Letter Dated 15 October 1880, Kniewon-Samosten, Prussia

Liebe Berta,

I cannot believe that I am an uncle! But Mama says she feels like a grandma.

Since spring the rain has not stopped. Standing water fills the fields. Rye rots on the stalks. We harvest what we can. With Papa gone Johann has returned from the army, but his strong arms and sturdy back are not enough. Mama takes in laundry. Anna cooks for day-workers. And it rains.

We had so little money that Mama was forced to sell my violin to pay the rent. I asked if she could sell the cow instead. Things are so bleak that I fear I may never meet my new niece. Berta, what if we never see one another again?

Dein Bruder,