“He’s All I Have”

Frieda McLeod was born on April 9, 1917 in Chicago to Robert Curran and Eileen Walsh, both immigrants from Ireland who came looking for a new life.  Robert found work on the railroads and also delivering coal and flour, while Eileen worked as a cleaning lady in private homes and cared for their five children: […]

May 7th, 2020|Novel Notes of Local Lore|

Surrounded by Angels…And One Devil

Gerald “Jerry” Dziedzic was born on October 25, 1909 in Braddock, Pennsylvania to Wojtek and Paula Dziedzic, both immigrants from Poland.  Not much is known about Jerry’s early life, except that he was the youngest of seven children and that his father worked as a laborer in a factory.

Jerry went to school on and off […]

April 30th, 2020|Novel Notes of Local Lore|

She Crossed the Ocean to Find Her Love

Erna Lindner was born on May 27, 1904 on a farm in Austria, which later became part of Czechoslovakia.  Her parents, Alban Hager and Sylvia Kainz, worked “night and day” on the farm, and when Alban had to fight in the First World War, the running of the farm fell on Sylvia and their five […]

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

The Secret to Happiness: “Be Content With What You Have.”

Estelle Oberst was born in Chicago on October 20, 1900.  Her father, Edwin Larsen, was an immigrant from Norway, and her mother, Theresa Amsel, was an immigrant from Germany.  The two somehow met after they arrived in Chicago and married not long after.  Estelle does not remember exactly where her father worked, but she thinks […]

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

“More Like Sisters”

Doris Gockel was born on March 15, 1934 in Chicago.  Not much is known of Doris’s early life, except that her mother, Gertrude Molnar, who was of Hungarian descent, had Doris when she was very young.  About a year after Doris was born, Gertrude married a man named Walter Sands, who was not Doris’s birthfather, […]

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

The Classic “High-Society” Man

Carl Nilsson was born on January 24, 1937 in Chicago to Nils Nilsson and Brita Lindgren. Not much is known about Carl’s early life or his parents, except for a few facts, namely that they were immigrants from Sweden and that Nils worked as a tool and die maker once he got to Chicago.  Carl […]

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

“My Angel”

Theresa Svoboda was born on March 23, 1911 in Chicago to Frank and Simona Svoboda, both of whom were immigrants from Czechoslovakia.  According to Theresa, her father came alone to the United States looking for work and found a job right away, which he considered lucky, as jobs were scarce.  He began working as a […]

March 26th, 2020|Novel Notes of Local Lore|

“Winnie Didn’t Lead That Kind of Life…”

Loretta Coleman was born on April 22, 1936 in Louisiana to Frank Harris and Ruth Roberts.  Not much is known about Loretta’s parents, but she says that she and her three siblings had a good childhood and that they were raised in a very strict Baptist household.  Loretta graduated from high school and was then […]

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

The Ultimate Romantic

Jan Beranek was born on December 21, 1909 in Slovakia to Kornel Beranek and Hedvika Klimy.  Jan’s father, Kornel, worked as a very successful tailor.  He had large accounts and employed six to eight men at any given time.  When the WWI broke out, however, Kornel was forced to dissolve his tailor shop to become […]

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

She Was Crowned Western Electric’s “Beauty Queen” for 1929!

Vera Kadlec was born on August 10, 1909 in the village of Orlov, which is situated between Pilsen and Prague in the now Czech Republic.  Vera’s father, Andel Blaha, was the mayor of Orlov, and her mother, Vlasta Doubek, cared for their six children, of whom Vera was the oldest.  Vera attended grammar school and […]

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