Tag Archives: family tension

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.


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.


* 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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Sept. 10 1934 I did a very big laundry. “I did not want to take any dirt with me into the New Year.”

Sept. 10 1934 I did a very big laundry. “I did not want to take any dirt with me into the New Year.”

Sept. 10, 1934

Dear Papa:

Since the ladies do not find time to write to me I am sending my letters to you now.*

Today you have the 2nd day of Rosh HaShana (Jewish New Year). Here we celebrated only one day so I am going to take it easy and write to you.

Your letter, dear Papa, arrived today at the same time with one from Trums and Alice.

Do not worry about my request for information about Grandfather Stern. During one of the arguments between Aunt and Uncle I heard something which I could not understand well and would have liked to know what Julius was referring to. Actually I have already forgotten about it. Bismarck Bier Stube

I hope that you received stockings, playing cards etc. o.k.

Saturday Hans K. took me to a beautiful film. “Dames,” and afterwards to the Bierstube in the Bismark Hotel. I sent you a folder for more explanation. Friday night I went to another movie, “Fog Over Frisco,” terribly exciting junk.

Something unusual happened to me last week. I took a dress to the cleaners and when I wanted to pick it up I was informed that there was a strike. The dress is ready, hanging somewhere but will not be delivered to the shop until the strike is over. Have you ever heard of something like that? It is nothing unusual here. If anybody does not pay enough wages or there are other complaints the workers just go on strike and walk up and down in front of that business with big posters saying why they are on strike.
Dames PosterFog over Frisco Poster

Sorry if I did not mention anything about Liss’s letter. I received it and it made me very happy.

You must be awfully busy now. The jet black dress and anything else you want to get rid of, you can send me. It is nice that Papa will be a lot closer to Trums in the new apartment.

Yesterday, Sunday, I did a very big laundry. I did not want to take any dirt with me into the New Year.

I do like the Synagogue [but] I went swimming once instead of going to Services. It was really like a service in that horrible heat to which I don’t think I will ever get used.

Rosenwald Museum by Bertha E. Jaques

Rosenwald Museum - Now the Museum of Science and Industry

Opa picked me up and we went for a walk in gorgeous weather and ended up in the Rosenwald Museum just 2 min from here. It is the only building left from the 1893 Worlds Fair and built like the “Deutsche Haus” in Munich.

We went by elevator downstairs in a replica of a real coal mine. I had never seen anything like it and found it very interesting. There we had dinner together. Did you too have noodle soup and roast beef [brisket]?

And then we each went to our different Synagogues for services on the eve of the new year. As I mentioned before I got a free ticket and they even paid the postage to mail it to me. It seemed strange to sit in a very crowded temple and not see one familiar face. The gentlemen sitting next to me is here only 4 weeks from Hechingen.

I had no trouble following the service with my prayer book. And as much as I could understand the Rabbi gave a very good sermon but I would have preferred to hear Dr. Salzberger. After services I talked for ½ hr with Rose on the telephone.

September 11, 1934 – continued from September 10, 1934.

Yontiff [the new year holiday] is over for you too now, while I had to work [on the second day].

Jewish New Year. Htde Park Herald

Hyde Park Herald announces Jewish New Year

After talking to Rose, on my way home I passed the Lindheimers from the boat and their lights were still on so I visited with them for an hour. They were happy to have company and I was even happier to visit with them for a while. They invited me for anbeissen [to break the fast] after Yom Kippur.

On the way to the Synagogue yesterday morning I read your letter.

This time [at the synagogue] a lady changed seats with the gentleman next to me and it turned out she is here since January from Berlin and a cousin of Miss Wurzman.

A few minutes after the service started Erwin Grumbacher, a cousin of Halbreichs, came in. I doubt you know him but Ilse Neiderman had written to me that he was coming here. He came only three days ago.


Synagogue in Hyde Park

I do not care too much about him but he has nice young friends and mishpoche. He spoke already with Miss Samuel from Bad Hamburg who asked him to look for me. Although they live near Rose Seckbach, I have not had a chance to look them up.

The service was pretty much as we are used to. Except that instead of blowing the shofar they played the sounds on the organ — terrible. In my mind I was watching Scheurman and all of us holding our breath to make sure the tones came out o.k.

After Services I wanted to visit Mrs. Hess but talked to her only on the house phone. Then I wanted to visit Mrs. Joseph, but she is never home.


A German-Hebrew Machzor (High Holiday Prayer Book)

The reason I stopped this letter so suddenly is the fact that it had gotten late and I had promised to do a little shopping.

But since I had to iron the dress I wanted to wear, it got too late for the shopping anyhow.

For supper I went to Harry Ehrlich’s Restaurant. I like the meals there very much. From there I went across the street to his mother to try on some hats.

This is the time I like, when I can work on hats in the evenings for friends but none for my self. So for I have only worked for Aunt Henny and Rose, who was very sick for a few days.

Every year at this time she gets hay fever like 1/3 of the population. But she also has asthma and suffers very much.

She wanted to go away for a few weeks but bought a machine to put in front of the window to filter the air that comes in. Of course she will have to stay most of the time in that room.

