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Legacies Project Oral History: June and Clyde Bennett

When: 2020

Mary June Bennett was born in 1922 in Evanston, Illinois. She grew up in Ann Arbor and Birmingham, Michigan during the Prohibition Era. After attending the University of Michigan, she joined the Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service (WAVES) and graduated from midshipman’s school at Smith College in 1944. She was photo editor of the U.S. Navy’s All Hands Magazine. She had three children with her first husband, Maxwell Matthews, and after their divorce she married Clyde “Buck” Bennett in 1967. She was a family therapist for 25 years. She passed away in 2016.

Clyde “Buck” Bennett was born in 1918 in Houdathotit, Alabama. When he was 10, his family moved to Birmingham, Michigan. He attended Birmingham High school and two years at Antioch College, where he gained experience in sales and newspaper advertising. Bennett served in World War II, and returned to Michigan to work for the Jam Handy Organization and Chrysler Advertising. Later in life he switched careers to become CEO of the Bennett Realtors and Commercial Development Company in Deland, Florida. He passed away on January 25, 2020.

June and Clyde Bennett were interviewed as part of an internship at Applied Safety and Ergonomics in Ann Arbor in 2008 as part of the Legacies Project.


  • [00:00:00] LYNETTE SCORE: Are we rolling?
  • [00:00:10] SPEAKER 1: Yes.
  • [00:00:13] LYNETTE SCORE: This part of the interview is about the part of life that you guys had together back when you were still working and when you were raising the kids and stuff. Tell us about your children and what it was like having them at the house.
  • [00:00:33] JUNE BENNETT: When we married?
  • [00:00:34] LYNETTE SCORE: Yes.
  • [00:00:35] JUNE BENNETT: Bedlam. Did you tell them about our children? Have you covered this?
  • [00:00:42] CLYDE BENNETT: Only that we had five teenagers.
  • [00:00:44] JUNE BENNETT: Five teenagers; two 13-year-old girls that were not really related until then and a 15-year-old boy and a 16-year-old girl and a 17-year-old boy. Well, I say bedlam. It really wasn't bedlam, but it was not a happy situation for quite a while because the kids, every one of them moved from their former house into this new house with us. They'd each have their own bedrooms and we tried to get them each their own bedroom. We had a five-bedroom house now, but the boys had to be together. But Scott went off to college that fall. Then when he would come home, he would share that bedroom. It just wasn't a good mix. I think Buck's two children, they felt like they lost their dad because they left their house and they left their pets. They lost their pets and they inherited a brother and two sisters that they really didn't know or care about, plus a stepmother that they really didn't need or want. There was really a very tough time for us. We had a tough couple of years there and then things straightened out. Buck's Bill and daughter, Patty, went off to boarding schools. Which was good because they then could have their own life and they were out of a house where they were not happy. Then Suzy went off to college, and that left Laura, my youngest, who had a ball because she was the only one in the house and she had the car. She enjoyed life completely for that year. We were there in that house newly married for five years. They each had their own friends and their own milieu of things they did. We were still in the same town. They went to the same schools, except the kids that went away to school. Well, Susan and Scott went away to college. Anyway, Buck came home and said we needed to go to Florida because his dad wanted him to come down and work with him in North Central Florida, so we moved. We abdicated, we left the kids, but we told them we always have a room for them in Florida. But that wasn't the same.
  • [00:03:31] CLYDE BENNETT: I don't know about that.
  • [00:03:33] JUNE BENNETT: What?
  • [00:03:33] CLYDE BENNETT: That's not quite a fair way to put it.
  • [00:03:35] JUNE BENNETT: All right. What?
  • [00:03:36] CLYDE BENNETT: We didn't abdicate them by any means, I don't think. They were at an age of their life where each one of them must be studying in college or had been in college. Scott was getting close to getting out of college or was out of college. It was a transition of their life. We didn't abdicate them. If anything, they left us.
  • [00:04:04] JUNE BENNETT: Well, either way, we left the town. We left the neighborhood and all that, and they left also, but they didn't have their house to come back to. They did not have that.
  • [00:04:20] LYNETTE SCORE: Was there anything that all of you guys liked to do together?
  • [00:04:25] CLYDE BENNETT: Was there anything or is there anything?
  • [00:04:27] LYNETTE SCORE: Yeah.
  • [00:04:28] CLYDE BENNETT: Could there be anything? Yeah. I think our lives are totally intermeshed.
  • [00:04:36] JUNE BENNETT: She asked, is there anything that we liked to do together in those days?
  • [00:04:46] CLYDE BENNETT: Talk about here? Well, it's so much of it. So much of our lives we're together. I don't know. It's hard to say any one thing we liked to do together. I think we liked to do almost everything together.
  • [00:05:06] JUNE BENNETT: All five of us.
  • [00:05:08] CLYDE BENNETT: Oh, I thought you were talking about the two of us.
  • [00:05:10] JUNE BENNETT: No.
  • [00:05:10] CLYDE BENNETT: No, there wasn't.
  • [00:05:12] LYNETTE SCORE: No?
  • [00:05:12] JUNE BENNETT: No, there really wasn't.
  • [00:05:16] LYNETTE SCORE: What were your personal favorite things to do for fun during your adult years?
  • [00:05:23] JUNE BENNETT: We loved to go out for dinner.
  • [00:05:25] CLYDE BENNETT: We went to dinner. I'm going the same thing.
  • [00:05:29] JUNE BENNETT: When things got really tough, we would feed the kids, and leave the house and go out for dinner. It was very nice. It saved us really because we did have our time. We made our time together. We had a lot of friends, and we'd go with our friends to do different things on the weekends. We didn't go as a family anywhere at all.
  • [00:05:58] LYNETTE SCORE: You had five teenagers in your house. Wasn't this during the '60s that you had five teenagers in your house? Did you notice any interesting behavior?
  • [00:06:15] JUNE BENNETT: Many of them. Buck finally came home one night and he said there'll be no more incense in this house because they were smoking pot upstairs and they were burning incense so we couldn't smell it. I had no sense of smell. I lost it a few years before we were married. I wouldn't ever know if they were smoking or not, but dad could smell it. I think we only had one out of the five that never smoked and that was Suzy. The rest of them were in the pot and some of them into more serious things than that. We had kids climb out of the window at night to go with their boyfriend or something. We had all kinds of stuff going on.
  • [00:07:01] LYNETTE SCORE: Did you notice any strange trends are fads that they went along with like their clothes or music, or anything?
