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Monthly Archives: June 1934

June 3, 1934 – Life in Chicago (Storm Clouds Brewing?)

June 3, 1934  – Life in Chicago (Storm Clouds Brewing?)

June 3rd, 1934

Dear ones,

It is already 4 days since I wrote you last. Time goes so very fast a sign that I am having a good time.

It is really very nice here.

I get along very well with both of them [Aunt Henny and Uncle Julius Seckbach] and can play mediator once in a while. Not often necessary.

Every evening the 3 of us take a walk along the lake in the park. For 2 days it was awfully hot and I was glad to stay in the apartment. Not much happened in the meantime.

Walking in the park

Trudel walking past the World's Fair.

Yesterday we went window shopping. One dress or hat shop next to the other. People put much more importance on clothing than in Germany.

The table cloths I brought along were very much liked and welcome, the candies and cookies are almost gone. Please send me the recipe for the cookies soon.

So far I have not contacted anyone here. They are broges* [upset] with Alfred Hamburger since Xmas because of some business affair. Last nite we went to a movie. Now, Sunday afternoon we are going to go for a walk. I do not know where.

The newest sport here is riding bicycles. That is something for me. Tomorrow Aunt Henny and I are planning to go swimming early. I take a shower every day. That is great.

Gas, electric, hot water and heat are included in the rent which is pretty high. This apt. 2 rooms, kitchen and bath cost weekly $25.00. On the other hand clothing and food is very reasonable. Especially fresh fruit which is eaten at any time of the day is very cheap. In Germany I did not used to eat as much fruit in a month as I do here in 1 day. I like especially pineapple.

Love,
Trudel

Lakefront

Lake Front on a Summer Day, 1934


*Trudel wrote “proches,” a French word for “near” in her hand written corrections to a typescript of these letters. However, “broges,” which is is Yiddish for mad or “upset” fits the context. Proches makes no sense in this context.
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June 5, 1934 “Feeding Ice Cubes to the Chickens”

June 5, 1934 “Feeding Ice Cubes to the Chickens”

June 5th, 1934

Dear ones,

You can get here so many things that we did not have at home or they were much, much too expensive. But I also miss some things. For instance malt bonbons, peppermint tea, good chocolate candies, and bakery goods.

It is now Tuesday–11:15 p.m. On Sunday we took a 4 hr. bus ride. Our apartment is on the south east side of Chicago and the cemetery is N.W. so I could see a big part of this big city.

Hyde Park Boulevard


We sat on the top of the 2 decker bus so I could see more on that 2 hr. trip each way. We went along the lake on Michigan Ave, the best and the most expensive shopping area, along the Gold Coast where all the millionaires live and then across the city to the cemetery, then we walked for about ½ hr. west almost to the end of the city. It is hard to imagine the tremendous size of Chicago.

We ate in a German restaurant. There are many Germans here. Yesterday morning I finally made acquaintance with Lake Michigan, at 10:00 a.m. I jumped into the nice cool wonderful water. The only trouble is the cover of soot on top and you feel dirtier when you come out and feels dirtier than when you go in. Also the sand on the beach is very dirty.

Trudel in the Park

Anyway the whole city is rather dirty and the people are very sloppy — not neat at all. There are beautiful parks all around and people sitting and laying on them throw papers and bottles all around. No matter where.

Actually I like Chicago as a City much better than N.Y. It is not so much stores and has those beautiful parks but is much, much more stretched out. Also life seems to be much slower and more at ease.

Pigeons in the Park

Just think of it. I am wearing slacks all day. Even on the street and shopping. Except when I am going downtown. When we went swimming I wore on the way my bathing suit, swim shoes and a short rubber cape. No cap. My comb I took in my hand, and walked home the same way but wet.

Of course I took a shower to get rid of the dirt. Aunt Henny only wore a bathing suit, white shoes and a cape she had made from the brown silk raincoat from 10 yrs. ago.

The rest of the day we sewed, washed, and ironed. I received some clothes in N.Y. including a nice multicolor evening dress which I have to alter a little, Earnale? [Erna is Trudel’s other sister.] Do you need your black one that you loaned me for my trip? I certainly will not use it this summer. But it was perfect for the voyage.

Last night I went with Aunty to her German Singing club. I had to bite my lips not to laugh out loud. It seemed very funny and strange to me. About 4 old women as old and ugly as can be. All German of course. Aunty H. is only Jewish member. I was very nicely received with applause. Afterwards we picked up Uncle at his Gesang Verein and the very friendly and intelligent conductor [of the singers] drove us home in his car.

It is really funny that everybody asks me just about the same questions. First, how do you like it here? Next: How is your father Adolf? It seems all the people I meet know him and want to hear about him and his family and friends.

