This page contains the first entries from Dorothy's diaries, which cover the years 1945 and 1946. For background information on Dot and this project, please read the About page.
At top, the Jan. 1, 1945 page from Dot's diary, and the ad and posters for the two movies Dot saw with her friend Sunny and her sister Louise (Sis), and the interior of the Brighton movie theater.
Below that is a modern-day photo of Dot's 61st St. & Normal Blvd. apartment building, where she lived with her mom and dad, sister and brother.
Immediately above: Jim Parks and Dot on their New Years Eve, 1944 date. The candid photo was shot by a street photographer as the couple passed by the Tivoli Tap Room, which may have been located at 7915 So. Cottage Grove Ave.
Candid photographers: In the 1940s and 50s, and even into the 60s, there was a good chance that couples leaving a theater or restaurant in the evening would suddenly find a man with a camera facing them and shooting their picture. They would then be handed a card with information on where they could obtain the photograph as a keepsake, for a small fee, like Jim and Dot did.
The Jan. 1, 1945 Time magazine cover featured “Man of the Year” General Dwight Eisenhower.
Monday Jan. 1 1945
“Today was quite a day.
Got up at 12 & went to the Brighton with Sunny & Sis. (It's 2 degrees below zero today).
After the show, came home, wrote George Geis & read some old letters.
I can't forget New Years Eve being with Jim at 12; he didn't know if he should kiss me Happy New Yr.
Finally, he said to start 1945 right, & took me in his arms.
A note: “Sis,” was Dot's nickname for her sister—my aunt Louise. Sis is 15 years old in January, 1945a year younger than Dot and, like Sis/Louise, is attending Englewood High School, a Chicago Public School a few blocks from their home at 61st St. and Normal Boulevard.
Sis' comments, most of which she wrote during 1999, will appear throughout the year 1945. I was amazed at how much my aunt could recall, in detail, as her memory was jogged. Best of all, she seemed genuinely happy to be reliving those days. Dot's son, Dave
* * *
“Jim" (Parks) was a good friend of Hal Totten. Hal lived next door to us. Dot liked Jim a lot; Jim was sort of quiet at times and a nice guy.
Dot went to the Prom with Jim, and he was over quite a bit and a lot of times Hal came along.
* * *
George Geis was a sailor on the U.S.S. Saratoga.He was a gunner's mate, I believe. He was sort of a “pick up” when she first met him. You might want to know the details, as they were sort of funny...
Dot and I were away from home, probably at Parnell's (restaurant) and when we came to our house there were two guys, one in uniform, and our Aunt Marge and the girl next door, Betty, Marge's friend.
Well, they told us that some fellow they knew, in the service, knew Betty and wanted them to say hello when they came in.
We bought the story and one thing led to another and George Geis asked Dot out and his buddy Geo. Riley and I hit it off pretty good so we double-dated and I believe our first date was Riverview. Big spenders, too! Also Geo. Riley had a car--a rarity in those War years!
I can't remember how many more times Dot had a chance to date George Geis before he went back to the Saratoga. Geo. Riley and I dated some after that but I can't remember if they also were with us.
Well, some time after that, Dot got a letter from George and he told her that the fellow Betty knew was killed in action. When she told Aunt Marge that, she started to half-laugh and half-cry when she told Betty.
We couldn't figure it out as she went to Betty's next door. Well, we found out later she was laughing as this "fellow" never existed! They made it up and then did away with him and it was a joke amongst the four of them.
You see, both of these "Georges" tried to "pick up" Marge and Betty and as they were both not only married, but mothers too, they of course turned them down.
But they said maybe her nieces would be interested. We didn't find out any of this until a long time afterwards. They all decided to keep it a secret.”
The trailer for Gaslight, starring Ingrid Bergman
Revelers Take Over in Loop as '45 Dawns A tremendous army of revelers, releasing emotions made tense by war, captured the loop at midnight when Chicago officially took notice of the birth of 1945. And, while they surged thru the streets, scattering confetti and blowing horns, machines hummed in [war] plants.
Chicago Drinks Toast Today to Speedy Victory: Happy New Year! The greeting will ring out on all sides today, and toasts to a speedy victory and to our men and women on the fighting fronts will be quaffed at many gatherings. The number of New Year's at-homes has diminished steadily.
EIGHT BOWL GAMES TO DRAW 317,000 TODAY; GEORGIA TECH GIVEN EDGE ON TULSA IN MIAMI Southerners' Hopes Pinned on Broyles.
12 Midwest G. I.s Among 17 Awarded DSC by Patton
Twelve midwestern soldiers are among 17 members of the 5th infantry division who have been awarded the distinguished service cross by order of Lt. Gen. Patton, since the Red Diamond division reached France last July.
France is admitted to the United Nations.
Birthday: Alfred Stieglitz (81)
Above: Englewood High School, and the stage of the school's auditorium & assembly hall.
After school, Dot and Sis walked to the Kelly Library (above), located on Normal Blvd., two blocks south of their house. This Chicago Public Library branch is still serving the Englewood neighborhood today.
