Tag Archives: sisters

February 8, 1935 – I always find things to talk and write about.

February 8, 1935 –  I always find things to talk and write about.

Feb 8, 1935

Beloved Adölfchen — I mean my dear Papa, and dear Lazy Sisters,

Today I am going to write on the typewriter for a change. Do you know I have not had a word from you two girls. I do not know if you are interested but I always find things to talk and write about.

Let’s see what happened this week. Saturday I was all afternoon at Weils. For lunch we had lentil soup and sausage, the first time since I am here–now 8 months. After we ate, Aunt Jenny showed me old pictures and we had to hold our tummies we were laughing so hard. For supper we had boiled chicken and rice and several vegetables. For dessert they served delicious homemade cake. If I would eat with them more often I would really gain a lot of weight.


The Weils

After dinner Alice made some delicious candy and I ate quite a bit of that too and took some home with me.

Leonard is right now extremely busy. Next month we have an election for mayor of the city and Leonard is working for the 1st woman ever running for that office.

Sunday nothing special going. Sleep very late, read the paper, very late dinner or supper as they call it here. Working crossword puzzle, crocheting, playing slot machines (and losing money) in the lobby of the Hotel Devonshire where Leonard lives. Early to bed.

Grace Gray Story from the Reading Times

Click for full story

Monday–only work from 1:00 to 3:30 p.m. Before work walking around downtown and finally bought a map of Chicago, which I will mail to you next week. Had dinner with the people in the house, worked on some hats and went early to sleep.

Tuesday–no work. So I stayed home all day in miserable weather working on hats for Gwen, Aunt Henny and myself. I also found time to straighten some drawers, washing, ironing, sewing, darning all things that were really very necessary.

Worlds Fair Map


Wednesday we worked but short hours again. In the evening I was again at Gwen Bishop’s and stayed overnight. Thursday evening after work I visited Aunt Henny and brought her her new summer hats. Unfortunately they were not exactly right and they had to make the trip to the North Side again.

Can you imagine this: Julius Seckbach visited her last Saturday and begged her to get together with him again. He wanted to take a place with a kitchen and was going to take care of her! Do you agree that he is meshuga?


The Weils

Yesterday, Friday night I was again at Weils. At my special wish they had bouillon soup with matzo klos, (matzah balls) even Liss would have enjoyed it. It was so delicious that after the 2nd serving we really did not have to eat anything else. But they served soup meat and creamed spinach as I like it. Not just cooked leaves as they serve it here. It sounds almost as if I would not eat decently otherwise, but the Weils keep a good German-Jewish kitchen–it just tastes so very good to me. Like at home.

I almost forgot to mention the dessert. Breadcake with wine sauce. But I got strawberry Jello instead.

After dinner Aunt Jenny took me to the synagogue in their neighborhood and she introduced me to the very nice Rabbi. The service was very similar to what I am used to. I understood most of the sermon and the songs were mostly like the West End Synagogue in Frankfurt. I expect to go there more often in the future.

West End Synagogue

West End Synagogue Ffm

Yesterday I talked to Mrs. Greenfelder (sister in law of Mr. Stern) on the phone. She is going to Florida next week.

This morning I went to Saks 5th Ave., where she took me once [to look for work], but as I expected they were not busy at all yet. The department head took my address and phone number and will call me if they need help.

Saks Fifth Avenue

Saks Fifth Avenue

This afternoon I went to see our designer. She lives in what is called the Ghetto. She is very nice and is asking a big favor of you. She was for 10 yrs in a Jewish boarding school in Hanover and would like to know if it still is in existence and who is running it.

She also was for 2 yrs in Ffm. with a family [named] Lewin. He was a jeweler, on Uhlend Str. She is French. Her little 13 yr old girl’s name is Elschen. Do you know anybody like that? She also would like to find a Heinrich Heringer with 1 glass eye, and an Abraham Ullman, both about 30 yrs old.

All of a sudden I am so tired I cannot see straight anymore.