There are several relatives here but some of them seem to be proches. I do not know why. This afternoon I was downtown with Aunty. We went by streetcar as far as the building made of chewing gum, the Wrigley Bldg. It is all white, very tall, clean and illuminated at night, and really stands out very much against all those other dark skyscrapers.

Wrigley Building

Wrigley Building


We went first to a wholesale hat manufacturer.* One of the two owners is a nephew of Uncle. Unfortunately he was not in, but his partner talked to me and promised to see if they can use me. Aunty does not want me to start working before July 1st. Also I am pretty tired. But I would very much like to start tomorrow.

I hope to get used to Chicago air.

Maxwell Street - One source of Fresh Fruit

[Comment (apparently inserted during translation): It turned out that Mr. & Mrs. Seckbach expected me to be their housekeeper: cooking, washing, ironing etc. But that was absolutely out. — O.K. Back to letter.”]

Next we visited Alice Weil in the Post Office. She was like everybody — very nice — and we made a date for tomorrow evening. Then we visited a sister-in-law of Uncle. He is not on friendly terms with her as apparently with a lot of people. He has a son Martin I have not met yet.

Next the Boston Store, a very large dept. store. The buyer in the fur department was the first lady with whom Auntie made friends when she came here 19 yrs. ago. A very nice lady who she made a date with me for lunch one day next week and introduced me also to the buyer of the ladies hat department, who will do his best in my behalf. Sure hope something will work out soon.

Department Stores and "car elevator"


After that we did a little shopping and then thru Marshall Fields the biggest, dept. store in the world. After picking up Uncle in his office we stopped to buy groceries for the next couple of days before going home.

Uncle is one of the strangest persons I ever met. He seems to earn good money but is as stingy as can be as I have never met anybody before. Auntie seems to know just how to get along with him, also no matter what she says he insists on the opposite. And G’d forbid if one contradicts him. Then he will start talking about it 50 times again. Otherwise he is o.k. when he is left alone.

I get along with him very well so far — also he is not on speaking terms with all his relatives but he seems to like me. It is a good thing he can’t see how I laugh about him behind his back. Last week the 2 had an argument and the next day he brought her a pretty dress from downtown. Apparently he is very fond of her.

Downtown Chicago


He is quite egotistical and can’t stand it if she talks friendly to someone else, and she cannot visit anybody. She wishes I would not got to work at all but keep her company all the time. She is really very good to me. There is not a lot of work here in the apt. except for the dirty soot that comes thru the windows. 5 min. after cleaning the window sills are black again.

Today I had a letter from Gustl. Willy Bloeser called just as I was leaving. She gave him my Chicago phone number and address. When I look around the room here I see all my dear ones several times around the walls. There are even 4 photos of myself. It is now already 12:30 and we have a lot planned for tomorrow. Is it very warm in Frankfurt? It was 90 degrees here today. I do sweat a lot and hopefully will lose some weight.

Aunt Henny

Trudel's Aunt Henny

Loads of love & kisses from your very happy Runaway.

Trudel

P.S. It is so hot here that they are feeding the chickens ice cubes so they won’t lay boiled eggs!!


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*Trudel was trained in millinery [hat making] in Germany.

 

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June 9, 1934 “I have already one order for a hat.”

June 9, 1934 “I have already one order for a hat.”

June 9, 1934

My dear Goldkinder,

Many thanks for Erna’s postal card from Strassburg. I hope you all are o.k. but wish you would write at least to Aunt Henny once.

Wednesday morning I went with her to choir practice and met some very nice people there incl. the director who is from FFM. He is in charge of all the Gesang Vereins German singing societies) here. While they sang I wrote a few letters. Then we did a little shopping and had dinner in a Chinese restaurant.

Did any of you ever eat chop suey? It is a real Chinese dish and I liked it very much. Vegetables I had never heard of. Shrimps and a very tasty gravy. The waiter a Chinese student kept coming to our table to talk to us.

Afterwards we went to Weils. What a pleasure. We had so very much to tell each other. Aunt Jenny? told a lot of ancient stories. It was a lot of fun. Nothing about her sister here. They have not talked together since her husband died 2 yrs ago. What is the sister’s name? I’ll try to find out something.

Jenny claims she wrote 2 long letters to Doddo after they were in Europe a few years ago but you never answered. Is that correct? I doubt it. We talked until 11:30 p.m. I will visit them again next week. The 2 daughters are very nice.

Alice, the younger, works for the post office and Jenny plays piano in concerts and as accompanist for singers etc.

I have never seen such an apt. It is a big hotel, you have to take an elevator up. Then you walk into 1 large room, with a sleeping couch. That is Aunt Jenny’s bed. Otherwise there is a sofa and 2 big easy chairs.

Next to it is a kitchen as practical as can possibly be. In the middle is a gas range with a pilot light burning constantly. To get one of the burners lighted you only have to press a button and the pilot light will turn it on. All you have to do is turn the handle of the burner you want, push the button and the stove is on. Without a match or anything else. The other half of the kitchen is the dining room like in most homes. A table and chairs.

