1945: Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec 1946Today
January 1945
Click on the calendar for a specific date
Highlights:
WLS Barn Dance
Ralph
Herb Roberts
Dot's love life gets complicated
Eddy Howard and Hillman's Cafeteria
“If You Are But a Dream”

(This page was updated and revised on Nov. 3, 2011)

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Dot's Jan. 1, 1945 diary entry; Dot's 61st & Normal Blvd. home is at left, and her good friend Hal Totten's building is next door; Jim Parks and Dot on their New Years Eve 1944 date. The photo was shot by a street photographer as Dot and Jim passed by the Tivoli Tap Room.

In the 1940s and 50s, street photographers would often capture candid shots of exiting theatergoers, who would be handed a postcard they could mail in along with a payment.




Just after noon on the first day of the new year, Dot, Sunny and Sis went to the Brighton theater (interior shown above), on Archer Avenue, to see A Wave, WAC and Marine. The movie's tagline: “Anything goes, everything happens as two cuties and a fast-working boy friend crash their way from Broadway to Hollywood... before their date with Uncle Sam!”.

The trio also saw Gaslight (trailer below), with Ingrid Bergman, Charles Boyer, Joseph Cotten, and Angela Lansbury (in her first film).




The Jan. 1, 1945 Time magazine cover featured “Man of the Year” General Dwight Eisenhower.

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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.

Came home to my house, danced & necked til 3.

I do like him so much.”


Sis comments:

(Note: “Sis”--also known as my aunt Louise--is Dorothy's sister. Sis is 15 years old in January, 1945–one year younger than Dot and, like her older sister, is attending Englewood High School. Sis' comments will appear throughout the year 1945. She wrote her memories over the course of the years 1999-2000. I was truly amazed at how much she remembered, in detail. Best of all, she seemed to have a great time doing it. —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.

Today's news:

  • 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.

    (Chicago Daily Tribune)

  • Birthday: photographer Alfred Stieglitz (81)
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Above: Englewood High School and a view from the balcony of its auditorium/assembly hall.


After school, Dot and Sis went to the Kelly Library (above), located about two blocks south of their house at 61st & Normal Blvd. This Chicago Public Library branch still serves the Englewood neighborhood today.

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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.”


Sis comments:

Swede Norring had to be a joke!

Today's news:

  • Allied air raid on Neurenberg
  • Radio Orange ends cooperation at Liese-Aktion

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Danny Kaye plays a hypochondriac who finds himself drafted into the army, in Up In Arms–playing today at the Ace theater (pictured above)

(“Up In Arms” poster via movieart.net)

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Wednesday
Jan. 3
1945

“Really warmed up today. School was regular routine.

After school Sis & I went to the Ace and saw Up In Arms. Boy, it was swell.

When we got home, mom said Sunny and Hal T. had called. I wrote George [Geis] a letter although I didn't get any for a good week-&-1/2.”

Today's news:
  • Future singer-songwriter Stephen Stills born
  • Soviets recognize new government of Poland
  • Roger Spottiswoode, future Canadian director, born
  • Allies land on west coast of Burma
  • Churchill visits France
  • Cato-Meridian School, NY, installs germicidal lamps in every room
  • John Patrick's "Hasty Heart," premieres in New York City, NY
  • US aircraft carriers attack Okinawa
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Helen Romanelli


Bob Dusold

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Thursday
Jan. 4
1945

“On my way to school today I met Bob Dusold, and he drove Helen R. and me to school. Was told we're going to have a show at school Thursday (40 cents).

After school saw Hal and he said that Jim wanted to talk to me and that Jim would call tonight. Well, it's 11:00 and he hasn't, sooo...

Sunny also called, made a date, and we're all going to the show tomorrow. She'll stay overnight.”


Sis comments:

Who is Bob Dusold??

"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.

Notes:

  • My mother has the photo at left of "Bob Dusold" in her scrapbook. But exactly who he was remains, for now, a mystery...

Today's news:

  • Germans execute resistance fighters in Amsterdam
  • US jeep-aircraft carrier Ommaney Bay sinks after kamikaze attack

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Dot and Sunny

Chicago streetcar, circa 1945

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.”


Sis comments:

Dot took the streetcar home by herself so late at night?? She not only had a far way to go, but also had one or two transfers.