NordDeutcher Lloyd

NordDeutcher Lloyd

Hopefully I will hear or see something from the 2 “ladies” before too long. Did you know that you can get a round trip ticket on NordDeutcher Lloyd for only $75. Isn’t that cheap?

Next time I will write by hand again. It looks like much more and still much faster. Next week I will be away from home 9 months.

Uncountable Kisses from your loving sister.


Grace Gray ran in the Chicago’s Republican mayoral primary in 1935.

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October, 1935 – Letters, Letters, Letters – “I see her face light up as she reads…”

October, 1935 –  Letters, Letters, Letters – “I see her face light up as she reads…”

Trudel’s notes are brief but we have a long love letter from Leonard to Trudel’s family, full of love and sweetness.

Her translations for October, 1935 contain only short entries, in the “diary” style she adopted after translating the first thirteen months of letters which took 250 handwritten pages. I wish she had kept the original letters after translating them so that I could get them translated now, but in her practical way, once she had extracted the information she wanted, she threw the originals away. It’s funny, she used to save everything, but as she got into her mid-80s she started “simplifying.” I think that may be one reason she started the translation project.

Fortunately her files also include a typewritten letter from my eventual father, to her family. Enjoy.

Temple Sholom

Temple Sholom

Rosh HaShana at Temple Sholom.
New photo for our anniversary.

Nothing special. Only that on Sukkos the synagogue was only ½ as big as on the high holidays. The whole wall with the ark and the altar was moved to the front.

Trudel and LJJ

Not their anniversary portrait

Typewritten letter from Leonard to Trudel’s family after receiving radiogram from them congratulating Trudel and Leonard on their engagement.

October 7th, 1935

My Dear Father, Lotta, and Erna:

Again I must thank you for the loving vibrations coming our way, especially since dear Father’s birthday. The radiogram was so “Schneidig” but Lotta dear, your letter to me, and dear Erna’s letter to my darling Trudel gave us a slow motion picture, which speeded up as we read of your first emotions. But while you write a beautiful German, with a splendid penmanship Lotta dear, Trudelchen has told me you speak a lovely English, so why not let me in on it in your next? Now you can call me anything you wish, sister, but I am “in law” all day long and I want to be closer to you that just “Schwager.” Can’t I be a brother to you girls? And Lottie, if I am your brother I’ll spell your name right next time.

I can read your lines, but I am not as good a scholar as Trudel, who translates your letters to me just as if she was reading English, without one moment’s hesitation. Her English is remarkably fluent, and when she reads your German letters to me in English I get a double joy out of them, for I hear the tender music of her voice, see her face brighten up as she reads, and feel your loving thoughts for both of us as we thus read your welcome letters over and over again. If the idea of the record was nice, as you say, it was Trudel’s idea so far as I was concerned. She’s just full of bright ideas.

Of course I could not still the love notes in my voice if I wanted to, and I don’t want to, because dear ones, I am in love. I agree with you Lotte, that you could write oftener without breaking any American laws, and your letters would be so welcome. Trudel has told me, not alone of the many happy Sundays, but of the many happy days with you and Erna, and her dear Father. How devoted all of you were in aiding her happy departure from home she has told me, each in your own way doing all you could, for which I thank you, for it was to me you sent her, even if you didn’t know it at the time.

The greatest happiness you can give Trudel, and it may surprise her if it’s true, is to hear that things go better with you all. Only a place everlasting in your hearts, and your happiness, is all she needs, for she worries and wonders, when she reads the papers and reads between the lines. But no word will she ever speak to satisfy American curiosity. Verstehst? But we were pleasantly surprised with the key ring “Schlüssel Schone” as dear Father calls it, because it’s so much more elegant, even than the one she brought with her, and gave to me, which is pretty well worn out by now. Thank you for mine, Lotta, and you Erna for hers, and you dear Daddy for getting the girls to get them for us.

My mouth is watering already for the home made cookies “butter plaetschen.” Yum yum. Love can span the highest mountains and the farthest seas. So the distance will not always keep us apart because Trudel dear is attached to you, and I love you for what you mean to her. Now that we’ve crossed the ocean, let’s see what’s next in your letter, Lotta? I gave dear Trudelchen the kiss you asked me to give her. Now that I gave her a kiss for you that’s one you owe me.