Now back to the living room. There is a big double door and when you open it there is a double bed standing up against the wall. It comes out very easily and it is ready for sleeping. It is called an inador bed. That is where both girls sleep. Like in every apt there is a beautiful bathroom. The closet where the inadoor bed stands has room on both sides for a wardrobe.

Every morning a girl comes to clean the place. All together this costs $60 a week. Can you picture it? It is certainly very practical but would be too small for my taste.

On Thursday the weather was bad. We stayed in bed until noon, and all day at home. Uncle had taken some work home the day before and we just went for a little walk around the neighborhood. We tried to visit a friend of Auntie’s but only her very nice 20 yr old daughter was at home. We had a very pleasant visit although she understood very little German and I notice more and more how little English I really know.

Trudel with uncle

Trudel walking with her uncle on a chilly summer day


She picked me up Friday morning and took me along to the University nearby where she is studying. It was very interesting. We went to 2 lectures but I understood only about 1/3. But I learned a few things anyhow. We ate lunch there and I met 2 more girls one of whom knows Aunt H.

At 3 o’clock my 1st friend here named Edith Grossberg, put me on a bus to meet Auntie downtown. We went again to Marshall Fields which is more like a museum than a store and then to the busiest corner in the world right in the middle of the city corner State and Madison Streets. Here the city is divided in 4 parts. Everyone starts with #1 going east, west, north and south.

There at the Boston Store I bought a very simple white linen suit. Actually a skirt with 3/4 coat for $10. I really needed it because of the terrible heat which I do not like. And then in between there are very cool days. No matter how hot it is one cannot go out without a coat or sweater. The weather can change so fast.

White Linen Suite

Trudel in her new white linen suit

Auntie bought a very nice black wool coat. Also for $10. I will pick up my suit next week since I had no money with me. But they will hold it for me. You can go into the stores and try on all kinds of clothes and leave without buying.

From there we went to pick up Uncle and to eat. Auntie and I went to a movie and Uncle Julius went to a stamp auction. We walked a little to see everything in bright lights. Really beautiful–especially along State St. with all the lighted up shop windows. Looks almost white.

On our trip home at night we always pass the World’s Fair. You cannot imagine all those lights in different colors changing all the time.

Worlds fair at night

Postcard of the World's Fair at Night

This morning we moved furniture around our apt. We all like changes. We re-arranged the furniture in our bedroom and like it better for the time being.

Right now I hear on the radio a song I heard constantly on the boat and saw the movie. Every night when we danced they played it at least once. I liked the melody very much and kept humming it to myself. But now I am getting tired of it. The nice thing about it is the fact that it reminds me of that wonderful time on board. I am not trying to say that it is not nice now. I only worry that I may get too lazy here.

World's Fair at night

A reflecting pool at the World's Fair


On the ship there was constantly something going. Uncle leaves the house at 7:30 a.m. Auntie fixes his breakfast and goes back to bed. We both do not get up until 10 or 11 o’clock. I could find a lot of things to do but don’t feel like it.

Especially I have to learn more English. Unfortunately we only talk German at home. Uncle won’t do it otherwise. He is still more German than American. I too still like my homeland but I cannot understand that after 30 yrs in this country he has not adopted any manners or customs from here. Only what is from Germany is any good. He hates everything from anywhere else even the U.S.A.

On the other hand he does not want to go back. His work is beautiful. It is amazing to watch him and see how diplomas etc. come out so fast and perfect. He is very proud of his talent. A typical artist. He is already 62 yrs old.

Auntie told me a lot about her 19 yrs in U.S.A. this week. It sure had its ups and downs. Whenever she thought things were going well, something happened. Either sickness or a marriage. Now she is trying to do everything to make things nice and pleasant for me. In the beginning she went through a lot of trouble. But in between she also had lots of good times.

Today it is awfully hot again. I am sweating. Yesterday it was so cold that I was freezing in a suit. I have already one order for a hat, but I have to buy myself a wooden hat block first. I am keeping myself very busy, sewing and fixing for Auntie and myself.

Next week I intend to go to Weils 1 day to do some work on their sewing machine. We do not have one. (Actually, we have no furniture except 3 beds. Uncle has a closet in his room and we have a very little one in our room and actually live out of our trunks and suitcases.)

Martin, Uncle’s son, is supposed to come here this evening. So far we have always missed each other. Tomorrow we are going to a picnic of the German choirs. I wonder how that is going to be. At least I will have a chance to dance again. I have missed that.

I am here 6 weeks already and I am sure a lot of things have happened to you which would be very much of interest to me. You really do not have to write as detailed as I but a little more.

