Tag Archives: Birthday

Sept. 5, 1934 “I am really lucky. Last week I left my billfold on a counter at Woolworth . . . .”

Sept. 5, 1934 “I am really lucky. Last week I left my billfold on a counter at Woolworth . . . .”

Sept 5th, 1934

To Papa’s birthday I am sending my best wishes. [I am trying to translate my German poetry but can’t.]* Anyhow I hope he is celebrating the day happy and well with the rest of the mishpoche.

Last week nothing special occurred. Henny took off from work for a week. She really needed the rest very much. One evening she picked me up at work and we went to a movie “A Modern Hero.” Then we went to spend the rest of the evening at Grossbergs.

a modern hero

Teasdale and Barthelmess in "A Modern Hero"

The next night we went to the Fair. First to a concert at the Ford Symphony Gardens. Then I invited her to a free Auto Round Trip thru streets all over the world. The road we traveled was paved differently in small sections. Samples from all over all around on one big plaza. Even a sample of the “Bergstrasse.” We drove slowly around that Plaza to be able to see it all. We then went to a village called the Bowery. A copy of the one in N.Y. Do you remember that Papa? They had a nice program — real old town type.

Black Forest Village

Black Forest Village

Then we went to the Black Forest, the most popular and best place this year with excellent dancers on ice. It is such a pleasure to see that ice while it is so hot outside. After 4 days of rain it is thank G’d not so hot anymore. Unfortunately the weather was very bad over Labor day which caused a big loss for the fair.

Aerial View of Villages

Labor day is a big holiday here and the last day of school vacations. Aunt Henny and I were driven by friends to Michigan City on Saturday afternoon. About 3 hrs drive. We went to the beach there and finally after much effort found a room to stay. It must be beautiful there in nice weather. Woods and hills and delightfully quiet all near the lake.

Bathing Beach near Michigan City, Indiana

One can buy or rent a house any size there and either spend the weekends or all summer there. They are real little shacks called “cabins” consisting of 1 room, kitchen and porch all made of wood on the ground floor, and lots of land around it. The space only costs $29 a month. Then of course there are bigger and fancier houses too as high as $200 and more. Since there is very poor transportation one has to have a car to enjoy a place like that.

The friend who drove us there went back to Chicago the same evening. We just took it very easy all day Sunday. But the way home! We took a bus into Michigan City hoping to catch a train home but all the trains were so crowded we could not get in. After trying for over 1 hr to stop a car we finally got a ride with a nice young couple and his sister from Cleveland. As reward for taking us we had them stay with us over night.

On Monday, Labor day, I loafed around the house all day until Opa surprised me and took me to a movie “Operator 13.” A very nice good spy film.

If any movie comes to Ffm [Frankfurt] with Shirley Temple be sure to see it. She is the smartest, nicest little girl. She made very popular the songs “Three little Pigs and the Big Bad Wolf.” And also “Three Little Piggies went to Market.”

Labor Day 1934

And that just reminds me that after you pay for your admissions at the movies theater the tickets come out of a little slit in front of the cashier behind a little fence and any change you have coming comes down like on a slide into a little container so it’s easy for you to take it. Wish I could explain it a little better.

Yesterday I had a nice letter from Solingen. He is o.k., writes very nice and will write Ernst soon too. Have you seen or heard anything from Stavenhagens lately? I wrote to them 3 times already but have not heard anything from them.

How is Mrs. Bergen? What about your apartment? Why do you not write anything about Alex’s silver leather? I would be very interested. Did you start the [Jewish] New Year o.k. I filled out a form and got a free ticket for the synagogue.

What else is new? I have not heard from you sweet people for 10 days again. How did the apple jam turn out? Weils are sending best regards as always. I have a date with them for next Saturday again.

I am really lucky. Last week I left my billfold on a counter at Woolworth and when I came back one hour later it was still there.

Now Aunt Henny joins me in our very best wishes for Papa on his birthday.

My love and kisses– fast well.

