Tag Archives: opera

October 12, 1934 “He claimed I did not iron his underwear properly and burnt his breakfast bacon on purpose.”

October 12, 1934 “He claimed I did not iron his underwear properly and burnt his breakfast bacon on purpose.”

Oct 12, 1934 9:00 p.m.

My dear, dear ones.

I am in such a good happy mood that I want to share it with you and try to write as sensible a letter as possible.

I have been very concerned why Papa did not thank me personally for his birthday letter. He has written otherwise. Is something wrong? I sure hope every thing is o.k.

Yesterday I received Ernale’s letter with newspaper clipping and a postcard from Alex. In the evening I was at Weils. It is always very nice and relaxing there.

How do you like the picture of my newest and hopefully last friend on his stationery. Two weeks ago after we met in his office, we went for dinner as I told you on the postal card. Then I had a date with him one week later. And now we see each other almost every day.*

A week ago Monday I appeared as a witness in the divorce case between Aunt Henny and Uncle Julius. It was really fun for me. It seemed to me like a movie. I did not testify against either one since after all they both were instrumental in bringing me here. He claimed I did not iron his underwear properly, and burnt his breakfast bacon on purpose. After all I told them I did not know how to iron and had never seen bacon especially those thin slices they eat here for breakfast.

Next Monday is another hearing in Court.**



After court Aunt and I went to Chinatown. First a big dept. store and then chop suey dinner. It was very interesting. The day before Mr. Grossberg, aunt’s lawyer took me to an Italian restaurant.

On Sunday I was for the first time in a really Reform temple. Gigantic big, wonderful Rabbi, excellent choir and quite crowded. Tuesday I had a real German dinner at Rose’s and afterwards went to Samuels, they are a very nice family. The next night a real American dinner at Grossbergs. As you see I can get everything here.

temple sholom

Temple Sholom

On Saturday I did something for the first and probably the last time. I went to a Beauty Parlor school where I got for only 35¢ my hair set. But it took almost 2 hrs. It looked very nice once I was done but after 2 days it was all gone. And I was 3/4 hrs late for my date with Leonard.

I think I [will] have my hair cut as I used to have it tomorrow. The last time I had it cut was May 5th!

In the meantime I have been to the movies a few times. With Mr. Grossberg, I saw “Notorious Sophie Lang” a very exciting diamond smugglers story and with Opa “Of Human Bondage,” excellent and “The Love of Ariane” with Elisabeth Bergner. Very nice.

Of Human BondageMany people claim that I resemble Elisabeth Bergner, anyway the story could almost be my story. And then there were second movies [double features]. Some with Charlie Chaplin, extremely funny. But “Death on the Diamond” which I saw with Leonard was awfully upsetting.

The reason I tell you all this is to let you know what you should or should not see when it comes to you.Ariane

At work things are slowing down already. We don’t start until 1:00 p.m. every day and naturally earn much less money. But I manage o.k.

Glad to hear you found a new milliner. Tomorrow I have a date with Louise Hamburger to fit some hats. I had dinner with Alfred [Hamburger] one night last week. He is as nice and goodhearted as ever, but he is very stubborn and in business very hard to get along with.

You must have found a lot of junk when you cleaned out the old apt. I got $10 for that figurine and will buy a dress and pair of shoes with it. It is very easy to spend money here.

Ernale’s last letter came via San Francisco but still took only 13 days.

Elizabeth Bergner

Elizabeth Bergner

I would love to have a snapshot of Beethoven Str 5B so I can get an idea which building it is and I would also like to know how you have your furniture arranged so I can get an idea.

The weather is here now beautiful –like May or June in Ffm [Frankfurt]. In the evening it gets nice and cool.

Did you know that we have here 2 different times. One is called Standard Time – the same always for railroads and buses, etc., and then they change the clock 1 hr in the summer for Daylight Savings Time. Very confusing.

Since I meet Leonard often, I talk a lot of English. Sometimes he tries to talk German to me and it really sounds very funny.

By the way my boss Gus Bing will get married next week. Our forelady Marie told me and she is very happy. Die Fledermaus Poster

Today I received postal cards from Gaby and and heard from Richard Bloch. In the meantime I did hear from [Kurt?] Stevenhagen.

Shame on you Ernale for getting drunk. And flirting with 10 men at the same time!!

Regards as usual from Aunt Henny who calls me her sister now. I doubt that I will go with her to Florida. It is expensive and I do not feel like it. She plans to leave Nov. 1.

CarmenIt is already 11:30 and I should retire. Tonight I was all alone at home. Henny left me a note that she is visiting with some friends for a few days. It was delightful to be alone for a change.

Civic Opera Building

Civic Opera House

Tomorrow I hope to see Carmen in the opera house and in 2 weeks hope to hear the Fledermaus in German, also in the opera house.

Somebody on the radio just said “Good Night” and so do I.