Today I received a big package of things that I had left behind in N.Y. It got to be 4:00 p.m. now and I do want to write to a few more people and do some sewing. By the way both Auntie and Uncle asked me to send you their regards when ever I write.

Love,

Your Noodlesoup.

p.s. Uncle just came home and told me that I should come for an interview to his nephew’s wholesale millinery business on Monday.


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June 12th, 1934 – “Do you notice in what good humor I am in today?”

June 12th, 1934 – “Do you notice in what good humor I am in today?”

June 12th, 34
1460 E. 57th St.

Oh my beloved dear ones!

I have written today already 5 letters and 2 postal cards. Now I can wait before writing once more. As I expected, Martin Seckbach did not appear on Saturday, although we stayed home all day waiting for him.

Between 10-11 p.m. Auntie and I sat in the park nearby to get just a little fresh air. On Sunday as planned we went to the picnic of the German choirs.

After traveling 1½ hrs on the L and ½ hour marching we finally landed at a beautiful big park at the German Altenheim. There were long tables with benches and we picked a nice shady place to sit and eat our lunch we had brought along.

Beer Garden

German Beer Garden at the Bismark Hotel

I was really in a gay mood and drank more than I have in a long time – 7 small glasses of beer and 2 hard liquor. I was dancing all the time when not eating.

There was only 1 more Jewish person there. The president of one of those choirs. We spent quite a lot of time walking together Auntie, he and I. He is a very nice guy, 62 yrs old which he does not look, spends a lot of money. The only fault I could find is the fact that he does not dance, but there were plenty others who liked to dance like I do.

Since I was a newcomer I was very popular but people sure have a lot of nerve here, and you cannot be insulted by what they say. I even went on a merry go round. About 10:00 p.m., the wife and 29 yr old son of this Mr. Max Hirsch came to pick him up. The son does not like to dance but did it just for me. He insisted on talking English with me and claimed he understood everything I said.

We made a date for next Saturday. It is a dance from his father’s club and although he does not care about those clubs he will go because I said I was going. Do you notice in what good humor I am today? But that has another reason.

Yesterday morning I spent one hour with Gus Bing, Uncle’s nephew and partner in the very elegant ladies hat factory, Budwig, Inc. The result was that

  1. I will start working there at the beginning of July, 5 days a week for $14.
  2. He gave me a very nice wooden hat block for nothing and a very pretty navy blue taffeta hat.
  3. He will be a delightful boss with loads of money, divorced with 2 children and 40 yrs old.

Trudel working with hat on block (1936?)


I sure hope it all works out o.k., that I know enough and work quick enough.

He was extremely nice. His father was on the Frankfurt opera. He is a real Frankfurter boy.*

From there we went shopping. I got myself a nice suit for $5 not the linen suit I saw last week. I am sorry I did not bring more jewelry, china etc along. You can get very much money for those things here.

My things I have not unpacked yet. Auntie wants to look at it with me to see what I should sell.

We were yesterday in the Italian neighborhood in a store where they buy all those things for good money. I was amazed how much they pay for things. Of course they sell it for double.

Have you ever heard of “Maxwell St.?” We were there too yesterday. It is the Jewish part of Chicago. There is one little shop next to the other, displays and table on the sidewalk and in the middle of the street. Like a big market. Very crowded. One can buy everything there. Shoe laces, fruit, stoves, meat, sausage. You name it, you can buy it there reasonably if you can argue about the price. It is a real mad house. We finally took the streetcar home.

Chicago Street Car

Chicago Street Car (from Chuckman's Collection)


We past by the neighborhood where there was a big fire recently and it was a heartbreaking sight. The homes are built so poorly like cardboard. No wonder they burnt so fast.

Well I am getting a cramp in my hand from writing so much today. It is now 4:00 p.m. and I have been writing since 11:00 a.m. My stomach too is telling me it’s time to stop soon.

Maxwell Street

Actually this is the first day I have stayed home. It is so hot and I did not feel like running around. Tonight we are going to the only brother of Uncle with whom he is still on talking terms. I hope to go to the synagogue before long. Last night we could not go and this morning we did not know where there would be a minyan here in the neighborhood.

I also wrote a long letter to Rabbi Salzberger today. Do you, Pappa talk to him sometimes? Tomorrow night we will go to friends. What is new with you? I will not write again until I get some mail from you Lazy Bones. Have you found an apt? Let me hear some news.

Love and Kisses.

Trudel


*”A Frankfurter boy” means he is from Frankfurt.
Some photos on this page from other sources including CHUCKMAN’S COLLECTION

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June 17, 1934 “The two men got almost into a fight to see which one of them could act as my father. . .”

June 17, 1934 “The two men got almost into a fight to see which one of them could act as my father. . .”

My dear dear ones

I received your letter and it made me very happy.

