My grandmother’s World War II letter may be hard to decipher with its German-accented English, here cleaned up a bit so it’s readable, but her love and devotion to her youngest son comes through the difficult syntax loud and clear. She’s sending him whatever he requests and more, news from home, and enough affection and encouragement to fuel his heart and courage.


6 Letter [her letter numbering system]

Chicago, Ill 1-25-44

My Dear Ebner,

The 24 Jan I got your letter from the 17 so you got the shoe pack and cookies.   Were they broken the (cookies)?  Did you get my 6 letters? If you can do so verify it in the nearest time.

Today with Dad we were in a wholesale house to get that Jewelers Rouge so we sent you 1 lb more, rags and some cookies and candy. Let me know how you received it. On the bus for home a blond girl, about 18 years old, was in the bus too so this is what Dad wanted me to write you.

(The white boots) were tan instead so you see your Dad is not only thinking of you but talking too.  Tomorrow I will send you $5.00 by Western Union so that you have it in next [few days]—by the 1st-Feb. I am sorry, but then we will send you more so in case of need send a telegram.

I [will] pay for the message and send you what you need.  We both will try hard so god bless you that you get better with your coughing and your headache.  Did you get the bottle of cod liver oil (Kepler’s)?  Hoping it helps you as it is always good.

So with your school how are you getting along? Is it very hard on you? How is the food there? Are you getting enough to eat? Is the food like in Stevens Point? [Frank raved about the food when stationed in Stevens Point, WI]. Please let me know and tell me if you like [what I sent you?]  If you love the slices I send you, please tell me.

The hand brush I will send tomorrow so I hope you got all you asked for only that shoe polish is nowhere to buy. [Did] you know, Ebner, how Ted Symon** was home [on furlough]?  He had the Austin High School ring on his finger and looked so proud of it.  Have you already gotten your ring on too? I hope Cooky sent [the ring] there or is your wish that I put it with your other personal things?  Please tell me if Cooky likes her ring or is something wrong. I hope so much that you two have both a ring. I pray for that.*What date is her birthday? Please let me know in time.

So—you have good fun with those motor scooters. Just please be careful that you not get too much  of them. [Probably worried for his safety and studies], but God will be with you as always.

I am praying by the Green Light* in front room 3-4 times [each day] to God for your health, your strength and nerves, your light thinking [that his thoughts are light, is my guess], and that all your headaches will not come back. Our God can strengthen your thoughts. Then your teacher will be good to you with that hard course so long as you stay healthy to complete it.

[*”the Green Light” refers to the green, beaded lampshades on lights that flank Frank’s high school photo].

How is your friend?  Have you got a nice group of cadets with you? I hope so.  Tell me how all is there with you.

Dad and I stopped by Jerry and Shirley’s.  I bought for the little baby a set of sweater, bonnet and booties in pink. They all like it very much. Mr. Black is a very nice jolly person. The same with Mrs. Black.  Shirley [still looks always as you knew her] only now she is a proud mother and would like her own flat. But that will cost them too much. Now they are both paying $10.00 for the board and room a week. If they have their own flat the flat will cost them a lot more so for their sake it is best if they stay with [Dad and Mother] Black.

Cookie and Frank at his Austin H.S. prom

I hope you have the news of everyone from her. We did not have any snow until now so Dad feels good. On 27-28 he will go to have the other teeth pulled. Afterwards we will know how he came out.

Will, Sam and Lill are always as you know––all busy, and I am all right.  Last Sunday was 365 days or a whole year since you have been gone from home. In church I pray for the upcoming year that God will take care of you.

God will take care of you so Ebner, kindly pray and think of God.  I thank Him for you and Will and  [Fred] every day.  So with love from all of us, Dad, Mom, Will, Sam {Fred] and Lill.  xxx

*My grandmother adored Ebner’s Chicago girlfriend, and I think she is talking either about Ebner and Cookie exchanging rings to “go steady” or may even be saying that “she prays” that they will some day exchange rings in marriage. In any case, she is always  pushing for Cookie.

**Ted Symon was a fellow graduate with Ebner from Austin High School on Chicago’s West Side. He and Ebner corresponded during the war, and several of their letters to each other are or will be included in this blog.

Original letter