Mary Behner



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In this letter, Mary writes to her folks about her cousin Catherine coming to visit. She wanted her to experience every faucet of College Life from movies, to basket ball games, dinner parties, the radio and a play. As always she writes in blue ink on four sheets of College of Wooster stationary about all the experiences they had together.


Sunday Evening

7:25 – after C.E

Dear Folks:

Am making some toast for my supper. Have some milk left from our breakfast this morning, and Margaret Smith just brought in some candy which she got for her birthday, and there are some peanuts left from our dinner party this noon.

This weekend has been one of real worth. I really feel it has been one of “service” and not only that but of revelation to me. Catherine has not experienced joy and a real good time in all her life as she has had here at Wooster with me. She said so – As for my part - it has been a challenge to me - of the opportunities which I have had – and which she has not had – and I admire her so much for coming to the conclusions she has – in her crude, simple way – and whats more – I marvel at what she could be

2/ if taken out of her pigeon hole of home life and brought into contact with thinking youth and wider problems. – in other words - College life – and I believe she realizes that too.

I wish you, Daddy and Mother might have been spirits with us all the time – to see the reactions which I saw. She has never seen the life she lived this weekend. She has never realized it could be this way. She’s thrilled and she’s been walking in the sky ever since she came. When you really realize what you’ve been able to accomplish (with god’s help) the 5 or 6 dollars that it cost you to do so- seems really small. It hurt to spent it, but it was worth it, I entertained her I would have – a best friend.

(Andy just brought me up some jello) A few minutes interruption! “Bernie” just brought me in piece of cake – Isn't that funny? I wonder what will be next.

Now shall I tell you just how we spent the weekend? I cut Chapel Friday morning to meet her at the car. Sure enough – there she was her little black satchel

3/ I had written her to get off at University Street so that she wouldn’t have to walk from down town. We came up past the chapel – and she saw the students come from chapel. I didn’t have a class that hour, in face I was through for the day so that we came right home. I looked up a good class on the schedule sheet and finally decided we’d visit a History class – of Miss Dunham’s – on the Reformations – The class lecture was on Luther and his ideas and extremely interesting. By the way I am planning to take a course under Miss Dunham next year. Either that one, or one on the World War. Her lectures are so clear and complete. We ate lunch at Holden.

After lunch I asked her if she would like to go down town to see Hawthorne’s “The Scarlett Letter” which happened to be showing at the movie. She said “no” that she hadn’t been to a show for two years. – An example of her narrow mindedness. Then

4/ we started to hash things over and I really believe she though in a different angle for the first time in her life. I told her how I thought that we should patronize good things we [sic] they did come – and how I thought it was too possible to pigeon- hole ourselves and thus mar our influence from those need it most around us.

We went to the movie – of her own will. And thank goodness – it was perfect – she couldn’t have seen a better movie. It was a puritan setting and portrayed so wonderfully their narrowness. She said afterwards she had never seen a movie she liked better and she had never seen one that hadn’t had some shouting in – Well – now you see her narrowness is merely a result of not having experience & a chance. And this is based largely on current ideas.

After the movie we came up the hill to a S.V. Prayre [sic] group – because Friday was prayre [sic] day for missions and I suppose you know – so she got a glimpse of that nite of our campus life. After the prayer group.

5/ we saw some commotion down the street which happened to be a fire – so – some real excitement followed. The roof of a house was burnt pretty well off.

At supper time to my surprise our bunch had arranged a dinner party for Arlene – who had a birthday. There was a cake a centerpiece of beautiful roses. So she experienced a birthday dinner party with lighted candle cake, ect.

Friday night there was a Basket Ball Game so she saw another important phase of college life. After the game we took a little walk – it was a beautiful evening.

Before we went to bed we had the dearest devotions together. Catherine is so sincere and after all that s the one important thing in any persons character. One who is insincere – who acts because it is pleasing to others and contrary to her conscience doesn’t get any place.

6/ Saturday morning we ate breakfast at the Y.W.C.A Tea House after which we went to my English class. After class we had to go over to the gym because I am volleyball Manager – she watched us play volley ball – and enjoyed it so much. Then I took a shower and we arrived home just in time for lunch.

Saturday afternoon I took her to see the Library, the chem. Building and Biology building. We even looked thru the microscope at some funny bugs - then we walked down town again and she bought her ticket home. And we shopped a little. Got the things for the cute dinner party we had this noon. Came up the hill in the bus. While she took a bath & got dressed for dinner I went to sleep. Was so tired.

In the evening was the play – and it was grand. The boys were so nice to us. Frederick is certainly one of the most thoughtful and gentlemanly boys- I’ve ever known. He doesn’t miss a thing. Catherine said to me afterward that it

7/ was just like having a date with some one she’d never known before because she never knew him as he is now – and she was quite impressed with him. (I imagine, although, she didn’t say it that she couldn’t help but compare him with her own brother) It was Frederick that had gotten some chocolates and it was Fred who thought of a taxi – when he heard it was raining outside. Catherine got a big thrill out of the taxi ride she had up the hill Sat. night. We didn’t get in till about midnight. The show as so long – but it was splendid. Catherine it was the 1st real play she’d ever seen.

This morning she experienced a “grill” breakfast in our room. Made some toast – had bought some grapefruit & milk also. Such fun! She heard a co-ed discussion S.S. class – after which she attended our chapel service.

This noon – was the cute dinner party. Leland said if we’d come to his table, h2 would give us formal service, and so we did. Wasn’t that dear of him?

8/ This afternoon she enjoyed extremely a visit with Kane Sing Sun and with the radio – at Freds- She wrote in my memory book. And so I could go on and tell you loads more – but I imagine by now you can see what the contact has meant to us both. When one as Catherine comes into our midst it makes us stop and think and feel ashamed that we have not made more of our opportunities.

The C.E. meeting this evening was on Teaching – in my talk I read the following poem.

“I am only a nickle

I am on speaking turns with the candy man

I am too small to get into the movies

I am not large enough to buy a necktie

I am not fit to be a tip

But believe me when I go to church or S.S

I am some money”

Then also quoted from the Fe. Presbyterian.

“ The trouble with our giving is that it lacks spiritual voltage. “

Must Close -



My Mary will be back in the morning



Publication Date



Letters; College Life; Motion pictures; Poetry; Theater


Wooster, Ohio


college life experience, The Scarlett Letter, dinner parties, prayer, YWCA Tea house, Basketball, Volleyball, poetry

Letter from Mary to Folks - Sunday Evening circa 1927



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