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WOLFE'S WORDSAugust 6, 2009
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Two Letters From "Universitet"* Students
by: Marjorie Gottlieb Wolfe
Important dates

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 *The Yiddish word for college is "universitet"

It's "Oygust" (August) and many of us are sending our sons and daughters off to "di universitet" for Orientation Week.   My advice to college students: "Be kind to your parents.  After sending you through college, you're all they have left."

I grew up hearing the expression, "Kleyne kinder, kleyne freydn; groyse kinder, groyse zorgn" (Little children, little joys; big children, big worries.)

This first letter is from Sandor Schuman and is titled, "First Letter Home From College."  It is shown below with his permission.

September, 2008

Dear Mom & Dad:

I arrived on campus this afternoon.  The trip was fine.  The campus is great, although it's going to take a while before I can find my way around without continuously using the GPS Uncle Jerry gave me.

I bought all the books for my courses.  I can't believe how expensive they are!  I should have bought them used on Amazon. It's a good thing we shopped around for a laptop while I was still at home.

My room mate seems like an old friend, since we already IM'd alot.  (sic)  As planned, since the room is really small, we are sharing one printer and decided not to bring a TV.  We each brought a few favorite DVDs, and we can watch them on our computers.

My room mate already downloaded all the class assignments and beamed them over to my PDA, so that saved a lot of time.  Now if only we were interested in the same clubs.

I took scads of pictures of the campus and some of my new friends from the dorm.  I uploaded a couple dozen to my Facebook page so you can have a look.  (Ignore the comments from my friends!)

I get a strong cell phone signal almost everywhere on campus, so you can cell me anytime.  Since we're on the same network now we won't have to worry about how many minutes we're using.  I'll send you another email tomorrow, but call me anyway if you want to.

And yes, I already joined the campus Hillel Facebook group so don't worry.  I already know about Jewish activities on campus.

PS  The food in the cafeteria is great, but everybody says that's only because I'm new, and I'll have a different opinion before the week is out.

The second letter has been circulating via the Internet for many years.  There are no smileys like :-) or abbreviations like "JK" (just kidding) or "TFTHAOT" (thanks for the help ahead of time).  I originally read it in "Your Child" - A Newsletter for Jewish Parents, April, 1976.  This is my Yiddish version:

"Di universitet" of Fine Arts
Albany, N. Y.

Dear Muter and Tate,

It has been "zeks" (6) months since I left for "di universitet" (college).  "Es fardrist mir" (I am sorry) I haven't written more often and I'm very sorry for my thoughtlessness.

I'm sure you have been "bagorzt" (worried) about me.  Let me bring you up to date, but before you read on, please "zetsn zikh" (sit down).  OK?

Don't read any further unless you're sitting down.  OK?  Gut!

I am getting along pretty well "itst" (now). "Der sharbn" (The skull) fracture and the concussion I got from jumping out of the "fentster"(window) of my dormitory when it caught on "fayer" (fire) several months ago, are pretty much healed now.  I spent only "tsvey" (2) weeks in "der shpitol" (the hospital)!  Mom always said the girls in the family heal fast.  In fact, I can almost see normally again and I only get a "kopveytik" (headache) three times a day now.

Fortunately, the "fayer" in the dormitory and my jump was witnessed by a "gazolin stantsyeh" (gasoline station) attendant who immediately called 911.  He's so "zis" (sweet).  He even visited me in "der shpitol", and since I had "in ergets nit"  (nowhere) to live because of the burnt-out dorm, he was "frayndlekh" (kind) enough to invite me to share his "dire" (apartment) with him.  It's really a "keler" (basement) room, but it's kind of cute.  He really is "a gute neshome" (a good person) with a kind "harts" (heart).  We have fallen deeply in love and are planning to get "khasene gehat' (married).  We haven't set the exact date yet, but I'm sure that it will be before I start to show.

That's right, muter and tate, I'm "shvanger" (pregnant)!  I know how much you are looking forward to being "zeyde-bobe" (grandparents), and I know that you will give that "beybi" the same love, devotion and tender care you gave me when I was growing up.  We would get married now but we both failed our premarital "blut" (blood) tests because of some "minervertik infektsye" (minor infection).  He told me about it before hand, but "narish" (dumb) me, I carelessly caught it anyway.  Not to worry though, "der dokter" said my daily penicillin injections should clear it up by next "khoydesh" (month).

I know you will welcome him into our family with "ofn" arms.  He is kind, and although not well educated, he is "ambitsyez" (ambitious)--just like Tate!  Also, he is of a different race and "religye" (religion) than ours, but I know, after all your years of teaching me tolerance, that you won't mind the fact that he is somewhat a little "tunkl" (dark in color).  I'm sure you will love him as I do.

Now that I have brought you up to date, I want to tell you that "alts iz gut" (Everything is good).  I'm "gezunt vi a ferd"  (healthy as a horse).  There was no dormitory "fayer"; I did not have a concussion or a "sharbn" fracture; I was not in "der shpitol"; I am not "shvanger"; I am not "farlobt" (engaged to be married); I do not have syphillis; and there is "keyner nit" (not anyone) in my life.  However, I am getting a D in History and an F in Science, and I wanted you to see these marks. in their proper perspective.

Your loving "tokhter"
College of Fine Arts
Albany, N.Y.


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