My great grandparents, Carl and Henriette (Hensel) Schumacher were farmers, first in Minnesota and then in North Dakota, where they owned land in the famous Red River Valley. I had heard of the Red River Valley as a child, but only from the old song that bears it’s name. Recently, while preparing for a trip with three of my sisters; Cheryl Masterson, Caryl Reed, and Alena Stevens; to Wisconsin and deciding to go through Fargo, North Dakota to visit our great grandparents’ graves, I was reading through my great aunt Bertha (Schumacher) Hallgren’s journal to get more information, when I came across the fact that my great grandparents had actually lived in the Red River Valley when they moved to Fargo, North Dakota. For a farmer, to live in such a fertile area and not be able to farm the land must have been just awful.
They had farmed in the Lisbon, North Dakota area. Later they moved to Fargo, when Great Grandma became ill, and the family left the farm for good. For my great aunts, Mina (Schumacher) Spare and Elsa (Schumacher) Lawrence, the move to Fargo was a welcomed one. They never really loved the farming lifestyle, and they saw the move to Fargo as a definite “step up” in the world. For Bertha and Great Grandpa, it was one of the saddest moments in their lives. They loved the outdoors, farming, and especially the Red River Valley’s fertile ground. They would take walks in the spring, summer, and fall, walking two to three miles to the edge of town to look out on the fields of crops that grew in the Red River Valley. They always wished they could go back to farming, but Grandma needed to be in town and closer to medical care. It wasn’t just this illness that plagued her, but the fact that the last nineteen years of her life were spent in a wheelchair, that made the need for closeness to doctors and hospitals so important.
My guess is that both Great Grandpa and Great Aunt Bertha hoped that someday they might be able to move to the farmland of the Red River Valley, but I expect that they knew deep down inside that it was not to be. Great Grandpa was getting on in years, and grandma was never going to get well enough to move back to the country. The wheelchair was extremely limiting. Sadly, there was a medicine that came from Germany that was helping Great Grandma, but it became unavailable during World War I, so the doctor did other drastic treatments…electric shock treatments and drawing up the cords in her knees, which rendered her wheelchair bound for the rest of her life. For Great Grandpa and Great Aunt Bertha, they were thankful that they could walk out to the edge of town and see the Red River Valley, but always sad that they could not walk those crop fields and dig in the fertile dirt there. They would always miss farming.
Until recently, it had never occurred to me just how much my grand-niece, Jala Satterwhite is like her great grandmother, Joann Schulenberg. She doesn’t really resemble her, since Jala takes more after her mother, Susan Griffith, but there is a notable similarity nevertheless. Jala loves horses, and in many ways, would live on a horse if she could. That thought brought me back to a time when my mother-in-law’s own mother, Nettie Knox made that very statement about her own daughter, Joann. Whether we realize it or not, our parents really do know us well.
Jala didn’t have much opportunity to ride horses until her mom married her step-dad, Josh Griffith, whose family had horses. Jala was introduced to the horses, and her love of horses was sealed. Later, her parents moved out into the country, and got horses of their own, giving Jala the ability to ride much more. Because her mom had never really been around horses, and only learned to ride with a great degree of apprehension, this natural riding ability that her daughter had, left Susan somewhat in awe, but also very proud. Of course, Susan’s own abilities have greatly improved, but that does not change how she feels about her older daughter’s riding prowess. Still, I don’t think Susan realized just how much Jala was like her great grandmother. I don’t think any of us did, really. I just looked at a picture of Jala on a horse yesterday, and it was like looking at my mother-in-law on her own horse. It was crystal clear to me then.
I think that for young horse-lovers, the horse provides them with an ability to go and do things without asking a parent to take them…at least within certain limits. When my mother-in-law was a kid, they could ride to school, as well as to other towns and ranches of friends nearby, those aren’t really options for Jala, except for nearby ranches. Still, there are lots of trails available these day, and Jala loves riding on them. I’m sure her great grandmother would love them too, and maybe she is there, watching proudly as her great granddaughter, Jala continues the great tradition of horseback riding just for the love of horses. Today is Jala’s 17th birthday. Happy birthday Jala!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
Just when you think you know someone, you find out that maybe you didn’t know them at all. I have always known that my Aunt Bonnie McDaniels is a great lady. She has made many, many wedding cakes for her friends and family, and then gives them as gifts, so that the bride and groom don’t have to pay the price she could easily charge for them. Yes I always knew that she was a great lady, but I didn’t know the true extent of her giving…until now.
