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.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Happy 70th Anniversary, Fred & Lil

Fred and Lillian Gartz, Nov. 8, 1942, outside church

Seventy years ago today, my Mom and Dad vowed to stick together in good times and bad, in sickness and in health. Those vows were tested across the decades, but despite life's pummelings, they stayed together to the end. This post was originally published last year on their 69th anniversary. I publish it again because seven decades deserves a shout out.

Their invitation tells us the wedding took place on a Sunday, and this article about the event, ("Miss Koroschetz Weds Fred Gartz At Bethel Church") published in the West Garfield Park local newspaper, The Garfieldian, includes wonderful sartorial details: 

"The bride wore a gown of egg-shell satin with a fingertip veil held in place with a seed pearl tiara. Her flowers were white chrysanthemums." The matron of honor wore a "gown of fuschia velveteen and net with a Juliet cap and carried pom poms." The bridesmaids' gowns "were of plum velveteen and net." Mom saved small samples of the fabric, labelled as to who wore which.

Mom planned the bridesmaid’s outfits to be practical. It was the war years, after all, and Mom wanted her bridesmaids to get use out of the outfits after the wedding. Remove the net over the skirts, and each had a beautiful velveteen suit. 

Of course, being a skilled executive secretary for the president of the Bayer Company, mom created a minute-by-minute run-down of the ceremony and reception, who had to be where at which time.

Speaking of the reception, what do you think that might have cost back in 1942? So glad you asked! Here's the receipt for the Central Plaza Hotel. (Click link to see postcard image).  This bill appears to include everything. I'm assuming the line item: "32 covers @ $1.50 each" refers to the cost per plate of dinner. If you have a different idea, weigh in. Cake for 32:  $12.50. Juke box: $10.00. The rest, including candles, tax, tip, ferns, and a case of ginger ale comes to a grand total of $72.60. I know my parents weren't tee-totalers, so they must have supplied the liquor separately.

Eva Coleman [who just passed away this past fall], a voice major and friend of Dad's from  church, sang "Because." Everything went without a hitch--except for one. Ken Eggen, Dad's best friend and one of the groomsmen, fainted dead away during the ceremony. Dad immortalized this memorable event in a loving poem he wrote to Mom for their tenth anniversary. Its cadence is reminiscent of "The Raven," written by Edgar Allen Poe about his lost love, Lenore.  I’ve included Dad's poem below, just as my dad would have presented it to Mom, handwritten on parchment, carefully laid out to keep each line straight and perfectly-spaced. (Just a little note: in stanza 4, "Blitzbuggy," refers to my dad's 1929 Model A Ford. "Blitz" means "lightning." To learn a little more about this automotive steed, and its role in World War II, see the post, Blitzbuggy––A Car with History.)

If you'd like to see how their courtship started and progressed, click on the post Falling in Love 70 Years Ago, and follow along with my mother's ecstatic diary entries week-to-week.
Please click below this post on the red word, "comments." Any ideas what your parents' or grandparents' weddings cost? It would be fun to compare notes.

Left to Right, Ken Eggen (who fainted during the ceremony) Frank
Ebner Gartz (17-year old brother to Dad), Lillian, Fred, Will Gartz (Dad's
29-year old brother). Seated: Arlyne Hennings, Myrtle Haling, Gertrude
Nowles, maid of honor.


Marian Kurz said...

How young, naive and hopeful we all are on this day...and how dear that your dad could express his love so well, ten years later. One hopes that every couple continues to dream of 'happily ever after', it's a dream worth having.

Debi Austen said...

I haven't run across any bills for a wedding but I have found a few funeral bills. Certainly not a happy event but still interesting to see what it cost.