was drunk, so terribly dizzy. You can imagine our anxiety and fear. I wanted to get the doctor but he did not let me, and said he wanted to go to bed and we should do the same and be very quiet and everything would be all right. We obeyed though quite uneasily. After a short time he fell asleep. At four o'clock the next morning on St. Joseph's Day when he woke up he still felt the same way, the windows were moving back and forth, "Oh God, how I feel".
I rushed to Dr. Vetter who came immediately and checking him out carefully said that his condition was over-exertion of head nerves. A strong meat broth and Champagne and tender pigeon meat was the only food for him for three weeks and now he had to practice getting up, but could not walk by himself without being led in the room, but after three weeks he could walk again. And now we had to go to the woods the whole day until June, and then he had to go to the Black Forest for several weeks, Neu Geutenbach, and took over the school again in the fall on the 23rd of October, even though his dizziness was not entirely gone, but he was so homesick for his school. This was a great mistake. He should have taken leave for another half year or so until he would have been completely well again. He thus kept school again for a complete half year but due to his great exertion, his nervous condition and dizziness remained the same, and thus to continue working like this became impossible. We have a substitute teacher again at our cost for the time being until the dear Lord has mercy and makes our good father well again. You can well imagine how sad we feel in our hearts to have watched this severe suffering for two years. My husband is very sorry that he can not write you himself. With your tender dear letter you have really made his heart very glad. He thanks you deeply, dear Hermann, and greets you a thousand times. For the time being you will have to do with my poor letter but please do not pay too much attention to the many mistakes. Please at times think a little of us and remember us in your prayers. Best regards from our two children, but be most cordially greeted from

Mrs. Elizabeth Weber


*Sometimes the family name precedes the Christian name.
**No last name given
***Translator says poetry is difficult to translate--and I confess my Shorthand is rusty.
****Possibly this priest is Dad's Mother's uncle, who was a priest.

 

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