All posts by Katy Benson

Benson, Janice

Listen to the full interview by clicking play!

Janice Benson Oral History August 29, 2020

This is a transcribed version of the interview. It is meant to be transcribed not with grammar in mind but keeping to the words of the speakers along with the history and stories per the speakers.

• 1:46:15 Interview Length

SPEAKERS

Janice Benson, Katy Benson

Family Photo taken June 18th 1966
Back Row- Julie and Jeff
Front Row- Jennifer, Janice and Wendell
(not born yet is youngest son Joshua)

Katy Benson 

Well, it is what we decide it was August 29. It’s about 11 o’clock in the afternoon, and I’m here with Janice Benson. So can you just state your name for us and where are you from?

Janice Benson 

I’m Janice Benson and I live in Liberty center, Ohio. Originally White House, Ohio

Katy Benson 

And who are your parents and where were you born?

Janice Benson 

My parents are Fred Eugene Hubbell. From Monclova area. My mother is Mildred Hazel Hubbell called “Toots” Burkett. And she was from the Grand Rapids Liberty center area.

Fred Hubbell working at the stone quarry where he retired after working 46 years

Katy Benson 

And when is your birthday?

Janice Benson 

My birthday? Oh, it’s always July 19 1936.

Katy Benson 

Which is easy for me to remember. My mom’s birthdays is the 20th

Janice Benson 

Aunt Julie’s is the 24th

Katy Benson 

That’s right. Oh yeah. So my my aunt so I’m here with Janice Benson and she my dad’s mother. So she is my grandma Benson. And aunt Julie’s birthday is when the 24th

Janice Benson 

the 24th

Katy Benson 

I think I knew that but didn’t really know that.

Janice Benson 

Yeah.

Katy Benson 

And did you have any brothers and sisters?

Janice Benson 

I had one brother and he passed away a couple years ago with cancer.

Katy Benson 

What was his name

Janice Benson 

he was the oldest his name was Leonard Lee Hubbell.

Katy Benson 

And where were Where was he from? Where did he live?

Janice Benson 

He lived in Florida. He lived in Florida, West Palm Beach.

Katy Benson 

Yes, he did. And did he have any kids

Janice Benson 

he had four children. Mike Marsha, Dana and DeAnita. And they all live in Baton Rouge Louisiana now.

Katy Benson 

Oh, yeah, that’s right. Because you guys been down there a couple times to visit them?

Janice Benson 

Yes.

Katy Benson 

I think my brother Kristofer was one year didn’t he.

Janice Benson 

Ah, yes, he did.

Katy Benson 

And you were married. When were you married?

Janice Benson 

I was married in 55.

Katy Benson 

To whom?

Janice Benson 

To Wendell Charles Benson.

Katy Benson 

Mm hmm. And how many children did you have?

Janice Benson 

Well, I have four. I have a boy and two girls and then another boy.

Katy Benson 

That’s right. And what are their names?

Janice Benson 

Well, I have Jeffery Scott Benson. And then I have Julie Benson VanNest. And then I have Jennifer Sue Benson Clapp. And then I have Joshua Daniel Benson

Katy Benson 

and Jeffery Scott My father

Janice Benson 

Jeffery Scott. Yeah

Katy Benson 

So you grew up in? Like, where did you grow up again?

Janice Benson 

I grew up in White House White House.

Katy Benson 

Is that where did you always live in white house with your parents?

Janice Benson 

Yes.

Katy Benson 

In the same house?

Janice Benson 

 No. We lived in a house on Route 64. In the village, I’ll say, just on the edge, and we lived there till I was about three and then we moved in more on Texas street north of the elementary school. Fourth house from the elementary.

Katy Benson  

and is that where I remember going?

Janice Benson 

Yes.

Katy Benson 

Yep. And that’s where they lived.

Janice Benson 

Yeah, that’s where they lived until they both passed away. The house is still there. And it was built by I’m not sure what the the name was but it was built by Lillian Shepler’s grandfather for his family. Yeah,

Katy Benson 

I remember that house. I remember going and visiting grandma and grandpa Hubbell and we there’s really a playground, a little park playground or equipment or something, just behind the house, always used to play on that. And then we come in and we just visit or whatever,

Janice Benson 

right

Katy Benson 

They had some collections, like a key chain collection. Yes, she did. Yeah. And so Elizabeth now has that.

Janice Benson 

Right.

Katy Benson 

And then some other things. And we started collecting pencils when we were younger. And I think that was kind of an offshoot of because of, you know, the key chain so we collected pencils

Janice Benson 

and still collect pencils?

Katy Benson 

Yeah. Do the places that don’t usually make pencils very often anymore, so I find them.

Janice Benson 

I have a lot of pencils that I collected from White House. Oh, yeah. And different areas from the businesses and yard sticks.

Katy Benson 

Ah, I remembered your yard sticks.

Janice Benson 

I missed in one yard check. Yeah. My friend is trying to help me while he he looked for that and I look for a bit. But we get it together. But we haven’t found it yet.

Katy Benson 

Mm hmm. So what was your first job you ever had?

Janice Benson 

My first job was working for Clyde Streyer on his truck farm, which was at the south end of White House, which is now just a house development and we would and then I babysat a lot too after I was able to get the that age to do that. And that…

Katy Benson 

What is a truck farm?

Janice Benson 

A truck farm?

Katy Benson 

 Yeah,

Janice Benson 

is where the gentleman has all kinds of produce. And then he would take it like into Toledo into Detroit, into Columbus, and put it on the market out down there, sell it to vendors. And my brother also worked there, and he would help him when he would go to these different places.

Katy Benson 

That’s cool. I never knew was called truck farm.

Janice Benson 

Oh, yeah.

Katy Benson 

And when when you got your license, is that when you started babysitting more?

Janice Benson 

No, no, no, no, I would ride my bike to different places and different things.

Katy Benson 

How old were you when you started babysitting?

Janice Benson 

Well, my cousin lived two doors from us there on Texas. And also did this or this other couple lives there first, and then I would watch their two boys when they would go to the grocery and do different things like that, you know? And there was other in between us there was other children and I would watch them too. Okay, so why was probably 13

Katy Benson 

Oh, yeah, I think I was like, maybe 15 when I started babysitting, so, yeah. When you got you licensed? Were you 16 when you got your license?

Janice Benson 

Yep. See that? You have driver’s training in school. Okay, and that’s how I got my license, through from school.

Katy Benson 

You didn’t have to go?

Janice Benson 

Well, yeah, I had to go take a test. Okay, you know, you’ve got the preliminary there and then they took you to get your testing different things.

Katy Benson 

Where did you go to school? Where?

Janice Benson 

Well, I went to the White House Elementary. And it was also a high school until they built A.W. Anthony Wayne. And then I went out there for my last year and a half.That way.

Katy Benson 

what year did you graduate?

Janice Benson 

In 54? Yeah.

Katy Benson 

And then what did you do after high school?

Janice Benson 

Then I went to Detroit to what they call Carnegie Institute to be a medical assistant, which I did accomplish that and then I would go, and I work for different offices doctors in the area and when their when their assistant would go on vacation or something. But then I also worked at for St. Luke’s for three same hospital when it was on Robinwood and Delaware in Toledo.

Katy Benson 

That’s neat, I didn’t know that.

Janice Benson 

Yep.

Katy Benson 

And then do you were you a medical assistant until you met grandpa? Or were you…

Janice Benson 

Yes, yes. And well, I really it turned in to be a lab tech. Oh, I worked in I worked in the lab in the hospital.

Katy Benson 

How did you meet grandpa or Wendell?

Janice Benson 

Ha! That’s a joke.

Katy Benson 

Haha haha

Janice Benson 

Well, my, my best friend. We call each other sisters. Audrey Meister was in school together. Her dad worked with my dad at the quarry. At Silica and Holland, Ohio, and so we was always together. And my husband Wendell was always together with her older brothers going to rodeos and different things like that because they was in the horses. And it came time for the Wood County Fair. And we wanted to go to the fair. Well, we didn’t have a way because her brothers was off to the rodeo and we just, you know, we were having a fit, because we didn’t have a car to go anywhere.

Katy Benson 

Mm hmm.

Janice Benson 

And so Grandma Meister she says, I call him that Benson kid because he just got home from the service and he missed going to the rodeo today, so he’ll be glad to take your girls to the fair. So anyway, she Audrey, she liked him.

Katy Benson 

She liked grandpa?

Janice Benson 

 She liked Wendell.

Katy Benson 

Haha that’s funny

Janice Benson 

And so when we went, we all three sat in the front seat and she sat next to him. I went by the door. Well, that was, you know, that was the thing. That was all it was. And then this might sound crazy, but then the next thing well come graduation time and I don’t know, I saw him in the drugstore, there in White House. And um I don’t know what he said. But I said, well, you want to come to graduation. So he came to graduation. And then from there on it went, you know, but he told, he told Kenny Bostleman and some other fellows at the Lucas county fair. Before we really got to know each other too much. He said that we were going to get married.

Katy Benson 

Really?

Janice Benson 

Yeah.

Katy Benson 

Whoa

Janice Benson 

 Kenny told me told me that well, we’ll see about that. But then it worked out.

Katy Benson 

Yeah. Yeah. And how, how much older was he than you?

Janice Benson 

Um, six years?

Katy Benson 

Six years older?

Janice Benson 

 Yeah. So, but he had been in the service in Germany, you know,

Katy Benson 

in what? In what

Janice Benson 

army

Katy Benson 

in the army? Was he serving in a war or?

Janice Benson 

No, no

Katy Benson 

just the general services

Janice Benson 

that was in. He got out in 53.

Katy Benson 

Mm hmm.

Janice Benson 

 Yeah. So it was after the war, but they were still maintaining, you know, the barracks over there and things like that.

Katy Benson 

And which, which war was that?

Janice Benson 

The second world war?

Katy Benson 

Did he ever serve in any war?

Janice Benson 

No, no, he was just in the service. Yeah, it was all he was.

Katy Benson 

I couldn’t remember. Did he retire from the service?

Janice Benson 

No,

Katy Benson 

He never retired from the service?

Janice Benson 

no. He came home the farm that his dad Yeah.

Katy Benson 

Where’s it would have there been any time since he didn’t retire from the service or anything like that a point where he could have been called back to active duty?

Janice Benson 

I’m not sure about that whether they were calling back at that time because it was no action going against another country at that time. He could have been called to re up again. You know.

Katy Benson 

 Did he have to go to training ever occasionally then or no,

Janice Benson 

no,

Katy Benson 

no they did not. So then you how long were you dating before we got married?

Janice Benson 

Well, let’s see. We got married in 55. So maybe 10 months, something like that. Yeah.

Katy Benson 

And you were married. How long?

Janice Benson 

Oh goodness sakes. Hahaha I don’t know when he, we weren’t married when we’re very quite 49 years when he passed away.

Katy Benson 

Mm hmm.

Janice Benson 

Yeah.

Katy Benson 

 Yeah, I think it was. I just saw the date somewhere. Oh, yeah. When I was helping grandpa Arnold do some genealogy and he was showing me the dates and then grandma Miller passed away the same year, ahhmmm exuse me, grandpa did I think roughly within a few months of each other or something like that,

Janice Benson 

yeah. Grandpa

Katy Benson 

I can’t remember. I think it was like 2004 for

Janice Benson 

Yeah, I think it was

Katy Benson 

that would make sense for Yeah, because it would that would have been my sophomore, junior year. That makes sense. Yep of high school. Yep. Then what year was dad born?

Janice Benson 

Your dad is born in 56

Katy Benson 

You were married in 55 and he was born 46

Janice Benson 

Yeah.

Katy Benson 

Yeah. And then were you working at that time? Yes. And I was working, and I  sort of fainted. And the doctor that came, I was at the hospital at that time. And the doctor came and he said, Well, he said, you’re doing okay, since you just overworked today and it was hot. And he says, Well, I’m telling you what, you got to have six boys. Because all I got six girls. I remember him saying that.Yeah,  but he didn’t know you’re pregnant at that time.

Janice Benson 

Yes, he did.

Katy Benson 

Oh, how far along were you?

Janice Benson 

Oh golly sakes,  It was was real close.

Katy Benson 

Okay, yeah.

Janice Benson 

Yeah,

Katy Benson 

Well you didn’t end up having six boys.

Janice Benson 

 No, no. Hahaha

Katy Benson 

Just two.

Janice Benson 

Yes the two. Mm hmm.

Katy Benson 

Where were you living at that time?

Janice Benson 

We were living on the corner of Jeffers road and the Waterville Neapolis road up on a little hill on the north west corner there, which was in my mother in law’s family, that property, but they had bought it. And so it really belonged to my father in law.

Katy Benson 

Okay. And when did you move to the farm?

Janice Benson 

we move there And in 58 like, November we bought that farm with my in laws and bought that with my in laws.

Katy Benson 

And how many acres was that when you bought it?

Janice Benson 

There are 157 acres there 110 are tillable

Katy Benson 

Mm hmm. And it had a barn.

Janice Benson 

It had a barn and it had a corn crib. And it had a little grainery on it and it didn’t have a garage till we bought a garage and put there. Yeah,

Katy Benson 

the house wasn’t that big. When, because you added on to it. Right?

Janice Benson 

 We we put that on We I don’t know the house was it had three bedrooms. Two attics, a big attic, and then a dining room, living room, kitchen and a little back room.

Katy Benson 

So the two attics are only the big attic. Because sometimes when grandpa would come home from work, he’d go sleep up there.

Janice Benson 

Yeah, we made that into like a bedroom.  Yeah.

Katy Benson 

Yeah. And then and then, like if you go up the stairs right now, and you turn to the left, that was a big attic. Right?

Janice Benson 

Yes.

Katy Benson 

And then if you would go up one step into that little bedroom now, was that the small attic?

Janice Benson 

No. Then instead of going into that little bedroom, I mean, the door was not very high, you had to stoop to get into them. Yeah. But right next to that little door, there was steps that went up to the upper ending above the second storey in the house.

Katy Benson 

And that’s still there, right?

Janice Benson 

That’s still there. And there is a gentleman that used to live there with another family because his parents were gone. And he had big feet long, big feet. And the steps in that stairway, we’re wide and even going up into the attic were wide. And if he would come and visit, he would ask him to walk up the steps because the house they lived in he had to go sideways on the steps.

Katy Benson 

Oh no! haha

Janice Benson 

But he also said there was a chimney went from the basement on up and you can see where it was charred in the wall and up in there? Yeah,

Katy Benson 

there’s still stuff in the attic today.

Janice Benson 

Well, no one cleaned it out. But there is something in that attic, but not that much.

Katy Benson 

Yeah, next time I go over there, I want to ask Uncle Josh if I can go up there.

Janice Benson 

I’m looking for a box of grandpa, my husband’s stuff from school, his school books and stuff. Yeah, I’m looking for that. I think that’s still up there.

Katy Benson 

Yeah, I will have to remember that. So how long did you live in that on that farm?

Janice Benson 

Well, we live it’s still in my name.

Katy Benson 

Mm hmm. But you don’t live there now cuz now You live here in town.

Janice Benson 

right. Yeah.

Katy Benson 

What’s your address here?

Janice Benson 

My address here is 31314 West Maple Street (Liberty Center, OH)

Katy Benson 

and This house belong to Josh

Janice Benson 

this house belongs to my son Joshua. And as he was hurt in road construction, he was he was gonna have this house when he got married in three months. And he

Katy Benson 

That’s right.  He was healing. He was not a happy camper. And I tried to explain to him, you know, how things are going to be for him? They were everything was working out wonderful. He’s, uh, I don’t give a grunt about that stuff. He says, I can’t stand it in town mom, because he grew up on a farm. So he said, Let’s trade houses. So we just traded furniture all in one day. So he’s there. I’m here and so everybody’s happy with it.  Yeah, and so His wife is Pam and they live they live now live in that house. It’s sometimes it’s still hard to really go and go to grandma’s house and we can think of just because you live there so long,

Janice Benson 

right.

