Mrs. Jickeli, Lisi Ebner's former employer, gave Lisi this business card

Mrs. Jickeli, Lisi Ebner’s former employer, gave Lisi this business card

This  business card from my grandmother’s employer, Mrs. Jickeli, was among the documents I ignored for a while.  I put off finding out what was written on the back (see below) because I was putting my time into deciphering and translating old letters, which seemed so much more important.

I could read the date at the end, 9/14/1911, and figured Mrs. Jickeli must have given it to Lisi just before Lisi had boarded the train from Hermannstadt to the port of Bremen. (See The Train Journey-Part II. To Catch a Ship). I wondered just what Mrs. Jickeli would have written to Lisi on the back of this card, as they said their sad goodbyes.  Was it a fond farewell? A “be safe and write?” Actually it was far more practical. It was a promise to safeguard Lisi’s hard-earned money—savings she may have to ask Mrs. Jickeli to send to her in America.

Dated at the end, 14/9 1911 (September 14, 1911), here’s what Mrs. Jickeli wrote on the back:

I hereby acknowledge that I have taken for safekeeping Elisabeth Ebner’s bank book of [her] deposits in the Hermannstadt General Savings Bank.
Salzburg on 9/14 1911.

Of course this is “Bad Salzburg,” (Salzburg baths, near Sibiu/Hermannstadt in Transylvania—not Salzburg, Austria), where Mrs. Jickeli had her summer home. As Lisi disembarked from the Kaiser Wilhelm II, she probably carried this card tucked safely into her wallet—knowing her money was in safe hands.

After visiting with her step-sister, Maria Wagner, in Cleveland, Lisi began the final leg of her journey—a train to Chicago to meet up with her sweetheart, my grandfather, Josef. But how would they connect in that big, bustling city? Another business card I had passed over  because of its seeming insignificance, ended up being very significant.

I looked at the Albert Von der Lippen Buffet card several times and wondered: Was it a favorite place for my grandparents to eat? (Didn’t make sense—they were too frugal to eat out). Was it the card of a friend? Was it a landmark of sorts?

Albert vd Lippen bus card frontThe Buffet that smoothed the way to Josef’s arms.
Instead, this little buffet business card turned out to be a major clue to my grandparents’ reunion in Chicago. I wouldn’t know that until I finally sent a scan to my “Rosetta Stone,” 90-year-old-Meta, in Germany. She deciphered the short note on the back.

Alb vd Lippen bus card frontIt turned out to be instructions from Josef Gartz to Lisi on how to reach him when she arrived. He either sent this card to Hermannstadt before she left, or perhaps to her step-sister in Cleveland. On the back he wrote:

This is the address where I work: Albert von der Lippen is my boss’s name and above is our telephone number. When you arrive at the train station you can call me at Humboldt 2512.

She arrived in Chicago on October 11th, and two days later, they were married. How do I know? My grandmother wrote a script before tape-recording the details of her first days in Chicago. Coming up.