* [I believe the comment that I enclosed in brackets was made when Trudel translated her letters into English. Editor]

Shortlink to this post:


Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

December 2, 1934 “Here Santa Claus does not arrive until Xmas but I will try to celebrate on the usual date.”

December 2, 1934 “Here Santa Claus does not arrive until Xmas but I will try to celebrate on the usual date.”

Dec. 2, 1934

My dear Goldkinder,

It is again 1 week since I wrote to you last. Those seven days really go much too fast. Actually I have been writing to you too often lately and am neglecting all my other correspondence. But what am I to do if I always have so much to tell you. Yesterday I received Doddo’s nice letter with the “good luck” penny. It made me very happy. At the same time I received a birthday letter from Ilse.

The tin can from N.Y. has not arrived here yet and I am very much looking forward to it.

Here Santa Claus does not arrive until Xmas

Here Santa Claus does not arrive until Xmas but I will try to celebrate on the the usual date. [St. Nicholas Day is observed on December 6th in much of Europe. Presents were often opened the night before, which happened to be Trudel’s Birthday. Trudel’s Son]

Actually it makes sense that Santa Claus arrives here 2 weeks later. After all it took me 14 days to come here. Anyhow on my birthday it will be exactly 7 months since I left my beautiful Ffm. [Frankfurt am Main, Germany]

Trying to understand why some mail arrives opened

Isn’t it strange that only Doddo’s letter arrived opened? I used to think it was because of the business return address but the one I received yesterday had Beethoven Strasse as the return address. And it wasn’t because of that penny because Ilse’s letter had two hankies and a little box enclosed and was not opened. Anyway many many thanks for all your good wishes and the penny.

Postcard from the Rathskeller

Last Sunday after seeing “A Summer Nights Dream” in English we went to a new restaurant for a change. Just a block away from Leonard’s office. It is a real nice rathskeller, good food and nice dance music.

Monday we did not start work until 1:00 p.m., so I ate lunch with the very nice sister of Miss Samuel who works in a big department store downtown. She works on the 20th floor and when I am not busy I visit her sometimes.

By the way please excuse the ink spots in this letter. I dropped and broke my new 25¢ fountain pen.

Last week I made unintentionally a joke

Last week I made unintentionally a joke. Instead of saying about you girls sitting at your business all day I said on their business which means on top of the work.

Monday I was at Aunt Henny’s for a change. Tuesday eve I was home for a change. Actually, I was at the landlord’s. He gave me permission to sew on his sewing machine and we just visited a little afterwards with him and his wife and another couple who also live in the building. We listened to soft radio music until I thought it was time for me to retire.

Wednesday after work I went to see a German doctor who is here one year from Berlin. I got his address from a man in the wholesale millinery business.

After visiting for a little while we took the bus to the South Side together. On the way I stopped at Lindheimers who seemed very happy to see me. Since they had had supper already they heated up some German style red cabbage for me. I had not really intended to eat there but they did not let me leave until I finished the cabbage and the sausage. That is the big difference. Americans offer one only a cigarette or candy.

Aunt Henny took me to a new very rich customer

Then I met Aunt Henny who took me to a new very rich customer. I was there about 2 hrs and took only 6 hats with me to alter.

The only trouble is the fact that I have to pretend I am from France since only fashions from Paris are o.k. for her. While we were there her very snobbish daughter in a gorgeous evening dress was picked up by 2 young men in dress suits and top hats. Can you imagine?

Next Tuesday I will go there again and I hope she will be satisfied. I ripped all the hats apart and pinned them together as I thought they should look. She seemed to be satisfied with my ideas. She took a very beautiful gold bracelet, took it apart to put as trimming on 1 of the hats. It can always be repaired again. I wish I had 100 customers like that, then I would not have to work in a shop for somebody else.

Thursday we had a Holiday “Thanksgiving”

Xmas Decorations

Christmas on State Street

Thursday we had a Holiday “Thanksgiving.” Since I slept until 4:00 p.m. we skipped breakfast and had at 5 o’clock turkey dinner which is eaten here at this time of year like we had goose at home. On Tuesday we had a raffle at work so 1 of us could buy Turkey dinner. We will do the same once more before Xmas. You have no idea how much fuss they make here about Xmas although they only celebrate 1 day.

