The 3 Gartz boys: Fred, Will, Frank “Ebner” (his 1942 Austin H.S. grad picture, which my grandmother “cut in” to fit with the other two at the same age! Fred and Will are both mentioned in this letter. This photo hung in my grandparents’ home until they died.

What eighteen-year-old kid hasn’t lost money? Wasted it, spent it, been careless with it, overdrew the checking account, and so on. And what parents haven’t been ready to rip out their hair as they tried to explain to the kid to be more careful.

So it was with my grandmother. Although she had little education, she was smart enough to hold off until later in her letter to give some gentle advice and admonitions to her son about taking better care of his money. She front-loaded her letter with appreciation for his latest letter (read it in the last post, “Back to basics in hot and beautiful Miami Beach“), home-front updates, and a sincere desire to know more about his life in Miami Beach.


Chicago, Ill. 8-9-43

My Dearest Ebner,

God Thanks I got your letters (it’s a 1000 year long to wait). We all are glad you like the place [Miami Beach, Fl]. God bless you all the time. I pray hart for God to lead you right. Frank [Von Arx] was home for 10 days and just left from us. Pa and I had 2 pints of ice cream with [Cookie] for lunch….

Cookie and Frank at his Austin H.S. prom

You describe your scenery beautiful. Pa said I should take the train and come to you. Tell us more what you are doing. How is your food? You tell us there are 3 new men not from Madison WIs. I know you get along good with all. 

I got a call from Vera that you called her at home. I will answer her today to thank her for writing me on 8/5. I bought a slack suit for Cookie [Ebner’s girlfriend] to show [I was thankful] she was so good to you. I hope she like it. 

Tues., Aug 3rd, Frank Von Arx went with Will to the evening school. [where Frank Ebner’s oldest brother, Will, is learning to fly]. Will took him up [in the plane] for half an hour….

Aug. 6 & 7 Will took us to North Avenue Beach swimming. It was very good. Sunday [Fred] and [Lil] and Biltzbuggy* took us again to North Avenue Beach. We all had dinner at home. No sooner had we arrived home that your telegram came with the bad news that your money was stolen from you on the beach. You need $10….

We sent the money Western Union so it is in Miami Beach in one hour. Please send me word soon that you got it. I have a receipt. 

Will Gartz, who served in the Civil Air Patrol while Ebner was in the Army Air Corps.

I will put $5 in this letter and $5 from Will. Please put the money in your money belt so that something doesn’t happen to it again. You know if you get shipped around like that we cannot help or write you all the time. Then it will be harder than you ever have known before. Please be careful and keep only a little money in your pocket or billfold.

God be with you. All of our big love to you and lots of XXXXX from your Pop. 

Will & Mother, Lil and [Fred too]

*NOTE: Blitzbuggy was my parents’ [Fred and Lil] Model T Ford, and the car that brought Frank Ebner to the draft board. Click to read the first post of this iconic car’s role in WWII: “A World War II Draftee—70 Years Ago

Original Letter

Original Letter below (again, edited to make my grandmother’s “English with a German accent” readable.) Marks in red are mine on a xerox copy.