Friday, November 4, 2011

Simple Beginnings

My desire to learn about my family took root in the year 2008. Having pondered for many years, I finally took the plunge and signed on to With high hopes, I registered for a World Membership.  Linda Dooley was going to search the world for those unknown ancestors for just about one dollar a day!

Four weeks into my project, my mother was diagnosed with Lymphoma. Her cells were fast growing. She chose to undergo chemotherapy, which was not an easy path for my octogenarian mother. My genealogical finds entertained Mom throughout her battle with cancer.

Realizing that the window of opportunity was rapidly closing, we began hearty discussions about our family. My mother and I poured over old photographs. These walks down memory lane comforted us both as I watched mother decline.

As I discovered bits of the past, I brought them to her sick bed. Here is her Auntie Lou’s wedding announcement that gave Mom a case of the giggles. I just love the creative writing.

“A Surprise Shower For A June Bride

April showers began in advance for June brides,
When last Friday night, Miss Lucille Dollen thought
she had said, “Number Please” for the last time,
that night, when suddenly a group of her associates
in the telephone office burst in upon her like rain out
of a summer cloud. Yes it is a pre-nuptial show,
a regular pour down, sure to bring the orange blossoms
in June, when Miss Dollen is to be a bride.

From the office the merry party went to the home of
Mr. And Mrs. W. G. Meyer on State Road. There a
bountiful supper was served. A delicious mountain of cake
made by Mrs. Meyer, salads and all the choice dainties
young ladies enjoy. After answering a multitude of calls.

The color scheme in decorations was prettily carried
out in pink and green.

Of course the cloud was like a great white sheet
and it poured down snowy linens. A generous supply
such as any bride would be happy to receive.

The game played was “Progressive Fifty”.
Miss Lorraine Ayer won first prize, the second
Prize was won by Miss Eleanor Cronin.
Consolation, Miss Lucille Dollen.
These prizes which were kitchen utensils the winners
gave to the guest of honor, Miss Dollen.

Miss Dollen is leaving her position soon for her home
at Des Plaines and plans to be married in June.
After that all calls over the line will receive a busy signal.”[1]

Throughout our discussions, Mom had one recurring question. She wanted to know what happened to her cousin, Leroy Dollen. “Had I found him?” she would ask. Yes, I thought I did but cared not to share that he had passed on. Well, she kept on asking and I kept replying, “Not yet, Mom.”

My mother passed away on September 6, 2008. One week later, I discovered that someone downloaded my entire tree on Ancestry. Who could possibly be interested in my tree? To my surprise, they were the daughters of Leroy Dollen! My mother missed meeting them by just one week.

Three years have passed and I have become fast friends with my second cousins. We share genetics, family stories, research trips and are committed to gathering Dollen relatives wherever they may be.

In Mother’s Memory
Doris Jean Meyer nee Dollen
12 July 1927 – 8 September 2008

[1] “A Surprise Shower For A June Bride,” Cook County Herald, 1 Apr 1930, p. 2, col. 3; digital image, ( : accessed 27 Sep 2011).


  1. Touching story. My dad and I shared an interest in our family history as as well. He passed away just 2 years after we started our research.

  2. I felt every word you wrote. Similar emotions I too experienced when I lost my dad on March 20, 2008.