Josef Gartz at work. I believe this is West End Ave near Pulaski, a building he cared for in background.

The brutal snow and coal shoveling of the 1944 winter has a taken its toll on my grandfather’s knees. After decades of climbing all those stairs to bring down trash and shovel snow, he’s torn probably the ligament in his right knee.

The two sons still in Chicago, Will, and my Dad, Fred, are helping with their father’s work, each taking responsibility for different apartment buildings so Grandpa can rest and heal his injured knee.

By this time in their lives, my grandparents own some of the apartment buildings they care for, doing the same work as they always have for employment. Loathe to spend money on help, they try to do it all themselves.

Frank’s (Ebner’s) mother shares her pride with him after receiving a glowing letter from the War Department. Read on to see what it said.



My Dear Ebner,

I am late to answer your letter but I have so little time this and last week. mrs. Griffet moved out from 41588- 3rd floor, so Dad and I and more work to be done in the flat. I not want to pay the painter for the kitchen pantry and bedroom.

Washing [the walls] kost 18 dollar. Removing bedroom [wall]paper from the side wall cost $10 so we got busy and worked all day till 10 p.m. [doing it themselves to save the money]. Even Bill came the one day from 7-10 p.m. helping to wash the bedroom wall. Then we had a steak dinner so the next day we was again keeping on strong with the our work.

Page 2

You know, Dad’s right knee is not better so April 30, Kenny [doctor & my dad’s friend] came to see Sam [Fred-my Dad] and to us to look at Dad’s knee. [Kenny] told him to stay in bed until he tells us which doctor [Dad should see] to go for X-ray. So today we both was by Dr. H.E. Turner—a specialist— at 8 in the morning. Dr. Turner hopes Dad can be on his work again. The knee is torn and will not bend….

Please don’t worry. All are well. Sam [Fred] brings the paper [trash] down [from the upstairs apartment trash cans] and brings the coal for me. Will brings down the trash at the Esther Building [a big apartment building on West End and Pulaski] and the 6 flat [Washington & Keeler]. The rest I can do. I feel fine and so does Dad.

[indecipherable passage.]

Page 3

Your letter I got on Friday 4/28. On that day you went up for your first flight, so the whole day, when a plane fly over our house, I say, “That is Ebner,” bu you say, “No chance.” So we are happy if you stay happy and healthy and like your work well. We are all proud of you.
god bless and be always with you. That is my prayer and all our wishes. I thank you for that church paper.

You [write that you] cut out 2meals a day. Please be careful. Take it easy. You can get sick fo lose so many pounds at one time. You asked for the negative of a i=pciture from Steven’s Point [Wisconsin — where he was stationed the previous fall],. I looked all over but couldn’t find them. We’ll look once more. Sam [Fred] will see if he got them in his home. He will send them if he finds them.

We all glad you got a so goot instructor. Happy for you that you like everything.

Page 4

If you be yourself you get goot—for what you got in you, as I always said. You are my Ebner — not for nothing! I help you in thought and mind by your side.

Dad and I got a letter from the War Dept. saying that you are beginning the study. How fine and what an honor—only the very best of American youth be where you are. So we always should write and keep your mind free from worry.

I hope I can do my share, that they expect from me so God help and be with you for always and everywhere you go and [everything you] do.

Your picture from California is so very very nice. I am so happy for that. Last week I sent 2 mailings from the main post office to you with your wishes for your May 14th birthday. Did you git the none order from Dad and me, one from Will, was in this mail too.

I talk with Mrs. Karbach (Cookie’s mother). Cooky [sic] was in school. Dad feels fine [when he’s [in bed].

Lots of love and kisses
Mom and Dad & Will, Sam [Fred], and Lil

P.S. Mr. Lund came to me in church and told me that Vivian sent mail to you, so I stated that you will try to meet her. Did you have any trouble with that meeting? You know yourself. Leave me know how you made out– without trouble. O, Ebner, everyone is so glad over your picture to who I show it. I carry it always in my purse. Dad asks me when we go out, “Mom, you got Ebner’s picture and letter with you?” So we wish you strength and health and patience and God’s blessing that we know helps everything in all.

Love more and more from your Mom

Original Letter