Sunday, January 15, 2017

More on Uncle Wilt

Last week I wrote about the early life of my grandmother’s only sibling, Wilton Gunzendorfer.  You can read about it HERE

There was so much about Uncle Wilt that I never knew, most importantly his musical abilities and that he worked in the radio business.  In fact, thinking about my time with him I’m not sure I ever thought about what he did as I’m fairly certain he was retired before I really had a chance to know him.  But he was an interesting guy and I want to continue to learn more about him.

After he and Natalie Traube were married, they traveled to Montery to meet “the folks” – how odd that they had not met their daughter-in-law before they were married or even that they attended the wedding.  And before you start thinking it was a shotgun wedding, they never had any children.

Meet new daughter in law Santa Cruz Sentinel 26 Jan 1940
Santa Cruz Sentinel
26 Jan 1940

Wilt and Natalie were listed in the 1940 census (April) in Santa Rosa at 320 Doyle Park Dr.  Looking at the property on google maps, it looks to be multi-family with several different units side by side.  And what looks to be a parking garage across the street.

By 1944, I can see from the City Directory that Wilt and Natalie were living at 1900 Beach Street in San Francisco.  And in 1948, they were living at 1990 Beach Street – did they really move down the street or was one of them a typo?  And about 3 miles away was Wilt’s mother, Bertha (Schwartz) Gunzendorfer, who was living at 490 Geary Street, which is now the Warwick Hotel.  After her husband, Abe, died in 1944, it seems that she spent the last few years of her life living in hotels.

By 1946, Wilt had been appointed the manager of KROW Radio in Oakland, who also had a studio in San Francisco.  I’m not sure which studio Wilt was at but it makes sense that he would have been in San Francisco since he was living there.

Appointed Manager Santa Cruz Sentinel 18 Jan 1946
Santa Cruz Sentinel
18 Jan 1946

This is an interesting piece of ephemera I found giving me some more information into Wilt’s life – a publication by KROW Radio.

They Serve to Live Cover

They Serve to Live Wilt

Who are these men who serve to live and live to serve?
First let’s talk about Wilt Gunzendorfer.
Wilt, who is advertising director of KROW, has had 15 years in radio selling, merchandising and management.  Graduating from the University of California in 1922, he played eleven years in vaudeville with his musical attraction, “Jazz With A College Education” . . . . from show business he entered radio in 1930 as talent and production and sales supervisor of KFRC, San Francisco . . . . .then to Hollywood for two years in charge of the Don Lee Artist Bureau.
In 1937 he took over the management of KSRO, Santa Rosa, and after a six years’ successful record he was appointed manager of KSFO, San Francisco.
In August, 1945, Mr. Phil Lasky, General Manager of KROW, Oakland, appointed him Director of Advertising.
His 23 years in the field of entertainment, management and selling has won him the position as one of the best radio advertising counselors in Northern California.
If you don’t already know him …..
This Smiling countenance belongs to Wilt Gunzendorfer.

Nice piece summarizing his career path in radio.  I’m so glad I found this in my grandmother’s things.

Maybe some of my childhood friends can remind me – didn’t we listen to KFRC as teenagers?

My memories of Wilt and Natalie in the 1960’s was somewhere in Southern California.  From my grandmother’s address book, I can see that at one time they lived at 459 S. Doheny in Beverly Hills.  I also have a recollection that they lived “around the corner” from Jack Benny but from what I can find, they actually lived about 3 miles from his home at 1002 N. Roxbury in Beverly Hills.  My most vivid memory of this home was their parakeet that used to sit by the shiny salt and pepper shakers and talk to himself – funny what a kid remembers even if I can’t confirm if this is even accurate.

In about the 1970-1975 time frame, Wilt and Natalie were living at 1421 Reeves St. in Los Angeles.  And again my packrat grandmother has helped me out as her address book shows the Doheny address crossed out and replaced with the Reeves St. Address.

We must have spent some time with Wilt and Natalie during that time period as we posed for a family photo.  From the looks of it, I'd say this was in the mid 1960's.

My beautiful picture

And here is Wilt playing his clarinet – looks to be the same day.

My beautiful picture

I love seeing photos of two siblings together – I can just imagine the memories they shared.  And it’s especially satisfying to see them grow old together while maintaining a warm relationship.