At work I am cutting a little faster all the time. They worked on all the holidays. . .

Of course a year ago I would not have written a letter [or] taken a streetcar ride on Rosh HaShana. One adopts bad habits fast.



And now a question? Have you not noticed that I do not mention Julius at all anymore in my letters? And if I do only a nasty comment? I just took your card addressed to Mr. and Mrs. J. Seckbach out of the mailbox and I figure it is about time to tell you that Mr. Julius Seckbach removed himself and everything that is his from our apt on 8/22. Thank G’d. He moved to the opposite side of this city. Amen.

If I remember right I wrote you in the beginning that the two had been separated for a year and only got together so he could sign the papers for me. For which I am very grateful.

There is no sense in my describing what went on here in the last 12 weeks. I should have made a sound film… You would get stomach cramps watching and listening to it.

I guess Aunt Henny was not thinking clearly when she married this person who cannot get along with any person. It is well known that people who think everybody is wrong are really nuts themselves. Thank G’d I did not get affected by his nuttiness. I believe really he should be in Doctor’s care. I know he liked me and was always cordial to me but I too could not stand his unending speeches and complaints.

Anyhow, when I came home 3 weeks ago my bed and several pieces of furniture were gone. And the apt looked like a gypsy camp. A few days later we re-arranged the whole place again. Aunt Henny and her bed into the kitchen. She likes that better because it is more quiet. My bed, covered with a big blanket in the living room to look like a couch.

It looks like a real so-called Parlor now and I do not have to be ashamed if somebody wants to visit us. A young man who works at the fair wants to move into the other room, but it is already 10:15 p.m. and he is not here yet. I guess he will come with Aunt Henny.

Now that the old nut is out of the house we two women get along excellently.

We are thinking of going to Florida for the winter. She just can’t stand the cold here. She would sell jewelry and I can make hats there since it is the big season then.

We have not made any definite plans but I will go only if I can be taken by car. I do not think I could earn enough money there to pay the railroad fare. Then I would rather stay here and do some work at home besides my job. It is really wonderful to be so independent.

I pay Aunt Henny something weekly and prepare breakfast for us both, the only meal we eat at home. I live decently, eat only in good restaurants and have about $1 left every week, which I try to save for the time business gets bad.

Trudel I think I have very much grown up and gotten prettier since I am here [and] I am feeling well.

I am constantly trying to learn more English, read good books and am trying with some help to read the daily newspaper. Also I am attending regularly our “Chai-50” club and will probably take a drama course under Edith Grossberg starting next week. I do that only for her sake but am sure it will improve my English.

The weather changes all the time. I can hear it rain now, after we had beautiful sunshine. Anyway I am happy that the terrible heat is hopefully over for this year. Now I think I wrote enough today. If I am not asleep before Aunt H. comes home we will talk for a few more hours. Last night I fell asleep during our conversation.

Love and kisses for you dear Papa.

*[Trudel is referring to her sisters who don’t write as often as she would like.]

[Trudel does not mention the names of the synagogues she attended. Photos of former synagogues can be found at this Flicker site.]

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November 25, 1934 “His lawyer was very nasty but we had a very nice, understanding Judge.”

November 25, 1934 “His lawyer was very nasty but we had a very nice, understanding Judge.”

Nov 24, 1934

My dears!

Yesterday I received Doddo’s nice letter. Thank you for the photos from your new apartment. It looks very nice.

I am looking forward to some home-baked cookies from you. Here I get nothing home baked and the stuff they sell I do not like very much, which is just as well so I do not gain too much weight.

I have not met anybody who could advise about Lou’s [welding] business. Did he receive the folders I sent from the fair?

And now to a very interesting week

And now to a very interesting week. After I finished my letter in Leonard’s office on Sunday night we did a little more straightening out and then walked home. He lives only about ½ mile from me and always walks me home first.

Monday, as usual I went to work. As usual for lunch I had 2 cups of milk and 2 sweet rolls and in the evening Aunt Henny visited me in my castle. Since I have an unusually big bed she spent the night with me and we slept very well together.

We all four went together to court.

Julius without dark glasses or cane.

Tuesday morning we ate breakfast together and were at 9:30 a.m. in Mr. Grossberg’s, her lawyer’s, office where we met Alfred Hamburger. We all four went together to court. Julius was there already wearing dark glasses and a cane. One week ago his eyes were still perfect. His lawyer was very nasty but we had a very nice, understanding Judge. I could not very well control myself sometimes and laughed with everybody, which as a witness I should not have done maybe.

The only thing the 2 lawyers agreed on was the fact they both wanted me to be heard as a witness. When the judge saw me he said, loud, “A nice looking bone of contention!

After several questions the judge asked me where I learned my English and declared that I spoke better than some of the lawyers. The Judge and I mixed a lot of German into our questions and answers. He is Jewish and from Germany too, close to 70 years old.

I let him know that I did not want to testify against Julius, since after all he had signed the papers for me to come here. Anyway we [Henny] won. Julius is supposed to pay Henny a small amount every week and pay her lawyer.

