Tag Archives: transportation

June 17, 1934 “The two men got almost into a fight to see which one of them could act as my father. . .”

June 17, 1934 “The two men got almost into a fight to see which one of them could act as my father. . .”

My dear dear ones

I received your letter and it made me very happy.

Today I am asking a big favor. Would 1 of you be nice enough to see if you can get the enclosed negatives printed about 3 x 4″? Here they just do not seem to be able to handle those tiny negatives. And if you can find them I would very much like to have some more of those little films to fit the camera Lou bought me on the way to Hamburg.

Tuesday night we went to Uncle’s brother Max and Rose Seckbach She seems to be slightly arrogant but makes beautiful needle work. She asked me to help her crochet gloves. She has so many orders she cannot fill them alone.

Wednesday night I visited again my new friend, Edith Grossberg. Aunt Henny and Julius were with Mrs. Grossberg at a lecture.

During that time we 2 and her brother took a stroll along the beach.


Jackson Park Beach (Chuckman's Collection)

A week from today her brother will make a surprise party for Edith. In order that it will be a real surprise I am going to write the invitations. I am coming as a special honored guest.

Thursday Henny and I went downtown again. She bought me for 20¢ a pair of red long hanging earrings. Can you picture me with long dangling earrings? I wore them the next day for lunch at Rose Sechbach’s. Then I sewed a few things on her electric sewing machine. What a pleasure when you do not have to thread all the time.

Afterwards we fixed some sandwiches and went to the Worlds Fair. He, she and her father who is 67 yrs old but looks much younger. He is very funny and I could tell you long stories about him.

Unfortunately it got all of a sudden very cold and windy and we could not see very much at the fair and all were happy when we got home again.

Anyway I saw a few interesting things. Cows being milked electronically, in 10 or 15 minutes they are milked and it is almost no work and it is much more sanitary than by hand. We also walked through a new aluminum streamliner railroad train. It has all possible comforts, has 1st and 2nd class and one could really enjoy traveling a few days and nights that way. We then went through the Hall of Religions where all different religions were displayed.

Stainless Steel train

The Burlington Zephyr. (The train Trudel called aluminum was probably this stainless steel beauty..)

In the Jewish [exhibit] they showed slides of very many famous people and institutions. We also visited the Hall of Science. There is so much to see of everything that one could spend several days to see everything. That even we concentrated on different sicknesses and having babies.

Hall of Science

Hall of Science from Across the Lagoon - Postcard

On the way we stopped at the Hungarian exhibit where I met one of the people from the boat. Although we hardly talked together on the boat, he was very nice. He too comes from Budapest like the nice Mr. Hollander and they were together often. We only stopped for coffee and fritter or small pancake.

Then went home with the I.C. train, short for Illinois Central R.R., the best and fastest transportation between the south side and downtown. I will use that too when I will be working. Then it will take me only 15 min. Too bad that R.R. only goes 1 stretch to Chicago. To get north or west one has to take a miserable streetcar bus or elevated. You cannot picture how much time is wasted on transportation here.

The I.C. train passed the whole World Fair and the many colored lights look beautiful in the dark. For instance the Ford Bldg has a big dome on top of which shine 3 different color lights rotating. From another building 10 blue flood lights illuminate the sky. Each building has its own distinctive lights shining into the sky. Anyhow the whole city looks marvelous at night with all the lights. Every skyscraper has its distinctive illuminations from its top and all lighted up at night. And in between is the beautiful white Wrigley chewing gum building and tower.

Night View of the Fair.

By the way today is Father’s day here. Do we have that in Germany too? I do not seem to remember it.

Knowing that we have yahrzeit on Tuesday, I went alone to Synagogue. We talked about the fact that the 11 months of mourning [for Trudel’s mother] were over on May 15th. The temple I visited is just the way I like it. Very simple beautiful colored windows and the service very much like ours. Of course at first it seemed very strange. Men, without hats, and women sit together. The rabbi just in a black suit nothing on his head. But even so he delivered a beautiful sermon. And I understood almost everything. In this congregation are very many German Jews. It seems they have only Reform, mostly German or Orthodox East European Congregations . Nothing in between.

