The problems of being a multicultural child – as other Robins have already pointed out –mean that the following person decides to write two letters. Here’s
Mamma and Papa tell us that you bring the presents we get on Heiligabend by the Christmas tree. We aren’t allowed to see the tree before it is decorated though. We have to wait till a bell is rung and the children are let into the room. Even though we aren’t living in Austria any longer Mamma and Papa say it’s important to keep up our traditions. When this horrid war is over we hope to go back home. In the meantime we are lucky to be in a safe place.
I say thank you to God for that in my prayers but I expect you talk to him so please can you thank him for me too? This year I’d like us to go on feeling safe. It was very scary for Mamma when Papa was left behind at the Sonnalpe. Gisel and I were too little to understand properly at the time but I’ve heard the story of his escape with Auntie Jo, Uncle Jack, Miss Wilson, Robin and some other pupils and now I think it must have been horrible for them all. It was awful when Tante Frieda was taken away to the Isle of Man too. I don’t know why she was as Papa and Mamma weren’t. Please don’t let anyone take them away!!
Please can you also ask Him to keep Onkel Bruno safe? He is away fighting and I know that Tante Frieda worries a lot about him even if she has got Auntie Jo to cheer her up.
If you see Opa Florian in Heaven, please can you say we love him very much. Gisel and I remember the fun we had playing with him. The others don’t really remember him. Oma Gisel, Mamma and Tante Maria are very sad that he isn’t here anymore but they are very proud of the way he stood up to the Nazis. They say he was a special person.
As for other presents, I don’t mind what I get – some sweets and chocolate would be nice. Are they on ration in Heaven? Perhaps a new board game?
Letter Two will follow later today!
Dear Father Christmas,
Have you met the Christkind? In Austria he is the one who brings children presents on Heiligabend which is what my friends at the Chalet School call Christmas Eve.
Now that we are in Wales I want to fit in with my British friends so I’m writing to you, just like they do. You bring your presents on Christmas Day. You come down the chimney and fill up our stockings. Miss Linton told us that your other name, Santa Claus, comes from Saint Nicholas. At the Sonnalpe we used to put out our shoes on the night of the 5th December for him to fill. Waking up on the 6th December was always exciting – I can just about remember that. I’m a bit confused about whether you’re him or not but never mind.
I think I’ve been very good this year. I’ve worked hard in school and I’ve practised the piano hard and enjoyed my singing lessons with Mr Denny. I really love music. Miss Burn says I’m a good team player in Games and that I’m getting very good at bat and ball games. She says I have good hand-eye co-ordination. I don’t know what the means but I think she is praising me. I’ve also tried to cheer up Oma. Gisel and I have helped Mamma with Gretchen, Toni and Jaquetta at home. So I hope I deserve a nice present or two.
PLEASE can may (sorry, Miss Annersley) I have
1. A flute. I’d love to play another instrument. If you haven’t got a spare one, perhaps a big recorder (a treble?) – not the little one that everyone else plays, though, please.
2. Some new piano music or a book of new songs and some music for the flute (recorder?)
3. A tennis racquet and some tennis balls as my class starts learning how to play tennis next summer.
4. Some sweets and chocolates – if they aren’t on ration at the North Pole.
5. A new board game.
Many thanks and lots of love,
PS We’ll put out a glass of sherry and a mince pie for you and a carrot for Rudolph.
PPS Mamma says to tell you that Auntie Madge has made the mince pie not Auntie Joey. I don’t know why she asked me to tell you that.
PPPS Sorry I’ve used the word GOOD lots of times. Our class teacher, Miss Burnett, says repetition is NOT good. Whoops, I’ve written it again. Sorry.
Notes: We are told that, having finished obtaining the necessary diplomas to practise in Britain that Gottfried is now working at the Welsh San. The family live “the other side of the mountains” in Lavender but until Carola there is no mention of Natalie although her sister, Gretchen, is in the same class as Mary-Lou in Three Go. I’m just presuming that she started at the Chalet School once Gottfried was at the San.