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(page updated 6/24/11)
April 1945
Click on the calendar for a specific date
Highlights:
“Lili Marlene”
Birthday party
FDR
Jim's birthday
Woody Herman
The faculty show
Ox dance
Circus
The Canteen
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Ann Miller portrays a stripteaser trying to earn respectability in Eadie Was a Lady, playing today at the Stratford Theatre. (image via rareposters.com)

Sunday
Apr. 1
1945

Well, Easter Sunday, but I was too sleepy to notice.

About 1:30, Jim and Totten came over and Totten's planning a hayride for this coming Saturday, mmm-hmmm.

He went home and Jim and I talked about things in general. Then we went for a walk and winded up at the Stratford. Saw Eadie Was a Lady and 6 acts of vaudeville.

On the way home, met snotty Johnny McBride. Told me it was a mistake breaking up with Stan—right in front of Jim.

Jim and I walked back to my house in the rain and ate some ham, etc. He went home at 9:30.

Some fun.”

Sis comments:

Usually we made a big deal over Easter. We probably had our big dinner later in the day, for Dad worked rotating shifts, and so worked holidays, if that's the way things fell.

I'm surprised the Stratford had six acts. They had better vaudeville [than most theaters], but usually only about four acts.

Johnny McBride was never our favorite guy.”

Notes:

  • No info on “snotty Johnny McBride” and, not surprisingly, there are no photos of him in Dot's scrapbook.

Today's news:

  • U.S. troops land on Okinawa for Operation Iceberg—in what will be the last major campaign of the war.

--

Dot went to Kelly Library after school today

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Monday
Apr. 2
1945

What a dull, dreary day. It was pouring cats & dogs and got much colder, but I trudged off to school like a good kid.

After school, I went to the library and then came home and sat around. Lill came over for her check and then Helen, Ginny and her sister dropped in.

Not a very nice day, but my weekend made up for it. Went to bed at 1:15 a.m.”

Sis comments:

Lill came over for her check—a check for what?”

Today's news:

  • The US 10th Army advances across Okinawa; Four U.S. transport ships are badly damaged and suffer many casualties when attacked by Japanese kamikazes.
  • Born on this day in 1945: baseball stars Don Sutton and Reggie Smith

--

Aunt Ag with Sis, about 1931

A scene from Hollywood Canteen, featuring Peter Lorre and Sydney Greenstreet


1950s newspaper ad. It was common practice for stores at Easter to sell live chicks that were dyed in various colors.

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Tuesday
Apr. 3
1945

Today was sort of cold. After school, Sis and I went to the Englewood and saw Hollywood Canteen and Lili Marlene*. They were both wonderful. Came home and Aunt Ag was over. We had a keen time chewing the fat. Aggie took our chickens home cause they were dying. Went to bed kind of late.”

Sis comments:

I remember those movies and they were wonderful. Lili Marlene* was with Marlene Dietrich and was a tearjerker.

Aggie took our chickens home—what a hoot! Can't remember that, but I guess we got little chicks for Easter. They used to sell them in the stores. Sometimes they even dyed them different colors.”

Notes:

  • *I could find no record of a pre-1945, feature-length film titled Lili Marlene.

A 29-min. documentary titled The True Story of Lili Marlene had been released on Sunday, April 1st, however Marlene Dietrich is not listed in the cast. The New York Times described the film:

One of this war's strangest psychological backfires is the basis for a short picture ... a dramatized story of how the war song Lili Marlene was literally captured by the British 8th Army after it had been the outstanding morale device of the German[s]. [...] Lala Andersen, the Swedish actress who had introduced it, was placed in a concentration camp and from that day forward, Lili Marlene became a British marching song.

I originally suspected the film Dot and Sis saw may have actually been a retitled reissue of The Blue Angel—the 1930 German production. It is possible it could also have been Kismet, starring Dietrich, (or Blonde Venus, with Dietrich and Cary Grant) and that Dot and Sis confused the documentary with one of those movies.

However, Kismet, like The True Story of Lili Marlene, was released only a couple of days earlier, on April 1st, and so it would be surprising if it was at the local Englewood Theatre, where only films that had been in release for some time were shown.

If any readers can shed light on this (albeit minor) mystery, please drop me a line.

  • Marlene Dietrich sings an English version of Lili Marlene ((listen)); More information about the tune is here.]
  • A fictionalized Lili Marlene [clip] was filmed in 1981 by German director Rainer Werner Fassbinder.

  • The tradition of bringing home live, baby chicks at Easter was coming under criticism in 1945. From a New York Times article that appeared a week before the Easter '45 holiday:

The use of baby chicks as Easter novelties or playthings was deplored by the ASPCA yesterday in a statement which said that nearly all baby chicks diverted from the commercial poultry trade die as a result of improper handling or neglect. It added that the courts had held the sale of less than six chicks to a customer to be evidence of cruelty to animals.

Today's news:

  • The U.S. 40th Division lands on the Phillipines to begin aiding local guerrillas.

--

Okinawa: “A Marine of the 1st Marine Division draws a bead on a Japanese sniper with his tommy-gun as his companion ducks for cover. The division is working to take Wana Ridge before the town of Shuri.” (National Archives-archives.gov)

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Wednesday
Apr. 4
1945

A regular, dull Wednesday. Washed my hair after school and did most of my homework.”