Tuesday Jan. 2 1945
“Another cold day*, but who am I to complain.
Had two assemblies at school today. 3rd & 7th period. After school, Sis and I went to the library, got a few books, came right home.
Listened to the radio and painted for awhile. Got to bed about 1:00.
Mom said some guy named Swede Norring called me up twice Mon. God only knows who he is, if it isn't a joke.”
'Helen R.' is Helen Romanelli, one of our best friends. Her only weakness was her habit of having these crushes on all the wrong guys. Then she would sit around and 'moon' about them and play "their" song over and over on the juke box until it would drive us nuts. She had a big crush on Doty and he never took any girl seriously!
I guess you know who Sunny is. Sunny stayed at our house a lot as her home life was not too good. Very strict, foreign-born father, and a stepmother who could have come straight from Cinderella!
They owned a tavern near 45th & Washtenaw(?) and they lived in the back part. Sometime when we visited we went into the tavern and made ourselves at home.
Sunny even tended bar when her dad had lunch or whatever. Can you imagine that today? Of course, it was a 'Family' tavern.
My mother has the photo at left of "Bob Dusold" in her scrapbook. But exactly who he was remains, for now, a mystery...
British Official Report Lists Nazi Tortures
An imprisoned Austrian doctor said more than 500 men died in the three years he spent at the moated Breendonk prison
Germans Kill 10,000 Jews in Lithuanian Town, Officer Says
US jeep-aircraft carrier Ommaney Bay sinks after kamikaze attack
Speed Bills to Turn Canal Into Super Road
Legislative right of way today was given bills creating a special commission to speed action on turning the abandoned Illinois and Michigan canal into a super-highway route into Chicago, thus giving Chicago better access to its airport.
An almost identical measure, by [Senate] Minority Leader [Richard J.] Daley was advanced to [a] second reading.
Dot and Sunny
Early-to-mid 1940s-era Chicago Surface Lines streetcar. The CTA (Chicago Transit Authority) would come into existence in 1947.
Friday Jan. 5 1945
“As usual, a non-exciting day. Afternoon was about when I got up. Didn't go to school.
Sis got a date with Gus for the Junior Prom. I went by Sunny's house, baked cakes, ate them all, danced, sang, and got melancholy trying to figure ourselves out.
Our lives are really dull and something better happen soon. Got home at 12:15 and washed my hair.”
We ate at Minuet and came home. Sat around and sang, then went to 59th for toothpaste.
Boy oh boy, what a Saturday. I sort of hoped to see Jim, but it's just not in the cards.”
A scene from Life Begins In College
Outside of State Street downtown, the 63rd and Halsted area was the largest, busiest shopping district in the city at this time. From Jazz Age Chicago:
For many years, Englewood was a small and isolated crossroads village about eight miles south of downtown Chicago. Between 1900 and 1930, however, as the farmlands to the south and west of 63rd and Halsted Streets gave way to residential development, Englewood emerged as one of the largest and most popular of Chicago's many outlying business districts.
Frequent streetcar, elevated, and interurban service helped make the district a convenient and desirable destination, whether to shop or catch the latest movie. During peak shopping periods, the streets and sidewalks of Englewood were almost as congested as those downtown.
Above: Halsted St. looking north towards 63rd St., about 1955
Doty always entertained us by imitating Danny Kaye with a fast-singing, double-talk routine.
The Empress Theater was at 6226 S. Halsted, next door to Walgreen's and across the street from Sears and the nearby Linden Theatre.
No information on what three movies were playing at the Empress, as the theater did not advertise regularly in the Chicago Tribune.
My mother and her family, including aunt Marge, lived in a mid-rise building (61st & Normal), where they had a very large apartment. The pool table may have been in their apartment, or in the basement.
Pat Flodin and Herb Saunders are nice-looking guys at Englewood High. But I don't think they knew either one of us existed.
One of my mother's pet peeves: bratty teenagers
U.S. Carrier Planes Batter Luzon Island in Phillipines
Smog Over City Turns Daylight into Darkness Smog darkened the loop between 12 and 1 p.m. yesterday and interrupted plane landings at Chicago airport. Street lights and automobile headlights were turned on down town.
Weather forecast: Occasional light snow today; high 28
This week's issue of TIME magazine. On the cover: "Hollywood's Anita Colby: 'The Face' has a brain to match"
Englewood High School
Tuesday Jan. 9 1945
“Today it got cold again, but I trotted off to school. Found out that Pat Flodin went to New Orleans.
Made out my program and got stuck with 2nd thru 8th [periods], inclusive. What a tough break.
After school, Lill was over and Jim called. Oh yes, he finally called and asked something about English, then asked me to go to the show Saturday night. I'm now happy as a lark, tra la lala.”
Pat Flodin—who, Sis says, didn't know Dot existed—quit Englewood High School yesterday (Jan. 8.)
Although Dot was a good enough student in high school (as maybe evidenced by Jim phoning her with–ostensibly, anyway–an English question), her thoughts–and sometimes her physical presence (as will be seen as time goes by)--could definitely be elsewhere.
Starting school at 2nd period meant waking up early in the day, and that's probably why my mom said “tough break.”