  • [00:07:10] JUNE BENNETT: Oh, yes. Pants that were tight pants. I remember Scott to Cranberry School, which is a private boys' school. They wore khaki pants and shirts like this, and ties and a jacket. He started wearing these tight khakis and was going to let his hair grow like the Beatles. I don't know. [LAUGHTER] I went to see the headmaster. I guess that's before we were married. He said, "Mrs. Matthews, you are going to have to learn to fight your battles." He said, "I think this is a small one." He said, "We're letting the boys grow their hair a little bit longer and letting them wear khaki pants that are tighter." The girls were wearing short skirts then, weren't they? Do you remember?
  • [00:08:05] CLYDE BENNETT: Oh, yeah. They began to wear short skirts. I'm not conscious of their clothes being particularly odd. The fashion was that, and the fashions change, so you try to stay with the fashion. Later on when pants began to hang around, fortunately, none of our kids were doing it, the pants hanging around with lower hips, let us say, and things like that. When they began to look grungy. Fortunately, that didn't happen while our kids were still at that age.
  • [00:08:45] LYNETTE SCORE: How about any slang words you remember your kids using during the '60s?
  • [00:08:53] CLYDE BENNETT: Cool.
  • [00:08:53] LYNETTE SCORE: Cool. They used that all the time?
  • [00:08:56] JUNE BENNETT: Everything was cool.
  • [00:08:56] CLYDE BENNETT: Awesome.
  • [00:08:58] JUNE BENNETT: That's later. That's later with Susie [inaudible 00:09:00] I think they get their slang words from people on TV that use them. I don't know. We don't watch TV, never have very much. But I think there are certain people that the kids saw on TV or those maybe musicians that use some of these words and then they would use them. I don't remember what they were though to tell you the truth.
  • [00:09:22] CLYDE BENNETT: I just thought of when we used to use Scooby Dooby Doo.
  • [00:09:24] JUNE BENNETT: Yeah, that was Madeline.
  • [00:09:26] LYNETTE SCORE: What did it mean?
  • [00:09:29] JUNE BENNETT: I don't know.
  • [00:09:29] LYNETTE SCORE: You said it.
  • [00:09:32] CLYDE BENNETT: We didn't know.
  • [00:09:32] JUNE BENNETT: We used Scooby Doo. Scooby Doo would mean you've started shaking shoulder. Scooby Doo.
  • [00:09:39] LYNETTE SCORE: Oh, wow.
  • [00:09:40] JUNE BENNETT: Yeah, that kind of thing.
  • [00:09:42] LYNETTE SCORE: Got you. You hadn't heard that one yet?
  • [00:09:45] SPEAKER 1: Was that before or after TV show?
  • [00:09:48] JUNE BENNETT: Before.
  • [00:09:49] CLYDE BENNETT: Before the show. That was started by one of the radio actors, because radio absorbed as much time as TV does, except not in the daytime, and it was only in the evenings.
  • [00:10:06] JUNE BENNETT: Evenings.
  • [00:10:08] LYNETTE SCORE: Are there any special days, or events, or situations that you really enjoyed during your adult life?
  • [00:10:19] JUNE BENNETT: Christmas.
  • [00:10:20] CLYDE BENNETT: Christmas. Holidays are nice, I think holidays, by large, are happy days for us. But we've always been very busy while together. We can't say that anything is particularly exciting for us because there is nothing that's not exciting for.
  • [00:10:50] JUNE BENNETT: We enjoy a lot. We have a lot going on where we enjoy. We have really have a quiet time where nothing happens. If it gets a little bit quiet, I get on the phone and we join up with someone.
  • [00:11:04] CLYDE BENNETT: I do find quiet time and I like it. I would insist on having it. You do too in the mornings.
  • [00:11:11] JUNE BENNETT: In the mornings. But late afternoon and evenings, quiet time is enough is enough. Then we were often away and we do something. As I told you before, we have no traditions in our family. There never has been, nor will there will be when Father's Day, Mother's Day, Christmas, Easter, those days, or somebody's birthday or anniversary, we'll try and get together with whomever. But we have Buck's family. They live in New Jersey. Bill and his family and his daughter Petty lives in St. Augustine so that we don't get together with them the way we do with three Birmingham kids who are still over there.
  • [00:11:57] CLYDE BENNETT: Which was not very often there.
  • [00:11:59] JUNE BENNETT: It's not very often over there because they're very busy and so are we. I'm going over for a baby shower, Saturday for my great grandson to be, will be born in fall. But we don't see them a lot. When we do see them, we really appreciate them.
  • [00:12:20] LYNETTE SCORE: When you think back on your entire or your working adult life, what important social or historical events were taking place during that time, and how did those affect you?
  • [00:12:35] JUNE BENNETT: Well, we were in Florida. Let's start with Florida, and I was working or seeing people as a family therapist and you were seeing real estate people. I'm trying to think who was president and what was going on.
  • [00:12:55] CLYDE BENNETT: Nixon was the president.
  • [00:12:57] JUNE BENNETT: Nixon. We went through the Nixon business with all of that while they were on. I felt terrible about that. What else was going on that affected our careers. There wasn't any huge depression. There would be times when the real estate business would be low and then it would come back again. Can you think of?
  • [00:13:20] CLYDE BENNETT: No, actually, there were a lot of things happening at that point in time, as I remember. But none that had any direct affect on us. Also, I think by that time we had become so endured to changing life and impact of big events taking place, but they didn't really mean much. You get to a point where it just, hit me again. I think really some of the things that happened, things that are life-changing events for me was, of course, first, the death of my son and then death of my wife, marriage to June, the accumulation of a new family. Those were the most important things that happened to me.
  • [00:14:21] JUNE BENNETT: I think one of the things that we haven't talked about for me and for Buck too, although I think I lead the way on this one, was my seeking to know God better and to come closer to God and Jesus. I pulled Buck into our initial adventures in this. There's a movement called Cursillo that I don't know if you go to church or if you're familiar with from road to a mass or one of those things where it's a four-day weekend where you go, and it's a wonderful weekend, and we did and most people do come away feeling very close to Jesus Christ. You'd never really know; you don't still know, but it's a warmth and a wonderful feeling in a spring off to go farther along and learn about the spiritual. I spent a good deal of my time. Hopefully, Buck has been with me a lot on this. At first, he'll say, "I don't think I want to go." Then I'll say, "If you want to go, I'll go." The last time we did it was the summer early in June. We went for a week down in North Carolina for our conference with a wonderful retired bishop and some other people. It was about the Holy Spirit and God. These things to me are very, very important. They're part of me now, and they are part Buck too, as you say, he spends his early mornings alone writing meditation's and reading the Bible, and I spend mine upstairs. In my study, I have a regular thing that I do with prayer and reading. Plus, the books that I choose are generally spiritually based books, people that are writing about things that I want to know about. That last one that I just finished, that I just love is The Secret Message of Jesus. It was a wonderful book. You haven't read that one. But Buck doesn't go along with me on all of these things. But to me, this is my inner strength, my inner joy, my inner whatever, and it has been for really before we were married. Those are times too that we had all the time in Florida, where we were very active in our church. We were each on that vestry which is the committee that runs the church, the particular. Buck was doing something more with the diocese, and I was in another field doing something more. We were very involved, and we had a lot of friends through that. That was a good part of our life. There was an episcopal school connected with and I was on the school board for many, many years, and we put in a lot of hours that I felt were really good hours because we were trying to help build a church and build a school and it was good and It still is good. But we don't go to a church here now, but we're we go on Sunday and come in the side door and leaves after it's over. We don't know many people at all there. We haven't gotten involved in church stuff.
