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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.


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

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


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February 13, 1935 “This was the first time I was asked to talk before an audience.”

February 13, 1935 “This was the first time I was asked to talk before an audience.”

Feb 13, 35

My dear ones:

Since I did not write to you last week I want to start this now. I did send you a map of Chicago on New Year’s eve, with a menu and a photo of Gwen and and one of Leonard with Yogi Roy etc.

LJG and Yogi Roy

LJG with client Yogi Roy

Now, I guess I have to write you exactly where I go so you can find it on the map. After the last letter I wrote you I did one in English for Ilse and then fell fast asleep in the chair I was sitting. As a result we left the office very late and I slept almost all day Sunday.

I eat almost all my dinners with a lady [at her apartment]in my building. She is very nice and I fell quite at home there. I spend most evenings with her, reading the paper or sewing with the music on the radio or she plays the piano and sings too.

Last Wednesday I was again at Gwen’s. Since I sent her picture, now you know what this Goldmench looks like. Last week I was really very lazy. We did not have much work and I slept late every day.

Aunt Jenny is begging Pappa to get in touch with Aunt Dortche in regards to her will. She thinks she could give her some good advice.

Enclosed are a few photos I took recently. Last Saturday I had my picture taken and I will send you one soon. Tomorrow is “Valentine’s Day”. That is for people who are in love. That means one sends cards with hearts to anybody one likes a lot.

I had a big copy made of the photo of me, and cut some red crepe paper like a frame for it and will put it in Leonard’s room tomorrow. Since we will not see each other tomorrow. Now I received today already a 1 lb box of very delicious chocolates, in a red heart shaped box with a beautiful card.

Vintage Heart

Valentines Chocolates

Saturday night I was again in a movie. “The Iron Duke” with George Arliss, very good. When Blucher appeared on the battlefield near Waterloo he said, “It’s done!” Before the movie, 6 of us had dinner together. Alfred Hamburger and son Joe, Singers, Leonard and I.

Arliss-Iron Duke

Iron Duke

Sunday we really had a big day. I wrote you already that Leonard is working Qfor the first woman running for mayor of Chicago. He makes 3 or 4 speeches every day in different places for her. Sunday at 3 p.m. her husband picked us up with the car and drove us to the radio station in Hammond, Indiana, south of Chicago — about as far as from Buckenheim to Seckbach, just off the map I sent you.

Trudel New Year


Mrs. Grace Gray, the mayoral candidate and Leonard discussed politics with questions and answers. It was very interesting for me. We then drove back, spent almost 15 min with Flora Mae. Mrs. Gray is about 48 yrs old, Grandmother, goes daily horseback riding, both her parents are still alive and she is still married to the same man for 28 yrs. She is a wonderful, nice, smart woman.

We then drove back, spent almost 15 min with Flora Mae. The 4 of us had dinner together at the Madison Park Hotel on 51st St. and Dorchester Av. Of course at a front table so everybody could see us. You can imagine how I felt.

After supper we went to the North Side 3300 N. Broadway to a political meeting in a church where Mrs. Gray was one of the speakers. Of course Leonard did introduce her in his wonderful way.

LJG and Flora Mae

LJG and Flora Mae (click)

I met some very nice people there. We then drove to Gray’s house. 4500 N. Ashland Av. They have a beautiful house where Great grandmother, Grandmother, Mother and Child and grandchildren are living. They served chop suey and drinks and then we just sat and talked. They drove us home about midnight.

Fortunately I did not work on Monday. Mrs. Saunders where I frequently eat and I went downtown. As we stepped in a drugstore for a cup of hot chocolate somebody said “Hello” to me. It was Grace Gray. I really did not see her when we came in.

Just after we got home, Aunt Henny showed up unexpectedly. She is looking for a room in my neighborhood.

I have been asked to join the Chicago Business and Professional Women’s Club. Mrs. Gray is the President right now.

Since I went looking for a room with Aunt Henny I came so late to the meeting that Leonard, who was the guest speaker that evening, was almost finished with his speech. There were only 20 women, and which Grace Gray greeted each one separately. I was very much surprised when she asked me to tell the ladies how much I like it here. I talked for just a few minutes and said that this was the first time that I was asked to talk in front of an audience.

The ladies all commented on my good English. No wonder with a teacher like Leonard. We all left in several cars. Leonard and I with 2 ladies in Gray’s car. Mrs. Cerf and Aunt Henny with several other ladies.

We all went to visit Yogi Roy whose photo with Leonard in the newspaper I mailed you a few days ago. He is a Hindu and because of his healing methods was sued by the City. Leonard is his lawyer. The case is the talk of the town. Sure hope he wins that case. (I am writing this letter riding the “L” train on my way to Gwen Bishop.)

We spent only a short time with the Yogi, but he demonstrated how he can put a big needle in his arm without bleeding since he held his breath. Of course Leonard is studying all about that stuff and knows already more about it than the Yogi.

Yogi Roy in Court

Seeing's Believing - Click to read

After we left there we all drove to another political meeting. We were very heartily welcomed and Leonard had to speak again. Even Mr. Gray had to talk. It was a really very interesting evening for me. I hope to attend some more evenings like that before the election on Feb. 26.

We got home very late and of course I was very tired the next evening but still made a new hat for a new customer. Mrs. Saunders my friend here in the building was nice enough to deliver the hat this morning. I hope it was o.k. and she collected the money for it.

By the way I just remember to tell you that my little black suitcase has come in very handy recently. Leonard uses it for carrying books and papers to court very often. I also almost forgot to thank Ernale for her nice letter. Unfortunately I do not have it with me, so I can’t answer it now. I did not receive a postal card from Feldberg. Who were the 2 people you met in Obereifenberg? Loatte Thyson lives in Obereifenberg. She would have loved to live with you.

That is all I can think of now and my paper is at the end and I am just getting to my stop to get off and home for supper.

Millions of kisses yours,


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