|Blitzbuggy at the Draft Office, Chicago, 1/23/1943|
On January 23, 1943, they climbed into Dad's Model A Ford and drove the five blocks from their home down Chicago's Washington Boulevard to the draft office, where my Dad's ten-year younger brother, Frank Ebner Gartz, would officially report to begin the training to become a navigator for the Army Air Corps in World War II.
|Gartz Family, January 16, 1943 L-R top Fred (Dad), |
Will, Ebner. Seated: Lil (Mom), Josef, & Lisi Gartz
I know the dates of both photos because each was labeled, but the car photo had more than a date. Coming upon it, I saw only an unremarkable old car parked on a snowy street, with no identifiable people. But it was on the back where I learned the critical event this photo documented.
Here are his exact words--in italics (my comments are in brackets. Parentheses are his):
January 23, 1943
Ebner’s drafting. Saying farewell. Grandma [Dad's mother] in Blitzbuggy (1929 Model A Ford). Lil [my mother] on right side. [Only the back of her coat and hair are visible.]
In front of the Draft board
4748 W. Washington Blvd. Chicago, Ill
Frank Ebner, (ABE-ner) Gartz, born May 14, 1924, was my grandparents’ youngest son. His middle name was taken from my grandmother, Lisi’s, maiden name, one you’ve read in numerous past posts.
The photo reveals a familiar Chicago winter scene: the snow is piled on the sidewalks, and greystone apartment buildings, typical of the city, form a backdrop. The entire atmosphere of the photo--its blurry focus, the gloomy, colorless weather, the faces of the two women in the photo hidden or indiscernible, the lone black auto on a strangely empty street--create a visual metaphor for the emotions of a family about to send its youngest off to war.
This date also started a flurry of letters back and forth between Ebner, as everyone in the family called Frank, and his family and friends. I hope to post excerpts of several of the letters, on or close to the day they were written. So keep tuned.
Note: parts of this post were published in February, 2011.