Luzon Invaded, Says Tokyo
Robot Bombing of East Likely, Says Admiral
“It is possible and probable that the Germans will attempt to launch bombs against New York or Washington within the next 20 to 60 days,” [Adm. Jones] said.”
[Mayor] Kelly to Seek 20 Million for Air Terminal
Five locations were considered... The air lines engineers recommeded the Douglas site... near Park Ridge.
Green Is Sworn In For Second Term as [Ill.] Governor
Face Fight Over [NFL] Rule Changes Today
[Coaches Johnsos and Thayer] are fervently opposed to the elimination of the kick for the extra point after touchdown.
Birthday: Joan Baez (4)
Dot's aunt, Marge
1945 magazine ad for Chicago-based Motorola Radios. "Improved radio performance ... you have a right to expect Motorola to deliver it soon after Victory in Europe!"
Wednesday Jan. 10 1945
“Dear Diary, today was another busy day for me. After school, I came home and washed my hair, took a bath. Marge was off today, so she did likewise.
Then I sat around listening to the radio and read awhile. About 1:30, I dragged myself off to bed.”
Dot may have been listening to one of these radio programs this evening: Mister District Attorney at 8:30pm, Kay Kyser's Kollege of Musical Knowledge at 9, Eddy Howard's Orchestra at 10, Just for Fun at 10:30, Carmen Cavallaro's Orchestra at 11:30, or Musical Nightcap at midnight.
MacArthur Back in Luzon! 800 Ships Land Huge Army
Army Reports 3,034 Killed in European Area 252 Illinoisans Named in Casualty List.
Five Los Angeles streetcar lines forced to shut down
Birthdays: Rod Stewart (born today), Sal Mineo (6), Roy Disney (16)
Sunny, Dot and Sis
Thursday Jan. 11 1945
“Dear Diary, today wasn't as bad as yesterday, in fact much better.
The weather was swell; it smelled like a spring day, so after school,Sis and I went by Sunny's house. Sis made scalloped potatoes, so we ate and drank some soda. Then sang.
On our way home we met a fellow on 63rd and Western who gave us a hard luck story about his mother's death, and a lot of baloney. He was cute tho.”
In later years, my aunt (Sis) would prepare large and delicious brunches (scalloped potatoes included) for the family, and somehow made it look easy. She was a wonderful cook, hostess, and, most of all, person.
Why were Dot and Sis at 63rd and Western (two miles from home)? My guess is that they were in-between buses or streetcars, returning after visiting with Sunny.
We called it“soda,” and not “pop.” I believe that's a regional thing, or was, back in the day.
Record 6 Hour Flight Across U.S. is Official
The plane, a kind of pot-bellied B-29, traveled from Seattle, Wash., to Washington.
Daring Dresses Get Spotlight in Parade of American Styles
It's a collection for the young, streamlined to make the most of both slender and curved figures.
Looking at Hollywood: Hank Fonda, who is somewhee out in the South Pacific, will be brought back, still on navy duty, to do “Boomerang.”
Weather Forecast: Partly cloudy and warmer today; high of 22 degrees.
Doty always entertained us by imitating Danny Kaye with a "fast-singing, double-talk" routine. Sometimes, if the mood was right, Chuck did his Jackie Gleason routine. Who needs tv?!
The WLS National Barn Dance was the most popular country radio show at the time. (Audio sample here.)
Chuck became my godfather.
The Chicago Tribune doesn't have a listing for the Englewood theater, so I can't say what Sis and Dot saw there.
3d Army Cuts Nazi Bastogne Wedge in Half
Reveal B-29s Get Fuel From Aerial Tankers
All Men Under 30 Face Draft in '45: [Sec. of War] Stimson
Extreme Cold Wave Broken; 40 Forecast Today
B-R-R! Chicago Dropping to 68 Degrees in Apartments
Public Schools Also to Save Coal
Sports: War time spring training, what with its snowbound camps in place of the one time sun drenched, palm fringed spots, has its drawbacks but, just the same the Cubs figure they are going to be pretty well fixed in the way of exhibitions preliminary to the April 17 opening of the 1945 season–if it opens.
.Jim Parks, Dot's date
Saturday Jan. 13 1945
“Had a date with Jim tonight. He came for me at 7:30. Then Hal, Jim and I went to get Janice.
Went to the Tivoli Since You Went Away. Sat in the balcony with his arm around me. He tried to kiss me but I put my hand by my mouth and told him I had a cold... but he didn't care, and like a nut I said, "But I DO care". I guess I hurt his feelings...
After the show we had a super malt and Coke, then [the] two guys and I went by my house; danced, ate, til 3:00.”
The Saturday night foursome included Janice, Hal Totten's sister.
3 Allied Armies Chase Germans Toward Reich
Looking at Hollywood: Orson Welles finally gets his way. He bought... the stuff he took in Brazil some years back. It will be interesting to see if he remembers what it [Welles' “It's All True”] was all about.
.Sunny and Dot
Sunday Jan. 14 1945
“Sunny, Sis and I went by Sunny's house because Charlie came over. Had a swell time; he's keen.