Katy Benson 

But yeah, but it is now technically their house,

Janice Benson 

but we will get it someday after things get settled and he settles with the rest of them, you know,

Katy Benson 

because everything’s in an estate, right? Yeah, right. It just stays like it was.  So I remember you remodeling. Why did you remodel? What was the main reason was remodeling?

Janice Benson 

Well, the kitchen was a little

Katy Benson 

Yeah I remember that

Janice Benson 

yeah the kitchen was little and the bathroom was really tiny Well, we remodeled the bathroom in 1983. Okay, because you used to come in right off the kitchen. And the kitchen was real little. But, um, and the cupboards and everything and so I always wanted to upgrade and so we we did that. And in order to make the bed that big attic bigger into a back, big bedroom, we had to go up more and go out. And so we put 32 foot across the back of the house from the east of the West. And I don’t know how wide it is, 18 feet, we put the porch on.

Katy Benson 

Mm hmm. And you’re just telling me a little bit ago when we’re going through some pictures and stuff. The porch came from like the wood and stuff came from where?

Janice Benson 

No, no

Katy Benson 

that wasn’t it.

Janice Benson 

No the porch was modeled,

Katy Benson 

 oh modeled after

Janice Benson 

 After my grandmother Bessie and Clarence Burkett down on the Farm on Route 64. And just before Waterville for because we would play on that porch and there was room enough for them to sit on the porch and us still have room in front of them to play. And so I called the people who I knew that bought the house and I said, and they filled the porch in with the bedroom for their son. So I asked her how wide that was. So the porch is 10 foot wide. And then it’s 18 feet 22 feet. It makes a circle around the front of the house now down on farm.

Katy Benson 

Um, so, I remember the kitchen being tiny and then I remember being I don’t know what it’s called, but there’s like a window. The peekaboo window. You can see into the other room. The kitchen like in the corner. used to sit there and you could by it was by the refrigerator I believe I was on the other side. There’s a little window look through window.

Janice Benson 

Oh yes. yes, yes. Before we remodeled the kitchen on the east end of the kitchen. There was a wall between the kitchen and the dining room or what we call the living room because it was the biggest room. There was a wall there. And at the East and there was a cut out.

Katy Benson 

Mm hmm.

Janice Benson 

And I had a shelf there and that’s where the phone sat. And there was a window right there too. Yeah, yeah. Yeah.

Katy Benson 

Um, so when I was little while younger, I don’t know how old I was because I don’t know what year it was. So, Wendell,  grandpa had a stroke.

Janice Benson 

Yes.

Katy Benson 

What year was that?

Janice Benson 

95

Katy Benson 

Okay.Well, I remember, I don’t know if it was from a stroke or whatever, but I remember him. We’re eating lunch and we’re eating some sort of pasta. I remember pasta. And he was sitting next to me. And I don’t know who was all there. I think mom was there or something. And he just fell out of his chair in the kitchen, and  I remember that, and then after that, I remember him

Janice Benson 

 you mean when he had his stroke or after the stroke.

Katy Benson 

I don’t know which one it was, but I remember

Janice Benson 

 it had them in after because when he had his stroke, it was in the morning on a Tuesday morning.

Katy Benson 

Mm hmm. So yeah, there would have been after lunchtime dinnertime whenever we’re having having

Janice Benson 

whenever he was home then after the stroke.

Katy Benson 

Yeah, he just fell out of his chair. And then after that, I just remember him, you know, not being mobile or anything like that.

Janice Benson 

Right Yeah. Yeah.

Katy Benson 

Um, so from then on you were kind of his caretaker.

Janice Benson 

Right.

Katy Benson 

Until, what a year or two before he died was,

Janice Benson 

I think about three years. Then we, he got to where he needed more medical care than what I could give him, you know. So we made arrangements to put him in the care center, Whitehouse, Ohio.

Katy Benson 

Was that hard for you to make that decision?

Janice Benson 

Yes, it was, but I knew he was going to get you know, there’d be somebody there with him all the time, and I wouldn’t have to. Well, a caregiver is 24 seven, at home. And that means you don’t get much sleep and you don’t You’re always on guard. And and different things like that. And so it it was sort of a relief, but then it was sort of sad to see him leaving the house. 

Katy Benson 

Yeah. Um,

Janice Benson 

 and that was after we remodeled

Katy Benson 

yes it was after you remodeled. Did you, were you remodeling when like after he had a stroke?

Janice Benson 

we had the process going um you know, we talked and had it going. And then so we It was after he had the stroke that we went into production. I’ll say that had it. had it done. Yeah, yeah.

Katy Benson 

Well does. He’s here not he’s not here to defend himself. We’re going to talk about him some more.

Janice Benson 

Hahaha

Katy Benson 

So when I was younger, like growing up and stuff. I remember him being, you know, always had to house and stuff and we’d go in and talk to him and stuff. But I don’t remember him being very happy. He’s always, you know, I don’t think I mean, who would really want to be immobile? You know what I mean? Not many people, but

Janice Benson 

you mean after the stroke after stroke,

Katy Benson 

after stroke? Yeah. Cuz before I remember him, you know, playing with us a little bit like outside and stuff like that after he would come home from work, but I was still pretty young at that time. And then, and then he had a stroke and then, you know, yeah, growing up and stuff, but but then when he moved into a nursing home, I remember he was before he died. You could tell he was happier. And I’ll never forget what he told Me, you know what he told me.

Janice Benson 

What? What do you tell you?

Katy Benson 

So he told me and that how do you put it? That, you know, he knew that Jesus loved me, and that I was, you know, saved or whatever. And he told me, he’s like, no matter what happens, nobody can take that away from you. I’ll never forget that.

Janice Benson 

Ha, cuz it’s true

Katy Benson 

 I mean, it’s true. Until you know, to this day I have, you know, yeah, remember that and don’t forget. And then I think that was the last time I saw him. But he was like, he was, I think he kind of knew.

Janice Benson 

But, you know, they say people do know.

Katy Benson 

Mm hmm.

Janice Benson 

And, and things so they have an inkling or something that time is short.

Katy Benson 

 And I think I could tell a difference. I think he wouldn’t, because he knew I think he accepted was accepting the fact that he knew.

Janice Benson 

Yeah,

Katy Benson 

and then I think he knew he was can be happier. So he was happy.

Janice Benson 

Well right.

Katy Benson 

It always gave me hope. But that just, you know, not not really knowing him or like, you know, growing up, and having that is really neat for me. But yeah, I remember that. I also remember, you had a Volkswagen Beetle. And it sat at the end of the sidewalk. And we used to play in that thing. If we could drive it, and then we had the yellow one. Yeah. 

Janice Benson 

we had the yellow one. And that was the same thing. And yeah,

Katy Benson 

where did grandpa work before his stroke.

Janice Benson 

He’s, um, well, he farmed and he worked at glass fibers and all that kind of good stuff. And so on. And his dad also worked and helped do the farming. until he retired, but then he worked at glass fibers until my daughter Jennifer was born. And he was there at that point. And I remember I was holding her he called and said that he got called the gold to the Dana Corporation at work, which everybody was so thrilled. cuz everybody wanted to get out of glass fibers at that time. And so then he went down there to the Dana Corporation. And he, at one time, in his life, he had these terrific headaches.

Katy Benson 

 Mm hmm.

Janice Benson 

And he wound up in the Cleveland Clinic. After she was born, he wound up in the Cleveland Clinic with these headaches and so on. And they just said that it was all pressure affected his blood vessels, which they would constrict. And so he gave up farming at that time. But as he was in the hospital before he got into Cleveland Clinic, he was at Bowling Green hospital at Wood County. And um they came and he was working at Dana. And they may come up and said, How are you a pay for all this? And he said, Well, I got insurance. And he said, No, you don’t. Well, it made him so angry. He got on the telephone and he called Dana Corporation. Well, we did have insurance because the girl that signed him in when he went to work, or apply for the job, didn’t realize that the four days before he went to work counted toward the days that he was there. So then we found out that we were covered by insurance, which was a blessing right there.

Katy Benson 

Yeah.

Janice Benson 

Yeah. It was then he wound up in Cleveland Clinic and then

Katy Benson 

when she needed it even more, because,

Janice Benson 

yeah. Huh. But,

Katy Benson 

 but that was how they ever say what they were from besides pressure?

Janice Benson 

Just that, well, yeah. He will just work on you know, the two jobs and how I saw that pressure and different things like that. 

Katy Benson 

Do you think that led to his stroke. Why did he have a stroke? What did they say?

Janice Benson 

Ah, well No, they didn’t say he just had a stroke which comes natural lot of times for people that because he wasn’t doing he was retired.

Katy Benson 

 Oh, he was retired at that time.

Janice Benson 

Yeah.

Katy Benson 

What was he doing when he was retired?

Janice Benson 

Well,

Katy Benson 

like I mean, some people

Janice Benson 

 yeah.

Katy Benson 

Still do things.

Janice Benson 

Well he he was done. We were threatened the farm out so he would, you know, help on that a little bit. And he was helping another farmer maybe drive trucks some and so on and that kind of thing, too.

Katy Benson 

How old was he when he had the stroke?

Janice Benson 

Oh, goodness. I can’t tell you. I can’t remember.

Katy Benson 

Okay. Um, so on your farm originally, dad had mentioned that you had some animal What kind of animals were there?

Janice Benson 

We had hogs. They had cattle. Yeah.

Katy Benson 

 Do you have some horses? No, no horses. No horses? Did anybody give you any horses

Janice Benson 

Well, we would bought a horse for the kids.

Katy Benson 

Yeah.

Janice Benson 

It took your dad forever to get that artist home. And old buck and it was a nice horse and everything. And I don’t know, we had that maybe three years or four years. Somebody wanted it. So we sold it and yeah.

Katy Benson 

And what is the most head of cattle you ever had?

Janice Benson 

Maybe 15

Katy Benson 

not too bad.

Janice Benson 

about that

Katy Benson 

Did you raise it and then sell a beef?

Janice Benson 

 Yeah, yeah. Well, then the hogs, we just took the market, sold them, that kind of thing.

Katy Benson 

So was farming something that Wendell always wanted to do, grandpa?

Janice Benson 

 I believe so because his dad did. And, you know, and his uncle’s dead and so on, and he was always there with them.

Katy Benson 

I mean, this area that we live in is a very rural community.

Janice Benson 

Yes.

Katy Benson 

You know, farming is pretty much in everybody’s background. Right at some point. Yeah,

Janice Benson 

yeah.

Katy Benson 

So, talking about grandpa some more, who were his parents?

Janice Benson 

 His parents. Was Elmer J. The letter J. Benson.

Katy Benson 

no actual middle name.

Janice Benson 

No, because he had a twin brother, who passed away when he was about two or three months. And his name was Eddie K. Just letter K. Benson. And then grandpa’s wife was well, grandpa’s dad’s name a grandpa Benson’s dad’s name was Henry Benson.

Katy Benson 

Oh, yeah, that’s right. Yeah, you have him on your wall and which I think they look. There’s one out there that I always thought was Grandpa, but what’s not grandpa?  because he looks so similar.

Janice Benson 

And then his, his mother was Barbara Lehman. Barbara. I’m not Barbara May Benson. I believe her middle name was May. Ah, and her dad’s name was Charles. Lehman. their mother’s name was Mary Benson, Lehmann I keep wanting to say Benson but its not. Yeah.

Katy Benson 

So his side of family Do you know where the his ancestry originally comes from?

Janice Benson 

They lived along the river at the end of Neowash Road for a long time right there on that property. They grew up there and they went to the Waterville school. Ah, and he had Sara and Mary and I and I don’t know if there was another sister or not, but that he had a brother John and a brother Sterling.

Katy Benson 

Who did?

Janice Benson 

or the grandpa Benson did. Elmer,

Katy Benson 

 Okay, okay. Yeah, did, how many brothers and sisters did Wendell have?

Janice Benson 

 he had one sister, Mary Jane, or her Mary name was Romaker.

Katy Benson 

Okay, that’s where they come in.

Janice Benson 

Yeah.

Katy Benson 

Okay. And your side of the family. It’s the White House area, correct?

Janice Benson 

Yeah. Mainly everybody, I’ll say congregated there after they got married and different things, but they come from different areas. The my aunt, Ann Burkett she married a Trap from Monclova. Fred. So there was two Fred’s  in the family after my mom married and Fred. Mm hmm. And at different things.  So was so grandpa Hubbell’s Fred, was he Frederick was that his full name is Fred?  It was just Fred. And his middle name was Eugene. So some people call him Freddie. You know?

Katy Benson 

He was he was in the service to correct?

Janice Benson 

No.

Katy Benson 

no.

Janice Benson 

He would not in the service. Okay, because he had been in an accident. It was a railroad track that ran toward Waterville. From Maumee right there where the light is by St. Charles hospital. And they he was hit by a train there with the girl he was going to get married to.

Katy Benson 

Yeah. What was her name?

Janice Benson 

What’s her name? Her last name was Hannah. I can’t think of what her first name was. But he will he was always taught that you respect the dead.

Katy Benson 

Mm hmm

Janice Benson 

by his mother and He, they would always put flowers on, you know, like his grandparents and whatever and his and his first dad and they would always put flowers on her grave. And her parents and my mother continued that. And my father finally went into a rest home. And my mother continued that until he passed, and then she no longer did that. That kind of thing, but he said he never was going to get married again. And they could cut his head off.

Katy Benson 

Ha

Janice Benson 

If he ever was going to get married again and his best friend once he got married, he brought a hatchet over. Hahaha

Katy Benson 

That’s funny!

Janice Benson 

Frank brought the hatchet.

Katy Benson 

That’s funny.

Janice Benson 

Stories. stories.

Katy Benson 

That’s right. Um, I see. So did you. I remember you worked as a cleaning lady. Correct? Is that the I don’t know proper term maybe. But how long How many years did you do that?

Janice Benson 

Well, I did that I really wouldn’t cover it when I was cleaning and then there were two ladies that I would help you know, later on, and watch them and so on and so forth. And I did that up until I did that up till 91. And then the last lady passed away and Then I didn’t do that anymore. But I enjoyed it and I enjoyed it very much. And the one was such a well they were all sweet but the one no i did it afterwards too because he had a stroke and I was still taking watching that lady and Michigan LaVica, would go up there and they Josh on them would stay with him while I in the daytime while I was there something

Katy Benson 

Where at in Michigan.

Janice Benson 

Temperance.

Katy Benson 

I remember you worked at the I don’t know. Was it a nursing home or just a assisted living? Maybe not too far from your house?

Janice Benson 

Down at the Masonic?

Katy Benson 

Yeah,

Janice Benson 

The Brownies. Yes, that was she was the best lady

Katy Benson 

Because there was a guy that had the trains to so yeah, train.

Janice Benson 

Yes. model trains in the basement.

Katy Benson 

What his name I forget.

Janice Benson 

I can’t remember his name. I know if I can see his face but

Katy Benson 

I remember going to see the lady at the Masonic village too

Janice Benson 

Helen Helen Walbowl. Yeah, Helen Walbowl. She was a very intelligent lady. Um, she would read all the time. And I asked her one day, she had two boys and two girls. Ha. Her son called around her birthday. This is the silliest thing. And he says, Mom, do you know what you were doing? 76 years. ago now, remember that date? What were you doing mom 76 years ago? She says yes asked given birth to the biggest hunk there ever was. So you know she was around. She was then about 90 called her and told her that

Katy Benson 

 That’s funny.