  • [00:18:08] CLYDE BENNETT: It's your fault.
  • [00:18:09] JUNE BENNETT: I won't take blame for it.
  • [00:18:13] LYNETTE SCORE: Well, this is last segment of questions. It's about your lives from the time when Clyde retired up until now, so tell us about how you came to live here at Glacier Hills.
  • [00:18:30] CLYDE BENNETT: We decided that we wanted to make the decision where we live in retirement rather than have it being made for us. We didn't want to be carried off to the nursing home. The question then remained, where will we go? Whether it would be in Florida, or Michigan, or North Carolina, we considered all of them, and decided that being close to family but not intermingled with family, it was a very important part of our lives. We'd like to have it even more important part. We chose Michigan. Then I decided that I would want to be only in, of all places in Michigan that I wanted to be, was Ann Arbor. I didn't know about Traverse City at the time, but I do think Ann Arbor is a great place to live. And about that time we learned from friends, Molly, the option of this place, that she was coming here. We investigated and came here.
  • [00:19:45] JUNE BENNETT: This wasn't built at the time. We saw the model for the villas and the apartment building. We had a summer cottage in Michigan, and we came Molly called and said, I'm making an appointment for you to talk to the director of his new place. We came down, saw the model, and we had three or four different friends that were supposed to have had villas along with us, so we thought this would really be a nice place, and it was about less than an hour's drive over to Birmingham to see their children or they could get over here. That's why we came here.
  • [00:20:20] LYNETTE SCORE: Is this where you plan to live for the rest of your lives?
  • [00:20:25] JUNE BENNETT: Yes. Yes, ma'am.
  • [00:20:30] LYNETTE SCORE: I got you. How did life change for you after your children left the house?
  • [00:20:34] CLYDE BENNETT: It's about right. That's a good expression.
  • [00:20:39] JUNE BENNETT: It was great. It was different because we left them before they actually left the house, generally. I missed my three terribly all the time we were gone. I missed them. I missed when my grand children were born. I missed a lot. Well, I didn't I came to my daughters when their children were born. But nevertheless, about generally speaking, through the years, it's been absolutely wonderful. What we planned to begin with was that we were going to get married and have our lives together and without any baggage, so to speak. This here I think is the best. We said, we think these are the best years that we've ever had since we've been here at Glacier Hills. It's been wonderful, just wonderful. We have a great life here. We have no worries, we have no responsibilities. We [NOISE] have a great group of whole new friends that we never knew before, but they're all on the same boat. The staff here takes wonderful care of us. If we need something, they'll take care of it for us. We live independently in the villa, but if we want to come up for meals, we can call and make a reservation and come up, and it's great, don't you think? I know you do.
  • [00:22:06] CLYDE BENNETT: I do. I think it even says we don't have anything to worry about. Well, obviously that's not absolutely totally T total truth, but it's very close. But what she meant was that we have nothing to worry about the stages we are going through, whether we will be provided for in the stages that we're going, remainder of our life. Because we do have the individual's separate living as we are in now, come into the apartment as we need it, into assisted living, and then if God forbid, we have to go into the nursing home, that's there too. We never have to leave the campus, so to speak. I joke that they'd also have an undertaker at the back doors.
  • [00:22:56] JUNE BENNETT: What's a typical day like for you guys in this case?
  • [00:23:00] JUNE BENNETT: You tell her.
  • [00:23:02] CLYDE BENNETT: My day starts with a glass of orange juice and going down to my computer and first checking the mail and then spending on roughly an hour, an hour-and-a-half on meditation. That takes a form of opening the Bible pretty much at random after asking God to direct me to someplace that he wants me to know about. Then reading a passage on those two pages that happens to strike a note with me and it always does this one. Then thinking about it and writing about it. Writing up say 500 words or something. Then I'll play that awful game, Solitaire, and then go up and have breakfast. Then usually while I'm doing that, I would read The Times or rather The Wall Street Journal and get ready for lunch and so on, have breakfast and get lunch. Then we come back together again sometime around cocktail time.
  • [00:24:38] JUNE BENNETT: You read a lot. You go through many, many. Buck loves to read mystery series. He goes up to the library and takes three that he's read, and takes three more and is very happy with the book. He's a wonderful man to live with because he's never in the way, he's always got a book that he would like to read and that's good. I start my day a little bit later, I'm more of a night person and my ideal day that doesn't happen every day now is that I would go in my bathrobe and do my reading. I read a thing every day, a little pamphlet that comes out through the church, that is a daily meditation with some Bible verses that follow one of the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, or John. They follow an Old Testament book and a Psalm and another Testament.
  • [00:25:36] LYNETTE SCORE: Is that the Our Daily Bread?
  • [00:25:37] JUNE BENNETT: No, it's like that. I used to read Our Daily Bread. It's called Forward Day by Day, and it's put out by the Episcopal Church and I ordered 10 of them each time, they come out quarterly. I try and give them away to people. If I had some in my pocket, I might say, would you here take one of these and you maybe would like to read it. But then I did journal for a long time. I'm getting up to pick up something back here that I left because this was, I brought this to show you. This was a big part of my life doing this. This is a book that I wrote with family pictures. It's a story of my life. It's a story of how God has been in my life forever. I go back to the day I was born and when there were people in my life that I didn't even realize that were angels to help take care of me in that crazy house that we had that I grew up in. Throughout my life, God has been there and some of the time I hardly knew it. I journaled a lot. The journaling ended up later, much later. I think in about 1998, I decided I'm going to write a book for my children. I can't preach to them anymore. They're all grown people, but an army grandchildren. I wrote this book to tell them how important God was to me. As each child has been born of the nine grandchildren, I give each one a book with a little squib in the front of it that for those are some of the Bible verses that we used to say to them, Dear Tyler, With love Junie, and then give the Bible verse so they could look it up for themselves. But I wanted to let these kids know how important God was. That was the only thing I could do was to tell them how important he is to me. The book got printed thanks to Buck. I did it on my computer and then Buck would take it off and put it in the form and he gave a disk to the printer. We ended up with about 100 and something pictures in it.