Today's news:

  • The Soviets liberate Hungary from Nazi occupation.
  • U.S. forces liberate the concentration camp in Ohrdruf, Germany.
  • On Okinawa, the U.S. 10th Army meets Japanese resistance. A storm damages American landing craft, hampering reinforcements.

--

Doty

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Thursday
Apr. 5
1945

After school today, Sis and I saw Hal and he told me to meet him in Parnell at quarter to 10 tonight.

Jim called me up today and asked if there was going to be a hayride Sat.

Then we went by Sunny's house. We made fudge and sat around talking. Went home at 9:00.

Got in Parnell's and Doty sat with us. Then Hal came in, and then Marge and Betty.”

Today's news:

  • Yugoslav leader Josip ‘Tito’ Broz signs an agreement with the USSR allowing “temporary entry of Soviet troops into Yugoslav territory”.
  • The U.S. announces that General Douglas MacArthur will assume control of all army forces in the Pacific theater; Admiral Nimitz will command all naval forces.
  • Actress Bette Davis celebrates her 37th birthday.

--

Stacy Harris is FBI Special Agent Jim Taylor in tonight's premiere of the new radio series, This is Your FBI, sponsored by the Equitable Life Assurance Co. (A complete broadcast of the debut episode, titled “Espionage”, is here.)

(Photo via Wikipedia; ABC and www.coutant.org/celebs/)

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Friday
Apr. 6
1945

Today after school I put on my green- and white-checked dress, went to Parnell. Doty, Bill Swims and two sailors were in there.

Saw Hal later in the evening and he wanted me to go on the north side with him in his uncle's car.

Later on, Sis and I took Sonny to Parnell's, for a 3 Graces. Came home kind of sleepy so put up my hair and went to bed.”

Notes:

  • Sonny”, or “Son”, is Dot and Sis' younger brother, Lou (not to be confused with Sunny).
  • Sis has said she wasn't very fond of Bill Swims.
  • As noted previously, a 3 Graces is a Parnell ice cream specialty.

Today's news:

  • Prisoners at the Buchenwald concentration camp are sent out on forced death marches.
  • Japanese kamikazes hit Allied ships, including the aircraft carriers USS Jacinto and the HMS Illustrious.
  • Soviet forces reach the suburbs of Vienna, Austria.

--


The Jackson/State subway station (top) was typical of other downtown platforms underneath State Street at this time. Dot and Sis boarded the ‘North/South Line’ at the Parnell station for the Loop, where the trains entered the new State St. subway that had opened just two years earlier, in 1943.

Pictured above are the CTA's, 1940s-era ‘4400-series’ cars.

(Photos via www.chicago-l.org)

Excerpt from a Japanese film about the Yamato. The battleship was sunk by U.S forces on this day.

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Saturday
Apr. 7
1945

Got up sort of early today and Sis and I went downtown. Didn't buy a darn thing; went home soon and stopped down 63rd & Halsted. Came home and dressed.

Sunny came over at 6:30. Jim called at 7:30 and asked if we had a date. I said no.

Sis, Sunny and I fooled around down 63rd. Ate in a little place and went to Parnell.

Came home and at 12:30, Jim and Totten dropped in. Asked me about next Sat., and the week from next Sat.”

Sis comments:

I love the way we used to go downtown like it was in the neighborhood. The L station was only about three blocks from home and, once downtown, we were let off right on State St.”

Today's news:

  • *The Japanese battleship Yamato, the largest ever constructed, is sunk by U.S. aircraft near Okinawa. The ship had undertaken Operation Ten-Go, a suicide mission targeting U.S. forces. Over 2,400 Japanese died in the battle. [More information here, and at left.]

--


At top, a modern view of Kershaw Magnet Elementary School.

Above: Dot's front steps at 61st & Normal Blvd., where Dot, Sis and Ginny listened to records on this “long” Sunday afternoon.

(Photos via Google Maps)

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Sunday
Apr. 8
1945

Dear Diary, today was just about the longest day in the year.

Sunny went home quite early. Later, Sis and I put on our slacks and went with Ginny to Kershaw playground* and played baseball and fooled around.

Came home and sat on the front steps playing phonograph records. Saw Jim and Totten; they started acting silly and fooling around with us.

Bob Dusold and Carl pulled up, and Bob asked me to go to the Roller Derby** with him tonight. I told him I couldn't.

Helen came later; had a big talk.”

Notes:

  • *Kershaw Playground was adjacent to Joshua D. Kershaw Elementary School, at 6450 S. Lowe, about three blocks east of Halsted St., and a half-mile from Dot's. From Google Maps, it's difficult to tell where exactly the playground Dot refers to was located, or if the present-day buildings are the same ones that were there in 1945 (judging by the architecture, it would appear not). Kershaw Magnet Elementary School (as it is now known) has an enrollment of about 220.
  • **The April 9, 1945, Chicago Tribune reports that in Sunday's roller derby (the one Dot had been invited to), the New York Skaters won, taking a 1-point series lead.

On this week's Hit Parade:

  • I’m Beginning to See the Light - The Harry James Orchestra with Kitty Kallen ((listen))

Today's news:

  • Soviet forces encounter heavy German resistance in Vienna.

