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How to navigate to "Straying Home," my e-book about adolescent self-discovery through global travel. Just click on a Chapter tab, 1 to 5, immediately below.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Would Dorothy Ever Marry?


World War II must have been a tough time for Dorothy and other young women of marriageable age.
Dorothy Rasmussen was about 20 years of age when young men were drafted right and left for training in military bases and service in war fronts abroad.  As with many young women, Dorothy continued living in her parental home through the wartime emergency. 

I remember the burning question friends of Dorothy were asking: “Would Dorothy ever marry?” Beyond the lack of eligible bachelors, Dorothy was pursuing a burgeoning career in piano teaching and performance.

But why was I as a youngster alert to this question of Dorothy’s marriage prospects? Dorothy and I were close. I was often in her family’s home from cradle on. Her parents, Lydia and Harry, were surrogate grandparents of mine and great friends of my parents. Lydia would welcome me, the toddler from across the street, to her arms and then on to her kitchen, where she spoiled me with cookies. Harry would hold me on his knee and tell stories that ended with a chuckle. And Dorothy, when present, would beam her smile on me and entertain me with children’s piano songs.

According to her obituary, published in February 2014, Dorothy was a prodigious pianist in her town, Tacoma. She entertained at large concerts and played background music for radio ads. My parents wanted me to become musical and engaged Dorothy as my first piano teacher when I was 5 years old. From then to age 8, I’d walk across the street for Harry’s stories, Lydia’s cookies and Dorothy’s keyboard instruction.

What Dorothy provided for me, above and beyond her piano teaching, which I hardly remember, was her warm and tender smile. Her face just beamed “Welcome, Darrell” and “Yes, you’re okay.” She meant a lot to this little kid.

After the war and when the men were back, Dorothy married. How she ever met Allan Roe, a Seattleite, is a mystery to me. It wasn’t easy to scoot from Tacoma to Seattle, or vice versa, for a date. Upon their marriage, she moved to Seattle to establish their household. Sadly, her move ended my piano career with her, but I still received those warm smiles whenever I visited her in Seattle, right through my college years. She continued giving piano and organ lessons and her smiles to north Seattle kids for years.


I have a memory of the amazing Dorothy and my mother that focuses on Puget Sound fishing, which I’ll recount on this page next Saturday. Please return for that. Meantime, if you have a memory of Dorothy to share, please click on “Comment” and record your thoughts.

(Photo courtesy of Bonney Watson)

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