Tag Archives: Chicago River

August 14, 1934 “You spread it with salt and butter and eat it right off the cob like a rabbit.”

August 14, 1934  “You spread it with salt and butter and eat it right off the cob like a rabbit.”


My dear goldchildren:

If I remember correctly I promised you to write to you every 2 weeks but I do not want you to have to pay extra postage for my long letters. That’s why I have been writing practically every week.

Well, the pins finally arrived but unfortunately are not the same as I had asked for. These we can get here and much cheaper. But I am sure Henny can sell them anyhow. She can and does sell everything.

After the letter to you last Saturday I wrote 2 more in English. Mr. Hollander, from the boat, answered already and says my English has improved a lot.

The enclosed photo was taken at Weil’s where I was for dinner again on Sunday. Don’t I look real American now?

Eugenie is an excellent cook. Which one of you has ever eaten “corn on the cob?” Well, I have now. This is a very common food here. We only fed the pigs with it. But this is much finer. You throw it into boiling water until the nice yellow kernels are tender, then you spread it with salt and butter and eat it right off the cob like a rabbit. It tastes very good.

Dinner With the Weils 1936

The Weils at Dinner

Another very popular natural food is the puffed rice, or pop corn, I will have to get used to these things I guess. In most bars it is standing on the counter to help yourself as much as you like. Of course it makes one thirsty because they put a lot of salt on it and that makes people drink more.

Much better than this I think is the fact that in every decent restaurant you get a glass of ice water and bread and butter on the table before you even order your meal — Only all the butter is salted.

Another thing I have to get used to. In the evenings I eat my dinner usually in a decent restaurant for 40-50¢ and in for lunch mostly at a cafeteria, where you serve yourself. Not an automat. They have a very long buffet. You start by taking a tray, napkin, fork, knife and spoon and push the tray along a one-way street, along the counter where everything is on individual plates or little bowl and you take whatever looks inviting to you. They are in order by prices. At the end of the counter is bread, rolls and butter and jam and also drinks. You can have a sandwich made too. Then a girl adds up on an adding machine what you have on your tray and you sit down, enjoy your meal, can get more water or add a desert and pay as you leave.

Woolworth's Lunch Counter

A Woolworth's Lunch Counter

Can’t you just see some of our friends? How they would juggle the trays looking for a table. Most people eat lunch between 12-1 and of course it is always very busy at that time. I usually go right in the building on street level in a Woolworth cafeteria. They have individual tables. I do not like the long bar-like tables with high seats. I assure you the dinner at Weil’s was much better than in any restaurant.

Doddo, could you find the recipe for your delicious chocolate cake? Eugenie is always looking for new recipes. She looks it, too.

Papa dear do you remember a brother of Aunt Jenny called Max? A son and a daughter of his live near Chicago and Aunt Jenny has visited them at a few times. I believe neither of them is Jewish any more. The Klees apparently have one son and three daughters here and their business is still going.

I think dear Adolfshe, you would find a lot of old friends here. Not only are there very many Germans here but a lot of them are from Ffm [Frankfurt am Main]. Either born in Ffm or gone to school or worked there. Gus Bing’s sister, her other brother, movie actor Herman Bing and her daughter left again for California today after a 4 week visit. We were there last evening.

The man I work for was there too of course with his future 2nd wife who is the main designer and boss of the workroom. We are a very orthodox company! Could you imagine Stephan Demuth [a “boss” in Germany] taking off his shirt and put on a fresh one in front of all the employees that is nothing unusual here. Also, Gus sits across from his future wife [the employees did not know this yet] and puts his feet on he table.

Mr. Budwig, also is divorced and altho his former wife gave him the money to start this business, he married another woman. I liked Marie, who will hopefully marry Gus, right from the beginning.

Dear Ernale, I have been looking around about leather here but they are using mostly junk. No reptile at all.*

Can you believe that after only one week I already missed going to the fair?

Monday I went for a change to a movie again. “The Thin Man.” And Tuesday again to the fair to my Vienna friends. I really enjoy all the commotion and goings on there.

thin man poster

Poster for "The Thin Man" with William Powell and Myrna Loy

They have three new rides at the park. One of them has seats that look like airplanes for one person. One gets tied on very securely and then it goes around, up and down back and forth, across and back, so one gets into every possible and impossible position imaginable between heaven and earth. Then there is an electric swing like boats and the one I like best is as follows. One sits inside a small camper of course tied on and goes up as high as a Ferris wheel and from there it goes slowly round and about the middle post down. It reminds me of a winding staircase. I have not tried either one of them so far but the fair will be here a few more weeks, and it costs only 7¢ by streetcar to get there.
midway rides at night

Midway Rides at the World's Fair

That is another great thing. For 3 hrs one can ride for 7¢ changing and going everywhere one wants. Of course I usually use the I.C. train which goes much faster and of course costs more.