Janice Benson 

But yeah, so she had but her family really took good care of her and everything. She always had a pocket everything as a pocket. If a dress came and didn’t have a pocket, they had to take it back, put it pocket at it. So when she died, the three girls that were associated with me taking care of her. We were at the casket laughing and the girl her children might know what we were doing to their mother we sent ya and then put a packet or hanky in our packet. So we are in Yeah, so that was cute.  That was Helen.

Katy Benson 

Trying to think…one memory I have because was with you all the time it comes at your house. We I have two one we’d always watch. Do you remember what we always used to watch.

Janice Benson 

I know we always watch television, but she isn’t on television anymore.

Katy Benson 

I know! Haha I’ve tried so hard to find like, no all episodes and stuff is Keeping Up Appearances. And we’d always have what snack?

Janice Benson 

I don’t know.  popcorn. Yeah, Grandpa like popcorn. But you know after his stroke before his stroke, he would eat popcorn but never eat pancakes. Afterwards, he would eat pancakes in not popcorn. I don’t know was weird.

Katy Benson 

Popcorn  Yeah.

Janice Benson 

That’s crazy. Yeah. Um,

Katy Benson 

so I have that memory at your houses Oh, and another one and we’ll still talk about, Kristofer still talks about it too. When we come around and say, you’d get bats in the attic, in a house now,

Janice Benson 

OH!

Katy Benson 

and you would get bats all the time. And how did you catch your bats?

Janice Benson 

Well, we were remodeling. Well, the one time we had a bat and house and I had I don’t know how many it was Jeff and Julie and I don’t know if it was Jennifer had to be Jennifer. And we were down to my parents house and, and my husband was working and we come home when there was a bat in the house and I call my dad oh dear, and I put the kids in the bathroom and shut the door. But then I walked back in the kitchen. And there that bat was right on top of the stove. So I grabbed the towel just and then I threw him out the front door. But the time Kristofer was there,

Katy Benson 

Mm hmm.

Janice Benson 

Do you know this one?

Katy Benson 

Well, I do because it happened with me once too

Janice Benson 

well anyway, we were remodeling and we had it down to the studs. And this bat was flying around. And I had the sweeper there at some place and so we just suck them up in this sweeper. And the two of us put the sweeper on the front porch.

Katy Benson 

so funny, and it’s so funny to hear him Tell it. You should hear him sell it. So funny. Yeah.

Janice Benson 

But yeah, I don’t know what they all they’ll come in if the house is dark.

Katy Benson 

Yeah,

Janice Benson 

but they won’t come they won’t stay in if the house is lit. So, if one would get in the house, I would just shut all the doors, turn all the lights on, open the back door and the front door. And they will go out.

Katy Benson 

I was house sitting for my Uncle Mike and Kathy in Archbold. I used to do that a lot for him. They had a bat in there once and she couldn’t figure out how to get rid of it. So she told me there was a bat well, I remember I had the door open, and I could feel it was dark, you know, come laying in bed. I could hear it and feel it like fly over you know, oh man, I’m like, it’s kind of freaky because I’m like, I can’t see it. Yeah, so I was told if I got a tennis racket because they can’t, when they do their sonar, they just see something but because they’re it’s checkered crisscross or something they they would think that they could fly through it or something. I don’t cuz there’s so many holes or something nothing could bounce off of it or something I don’t know. Well you know, but so hold it there and get right into it and the floor and I’m like, hit like skirted off the door

Janice Benson 

Yeah. huh

Katy Benson 

I didn’t have a sweeper or I would have done the sweeper.

Janice Benson 

Well, we had one one time and we had company and Aunt Jenny was sitting on the couch. And the old kitchen was there and and she was sitting right there by the door that went to the kitchen. And there was people there and the bat was flying around and somebody held the dustpan up and it hit and flew her lap she just went crazy.

Katy Benson 

Hahaha I will have to ask Aunt Jennifer

Janice Benson 

she went wild.

Katy Benson 

Yeah, the one thing and Jennifer always tells us that she will used to be chased by the geese all the time. Was it the geese? Yeah, the geese all the time. How she said she was just attacked by geese and all that kind of stuff? But she also believed because he used to tell them that you’d get our gizzard. Yeah, she believed that

Janice Benson 

she had a gizzards

Katy Benson 

all the way into adulthood. She had a gizzard but we don’t have gizzards birds have gizzards. Hahaha

Janice Benson 

no the geese. She was in kindergarten.

Katy Benson 

Yeah.

Janice Benson 

And they went half a day.

Katy Benson 

Yeah.

Janice Benson 

to kindergarten and it was my day to pick up the kindergartner kids. So Karen Hartman, our neighbor girl, she was in the kindergarten too there with this. And they she was gonna come down and play in the afternoon and have lunch. And it was like March, and it was muddy outside and the barn was there and everything else and we had the geese out there and I said okay, you guys can play out here outside and I will get your lunch but don’t go near the geese.  Sigh, I don’t know who did this but who made them Who decided well, we’re going to do it anyway. But here they come. And oh they were crying and running the geese got us the geese got us. The geese got Jennifer. Now Jennifer had just had her hair cut in a pixie.

Katy Benson 

Mm hmm.

Janice Benson 

And she was holding her neck and, and he got in the house there. And I had a sweater on. And so I she come up and so I put her head you know, on my chest to look at her neck, and I couldn’t see anything wrong with her neck. Then when I put her head away from right there was a great big ball hair on my sweater. And it was right, right here at the top of her head. Balled to a bean. Oh my Lordy and I thought this hair is never gonna grow back in and we just had a cut. How are we going to do this once you’re going to go to school like, you know? So we had to bring up what we could forward and put it in there with a clip of some kind, but it did grow back.

Katy Benson 

Yes, it did. Haha

Janice Benson 

 Haha Oh dear God.

Katy Benson 

So you also I do remember another thing that you had trouble with any animal once the dog with my sister.

Janice Benson 

Well, before that, we had pigs.

Katy Benson 

Okay. Yeah.

Janice Benson 

And, and you know my husband he was he was working at four to 12 down there. I don’t know where he would that at that point. But we have those hogs in the barn and he would turn the water on and do the chores you know and then he’d go to work well they called up and he said have the kids go out there and see if I turn the water off for the hogs, well you had to get over the fence to do the nob for the for the water your dad and Julie went out there the water had been running I don’t know how long but all it was was slopping mud and manure

Katy Benson 

so slippery

Janice Benson 

here they come just dripping with all that. it was summer. It was summer. And we had a well, with a pump? Yeah And that right there. So I said just strip it down and turn around and I’m just gonna keep dousing them with water. And the water was cold. There they stood bare naked. Get that stuff off of it.

Katy Benson 

That’s funny,

Janice Benson 

but at least it wasn’t in their hair.

Katy Benson 

Oh, yeah. That would have been bad.

Janice Benson 

Yeah know anyway. Hahaha.  Yeah.

Katy Benson 

So, yeah, so the dog was uncle Josh’s dog because he was still living at home at that time, right?

Janice Benson 

 Yeah. Was our dog. Yeah.

Katy Benson 

And he was, what kind of dog was it? German…

Janice Benson 

No, no, it was given to us by some friends. And it was a mixture. It was a medium sized dog. That wasn’t real big but nothing, nothing like a big German Shepherd or anything. But we were playing with it. We were doing, Like Margaret, Hanging up clothes and Elizabeth, was helping

Katy Benson 

Yeah.

Janice Benson 

And I don’t know why she was there alone without your parents.

Katy Benson 

Was I there?

Janice Benson 

I don’t think so.

Katy Benson 

I can’t remember if I was there or not I just remember the story so much that I feel like I could have been

Janice Benson 

but I don’t believe you were

Katy Benson 

No, I don’t think so.

Janice Benson 

But then just out of the blue that dog come running from the garage and he attacked her and I and I was trying to keep her, you know, away. And he got me and he got her a little. And different things and your mother and dad were up here someplace doing something. I don’t know where they were. And uncle Joshua was ready to shoot that dog and I said you can’t shoot him because he might have rabies. No, you don’t know.

Katy Benson 

You want to make sure before

Janice Benson 

Yeah, and So we beat it up to the hospital and I remember was she was on one gurney and I was on the other we were holding and with our butts up in the air haha but we got along okay

Katy Benson 

no but yeah um yeah happened when David when he was younger Aunt Deb’s and Uncle Dan’s so my mom’s side he was just playing with the dog too and he got nipped in the eye and then just recently my my niece Margaret, so your great niece (granddaughter) right. got bit by a dog in the eye and that almost kind of scary cuz yeah and stuff. But the same eye is David. I’m going to have an almost an exact scar in the exact place of each other.

Janice Benson 

Huh? Well, we just got in the leg area. Liz and I and I you know and stuff like that. So, but yeah, but they wanted to give, you know, give the dog to somebody else. And I said no, don’t give a dog away because you never know what he’s gonna do. or anything like that and also, I guess they took him off and the authorities and killed him and got rid of him you don’t know.

Katy Benson 

Yep. So, back up a little bit I never asked you. So you have four kids. How many grandkids do you have?

Janice Benson 

Ten!

Katy Benson 

Ten.

Janice Benson 

don’t I?

Katy Benson 

I don’t know, do you? So let’s count. So the Jeff has how many kids?

Janice Benson 

He’s got four.  Julie’s got two

Katy Benson 

got two

Janice Benson 

that six.

Katy Benson 

And then it Aunt Jennifer has

Janice Benson 

three at nine,

Katy Benson 

nine and then Uncle Josh has one. So let is 10 and so Riley Joe is Uncle Josh’s daughter and she’s the last one.

Janice Benson 

She’s it.

Katy Benson 

Yep, She’s the youngest. And then how many great grandkids do you have? And I’m so go ahead, so I was wrong. Margaret would be your great granddaughter. Not Yeah, niece Sorry. She’s a niece to me. But okay, go on. Have a great grandkids.

Janice Benson 

So I got two in Michigan.

Katy Benson 

Yes.

Janice Benson 

And I got to down here.

Katy Benson 

Which is Henry and Gracie

Janice Benson 

Gracie.

Katy Benson 

Yep, Gracie Sue.  So I only have four And then you’re going to have

Janice Benson 

one and I will have another one as a southerner.

Katy Benson 

And that’s right. The southern state. North Carolina. And she will be born in a couple of weeks.

Janice Benson 

Yeah.

Katy Benson 

 That’s exciting for us. I know Lottie was saying how she had her last day of work. Okay, well a couple days ago or something like that, and she was doing as much as she could she was walking. She’s doing so that way, you know? Yeah, staying healthy getting prepared for the day ready to come, because she’s ready for that baby to come out.

Janice Benson 

When you get so far along Do you want this to get over with? Yeah.

Katy Benson 

Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Janice Benson 

Now my dad, my dad was there most of the time when Uncle Joshua was born in the hospital. But he would always come after the birth of the other ones, you know, because he was still working. But he come and he, he said you think the worst is to come but now the best I’ll be here later. Something like that. Like that. You He had a he had a lot of wisdom,

Katy Benson 

as it’s gonna say you always talk about different things like that. Yeah, there’s no so he’s very, seems to be a very kind wisdomatic person,

Janice Benson 

his mother his mother was a very sweet lady and then she had to raise these three boys by herself for a while. And she taught them, you know, just you have to be special and everything that you do. I mean, it makes sure that you’re respected, respectable to everybody, and stuff like that.

Katy Benson 

 Mm hmm.

Janice Benson 

Hey, that’s what she would do. And so on. And then he he would pass that on to us. He did.

Katy Benson 

I remember sitting on his lap by the in the corner, next to the table next to telephone and we would

Janice Benson 

 to Wendell?

Katy Benson 

no, sorry, Your dad so grandpa

Janice Benson 

Fred.

Katy Benson 

Yep. And he had anyway just talk to us. Sometimes he’d answer the phone and then sometimes he’d hand us the phone and say hello. And then he’d go back. But he I remember sitting in his lap, and I don’t remember really anything He really said, because I was pretty young. But um, he had tattoos on his arm.

Janice Benson 

He had one. And I wish I would have had a picture of that and I can’t find a picture. Where cuz it was sort of down here. Yep. And I said something mother was the heart was a heart. Yeah. And I don’t know if I would ever find one if they could draw that up.

Katy Benson 

Oh, yeah. You could see what it was.

Janice Benson 

See for sure. Yeah.  And so on but yeah, he I remember he, he was having his problems when Jacob was born. And Jacob Clapp Yeah, he, I would go down there. And he, I mean, he was in and out of things a lot, you know, getting worse with his dementia like and, and he would hold him and he’d say, How in the world could anybody hurt somebody like this this little? Just like, you know, it’s a crime that hurt a child.  Mm hmm.  Yeah, he was say that.

Katy Benson 

So what maybe something happened when he was younger.  Or he heard about something and yeah, I didn’t know.  Do you know?

Janice Benson 

 I don’t know if any of his relation, you know, or his friend’s friend ever had some but some child hurt that  so his dad, did he pass away or  Yes.

Katy Benson 

So Fred. And his dad’s name was

Janice Benson 

Hezekiah Thomas Hubbell.  So that would have been my great, great grandpa. Okay. And then you said, then did his mom get remarried?  His his mother remarried Charles Lintner? And Charles Lintner had two sons. One had some kind of illness which I never knew what was wrong with him that he developed as years went by, I guess, and what when I would go there, grandma was always taken care of him and he, he was bedridden. I remember his name was Arnold. And the other one was I can’t think very, very nice looking young man. And he he lived in California because he was in the Navy. They lived out there and a what was his  name I can’t think of it right now. But I’ve got a picture of him or pictures of him and stuff. So then that those were her step sons.

Katy Benson 

Okay. Yeah. How many nieces and nephews do you have?

Janice Benson 

 How many nieces and nephews do I have?

Katy Benson 

I think we talked about this because of Uncle Lenny, so like, right? Yeah, so, remind me how many

Janice Benson 

just four

Katy Benson 

none on grandpa’s side.

Janice Benson 

Yeah well no not on my on grandpas. They wouldn’t be my nieces. They’d be my cousin’s

Katy Benson 

no on Wendell’s side it would still be like because of his brothers and sister

Janice Benson 

Oh yeah, just two. So well really I had seven and my brother’s daughter died. Cathy died and let’s see she died when did  your mother was still in school and she died. But then two other four live you know in Baton Rouge. And then John and Susan live over here enough Neapolis area. Romakers they are

Katy Benson 

because we know really Get to know them until later in life. From what I, from what I remember

Janice Benson 

Who?

Katy Benson 

Romakers

Janice Benson 

Yeah,

Katy Benson 

yeah. Because we didn’t really have any family reunions or anything like that. So, you know, see on my mom’s side every year, we’d all go see people we never like met and forth to the far away they come, but then we also had, I have lots of cousins because right

Janice Benson 

but now see the Romakers, they never want to associate.

Katy Benson 

Really, why is that?

Janice Benson 

Is that still on

Katy Benson 

No. Okay. Well, we don’t have to talk about it.  So we’re talking about the Romakers. And I know Justin, was their only child John and Julie’s correct.

Janice Benson 

Yes.

Katy Benson 

And he is the same age as Kristofer

Janice Benson 

I’m not sure.

Katy Benson 

I don’t know, but somewhere around there, but they live where they live.

