My sister-in-law, Marlyce Schulenberg was developmentally disabled. In many ways that made her always seem younger than her years. In reality, she probably never aged past her teen years, mentally. Still, Marlyce could do some things that adults do, such as cooking and working. In those ways she was much like any grown up person her age.
Marlyce lived with her parents, my in-laws, Walt and Joann Schulenberg, all her life, but she was a part of a school in Casper at that time, that trained developmentally disabled people to be productive members of society, and then worked to place them in jobs. Marlyce loved her job, and enjoyed going to work every day. It made her feel good about herself, and it made her feel like she was a grownup, like everyone else around her. Marlyce just wanted to belong in the adult world. Something most of us can understand.
Before Marlyce was forty, she contracted Cancer, and at the young age of just thirty nine years, she lost her life in that battle. It was a devastating loss to all of us, her family, and to all who knew her. Nevertheless, time marches on, and while we will always miss her sweet smiling face, the hats she knitted, and the wonderful chocolate chip cookies she made, we will miss her more than any of those things. Marlyce was the sweetest sister-in-law in the world. She was kind and caring. She loved being an aunt when all the nieces and nephews started coming along.
Her life was sadly, very short in the grand scheme of time, but in that timeframe, Marlyce lived a full life. She was not held back by the limitations that most of us do not consider limitations, like husband and children, but in reality, they are things that must be taken into consideration when deciding whether to read a book, take a trip with parents, or even take a nap. She could, for the most part anyway make her own choices. And that was what allowed her to live a full life in just a few short years. Nevertheless, we all wish she was still here.
Today, Marlyce would have turned sixty five. I wonder what she would have been like now. Things would have been a bit more difficult in that her dad is in Heaven, and her mom in a nursing home. I’m not sure where she would have been living. Perhaps with one of her siblings or maybe in a group home. She would be ready to retire, but I’m not sure she would have wanted to do so. It’s all speculation, of course, because we will never know. Today Marlyce would have been sixty five, but in reality, she is forever thirty nine. Happy birthday in Heaven, Marlyce. We love and miss you very much.
Pam is the oldest of my Aunt Doris and Uncle Bill’s three children, and their only girl. Each of their children were special in their own right. I always thought of Pam as an elegant looking girl. She and my sister, Cheryl had a way about them that I had always wished I had. I don’t know if it was about being older and more sophisticated, or what, but I knew that it was what I wanted to be like, but never felt like I was…at least not until I was much older, and it didn’t matter anymore.
Of course, Pam was much more than that to her little brothers. As the big sister, she knew all the fun stuff to do when they were little boys. I’m sure that as they grew, she wished they would leave her alone…as all big sisters do, but when they were little, she was the one they loved to hang around. She has always had a great smile, and she could always make them laugh when she played with them. They were very blessed to have her.
When Pam and her husband, Mike came out for a visit last summer, we all had a chance to get reacquainted. It was such a lovely visit. We had not seen Pam for a long time, because we all let life get in the way. How sad is that? But with Facebook, hopefully we can stay better in touch with each other now.
Pam is an elementary school teacher, teaching 3rd grade right now, but plans to retire soon. We hope that might mean that she and Mike can come back out and visit for a little longer this time. The little visit we had really just brought with it an appetite for more time with this wonderful cousin. We talked and laughted about the old days, and caught up with the things going on in our lives these days. I could have talked with them for hours, and really hated to see them leave. And, I look forward to the next time we can get together. Today is Pam’s birthday. Happy birthday Pam!! Have a wonderful day!! We love you!!