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 31, 2012

When love and science collide

North Ave. Beach 8/27/1941
Fred (my dad) sent  this amusing "scientific analysis" of two "aquatic species," probably based on a photo (he says "illustration" but I think that's  part of the joke)  that was enclosed with the letter. He typed it up almost exactly 70 years ago, on January 27, 1942. It was written three months before his job loss at the Kingsbury Ordnance Plant (see War and BigotryAn FBI Investigation, and Anti-American Hobbies).

The "illustration" or photo wasn't saved with the letter, but based upon the content, my guess is––it is related to this picture, the first photo taken of my parents together, on August 27, 1941, on an early date at a Chicago beach. To read Lil's entry about their date, click on Love is dancing by ourselves.  

Dad uses his scientific background to express affection   through the back door of humor. The letter is a little faded so I've transcribed it, editing a few typos, to make reading easier.

January 27, 1942

Dear Lillian,

    Just to prevent myself from forgetting to bring it up the next time, I'm going to ease my conscience, not to mention your curiosity, and send you this illustration of a hitherto unclassified biological species. According to close observation, it has been concluded that they are aquatic, if not amphibian. This conclusion has been reached by detecting the comparative ease with which they appear to be with a watery background. They must be an industrious genus for although the climatic conditions at the time of discovery were not of a vegetative productive era, neither of the two seemed underfed. This condition of the absence of malnutrition is especially predominant in the case of the male (assumed because of size). 

    Also, they are definitely not of a hibernating class since they have been observed under a variety of climatically-conditioned activities. Notice also the plumpness of the female's cheeks. Among lower four-footed animals, the well-development of the heavy-muscled jowls reveals much biting and fighting. The male, not being battle-scarred, it can safely be assumed that these two exist in peace, and therefore, such well-developed "muscularis maxillaris" must be intended for domestic uses, such as a highly scientifically developed method of osculation, which has been observed from time to time. It might here be mentioned that the recipient of such outbursts was well satisfied with the results.

    Science shall do its utmost in attempting to civilize and domesticate this rare type---but I doubt whether they will be successful. - - - - You had better get a drink, and a good strong one, at this stage, if you're still conscious. I'm sure you'll need it. Be seeing you soon.


Tomorrow, Wednesday, February 1st, I'll be posting to the annual "Carnival of Genealogy I-Gene Awards." For those of you not familiar with the CoG--I-Gene Awards, it's a take-off on the Oscars, appropriate for this prize-frenzy time of year. All entrants post links and brief "award highlights" in five categories from their previous year's posts: Best Screenplay, Best Documentary, Best Picture, Best Biography, and Best Comedy. I won't be sending out an email blast on this one, so as not to clutter your in-box, but do drop by if you want to see my choices from 2011.


Marian Kurz said...

What a wonderful sense of humor and knowledge of science. That oscillating description sounds pretty good to me!

Linda, will you be a nominee for the award? If entertainment is a criteria, you have my vote. This has been so fascinating.

Adrienne said...

I enjoyed this oddball pre-Valentine!

Linda Gartz said...

Marian, these aren't really "awards" where we "win" anything. Each blogger simply uses the trope of the Academy Awards season, to pick one's own favorite posts in each category and highlight them. It's a way for bloggers to "strut their stuff," so to speak. Just for fun. "Osculation" is another word for... -- well I won't spoil the fun.. I had to look it up and then it's even funnier.
Adrienne, with your vocabulary, I'm sure you picked up on this clever reference to romancing.

Sandy Arnone said...

Hi Linda, I enjoyed this post and the photo. A really good looking couple. Your dad certainly did have a great sense of humor and I believe they perfected the art of osculation.

Linda said...

Hi, Linda, thanks for leaving your comment on my blog. :)

Your blog looks like an amazing resource of all kinds of fascinating information!

Congratulations on hoping to compile a memoir. You're well on your way!

Linda T.