Thursday, November 18, 2010


On this day 50 year ago

Mary divorced again after a somewhat brief marriage to Art McKibben.

Saturday, November 13, 2010


Divorce November 14th, 1953

After twenty-eight years of marriage, it is over. Mary and Lloyd divorce. Both would later remarry again.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Friday, November 3rd, 1935

Pages blank

Maybe that baby and her recovery has Mary a little too swamped to be writing much.

Monday, October 30th, 1935

Veteran's Day post

This isn't really the 30th of October. No diary entry was made in 1935, but the pages were used 10 years later as this 1945 account continues from the previous pages.

Mary's son Paul is leaving for the army and they all hated to see him go, including the family of his bride of less than a year, Patsy Runyon.

Went to a show. Might it have been Keep Your Powder Dry which opened earlier in October? See trailer: 

Friday, October 29, 2010

Friday, October 26th, 1935

Radio and recovery

Lloyd heads out early to go to the big city in hopes of finding a new car, but instead comes home with a big surprise for Mary-- a new radio!

The next day she manages to get to the dinner table on her own for the first time since delivering lil baby David on the 14th. Paul, who had been gravely ill, finally goes back to school on Monday after being out for weeks and weeks.

Something different happens here in the diary, too. 1935 pages that were left blank become the pages that she records some 1944 happenings.

Flash forward 9 years. Paul is now a young man. He is getting ready to leave in the US Army. His marriage to Patsy is also recorded.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Tuesday, October 22, 1935

Weak and no foolin'

Mary sits up for the first time following giving birth in her entry here. Few people have been by since the doc put the soft pedal on things.

She hopes that her mother gets her letter. Her mother is still recovering from a recent surgery. Payday comes and Lloyd gets a good pay.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Friday, October 18th, 1935

Recovery from childbirth not easy

Mary reports after two days of silence that she is very sick and didn't think she would live. We should probably take her at her word. C.G. comes by, and it is supposed that that is Dr. Grover. He put the "soft pedal" to things and that helped.

As we reflect on our parentage, so does she. She remembers that it is her parent's wedding anniversary. Ovello H. Hemminger and Lenora Francis Wright were married October 20th, 1903 in Columbus, Ohio. Her dad died in a car accident December 9th, 1929, just about six years earlier.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Monday, October 14th, 1935

6 1/2 pounds, and isn't he
"an awful sweet baby?"

Today is the day. Little David Arthur Benson was born at 12:50 pm, delivered by his father there at their Marion home. Can you imagine the excitement?

Mary reports that she suffered some and didn't have any medicine to help her along. Friends helped out, like Massie, Hellen, Florence and Mrs. Gilbert. Mrs. Bosh was surprised as were some of the other neighbors that the baby had come.

This is Mary's fourth and last child. Happy birthay, baby!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Thursday, October 10th, 1935

Always manage to keep going

She sews, bakes pies and make noodles. She goes to movies. She shops. She makes apple butter. Mary sure does manage to keep going.

Paul is noted as doing better from his recent illness, but he doesn't go along with the rest of the family to visit grandma Lenora.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Saturday, September 28th, 1935

Still quiet

Keep in mind, that Mary is very pregnant at this time and probably quite exhausted from Paul's recent illness.

Tuesday, September 24th, 1935

All quiet

What do you think happened these days?

Monday, September 20, 2010

Friday, September 20th, 1935

We can only trust

The fever has broke. Paul is very weakened from his illness. But finally the family can catch their breath and get some rest as Paul continues to recover.

Lloyd has to work on Sunday. Overtime is welcomed because a lay-off is in the offering.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Monday, September 16th, 1935

Doctors come, Paul no better, and then...

Ever have a doctor tell you the obvious? It happened to Mary. The doctors pronounce that Paul is no better. She already knew that. The vigil continues. Alcohol rubs. Ice packs.

Mary finally write her mother. She is so afraid. Finally, the doctors decide. It is Typhoid. The doctors say a quarantine sign must go up, but she tells them her side of things.

Then finally, the fever breaks.

Thursday, September 12th, 1935

Paul has persistent fever

I sure hat to see Paul sick, Mary writes. He has a fever of 103 degrees. There is grave concern. Mary is afraid to tell her own mother who is still recovering from surgery.

