Last week, a long obituary extolled the long and successful career of Barbara Turf, the ex-CEO of Crate and Barrel, who passed away on July 12. Missing from the obit was her connection to North Riverside and Mater Christi School.
In 1964 while I was a teacher at Mater Christi, I was happy to have my close friend Jean Kelly join me on the faculty. Also joining us was a young woman by the name of Barbara Dorini, who was living in North Riverside with her parents.
As chance would have it, my mother knew her parents having come from the same Italian section in Chicago, on Oakley Avenue. We were all around the same age, so we had lots in common. Barbara taught second grade. At that time, classes were very large, but we managed.
Miss Dorini was a good teacher and very well-liked by the parents and students alike. During Christmas break, Miss Dorini decided to take a ski trip. What she did not plan was her break causing a break — her leg. When school resumed, she was back at her desk, which is where she stayed, her leg in a cast propped up on a chair and doted upon by her young students.
It also meant I was going to take both her class and my fourth-graders to gym class. I vaguely remember being in Menarik Hall, then known as the Green Room, with about 75 kids; we all survived. Well, Barbara healed and life continued. Continuing her education she took a penmanship class, and as I was known for my Palmer penmanship, I helped Barbara and I got an A.
I left Mater Christi in 1965 when I got married, but Kelly and Dorini remained for three more years, sharing many experiences including a summer trip to Europe. They both began working at Crate and Barrel when it was a small store.
Kelly left Mater Christi and Crate and Barrel to devote her time to being Mrs. Paul Galanti. Barbara Dorini eventually became Barbara Turf, when she married Robert Turf.
Jean and I both lost track of Barbara, but followed her successes in the newspaper all the while wishing her the best. We shared fond memories of our colleague and wondered how many of her former students knew what became of their teacher and if they realized the success she had when she changed careers.
Some of those students are still in the area and may want to get out their class pictures and remember their time as students of the future Crate and Barrel CEO.