Audiobook of "Redlined" now out starting at $6.99 at select retailers.
This Memorial Day, I'm remembering not just my uncle, Lt. Frank Ebner Gartz, WWII B-17 navigator, but the memories of his service (300+ WWII letters to and from him, 1943-1945). Last week I donated those letters, along with 50+ bankers' boxes of memories, our family archives, to the Newberry Library. Here's how it came about.
Happy Birthday, "Redlined"! Today, April 3rd, is your special day. I feel like I should buy you a birthday hat, wrap you in colorful streamers, and sprinkle you with confetti! But you’re like the one-year-olds who smear cake all over their face and stare goggle-eyed at the crowd singing to them—clueless.
On Christmas Eve 1910, my grandfather, Josef Gärtz, set off on what would become a harrowing journey toward America. His burning dream of a far-off land and the fiery drive he needed to get there, turned out to be the best Christmas gift he ever could have imagined for his future bride and their children and grandchildren. It was a gift that would keep on giving for decades to come.
The best defense is an offense, and that was as true in the past as it is today. A century ago, a deceitful notary took advantage of my grandfather’s absence to wrongfully sell his property. My grandmother's father, Samuel Ebner, (left) wrote her and her new husband, Josef Gartz, a letter dated May 11, 1913. Samuel was clearly in great distress over the illegal sale.