  • [00:28:05] CLYDE BENNETT: More than that. Did you talk about your wartime, these?
  • [00:28:12] JUNE BENNETT: Other girls. They're the eight of us.
  • [00:28:20] LYNETTE SCORE: I can tell which one is you.
  • [00:28:22] JUNE BENNETT: It was a terrible picture, I like this one better.
  • [00:28:24] LYNETTE SCORE: Yeah.
  • [00:28:25] JUNE BENNETT: Anyway and then I'll just show you quickly, this is our family on the back of the book, when the kids were obviously very much younger and I tried to find the very best picture of me that I could at that time. Because I thought someday someone is going to be up in attic somewhere, looking around and see this person and say, I wonder who that was and maybe pick this book up and read it and so that's what that is.
  • [00:28:55] LYNETTE SCORE: We have some more questions here, let's see. Since you came here, have you noticed any unique social customs here at Glacier Hills? No?
  • [00:29:10] JUNE BENNETT: I don't really think so.
  • [00:29:11] CLYDE BENNETT: No, nothing would be strange to us.
  • [00:29:15] JUNE BENNETT: Or unique.
  • [00:29:16] CLYDE BENNETT: Or unique. People all came from pretty much the same life we did. They have been successful in their profession, they've raised families, they've done about the same things we've done.
  • [00:29:32] JUNE BENNETT: They've done very interesting things.
  • [00:29:41] CLYDE BENNETT: There they are.
  • [00:29:44] JUNE BENNETT: Say the question again, please.
  • [00:29:47] LYNETTE SCORE: Since you came to Glacier Hills, have you noticed any unique social customs here?
  • [00:29:53] JUNE BENNETT: No. I think one of the things that we learned early on, are the two things you do not discuss at the dinner tables, or lunch or breakfast table. One is religion and one is politics and you do not because there's great diversity here and so we each respect each other's differences and we get along fine. I think that I'm in the minority. I don't think anybody else's feels the spiritual, just whatever it is about me. I don't think anybody else has that as much as I do, but there are some that go to church. I'm been responsible for getting people to come to a monthly Episcopal service they have here and I've got Bob helping me do it. What I mean, the clergy combo, we try and get people to come for a cup of tea or coffee and a cookie. I head up the service to say come socialize and then have the service and that's the only outward thing I do. The rest of it, I don't talk about.
  • [00:31:00] LYNETTE SCORE: Got you. Are there any special days or events that you have now that you really enjoy?
  • [00:31:05] JUNE BENNETT: Yes.
  • [00:31:06] CLYDE BENNETT: Every other Friday afternoon.
  • [00:31:09] JUNE BENNETT: Fridays, twice a month, we have a wine and cheese reception here in the meadows and that's always nice. We get together and have glass of wine or two and they have a buffet with cheese and stuff and then we usually stay for dinner. We make up, arrange for his friends to have dinner with somebody that night, which we'll do again this Friday. Then we always have wonderful parties for whatever. We had a great 4th of July party, we have Easter dinner, we have Valentine's party, we have St. Patrick's Day party. The staff decorates all kinds of decorations. Sometimes people have a birthday and they'll invite everybody. On our 40th wedding anniversary, which was a year ago, June, we invited everybody at the meadows to come to a party and we had it up here in this floor, was it right up here?
  • [00:32:04] CLYDE BENNETT: The third floor.
  • [00:32:06] JUNE BENNETT: Well, anyway, wherever it was and we had a really wonderful cocktail party with good orders and things like that and that the catering service here is great. They'll help you if you want, you pay for it, but it's very nice. There are special days, but the main things, or anytime there is, they'll have a New Year's Eve party, Christmas party. Because people were used to doing that. Probably, 80 percent of the people who live here are used to having a party on Valentine's day perhaps or some special, so they do it for us.
  • [00:32:48] CLYDE BENNETT: Also, during football season, we have tailgate parties upstairs.
  • [00:32:52] JUNE BENNETT: For every game, we have a big TV upstairs with a lounge and on the days that they have noon games here or noon games anywhere, they'll service picnic lunch, up there in paper plates.
  • [00:33:09] LYNETTE SCORE: When you think that your life, since the kids left home, up until now, what important social or historical events were taking place then and how did they affect you?
  • [00:33:24] JUNE BENNETT: Well, Vietnam War.
  • [00:33:26] CLYDE BENNETT: We were fortunately.
  • [00:33:28] JUNE BENNETT: Scott, our son, my son, received a very low number, so he didn't have to worry. Was it a low or high?
  • [00:33:36] CLYDE BENNETT: High number.
  • [00:33:37] JUNE BENNETT: High number. He didn't have to worry about it, but some of his friends had to go, one of my nephews went and the Vietnam War was dreadful, it was awful. We lived through that. He went back to school, to Tufts University in graduate school. But he didn't have to go anyway into the war. That was bad. What other things were bad? I don't know. We have had a pretty blessed life. The world has maybe had some things that went very wrong, but 7/11 was very bad for us, as it was for everyone.
  • [00:34:25] CLYDE BENNETT: 9/11.
  • [00:34:26] JUNE BENNETT: 9/11. We were up at the cottage. I was writing this book and typing and looking out on Lake Michigan and the TV was over in the corner and I'm looking that was a real blow to everyone. We mourned.
  • [00:34:47] CLYDE BENNETT: Since then we've had two grandsons in the service, one had just gotten back from Iraq and the other one is getting ready for someplace, I don't know where he's. One is a artillery officer and another one in the army and the other one just graduated from Annapolis recent, but chose to go in the Marine so he'll be doing something might expect.
  • [00:35:19] LYNETTE SCORE: When you think back over your entire life, what would each of you say is the one historical event, or a social event that most impacted you?
  • [00:35:30] JUNE BENNETT: Boy. As many years as we've lived.
  • [00:35:34] CLYDE BENNETT: Without any question to me would be World War II. It was not a bad experience as far as I was concerned, it was a good developing experience. I was able to do things. You're blinking.
  • [00:35:56] SPEAKER 1: That's okay.
  • [00:35:57] LYNETTE SCORE: We're all right.
