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 19, 2013

Watch your spelling!

Will Gartz writes this letter
In an earlier letter, after his family expressed concern they hadn't heard from Frank, he assured them he was writing at least every 4 days and suggested they start numbering the letters so that he'd be sure he received them all. His older brother Will, starts doing that numbering here. Will also tries to smooth Frank's ruffled feathers at the apparently sarcastic letter Will had sent regarding not hearing from the young soldier.

Will, ever the older brother, chastises Frank/Ebner for his spelling (which I had corrected in the transcription to eliminate confusion.)


Friday Feb. 19, 1943

Dear Frank:

We have just received your letter of Feb 16 and as you will note we’ll start numbering from now on, this being no. 1. Later letters will be designated by L-2, L-3, etc.

Now, as to the tone of my first or second letter, don’t take it so hard. We had no word from you and were getting worried, particularly since we hear you had written someone else. So I hope you’ll excuse its curtness since we were only wondering whether you had forgotten us. Since thenn we have been receiving your letters on schedule.

Don’t crowd yourself in the writing. So long that we hear from you at least once a week and know that you are alright. By the way, not to be critical though, watch your spelling for you will be tested for that in O.T. School examinations. For instance , “geting” for “getting” and “appreatiated” for “appreciated.” Another rule is “I before e escept after c as in “believe” and “receive.”

Talking about examinations, we have just taken our officers qualification examination with C.A.P. [Civil Air Patrol] Boy, what an exam--about 20 T and F questions and 40 questions in essay form -- all in 2 hours.

Mother and I are sending you five dollars apiece via the enclosed money order for ten dolars and hope you can use it to help replace your pen and anything else you might need. If you can’t get a pen, let us know and we’ll get one for you.

Have you had time to write Pastor Kaitschuk? [pastor of Bethel Lutheran Church, where they attended].

Oh, by the way, we are receiving your letters 2 days after you send them. How much time elapses in your receiving our mail and packages?

So long,


“By transcription for Mother:"
My Dear Ebner,

Here are but a few lines that are racing through my mind which is crowded with so many things that it would fill a book. How are the chances of getting a snapshot of you? Have you lost any weight? We did not receive your watch as yet, but we have arranged with Sam to have it repaired fro you. Your letters have made me very happy and I wish to think you for them.

God bless you wherever you may be and I pray that you may be alright every day.

Lots of love and kisses from us


Marian Kurz said...

Nothing says caring like a letter from home or to home. Do you think you will save your kids texts?

Linda Gartz said...

Definitely not! But these letters had actual news in them--not. "Hey the el's delayed." or LOL. Kinda sad all the history that will be lost.