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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.

Trudel

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


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

 

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October 19, 1934 “Otherwise not much happened last week.”

October 19, 1934 “Otherwise not much happened last week.”

October 19, 1934

I just received a card from Max Wolff. He is coming here for 2 days and I will be very happy to receive some personal news from you. He will probably have a lot to tell you about me when he comes back.

Instead of attending Carmen on Saturday we went to another excellent theater. And before that we went with Joe Hamburger to a movie — “Romance in the Rain,” very nice. And the next day again a movie “One More River,” also very good.

One More River

One More River - Click on image for YouTube

Monday night I had dinner in Leonard’s office with him and Alfred Hamburger.

Since last week I am crocheting a black sweater on the train on my way to and from work. Maybe I’ll finish it by 1936. Otherwise not much happened last week. Romance in the Rain

One evening I was at Rose’s, yesterday at Louise Hamburger, whose mother will be 80 yrs old this week.

Leonard and I planned to have dinner together tonight but he is busy. Instead we will go out real great tomorrow evening. I will wear my black evening dress. All I know is that we have already tickets for Carmen but I do not know what else he is planning.

I finally had my hair cut again today and I look and feel much better. I talked to Rose Tauber, daughter of Fanny Ratzenstein, Aunt Jenny’s sister. Those two are not on speaking terms.

Trudel working with hat on block

Aunt Fanny is out of town until next week. I will call her again then and make a date.

Yesterday we had rain for the 1st time in 19 days.

Today it is beautiful again. Had a letter from Kurt Dillenberg, he would like me to find a job for him here. That’s all I need.

How are your jobs, girls? Did you get the new apartment all in order yet? How come you did not use Dellihausen for your moving?

Now I am going to work on some hats — A red one for myself that I want to wear tomorrow night and fix a few for other people. I am getting to be a dressmaker too now. I altered a few dresses for Aunt Henny. I just finished a delicious dinner. Henny is a great cook, spaghetti, tomato sauce and cheese.

That’s all for today.


10/22/34
Bismark Hotel Lobby

Postcard showing Bismark Hotel Lobby

Picture postal card of Bismark Hotel where I went with Max Wolff.



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October 26, 1934 “Did you ever try to write a letter while riding a streetcar?”

October 26, 1934 “Did you ever try to write a letter while riding a streetcar?”

October 26, 1934

Dear Goldkinder,

Did you ever try to write a letter while riding a streetcar? Well, that’s what I am doing now. Since Monday I am traveling every day 2½ hrs on the streetcar and I do not like to waste so much time.

Again I have been very lucky. Last Thursday we were told no work tomorrow and call on Monday if there is something. I had already noticed that things were getting very slow.

Chicago Streetcar 1934

Chicago Streetcar

On Friday when I got a haircut I told the operator that I feared I was out of work. I left my phone number there and sure enough one of the girls called and gave me the address of a good friend where I should apply for a new job. Of course I went there the next day and started working on Monday morning at 9:00 a.m.

It is the biggest hat factory here, the work is similar as in the other place but much cheaper work and material and of course pay. The owners and employees are mostly Polish and several of them Jewish.

Hats and Hair Styles 1933 -1934

Hats and Hairstyles

And the other place declared bankruptcy on Saturday and Gus got married.

My salary from last week I will probably only get through the court settlement. Wasn’t I lucky! To have already another job?

Sorry my writing is so bad but the streetcar here is the shakiest most unsympathetic transportation here.

Maybe you can find on the Chicago map 700 North and 900 West on Milwaukee Ave. That’s where I am working now.

Aunt Henny and I are planning to move Nov. 1. First of all we want to give up the apartment and I would like to move closer to work, and where I can walk downtown, so I do not need so much money for transportation. And besides I will be closer to Leonard.

This stationery is 3 yrs old when his Republican party was still in power in Chicago. He was until then very much involved in politics here. Since 3 yrs the Democrats are in power and he and his friends are out. That’s why he lost so much money and his supposedly very nice wife and darling little girl.

