March 23, 1937 – I Arrived in Sumter a week ago and don’t know where to start writing.

23 Mar
March 23, 1937 – I Arrived in Sumter a week ago and don’t know where to start writing.

3/23 Sumter
Arrived here one week ago and do not know where to start writing.

Trudel and Madge

Trudel and Madge

Leonard’s sister looks very much like him. She is four years younger. We get along just great. Her husband, Raymon, is also a lawyer. The daughter, Edith, 15 ½ years old is a darling and their 12 year old son (Ramon) is very nice and well behaved.

After my arrival we had a fabulous dinner and then I unpacked and retired early, and slept late the next day.

Edith Schwartz

Edith Schwartz

Madge and I talked all day together, whatever she was doing or wherever we were. In the evening, Friday night, Mrs. Schwartz, Ray’s mother, and a cousin came to welcome me.

Ray’s ancestors were with the first Jews who settled here in the South and he is very proud of it although they all are Christian Scientists now. But he still goes with his mother to a synagogue on the holidays.

Raymon Schwartz

Raymon Schwartz

Besides having some visitors on Saturday, we went in the afternoon to a bridge-tea at their country club. In the evening in evening dress to a formal dinner party. Sunday we dove to another small town to pick up Aunt Dora Sonn (at the train) from Miami, Florida. The first wife of her husband was a sister of Leonard’s mother. Monday Aunt Dora and I went for a walk in the morning and in the afternoon we went shopping.

Right now it is very warm. I am glad I brought some real lightweight summer dresses. Monday afternoon the three Welch’s arrived. They drove here and brought along Aunt Flora, who is the most loved member of the family, also a sister of Leonard’s mother who actually lives in Indianapolis. We had a nice, leisurely family evening.

Ramon Schwartz

Ramon Schwartz

Next day we all piled into 2 cars and drove to Charleston SC, one of the oldest and very European towns in the south. First stop: Cypress Gardens. An enormous park with ancient cypress trees, a little creek running between gorgeous all color flowers. Much too beautiful to describe.

Next stop: Magnolia Gardens. While the other place was very quiet and relaxing, this place is so bright and colorful and exciting. Giant azaleas, magnolias, Japanese trees, etc. Took a lot of pictures and Ray filmed.
In the evening we had 50 young boys and girls ages 15-16 here in the house for my niece Edith and her cousin Louis Welch, both are about the same age.

Cypress Gardens

Cypress Gardens

Yesterday, we were visiting another beautiful garden, originated by a sculptor, with many of his and his wife’s figures all through the place, with beautiful flowers and bushes and trees all around. Afterward, the 10 of us drove to a beach at the Atlantic Ocean.
Unfortunately we did not have enough time to go into the water.

In the afternoon we visited the studio of a lady who does beautiful drawings and engravings. After showing us some of her best work, a very famous poetess read some of her poetry for us. It was very interesting and nice.

Supper we had at Ray’s mother and two more cousins came. Afterwards Ray showed us several homemade movies. To end the day I dressed up Ramon as a girl and myself with slacks and a man’s hat, while Edith and Louis sang a song, partly English partly French, we two kind of acted it out. Of course since it was unrehearsed it was very funny.

Magnolia Gardens

Magnolia Gardens

Welches left this morning and now I find a little time to write. Hopefully Ray will co-sign some of my papers. So far we did not have time to even talk about you girls’ visas to come here.

Your Trudelchen

In the last sentence of the letter, Trudel mentions their intention to ask the Schwartzes about helping to get visas for her sisters. In a poignant letter written to her family on March 16, 1937, LJG discusses the problems.I have attached the orignal letter as a PDF file. Click on the link below.

LJG letter-3-16-1937

Note: Raymon was my father’s brother-in-law and my uncle. Twelve year old, Ramon is my cousin but because of the age differences, I always called him “Uncle Ray.” My brother Raymon is named for both of them. [Leonard Grossman, One of Trudel’s sons.]

New Film from Trudel’s Sumter Trip.

Since posting this letter, my cousin, Al Schwartzenberg, found film of Trudel visiting Cypress Gardens, Magnolia Gardens, and the Camden Polo Grounds, which Trudel doesn’t mention in the letter. I have had the film transferred to DVD and uploaded it to Youtube. Special thanks to Barbara Burchstead for identifying the locations in this film and some of the people in it.


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.

Posted by on March 23, 1937 in immigrant experience, Letters


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