Janice Benson 

Well, they lived. They live on Berridge Road. And Barry’s road goes between the Waterville in the Neapolis. And the White House, and Archbold road, and they live halfway through, I’ll say, by where the old railroad track used to go. And that’s where Aunt Jane used to live right there on the east side of the road. And then John lives across the road on property there. He’s he’s got a nice little place there. That’s where John lives and Justin.

Katy Benson 

And Justin has been very involved with his church.

Janice Benson 

Yes

Katy Benson 

which is really nice. And he seems to really enjoy that. So were you involved in church growing up?

Janice Benson 

Yes, we I went to the Methodist Church, there in White House and that was where we were married. And that’s where the car wash is now in White House. That kind of thing. And we was always there and did different activities and stuff within that we had a youth group there was I was with the youth group and so on and so forth. And then our Sunday school teacher, we had it so that I remember they had the boys in one with one teacher and really was with the girls was with another teacher. And she would always take us camping and Oak Openings park for a couple nights and they used to have the nicest little stone buildings. And then we’ll just have enough room in there for like three people when each one and then we would always we’d always go out there but when you got married not know when

Katy Benson 

 you looked at me and I’m like Im not married haha when you got married  I got it haha

Janice Benson 

when one of the one of the girls in her class got married, you know we would outgrow our class. But we still in the church. You always got a sheet and a pair of pillowcases that was crocheted on the top real fancy. Of the color that you wanted.

Katy Benson 

Really?

Janice Benson 

Yeah, so I still have my I still have my mine. So yeah, always, you know, always there and then those kinds of things and whatever else

Katy Benson 

that’s really nice.  So then you and grandpa went to the same church for a long time or?

Janice Benson 

I yeah, sorta. Well, that’s when he got out of the army. It was when the time would change. You don’t came in this Summer and we were getting out of church and he was coming in he said oh dear me he I think he had his uniform on yet because he had just got discharged and and those kinds of things and so so we went there and then we when we got married and moved up by Neopolis so we went to the Neopolis Church of Christ and then from there we went to different places til we found out you know, different things and

Katy Benson 

and now you attend which church

Janice Benson 

Christ Community at Ridgeville Corners that sort of been with this virus thing you know, you don’t go very often.

Katy Benson 

Oh, yeah. With COVID Yeah, I know. Yeah. We still haven’t been back to our church week because they have Facebook Live and yeah, just because they only allowing so many people in at a time

Janice Benson 

 right. Now, I don’t know how you do all that kind of stuff when I don’t have a computer. Hmm. And so I do have this gentleman on TV that I listen to every morning and every, you know, all days on all day and and shepherds chapels is called and he’ll learn a lot of stuff that you never learned any place else.

Katy Benson 

That’s really neat. Yeah, yeah. Well, speaking of like, having church online and all that kind of stuff, that stuff was never available when you were growing up.

Janice Benson 

No, it never was.

Katy Benson 

Was there anything like?

Janice Benson 

I would go to church camp down. Lakeside, Ohio. Okay, we go there and, and everything. Mm hmm.

Katy Benson 

So was there a time when you knew that like a testimony type thing for you?

Janice Benson 

Well, there was but it it wasn’t really called that it was just like, you know, talking in a group and then you just share your feelings and, and your progress, you know, in the Lord and, and so on and so forth like that. So, yeah, I was asked to give my testimony by a gentleman one time in a, in a little church that we went to in between the progress of moving from Neapolis to, you know, Christ community. And because he was having different people, scheduled of the give their testimony. And he asked me the one Sunday, as we were leaving, he says, well have you got your outline made of what you want to say and therefore for your testimony? And I looked at him and this is just exactly what I said. I said, if you have to make an outline of how you love Jesus and how he come into your life, I said, you’re in trouble, bud I didn’t give mine I said, hey, it’s crazy. Yeah, there’s no

Katy Benson 

yeah, there’s really no outline to that kind of thing.

Janice Benson 

No. Yeah. But that is exactly what I said. I I thought that

Katy Benson 

that’s true too. I

Janice Benson 

we used to go to church in White House there when we were growing up and the man he was leading the Sunday school. He would get up there and sing and lead the singing and his heart was just on fire. You could always tell it and he would have that hymnal and he wouldn’t even open and he would just say we’re gonna sang anyone just go and he was a pillar of the church and, and his family was true, but Oh, and I sang in the choir there when I was a young girl. And different things and

Katy Benson 

did your parents go with your church?  No, no,

Janice Benson 

 no. Now my dad was raised a Lutheran that way my his mother, you know, and Grandma, they would go to out there where the cemetery is and and so on and so forth, but they never would really attend. What they would see that we were there. You know that we were there and so on. So and I know that when my dad died um, my cousin she worked at the rest home where he was there in White House and ah I know that he he he was praying when he was found because he was on his knees, with his hands on the bed like this, you know,  that’s, really neat.  And I do have his baptism paper, which, you know, that kind of thing

Katy Benson 

Did your husband was he had background in the church?

Janice Benson  

Well, he he would go to church before but I don’t know about his parents ever going to church. They never they will never went to church but we went to church, you know.

Katy Benson 

And then obviously, your kids went to church.

Janice Benson 

Yep. Yeah. They went to church. Yeah. And was involved in youth group and all that kind of good stuff and whatever.

Katy Benson 

Okay, so speaking of church, were you missionaries with Grandpa? Is that why you traveled over to like Russia? or no?

Janice Benson 

Well, first of all we went when we went and then Jenny was in the third grade. We and your Dad,  Mom was in high school or your, your dad and then Julie was in high school. We was at the Neapolis Church of Christ. And Dan and Cecile Chambers went with a group over to Austria to live. And they were over there as missionaries and running this mission house. So we went over there and helped them get this mission house in order and, and so on, so forth and do programs and whatever. We were there first, and then

Katy Benson 

how long were you there? How long were you in Austria?

Janice Benson 

Was we there six weeks. I think we were because your mom and dad came home and that’s when the school burnt and a then we were there over Christmas and then when we came home and Jenny and us come home by ourselves

Katy Benson 

so in genuine with you to Austria

Janice Benson 

Yes. Oh she went to and then we helped him over there I made curtains I did shopping and whatever but anyway and did cooking made so much corn bread the kids never wanna corn bread in the eye again haha but

Katy Benson 

so when you say you were in Austria one time with just Wendell grandpa. Yeah. And then you went back over?

Janice Benson 

No.

Katy Benson 

Oh, you didn’t.

Janice Benson 

That was the only time we there

Katy Benson 

and Aunt Jenny were any of the kids with you. Just can’t Jennifer.

Janice Benson 

No. Your mom and dad. Were there with us.

Katy Benson 

My mom and dad.

Janice Benson 

Yeah. Jeff and Sue. Jeff and Julie Benson were there with us and Jenny, and then they were there.

Katy Benson 

Oh, so so

Janice Benson 

and then they had to come home for school and and grandpa and I and then Jenny stayed and then we came home and whatever and then then we went to the other little church there on Youngberg road and we this man was involved with the Russian people and and so on and he was from he was finished himself. And so then we went a couple times with him over there. And stuff then then we went once while we were I went twice and the last time we went by ourselves. Yeah. Okay. And I believe and, and I know that grandpa was gone. Then he went by himself. And then he was going to go again. And the day before he had his the day that he had his stroke he was up and outside. And he was talking to a gentleman out on the end of the driveway and the phone rang, and it said that his airline tickets were ready to be picked up to go to Russia. And when they named when he came in I don’t know he sat down was having coffee. And that’s when he had his stroke.

Katy Benson 

Okay, kind of things did you do over in Russia?

Janice Benson 

What did we do? Well, we met with other Christians over there. And we would have meetings, ladies and men, and then we would have a whole congregational meeting and people would come in and talk. And in their language, of course, you know, and different things like that. And we took semi loads of clothes, and your sister Elizabeth, but she helped go through the clothes and pack them. No, yeah, I have a picture of her helping in the garage, in our garage, doing that kind of thing. And then we would go to school. After we would get there to Russia, we would go into the schools and distribute those clothes and so on, so forth like that.

Katy Benson 

Yeah. I remember one time When you came back You brought us Russian dolls.

Janice Benson 

Yeah, yeah,

Katy Benson 

that was that was fun. Yeah. Um so then you’ve always liked to travel and

Janice Benson 

 oh yeah,

Katy Benson 

 you take lots of bus trips right well first I was going to ask you I remember Did you know any Russian did you pick up any Russian or Austrian what is Austria’s language?

Janice Benson 

 Austria they more or less spoke our language okay you know there was a few things when I went shopping by myself for groceries and Cecile Chambers she told me now here’s your here’s your say Costa you say you know whatever and for cheese and there were things like that and and and so on and so I got by I got by okay with that like that, but I learned why the Children in Austria on the streets are so well mannered as their young, young children. Because grandma’s got the children. Grandma has always given them a piece of candy so that they are quiet

Katy Benson 

That’s funny.

Janice Benson 

Yeah. So

Katy Benson 

was grandpa Wendell being over in Germany? For the service? Did he know German?

Janice Benson 

Ah, a few words. See words. Yeah. But when we were in Austria then the Chambers and and us when up into the city where grandpa was at Begcoicheck (not sure how to spell that town) and met the family there. Oh, well, Chambers were with us so far. And then we went the rest of the way. So he got to see that family again that he that sort of took grandpa under their wing. And so on

Katy Benson 

I bet that was really special

Janice Benson 

 that was really special and different things like that, you know, on and so on. So we had a great time with them.

Katy Benson 

And good. Well, you like to travel and we’ve been on a lot of bus trips. Correct. And what was your favorite place you have gone?

Janice Benson 

 that I’ve gone on a trip.

Katy Benson 

Yeah.  Well, I always wanted to come meet. Who are the people that live in Australia that are people of Aborigines

Janice Benson 

Yeah. I want to meet the Aboriginal people. Yeah. So when my friend said she was going to go to Austria. That’s why she was working so much. I said, put me on a list. And I went and then we went Australia. That’s where we she was going. We went to Australia. Then we went to New Zealand. Then we went to Fiji. Oh, wow. I would go back to Fiji and a flip of a coin.

Katy Benson 

yeah.

Janice Benson 

Oh yeah. And it’s so people are so gracious. It’s the light The country is beautiful. And I got to help with the wedding there. I’ve got to go through the whole big kitchen. That’s cool. And but we couldn’t, couldn’t go to the wedding because so we just stood in the balcony of our room and listened to the ceremony and watched it that was but those people are just so you know. Wow, we learn a lot there. What we learn, learn a lot every bus trip that go on. But that was I would go back there. That and New Zealand. Well, Australia too. Yeah,

Katy Benson 

that’s really neat. Yeah. So Ana jokingly asked this question, but would you go back to Canada?

Janice Benson 

Hahaha

Katy Benson 

 So, he has a little background so they understand this joke is last when was it last

Janice Benson 

 two years ago

Katy Benson 

It’s been two years already. Two years ago. Yep. You got really sick.

Janice Benson 

 two years ago, I went to what’s going on this Canadian trip to Toronto and all around and

Katy Benson 

can you had you had shingles before? And then you were better.

Janice Benson 

Yeah, I had the shingles you know but that that wasn’t part of it. But I had never met this lady before. And yeah, that’s Randy Nofzinger put  Rose Brown, and me together as partners, and we talked before, you know, but anyway, she’s a Christian lady and we walked and, walked and walked on Monday, terribly, we walked so hard and so far, and then we went had our supper on the spiral deal. We’re now see the city and I’ll have salmon anytime I can get it. Haha So then when we got back to the room, she said, You know, I’m not gonna go with them tomorrow, cuz they’re gonna be in the same area, but her knees are hurting her. And I said, Well, I’m not going either cuz I think I pulled a muscle in my groin. Walking all this time. So we both laid down and the next thing I knew I was in the hospital with Yeah, posion size of what tennis ball in my kidney. And the man said another half an hour and you bet in the box. Yeah. And so he operated on man. I was there four days and

Katy Benson 

came home

Janice Benson 

and came home we in the back of a pickup. I mean, it was a good ride. But anyway, this he was a very good doctor. He was there morning and night and explained everything and he sent home. Oodles and oodles of the paperwork in the disk for my doctor here and Wauseon. And even after I was home like two and a half weeks he called to see how I was and different things. So I cannot say I did not get good care whether the hospital was that bad.

Katy Benson 

No. Yeah. My mom said it wasn’t.

Janice Benson 

Yeah, I think they said what they said he’s come he’s coming running from the building, other building. So I think we were in the older part and there was a newer part, but I never didn’t get to see the out. Haha

Katy Benson 

Yeah. Well, yeah, that was that was. Yeah, it was scary for all of us.

Janice Benson 

That was a that was a scare. But yeah.

Katy Benson 

You are also blessed to know, to know Rose because she had enough to know to call home.

Janice Benson 

Right she, after we got home, you know, I talked with her. And we’ve talked about a little things come together. She said that she asked me. She didn’t know how to work my silly phone. And she asked me my kids phone number and I told her I said I didn’t say a thing. She says yeah here she said I got that piece of paper or I wrote it on she showed me the paper. I said, I don’t know.

Katy Benson 

So definitely God was working his hand in that.

Janice Benson 

 Yeah, sure. And I’m told that she’s my angel and our birthdays are on the same day.

Katy Benson 

Haha, that’s pretty cool.

Janice Benson 

Yeah, her birthday and my birthday. And so we’re connected a lot of ways and we meet every so often now

Katy Benson 

like me how you can know you know these things. And we’re like, you’re born on the same day. And you think about Wow, God knew. Yeah, but you know, you’re gonna be connected someday.

Janice Benson 

Right. And that right. So anyway. Yeah. So we we just have a real good time. together and, yeah, you know, those kind of things. She goes to the Lutheran Church up there by Northwest College. Okay, that big church?

Katy Benson 

Oh, yeah, yeah, on the corner there. That’s where my aunt uncle used to go before they moved to Indiana.

Janice Benson 

Oh, Ann goes there. Okay. Yeah, Miller and her husband and dad. She used to be a Miller. But anyway, yeah. So if that was that was truly you know God was in control right then. No right then and there

Katy Benson 

 well we’re happier doing much better

Janice Benson 

yeah I am too

Katy Benson 

and because we wouldn’t have been able to really we wouldn’t have been able to go over there. So you know if anything would have happened it would have been really hard for us to get all get up there now. Yeah, yeah, but it all worked out. You know. So, just two things I wanted to ask you here. The first one is I always like to know how did grandpa proposed to you. How did Wendell propose to you?

Janice Benson 

Well, we talked about you know, get married. Well, so then he he went and bought the ring. I don’t know where are we had been we went someplace and we come home at night? And he did when we were in the car in the driveway. Yeah.

Katy Benson 

of your parents house.

Janice Benson 

My parents house. Yeah. Yep. That way. And his mother was such a she was just an ordinary woman. She worked. She grew up on a farm. And she had chickens. Mother, as and my daughter as she had, you know, those at home and, and everything and she was just the common lovely woman. Always taking care of the grandkids. Every year the kids had to have a new winter coat and it had to be special coat brand. It couldn’t be just let’s go get it go bop bop. And she would always make sure that they and if somebody died, she she was very particular, how we went to view the body. How we went to the funeral, you had to have a hat the women had she take us and buy us a hat. And anyway, the other lady, she wasn’t too happy with that. And then you had to have white gloves. And she

Katy Benson 

very proper,

Janice Benson 

very, yeah, very proper, very proper. Yeah and a great cook.

Katy Benson 

And a great cook.

Janice Benson 

Yep Yeah. Nice.