After court, Henny was herself again.

After leaving the court building Henny was herself again, just like when I first came here. She was so happy it was all over. Mr. Grossberg then took all of us to a very fancy lunch.

Since I had a terrible toothache and the day was ½ done anyhow, Henny took me to a dentist who took an x-ray for 50¢ and pulled the tooth which was very infected.

It was pouring rain and since I was not very careful I have been running around with a swollen cheek for several days from a cold. I have swallowed more aspirin, etc., in the last few days than I have in my whole life. How I was wishing Dr. Samuel was here. Tonight I bought another pain killer which was supposed to be 25¢. I only had 17¢ on me and the druggist let me have it anyhow on my promise to pay him the 8¢ tomorrow.

From a Delicious Dinner to a Drugstore Counter

Lunch Counter

A Walgreens Lunch Counter (1930s)

Anyhow back to Tuesday. Alfred Hamburger took us to a delicious dinner. The next evening I had a date with Gabby’s boyfriend “Hardy” Oberlander. He has been in the USA 8 months already. The first 4 months he spent with his father in N.Y. He has very rich relatives in Chicago. So far he is doing nothing and does not know how long he will stay here.

We went to see a lousy movie and then went for a bite to a drug store. No matter how I describe this I do not think you can picture it. We sit on a high stool at a long bar table and eat or drink–no liquor. That is the way I ate my dinner last night, before I went to visit Aunt Fanny, finally.

Continued Sunday 11/25

Aunt Fanny is a Very Nice Lady

Aunt Fanny is a very nice lady. She sends her very best regards to you. She has 2 daughters and 1 son and 1 adopted child from a sister. Besides she has 10 grandchildren and 1 great grandchild.

She of course told me why she and Aunt Jenny are not speaking. But actually I could not care less. Each tells me her side of the story and I am no judge to figure out who is right and who is wrong. Actually I believe Fanny more than Weils. She is more down to earth like we are. I spent a lot of time with her. She had so much to tell me. What she had to go through during the 5 years her husband was sick etc.

Dining Room, LasSalle Hotel

Palm Room, LaSalle Hotel

Unfortunately none of the children were there. One had to stay home because her husband is sick. The other and the son live too far away. We went to visit the 3rd one in her beautiful millinery store just 2 blocks away. Her nephew Alfred Schmidt, son of Kathe, was supposed to come that evening but he had to work late as a waiter in the beautiful La Salle Hotel. She thinks he is a very nice young man. Exactly the opposite was Weils told me. It is too bad when sisters are so unfriendly to each other. It was a real nice evening and now that I know her I hope to see her more often.

They are not rich people but very nice

Slowly I am learning to know my family. They are not rich people but very nice. She asked about everybody. Some I knew and some I have no idea. She only corresponds with Aunt Dortche and not very much.

It is too bad she lives so far from me. It always takes so much time to go from one place to the other. Chicago is sooo big. It’s lucky that it only cost 7¢ from one end to the other.

The Boss and the Night Watchman

That evening my big 75 yr old boss even paid for my carfare. I had to finish some work and was the last one to leave. While I was getting ready to leave I talked to the night watchman and found out he too came from Germany. He told me that the boss, who was leaving at the same time talks German too. He and I got on the same streetcar and had a nice conversation. That makes the trip seem much shorter.

From The Merry Widow to a MidSummer Night’s Dream

Merry Widow

Click for YouTube

Yesterday after stopping at the dentist for a pain killer I went in the middle of the day all alone in a movie “The Merry Widow” with Maurice Chevalier. Excellent of course. Herman Bing, brother of my ex-boss, Gus, had a nice movie part in it too–very funny.

In the evening we met again the portrait painter and [his friend] and we went to see A MidSummer Night’s Dream under the direction of Max Reinhard — excellent — at the Auditorium Theatre.

Auditorium Theater from Chuckan's Collection

Auditorium Theatre

We met another young couple and the 6 of us went to Leonard’s office for a drink. We all were in a real good mood and went together laughing and singing to a little restaurant on State Street for some “Hot Dogs.” Do you know what that is? It’s a Frankfurter sausage inside a soft bun. It is a favorite food here for young and old. With or without ketchup and onions and pickles!

Today I slept almost all day

Today I slept almost all day. As you can imagine I really needed it. Now since 6:00 p.m. we are both working in Leonard’s office. I really wanted to use the typewriter but I think it would take too long. I still write faster by hand. Does by any chance my book on shorthand still exist? Last week I was going to make myself some notes in shorthand but I seem to have forgotten how, completely.

Yesterday I received a card from Ladislaus Justus. I wrote him a postal card 2 months ago. He asked me to write to him real detailed about the past few years. He would like so much to hear from us again. Is it not comical what correspondence I am having? I also heard that Hans Wertheimer who is in Chicago since a very short time. He is staying in one of the most expensive Hotels here. This really has been a hectic week but I think I reported enough to you. Now I do not know anything else to tell you.

Please ask Liss what will happen to the goose for my birthday this year.

Greetings and kisses,
your Trudelchen

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