World War II soldier's Mom's letter of love and money

World War II soldier's Mom's letter of love and money
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….

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. 

1942 Ebner Prom w Cookie Karbach - Version 2

Ebner and Cookie at his prom

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….

Gartz, Will 1943-44 Harlem Airport-1:31:43 ltr

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

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.  

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 below (again, edited to make my grandmother's "English with a German accent" readable.) Marks in red are mine on a xerox copy. 

Ebner LTRs 1943-08-09 from Mom-1


Ebner LTRs 1943-08-09 from Mom 2-2


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  • Meet The Blogger

    Linda Gartz

    I was born and raised on Chicago's West Side, where the Gartz family lived and worked for most of the 20th century. After my mom died in 1994, my brothers and I poked around the the attic of my parents' home and discovered a trove of letters, diaries, documents, and photos that had been saved for almost a century. Taken as a whole, they focus a lens on the history of our city and life in another era, as seen through the eyes of regular folks. Go to where you'll find my blog, Family Archaeologist (a clickable link is on the "About Letters of a World War II Airman" page). There you can explore this historical treasure trove that illuminates history and our shared humanity. I started my blog, "Letters of a World War II Airman," on the 70th anniversary of the date my uncle, Frank Ebner Gartz, was drafted into World War II military service. You can see that first post and the first three months of 1943 letters at my website, All future letters will be posted on this blog. I'm an author, archivist and television producer. Please visit my website,, to see my published articles and an overview of my television productions.

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