Katy Benson 

So, well, that’s me. I kind of always find it interesting. You know, everybody does it different. And its their story just yeah, I think it’s interesting. Um, I remember that when your mom and dad died. We had we get to help kind of go through the house a little bit because no mom and dad were there. You were there and stuff. They lived through the depression. Is that correct? Were you were you did you yourself live through the depression?

Janice Benson 

We’ll see. The depression was in the 30s. I was born in 36. My brother was was born in 33. They was married you know, during the Depression.

Katy Benson 

Oh, that’s right. Because we looked at that.

Janice Benson 

And so, you know, we, my dad, this was my dad’s slogan. If we don’t have anything else, we’re gonna have a roof over our head and food on the table. Yeah, that was one and we had a huge, huge garden. always had a big garden and different things. And so on, so forth. Like That, you know. And then my grandmother  of course lived on the farm for every Christmas, we got underwear, socks, oranges and apples. And mom and dad always got a 25 pound bag or a 50 pound bag of flour and so much sugar and money for their license tags for their car. Wow. And when my mother died I found so much money for those license tags that she never spent. Really?  Yeah. But that’s what grandma would give us. Well, she had all these grand kids, you know? Yeah, coming on and, and different things, but that’s what they would give us. Yeah,

Katy Benson 

yeah, cuz I remember them seeing that and the oddest places you’d find some money because nobody put money in banks at that time. Right?

Janice Benson 

Right Yeah. Right. Yeah. So that and and we had to, we had to do the garden and we add help take care of it and, and so on and so forth and then find my mom and dad was born on poor before when they first were married and and my brother was born. They lived on Albion road, in between garden and garden, a road or whatever the other road is. But they live what they call them the quarry houses because the Highland stone quarry was right behind there. That was their property. And my dad worked there at the quarry and my brother was born there, but things was tough. You know, gas was high gas was rationed, like yes, like I showed you some ration coupons for gas. Well, then mom had a car but they’re, these little houses did not have garages. Well, somebody was taken his gas at night.

Katy Benson 

siphoning his gas

Janice Benson 

siphon his gas and he didn’t know who that was. But he found out because the one night is snowed and there was footprints from this. They lived in the first section. They lived in the first house. There was footprints from the second house, to the car and back He found out who he was. And

Katy Benson  

What did he do?

Janice Benson 

it was Julie Romaker’s grandmother. Wow. Hahaha Yeah. Well anyway so that you know, so it was tough. It was tough. And when they first got married, they lived in a chicken coop.

Katy Benson 

In a chicken coop?

Janice Benson 

Well, it was. It was a house that they had a wasn’t really a chicken coop, but it was a house they had for the farm help could live. Oh, sure. So that’s where they started. And then they moved over there. Wow.  Yeah. And that place is still there, isn’t it?

Katy Benson 

Yeah. If you have ictures that’d be kind of cool.

Janice Benson 

Well, I don’t know if that that building is there. Put the farm and still there.

Katy Benson 

Oh the farm still there.

Janice Benson 

Yeah.  Neat. Well, we also look into before we started this interview, at their marriage license, they have three separate marriage licenses, two that were from the same date of right, the 28th of August, September, October, sorry, September’s gonna say but, then they have one for the 24th,  the 24th of September.

Katy Benson 

And I can’t tell which one because one was only good for 60 days. And that was a court one,

Janice Benson 

and that says a 28.

Katy Benson 

Yeah. So we’re a little baffled on that. But you can’t we don’t know

Janice Benson 

but they always celebrated the 24th Because see, my brother was born on their first anniversary.

Katy Benson 

Oh, okay.

Janice Benson 

And then his my brother’s first wife was born on the 25th of September, and they got married. On that day, yeah,

Katy Benson 

who was?

Janice Benson 

Aunt Shannon

Katy Benson 

Aunt Shannon? So we have the same birthday. Because my is 25th of september too.

Janice Benson 

Oh, yeah. Right. Yeah.

Katy Benson 

Well, that’s interesting. We’ll have to take a look into that. See if I can find out anything about that. I see who knows. I’m interested. I can’t wait to look.

Janice Benson 

 Haha. Yeah, but it is silly. You know how you do these things? Yeah And what you’ll find out? Yeah,

Katy Benson 

it’s really neat.

Janice Benson 

So so well, that’s kind of one of the things that I can think of it or anything else that you can think of maybe that we can talk about or I always like to ask these real quick random questions just because I find that fun. What’s your favorite color?  For what?  What’s your favorite color?  Well Blue Blue

Katy Benson 

That is my favorite color. Blue. What’s your favorite food? or snack?

Janice Benson 

or snack? Oh, I don’t know.

Katy Benson 

No. Do you have any places like a favorite restaurant? If you could just go, this would be where you’d go.

Janice Benson 

Let’s see. Where would I go? Not really. I guess um

Katy Benson 

nowhere in particular, but you like salmon? You like salmon? Yeah. You told me you would have salmon anytime.

Janice Benson 

Yeah. when I traveled. You know? This is crazy. Anyway, when I travel. I like to go and eat something I hadn’t ate before.

Katy Benson 

Oh, yeah, me too.

Janice Benson 

Like when we was in Australia, yeah, they had kangaroo and Hello, all this other kind of stuff. So some of them women so they would eat chicken.When you’re here, you eat

Katy Benson 

you experience the culture.

Janice Benson 

Yeah. And when I would go on a cruise and Aunt Jenny would always say to me, now you’re not going in the kitchen. I like to go in the kitchens, you know? Cuz. And so I told her I said, I know I’m not going in the kitchen. I’ll stay out of  the kitchen. She said, that’s good. I said, Yeah, because I’ve already been in one. But when I went off to Fiji, and help with that wedding, and I went in the kitchen, they got hot. I would go there and eat again.

Katy Benson 

Oh, yeah.

Janice Benson 

I would go there and eat again? Yeah, so many different places.

Katy Benson 

Yeah. Speaking of kitchens real quick. You used to work for whitewater retreat out here. How many years? Did you actually work there?

Janice Benson 

 15

Katy Benson 

15 Wow, that 15 years

Janice Benson 

pretty sure it was 15. Yeah. Yeah. And I met a lot of wonderful people there.

Katy Benson 

And you, you were just basically in charge of kitchen and whatever you wanted to do.

Janice Benson 

When I went there, I told him, I said, Oh, my friend told me they wanted to want to cook and I said, Well, I went and told him I said, I’ve never cooked for this many people. But I said, I’ve cooked all this lifetime. So I said, All you got to do it. Just make more. Yeah. Which is true. You know, but yeah, I met so many good people. And, and I’m a grandma, I don’t how many kids  that really aren’t your grandkids. Everybody calls you grandma. Yeah.

Katy Benson 

You know, nothing wrong with that. Yeah. I have a lot of aunts and uncles and grandparents. That really aren’t related to either like oh, you know, like mom’s best friend. We’re gonna call her Auntie. Yeah, Auntie Terri. And then, you know, like, Wayne, Wayne and Rita Feather. Call grandma and grandpa feather because, yeah, you know,

Janice Benson 

because they took care of your mother or your dad. And Aunt Julie, when we were still coming home from Austria, you know? And that kind of thing.

Katy Benson 

So, yeah, so it’s really neat that a lot of people still call you grandma.

Janice Benson 

Yeah, they do. You know, like Modi, like Modi. I mean, that’s a well, I’m Chimchaba’s mother. Yeah. Hahaha I’m his mother. And, and whatever, those kinds of things, you know. So and when I went to work, is that still on?

Katy Benson 

Yeah, but we can be done. So well, thank you for taking the time and let me listen and We’ll go through some pictures and stuff some time and

Janice Benson 

Yeah, thanks. Maybe I get some of those envelopes. Oh yeah,

Katy Benson 

I’ll have to look to see if I can get you some more to. Yeah. So well thank you very much for your time!

Janice Benson 

when I went to work bye

It was a pleasure to do this oral history. I got to learn a lot more about my family history and also reminisce about some memories growing up and also hearing some of the stories told again. Thank you Grandma for all your love through the years and I hope to continue to hear more stories in the days, and years to come. I love you!” -Katy Benson

Feather, Rita

Listen to the full interview by clicking play!

Rita Feather Oral History August 24, 2020

• 1:07:02 Interview Length

This is a transcribed version of the interview. It is meant to be transcribed not with grammar in mind but keeping to the words of the speakers along with the history and stories per the speakers.

SPEAKERS

Katy Benson, Rita Feather, Wayne Feather

Rita Feather-photo curtesy of Matt Feather

Katy Benson 

All right, I am here with Rita Feather. It is August 24th, around 7:40pm. And,

Rita Feather 

and I am Rita Kay Jennings Feather. Birthday, April 20th 1947.

Katy Benson 

Well, thank you for letting me come in and talk to you tonight. So and who are you married to?

Rita Feather 

I am married to Wayne Feather

Katy Benson 

which, we like to call you Grandma and Grandpa, which, if you don’t mind, why we call you grandma and grandpa?

Rita Feather 

Because when you guys were quite young, your parents went to Austria, I believe on a mission trip. And you were a baby at that time are quite young and your older brother and sister Jeff and Julie stayed with us because they were in school. So they were here about a month or so. And they called us mom and dad. So when you came along, then we were your grandma and grandpa. I’m sorry. You didn’t go…

Katy Benson 

No, it was my grandma Janice Benson and Wendell Benson and so they’ve been my aunt and my dad.

Rita Feather 

Yes.

Katy Benson 

So what? Where are you from?

Rita Feather 

I’m from Napoleon, Ohio

Katy Benson 

your from Napoleon,

Rita Feather 

Henry County, Yeah.

Katy Benson 

Okay. And who are your parents?

Rita Feather 

Robert and Norma Jennings.

Katy Benson 

And were they always from this area? Do you know?

Rita Feather 

Dad was mom was started out near closer to like, Leipsic in the Leipsic area. When she was littler and then eventually her folks moved to Napoleon my grandparents.

Katy Benson 

Did you have any like siblings?

Rita Feather 

I had a sister. Six years younger and she died two years ago. Okay, what was her name? Susie, Susie Susie Jennings and her maiden name was Sloane Susie Sloane.

Katy Benson 

Okay. And you have one child.

Rita Feather 

Yes, Matthew. Yes, Matt. And how many grandkids, two grandkids and a great grandchild great granddaughter.

Katy Benson 

So really, you’re a great person. I am great all through. There’s no denying. Great.   Um, let’s see, what do you remember as a child, if anything?

Rita Feather 

I grew up on a farm, which was wonderful. Like I said, My sister was six years younger, so we weren’t really close. Just because six years difference because when she came along, I was in school, but we played together as kids. I remember the biggest sand pile in the backyard and and playing in the sand pile.

Katy Benson 

Yeah.

Rita Feather 

And we would go back to the woods. We had woods on her for we just walked around back there and we didn’t often do it, but we would crawl up in the haymow and maybe play up there. We didn’t do that very often.

Katy Benson 

So when you say a farm, like what kind of farm was it did you have animals.

Rita Feather 

We had some cows and crops corn, soybeans, and wheat

Katy Benson 

and so were in Napoleon. Like what was

Rita Feather 

this was kind of off on this. They call it the South side of town basically yourself

Katy Benson 

in Napoleon. Okay, so on the other side of the river Do you remember your address?

Rita Feather 

route three, Napoleon, Ohio,

Katy Benson 

really

Wayne Feather 

county road 10 I think now that we just always

Rita Feather 

it was 11. Okay, well, he knows better than I do, 11 but it was route three. That’s all I needed to know.

Wayne Feather 

11

Katy Benson 

That’s fine because we have so many numbers and letters now. The route 3, well Yeah, I could be he could be anywhere right?

Rita Feather 

We lived back a long lane

Katy Benson 

I always wanted a long lane

Rita Feather 

it was nice.

Katy Benson 

And when where did you go to high school.

Rita Feather 

Napoleon

Katy Benson 

You went to Napoleon

Rita Feather 

 my whole life. Didn’t go to kindergarten because back then didn’t have to go. So I just turned out the first grade.

Katy Benson 

No preschool or kindergarten?

Rita Feather 

Pardon?

Katy Benson 

No preschool or kindergarten?

Rita Feather 

No, no back then. Now when my sister came along, I think, kindergarten she was six years younger. Like I said, I think kindergarten was offered but I don’t remember that she went to kindergarten either. It just it wasn’t mandatory at that time. Okay.

Katy Benson 

What year did you graduate?

Rita Feather 

1965

Katy Benson 

Do you have any high school memories?

Rita Feather 

yeah, I wasn’t a popular kid. really quiet and I wasn’t part of the in crowd but I like school. I did. I really enjoyed it.

Katy Benson 

What was your favorite subject?

Rita Feather 

I liked history, especially the English part of it. I’ve always been fascinated by the English, anything. And in high that was more elementary and junior high school I really liked like, typing in shorthand, because that’s the main course I didn’t want Do college. So I took a secretarial course I really enjoyed that I was really good at shorthand. Typing wasn’t as fast but

Katy Benson 

so did you get a job being a secretary out of high school?

Rita Feather 

I did. Just before I graduated, I started working for an attorney in Napoleon. Okay, and my secretarial teacher, bless her heart, she helped me get it. While I take that back, I started out working at an insurance office in Napoleon. And then just before I graduated, graduated, the brother of one of the insurance guys needed somebody in their law office, and they recommended me so that’s how I ended up. Like in May, the year I graduated just before I graduate, that’s when I started working at the law office and work there from 65 to 73. When I quit, to have our son.

Katy Benson 

Really? so, when did you get married?

Rita Feather 

1970 he got home from Vietnam. He was in Vietnam from 68 to 69. And he got home in June of 69. And we got married in February of 70

Katy Benson 

so why he was over in Vietnam, what did you do while he was gone?

Rita Feather 

I had a good time. I just went out with my girlfriends and I would often go over to either his folks and visit them. We got close with one of his cousins and an aunt in the Medina area. So sometimes on the weekends, I just get my 66 Mustang and take off and go spend the weekend down there and see family down there.

Katy Benson 

That’s awesome. What what what color was your Mustang?

Rita Feather 

It was gold with a blacktop not black vinyl because when I went to order it, they didn’t have any so they said we can paint it black. Okay. So.

Katy Benson 

So remind me, you got married before or after he went to war?

Rita Feather 

after he got back.

Katy Benson 

So then after Matt was born, did you stay home?

Rita Feather 

I did until he was in eighth grade. And then I went to work. The I had one job with my cousin’s insurance office that didn’t last long. And then, like I say, when Matt was in eighth grade, I started working in the cafeteria there in Liberty center and retired for 27 years later. I can’t believe I was I was there that long. But yeah,

Katy Benson 

I remember when you are in the cafeteria. Probably a lot of people do. Your ski was a quarter to you for whatever we wanted. I forgot. I was so generous. I because at that time, a little cup of ice cream was 50 cents. And so I use 25 cents for ice. And I pretty sure wasn’t supposed to do that. But I did it for my granddaughter. I think the boys, meaning my brothers. Did you do? Actually I think you did it for them too. 

Rita Feather 

I don’t remember.

Katy Benson 

I think I think they told me that you did? A couple times. Yeah. I mean, I know you were there.

Rita Feather 

Yeah. I remember, Kristofer and David. Yep. Because we really messed with one of their teachers, Mr. I can’t think of his name right now. The one that died well Oh shoot, because they kept calling me grandma and he was trying to figure out Oh, he’s your your Jeff’s mom then or whatever. I no. I said not legally and it just the poor guy Oberhouse. Mr. Oberhouse.

Katy Benson 

Yeah, yeah.

Rita Feather 

Randy. Yep. Oh, it was so much fun to mess with his mind.

