A Postal Theft, Two Vaudeville Actors, an Unsolved Murder, a Little Girl, and The Best Thing That Ever Happened!

Andrew Pokorny was born on October 20, 1912 in Chicago to Branislav Pokorny and Maria Tesar, both of whom were immigrants from Slovakia.  Andrew is not sure whether his parents met and married in Slovakia or if they met here, but he remembers his father working as a coppersmith.  His mother was a housewife and […]

November 19th, 2020|Novel Notes of Local Lore|

“A Little Slice of Heaven”

Floyd Vesela was born on January 14, 1911 in Chicago.  His parents were Anton Vesela and Helena Starek, both of Czechoslovakian descent.  It was always assumed that both of his parents were born in Chicago, but Floyd thinks his mother may have actually been born in Czechoslovakia and came here as an infant with her […]

November 12th, 2020|Novel Notes of Local Lore|

“No Place to Hang My Hat”

Franklin Wilson was born on August 24, 1931 to Lincoln Wilson and Ethyl Jackson, who worked a forty-acre farm near Chatham, Louisiana.  The Wilsons had nine children: Calvin, Chester, Anita, Franklin, Roland, Ida Jean, Lily Mae, Hattie and Daisy Mae, all of whom lived into adulthood.  Besides working their own farm, Lincoln also worked on […]

November 5th, 2020|Novel Notes of Local Lore|

“Charlie Was the Love of My Life.”

Louisa Berger was born on September 5, 1907 in Macedonia.  Her parents, Martin Everhart and Liese Buhr were German farmers living in what was once called the Austro-Hungarian Empire in an area that later became Yugoslavia.  There were originally nine children in the family, but three of them died of diphtheria. The rest of them […]

October 29th, 2020|Novel Notes of Local Lore|

“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|