Ate, sang and talked about Andy and can't blame him at all for what he asked her; he really loves her.
Sis and I came home about 8:30, did homework and ate. Tomorrow will start another week of boredom.”
Charlie is related to Sunnya cousin(?). However, I have no information on Andy and what he might have asked Sunny.
Plows Clear Paths as 4.9 inches Snow Hits City
All available snow removal equipment was put to work last night after a six hour driving storm.
Home Building in 1944 Shows Big Increase
More single family dwellings were built in Chicago last year than in the suburbs.
Mostly About Dogs: The year 1945 undoubtedly will find a number of rather confused war dog veterans in this country. Hundreds of of dog veterans have to take “de-training” lessons so they may have the correct attitude toward man will go back happily to their old owners or to new hand-picked homes.
Star Seniors Lay Plans, But Put War First
If Bob Fosse, outstanding senior of Amundsen High school, adapts his career to his military service, he will tap out his success to a sailor's hornpipe, because Bob will turn professional dancer after the war.
Sunny and Ralph attended the Jesse Spaulding School for children with disabilities.
Life magazine, Jan. 15th issue.
Monday Jan. 15 1945
“Did I say boredom yesterday? Well, I was mistaken.
Today Sunny called me up and said that Ralph came to school but she wasn't there. So he left a message with Rickie Sr. for [Sunny] to call back. She did, and he wanted my phone number*. He got it, and called me up and asked me to go to the Trianon Tues. I said yes, of course.
So then Sis and I went by Sunny's house and I got her blue dress. Came home shortly.”
Ralph went to the same school as Sunny. It was Spaulding High-for “crippled” children. Ralph had some serious heart problemprobably rheumatic fever. Never did know his last name.
At one time he and Sunny were an “item”. I think we met Ralph at a concert at Spaulding High. Ralph was a nice looking guy, but for some reason I didn't like him and didn't go out of my way to talk to him.
The Trianon Ballroom (story and photos here), at 62nd Street and Cottage Grove Avenue (one block from the Tivoli Theatre), hosted many famous singers and big bands, and could accomodate 3,000 dancers.
*Dot's phone number was ENG 1931, with the ENG designating her Englewood neighborhood.
Heavy Toll in V-Bomb Smash
Scores Killed in Their London Homes, Many Injured
March of Dimes Campaign to Fight Polio
Last year's epidemic of polio–the second worst in the nation's history–claimed 19,000 victims.
Blackhawks Beat Bruins, 4-1, Before 15,101
Feller Fires a High, Hard One for Baseball
“Baseball is one of the American ideas we in the service are fighting for.”
I remember I once got stuck with Ralph's brother. I couldn't stand him. What a long night! He was in the Navy and liked to brag about his life in the service. I don't think I ever saw him again. The feelings were mutual!
Louise left no clues as to exactly who Jack was, not to mention the fast entry of Ralph into Dot's love life.
Woman Dead in Leap; Blaze at Loop Edge
The toll of dead at the Hotel General Clark–a low rental landmark at 217 N. Clark st.–had reached at least 12.
Shops to Issue Ration Cards for Cigarets
Plans for Trial of Hitler Off, Britons Hear
Russia intends to deal with German war criminals in her own way.
FCC Proposes Shift for FM Wave Lengths
The commission proposed moving FM from its 42-50 megacycle space to 84-102 [and] a new radio service to be known as the “citizens' radio communication service.”
Science to Open World of Color to Camera Fans
“We are in the early stages of rapid commercial development of color photography.”
On this day: Adolf Hitler moved into his underground bunker.
Dot's mom, Pauline, in 1945
Wednesday Jan. 17 1945
“Today, Wednesday, Sis and I went to the Southtown and saw Lost In a Harem and The Climaxboth of them were swell. That night, came home early and Mom told me Ralph had called but hadn't left any message. Went to bed kind of early. By the way, didn't go to school today.”
The trailer for The Climax
The trailer for Lost in a Harem
The Southtown Theatre, at 610 West 63rd Street, was a relatively new movie palace, having opened in 1931. Its "Flamingo Pool" in the lobby had live fish. Unfortunately, the theatre shut down in 1958. Before eventually being demolished, the building housed a Carr's department store.
In 1957, at age 8, my father took me to the Southtown to see the movie about giant grasshoppers invading Chicago, The Beginning of the End.
It's funny how my mother slipped-in her "By the way...". But what better reason to not go to school than to spend time with Sis, Abbot & Costello, and Boris Karloff.
Gen. Ike Gives His Blood and Hopes for Best
One soldier in line noticed that it was Gen. Eisenhower and remarked, “Hey, that would be the blood to get!” The general overheard
and replied: “If you do, I hope you don't inherit my bad disposition.”
Reds Must Be Watched
“They must be spotlighted, along with the Germans, Japs and other un-American elements, because their aim is the destruction of our system of government and our way of life” [said Rep. Rankin of Mississippi].
On this day: The Nazis begin evacuation of the Auschwitz concentration camp.
