Today’s photo is of my great-grandmother, Bernice (Kraus) Benington, wife of Ralph Benington whose WWI experiences are documented in this series. Bernice is pictured standing outside her home at 420 Tiffin Avenue in Findlay, Ohio. Above her, on the porch, is her mother, Mary Josephine (Groth) Kraus.
Mary lived to a ripe old age. Just recently, I found a newspaper article profiling her on the occasion of her 90th birthday:
Findlay Woman, 90 Today, Says Days, Years Go Faster The Older One Gets
By MARGARET DENNIS
“The older you get the faster the days and years go flying by,” Mrs. Mary Kraus, 138 Trenton Ave., commented yesterday. So it isn’t worrying her a bit that, although she will be 90 years old today, her birthday will not be celebrated until Sunday.
Her children are planning an open house from 2 to 5 o’clock Sunday afternoon in the home where Mrs. Kraus lived for 60 years and where all of her six children were born. Located on US 224 in Marion Township, it is now the home of one of her grandchildren, Mrs. Clyde King.
All of her six children, including two who live in Oklahoma, will be at the celebration. So will most of her 14 grandchildren and 32 great-grandchildren. Friends of the family are also expected during the afternoon to offer their congratulations.
Two of Mrs. Kraus’ daughters, Mrs. Malcolm (Glenna) McFarland and her husband and Mrs. Elton (Mabel) Rose and Mr. Rose are expected to arrive Saturday from their homes in Tulsa, Okla.
The other children, all of whom live in Findlay, are Mrs. Parker (Carrie) Ickes, Mrs. Bernice Bennington, Mrs. Virgil (Frances) Saltzman and Clarence Kraus, with whom Mrs. Kraus lives.
“After my husband John died in 1930, I gave up my home and tried living in an apartment but I felt so boxed up,” she explained. “Then I lived around with all of my children but that didn’t work, either. It seemed I hardly got settled in one place until it was time to go somewhere else. So, since last November I’ve been living here with my son and my children come and visit me. It’s a lot easier on me.”
Oldest of Seven
Mrs. Kraus is the oldest of seven children born to Mr. and Mrs. John Groth who came here from Germany. The family consisted of two daughters and five sons. Mrs. Kraus’ sister, Mrs. Elizabeth Russell, lives in Biglick Township. All of her brothers are dead except one — John Groth of Calypso, Mont.
“That’s the sad thing about living so long,” Mrs. Kraus said. “All my classmates at the old Wolfe School are gone, too, except Mrs. Effie Carter. I hope she can come to my party.”
Mrs. Kraus recalls wading through deep snow and mud many days to attend the little one room school. It was about a mile from her home.
She has been a Lutheran all her life, and believes she is the oldest member of Trinity Lutheran Church.
A lot of her time is spent crocheting.
“I’ve made scads of pot holders, pillow cases and covers for heating pads. My great-granddaughters have pillow cases I have made tucked away in their hope chests. I’ve crocheted better than a hundred rugs, too.”
She likes to make rugs better than any other crocheting she does, but admits they are getting a little heavy for her to handle. Her hands are badly crippled by arthritis but as she says, “I’m going to keep on crocheting as long as I possibly can. I think the exercise is good for my hands.”
Proud of Her Rugs
She is proud of her rugs. She makes all shapes and sizes but, “I can’t make them pretty if the rags aren’t pretty,” she pointed out.
Mrs. Kraus says her eyesight isn’t too good but so far that hasn’t hindered her in her crocheting. But she doesn’t care for television.
“My eyes are better than my ears,” she said, “so even if I can see the picture I don’t know what it is about because I can’t hear the conversation.”
No one ever sees Mrs. Kraus without her white hair neatly combed, rouge and powder on her face and wearing a pretty housedress, according to her daughter-in-law, Mrs. Clarence Kraus.
“Yes, I powder up a little bit,” confessed the peppy little woman who will be 90 years old today. “They say if you curry an old horse he’ll look better!”
Mrs. Kraus is looking forward to Sunday when she will be going back to the house where she lived the longest and most important part of her life and which is filled with memories, both happy and poignant.
With relatives and friends there to help her celebrate her ninetieth birthday the house will bring an experience which will provide her with another happy memory.