My paternal grandmother, Lois Begert (married name Brown, born in 1921) and her 3 siblings’ (Charles H.A., Florence, and Donald “Don,” all the children of Charles Albert Begert and Grace Lautenschlager), teen years may have been somewhat unstable, but that didn’t stop Lois from succeeding and flourishing at North Canton High School (Ohio).

The 1930 census lists Lois and her older sister Florence (born in 1913) living with their grandparents, Isaac Lautenschlager and Barbara Kestler, along with their daughter Ruth, Lois and Florence’s aunt. Florence and Ruth attended Orrville High School together in the same class.ย Lois’ older brother Don (born in 1918) also attended Orrville High, though his stint there was brief (his 7th grade year in 1931). He later appeared on North Canton High’s (where Lois attended) alumni page as graduating from there in 1936. Around 1930 (and probably 1931) he was living just down the street, on Jefferson Ave., from Florence and their grandparents, with his uncle Herbert Lautenschlager (Grace’s brother), his wife, and their baby daughter, which is most likely why he started at Orrville High.

Also in 1930, Lois’ oldest brother Charles H. A. (born 1912) was living with a different uncle, Russell Lautenschlager, and his wife, and 4 kids, though Charles was listed as a boarder along with another young man. It was marked on the 1930 census that Charles had not attended school since September 1, 1929, though it is unclear if he attended school before that; I have never found a record of him in a yearbook.

It is assumed that the children were split up and distributed between family members because the parents were both working and couldn’t afford to house and feed the children, though I am still looking into the circumstances and haven’t found the true answer yet. Grace Lautenschlager was the live-in housekeeper for a family in Perry Township, Indiana. It was the Great Depression and work may have been hard to find, but why she was forced to find work in a completely different state is still unclear. Lois’ father Charles Albert Begert was living as a boarder in Stark, Ohio and working as a laborer in a gas company. Curiously, his marital status was listed as single, though he was still very much married to Grace…

By 1940 (or sooner; Don was back in the North Canton area to finish school by 1936 so maybe the others were, as well) Lois was back living with her parents, who were both in the same house at this point (and father Charles once again considered himself married), which may explain why she attended a different high school than her siblings.

loisyearbook

Based on her yearbook description and several local news articles, it can be concluded that Lois was popular, hardworking, and quite a joiner! I was going to write out a paragraph of clubs and activities she participated in in High School, but the amount and details were so lengthy, that I’m going to have to do it in list format:

  • Eighth grade honor roll
  • Class secretary her sophomore year
  • Dramatic club her junior year
  • The Girl Reserves her junior and senior year and served as the vice president of the Senior Girl Reserves. Coincidentally, her brother Don’s future wife Imogene “Jeanne” North, was also a fellow member. Events they hosted included a hay ride in October, entertaining girls at the Fairmont Children’s home in December, and an alumnae tea party.
  • Treasurer of the No-Ca-Hi yearbook staff her senior year, and junior representative her junior year
  • Allied Youth her senior year – the purpose of this fairly new club, which met on Thursdays semi-monthly, was to “encourage students to enjoy themselves socially without the use of alcoholic beverages.”
  • On the Executive Committee of the Student Council her senior year
  • Class treasurer her senior year
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Lois is in the middle of the back row, pictured with the rest of the No-Ca-Hi yearbook staff, 1939

On May 25, 1939, Lois and her senior class attended a dinner-dance hosted by the junior class. The event was held at the Congress Lake Country Club and the class had a great time kicking up their heels until 1:00 A.M. to the tunes of Tom Brown’s 10 piece orchestra.

After graduating, she continued her social activities, joining the Gradale Sorority (a local women’s club) and had several dinners and parties held in her honor.

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Above: Lois is pictured with the Allied Youth Club; middle row, 4th from left (+ close-up)

Lois was the typical left brain with a flash of right. Like her husband, my grandfather Harold Lyle Brown, she was mathematically inclined. She served as both the class treasurer and treasurer of her school yearbook her senior year and after graduating she worked as an assistant manager of personal finance before marrying my grandfather. In her graduating class of 1939’s will, Lois’ “efficiency in handling money,” was willed to future class treasurers.ย 

After marrying my grandfather, she settled down, had children, and was the epitome of domestic bliss. Truly, I think one of my “Grammy’s” joys in life was taking care of people and ensuring their comfort (she made the best apple pie anyone in the family’s ever eaten and a mean roast).

I don’t doubt she helped with the taxes, too…

*****

Sources:

No-Ca-Hi. Vol. 14. The Class of 1938. www.classmates.com (School is listed under Canton Township High School)

No-Ca-Hi. Vol. 15. The Class of 1939. www.classmates.com. (School is listed under North Canton Junior-Senior High School)