Hit Parade chart toppers this week:

Today's news:

  • Pepe LePew debuts in Warner Bros cartoon "Odor-able Kitty"
  • The Soviet Union recognizes the new pro-Soviet government of Poland

    .

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The Linden Theatre, 743 W. 63rd Street.

Promotional still from the movie, Life Begins In College (1937), starring the Ritz Brothers, playing today with Escape From Hong Kong at the Linden.

Saturday
Jan. 6
1945

“Sis and I got up about noon, then around 2:00 went down 63rd shopping.

Met Sunny at 3:30 and proceeded to the Linden. Saw Life Begins At College and Hong Kong Escape. Good pictures.

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.”

Notes:
  • 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.

Today's news:

  • George H.W. Bush, future U.S. president, marries Barbara Pierce.

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The Andrews Sisters

Sunday
Jan. 7
1945

“Sunday and all is peaceful.

Hal dropped in and told me he was coming over that night, but I actually told him not to.

Sunny, Sis and I went to the Empress and saw 3 pictures-good.

After the show, Sunny went home and Sis and I went home. Helen came over. We talked, played pool; main topic was Doty and Jim.

At 8:00, we went to Parnell. Had two Cokes. Played “There Goes That Song Again”, and new song, “Rum and Coke”, which I love. Helen went home about 9:45.”


Sis comments:

Doty always entertained us by imitating Danny Kaye with a fast-singing, double-talk routine.

Notes:

  • The Empress Theater was at 6226 S. Halsted, next door to Walgreen's and across the street from Sears and the nearby Linden Theatre.
  • My mother and her family, including aunt Marge, lived in a mid-rise building (61st and Normal Boulevard), where they had a very large apartment. The pool table may have been in their apartment, or in the basement.
  • "Rum and Coke" is the Andrews Sisters' new release, Rum and Coca-Cola. The Russ Morgan tune, There Goes That Song Again, is currently very big on the Hit Parade.

Today's news:

  • British General Bernard Montgomery claims credit for victory in the Battle of the Bulge.

    .

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63rd and Halsted is second only to State Street as the busiest shopping area in the city.

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Monday
Jan. 8
1945

“It's awfully dark out today. School was okay; Pat Flodin quit school today and Herb Saunders quit Friday.

Oh, cruel world.

After supper, Sis and I went to the second-hand store and bought 8 new records.

Then went to Parnell where we met two, fresh brats—about 13 or 14 (girls). They kept wisecracking and talking out of turn. But, as I've always said, 9 out of 10 people in this world are crazy.”


Sis comments:

Pat Flodin and Herb Saunders are nice-looking guys at Englewood High. But I don't think they knew either one of us existed.

Notes:

  • There is a companion blog for the diary here. It has comment capabilities, so please feel free to post thoughts, questions and suggestions there. -Dave

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This week's issue of TIME magazine. On the cover: "Hollywood's Anita Colby: 'The Face' has a brain to match"

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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, 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.”

Notes:

  • Pat Flodin (who didn't know Dot existed, according to Sis) quit Englewood High School yesterday (Monday, Jan. 8)
  • Although my mother was a good enough student in high school (as maybe evidenced by Jim phoning her with--ostensibly, anyway--an English question), her mind--and very often her physical presence, as will be seen as time goes by--could definitely be elsewhere.

Today's news:

  • G.I.s, led by General Douglas MacArthur, invade Philippines
  • Four-year-old Joan Baez celebrates her birthday

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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!"

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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.”

Notes:

  • Among radio programs that debuted in 1945 were Meet the Press, Arthur Godfrey Time, Break the Bank, Queen for a Day, and The Woody Herman Show

Today's news:

  • Singer Rod Stewart is born
  • Five Los Angeles streetcar lines are forced to shut down

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Sunny, Dot and Sis

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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.”

Notes:

  • Sis was on her way to becoming a magician in the kitchen. In later years, she'd prepare large and delicious brunches (scalloped potatoes included), and made it all appear easy. My aunt was a great cook and hostess.
  • Why were Dot and Sis at 63rd and Western? It might have been a bus transfer point as Dot and Sis headed home from Sunny's house.
  • In our family, it was--and always would be--“soda”—never “pop”.
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Members of the WLS Barn Dance on stage

(photo via hillbilly-music.com)


Sis and Chuck in 1947

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Friday
Jan. 12
1945

“Saw the WLS Barn Dance at school today. Super.

