Academic journal article Thomas Wolfe Review

Adventures in Chicago: A Visit to the 1933 World's Fair with Julia Wolfe

Academic journal article Thomas Wolfe Review

Adventures in Chicago: A Visit to the 1933 World's Fair with Julia Wolfe

Article excerpt

   Not long after his high school graduation in New Albany,
   Indiana, nineteen-year-old R. Dietz Wolfe was treated to
   a trip to the Chicago World's Fair by his uncle Thomas
   Wolfe. He traveled to and toured the fair with his grandmother
   Julia Wolfe, and he says that "Tom was supposed
   to meet us, but couldn't make it at that time for some reason."
   Dr. Wolfe, who celebrated his 95th birthday in May
   2009, described this trip in letters dated 18 November and
   24 December 2008. The following is an edited transcript
   of that text. Endnotes have been added by the editors.

In 1933 I attended the "Century of Progress" World's Fair in Chicago. As I recall, that was the year many of the athletes from the Olympics were escorting fair guests about the grounds for a fee. (1) Despite the fact that Thomas Wolfe put up the funds for our trip, Julia would allow nobody to haul her about the fair as long as she had legs. My grandmother froze onto me, and each day, for a number of days, we toured most of the exhibits, and each evening she gave me a detailed test on what I viewed that day.

I learned a lot. For instance, I saw some "crude TV," and none of us were aware of how far it would go in the next 100 years. But I was a young, clean-cut fellow, just out of high school, and I was not having young man's fun. Julia E. Wolfe at that phase of her life was ahead of the Julia E. that Terry interviewed. (2) She also was domineering and insisted that I take all she could dish out, and still be my own young man, in Chicago for a little fun. After several days, I lost her one night--and made my way to the "Pabst Blue Ribbon Inn." Charles "Buddy" Rogers, husband of movie great Mary Pickford, had a dance band--a pretty good one, until the really good ones came along a few years later. I had a couple of beers, and a couple of dances to Buddy Rogers' orchestra. (3) I went back to the hotel very late, and feeling guilty that I had ditched Julia E. When I checked in at the hotel, she was not as yet in--where she was, I'll never know, and never asked. I, however, had won my freedom.

It was not hard for me to realize for the rest of my years why W. O. Wolfe got on occasional big drunks. What a man, and what a woman! She had no fear. One night we went on the Sky Ride that crossed the fair from a considerable height. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.