Frank’s “Ebner’s” Mom just before he was drafted, Jan. 1943

For Mother’s Day, I’m publishing both a letter my uncle wrote in May, 1943, and my grandmother’s response, written about a week later. In his letter, Frank reveals he has his sights set on being accepted as a  cadet in the Army Air Corps, the first step toward becoming a World War II airman. But thousands of other young men hope for the same placement. Competition is stiff. He has to pass both mental and physical exams as well as gather recommendations.

His mother’s letter shows how she wants to keep up her son’s hopes, but also prepare him for the possibility that not all wishes become reality.

In honor of all Mom’s who sincerely wish for their children’s dreams to come true, but also want to prepare them for possible disappointment. Happy Mother’s Day to Moms everywhere who negotiate this delicate balancing act.

As always, I’ve preserved a good deal of my grandmother’s German-accented English as she struggles to communicate in a foreign language.

Letter #1

Truax Field

Madison, Wisconsin 


Dear Mom:

I passed my mental examination for the cadets and have to have Dad’s and your signature to these two enclosed documents in order to qualify. Also my birth certificate. Bring these up with you Sunday.

Daily push-ups: all part of life at Truax. Good prep for the physical to be a cadet.

On Sunday morning at 8:00 I have to take my physical examination. Pray that I pass it. I found out that all records previous to March 1st were destroyed, so I have nothing to worry about them finding out about the last one. I’m writing for letters of recommendation so I’ll quit now and continue my requests. So far I’ve written to the Pastor and Miss Hartley [his high school division and science teacher who writes Frank regularly]  and now I’ll have to think of some one or two other people to write to. Till I see you Sunday.



Letter #2

Chicago, Ill 5/16/43

My Dear Ebner,

Truax soldiers training on the obstacle course

I call Fred [middle Gartz son; my Dad] on the telephone as soon as I talk with you, that he go to the telegraph on Washington Blvd and Crawford Ave so he send you the $10.00. They told him the money will be in Madison Wis. In 1/2 hour, and deliveret to you tomorow.

Courage be with you to be a man and not give up so easy. The life is up and down. God be with  you allways because I pray hard to Him for you. 

[If] it’s God’s will that you not be going in the Cadets [for Army Air Corps] yet, he must have a reason. So have full trust in our God and try again. 

I pray that He will lead you [in] the way that is safe for you. Please Dear God, help this time Ebner. 

Page 2

My Dear Ebner! 

How much I would like to help you in this hour. I know it is hard, speshelly for a mother. So I ask you from my heart, Child, trust in the dear God.

With big trust of God and you I send you my Love. 

Your, Mother and Dad

Original Letters

From Frank

From Frank’s mom, Lisi Gartz