February 22, 1935 “The girls call each other by the same silly names as we used to do.”

22 Feb
February 22, 1935 “The girls call each other by the same silly names as we used to do.”

Feb 22, 1935
671 N. Dearborn St.

My very dear Goldchildren:

How do you like me? Here everybody thinks the photo is very nice. Especially Leonard, who got an enlargement for a Valentine, likes it very much.

It is exactly 3 yrs that we 3 had our pictures taken at Gabor Hirsch* and 1 yr ago today I was with the motorbike at the cemetery.

Trudel Erna Lotte

Trudel, Erna, Lotte - 1932

I guess I bought my Hyacinth bulbs too late this year. They are not blooming yet as they should today on Mother’s birthday. Did one of you go to the cemetery today?* How does the grave look? Is my geranium still alive?

I really intended to go to the synagogue tonight but I am invited at Samuels again like last Friday night. I feel very much at home with them. Father Samuel makes Kiddish. It is a household very much like ours used to be. The girls call each other by the same silly names as we used to do.

Erna Tows Trudel

Trudel and Erna 1934

Last week a brother of Mr. Samuel who is here 45 yrs was there. He lived for some time in Darmstadt. So they all talked Frankfurter and Darmstaedter German.

Dear Papa do you or did you know Leopold Hirsch and Adolf Furth? They are related to Samuels.

Last Saturday I heard Leonard for the first time talking in court, in the Yogi case. After 4 hrs the case was postponed.

On Sunday Flora Mae had her 6th birthday. I made a real cute present for her — A clothes hanger as a doll, from material from my evening dress and some red velvet. It really is very pretty. In honor of the day we took her along to the radio station in Hammond. And then she had dinner with us at the Madison Park Hotel. Besides her birthday we celebrated my being 3/4 yr in the U.S.A.

LJG Argues for Yogi Roy

Click to read story

Now that we are working full time again I can write in my lunchtime again or do something else.

I had to make my brown coat and skirt much tighter and took out enough material to make a cap for myself.

Something strange happened to me last night, while I was at Mrs. Saunders, the lady here in my house. The Landlord called to ask her if she would take a message for me. He knows we are good friends and see each other daily. He said a woman called and said she was my German friend and would like to meet me at 7:00 p.m. tonight or call her. I am supposed to have her phone number#. Well, I immediately called Claire Samuels but it was not her. Now I cannot imagine who it was. Maybe it was a hoax. Well, she can call again. Last Wed. I was as usual at Gwen’s.

I think I wrote you before that I was making hats for her and a new customer. Saturday the new customer returned hers.

Why did Erna not take her skis with her to Oberreifenberg? That would have been more fun. I did not see Aunt Henny all this week. She called me Tuesday night but I was not at home. Now I have to spend several nickels until I can reach her. Otherwise I do not know anything more today. I am very tired since I am too lazy to go to bed every night and stay up much too late. I hope to hear from you soon again.

A million kisses,
Yours Trudel.

*Gabor Hirsh was a famous German photographer. Trudel may have been talking about his studio or shop

*Trudel’s mother died in 1933, nearly a year before Trudel left Germany.

[Spoiler alert: References to “Leonard,” refer to the man who would become my father. He was Leonard Jacob Grossman. I was named Leonard Albert Grossman. Editor ]


About Leonard Grossman

Writing about the online world since 1992: The ModemJunkie's Portal Taught school in the inner-city from 1967-78, Government lawyer from 1979-2010. Married to the incredible Cindy Barnard. Proud father of Sarah and grandfather of Gavin.

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4 Responses to February 22, 1935 “The girls call each other by the same silly names as we used to do.”

  1. Linda Gartz

    February 22, 2012 at 9:09 am

    Love the photo at the top and Trudel’s cute way of expressing her satisfaction with it. These letters are such a joy to read — we get into Trudel’s mind and what interests her. As I have translated many very old family letters from German to English, I know it’s not a straight-forward proposition.

  2. Barrie Ward

    February 22, 2012 at 9:45 am

    The photographs are wonderful Leonard … I appreciated the line about spending ‘nickels’ to reach her aunt … that communications were comparatively expensive back then … for indeed a ‘nickel was a nickel’ … We have German in-laws so I found the line “So they all talked Frankfurter and Darmnnstadter German.” quite interesting as no one has spoken to us about the regional dialects in the past eight years we have known the relatives …

  3. Gretel Ghamsharick

    June 4, 2015 at 11:11 am

    Your cousin Mari Schwartzenbach is in Frankfurt and she told me about your blog. I am assisting her during the Frankfurt Visitor s program. I enjoy reading this blog very much.
    There is however a spelling mistake. Darmnnstadt should be Darmstadt without the double n. Darmnnstadter should be Darmstaedter. Darmstadt is a town south of Frankfurt. And in fact they do have similar dialects.
    I wish you good luck with the website and I am very curious to see the photos your mother took of Frankfurt.
    Best regard
    Gretel Ghamsharick, Bad Homburg

    • Leonard Grossman

      June 6, 2015 at 2:57 pm

      Gretel, Thank you for your note. I am sure there are more typos on the site, but I will try to fix this one.
      Thank you for the help you are giving the Schwartzenbergs. They sent a very happy photo to you.

      I tried again this week without success to find a little pocket diary my mother had that might have included all of the addresses she lived at in Frankfurt.

      I remember staying in a “zimmer frei” in Bad Hamburg back in the 70s

      Thanks again,



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