Jan 1, 2007

Welcome


Click here to view the diary...

It is the first night of the new year, 1945. It's cold outside-2 degrees below. In her room, Dorothy opens a dark brown book embossed with the words "Daily Diary" on the cover. Taking pen in hand, she turns to a blank, lined page titled "January 1" and begins to write her first entry: "Today was quite a dull day...".

Dorothy-"Dot" to her friends and family-is 16 years old. She is pretty, dark-haired, a junior at Englewood High School on the south side of Chicago. She lives in a large, roomy apartment at 61st and Normal Boulevard with her mom, Pauline, and dad, Louis. She and her year-younger sister Louise ("Sis") are close pals, and they have a brother: ten-year-old Lou ("Sonny"). She has many girl (and boy) friends-Sunny, Helen, Dee, Ginny, Jim, Vert, Bob, Herb and Stan, among others. Dot loves listening to records, singing, going to the movies at the Empress or Linden, and stopping by Parnell's or Minuet's for a Cherry Coke.

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Dorothy, my mother, passed away in 1964 at age 35. The 1945 diary she left behind has helped me to get to know her as a person, because I was just 14 when she died--too young, for both of us.

A few years ago, my aunt, Dorothy's sister Louise, read the diary and wrote her recollections of those days sixty years earlier. Recently I decided to compile the diary pages I'd transcribed into pages on the Web, accompanied by my aunt's comments. 1945 has the same calendar as our current year, 2007, so my intention is to present these pages in "real-time". That is, the diary entry for Thursday, February 1, 1945, for example, will be posted on Thursday, February 1, 2007. I will also add photos from my mother's scrapbook and other sources, and links to information about the people, places and things in her life.

This is a labor of love for me. I do not know who might be interested in the diary besides me and my family, but I welcome comments and suggestions from any and all readers. Thanks for visiting.

13 comments:

  1. Congratulations, Dave, on this intriguing and well-executed labor of love. It's a great way to get to know Dot, re-live history, and understand the experience of the teenage girl (and the common bonds teenage girls everywhere must share). I've been reading a week, and already feel like I'm getting to know Dot...We would have had a lot of fun together. This is really quite fabulous.

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  2. Joan Callahan7:43 PM CDT

    Dear Dave,
    My niece at Ohio State sent this her mom, my sister in Bay Village OH and then she sent it to me in Chicago (north side)...I have already passed it on to teachers at the school where I work...It is a lovely commemoration of your family and the times. I look forward to spending the year with Dot. I also have a dear friend named Dot! Thanks for this labor of love.

    Joan Callahan

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  3. Joan: thank you very much for the kind words and your readership. Happy to have you aboard for the journey...!

    -Dave

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  4. I never would have guessed when I stumbled upon Dorthoy's Diary what a real treasure it would turn out to be. It took me 2 days but I have gotten all caught up in Dot's life and look forward to being with her everyday for the rest of the year. I hope that you decide to keep it going after year end (I think I remember that there was more than one diary). I would love to know a little family background about Dot and her family (what did her father do for a living for example - the girls seem to have plenty of money for movies and eating out). Your mother was a lucky women to have a son that would share this huge testament to her life!

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  5. Amy - thank you for your message. I'm happy to have you along for the journey.

    I haven't decided yet about continuing with my mother's 1946 diary. She didn't complete the year -- her last entry is in October '46 -- and the dates don't match with 2008, but I might just do it anyway. Thanks for the encouraging words. I'll decide later this year.

    Dot's dad (Louis) was a bus driver, and her mom (Pauline) worked also -- I believe at Firecraft-a maker of fireproof doors. They were not wealthy by any means, but they were very generous to their kids. And, later, to the grandkids. Louis would always give us a half-dollar every time he saw us. Which was nothing to sneeze at back in the 1950s...!

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  6. Anonymous11:30 AM CST

    Oh my...I just realized that Dot's diary is ending.....it has become a daily check in for me since the late winter. I love reading the headlines and keeping up with the old movies, some of which I remember on TV in the late 50's and early 60s'. I know it has been a lot of work, but would love to read the rest of the story..so if you need encouragement - Dot's fan club would love it. Thanks for staying with this labor of love no matter what you decide.

    Joan Callahan

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  7. Dear Dave:Just wanted to let you know how much I enjoyed reading your Mom's Diary. I have spent 2 days reading and going with you through the sites you took us through, was wonderful to go to the same places as Dot. I lived 1/2 block from your Mom's at 60st Place & Normal, 505 W.60th Pl. From the time I was 3 yrs old, went to Lewis-Champlain School, then Englewood High, though your Mom was 9 yrs older than me I still went to the same places~drug store across from her home~same Library Kelly Branch and shopping the same stores. Dad was in the service and Mom worked at the Sears during some of those years and a store by the drug store next to the meat market~Oh, those were the Days. And 63rd and Halsted was the Greatest, some much to do and see. Your Mom sure loved her movies as we did, but I don't think we went that much. Please keep up the work on her Diary and I hope I can read more about her, I have grown to love her in the last 2 days.
    Pleasure to read all you had to say, was so happy she left the diaries to be found and put to good use, we all have been very happy to go with you down Memory-Lane.
    Thanks so much for your gift~~Pat

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  8. Please keep your mothers diary going.alater picture of dot would be nice.Im sorry she died so young but she lives on.Im carol from ontario canada.My mothers name is dorothy too and i was born in 1945.did she marry the navy fellow.My e mail is boobiecf@hotmail.com

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  9. ^^ wow i really like ur web and blog about ur mom's diary ^_^

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  10. What a wonderful, work of love you have done to keep your mother's memory alive. I became engrossed in the diary, and could not stop reading. The commentaries, photos, and historical references woven into the diary made me evaluate my own life in a different way. Thank you.

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  11. This is a wonderful site. Thank you so much for sharing with us. A++ work. A great part of history.

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  12. Howard Brinker6:57 PM CDT

    Hi, My name is Howard Brinker. I googled my name & saw it come up in your mom's diary from Sept. 8, 1945. The entry said that Sis went on a date with Howard Brinker. I'll bet that was my dad. He grew up in the same area at that time. He ended up marrying a girl (my Mom, Rita Mary McManus) from 55th & Sangamon. What a small world and what a wonderful site. Thank You.

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  13. Anonymous11:02 PM CDT

    I hope I live to see the day when the Chicago Cubs will play in a World Series.

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