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Mentioned in the following letters (at age 3): 9-16-1932 Irene; 9-30-1932 Irene; 10-13-1932 Irene; 11-4-1932 Irene; 11-11-1932 Bullington; and 11-25-1932 Irene

Letters written to her: 2-19-1967 Hilda

her great-grandmother, Katerina Lukner Grimm

her maternal grandmother, Maria Grimm Pfleger

her mother, Irene Pfleger Wachdorf



Dolores Eleanor Wachdorf



  1910-Edward Wachdorf Jr.

  1912-Irene H. Wachdorf

  1915-Arthur Wachdorf

  1917-Harry Wachdorf

  1919-Jerry Wachdorf

  1923-Frank Wachdorf

  1926-Larry Wachdorf



Dolores' nickname:








current generations

not listed

to protect

their privacy




Dolores' parents:

Edward Wachdorf


Irene Pfleger


Her maternal grandparents:

John Pfleger & Maria Grimm


Her paternal grandparents:

Anton Wachdorf & Anna Klein


Her maternal aunts & uncles:

c.1878-Henry Pfleger & Louise; 1880-Oscar Pfleger & Annie; 1883-Lou Pfleger & Gert; 1884/5-Dell Pfleger & Harry Wachdorf


Her paternal aunts & uncles:

1883-Clara Roster & Henry; 1884-Kitty Hochertz & Tony; 1886-Harry H. Wachdorf & Dell; 1892-Joseph Wachdorf & Jessie; 1895-Lettie Myers & Harvey; 1897-Mae Wachdorf; 1899-Frances Stevens & Frank; 1902-Madge Wachdorf


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Proud parents of baby Dolores

Her father holding her, while Larry lurks

big sister, Sis

Four shots in fancy pram, can't see the brace on her hand, but there was one. Born with two thumbs on right hand, had one amputated

Dolores & Larry with their Mom and unknown lady with baby, probably 1932

Dolores & her cousin Dickie Stevens in front of Shirley Stevens on their grandmother Wachdorf's back steps

same day, July 1932, showing her grandma's back step posts clearly


1934 in her class at St. Martin's, she is the one with both her leggings and boots visible. Photographed by her father's friend, Wm. Gotsch

signature on back of previous photo

1939 fourth grade class, 5th from right in first row

1943 8th grade 5th from left in center row, full label follows

label of previous

back row from left: Dolores, Ed Jr, Harry, Bunky. Front row: Ed's kids, her mother Irene, her sisters-in-law Charlotte (Jerry's) and Marge (Ed Jr's)

Home perm!

much better

9-10-1948 from left: Dolores Kaner Jones, Carolyn Baldwin Pluto, Dolores Wachdorf

her parents, her brother Harry & sister-in-law Justy, and Dolores on far right on 1949 trip to Mackinac

July 1954 visiting her parents in California. She's three months pregnant in this shot

same trip, at Capistrano

Making a recording to send to her parents in California

With her godson, 1-31-1998


From her mother's baby calendar: Dolores Eleanor Wachdorf was born at the Lying In Hospital on Saturday at 5:16 p.m. Godparents George Pfleger and Catherine Pfleger (son of Irene's  brother Henry and daughter of her brother Lou). (Note: Saturday's child works hard for a living. Also note: only Larry and Dolores were born in the hospital. All other Wachdorf children were born at home.)

        According to Dolores, her mother cried when she saw the baby had two thumbs on the right hand, but her husband consoled her, "You always said you'd have a kid who was all thumbs." At six months old she got whooping cough from going back and forth to the doctor's office about the thumb.


1930 census, 334 W. 54th St.:

Edward J. Wachdorf owns home value $6000, has a radio. 41, married at 21, occupation: agent for Sinclair Refinery.

Wife Irene, 42, married at 21.

Son Edward, 19, shipping clerk

daughter Irene, 17, doing bookkeeping for a stationary company

son Arthur, 15, no occupation

son Henry, 12

son Gerald, 10

son Francis, 7

son Lawrence, 4

daughter Dolores, 11 months

sister-in-law Adele Wachdorf (no longer Pfleger), age 45, married at 40 (though husband Harry Wachdorf is living down the street with his parents), occupation: seamstress for Dept. Store.

Her mother told her brothers to teach her to roller skate. This is back when roller skates had a key, and were not easy to get on and off, especially for little kids. What they did was take her to their Grandma Wachdorf's house. It had a fence along a sidewalk. They got her that far and then, as she puts it, "hung her on the fence and left." It was learn or be stuck, so in a way they did teach her to roller skate.