Aunt Bonnie has always had a special love for children. I remember attending activities at Grant Elementary School with my grandchildren, Shai and Caalab Royce, to find Aunt Bonnie there too, watching the her grandson, Anthony McDaniels participate in the same events. Of course, that was just one of the many times Aunt Bonnie attended for her kids ad grandkids, and now great grandkids. She was instrumental in the lives of three generations of her family’s lives. Her family was her true delight. She is selfless and gives to her family with endless joy and love.
That is a part of Aunt Bonnie that I also knew, and I’m sure that like Aunt Bonnie and me, this is something that many grandparents do for their family, but Aunt Bonnie didn’t stop there. And that is truly where the similarities between most moms, grandmothers, and great grandmothers, and my aunt end. Aunt Bonnie loves crocheting and sewing. It is a talent she has shared and taught to her family. These days, the family often shares gifts of yarn and pom-pom makers for birthdays! Each of them feels a very special bond with her through crocheting and sewing, but even that still doesn’t tell you the most amazing things that Aunt Bonnie does.
Aunt Bonnie’s love of babies and children has brought her to a place of giving to the babies in our community. Along with a couple of her friends, Aunt Bonnie sews and crochets for the new babies at the hospital and at Family Practice. She provides all of the supplies she needs for her projects…that’s a part of the gift…just like her cakes always were. She meets with her friends every other Thursday to cut out material and prepare for the week’s work. Over the years Bonnie has made baby gowns, hats, fleece blankets, quilts, onesies, crocheted caps, socks and bibs. Every other Thursday they meet to deliver the items they have created for the new babies. Aunt Bonnie is a giver, but I just never knew just what a great giver she is. Today is Aunt Bonnie’s 79th birthday. Happy birthday Aunt Bonnie!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
The long awaited birth of the third child of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge has finally arrived. It’s a prince. I am so excited to have a new royal cousin…my 16th cousin twice removed to be exact. Of course, we don’t know the baby boy’s name yet but he weighed in at 8 pounds 7 ounces, so he was a good sized boy. He is just perfect. It is always so exciting with one of my royal cousins has a new baby. There has been much speculation as to what the couple might name the little prince, with names like James, Phillip, and Arthur. The bookies have started the betting process, so everyone can be involved, Personally I like the names Michael, Phillip and Spencer. In fact I would like a some version of the three together. Time will tell, and until William and Kate inform the Queen of the name, no one else will get to know what it is, but from what I’ve read, the Queen will have no say in the baby’s name. As a grandmother, and soon-to-be great grandmother myself, while I have my own ideas about good baby names, I do not think it is my place to try to force my opinion, and in fact, when I have thought a name would not be the best on for the babies in my family, I have found out that each of their names seem to fit them perfectly. That said, no matter what the name is, it should be totally the decision of William and Kate. We just wish they would hurry up and tell us already!!
With the birth of this baby boy, history will be made again. This new baby will be 5th in line to the throne of England, following his grandpa, Prince Charles; his dad, Prince William; his brother, Prince George; and his sister, Princess Charlotte. In times past, Charlotte would have fallen after this new baby, but the law changed before her birth, and she now holds her line in the succession to the throne. Many people are not sure how they feel about that, but since her great grandmother, Queen Elizabeth has successfully ruled England for many years, it would be hard to dispute Princess Charlotte’s ability should that position ever arise. This baby also moves Prince Harry, William’s brother, to 6th place in the line of succession, which pretty much guarantees that he will never be the King of England, unless something huge happens, which I pray it never does…obviously.