Friday we had a day off from work and I was bored all day which gave me time to work on those 6 hats. Yesterday morning, Chanukkah, I had intended to go to synagogue but was too busy.

I visited the uncle of the Berlin doctor. He is in the millinery business and he promised to let me hear from him when the season starts in January. He asked me a few questions in German and I did not realize till much later that I answered him in English.

For lunch I met Edith Grossberg plus father, brother and another lady. On the way I stopped to have some photos taken — 9 for 25¢. All very nice. Hope you like the enclosed.

Everything is beautifully decorated

Before going to Leonard’s office I did some window shopping. Everything is beautifully decorated, especially in the large toy departments. In the dept stores are so many people one can hardly get thru.

Mandel Brothers Tarzan Xmas display

Mandel Bros Dept Store Window

In the evening we had again dinner with the Singers, the portrait painter and his wife and then saw an excellent movie. Sorry I forgot the name. On the way home we stopped in a drug store for hot chocolate and afterward we sat for 2 more hours in their apartment.

Today, as usual on Sundays, I slept late. From 4 to 6 we were with Leonard’s adorable little girl in the Madison Park Hotel for dinner. I sang German songs to her.

And now as usual we are in his office. I really enjoy helping him at work. I can usually guess which book he needs next and I find it in his library of about 1000 books and after open it on the page he needs.

I hope we are going home early tonight. Before going to work tomorrow morning I want to work on those 6 hats.

I wonder if Aunt Henny will go to Florida this year.

I wonder if Aunt Henny will go to Florida this year. She keeps talking about it. But she wants to in the first place not give up her very lucrative Xmas card business now and 2nd she has not received any money from Julius yet and that has to be taken care of. He has paid the Aunt’s lawyer, Mr. Grossberg the 1st installment and Mr. Grossberg took me out for a wonderful lunch because of that.

I do not know what is wrong with Weils. After I explained that I am always busy on Sat and Sunday nights she replied that they are out every evening during the week and only home Sat and Sun. That is just the opposite of what other people do here. Well, we’ll get together 1 of these days.

I hope–I hope you are getting used to your new apt and feel as content there as I do in my Paradise here. Now I cannot think of anything else to tell you except that I ate oysters for the 1st time last week and did not like them.

My love and greetings to one and all.

Your loving,

Shortlink to this page:


Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

December 5 – A Birthday Tribute to Trudel

December 5  –  A Birthday Tribute to Trudel

A note from the editor:
Trudel was born on December 5, 1912 and died on October 12, 2007. By then she had had two sons, four grandchildren, and two great grandchildren, and now a third as well. She was known affectionately by all as “Omi.” A dozen years ago she was honored by her synagogue for a half century of volunteerism and participation. On that occasion, her granddaughter, my daughter Sarah Pelton, made some very special remarks. I thought that on the anniversary of her birthday I would share my daughter’s tribute with Trudel’s fans and followers, to give you an idea of the rich life the young woman you are meeting on these pages had over the next three quarters of a century. Today would have been her 99th birthday.

By the way the “Omi Cookies” Sarah refers to in this tribute are the same kind of cookies Trudel so eagerly awaited from Germany in her last letter and which she will talk about in the next. The recipe is at the bottom of the page.

A Tribute to Omi

Trudel and Sarah at Trudel's 90th birthday tribute

Trudel and Sarah at Trudel's 90th Birthday Party

I’d like to tell you a little story so that you can see my grandmother, Trudel Grossman, through her family’s eyes.

With two honks of the horn of her ‘88 Oldsmobile, Omi, my grandma lets us know she’s arrived for the usual Shabbos dinner at the Grossman house. Omi and Shabbos have come hand in hand for as long as I can remember. On Friday nights we have always alternated dinner at our house and dinner at Omi’s.