My beautiful picture
Loraine (Gunzendorfer) Levy, Wilton and Natalie (Traube) Gunzendorfer
c. 1980

And then, for some reason, they moved to Hastings St. in Belmont which is, I believe, where they lived until Wilt’s death on 19 May 1989, just 4 days before his 90th birthday.

It’s always so humbling to wander through a cemetery, particularly when so many of my ancestors are interred there.  Which is exactly how I felt walking through Hills of Eternity in Colma, California paying my respects to many of my Gunzendorfer clan.

Wilt is interred in the Gunzendorfer plot along with his grandparents, Ferdinand and Fannie (Goldstein) Gunzendorfer.  That’s Wilt to the right of the large Gunzendorfer stone.

Gunzendorfer Plot
Gunzendorfer Wilt

And nothing quite hits a nerve as seeing the Gunzendorfer name on the step as you approach Fannie and Ferdinand.

What an honor to know my ancestors were so highly thought of that someone would have created this beautiful area for them.  I’m so happy I was able to see their final resting place in person.

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Uncle Wilt

Wilton Gunzendorfer 1969 cropped

Wilton Louis Gunzendorfer was my grandmother’s brother, but I knew him as Uncle Wilt.  How many kids think about the fact that, at one point, their grandparents were young and actually had parents and brothers/sisters?  The “old folks” who were hanging around were just that – old folks – and we really didn’t give them much thought.

Wilt was born 23 May 1899 in San Francisco, California and was the second child of Abraham and Bertha (Schwartz) Gunzendorfer and my grandmother’s only sibling.

Being that Abe was a professional photographer, I’m never sure if the photos I find are of my ancestors or just a photo he took but, thankfully, he wrote on the back of this early photo of Wilt. 

Property of His Dad

I love how he called out that the photo was the property of his dad.  Hmm, July 8th, 1900 – that would make Wilt not quite 14 months old.  So where else would we find him but on a chamber pot!

Wilton Chamber Pot 1900

Look at the beautiful embroidered pillow case.  What are those initials?  It doesn’t look like W G to me but more like L G – could this have been my grandmother’s (Loraine Gunzendorfer) pillow case?

Even though Uncle Wilt was in my life for nearly 35 years, it wasn’t until I started researching that I really knew much about him.  And as we have all experienced, by then it was too late to ask questions.  Thankfully, my mom was still living (Wilt was my dad’s uncle) but she did fill in a blank for me as to how Wilt got his name.  Bertha’s (aka Birdie) brother, Milton Schwartz, was a yell leader at UC Berkeley and when they would go to the events to see him in action, the announcer would tell the crowd that his name was Wilton Schwartz.  Turns out after hearing it enough times Birdie decided she liked the name and bestowed it upon her only son.

In 1900, the family lived at 2040 Sutton Street in San Francisco.  The census states that Abe was an abalone fisher – I guess it makes sense that he might have left Monterey for a few years to fish but I’ll need to keep my eyes open to see if I find any other clues about that.

By 1910 the family was back in Monterey at 430 Pacific, although the enumerator wrote 430 Pacific Franklin.  Did the street name change?  And in 1920, the family was still on Pacific, although Loraine was not there (she was married in 1919) and Wilt was enumerated as a college student.  From other records I know that he followed in his Uncle Milt’s footsteps and attended UC Berkeley.

I’ve learned that Wilt was a musician and from everything I can find, he played the clarinet.  I’m guessing this photo, taken by Myers in San Francisco, was used for advertisements and marketing.  What a handsome man!

Wilton Clarinet by Myers SF

Wilt was also a composer!

Wont You Remember

Wont You Remember page 1

Wont You Remember page 2

I have found information about the copyright (22 Sep 1920) with some other notes but I’m not really sure what it all means.  One interesting fact is that the music was arranged by Arthur Fisk.  It’s been a LONG time since I’ve read music – it would sure be fun to hear the tune.

In the mid 1920’s, Wilt was living in San Francisco and 1925 the Directory shows he was a car salesman with his uncle, Jacob Gunzendorfer, and also lived with Jacob’s family.

By 1930, things were getting a little more interesting for Wilt.  The 1930 census shows that he was a lodger at 1231 Market Street in San Francisco.  As I researched a little more, I found that Wilt (or Gunzy as he was known) was performing with an orchestra of 9 men at the same address – turns out that address is for Hotel Whitcomb.  An interesting tidbit about this hotel is that after so many buildings were destroyed in the 1906 earthquake, Hotel Whitcomb was used as the temporary City Hall from 1912-1915.

