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, February 7, 2012

He really loves me!

Just one week after Fred's  May 10, 1942, letter to his mother, detailing the trauma of his dismissal from the Kingsbury Ordnance Plant in La Porte, Indiana,(see War & Bigotry & following three posts) he was back in Chicago. Perhaps his raw emotions from that encounter made him appreciate Lil and her support more than ever. It's a turning point.  Read on!

May 17, 1942 

Fred told me at 2:30 a.m. Sunday, 5-17- really that he loves me and as a matter of co-incidence - one split second before he did so, I murmured, “Je t’aime,” which of course, he did not understand.

Ever since then we have been happier than ever before in our lives. Oh, we’ve been doing some lovin’ since 5-16-42. Fred tells me the nicest things––that he loves me more all the time. I get sweeter as time goes on; that he’s never loved anyone like he has loved me. That he has wanted many things badly in his life, but never anything half so much as he wants me.

I, too, love him as I have never loved anyone before, barring none. He is the first man that could make me feel “excited.” I never tire of kissing him and vice versa.

It’s amazing how much we have in common––

Horse-back riding
etc. etc. etc. 

We have never had an argument since our first date 8-15-41. So if we won’t be happily married, who will?

I love the naive certainty of true love. Surely this list of mutually-shared hobbies should be enough to get them through all the vicissitudes life will throw in their paths! 

It takes me back to the letter my grandmother's boss, Mrs. Jickeli (Yuh-KAY-lee), sent to her (Lisi)  after Lisi ran off to America to marry my grandfather in 1911. Mrs. Jickeli wanted to warn Lisi against unrealistic youthful expectations. In the post, Your Uncertain Fate, Mrs. Jickeli wrote to Lisi two months after she arrived in Chicago and married my grandfather, Josef. The letter was dated December 10, 1911:

 "...you are now a wife and so will be the victim of the painful and changing nature of life." 

Not the most positive message to a young bride, but then, as in the Jewish wedding tradition, in which the groom crushes a glass underfoot to remind the happy couple that joy must be tempered, Mrs. Jickeli was sharing with Lisi a dose of realism. Lil, too, would find that even for the happiest of couples, time throws its curve balls. 

Perhaps it's better we don't know all the outcomes of so many of life's decisions––or we might be paralyzed with inaction! 

Lynn Palermo at the Armchair Genealogist is hosting a month of the "Family History Writing Challenge." If you haven't yet begun, click on latter link to get started writing your family history. Lynn has been kind enough to ask me to write a guest post for her blog for this upcoming Friday, February 10th, so check in at her blog to pick up "Seven tips to meet the challenge." 

Next week, to celebrate Valentine's Day, I'll be posting the cute card Lil sent to Fred 70 years ago and a reprise of the 101 Year old Valentine from Josef Gartz to his sweetheart, Lisi.


Marian Kurz said...

Love is grand and remembering the 'oh how wonderful moments' keeps us going when life gets sticky. May Valentine's Day be special for all your readers, too, as they think about past loves and possibly current ones, too.

Debi Austen said...

She is so happy you can almost feel it jumping off the page!

Paul E. Gartz said...

Sis, What an ideal state! Two people finding the deepest of connections in the deepest human way...emotional. Romance is more of a Western than Eastern idea where some cultures can be mainly "practical" in mating. On this one I vote "Western"! Romance is catching in teh East as well though as the West exports its media. Couples need this type of bonding to form a base for what comes. It's lovely to "visit" with young mom and dad through you at their ages that our own children now have.

Linda said...

What a sweet, poignant story. :)

I look forward to your Valentine's Day story, too.


Linda Gartz said...

We all know our parents were in love when the married. What's so great about having these diaries, and especially from my Mom who could express her emotions so clearly and unabashedly, is that I, and all my readers, get to feel what she did right along with her. Isn't that what the best writing does for us -- put us into someone else's experiences? Glad you all are experiencing the same.

Kathy Reed said...

Linda, A little off-topic. I just want you to know that when your post shows up in my google reader, I get a message telling me that the page does not exist. I've learned from experience that the next day I can click on the link and it takes me there without a problem. I don't get it. You know I've read every post you've written and look forward to each update -- I guess I'll just read it a day late.
Great post -- and I love that your brother is enjoying it, too.