Earlier this year, I told you about a book DEAR GERTROOD (1945). It was a collection of illustrated letters home from WW2 serviceman Wendell Ehret to his then-girlfriend, Gertrude "Gertrood" Rubin. Some of the letters were originally published in Look Magazine. (I would scan these if I had them, but, unfortunately, I do not.) The reader response was terrific, and an oversized hardcover of the letters followed.
The book has so many drawings and they were drawn so well (Mr. Ehret was stationed in the war's animation department overseas), that I had to wonder whatever happened to Mr. Ehret? And what about Miss Rubin?
These questions were unanswered. No site on the Internet was of any help. It was a dead end.
Gertrude's real-life daughter contacted me out of the blue, to give some more information on her mother and Mr. Ehret.
Barbara Price is her name. She wrote:
I am the daughter of GERTRUDE RUBIN, who was the inspiration for the book, DEAR GERTROOD of which I know you are interested in.
My mother, known as "Trudy" to us all, went on to marry my father (not Wendell Ehret, the cartoonist of DEAR GERTROOD), a few years after World War Two.
And I, along with my brother, am one of her two children. My Mother always talked about her Cartoon book ,DEAR GERTROOD, through the years, and was very proud of it.
My Mom, sadly, passed away in 2004 at the age of eight-five, but everyone through the years, always commented on how beautiful she was.
You appear to be a very talented Cartoonist yourself, and I wish you much success in the future as well.
Ms. Price invited me to send on some questions. I did, and she courteously wrote back:
During the war and while growing up, my Mother lived in Flatbush, Brooklyn, and she had attended New Utrecht High School during her teenage years. She told me that she always loved living in Brooklyn and going to Coney Island. Her parents were Russian Jewish immigrants from Minsk, Russia who barely spoke any English.
I really do not recall how my Mom, Trudy, knew an editor from Look Magazine, but I do remember her saying that when she went to the magazine's offices in regard to the publishing of the book, that she did not have her hair done that day. They took her picture unexpectedly for publication, and she was not thrilled about it at the time. Mom also told me that the book might have even been a bigger success, but was unfortunately published near the end of the war when people were losing interest in those kind of stories. Now, of course, the book has seemed to have really regained it's popularity throughout the world according to what I see on the Internet. I wish she were here now to see that, of course!
I do not mean to boast, but my Mother told me that Wendell Ehret thought that she and Linda Darnell (a prominent, well known Hollywood actress of the day), were the most beautiful women he had ever seen, and we are proud of that. And as you know, my Mother was the inspiration for THE DEAR GERTROOD book.
I do not know of any further Cartoon work that Mr, Ehret produced after the war. I do not know if he even has any family, but I did some research on The Web, and learned that he sadly passed away in 1991, and was buried in a Military Cemetery in Riverside, California. I know that he later on had created a Children's book. However, I do not think he has any major publications.
So Mr. Ehret did survive the war, and he returned and wanted to marry my Mom post World War Two, but unfortunately for him, she was not in love with him. She therefore married my Dad in 1947, who was from Manhattan.
After my Mother married my Father, she wanted to take the book further, but my Father became somewhat jealous, I think, and did not encourage her in the least relating to the DEAR GERTROOD book.
Our family lived in Manhattan on The Upper West Side until I was almost eight years old, and then we moved to Westchester County where My Mother lived well into her eighties.
I myself married a gentleman from Connecticut, and have been living in a suburb of New Haven for many years. I have two children and three, (with one on the way) grandchildren. I only lived an hour away from my Mom in Westchester, and visited her often through the years.
Too bad Mr. Ehret did not take his talent further, because he certainly had a great deal of it. And so do you, from what I can see, of course!
Feel free to put the info I have provided on your blog. And if you have any further interests or questions, please write me anytime.
So wonderful to here from "Trudy's" daughter and get all of that history about who she was and what happened to her.
My sincere thanks to Barbara Price for taking the time to correspond with me and pass along more information on DEAR GERTROOD, her mother Gertrude Rubin and the cartoonist Wendell Ehret.