So far I have taken the elevated train only twice. At one station you can go right into the needlework dept. of Marshall Fields. Everywhere are pigeons flying around. People feed them right in the middle of the main streets. They are very tame. There are loads of them always in the park across from my window at work. This is how I imagine the Marcus Place in Venice.

Elevated Tracks

You can get anywhere on the El.

Sunday I listened on the radio to the Rheingold from Bayreuth. I enjoyed it very much. The weather was not very good and the transmission was not too clear. In the evening I heard a man talk from England as clearly as if he was next to me.

On Monday at the movie I saw pictures of Hindenburg. The funeral was broadcast here too. Papa dear I would very much like some information from you. What caused the death of our grandfather Theodore Stern? I have a reason why I want to know.

How do you like the city map? Can you figure it out? For instance look for East 76th Street. That means 76 streets going south and the east end of that street. That’s where I often sit with Rose at the beach in the evening. Instead of going to the Synagogue tomorrow morning she and I are planning to go there swimming.

From Weils it took me 1 hr to get home also the trains make less stops in the evening. That is about as long as it takes from the theatre in Ffm to Hamburg!

There is also a so-called river going thru Chicago. If a larger boat wants to go thru, one bridge after the other has to open. Since the Chicago River goes thru the middle of the city there are a lot of bridges–on every street one. It looks beautiful especially at night.

Chicago River Bridges

Chicago River Bridges

Please send me a book by Stolze.

I tell everybody the riddle you sent me about the Junebug, but hardly anybody understands it. But I guess you will understand if I say I have now nothing to write anymore. Did you receive the book with pictures from the fair? Doddo apparently helped Poppers addressing thank you cards.

For this week I send you all good wishes and kisses and loads of love.

As always, give my regards to everybody and especially Liss.



*Trudel’s sister, Erna, sometimes referred to as Ernale (er-na-leh), was working in the leather business.

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May 18, 1935 – You know that I am one year in the USA yesterday.

May 18, 1935 – You know that I am one year in the USA yesterday.

My Dear Ones,

Bubele’s letter arrived this morning just in time, otherwise this letter would sound very different.

I am very happy everything arrived on time and fitted OK. The photo is very nice. I always liked you with your hair parted in the middle.

The clipping from your paper about the fire in Rogers Park is correct, only they did already find the person who set the fire. The trial is not over yet.  



I received a postal card from “Fuchstanz.” I do miss those Sunday hikes. But there are so many beautiful parks here, which I like a lot.

What gray hat was Liss trying to fix? And what new dress are you wearing in the photo? I had a thin light brown skirt made to wear with that new pullover next Wednesday. Only buttons still have to be sewed on.

Is anything I planted on mother’s grave still there? Do not worry about Dr. Samuel. As soon as I have a little extra I will send it to him.

You know that I am one year in the USA yesterday.

You ask what Julius S. said to Aunt Jenny. Practically nothing! I really did not want to listen to him and got rid of him as quickly as possible.

Which Hilde Mayer is going to South America or Africa? My girlfriend?

What gives you the idea that Eddy and Gwen might not be married? I think I wrote you that they will be married 1 year very soon.


Postcard from Fuchstanz

I do not know if it is an American custom to sew in bed in the evening, but I like to do it.

Have not heard from Werthahn again.

That I am a little piggy is nothing new really. The reason I took so much at one time to the cleaner is the fact that I saved quite a bit of money that way. Almost ½ the price.

Smarty Ernale, if you had mailed that letter 6 days earlier it would have been here before your boss. This way I did not receive it until 5 days afterwards.

I was very upset when I came home Monday night about 10:00 pm. I had been at home until 7:45 pm, when Mrs. Saunders and I went downtown to see a very interesting slide show from the company where Aunt Henny works.

When we came home I found the calling card from Stefan Demuth with a few lines. He had been there at about 8:45 and would have liked to talk to me. Sorry I do not have such a good nose. I called the number he gave me the next day at noon. Talked to a very nice, polite lady who told me to call again at 6:30 pm, which I did. We talked together for only a few minutes. He was sorry he could not get together with me. He was going to leave that evening and wanted to make several more phone calls. Actually he was only about 24 hours in Chicago and I think it was very nice of him to stop by my place. He will tell you all about it but I was terribly upset of course.

I do not understand exactly why Papa waited three weeks before answering my letter. But I am very happy that he did answer it. I wish my sisters would follow his good example and write me once in a while.

Were those shoes that got soaked waterproofed?

So now those are answers to your letter.

Now for my weekly report. This is about the 50th letter I have been writing to you! Correct?

Click on image for Youtube

Last Sunday we ate a light dinner instead of breakfast. That is the custom in the South where Leonard comes from. It was a nice change and tasted real good. Then we as usual picked up Flora Mae and since she begged us we went again to Beryl and Fritz Samuel. She was so anxious to see the new baby again.

We walked a little and then took Flora Mae home. We walked a little more and I saw for the first time the ex Mrs. Leonard Grossman.