Last Sunday he visited me with his adorable 5 yr old girl. On Saturday night we went all dressed up to the Opera Carmen. A gigantic Opera House. All seats taken and everybody dressed up. Excellent performance.

Leonard and Flora Mae

Leonard and Flora Mae

On Sunday evening I spent 3 hrs with him at his office and helped him pack because he moved to another place on Monday.

It was nice to see Max here although we got together only one evening. He was the only person I did not bid farewell to in Germany and the first one to visit me here.

Now we are having lunchtime. If I had taken more stationery with me I could write some more on my long trip to Rose’s tonite.

Now I am sitting in a restaurant near the factory to eat supper. Just saw something unusual — a man driving his car on only 3 wheels–he had just lost one–for several blocks to a garage.

It is already 7:30 p.m. and I am very hungry. Usually we eat here between 6-6:30–Last night I was at Samuels again. They have nice German Jewish friends and they welcome every newcomer.

Actually I am not very much interested in a lot of people anymore unless I can make hats for them.

Nightview of Fair

World's Fair at Night

It is very complicated for me to remember to write to everybody’s birthday on time. I talked again to Rose Tauber, Aunt Fanny’s daughter. Will call them again tomorrow.

Now I will take the streetcar downtown 15 min and the I.C. south to Rose’s ½ hr. It would take an additional 1½ to 2 hrs in the streetcar. It is really great how much you can ride on the streetcar for 7¢ or on a bus for 10¢. Farther than from Ffm to Mainz.

Max also liked Chicago much better than N.Y.

I really enjoy watching all the different types of people on the public transportation. You can hear all different languages and see all different types of clothing. I have to get especially used to seeing so many black people. Some of them very clean and good looking and whites in rags and miserable.

Only 6 more days until the Fair closes. I think I will go once more on Sunday if the weather is still so very nice. Our train is just passing the fairground and I enjoy over and over the beautiful sight of lights and colors.

Trudel and Leonard

Photoshop 1934*

Do you still have the book on fancy knitting? This is very popular here now and I could do some of that too.

That is it for today.

Love,
Trudel

*Note: This picture, in which Trudel has pasted cut-outs of her head and of that of my father, appears on the page of her photo album devoted to her Greyhound Bus trip from New York to Chicago several months before she met him.

 

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November 17, 1934 “It’s good to have friends everywhere.”

November 17, 1934 “It’s good to have friends everywhere.”

11/17/34

My very very dear ones,

So glad Pappa’s [long] letter arrived here yesterday. Otherwise I might have addressed you differently [because it had been so long since they had written] and I am sure I will receive Doddo’s long promised long letter some day. I am only wondering if it will come in 1935 or 1936.

Dear Pappa seems to have the same trouble as I do. I sit down and don’t know what to write and all of a sudden 3 pages are full. I guess some of the questions I have answered already and I will try to answer the rest now. I wonder if one of my letters got lost since my numbers do not jive with yours anymore.

Dear Bubule, please give my regards to Dr. Samuel when you see him. I wrote a card to Dr. English and wonder if he received it.

Today I am using Leonard’s typewriter for this letter but it does not go any faster than if I write by hand.

1934 DeSotoAirflo

!934 DeSoto


The friendship between Hamburgers and Aunt Henny is not too strong and Julius is with them like with most nice people – broges [angry, upset]. Henny had mostly business affairs with them. Between Leonard and them is also only more acquaintances than friendship.

Actually it was not necessary for Julius to vouch for me [for papers to come to the United States]. Anybody else could have signed the papers. But I still am thankful to him that he did it.

I do not look forward to going to court again next Tuesday [in the divorce between Trudel’s Aunt Henny and Uncle Julius].

It makes such a difference if one is dressed well here.

Trudel

Trudel

If I get mother’s jet dress I will probably make an evening jacket out of it. That is very stylish here now, with a little cap from the same material. You probably think, What worries does she have? But it makes such a difference if one is dressed well here. Not only that it makes one feel better.

