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, December 6, 2011

Trouble in Paradise-- Love and War

All is not well on the Lil and Fred front. Lil meets another fellow who gets into serious contention with Fred for Lil's affections. (To start at the beginning of Lil's charming diary posts about her budding romance with Fred Gartz, go to Falling in Love 70 Years Ago and follow the weekly posts to the present). 

Tuesday October 28, 1941

At the moment I’m plenty mad at Fred. Didn’t take me out Saturday so I went to the Chateau where I met a grand young man named Burt. He wanted to take me to a party next Saturday. Said no thinking Fred would call for that nite. No call yet. He always waits till the last min, damn him. If he doesn’t call, I won’t refuse other dates for him any more, and that’s for sure. 

Lil doesn't write in her diary again for a couple months, but then she catches up with what had occurred just after this last entry. 

Halloween week I was really a "belle." Managed to go out with Burt Wehlte Saturday, 11-1-41, for he phoned me that day wondering whether I still couldn't go out with him. I said, yes, I could, since the previous "engagement" I told him I had for that evening turned out to be the previous evening. The truth, of course, was that Fred didn't call to take me out as I had expected. I had a lovely time with Burt at a house party. 

Friday, Halloween Eve, I went to the Chateau and met Johnny Lynn, a young soldier (draftee) on leave. We went bowling and to some night clubs and had a grand time. He took me out, too, Sunday November 2, and Burt wanted to take me out that Sunday. Fred, too, phoned Saturday evening for a Sunday horseback riding date, and I was so annoyed I couldn't make it. Apparently he was broke for Halloween. So three possible dates for one day ain't bad!

The world had changed by the time Lil caught up in her diary!  I'm thinking of today's date, seventy years ago: December 6, 1941. It was the last day that American mothers (and fathers) of young men could rest easy for the next three and a half years. The next day, December 7, 1941, they would never forget just where they were when they heard the shocking news: the Japanese had bombed Pearl Harbor at 8 a.m. Hawaii time, and America was now destined to enter the war. 

Tomorrow, on the 70th anniversary of the bombing of Pearl Harbor, I'll post Lil's ruminations on how the war had already affected every-day life by December 31, 1941, three weeks after the Japanese attacked, and her thoughts about the future.

Then next Tuesday, we'll view her harsh opinions of Fred for not asking her out for New Year's Eve, 1941! I'm keeping my posts within about 300 words to make them a fast read--just a nugget of history in your busy days.

Please click on the red word "comment" or "Post a comment" below to leave any thoughts.


Cherie Cayemberg said...

Great post/diary entry. I look forward to the next!

Marian Kurz said...

War is awful, a friend's son just was posted to Afghanistan, after serving two tours in Iraq. He is an officer,but guns know no ranking. We need to pray for all our military personnel and all those who love and care for them.

LInda Gartz said...

Thanks Cheryl. Many more to come. Marian, yes, I agree. I hope that the premise in the new book by Steven Pinker: The Better Angels of our Nature: Why violence Has Declined, is correct and that wars will decline. I'm not optimistic, though, given the exploding population, dwindling resources, and resettlement bound to come from Climate change. I wish your friend's son the best in coming back whole in mind and body.

Jacqi Stevens said...

In a somber way, I'm looking forward to your post tomorrow. That singular day, seventy years ago, did indeed become an indelible memory for an entire generation.

Kathy Reed said...

This is fantastic! I wonder if Fred finally came around when he found out he couldn't take Lil for granted? On the other hand, it is a shame that he didn't feel he could tell her why they couldn't get together for Halloween. I'm sure Lil would have come up with a cost-free alternative. I'm already mad at Fred just anticipating that he's not going to ask her out on New Year's Eve! Can't wait for tomorrow's post!

Paul E. Gartz said...

Sis, Fun to see the engaged comments of many who follow this. You make it real and accessible...like reality TV decades before it was invented by the Loud family in the 1960s. I remember one of mom's "racy" memories where she and another sat on either side of one man with him alternatly kissing each. And another about a young man who kept pursuing her and spent all his money on her rather than eating. But he lost due to "sweaty hands". Paul

LInda Gartz said...

Kathy--We'll check back in with Fred next Tuesday. I wondered about the NY Eve date too--after all their fun times -- and all that kissin'! I think it was hard for Fred at this time to fess up to the embarrassment of not having enough money. Still finding his way, I think. Jacqi-a somber day indeed. The vets from Pearl Harbor are ending their reunions this year -- all too old or dead. Paul--you're on the same page with "reality show" That's how I referred to this blog a year ago in the welcoming first post.