Hotel Whitcomb San Francisco

What a great commute he had – play music at night and then wander upstairs to go to bed!

In 1931, Wilt traveled on the President Jackson from San Francisco to New York – a 17 day voyage from 22 Apr to 9 May, 1931.  He shows on the manifest as a musician and is listed with others who worked on the ship so my guess is that this was his job for that time period. 

After waiting many years, Wilt found ‘love’ with Natalie Traube and they were married on 18 Jan 1940 when Wilt was over 40 years old.  I haven’t pieced together how they met but the romantic in me hopes she was a frequent visitor to the Hotel Whitcomb where she loved to hear Wilt and the orchestra.

Natalie Traube 1
Natalie Traube, date unknown

Unfortunately, their marriage didn’t get off to a great start as reported by the Santa Cruz Sentinel on 19 Jan 1940.

Luggage Stolen Santa Cruz Sentinel  19 Jan 1940
Santa Cruz Sentinel
19 Jan 1940, Page 1

Things turned out okay and the marraige lasted until their deaths.  Come back next time to see what Wilt was up to after his marriage.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Top 10 Genealogical Finds of 2016

Photo by Pierce Place
As 2016 comes to a close, I’d like to step back and reflect on what I’ve learned over the past year.  Unfortunately, I’ve been sluggish when it comes to genealogy this year and haven’t really accomplished much so picking out 10 top things was a bit of a stretch.  I hope to rectify that in 2017.  I did go back and read what I’ve accomplished in years past (it helped a little) so inevent you’re interested in what I’ve done before this year, you can read my past posts.  2015 2014 2013 2012 2011

So in my best David Letterman voice, I bring you my sixth annual Top 10 genealogical finds of 2016.

Number 10:  The book is close to completion!  When I first began this journey, I connected with a woman who was editing a book about the Jews of Santa Cruz and my peeps were included.  Over the last several years we’ve shared information and she’s kept me apprised of the status of the book.  I shared some photos of my family (which I think might just be used) and we even met a few months ago when she was in Seattle for the International Conference on Jewish Genealogy.  And just a few weeks ago, I received an e-mail from the author to say he is hopeful the book will be published in March, 2017.  Be on the lookout for the book Between the Redwoods and the Bay: The Jewish Community of Santa Cruz County.  Stay tuned - I’m hopeful that the completed book will be one of my top 10 finds of 2017.   

Number 9:  Letters.  I know I’ve posted before about the letters I have between my grandparents while they were courting in 1916-1919 – it’s probably something that should be on my Top 10 Finds every year – but this year I felt like I made some headway.  I was able to get all of the letters from my grandmother to my grandfather sorted by date and transcribed and am pretty proud to see one of the boxes (there’s another one just like this) looking so organized.  And to know I have the words transcribed and saved in several places makes me really, really happy – even though there are 253 pages in 11 point font!

I did get started on organizing and transcribing the letters he wrote back to her but I still have a LONG way to go.  Maybe I should be blogging about my goals for 2017 and put that on the top of the list?

Number 8:  Revisiting the Copper King Mine.  It’s always fun to read about the history of a particular place from someone who was there, but even more fun when that ‘someone’ is your great grandfather!  Read the article HERE  Not only did my great grandfather, Edward Fitzgerald, work in the mine but he and my great grandmother actually spent their honeymoon there.  

Number 7:  I found a mini photo album.  Once again, my packrat grandmother has amazed me with the things she kept throughout her lifetime. 


Take a look HERE.  It’s a small look into life at the turn of the 20th century.  I love all photos but seeing my ancestors doing “normal” things is just so rewarding and a real glimpse into the past.

girl at doghouse  
Number 6:  The mystery of Harry Meals.  

Harry Meals Headstone

Yep, that’s right.  The headstone for Harry Meals, the husband of my husband’s great aunt.  Doesn’t look like much of a mystery here but after delving in a bit deeper, it turns out Harry Meals was, at one time, known as Charles Biesel.

Charles Biesel Interment

After blogging about him HERE, several readers gave me some suggestions on how to proceed.  And after requesting and receiving his SS-5 form, I promptly put it aside and DID NOTHING WITH IT.  Note to self:  Put this on the top of the pile for things to do in 2017.

Number 5:  Finding the Diploma of Graduation from the Grammar School of Monterey from 1911 for my grandmother, Mildred Loraine Gunzendorfer.

