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, March 19, 2013

Let's review the rules!

Will is the practical oldest brother who finds it so difficult, if not impossible, to be chatty and newsy. It seems he can’t stop himself from chastising, advising, informing, correcting. You can skim it if you prefer, but if you are following along and getting to know the characters through their letters, this one is revealing of Will’s personality. It’s especially poignant when he gets to the part where he recognizes and admits his shortcomings.

I’m amused by Will’s focus on Frank’s misspellings, many of which I corrected in the transcription, but visible in the original. See what you think as you read through this.

My grandmother adds a note at the end, again singing the praises of Ebner's girlfriend, Cookie.

Friday March 19, 1943
Chicago, ILL.

Dear Frank,

I am sorry I haven’t answered your letter of March 12th but I’ve been somewhat busy what with a new class. I am now teaching in the C.A.P. [Civil Air Patrol], namely “General Servicing of Aircraft.” Boy there is on way to learn a subject; just try and teach it to someone. Since I received your letter to meof March 12th, we have received your letter to Mother of March 19th, so I’ll try to cover both of them here.

In the first place let’s get down some sort of a system by which we can determine whether you receive our letters and packages. You mentioned in one letter that you received one package….Now, have you received the package containing the candy bars (Package #1). And package #2 Containing assorted chocolates, sausage, etc. Sent March 13?

I was saying to Mom...if it wouldn’t be a good idea to enclose in each pacakage a self-addressed penny post card so that when you open the package all you have to do is note you had received package # so and os and whether it was in good condition or not.

Mom was wonder why you don’t answer the specific questions she puts to you in her letters and if you are having difficulty in deciphering them.

By the way, I want to mention something to you...for your own good, some of your spelling is pretty bad especially the phase in which you double the consonant and add the suffix. Example of the worst or more frequent error: you spell “geting” for “getting.” The rule concerning this reads in part “in a word ending in a consenant [sic] and having the accent on the last syllable you double the consenant [sic] and add the suffix.”

Well, so you’re sending 4 words per minutes or is it receiving that many? I’ve sort of dropped away from code practise [sic] because of other work but no matter here is a dose of something I’m sending you.


You mentioned that you loaned some $9.00 to some sergeants does this mean you finally were paid? I don’t want to be critical but you know “Borgen macht Sorgen.” [Borrowing makes sorrow.] In other words be generous only if you have evaluated the integrity and honesty of an individual and at all times keep your book business like and dear.

Darn, I can’t write anything but cold turkey, which, as you know, is my makeup. Abstainance [sic] from the pleasure of life sure is showing and leaving its mark, but I can’t help it. One of these days I’m going to throw caution ot he wind and have a nice long fling.

Hasta la vista


Now Grandma writes in her handwriting:

My Dear Ebner.

Only a few words I send you. Your letter March 16, I received 18. You ask [about] Cooky [Cookie]....

Once she called [me] at home from work.... She is very busy untill 6 p.m. I called before and talked to her mother and thanked her for your package. As soon as she [Cookie] came home she call[ed] me. Allways so sweet, as you know.

We are  so busy at home with that snow, beside the other work. Would you like Paprika Spek [bacon]? This is the real one from Kovash, the Contractor.

Please send me word if that bread was dry. Again is 12:30 at midnite, so Goot Nite on Paper, then Goot nite to your picture.

With Love, Mom

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