Lady Bledzo lit up newspapers for two years in the mid-1920s. Like a cabaret version of Billy the Kid, she came from nowhere, made a great scene — and then disappeared. By 1928, there was no trace of her.
She never held a defined occupation. She never got a listing in the census or the phone book. For weeks I’ve been trying to stretch the few available items about her into a full story. I even called in the assistance of Graveyard Snoopette. She, too, was stymied by this mysterious woman.
I have to admit that a full accounting can’t be done. Like Lady Bledzo herself, her story is not tidy nor complete. It will not be contained.
Her name came out of those Chicago Tribune archives. One name, \with many variations to humble the researcher: Lady Bledzo; Rose Bledzo; Lady Rose Bledsoe; Lady Rosa Bledzo; Rose Leonora; Leonore Bleedson; Eleanora Bleedson; and twice, Lenor Grear.
And worse, I’m pretty sure that none of those are her actual birth name.
Fire up the Dusenberg and roll down your stockings. This one is a real lulu.
Continue reading “Unearthed: Lady Bledzo (Pt 1)”
It was lilac season, so of course we went to Graceland Cemetery.
My husband knows I’m a sucker for lilacs, and how much I look forward to that moment in spring when the bushes foam over with good-smelling blossoms. Graceland provides a particularly nice array of lilacs in season, so he suggested we take a walk through the cemetery on a Sunday morning this past May.
That’s where I spotted Archie. I was drawn at first to the fragile little flowers scattered on his cool grey stone. I took the photo for that, and because I’ve been trying to take more cemetery pictures of people who lived long lives. They leave more records, which makes my research easier, and they are more likely to die of natural causes, which helps my mood.
I’m also a sucker for father-daughter stories, and as it turns out, he has one.
Continue reading “Unearthed: McClanahan & McClanahan”
They can’t all be good guys.
Mt. Carmel Catholic Cemetery in Hillside, IL, is packed with striking, dramatic headstones. Calogero Lalumia’s is one of them.
Continue reading “Unearthed: Calogero Lalumia”
The handsome young man in the derby hat.
Sometimes a mystery stays a mystery.
Frank Brovet(s), part 1
I should preface by explaining something about me. I grew up in a small family, with a limited amount of relatives. There were maybe a dozen Brovets in the whole country, and I spent my first few decades confident that I knew all of them.
Ah, the assurance of youth.
I think that’s part of why the Frank story frustrates me so. I had this misconception, and I was able to hold onto it well into my 30s. My brain still gets stuck on the point of: I know all of them, so there can’t be more. This Frank situation has been like hearing, “That’s what YOU think,” from the Universe, over and over.
Continue reading “A Whole Mess of Franks”