After spending a few years in my garage – not even in a box – I stumbled across this and realized what I had.  It prompted me to search through some other things which helped me discover her autograph book from about the same time frame.  You can read about it HERE

Number 4:  There were photo booths in the late 1800’s.  While I can’t be sure these photos were actually from a photo booth, it looks possible to me.  But the best part is seeing my grandfather and his brothers as young kids.

Levy Brothers c1898

Number 3:  Photos, photos, photos!  A cousin of my husband whom I had recently connected with filled my e-mail inbox with photos of my husband’s paternal grandfather and his family.  It is amazing to me how you can know someone from the last years of their life and when you see a photo of them as a child, you know them instantly.  It was nice to take a Time Out and document these new finds – I particularly love this photo of his paternal grandfather, Herman Paul Ast, and Herman’s sister, Bertha Ast.

Ast, Herman and Bertha abt 1900

Number 2:  Aunt Charlotte.  Because of #9 above, I’ve been able to learn so many details of my grandparents’ lives, and even the lives (and deaths) of their families.  We all hope for these details and pray that one day we will discover first hand accounts of what our ancestors were doing on a daily basis.  And, in some cases that actually happens.  It sure hits home when you read the personal story about a victim of the 1918 Flu Pandemic, especially when it my grandmother’s Aunt Charlotte.

Number 1:  COUSINS!  This should be in my Top 10 finds every year!  What struck me this year is now that I have connected with cousins, and continue to connect with more, I’m also reminded how short life is and how loved ones come in and out of our lives.  While I found a new cousin – his great grandmother and my grandmother were sisters – I also lost one of the cousins I have met because of my blog.  I loved getting to know her and loved the family connection we shared.  For someone who has one surviving first cousin (out of two), I’m overwhelmed with just how many cousins I actually do have.  Read about my lost cousin HERE

It’s been a quiet year but I am pleased that I was able to add to this blog as my goal has been to document things for future generations.  While genealogy typically has us focused on the past I’m going to take this opportunity to focus on the future and what I still have ahead of me.  Onward!

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Cruising – Shriners Style

As I’ve written about in previous posts, my grandparents, Sig and Loraine (Gunzendorfer) Levy loved to cruise on the SS Lurline to Hawaii.  You can read my recent post HERE.  I’ve now found many photos and dinner menus from their adventures and it has helped me piece together information about their cruises.

I think the cruise they took in 1949 was with the Shriners.  What makes me think this?  How about these photos?

Jesse and Betty Newton Sig Levy Loraine Gunzendorfer 1949

The back of the photo tells me that this lovely couple is Jesse and Betty Newton.  Looks to me like they might just be arriving in Honolulu – I remember when visitors were greeted with leis at the airport or as they left the ship.  I can almost smell them from this photo!  While I have things from several different visits, I’ve learned that Jesse passed away in 1953 so this photo is, most likely, from their 1949 cruise.  Jesse and Betty on the left, Sig and Loraine on the right.

From the website I learned about the formation of this new organization in Fresno.
At its annual meeting in Atlantic City on June 10, 1948,  the Imperial Council,  Ancient Arabic Order Nobles of the Mystic Shrine granted dispensation to the Fresno Shrine Club to activate and organize a Shrine Temple. A year later, a Shrine Temple was situated in Fresno. It was given the name Tehran which was an appropriate choice as it generally interpreted as “a warm place at the foot of a mountain.”
Maybe this cruise was celebrating the formation of the new club?

And some other photos of the Shriners.

Tehran Shriners

The best thing about Sig and Loraine being short is that they were almost always in the front!

Here they are peeking out from behind the ferns.

Group Dinner

Wonder where Sig was hiding for this photo?

Tehran Group

All dressed up for dinner.  I love how the men were all wearing tuxes!

Shriners Dinner

This must have been another night when Sig left his hat in the room.  I love how elegant they look.

Sig Levy Loraine Gunzendorfer

I think their destination might have been The Royal Hawaiian Hotel.  I know my grandparents always stayed there when they visited and since these photos were in with the rest, I’m guessing that was the destination for the Shriners.

Royal Hawaiian Hotel

And from the restaurant on the patio.  What a different time it was then – now people would be dressed in their swim suits and looking at their phones instead of enjoying the beautiful view.

