Sunday, November 25, 2012

Two Chances

Back to the scrapbook, where I find once again that I usually have two chances at something.  The next page was a mess and I wondered how I’d ever make sense of it.



What a mess – things were glued haphazardly and in most cases, torn.  I gave up on the article on the left since more of it was gone than was there but then I thought what would a Levy do?  Well, of course, they’d have multiple copies of the same articles and I’d have my second chance!



Yep, that’s one of Sig Levy’s scrapbooks and there was the same article that was torn in Loraine’s scrapbook!  One thing I’ve learned about my family – THEY SAVED EVERYTHING!

Here’s a close up of the article.  And look at that – this one even has the date on it.

Sig Enters Business January 3, 1917

SIG LEVY ENTERS REALTY BUSINESS
Becomes Partner in Firm of Levy Bros.; 11 Years with Republican

Sig Levy, former advertising manager of the Fresno Republican, announced yesterday that he would become associated as a partner in the firm of Levy Bros., real estate and insurance brokers.  He will take up his new work at once.

Levy severed his connection with the Republican at the close of 1916, after eleven years in its employ.  He has been very active in civic affairs in recent years.  At the present time he is director of publicity for the Commercial Club, which position he has held since the organization of the club, and secretary of the trade promotion committee of the Merchants’ Association.

In his new work, he said yesterday that he intended to continue his activity in civic affairs.  As a member of the firm of Levy Bros. he will specialize in business property.

So now the firm was complete and all four brothers – Herbert, Leon, Sig and Ben – were involved in the business and each was a specialist in his respective department.
This is an interesting clipping about the Shriner’s Dance.

Shriners Dance

The article itself isn’t that interesting but the list of participants is.  First on the list is F.W. Ast which to most probably means nothing.  But my husband’s family name was Ast (changed to Austen in 1955) and there is F.W. Ast at an event with Ligmund (ha!) Levy.  Was this one of “our” Ast family? 

Looks like Sig passed his Air Pilot test!

Sig Aviator School Republican Oct. 20, 1918Sig Levy Passes Air Pilot’s Test in U.S. School
Fresno Man Ready to Begin Army Flying

Sig Levy of Fresno was graduated from the United States training school for aviators at the University of California at Berkeley Friday.  He telegraphed to his brother, Herbert Levy, here of his success.  He has been studying at Berkeley for months, and hard work was rewarded by his completion of the courses yesterday.  He will become a pilot, and is eligible for immediate training at the flying fields.  He will spend a few days in Fresno on furlough.  He is in squadron 61.

And here is Special Orders No. 157 which ordered Sig into active service on July 6, 1918.

Special Order 1 Special Order 2 Special Order 3

Special Orders, No. 157
Headquarters Western Department
San Francisco, Cal, July 6, 1918


The following named privates first class of the Aviation Section, Signal Enlisted Reserve Corps, are ordered into active service at such time as will permit them to comply with this order and will proceed to Berkeley, California, to arrive there July 20, 1918, and report to the commandant, School of Military Aeronautics, University of California, at that place for aviation training as candidates for commission:

And there on page 2 is my grandfather’s name and pertinent information:  Sigmund Levy (875409), 1716 Van Ness Avenue, Fresno, California

And after the names are listed is this:
The Quartermaster Corps will furnish the necessary transportation and pay such of these soldiers as may be entitled thereto commutation of rations as provided by paragraph 1228, Army Regulations, it being impracticable for them to carry rations of any kind.  The journeys are necessary for the public service.
BY COMMAND OF MAJOR GENERAL MORRISON: H.C. Benson, Colonel, United States Army, Department Adjutant.

Whew!  And what I know from transcribing the letters between my grandparents during that time is that my grandmother, Loraine Gunzendorfer, was working in Oakland while living with her great uncle and his wife, Rachel Letter and Samuel Steen, hoping that Sig would end up in Berkeley so she could, hopefully, see him.  Looks like her wish has come true!

And here it is again – two chances!

Boys Chances

My grandmother saved some interesting things! 

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving in 1918 fell on November 28 – coincidentally, my brother was born on that date just 43 years later.  But in 1918, my grandparents, Loraine Gunzendorfer and Sigmund Levy, were courting through letters and lucky for me, I have those letters and am busy transcribing them.  Thanksgiving 1918 saw the recent end to World War I and my grandparents had just become engaged.  What an exciting time for them!

Here is a bit of what Loraine wrote in her letter to Sig that day:
Enjoyed your letter very much, dear.  You spoke about it being cold down there [Riverside, CA].  Believe me, it is freezing here [Monterey, CA], too.  So much so that my hands feel like pieces of ice when I get away from the fire.  And we have had a cold wind blowing, too.  We are going to ride over to Salinas early this aft while the sun is shining and it isn’t so cold.  Doesn’t seem a bit like Thanksgiving today.  And to think that just the three of us have to eat a nice big turkey all by ourselves.  If I could send you some I’d do it in a minute.  I wish it had been possible for us to be together today but guess we can’t always have everything we wish for.
So I know that Loraine was home with her parents that day while brother Wilton was somewhere else – college, probably.  And sounds like the extended family would not be gathering that day.  I wonder what everyone else was doing.

