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

Frank’s mom, my grandmother, writes about Easter Sunday with my parents, Fred and Lil, and how hard everyone is working. Lil is taking classes in addition to her day job. Will, the oldest Gartz Brother, teaches classes for the Civil Air Patrol. My Dad is taking classes at Lewis Institute (Illinois Institute of Technology, IIT, today). My grandfather’s knee is still badly infected, meaning he can’t do the stairs required for his janitorial work. A glimpse into 1944 life on Chicago’s West Side.



My Dear Ebner

Today I got your 1 letter from Texas. I was waiting every day. I thought you may surprise us all on Easter morning and just walk in. We all went to Schmit Church. After breakfast, I stood in the bathroom door. Dad said, “Look. Ebner is here, by the kitchen door.”

So I look at the boy, Jimmy, who came to [see] Will, and from the side his face look like yours and through the glass door he had on the same uniform as Will.

I [felt] like I lost my last penny, and we all had a goot laugh over [it].

We all together, us 5, [took Holy Communion] in Schmit church. After[wards] we had dinner by [Fred] and Lil. Only you was missing there. In [reality] you was here with us in talking and singing. Will left after the dinner. That is what Jimmy Matus came for. In the morning Lil and I bought a 18 lb. turkey so [Fred] cut it in 1/2. For Easter we had the dinner by them with the 1/2 turkey. Tomorrow, the 14 April, we [will] have the other half so every week, one day [Fred and Lill] have by us their dinner when Will is home, not in school after the work.

Lill played all those German songs I know on her piano and many English too. 11 April I was a Poll Clerk. The ballot was big. We worked so hard. At 11:30 p.m. we was done. V[irginia] Pennock was with me as a clerk.

Fred and Lil Gartz, spring 1942. Their first Easter together.

Dad’s knee is not better yet. [See letter from 3-13, when she describes how my grandfather’s knee was hurt from shoveling after two big snowfalls]. Will came in from school just now at 12 p.m. [probably a.m.- midnight]. [Fred]goes to his old Louis Institute [now Illinois Institute of Technology] for a course. Lil goes twice a week to Austin [High School] evening school, so we are all trying hard to work, as you know.

That is enough from here. How are you with everything there? If you can, write more detail [about] you, my Ebner. How is the food? Your room? The weather? The school? Is it the gunner school?

Ebner dear, at 5 p.m., I sent you these gum, candy, and candy bar. Leave me know what day you got them and if they [arrived in good condition] to you.

Your dad is always so very proud of you, he talks to everyone [about you]. Mr. O’Donnell from the Marbro Theater asked Dad about you. So proudly he answered. You try so hard and make good in all you begin. I say always God is the one who helps you. Whatever you begin, he is good to you. Tell me if you had a nice Easter. Did you go to church or was you on the road? You feel your letter is cold, but I understand that it has a lot to do with your training. Don’t worry about it. I am happy anyway.


Hello, Son:

Say, thanks for your navigation dope [info]. It sure will come in handy as I am now beginning my class in navigation. Spring is here and bees and birds will soon fly about and so will I. I expected to take a week vacation this April but long rainy weather has left the runways pretty well mucked up.

It’ll probably be sometime in May when I’ll take a week of solid flying and take my test. In the meantime, keep going as good as you have and everything will work out. Boy! Will we fly when this is over. Till next time….Bye now.


God be with you on those long 12 hours of studying and on flying.
Love and Kisses both from Dad & Mom. his face look like yours and through the glass door he had on the same uniform as Will.

Original Letter