Today I made myself a real pretty little hat from the left overs of my blue housecoat. It happens to match exactly the color of a cheap dress I bought last week. I also made a green hat to match another cheap dress I bought. So I have now 6 hats and I will make myself a black velvet cap.

Yesterday I got a new customer. The black girl who cleans my room. She saw me working on a hat and asked me to make it for her in brown.

Choices

I cannot make up my mind what to do about my room. Some people say I have to get out of this neighborhood as soon as possible while others agree that I live in my room which I like and don’t bother about the neighborhood. And it is so convenient to go where ever I want.

It is now Saturday at 9:00 p.m. Leonard has some work to do so we came here to the office in the pouring rain.

It’s good to have friends everywhere.

Reinhardt on the set of midsummer's nights dream

Max Reinhardt and cast on the set of a production of Midsummer Nights Dream

Last night we were again together with the portrait painter and his wife. They have a car very similar to Lu’s only it is a DeSoto. As usual first dinner then a so-so movie and a cup of coffee afterwards. He had trouble finding a place to park so a policeman just put the sign “no parking” away. It’s good to have friends everywhere. Next Saturday the four of us want to see a “MidSummer Night’s Dream” under the direction of Max Reinhardt.

I finally talked to Aunt Fanny and made a date with her for next Tuesday. At work we were very busy this past week. Another company worked in our place and I do not know why. I helped them there.

I pretended not to understand any English and heard them talk about me.

I pretended not to understand any English and heard them talk about me. One said that I was very slow–so what else is new. And then another said I did such very good work. That is much more important to me.

One of the ladies from the other company asked me for my address and phone number. They are not sure if they are coming back to work with us next week and she would like me to come to work for them. I was really surprised that she picked me from 8 other girls who work much faster than I but it proved to me that I know something, even if they cannot use me [next week].

Broges! Family!

Otherwise there is not much to tell, except that a brother of Julius Seckbach was run over by a car and died on the way to the hospital. It happened on the day when Rose and her husband were going to celebrate their 10th wedding anniversary. Of course that was canceled. After all he was her husband’s brother.

Did I tell you that Henny insulted her sister in law very much and nobody could convince her to apologize until several weeks later. The day before I moved out she finally called her and asked Rose to forgive her. Actually I had on Opa’s insistence planned to rent a room from Rose, but because those 2 were feuding I did not do it. Just as well. But I am glad they made up.

Flora Mae

Flora Mae

I have no idea what is going to happen to Henny’s plans to go to Florida. The legal aspects with Julius are not finished yet and her money from working at the Fair is slowly running out. She is now again selling Xmas postal cards. A very big business here.

I was with her last Tuesday and will go again tomorrow evening. It takes me at least 1 hr to get home from her. Thursday night I was at Samuels. It takes 1½ hr. each way. That is like going from Ffm Center [Downtown Frankfurt] to Hamburg.

This afternoon Leonard and I picked up his adorable Flora Mae again. She and I get along great and I have been playing games with her. As usual we 3 had dinner at the Madison Park Hotel.

It is only 4½ more years before I can become an American citizen.

Madison Park Hotel

Madison Park Hotel in later years

If this letter is kind of messed up it is because I am using the typewriter and I have to look at the letters all the time. I have been typing for over 1 hr now. It is awfully slow when one is as bad a typist as I am.

I try to correspond with some of the people of the boat and every day I hear of more refugees who are coming here. It is only 4½ more years before I can become an American citizen. How the time flies.

Love and kisses,
Noodlesoup


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January 11, 1935 “I almost slept in a bed Lincoln slept in, but it was too hard”

January 11, 1935  “I almost slept in a bed Lincoln slept in, but it was too hard”

This letter was written on January 10, 1935 and completed on January 11.

Jan 10, 1935

Dear Goldkinder,

Although I have not heard from you, I will write you now. Am I not a good girl?

