Oct 29, 2008

What became of...?

Dot's sister, and my aunt Louise, married Vertus. Sis and Vert had three children and eventually four grandchildren. Vert became an electrician. They lived for many years in the southwest suburbs, and then later in life, retired to a pretty, wooded area near Dixon, Illinois. Both passed away recently, and are missed.

Son: Dot's younger brother, Lou, played basketball at Kelly High School, joined the Navy, became a teacher, got married, and now has two children. They live near Chicago.

Dot's parents: Pauline and Louis would later move from Englewood back to the Brighton Park neighborhood. Pauline became a registered nurse, but died of cancer in 1963; Louis passed away in 1970.

Dave: My father remarried, unhappily-as it turned out-in 1965. His business success continued; eventually he owned several stores, before becoming a part-time electrical inspector. He retired to southern Indiana, married again, and built a peaceful, quiet home on a lake. He passed away in 2000.

Me: I've lived in the Chicago area all my life, went to Morgan Park and Bogan high schools. Served in Vietnam, married, divorced. I was formerly a sales consultant and computer systems administrator. Since 1993, I've been in a second career as a graphic artist.

Sunny: Dot's girlfriend married Bob; they lived near Chicago until the late 1950s, when they migrated to St. Petersburg, Florida, where they live today. They have two children, and recently celebrated 60 years together.

Hal Totten: Hal, Dot's good friend and confidant, lived in the apartment building next door to Dot. Hal joined the Navy in early 1946, and later became a skilled horse trainer. He and Dot apparently didn't exchange many letters, at least during '46. Thanks to efforts by Dan, a loyal diary reader and Englewood neighborhood patrol boy (who remembered seeing my mother and Sis), I was very lucky to have met Hal in person, in 2007. His memory was a little foggy, but he recalled my mother and her family, and had quite a sense of humor. He'd lost touch with Dorothy, apparently, except for one time. He was in the Englewood neighborhood, probably in the late 1940s, and saw Dot walking his way. They stopped and chatted, but only for a minute. He remembered that she seemed in a hurry, and troubled by something. Troubled by what, remains a mystery. Hal passed away in early 2008.

Herb Martin: Efforts to track down Herb, Dot's—at least informally—one-time fiancĂ©, and his twin brother, Pete, have led just about nowhere. However, once again loyal diary fan Dan from California is following a lead. If there's any news, I'll post it here. Otherwise–Herb, had asked Dot to marry him before he joined the Navy in January 1946. Although they wrote to each other, the romance appeared to have ended, at Herb's request, during the summer, when Herb was stationed in Washington, D.C. Herb was apparently dating another Dorothy there. It's unknown whether my mother ever saw him or heard from him again.

Jim Parks: I've tried, but have been unable to find any information about Dot's steady boyfriend.

Ginny: Dot's friend Virginia Merigold married Bob Plant.

Merle Lodding: I heard from Merle out of the blue in late 2007. Dot's former Brighton Park neighbor still lives in the Chicago area, and remembers Dot and Dot's family.

Dee Kozack: Unknown.

Chuck: The man who was Dot's friend, and then got Dave and Dot together, later got married himself and became my godfather. He has lived until recently in the Chicago area.

Stan Jennings: I found Navy vet Stan, Dot's boyfriend in roughly 1943-44, in about 1998. He'd had a long, successful career as a Chicago-area restauranteur, as well as a husband and father. He had vivid, warm memories of having known Dorothy. One was exactly how much he paid to the penny for the new suit he wore on that one day he surprised her when knocked on her door.

Marge: Lee and Marge, Dot's aunt, moved to Michigan City, Indiana, and then Mattoon, Illinois. They both passed away several years ago. Lee, a very loyal White Sox fan, had his ashes placed within Comiskey Park. I've stayed in touch with their daughter.

Dell: Dot's aunt Dell raised a family and still lives in the Chicago area.

Stratford, Linden, Southtown theaters: These and the other Englewood neighborhood theatres—the Ace, Englewood, Empress—are all gone. Some survived into the 1970s. The Southtown became, inconceivably, a department store (Carr's), until being demolished in the early 90s.

Parnell, Minuet's, Karson's, Hillman's, Tasty's, etc.: The restaurants and diners where Dot and her pals sipped on so many Cokes and ate so many hamburgers or BBQ beef sandwiches, are all gone.

Englewood High School: A new, technical school now occupies the site of the old “castle” structure.

Kelly Library: Just down the street from Dot's, this building still stands, and remains a Chicago Public Library.

63rd Street: The once bustling area at 63rd & Halsted streets is no longer the shopping destination it was in the 1940s and 1950s. Through hard times, and through residents' determined efforts, the neighborhood seems to have turned a corner. Kennedy-King college is the centerpiece of the new “63rd Street”, and there are more new housing developments and new stores as time goes by.

Dot's home: Although too many houses and other structures are now gone, the apartment building where Dot lived during 1945 and 1946 still stands.


  1. Anonymous8:58 AM CDT

    I have certainly enjoyed your mother's diary as she was a teenager in the same era as my mother. It was very obvious to me through photographs of you and your mother that she simply adored you. Thank you so much for sharing.


  2. Anonymous9:54 AM CDT

    I miss checking in with Dot everyday! I loved Monday's because I wouldn't have time to check over the weekend so on Monday I'd have 3 entries to read! I've never been much of a history buff but I also enjoyed reading the newspaper clippings to put it all in perspective. The more things change the more the stay the same.

    I hope that you have found some peace from your memories and insights from her diaries.

    Thank you for sharing and all of your time spent on this. Truly a great accomplishment!

  3. Anonymous11:21 AM CDT

    I've looked forward to my daily visits with Dot for a while now, and I'll really miss it.

    I've become very fond of her & her friends. You've given me a window into my own mom Dorothy's world at the same time.

    Thank you, for shering your mom with us!

  4. Anonymous2:33 PM CDT

    Dave, Thank you so much for taking
    me along with you through your Mom's Diary. I feel as if we have walked the same streets and to the same school, lived at 6oth & Normal myself. Your Mom was 8yrs, older than I, but feel she went through the same feels and thought that I have.
    Will miss catching up on her dates and movies.
    Was a wonderful adventure to travel with you on your journey to know your Mom.
    I will miss my daily trip on the computer to see what she was up to that day.
    Thank tou for sharing her with all of us.
    Was a wonderful trip !!
    Take Care and hope you got some great insights to your lovely Mom.
    Patties 50

  5. Anonymous3:59 PM CDT

    I too will miss checking in on Dot everyday! You did a wonderful job and I loved looking at the news blips of what was happening at the time.

    I felt like Dot and her friends became a part of my life and I will miss her!

  6. Anonymous5:39 PM CST

    Thanks you for this wonderful opportunity. It's been a great journey.

  7. Anonymous4:22 PM CST

    Thank you so much for doing this! I cannot remember how I found this site, but I wish there were more diaries. My mom was born in 1945, and this gives such great information on current news, fashion trends, movies of the time. Love, love, love it!