She is up day and night with Paul, bathing him to cool him down. Lloyd's adult sons come by and bring ice cream for the little sufferer who now has a fever of 105. Everyone is worried. Will the other kids remain healthy?

Sunday, September 8th, 1935

School starts, Paul gets sick

Hey, who stole the tomatoes? Well, that's Marion, Ohio, for you.

School starts, but 8 year old Paul is not well. By Thursday he comes home from school crying. He won't eat. Typhoid Fever is feared.

Wednesday, September 4th, 1935

Mother home from the hospital

Life is hectic for a very pregnant Mary, but her mother, Lenora, is back home.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Saturday, August 31st, 1935

Awful worried

Mary's mother is not doing well. She telegraphs home to Lloyd and he joins her in Columbus. It's a waiting game. She's awful worried.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Tuesday, August 27th, 1935

Pickles, garters and prayer

Mary's mother is taken to Columbus for a gall bladder operation. Some money got wired to them to make things happen. Was it Florence? Who is Florence? Who is the old maid she doesn't like?

The 28th is Lloyd's birthday. He is 54. He got for his birthday new socks, a tie and a garter. Whoo-hoo. Then he worked on putting pickles up for winter.

The pickling continued the next day as well with Nellie and Massie. Word was also received that her mother, Lenora, would be operated on the next day. Frank, Ida and E. came around midnight to drive her to the hospital in Columbus. She says they had trouble. Today a drive from Marion to Columbus should only take about an hour, depending. She didn't arrive until 5:30 am!

The next day the operation took place. Mary cried and prayed and went without eating nearly all day. She stayed with her mother until about 8 pm.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Friday, August 23rd, 1935

Mother not well

Three more days without entries. On the 26th we learn that Mary's mother, Lenora, is not doing well. Gall bladder problems.

Two people are mentioned for the first time. Who are they? Uncle W, probably married to Florence as we will see after we turn this page; the other is Miss Irma. Who are they? Lenora did not have a brother with a name that began with a W or a spouse named Florence.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Sunday, August 11th, 1935

Feeling cranky?

You might feel cranky if your ear ached. By the 13th Mary says her ear broke. Ouch.

She was so cranky she mentions that if all those Benson men thought she'd have dinner for them, well, they had another think coming. Especially Virgil. What did step son Virgil do to raise her ire?

You can see Mary stop writing with this ear ache. She will not write again for another week.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Wednesday, August 7th, 1935


Lloyd's eldest son from his first marriage, Roy, is taken to the hospital in Mansfield to be tended to for appendicitis. Roy will be 35 years old on the 25th of this month.

While their machine has continuing troubles, they do go as far as Galion headed over to see Roy. They stayed at Aunt Laura's. Who is this? (Might this be Laura Garver? not a true aunt?)

There's still trouble with that washing machine. Payday comes and so do the purchases. A drive to the country provides them with chicken. Think of it! Roast chicken, fresh from the country.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Saturday, August 3rd, 1935

It's Paul's Birthday!

And he gets a licking! It's a family tradition. Hey, I got the birthday lickings, too. Plus a pinch to grow an inch. Happy birthday, Paul!

Mary's mom isn't feeling well, and she's acting, well, funny. The family is still visiting there. Mollie is mentioned. Who is she?

The poor puppy got it's leg broken by lil D.J. To top it off, it is missing the next day. What's going on here? Hmmm. Someone getting rid of damaged goods?

The washing machine (must be used) isn't working right, and boy is Lloyd not pleased. The clothes looked "like the dickens" and Lloyd did some growling about it.

Tuesday, July 30th, 1935

Beer here!

Lloyd went to get some yeast. He's making home brew. By this time, beer is legal again. Prohibition ended just a few years earlier. Lloyd and Mary had some brewing experience from that time.

It's also so hot that naps are in order and the kids slept downstairs during the night. Remember the days before AC? The upstairs could get unbearably hot after a day of hot sun.

Nellie gets the news that Mary is pregnant. Surprise! Oh, and in the margin: "The kids got a dog." Guess that is two surprises.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Friday, July 26th, 1935

Washing machines and radios

Mary got a bad scare. She thought DJ was hit!

Now that they have had a full pay, things like clothes for the kids are gotten and a washing machine seems like a good idea. $10 wouldn't put them out very much.

I'd love to look at a Marion Star for this weekend to see what show they went to see on Sunday.

