Mary Behner



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This letter is written on four small sheets of YWCA Tea House Stationary in blue ink to her parents, contemplating about how she spends her time on extracurricular activities and if they are contributing to her greater purpose.


Sun. Evening.

Dear mother and father,

I wonder what you are doing this evening and how you both are. I’d love to see you for a while but it is only 5 weeks till Christmas. I hope I can come home.

Received a letter Sat. from Lewis B. Hellis – as follows. “Your application for scholarship aid appears to be in order in everything except the endorsement of the Board of National Missions, to whom I am writing. I hope to hear from them soon, and to approve the application. “I suppose then it will come the latter part of this week.

Have just been reading over some of your letters that Fred brought up – and Aunt Blanches too. Will enclose Aunt Blaunches as I suppose you want it.

The weeks are passing by so quickly – It will be so different to all be together in just a short while you think you may come and meet us? I wonder if we’ve changed and how! Esther’s not quite so enthused over Wooster and she was at first. Hers is surely an interesting case.

If all goes well and nothing interferes - “specially” my plans for two years from now are very simple – your oldest daughter will be home a whole year with parents, she longs to know better and try to make as happy as possible. Esther and Fred will be juniors themselves. I will have graduated. I’ll probably work in Clarksburg to help my way for further schooling at some Bible school or something. But I do want to take that chance of being with you, folks – for will not be but a few years after that, that [unclear] your daughter will be doing work for which you dedicated her when she was but a tiny babe and even before that. It must be a beautiful experience – a babe with unlimited possibilities – over which parents may pray and hope for a life of unselfish service. I want some day my parents to be very happy and proud that their first baby will have fulfilled their highest desire.

I guess there’s not much that counts besides unselfishness and service – and an utter forgetfulness of our own sinful selves. The longer I live the more I’m convinced that our lives are too complicated. That we should live more simple lives – I often try to weigh my life like this – when I’m so awfully busy – “Now – how many of these things that I have to get done are for myself.”

“Are all these things I must be rushed to do – for others or for selfish me? Well then why not cut out a couple of them. I’ll get further on in life – in the long run. Besides such a rush of activities may in the end breakdown” – so as the book title does – I say to myself – “Mary Be Careful.” - And there I begin to weigh all the activities I have a part in –

Debate? Yes I’m convinced that is O.K, I must learn how to think logically and talk effectively so as to convince souls to Christianity. And there is no better way - in college, I’m sure, of that.

Saw? – that’s alright – I can let out my feelings often times in that crude bit of music and even can use it on the mission fields: It might be one great attraction to gather people together to hear the word – and there at the same time it affords amusement for me.

Debate club? Well that’s not doing me any good and the only reason I’m in that is that I feel it’s a duty – and perhaps that’s insincere?

Choir? As long as I can’t spend money and time on voice I believe that’s the next best thing.

Piano? I must learn to play so I can least play hymns well – so I intend to practice the year I’m home with you folks.

Athletics? Perhaps I shouldn’t want a “W.C.” so badly but the fact of sticktoitiveness [sic] and attaining an “end” is always a good “block” in character building. And then one can not do Gods work without good health – Daddy knows that – so athletics keep one in turn - and not only that but the “training” helps

Lit ? I’d just as leave not be in one. Their cliques and it’s no attainment – more of a pleasure and social idea anyway. Course if I’d be voted in I don’t suppose I’d refuse.

S.V. is O.K. of course. The fellowship and devotional side is strengthening Y.W. doesn’t help me much so sometimes I don’t go, but perhaps I should go more. – to encourage others. If it


Just came up from fixing some “date” (?) bread for Mary and Leland – There I took a walk for 15 minutes (slept thru C. E tonight) – so had a few minutes alone with myself under the beautiful wide open sky. Its as warm as toast out and the moon and starts and clouds are beautiful. Only have a few minutes to write some more. Mary is writing her diary and judging by her eyes – and expression on her face she has had a very Lovely evening with Leland. With such a setting – and company in any way congenial – it would be the natural thing I think.

Mary said that Bob was waiting for me after C.E . but I’m glad I didn’t meet him because as I’ve said before he isn’t stimulating – I guess I’m too particular but I can’t help it.

The lights are out and I am writing by moonlight. Am very wide awake and must talk to someone – I feel Mary wants to sleep so I’m continuing this to you. I don’t know when there has been such a beautiful night. I can see all way over to Kauke as I read write this.

I hope you can read this because the light isn’t terriably [sic] strong – When you do such things as sending me a quarter for something definitely or a bunch of penny post cards to write home on – you can’t imagine how it just touches one – It’s those little things that count so much. We all enjoyed getting our laundry so much - the pencil, soaps – turnip ect. A could is covering the moon so it isn’t so light now. I wish you could see this sky. I hope the evening at home as [sic] been so pleasant as this one here -

“Will mail my laundry Monday. We didn’t get the yellow “special” envelope that you spoke of on your card. Lorrain and Ethel came up for the game and went home this afternoon on the 3:40 bus. I have never seen such wonderful spirit as Wooster had yesterday for the game. The fight was a tough one at first but spirit won the game 41-13. Had a dear little dinner party for them Sat evening – the color scheme & decorations being to match Akron U and Wooster. There there [sic] was the bon fire after which about 8 of us had a little fudge

Party over at the Tea House. Made fudge and had a general good time. This morning instead of catering breakfast at the dorm we made toast and cocoa here in our room. Then this noon a group of us ate together over at the dorm – upstairs. Had simple little place cards and flower center piece for that. You’ll see all the little things in my memory book some day. I imagine it’s going to rain tomorrow

Mary said she saw Leland Fred and Bob down town tonight. We had such a nice time with Ethel and Lorrain. They want us to come rep for the week end that we play basket ball there. Next week end were going to go to Oberlin. It’s our migration day – Please send permission right away and on it – how we are going as I told you before. Have been having quite a few good times lately even tho

I have been working pretty hard. And way ahead for my Eng reading. [unclear] Fred like[/unclear] I’m following Dad’s suggestion of studying where I get ahead like that.

Dad – go slow and be real careful It doesn’t pay to take on too much. It isn’t fair.

Must say goodnite Mother & Daddy


Mary Elizabeth

November 14 1926

In the morning. The sunrise this morning was gorgeous.



Publication Date



Letters; College Life; Student activities


Wooster, Ohio


Contemplation, Debate, Saw, Piano, Literature, Choir, Migration Day, sports

Letter from Mary to Mother & Father - Sunday Evening circa 1926



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