--


The German battleship Admiral Scheer was sunk by British planes on Monday, April 8th, 1945. A “pocket battleship” (background information in the video above), the vessel was one of only a few that were considered “male”--meaning that its crew referred to the ship as he instead of the traditional she. (More information at wikipedia.com)

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Monday
Apr. 9
1945

Today's Monday. After school, Sis and I went downtown and met Sunny. We shopped around and ate a nice dinner.

Came home at 9:00. Stopped in Jim's for a Coke. Got home and Hal dropped in discussing Jim's surprise party*. He kept kidding me about my braids (a great flatterer); also argued a little.”

Sis comments:

Hal was a great flatterer and also they argued a little?? Runs hot and cold—that's the way I remember.”

Notes:

  • *Jim Parks' 17th birthday is this Friday, April 13th.

Today's news:

  • The German pocket battleship Admiral Scheer is sunk in her berth during a bombing raid by the Royal Air Force.
  • U.S. 9th Army units reach Germany's Krupp munitions factories.
  • Steinmetz High School (Chicago) graduate Hugh Hefner celebrates his 19th birthday while serving in the U.S. Army.

--

Dot (at the far left), Jim Parks, Ginny Merigold, Hal Totten, and Junior Karpus, celebrating Dot's 17th birthday.


Back row, left to right: Lil (Vertus' sister), Sis, Dot, Ginny, Helen Romanelli. Foreground: Hal and Jim.

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Tuesday
Apr. 10
1945

My birthday. Kids at school sang happy birthday at lunch. Came home, helped Mom, and put on my suit.

At 6:00, Jim called and said he was coming over. Ag, Joe and kids came also. Dell, Lill, kids; Betty, Helen, Ginny (Hal, too), Lil—and later, Jim came with a box of candy and a compact.

At 12:30, Jim and I went for a walk and had a long talk. Went in at 2:30. He really gave me a luscious kiss for 17. Also got a purse, mid-riff pajamas, cologne, lipstick, money, etc.”

Sis comments:

I have a picture of Dot's 17th birthday party; maybe you do, too [that's it at left]. Had a great time, but I wonder where all the other boyfriends were!”

Notes:

  • Ag, Dell and Lill are Dot's aunts; Lil is Vertus' sister.

Today's news:

  • A Luftwaffe jet conducts what will be Germany's last wartime sortie over British territory.
  • The U.S. 7th Army advances toward Nuremberg, Germany.

--


Above: Richard Kustwin

Below: Dot in 1938, with her accordion; and the same accordion today..


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Wednesday
Apr. 11
1945

Aujourd'hui*, I went by Sunny's house to teach Sis how to ride a bike.

Had a grand time fighting with some little kids and also three older, but still juvenile, boys. Gad, you'd think they owned the world by the way they talked. Also ate over there. Took a few rides too.

I saw Richard Kustwin, but he didn't know me. Came home at 11:00.”

Sis comments:

Yes, they tried to teach me how to ride a bike, and I still don't know how to ride one. I guess those little kids didn't help, and the street was busy with traffic. (Excuses, excuses...!)

Richard Kustwin lived on 45th St., not far from us. Dot had a big crush on Richard in grammar school. I don't think he even knew she existed, so I am not surprised he didn't know her. Richard was an accordionist, and so that is why Dot decided to learn how to play one. We used to stand in his gangway to listen to him. Dot talked me into doing that—I was so embarrassed!”

Notes:

  • Sis doesn't mention it, but she could play the accordion a little bit, too.
  • *Aujourd'hui = 'today'.

Today's news:

  • U.S. forces liberate Germany's Buchenwald concentration camp.
  • Soviet forces reach the Danube River and Vienna's city center.
  • Future horse racing champion (1948 Triple Crown) Citation is born on this day in 1945.

--


With Winston Churchill at Yalta, February 1945. (Photo via Dept. of the Army)
.


Vice President Harry S. Truman was in Washington, DC when the news of Roosevelt's death arrived. Truman was quickly sworn as President.


On this sad evening, Dot and Sis went to the Ace Theater to see Irish Eyes Are Smiling (clip above) and The Big Noise, (clip below) in which Laurel & Hardy portrayed bodyguards to the inventor of a strategically important new bomb.

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Thursday
Apr. 12
1945

Thursday, and today the President died—F.D.R. There were all hymns on the radio.

Later in the evening, Sis and I went to the Ace and saw When Irish Eyes Are Smiling and Big Noise. They were both great pictures.

Got out at 11 and came straight home. Sis stopped in Parnell's for shampoo. It was cold out today.”

Sis comments:

It was a big shock when F.D.R. died, as he was the only president Dot and I had known. After all, he was in his fourth term in 1945. Then, too, with the war on, it was a scary time to be changing leaders.”

Notes:

  • “Roosevelt was in declining health since at least 1940. The strain of his paralysis and the physical exertion needed to compensate for it for over 20 years had taken their toll, as had many years of stress and a lifetime of chain-smoking. He had high blood pressure and long-term heart disease.” —wikipedia
  • More here (whitehouse.gov) and here (FDR Library).
  • From the New York Times:

The news caught millions headed homeward in the evening rush hour. It spread like wildfire through crowded railroad terminals, through Times Square, filtered into bars, theatres and eating places.