Today I am asking a big favor. Would 1 of you be nice enough to see if you can get the enclosed negatives printed about 3 x 4″? Here they just do not seem to be able to handle those tiny negatives. And if you can find them I would very much like to have some more of those little films to fit the camera Lou bought me on the way to Hamburg.

Tuesday night we went to Uncle’s brother Max and Rose Seckbach She seems to be slightly arrogant but makes beautiful needle work. She asked me to help her crochet gloves. She has so many orders she cannot fill them alone.

Wednesday night I visited again my new friend, Edith Grossberg. Aunt Henny and Julius were with Mrs. Grossberg at a lecture.

During that time we 2 and her brother took a stroll along the beach.

Beach

Jackson Park Beach (Chuckman's Collection)

A week from today her brother will make a surprise party for Edith. In order that it will be a real surprise I am going to write the invitations. I am coming as a special honored guest.

Thursday Henny and I went downtown again. She bought me for 20¢ a pair of red long hanging earrings. Can you picture me with long dangling earrings? I wore them the next day for lunch at Rose Sechbach’s. Then I sewed a few things on her electric sewing machine. What a pleasure when you do not have to thread all the time.

Afterwards we fixed some sandwiches and went to the Worlds Fair. He, she and her father who is 67 yrs old but looks much younger. He is very funny and I could tell you long stories about him.

Unfortunately it got all of a sudden very cold and windy and we could not see very much at the fair and all were happy when we got home again.

Anyway I saw a few interesting things. Cows being milked electronically, in 10 or 15 minutes they are milked and it is almost no work and it is much more sanitary than by hand. We also walked through a new aluminum streamliner railroad train. It has all possible comforts, has 1st and 2nd class and one could really enjoy traveling a few days and nights that way. We then went through the Hall of Religions where all different religions were displayed.

Stainless Steel train

The Burlington Zephyr. (The train Trudel called aluminum was probably this stainless steel beauty..)

In the Jewish [exhibit] they showed slides of very many famous people and institutions. We also visited the Hall of Science. There is so much to see of everything that one could spend several days to see everything. That even we concentrated on different sicknesses and having babies.

Hall of Science

Hall of Science from Across the Lagoon - Postcard


On the way we stopped at the Hungarian exhibit where I met one of the people from the boat. Although we hardly talked together on the boat, he was very nice. He too comes from Budapest like the nice Mr. Hollander and they were together often. We only stopped for coffee and fritter or small pancake.

Then went home with the I.C. train, short for Illinois Central R.R., the best and fastest transportation between the south side and downtown. I will use that too when I will be working. Then it will take me only 15 min. Too bad that R.R. only goes 1 stretch to Chicago. To get north or west one has to take a miserable streetcar bus or elevated. You cannot picture how much time is wasted on transportation here.

The I.C. train passed the whole World Fair and the many colored lights look beautiful in the dark. For instance the Ford Bldg has a big dome on top of which shine 3 different color lights rotating. From another building 10 blue flood lights illuminate the sky. Each building has its own distinctive lights shining into the sky. Anyhow the whole city looks marvelous at night with all the lights. Every skyscraper has its distinctive illuminations from its top and all lighted up at night. And in between is the beautiful white Wrigley chewing gum building and tower.

Night View of the Fair.

By the way today is Father’s day here. Do we have that in Germany too? I do not seem to remember it.

Knowing that we have yahrzeit on Tuesday, I went alone to Synagogue. We talked about the fact that the 11 months of mourning [for Trudel’s mother] were over on May 15th. The temple I visited is just the way I like it. Very simple beautiful colored windows and the service very much like ours. Of course at first it seemed very strange. Men, without hats, and women sit together. The rabbi just in a black suit nothing on his head. But even so he delivered a beautiful sermon. And I understood almost everything. In this congregation are very many German Jews. It seems they have only Reform, mostly German or Orthodox East European Congregations . Nothing in between.

Right now we have a big thunderstorm and of course I am thinking of you, Doddo. Last night we went to a dance at the Chicago Gesang Verein. Rose’s father [Mr. Koesterlitz?], my new Opa, and a darling niece of his from Leipzig came with us. Herta Kant, the niece is here 7 yrs and expects her mother to come here in the fall. I think we will get together more often. Almost all Aryans again, of course, except the president Max Hirsch. I was dancing constantly. Even Opa with his 67 yrs only sat out 2 dances.

He will do anything I ask him. If I would like to go anywhere I should just call him. He will take me. He had asked a younger man to come along last nigh so I could meet him but he did not show up. Some other time maybe. I never met any one like this fellow. He can entertain a group of people for hours but at the same time tries to flirt with every female. Henny, Herta and I were not enough for him. Really a funny person. Otherwise he is very good hearted. The 2 men got almost into a fight to see which one of them could act as my father until the real Papa comes here. We did not get home until 2:00 a.m.

