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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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December 24, 1934 “We celebrated a little Xmas in advance, these two days.”

December 24, 1934 “We celebrated a little Xmas in advance, these two days.”

Typewritten in German on Leonard J. Grossman’s office stationery.LJG Letterhead

December 24, 1934
Dear Goldkinder.

Just received Papa’s nice letter in which he tells me that my 1st letter typed was so clear to read. Were the previous ones not clear? Anyway I felt obligated to type this one too. Birthday card from dear Papa not received.

The cookies and baked “22” are already all eaten with a lot of praise and thanks and with hopes of some more in the not too long future. I received some more birthday letters and cards and they are all waiting to be answered.

So far I have not learned to drive. Len lives only 4 blocks from me. So we do not need any transportation between us.

Lebkuchen for Xmas or Christmas

Lebkuchen

You were surprised that Aunt Henny so quickly gave up her apartment and sold her (little) furniture. Nothing surprises me anymore. One gets used to a lot of strange behaviors here. She sold her Christmas cards just like you do with chocolate and lebkuchen.

By the way how was the Xmas business? Did it go o.k. without me too?

I am still at the same job although we had very little work the past couple of weeks, but at the end of this week all of a sudden we received so many orders that we worked on Saturday and started an hour earlier today.

We also celebrated a little Xmas in advance, these 2 days. We had a so called “grab bag,” which means everybody bought something for 10¢. It all was put into 1 big box with a string put on each and we all took hold of 1 string and pulled out all at the same time whatever he or she caught. It was really a lot of fun. I got two hankies. Then we had coffee and whipped cream cake and for lunch we got 2 little glasses of very good wine.

Highball

A Highball

When we went home I had 2 “High balls.” That is whiskey and ginger ale. Then I walked home to my room in a pretty hard snowfall. I filled some socks with all kinds of little things and hung them with a pretty red ribbon over Leonard’s bed.

Did you know that here the children hang up their stocking at Christmas eve for Santa Klaus to fill up. He does not even come on Dec 6th.

Shirley Temple Doll

Click Doll for UTube of "Bright Eyes"

Sat. night we went shopping for Flora Mae and Leonard got her a beautiful Shirley Temple doll that I would have loved to play with and also a couple of games. Have you heard about Shirley Temple? She is a darling 5 yr old movie actress. If one of her films is shown in Ffm you should really go to see it. We saw her again in the “Chicago Theater” in a show called Bright Eyes.

Also, they showed pictures of some people from the Saar, who had gone home for a short period of time to vote. It was the 1st time ever I heard German singing in a movie theater. They also had a very nice, good Christmas program.

Tuesday night Aunt Henny slept with me, and Wednesday after working from 1-5 we went downtown. First window shopping and a little shopping. Then I called Leonard if he would like to join us for dinner which he accepted.

I went with him to the office after eating and he cleaned off his desk, planning to walk home. Instead he started telling me very interesting things from his school years. Before we realized it was 1:00 a.m. It reminded me of Alex talking about the war.

Thursday night I spent with the 2 Samuel girls. I was home at 10:30 p.m. but foolishly I read a little and in hopes of learning more English tried to work a crossword puzzle. But Friday night when I again had fish in a “Jewish style” restaurant, I went to sleep at 9:30 p.m.

Starting with 1935, I do not think I will write quite as often anymore. I am afraid your safe will get too full otherwise. I hope you will start the New Year O.K. and expect to do the same. My best wishes to all for a healthy and good 1935.

That is all I can think of right now so I shall end this letter. There is only 1 day Christmas holiday here although 2 days would be nicer. Only I lose pay every day I don’t work and that is not so good. I received 1 Xmas card but Leonard got and sent about 200. He got 1 from the current Mayor of Chicago and also from a former Mayor besides Judges, Lawyers, Aldermen etc. etc. I am having trouble keeping up with my correspondence. In the future I guess I will write letters only to you regularly–only a postal card here and there to all the others.

Snowy evening around Xmas in Chicago

A Snowy Evening in Chicago

Happy New Year,

Love,
Your Trudelchen


At the bottom of the letter, in English:

Xmas Eve 12/24/34
The friendship of Trudelchen and me means much more than words can tell. May I thank the gods of destiny. She looks radiant and well and as we approach the next year I hope it will be for each of you filled with just as much joy as dear Trudel has brought to me. ‘Tis LJG sends this to thee now guess who may the sender be.