If I am not mistaken I have not written a very sensible letter to you yet this year. Thanks for postal cards from Xmas–Saalburg and New Year’s Eve Cafe at the Hauptwache. I received them with thanks.

Cafe_Hauptwache

Cafe Hauptwache

Just imagine today I finally received the balance of my salary owed me by Budwig (Gus Bing). Somehow the check was delayed in the mail and I finally got it.

Rose and Max Seckbach moved to California last Monday. She could not stand the weather and temperature here any longer because of her very bad asthma and hay fever. I went to see them off and saw the whole family again. Opa, her father, lives now with a lady where I almost rented a room. Hans has taken a room in one of the best hotels on the South Side.

That evening I realized again how clever I was not to have a lot of people there (at the boat dock) when I left Germany. There were so many tears shed.

Postcard from Saalburg

An Old Postcard from Saalburg

I now have a nice new friend: Gwen Bishop. I wrote you about her before. We are spending quite some time together. I helped her make a dress and made a hat and little purse to go with it. She also is having the black and light blue sweater from me when I finish it. I will also crochet a skirt to go with it. I even slept one night at their house this week.

When I came there after work it was very icy and slippery and it got worse during the evening. So they did not let me go home. I almost slept in a bed Abraham Lincoln had slept in a few times but it was too hard for me. Instead I slept in a bed so large I was afraid to get lost in it.

And I wore a very beautiful crepe de chine nightgown with a lot of lace trimming.

This morning we went downtown together and then I went home with her again. They asked me to stay another night but I did not feel like it. Since she had only 5 flat irons I had her give me 1 of them.

BishopHome

Gwen Bishop's Home

I also visited with Aunt Henny this week. I had been trying repeatedly to call her without success but she complained to several people that I was neglecting her. Finally I wrote her a postal card. She was in bed for a couple of days with a very bad cold, but she is much better now.

Everybody here has a cold and cough. Leonard and I did changing off too. We did not even try to see Flora Mae yet this year. We are both o.k. now.

One evening last week I was at Aunt Fanny Ratzenstein. It was very nice. We looked at old photos which was very enjoyable. I gave her the photo of Tante Dortche in front of her house, which she appreciated.

At work we are quite busy now. I am not sure what I should do. At this job I do not earn very much but know I have a secure job. If I change I may have work for 3 months maybe and then I sit at home.

For 3 weeks we had a forelady here who we found out on the last day came here from Bremmen and was for 2 yrs kinderfraulein for a family in Ffm. She did not like this job here and told me on Friday that she would not be here on Monday. She gave me her phone number and asked me to get in touch with her.

Also Gus Bing’s wife, who I met at the train station Monday, gave me her address and phone number. She suggested that I come some evening with my boyfriend for dinner. Leonard is right now very busy so I may go there alone 1 evening next week. After all Gus is in the millinery business and I know he liked my work.

Hauptmann Lindbergh Trial Headline

Aunt Henny is still considering leaving Chicago. Now she is talking about California instead of Fla.

Since 2 weeks I buy a newspaper every night and read for about 1½ hrs. I am closely following the Hauptmann-Lindbergh case. You have probably heard of it too.

I received New Year’s cards from Dr. Samuel and Dr. Billingheimer. I think that is very nice. Ilse Niederman wrote me a 4 page letter in very good English. That shows what we can do if we really want to.

I am wondering when I will hear from you again. Remember you were going to send me my papers and report cards from the Trade School.

On last Thursday I was here 8 months already, and 1 year ago yesterday I received the notice to come to Stuttgart for my affidavit. It is a good sign when the time seems to pass so fast.

Love Trudel

P.S

In answer to your picture postal card — Except for my annual cold I am fine. I have not talked to Aunt Henny since Xmas. I have tried to call her several times in vain. We are very busy at work now.

How do you like Leonard’s German? It would be real nice if each of you would write to him once too. Or is that asking too much?


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