Sunday, November 4, 2012

Telegram!

Preparing telegrams
Photo by tekniskamuseet
 
In the early 20th century, telegrams were an important means of communication.  I’m sure when a telegram arrived, the recipient had a sense of panic – good news or bad news?

My grandmother, Loraine Gunzendorfer, seems to have received her share of telegrams as evidenced by the next pages in the scrapbook.



Inserted between these pages were many other telegrams and newspaper clippings, which I’ll save for another day, but here’s the first installment.

Not going to enlist
Fresno Cal Dec 5, 1917
Miss Loraine Gunsendorfer
1933 Harrison St Oakland Cal
Am not going to enlist
Sig

Now that seems like a telegram that was very welcomed - "not going to enlist" was probably music to her ears!

 
Merry Christmas
RECEIVED AT MONTEREYFRESNO CAL 955A DEC 25 1917
MISS LORAINE GUNZENDORFER
MONTEREY CAL
A VERY MERRY XMAS TO YOU
SIG
155
 
Happy New Year
RECEIVED AT Oakland Cal
FRESNO CALIF 1055A JAN 1 1918
MISS LORAINE GUNZENDORFER
1933 HARRISON ST OAKLAND CALIF
A VERY HAPPY NEW YEAR
SIG
1106AM

 
So, those telegrams seem to bring happy thoughts – I can just imagine her opening them and feeling happy that she had such a special man in her life.  Although I will say that I find the “Merry Xmas” one a bit perplexing since they were both Jewish and probably didn’t celebrate Christmas.

Father died
925AM
Fresno Cal Mar 6
Miss Loraine Gunzendorfer
1933 Harrison St Oakland
Father passed away this morning
Sig

 
Uh-oh, this one must have had her heart racing as Sig’s father, Herman Levy, had been ill for quite some time.  It must have been hard to be far away when such a traumatic event occurred.  Unfortunately, Loraine had never met Herman in person yet I’m sure she was saddened to hear the news.

In Town
Fresno Cal Mar 13, 1918
Miss Loraine Gunzendoffer
1933 Harrison St Oakland Cal
Will be up tomorrow on business will phone you
Sig

 
Now this one must have made her very, very happy!

Arrive OK
RS RIVERSIDE CALIF 3P NOV 6 1918
MISS LORAINE GUNSENDORFER
1933 HARRISON ST OAKLAND CALIF
ARRIVE OK FEELING FINE MUCH LOVE
SIG LEVY
425P

 
Looks like he enlisted after all.  I went back to the letters I’ve been transcribing from Loraine to Sig and found one dated November 6, 1918 which was postmarked 10:30 p.m.  In it she wrote “Found your telegram, love, on my return from S.F. and was so happy to hear of your safe arrival, and that you are fine.”  Not only did she find his telegram, she saved it for the rest of her life!

Everybody Fine
MARCHFIELD RIVERSIDE CALIF 945AM NOV 12TH 1918
MISS LORAIN GUNZEBDORFER
MONTEREY CALIF
NO CHANCE TO WRITE EVERYBODY FINE
LEVY
1028 AM

 
How thoughtful to have sent a telegram just to confirm that he was fine so she wouldn’t worry!

All Finished
AX LOS ANGELES CALIF 650P NOV 28 1918
MISS LORAINE GUNZENDORFER
MONTEREY CALIF
ALL FINISHED LEAVING FOR FRESNO TONIGHT LETTER TOMORROW
SIGMUND LEVY
725 A NOV 29

 
I really love having these letters to help me determine what these telegrams meant.  Here’s what Loraine wrote on November 29, 1918 and postmarked at 3:00 p.m. “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.”  And later in the letter she wrote “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!”

I know that Sig and Loraine agonized over his decision to enter the military and discussed what the best branch of service would be for him to enter.  Like Loraine, I’m glad that everything turned out so well.

Two O'Clock Train
VN SAN FRANCISCO CALIF 1142A DEC 6 1918
MISS LORAINE GUNZENDORFER
CARE THE WHITE HOUSE MONTEREY CALIF
WILL TAKE TWO OCLOCK TRAIN
SIGMUND LEVY
1215

 
This telegram brought very good news – Sig was coming to Monterey for a visit!  Unfortunately, I learned from her letters that he left on December 8 so the visit was a short one.  But how wonderful that the war was over and they could begin to move on with their lives.  More telegrams to come when Sig and Loraine are finally married!
 

5 comments:

  1. Those telegrams are part of their love letters so it makes sense to save them too. If anyone in my family saved loved letters, someone else has thrown them away. Being witness to that deep love between your grandparents must enrich your sense of them as real people, not just as "grandparents."

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    1. Very true, Wendy. I love getting to know them as young adults and I've found some things never seemed to change throughout their lives.

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  2. Oh! These are great! What genealogical treasures these are. And these, along with the letters, give us a glimpse into their lives as well as what was happening in world history at the time too.

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    1. I've certainly learned a lot about history as I work through this scrapbook and letters. And sometimes I pinch myself and can't believe I have these treasures!

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    2. Debi, I just wanted to let you know that your blog post is listed on my Fab Finds post today at http://janasgenealogyandfamilyhistory.blogspot.com/2012/11/follow-fridayfab-finds-for-november-9.html

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