Passengers left buses and trolley cars to seek confirmation. They came up out of the subways to put the question to policemen and to strangers passing by.

With confirmation, they fanned out in the avenues and in the by-streets. Moving through Times Square the phrase fell repeatedly on the ear, “President's dead," "the President's dead.”

...

The White House announced late today that President Roosevelt had died of cerebral hemorrhage. The death occurred this afternoon at Warm Springs, Ga. A White House statement said:

Vice President Truman has been notified. He was called to the White House and informed by Mrs. Roosevelt. The Secretary of State has been advised. A Cabinet meeting has been called. The four Roosevelt boys in the service have been sent a message by their mother, which said that the President slept away this afternoon.

He did his job to the end, as he would want to do. 'Bless you all and all our love,' added Mrs. Roosevelt. She signed the message, 'Mother'. Funeral services will be held Saturday afternoon in the East Room of the White House. Interment will be at Hyde Park Sunday afternoon. No detailed arrangements or exact times have been decided upon as yet.

It has pleased God in His infinite wisdom to take from us the immortal spirit of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, the 32nd president of the United States.

The leader of his people in a great war, he lived to see the assurance of the victory but not to share it. He lived to see the first foundations of the free and peaceful world to which his life was dedicated, but not to enter on that world himself.

His fellow countrymen will sorely miss his fortitude and faith and courage in the time to come. The peoples of the earth who love the ways of freedom and of hope will mourn for him.

But though his voice is silent, his courage is not spent, his faith is not extinguished. The courage of great men outlives them to become the courage of their people and the peoples of the world. It lives beyond them and upholds their purposes and brings their hopes to pass.

--

Sis

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Friday
Apr. 13
1945

Today we had an assembly in honor of F.D.R. and got out of school at 11:30.

Sis and I went to Helen's house. She washed my hair and then set it. Came home and ate supper then went back to Helen's. Got home at 11:30.

Jim and Hal came over and stayed till 1:00, talking and looking at magazines.

I got that old feeling back for Jim again.”

Sis comments:

Once in awhile, we'd go to Helen's house to set our hair, as she had all the equipment there. Her mother owned a beauty shop and kept some things at the house. Didn't have hand-held hair dryers back then; only those cumbersome machines that looked like something out of a horror movie!”

Today's news:

  • Headlines from today's Chicago Tribune:

ROOSEVELT IS DEAD!

(Mayor) Kelly Voice(s) Shock and Sorrow

PUBLIC SCHOOLS OPEN TODAY; HOLD SERVICES

Roosevelt Funeral Set for 4 Tomorrow

The Life of Roosevelt--From Sheltered Boyhood to Precedent-Shattering President!

RADIO PLAYS BIG ROLE IN TELLING OF F.D.R.'S DEATH

President's Body Is Borne from Southern Home

WASHINGTON AWAITS FUNERAL TRAIN

TRUMAN FACING WAR, PEACE AND DOMESTIC TESTS

EXPECT TRUMAN HELP IN OUSTING RED BUREAUCRATS

Cubs and White Sox Cancel Games Today and Tomorrow

Major Opener to Be Played in F. D. R.'s Memory

--

Above: Newsreel footage of President Roosevelt's funeral.



F.D.R. funeral train (Truman Library; Hyde Park Station)

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Saturday
Apr. 14
1945

Today every store down 63rd was closed.

I started to dress at 6:00. Hal kept running in at intervals.

At 7:30, Jim came and we went to Hal's house. Gosh, was Jim surprised they were going to have a party. Mmm—and what a [birthday] party. There were five couples. Jim and I were always together.

About 1:30, Janet and Mrs. Totten went to work, so Hal put out the lights. What a night.

Got home at 3:00 a.m.”

Sis comments:

The stores were of course closed in honor of F.D.R.

Nice party that I wasn't invited to! Outside of Jim, I didn't care for their friends. So there!!”

Today's news:

  • From today's New York Times:

Crowds in Tears Watch Funeral Train Roll North: Aboard President Roosevelt's Funeral Train

All day long—and far into the night—crowds have gathered at every station through which the train has passed to pay last tribute. Everywhere some of the men, women and children, gathered to mourn the leader who passed away with Germany defeated, Japan staggering and at the moment when a new peace was to be drafted, have cried openly.

...

Behind the hearse came Mrs. Roosevelt, dressed in black with a fur cape. She sat stiffly in a car, with Fala, Mr. Roosevelt's dog, at her feet, the Scotty knowing that something was wrong, and perhaps sensing what it was.

...

At 10 p.m., another special train will leave for the ancestral Roosevelt estate at Hyde Park ... There, in the garden, bordered by a hemlock hedge and filled with roses ... the man who entered the Presidency at the depths of our greatest depression and lived to see the enemies of the United States defeated, will be laid to rest.

  • Headlines from today's Chicago Tribune:

Chicago Curtails Activities Today in Tribute to Roosevelt

Fala Goes with Master on Final Trip Together

'LASTING PEACE' THEME OF F.D.R.'S FINAL ADDRESS

NEW PRESIDENT'S FIRST DAY ON JOB IS CROWDED ONE

TRUMAN: A PLAIN GENIAL MAN WHO LIKES TO LISTEN

TRUMAN IS AWED AS HE RIDES TO FACE NEW TASKS

--

On this rainy Sunday, Hal and Jim went bowling with Dot and Bob Plant

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Sunday
Apr. 15
1945

What a rainy day today was. Stayed home all day sewing and messing around.

