Dolores Hope, my grandmother, and the golf skirt


Image source: AP

A special lady passed away yesterday at the age of 102. Dolores DeFina Hope was born in 1909 in New York City. In the 1930’s she began to sing professionally. After appearing one night at a Manhattan nightclub she was introduced to Bob Hope. They married the next year. She traveled and performed with Bob while he entertained troops overseas. She was a great philanthropist, giving her time and money to charities throughout her long life.

Bob Hope died in 2003 at the age of 100. When Dolores passed away she had been “Mrs. Bob Hope” for 69 years.

I never met Dolores or Bob. But you never know what stories will surface.

When I started to interview my grandmother, I thought that I pretty much knew most of her stories. But I was wrong.  It wasn’t until I actually dropped the cassette tape into the recorder, and pushed RECORD that I found out at least some of what I had been missing.

“What is your earliest memory?”

“Can you tell me some memories from your childhood?”

“Who was your best friend in high school?”

The questions continued on through childhood days and into the early years of being a young, married woman and a mother of four.

Then, all of a sudden my ears perked up when I heard my grandmother speak about the day she met Dolores Hope.

“What?” I exclaimed. “You met Dolores Hope?”

“Yes, I lent her my golf skirt!”

Confused, I replied, “You what?”

And then a new story emerged – one that I had never heard before.  The story was about how Dolores Hope came to San Francisco with a group of women golfers from Los Angeles.  These women came to play golf with the Olympic Club Women’s Golf Section. On this particular day, it rained cats and dogs.  Dolores Hope got caught in a rainstorm outside of the clubhouse and was drenched. My grandmother noticed that Dolores Hope wore the same size skirt.  Without missing a beat, my grandmother darted off to her locker, grabbed her spare golf skirt and gave it to Dolores.  Dolores was much appreciative, and thanked her profusely.  She never got the skirt back. But she was more than happy to donate her skirt to such a fine lady.

I would never have known about this chance encounter if I hadn’t bothered to ask the matriarch of my family to tell me the stories of her life.

Thanks for the memories, Grandma! I miss you. And Dolores, you will be missed by many grateful Americans.

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