It is now 7:00 p.m. and I have not been out of the house all day. I slept until 11:00 a.m. and then 4:00 p.m. we rearranged the whole apt until the people who were living here with us finally moved this morning so we have much more room for ourselves. Uncle repaired my nightstand lamp and a flat iron so I can use it. Today I talked to Aunt Jenny Weil who sends regards.

I also had a letter from Willy Bloser. He got the wrong phone # from Mr. Heinzheimer and by the time he finally got the right # I had left N.Y. 3 hrs earlier. Too bad. I also had a letter from Doris. I would be very much interested to know how long it takes for my letters to get to you. I sure hope you save them for me. If it does not cost too much postage I wish you could send me my school report cards etc. Also the black jet dress Auntie could probably use. Anything you do not use or want anymore you can send here. Either we use it, throw it away or sell it. I am very happy to report that I have lost 3 lbs already. It is just complicated to recalculate everything. That’s all now.

Love and kisses.
Regards from Henny and Julius.

[The “aluminum” train Trudel refers to was probably the stainless steel Burlington Zephyr which was a major attraction at the fair. See photos and the information about deluxe facilities on the Pullman cars at http://cityclicker.net/chicfair/Burlington.html]


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June 25, 1934 “Forgive any mistakes I make in my writing. English I do not know yet and German I am forgetting.”

June 25, 1934 “Forgive any mistakes I make in my writing. English I do not know yet and German I am forgetting.”

June 25, 1934. Monday 11:00 a.m.

Dearest Papa, Doddo and Erna,*

Received your nice letter today. Sorry I did not write for more than 1 week but I was really busy and I ask you to forgive any mistakes I make in my writing. English I do not know yet and German I am forgetting. Now I am trying to remember what I have not answered yet.

Three Sisters

Trudel, Erna and Lotte in 1932

The [Greyhound] buses are very similar as at home. The seats are upholstered, leather covered and adjustable. Each armrest is always covered with a fresh white cloth. There are 2 seats on each side of the bus and between a narrow gangway with an emergency seat to fold down. Enough for about 40 passengers. No drinking water but stops every 2 hrs. Either real short just for passengers getting off and on or at mealtimes about 25 min.

The chauffeurs are all very reliable, decent and polite. Martin Seekbach whom I still have not met is such a chauffeur. When he does come we are not home and when we wait for him he does not show up.

Right now I am listening on the radio the Mozart minuette to which Erma and I used to like to dance. Remember? Anyhow the music on the radio is beautiful. Good thing music is international.

Trudel's father, Adolf Adler

Now back to the letters. The red jacket I wore 3 times on the boat. I will not wear it here until winter again. I am remembering [numbering?] my letters to make sure you receive them all.

Marion Hamburger is 19 and Bernice 18 yrs old. The difference in age does not seem to matter here. Often the mother looks younger than the daughter.

I will try to find some interesting catalogues for Lou at the Fair. So far I have not seen anything. Why does Papa never send me a kiss too? Have I answered your questions?

Now I can continue my story. Monday Henny and I went to Leo Joseph, brother of Beatrice Wolfgang. They look very much alike, not as heavy but just as friendly. Since Beatrice had given me only his business address but not the name of the firm we had trouble finding him. But we made it. He is located on the west side where they had such a big fire recently. You probably read about it. He asked me to call his 29 yr old second wife but I have not been able to reach her so far. They live not far from here. He had us driven home in his car and we went through that whole burnt out vicinity.

Fire at Stockyards

Fire at the Chicago Stockyards on the West Side, on May 27, 1934.

In the evening I was home alone for the first time. Uncle and Aunt went singing. I took a little walk along the beach and when I wanted to go home at 8:30 I met the Lindeimer family who were on the ship with me. They live real close to us. I went home with them and met their 25 yr old daughter and a young man from FFM [Frankfurt]. I forget his name. Did not stay long.

Tuesday I sat with Edith Grossberg in the sun at the beach for an hour and roasted. When the weather is nice I cannot go swimming and when I can it either is raining or too cold. That is Chicago weather, I will not talk about it.

In the afternoon I went to Rose Seckbach. There were several German girls including a 19 yr old from FfM but we did not know each other. I stayed for dinner (supper) and afterwards with Rose’s brother, Hans, to the Fair.

First we went to a beautiful concert outside at the Ford Symphony Gardens. They play everyday from 3 to 5 and from 8-10 p.m. for no extra admission. Then we went through some of the exhibits. Sat in the newest model Chrysler. Then we went to the amusement park. He does not care for those rides so we only watched some of them. We ended up in the Canadian Club Cafe’, direct in the lake.

Night time concert at the Ford Symphony Gardens

Picture this — The Fair itself is on the beach. The amusement park on an island connected with the land with 3 bridges. This restaurant is on one of the bridges and you sit right by the water and all around are those beautifully illuminated buildings. My cavalier is an excellent dancer. There is a very good dance orchestra and also shows: dancing, acrobats, singing etc. Some of it really wonderful. One woman dancer is completely naked but painted with black laquer all over. Really interesting.