Royal Hawaiian Patio

Now this menu is from a different trip but I thought it would be fun to include another menu to see if the food choices were more in line with something I’d like to eat.  I’m happy to say that’s the case.

What a beautiful cover!  Can you imagine having this souvenir at your table every night?

Menu Front

This particular dinner in 1958 was Hawaiian Night Dinner and the menu looks pretty good.


I was particularly interested in the wine list as we love to collect (and drink) wine.  I don’t remember my grandparents drinking wine but, of course, they’ve been gone so long now my memory has faded.  I wonder what they selected?

Menu Wine List

Just for fun I thought it would be fun to see if the wine was available today so I looked up the 1949 Chateau D’Yquem.  The price range is from $1250 to $3500!  I sure hope they picked that one and that they enjoyed it.

Thanks for sailing along with my grandparents on the SS Lurline.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Cruising on the SS Lurline - 1949

SS Lurline – April, 1949

A few years ago I wrote about how my grandparents, Sig and Loraine (Gunzendorfer) Levy, loved to cruise.  You can read about it HERE.  At the time I knew they had cruised on the SS Lurline during the 1950’s based on Passenger Lists I’d found but I hadn’t run across any photos or anything to tell me much more about those cruises.  Until today.

A few months ago my husband rescued a box of “stuff” from the garage and brought it inside so I could go through it.  There were quite a few scrapbooks (my grandfather was the king of scrapbooking) but being that they are, for the most part, history of real estate transactions in Fresno, I wasn’t too interested.  But thrown on the top (not inside the plastic box but literally thrown on the lid of the box) was a pile of things that I never got around to going through.  But today was the day.

The first thing I found was a pile of what looked to be prints of some kind.  Beautiful in their own right but even more beautiful when I opened them up and saw they were dinner menus from the SS Lurline in 1949, 1951, and 1956.  Here’s a sample.

Dinner Menu Front

What fun to read about the what was on the menu when my grandparents were sailing.

Dinner Menu 4_25_49

Now that’s some interesting selections – Broiled Fillet of Barracuda?  Turtle steak Saute?  Yes, I think that really is steak of a turtle (thank you, Google), although I’d prefer to think, instead, it was a special cut of beef steak.  I’m not too adventurous when it comes to eating so I can’t get past the thought of eating a turtle.

I picked this particular menu because of the date – Monday, April 25, 1949.  As I was going through some envelopes in the same stack I found some photos from what appears to be this trip!  And there on the back was the date April 25, 1949 “on board the Lurline bound for Honolulu”.  How ‘bout that?

Loraine 4_25_1949
Mildred Loraine (Guzendorfer) Levy
April 25, 1949, On board the Lurline bound for Honolulu

Sig 4_25_1949
Sigmund Levy
April 25, 1949, On board the Lurline bound for Honolulu

Were they dressed for dinner?  Knowing my grandparents and their love of dressing up, I’d say they were dressed for the daytime activities and then later changed for dinner.  But anyway, at least I know it was the same day.

And the next day they took a few more photos.

Loraine 4_26_1949
Loraine (Gunzendorfer) Levy – April 26, 1949

Her dress is so interesting – I’m not sure I’ve ever seen anything quite like it.  The 1940’s sure brought out some wonderful styles.

Sig 4_26_1949
Sigmund Levy – April 26, 1949

Not only did I find the photo above of the Lurline (I’m assuming they purchased from a professional photographer) but in with their personal photos was this photo from the deck of the Lurline.

Lurline Deck

What fun to see the deck of a cruise ship from back then – although I’ve never been on a cruise ship like that, I can’t imagine you’d have too many people lying right on the deck as they are here.

I spent a little time on Google and found an interesting short movie titled “Over the Sea to Honolulu 1940”.  It is a great way to really understand what life was like sailing across the Pacific in 1949 – I could visualize (my dad loved to say that) my grandparents on the ship.

Some fun activities on the typical cruise:
  • If passengers missed golf while they were away, they could golf from the deck and would always get a hole-in-one when their ball landed in the Pacific Ocean.
  • There was shuffleboard, swimming (see that pool above?), and even horse racing (you have to see it to believe it).
  • The 5th day at sea brought the first glimpse of Diamond Head.  Being that I know they arrived in Honolulu on April 27, 1949, I can assume this dinner menu was from their 3rd day at sea.
In the event you’re interested, the link to the movie is below.  It’s a 10 minute video with the first 3 minutes or so being specifically about the Lurline.

