Tag Archives: Lake Michigan

May 31 1934 Goodbye NewYork, Hello Chicago

May 31 1934  Goodbye NewYork, Hello Chicago

May 31st 9:30 a.m.

First letter from 1460 E. 57th Street Chicago.

I am still in bed listening to Strauss Waltzes over the radio. How lazy can one be?

Now to continue my report [about the last day in New York] Sunday afternoon Kurt D. picked me up and we tried unsuccessfully to visit some friends. The picture I was supposed to deliver from our landlord I left with the janitor since the lady was very impolite.

Then we visited the German District. One beer stube next to the other. Typical German. The weather was so beautiful that we sat near the river in the park as long as the sun was out. Then we got seats the top of a double-decker bus in the front seats and rode along the river as far as the new George Washington bridge. This bridge is only a few years old and you have probably seen pictures of it already.

George Washington Bridge (1934)

We crossed over to the New Jersey side. It is all different there. Small single homes with large yards. Lots of rich people have their weekend homes there. When we returned home pretty late there were still a few people there to say goodbye to me. Everybody was so wonderful.

At 8:30 Monday morning, Rudy H. picked me up with his car and a big basket of fruit to take me to the bus depot.

At 10:00 a.m. we left. The trip was very nice. I am sure I could not have seen so much from a train. Since I picked my seat right behind the driver I could see straight ahead, right and left.

Trudel behind the driver.

Just imagine first we went underneath the Hudson across to New Jersey, then Ohio, beautiful view. Reminded me of the shore of the Achensee but the company was not that nice–it was o.k. So next to me sat an American and I had to talk English as well as I could, not too much since we both slept a great part of the ride.

Photoshop 1934 -"Trudel on the bus."

At 12:30 a.m. in Pittsburgh I had to change buses. I asked a German lady for a translation when we were having dinner and she then sent the only other German speaking person on board to me. It made it much, much easier for me. Since it was very hot in the bus I slept a lot again. I’ll have to get used to a lot of things.

In Ohio I expected to meet Uncle Julius Seckbach’s older son thru whom I got the free travel pass. He works for Greyhound but he did not show up.

on the bus

"32 Hours in the bus to Chicago"

At 5:00 p.m. I arrived in my new hometown. Both Aunt Henny and uncle Julius picked me up and we went straight to their apt. They both were very nice. Aunt H. has not changed at all since she has in FFM [Frankfort] 10 yrs. ago. Only maybe a little heavier. Uncle Julius I would have recognized immediately from his photo.

Here in the apt. were 2 welcome signs with green decorations and a very big bunch of lilacs. Really very nice. First of all I took a much needed bath after traveling 32 hrs.

I only saw 1 train on the trip. There are no gates on the crossings and the driver has to stop and check if a train is coming. Also I noticed that there are no crosses in the cemeteries, just plain slabs of stone. Has one of you been back at our cemetery? How does Mother’s grave look? Did you plant anything? How about getting a stone? I want to know everything.

After walking along the lake a while we sat and talked for a long time. I am very much looking forward to swimming in that beautiful Lake Michigan. We live only a few blocks away.

Yesterday after sleeping late we packed our food in shopping bags and went to the World’s Fair. We tried to meet people there but missed each other. We just walked around to get a quick look at things. Lots of it looks very interesting. For instance the very large Chrysler Exhibit would be interesting for Lu.

Thank G’d it was not terribly hot and we stayed until 11:00 p.m. I only saw 1 acquaintance from the boat and we will try to get together some time. You have to go really several times to get to see most of it., but if it is as hot as today nobody can make me go there. Also the fair is all along the lake I rather go in the water than about the shore.

After sleeping late I am sitting here in a very thin dress from Aunt Henny, listening to the radio and sweating. She also gave me a large brimmed straw hat, which I want to alter for myself to use instead of a sun umbrella.

That’s it for today. Hope to hear from you soon again.

Love & Kisses,




Tags: , , ,

June 3, 1934 – Life in Chicago (Storm Clouds Brewing?)

June 3, 1934  – Life in Chicago (Storm Clouds Brewing?)

June 3rd, 1934

Dear ones,

It is already 4 days since I wrote you last. Time goes so very fast a sign that I am having a good time.

It is really very nice here.

I get along very well with both of them [Aunt Henny and Uncle Julius Seckbach] and can play mediator once in a while. Not often necessary.