We did not get home until 1:30 a.m. and I spent the night at Rose and Mack’s home. Hans and his father live there too. Rose told me the next morning that it has been years since her brother stayed out after midnight in the middle of the week. When he comes home from work he will probably complain how tired he is and will go to bed at 8:00 p.m. But believe it or not that did not happen. We went out together again that night. We went to a very dressy Jewish hall in one of the best hotels here on the south side.

Aerial view of World's Fair

Aerial View of the Fair

I met a few nice people and probably lost a few pounds it was so hot. I never sweated that much even with hot pad, aspirin and 3 blankets although I was dressed as light as possible. As we came home at midnight it started pouring. He is very nice but can you see me with a man with a mustache. He is close to 30 and has together with 2 brothers a very good business and the thing I like best is the fact he takes me to real nice places.

On Thursday his father, my Opa took me downtown where I had a date with Herbert Pohl. Although we did not know each other we did find each other and the 3 of us went to lunch together. I like Pohl very much and we had a very nice time together.

Unfortunately he travels a lot and spends very little time in Chicagio Opa gave him his phone number so he can get in touch when he is in town again. We have no phone as yet.

Afterwards I met Edith Grossberg and her parents and we went to the movies after [based on?] a German book together. I went home with them for dinner and early home. Mr. Grossberg is a big lawyer and very nice like his wife and daughter.

On Friday it was so cold that I wore a warm suit. In the afternoon we were downtown and in the evening Uncle and I went to a German movie on the north side. Henny had to sing somewhere around there and after eating together we separated. Saturday morning I picked up Mr. and Mrs. Lindheimer and we went together to the synagogue and afterwards ran into Opa, who had made some visits in the neighborhood and was on his way home. Instead he went with us to visit several other refugees. Some were busy and others took time to visit. Opa took me for lunch. Henny had to go downtown to arrange about work at the Fair.

Al Jolson

Wonder Bar

After changing clothes because it was so hot we went again to a movie, Wonder Bar, with Al Jolson, It was the first American movie I really liked. While Uncle got cleaned, shaved etc., for the weekend and Opa kept me company, I received a telegram from his son Hans — the best way to communicate when you have no phone.

[to be continued]

*“Doddo” is the nickname for Trudel’s sister Lotte. Erna was her other sister.

 

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June 26, 1934 “This is the life but I am very much looking forward to start working next week.”

June 26, 1934 “This is the life but I am very much looking forward to start working next week.”

Cont’d Tuesday 6/26 12:30 a.m.

Congratulations on passing your driver’s test Doddo.

This morning after listening to some garbage on the radio I turned the dial and heard List’s Hungarian Rhapsody #2. I certainly enjoyed that and made the beds twice as fast as usual.

On Saturday night we were all together at the Fair. First at the Ford Symphony Gardens. Then Hans K. and I got lost in the big crowd. Henny worked until 9:00 p.m. She sells costume jewelry.

We two lost ones went again to the Canadian Club Cafe and while we were dancing a horrible storm broke out. Everybody ran for shelter.

Canadian Club Cafe

Canadian Club Cafe

I ran to the table where I had left my purse and gloves and my hat blew off my head and disappeared. It was a nice white cap which I got in N.Y. and fixed just right for me. Now it is gone.

I really never experienced weather like that. Everything that was not tied down blew over and away. And of course a real big thunderstorm with constant lightening and pouring rain. All day the weather had been beautiful but within 1 min it changed so drastically.

Everybody of course tried to get into the building and in spite of those very many people we were lucky enough to get a little table right next to the dance floor and we were also very honored to have Jewish Gov. Horner, the head of the State of Ill. at the table right next to us. He and his company of 6 men and 1 lady sounded very happy. One of his companions went on the stage with the dancing girls and just danced with them. It was a scream.

Henry Horner

Governor Henry Horner

After it stopped raining finally we took a walk in the beautiful fresh washed air and got home about 1:00 a.m. Saturday Aunty worked, like every day now at the fair and Uncle and I took care of the house.

Now I have to make a comment. Really they had expected me to be their housekeeper. But as you know I am not good at that. I do not know how to cook, I do not like to clean, wash and cannot iron. That made it very difficult.

Now back to the letter [that I started yesterday.] Sunday afternoon I went to Grossbergs to help prepare things for the party in the evening.

We found a new club similar to the one I belonged to at home. Mr. Grossberg and another man made very interesting speeches. I had asked in advance that they should not call on me to talk. I just answered the questions I was asked as short as possible. I met a few very nice people there.