Went by Hal's to get my records. Bob Dusold called me up and asked me to go out, but I told him I had a date. Helen came over too.

Mom and Dad went out so Sis and I took Sonny to Parnell. Met Helen so she came too.

Jim, Hal and Bob Plant came in, and I went bowling with them. Made a neat score of 27. Had a keen time. Jim and I walked home from 69th & Halsted.”

Sis comments:

Dot's ‘neat score of... 27!’”

Today's news:

  • Elizabeth Montgomery (Bewitched) is 12 years old today.

On this week's Hit Parade:

--


Woody Herman's orchestra, with a latter-day rendition of--eek!--Caldonia.

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Monday
Apr. 16
1945

Today after school, Sis and I went downtown. I got excused from school after division.

We met Sunny in the Oriental at 6:00. Saw vivacious, lovable Woody Herman, and he played Caldonia and Who Dat Up Dere? Eek!—that man... I adore him.

After the show, about 10:30, Sis and I stopped in at Parnell restaurant. Had chili and pie. Came home and went to bed.”

Sis comments:

Oh yes, I remember seeing Woody Herman in person and especially Caldonia! It was a great show.

Chili and pie after 10:30 p.m.? Could never do that now!”

Notes:

  • On February 26, 1945 in New York City, the Woody Herman band recorded Caldonia. “Ralph [Burns] caught Louis Jordan [singing Caldonia] in an act and wrote the opening twelve bars and the eight bar tag. But the most `amazing thing on the record was a soaring eight bar passage by trumpets near the end.” ... In 1946 the band won Downbeat, Metronome, Billboard and Esquire polls for best band, nominated by their peers in the big band business. —wikipedia
  • Woody Herman's “Who Dat Up Dere?” ((listen))

Today's news:

  • The German ship Goya, overfilled with refugees, sinks after being torpedoed by a Soviet submarine, killing more than 7,000 people.
  • Joseph Ratzinger—later known as Pope Benedict XVI—celebrates his 18th birthday.

--


Two Ton Baker; the real Carmen Miranda

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Tuesday
Apr. 17
1945

Ah, Tuesday, the day of our faculty show, and man—was it keen. The guest was Two Ton Baker and Mr. Dubon was CARMEN MIRANDA. What a show.

Later in the evening, Jim and Hal came over and fooled around doing my algebra and dancing with Hal. Honestly, those guys are more fun than I can imagine.

Jim made a date for Saturday night.”

Sis comments:

As Dot described it, the faculty show was "keen". So right! All the straight-laced teachers did a complete turnaround and went all-out with their crazy acts.

Carmen Miranda was popular then so that act was a natural. I can't remember the faculty putting on any more shows quite like that one.”

Notes:

  • “Dick "Two Ton" Baker was a giant -- literally and figuratively -- on the Chicago entertainment scene for nearly four decades, from the late 1930s until his death in 1975. He played piano quite well and sang in a pleasing, infectious baritone voice, but mainly, he entertained, in whatever medium. His radio show on WGN went out nationwide over the Mutual network. He appeared on WGN's first television broadcast (April 5, 1945), and later had a very popular children's program on that and other Chicago TV stations.” --from twotonbaker.com
  • Baker is also well-known for his tv commercials for Chicago's Riverview amusement park.
  • Audio clip of Two Ton Baker singing The Soup Song / Eachie Peachy Pie

Today's news:

  • Soviet forces continue to attack east of Berlin, in Austria and in Czechoslovakia; German units in the Ruhr begin to surrender on a large scale.
  • The Chicago Cubs beat the St. Louis Cardinals 3-2 at Wrigley Field in the first game of the 1945 season (the last season—to date—in which they will make the World Series)

--


Bowery to Broadway (1944) concerns two successful vaudevillians whose lives get complicated when a romance develops.

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Wednesday
Apr. 18
1945

Kind of cold out today. After school, Sis and I went to the Englewood show and saw Girl Rush, Bowery to Broadway, and 5 acts of vaudeville. Very good.

Came straight home after the show and sat around listening to the radio till about 1:00.”

Today's news:

  • Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Ernie Pyle is killed by Japanese sniper fire on Okinawa.

--




Newspaper clipping Dot taped to her diary page; the USS Saratoga in May 1945, and sinking on Feb. 21. Below: The Saratoga in a 1933 air/sea exercise (newsreel footage-silent)

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Thursday
Apr. 19
1945

Today we did our Ox dance on the stage in our GYM SUITS—zowie!!

After school, Johnny, a friend of George Geis, called Marge up, and he told her that George was on board ship when he was killed. Part of it exploded - oh my God... I don't know what to say - it just gets me...”

Sis comments:

“Dot liked George... He was a great guy and a lot of fun to be with.”

* * *

The 'Ox' dance was what I recall the 'Slap dance' that is a German [or Swedish] tradition. All the moves are similar and it was really quite a show!

Then, too, just appearing on stage in front of everyone with those ugly, one-piece, green gym suits [substituting for liederhsoen] was a little embarrassing. But they did good!”