My grandparents sure lived an exciting life – who knew?

Sunday, November 27, 2016

All finished – I’m coming home!

I’m jumping around a bit but I wanted to get back to the letters my grandfather, Sig Levy, wrote to my grandmother, Loraine Gunzendorfer, as the end of World War I approached and, finally, he was released to go home.  I first wrote about it HERE.  But now that it is almost exactly 98 years later, I wanted to include the letters they wrote back and forth as he finally came home.

Sig wrote on November 28, 1918 that he was hoping to be released from March Field soon.  Here’s some excerpts from that letter.

Riverside, California
November 28, 1918 - 10:30 AM 
Wednesday night  

My dear Lover:

I have a few more moments to myself tonight. Almost everyone went to Riverside this noon to stay over Thanksgiving but I didn't go because the flu is running wild over there and there is a possibility of me getting out tomorrow and I don't want to lose my chance.

I was quite disappointed today as they drew out the first lot of names to leave tomorrow but I missed it. Gee I haven't had any luck but I think I may get in as a substitute or else I'll be held over another day. We have everything turned in but our blankets and are just waiting for the quartermaster to make out pay checks but the whole thing is a big job. We had our turkey dinner today and they loaded us with food but as luck would have it, they made so many announcements on the line that by the time we went in to eat all the food was cold. But that's the way we eat all the time and one has to be tough here to live.

And sweetheart you dear girl - that wonderful cake arrived this afternoon - it certainly looked pretty and I treated the office force. Tell your dear mother that it was delicious and I thank her so much. I didn't open the other box yet as we have eaten too much today but thanks a lot dear for your everlasting thoughtfulness.  

Love, I haven't had time to write about our future in the last letter or two but I agree with you to decide on things when we see each other and talk it all over. I'll have to go direct to Fresno as Herb is up against it. Just had a letter from him that two more in the office are leaving and he needs me badly. So I'll go there and get things in order and my sweet I'll get up to see you and be with you to love as soon as possible. I'm so anxious to be with you, so I'll do my best even if at first it will be just for a tiny while. But I'll write you just how things are. From the papers it appears that Fresno is getting ready for a boom and we sure want to get in on it. Our firm sold about six homes within the last two weeks.  

All for tonight my sweet little lover. Thanks so much for all your wonderful love. It just makes me long for you in my arms - and then you know how that feels - would you like to be there now? A big hug and a lot and lot of kisses to you, sweetheart.  Hope my next letter will be from Fresno.  

Always your lover

Boy, this guy is SMITTEN with her!  The love just oozes off the page.

And then the most glorious thing happened – Loraine received a telegram telling her he was all finished and leaving for Fresno!  I can only imagine how excited she must have been to get this news.  Who says telegrams are usually bad news?

All Finished

Somehow he’d managed to get on a train and was headed home.
And the next day, Loraine received a special delivery letter with a Fresno postmark – Sig was home!

November 29 1918 envelope
Fresno, California 
November 29, 1918 - 11 PM 
Friday night 

My sweetheart

I'm late tonight as I've had a strenuous day. Honest darling I'm just worn out from shaking hands with everybody, almost, that I met on the streets and of course I had to answer a million questions. Herbert was delighted that I came back as he sure needs me. I found the office very busy and badly in need of help so I'll have to dive in and do my best in the emergency. The man who is running the rent dept is leaving so that makes it worse. But it will all work its way out.  

At any rate I'm home again and I really can't believe it. Sweet it seems like a dream and everything seems so strange but I sure received a royal welcome from people even who barely know me and congratulations of our engagement were showered on me. If you were with me tonight you could help me calm down - and mainly love me a lot.  

John Mallon came up the valley with me and we caught the first train out of Riverside - changed at L.A. making close connections and arrived here early this a.m. I am feeling fine sweetheart but naturally very tired and might say a trifle excited. Am staying at Herb's house - he wouldn't allow me to stay at the big home all alone so I'll stay with them a while at least. The babes are so cute and I'm having a lot of fun with Herbie Jr.  

And I first just left Dick and Helen - poor kid leaves at 3 a.m. for Virginia. He is on a furlough and tried to get discharged while here but nothing doing. They wouldn't allow him an extension or anything - wired him to come right back.  

Was a little worried tonight when the papers said Kaiser was trying to start again. Wouldn't it be awful if things would open up for another fight. Dearest I hope not but I think it is all newspaper talk. 