Every evening the 3 of us take a walk along the lake in the park. For 2 days it was awfully hot and I was glad to stay in the apartment. Not much happened in the meantime.

Walking in the park

Trudel walking past the World's Fair.

Yesterday we went window shopping. One dress or hat shop next to the other. People put much more importance on clothing than in Germany.

The table cloths I brought along were very much liked and welcome, the candies and cookies are almost gone. Please send me the recipe for the cookies soon.

So far I have not contacted anyone here. They are broges* [upset] with Alfred Hamburger since Xmas because of some business affair. Last nite we went to a movie. Now, Sunday afternoon we are going to go for a walk. I do not know where.

The newest sport here is riding bicycles. That is something for me. Tomorrow Aunt Henny and I are planning to go swimming early. I take a shower every day. That is great.

Gas, electric, hot water and heat are included in the rent which is pretty high. This apt. 2 rooms, kitchen and bath cost weekly $25.00. On the other hand clothing and food is very reasonable. Especially fresh fruit which is eaten at any time of the day is very cheap. In Germany I did not used to eat as much fruit in a month as I do here in 1 day. I like especially pineapple.



Lake Front on a Summer Day, 1934

*Trudel wrote “proches,” a French word for “near” in her hand written corrections to a typescript of these letters. However, “broges,” which is is Yiddish for mad or “upset” fits the context. Proches makes no sense in this context.


Tags: , , , , ,

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.


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

June 25, 1934 “Forgive any mistakes I make in my writing. English I do not know yet and German I am forgetting.”

June 25, 1934 “Forgive any mistakes I make in my writing. English I do not know yet and German I am forgetting.”

June 25, 1934. Monday 11:00 a.m.

Dearest Papa, Doddo and Erna,*

Received your nice letter today. Sorry I did not write for more than 1 week but I was really busy and I ask you to forgive any mistakes I make in my writing. English I do not know yet and German I am forgetting. Now I am trying to remember what I have not answered yet.

Three Sisters

Trudel, Erna and Lotte in 1932

The [Greyhound] buses are very similar as at home. The seats are upholstered, leather covered and adjustable. Each armrest is always covered with a fresh white cloth. There are 2 seats on each side of the bus and between a narrow gangway with an emergency seat to fold down. Enough for about 40 passengers. No drinking water but stops every 2 hrs. Either real short just for passengers getting off and on or at mealtimes about 25 min.

The chauffeurs are all very reliable, decent and polite. Martin Seekbach whom I still have not met is such a chauffeur. When he does come we are not home and when we wait for him he does not show up.

Right now I am listening on the radio the Mozart minuette to which Erma and I used to like to dance. Remember? Anyhow the music on the radio is beautiful. Good thing music is international.

Trudel's father, Adolf Adler

Now back to the letters. The red jacket I wore 3 times on the boat. I will not wear it here until winter again. I am remembering [numbering?] my letters to make sure you receive them all.

Marion Hamburger is 19 and Bernice 18 yrs old. The difference in age does not seem to matter here. Often the mother looks younger than the daughter.

I will try to find some interesting catalogues for Lou at the Fair. So far I have not seen anything. Why does Papa never send me a kiss too? Have I answered your questions?

Now I can continue my story. Monday Henny and I went to Leo Joseph, brother of Beatrice Wolfgang. They look very much alike, not as heavy but just as friendly. Since Beatrice had given me only his business address but not the name of the firm we had trouble finding him. But we made it. He is located on the west side where they had such a big fire recently. You probably read about it. He asked me to call his 29 yr old second wife but I have not been able to reach her so far. They live not far from here. He had us driven home in his car and we went through that whole burnt out vicinity.

Fire at Stockyards

Fire at the Chicago Stockyards on the West Side, on May 27, 1934.

In the evening I was home alone for the first time. Uncle and Aunt went singing. I took a little walk along the beach and when I wanted to go home at 8:30 I met the Lindeimer family who were on the ship with me. They live real close to us. I went home with them and met their 25 yr old daughter and a young man from FFM [Frankfurt]. I forget his name. Did not stay long.

Tuesday I sat with Edith Grossberg in the sun at the beach for an hour and roasted. When the weather is nice I cannot go swimming and when I can it either is raining or too cold. That is Chicago weather, I will not talk about it.

