Meet Dorothy Ridste Ross ~ Carole's Sister

Carole Landis With Her Sister Dorothy Ridste
Carole with her sister Dorothy

My grandma Dorothy Ridste Ross was Carole's sister and her best friend. Dorothy was born in Montana in 1917 two years before Carole. They had a hard grandmother always told me stories during chores when I fussed over pulling weeds in the garden or having to get up on my summer vacation when the sun was barely rising itself. My grandmother was a very hard worker, very devoted to her family and God. She was the most loving, patient, and caring person I've ever known in my life. She was a true role model and she was always teaching her children and grandchildren the ways of life and that you should always have your head up and stay positive in the hard times. Their mother Clara raised them alone and was always working. She would have two jobs and also took in laundry on the side to be ironed or altered. So being that she was also a hard worker my grandmother Dorothy was responsible for Carole. She told me of having to wash the diapers, help with the "extra" work her mom brought in, and take care of the house and cook dinner. When I asked her what age she was she said she was five!! I was blown away at my own age of seven that she had so much to do ... she never made it sound that she was complaining but that she had to do what it took to help the family keep going.

Carole Landis With Her Sister Dorothy RidsteDorothy Ridste Ross
Carole (left) with Dorothy in 1931                                                                                      Dorothy Ridste Ross

Dorothy raised Carole and there is no doubt she was the "second" mommy!! She loved on her, played with her, did her hair, and would make special clothes for Carole's dolls. I remember that my Grandmother said she had gotten old socks that had been darned too many times and made a doll for Carole. She was the little girl that loved dressing up and wanted many things to say the least. They weren't allowed to go outside very much when they were really young. When Clara was at work they had to stay in and wait for her to come home. Then they would get some time until Clara had to leave to go to her other job. Carole was talking by a early age so her and Dorothy would make up stories. That was one of their favorite thing to do. And as you all know Carole loved writing as well as my Grandmother. Dorothy and Carole were best friends! My grandmother loved and adored her sister. When she talked of Carole she had a smile on her face and you could tell she was feeling her sister near by. I felt growing up that Carole was not dead - she was alive in my grandmother's heart and soul and she transferred Carole into my heart and soul.

Carole Landis With Her Niece Diance Carole RossCarole Landis Diance Carole Ross Walter Ross
Carole with her niece Diane Carole and brother-in-law Walter Ross in 1939

Carole Landis With Her Niece Diance Carole Ross
Carole with her niece Diane Carole Ross in 1941
One of the stories that is so Carole and shows how she knew she could win my grandmother over is day my grandmother and I were out "tuning up the roses" as she called it. I just hated getting scratched everywhere but when she sat down and took off her shoes she had a bunion on her foot. She was rubbing it and I asked her "how she got that ugly thing on her foot". She laughed and started to tell the story that it was all Carole's fault and some was her fault for giving in to her sister. Clara would let the children take turns buying new shoes and Carole already had her turn so it was Dorothy's turn. Clara gave Dorothy the money and told her to go straight there with Carole and come straight home. When they got the shoe store Dorothy was looking for the shoes that would be in the price range and Carole was all over the store looking at the very expensive ones. She couldn't stand it that she couldn't get another pare of shoes. So Dorothy found the pair she wanted and tried them on and Carole was being "moppie" my grandmother would put it so she asked her "what's wrong". Carole told her "she had to have this shoes or she was going to die!!" So being the loving sister she was Dorothy bought those pretty shoes for Carole. My grandmother had to put her raggy shoes back on and wait for her turn to get shoes. Well her feet grew and that's how she got her painful bunions but Dorothy couldn't say no to Carole ;-)

Carole Landis With Her Niece Diane Carole RossCarole Landis Diane Carole Ross Buck Ross
Carole with her niece Diane Carole and nephew Buck

The sisters shared everything including boyfriends. Dorothy actually met my grandfather, Walter "Babe" Ross, when went out on a Carole. They eloped in 1935 and had four children - Diane Carole (named after Carole), Walter "Buck", Sharon (my mom), and Bill. Carole was jealous of Dorothy's happy family life. She used to say that Dorothy should give her one of the kids because she had so many. Dorothy and Walter didn't like the Hollywood scene. At a party Bing Crosby patted Dorothy's bottom and Walt punched him! Dorothy was a selfless person, sister, mother, and grandmother. She had a spirit and unique way about her. She had everyone's interest at heart and always wanted the best. I believe that part of who Carole was and her giving heart came from my grandmother. Dorothy and Carole were like one soul and they always will be. My grandmother told me Carole was like her baby! When Carole passed away it was very painful and heartbreaking for Dorothy but she has always carried her memory on through her family. I'm so thankful that she did that for me and for my children to see that our family has relatives that are giving, loving, and wonderful. They are the ones to inspire us and to freely be who we are made to be and we can achieve anything!!!

~ Written by Tammy Powell, Carole's great-niece and Dorothy's granddaughter

Dorothy Ross With Her Children
Dorothy with her children - Diane Carole, Buck, and Sharon