The car door opens and out climbs my tiny, high heeled, 86 year old grandmother. She makes her way to the top of our stairs loaded with shopping bags filled with all sorts of things from a dress she mended for me earlier in the week to slips of paper covered with questions she doesn’t want to forget to ask us.

As Omi comes through the door off comes her hat, which by the way she made herself, which makes her hearing aide whistle. Omi fidgets with her hearing aid for a few seconds until the high pitched sounds stops and then takes a seat on the stairs and hands out the goodies from her many shopping bags.

Omi then makes her way to the mirror in the front hall and pulls out her small brush and whisks her soft, thin, grey hair back into a short pony tail. I take a look into the mirror and see a strong, remarkable woman. A loving grandmother, mother, and friend who still drives all across the Chicago area doing errands for not only herself but other people.

After that we make our way over to the dining room. Each of us taking our usual spot. We say the blessing over the candles, the kiddish, and the motzi and then mom brings out dinner. With her usual appetite ( ya know she’s really got a somewhat surprising appetite for the 5 foot petite woman she is) Omi carefully chews off every last bit of chicken from the leg bone. Nothing is ever left on Omi’s plate, or left unused for that matter.

Even ripped nylons don’t go to waste in Omi’s house. She cuts them up and uses them as bands later to hold together anything and everything.

After dinner dad puts on the pot of coffee. While the coffee is brewing I take my place behind Omi’s chair to give her a massage while she tells about her week. She volunteered at the Mount Sinai Resale shop where she recently began doing their book keeping. Omi visited her friend Trudle at her Nursing home in Skokie twice, took her friend Maggie shopping, and did the synagogue’s shopping as well, she went the health club twice for her weekly swim and hot tub treatment, went to Friday night services at the Temple and somewhere in there she found the time to make a batch of her famous Omi cookies to send back to school with me.

For those of you who don’t know, Omi Cookies are a Trudel Grossman Specialty, she’s famous nation wide among her grandchildren’s friends because of these cookies. She has sent them everywhere. To Camp OSRUI in Wisconsin and with all of us on our various trips to Israel. Omi Cookies are simply very thin butter cookies.

But like Omi, looks can be deceiving, they may not look all that special on the outside but they are one of my favorite treats.

Some of you might remember the days when we all used to take a bus up to the Kallah [Synagogue annual retreat]. The bus ride home was never complete without the unveiling and distribution of Omi Cookies. I can remember being six years old and being so proud to pass out MY Omi’s cookies to everyone on the bus!

Trudel in Driver's Seat


As I finish Omi’s massage, Dad brings in the coffee and we have dessert. Once the last drop of coffee and the final bite of the desert she said she should not eat are gone, Omi gets ready to leave.

Hugging everyone goodbye and grabbing the now empty Jewel bags to reuse later Omi and I walk outside. Once she climbs back into her car, she gives us one farewell wave, and she drives away into the night.

Omi’s life has not been easy but through it all she has remained positive and has always given of herself. She has taught my Cousins Aryn, Maris, Seth and me the importance of perseverance and how to survive horrible things and never complain. She has really taught me who I want to be and what qualities are important to have in order to get by in life and still remain a person that you can be proud of.

Thank you Omi.

Trudel’s Famous Butter Cookie Recipe “Omi Cookies.”

Dough (which can also be used for pie crusts):
1 stick butter
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg
1/4 tsp vanilla flavoring
2 cups flour

1 egg
1/4 cup milk

Trudel's Kitchen

Trudel in Her Cozy Kitchen

let butter soften
mix after adding each ingredient
roll dough into sausage shape
slice as thin as you can (Omi used a cheese slicer)
put on cookie sheet lined with wax paper
spread glaze thinly over slices
bake for 20 min. at 275 degrees

Guten Appetit!

Thanks to another of Trudel’s granddaughters, Aryn Froum, who reports that Trudel told her this recipe while they were baking them in her cozy kitchen several years ago.