In the afternoon I went to Rose Seckbach. There were several German girls including a 19 yr old from FfM but we did not know each other. I stayed for dinner (supper) and afterwards with Rose’s brother, Hans, to the Fair.

First we went to a beautiful concert outside at the Ford Symphony Gardens. They play everyday from 3 to 5 and from 8-10 p.m. for no extra admission. Then we went through some of the exhibits. Sat in the newest model Chrysler. Then we went to the amusement park. He does not care for those rides so we only watched some of them. We ended up in the Canadian Club Cafe’, direct in the lake.

Night time concert at the Ford Symphony Gardens

Picture this — The Fair itself is on the beach. The amusement park on an island connected with the land with 3 bridges. This restaurant is on one of the bridges and you sit right by the water and all around are those beautifully illuminated buildings. My cavalier is an excellent dancer. There is a very good dance orchestra and also shows: dancing, acrobats, singing etc. Some of it really wonderful. One woman dancer is completely naked but painted with black laquer all over. Really interesting.

We did not get home until 1:30 a.m. and I spent the night at Rose and Mack’s home. Hans and his father live there too. Rose told me the next morning that it has been years since her brother stayed out after midnight in the middle of the week. When he comes home from work he will probably complain how tired he is and will go to bed at 8:00 p.m. But believe it or not that did not happen. We went out together again that night. We went to a very dressy Jewish hall in one of the best hotels here on the south side.

Aerial view of World's Fair

Aerial View of the Fair

I met a few nice people and probably lost a few pounds it was so hot. I never sweated that much even with hot pad, aspirin and 3 blankets although I was dressed as light as possible. As we came home at midnight it started pouring. He is very nice but can you see me with a man with a mustache. He is close to 30 and has together with 2 brothers a very good business and the thing I like best is the fact he takes me to real nice places.

On Thursday his father, my Opa took me downtown where I had a date with Herbert Pohl. Although we did not know each other we did find each other and the 3 of us went to lunch together. I like Pohl very much and we had a very nice time together.

Unfortunately he travels a lot and spends very little time in Chicagio Opa gave him his phone number so he can get in touch when he is in town again. We have no phone as yet.

Afterwards I met Edith Grossberg and her parents and we went to the movies after [based on?] a German book together. I went home with them for dinner and early home. Mr. Grossberg is a big lawyer and very nice like his wife and daughter.

On Friday it was so cold that I wore a warm suit. In the afternoon we were downtown and in the evening Uncle and I went to a German movie on the north side. Henny had to sing somewhere around there and after eating together we separated. Saturday morning I picked up Mr. and Mrs. Lindheimer and we went together to the synagogue and afterwards ran into Opa, who had made some visits in the neighborhood and was on his way home. Instead he went with us to visit several other refugees. Some were busy and others took time to visit. Opa took me for lunch. Henny had to go downtown to arrange about work at the Fair.

Al Jolson

Wonder Bar

After changing clothes because it was so hot we went again to a movie, Wonder Bar, with Al Jolson, It was the first American movie I really liked. While Uncle got cleaned, shaved etc., for the weekend and Opa kept me company, I received a telegram from his son Hans — the best way to communicate when you have no phone.

[to be continued]

*“Doddo” is the nickname for Trudel’s sister Lotte. Erna was her other sister.


Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

July 16, 1934 “I have to work much faster to really earn some money. It’s piece work.”

July 16, 1934 “I have to work much faster to really earn some money. It’s piece work.”

July 16, 1934

My dear Goldkind:

Sounds like you had a very jolly birthday party. But I too am very happy.

Today was my first day at work. Unfortunately my old trouble, slowly-ness, is bothering me. I sure hope to get over it soon.

I started at 10:00 a.m. in a beautiful workroom. I sit right by the window and look out at the lake. The work is quite different from what I was used to.

I get all the parts and only have to sew them together on a wooden respective cork head block. Maybe 6 of the same kind and then maybe a different model.

hat blocks

A hat on a hat block, with tools.

Anyway I have to learn to work much faster to really earn some money. It is all piece work.

From 12-1 is lunch time and we eat in a cafeteria where you serve yourself. Not an automat like in N.Y. Tomorrow I will take a couple sandwiches with me so I only have to buy something to drink. I can save that money. We anyhow have always a real dinner in the evening.

We finish working at 5:30. I really like those work hours. I have time enough to go swimming in the morning and evening I am free.

