Tuesday, January 26, 2016

The Baby of The Babe

by Connie Cortright

Courtesy of Wikicommons
One hundred years after George Herman Ruth Jr. was recognized as an amazing baseball player and became known to everyone as Babe Ruth, his name is still a household name to Americans of all ages. When he was traded to the New York Yankees in 1919, his future was well established as the best baseball player ever.

However, not too many people know that he had an illegitimate daughter. In fact, his daughter didn't even know it until 1980 when she was 59 years old.

Let's start with Babe's marriage to Helen Woodford in October, 1914. Just months before the wedding, he signed a contract to play for the Boston Red Sox. Only nineteen years old at the time, he was too young to know what life and marriage were all about. He was trying to adjust to all the fame and attention coming his way. The results were a rocky marriage from the start.

When the couple moved to New York in 1920, things got worse. Helen preferred living a quiet life, while Babe thrived in the notoriety that life in the city brought. He had a mistress named Juanita Jennings who gave birth to a baby girl on June 7, 1921. Babe persuaded his wife that they should adopt the newborn without telling her the baby was his child.

Dorothy Helen Ruth, raised as the adopted daughter of Babe and Helen, was told that they adopted her from an orphanage. Helen accepted Dorothy and took her back to Massachusetts and raised her on her own when Babe and Helen parted ways. Because of their Catholic faith, they didn't divorce, but lived in different states. When Helen was killed in a house fire in 1929, Dorothy's life changed dramatically.

After his first wife's death, Babe Ruth married the love of his life Claire Hodgson, who had a daughter of her own. The Ruths raised Dorothy and Julia during the heyday of Babe Ruth's winning career. Claire Ruth brought to the family stability and management that was lacking in Babe Ruth's life prior to that time.

The ironic thing about the situation was that Juanita Jennings was a friend of the family during Dorothy's growing-up years. Dorothy knew her as a friend of her father. It wasn't until 1980 when Juanita Jennings was dying that Dorothy found out the truth that Juanita was her biological mother and Babe Ruth was her biological father.

Dorothy's parentage was such a closely held secret that Julia had a hard time believing Juanita's story when the truth came out long after Babe's 1948 death. A rift between the two step-sisters developed in their later years. Not surprising with the secret coming into the open.

After she found out the truth, Dorothy wrote a book "My Dad, the Babe". This book, a memoir to her father, explained that she was not well treated by her step-mother Claire Ruth. It must have been interesting living in a household where Dorothy was the daughter and undoubtedly favorite of Babe, and Julia was the daughter and favorite of Claire. I imagine that this was a cause of friction during their younger days also. In the midst of all this, it was reported that Babe doted on his girls and enjoyed home life with them whenever he could be with them.

Sounds like an interesting household.

Information taken from Dorothy Ruth   and Babe Ruth: The Family Man (which didn't even mention the fact that Dorothy was the daughter of Babe Ruth).

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Hats Off to You

by Connie Cortright

Fashions during the 20s and 30s were very different than today. Women always wore dresses, flapper style with dropped waistlines ending in knee length skirts, or shirt dress style which had natural waistlines but longer in the length. Before the day of nylons, silk stockings were worn under their skirts even though the knees might be baggie before the end of the evening. Not a pretty sight.

Hats and gloves were worn at all times for social occasions. They wouldn't be caught outside their homes without a hat. Might not be such a bad idea to cover up a bad hair day...

 The most popular hat style of the day was the cloche hat, from the French word for "bell". The cloche, then, was bell-shaped, hugging a woman's head ending just above her eyes. It was often made of felt and would fit snugly on her head to keep her hair in place while traveling by car, an often windy prospect. In summer the cloche was frequently made of straw for the warmer weather. 
A cloche hat worn during evening social events could be decorated with bead appliques to match evening attire. This type of head dress is often equated with the flapper fashion. Who wouldn't want to look like this to paint the town? 
How would they travel with all these different hats in their wardrobe? Wherever women traveled they would be accompanied by their trusty hat boxes. Hat boxes were often built to closely resemble the shape of the hat - often round shaped. The hats would carefully be positioned to cushion any sudden movements of the box, inverted in a hole suspended off the bottom of the container. Maybe that's why people didn't travel all that much back then. Can you imagine lugging all that added luggage through airport security today? The lines would be even longer than they are now. 