Yesterday afternoon I was at Hamburgers. They live in a 2 room apt. That means kitchen and 1 room. Nebbich. Their daughter is married since 2 yrs to a non Jewish Communist. They live in the same building. The son, a nice, tall, good looking fellow lives with a non Jewish young man just a few doors away. He too is a big Communist.

Alfred has not changed very much but looks very come down and not very well. We both were happy to see each other. He is just as nice and friendly as ever and wanted to know all about you and sends his very best regards.

Apparently he earns good money but does not know how to handle it. Of course he has to have a car. It won’t do otherwise. Mrs. Hamburger and the children belong to a theater club. They write their own plays and then perform them. It is a mixed group of whites and blacks and they meet three times a week and she does not get home until after midnight. I cannot figure out what he [Alfred Hamburger?] does during that time.

I went with them to their meeting that night, but it was very strenuous for me to understand.

When I came to their place they first served me ice cream and then we went to a restaurant for dinner. Everybody was very nice to me. Alfred’s business is selling walking canes at the Fair. They are very popular since there is so much walking. There is also man with scales. For 5¢ you are weight after the man takes a guess of your weight. If he guesses wrong you get one of those walking sticks.

I like being home alone here. This morning, Opa kept me company while I did some ironing (Liss, Where are you?) and fixed a Panama hat for myself. He took me for lunch in my slacks. Later I will pick up Edith Grossberg. We are planning to throw ourselves into Lake Michigan for a nice swim.

ILLINOIS CENTRAL ELECTRIC

Illinois Central downtown. Were they electrified in 1933?

Last night I had a big surprise. Aunt Henny had an accident in the I.C. train but fortunately not bad. As she was trying to get onto the train there was so much space between the entrance and the platform very hard to see and she slipped into that opening with her right leg. Fortunately people near her helped her right away, but she feels and looks awful. Luckily the train was standing real still at the time.

Uncle Julius treated her heal well last night and this morning and she went anyhow this morning to work at the Fair. We hope she will have no more accidents.

Julius is planning to buy me a bicycle. But I think it is too dangerous to ride to work downtown with all that traffic. And on weekends and evenings I hope to have something else and better to do than go bicycle riding with that old man. I rather look for somebody with a car.

It does not have to be a multi-millionaire as Ernale suggested. I’ll be satisfied with a little less. Did you get a chance to have my photos done?

Now I will get into my bathing suit, slacks and a pair of shoes, take a comb and house keys in my hand and pick up Edith. This is the life but I am very much looking forward to start working next week.

Jackson Park Beach

Jackson Park Beach

Love and kisses.

Trudel


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June 30, 1934 “Fortunately I can see every thing as funny . . .”

June 30, 1934 “Fortunately I can see every thing as funny . . .”

June 30, 1934

This is an extra personal letter. Do not show to everybody.*

Well, Aunt Henny has had the same [medical condition] as our Mother, only they found it before her stomach was affected. She has no trouble at all now but is very nervous.

But he [Trudel’s uncle, Julius] has a lot to do with that. He cannot get along with anybody. Not his own brothers and sister. So last year Henny just walked out on him. He tried hard to make her come back but she refused.

Since they were not divorced she needed his signature to send me the papers. So she went to his office and promised him to go back to him if he signed those papers. He naturally was very willing to do that. So now I am guilty that the 2 are living together again after 1 yr separation.

And how are they living? His bed is in the kitchen, hers and mine are in the so called “good room”. In the 3rd room lives a friend of his. The only person he gets really along with.

Trudel with uncle

Uncle Julius with Trudel

This Mr. Miller is married and his wife and 4 children live in San Francisco. His wife is here now for a few days visit.

Can you imagine this household. Julius is very fond of Henny but also very jealous. Anyway they are always fighting and neither one will give in. To me it really seems funny.

[Comment: My parents never had an argument in front of us girls. If they had any differences of opinions they discussed it behind closed doors. So this fighting was actually miserable for me–of course the main thing is they both are very nice to me.]

There is no use my looking for work right now. Maybe I can do something at the Fair.

Unfortunately we talk only German here at home. Julius hates everything else even U.S.A. He only loves Germany even now. He has all kinds of funny ideas.

Henny

Aunt Henny

Actually I had thought Henny to be much neater, cleaner and orderlier. What a difference between her and the wonderful people in N.Y.

Please do not let anybody know about this. I would be very embarrassed if it came back to them. I am very happy and do not give a darn. Fortunately I can see every thing as funny and hope to continue that way. Just in case I should not like it here I know I will always be welcome to go back to N.Y. Actually Aunt Henny and I get along very well–so far.

So this closes that special report.

Love,
Trudel


* My brother, Ray, Trudel’s other son, and I, discussed whether to include this letter. Because neither Henny or Julius is still alive and they did not have any survivors, so far as we know, we felt it would not be inappropriate to include this important part of her story. Len, one of Trudel’s sons.

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