My mother, Dorothy Frances Benson, was born to Sylvester and Edith Lynem on June 26th, 1927 in Detroit, Michigan. One of six children, Mom told me that for some time her younger sister Aunt Rosie thought my mother was her mother because of the time Mom spent raising Aunt Rosie. During the Great Depression jobs were hard to find so my grandparents relocated the family to Cynthia, Kentucky and lived in a house on the farm owned by my great uncle. My grandparents raised six children until young adulthood in segregated Cynthia Kentucky. Mom still reminds me of how blessed we are to have access to things that I take for granted, for example, basic access to qualified healthcare practitioners, appliances with hot and cold running water, and centralized heating and air conditioning!
Nevertheless, mom will graduate from high school and matriculate to Kentucky State University in Frankfort, Kentucky. Mom would over time meet Paul Benson and they would be married. Dad would serve in the Armed Forces as a Technical Sergeant in the United States Army in the Philippines during World War II and graduate from college while mom would raise four sons, my brothers Mike, Tony and Steve. Mom and Dad would relocate together to Indianapolis, Indiana to raise their family.
In segregated Indianapolis Indiana mom would work several odd jobs before landing a career with the Indianapolis Public School System in the 1960’s. Mom would work in social work and in the classroom until 2000 when her grandson was born. Mom said she had to retire to take care of her grandchildren which she did for eight years. Mom took care of her grandson until he was old enough to go the day care center four years later. Like clockwork a granddaughter was born and mom kicked into gear again and took care of her granddaughter until she was old enough to attend the day care center. In addition to caring for her granddaughter Mom also was the primary caregiver for my father who was suffering from the effects of long term tobacco use. Dad would enter a nursing facility in 2004 and would soon pass away after 57 years of marriage. Mom officially has nine grandchildren but spent some significant time with the two here in town.
When mom turned 90 on June 26, 2017 we surprised her with a party attended by her brothers and sister from Detroit, Michigan, and friends and family. Indiana State Representative Mr. Gregory Porter attended the occasion and presented her with a proclamation from the Indiana General Assembly! What a fun day! The grandchildren presented a PowerPoint presentation while we enjoyed a wonderful meal prepared by a fine dining establishment in Indianapolis. Nearly 92 years old Mom still drives to doctor appointments, the grocery store, church, and drives her granddaughter to high school every Friday morning.
Finally, Mom still likes to prepare a meal for us on occasion. Mom is an expert with desserts and her chess pie is the best. We love our mother! Thank you.