  • [00:35:58] CLYDE BENNETT: All right. Able to do things that I would not have been able to do for another 10 years, in terms of management and accomplishing things that were usually reserved for older people. The times where I thought extremely inspiring really because there's a whole country was pulling together and we all had one basic objective when we all felt pretty good about one another. It's not to say that all of us were heroes of the Homefront or anything at all, we were ordinary people all pulling together in one job too. I think other than that, certainly the two marriages I had and most particularly the last one, thanks to June and the kids that came along with it. Lots of kids, so many things have happened. After all I have lived now for very close to 90 years and it has not been a quiet life, it hadn't been a hectic life necessarily, but it had been one that's certain vegetated. A lot of things have happened.
  • [00:37:29] JUNE BENNETT: I guess I would say the Second World War changed. It dramatically changed my college years. It just turned it upside down here at the university and it gave me something that I never would have had otherwise had I not gone in the service for two years. Stability, a sense of patriotism, a sense of responsibility. I don't know.
  • [00:37:58] CLYDE BENNETT: And confidence.
  • [00:38:00] JUNE BENNETT: Yeah. I have a lot of confidence.
  • [00:38:03] CLYDE BENNETT: You have solidified your confidence. It was just cocky before.
  • [00:38:08] JUNE BENNETT: Whatever, it was a great experience and it was interesting to know you were going through history standing there. I stood there in Washington and watched Roosevelt's coffin go by after he died, and Truman came in as president. I was there across the street from the White House when Harry Truman came out on the porch and I looked at that man and I thought, how can he become president? He was just a tailor from Kansas somewhere, that is what the press said he was. Then I went downtown the night of VJ Day into Washington. We lived slightly out in a residential area.
  • [00:38:53] CLYDE BENNETT: VE Day too, weren't you?
  • [00:38:53] JUNE BENNETT: Yeah, probably. I don't remember VE Day as much VJ Day that exploded, absolutely exploded. The whole town, it was just crazy. It was just bedlam down there. Three of us went down from our house to just see what it was like to experience it. My mother had always told me she lived in New Orleans and when she grew up World War I was over and there were a lot of military in New Orleans then. She said she would never forget Armistice Day, never. I know what it was, the same thing happened there after that war. People were out in the streets hugging each other, screaming, yelling. It was amazing. Everyone was so happy. It was joy all over the place. The war, I guess made a turning point in my life some way. But for one thing, I gave up my glamour career in New York and became more of a person, more of a balanced person.
  • [00:40:04] SPEAKER 1: We have a minute left.
  • [00:40:06] LYNETTE SCORE: Yes, I know. We've got a few questions left, but I have to leave right at 4:00. I'm interviewing Clyde Bennett and it's July 23rd. Mr. Bennett, if you could please just tell me about when you were young and you're exploring. Tell me about some of the people that you've met when you were having your adventures?
  • [00:40:50] CLYDE BENNETT: As I think I said, where I lived was out in a rural area, not sparsely populated but rural. There were no large farms around little plush. People who lived there were very poor, very poor white people and very poor black people, not living in exactly the same areas but close by. I enjoyed going and talking with them. The kids were nice kids to play with. It was interesting to go into their houses because they were all very hospitable, and houses that I felt were clean and certainly livable. You got to remember though that this was in the rural area and this was in early 1920s. There was no central plumbing, no water coming into the house, no electricity coming into the house, and certainly no sewage. There was outhouses where little houses out of the back, sometimes called chic sales because a man later on wrote a book, funny book on outhouses whose name was Chic Sale so the little houses became chic sales after that. When people would wash dishes or whatever, they would throw the dishwasher at the back door of the kitchen, and that's where the roses bloomed nicely. There was a fertilizer in the soup that was used in the dish-washing, it was very crude soap but it was very fertile. The people themselves, the white people were looked down more and more by the other whites, the more middle-class people. They looked down on them and considered them less of a credit to the community than the black people. Because that really represented a funny thing about the South, people don't really realize maybe, but white people there had a great fondness for the blacks. They treated them very well. By that I mean, they didn't welcome them into their house and they talked rough to them and they ordered them around, but nevertheless, they were kind to them, they didn't let them starve, they didn't let them go homeless, and they would often find employment for them where there wasn't a job, but just to show that they could keep body and soul together. They didn't do that so much with the poor whites, what they call the poor white trash. The people that just didn't measure up by their standards. But the kids, particularly the black kids, as I recall, were always pretty clean. Their mothers would keep them pretty well shaped up. They may not have had good looking clothes on certainly, and they were all cast off in many patches and so on, but they were usually pretty clean. Not entirely true with the white kids. Conditions under which they lived was things that would absolutely curl your toes today, but they were comfortable, that's what they knew and they didn't really object to that too much. The houses were cold in the winter time and very hot in the summer time. They had no electricity, so if they were able to afford a little bit of kerosene to have a kerosene lamp going at night, that would be a very brief time. But usually when darkness came, that's when we went to bed, then when it became light that's when you got up, and you hope you didn't have to make too many trips out to the outhouse in cold nights.
  • [00:45:51] LYNETTE SCORE: Now, what did the inside of the houses look like?
  • [00:45:53] CLYDE BENNETT: They were pretty crude. Particularly, many of the colored folks had papered their walls with newspapers for two reasons. First of all, it covered up the chinks in the wall and the other would be, it was some kind of decoration. It was something to look at besides just the bare wood. You'd have these houses with newspaper on the wall and that amazed me when I first saw it. Occasionally, I go through an old house, particularly in the South now, if I have occasion to do that, and see evidence of that, the newspaper is still there, take off all the coatings that have been put on since then, that would be the case.
  • [00:46:52] LYNETTE SCORE: What originally motivated you to go out and meet these people?
  • [00:46:57] CLYDE BENNETT: Oh, restlessness, I suppose, of being like most kids have the curiosity of what was going on there. I don't mean to imply that I've spent a great deal of time doing this, but it was a thing I enjoyed doing. It wasn't an advocation by any means. I was kept pretty busy of not having to work around or not many chores to do, but just busy around the house.
  • [00:47:32] LYNETTE SCORE: Was this a separate community from your own community?
  • [00:47:35] CLYDE BENNETT: Hard to tell. There was no boundaries that we were looking at. In fact, some of those white folks lived maybe two or 300 yards from our place, with black folks who lived a little farther back and they would congregate little more than the white folks did. They had a community of five or six or seven houses pretty close together, and then there will be another one over here, the same thing, and so on.
  • [00:48:12] LYNETTE SCORE: What kind of of food did they eat?
