Bratty kid ruins Chicago outing

Bratty kid ruins Chicago outing
Aladdin's Castle at Chicago's Riverview Park

A bratty kid can ruin any excursion.

When Frank was stationed at Truax Field near Madison, Wisconsin, Vera, a friend of the family, took Frank on some local outings.


Roller Coaster at Riverview

So naturally when Vera and her son, Chuck, came to Chicago to visit, my grandparents want to show them a good time as a thank you for being kind  Frank. They really outdid themselves, taking them to many of Chicagoland's treasures: Field Museum, Shedd Aquarium, Brookfield Zoo, and a kid's delight, Riverview, a famous amusement park from Chicago's past. (Fascinating and short background on Riverview: click here.)

I don't know how old Chuck was, or if he had some sort of self-control issues, or if he was just a brat, but this kid's rude, wild, and totally disobedient behavior ruined Vera's visit for my grandparents, and was apparently quite an embarrassment to Vera.

It prompted my grandmother to pat herself on the back for "bringing up her sons "goot" and  thank God for their "golden manners." At the end, she requests that Frank burn her letter so that no one will know how critical she was of Chuck.

Read on. How would you have reacted to hosting a kid like this?

Chicago, Ill


My Dear Ebner,

I received your letter which you send 19 and 20 Aug and read it on the Madison Streetcar on the way to the station for Chuck, at 9 in the morning.  Vera [Chuck’s mom] came to us without Chuck so we, Pa and I, talk to her to call on the telephone. So Chuck came the 20 August at 10:45 .M.

We both went to the Northwestern Station. We got him [Chuck]  but we both, even Vera, were not pleased with him. She was so very disappointed with his manners. He’s stubborn. He [stayed] 3 days Vera 4 days with us in Will’s bedroom.

Every Day Vera, Chuck, and I, even Pa, was Sat and Sunday always on the go….After dinner on Sunday we all went to the Brookfield Zoo. [not clear, but Chuck seems to have misbehaved].

How I glad my boys are golden with manners and understanding that show me that I did not do wrong with my bringing up all 3. God bless you. I thanks God for all. Vera will have her hands full with Chuck.

Saturday Pa rushed to get through with his work so with Jackson bus we all 4 went  to Grant Park, to the Fish house [The Shedd Aquarium], and to the Field Museum. Before we got there [Chuck] got angry with Vera and ran away over the bridge and Vera after him.

So you know how much Pa likes to stay and wait. [My grandfather was very impatient and waiting while Vera chased down her son drove him crazy]. So finally he came with Vera back. The whole time in the Field Museum we all 3 had to run after him. First he was here. Then he was there. It was for all of us no pleasure with that outing. I felt very sorry for Vera while we tried to show him a goot time.

One day we had raw round steak [like steak tartar--a favorite in the family].  She liked it much. The 20th of August [I cooked] a leg of Veal with bacon inside and a roast.

 Fred and Lil and we 5  went  in Will’s car to the Riverview Park. Will and Vera went dancing. So we really re-paid [her for all she did for you in Madison.]. I hope we [showed them everything] you would want  to show them if you were here.

(Please burn this up) because it is all over.

Chuck slept in your bed. I and Pa asked him if he would write you when he got home.  He said “Why should I write to Frank? Not I.” So all we did [for him] is forgotten. Don't talk about my telling you [all this.]

The final page of the letter is missing, and what I have ends here––a sad commentary on either a very ungrateful boy or a very troubled one.

Original letter below:

Ebner LTRs 1943-08-20 from Mom-1

Ebner LTRs 1943-08-20 from Mom 2-2



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    Several years ago, I took my son to a ball game in Milwaukee. It was right after the new stadium was built and we had excellent $85 (each) seats.
    Seated next to me were two boys around 9 or ten and their father. The boys were unruly and among other things, were throwing peanuts at other fans, all without a word from their seemingly oblivious, spineless father.
    eventually, the boy right next to me was poking at the bottom of his cup with his straw and poked a hole throught it. Pop came gushing out and splashed on my pants and shoes.
    I took a deep breath for self control, semi stood up and leaned across the boys so I was nose to nose with their father.
    "Did you forget to give them their Ritalin today?" I asked as his eyes widened in surprise and perhaps fear.
    Without saying a word, he grabbed the boys by the arm and left. we didn't see them the rest of the game.
    I hope the jackass learned something and grew a pair before his undisciplined brats ended up in jail, but I doubt it.

  • In reply to Mike Partipilo:

    Sounds like you had a pretty horrible experience with a parent who doesn't know how to set limits. Check back with Airman letters to find out what Vera thinks may have (at least) contributed to her son, Chuckies, obnoxious behavior. Sorry for the delay in responding.

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    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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