Otto CW Kappelmann to Anna-Marie Bubendey




Daniel Metraux






Dear Anna-Marie,

Many thanks for the Easter card! Many times I wanted to let you hear from me—but it was just impossible to do so. When you said that Paul was too busy to see me I always thought he must, in the many years, have had a little time to come out, I can now well understand—I haven’t had a moment's time myself—however what I am doing is doing wonders to me and I am so very happy in my occupation. The Red Cross is my hobby. I just love it. I drive about 135 hours each month (over 1000 miles); that, of course, includes taking my patients in and out of hospitals, doctors offices, etc., in wheelchairs and on crutches, many of them amputees, and all so cheerfull and thankfull, all of them are my friends, both colored and white. Recently I took a double amputee from the Veteran’s hospital in East Ossing to Bloomfield and three times a week aI take a blind colored gentleman to the hospital and back to his home—he is a wonder and always smiling—he puts his hand on my shoulder and we walk along without any difficulty. Yesterday, Good Friday, we did not have any other drivers, so I had 20 trips, 10 patients, to Mountainside Hospital, to Kessler Institute out in the country, 3 trips to that institution out in the country, a beautiful drive and such a wonderful day of sun shine. The Kessler Institute is quite famous—mostly amputees—they do such wonderful work with artificial limbs, etc. and I have many kind friends on their staff; on very cold days I go into their kitchen for a cup of hot coffee. I don’t need Florida, the air has given me quite a tan. When I need two cars, Euphie helps me—on Thursday we took about 10 patients to Newark from Kessler to a boy’s club—they have a very large indoor pool and we have lots of fun in the water playing ball, etc. Of course, we have two staff people with us who are responsible for the amputees and we are responsible for the driving but Euphie is excellent in helping our friends in the water. I often drive to the Veterans Hospital in East Orange and also to Oserbrook Hospital in Cedar Grove, a mental institution, where I have now completed a course so that I can entertain the mental patients once a week—I haven’t had an assignment yet but expect to start very soon. Most of the patients look so normal and we do not go into the wards with very active patients—at least not yet.

I am also very busy with the annual Red Cross Fund Drive—I am chairman of the Apartment house drive—there are over 80 apartment houses in Montclair—over 2000 residents. I appointed captains for each apartment house—their work is now over, and I now try to get contributions from those whom my Captains have not been able to contact or who were out of town—mostly in Florida. The drive has been very tough this year—the Montclair Chapter has always gone over the top in the last 17 years but this year is disappointing so far—I now have about 85% of my quota which is better than the house-to-house and business drive. Last year I was vice-chairman for the business drive—banks, business offices, etc. and easily got over 100%. A few years ago I was chairman of the house-to-house drive and got way over 100%. I wish I could take some people in my Red Cross Car to see the work our motor service is doing; I am sure no one would refuse to give some contribution, even a small one is welcome. Our quota is over $86,000 & my share of it is over $8650.—. If we do not get our quota, some of which, of course, goes to the National Red Cross, I believe about 35%, to be used for national disasters, floods etc. the Red Cross will have to suspend some of their activities—that would be too bad! Besides the Motor Service, we have social services, instruction in first aid, Junior Red Cross, etc. blood bank, (I often drive to Newark for blood) for emergency & replacement cases for our hospital patients). My Red Cross station Wwagon has a red light on the roof and a sign on the wind shield “Carrying Blood” which I can use in emergency cases and gives me the right of way—I hardly ever use the red light as the sign is respected by the police and other drivers. The blood bank in Newark is the central depository of all types of blood. Once a month our chapter has a blood contribution day which generally is very successful. Once a month I attend a handicap evening at the chapter house—Euphie and I take a car each to bring our handicapped people to the chapter house where basket weaving, etc is taught the patients. We have had a wonderful couple, but the husband died this week and we took some of their crippled friends to the funeral parlor the other night—a sad occasion.

Another job—I am on the Board of Elections—there are 2 Republicans and two Democrats—3 ladies and myself—I will have to drive to Newark next week to get the official papers and on Primary Day, April 15th we have to be on the job at 6:15 AM to set up the voting machine, etc as v balloting starts at 7 AM and keeps us busy until about 10 PM. It is a very interesting experience—I was clerk last year and am the inspector this year. So you see I am somewhat busy and it is wonderful for me!

I am now going out to try to get some more donations for the fund drive—mainly in the colored section to-day. This is a beautiful day to drive and Saturdays and Sundays is the best day to see people—about all the colored people are mostly out working during other days.

Euphie is working in the garden just now—that work has become too strenuous for me. She still enjoys her work with the Volunteer Ambulance once each week and one Sunday each month. I cannot do this work, although I would very much like to, as I cannot lift the patients with the stretchers. The other men do this and Euphie sits with the patients inside the ambulance very often.

As soon as my fund drive is over I we hope you can come out to see us but I cannot come to New York at present—my work takes nearly all my time—and when it does not I do need a rest at home. I generally get about 4 to 5 hrs hours of sleep each night. I wake up so early—but the doctor, he is a wonder, says that is all I need and that nature takes care of itself. He wants me to take a pill every night and I take a pill after each meal—I don’t know what they are but seem to help me a lot. I discontinued them for about two weeks and my doctor was very angry when I told him that I did that; but I do feel fine again. I take any stairs very slowly according to his orders—the doctor is a dear—so very fervid and I have perfect faith in him—he put me on my feet again after seven other doctors failed to do so. (My paper-mate pen just gave out after all this rambling, but I have another one for emergency!).

I would like to hear from you again, especially that you feel better again—be as cheerful as you can—it helps a lot! Please give my best to Rhoda and Paul and their families—We would love to see them here sometime!

The last snow storm, such heavy wet snow, did some damage to our trees and bushes and a hemlock damaged one of our gutters and one of dry walls near the garage gave way—but nothing to worry about—it will be repaired—In fact I do not let myself worry about anything—there is nothing ever to worry about—it is never necessary and does not do anyone any good at all. When you see some of our patients you feel you are very lucky to be so well; and I when a patent patient feels somewhat down I try to get him or her together with another patient who is worse off and that makes them feel thankful that he they does not do not feel so bad after all.

Well, I certainly ramble along and hope all of the above is showing you what my activities are.

With love, also from Euphie,


Euphie's mother died this week in a mental institution in Orangeburg, New York. She did not recognize anyone the last 1 1/2 years. She is now at rest and we feel it is best. that could happen to her and Euphie went to the ceremony at the cemetery yesterday in Jersey City. Please do not say anything about this to Euphie - it is very important that you do not!

Original Format




Kappelmann, Otto Carl Wilhelm, 1888-1960, “Otto CW Kappelmann to Anna-Marie Bubendey,” 1958 April 5, WWP18941, Otto Kappelmann Letters, Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library & Museum, Staunton, Virginia.