So far I have not found a good street map but will send you one as soon as I can. It is too hard to explain it otherwise. Just imagine the river Main was a big lake, whose banks you cannot see. Along the beach, miles of grass and trees and beautiful flowers. Almost all along the water’s edge from one of the city to the other except where there are beaches with sand for swimming in between. And of course now the big Fair in between, you can step on the grass. No signs forbidding that.

And as you come away from the lake you get into a beautifully paved road for car traffic and then a little farther is the famous Michigan Ave.

The street we live on leads right into the lake, just 3 blocks from our house. That’s where we go swimming and where I work is right on Michigan Ave. It takes me only 20 min on the I.C. train to get to work. With the bus it would take 45 min. and with the streetcar more than an hour. In the morning I take the train and going home the bus because it is prettier.

Trudel in the water

Trudel in her natural element

Uncle Julius thinks he went to school with Papa’s brother Julius. Could be.

Yesterday Hans K. and I took a 1½ hr ride by train and hiked thru a nice woods on a good road and into a sand mountain. If I could not see the beautiful dark blue lake as we got on top I would have thought we were in a desert. There was nothing but nice white sand, beautiful sea shore and blue sky and a few straggling bushes. It was indescribably beautiful, no end to the water looking east and west a nice big wooded area. I only wore my bathing suit, a yellow shirt a pair of slacks rolled up and a cap from the same material white socks and shoes and sunglasses. Hans wore just about the same.

After reaching the top of the sand mountain we first rested for about 1 hr. For miles there was not a

Indiana Dunes

Indiana Dunes

soul to be heard or seen. Then we went down to the water which was rather dangerous but quite warm.

After eating the lunch which Rose had fixed for us, slept a while and went back into the lake. There we could see a couple of people about 100 feet away. The sand was so hot that I thought I [would] burn my feet going barefoot. Stupidly I forgot to bring some sunburn lotion and have now a nice sunburn. But I do not mind that since it was such a wonderful day.

At 4 we decided to start for home. This time we walked along the lake and after resting a little in between landed at a very good restaurant right at the beach where we ate our dinner. As we got closer to the restaurant there were of course many more people and I just love to watch all the different outfits and people.

There is a marked swimming place with attendants to watch. But it is all free. Only the whole area is called Dunes and costs 10¢ admission. Well worth it. To keep up the roads, signs, etc.

We had to walk another 45 min to the train and arrived home at 9:30 very happy, burned, feeling well but tired. I sure hope we will go again this summer. Hans is very nice, very quiet but strange fellow. He took me again to the Chicago theater last week. The program changes every Friday. He goes every week. Wonder if he will take me again–

Now back to your letters. I am delighted to get much mail from you lately. Now that Erna got her driver’s license too, you 2 can really drive places.

Here everybody drives a car. Young, old, short, tall, fat, skinny, men, women and children. Except us–One can hardly find a parking place at the fair in the evening and coming home yesterday it was like a long black snake, going very slowly on the highway. The train went much faster. Actually it is quite expensive to keep up a car, the car itself does not cost that much.

Lately many people are riding bicycles here, but only as a sport not for real transportation. Motorcycles you hardly see, except for the police and light motorcycles I have not seen at all. Erna, would find it sensational.

One day last week I looked up all the people from the boat who I knew were at the fair. A couple and a friend from Vienna are cutting silhouettes of people. Enclosed [is the silhouette of] me.

The single fellow went with me to look for the midgets. We spent quite a bit of time with them. We visited with a Hungarian travel friend and after finally finding catalogues for her went home at 7:00..

Summer at the Dunes

Poster: The Dunes.

For your new apt I could give you some advice. Do not get fold-a-way beds. 1 room for Papa: bed, sofa, chair and clothes cabinet and brown desk and leather chairs. For Doddo: her white and black furniture and a white linen cabinet. For Ernale sleeping couch, black or brown furniture and piano like a living room. The dining room set you may be able to sell if you have no room for it. And be sure you get a nice bathroom with running warm water and heat. A gas stove you have and a refrigerator is not as essential as here

That the 2 fellows from the boat, Baer and Strauss liked music very much is right. Unfortunately I have not heard from either one of them. They are probably as busy as I am. And now it is almost midnight and I better go to sleep. High time for little children like me. Give my regards to everybody and excuse me for not writing to them.

Everybody here thanks you for your greetings and wishes to reciprocate to you the same.

Love and Kisses.



Tags: , , , , ,