Right now we have a big thunderstorm and of course I am thinking of you, Doddo. Last night we went to a dance at the Chicago Gesang Verein. Rose’s father [Mr. Koesterlitz?], my new Opa, and a darling niece of his from Leipzig came with us. Herta Kant, the niece is here 7 yrs and expects her mother to come here in the fall. I think we will get together more often. Almost all Aryans again, of course, except the president Max Hirsch. I was dancing constantly. Even Opa with his 67 yrs only sat out 2 dances.

He will do anything I ask him. If I would like to go anywhere I should just call him. He will take me. He had asked a younger man to come along last nigh so I could meet him but he did not show up. Some other time maybe. I never met any one like this fellow. He can entertain a group of people for hours but at the same time tries to flirt with every female. Henny, Herta and I were not enough for him. Really a funny person. Otherwise he is very good hearted. The 2 men got almost into a fight to see which one of them could act as my father until the real Papa comes here. We did not get home until 2:00 a.m.

It is now 7:00 p.m. and I have not been out of the house all day. I slept until 11:00 a.m. and then 4:00 p.m. we rearranged the whole apt until the people who were living here with us finally moved this morning so we have much more room for ourselves. Uncle repaired my nightstand lamp and a flat iron so I can use it. Today I talked to Aunt Jenny Weil who sends regards.

I also had a letter from Willy Bloser. He got the wrong phone # from Mr. Heinzheimer and by the time he finally got the right # I had left N.Y. 3 hrs earlier. Too bad. I also had a letter from Doris. I would be very much interested to know how long it takes for my letters to get to you. I sure hope you save them for me. If it does not cost too much postage I wish you could send me my school report cards etc. Also the black jet dress Auntie could probably use. Anything you do not use or want anymore you can send here. Either we use it, throw it away or sell it. I am very happy to report that I have lost 3 lbs already. It is just complicated to recalculate everything. That’s all now.

Love and kisses.
Regards from Henny and Julius.

[The “aluminum” train Trudel refers to was probably the stainless steel Burlington Zephyr which was a major attraction at the fair. See photos and the information about deluxe facilities on the Pullman cars at]



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August 14, 1934 “You spread it with salt and butter and eat it right off the cob like a rabbit.”

August 14, 1934  “You spread it with salt and butter and eat it right off the cob like a rabbit.”


My dear goldchildren:

If I remember correctly I promised you to write to you every 2 weeks but I do not want you to have to pay extra postage for my long letters. That’s why I have been writing practically every week.

Well, the pins finally arrived but unfortunately are not the same as I had asked for. These we can get here and much cheaper. But I am sure Henny can sell them anyhow. She can and does sell everything.

After the letter to you last Saturday I wrote 2 more in English. Mr. Hollander, from the boat, answered already and says my English has improved a lot.

The enclosed photo was taken at Weil’s where I was for dinner again on Sunday. Don’t I look real American now?

Eugenie is an excellent cook. Which one of you has ever eaten “corn on the cob?” Well, I have now. This is a very common food here. We only fed the pigs with it. But this is much finer. You throw it into boiling water until the nice yellow kernels are tender, then you spread it with salt and butter and eat it right off the cob like a rabbit. It tastes very good.

Dinner With the Weils 1936

The Weils at Dinner

Another very popular natural food is the puffed rice, or pop corn, I will have to get used to these things I guess. In most bars it is standing on the counter to help yourself as much as you like. Of course it makes one thirsty because they put a lot of salt on it and that makes people drink more.

Much better than this I think is the fact that in every decent restaurant you get a glass of ice water and bread and butter on the table before you even order your meal — Only all the butter is salted.

Another thing I have to get used to. In the evenings I eat my dinner usually in a decent restaurant for 40-50¢ and in for lunch mostly at a cafeteria, where you serve yourself. Not an automat. They have a very long buffet. You start by taking a tray, napkin, fork, knife and spoon and push the tray along a one-way street, along the counter where everything is on individual plates or little bowl and you take whatever looks inviting to you. They are in order by prices. At the end of the counter is bread, rolls and butter and jam and also drinks. You can have a sandwich made too. Then a girl adds up on an adding machine what you have on your tray and you sit down, enjoy your meal, can get more water or add a desert and pay as you leave.

Woolworth's Lunch Counter

A Woolworth's Lunch Counter

Can’t you just see some of our friends? How they would juggle the trays looking for a table. Most people eat lunch between 12-1 and of course it is always very busy at that time. I usually go right in the building on street level in a Woolworth cafeteria. They have individual tables. I do not like the long bar-like tables with high seats. I assure you the dinner at Weil’s was much better than in any restaurant.

