This letter from 1949 was written 3 years after the closure of Camp Trinidad. Three years! It is the last of the letters that Phillip and Katie received from the men that worked in their sugar beet fields.
Riesa, Jan 30, 1949
Very honored Mr. Schleich!
Please forgive if I allow myself to approach you with a very large request. It is well known to you that we do not lie on a bed of roses here, and in this way to tell you how pleased we would be and how much good it would be to our bellies, if you could have sent to our address a care package with urgently needed foodstuffs, mainly cooking fat. Our dear God blesses you richly for your good heart.
Our son-in-law Gotthart Hauswold worked for you as a POW and he always praised how well he liked working for you and how you treated him like your own son. Unfortunately he has been very ill for a long time and urgently needs better and more food. I most politely implore you, grant this motherly request. God Almighty has inspired me to approach you and will richly reward you for your good work, if you have some food sent to us.
Heartfelt thanks in advance, very honored Mr. Schleich, for the good deed that you hopefully do for us in our need,
Most sincerely yours,
Mrs. Marie Lomtscher
One last heartbreaking letter... Honestly, I'm not sure I could take much more heartbreak. 😭
Post Master, Mase Hauswold, wrote on his son's behalf in January, 1947 (Block #14 - The Owl Quilt). Gotthart Hauswold, himself, wrote to Phillip and Katie later that same year, in November (Block #16 - The Corner Star Block). And this final, desperate plea from his Mother-in law, Margarete, two years after the first request for help was made.
Under the current postal regulations this letter to Phillip and Katie would have never arrived in their mail box since forwarding orders for mail are in place for only 6 months. Is it possible that more letters never arrived simply because they moved? Were there letters that were "returned to sender"? We will never know...
How difficult it must have been for Gotthart and his loved ones to be so desperate to set aside their pride and basically beg for assistance. Asking for help is one of the most difficult things to do. Yet when we make the decision to do so, the reward is often two-fold, the one needing help has needs met and the one fulfilling the request is rewarded with a feeling of satisfaction and even joy. Remember, it is in the giving that we receive.
As I read that Gotthart had told his family how much he liked working for Phillip and how he had even been treated like a son, my personal feeling of pride rose up. Knowing that, though Phillip and Katie had, at times, barely enough to feed their own three growing sons, yet they shared what little they had generously with the men from the POW Camp. They left a lasting impression on lives that were lived on the other side of the world and it makes me proud.
It makes me not only proud, but it inspires me to try to be a better person and carry on such a legacy. For this reason the block named Pride of Ohio was selected as the final block of this sew along.
When your block is completed, you can assemble row #3. You will need three 2-1/2" x 12-1/2" sashing strips to be sewn into place between the blocks. You should have a sashing strip at the bottom of the row 2, as well as the top of row 4, so you are ready to add row 3. In case you missed the cutting instructions for the sashing strips...
Additional cutting directions for sashing strips...
Row 1 - cut three 2-1/2" x 12-1/2" strips
Row 2 - cut four 2-3/4" x 9-1/2" strips
Row 3 - cut three 2-1/2" x 12-1/2" strips
Row 4 - cut two 3-1/2" x 16-1/2" strips
Row 5 - cut three 2-1/2" x 12-1/2" strips
Horizontal sashing - 4 strips 2-1/2" x 54" long. Unless you are using extra wide muslin, you will need to have a seam in the sashing between rows.
Don't forget to come back and link up for the opportunity to win a free fat quarter. Be sure to use the hashtag #PiecesFromThePastSewAlong and tag me on IG - @MelvaLovesScraps or on fb at Melva Loves Scraps. I love seeing all of your blocks!
Be sure that you join me one last time on March 18th for the final wrap-up of the Pieces From The Past Sew Along series. I will share some details of the dismantling of the POW Camp, a reunion that was held in 1964, and the final cutting instructions for the final borders and binding of the quilt. At that time I will have a final link up opportunity for you to share your finished quilt tops. Those who link up their finished tops will have a chance to win a copy of the Kansas City Star Quilt Sampler book from C&T Publishing... actually, there are FIVE copies available! And good news! The chance to win a pattern book will not be limited to US addresses only.
As you go about your life, I encourage you, challenge you even, to make a difference in the world by being kind to those around you. Your actions, your smile, and your kindness can be something that someone else may hang onto for years to come!
Before you leave though... Leave a comment about a small way YOU make a difference to those around you.
Me? I always return my cart to the store or a cart corral and at times I will let others check out before me... especially if there is a parent with a restless little one, I will allow them to go first. I remember like it was yesterday how challenging it could be to take small ones shopping. :)