Shortlink to this post


Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

December 9, 1934 – “Nobody else here knew that it was my birthday…”

December 9, 1934 – “Nobody else here knew that it was my birthday…”

[In English at the top of the letter]

Dear Ones:

If I had known Trudel always had goose on her birthday she would have had another one on Dec. 5th. So I was her only goose this year.

With love to you all,

Dec. 9, 1934
My dearest dear ones.


Saengerhalle in Niederrad

Isn’t it funny that I received a very nice birthday letter without a signature? Anyway there was a lipstick kiss under it and the postmark was Niederrad. So of course I can guess who wrote it. I also had a real sweet letter from Tante Ulli. She has always been so nice to me and I am glad you brought her something.

Well, another week has gone by and I have a few things to tell you. It is real miserable weather today. Quite cold and a little snow. Since yesterday I have my annual cold and decided to make myself comfortable in the lobby of the Devonshire Hotel, instead of joining Leonard and his darling girl. Later he drove to a radio station.

Devonshire hotel

Devonshire Hotel

Leonard was a wonderful nurse last night and this morning gave me the key to his room in case I do not feel well and want to lay down on his bed while he is gone all afternoon and evening. But, thank G’d I am now feeling much better except having a continuously running nose.

Now most important I thank you sooo much for the cookies and the “22.” It all arrived on time and is almost gone already. I took a piece of one of the the 2s with me to work and divided it with the workers at my table. Liss’s ears must have been ringing an awful lot, from the praises the girls sang over her baking.

Stollen shaped into candy cane

Stollen Shaped into a Candy Cane. The "22" referred to by Trudel was made of two stollen, each shaped into the number 2 in honor of Trudel's 22nd Birthday.

Leonard sure likes the butter cookies. If the box was near him it would be empty by now. This morning between the broken cookies I found 1 saying “Trudel”. Will I find some more surprises?

Actually the “22” was perfect while most of the cookies were broken but they taste just as well.

Aunt Henny gave me a very pretty necklace of hers which she had loaned me a few times during the summer. Leonard gave me a box of candy and since we both are very practical he had me buy a very nice 3 piece knit suit which came very handy today!

As soon as we both have time he wants to buy me a pair of nice black shoes. On the 5th we met after work and went for a delicious–no goose–dinner and then to a horse show.

The young beautiful wife of one of Leonard’s friends was in the show. We went afterwards for a cup of coffee and came home very late in a big snow. Nobody else here knew that it was my birthday but I received loads of mail which of course unfortunately have to answer all.

Old Heidelberg

Old Heidelberg

Since we did not find that nice couple on Wednesday we met them last night. We had a wonderful dinner at “Old Heidelberg” a real German very nice restaurant. Then we went to a Burlesque show. It probably was for me the 1st and the last time that I look at something like that. I really do not care to see all these almost naked women.

The very nice young wife of Leonard’s friend was anxious to see it. She was once in shows like that herself and now she is married to this very wealthy man. Leonard once represented her in court and she is very thankful to him for that.

On Friday I finished the hats for my new customers and received yesterday a $12 check for it. Isn’t that nice. That pays for 3 weeks room rent. For the porcelain figure I got $10. The lady would have liked to buy some more. Aunt Henny sold her for $10 the blue sweater, cap and shawl that I had given her. I wish I had just a little of her business ways.

Gwen Bishop

Gwen Bishop

On Tuesday we visited another brother of Julius Seckbach. His mother-in-law died last week and we thought this is a good time to visit them. Well, I used to think that we 3 sisters did not look much alike but I never saw such a difference between 3 brothers. And the 4th brother, who had been run over by a car, looked all together different too.

I kept looking at this man all the time because I could not imagine how he could be a brother of Julius. Anyway that day Aunt Henny received the 1st payment of $14 that the court ordered Julius to pay her. Enclosed was a very nasty note. Not only a lot of lies but trying in vain to give me a bad name. He tried to tell Dr. Grossberg that I was dating a married man, but he knew that Leonard has been divorced for over a year. Julius is such an idiot. People who know me know what to think of me and people who do not know me I could not care a bit what he tells them. By the way with this 3rd brother he is completely out. They do not talk together at all.