So, as an eventful first day of life comes to an end for the little prince, who was born of Saint George’s Day, a big holiday in England, we go to sleep still wondering what this little man will be named. Not that he really cares either way right now. After all, he has had a busy day, and all he really wants is dinner and a soft bed. Happy birthday sweet little HRH Prince of Cambridge, which is his official title. We look forward to knowing your name very soon. Congratulations to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. We are so happy for you!!
My mother-in-law, Joann Schulenberg, like her mother before her was blessed to be able to share her birthday with her first great grandchild, Chris Petersen. It was something the two of them really liked, and over the years, many joint birthday parties were held in their honor. It was a tradition that started when Chris’ mom, Corrie Petersen, my oldest daughter, shared her birthday with Joann’s mom, Nettie Knox. The pictures we have of those moments are something Chris and Corrie will treasure forever, just as their were treasures for their great grandmothers.
Unfortunately, that tradition will not be carried on through the next generation, because while my grandson Chris and his fiancé, Karen Cruickshank are making my husband Bob a great grandfather, they will miss his birthday by at least a month. Nevertheless, Chris will be the great grandchild who will make my mother-in-law a great great grandmother, but she did not live to see that day, something that makes us all very sad. She lloved being a grandma, and loved those sweet babies, so I know she would have loved this next level of her ife, and totally loved the little girl who is on the way in early June.
When his great grandma was in the hospital for the last time, we all went up to see her, and Chris wondered if it would be ok to take pictures with her, the baby’s ultra sound, and him, so that there would be a picture for his little girl. He had been hoping for pictures of her with the baby, and also for five-generation pictures with her, his grandpa, his mom, the baby, and him. After Chris asked me about the pictures, my sister-in-law, Brenda Schulenberg suggested the same thing, so we all decided it should be done. That visit was hard, because his grandma was in and out, and Chris wasn’t sure he would be able to understand what we were trying to tell her. When the visit was over, we all left her room, except Chris. He wanted a few minutes to officially tell his great grandma that she was going to be a great great grandma…even if she wasn’t awake to hear it. Then, a little miracle happened. As Chris was talking to her, she opened her eyes and looked right at him. Chris didn’t wait another second, but told her, “Grandma, I just wanted to let you know that you are going to be a great great grandma. My fiancé, Karen and I are having a baby girl in June.” His great grandma looked right at him, and she smiled with delight! Chris knew that she knew, and it brought tears to his eyes. It was the ultimate gift for both of them, and I am so glad that she got to know this great news before her passing just a few days later. Today would have been her 87th birthday. Happy birthday in Heaven Mom. We love and miss you very much.
I can’t let my daughter, Corrie Schulenberg Petersen’s birthday go by without thinking of the other family birthday that is on this day…Corrie’s great grandmother, Nettie Knox. The day Corrie was born my in-laws, Walt and Joann Schulenberg, brought her mother in to see the baby. The first thing grandma said was that Corrie had been born on her birthday. She was so excited that her very first great grandchild had been given as a birthday gift to her. And a gift it was, to both of them. A gift that had the ability to transcend time and great distance.
Sharing a birthday with her great grandmother built an unbreakable bond between Corrie and Grandma Knox. They shared each and every birthday from Corrie’s birth in 1975 to Grandma’s passing on July 29, 1990, just one month after Corrie’s 15th birthday. Not a birthday goes by now, that Corrie doesn’t think of her great grandmother, and the bond that they will always share. Even though her great grandmother is in Heaven now, the bond is as real as it ever was. Grandma Knox lives always in Corrie’s heart as her great grandmother and her birthday buddy, and that is a special thing that just doesn’t happen everyday. It is a special thing only for a select few who happen to be blessed enough to be born a birthday gift to their great grandmother.
When watching the old western television shows, we are told of the conflicts with the Indians, and how dangerous it was for the settlers to come out to the West, but rarely do we relate that to members of our own family…although I do not know why exactly. For any of us who can trace our roots back to people who moved out west in the 1800s or before, the risk of conflicts with the Indians is a very real part of our family’s past. For the Knox family, of whom my husband, Bob Schulenberg is a member, whether they know it or not, the Indian conflicts became a very real tragedy at one point. Bob’s 6th Great grandmother, Jean Gracey Knox had a brother named Patrick Gracey. Patrick immigrated to America with Jean and her husband, John. After the immigrated, Patrick met and married Rebecca Barnett, and possibly later married a second time to a woman named Hall. Patrick raised a large family, and one of his daughters, whose name is unknown, was scalped by the Indians, along with her baby. I realize that many people were scalped by the Indians, and that there might have been a number of them who were related to my family or to Bob’s, but it somehow seems a little more real and quite unsettling when you know for sure that one of your relatives lost their life this way.
