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Mary Behner

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Letters; College Life; Dormitories; Kilmer, Joyce, 1886-1918

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In this letter on eight small sheets of Y.M. Tea House stationary Mary writes in blue ink to her family about drawing with her friends, a poem by Joyce Kilmer and her debates as well as scholarships, Glee club concert and housing for her siblings for the next school year.

April 18

Dearest Family

I won’t be writing this very long. Well, because I’ll explain Bob waited for me after C. E. and wanted to take me to church down town, but I refused – ‘cause he took me to the Glee Club concert Friday night and I decided that was enough for this week. Besides I didn’t want to ^go to church. Well, then I decided that I wanted to sing – so then I went over to Holden and now Ruth Avery, Ginger Trundle, and I are going to some home near Holden (a missonaris [sic] home) – and I’m going to take my music, too. Was glad to get Dad’s special. I think I have a good line on a room for Fred - but I’m not so sure about a room for Esther yet. I’d rather have her stay out a year than not live in the Freshman girls dorm.

You never could guess what we did this afternoon. Margaretta Craig, Handy Anderson (a freshman girl) and I got in our sweaters and knickers, and drawing pencils and paper, and sketched – a tree – a bubble bee and – a bob [sic] wire fence on the top of an embankment – and a then we drew the tree –

2/I read for them Joyce Kilmer’s poem

I think that I shall never see

A poem as lovely as a tree,

A tree whose hungry mouth is pressed

Against the earth’s mast flowing breast

A tree that looks to God all day

And lifts her leafy arms to pray.

A tree that may in summer wear

A nest of Robins in her hairs.

Upon whose bosom snow has lain.

Who ultimately lives with rain

Poems are made by fools like me

But only God can make a Tree

And then under our sketches of the bumble bee we put

“ A bee or not a bee that is the question. “

We had a wonderful time and it was a beautiful day! – The wind a little sharp but then we were dressed warmly. Am undressed now. We just came back from our surmion “Singin’ bee.” I didn’t enjoy it much because Ginger couldn’t play very well and [unclear] discords [/unclear] just drive me wild. I sure did think of Esther & wish she were here.

3. And now some more about the debate. Everyone has been telling me things about debating – at Oberlin – and I couldn’t imagine how everyone knew about “how I did” ect. Until the other day – some one said to me “I got a compliment for you” – and then told me that in her speech class. Prof. Miller was telling him – how everything I said at Oberlin was Mary Behner behind it ect. Can you imagine that? After the debate Thurs nite where Miller & I were alone – he said some things that surely made me feel good. – So you see now I’ve got a reputation to live up to, which always makes it much more difficult – So I guess its been worth the effort alrite [sic] By the way, we debate Ohio Weslyen [sic] the 28th Maybe our negative team will travel there also. Oberlin would not come to a decision about judges so we debated without judges – Perhaps I’ll tell you all about it some time – I’suppose [sic]this summer.

4. I told you that Bob took me to the Glee Club concert Friday night. We drove to Oberlin in Prof. Miller’s car, and drove back the same night. Had a reception, there after the debate also. It certainly was thrilling and – especially because it was my first experience of its kind. Played tennis last night for half an hour. Boy! It sure was great. “Dre” says I have to practise [sic] up. ‘cause he’ll show no mercy this summer.

I can’t write a decent letter tonight, so guess I’ll quit.

I want to live in the Dorm next year & with $50 a month I think I can. with my money earned this summer and my scholarships ect. I hope so. This year has been too hard – but I’m thankful for the experience anyway so now I’ll have to think of a room-mate.

5. Dad – write for scholarships to Prexy right away – They are supposed to be in before May! I’m going to get a blank for me tomorrow.

Love

Mary E.

Dad Continuing Monday

Enclosed find blank that I am filling out for a scholarship. These applications have to be in before May 1. – The earlier the better, no doubt. I have left the questions unanswered that I wish you would answer for me on another sheet of paper - - Please

And I also inquired about a room for Esther just a few minutes ago. There are about 100 applicants for Hoover already and Hoover only holds about 55 or 60. Then Miller Manor is the second best – is down next to the conservatory – right next to it. The rooms there are pretty nice

6. Miss Fisher, the office sec. said there would be no chance of getting in Hoover but there no doubt would be – of getting in Miller Manor It would be very handy for a music student to live in Miller Manor alright – and Miller Manor holds about 25 or so Freshmen – All Freshmen. The only thing I don’t like about the Manor is that Mrs. Philips the matron there is an awful busy body & gossips – she wants to know everything about every body ---- but then the matron at Hoover now is discustingly [sic] strict – so perhaps the [unclear] would even [/unclear] However I have paid the $5.00 down and Esther is on the waiting list for a room at Wooster College. The girls at Miller Manor eat at Holden. Rooms are assigned the last of May. So you won’t know until then. But if you canb [sic] get a good room, Esther can work a year – and save a little money. Perhaps that would be better anyway.

7. But – the thing in favor of Miller Manor is that it’s mighty handy to the conservatory and practise [sic] rooms. Bob tells me that Hites are going to have 12 boys next year instead of girls [unclear] so [/unclear] they had this year. That would be a nice number and of course they would all be Freshmen boys. I’m going down to see her today or tomorrow and pick out the best room for Frederick – there –

Fred – you wouldn’t want a better place I don’t

believe. Its about the nearest house to the college that takes of that many boys – Its right acoross [sic] from Colonial & Corner Club (Sophmore Girls Dorms)!!!!!! And near the “Shack” on Beale Avenue. Oberlin doesn’t hold a candle to Wooster campus. And of course they don’t have the “color day” that Wooster has. Vivian Hales a conserv. student there says that the conservatory students almost feel they are in a different college. They’re not in college activities at all. They have their conservatory activities

8. entirely separate. I’m sure that wouldn’t be so interesting. Write to me about it. Esther – and all you folks. I’ve [unclear] denied [/unclear] to be in a dorm next year.

Much love to all

Mary E

Be sure and send me back this important yellow paper.

Letter from Mary to Family- April 18 circa 1926

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