  • [00:48:14] CLYDE BENNETT: A lot of ham, a lot of pork chops, and a lot of home grown vegetables, collards, ton of greens.
  • [00:48:29] LYNETTE SCORE: Got you.
  • [00:48:30] CLYDE BENNETT: Peas, beans. Actually, it was pretty good diet. It sounds awful.
  • [00:48:38] LYNETTE SCORE: No, it doesn't.
  • [00:48:39] CLYDE BENNETT: A lot of fried food which dietitians frown on now, but just something happened that they made a pretty well balanced diet. That was probably true more on the blacks than on the whites because there was a time in certain areas of Alabama, particularly, where they weren't getting enough vitamins and the disease called pellagra came along and it was a wasting disease. It was easily cured by taking vitamins, but vitamins were unknown at the time. But instinctively, I think some people got their vitamins mainly from vegetables, the dark green leafy vegetables, collards. Terribly bitter tasting, but hopefully when you get right down to it, not bad. I like it today.
  • [00:49:58] LYNETTE SCORE: Me too.
  • [00:49:58] CLYDE BENNETT: There were a lot of grits which didn't have much nutrition value, but we couldn't taste it either though.
  • [00:50:08] LYNETTE SCORE: What things would you do when you went down there?
  • [00:50:12] CLYDE BENNETT: Oh, we just play with each other. I think really one of the main reasons I liked to be there as I was a visiting kid who stood and all because we were regarded as rich, although I don't think we had more than $5. Every kid kowtowed to me in a way that I probably liked very much. I don't recall that as a vivid memory, but it's probably happened. Just wander around and see things. It is like asking your kid today, what do you do? Nothing.
  • [00:51:15] LYNETTE SCORE: Really. Did you notice anything interesting the people there did for fun?
  • [00:51:22] CLYDE BENNETT: I'm sorry?
  • [00:51:23] LYNETTE SCORE: Did you notice anything interesting the people there did for fun?
  • [00:51:26] CLYDE BENNETT: Excuse me. It didn't seem interesting to me at the time and nothing stood out that I would recall. It was just people living together. They had no television, they had no radio, they had no outside entertainment whatsoever. They made up their own games and there was a lot of singing, particularly in the black folks. Not too much in the way I've organized games either, no little league baseball or none of that stuff. If there is a baseball game, it'd be a pick-up game where you'd find three to five or six, or ten or 15 people get together, and choose upsides and then put down a couple of rocks for basis and let it have a ballgame. But say it wasn't organized, as you see today. To pick a person of your age back in time and set them down in that society at that time, you'd find things so different. But now, on the other hand, having released there but lived there, but I've come along as society has changed and as conditions have changed, and so it doesn't seem so different to me. But to take somebody with that, brutally snatch him up here and put them down here. It would be, my gosh, he just couldn't believe. You couldn't believe that people could live that way. If you immediately want to call somebody, call the law. Tear down these houses and get rid of all this stuff, and people are eating bad and all that wealth. They managed to live and survive. We're happy. But of course, since that time, people have started living much longer because in those days, if a person got to be, particularly in the poor white and the the black community, if you've got to be 40 years old, you were getting along. Even in upper middle-class people that get to be 60 or 70 was an old person. Anyone who got to be my age, they couldn't survive really, had to be carried around practically. I think my great grandmother who was living at the time of my birth, died shortly afterwards, she couldn't have been more than 75 or 80.
  • [00:54:37] LYNETTE SCORE: Your great grandmother.
  • [00:54:37] CLYDE BENNETT: Very much and she was she was an old person. Grandfather, when he died, he was probably 75. We have of a good gene script. My father, for example, lived to be 97. Conditions under which they were living were not conducive along the old age living a long time.
  • [00:55:08] LYNETTE SCORE: Hey, June.
  • [00:55:09] JUNE BENNETT: Hi.
  • [00:55:10] LYNETTE SCORE: We're just finishing up Carl interview. Sorry, not Carl but Clyde.
  • [00:55:16] JUNE BENNETT: I'll sit right here.
  • [00:55:21] LYNETTE SCORE: Go ahead. Mr. Bennett, I just had a couple of more questions. Did you notice anything unusual that the people in these communities wore that was different from your own clothes?
  • [00:55:33] CLYDE BENNETT: No. They cast off, patched up, anything he could find really. Even burlap sacks were cut and they'd be some of the most careful sewing you ever saw in your life on a burlap sack to make a jacket or a pair of trousers or something like that.
  • [00:55:57] LYNETTE SCORE: What differences did you notice between their lives and your life?
  • [00:56:02] CLYDE BENNETT: I think there was a great deal of difference. Bear in mind, we were not wealthy people. We were country folk but just happened to have a little more income and were able to have a nicer house and so on. But it was very different. We were much more comfortable. Our houses were warmer. We had better furniture in our house. We had feather beds and coal to run the fireplaces in wintertime. We were in the same way as far as electricity and water and suburbs concern until finally they put in water main upfront and they put everybody on get water. I guess we weren't probably the first indoor bathroom in the community. Then electricity and we were the first ones to have an electric stove in the community. To that extent, there is a difference. I probably ever certainly better dressed than most of them. Our clothes, I had no patched clothes that I can recall. My shoes were my own. They weren't handed down from somebody of course. Even now I could hardly wait till we got warm enough to take off my shoes and go barefoot, just a joyful thing to be able to do that. I remember that so well. But other than that, I don't think our lives were terribly different. We didn't not always had entertainment. Later on, when I was getting eight or nine years old, I was having another grandmother in nearby town. I was able to go in and go to the movies. I'd have a nickel to go to the movies every week maybe or every other week and see Tom Mix and various cereals and so on. But schools had no teams or anything of that nature. Our lives, I don't think were too terribly different if you get beyond some fairly simple physical things.
  • [00:58:58] LYNETTE SCORE: This is Lynette Score. I am interviewing June Bennett, and today is July 23rd, 2008. Mrs. Bennett, you had mentioned earlier that as a kid, you had witnessed some questionable activities going on in your house during prohibition. Could you tell me some more about those?