Notes:

  • Sis' memories of how Dot met George Geis.
  • More information about Geis' ship, the USS Saratoga.
  • Dot received two letters from George on Valentine's Day. She wrote back to him on the 18th—a letter he would never get to read. To date, I haven't located any photos of George Geis.
  • Dot attached the undated newspaper announcement to today's page of her diary. She wrote “extra special reserved space [for] George H. Geis, S1/C, and also included the following:

    “I cannot say and I will not say that he is dead. He is just away with a cheery smile and a wave of the hand. He had wandered into an unknown land, and left us dreaming how very fair. It needs must be since he lingers there. Think of him still as the same, I say. He is not dead, he is just away. —J.W. Riley”

Today's news:

  • Rodgers & Hammerstein's Carousel makes its Broadway debut.
  • The visiting Cardinals beat the Cubs 8-2; the White Sox trounce the Indians 14-6 at Cleveland.

--

Dot's dad, Louis

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Friday
Apr. 20
1945

Today was Dad's birthday, so Mom and him went out. Jim and Hal came over and we played a game of pool and talked a little, then they went.

About 10:00, they came back. I had changed to my house coat. Jim really acted silly, singing stuff like that there, and Hal was jumping all around and dancing with me.

Later we had a crap game and yours truly won, mmm hmmm. We're going to the show tomorrow.”

Today's news:

  • American troops capture Leipzig, Germany (later ceded to the Soviet Union).
  • U.S. B-29 bombers destroy Japan's Musashi Aircraft plants, halting production of the Nakajima Ki-84 fighter planes.
  • The White Sox beat the St. Louis Browns, 3-2, in their home opener at Comiskey Park.
  • Movie premieres: The Horn Blows at Midnight, Son of Lassie.

    (Chicago Daily Tribune)

  • Birthday: Adolf Hitler (56)

--

Hal and Jim

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Saturday
Apr. 21
1945

Bob Dusold called up and asked me to go to the Roller Derby tomorrow and I said ok.

About 7:30, Jim and Hal came for me and then we got Viola. We went to the Stratford and sat in the balcony.

After the show, we went to Karson's and had barbecue beef. Went for a walk down Wallace and then the four of us came to my house and danced for awhile.

Jim seemed different tonight—sort of mature—dig me!! We sat around (ahem) and Jim went home at 1:30.”

Sis comments:

Viola was Viola Fick, a real nice, friendly girl who lived near Helen. Don't remember her and Hal as an ‘item’ though.

Karson's restaurant, next to the Stratford, was a great restaurant but a little expensive for us (unless our dates paid).”

Notes:

  • There is presently a Karson's restaurant in the Chicago suburb of Evergreen Park, however I don't know if there's any connection.
  • A former Englewood resident has some information about Wallace Street:

It was a very narrow street (more like an alley), with the Grand Trunk Railroad tracks taking up the east side of the street. Between 59th and 60th Streets, there were only two houses. There were a few from 60th to 62nd Streets. Interestingly, the street doesn't show on some maps. However, I checked on the county's assessor's website and there still are taxable properties on Wallace St. between 63rd and 59th St. I used the Yahoo map website with the address 5944 S Wallace St and it did show a Wallace Street.

(The street is visible on Google Earth.)

Today's news:

  • Soviet forces attack the German High Command headquarters south of Berlin at Zossen.
  • Princess (later Queen) Elizabeth celebrates her 19th birthday while serving in the military as a driver.
  • 21-year-old heiress Gloria Vanderbilt marries 63-year-old orchestra conductor Leopold Stokowski.

--

Adolf Hitler (Anthony Hopkins) during one of his final days inside The Bunker, a 1981 film.

.

Sunday
Apr. 22
1945

Sat around the house all day today. Got dressed, and Bob came for me at 7:45. We decided to go to the circus with Carl and Alice. Gee, Alice is really keen. Had swell seats.

After the circus we drove up to the Villa on 69th and Western. Had a sliced Chicken Club sandwich. Bob is awfully nice and he is a good spender, but I just can't go for him.

(All I really want is Stan .)

Sis comments:

Dot lowered her standards some by going out with Bob. I didn't think much of him myself, but it seems like Dot had a nice time.”

Notes:

  • The Chicago Tribune carried a headline, ‘Newspaper Carrier Boys Go to Circus at Stadium’, in their Friday, April 20th, 1945 edition. Based on that, I'm assuming Bob and Dot saw the circus at the old, now-demolished Chicago Stadium.
  • Side note: this item, about a circus in New York, appeared in the Tribune a week later, on April 28th:

CIRCUS LADDER ACT CRUMBLES:
5 GIRLS INJURED
Return of the "big top jinx" today brought unexpected and grim thrills to 14,000 spectators of the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey circus as five girl acrobats were seriously injured in a plunge from aerial ladders at Madison Square Garden.

  • Couldn't find any information on Carl and Alice, or about the Villa restaurant. All we know for sure is they had Sliced Chicken Club sandwiches.
  • Dot drew two hearts next to Stan's name.

Today's news:

  • Hitler, in his underground bunker, contemplates suicide as he faces defeat.
  • The Toronto Maple Leafs win the Stanley Cup, defeating the Detroit Red Wings in game 7 of the series.
  • The Cubs and Sox sweep doubleheaders; the Cubs (4-2) against the Pirates, the Sox (5-1) against the St. Louis Browns.