*[A “comment” at this point in Trudel’s handwritten translation of this letter reads, “When Aunt Henny heard that he was divorced over one year, she urged me to date him. She even would have liked to join us because she thought he had a lot of money. When she found out that he lost everything in his attempt to be re-elected as alderman of his ward, she tried very hard to talk me out of meeting him again.” It is not clear whether this comment was in her original letter or whether she added it when doing her translation. ]

** [ A comment here says, “My new friend did not take the case but certainly took the supposedly witness.” My father had been asked to represent one of the parties, but he refused. Again, It is not clear that this sentence was part of the original letter, but the line, in one variant or another was part of family lore. ]


Tags: , , , , , , ,

November 5, 1934 “Now I can write all my letters with ink again. I bought myself a new fountain pen for 25¢.”

November 5, 1934 “Now I can write all my letters with ink again. I bought myself a new fountain pen for 25¢.”

Sunday 11/4.

Today I am ½ year away from you dear ones. After a very nice dinner I am now sitting in Leonard’s office. In ½ hr we will go to see the “Fledermaus.”

I want you to know that the paperweight sent to Doddo and the ashtray I sent Erna were given to me by one of the Vienna friends from the boat. Opa had nothing to do with that he only did the packing.

Glad to hear that you Pappa always were a Republican. Leonard is too. He has always been very active in politics and some of his friends still call him Alderman. So many people know him and where we go people greet him. Now I think I have answered your letter Pappa.

One Night of Love referred to in letters

Click for YouTubes.

Last Friday I was again in [at] a movie with Opa. An excellent picture “One Night of Love”. Last night Leonard and I saw a very nice movie.

I forgot the name–Now I can write all my letters with ink again. I bought myself a new fountain pen for 25¢.

Now I can write all of my letters in ink again.

"Now I can write all of my letters with ink again."

Continued 11/5.

I could not finish this letter last night since we had to rush to get to the Fledermaus on time. It was a very good performance in German. Of course not as good as a New Years eve performance in Ffm.

poster from The opera described in trudel's letters

Die Fledermaus

The house was filled every seat taken. We were really lucky to get 2 tickets together. And what a big beautiful theatre. Wish you could see it too. Much bigger and more elaborate than the one where I was 2 weeks ago. It really felt good to be in a crowd of nice elegant people instead of the “Gesang Verein” affairs and hear only German speaking.

Civic Oper House

"What a big, beautiful theatre."

Today we are not starting to work until 1:00. So I am going to go downtown now to do a little shopping and maybe look for another job for a change. I wonder when I will receive the $8 they owe me and a few things I still have hanging there from Budwig. They had already an auction 1 week ago. Too bad I did not take a wooden head block home over the weekend. They would never been able to auction that off. Gus gave me one when I was there the first time and I am glad I have it.

Yesterday Sunday afternoon I was supposed to come to Weils but why should I spend a nice Sunday afternoon with them when Leonard really only has time for me on Sundays?

That is it for now. I am very happy and send you love and kisses.

[Below in Leonard J. Grossman’s handwriting, also in German in original letter.]

Greeting and best wishes, Leonard.

Shortlink for this post:


Tags: , , , , ,

March 17, 1935 – Boy, was I ever delighted, not that I had a job, but that I had this job.

March 17, 1935 – Boy, was I ever delighted, not that I had a job, but that I had this job.


My Dear Ones,

When I have a lot to tell you I just never seem to find enough time. For a change this is happening again this week.

First of all, I am very glad that Doddo wrote me again after three months. The photo I think is excellent. Gabor is really a great artist. Weils did not want to believe that it is Doddo. Leonard is very charmed and everybody else I showed it likes it very much. When will I get such a photo of Pappa and Ernale?

Lotte Adler

Lotte Adler (Probably later photo)

What is the matter with Steffi? What’s happened to her? Why did she come back? I have no idea at all. It all sounds so strange to me what you write.

Did you not receive the answer to your postal card very fast?

I like to add that Max should get in touch with Aunt Henny first, before he starts any business with Uncle Alfred. As I wrote you before, he is not too reliable business-wise, especially at such a distance.

Everybody who sends me regards, please reciprocate.

Now to myself again. When did I write you last? Oh, yes! Last Friday. That evening I had as usual a very good dinner at Samuels.

Saturday I was at Weils from noon on and when I arrived I had to eat bean soup and sausage right away. Then we listened on the radio from the New York Metropolitan Opera live “Tristan and Isolde.”*


Click for YouTube

Afterwards Eugenie and I went shopping. She is the funniest person I have met.

For supper a 59th cousin of ours and his young wife joined us. To be a little more clear: his grandfather was Max Adler, from Arheiligen, oldest stepbrother of Aunt Jenny Weil – which means a cousin of our Dad. Do you remember him? He came to the USA when you were about 12 years old. He had one son and one daughter. The daughter, Mrs Mitchel, has several sons and daughters and he is one of those. A very nice young fellow.

He is here about five months but was earlier for one year in Washington. It was interesting to meet more relatives.