In 1939 her sister died of tuberculosis. On the one year anniversary of Sis' death, their mother took out a health insurance policy on Dolores. The form asked, of the person to be insured, "Have you, during the past year, resided with or been associated intimately with any person suffering from tuberculosis? If yes, give the particulars and precautions taken." Irene answered on Dolores' behalf, "No." The next question was, "Have any of your parents, brothers, sisters, or any member of your household now, or ever, had tuberculosis, cancer, diabetes, insanity, or any hereditary disease? If yes, give particulars." Irene again answered, "No." (Despite many deaths besides Sis of TB in the family). Later on the form she listed that Dolores had 6 brothers living and one deceased sister, dead at age 26 of "childbirth and infection."

        On a lighter note, the last sickness for Dolores is put down as July, 1939. Nature of sickness: Cut chin, had fall while roller skating. Healed in 1 week. Treatment: 2 stitches. (Dolores remembers getting the stitches, and her father gave her a $5 bill afterward. She doesn't remember what she spent it on, though she remembers her brothers all declaring they were going to throw themselves down and cut their chins so they could get five bucks too.)


Not sure the exact year, but she got diphtheria while still a schoolgirl, probably at about age 14 (remembers coming back to class and having one of her classmates say, "Holy cripes, we thought we'd be singing your requiem," which was the first she realized how seriously sick she had been.) As she tells it, she had a bad sore throat, and was moaning and groaning about it. Her mother gave her a glass of pineapple juice, and when she tried to drink it, she burst into tears, crying, "It hurts." So her mother walked her to the doctor's office, where a throat culture was taken, and the doctor sent them home.  The phone was ringing when they got there, the doctor on the line saying, "The ambulance is on its way."

        She remembers the doctor at the Contagious Disease Hospital turning pale when he heard she'd walked to and from the family doctor's office, telling her she could've died. They also said later if the infection/membrane had gone down into her lungs as fast as it came up her throat, they would've lost her (or maybe it was the other way around). It was a blur to her, except she recalls seeing her parents on the other side of the glass (she was in a quarantined ward) and crying because she wanted her Mom. She also recalls her father tapping the glass and holding up a $5 bill (like he had given her when she got stitches in her chin). During her hospital stay she had such a growth spurt (two inches she attributed to the diphtheria) that she had to begin carrying identification afterward or bus drivers challenged her school pass.


Reminiscence by her brother Larry:

Dolores was a young girl when she essayed her first cake--a 3 layer effort, and it flopped. It stood 4" high at the edges but only 1" high in the center. She was almost inconsolable until our kind-hearted brother Art came home. "It'll be okay, Boop--we can fix it." And they did. They filled the center with bananas and they piled the whole thing high with frosting. And as each of the other brothers came home he told us we had better not make fun of her cake, or else. And we didn't. In fact it was just about the best cake ever, all bananas and frosting.

5-27-1945 date on diploma from the Commercial Department of Saint Martin School.

5-28-1945 Dolores started working for Overseas Industries as a secretary, after having completed the course at St. Martin's Commercial (the girls were expected to forego high school and instead attend classes at St. Martin's Commercial, and then get jobs).

Reminiscence by friends John and Pat Peterson: "One of the places Les and I frequented for dinner (when we had a few extra dollars) was the Italian restaurant called the Riviera on Wabash Avenue. It seems Dolores' mother had instructed Dolores to always order a low priced dinner when dating her beau and she would always order spaghetti with meat sauce (no meatballs)."

2-13-1952 she quit working for Overseas Industries (four months before getting married). She briefly worked then for Fannie May Candies. (Her husband disagrees with this memory. He says she continued working until morning sickness from her first pregnancy stopped her, and that their double paychecks allowed them to live the high life for a while, which for them meant going out dancing.)

Married in June, and honeymooned at "Ed Gabe's Lost Lake Lodge" in Wisconsin, which turned out to be quite cold still, so they snuck back early and moved into their apartment without telling anyone they were back. Famous honeymoon story: on their wedding night, she shook her new husband awake to tell him someone was in the room with them, standing over the bed. Sleep-addled, he asked logically, "Who is it?" She answered, "It's me. In my bolero jacket."

2-15-1958 she miscarried at three months along (marked it on her calendar for years with the notation simply of "3 months.")