--


Dot took her younger brother Louis (aka “Son”) to see St. Louis Blues and Mr. Bug Goes to Town (clip below) (aka Hoppity Goes to Town)

.

Monday
Apr. 23
1945

Dear diary, today Sonny and I went to the Olympia and saw Mr. Bugs Goes to Town and St. Louis Blues.

After the show, Sis, Sonny and I went home and then Sis and I met Sunny downtown. Just fooled around and ate.

Came back and stopped in Parnell. Chuck got in, so he stopped and we talked to him and Irving for quite awhile.”

Notes:

  • No info about Irving--only that he was a friend of Chuck's, who might have been home on leave.

Today's news:

  • Soviet troops continue to advance toward Berlin; Hitler orders his German Luftwaffe Commander, Herman Goring, arrested.

--

Sis and Sunny

.

Tuesday
Apr. 24
1945

Rain, as usual.

Sis, Sunny and I got up at 11:30 and went down 63rd. Got our pictures taken.

I bought a pretty powder blue sheer blouse and a white slip. Sunny bought Sis and I identification bracelets. Sunny went to work then.

Later on, Sis and I went to Parnell and then I wrote Stan a letter, although I don't have his address.

Bob [Dusold] called and asked me to go out. I sort of stalled around.”

Sis comments:

No, I don't have my indentification bracelet and can't remember what I did with it. I do recall getting and wearing mine.

The big thing, back then, was to exchange I.D. bracelets with your boyfriend, when going steady, like a class or a friendship ring. I don't know if that's what happened to both of our bracelets, but it's a possibility. I sure wish I still had mine.”

Today's news:

  • Albert ‘Happy’ Chandler is named Commissioner of Baseball.
  • Soviet forces encircle Berlin.
  • Birthdays: Richard M. Daley (3); Barbra Streisand (3).

--


Top: American and Soviet troops shake hands as they meet at the Elbe River.

Above: Irene Dunne sings Adiós Muchachos from the “swell” film, Together Again

.

Wednesday
Apr. 25
1945

Didn't do much during the day; just ironed a little.

Later on, Helen came over, so Sis, Helen and I went to the Englewood and met Sunny. We saw Eadie Was a Lady and Together Again. Both were swell.

Went to Myrt & Henry's, had some chili. Then came home and sat around discussing different fellows. Bob D. called three times. I had Mom tell him I was out.”

Sis comments:

I knew Bob wasn't Dot's type!”

Notes:

  • This was Dot's second time seeing Eadie Was a Lady. The first was on April 1st at the Stratford, with Jim Parks.
  • Have any information about Myrt & Henry's? Let me know!
  • Evidently this was the Chicago Public School's spring vacation (later known as “Clean-Up Week”.

Today's news:

  • U.S. and Russian troops meet along the River Elbe, cutting the Wehrmacht of Nazi Germany in two.
  • In Berlin, the U.S. Army explodes the swastika on top of the Zeppelintribüne.
  • British RAF bombers attack Berchtesgaden, Germany.
  • Nazi occupation forces evacuate Milan, escaping a partisan insurrection, in what will be recognized as Italy's day of liberation.
  • In San Francisco, 50 countries begin to write the constitution for the new United Nations.
  • Born today: songwriter Björn Ulvaeus (ABBA).
  • Birthday: Al Pacino (5).

--


Kelly Library; Sunny and Dot

.

.

Thursday
Apr. 26
1945

Today, Sunny, Sis and I walked around and went to Parnell's and the library. Sunny went home, so Sis and I stayed around the house.

Bob D. called and asked me to go out Friday or Sunday, but I told him I had a date. Jim also called, just to talk.

Later, Sis and I went to Parnell. Saw Jim and Chuck.”

Today's news:

  • 5,000 Polish soldiers are killed during the week-long Battle of Bautzen—Germany's last successful tank offensive of the war.
  • Opening today in theatres: Blood On The Sun (James Cagney); Counter-Attack (Paul Muni).

--

The U.S. Army's 92nd Division enters the Galleria Guiseppe Garibaldi in the newly liberated city of Genoa, Italy, on April 27th, 1945.

Photo via National Archives

Friday
Apr. 27
1945

Today I washed my hair and put it up. Went to Grand Crossings to a dance at a Canteen and boy, it was swell. Pete took us in his car. It was awfully dark in there, but the music was swell.

Got home at 11:00 and stopped in Parnell. Came back home, then Jim and Hal came over; stayed till 1:30. We had more fun, fooling around. Hal started planning another hayride and Hal told me he knew I went out with Bob D.”

Sis comments:

The neighborhoods started ‘Teen Canteens’, although Englewood never had one. I forget how far away Grand Crossings was. Probably 7000 or 8000 South. They had games, pool tables and a juke box. Pop and snacks were provided. It was a new experience for us and we had a good time.

Pete was Ginny's boyfriend, or I should say ‘friend’. I believe she went out with him more for the car he had and not for his looks or personality. (Cruel, but true!) It didn't bother us for we got around pretty good with Ginny and him.

Hal is a regular tattle-taler!”