We then rode downtown and tried to decide where to eat. We finally went in a place and there Mr Isi Kosterlitz was sitting at the first table. We sat and he had to see us when he left. He was so shocked to see me again after 4 months that he left without paying after he stopped and talked to us a few minutes. He did come back soon to pay. And I won a pound of nuts. Leonard made a bet that he would not come back and I said he would. Of course I won.

Afterwards we went to see “Cardinal Richelieu” – excellent movie with George Arliss, one of the best current movie actors. In order to cool off we stopped for ice cream on the way home. Almost every evening I have ice cream for dessert.

3 bridges

Three Bridges

Monday morning I came just at the right time to work to see all the bridges over the Chicago River, open at the same time. Some were opening, some closing and the one in the middle all the way open. These draw-bridges are on every street so the bigger ships can go through. On Michigan Avenue the bridge has 2 stories. I was the last person to get across that morning. They were just waiting for me. 20 minutes later, when I looked out of the window, they were all closed again. Just imagine how easy it is to miss a train or appointment, if caught with an opening bridge. They are not on any schedule. They just toot their horns when they want to go through.

Bridges Open

Tuesday evening as usual with Mrs. Saunders.

Then I went to Mrs. Rose Lamarque, my dressmaker. Next morning, before I went to work, to buy some material. In the evening I went again to Bertl S. and for the first time in a long time played cards. Did not go home so late.

Michigan Avenue Bridge

Michigan Avenue Bridge

That by the way is the newest news.

Since 2 weeks, I go earlier to sleep.

Thursday again supper with Mrs Saunders, dressmaker, and 10:00 p.m., bed.

Last night as always on Friday at Samuel seniors. Home a little later – and such a long way – because I would sleep late today. From noon to 2:30 pm at Mrs. Lamarque just schmoozing. Then a haircut, shampoo in my room, and lying in bright sunshine on my bed – I am surprised I do not have sunburn yet – Crocheting.

[Then] fix my hair as nice as possible, get dressed, go downtown to Leonard’s office, eat a very good supper together of course. Now he is sound asleep again. Actually that is the best time for me to write letters.

Aunt Henny visited Mrs. Saunders yesterday and they talked about me for 2 hours. I would really like to know what Stefan Demuth had to say. Honestly — about my living quarters and my landlord Mr. Silver. The latter was avery astonished how well Demuth speaks English, after I explained to him who he is.

Next time you expect some body to come to Chicago please give them my phone number. Delaware 5425. Also Leonard’s office address and phone number. He can usually be reached in his office and knows where I can be found.

A few years ago chain letters were in style in Germany. Now they are big here. I got one too and mailed it to 5 other people. Wonder how many 5 cents I will get. Some people started chain letters with $1 and $5, but that is too much for me. It will take at least 3 weeks before the money may trickle in.

And now my very dear ones I hope to get mail from you soon again. For today I am sending you uncountable greetings and kisses,

Your loving Trudel

Best regards to Liss and all friends and relatives. How is Herr flying Heinrich?

Letter from LJG to Lotta and Erna, 5/18/1935

Dear Lotte and Erna,

They say the way to a man’s heart is thru his stomach, so a good cook is sure to win her man.
But the Adler sisters don’t have to win me by cooking. I knew and loved Trudel without ever knowing even to this day if she can cook water without burning it.


And in this country a man’s sweetheart is called is “sweet cookie.” [Drawing of hearts.] So it was appropriate and fine and wonderfully thoughtful of you all to send those sweet cookies to my “sweet cookie” and me. I just couldn’t eat enough of them – so I ate too many. Just ate, and ate, and ate your sweet cookies with my sweet cookie. And I want to thank you for every cookie you sent, and for those that may some day come – can I thank you in advance?

So Erna – before your picture – so lovely and gracious – arrived, your cookies – Trudel – the unbaked one- sweeter even than the ones you baked – and the baked ones – had won my heart completely – as Lotte – your dear and beautiful picture had won me long before.

But you know – if a man wants to stay on the safe side a lawyer’s advice is “Do right and fear no man.” Also, “Don’t right {write) and fear no woman.” Now if I write and sign myself “yours truly,” and I am not truly yours, you can sue me for breach of promise. But this week in Illinois the law against breach of promise was passed – so broken hearted ladies are out of luck from now on.

Of course I am not exactly yours truly, because I am all Trudel’s. But she tells me that what is hers is yours. So maybe a small piece of my heart is fastened in Frankfurt by your gracious pictures and the loving thoughts of your Father and all his dear ones. So please give him my love and keep some of it – each of you – for yourselves. I have given all the rest of my heart to darling Trudel – so I can only give you the small diagram of it with the arrow of our love on the other side.
Devotedly your (?)

The photographs of the bridges were taken by Trudel from the window of the millinery place where she was working. If you look closely at the one captioned “Three Bridges,” you can see all three are in motion. The one on the right is just about closed. The one in the middle is just past its peak and the left bridge is opening. A boat has just moved past the middle bridge. In the other photo, the boat is to the right of the middle bridge.


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