On March 22, 1942, Lil has written that she felt “like a hussy” kissing both Burt and Fred and four months after dating the two of them was feeling the stress of indecision.
Just a week later, something clicked.
March 28, 1942
Burt and I went [out]. Had a pretty nice time. Had a flat tire so Burt and I changed tires at 1:30 a.m.
Suddenly like a bolt out of the blue it came to me definitely and decisively that Fred is the one and only for me. Just no shadow of a doubt left. Funny isn’t it?
I saw Mom’s sudden flash of intuition in decision-making repeatedly over the years. Or maybe it’s just typical of true love. In any case, certainty has replaced doubt. Now she just had to be patient for Dad to get around to figuring out—or at least saying out loud—that she’s the one for him.
Time to spend a holiday with Fred’s parents—at the crack of dawn no less. This had to be love, because Mom was by nature a night owl and getting up for a sunrise Easter service was assuredly quite a sacrifice.
Sunday, April 5, 1942, Easter
Fred and I went to Sunrise Easter Service at Soldier’s [sic] Field. Had to arise at 4:45 a.m. Came to my house for breakfast, which I made. Then to Fred’s house. His mother had me comb out her curls. Guess she likes me. [It will be years before she finds out how wrong she is.]
While driving to his house, Fred told a little joke.
“A man wanted to marry a beautiful but dumb girl. Beautiful so he could love her; dumb so she could love him.”
Well, I was looking at the funny side of it,” and said, “Like me, huh?”
“I aint’ committin’ myself,” he replied.
“For a few minutes, that made me angry. We had a wonderful day, though.
After dinner at Fred’s, we went to the Garfield [Park] Conservatory where we met Kenny and Arlyne. Then for a drive and dinner at Olson’s. At Olson’s, Fred said, “When I finally get settled, I want a room for my library and for studying.”
How will that suit you, Lillian?” Kenny joked.
I laughed it off, then said, “Where will I put my piano?”
I’m sure some day I’ll be Mrs. Fred Gartz. He’s just right for me and vice versa. I know we could certainly make a great success of it.
Dad had a very sensitive nature, and, conditioned by a controlling mother to avoid revealing his feelings out loud, my interpretation is that he feared exposing a heart that might be trampled. But Mom’s confident prediction is enough for both of them––for now!
But then there’s that “Explosive News” (click to see post) Fred gave Lil that he’s been hired as a “blasting powder blender” at the Kingsbury Ordnance Plant in LaPorte, Indiana. Little do they knew that this job will shortly “blow up in his face” when the insidious bigotry of a country at war infiltrates the minds of narrow-minded, frightened men.
Next week: Bigotry Blow-up.