  • [00:59:19] JUNE BENNETT: Yes, I can. First of all, I'm going back. You asked me before and I thought let me see, what about all those. I'm going back now to when I was around three or four years old, watching my father make bathtub gin. Literally it was in the bathtub and there were different things that he put in and smelled, and that was known as bathtub gin. My parents were young. They were in their 20s at that time, maybe their mid to late 20s. They were swingers in the 1928, '27, '25, in those years, '30s. They found friends that were also swingers. There were lots of parties and there was a lot of drinking and hoop and hollering. My mother learned to do the Charleston, and that was a dance. She was very good at it and she tried to teach it to me forever and I never could get the Charleston. I just couldn't. The music then was, I don't remember who, maybe Louis Armstrong and mother was from New Orleans and there was a lot of jazz that came out of New Orleans. This was when they lived in Evanston. Then my grandmother died. My grandmother and grandfather had one child, my father. They were German couple and they lived in Ann Arbor, Olivia, and he was one of the town stalwart people. He was very involved and he was an agent for an insurance company here. When my grandmother died, it was very difficult for him. It was a big house and he started talking to my dad about would my dad want to come over here and live in Ann Arbor with me and my mother. We'll live with him in their house that he would like to have us. They talked about it with my parents and decided yes, they would make that move. They brought me and we came, and my grandfather, I don't know that he ever had any liquor in the house, perhaps for some special occasion. But they were very conservative people. My father brought the joy of living to Ann Arbor and became acquainted with some of the fraternity men. My parents became chaperones of some of the fraternity parties. My parents rented a cottage out on a small light near a Strawberry Lake here outside of Ann Arbor. It was a little log cabin, and that was the party house. They would take me out their of course with them and the dog. We had a wonderful English Bulldog and weekends. Then there would be parties all weekend and it was always fun. I was taught how to play poker. They gave me bearded drink because they thought that would be a little bit less than whatever else they were drinking. I learned how to drink beer. I really didn't like it, but I was supposed to like it. That was sad. There were always sort of small glasses. Then when we were in Ann Arbor, and the bootlegger would come to the house often. I don't know if I told you this before, but he would come with his dark suit and his black hat and a little black bag and come to the front door. Did I tell you this?
  • [01:03:09] LYNETTE SCORE: I think so.
  • [01:03:11] JUNE BENNETT: Then mother and dad were not at home one day, my grandfather was upstairs in his study and I answered the door and it was a bootlegger and he gave me the package for my dad. After he left, my grandfather called downstairs and said, who was that? I said, oh, nobody. It was just the bootlegger. So whether or not my grandfather, he must have known. Anyway, then my dad had a job in Detroit in the brand new Fisher Building. It was with the golden tower, they used to call it. It was the most beautiful brand new building and dad and mother too would take me on occasion and there were beautiful shops on the ground floor and his office was upstairs. Across the street was a house that was there and I don't remember the name of the street that runs along the north side of the Fisher building. It was a white house and it was Charlie's Speakeasy. One day Dad had taken me in with him for some reason, Mother wasn't there. It was lunchtime and dad said, well, we'll go over to Charlie's. We went up to this house and there was a little black wrought iron thing across the window on the door and Dad rang the bell and had this card in his hand. The man came and looked through the thing at Dad and down at me and Dad held up the card and he then opened the door and we walked in and it was a long narrow room like a restaurant is. There was a bar on one side, it was a long bar. Then I think there were some tables. We sat up at the bar and I'm not sure how I worked that, but I guess they were bar stools and I guess I was probably around six, I'm not sure. Seven maybe. Dad ordered Swiss cheese sandwiches on rye bread and beer. They gave me a little thing of beer and he had whatever he had. I remember there were some people at the far end of the bar sitting, and I remember they are looking at us and laughing at here's this little kid. But that was my first experience in the Speakeasy and I suppose I was in restaurants after that with Mother and Dad, but I don't recall. But that was my initial experience. We moved to Birmingham from Ann Arbor and that would have been in 1931. Prohibition was still involved then. You see, Detroit was right across the river from Windsor Canada. It was easy for somebody to ship liquor over at night on boats. They didn't have what they have today and all the security and everything, I guess. There was a lot of drinking going on in people's private homes or in Speakeasies for people that liked to have alcohol in their lives and my parents really liked that and so did their friends. For me, I didn't really care one way or the other because I grew up with it and it wasn't very interesting and I really never liked beer. About when I was 15, I guess 15, Dad and Mother always had cocktails. Well, let me go back. Liquor was then illegal. But when we first moved to Birmingham, the water was very hard over there. Hard water that if it stood in the sink, it would make the sink all yellowy brown. It was a Sunday and Dad had a whole new bottle of scotch and they invited friends over on Sunday afternoon for a party. He opened his bottle of scotch and started pouring drinks in the kitchen, scotch and water with ice, and the drink turned dark brown, and Dad said, oh, I got a bad bottle of liquor and he poured the whole thing down the sink before he went out into the other room to tell people.
  • [01:07:51] LYNETTE SCORE: Oh, no.
  • [01:07:52] JUNE BENNETT: They all said, oh no, it's the water here. The liquor was all right. I don't know what happened after that, but that was probably a very sad day. Maybe somebody went home that had some liquor. I have no idea what they did. Maybe they drank ginger ale, I don't know. But I don't remember exactly when the prohibition was repealed. But in Birmingham, no liquor was allowed. No restaurants could serve it for years. Not downtown. If you wanted to have it, you could go up to Bloomfield. Also you could go down to Royal Oak. But Birmingham remained for many years, and now today, anytime you want you could go in and get a drink in many places. My parents in those days, these are my parents, they were middle scale instead of a top financial social scale. The Great Gatsby. They didn't have that money or they went with some people that had a lot of money. But it was just a real swinging place and their values were enjoying life and they wanted me to enjoy it too, which I did. But I remember wanting to have a regular life. I recognized that when I went to some of my friend's house and there wasn't any drinking and the music was different, if there was music, and it was just different. But that was my parent's life. But they said when I was around 15 that they wanted me to learn how to drink because I was starting to go out occasionally with people and they said, no, if you are going to be drinking, you have to know how to hold your liquor. Every night when they would have a cocktail and we had a den, they called it a den. It was a little miniature family room where the radio was and a little bar table was there and a red leather couch and I don't know, it went off onto the summer porch. But they would sit there in the evening before dinner and they have a drink. They said, now we're going to have you have a drink with us so you can see what it feels like. We don't want you to go off with some guy and drink some night and pass out or whatever. So often in the evening I would have, and they fixed me an Old Fashioned, which was some kind of whiskey with an orange and some food in it and sweet and some vermouth. I don't know what was in it, but it tasted pretty good. But I could then, and I'm sure it was weak in the liquor part, but I learned that you did get a fuzzy feeling when you drink, but because I had seen an awful lot of sloppiness and drunkenness in my home, I never wanted to go there. In all my life, I never have. I don't believe I've ever been drunk. I've certainly had my share of party life when I was younger. Well, even today, but I'm not talking about drinking today so much, but I had a lot of party life. There was something in me that just turned off. I could not allow myself to overdrink, shall we say, or lose my sense of comprehension. I tell you all the good stuff about the party stuff, but there was also a backside to all of that. There was a very hard and tearful backside. Eventually when my sister and I were grown, my mother and dad got divorced and it wasn't good. But at the time, it was rosy, it was wonderful for them. It was okay for me. I felt lonely a lot because drinking was, I don't like it. I like to have a social glass of wine, but I don't like what happens to people when they overdrink. That was prohibition in a nutshell for me and how my life was and now the life of a lot of kids in Birmingham. I'm sure there were many other cities and towns probably, Ann Arbor and everywhere else where that same thing went on with a certain group of people. It was interesting.
