January 8, 1936
Happy New Year, a little belated.
I stayed home today because I have a very sore throat.
I took care of “Sully’s” hat shop while she was in N.Y. Aunt Henny kept me company a few hours there every day until she went to Florida. Henny was as sweet and nice as when I first came to Chicago. She finally left by bus for Florida.On the 24th, we had a nice party at C-R Millinery, which is named for its owners and was my main job. Every girl brought a 10¢ present, put on long strings, put it all in a big sack and each of us pulled a string and got a little gift package. Besides we each paid 25¢ for food: cold cuts, bread, salad, cucumbers, potato salad, coffee, cake and ice cream. The company donated a box of candies for each worker. One boy brought a radio, so we had music and danced a little. Mr. Roedelsheimer came for the 1st time since a severe operation and that added much to the fun of the party. Mr. Cohn always has a long, sad face. After the party, I stopped by Sully’s where everybody was drunk already. I went home, changed clothes and met Leonard at Bishops and received nice Xmas gifts.
New Year’s Eve and day we spent also with the Bishops. We went to a very different nightclub, called ‘Grand Terrace,’ the first time I was at a place like that where black and white people are together. I have to tell that the black people, including the wife of Joe Louis, behaved much better than the white folks. The orchestra, waiters and actors are black and very good, nice and clean.
I got a letter from Aunt Henny. Even in warm Florida she got a bad cold with back pain. Nothing special.
Trudel’s comments about the Grand Terrace, which was at 3955 South Parway and was reputedly one of Al Capone’s clubs, ring true. See the following notes from a website devoted to a woman named Audrey Vallette, a contemporary of Trudel’s whose path may have crossed with Trudel’s before Audrey’s tragic death.
“Swankiest of the Blackbelt night clubs, and one of the oldest. It is richly furnished and there is plenty of room for black, white, and intermediate shades. The floor show is elaborate and contains some of the most attractive colored chorines west of Harlem, as well as lively tap dancers and vaudeville teams. Music is furnished by Hines’ band, which is nothing if not “hot.” Saturday night is the big night at the Grand Terrace. Many of the patrons are white, this place being too expensive for the hordes of Negro nighthawks, but there are enough dusky damsels and high-brown gentlemen to give the place color.”
(Drury, John. Dining in Chicago, New York: The John Day Company, 1931, pp. 252-253.)
“During 1936 at the Grand Terrace Ballroom, where Fletcher Henderson was appearing with his own band, Benny Goodman played in front of the band with Gene Krupa sitting in on drums. This is perhaps the first time that black and white jazz musicians played together before a paying audience.”
For more information about Audrey Vallette see the website The Unsolved Murder of Audrey Vallette.