Waldkirch 25 March 1887
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
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 Würzburg.
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
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.