On Jan. 23, 1943, my uncle, Frank Ebner Gartz, (photo in uniform, above) reported to the draft board in Chicago to start his training for WWII. So began the correspondence between him and family & friends, comprising almost 300 letters going both ways. I’m posting many of these World War II letters, each on or near the 70th anniversary of its writing. To start with his induction, click HERE.

This blog began in Nov., 2010, when I posted a century-old love note from Josef Gärtz, my paternal grandfather, to Lisi (Elisabetha) Ebner, my paternal grandmother, and follows their bold decision to strike out for America.

My mom and dad were writers too, recording their lives in diaries and letters from the 1920s-the 1990s. Historical, sweet, joyful, and sad, all that life promises-- and takes away--are recorded here as it happened. It's an ongoing saga of the 20th century. To start at the very beginning, please click HERE.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Remember Me in 1910

About the time Josef Gärtz received his Military Draft Summons (see previous post), this photo was taken of my grandmother, Elisabetha, (known most often as “Lisi”). It was stored with other old photographs in an envelope on which she listed the contents, including this one: “Mein Bild in Großpold Kleider."  
[My picture in Großpold clothing]. (Grosspold was her home town -- near Hermannstadt/Sibiu). On the back she wrote: “Zur Erinnerung des Jahres 1910 19/6”  [To Remember June 19, 1910].  Lisi was 22 about to turn 23. Did she give a copy of this photo to Josef to remember her as he went on his itinerant carpentry work?

This second photo is the earliest I have of my grandmother, posing with her father, Samuel Ebner, mother, also named Elisabetha, and older sister, Maria, born February 2, 1882. My grandmother is the little girl on the right, about six, so the date of the photo must be about 1893, (Lisi was born July 30, 1887).

We don’t know much about Lisi’s early childhood, but we do know that life wasn’t easy in rural 19th century Europe. Decades before antibiotics, vaccinations, and advanced medicine, death was intertwined with life, ever-present --lurking on roadways or horseback, in the swoosh of a scythe,  stalking young and old, rich and poor alike. It came to the Ebner family often, each visit ending in heartache.

When my brothers and I went on a roots-finding mission to Romania in 2007, we found out just how often.

In my next post, you’ll get a first hand look at the
Großpold Familienbuch” (Grosspold Family Book), maintained by the Lutheran Church in Lisi's hometown, in which births, deaths, and marriages are recorded and what we discovered there.

As we get to know a little more about Josef and Lisi’s past, we’ll have a clearer picture of how they will create their future.


Trishymouse said...

Hi, Linda! I found you thanks to Dick Eastman's newsletter today. I am a family archaeologist, also. I've been doing it since I was a kid. My family saved a lot but I also found out some things were purposely thrown (my parents love letters, sadly...) I write about family history mostly on my Ancestry site, but also on my blog http://preservationist.blogspot.com

I also have a serious passion for my hometown where I grew up and the surrounding area which is all like one big extended family. I have been writing about that history for over five years at http://56755.blogspot.com and hope you'll visit and let me know what you think.

THANK YOU for sharing your family history, and I couldn't agree more with you, Dick and the UND curator (who I know and have worked with on local history stories) - EVERY family has amazing stories to tell...preserving AND sharing those stories are the best memorial you can give them, not a cold stone on a burial plot!

Linda Gartz said...

Hi, Trish!
You have a treasure as well. Thanks so much for commenting and connecting. I checked out your blog, which is fascinating. I found the link the to Veterans' History Project, which I had heard of but had not had the opportunity to follow through on. Your blog jogged my memory. Thank you! I will be wanting to find a home for the 230 plus letters I have to and from my uncle, a navigator in WWII. They are a chronicle not only of one aviation cadet and his family and friends, but they paint a vivid picture of the homefront as well from 1943-1945. Too bad about your parents' love letters! I actually still have a collection between me and my husband that I haven't looked at in decades! I won't throw them out, as much as some may make me blush (still!) Looking forward to more of your postings.