“A Pillar of His Community”

Leonard “Leo” Frazier was born on October 7, 1906 on a farm in Minnesota to Lewis and Marion Frazier.  Lewis was born in Minnesota, and Marion was a German immigrant.  Together they had eight children, of whom Leonard was the youngest.

When Leo was only three years old, his father died.  His mother eventually remarried and […]

January 23rd, 2020|Novel Notes of Local Lore|

She Was Jane Russell’s Manicurist

Hazel Reuter was born on May 17, 1920 in Chicago to Douglas Wilson and Eileen Brady, who were of Scottish and Irish descent, respectively.  Douglas worked in the produce business, and Eileen cared for their five children:  Vernon, Victor, Hazel, Gerald and Jane.  Sadly, however, both Vernon and Victor died as toddlers in the flu […]

January 16th, 2020|Novel Notes of Local Lore|

She Made Her Way to America Alone, Age 14

Mirna Claesson was born on November 29, 1900 in Velika Gorica, Croatia, near Zagreb.  Her parents were Dejan and Nada Juric.  Mirna was the oldest of three children and went to school as far as the sixth grade.  At that time, when she was about eleven, her mother died.  Following her death, her father, Dejan, […]

January 9th, 2020|Novel Notes of Local Lore|

From the Luftwaffe to Chicago Tool and Die

Deiderich Muller was born on July 27, 1921 in Dortmund, Germany to Adolf and Elisabeth Muller. Elisabeth had been married before to a man named Karl Achterberg and had one child with him, Ada, before he was killed in the First World War. Elisabeth was apparently a very strong, dominant woman and married again, this […]

January 2nd, 2020|Novel Notes of Local Lore|

Orphaned at Age Eight

Maria Kumiega was born on June 7, 1913 in Poland to Albert and Milena Gajos.  Milena’s maiden name was also Gajos, though Maria says her parents weren’t related.  Albert owned a small farm, and Milena cared for Maria, who was just a baby when World War I broke out.  Albert was soon rounded up to […]

December 26th, 2019|Novel Notes of Local Lore|

She Lived to be 100!

Tereza Hlavacek was born on August 15, 1895 in what was then called Bohemia, the part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire that later became Czechoslovakia.  Her parents were Dobroslav and Marie Cipris, about which little is known.  Tereza was one of four children and attended grammar school before she quit to start earning money, which the […]

December 19th, 2019|Novel Notes of Local Lore|

The Colorful Life of Irene Diefenbach

Irene Diefenbach was born on September 2, 1910 in Pennsylvania to Slovak immigrants, Karol and Danica Dalibor.  The Dalibors worked on a small dairy farm, but when Irene and her two siblings were still very young, the family moved to Phillips, Wisconsin, which had a large Slovak population and many dairy farms in the surrounding […]

December 12th, 2019|Novel Notes of Local Lore|

“It’s Not The Real Albert”

Albert Daelman was born on September 5, 1916 on a farm in LaSalle, Illinois to Ernst and Willemina Daelman, Dutch immigrants.  Ernst was a farmer and was what Albert describes as “a hard-working man.”  His mother, Willemina, cared for their six children.  Albert managed to attend high school for a year and a half before […]

December 5th, 2019|Novel Notes of Local Lore|

“Jesus Has Always Been With Me”

Celina Abelli was born on August 18, 1898 in a small Polish village to Wera Pakulski and Olek Zuraw.  Celina says the family lived on a farm with beautiful fruit trees.  Besides farming, Olek worked as a carpenter and even built the house they lived in.  In addition, he cut and sold logs from a […]

November 28th, 2019|Novel Notes of Local Lore|

From Professional Waiter at the Drake Hotel to Navy Bartender

Gonzolo Rochez was born in Texas on February 2, 1908 to Fernando and Sonia Rochez “a few years” after the U.S. “took over” Texas from Mexico.  This event, however, occurred in 1848, so he is off by a few years, though maybe he views it from a different perspective.  Gonzolo enjoys telling his life story […]

November 21st, 2019|Novel Notes of Local Lore|