Leonard was supposed to join us but he worked until 6:00 a.m. Sunday in his office. Of course he had not much ambition on Sunday. So we only took a little walk, read the papers, listened to the radio and I crocheted and went early to bed.

Monday evening I was again at Aunt Henny’s. She is in good spirits and goes out quite a bit. No idea with whom!

Tuesday evening I worked downtown. Gwen recommended me to a lady who has a little hat shop at Washington and Wabash Avenues on the 7th floor. She is Jewish and very nice. Of course, I was delighted to make hats. I will be working for her now every Tuesday and Thursday evening and all day Saturday.

Also she took me Wednesday morning to the best hat wholesale house and introduced me to the manager and told her I would like to work for them. She told me to be there at 8:30 a.m. the next day. They really had enough workers, but she wanted to try me out. You can not imagine how happy I was.

Garland Building

Garland Building*

I went once more to the old job, but told the manager that I was quitting that day. She really had been very nice to me, letting me come to work many days 3 hours earlier than the other girls so I could get a little more work out. I actually worked too nice for that place.

Pittsfield Building*

Wednesday night I was at Gwen’s but went home early and early to bed. The next morning at 8:30 I was at the new job at 12 S. Michigan Ave. 50 or 60 girls. Completely handmade hats. Work like I did at Ethic Schariot. But so exactly like the model, and I am not at all used to that anymore. If only I had never seen those very cheap so-called hats.

Of course all the women were much too busy to show or explain something to me. Those two days 3/14-15 were probably the worst for me business-wise. The first hat I made was in their opinion useless. I remember when I worked for Hilda Lorsch how upset I was when we ordered something and it was not exactly like the original. Maybe it was made by a person who tried as hard and was as unhappy as I was those two days. After that first unsuccessful try, the manager gave me another model to try my luck but that was not good enough either.

The manager was very nice. She saw that I was sewing very well but explained that they were too busy to teach me and I should not waste my and her time. Nevertheless she was nice enough to rip that hat and make it over. Before I put the trimming on it I showed it to her and all of a sudden it was O.K.

I had been so careful and finished it and she told me to come again on Monday. Boy, was I ever delighted, not that I had a job, but that I had this job.

Of course I am not sure that they will keep me. The head manager had not seen my work yet and it depends how I continue to the work. But I think I learned some tricks already and it may work out. And if it doesn’t I go one floor higher in the same building where Marei Bing is and I am sure they will take me.

In any case I will not go back to those very cheap hats. I did learn a lot in those two days but was so tired that I was in bed at 9 o’clock.

Yesterday I worked for Miss Cooper downtown.

In the evening we went to a real kosher restaurant. In this kosher place you get butter served if you eat milkish or meat! The place is very clean and not more expensive than other restaurants.

Yesterday the case against the yogi was finally concluded. So this case is finally over and to celebrate we went to a movie for a change. An excellent film: The Barretts of Wimpole Street. I recommend it to you if it comes to Ffm.

Wimpole Street Poster

Click for YouTube

Today we were all afternoon here in the hotel with Flora Mae. I took three snapshots on the way here. I hope they come out OK. I started this letter when Leonard left to take Flora Mae home, just a couple blocks from here. I can’t understand what takes so long.

Also I have no idea what time it is, according to what I have written it must be a long time since they left. Now he is coming. I hear his voice. So, I am finishing this, so we can eat. My stomach is growling.

I do have a very good appetite, but fortunately I have not gained any weight. On the opposite in the ten months since I am in this blessed land I have gotten seven pounds lighter.

Today we had beautiful weather but pretty cold. Yesterday snow and ice, the day before summerlike and the day previous warm and rain. I guess I wrote enough now. I cut out the enclosed newspaper clippings while I ate breakfast yesterday.

Now I close with greetings and kisses

*The YouTube clip is from the same performance of “Tristan and Isolde” that Trudel and the Weils listened to over the radio from the Met. I grew up listening to the Met on the radio every Saturday afternoon with Trudel – usually in her 1941 Dodge.

*The Garland and the Pittsfield buildings are across the street for one another on Wabash at Washington. It is more likely that Trudel worked at the Garland Building, which had smaller shops and stores. I remember Trudel taking me there to small shops that sold buttons and ribbons and other kinds of trim she used on hats. A wonderland for a little boy. Today the famous Cajun restaraunt, Heaven on Seven is in the building on the 7th Floor. (I worked in the Pittsfield Building when I was 13 years old.)

Apologies for the commercial at the beginning of the “Barrets of Wimpole Street” YouTube. I couldn’t find an ad-free version.

I had always thought the professional photo of Trudel used as the top image this week was taken in late 1936 but my brother tells me he believes it was taken in Germany before she came to the States. Perhaps it was taken by Gabor, the photographer she refers to above.

Special thanks to Chuckman’s Chicago Nostalgia site. Many of the vintage images I use on this site are courtesy of John Chuckman. It is worth exploring


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