My mother-in-law, Joann Schulenberg was stay-at-home mom for most of her life. She cooked and baked, as well as sewing, knitting, and crocheting, in addition to the normal stay-at-home mom duties. She was an excellent cook, and the thought of her baking prowess still makes my mouth water. I came across some Cinnabon sticky buns at Walmart the other day, and it reminded me of her Carmel Pecan Cinnamon Rolls. Nobody…and I mean nobody, made Carmel Pecan Cinnamon Rolls like she did. They were amazing!! She also made Murder Cake, which was like a chocolate cake with pudding dumped on it. It was so rich and yummy!! She also canned vegetables and meats for many years. Raising a cow at their property in the country made that feasible.
She spent her life perfecting her knitting, sewing, and crocheting, and she could make just about anything. Many people have been the beneficiaries of her work, and she made money on her things too. Craft fairs were her main selling place, but once her name was known, she got lots of calls for her crafts too. She could knit and crochet in her sleep and never miss a stitch. When she was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease, and later when she moved into a nursing home, her knitting and crocheting went with her…in her mind anyway. She would see her oxygen tubing or a string on a blanked of piece of clothing and she would pick it up and “pick up” where she left off.
She was always cooking when she was at home, and so when they would tell her it was time for dinner at the nursing home, she would often tell them that she would get the potatoes on. All of the CNAs got a kick out of that, and then, they would tell her that it wasn’t her night to cook. That always put a smile on her face. If someone else did the cooking, that meant she could relax, for once. Never one to complain, she was a favorite out there. She was a people watcher, so being at the nursing home was entertainment for her too. She couldn’t quite figure out the relationships there, and often thought that the CNAs were spouses to the residents. Then, when they would go help a different resident, she would ask me why that “girl” was sitting with that man, when her husband was this other man. It was really quite comical. I never thought of Alzheimer’s Disease as a curse, like many people do. My mother-in-law didn’t grieve, because she didn’t realize they were gone. They would always be back soon. Today would have been my mother-in-law’s 92nd birthday. Happy birthday in Heaven, Mom. We love and miss you very much.
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