Would you believe that the police were prowling the neighborhood looking for the loud radio? Of course, we're talking something like that new swing sound from that new kid Benny Goodman on NBC played over a Philco; not some hip-hop blasting boom box.

Lawrence is mentioned here. He is one of Garnie (Benson) Weaver's kids, the father of Don Weaver, former Morrow County Commissioner who just recently passed away. Also mentioned for the first time here is Emma. Who is she?

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Monday, July 22nd, 1935

Cookies and berries

Mary made cookies (nice ones) and Leo picked berries. He was rained out on Tuesday but had better success on Wednesday despite more rain.

Lloyd is getting more hours at work and more pay to boot. Their first full pay comes on Thursday. The money will go fast.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Sunday, July 14th, 1935

Met the old lady?

Who is the old lady? She's not referring to her mother here, right? Wonder where Lenora, her mother worked. Well, Leo gets sick and the car gets a flat and needs a patch.

As always, there is laundry to do and more doctor visits. And gardening.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Wednesday, July 10th, 1935

"Boy, but that melon was good."

Ah, summertime. The family, with the first paycheck in a long while, and a new car, head out for the country to spend time with Grandma Lenora Hemminger. While in the area they stopped over to the cemetery where Mary's pappa Ovella is buried. It is also where Grandma Slane, Ovella's mother, has just recently been buried. They fill in the grave some which has apparently settled some.

Cakes, pies, berries, candy and melon are all mentioned. The kids love getting out.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010


Grandma Lenora Hemminger write a birthday greeting to Leo with the admonishment to be honest and true. Here is a transcript:

Marengo, Ohio
June 29, 1935

My Dear Grandson Leo,

Well dear little boy you are nine years old today and I will send you something later on as soon as I get it for your birthday. I hope you will be a good boy in the coming year and help your dear mother all you can for she needs your help and she did so much for you when you were little and be honest and true so everyone will trust you and put dependence in you and what you say and everyon will like you dear little boy. Best close and wishes from you loving


Saturday, July 6th, 1935

What's this? A car?

We read here about getting tags. On the 9th a mention is made of a car. Lloyd tried out his car and the kids got a ride! It appears that getting back to work is a good thing.

These pages show several days that start off good, but Mary isn't feeling well and gets to feeling worse. DJ is noted as coming down with the measles.

So on the bright side, there's new playthings for the kids; a new lawn chair; groceries and good food like home made bread, noodles, rasberries and even ice cream. Plus a new car!

On the down side, Zelia (who is that?) falls down stairs; Mary gets to feeling bad; the kids start fighting and measles strike. The summer is coming on.

Tuesday, July 2, 1935

DJ's new dress and Firecracker Day

Here Mary writes of the fine dress she made for Dorothy. It is sweet and looks ready-made.

Lloyd goes downtown on July third but finds most of the store closed. He still manages to find a teapot and plate as a wedding gift for Harold and Goldie who were married on the 29th.

For the Fourth of July they went to the Delaware Dam with Harold and presumedly Goldie, his new bride. While it was a good time, it was also a hard and tiring day.

Lloyd and Mary don't have a car. Albert gave Mary a ride to the doctor when he saw her at the bus stop. That was nice.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Friday, June 28th, 1935

Let the good times roll!

Shopping. Dress, shorts, toy guns, overalls, sheets and even a mattress! And then there were cherries. They canned 7 quarts.

Harold's wedding is also recorded here. Harold married Goldie L. Pierson. They had one child, Ronald Leland Benson born in Marion in July 1943. Harold was the only child of Albert and Nellie Benson. Albert was Lloyd's brother, and Nellie his 1st cousin.

Mary also writes that the kids played with some fireworks. Also noted was that she also got to hear a story on Levin's radio on Sunday. Imagine that!

Leo had a birthday on the first of July. Leo is Mary and Lloyd's oldest. He was nine years old this birthday. No special celebration was noted. Plans are made to go to the zoo on the 4th of July.

Who is Long and who is Alice that she would hide from them?

Monday, June 24th, 1935

Called back to work!

The guy came and called Lloyd back to work. Mary made a pie from the cherries that were given to her to put in his lunch bucket. Things are looking up.

Even the kids are being good. Oh, boy. Lloyd brought her home 5 pounds of salt!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Thursday, June 20th, 1935

Get the things we need

Somehow, the family is getting by. Lloyd is watching the sales. Word is that he might get called back to the shop. Work means money. Money means they will be able to get the things they need.

