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.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The Road to Sibiu- Travel Tuesday

My cousin, Maria and I flew out of Stuttgart on September 16, 2007, and landed in Bucharest as the sunset washed the countryside in an peachy glow. At a nearby hotel, we met my two brothers, Paul and Bill, and Bill’s wife. The next morning, we squished five people and their luggage into a mini-van and took off for Hermannstadt (Sibiu), the big city near the two small towns, Neppendorf and Grosspold, which were the original homes to my grandfather and grandmother, respectively.

Peles Castle in Sinaei, Romania
On the way, we stopped for a few hours in Sinaei (named after Mt. Sinai, of Ten Commandments fame) to view Peles Castle on a perfect blue-sky day, crossing a brook, having wine on a terrace overlooking the castle, laughing and telling jokes and stories about our childhood.

Continuing on to Sibiu/Hermannstadt, the going was slow as the major highway was under reconstruction (roads and streets were ripped apart everywhere in an effort to rebuild a country that had been working for almost two decades   to overcome the neglect and brutalization under Ceausescu).

Scenes along the road were of another era. Passing through one small town near sunset, we yielded to cows on the highway driven home  from the pastures. Old women in their babushkas and long skirts sat at the side of the road, perhaps waiting for loved ones to return from the fields or watching the world go by.

We arrived at 9 p.m. in Sibiu, exhausted after about ten hours of travel, but were rewarded with dinner in a cellar restaurant with ancient brick domed walls, entertained by the musical duo pictured here. Lots of meat and salads of tomatoes and onions were typical menu choices.

We overnighted right next to the Evangelische Kirche Neppendorf, (Lutheran Church in Neppendorf) where the Gärtz family had worshipped for two centuries. In the next few posts, we'll see the  secrets this church yielded to expose unknown family  history.

1 comment:

Nancy Crabtree said...

What a great experience to share with Bill and Paul. I traveled through Macedonia with my daughter's husband's family in 2006. The feeling was as you describe - like traveling back through time. To have the added layers of ancestral roots must only make it more meaningful and enchanting!