“This is Not My Mom”

Antonia Pakulski was born on October 10, 1905 in Poland to Bartholomew and Gosia Kowalczyk.  Antonia was the youngest of seven children, and when she was just one year old, the family immigrated to Chicago.

Antonia attended school until the eighth grade and then quit to get a job.  She first began working as an assembler […]

April 26th, 2018|Novel Notes of Local Lore|

He Decided to Flee in the Night

Hyun Sang Choe was born on October 17, 1922 in a small village in Korea to Seo-Joon and Young Nari.  Hyun was their only child, and when he was just a baby, Seo-Joon died.  Young never married again and lived alone with Hyun.

Hyun went to school until about the seventh grade and then quit.  Right […]

April 19th, 2018|Novel Notes of Local Lore|

“A Wonderful Father”

Elmer Densmore was born on August 13, 1915 in Chicago to Frederick Densmore and Ann Abrim. Both of Elmer’s parents were also born in Chicago, though Frederick was of Scottish descent, and Ann was of German.  Frederick was a trolley driver, back when they were still pulled by horses, and Ann was a housewife, caring […]

April 12th, 2018|Novel Notes of Local Lore|

Little Scraps of Paper

Caroline Alders was born on June 21, 1917 in Chicago to Fester Alders and Erna Hendricks, both Dutch immigrants who met on a ship to America in 1910.  Fester worked in a meat-packing plant in Chicago, and Erna was a housewife.

Fester and Erna’s first child, a boy by the name of Ernest, died when he […]

April 5th, 2018|Novel Notes of Local Lore|

In and Out of Mental Institutions

Hattie Shirley was born on August 21, 1916 in Boise, Idaho to Orville Mayfield and Alberta Hass.  Not much is known about Hattie’s parents except that when Hattie was a baby, they divorced.  Alberta took the three children: May, Hugh, and Hattie and moved to Chicago, where she eventually met and married a man by […]

March 29th, 2018|Novel Notes of Local Lore|

“Just a Coal Miner’s Son”

Lou Dean Rogers was born on May 25, 1936 in a small town in West Virginia to Herman Rogers and Maxine O’Toole, who was originally from Virginia.  Herman worked in a coal mine for forty-six years while Maxine cared for their four children: Herman, Jr., Ruby June, Bobby Ray and Lou Dean, though Bobby Ray […]

March 22nd, 2018|Novel Notes of Local Lore|

“Raised During the Japanese Occupation”

Joo-Won Cho was born on July 12, 1923 in Korea to Kyung Cho and Ha-Yun Kang during the time of the Japanese occupation.  Kyung was a businessman in Suncheon, and Ha-Yun cared for their ten children, of which Joo-Won was number five.

Joo-Won went to school in Suncheon and then went to Japan for college, which […]

March 15th, 2018|Novel Notes of Local Lore|

“I’m No Robinson Crusoe”

Clement Rybar was born on February 6, 1915 in Slovakia to Jonas Rybar and Alena Kriz.  Jonas owned a substantial farm, and even though he and Alena had seven children to help, they still needed to hire extra workers to get all of the work done.  Clement went to school until about the six grade, […]

March 8th, 2018|Novel Notes of Local Lore|

“It Either Drives You Apart, or It Brings You Together”

Katie Bohler was born on March 27, 1906 in Chicago to Edward Moran and Bridget Berne, both born in Ireland.  Not much is known about Katie’s parents’ life, just that Bridget was married to another man, Patrick Cooney, while still in Ireland and had two children with him.  At some point, she and Patrick decided […]

March 1st, 2018|Novel Notes of Local Lore|

“He Can Walk Because of Me”

Thomas Bisky was born on June 30, 1910 in Brooklyn, New York, to Stefan Brzezicki and Magda Chmiel.  Stefan and Magda were both born in Poland where they met and married.  Not much is known about what their life in “the old country” was like, except that Stefan served in the army for a time.  […]

February 22nd, 2018|Novel Notes of Local Lore|