  • [01:13:04] LYNETTE SCORE: I have a couple of questions. I heard you use the term swinger a lot?
  • [01:13:09] JUNE BENNETT: Yeah.
  • [01:13:10] LYNETTE SCORE: Now, what exactly was a swinger?
  • [01:13:12] JUNE BENNETT: A swinger was a free spirit who loved to party. Well, in my definition, maybe somebody else would have a different version of it. But somebody that would walk in the room and say, ''Okay, let's go.'' A swinger was somebody who said anything goes with me. Shall we get in the car and go drive to Canada today, that kind of thing. There was another word I thought of that I didn't tell you when you ask when things were greater, what was the slang word? Smooth.
  • [01:13:41] LYNETTE SCORE: Smooth.
  • [01:13:42] JUNE BENNETT: Smooth meant great. It meant cool. We used that a lot. Boy, she is smooth. Then you'd have to define what that was. Be it she was great student, or she was a great dresser, or good dancer, or whatever.
  • [01:14:01] LYNETTE SCORE: Do you remember what these people looked like that would come to these parties?
  • [01:14:06] JUNE BENNETT: Yes. They were all very good-looking. The wives would be, their hair was bob short in their late '20s. My mother's hair was bob short, and that was a no-no for my grandparents because women used to have long hair. They had polish on their nails. They had bright lipstick that defined the lip. Shape up here, indefinite, dark, fine. They had eyebrows that were dark and they put coal on their eyes. They were, not all of them, but those that really wanted the look. They wore short dresses that often had beady things on the bottom if they were fancy dresses. They were sheets. I used to dress up in my mother's clothes, and they would often be beaded and they would have round neck lines and no sleeves. They weren't decal tei. They didn't come way down, at least mothers didn't. But they were very short, and swing if they danced. Other dress would flip and flop. My father wore spats to dress up. He didn't wear them every day. But do you know what spats are? They were gray. Yeah, they came over the shoes, and striped pants. Those are called and his morning coat, it was on the gray and white striped and then pants and the jacket was a dark gray. He would wear a handkerchief always in his pocket. My father was very well-dressed. He was a very debonair, and he thought he was a millionaire and he was never. He was always in debt, but he always had his father to bail him out, you see. My father was very irresponsible. He played the piano beautifully. Music was very important to that whole group, my parents and their friends. I think it was to everyone. My friend whose family lived behind us was my such a good friend. They were staunch Presbyterians and there were no liquor in their house, was good apple pies and things like that. But, they had a player piano and with the rolls.
  • [01:16:47] LYNETTE SCORE: Yeah.
  • [01:16:48] JUNE BENNETT: That was a great entertainment, and then you could take whatever you wanted and put it on, and it would play the piano for you. Well, they do that today now too. But in those days, that was part of entertainment for music.
  • [01:17:03] LYNETTE SCORE: Did they have record players or?
  • [01:17:07] JUNE BENNETT: We had record players later. There was a Victrola that sat on a table and it had a big horn thing to it. Maybe you've seen those old fashioned and they had some record that would play. It was terrible, scratchy, off tinny, but it was music. I don't remember. Well, if you'd be interested in way back what my grandparents were and Ann Arbor was very interesting. They were musicians. They were musical. My grandmother taught voice over in Chicago before she moved here. My grandfather was a violinist. He had a closet full of violins, violas, cello, bass, all kinds of fiddles underneath the stairway in her house in Ann Arbor, and they had a room in their house as you walked into their house, and the big four-yard front hall, big oriental rugs all over. Big German floor, cuckoo clock that cuckood all the time. But when you went to the right, the room was the music room that has small fireplace which I don't think anybody ever used that one. Had a manual with that low marble bus of Beethoven and Bach, and Brahms along a mantle. It had a baby grand piano made of Rosewood that was carved. It was just beautiful. They had small chairs. They had one chair that was like this and then it was all one piece and the other chair came like this, and there was a bench of some sort. I don't know what you call those. But it was a room where they met with their musical friends and had musicals, and they had where they would sing. She would sing and they wouldn't maybe all sing, and he would play the violin and there were others, their friends that would sing and play. This was back in the late 1800s.
  • [01:19:15] LYNETTE SCORE: Wow.
  • [01:19:16] JUNE BENNETT: This was early 1900s. They were, the people that would come to Hill Auditorium. Like Madam Schumann-Heink, who was one of the world's known singers and Edward Stock, who was the Director of the Chicago Symphony, would stay at our house because they were friends with my grandparents. They were very musical and very lovely people who were shocked with my mother when dad brought her home from New Orleans. I know that it was shocking because I've seen letters that my grandfather wrote. This woman has, I think she had dyed her hair red or something. She came in to Ann Arbor.
  • [01:20:12] LYNETTE SCORE: I have one more question. When your parents would have these parties, what would they do besides drink?
  • [01:20:21] JUNE BENNETT: Well, they might play bridge. But depending on the house, if it was big enough and somebody had a bridge table in another room, they were great bridge players. My father was not. But my mother and all of the other friends almost played bridge. They would play, if they were in our house, dad will always end up at the piano, and then they would start singing. They would talk. Like today's parties, if you go.
  • [01:20:53] LYNETTE SCORE: Yeah.
  • [01:20:53] JUNE BENNETT: People just stand around and talk or sit and talk, and I don't remember that they ever played games. They didn't sit down and say, ''Let's play Monopoly, and I sit around the dining room.'' They played poker. They taught me how to play poker out at the cottage when I was around 6 and 7 years old. They did play poker some of those evenings. But generally, I don't remember what course, and then there were dinner parties where they would have. We always had help at her house, almost always, even during the Depression, there was a maid's room and a maid's bath upstairs. It was a thing where mother just always had someone that would do all of the cooking. Well, not all of the cooking, but a lot of it. That do the laundry, take care of everything that needed taken care of, change the beds, do this, do that. During the depression wave, when it came really bad to our house, we were along with everyone else really suffering for lack of money, literally when the banks closed.
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