Katy Benson 

I said, it’s all perfectly illegal. It’s true. We have a lot of aunts and grandparents that really aren’t our grandparents and aunts.

Rita Feather 

That’s a good thing.

Katy Benson 

That’s right.  Do you have any stories of working at the cafeteria besides us?

Rita Feather 

I loved working there. I loved watching the kids come through every year. I don’t know how many kids I would have seen go through from kindergarten through their senior year. I don’t know how many I followed like that. But in every year when we go back in the fall to see how some of these kids that either shot up or so totally changed in their looks, it was just fun. The thing I hated the most was mopping but we hated mopping. I still hate mopping but the rest of the job I liked. Because another gal and I ran the alacarte line

Katy Benson 

wasn’t it Mrs. Babcock do it for a while with you.

Rita Feather 

She ended up because I started out with Doris Reared and then when Doris retired Candy took over so he yeah Candy and I. Then I retired. Now it was fun. Because especially Candy and I being friends and going to church together. It was fun working together.

Katy Benson 

So when you were growing up, did you attend church? Did you have a church family?

Rita Feather  

The closest I come would be the Methodist Church in Napoleon, St. Paul United Methodist And as my sister and I got a little older, like maybe sixth grade, Junior High once in a while on Sunday morning mom would drop us off at church and then her parents lived in town so she just go down and visit with them. The only other time we were in the church and that was wasn’t often was maybe if there was a funeral there a wedding. So I had basically no religious background.

Katy Benson 

When did you start going to church? Since I already know you go to church.

Rita Feather 

When I started dating Wayne, basically start going to church with him and then we were married in that Methodist Church just because it was bigger than his family church. But then we went right back to his family church, and that’s where we were for a lot of years. Just a nice little country church and everybody knew everybody.

Katy Benson 

Mm hmm. So when did you start coming to Shiloh?

Rita Feather 

When Matt was in I think junior high, one of the women asked about him because the my boss at the school at the time went To Shiloh and her sister was in charge of the the kids club and she wondered if maybe Matt would be interested in coming because we were going to church in Archbold. And since it was to us far away, we only went on Sunday morning. So there was really nothing. No connection Matt had with the youth, unfortunately. And so since we lived in Liberty, we started going to Shiloh back, like I said, when Matt was like, Junior High possibly. And we’ve been there ever since. And he’s 47. I’m not sure how that happened either.

Katy Benson 

Right. anything particular like when he when Grandpa, or Wayne was at war, was there anything that you guys did to keep in contact

Rita Feather 

we wrote all the time, all the time. pen pals.

Katy Benson 

Which I know that from doing his oral history, you don’t have any other letters.

Rita Feather 

No. I don’t know why I threw him away. Because there was nothing in there. Nobody could read. You know, it’s no big deal, but I don’t know why I didn’t keep ‘em now that I look back on it would have been a good kind of follow through.

Katy Benson 

I mean, I mean, Im going to keep telling you that for a while. Yeah, no. Um, anything else? I mean, that you can tell us about your childhood maybe?

Rita Feather 

Well, like I said, growing up was wonderful. Just being on the farm. We always had cats. The one spring we had 29 cats between the mother cats and the kittens and eventually, by the time fall came, most of them were gone. They either ran away or who knows what happened to them? Yeah, that was the most cats we had at one time. And we always have a dog. Only one at a time. Do we always have a dog because when I first started growing up, it was a German Shepherd. And then it was a black dog named bud and then there was a his son so to speak, because he got real close with a neighbor, dog. His name Was Tippie because he was Brown and had a white tip on his tail. And then that’s the last I remember the dogs and when Wayne and I started dating, we had had Siamese cats. My grandparents gave us my sister and I each have male and female Siamese cat. So we had raised a couple batches of kittens. And the male that was mine was crosseyed. And so when Wayne and I started digging, he went to the Humane Society in Toledo wasn’t it?

Wayne Feather 

Yep.

Rita Feather 

And he found a male cross eyed Siamese cat. gave it to me, and I was just so amazed. I got home for work one day, he had no clue. This is all something he worked out with my parents. And I don’t remember Ching was sitting in the house. Or wait, was it Sam?

Wayne Feather 

Sam.

Rita Feather 

Sam? That’s right. My original was named Ching. I don’t remember he’s sitting in the window or so I’m when I got the house and here’s this cross eyed Siamese cat because by then mine was gone. And so we had him at that point. We got married and we brought him with us to Liberty And within a few months maybe or a year he went out one time and never came back so

Katy Benson 

is it true like Siamese cats dont needs to have a pair?

Rita Feather 

I never heard that. I just I just always heard that you shouldn’t let them near your kids cuz it’ll suck their breath like oh for Pete’s sake. What?! Suck… Supposedly suck their breath now it’s something to do with the smell of the milk. It’s an old wives tale.

Katy Benson 

That’s weird.

Rita Feather 

And then we got after Ching disappeared or after Sam disappeared then we got a female because again a gal I went to school with raised them so we got a kitten from her named her Sammy, Samantha. We had her for several years. And since we’ve been married, we’ve always had a dog to one at a time we had ended up going to have three dogs.

Katy Benson 

When I think of Siamese cats, I think of the Disney movie lady in the tramp. We are Siamese if you please  I love Disney.

Rita Feather 

But and like I said, just growing up on a farm it was just a neat life. And the really not neat part was we grew up with an outhouse. We did not have an indoor toilet. We had the tub in the sink in the bathroom. And this it was an old farmhouse. And our landlord didn’t see any reason. I mean, he lived in Mount Vernon, and he had all kinds of the indoor necessities he didn’t see any reason to put in in our house. So I grew up with an outhouse and never gave it a thought and a chemical toilet in the winter. So we didn’t have to go outside, which was disgusting.

Katy Benson 

I’ve heard of those too I think so he was telling me about that and how it was like in their basement or something  Hm mm that was where ours was. Yeah, that’s neat.

Rita Feather 

and then dad bless his Heart had to when that got full he had to take it up, carry it up as heavy as it was to carry and dump it somewhere on the field, I guess.

Katy Benson 

Wow.

Rita Feather 

There was like a white chemical in it. I don’t know what that was called anymore. But it was mixed with water and thats What you went in until it got disgusting and had to be changed

Katy Benson 

in the house for girls? I’m sure that was.

Rita Feather 

Oh, yeah, so it was fun and games. And the really fun part though, as far as the outhouse goes, since we had so many cats, you were never alone. Because no matter whether you went out in the morning or the evening, you always had cats that followed you and often they would sit on your lap while you were in the bathroom and keep your company and I know what sounds disgusting but that’s how we grew up. We never gave it a thought You don’t give it a thought.

Katy Benson 

So not having enough. So what other things like um, we were talking about outhouse.

Rita Feather 

Which lovely memory that had big lilac bush in front of it. I guess that was what was supposed to make it smell good. But at least we always had toilet paper because I remember hearing people talking about using the Sears catalog or whatever. Fortunately, we already said toilet paper. And then the really funny part was Yes, Wayne and I got married. It was probably two or three months after we moved out That the landlord finally decided to put a toilet but that was okay because we were married in our house hidden indoor toilet so I was thrilled to death that’s why I like to go visit my girlfriend’s in town and stay overnight with him because they had indoor toliet

Katy Benson 

the little things he did for her grandpa like a toilet. Um so like what other kinds of things like we grew up you know with like a color television.

Rita Feather 

But we started out with black and white,

Katy Benson 

black and white.

Rita Feather 

I always remember having a television. And I don’t remember when we got the colored one but it was black and white and we started up

Katy Benson 

what TV shows as you watch.

Rita Feather 

I remember. Captain Kangaroo and Romper Room and there were westerns on and Saturday night we watched the westerns and Lawrence Welk and that kind of stuff. Perry Mason, not necessarily on Saturday night. These are just the ones that there were a lot of Westerns Back then Gunsmoke and all kinds of stuff like that.

Katy Benson 

How about like, did you have a house telephone?

Rita Feather 

Yep. And it was a regular and we never had the crank. I remember my great grandparents having a great phone at their house, but we always had a regular dial

Katy Benson 

Did you have a party line.

Rita Feather 

Yep. To start with, it did. I don’t remember how long that lasted. But you know, we try not to listen in or anything, they pick it up, but it mostly I remember having a regular private line because eventually they switched it over. The regular rotary dial phones, none of this instant stuff,

Katy Benson 

right. I was talking to somebody about that to the other day about how everything is in the palm of your hand. Now, when I don’t know if it really was life was any simpler without it, but I feel like it would be a little bit

Rita Feather 

and then another thing from the youth, we hit milkman come because we had some milk cows and he pick up the milk because we started in like in the milk house that’s what we called it I’m thinking it was like had water in it possibly they put the milk cans down in the water, keep it cool till he could get there. And we had an outside pump for for water. Just it was out by the barn and there was a tin cup seriously that hung on it and anybody that wanted to drink, just pump the handle to prime it and drink out of it. So I don’t know how many different people poverty and drink on that cup and we never I don’t ever remember to eat in the house in Washing it. And then we used to have bread men come to our house. There’s a brand man. Yep, nickels, nickels, bread. Oh, nickels. Yeah, would come and mom could order her stuff off there. We had the fuller brush man that would come and sell like brushes and seems to me soap other household goods, household cleaners. And besides fuller brush, there was another one that I can’t think of right now. There were two different Oh shoot I can’t think of the other one but you know back then they came to the house

Katy Benson 

Yeah, there’s a lot of sales people that just door to door that’s how they made their living. Yeah,

Rita Feather 

exactly.

Katy Benson 

Now no we don’t want people knocking on our front door, go away

Rita Feather 

close the blinds shut off the lights pretend your not home

Katy Benson 

Don’t answer the door

Rita Feather 

the Raleigh man that was he sold a lot of like vanilla, the flavorings that kind of he handled more like spices that kind of thing was Raleigh man and then the fuller brush man was more cleaning products that kind of stuff

Katy Benson 

only people I remember would be the sweeper guy he’d come to her house there’s always were sweeper guys Like vacuum people .

Rita Feather 

I can remember that. But I’m not. I’m not real sure. Encyclopedia salesman.

Katy Benson 

Oh, yeah, that was one

Rita Feather 

I think that’s where we get our Encyclopedia Britannica. Probably was from the salesman

Katy Benson 

The Schwans man but he’s still while he doesn’t go to our house anymore, but he kind of

Rita Feather 

we didn’t have the Schwans man back then.

Katy Benson 

Well, you missed out.

Rita Feather 

Probably just as well. Homemade ice cream was good.

Katy Benson 

Yes, yes. Your favorite was what? Oh, just vanilla.

Rita Feather 

Oh, really? That was my one grandma’s favorite no matter what, how many flavors she’ll have vanilla

Katy Benson 

then I can add whatever I want. And some days I might not feel like this but then I can add that. But it’s always the same when I go to grandpa’s it’s always the same. Yeah, so when did you first start driving?

Rita Feather 

I was 16 and that was a big deal. Yeah, big deal. I could not wait to drive.

Katy Benson 

Where’s the first place you went?

Rita Feather 

The license Bureau to get my

Katy Benson 

you drove to get your license.

Rita Feather 

Well, I had my permit.

Katy Benson 

That’s true

Rita Feather 

but the thing is, I felt horrible. I flunked it the first time I flunked in parallel parking. I was devastated because all my friends are getting their licenses and I thought oh good so dad bless his heart. He took measurements or whatever set it up at home I practiced and practiced. So when I went back a week or two later, it took me the second try of pulling in but I passed the second time because I like I said, I was devastated. I didn’t pass the first time.

Katy Benson 

Well, Grandpa knows how well I do on tests Not very well.

Rita Feather 

I love driving.

Katy Benson 

who was what was your first car

Rita Feather 

that I actually owned?

Katy Benson 

Or you drove and then owned

Rita Feather 

Okay, I drove mom and dad 60 something Mercury is a big blue. That’s what we had I think at the time when I started driving. And then I bought Well, when I graduated in 1965, Mom and Dad got me a

Wayne Feather 

59

Rita Feather 

59 Ford blue in white, no power steering, I was used to power steering hand choke. I wasn’t used to. But I learned and I remember mom that I knew nothing about it. And Mom, there was a Ford dealer and Napoleon cross from chief supermarket. And Mom said, I want to take it. We’ll show you some. So we got in the car, and we drove through the parking lot. She said, there’s your graduation present. And I just started crying. Oh my gosh, I got my own car.

Katy Benson 

That’s awesome.

Rita Feather 

So that was neat. And her name was Freda because there was a dead fly behind the the instrument panel and my dad. All the years he lived he still remember the name of that car. He talked about freedom.

Katy Benson 

I think in my family, the only person that named their cars was Kristofer

Rita Feather 

Really, okay.

Katy Benson 

Yep. Well, I mean, we named our parents cars growing up but like, personally named their cars with Kristofer  Monicawas his black car. And poor Monica. Had to get sold Black. You might have been a Chevy, but doesn’t really matter.

Rita Feather 

It had to get sold.

Katy Benson 

Poor Monica. But um, so ask where’s the first like, besides going get your license? Where’s the first place? You’re like, I have my license where Did you go?

Rita Feather 

I honestly don’t remember. No, I don’t I just remember a lot of times on Friday nights, a lot of us girls would pile in my car I shouldn’t say alot. would get my car or whoever’s whoever’s trip was to drive, we get in the car and maybe go to defiance. Because there was a couple of dance places over there we go or bars, which really says a lot about my upbringing.

Katy Benson 

It was it was, I mean, were there much to do in Napoleon. I mean,

Rita Feather 

well, our big thing at that point was where George’s furniture is now was a place called the Metropole, which was a bar They would have bands come in and there was dancing and that’s where we kind of congregated on the weekends. I mean, kids from all over would come there.

Katy Benson 

Did you have to be a certain age to go?

Rita Feather 

That’s a good question. I knew we had to be a certain age to drink

Katy Benson 

was it 21

Rita Feather 

See? I’m trying to remember back that probably

Wayne Feather 

do three to beer.

Rita Feather 

Yeah, three two beer at 18. That’s right. You know, so

Katy Benson 

Whats that? Three two beer

Rita Feather 

low alcohol content. You couldn’t get any hard drinks like, like wine or whiskey or anything like that, which you could drink beer. Which I did a lot of back.then

Katy Benson 

And what so I guess how do I want to ask this question. Was there any big historical events that you remember? Growing up, like wars like presidential elections, anything

Rita Feather 

The first presidential election I remember was back. I don’t remember what year it was. But it was when Eisenhower became president. That’s the first person I remember. Yeah. And then, of course, as years went on, not only the elections, but there was then the moon. The whole issue with getting up to the moon and that kind of stuff and

Katy Benson 

being in this, this area, this rural community area. What was it? Like? I mean, you’re they always talk about, oh, well, you know, kind of like, you know, the movies or historical events, like, you know, they say, the experience of the people that actually were in it, or happening at that moment. What was it like living here? When it happens? You

Rita Feather 

we watched it on television. Yeah. Yeah. And it was fascinating. I mean, you can’t, you couldn’t imagine you could put somebody on the moon and they were walking on the moon that was beyond anything that we ever thought could happen. And then all this stuff stepped in since. Yeah.

Katy Benson 

Yeah. Crazy

Rita Feather 

And back then it was like with the wars. Well like World War Two, which is the closest one I knew of because my dad was in it. And then he got home mom and actually he didn’t mom got married before he left for overseas. He was in the seabees. And then he came home and then I was born and eventually my sister and then all the stuff that’s happened since World War Two that

Katy Benson 

did he talk about the war a lot.

