Tuesday, February 2, 2010


My father, Irvin Edward Benninghoff, was a gentle spirit. One might say, surrendered.
This writing will not attempt to have you, my reader, know him from birth; but just a small portion of how I saw my father.
My mother, Catherine E. Benninghoff, was also a gentle spirit. A woman with great awareness of life around her. Her giving of me, in birth, almost ended both our lives.
These two important people, I will love forever.

This blog will speak only of a few things that I remember of my father and mother. My purpose is to show just a bit of their lives, and mine, intertwined like a delicate piece of lacework.

My father was a Car Inspector for the Nickel Plate Railroad, many years of his life. Sometimes, the cars and engines, had to be side-tracked for various maintenance and safety. Sometimes, we too, have to be Side Tracked.
Dad worked from midnight until 8am. Mom would have his lunch pail ready at 11: 30 pm, with good food she had made especially for his taste buds, and on those awful cold nights, warm clothing and boots were set-out to make sure he was protected against the elements.

When dad came home in the morning, he didn't go to bed; but instead, Spring, Summer, and Fall, he would tend his favorite project---the Garden! Dad loved that garden! It was the best garden around and all the neighbors shared in this garden. That was the best part for dad---giving away beautiful fresh vegetables! The neighbors loved him! Oh, not just for his garden! Dad would stop what he was doing to help anyone who needed it. They could count on "Irve" to help them!

Dad would proudly bring in his fresh produce and say, "Here you are Kate!" "Everything just like you asked." I can still see that big smile and twinkling eyes as he set the produce down and proceeded to put his arms around mom, who shyly pulled away. Dad was very affectionate; but mom seemed always shy. What happened to those immodest days?

Now mother canned most all the food that dad grew. She was a real artist when it came to canning (not to mention all the clothes she made for 3 girls!). Mom didn't just throw the food into the glass jars! She carefully placed vegetables, until they looked like a palette of color and design. One would think she was trying to paint a masterpiece!
When mom wanted a jar of something for supper, she would ask me to go down to the cellar and fetch it for her. I always hurried past the big scary old rumbling furnace with the dark-open coal bin close-by---then I could open the door to a riot of color, where Ball, Kerr, and Mason Jars stood like full-dressed soldiers waiting for me to give orders! This day, mom said I could pick any jar of fruit I wanted! Oh Boy! Peaches! My favorite! Mom canned the best peaches in the whole world! This day was a good side-track!

Now dad had chances to be promoted on up to engineer; but this would take him out-of-town for 3 days and mom did not like that at all! it was important then, to have the man of the house at home. Although it would mean more income, mom said she would do her part to help; as she wanted dad home!
So mom stuck to her word and washed and ironed Dr. Applebee's shirts!
He was very fussy and collars had to be starched and ironed perfectly! Mom could do this!
I guess this was a good side-track as we got to have dad home.
So how about you? Had some side-tracks" lately?
1929 (black Tuesday) was one of those "side tracks" that effected most Americans.
As a little girl, in age, I just barely remember a man with white hair, getting out of a black car and going into our house. What I do remember, is that when he left, my mom was crying---something I had never seen. FORECLOSURE!!! Sound familiar?
How does a mother tell her little girl that she could no longer live in the home she was born in?
Mother was silent. SIDE TRACKED.
I missed my birth-home terribly! Everything was different and strange to me. At my other home, I knew everyone up and down the street. We were all friends and shared in each others joys or sorrows. To this day, I can tell you all the people who lived in each house. You could say in modern slang---I was "nuts" about that street. The name of that street was, Walnut. (bad joke) and next is worse yet---we moved to Hickory Street!
Since this blog seems long, I am going to stop and continue another time. I pray that you enjoyed some of my ramblings of the past, and if I don't get back to it, nothing lost, I just got
SIDE TRACKED WITH LOVE of the Lord,--- calling me! Charlotte

1 comment:

  1. That was a wonderful snippet of grandpa and grandma! MORE, MORE!!