Naturally I missed your last letter. I didn't know definitely about my final discharge until the very last moment but I wired you the first moment possible which was in L.A. We traveled so fast we couldn't get to a telegraph office until then. Are you glad dear it's all over. I'll get things running more smoothly here and then I'll come up to be with you. Gee I wish Leon or Ben was here.  

Well sweet what do you know - and how are you? Think of it I'm going to sleep in a real bed tonight - and I must hurry home as I don't want to wake the babes. I'll try and write my letters to you in the afternoon hereafter.

I'm hoping for a letter from you tomorrow. It will sure be welcome because I haven't had any of your love in writing for a couple of days and I miss it so much.  

Helen and Dick send their very best to you - and she certainly said nice things about you.  

Will try and write things more interesting tomorrow love but I certainly have been thinking a lot of my sweet girl - and as soon as I can my dear I'll be in your arms. I'll write again tomorrow so goodnight my dear girl and more love than ever tonight and a big lot of kisses.

Your own boy  


After Loraine received the telegram, but before she received Sig’s letter of November 29, she wrote her own letter to Sig and mailed it off to Fresno.

November 29, 1918 – 3 pm 
[1933 Fresno Street]

My Sweetheart  

My, how wonderful it must feel to you to be at home after an absence of nearly five months. After receiving your wire early this morn I thought of you and how busy you must be greeting all your old friends again.  Your letter written Tuesday eve didn’t come until this morn and with the special delivery I received it at 8 o’clock.

Your letter written Wednesday also came this morn so I had the good luck to get two letters and a wire.  

Am so glad that you could leave yesterday and am anxious to hear how you finally got on the list. I can just imagine how fine you feel to be once more free. It is a “grand and glorious” feeling, isn’t it, dear?  

I believe March Field is one of the first camps to demobilize and after all, love, it was for the best for you to go into aviation. How beautifully everything has turned out!  

Am glad the cake reached you before you left and that it was good. Guess my letters written Wednesday and yesterday will be forwarded to you or returned to me. Now that you are home let me know if and when you want your racquet, knife and Shrine pin and I’ll send them to you.  

We spent a very quiet day yesterday. Drove over to Salinas in the afternoon. It was a very pretty out but quite cold. We had a very nice dinner all by ourselves and had just finished it when Uncle Col phoned to wish us a pleasant day. Uncle Milt, Aunt Chas. and Wilt were there also so we talked to the whole family. Wilt won’t be able to come home until Xmas. Cal won the big game yesterday by a score of 67-0, which doesn’t speak very well of Stanford’s team.  

Hallie came down yesterday but I haven’t seen her yet. Expect to have her for dinner tonight and we may later go for a ride. And tomorrow night I am going to have all the girls at my house for a little reunion. Hallie goes home Sunday so it is just a flying trip.  

Dear, I didn’t mean any harm when I sent you that spec. del. Stamp. Didn’t know if you could procure one and I wanted to experiment. It didn’t work very well, however, as it didn’t come until this a.m. anyway. There will be no need of you sending my letter for Sunday special as I found out that Sunday evening’s mail doesn’t come in until the following morn.  

Sweetheart, do you still want to write every day or would you rather cut it down to every other day now that you are “safe and sound” at home? Tell me when this letter reaches you so I will know how to mail them.

I really didn’t expect you to come here before you went home as Fresno is so much nearer than Monterey. I sort of hoped you would come but now I’ll know not to expect you until it is possible and that will probably be some time as you will have to stay home now and get everything into running order.  

Did you notice the envelope? It looks quite different minus Cadet and means different, too.

I’ve told you all I know for today, dearest, and if I write tomorrow it will just be a note as I am waiting for your letter telling me all about everything.  

Please give my very best regards to Herbert and Madeline and thank Herbert for me for sending my picture, etc. Haven’t had a chance to write to him yet. You’ve seen the new baby by now and is she cute?  

Sweetheart, I am sending you a whole lot of love and kisses. I’ll admit I’d rather have the latter real ones than on paper, they would seem different to me, so I’ll save most of them. The folks thank you for your love and send theirs in return.  

Always fondly
your Loraine

I just love being able to put all of these letters together and understanding what their responses to each other were.  How many people have an opportunity to read these back and forth letters between their grandparents nearly 100 years ago?

It’s official – SIG IS HOME!