“One More Christmas”

Angela Esposito was born on September 29, 1918 in Chicago.  Her father, Leo Esposito, came to America as a young man from Florence, Italy.  He made his way to Chicago and found work as a stone mason.  After working at that for several years, he saved enough to open an ice cream parlor, making all […]

June 1st, 2017|Novel Notes of Local Lore|

“Don’t Help Me Anymore”

Samuel Werner was born on April 25, 1920 in St. Louis, Missouri to Arne Werner and Kathleen Murphy.  Kathleen was born in Ireland and was just a baby when her family immigrated to Texas.  When she was only three, the family moved again to St. Louis.  Similarly, Arne had been born in Germany, and when […]

May 25th, 2017|Novel Notes of Local Lore|

“Everyone Died But Me”

Eliza Radic was born on May 3, 1906 in Chicago to Bert Jarvi and Miriam Jokela.  Both Bert and Miriam were born in Chicago as well, though their parents had emigrated from Finland.  Bert worked as a “refinisher” of sorts and did silver plating.  Miriam was a housewife and took in sewing while she cared […]

May 18th, 2017|Novel Notes of Local Lore|

Forever His Bride…

Esther Andrews was born on February 14, 1910 in Chicago to Lester Simonis and Nellie Baird.  It is thought that Lester was an immigrant from Latvia and that Nellie had been born in Scotland.  According to family legend, shortly after Nellie arrived in America as just a baby, her parents both died, and she was […]

May 11th, 2017|Novel Notes of Local Lore|

“Everyone Says I’m Crazy”

Cleo Newman was born on February 10, 1911 in Kewanee, Illinois to Peter Wyrick and Lorene Crawford.  It is believed that Peter was a Polish immigrant and that Lorene was of English descent.  Peter had apparently been a farmer in Poland and found work on various farms throughout the Midwest after he immigrated here.  Eventually […]

May 4th, 2017|Novel Notes of Local Lore|

A Neighborhood Gem!

Herbert Jones was born on May 14, 1899 on a farm in Bolton, Mississippi.  His parents, Jesse and Hattie Jones, owned the small farm they worked, which they were very proud of, as Jesse’s father had been a slave.  There were thirteen children in the Jones’ family, and Herbert was the youngest boy.  He went […]

April 27th, 2017|Novel Notes of Local Lore|

“Life Is What You Make of It”

Sadie Davis was born on December 2, 1920 to Ervin Olmskirk and Caroline Fredericks in Clarkson, Nebraska.  Ervin worked in a bank, and Caroline cared for their ten children, Sadie being the oldest.

Sadie was a bright child and after finishing high school, won a two-year scholarship to Wayne State College in Wayne, Nebraska.  This was […]

April 20th, 2017|Novel Notes of Local Lore|

“That’s What Happens When You Fly Too High…”

Ruby Fessler was born in Chicago on September 16, 1937 to Rudi Fessler, an immigrant from Vienna, Austria, and Ida Beldy, an immigrant from Hungary.  Rudi worked for a trucking company.  Ida cared for their four children and was also a breeder of Shih Tzu poodles.  Ruby graduated from high school, but says she didn’t […]

April 13th, 2017|Novel Notes of Local Lore|

He Asked His Family to Find Him a Bride

Francisco Alvarez was born on September 8, 1913 in Cuba to Felipe Alvarez and Maria Acosta.  Felipe worked as a chef in Havana, and Maria cared for their nine children, of whom Francisco was the oldest.

Francisco was an extremely intelligent child and was able to attend a couple of years of high school before he […]

April 6th, 2017|Novel Notes of Local Lore|

The “Poison Powder”

Dariya Zelenko was born on September 1, 1914 in a small village in the Ukraine.  Not much is known about her early life except that her maiden name was Dariya Kozel and that her parents were farmers.  She apparently did not have any siblings and received little to no formal education at all, instead helping […]

March 30th, 2017|Novel Notes of Local Lore|