MARY LANDIS DANZEISEN WAS BORN IN 1917 (one year before the end of WW I and 3 years before women could vote.) She started first grade in Bradford, Ohio the same year “Doc” Wade founded the kindergarten. One time, as a young girl, the chicken she was bringing home from the grocery flew out of the basket and her mother helped her catch the feathered beast. Her mother also prepared the chicken for cooking. She remembers the patience and kindnesses of shop keepers during the Depression when money was in very short supply. While in high school in the 30’s, she spoke with at least one person who had lived during the Civil War. She also speaks often of the importance of the railroad to the village of Bradford.
Her step-father, Sando Fontana was grounds keeper for the YMCA, which housed railroad workers. Mary and a group of friends enjoyed putting on dramatic performances to earn a little money.
Following graduation from Bradford High School, Mary accepted a loan from one of her teachers and went to secretarial school in Dayton, OH. She was interested in fashion design, but did not think it would support her and allow her to send money home to her mother and stepfather. During this time, she lived with families in exchange for taking care of the children, baking pies, and doing other household duties. The bus was the mode of transportation she used to travel around Dayton and back to Bradford. Upon completion of her studies, she worked for several doctors until she landed a job at DP&L (Dayton Power and Light) in the Human Services department. She married and continued working there until her pregnancy (although I’m sure she would have preferred to work until the time of the birth of her daughter.
At some time between graduation and marriage, she visited a cousin doing mission work in Peru, South America. She went to Miami, FL, took a small plane to Cuba. Then on to Peru. The cousin lived in a compound inside walls that were closed at night or when some of the population threatened their safety. World War II was also a part of this time. She went to Europe with the Brethren Service Committee to help with restoration after the war. Later she would serve as an interviewer for SERVAS, an international organization that pairs travelers and hosts for the purpose of building world peace, goodwill, and understanding by providing personal contact among people of different cultures.
Health care was advancing, but not fast enough for a son born with a hole in his heart. He arrived a little early and was delivered in the home by the local doctor and the neighbor, who was a nurse.
Mary won a blue ribbon at the Natural Food Association fair in Dayton for her brown bread, which she baked weekly to sell to people in the Dayton area. Milk came from a farm in a large glass jar with the cream floating on top. Outside the front door was also an insulated box for the milkman’s delivery. In the back yards were a garden for eating and for canning.
Party lines were common when a phone was finally installed…and she graduated after 2000 to have the modern technology of a cell phone.
MARY’S MOTHER, ADA FREY AND STEP FATHER, SANDO FONTANA LIVED MOST OF THEIR LIVES ALSO IN BRADFORD. MARY’S SISTER, RUTH THOMPSON OF PIQUA AND BROTHER, JAMES ALBERT LANDIS OF BRADFORD, OHIO.
MOST OF MARY’S NIECES AND NEPHEWS STILL LIVE IN AND AROUND BRADFORD WITH SEVERAL IN OTHER STATES AS FAR AS GEORGIA, LOUISIANA, AND CALIFORNIA. ONE SPECIAL INTEREST IS READING FOR MARY. AND MANY CHANGES HAVE BEEN SEEN THROUGH THE YEARS, FOR OTHER THINGS LIKE RAILROADS.
MARY NOW RESIDES IN CINCINNATI, OHIO WITH HER DAUGHTER, KAREN AND SON-IN-LAW, RANDY.