Dorothy Misleh and I have been friends for years but have yet to meet. That’s because she lives in Ocala, Florida. Dorothy left Forest Park in 1943 but still reads the Review religiously. That’s how we became friends. Dorothy was curious about her childhood home at 419 Hannah and asked me to do some research. 

I reviewed the property records and made a list of the owners. I also took photos of the exterior. Dorothy was so grateful for the photos and research, she made a donation to the Historical Society of Forest Park. Since then, she has faithfully sent me birthday and Christmas cards and we talk by phone.

Dorothy Nelson was born in Forest Park on May 18, 1922. Her dad was Loyal Nelson and her mom was the former Ruth Stroschein. Ruth’s father, Charles Stroschein, emigrated from Germany and built the house at 419 Hannah. Dorothy’s mom and her grandparents spoke German and attended German-speaking services at the local Baptist church. 

Dorothy never studied German but has happy memories of taking the short walk to Garfield School to attend elementary school. She took junior high classes at Grant-White before attending Proviso High School. 

She walked the mile and a half to Proviso and still remembers trudging past Concordia Cemetery during a blizzard. The school had Black students from Maywood, but there was no racial tension. She received an excellent education and was told that graduating from Proviso was the equivalent of completing freshman year of college.

Instead of going to college, Dorothy got a job at Oak Park Trust Bank, where she worked in several different departments. When she was 21, Dorothy moved to Miami, Florida to live with an aunt and uncle. She happened to ride the train with the Wolf brothers, who owned the furniture store at Circle and Madison. 

After she moved to Miami, Dorothy met her husband, Roger Misleh, who had just gotten out of the army. Roger had been trained in the use of radio equipment and repaired radios out of his garage. After learning how to repair TVs, he founded City Wide TV. Roger and his crew repaired and sold TVs, while Dorothy did the books. City Wide was known for selling the first color TV in Miami.

During this time, the couple had three children, Roger, Paul and Ruthann. They also bought a vacation home in the mountains of North Carolina, to escape Miami’s sweltering summers. After 30 years in business, Roger and Dorothy retired at 65. 

They also left Miami and built a home in Ocala. It’s a lovely area known as “horse country” because so many thoroughbreds train there. After more than 60 years of marriage, Roger died in 2008 at the age of 85.  

Dorothy may have been retired but she always stayed busy. She was active with her church and in supporting the local symphony orchestra. At the age of 100, Dorothy still lives in her family home. Ruthann makes this possible by visiting her mom every day.

Thanks to the Review, Dorothy knows as much about our local events as anyone. She recently quizzed me about our current crop of candidates. A delightful person to have as a friend, she has the voice of a young woman and a razor-sharp mind.

She is glad the Review is still in business, because her local newspaper is cutting back on its coverage. She recently made a $25 donation to Growing Community Media and looks forward to receiving the newspaper in the mail. 

Dorothy may be young at heart but still doesn’t own a computer.

John Rice is a columnist/novelist who has seen his family thrive in Forest Park. He has published two books set in the village: The Ghost of Cleopatra and The Doll with the Sad Face.