First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt chose this gown for the upcoming Presidential inaugural
Thursday Jan. 18 1945
“About 6:30, Helen came over and Sis, her and I went for a Coke at Parnell. Helen saw Doty but he only said ‘Hello’.
We sang silly songs and really had a swell time fooling around. Aggie, Joe, Marjorie and Dot and baby George* were over too.
*Aggie ("Ag") was our aunt. Joe was Aggie's husband, Marjorie their daughter. The other "Dot" was also an aunt, and George was her son.
Russians Win Warsaw
Her Last Fitting
Mrs. Roosevelt, between breakfast and dentist appointments, had her third and final fitting of two inauguration reception gowns today. [Her] gown is “Mayflower mauve—more recognizable as pink—and its long sleeves and sash are encrusted with lace and small sequins cut in the shape of shamrocks to symbolize the fact that she and the President were married on St. Patrick's day.”
The Hiram Kelly Branch Library, 6151 South Normal Blvd., and plaque.
Photographs: Chicago Public Library Archives; Daniel X. O'Neil.
Friday Jan. 19 1945
“After school today, Sis and I went to the dentist and then to the library. About 7:00, Helen came over and Sis, her and I went to the show[the] Empressand saw 3 pretty good pictures.
After the show, we went to Parnell and had a Coke. Met Chuck and Doty in there. Had a keen time. Then Doty suggested we walk Helen all the way home. We did.
When Sis and I got home, Marge said Ralph had called twice, and came over with Bob. He wanted to ask us about Sat.”
I'm glad we weren't home when Ralph and Bob came. We didn't have to "entertain" him, but Dot was disappointed, I bet! (How did we sit through three movies and usually a cartoon??)
"Bob" is Bob Plant.
The Empress theater, 6226 South Halsted Street, was next door to Walgreen's and across the street from Sears. No movie listing, however, in this day's Chicago Tribune.
About Kelly Library:
Hiram Kelly, a civic-minded philanthropist, bequeathed $200,000 to the Chicago Public Library's Board of Directors to be used for any purpose involving the library. After Kelly's death in 1889, the Board of Directors used the bequest to purchase a site at 61st Street and Normal Boulevard. It was on this site the Hiram Kelly Branch, the library's second free-standing branch building, was constructed [in 1910]. The building was renovated in 1988-1989, and now consists of 15,000 square feet and a meeting room seating 150. Chicago Public Library
Above: a 2017 view northward of Kelly Library, with Dot's street, Normal Boulevard, at left. Dot lives a block north of the library.
London: Prime Minister Churchill… declared today that the entire eastern, western, and Italian fronts will henceforth be kept “In constant flame until the final climax is reached.”
U.S. December Toll in France
December, 1944, was disclosed today as the bloodiest month of the war, and the second heaviest in American history for casualties.
Big Expansion of Gary Steel Mills Planned
The industry cannot afford to overlook competitive materials such as aluminum… plastics and glass after the war…because unquestionably their use will increase and to some extent they may replace steel.
The entrance to Dot's apartment building. Sis commented that passers-by would not see anyone sitting on the front steps until they were directly in front of the entryway.
The inaugural ceremony was held today at the White House, as Franklin D. Roosevelt is sworn in for his fourth term as President.
Saturday Jan. 20 1945
“Sis and I went down 63rd about 2:00 and met Jim, Totten and Bob P. Totten and Jim said they'd see me tonight. That night, Jim called me up and said they were coming over, but I said no, and he said we'd go someplace.
Well, I was ditched, so Sis and I went for a Coke and met two fellows: Henry Van? and Herb Roberts-who I was with. We walked around and then sat on the front steps.
Herb really likes to neck. He told me I can sure kiss. Said he'd call up tomorrow at 6:00 and come over or else go out. Fast wrkr. says I, but that's what I like.”
I remember the name Herb Roberts, but can't put a face to the name. And Henry Van?... he's a real blank!
President Roosevelt Sworn-in to Fourth Term
Seek Malaria Cure Thru Tests on Convicts
The information gleaned is to be used in treating convicts who volunteer to be infected with malarial parasites thru the bites of live mosquitoes brought here from New Guinea.
Hollywood: Shirley Temple got kissed grown-up fashion, smack on the mouth, for the first time in her long movie career today (above.) (Chicago Tribune photo)
A booklet for a program of religious service that was to be held at St. John's Church across from the White House before President Roosevelt's fourth inauguration, Jan. 20, 1945. Because of Roosevelt's frail health, the prayer service was held in the East Room of the White House instead.
Library of Congress
From an article in today's Chicago Tribune containing predictions of what post-war homes might look like.
Sunday Jan. 21 1945
“Today was really a hectic day for me.
At 2:00, Ralph called and said he'd come over that night. So I said O.K., but call at 5:30. Well, I know I shouldn't have, but what else to do.
At 5:30, he called and he said ‘O.K, about 8:00 I'll come over.’
Well, at 6:30, Herb [Roberts] called and I gave him a hard luck story about having to stay home, so [we] made our date Tues.
As Sis and I were taking Sunny to the streetcar, who should we meet but Jim and Hal, and they were planning to come over with Bob P. and Janice.
