The ship’s manifest (see last post: An Alien Made Manifest) showed us Lisi Ebner, my grandmother, was headed to Cleveland first to visit her stepsister, Maria Wagner, before traveling to Chicago to meet and marry her sweetheart, Josef Gartz, my grandfather. But before she leaves New York, she sends Josef this cool postcard of Central Park, NY, which, we learned from her diary, (see post: From Ship to American Soil she had bought on the ship before even landing in New York.
I’ve learned one can’t always trust the what our ancestors’ notes say. For example. Several years later, my grandmother must have been going through all she had saved and saw this postcard. She wanted to make a note as to its significance. Perhaps in her overworked state, she just quickly, without even looking at the card, marked it “Jose[f] Gartz landing in USA Jan 14, 1911.” [He actually landed on Jan. 11th]. But the card is postmarked “Sep[tember].” But this missive is definitely from Lisi to Josef after her arrival in New York on September 26, 1911.
I had a beautiful and lucky trip over the ocean. I disembarked from the ship on September 26 and I have recuperated [from the journey]. Now I’ll travel to Cleveland and from there I’ll write you more than is on this postcard.
God has helped me well thus far and I pray that he also gives more help to my darling [Josef] in the future. I send you greetings and also to my unknown friend.
I was confused as to who this “unknown friend” was. But ninety-year-old Meta, who decodes the old German script, knew! She referred me back to Josef’s letter to Lisi sent from Cleveland and dated January 29, 1911 (see post Love Finds a Way). The “unknown friend” was Mrs. (Frau) Beer.
Josef was staying either with the Beer family, or near enough that Mrs. Beer knew both Josef’s habits of neatness as well as his appeal to other women! After Josef finished his message to Lisi, Frau Beer wrote a few words on the same letter, referring to Lisi as her “unknown friend” and exhorting her to come to America to marry Josef.
Mr. And Mrs. Beer must also have moved to Chicago from Cleveland, just as Josef did, sometime between March and May, 1911. Why? Because Lisi asks Josef to greet Mrs. Beer, the “unknown friend” (and he’s in Chicago) and also because the Beers will play a role in Josef and Lisi’s future in Chicago.
How a seemingly insignificant business card led me to discover where Josef worked in Chicago how Lisi was able to find him upon her arrival in this bustling, crowded city.