Two letters

In October I found an unusual white envelope in my letterbox. Our address, written with a pencil, was spelled out in block letters by an unsteady hand. The sender’s address, pencilled in a similar but smaller script at the top left corner, solved the puzzle: it was my nine-year old nephew in the US. In his hands, Heidelberger Strasse had become Heidelburger strasse, a charming little slip that brought to mind his insatiable appetite for fast food. Opening the letter I found – on an A4 size printed page with his handwritten words in the beginning, next to the salutation, and at the closing, signing off with “love…” – a request to help him with a project at school.

Dear Perappa,

This fall, as a fourth grader at xxx Preparatory school, I will be studying my background and my family. As part of our project we are writing to relatives to find out what their lives were like when they were our age.

My letters will be part of my Ethnic Pride family scrapbook.

Please write back and tell me about your earlier years. Where were you born? Who were your family members? What are your memories of school? Games? Toys? Pets? Chores? Vacations?

Please write back by November 26th. Thank you for your help with my project.


Your nephew R.

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