I tried to explain but the both of them dragged me down Normal [Blvd.] and even started to carry me.
Finally, they saw I meant it, so let me down, but Jim asked me to come to his sister's wedding Saturday. I said I didn't know if I could. Finally, I got away and went home.
A little while later, Ralph and Bob came over, and Ralph was really sweet. He told me that he knew I thought he was just fooling around with me, but I was wrong, and making glorious love to me til 1:30 Oh! That man.”
Ralph did come back with Bob! Boy, what I did to make your mom [Dot] happy. She helped me, tho, in that "department".
I especially remember when my date had a buddy named "Jake", and she felt about him like I did about Bob. That's what sisters are all about.
I have no photos of Ralph and his brother Bob, Herb Roberts, Bob Plant, or Janice, sorry to say.
The phrase my mother used—“making love”—was equivalent back then to what we'd later call “necking” or “making out.”
Washington: President Roosevelt dedicated his fourth term to winning total victory and establishing a just and durable peace. “We have learned that we cannot live alone, at peace; that our own well-being is dependent on the well-being of other nations—far away.”
Pre-Fabricated Houses Termed Benefit to City
Maple Leafs Trounce Hawks, 8 to 4.
Vaudeville: Chicago theater: Songstress Kitty Carlisle and Comedian Henny Youngman top a bill… Sharing the program [is] Sharkey the seal, who plays tunes and applauds himself.
Birthdays: Jack Nicklaus (5), Placido Domingo (4)
This week's TIME magazine cover: Major General Hoyt Sanford Vandenberg, commander of the U.S. Ninth Air Force.
Mid-1940s magazine ad for Coca-Cola. "When you feel thirst coming on, come on to the soda fountain. There's a tinkling glass of ice-cold "Coca-Cola" waiting for you. Bring in your thirst and go away without it... completely refreshed... completely satisfied."
Tuesday Jan. 23 1945
“Dear Diary: well, today school was a little different. No [home]work, and got out a bit earlier.
Dressed and waited for Herb [Roberts] to come, but he didn't. So Sis and I went for a Coke at Jim's.
Sat around and went home kind of early. Sewed a little and fooled around with my black and pink dress.”
“Jim's” is Parnell.
When Dot and Sis had a Coke, it was almost always a Cherry Coke, served from a fountain (Coke and cherry syrup mixed with carbonated water). In her later years, my aunt tried Cherry Coke in cans. Not surprisingly, she said it just was not the same.
Reds Within 150 Miles of Berlin
Navy Pilots Bag 140 Jap Planes in Formosa Raid
Art Institute's 1944 Crowds at War Time Peak
On the Solid Side, by Sheila Daly: “This is for the fellows only—and only for some fellows—the j.w. (Junior Wolf), fast operator type who believes that every date whould end with a little advanced hand-holding, and more than just a verbal 'thank you.' That's the boy who forgets that sugar is still rationed.”
An ad for what is currently playing at the Oriental theater, where Dot and Ralph are planning to meet tomorrow.
Top: The marquee of the Oriental Theatre is visible at the right in Rockwell's illustration. Bottom: interior of the theatre.
Wednesday Jan. 24 1945
“Today was a busy day.
After division, I went home and waited for Merle* [Lodding]. She came at 3:00. We danced and talked.
About 4:00, Jim called me up and got settled about Sat. Then while we were eating, Herb R. came, thinking our date was for today.
He stayed a while and finally went, but first made a date for Sun., which I don't intend to keep. I don't like his anxious ways, boy oh boy.
At 9:15, Ralph called and asked me to meet him by the Oriental tomorrow at 5:00. Merle left at 10:00.
*Merle Lodding was our neighbor from 40th and Brighton Place. She lived upstairs. A real nice, kind of shy person.
*Dot originally lived with her family in a frame two-flat at 40th and Brighton Place, near Archer and Talman avenues. Later they moved to their current, 1945 home at 61st and Normal Blvd.
The Oriental movie palace, at Randolph near State Street, sat 3,200. It closed in the 70s, but has since been refurbished as the Ford Center for Performing Arts. It is also on the National Register of Historic Places. More information here.
8 Dogs Killed in Action Win Army Certificates
Expect Reds to Reach Berlin First
Looking at Hollywood: “Walt Disney has found his ‘Uncle Remus.’ Jim Basquette, noted Negro actor, will play the role. It's to be treated as ‘The Three Caballeros’ was, with live characters and cartoons on the same screen.”
A New Shade of Pink Makes Its Timely Bow
The rosy hue downtown is the new color promotion for pink. It's a delicate romantic color that has taken over the collections.
*Hillman's Cafeteria was one of our favorite downtown eating places.
Eddy Howard was big-time then, and I can still remember when we saw him in person. (Thanks for the memory!)
Our aunt Marge [Dot's mom's sister] lived with us, with her son, Lee.
*Eddy Howard was an amiable, romantic balladeer, very popular in the 1940s and early 1950s. More information here and here.
