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Dot
Dot—my mother, Dorothy—was born in Chicago in 1928. She was the first of Pauline and Louis' three children. They lived on Brighton Place, near 40th Street, on the first floor of a brick two-flat. Dot attended Shields Elementary School and then Kelly High School. Dot would always be close to her sister Louise (Sis) who was a year younger. Their brother, Lou (Son), was born in 1937.

Dot developed a talent for painting. She loved music, learning to play her accordion, and once marched with it at Soldier Field. In about 1943, the family moved from Brighton Place into a large apartment at 61st and Normal Boulevard, in the Englewood neighborhood. At the start of her diary, she is 16 years old and a junior at Englewood High School.

Dot graduated from Englewood in 1946, got a job, and married my father in 1947. They lived with Dot's folks on Normal Blvd. for awhile, got a tiny place of their own above a tavern, and then I was born. We had a duplex in a post-war housing development where what is now the Ford City shopping area. Dot worked for the telephone company. In about 1953, we moved into a nice, two-story house, with a yard and garage, in the Mount Greenwood neighborhood.

Sis had also gotten married, and had three children, Dan, Ken and Nancy. Dot and Sis would continue over the coming years to spend lots of happy times together and also as couples. They'd go dancing at the Boulevard Ballroom, or have pinochle parties (and highballs) at their homes or at Pauline & Louis' place. Sis' kids were, and still are, like brothers and sisters to me.

What I remember most about my mother is that she really and truly loved life and laughter, and loved her family and friends. Her cares and woes rolled off; she knew how to be genuinely optimistic and upbeat, to not take life too seriously, and how to joke in the face of trouble. Once, when for some reason I went off by myself during a party, she sought me out and said, "C'mon and have some fun; life is short."

She and I would always be very good, close comrades. She was my understanding ally in my constant, tense clash with a temperamental, disciplinarian father. She was a sympathetic partner during all my school woes. But I was too young to really get to know her well. And all of a sudden, she was gone, and there wasn't any time left.

Dot became very ill in 1963, passed away in early 1964, at 35, just three months after her mother (Pauline). They both died from cancer, and they both died on Friday the 13th.

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Shields Elementary School class photos

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1938, age 10

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1953

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On the steps of the Field Museum

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1945 or '46, Marine Drive near Montrose Ave.

61st and Normal Blvd., in front of the family's apartment building. A drug store, Kroger's, and a butcher are across the street.

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Grant Park. In the background, on the other side of Michigan Avenue, is the Fine Arts Building, where Dot took music lessons.

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About 1961

With Sis' daughter Nancy, Christmas, 1962

Dot and Sis, flower girls

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contents of this diary © 2007 www.dhdd.net Reproductions and reprints by permission only