Still, little pleasures still exist, like carnivals and ice cream.

Who is Ollie?

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Sunday, June 16th, 1935

Grandma Slane dies

Grandma Slane was Mary's grandma Hemminger; she became Grandma Slane after her second marriage to Frank Slane. The burial was at East Liberty, Delaware County, Ohio. She mentions that she was buried near her own father. If you were to visit the cemetery today, you would not find a marker for Grandma Slane.

I once discovered where she was buried. When you turn into the drive at the cemetery, Mary's father Ovello is buried on the right, barely a car length, just as you turn in. Further back on also a tad further in on the drive stands a tall cedar, or at least one did when I last visited the area. This once small cedar marked the place of her burial.

Mary mentions Marion here. He is Marion Weaver, husband of Lloyd's sister Garnie.

Goodbye for now, Grandma Slane.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Wednesday, June 12th, 1935

Cinderella Man documented

Mary notes a significant cultural event on the 13th of June. James Braddock won the heavyweight championship of the world as the 10-to-1 underdog in one of the most stunning upsets in boxing history at Madison Square Garden. Of course, they listened to the match on someone else's radio. They didn't have a radio.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Saturday, June 8th, 1935

A big day.

We have a big day on the 9th of June. What's the occasion? Anyone know?
The kids play in the cellar. What are they playing? Pass the spud?

Tuesday, June 4th, 1935

School is out

Leo advances to the 4th grade and Paul to the third. Mary's toe sure is sore.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Friday, May 31st, 1935

Operation! Staying in bed

Mary had her toe operated on, going under by the use of ether. She suffers for several days. Family come by to see how she is doing.

Four-year-old Dorothy, or DJ, goes to her first party on Sunday at Mary Lou's. But who is that?

With some money that had come in, it appears that a treat came to the house. A quart of ice cream! Ice cream was one of those things grandma would always bring by our house when visiting when I was a little boy. Thanks, grandma!

Friday, May 28, 2010

Tuesday, May 27th, 1935

Decorating Day

Everything I ever learned about Decorating Day, also known as Memorial Day, I learned from my grandma. Here, on the 30th, she notes that she couldn't go to the family graves or take any flowers.

Because I knew she always did this, especially decorating her own mother's grave after she left this world in 1952, I did the same while living in the Morrow County area in the 1990's. The cemetery was located at East Liberty near where her mother Lenora and Mrs. Chambers lived in Porter Township, Delaware County. This cemetery is the first cemetery I remember wandering about in as a child.

The circus is in town. She watched the animals from Gilbert's porch, which strongly suggest that Gilbert's lived on Fairground Street. Homes there face the Marion County fairgrounds across the street. The kids were up early due to the excitement of the big top. They didn't go, but she notes that Harry's do go to the big show on Thursday.

Mary records here blood pressure and reveals that her toe nail and roots must come out according to the doctor. Lloyd's brother Albert drove her over to the doc.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Friday, May 23rd, 1935

Home improvements

Mary reports on the home improvements going on in the home. It would appear that I am my grandfather's grandson. She writes that my grandpa Lloyd had a "mad spell" and tore up some wallpaper. Hmmm. Sounds sooo familiar. I now just stay clear of wallpapering.

To visit Willard, they took a taxi. Included here is a picture I found on the internet of a taxi at the bus station in Marion in 1938 taken by a photograher named Shahn.

They listened to a radio (not their own, they don't have one) and watched an airplane. Remember, flight is a new thing still.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Monday, May 19th, 1935

Chain Letters

Maybe the check metioned in the previous pages of Mary's diary came from chain letters. Is that possible? We read here that chain letters were typed up. Guess that means they had a typewriter. No car. No radio. But there's a typewriter.

And what's mother doing running around at 3 a.m.? Strange. Sounds like one of the reasons for visiting at mother's was to help put in a garden. It may have also been their garden and food source. Their lot in Marion was not all that large.

Oh. She caught a fish. She likes to fish.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Thursday, May 15th, 1935

Check came

Where did the check come from? Was there public support in the 30's? And don't you think Mary did an awful lot of ironing? She metions it often. Count your perment press blessings.

She sure was tickled to get her hair done.

Mary got a ride home to mother's again where she spent some time fishing. Who is Matt?