Gartz Family ~1934. L-R Josef, Frank, Will, Fred (aka “Sam”), Lisi. Taken at “Ebert Studio” mentioned in letter.

My German-speaking grandmother (ethnic German, born in Transylvania) is sending lots of love to her youngest son, Frank (I’m posting on Valentine’s Day, a good day to think about love for all our dear ones). She’s sending lots of encouragement to him.

“Be yourself” is a common exhortation of hers. Her confidence in her son comes through in this phrase. As his mom, she  knows if he’s “true to himself” and his fine nature, he’ll find success. She adds some chatty news about home and the neighbors he left behind.

As usual, I try to keep some of her original spelling and syntax, as long as it doesn’t interfere with meaning. The original letter, exactly as she wrote it, is at the end.


(Letter #8)


My Dearest Ebner,

God be with you. I’m sure of it because your lovely letter you wrote Dad and me tell me so. That is my real son, Ebner, where I saw, as a mother, now much goot things he got in himself, but I could not bring it all out.

But you remember my saying, “Ebner, be only yourself.” That what God gave you is not given to every person. But don’t ask me to explain it. I know and feel it now surely. The clearing is beginning in your mind and body. God is with you if you only be praying and trusting to him.

I will try more and more thanking and trusting to God in my praying for all the blessings, goodness, and safety for us all 5, P.W.S.E. [Pa, Will, Sam, (aka my dad, Fred), Ebner] and me.


We are all still together and live in this blessed U.S.A. If God is willing, we will stay and work hard here, saving and serving for the next one who needs it. So again, be yourself.

That picture [you want], we will send it right to you as soon as we see it. I am glad you got the package and the goodies yesterday. I asked you in an airmail [letter] if you got it and am pleased for an answer. Today I got the answer for all except about the ring in yesterday’s letter. Father was real happy when he was reading your letter [because of] all the good [thoughts]you were thinking about him and the guard duty.

[When] you come home again you will find a different dad as you knew. I helping him where I can. As you know, it makes him [feel good] that someone has a feeling for him too. So God give me and Dad the strength for many more years.


I am very glad that the pastry and slices [bread or lunchmeat?] can be sent, so each Monday I will send you some and anything you want. Just write me. Dad said I should send you sauerkraut with kraut juice. I had it at the 6-flat under the front porch basement. That is the best place—very cold. [My guess is that to ferment the cabbage into sauerkraut, she stored it in the basement area under the front porch of their 6-flat.] [If] you would like it, leave me know. I will gladly and happily send it to you.

Milk too heavy to carry

I just got [finished] with my Sat. shopping for a week. You know how many bundles [of groceries] there are. Dad went for the milk. I cannot carry those heavy milk bottles* so Dad brings them.

*[At that a time, milk was sold in glass bottles with a metal handle. With the glass container, each gallon weighed about nine pound, and the metal handle cut into your hand when carrying].

Ebner, I am drinking milk now too. No coffee, nor beer or anything with a kick in it. Then I feel swell. Otherwise I am burning up. Always too hot. [My grandmother, at age 53, was probably going through menopause and she had a racing heartbeat, tachacardia, as well.] So I follow you to no drinking anything [alcoholic].* Then I am [feeling] good.

*Ebner had said he had reduced his drinking of alcohol.


Dad is taking it better than I. Dad has no more than 1-2 glasses of beer, not more, you know–– just with Masser [probably a friend]. Last Sunday Dad and I visited Mr. And Mrs. Amerson, in the Austin Building 31. You know how sweet she always is. The place is the same, but her arthritis is so bad, she is for a month in bed. The nerves in her hands are so painful, her hand shakes all the time. She asked about you and is very happy and smiling that you made such good grades. She asked that I should remember her to you. She wishes you the best success.

From there we went to Nitzu, since Mike is in the service we did not see them. So Mike is a policeman in Michigan somewhere in the army. Junior Ebert has his hands full. [The Eberts owned a successful photography studio on the West Side. My grandparents had many family portraits taken there, like the one above]. He is teaching children in grades 1-8. 48 of them play the organ in church there. He looks very bad, not like I ever saw him. He is up until 12 or 1 a.m. writing and preparing for the next day.

God bless you.

Love from
Dad & Mom, Will, Sam [Fred], and Lil

Original letter