Notes:

  • The Grand Crossings neighborhood is adjacent to Englewood, roughly to the east and south.
  • Pete is Ginny's boyfriend.
  • Did Jim know that Dot went out with Bob?

Today's news:

  • The last remaining German troops are expelled from Finnish Lapland.
  • Soviet forces capture Berlin's Templehof airport.
  • The official Nazi party newspaper, the Völkischer Beobachter, ceases publication.
  • Born today: Pulitzer prize-winning playwright August Wilson.
  • The Cubs (6-2) beat the Pirates, 7-3, at Wrigley Field.

--




Hal, Helen, Jim and Dot

.

Saturday
Apr. 28
1945

What a busy day today was. Put my hair up in the morning.

About 3:00, Jim and Hal dropped in, so did Helen. Then Helen and I went to Parnell and then we went down Ashland*.

Got home at 7:30 and dressed. Went to Myrt & Henry's, then to Parnell. Talked to Bill S.* He's so sincere when he talks to you. Came home and then led Helen home.

Later, Jim and Hal came over but Hal left shortly. Sis and I entertained Jim. Learned a lot about that boy. He left at 1:30. Lill came over tonite, too. Bob D. called.”

Notes:

  • *Ashland Ave. is a major north-south thoroughfare, about a mile west of Dot's.
  • *Dot had a different story about Bill S. a couple of months ago.

Today's news:

  • Soviet troops advance to within one mile of Hitler's bunker.
  • Italian Prime Minister Mussolini, and his mistress, Clara Petacci, are executed by a firing squad.
  • Cubs 6, Pirates 0, at Wrigley Field. The Sox play a double-header tomorrow, Sunday, against the Browns, in St. Louis.
  • Birthday: Saddam Hussein (8)

--

U.S. troops at the Dachau concentration camp on April 29th, 1945, the day of its liberation. Below, a video memorial (6-min.).

Photo via National Archives

.

Sunday
Apr. 29
1945

God, what a dull day.

Johnny called up Marge and told her he and his brother Bob would be over tomorrow. Loafed around the house doing exactly nothing.

Later, Sis and I went to Parnell. Washed out my gym suit. Gads—tomorrow starts a week of school... ugh, ugh.”

Notes:

  • Johnny is a cousin.
  • Back to school: spring vacation ends tomorrow!

Today's news:

  • Over 3,000 British Lancaster aircraft launch Operation Manna, a massive air lift of food over the Netherlands.
  • Adolf Hitler marries his long-time partner Eva Braun in his Berlin bunker.
  • The Dachau concentration camp is liberated.
  • The Cubs and Sox lose both games of their double-headers.

--

The Soviet flag flies over Berlin. Below, a segment from the film, Death in the Bunker, a documentation of Hitler's final hours at the end of April, 1945. Hitler and his mistress, Eva Braun, took their own lives on April 30th.

Photo via National Archives

.

Monday
Apr. 30
1945

What a day. Had an assembly in school. I'm not going to say anything about Bob, cause ugh.

Later in the evening, as I calmly walked alone to Parnell, who should I meet but a soldier, oh brother.

He started walking with me. First sort of casually, then ummm... He asked me to go to a hotel with him and god, he said more than that, but I'm not saying. Finally got rid of him and went into Parnell.

Pat and Dick D. were in there, and Dick was singing to me, My Dreams Are Getting Better. Hal came in and sat with us and walked home our way.”

Sis comments:

“I can't remember this incident. There were always lots of servicemen walking down 63rd Street because of the [Englewood] train station** a few blocks from Parnell. Usually they were harmless. You had to ignore them, but I guess Dot didn't this time.

I also don't remember these new names, Pat & Dick Dean. Sounds like a singing duo!”

Notes:

  • Bob (not Bob Karpus) is the brother of Johnny (mentioned on Apr. 29th).
  • I wonder if Dick was teasing Dot about her encounter with the soldier by singing My Dreams Are Getting Better All the Time to her. ((listen)).
  • **More about Englewood Station:

Englewood Station or Englewood Union Station in Chicago, Illinois' south side Englewood neighborhood was a crucial junction and passenger depot for three railroads - the Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific Railroad, the New York Central Railroad, and the Pennsylvania Railroad - although it was for the glamorous eastbound streamliners of the latter two that the station was truly famous.

Englewood Station also served passenger trains of the New York, Chicago and St. Louis Railroad (Nickel Plate), which operated over the New York Central via trackage rights.

Probably most famous for hosting the two most spectacular streamlined passenger trains, Englewood was the second (and second-to-last on a westbound train) stop for both [Pensylvania Railroad's] Broadway Limited and [New York Central's] 20th Century Limited. In fact, both would leave their respective terminals in [downtown] Chicago, stop to embark passengers at Englewood, and leave the station simultaneously, each racing the other for several miles before they diverged. [...]

The station has for the most part disappeared, but some scattered remnants are visible around the railroad overpass near 63rd Street and State Street. —Source: wikipedia

Today's news:

  • Adolf Hitler and Eva Braun commit suicide after being married for one day. (Newspaper reports of Hitler's demise would not be published until Wednesday, May 2nd.)
  • Soviet forces reach the Reichstag in Berlin.
  • Negro League catcher Roy Campanella (future Brooklyn Dodgers star and color-barrier breaker (in 1947) marries Ruthe Willis.

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