“It’s Not Over Yet”

Britta Driessen was born on September 10, 1909 in Chicago.  Her parents were Valdis Ozolinsh, an immigrant from Latvia, and Ebba Ahlstrom, an immigrant from Sweden.  Valdis made his way to America alone, and Ebba also came alone across the ocean to live with her sister, who had found work in Chicago.  It is not […]

October 22nd, 2020|Novel Notes of Local Lore|

An Obsession With the House on Strong Avenue

Zita Fodor was born on May 12, 1913 in Budapest, Hungary to David Fodor and Terezia Kozorus.  It is unknown what type of work David did while still in Hungary, but when he and Terezia immigrated to America, he found work in Chicago as a tool and die maker.  Terezia cared for their two children, […]

October 15th, 2020|Novel Notes of Local Lore|

Her Favorite Job Was Working in an Ice Cream Parlor

Apolonia Ruzicka was born on March 30, 1914 in Chicago to Jonas Horacek and Marie Blaha, both of whom were immigrants from Czechoslovakia, though they apparently met and married in South Bend, Indiana.   Jonas and Marie were introduced at a church picnic.  Marie actually fancied another boy, but Jonas was persistent in asking her out.  […]

October 8th, 2020|Novel Notes of Local Lore|

A Secret War-Time Affair

Adam Cerny was born on January 25, 1911 in Chicago to Teodor Cerny and Cecilie Klimek, both immigrants from Czechoslovakia.  Teodor and Cecilie grew up in the same town in Bohemia and married there.  Teodor worked as a farm laborer, and Cecilie cared for their four sons: Simon, Tomas, Radovan and Othmar.  At some point, […]

October 1st, 2020|Novel Notes of Local Lore|

Married at Fifteen

Hai Bo Song was born on October 5, 1914 in China to Jie Fu Song and Jing Fen Chan, who were farmers.  It is unclear how many siblings Hai had, as cousins in China were also referred to as brothers and sisters.  Hai’s youngest son, Ning, explains that at that time in China, it was […]

September 24th, 2020|Novel Notes of Local Lore|

She Never Really Stopped Loving Him

Grace Phillips was born on October 3, 1922 in Alder Point, Nova Scotia to Warren McAndrews and Mary Jane Wilson, both of whom were Scottish Canadians.  Warren was a coal miner, and Mary Jane cared for their ten children: Margaret, Grace, Leon, Calvin, Rosemary, Dale, Katherine, William, Mattie and Lillie.  Lillie was actually the daughter […]

September 17th, 2020|Novel Notes of Local Lore|

Her Dreams of Being a Nun Were Dashed!

Nedda Scarsi was born on April 7, 1910 in Chicago to Giovi and Fara Mancus, both of whom had immigrated to the United States from Sicily as a newly married couple.  Giovi made a living selling produce from a cart that he pushed from street to street, and Fara cared for their seven children, […]

September 10th, 2020|Novel Notes of Local Lore|

Unwilling to Give His Brother the Biggest Share of the Catch

Cal (Caolan) Maguire was born on May 21, 1916 in Ireland to Caolan Maguire, Sr. and Mary Brady.  Caolan, Sr. was a fisherman in their little village by the sea near Balbriggen, and Mary cared for their thirteen children, of whom Cal, Jr. was the youngest.  Cal went to school until about seventh grade when […]

September 3rd, 2020|Novel Notes of Local Lore|

A Wonderful Father and an All-Round Outdoors Man

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 […]

August 27th, 2020|Novel Notes of Local Lore|

“Everyone Died But Me”

Eliza Radic was born on May 3, 1906 in Chicago to Bert Halonen 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 […]

August 20th, 2020|Novel Notes of Local Lore|