Rita Feather 

Not a lot, but I don’t think he saw a lot of nasty action because the Seabees crew that he was with, they would build like runways, landing strips, that kind of stuff. And from what I remember him telling it was almost like it was a vacation for him.

Katy Benson 

Really,

Rita Feather 

that’s not the word he used but he didn’t see direct combat Sure.

Katy Benson 

So is definitely different than somebody who Did

Rita Feather 

Oh, definitely. Yeah.

Katy Benson 

I mean, everybody has to play their role in it rather they saw action or not to make it,

Rita Feather 

sureit to make it all work and all fit together. So

Katy Benson 

he still served

Rita Feather 

under the served his time. just happened Thank the Lord. Yeah, it wasn’t a danger zone so to speak, not that ever mentioned you were never been born that’s right in the world would have been worse off for so much better

Katy Benson 

What would you have done without grandma

Rita Feather 

been boring

Katy Benson 

any other historical events that you can think of or remember, who was the first president that you voted for? Do you remember

Rita Feather 

No, I don’t. There was thinking of Nixon, but I think I was too young. For him, maybe whoever was after Nixon. Well, I couldn’t vote to your What 21 really or was it 18 21 wasn’t it

Wayne Feather 

I think so

Katy Benson 

really some but isn’t now 18 I wonder why they did that?

Rita Feather 

I don’t know. Maybe people whined about it

Katy Benson 

and maybe they needed more voters

Rita Feather 

Yeah there you go let’s lower the age bring them in. That’s good Katy

Katy Benson 

Any other big events? You can think of?

Rita Feather 

Not that I can think of offhand because everybody knows how things have advanced. Yeah. With the space program and the different wars and just the new phones and all these new innovations. Just can’t imagine

Katy Benson 

keep going. Yeah. I mean, like is the

Rita Feather 

end people have said this, a lot of this stuff showed up on Star Trek.

Katy Benson 

It did. Blame Star Trek And there was another TV show too that they blame onto but I forget. Star Trek was a big one.

Rita Feather 

Yeah, definitely

Katy Benson 

it was

Rita Feather 

when we look back on it now and what we watch them and what they did, I thought, Oh, come on and it’s happening. It’s come to reality.

Katy Benson 

Captain Kirk will play Captain Kirk I know this.

Rita Feather 

Robert Oh, come on Rita

Katy Benson 

Dad is gonna be ashamed of me. I

Rita Feather 

Robert, Robert Conrad.

Katy Benson 

No. Anyway, it doesn’t really matter. But okay, so what I really want to know is, how did grandpa propose to you?

Rita Feather 

He got home from Vietnam. And while he was there, I found out later he bought my engagement ring.

Katy Benson 

He bought it in Vietnam.

Rita Feather 

Yep,

Katy Benson 

Really? Thats cool.

Rita Feather 

because we went shopping before he left. He said lets go look at engagement rings, and he said now don’t get excited I am not getting you a ring now because in case something happens to me I don’t want you to have worry about that. So we went and looked at rings so he had an idea of what I liked.  and when his lutient came home just a couple weeks before he did and he gave the him the ring. His lutent lived in California and so i flew out to California and met him so we went to his lutients and the first night we were together after 14 months he asked me to marry him and he whipped out the rings and I couldn’t have picked out a better set so he did a beautiful job so we got engaged in California.

Katy Benson 

Wow! That is cool. How long was it before you got like, came home? Like how long we were California.

Rita Feather 

Came home you get home in June of 69. And we were married in February of 70.

Katy Benson 

 How long were you dating before?

Rita Feather 

We met in 66. November of 66 and got married in February of 70. Because part of that time to begin with, he was at Michigan State in college and then he got drafted into the service and he had to serve that time. And then so we like I said, it’s we were like pen pals for most of the years we went together because I wrote him in college and then wrote him in Vietnam.

Katy Benson 

I how many years apart are you?

Rita Feather 

 I am five months older than he is. So he’s always said I married an older woman

Katy Benson 

did not know that.

Rita Feather 

The first family one of the first family reunions I ever went with to him on his mom’s side. I didn’t know till later he went around telling like aunts that I was five years older than he.Then eventually he I know I said five bullets.

Katy Benson 

Do you have any nieces or nephews from your sister?

Rita Feather 

No, she never had kids. We’ve got nieces and nephews on his side. But I don’t have any

Katy Benson 

you guys move to Liberty right after we were married, did you do guys, this is your first house?

Rita Feather 

We lived at the other end of the street runs West Maple Street. And we were there from February to July and we bought this house in July of 70. And I’ve been here ever since 50 years.

Katy Benson 

That’s pretty cool. Are there anybig moments in your marriage besides having Matt that you guys did together? You guys travel anywhere?

Rita Feather 

We never went a lot of places. We never took a lot of vacations. Probably the first one maybe we ever took was down to North Carolina to see one of your buddies went to Seabrook. And we once in a while would go to North Carolina we had friends from that we made here down there once in a while but we just weren’t

Katy Benson 

 Where at in North Carolina?

Rita Feather 

Andersonville now, thank you, dear.

Katy Benson 

I don’t really know much we just know where Raliegh is.

Rita Feather 

is there a Asheville?

Katy Benson 

Okay, I think. Okay.

Rita Feather 

And we’re still in touch with them to this day. That’s awesome. Yeah. A long time. Yeah, we didn’t do a lot of traveling or vacations. We just worked.

Katy Benson 

Did you have a honeymoon?

Rita Feather 

Yes. We got married in Napoleon went all the way to Defiance, to the Holiday Inn and then the next day we were back in Toledo and we saw a movie and we did some shopping to kind of get some things for the house. It was a very short honeymoon because he had to be back to work on Monday. I had the week off, but

Katy Benson 

they didn’t give me much time for your honeymoon.

Rita Feather 

Our marriage has been one long honeymoon.

Katy Benson 

Like she’s admitting it.

Rita Feather 

But I’m laughing at the same time.

Katy Benson 

I know I think it’s better than that don’t you grandpa?

Wayne Feather 

Yeah

Rita Feather 

First Matt’s graduation was a big deal and then his marriage and that’s right. And having the kids and now he’s a grandpa, which makes us feel a little old but not too much.

Katy Benson 

Hannah just graduated high school.

Rita Feather 

She graduated the spring

Katy Benson 

which they had a unique graduation because of the Coronavirus

Rita Feather 

was that much of a graduation at all but it worked and what was neat was we couldn’t ride with him in the car up there like we planned on because Hannah’s his brother so that didn’t give us enough room but they telavised it so we get to sit in the office here and watch it That’s cool. So that that was good and then Matt would text us  Okay, mom was the next one’s up so it was when we knew Hannah was gonna be up

Katy Benson 

It’s gotten so much bigger, like so many more kids graduating at a time than when I was in school. You know, I mean,

Rita Feather 

you remember how many when you’re graduating class?

Katy Benson 

Yes We had 72 or 74.

Rita Feather 

Okay,

Katy Benson 

we had one well had two pass away. So one was my junior year and one was my senior year. One was a good friend of mine, which is he, we were actually just like a week before we plan on getting together and hanging out and stuff. That never happened. But he was a nice guy and the other guy. I knew him but he went to four county so like we weren’t like, close friends or anything like that. I had a couple classes with them. But then we also had some that were kind ofbarely making it able to walk.Just because they were not because they weren’t like bad kids or anything they just like to toe the line a little bit but 72 I think it was I mean, Kristofer and David were in the 90’s. That was pretty good. I think I don’t remember how many Elizabeth had. But I mean, she was averaged around that to everybody in high school. I mean, I remember everybody in high school we like, to this day when you could go from say, Hi, you know, things like that.

Rita Feather 

Thats neat.

Katy Benson 

just kind of cool. But we played sports together or something. I mean, we weren’t best friends and hang out on the weekend. But we knew each other enough to Yeah, we were in your graduating class do you remember,

Rita Feather 

I think around 120. Napoleon, it was a bigger, bigger school.

Katy Benson 

I guess the Napoleon is always Yeah. Been a little bit bigger. Yeah.

Rita Feather 

Tell her how many were in your graduating class at Grand Rapids.

Wayne Feather 

55

Katy Benson 

55.

Rita Feather 

And that was the biggest class he said at that point.

Katy Benson 

That’s kind of nice and neat. So you knew everybody pretty much.

Wayne Feather 

Right

Katy Benson 

Yeah, some of the schools now are like, thousands and they split up into two or three different schools and like what? Yeah. So did you have a best friend that stuck with you for?

Rita Feather 

Yes, her name is Judy. We started being friends in junior high and have stayed friends. All these years still are

Katy Benson 

She still around here.

Rita Feather 

She lives in Ottawa. Her husband and her live in Ottawa. And we text a lot and talk call each other a lot. And then another gal we became friends in junior high. Sixth grade, actually, her parents, they were Canadians, and they moved down here because her dad worked for Campbell Soup. And we are still in contact. We’re still friends after all these years since Junior High sixth grade for her.

Katy Benson 

So that’s neat. Were you involved in any sports?

Rita Feather 

Not really. I wasn’t interested in sports. I mean, it was in GAA girls Athletic Association, but a whole bunch of girls were I really liked archery in high school is really good in archery.

Katy Benson 

Ah, that’s how she won your heart to

Rita Feather 

 just shot right in the heart.

Katy Benson 

That’s that’s what that scars from that you told me earlier, not the leech from from grandma.

Rita Feather 

I was just that guy that was here today about that story.

Katy Benson 

So since we are recording, and this is a separate thing, so Wayne was in the service and there’s leeches and one. He said he couldn’t feel it. And so it was sucking on him and he has a scar. And he told us, right in his chest, yeah, right by his heart. And he said that he came home and he said he was shot. And Rita believed him until later. So that’s why We’re talking about

Rita Feather 

with that would have been a bullet I would have been dead.

Katy Benson 

Did I get that about right, the story Yeah you did very good Memory dear. We’re so proud. Thank you. It’s not always there. I’ll never forget that one.

Rita Feather 

Me either.

Katy Benson 

Im sure you wont. So when you met I keep wanting to call grandpa Wayne, for purpose of recording. What would car was he driving?

Rita Feather 

We have this neat Cadillac. What was this 70? 60 Cadillac, Big Blue Sucker. I loved Cadillacs. I always love Cadillacs. We met at a party in a basement. Because my girlfriend was dating. We found out later his one of his buddies. And this was Dale’s going away party, the Air Force. So he said we’ll bring some friends. Come over. And we did and we walked down in the basement and there’s Wayne holding a handful of field corn. And it just kinda took off from there. And I really loved the Cadillac because he took a bunch of us out for ride. And I had a 66 Mustang that he really liked. And then once I really liked him and stuff, then he told me the car was his dads. I was. Oh by that time I was hooked. So yeah. So that and like I said, meeting in the basement, I always figured our relationship had nowhere to go but up.

Katy Benson 

In that sense, it’s true. How many years exactly has it been married?  We’ve been married 50 years is this past February 2020 50 years Well, no, March, January, February, March. So march was the beginning of basically COVID wasn’t it? Technically how So did we have? Do we have a party for you guys?

Rita Feather 

No.

Katy Benson 

Why not?

Rita Feather 

Because are son didn’t think about it.

Katy Benson 

Well, everything with COVID now is getting pushed back a year. So like Henry County, it’s 200 year this year.

Rita Feather 

Oh I didn’t know that.

Katy Benson 

And it’s the is it,  I’m gonna get it wrong, but the Henry County Historical Society is their big monument year as well. So with COVID. You know, you can’t really do anything so we are pushy all the celebrations back until next year. So that’s what we should. We should have a party for you.  We’ll give we’ll give Matt a little leeway there.

Rita Feather 

 Okay. In speaking of monumental things, they have just recently taken the Lady Justice down to the courthouse as I drove through Saturday. afternoon and she was on this low trailer. Yeah, like with a call drop deck trailer, sitting right by the Hon center there. in Napoleon as I drove through to get groceries I I told Wayne I wished I would have stopped and taken a picture. Yeah, she didn’t look near as big as I thought she would now in the paper today

Katy Benson 

was she standing up or she was she laying down

Rita Feather 

upright,

Katy Benson 

 really

Rita Feather 

now the paper today in the northwest that says she’s 13 feet tall, and I didn’t want that tall to me, but I guess you know what, she’s way up high. And I just figured she was huge and she wasn’t that big.

Katy Benson 

Why did they take her down? I never

Rita Feather 

she needs repairs.

Katy Benson 

Okay, so then they’re gonna put it back up.

Rita Feather 

They’re gonna try to be said in the paper today. They said they’d have to X ray and see what condition the metal is in her framework or whatever to see. If they can’t repair her, they’ll replace it.

Katy Benson 

Okay, I wouldn’t like we were talking about that at our meeting, the Historical Socity meeting. And this is news to me. But then I also don’t follow really any new cycles at all. So I have no idea Do I also don’t live in town either? So I feel just send the paper home with you.

Rita Feather 

And on the front page there are pictures

Katy Benson 

Read all about it.

Rita Feather 

Yeah, extra extra.

Katy Benson 

Yeah.  That’s really cool. I hope somebody,  I’m sure somebody from the Historical Society was there.

Rita Feather 

Oh, I would imagine I can’t imagine it wouldn’t have been easy. But like I said, on the back page, there’s more. It’s just an I was just fascinated driving through, I almost pulled over. And I wish that I could kick myself now for not pulling over and taking a picture of it.

Katy Benson 

Well, I guess for me, I don’t even know where I got it from. I think I’m gonna blame aunt Jennifer for it. For scrapbooking and pictures, I don’t know, it’s always been one of those things. And so my friends always gives me a hard time about taking so many pictures. I’ll never have time to scrapbook them all. But yeah, I would have shot myself too if I was to take picture now.

Rita Feather 

I mean, I’ll never get that close to that statute again.

Katy Benson 

I mean, If it’s a monument it’s not like Lady Liberty in New York or anything

Rita Feather 

But its our Lady Justice.

Katy Benson 

That’s right. That’s right. That’s pretty cool.  I’m just glad I got to see her.  Yeah, that’s for sure. Oh, it’s really awesome. Not many people can say that they will ever have a chance.

Rita Feather 

Oh, no. It was funny. There’s a thing in here it said there was a bicycling group from California,

Katy Benson 

California

Rita Feather 

traveling across the country stepped into point and Saturday afternoon for lunch and learned about the courthouse. Four bicyclists for California of all places.  And happened to be here when she came down.

Katy Benson 

Thank you. Yeah I will read that.

Rita Feather 

 Okay.

Katy Benson 

So I am ask this  because I always like to know what favorite color?

Rita Feather 

Purple. I believe

Katy Benson 

what?

Rita Feather 

What! A shocker

Katy Benson 

Yeah, we’re sitting here and everything’s purple.

Rita Feather 

And I don’t have any purple on today, just a wine in my glasse right now

Katy Benson 

 yeah you do in your bracelet

Rita Feather 

my granddaughter,  that Hannah gave me Yes. granddaughter gave me that? because usually I pretty much dressed in purple.

Katy Benson 

Yeah, your hair purple for a while.

Rita Feather 

I did. I just didn’t take time to spray it today.

Katy Benson 

So, if you don’t mind me asking. I know you’ve struggled with some health issues. What were they?