Hillman's Cafeteria, according to a photo in the book, Lost Chicago, by David Lowe, was on the north side of Washington Street, between State and Dearborn. Directly next door was a Stop & Shop grocery store. There was also a Hillman's Cafeteria in the Sears store, farther south, at Van Buren and State. That building is now the Robert Morris Center.
Dot, Sis and Sunny skipped school today to see Eddy Howard and his Orchestra (“Last Day”), live on stage at the Oriental. They possibly stayed there for the movie, Army Wives, too, altho Dot doesn't say. All this for 37 cents, plus tax!
Baseball May Delay Start to Wait War Turn
Major league owners are rapidly approaching a state of panic over the possibilities of war pressure forcing them to call of their 1945 pennant races.
Dot's best friend, Sunny.
Friday Jan. 26 1945
“Came home from school at 10:00. Sunny came over and stayed till around 5:00.
Later in the evening, Ralph came (10:15) and we went for a Coke at Jim's. Ralph's ankle was swollen and he limped because he hit it with a bowling ball Thurs.
We stayed there for 1/2 hour and lots of those smart alecky girls came in; was I glad.
We then came home, danced and argued a little; at times he really makes a fool out of a person. We were necking a lot too, and he went home at 1:30.
I went to bed at 3:30. Ralph wanted me to go out Sat.”
MacArthur Wins Clark Field
13 airstrips constitute one of the richest prizes in the Pacific war.
765 Americans Lost in Sinking of Troop Ship
40% of Men Over 28 Rejected After Physical
Washington: The new house committee of un-American activities will focus its attention on reports of subversive operations by men in high government.
Weather: Occasional snow today, high of 29.
Birthday: Angela Davis (1)
Ginny (Virginia Merigold)
Jim Parks and Dot
Saturday Jan. 27 1945
“Today, Sat., Sis and I went down 63rd and bought Ginny a cameo*. Fixed my dress and at 7:45 went to Ginny's. There were 3 fellows and 7 girls. (Mickey was gd. lkg.). Had a swell time playing games and acting gay.
At 9:30 sharp, Jim came for me and then went to his sister's wedding reception. Boy oh boy did I have fun. Everyone knew who I was, but I didn't know them. They kidded Jim a lot. We danced, ate and-oh gosh-he was so sweet and thoughtful about everything. Just kissed me good night, but what can I expect. I like that boy.”
"Ginny" is Virginia Merigold, who later married Bob Plant (mentioned several times so far)
Ginny lived near 65th and Parnell, about five blocks from Dot's home. Today (Jan. 27th) is Ginny's birthday. Examples of cameos here.
I don't know who the good-looking Mickey was.
Aldermen Find Fire Hazards in Tour of Chicago Hotels
Engineers Propose North Artery Near Halsted
From the Halsted st. branch motorists could turn eastward at Roosevelt rd., at the proposed superhighway at Congress st. to reach the loop district.
Looking at Hollywood, by Hedda Hopper: My suggestion to Leo McCarey that Ingrid Bergman play the nun in “Bells of St. Mary's” with Bing Crosby is now a reality.
Sale of [New York] Yankees May Affect Pro Football Scene
[Co-owner] Lt. Col. Larry
MacPhail is football minded. [But] at the Polo Grounds, the Maras–proprietors of the football Giants–declare that there are no more than 45,000 bonafide gridiron fans in New York [and] that there aren't enough Sundays to afford a suitable schedule for more than one club.
Dot and Ginny
Sunday Jan. 28 1945
“Boy oh boy, what a long day today was. Sunny had stayed all night so we were fooling around, and then Dee called up and said she'd be over. Well, she came and we danced, went to Parnell's twice.
Herb R. came over thinking I was going with him and 3 other couples to the Casino,* dancing. Well, he was mistaken. So he asked me if I had a girl friend who would go, and he called up Ginny. But she said no. He said he was really in a spot, but it makes me feel good.
“Dee” is Dolores Kozack from our [40th &] Brighton Place neighborhood. Another good kid!
How can Dot say it was a dull day when she had all that business going on with Herb and friends!
Herb Roberts thought he'd be dancing with Dot at the “Casino,” but it's unclear where that was.
My first guess was the ballroom that was originally part of Chicago's White City amusement park at 63rd and South Parkway (now King Drive.) By 1945 there were only a few buildings remaining and one was the building pictured above.
But it also may have been the Terrace Casino at the downtown Morrison Hotel (referred to in the ad below.)
Report Berlin Moving Women and Children
Patton Reaches Reich Border at 5 More Points
Chicago to Dim Bright Lights
Aside from the general reduction of light [to meet the fuel shortage], it is expected the public will miss most the spectacular lighting along the lakefront skyline and the sweep of the beacon atop the Palmolive building.
Music Hath Charms: “White Christmas” is another song the boys love. They ask for it in all weather—in the torrid sun and sand of African campaigns, under the weeping skies of Normandy, and in England with April green along the country lanes.
Four Ways to Get On That Date List
Putting in an appearance at school basketball games to do a little lung and tongue exercise to cheer the fellows on to a higher score isn't a bad idea.