After school, Sis and I went to the Englewood, then went to Parnell. Met Chuck and Doty there; invited them to come over and they did.

We really had a gay time, dancing and eating. Doty is a one-man comedy, honestly, and can he boogie. I guess they're both really swell kids. Too bad Helen wasn't over. They left at 1:30.”


Sis comments:

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?!

Notes:

  • The WLS National Barn Dance was the most popular country radio show at the time. (Audio of a 1943 broadcast 1943 here.)
  • Chuck is my godfather.

Today's news:

  • German forces in Belgium retreat in Battle of the Bulge
  • Russians open winter offensive with remarkable progress
  • 41 Japanese ships destroyed by U.S. in Battle of South China Sea
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.Jim Parks, Dot's date


Jim and Dot saw Since You Went Away at the Tivoli theater this evening.

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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 TivoliSince 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.”

Notes:

  • More information about the Tivoli Theatre here.
  • Janice is Hal's sister.

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.Sunny and Dot

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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.”

Notes:

  • Charlie is related to Sunny—a cousin, I think. However, I have no information (yet) on Andy and what he might have asked...
  • *Spaulding High may have been the Home for Destitute and Crippled Children on the south side.

    .

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Sunny

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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.”


Sis comments:

Ralph went to the same school as Sunny. It was Spaulding High-for “crippled” children*. Ralph had some serious heart problem—probably 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.

Notes:

  • 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 ENglewood 1931.

..top of page

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Dot

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Tuesday
Jan. 16
1945

“One busy day today.

Ralph called and said his brother had come in on leave. So he couldn't go, but he'd like to come over with his bro. I said sure.

About 8:00, who should come over but Ken S., Jack and some other guy, and they wouldn't leave. Finally, Ralph and Bob came and the other guys left.

We danced a great deal, and then Ralph and I went in the kitchen talking about LIFE—ahem. He can really say things in a nice way.

We were necking a lot, too, and brother can he neck. He's going to call me up this week sometime. He left about 2:15.”


Sis comments:

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!

Notes:

  • Louise left no clues as to exactly who Jack was, not to mention the fast entry of Ralph into Dot's love life. Where's Jim?!

Today's news:

  • Adolf Hitler moves into his underground bunker

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Dot's mom, Pauline, in 1945


Lost in a Harem starred Abbot & Costello



The Climax featured Boris Karloff as a theater physician who murders the star soprano.

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Wednesday
Jan. 17
1945

“Today, Wednesday, Sis and I went to the Southtown and saw Lost In a Harem and The Climax—both 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.”

Notes:

  • 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. In 1957, at age 8, I was there with my father to see the giant grasshopper movie, The Beginning of the End, which had scenes shot in Chicago. Unfortunately, the theatre shut down in 1958. Before eventually being demolished, the building housed a Carr's department store.
  • It's funny how my mother slipped-in her "By the way...". But what better reason to not go to school than to see Abbot & Costello and Boris Karloff movies.

Today's news:

  • Soviet forces capture Warsaw.
  • Nazis begin evacuation of Auschwitz concentration camp as Soviets close in.

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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.

Sis and I went to bed late.”


Sis comments:

*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.

Today's news:

  • Soviet forces liberate Budapest ghetto

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The Hiram Kelly Branch Library, 6151 South Normal Blvd.

Photograph: F.P. Burke, photographer. Chicago Public Library Archives, Special Collections & Preservation Division

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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.”


Sis comments:

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??)

Notes:

  • "Bob" is Bob Plant.
  • *Dot and Sis probably went to the Kelly Branch Library (left), only one block south from home.
  • The Empress, 6226 South Halsted Street, was next door to Walgreen's and across the street from Sears.
  • 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

Today's news:

  • Soviet forces liberate Lodz ghetto

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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

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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.”


Sis comments:

I remember the name Herb Roberts, but can't put a face to the name. And Henry Van?... he's a real blank!

Today's news:

  • FDR sworn-in for an unprecedented 4th term as President

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Dot, in front of her house, with Normal Boulevard in the background.

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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.”


Sis comments:

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.

Notes:

  • I'm looking for photos of Ralph and his brother Bob, Herb Roberts, Bob Plant, or Janice, but no luck as of yet.

