Mendel Letters 11: “It’s Getting to Look a Lot Like Christmas”

Hard copies of these typed letters were discovered in an old camp trunk in the basement storage facility of one of the few buildings that remain standing in this Brooklyn neighborhood. The building is quite decrepit and is scheduled for demolition. The letters were found in November 2048 by a teenager who believes they were written by his great-grandfather. The letters are addressed to Mendel, the letter writer’s father, who appears to have been dead for at least six years when his son, whose name we are unsure of, started to write him. The son appears very agitated in some of the letters. With permission from the family, we are publishing them on the date they were written, only 28 years later.

December 11, 2020

Good Morning Mendel.

“It’s getting to look a lot like Christmas,” on streets, lawns, and in people’s and store windows. You always liked Christmas, which is funny because when I was a boy we lived in a Jewish enclave in the Bronx where we never saw Christmas at all. This was in the 1950s after World War II and the Holocaust and I think Christian holidays still made Jews nervous.

But I always knew you liked to sing along with Christmas songs on the radio and when I got older, I realized you also loved the lights. Now I figure, with your vision problems, the music and lights of Christmas gave you joy. Once I asked you why you liked Christmas so much. You explained it was a beautiful holiday with beautiful spirit even if we didn’t celebrate it, “the only problem with Christmas are the goyim.”

I don’t know if you would be upset or not, but we have a Christmas tree.

Your son