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, July 5, 2011

The Train Journey-Part I

Train image from a Budapest Post Card Josef sent to Lisi in
December, 1910, when he traveled toward Bremen.
 Lisi's train probably looked similar

It’s a mixed up world in Lisi’s diary. She knew her trip to America would be the a journey of a lifetime, and she wanted to keep track of as much as possible. She wandered freely about her little black book, entering what she could -- often intermixing train schedules, recipes, addresses, and expenses. Nevertheless, with dates and details, the flow of her trip emerges.

As seen in the last post, she dropped off her luggage at the Grosspold train station on August 22, 1911, probably to be shipped ahead to Bremen. She had made a list on that first page, of what she had packed in perhaps that one suitcase--mostly linens, photos, and maps. But that’s not all she brought. She includes the following on other pages, maybe just as it came to her mind:

Bed linens (a gift from her former employer, Berta Jickeli)
2 woolen smocks
1 cotton smock
Rustic clothing, probably meaning traditional costumes
Kitchen dishes
Sewing notions
Lisi's cake recipe

Recipe ingredients were included:

For a cake:
sugar to taste
baking powder
2 "coffee" spoons vanilla
2 beaten eggwhites

A tomato sauce:

sugar (to taste, she notes)

Addresses crop up throughout the book:

Mrs.Jickeli’s (her former employer) summer address in Bad Salzburg. (Here “Bad” means “baths” and Salz means “salt”-- a place near Sibiu/Hermannstadt, where one could enjoy mineral baths.)
(See Mrs. Jickeli's employment recommendation for Lisi at the post:  The Highest Recommendation).

Among her hometown contacts I recognize the names of friends who later wrote her letters, which I have in my collection.

Chicago addresses are thrown in throughout -- with phonetic spellings of street names and phone numbers. The latter were back in the day when an operator asked “Number, plee-uhs,” to connect a call. The caller gave her an “exchange” along with only four digits! Like “Kedzie 2500.” Lisi writes it “Ketzi,” as it sounds to her German language ear.

Phonetically she notes “Sirogs Robak” -- perhaps for work in Chicago--or where another immigrant works? My guess is--it's “Sears Roebuck.”

Gärtz Josef,  1550 Orchart (Orchard) St. Chicago Ill
Nord (North) America
Of course, Josef Gartz's address is listed on Orchard Street in Chicago, where she had written to him that she was coming. (See: Are We Going There to Stay? Again the placement of street, state, address in America is totally strange to her.

The train takes her on a journey like she’s never experienced. On the next post, I'll share with you Lisi's route, as she recorded it -- and some of the ways she spent her money.

I welcome your comments. Just click on the word "comments" below. If you're having trouble, please send me an email at lindagartz@gmail.com to let me know.


Kathy Reed said...

You are so lucky to have so many original artificats. Most of my German ancestors also left from Bremen, but they lived in northwest Germany. I can't wait to see her route and learn how she chose to spend her money. I can't even imagine what she was thinking.

Claudia said...

I just love this story and it makes it all the better that it is true. Last week when I found you blog I spent all morning reading it. Good thing I am retired or I would have missed work. lol

Debi Austen said...

Yay, Lisi is on her way. I can't wait to hear about her route.

Greta Koehl said...

Love the tomato sauce recipe - and the paprika and cinnamon makes it sound like many of the Eastern European recipes involving tomato sauce with which I am familiar - I've made and tasted a sauce like this for holupkes.

Linda Gartz said...

Wow! It's so great to hear from you all -- day 1 of post too. Kathy -- I am lucky. I find even the mundane stuff fascinating -- like what she ate and paid for things. Time consuming to get it all together The diary was difficult to translate because of many misspellings and a lot of jumping around, but with Meta's (the German decipherer) help, we cobbled out what she was trying to say. thanks for spending so much of your free time on Lisi's story, Claudia -- and Debi-- she'll be getting to Bremen soon! Greta- yes, that cinnamon does find its way into a lot of tomato recipes -- like my mom's tomato sauce for stuffed green peppers!

Susan Clark said...

Linda - I'm so far behind on my reading. I'll have to go back to catch up, but you must know how impressed I am with your efforts decoding Lisi's journal. I have a couple notebooks my grandfather used over the years to record everything from bills owed to the family records I am abstracting/extracting. All I can say is bravo! You've done a fabulous job. Care to tackle Hungarian?

Linda Gartz said...

Thanks so much Susan. If only I knew Hungarian, I could translate my grandmother's passport-Arbeitsbuch.

FranE said...

Wonderful that you have the artifacts. I love the mundane information because you get to look at the world through their eyes and in a way get to know them. I saw Sears Roebuck too. You have a talent.

Sandy Arnone said...

Lisi's diary is more interesting due to the lack of apparent organization. I'm sure she knew where to find everything she needed. Every entry is a treasure to the reader. I loved the "two coffee spoons of vanilla". It reminded me the difference in the size of "soup" spoons in Scotland in comparison to what we use in the United States.

Tonia said...

The postcard is fabulous! Such vivid colors.

I love the way you are weaving commentary throughout the transcriptions. It really makes the story come alive.

Linda Gartz said...

Hummer- I agree that the mundane info is often the most revealing -- of just what Lisi's day was like on the trip. Sandy- yes, the coffee spoons struck me too. I suppose it's like a tablespoon in size. I love that postcard too, Tonia. What's amazing to me is what fabulous condition all these postcards and letters are in -- a century after sent. Squirrelled away in the dark for so many decades is probably why. Also good acid-free paper back then.