And dear Erna your lovely English gave me a thrill. But it’s nothing unusual for one of the Adler girls to thrill me. And while you did not write a long note to me in Lottie’s letter, yours to precious Trudel was doubly appreciated by her. I felt the love with your greetings just as you wrote it, and your description in Trudel’s letter had us drinking in every word.

What a lucky man I am, with the love of three wonderful girls all mine for life, for the one I have near me will be my wife, and you two, who are near my heart tho many miles away, can understand how close I must feel to you and Father dear who sacrificed much, as I am sure you all did, to make dear Trudel’s coming her possible.

And now that I have written you a small sized book, Trudel says not to worry, that you have a large English-German dictionary. Maybe someone will be using it again, if I write too often.

Trudel fasted well, and we have just had the first meal after her 24 hour fast. She had anchovies, cold cuts, boiled beef tongue, spinach, beans, peas, three cups of coffee, I forgot the chicken soup, sherry wine, baked potato, orange sherbet, salad. You see I got it mixed up some in the order I just served it to you, but after a fast I guess the supper got mixed up as she ate and ate and ate.

“Ein Fresser wed nicht geborn, er Wirt Gemacht” sagt Trudel sagt Papa, sie sagt. You see I am pounding the typewrite and talking or reading out loud as I write, so every once in a while she pops up with a bright remark and if I don’t watch out I’ll be writing what she says instead of what I started out to write.

The only reason I am addressing so many of these remarks to you my sisters, and not more to Daddy dear, is that I have not yet received a letter from him, but a letter is not necessary, dear Father, till you get used to the idea of your fourth child. Many a man has been shocked late in life, to discover someone handed him a child he never knew was his. And when the strange voice calls “daddy” it sometimes is too much to answer right away. I only hope your happiness approaches ours. I pray God to make me worthy of the blessed sunshine you all have sent into my life.
With a heart full of love to you Father dear, and fond sisters Lottie and Erna, in which precious Trudel joins,

Affectionately yours,



Posted by on October 31, 1935 in diary, family, immigrant experience, Letters


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December 17, 1936 A love letter from Trudel’s husband to her family.

December 17, 1936  A love letter from Trudel’s husband to her family.

Letter typewritten on Leonard’s letterhead

Dec. 17th, 1936

Lieber Papa, Doddo and Erna:

Wir haben es gethan! Wir sind Verheiratet, but it is so much more natural for me to love and cherish my Adored Trudel and tell you what I think of the Adler* under the American Eagle, in English. I am a lucky fellow, and all my friends join in approving of my precious Trudel.


My Dear Father . . . .

What is so rare as a perfect Love? Not a gilded lily or a crimson rose with thorns, but a Violet, modest forget-me-not of the Garden of Life, with blushing sweetness and poise, eyes dancing with a new light as we were pronounced man and wife, this is a word picture of OUR Trudel for she belongs to me now, tho before Dec. 5 she was yours not mine.

Radiant, gorgeous, lovely Trudel, on our wedding day told me her thoughts were with you, as mine were, and both our thoughts were with our Angel Mothers, May God rest their souls in peace. I know my own Mother would love Trudel for her fine wholesome qualities.

Mother’s sister writes to my own sister beautifully about Trudel after a visit with her, and my darling baby sister, years older than Trudel, is already in love with Trudel tho they have never met, but we are invited to make the trip, down to Sumter South Carolina when and if we can get away, to visit my sister and her lovely family.

For a long time we have looked forward to the day. We could not until conditions got better, take the step, we thought. How foolish. Everything is better from the moment we got married. The world loves a lover, and we are loved by some good friends, and they all think I am to be congratulated on my beautiful and wonderful bride. So may I thank you, dear Papa, who gave her to me, and you dear sisters, for the newest happiness in my life, and my greatest love – Trudel.


With Love to you all, Leonard

“Adler” means “eagle” in English.


Posted by on December 17, 1936 in Chicago, family, immigrant experience, Letters


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