Received a letter from
home, My dear father
had a serious accident, he
slipped and fell and is
confined to bed.
I am greatly worried
I pray for his speedy
Here are Papa's parents, in the only photo I have of them. The photo is mounted on an oval ceramic base with a gold border, hence the curved edges of the picture:
Papa was the youngest of six children, so his father must have been over thirty years his senior, or at least in his sixties, by 1924. He also had a paralyzed arm, so while he may not have been old enough for falls to be really worrisome (then again, he may have -- I don't yet know when he was born, and life expectancy for Eastern European men of his age was in the low 50's at best1) any accident may been that much more dangerous for him.
Remember, too, that Papa could only communicate with his parents and siblings on the other side through mail (and not airmail, which was in its early stages in the 1920s) and the occasional telegram. While Papa obviously had no other expectations, we have to remember that an undercurrent of anxiety over his father's condition, attenuated by separation and slow communication, will run through Papa's life from this point on.
References for this post:
1 - This is average, so it's skewed by high infant mortality rates. From "A New Estimate of Ukrainian Population Losses during the Crises of the 1930s and 1940s by Jacques Vallin; France Meslé; Serguei Adamets; Serhii Pyrozhkov. Population Studies, Vol. 56, No. 3. (Nov., 2002), pp. 249-264.