Mary Beach


Mary Beach has experienced many good, bad, and hard times through her life. She experienced and survived the Depression.

Mary Beach was born Mary Gardner in Calico Rock on January 21, 1915. She lived in the same house until she was out of school. The house had a wrap-around deck, a parlor (where the family sat down to talk, play games, and make quilts), and it was two stories.

While growing up, she looked up to her mother and her father as her role models. They showed and taught her to become very self-sufficient. Her parents were good role models because they loved and nurtured all of their children. Her mother was Susan Rebecca Person and her father was Archibald Benjamin Gardner. Her parents owned a three-story general store. The first story was a hardware store, the second story was an accountant's office, and the basement was a feed store. They had twelve children: Be njamin, Arthur, Oscar, Novella, Laura, Theodore, Zelma, Willie, Elden, Sherman, Hale, and Mary. While growing up, Mary Beach had many chores that she had to attend to. She had to milk the cows and set the table since she was the youngest. She went to Cali co Rock from first grade through twelfth grade.

Her parents invested in stocks and bonds during the 1920's. She could not remember the exact bonds that they owned. Her father just invested in the stock market as a pastime. He did not have enough money in the market to affect his f amily.

In 1934, Mary Gardner married Fred Beach. She moved out of her house and into Melbourne with a one bedroom house which had an outhouse and a kitchen. Fred fought in World War II and became a captain in the army. He was stationed in Germany. After th e war he worked for the postal service, then the service station, neither of them worked out. Then he became a state police officer after the war. Mary remained a housewife and helped around the house and the farm. During the Depression, she said that everything became scarce. They were not hurt that badly because they already grew their own food and milked their cows. They grew their own eggs, milk, butter, meats, and vegetables. They also had a vegetable cellar and a smokehouse. The vegetable cellar made all of the fruits and vegetables stay ripe for weeks. The cellar was also good for storing vegetables, and for storing canned goods such as tomatoes and other canned fruits. A smokehouse kept all of the meat cured for days, weeks, and even months.

She described the Depression as a horrible time that no one should have to go through. One thing that she did remember was that when they bought their feed in cloth sacks, they used the cloth sacks for dresses, linens, and even curtains.

During the Depression, she had jobs such as working around the house. Her husband, when not away being a police officer, helped his father around his farm. It took her family a long time to get out of debt. The reason they got into debt was because o f the house they bought in 1935. After they settled down and became financially secure they had five children: James, Sue, Mary Anne, Linda, and Bill.

She thought that the Depression made her stronger, more independent, and more self-sufficient. She said at the time it hurt, but as she looked back, it made her a lot stronger. It made her stronger because she had a larger will not to give up, and no t to take any thing for granted.