The scalp of the enemy was considered a trophy to the Indians. The more scalps, the better the status as a warrior. I suppose that many people would almost look at it as being similar to a serial killer, and maybe in some ways it was, but the Indians were so mad at the White Man for taking land that they felt belonged to them. I suppose it did, but then why couldn’t we all live together in peace. After all, America was and still is considered the melting pot, because we have taken immigrants from many countries to build this nation. Nevertheless, we were not always welcome here, and often it was our own fault for breaking the treaties we put in place.
Still, I cannot imagine a society in which it was acceptable to scalp a person. I suppose though, that the Indian culture wasn’t really a society in the same sense of the world that we think of society. Their beliefs and their practices were much different that those of the White Man. That is part of the reason we considered them savages, but in their eyes, they were brave, and they were fighting for their rights. It was a way of life. It was a necessary evil…at least in their eyes. It was as simple as that.
She got it from her grandma, my mother-in-law, Joann Schulenberg…that ability to go shopping for hours on end, looking for a bargain here and there. My daughter, Corrie Petersen is what many people would call a shopaholic, but what Corrie has on her grandmother speaks volumes. My mother-in-law looked through all the different sales flyers from the newspaper, as does my daughter, but Corrie has taken couponing to the highest level there is. When Corrie goes to the grocery store, she is able to buy $100.00 worth of groceries, and come out of there with the store owing her money. Who does that? Not many people. Not me for sure.
Now granted, my mother-in-law didn’t have a computer, and she wouldn’t know how to run one if she had. The internet has made a huge difference in all that Corrie has been able to accomplish. Nevertheless, to get to the level of couponing that Corrie has reached, took a lot of hard work and diligence, and that is where Corrie shines. Corrie is very skilled on the computer, and knows where to look for great couponing sites, and she takes the time to search out the coupons that go with the sales that create the overage of discounts that create a situation in which the store owes her money for shopping. It’s an amazing feat, and one that makes me very proud of her.
Corrie has always been a stubborn woman…that part she gets from her mom, and once she puts her mind to something, she will not be moved off of her plan. She has the perseverance to stick to it, and that is why she succeeds. We, her family, might tease her and laugh about the long shopping trips she makes, but in all reality, we all wish we had the system in place that she does, because she has accomplished so much…gone so far beyond what we have done with the one or two coupons we manage to clip from the newspaper.
There is however, a part of Corrie that comes from her great grandmother, Nettie Knox…and that would be her birthday. Corrie not only made my husband’s grandparents Bob and Nettie great grandparents on this day 40 years ago, but she gave her great grandmother the best birthday present a grandmother could ever receive. Over the years, they always celebrated their birthdays together, and the bond between them grew quite strong. I think one of the hardest days of Corrie’s life was when her dear great grandma passed away. There are still times she has trouble talking about her without shedding a tear or two. It was such a beautiful bond, and such a beautiful tradition, and one I was very sorry to see end. Happy 40th birthday to my beautigul daughter, Corrie, and happy birthday in Heaven to her sweet great grandmother, Nettie!! Two beautiful ladies. Corrie, have a great day!! We love you very much!!
For some time now, I have been quite curious about my husband, Bob’s maternal great grandmother, Eva Landis Noyes. I have been searching for her on Ancestry.com, and have found a little bit of information, but it has been minimal, and there were no pictures out there. That made me sad, because I have wanted to have as many pictures of our family’s ancestors as possible. Those people who have eluded me have been left to have just a picture of their grave, if that is even available, which sometimes isn’t the case either. I have come to learn…throughout my life, really…that perseverance usually brings success at some point…and sometimes when you least expect it.
