Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History

Interview with Dorothy Kissel, November 26, 2017

Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries
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00:00:00 - Parents meet and marry / Father walks across the canal to work at Kahn's

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Partial Transcript: I’m ninety-four years old.

Segment Synopsis: Dorothy Kissel describes her parents meeting at a church dance, courting and getting married. She says they moved to Logan Street in Over-the-Rhine when Dorothy was a toddler. Kissel's father was trained as a butcher in Europe and worked at Kahn's Meats across the Central Parkway canal, and says it made him nervous to walk across the board that served as the makeshift bridge. Dorothy tells of her father walking home after a Christmas party at Kahn's, and how after a few drinks he was able to walk across the canal board with a huge turkey without any problem.

Keywords: Canals; Cincinnati (Ohio); Kahn's; Kissel; Logan Street; Over-the-Rhine

00:04:45 - Going to nursery school / Swimming in Washington Park pool

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Partial Transcript: And I went to nurse--my sister went to school.

Segment Synopsis: Kissel recounts happy years going to nursery school on the top floor of the Parkway Apartments on Central Parkway, and says the teacher loved her eyes and hair and dressed her as a bride. She mentions skipping kindergarten and that the children would go to First Lutheran Church and play there. Kissel also discusses how much she loved swimming in the Washington Park pool during the summer.

Keywords: Catholic schools; Central Parkway; Charlotte Street; Cincinnati (Ohio); First Lutheran Church; Lutheran Church; Nursery schools; Over-the-Rhine; Parkway Apartments; Sands School; Swimming; Washington Park pool; West End

00:09:06 - Parents early lives in Cincinnati / Traveling to Romania

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Partial Transcript: My sister was born in ’17

Segment Synopsis: Kissel talks about her parents early lives in Cincinnati. She says her mother was on her own at age thirteen and started working as an upstairs maid in Cincinnati. She shares her memories of the family returning to Romania where her father was from to help his parents in the 1920s, and says that they returned not long after and lived on Central Avenue, saved their money and bought a house on Charlotte Street in the West End.

Keywords: Central Avenue; Charlotte Street; Cincinnati (Ohio); Over-the-Rhine; Romania; West End

00:13:44 - Work and dances on Logan Street

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Partial Transcript: Well, they were busy working most of the time.

Segment Synopsis: Kissel talks about her family's activities when they were not working. They went to the Verein (German association) dances for fun and to meet others. Kissel describes her excitement at attending the dances with her family, her favorite red dress, and dancing with her father. The dances may have been in the Germania Building on Walnut Street.

Keywords: Germania Building; Verein; dances

00:17:03 - Busy work lives / Cooking / Friends on Charlotte Street

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Partial Transcript: They didn’t have many--time for many friends.

Segment Synopsis: Kissel discusses how hard and how much her parents worked. Her mother cleaned at a doctor's building downtown and her father worked long hours at Kahn's. She mentions that when they lived in Charlotte Street in the West End they visited and shared Christmas' with the Ehrhardt's, who rented the first floor of the Kissel's house. Kissel discusses the baking, cooking, and sewing her mother did. Her mother quit working outside the home when they moved to Montfort Heights because she worked at night and couldn't get a bus to their new location after midnight.

Keywords: Buses; Charlotte Street; Christmas; Cincinnati (Ohio); Logan Street; Montfort Heights; Over-the-Rhine; Turtle Soup; sewing

00:22:42 - Shopping at Findlay Market and for food and shoes / Mint for mint Julips

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Partial Transcript: And the market area--

Segment Synopsis: Kissel discusses getting old enough to shop by herself. She says other butchers knew her father was a butcher, so they always got good meat. Later, her husband's uncle would bring mint he had grown on Crawford Street near Northside to sell for the mint julips that were popular around the time of the Kentucky Derby.

Keywords: Butchers; Chester Park; Cincinnati (Ohio); Crawford Street; Findlay Market; Kentucky Derby; Mint julips; Northside; Over-the-Rhine

00:27:38 - Streetcar travel to Chester Park and cemeteries.

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Partial Transcript: I went to Chester Park one time.

Segment Synopsis: Kissel talks about riding the streetcars to Chester Park and to some outlying cemeteries. She says her family visited St. Mary's and St. Bernard Catholic Cemeteries to visit the grave of her middle sister who died young of pneumonia.

Keywords: Chester Park; Cincinnati (Ohio); Over-the-Rhine; St. Bernard Cemetery; St. Mary's Cemetery; Streetcars

00:29:13 - Catholic school asks for higher donation to get better grades / Leaving Catholicism

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Partial Transcript: Originally we were, uh, Catholic--

Segment Synopsis: Kissel recounts her sister's experience in Catholic school that led her family to leave the Church. She says her sister got good grades on all her assignments but a low grade at the end of the semester and when her mother went to complain to the teacher, she was referred to the priest who made the final grade determinations. She was told that if she gave more, her daughters grades would be higher. Her mother didn't think that was right and withdrew her daughter from school.

Keywords: Catholic School; Catholicism; Catholics; Cincinnati (Ohio); Lutheran; Over-the-Rhine

00:32:05 - Moving from the West End to Montfort Heights / Photos shared

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Partial Transcript: Well, we, we, liked it down in the West End and all.

Segment Synopsis: Kissel talks about moving from the West End to Montfort Heights, and says her parents learned of a lot on Loomis Drive in Montfort Heights from her aunt and uncle who had a restaurant on North Bend Road. She describes how her parents bought the lot and later had a house built there, and her memories of her parents arm and arm in their new house. Kissel also discusses photos she has of her early life, including when she was very young and on her way back from Romania.

Keywords: Charlotte Street; Cincinnati (Ohio); Montfort Heights; Mt. Airy water tower; North Bend Road; Over-the-Rhine; Vaccinations; West End