Doddo, could you find the recipe for your delicious chocolate cake? Eugenie is always looking for new recipes. She looks it, too.

Papa dear do you remember a brother of Aunt Jenny called Max? A son and a daughter of his live near Chicago and Aunt Jenny has visited them at a few times. I believe neither of them is Jewish any more. The Klees apparently have one son and three daughters here and their business is still going.

I think dear Adolfshe, you would find a lot of old friends here. Not only are there very many Germans here but a lot of them are from Ffm [Frankfurt am Main]. Either born in Ffm or gone to school or worked there. Gus Bing’s sister, her other brother, movie actor Herman Bing and her daughter left again for California today after a 4 week visit. We were there last evening.

The man I work for was there too of course with his future 2nd wife who is the main designer and boss of the workroom. We are a very orthodox company! Could you imagine Stephan Demuth [a “boss” in Germany] taking off his shirt and put on a fresh one in front of all the employees that is nothing unusual here. Also, Gus sits across from his future wife [the employees did not know this yet] and puts his feet on he table.

Mr. Budwig, also is divorced and altho his former wife gave him the money to start this business, he married another woman. I liked Marie, who will hopefully marry Gus, right from the beginning.

Dear Ernale, I have been looking around about leather here but they are using mostly junk. No reptile at all.*

Can you believe that after only one week I already missed going to the fair?

Monday I went for a change to a movie again. “The Thin Man.” And Tuesday again to the fair to my Vienna friends. I really enjoy all the commotion and goings on there.

thin man poster

Poster for "The Thin Man" with William Powell and Myrna Loy

They have three new rides at the park. One of them has seats that look like airplanes for one person. One gets tied on very securely and then it goes around, up and down back and forth, across and back, so one gets into every possible and impossible position imaginable between heaven and earth. Then there is an electric swing like boats and the one I like best is as follows. One sits inside a small camper of course tied on and goes up as high as a Ferris wheel and from there it goes slowly round and about the middle post down. It reminds me of a winding staircase. I have not tried either one of them so far but the fair will be here a few more weeks, and it costs only 7¢ by streetcar to get there.
midway rides at night

Midway Rides at the World's Fair

That is another great thing. For 3 hrs one can ride for 7¢ changing and going everywhere one wants. Of course I usually use the I.C. train which goes much faster and of course costs more.

So far I have taken the elevated train only twice. At one station you can go right into the needlework dept. of Marshall Fields. Everywhere are pigeons flying around. People feed them right in the middle of the main streets. They are very tame. There are loads of them always in the park across from my window at work. This is how I imagine the Marcus Place in Venice.

Elevated Tracks

You can get anywhere on the El.

Sunday I listened on the radio to the Rheingold from Bayreuth. I enjoyed it very much. The weather was not very good and the transmission was not too clear. In the evening I heard a man talk from England as clearly as if he was next to me.

On Monday at the movie I saw pictures of Hindenburg. The funeral was broadcast here too. Papa dear I would very much like some information from you. What caused the death of our grandfather Theodore Stern? I have a reason why I want to know.

How do you like the city map? Can you figure it out? For instance look for East 76th Street. That means 76 streets going south and the east end of that street. That’s where I often sit with Rose at the beach in the evening. Instead of going to the Synagogue tomorrow morning she and I are planning to go there swimming.

From Weils it took me 1 hr to get home also the trains make less stops in the evening. That is about as long as it takes from the theatre in Ffm to Hamburg!

There is also a so-called river going thru Chicago. If a larger boat wants to go thru, one bridge after the other has to open. Since the Chicago River goes thru the middle of the city there are a lot of bridges–on every street one. It looks beautiful especially at night.

Chicago River Bridges

Chicago River Bridges

Please send me a book by Stolze.

I tell everybody the riddle you sent me about the Junebug, but hardly anybody understands it. But I guess you will understand if I say I have now nothing to write anymore. Did you receive the book with pictures from the fair? Doddo apparently helped Poppers addressing thank you cards.

For this week I send you all good wishes and kisses and loads of love.

As always, give my regards to everybody and especially Liss.



*Trudel’s sister, Erna, sometimes referred to as Ernale (er-na-leh), was working in the leather business.

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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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