At West End and Keeler Avenues in Chicago's West Garfield Park, an elliptical blue-green dome rises above the surrounding bungalows and two-flats. It is the pinnacle of Bethel Church, a symbol of community and an anchor to this neighborhood for 125 years.
Frank's mom wrote to him about his father's severely infected knees. Frank writes these two very short letters, the first to both his parents, the second, about two weeks later, just to his dad, my grandfather. In an earlier letter, my grandmother had written to Frank (Ebner) telling her son of Grandpa's knee injury. Here I think Frank is just trying to establish a personal communication with his father so he can encourage him in the future to take care of himself.
Less than two years after Pearl Harbor, the lives of every family in America were upended, and that included the lives of those in my former community, West Garfield Park. In my family's relatively small West Side Chicago church, Bethel Lutheran, nearly 100 boys were in the service—and several girls as well. That's 100 families with sons (and some daughters) in harm's way. The anxiety must have been palpable.