I have been trying to scan all the pictures from my mother-in-law, Joann Knox Schulenberg’s childhood scrapbook, and because of it, I have found out a lot of information about my mother-in-law, and her personality when she was a girl. Her scrapbook has been a treasure box of little gems of information both in picture and words. She not only put the pictures in, but she told who and what they were…something so many people don’t do, and when they don’t, their descendants are left to guess about the people and events that are held within the covers of the scrapbook. It is a sad turn of events indeed, because we all want to know who those people are, and what was going on in the picture.
Today, as I was looking at the pictures there, I stumbled on two pictures that I apparently hadn’t really looked at before. I find that to be the case a lot. We look at the pictures, but assume that we won’t know those people, so we don’t necessarily read what is written there very carefully. Today, however, I noticed that was written there, and the light bulb came on. All this time I had been wondering what Eva Landis Noyes looked like, and she has been in that book, which I have had for almost a year now, and I just simply didn’t know it.
Today that all changed. As I read what was written there, the realization came to me that this woman was indeed none other than Eva Landis Noyes. One picture was of Eva, and her daughter, Bob’s grandmother, Nettie Landis Noyes Knox, and is captioned, “Mother and Daughter”. The other one is of Eva and her husband, Grandpa Orin Eugene Noyes, who went by Eugene; and Grandma and Grandpa Knox, Nettie and Bob. That picture is simply captioned “Anniversary”. Yes, they are just pictures, and it isn’t like I have had the chance to meet these great grandparents, but to me, these simple pictures are truly pure gold. Being able to see the faces of the people who, through their lineage brought my husband to me, is amazing. While this find has only served to spark the fire of my curiosity, rather than to put the fire out, I still feel like it is an amazing find, and about that, I am very excited.
During the twenty six long years when my great grandmother, Henriette Albertine Hensel Schumacher was confined to a wheelchair with debilitating arthritis, her husband, my great grandfather took care of her with the help of his children…especially my great aunts, Bertha and Elsa who gave up the hope of marriage and a family in their young years, for the love of their parents and with and understanding of their need. Because my great grandmother was only fifty years old when she was struck with this disease, her youngest daughters, Bertha and Elsa were only 11 and 8 years old. Those girls would barely remember a time when they were not caregivers for their mother, and later for their father too. The time went by so quickly, and suddenly they looked back and the time for having a family was long past for them.
I don’t think that most people, or at least most of those who have never been a caregiver, have any idea what a monumental job it is to care for someone. It takes a willingness to give up your own desires, hobbies, activities…basically your life, to help someone else who is not in a position to help themselves. And, it isn’t always the person who needs the care that is the most helped, but rather their spouse, who has been trying to handle it themselves, and trying to figure out what has happened to their strength, their ability to handle everything in their life, and how they could have come to a place where their only hope lies in the strength of their children, who still have the advantage of youth’s strength and energy. This was the place my great grandfather, Carl Schumacher found himself in, as the years passed and he came to the understanding that he would have to lean heavily on his two youngest daughters to keep things going.
I have to wonder if great grandpa felt a lot of guilt over what his daughters gave up in life to help him. He was such a loving, caring person, who had always been able to take care of all the needs of his family, and he just could not do this alone. He simply had no choice but to rely on them for help. He was getting older, and he was getting tired. I’m sure Bertha and Elsa would have had it no other way. These were their parents, and they loved them. Still, they never forgot the day that their dad said, “What would I do without you girls?” I know from my own experiences as a caregiver, that while you don’t need to have the patient constantly saying “thank you”, there is something to be said for hearing that your hard work has positively effected their lives. They were both rewarded in later years with wonderful husbands, and even thought it was for a short time they were blessed in that way too in the end.
In my years as a caregiver, I have had the opportunity a number of times to hear or be told that without my help, they couldn’t have stayed in their homes this long, and it does make you feel good about your work. Nevertheless, like my great aunts, I know I would do the work whether the praise came or not, because it truly is about making their lives better, and not about the praise I received. It’s all about the love I have for those I care for. I’m very proud of my great aunts, that they did what they needed to do to help their parents, and someday, I’ll have the chance to tell them that myself.