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A trip down Doris Day Memory Lane by Mary Anne Barothy


Author of Day at a Time: An Indiana Girl’s Sentimental Journey to Doris Day’s Hollywood and Beyond
This past October my dear friend and fellow Doris Day enthusiast, Joy, came for a visit from Virginia. I had told her about my “Doris Day family” in Cincinnati who had close connections to the star. I was thinking primarily of Marian, who just turned 100, and her family. Marian was a teen friend of Doris’s who was in an auto/train wreck with Doris Day on October 13,1937, in Cincinnati. Marian went through the windshield. Doris suffered compound fractures in her right leg, and doctors doubted she would ever dance again. Ironically, her leg injuries really changed her course in history. Up to this point in her life, she was determined to be a famous dancer. She believed that could not happen, so she took up singing and acting.

Joy in front of DD’s home

I had the pleasure of meeting Marian thru a friend of hers when I was the guest speaker at a luncheon at Deaconess Hospital in Cincinnati in early February 2009.  I feel our friendship was made in heaven—Marian and I had many common interests, but the biggest and most important to me was our connection with Doris Day. Marian knew Doris back in the 1930’s when Doris was striving to be that famous dancer. They were pals in their teens and often double dated back in the day.

Marian and her wonderful family took me on a very special “Doris Day Cincinnati Tour” in 2009. I got to see first-hand many DD landmarks and now I could share them with my friend Joy.

Marian’s daughter-in-law, Pam, kindly took Joy and me on a special tour of Cincinnati.  We saw the home where Doris grew up, along with the location of the dance studio where Doris took lessons. Doris had grown up Catholic; we saw the location of her high school Our Lady of Angels High School in St. Bernard. Needless to say, Joy was thrilled seeing all of these historic places where Doris lived and danced.

Another highlight was seeing the sign DORIS DAY WAY in downtown Cincinnati, a street named after their native daughter.  Dr. Robert Maltz, an avid fan since his teen years as I was, had urged the Cincinnati City Council to name Walnut Street, between Sixth and Seventh streets, after the gal who was surely the most beloved of their citizens. I was happy and honored to have a small part in getting this accomplished by joining his cause.  Needless to say, we both, but especially Joy, felt closer to Doris that day and we took many pictures to remember “the DAY.”

Now that Doris is sadly no longer with us, it is even more special to be able to visit the places where Doris lived and danced.  I remember that on my own tour in 2009, visiting Hessler’s Dance Studio in Mount Adams, the location where Doris took dance lessons as a teen, I saw some major renovations were under construction. There were many old bricks scattered around the grounds, and I asked if I could have one and was told yes!
Doris may no longer be with us on earth, but I can assure you she is in the hearts and minds of many adoring fans who still love and admire her!

A new, second edition of Day at a Time is in the works for release early next spring. It will have many new color photos of Doris from the time in which I lived with her and worked as her secretary, from my personal collection. Watch for this intimate new view of Doris at home and out in the community in Beverly Hills!