Who is Johnny Krol?

Johnny Krol is a reoccurring character we haven’t talked much about yet which is a surprise because I love reading about her.  Don’t get her confused with Johnny Lech – especially in the upcoming posts as Johnny L. is going to take a larger role.  No, I’m talking about Johnny Krol.  She has been friends with Babu since even before Babu’s 1934 journal began.  I can’t help but immediately picture her as a sassy, tom boyish, gender stereotype breaking girl, simply because of her boy name.  It doesn’t seem to be all that off base.

A few excerpts from 1934:

Here she is causing a small amount of trouble:

Thursday, September 6th, 1934
One should be more quiet and more are less submissive on the day of confession, but to us that means comparatively little. It seems just otherwise, a setting off of a spark that has lain hidden, just smoldering.  A pandemonium was let loose tonight between us three and Jimmy and Ginger (until the inevitable slacks.)  And Johnny Krol tops it off. It’s no wonder we are talked about. What with such bedlam that decent people can’t walk the streets quietly. How’s that for a neat writing.

This post confirms my suspicions about Johnny being a kick ass tom boy:

Monday, December 3rd, 1934
The first day at school wasn’t so bad.  I asked Johnny where she was yesterday.  She went to the movies with her boyfriend.  His name is Marion something or other.  Coming back she said they met Caveman and Teddy and she said she knew she’d be reported.  I like Johnny much better now.  She’s not as tough as before.  We have lots of fun in studies writing notes and giggling.  Mrs. Wheeler told us to have a good laugh now and then.  At the proper time of course.

Being a tom boy doesn’t stop you from looking good.  Babu always writes in her journals about how nice she looks.  And there is also this proof:

Sunday, December 16th, 1934
After all it has ended.  Jeanette and I went to the bowling alley.  Caveman said hello when he came in then just kept walking back and forth not saying a word.  Penny talked to Jeanette for a while.  I got peeved and so I walked out.  Gee.  I wonder.  What does Caveman think, he is a king or something?  He gives me a pain.  I don’t know whether he is going to come up and be nice or not say a word.  Oh I don’t care.  Yes I do.  We met “Johnny” and her boyfriend.  Ohoo, Diary he’s nice.  Johnny certainly knows her stuff.

She is mentioned as well all throughout 1935.  I didn’t notice how frequently Babu spent time with her until beginning this post and searching back throught the old transcriptions looking for her name.

In 1936:

Saturday, October 3rd, 1936
Wore my glasses for lessons for the first time.  Forgot all about asking Professor for a new schedule.  Zosh + I have been returning the three dollars she gave for the glasses she broke back and forth.  They’re with me now.  Johnny Krol came up tonight.  The last time she was up she told me when a boy kisses a girl he suffers.  He has certain glands.  He can’t control himself.  I didn’t know that.

Well, I guess she does know her stuff!  Recently, I read these few passages:

sept 24.jpeg

Saturday, September 25th, 1937
Ernie and I ate at the White Tower and then went to see “Artists and models” and “The Big Shot.”  Mother and Dad went to Stella Majwic’s wedding.  I went to Zosh’s and Johnny Krol was there.  She was coming up so they both came.  John’s birthday is Monday so I bought her some pajamas.  She told Sophie and I the facts of life.  And nicely done too.

The facts of life?!  What are those?  I wonder if there is a book about them…


Saturday, October 16th, 1937
Worked furiously this morning and until 12:30.  Mother was angry because she had to wait downtown.  We shopped around.  Made up my mind to stay at home tonight and do some neglected chores, but Johnny Krol and Zosh came up.  We sat around and gabbed and went to Gamble’s for ice cream.  J. brought me a “Facts of Life Book” book only that’s not it’s name.

HA!  Well, I guess there is.  I think she is just wonderful.  All friend groups need the worldly friend, the one to teach them things their parents never included in the birds and the bees talk.  You always wonder how these friends find it out…I guess from books!

I can’t wait to read more about this beautiful, wise, and bold girl.


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