Rita Feather 

I am a breast cancer survivor goes back I Wayne and I both retired in 2013. And I felt in the fall before we went back to school in the fall of 2012. I just felt God speaking to to me saying it’s time to retire because like I said, I’ve been there 27 years and It was just really firm. So I told my boss about it in December so and then I retired in May of 2013. He retired in what November and into 2014. Our health just went to pot because he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s in 2014. In really odd in October of 2014, which is Breast Cancer Awareness Month is when I was diagnosed with breast cancer. So at the end of October, I had a mastectomy and then starting in December of 2014 through 2015. I went through chemotherapy and radiation. Thank the Lord, I’m a survivor and then yeah, that was not a fun time. But with a sense of humor. I got through it and I made some good friends. I’m still really close friends with another couple we met there because I found out while taking treatments when this guy was that he was in Vietnam. So I told Wayne to come with me the next time so we got to be good friends with him and his wife, Chrissy and Wayne had so much in common. And then another gal that was there. I call her my chemo buddy Linda because I have three friends named Linda. Come to find out she is really good friends with a guy I graduated with so that just cemented our friendship and the both of us going through breast cancer at the same time in the treatment. That’s pretty cool.  So it was it was a great time actually, it wasn’t exactly fun. But like I said, I have a good sense of humor. So   I got through it and God was right there every step of the way. And lots of good friends and family praying for us. Yes.

Katy Benson 

Yes, you do Yeah, same with Grandpa over here to see my grandpa over here.

Rita Feather 

Yes, exactly. He said cancer three different times. So here he is.

Katy Benson 

So I’m pretty sure I asked you this but what came first the cancer or Parkinson’s?

Rita Feather 

cancer

Katy Benson 

cancer first which Kind of lead into the Parkinson’s Is that correct?

Rita Feather 

Well, yeah I eventually because he the first cancer about was in 1990 and then diagnosed in 2014 with the Parkinson’s And then eventually he had cancer of the bowel and then of the bladder and then cancer ended up in like his jaw. But Praise the Lord.

Katy Benson 

Here you are.

Rita Feather 

were tough old bird last name Feather, birds

Katy Benson 

Which we found out that before we started the interview, I was sharing with Wayne over here where his ancestors came, we went back six generations with him and his dad side. So the Feather side and they came from England, which you always joked that you were Native American, which did come up and I searched, but it wasn’t right.

Rita Feather 

It was just to me it was just too obvious, Native American.

Katy Benson 

And I always do you still sign your name with the feather?

Rita Feather 

sometimes. Yeah. Instead of signing my name I’ll just tape or feather on the card and yeah, oh yeah, I just did that recently. They’re usually purple feathers. If I can find it small, it depends on what size the card is and how much room I have. Sometimes I have to go to a different color. And there are times that I’ve used a stamp that was in the shape of a feather stamp. He had purple,

Katy Benson 

purple, of course

Rita Feather 

and stamped it on now.

Katy Benson 

So just going back a little bit. Okay, so your last name is Jennings. Did you have a relationship with like real grandparents around here or great grandparents  I had. On my dad’s side. I never knew my grandparents on my mom’s side because they were just enough older. But I had great grandparents on dad’s side, both his mom’s and his dad’s parents. I knew them. my great grandparents. Did you spend a lot of time with them or  not a lot. But once in a blue moon or like on a Sunday afternoon, we take a drive and end up at their house just to visit. That’s what’s on my dad’s side. On his mom’s side. Usually they had his grandparents had the family reunions because they bought a farm in the country and we go there for the family reunions. And like I said, mom’s side was just enough older I didn’t know her grandparents. I knew my grandparents, folks. And they lived in Napoleon and my grandparents on my dad’s side lived inNapoleon too so we saw them quite often. What was your mom’s occupation?

Rita Feather 

Well, let’s see. Mainly being a mother. I mean, she worked it i think that i said the telephone company or the farm but I can’t remember what she did when she first got out of school. And then she and dad got married and had us my sister night. And eventually she went back to work at Chief Supermarket actually and she was working there when our son Matt was born 70 teeth in the same place. Yeah, she started out at the Chief in Napoloen and ended up at the as the head of the deli in Defiance Chief.

Katy Benson 

Okay, I’ve been that one but I don’t know if that’s the original chief or not on the other side of the river

Rita Feather 

 Yeah, I think an old Chief but that’s where she ended up working then and then eventually retired. And she helped a lot on the farm. She was a good farm wife. So she takes you know, fixed meals for dad and grandpa and take it to them in the field at noon. And or if they were coming in the house, she always had dinner ready for him and she was a hard worker. We always had a big garden and she did a lot of canning and freezing

Katy Benson 

Then that could pass on to you.

Rita Feather 

Nope. At one point I did can tomatoes I remembered how to do that mom helped me through that. But then I just decided it’s just easier to go to a farmers market or something because I tried gardening for two years did not turn out well. So I just decided to use the farmers market or through the stores.

Katy Benson 

And was the grocery experience different than it is now? That’s a good question. I mean, I don’t remember. It’s always been the same for me. So, but I remember like, maybe in the 40s 50s that, you know, they have their occupation called checkers, and they like, Oh, that’s true. You’re right. And they were called checkers. Just as a different experience, and you would have now,can you remember?

Rita Feather 

 I guess I didn’t pay a lot of attention back then. Because I was younger. It wasn’t until I actually got married in 70 that I started really really paying attention to the grocery store because I was the one that had to do the shopping and then you and I took my one grandma’s shopping often cuz she couldn’t drive the one grandma and then my other grandma like could drive we would take off and go to Toledo shopping and spend time together. I mean, I had different relationships with both my grandma’s just because of the circumstances And I’m just so thankful because there are people nowadays basically don’t know their grandparents because they live too far away. And I am so thankful I was raised with my grandparents and great grandparents.

Katy Benson 

I think that is hard

Rita Feather 

But I think kids that don’t know their grandparents or great grandparents, and it’s so sad, I’m just so thankful that I did.

Katy Benson 

So you didn’t really go to church or anything until after you met Wayne. So from remembering his like, story, what was it like for you when he called you and he said, Hey, I want a Bible. What do you think?

Rita Feather 

It was neat? Because, well, I wasn’t saved though by the time he went overseas. He was we found out later. But I just I did the best I could at that point because I wasn’t saved. And we committed until after we were married, and he got home for Vietnam and after we were married, because we got married in February, I think it was about July that we got saved because there was a an evangelist at our church and his mom went forward and his brother and sister in law went forward all that day. And we’re all saved and but back then when he asked for the Bible, I I don’t even remember where I got it. At least I made sure he had one.

Katy Benson 

Do you remember?

Wayne Feather 

Gilbert, the drugstore

Katy Benson 

Gilbert, from the drugstore? Really? Wow

Rita Feather 

I don’t think they sold Bibles at the drugstore.

Katy Benson 

Maybe they did. I don’t know.

Rita Feather 

But anyway, I made sure he got one, just don’t remember where.

Katy Benson 

So I know since he is sitting here with us I kinda would like to ask him some questions a little bit too but so when I was doing your family history and I saw on your parents gravesite there was a, maybe a memorial to Glen and it said something like what did it say? I’d have to look it up but say something about very encouraging spiritual. That was your brother, correct?

Wayne Feather 

Yes.

Katy Benson 

 And he died in a car accident. Correct.

Wayne Feather 

Thats right, 1957.

Katy Benson 

That’s right.  And that was the brother that you’re talking about that went to with you to

Rita Feather 

know I never knew Glen, it was before I came into the family.

Katy Benson 

So was he saved? Was he the one that passed while going to get for schooling for being a pastor? Or am I not remember?

Rita Feather 

Yes, you’re right.

Katy Benson 

I’m right. Okay. I just couldn’t think of remember when I was reading that one I was looking it up. I’m like, Oh, I know. He told me but I can’t remember. Anything else you can think of off the top of you head. I mean,

Rita Feather 

I can’t think anything.

Katy Benson 

Favorite food, just random questions. I like to ask

Rita Feather 

lobster tail.

Katy Benson 

Really? Chocolate lots of chocolate. You really like lobster tail, do your chocolate on your lobster tail?

Rita Feather 

No. No. Not that bad. No, no. I like the lemon butter dip the lobster and lots of chocolate otherwise preferably dark chocolate, but milk chocolate will work too.

Katy Benson 

So if you think we travel anywhere before, like, Is there anything on your bucket list that you’d think of?

Rita Feather 

England? I would love to England like I said, I’ve always been fascinated because when I was in like fifth grade my girlfriends and I would one of us would be Queen Elizabeth and one of us would be Queen Victoria. And I always wanted to be Queen Elizabeth because that was the newer one so to speak, but she she got that and we would just play like during recess. I just remembered doing that. I don’t remember exactly what we did. But like I said, since fifth grade, I’ve been fascinated by anything British. Yeah.

Katy Benson 

I aske you your favorite food, favorite restaurant.

Rita Feather 

Olive Garden. I love Italian food.

Katy Benson 

Yep, they don’t have lobster tail.

Rita Feather 

I don’t care. That’s My favorite is the Olive Garden my favorite place to go.

Katy Benson 

I have always wanted to learn how to cook lobster, but it’s kind of expensive so it’s not something you can like trial and error. But I love seafood.

Rita Feather 

He allergic to it so shrimp and lobster oh yes it’s nasty.

Katy Benson 

So just you eat it or if like you come close to it like touches cuz some I mean there’s different

Rita Feather 

Far we know right now if he eats it

Katy Benson 

So really shell fish.

Rita Feather 

Now, he can eat clams. No problem but lobster and shrimp. Oh, not a good thing.

Katy Benson 

What happens?

Rita Feather 

He gets really sick.

Katy Benson 

really sick

Rita Feather 

really sick. Wow. Not a nice thing to go through.

Katy Benson 

Well remind me not to feed that to you. I will eat all you can get me but I love to go somewhere like on a coast somewhere and just eat all the seafood I want

Rita Feather 

that would be good.

Katy Benson 

But you need lots of money, because it is expensive. I will have to remember that. Maybe we should go sometime just for fun.

Rita Feather 

Yes. We should.

Katy Benson 

 Okay. Do you like it too?

Wayne Feather 

Yeah. I think the man’s Italian, steak.

Katy Benson 

Oh, the man’s Italian, Steak. It took me while to get that one.

Rita Feather 

Tahnk you. I was getting it either.

Katy Benson 

Speaking of steak, in case you didn’t know the log cabin is serving food now.

Rita Feather 

Oh, they don’t have the truck anymore. They’re actually open?

Katy Benson 

Well, I think they sell the truck, serve food and then the piece of it survived the fire.

Rita Feather 

Okay. have a friend that she and her brother go out there quite often on Wednesdays and have lunch and she the last one there last week she said they were still have using the truck.

Katy Benson 

From what I have heard. I’d like to go but I don’t have know if they are serving steak,  but I would assume they were. I don’t know for sure. I hope so. Cuz I like their steaks.

Rita Feather 

I’m never seen this sort of thing. I’m not a big steak eater.

Katy Benson 

 Well, will not talk to her for a few minutes.

Rita Feather 

You guys.

Katy Benson 

will talk about steak for awhile. Have you had the Log Cabin’s steak?

Wayne Feather 

Yeah

Rita Feather 

I don’t think you ever did. Because we were there with Karen and Paul and somebody else. I don’t know that you ever had steak did ya? I think it was more hamburgers and stuff.

Katy Benson 

They do have that. That’s pretty good. But I liked your steak. Now that I’m old enough like I still this is the deal more growing up like my parents when you know when we go out and we were you know, just to the age of just working hard and earning money. They’d still buy us, you know our food occasionally. But once we started earning money, if we wanted something, we you know, we would pay for it. And so now that I’m old enough, I’m gonna get my steak. I’m gonna pay for the steak. I don’t care.

Rita Feather 

That would be the last thing I’m more for seafood because I don’t use any kind of fish or anything at home because I can’t fix it like you can get in a resturant.

Katy Benson 

I tried. Well, there’s this really good. You can’t eat it, but there’s this really good recipe that I have. It’s a seafood. Well, it’s really a shrimp linguini it’s not alfrado out there or anything like that. It’s super good. I learned from my good friend rich for Rich Veereke. He should have been a chef. But I love cooking,  he he likes the attention to detail like I like and he likes the science behind it. I like science. So I just go over and we cook together and he teaches me then well this one is one that and it never will go bad and it’s so good. And it’s really simple like four or five ingredients like that. You can also put substitute like chicken and egg or whatever. Okay, we’ve done chicken and shrimp was done. I like muscles.

Rita Feather 

And I like my muscle fan

Katy Benson 

you put it in there and get enough butter on it and garlic.

Rita Feather 

See, I was with my sister one time when she ordered muscles. And there was a lot of garlic and butter involved.

Katy Benson 

Well, I think these are just frozen like you could get Walmart and they come in their shells precooked, but you just cook them for like five minutes like steam them. And then you have to take them out of the shells, which is a lot of work. But I’ll eat it. It’s worth it in th end. Yeah, like seafood. I like my serf and turf. So I get my steak in. steak and shrimp. I love mushrooms. That comes after mushrooms. Put it on there. I like my surf, turf and fungus. Baby amin mushrooms or fungus.

Rita Feather 

I love mushrooms to but your calling them fungus, thats funny. is true they are.

Katy Benson 

Well, we will have to go  out to the Olive Garden. I haven’t been in a long time. I will have to see if they had because I love pasta too. Yeah, I wonder if they have any I’m sure. See, that’s the thing with it’s just like subway. Like your a sandwich place. You should have an option for gluten free. Oh, you know what I mean?  I haven’t thought about the gluten already?  Yeah. So I’d have to see if they have gluten. If not, I don’t know. Yeah. You can come to if you like.

Wayne Feather 

 okay.

Rita Feather 

I can eat pasta.

Katy Benson 

I love pasta

Rita Feather 

me too. Oh my gosh

Katy Benson 

I don’t think I can think of anything else can you?

Rita Feather 

I just remember going back again to basically childhood well even in in high school, the times I spent with my grandparents, especially my grandma’s because one was just this meek little sweet little grandma fantastic cook and I got to where I would take her shopping like said she couldn’t drive and I was just enough taller than her even though being only five two, I was enough taller, I could reach things up high enough. I just felt so good because grandma was only like four ten

Katy Benson 

She was shorter than you?

Rita Feather 

Yes, she was shorter than me. In my family. On my mom’s side I was the tallest really like two and a half at that point. And mom and then my aunt and then my grandma.

Katy Benson 

How tall are  you right now?

Rita Feather 

five two, I lost a half inch over the years.

Katy Benson 

Five, two and a half will give it to her.

Rita Feather 

Yeah

Katy Benson 

I used to be the tallest of my siblings. Okay. And then my brother shot upand I enjoy looking up to them.

Rita Feather 

Men you can look up to that’s a good thing.

Katy Benson 

I can I really can. And like I say to Kristofer, sometimes I need to tell him like I need my older younger brothers help.

Rita Feather 

Your older younger brother. I like that. He is. That’s true he is your older younger brother. That’s funny.

Katy Benson 

Alright? Well, at this point at time, I can’t think of any other questions. Do you have any other questions? We should ask her. That we forgot

Wayne Feather 

 Can’t think of anything.

Katy Benson 

No. Okay. You’re off the hook. Okay. Interview over. And out.  Thank you for taking the time to do that.

Rita Feather 

It was fun. Just like when you interviewed grandpa. That was fun.

Katy Benson 

Well, thank you.

Both Rita and Wayne-photo curtesy of Matt Feather

“This oral history was a pleasure to do just like most are, however it is even more of a pleasure to have done Rita’s oral history because she had mentioned that she had no idea where her family was from or really any idea of her genealogy. Now her history will live on for future generations to here and read. I really enjoyed laughing and talking with both Rita and Wayne. I have had the privilege to call them Grandma and Grandpa my entire life! These relationships even if they are not blood, the ones you truly care for and love with last forever! Thank you for loving me like a true granddaughter.” -Katy Benson