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, August 9, 2011

Central Park, NY 1911. I've arrived!

New York Central Park. Lisi sent to Josef after disembarking ship in
New York on Sept. 26, 1911. She continues her message from the
 back onto the front, under the photo, as you can see, above.
The ship's manifest (see last post: An Alien Made Manifest) showed us Lisi Ebner, my grandmother, was headed to Cleveland first to visit her stepsister, Maria Wagner, before traveling to Chicago to meet and marry her sweetheart, Josef Gartz, my grandfather. But before she leaves New York, she sends Josef this cool postcard of Central Park, NY, which, we learned from her diary, (see post: From Ship to American Soil she had bought on the ship before even landing in New York.

I've learned one can't always trust the what our ancestors' notes say. For example. Several years later, my grandmother must have been going through all she had saved and saw this postcard. She wanted to make a note as to its significance. Perhaps in her overworked state, she just quickly, without even looking at the card, marked it "Jose[f] Gartz landing in USA Jan 14, 1911." [He actually landed on Jan. 11th]. But the card is postmarked "Sep[tember]." But this missive is definitely from Lisi to Josef after her arrival in New York on September 26, 1911.

Addressed to Josef Gärtz, Orchart [Orchard] St. No 1550
Chicago, Ill. The postage required (upper right) 1 cent.
Note added writing (darker) near the top.
Dearest Heart,

I had a beautiful and lucky trip over the ocean. I disembarked from the ship on September 26 and I have recuperated [from the journey]. Now I’ll travel to Cleveland and from there I’ll write you more than is on this postcard.
God has helped me well thus far and I pray that he also gives more help to my darling [Josef] in the future. I send you greetings and also to my unknown friend.

I was confused as to who this “unknown friend" was. But ninety-year-old Meta, who decodes the old German script,  knew! She referred me back to Josef’s letter to Lisi sent from Cleveland and dated January 29, 1911 (see post Love Finds a Way). The "unknown friend" was Mrs. (Frau) Beer.

Josef was staying either with the Beer family, or near enough that Mrs. Beer knew both Josef's habits of neatness as well as his appeal to other women! After Josef finished his message to Lisi, Frau Beer wrote a few words on the same letter, referring to Lisi as her "unknown friend" and exhorting her to come to America to marry Josef.

Mr. And Mrs. Beer must also have moved to Chicago from Cleveland, just as Josef did, sometime between March and May, 1911. Why? Because Lisi asks Josef to greet Mrs. Beer, the "unknown friend" (and he's in Chicago) and also because the Beers will play a role in Josef and Lisi’s future in Chicago.

Coming up:

How a seemingly insignificant business card led me to discover where Josef worked in Chicago how Lisi was able to find him upon her arrival in this bustling, crowded city.


ellen wade beals said...

Great post! Your site is looking great! Keep going!

Linda Gartz said...

Thanks for the compliment, Ellen! Glad you dropped by!

Sandy Arnone said...

Hi Linda,
Sometimes we make mistakes with dates. I've done this plenty of times myself. I constantly told people I lived on Long Island for 40 years instead of 37. Lived in New York city for 2 years first. Loved the postcard of Central Park.

Lisa said...

Thanks for the comment on my blog today. I'm impressed with how much you've done since November! You are an inspiration!

Shirley said...

Linda, you have a treasure trove in these documents!! I found the postcard fascinating, since I am living in Brooklyn now and Central Park is only a subway ride away.

You must feel like a detective, artist, and historian all rolled up into one person.

Brava! Let's stay in touch.

Linda Gartz said...

I do, indeed feel like a detective, and I know that's true of just about everyone in the family history/genealogy blogging community. Tracking things down; figuring things out. So glad you stopped by!