As you probably know Aunt Henny had the same cancer as our dear Mother but fortunately she thinks that it was found in time and completely removed. Now, this idiot talks about it in that letter! I sure hope she is right.

While I am writing I am listening to beautiful music on the radio. They are now playing a beautiful waltz and I can hardly sit still.

RCA Radio

Your new apartment must be very nice. Everybody tells me about it very enthusiastically. How is the new car? Does it start o.k.?

Everybody writes about the new theatre, it must be really very busy. By the way that letter without signature was the only one of the 12 I received this week that had been opened. Please do not write with business return addresses. Tomorrow I have a date with Hans Werthan who had already his appendix removed in the 10 weeks he is here. On Tuesday I hope to go ice skating. And now I will close and go to eat something downstairs in the Hotel Restaurant.

Love and kisses,


Note: Here is a link to an excellent discussion of how to make Stollen.
The recipe for the butter cookies is in the previous post at

Shortlink to this page:


Tags: , , , , , , ,

April 12, 1935 ” I am just thinking how much we laughed…”

April 12, 1935 ” I am just thinking how much we laughed…”


My very dear Bubele:*

Everything good and best wishes etc, etc, to you. I hope that both my letters to you with some underwear arrived OK. One I sent to your job and the other home. Hopefully they fit you and you like them and that you will wear them in good health and happiness. I am just thinking how much we laughed when one year ago today we tried to arrange the gift for Alex in our dining room.

Trudel profile with hats


I am again writing in my lunch time. It is very nasty outside. Rain and strong wind. It is hard to walk. My black rain coat is sure welcome now. Tuesday night when I was again at Aunt Henny, I took the fur off my gray coat. I like it almost better that way.

Monday I finally had a haircut again. I like it that way – real short.

While waiting for Leonard in his office on Wednesday I wrote a few letters again, called a few people, including Fanny Ratzenstein, whom I could not reach. I also for the first time took some business calls for Leonard. I am a little cautious about that. I always think people will not understand me on the phone. But I had no difficulties.

Trudel's Warm Gray Coat

Trudel's Warm Gray Coat (with fur)

Last night I was in bed at 8:30 p.m. but did some sewing until 10:00 p.m. I wrote you that I had to make my brown skirt tighter. That is not finished yet. I should make all my clothes tighter on the bottom, which indicates that I am getting a more adjusted figure.

Tonight I will go to Samuels again. They had their 2nd grandchild on Sunday and will have the bris next Sunday.

Aunt Jenny met Julius S two weeks ago but only talked with him very shortly. When I go to them for dinner tomorrow she will tell me what they talked about.

My ink has run out again so I have to continue with pencil. Actually there is not much I have to tell you today. No wonder – this is letter #13 for this year.

Yes, I think this is all my dumb brains can get together today.

For all of you, heartiest greetings and kisses. A special birthday kiss for you, dear Bubele.

Your loving


“Bubele” was Trudel’s sister Erna, whose birthday was in late April. Alex eventually became Erna’s husband. The next day LJG wrote a handwritten Birthday greeting to Erna.
LJG Birthday Greetings

Letter to Erna

Click on the thumbnail to see the letter at a legible size. A typescript of the letter is set forth below.

April 13, 1935

Dear Erna:

Happy birthday to you. Many jolly returns of the day! The day you were born was and is an important event in dear Trudel’s life – even tho’ it first occurred three years before she was even a bright idea in her Father’s mind. How much you mean to her — How much happiness your thoughtful love has always meant to my sweetheart you can never know, and makes you very precious to me. Instead of writing you congratulations, I wish I could embrace my precious sister with a birthday kiss. But I can only wish you all the happiness you may wish for yourself, and look forward to the day when I can tell you what a wonderful girl I think you must be because are not you and Trudel made of the same material? With a heart full of love to you, Lotta and Father – who must be congratulated on your birthday, for without him, would such a joy as Erna ever bring my darling’s adoration?




Tags: , , , , , , , , ,