Editor’s note: I am used to having the same first name as my father, but I never heard my father referred to as “Len” before reading this letter.

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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.

3/17/1935

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.”*

TristanandIsolder

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.
PittsfieldBuilding

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
Your
Trudelchen


*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 chuckmanchicagonostalgia.wordpress.com.

 

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March and April 1936 – I will be glad when the election is over.

March and April 1936  – I  will be glad when the election is over.

Trudel continued to abstract her letters into brief notes so I have consolidated March and April 1936 into one post. [April is below the first movie trailer.]

3/20/26
A fortune teller told me that Papa was not feeling well and should watch his health much more. Right? Leonard is very busy making speeches for Governor Len Small for mayor of Chicago. I will be glad when the election is over.

Easter Sunday 4/12/26
Happy birthday to Erna. [Erna’s birthday was April 25th.]
Leonard with speeches, also on radio, and I with hats, are keeping both of us very busy. I Try to go with him when I can.

Last Friday Rose LaMarque and I saw “The Great Waltz.” Wonderful.

4/26/36
Although Leonard was not elected as a judge, he is still much better off than the other Republican candidate who spent $25,000 and lost too with only ½ as many votes as Leonard, who did not spend 1¢. I am glad it is all over but it was very interesting for me and I learned a lot.

Papa’s letter had been opened by the Germans, by the foreign exchange department.

I Have not moved to the Seneca Hotel with Mrs La Marque yet, but will tell you the advantages I will have:
1. The landlord will not misplace my mail
2. All phone calls and visitors will be told me as soon as I come home
3. Home right after work (in the building)
4. Not so much alone
5. For the same money much bigger room
6. Telephone in the room
7. Private bathroom
8. Much better neighborhood
9. 1st class hotel service
10. Restaurant and grocery store in building
11. Closer to the beach in summer
12. Radio
13. Sewing machine
Etc., etc.

Went to Klemm and Addie Eggner’s wedding last Sunday. Although Leonard was not in the mood for it since his 85 year old Father had died 3 days before in Sumter, he went with me anyhow. He could not go to the funeral since it was the next day and it would have taken 2 days to get there.

I saw best movie ever, “Mr. Deeds Goes to Town”: serious story; excellent performances.


I have been unable to find any information about the judicial elections in Chicago in 1936. It would appear that there must have been some kind of open primary or Trudel may have combined the primary with the general election in her mind, which would explain how LJG could lose to “his opponent” and his opponent could also lose.

 

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August 20, 1936 – The biggest and best night club; elegant people

August 20, 1936 – The biggest and best night club; elegant people
Seneca Roof

Roof garden at the Seneca Hotel.

Trudel continues to translate only brief summaries of her original letters. The two entries she made for August 1936 only hint at the changes she had made in her life. But we can fill in some of the blanks from her photo album. Last month she mentioned sitting on the roof of the Seneca Hotel because it was so hot. Since posting that I found a photo of the Roof Garden at the Seneca in her album, which I have included here.

Although she doesn’t mention it in her translations, her photo album for the period includes photos on Chicago’s lake front and in the parks. I have included some of those as well.

The biggest and the best

8/3/36
Last night we went for the first time in the Chez Paree, the biggest and best nightclub here. Very elegant people, good dinner, excellent entertainment.

Chez Paree

The Chez Paree

Chez paree.damcimg

The most elegant people…

Best Club

Chez Paree



8/20/36
Sully sold her business. I would like to take over, but the hotel has to settle with her first.

Summer-Sully

Summer, 1936 — Sully’s Hat Shop


Summer Scenes – 1936

The rocks

Looking south toward Oak St. beach.

Rocks

Between North Ave. and Oak St.

Oak St

Looking North from Oak St Beach



Trudel and friend

Trudel and friend at the beach

Jackson Park

Picnic in Jackson Park

Bubbler

Trudel takes a cool drink


Trudel in the Sun

Trudel with Parasol.

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Posted by on August 20, 1936 in Chicago, immigrant experience, Memoir

 

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