Finding His Way Through Chicago

Chicago was thriving in the 1920s, but with prohibition still the law of the land criminal activity was peaking. Gangland murders were common as the gangsters fought to control the lucrative illegal liquor industry. The 1929 stock market crash was looming while ordinary citizens worked hard and enjoyed the stability of secure employment.

Willy also prospered amidst the urban dynamic that he lived in and, as the Geheb siblings in Germany were marrying and having children, Willy searched for a wife in Chicago. When he met Irma in a German restaurant, he knew she was the one he could spend his life with. After all, she could cook the wonderful German meals he missed!

Willy Geheb and Irma in Chicago, IL

On November 20, 1929, Willy Geheb wrote:

Dear Parents and Siblings,

Forgive me for keeping you waiting so long, but listen to what has happened: I am married!! It happened rather quickly, and therefore, I could not write to you earlier, as you can imagine. I was working and meanwhile had to find an apartment and furnish it. It takes time until everything is done the way you want.

I am doing very well now, and I wish you could all be here with me. I have an apartment with four rooms and a bath and it is pretty well-furnished. We were married on November 2nd, but it was a modest celebration with only very close relatives of my young wife and two friends of mine. My wife is an Austrian-Hungarian. She comes from the Burgenland and has been in Chicago eight years. Her parents are still in Europe, but she has two brothers and a sister here in Chicago. She was raised and grew up in the same conditions as me. I know for certain that you would welcome her warmly. I am enclosing a picture, so that you can at least see your daughter and sister-in-law.

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Just Married!
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