As I looked through some of the photos I have, I found a couple that look like Thanksgiving to me.  I’m not sure who set this beautiful table or who would be sitting at it but it looked so Thanksgiving-like to me.  I visualize my ancestors all gathered around enjoying the delicious meal that someone had prepared.  Can’t you just hear the laughter and the stories?  Oh to have been a fly on the wall at that special meal.

Table 1

Table 2

I’m thankful for so many things in my life right now but I will take just a moment to say I’m also thankful to have discovered these treasures so I can continue to learn about my family who came before me and shaped me into who I am today.  Enjoy the special day with your family and friends – Happy Thanksgiving!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Is this Abe?

Abraham

Who is this man?  Based on the writing on the back of the photo, it seems that it would be my great grandfather, Abraham B. Gunzendorfer.

Abraham Back of Photo
Compliments of
Abe B. Gunzendorfer
Monterey, Cal.
July 31 - 89
With fondest thoughts
from Abe to Birdie
July 31, 1889
Am pleased to return these


Birdie was Abe's future wife and my great grandmother.

Here’s a few other photos of Abe – is this the same person?

Abraham Gunzendorfer


Abraham Gunzendorfer 2

What do you think?

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Veteran’s Day 2012 – My special veterans edition


Gordon Military
Gordon Levy
 
As we celebrate Veteran’s Day and the service of all veterans, it’s appropriate to take time to recognize some very special veterans in my life.  World War I formally ended at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918 and the following year Woodrow Wilson first proclaimed Armistice Day for November 11, 1919.  And how special that one of my special veterans was active in the military during this time.

The photo above is my dad, Gordon Levy.  Dad enlisted in the Army Air Force on July 1, 1944, just a few weeks after graduating from Fresno High School.  However, he didn’t enter into active service until nearly a year later on June 16, 1945 after he completed his first year of college at Stanford University. 

I wrote a bit about Dad’s military service here previously.  He was always so proud that he’d had the opportunity to report about the Nuremberg Trials and while he was only there for a day or two, it was obviously an event that was etched in his memory forever.  Once again, I found the original of a photo that was included in a newspaper article – this one in the article Dad wrote for the Fresno Guide which was published on October 10, 1946.

Gordon Germany 1945
Written on back of photo
Cpl Gordon F. Levy
In Germany 1945

 
I’ve learned a bit about Dad’s military service from his Honorable Discharge papers.  He was with the 128th Replacement Battalion and departed the United States on January 7, 1946 arriving on January 17 in EAMET – not sure what that means and can’t find a reference to it but I think it might be Germany.  He came back to the States on October 26, 1946 and arrived November 6, 1946 for a total of 10 months, 0 days in foreign service plus 7 months, 16 days in continental service.  He was discharged on December 1, 1946 at Camp Beale, California.  Interesting that Camp Beale is within a few miles of where my brother lives today.

Gordon Discharge Record

I love this photo of Dad as it shows a little bit of how he was living at the time – I love the jacket!

Gordon PFC Mar 1946
Written on back of photo
PFC Gordon F. Levy
Germany
U.S. Army of Occupation
March 1946

 
Also serving during World War II was Dad’s brother, Robert Levy.  I don’t know much about Rob’s military service yet but I did find this photo that I especially love since it shows the two brothers in back of their parents’ home in which we spent quite a bit of time during our childhood.

Robert_Gordon
Robert and Gordon Levy

Going even farther back, my other special veteran is Dad’s father, Sigmund Levy.  I’m learning a lot about Sig as I go through Grandma Loraine’s scrapbook and work on transcribing the letters Sig and Loraine wrote back and forth to each other from 1917-1919.  What I know about Sig’s military experience is that he was a Flying Cadet who completed his ground training at Berkeley and then went on to March Field in Riverside.  I don’t believe he ever served in combat as the war was over shortly after he arrived at March Field.  How exciting it must have been to be in the military on November 11, 1918!

Here’s some special photos of Sig during his military days.

Sig Military Sig Levy Military
   
Check out the great uniform – how handsome he looks.  I can see why Loraine was so smitten!
What, you want to see it just a bit closer?  And maybe even in color?  Okay, let me take care of that for you!

                      Sigmund Levy uniform – World War I
 
I found a stash of uniforms in the storage unit which I believed were, for the most part, from World War II and probably belonged to my dad and his brother.  But once I found the photos of Sig in his uniform I decided to go through the boxes thoroughly to see if there might be a match and there was!  And it is in near perfect condition, even after being thrown in a box and stored in either a basement or storage unit for at least 40 years.

And as an added bonus, I found a hat!  I wouldn’t have believed it if the name Sig Levy hadn’t been printed on the inside but here it is – an official flying cadet hat!



I also have to take this opportunity to remember another very special veteran, my 3rd great grandfather on my mother’s side, Emery Waller.  If you’ve been following my blog, you might remember that I was able to get Emery’s grave marked just in time for Veteran’s Day last year – without a doubt one of the most rewarding experiences of my life.  Click here to read about it. 

Emery Waller gravestone
Captain Emery L. Waller
1813-1890
McPherson Cemetery, McPherson, Kansas

 
So thank you to all of those who have served and helped make our country what it is today!

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!