Maybe fashions haven't changed that much after all. This is a picture of my daughter-in-law in her new hat - a cloche. It looks as good today on her as the cloche did almost one hundred years ago. Guess what goes around, comes around. I bet she doesn't have a hatbox to take with her on her travels, though. 

Monday, January 18, 2016

Book Party Success!

Yesterday, I had a fantastic turnout for my Book Launch Party of "Guide Me Home" at Northwestern Publishing House. 

More than 30 people attended the event. 

Fellow ACFW member Terri Wangard did a fine job of introducing me to the attendees. 

I donned a cloche hat and beads and became my heroine Emma Ehlke describing what life was like in 1926. 

I read the first couple pages of "Guide Me Home" to introduce the book. My book is launched. Thanks so all of you who attended. I really appreciate it!

My book is available at the NPH Christian Bookstore and their online catalog or at Amazon.com.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

You're Invited to a "Guide Me Home" Book Launch Party!!

Mark this date on your calendar: Saturday, January 16th at 2:00

Location: Northwestern Publishing House Christian Bookstore 

Your are cordially invited to attend my book launch party at NPH Bookstore. I'll be introducing my characters, my road to publication, and read a sample of my writing. Come join us for refreshments and fun along with door prizes. 

Hope you can join in this party!!

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Put It On My Tab

by Connie Cortright

Long gone are the days of using cash to make all your purchases. Today most young people never have cash in their pocket, not even to go get lunch at McDonald's, or so I'm told by my son. Credit cards are used for everything - even a hamburger.

That's a far cry from department stores in the 20s-30s that we heard about last week where all purchases were done with cash. How did things change from one extreme to the other? It was a long slow process that had many twists and turns in it.

Credit card purchases at department stores actually started with charge coins, a metallic round object issued by a specific store. The customer number was embossed on the charge coins along with the store name. The charge coins were attached to key rings for easy use when needed. They were also issued by hotels for frequent users. An imprint of the coin was printed on the sales slip for an easy and fast way to get the account number on the invoice, which prevented error by handwriting the information. These were used by wealthy shoppers to keep a running tab at the store, which was paid up at the end of every month.

By 1928, Charga-Plates, an aluminum rectangle about the size of a dog tag, started to replace the charge coins. These items did contain the name and address of the customers They were sometimes kept at the department store itself and pulled out to use when the customer was purchasing an item. An imprinter was run across the embossed side with an inked ribbon, leaving the customer information on the sales slip. These were always issued by the store and used only in the one location to add the new purchases to the tab of a good paying customer. They were used up until the early 1950s in some stores.

Other companies started using this idea for frequent customers and issued charge cards printed on paper card stock. By 1940s, oil as well as airline companies, started using these for returning customers. However, the customer had to have a different charge card for every company that was used. Ralph Schneider and Frank McNamara founded the Diners Club card in 1950 trying to consolidate the many different cards under one name. Since this was before computer data, all the purchases from these cards had to be made in duplicate and sent to the central office to be processed onto one invoice. These charge cards required every invoice to be paid off in its entirety each month. No balances could be carried over to the next month.

Revolving credit cards, using a third-party bank to fund the balance of the purchases, were not utilized until Bank of America started the BankAmericard in 1958. Years later this card was changed into VISA when other banks joined Bank of America. MasterCard got it's start in 1966 when a different group of banks including Citibank joined together to give competition to BankAmericard. The development of the computer helped to make these credit cards companies into the enormous businesses that they are today.

And the rest is pretty much history... I, for one, am glad that I don't have to carry around cash or checks to purchase groceries, etc anymore. Credit cards are so convenient.

Information taken from Credit Card - Wikipedia

Monday, January 4, 2016


For a limited time "Guide Me Home" will be on sale at AMAZON.COM for as low as $.99. 

In honor of my 2:00 January 16th Launch Party at 

a sale of my Christian historical fiction is underway. 

The sooner you order the Kindle version of my book, the less it costs. Please check out the Amazon website to see when the cost will increase go the next price level. Sale is for one week only!