Today's news:

  • British troops land at Ramree, near coast of Burma.
  • Brazilians lead an allied attack in Italy, the only participation of South American troops in the war.

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This week's TIME magazine cover: Major General Hoyt Sanford Vandenberg, commander of the U.S. Ninth Air Force. [story]

Photo: TIME

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Monday
Jan. 22
1945

“Went to show. Flip Curtis and Ralph called.”


Sis comments:

Who is Flip Curtis??

Notes:

  • Neither Sis nor I knew who Flip Curtis is, except that he's
    probably not a relation.
  • Because of the long diary entry yesterday (Sunday, Jan. 21),
    Dot wasn't left with much room on the page for today's.

Today's news:

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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."

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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.”

Notes:

  • 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 recent years, Sis tried Cherry Coke in cans, but said it just was not the same.

Today's news:

  • German troops and civilians begin evacuating East Prussia as Soviet forces advance.

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Top: The marquee of the Oriental Theatre is visible at the right in Rockwell's illustration. Bottom: interior of the theatre.

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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.

What a life...”


Sis comments:

*Merle Lodding was our neighbor from 40th and Brighton Place. She lived upstairs. A real nice, kind of shy person.

Notes:

  • *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.

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Eddy Howard (photo: johnnymercer.com)


An Eddy Howard recording from 1944, Spring Will Be a Little Late This Year


Hillman's Cafeteria

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Thursday
Jan. 25
1945

“Today we were off from school, so Sunny, Sis and I went downtown to the Oriental and saw Eddy Howard*, which was pretty good.

Then we went to Hillman's Cafeteria* and ate. I didn't meet Ralph when I should have.

We went straight to 63rd and then home. Ralph called twice. Once when I was home and said that he had waited for me for a half-hour.

Later in the evening, Marge, Sis and I went to Parnell for 2 Cokes.”


Sis comments:

*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 lived with us, with her son, Lee.

Notes:

  • *Eddy Howard was an amiable, romantic balladeer, very popular in the 1940s and early 1950s. More information here and here.
  • Hillman's Cafeteria was in the basement of Sears on State Street. There was also a chain of Hillman's grocery stores in the Chicago area.
  • I couldn't find detailed information about, or photos of, Hillman's. If you know of any, please leave a comment at the diary blog.

Updated:

  • 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. This may have been where the gals ate, rather than in Sears, which was located farther south, at Van Buren and State.
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Sunny

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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.”

Today's news:

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Ginny

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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.”


Sis comments:

"Ginny" is Virginia Merigold, who later married Bob Plant (mentioned several times so far)

Notes:

  • Ginny lived near 65th and Parnell, about five blocks from Dot's home. Today (Jan. 27th) is Ginny's birthday. Examples of cameos here.
  • Bob Plant-Ginny's future husband-was mentioned here, here and here.
  • No idea who the good-looking Mickey is.

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Dot and Ginny

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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.

Ralph didn't call at all.

Very dull day.”


Sis comments:

“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!

Notes:

  • *The Casino, where Herb Roberts thought he'd be dancing with Dot, may have been the ballroom that was originally part of the White City amusement park. The park was built in 1904 at 63rd and South Parkway (now King Drive). It once rivaled Riverview, but by 1945 there were only a few buildings remaining.

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Agatha. To her family and friends, she was Sunny.


Frank Sinatra sings Dot's favorite song, If You Are But a Dream (1944)

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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.)”

Notes:

  • Sinatra's If You Are But a Dream, adapted from Rubinstein's Romance, reached #19 on the Hit Parade on Jan. 27, 1945. Lyrics:
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,
So darling,
If our romance would break up,
I hope I never wake up,
If you are but a dream.
  • Lionel Barrymore replaced Cecil B. DeMille as host of the "Lux Radio Theatre".
  • Born today: future actor Tom Selleck

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Englewood High School

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Tuesday
Jan. 30
1945

“Tuesday. Today, as usual, we stayed in—didn'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.

Dull day, I guess.”


Sis comments:

“What—no Cokes?! We spoiled our record!”

Today's news:

  • 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.

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Kelly Library was just a couple of blocks' walk south from Dot's house

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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.”


Sis comments:

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.

Notes:

  • US Army private Eddie Slovik is executed, the first American soldier since the Civil War to be executed for desertion..

Today's diary entry

February 1945 >

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