Pablo Casals, Cellist, Found
Casals is now living in Prades, near Perpignan, France, where he has been since the beginning of the war.
Edna Ferber Turns to Pacific Coast
To the 26 books which already bear her name on the title page, Edna Ferber adds her tenth novel, [using] Seattle as its setting.
This afternoon, Dot and Sis went to their friend Sunny's house for dinner—a "swell spread." Sunny's real name was Agatha.
Frank Sinatra sings Dot's favorite song, If You Are But a Dream (1944)
Monday Jan. 29 1945
“Today we went to school til 11:00 and then Sis, Ginny, Helen and I went and had some chili and a Coke. Heard my favorite song, If You Are But a Dream.
About 4:00, Sis and I went by Sunny's for supper, which was really a swell spread. I got pretty sick there; my throat. Came home early about 9:15.
At 9:35, Ralph called and made a standing date for Sat. Also said, "Do you still love me, honey?" I said, "Sure"that's all. He said he'd call again tomorrow or Wednesday. Went to bed at 1:00.
(Boy, am I getting to be a fool.)”
My mom's a romantic, but she's also aware that she's becoming foolish over, I assume, Ralph.
My mother would always be a fan of popular music, particularly Fats Domino and Brook Benton.
Frank Sinatra's If You Are But a Dream, adapted from Rubinstein's Romance, reached #19 on the Hit Parade on Jan. 27, 1945. The song is most closely associated with Sinatra, who recorded it first for Columbia Records in 1944, with an arrangement by Axel Stordahl. This recording was on the reverse side of a 78 rpm record with "White Christmas", and consequently did very well. —wikipedia
I hope I never waken,
It's more than I could bear
To find that I'm forsaken.
If you're a fantasy
Then I'm content to be
In love with lovely you,
And pray my dream comes true.
I long to kiss you
But I would not dare,
I'm so a-fraid that
You may vanish in the air,
If our romance would break up,
I hope I never wake up,
If you are but a dream.
Red Army Within 109 Miles of Berlin
Smart Thinking: “Frank Sinatra tells me, rain or shine, he's going overseas to entertain our fellows in June.”
Illinois Maps Post-war Ban on Pollution
Stars Arrive in Capital for FDR Birthday About 300 teen-aged admirers provided a tumultuous reception for Alan Ladd, film star, when he arrived at the Dearborn station… en route to Washington.
Birthdays: Tom Selleck (born today), Katherine Ross (The Graduate, 5)
Englewood High School
Tuesday Jan. 30 1945
“Tuesday. Today, as usual, we stayed indidn't even go for a Coke. Ironed and sewed a lot. At 9:25, Ralph called. Helen came over straight from school and we listened to records.
Biggest Losses in Navy History Forced on Japs
“We began sealing the tomb which the Japanese have created for themselves in their ill gotten, treacherously obtained empire,” Adm. Halsey said.
Truman Denies Force Alone is Peace Surety
“The world must have ‘tolerant leaders and world-wide education,’ the Vice President declared.
On this day, the Wilhelm Gustloff, overfilled with refugees, sinks in the Baltic Sea after being torpedoed by a Soviet submarine. An estimated 9,400 people were killed. It is the largest known loss of life occurring during a single ship sinking in recorded maritime history.
Birthday: Vanessa Redgrave (8)
Newspaper ad from the Jan. 30, 1945 Chicago Tribune
Dot and Sis were at Kelly Library this afternoon, before coming home to listen to the radio.
Wednesday Jan. 31 1945
“Today, Weds., Sis and I went to the library, came home and listened to the radio. About 8:30, Jim called and asked me to go out Sat. nite. But I told him I was already going out and was he surprised.
At 9:25, Ralph called from the show and told me more about our Saturday night date. He wants me to meet his folks, but that's where I put my foot down. I don't know what we're going to do though.
I guess today must have been the goofiest day in the year.”
I was rooting for Jim all the time and hoping Dot would give Ralph the “brush” once and for all. I used to tease her that Ralph had a bad heart and she better watch those emotions. She didn't always laugh at that.
Hitler Calls On Every Fit Man to Stake Life
Mexico City: Errol Flynn, Hollywood movie star, today declined to discuss birth of a baby… born Jan. 10 at the British hospital in Mexico City.
Reds 73 Miles From Berlin
FDR Birthday Message President Roosevelt tonight thanked the millions of Americans who contributed miles of dimes and dollars to back the fight against infantile paralysis and predicted this battle, too, will be won.
Navy Ace O'Hare Leaves Estate
O'Hare received the congressional medal of honor for shooting down five Japanese bombers in February 1942. He was the son of the late Eddie O'Hare, promoter and head of Sportsman's Park, who was shot to death in 1939.
Accident Toll Under 1943's
The 1944 accident toll in the U.S. was 94,000 killed and 9,750,000 injured
US Army Private Eddie Slovik is executed on this day—the first American soldier since the Civil War to be executed for desertion.
Tonight on the radio:
Mr. and Mrs. North, The Jack Carson Show (7pm); Henny Youngman Show (7:30pm); Frank Sinatra Show, Eddie Cantor Program (8pm.)