November 1, 1964
(When I received this letter in 1964, I struggled to translate it with the help of a couple of German Dictionaries, until I could contact a lady to translate it. She read a translation to me and I found my translation all right as to meaning, but my grammar left something to be desired, since I did not go into conjugations, etc. The following is not a verbatim translation, but gives the general meaning.)
Haltingen. 1 November 1964
It is now one year since I received your kind letter; I thank you for your kindness in writing. I am sorry that your husband was sick so long and has died. I myself also, since 1959, have been sick because of an accident which ruptured my stomach. I can only do light work. We have made our own building, with my son, we did all the work. Since June in this year we are in our own dwelling, which is built over the work shop. I shall soon send you a picture of that. We built with all our own labor; I never had any financial help. Building is very expensive in Germany. We are glad that we now have our own home. I have always had to be very saving; my son was in Technical School with state test for the building technique in Karlsruhe. I myself have my new construction which was patented also at great cost, which I must pay all myself. Since I cannot buy the machinery for the fabrication of the patent, the machinery to produce it has not been made, they are not yet made. (Note: he calls it a “Ruttelmaschinen,” which the translator cannot explain, as the word “Ruttel” means “shake,” or “rattle.”)*
I am now 61 years old and can no more do heavy work. You are 53 years old now. I wish from the heart that you have much more good health remaining. Of my brothers and sisters many are now dead. There are now 8 brothers and sisters yet. When I write next I will enclose an outline of all the brothers, sisters, father, mother and our grandfather, with year of birth and death entered. You wrote me that you have letters of my father when he was in the army in Frieburg. I will be glad to have copies of these letters. Be so good and send me also the address of your brother Emil. I unfortunately have the address no more. I wish him also good luck, hearty greetings from me. I will write again soon and send pictures of Siegelau. I wish you and all of you good luck.
Auf Wiedersehn in Amerika oder in Siegelau
Today is the first of November. This is All Saints Day and we remember the dear dead parents and brothers and sisters. Your dear Father has not been forgotten; this year there is also a Holy Mass for your dear Father Hermann. Since 25 years in Haltingen I have been in the Catholic Foundation Council and Community Council. I have also 10 years been on the Bundeswehrgericht (roughly translated means “State Defense Jurisdiction”). These tasks I will soon have to give up because of my sickness. I shall write again soon. I wish all of you good luck. Vitus
*My understanding of this patent, which I learned later, was that it was a method to speed up the setting of cement by “Shaking” it.