Nierstein [Germany] August 22, 97.
Dearest brother, sister-in-law, and family,
Since I have not yet been able to speak with all my brothers and sisters and it will be too long to wait until I get together with them, I want to write in the meantime to let you know that your pictures arrived here safely, which you already knew from Johann Müllers letter. I therefore also delayed writing, since sister Lieschen and Peter Claus were going to write to you right away too, and I didn’t want all the letters to reach you at the same time.
We were so very happy to receive your pictures. You are still very much recognizable, and your children definitely show a resemblance to you. Your wife has also not changed much, for you had sent us her picture to our departed father earlier. I recognized her at once. I will reciprocate next summer. When our Elischen is stronger, I want to have my picture taken with the whole family too. Brothers Carl and Andreas seem a little miffed because you didn’t send along any pictures for them. I will now get in touch with our other siblings by mail. I have no time to talk with them in person, for I am here at Senfters and I have to be there on Sundays if needed not for nothing, of course. In any case, the others plan write to you right away, as far as I know, and there is no hurry anyway.
Now to change the subject. How did your harvest turn out? And are you finished with your building work? Is everything back to normal? The harvest is over here, and the fruit was abundant. Potatoes also seem to have done well, and the grape harvest seems to be an excellent one, plentiful and good. The grape harvest was good last year too, at least plentiful, but this year its much better and more plentiful, that much we know already. We had a very hot summer, alternating with favorable rains. In many areas of our fatherland, the people were sorely afflicted with lightning, hail, and flooding. In Bavaria, Württemberg, and Saxony it was very bad. Many houses there were carried away, and many people lost their lives. We live in a good area here, and therefore the crop prices have risen colossally. We can drink wine cheaply this year – you can get a bottle for as little as 15 pfennigs 5 kreuzers in our old currency. Last year I had also put up a 100-glass keg of wine for myself, for I had laid in several of them in the yard. But this year I’m getting even more. If some time you feel inclined to visit your old homeland, I will see to it that you can refresh yourself with a glass of this pure wine. If I had the money, I would have looked you up in your new home totally unexpectedly. Well, life’s not over yet. Your contemporary Johannes Jung from Schwabsburg died two weeks ago. He had been sick for an entire year. But if you were to come here, you would be amazed at how everything has changed. All our fathers old friends and comrades and even some of the younger ones are no longer around.
I must close, with many brotherly regards,
Fritz and family
Greetings from all of us.
Please forgive me for waiting so long to write.
I’ll count on hearing from you soon.
7 This is hard to translate without knowing the situation being alluded to. Fremde Leute means other people (not family or close friends).
8 footnote * I don’t know what part of the village is the back, but my guess is its the side furthest from the nearest center of commerce.
9 I have no idea what this word means, but it seems to refer to the poem that follows (yes, it rhymes in German). Because of some unusual spellings, I’m not sure I’ve interpreted all the words of the poem correctly.