The headline read “Wedding Gown To Be Her Shroud.” The newspaper article was about a horrible tragedy, that took place just four days after the wedding of my husband, Bob’s 6th cousin 3 times removed, Ruth Schulenberg to Wilberd Youngman. The wedding took place on November 26, 1913, and was a large social affair for the smaller town of Tolono, Illinois, population of about 700, at the time. Ruth Schulenberg, was the daughter of Mr and Mrs Henry Schulenberg, and was a graduate of Saint Mary’s of the Wood where she was a member of a prominent sorority. Wilberd Youngman employed as a draughsman by the Burr Company of Champaign, Illinois. The wedding took place at Saint Patrick’s Catholic Church in Tolono.
After their wedding, the young couple was on their honeymoon, in Kokomo, Indiana, where they had attended church at the Kokomo Catholic Church. Following the church service, they were on their way to a big wedding dinner in their honor at the country residence of a neighbor of Youngman’s cousin, Edward Grishaw, who was transporting the couple in a closed carriage. As the carriage began its crossing of the tracks of the Lake Erie and Western Railway, Grishaw failed for look for trains, and pulled out in front of the Lake Erie train going full speed. The train ripped through the car, and by the time the train could stop and the crew reached the car’s occupants, Ruth Schulenberg and Edward Grishaw were dead. Wilberd Youngman was critically injured, and not expected to live.
Amazingly, Wilberd Youngman did live…for eleven months. Youngman was taken to a hospital in Chicago, but his prognosis was grim. People just don’t come back from being hit by a train that ripped their car apart, and yet he was still alive, and actually recovering from his injuries…the visible injuries anyway. Youngman had lost so much that November day, and he was struggling to move forward. Ruth Schulenberg had been his soulmate, and his very best friend. She was the love of his life, and he knew there could never be another woman for him. Wilberd Youngman was not a man who would commit suicide, but he also could not recover from this deepest injury…the one that broke his heart. Slowly, over the eleven months that followed the saddest day of his life, Wilberd Youngman dwindled away. it wasn’t a refusal of food and water, but rather a refusal to go on without his precious Ruth. Finally, on October 24, 1914, just short of 11 months after that awful day…November 30, 1913, Wilberd Youngman could no longer go on living, and so, with his parents by his side, he simply passed away. The final cause of death was listed as a broken heart. That, to me was the saddest cause of death I had ever heard. Because of the loss of his wife, Wilberd simply had no desire to live either. He tried to recover…physically, but his heart was no longer in it, and he finally just gave up and quit trying. The Honeymoon Tragedy had finally claimed it’s last victim.
This is a guest blog, written by my daughter, Amy Royce, for my birthday. Thank you Amy. I love you.
She has shown that in so many ways throughout my life and the lives of those around her. She was at every single game, play, concert or awards assembly when my sister and I were growing up. This continued on when my kids and nephews were in school and I have no doubt that she will also be in attendance for all of those things for her great grandchildren as well. She is very excited about the arrival of her first great granddaughter in June. More recently, she had taken on the task of caregiver for family several members. She was always willing to put her needs aside to help them. I know that if someone asks, she will do it again and again.
My nephews, Chris and Josh, remember when she would take them to school everyday. She always made sure that they were on time….even if she was having a bad day because she broke her heel or because of a train going back and forth and she was running late for work. (They love bringing this up every now and then! Haha) Not only that, she would pick them up from school and take them to the Boys and Girls Club after school. I remember multiple times when she would take my kids or nephews to work with her when they were sick, just so that my sister and I didn’t have to take time off of our jobs.
Chris also told me that now that they are older, if they ever need someone to talk to or guidance through life, she’s always there. This statement is so true! She has been there with words of encouragement for my sister as she is going through nursing school. She is always there, with a willing ear, for me when I have problems in my job.
Jenny, my mom’s niece, told me that my mom bought her wedding dress for her. She came to the hospital to see all of her kids when they were born. She even let her move into their house for a couple months when she was a teenager. She loves it that my mom goes over and spends one night a week with her mom, Cheryl.
Carrie, our friend and her co-worker, says that my mom always has Godly advice and takes the time to listen. She is always ready to help explain things at work and she takes the time to explain them until Carrie gets it. She takes care of anything going at work when Carrie is not there. She has ALWAYS been there to help her through struggles; big or small. Carrie loves that she knows the Word and can always let her know “what point of view or perspective will better serve her.”
Quite honestly, I could go on for days about how selfless she is, but in addition to all these wonderful things I have told you about my mom, she has found yet another way to make others feel special! On someone’s birthday, when we normally send a quick Facebook or text message, my mom takes the time to write up a complete story. She doesn’t have to….she wants to. Today is my mom’s birthday and this is my story for her. We love you mom. Thank you for all you do…for all of us. Have a great day!
My sister-in-law, Debbie Schulenberg Cook, is a woman of many talents. Over the years she has made clothing for her girls, Machelle Cook Moore and Susan Cook Griffith, including Machelle’s wedding dress. She made lots of other clothes for them through the years too. One thing that I never really had the patience for, was sewing, but Debbie was quite good at it. She sewed most of her own clothes too. I always thought it would be nice to be able to do that, but it just wasn’t going to be something I would master, and my shoulders just couldn’t stand the aching I got when I sewed, so it was what it was.
Debbie took up cross stitch, and made many pretty things to give away and sell at the craft fairs that she, my sister-in-law, Brenda, and my parents-in-law used to participate in. Now cross stitch was something I could sink my teeth into, but I didn’t ever get involved in the craft fairs, because by then, Bob and I were bowling seven days a week…fanatical, absolutely. Nevertheless, they all did pretty well with the craft fairs, and very much anticipated each one with joy. I know that the people who bought the items they sold were very pleased with them, but I think the gifts she made especially for one family member or another were the very best, because of all the love that went into them. Something that is made with love is always a keepsake.
After her dad’s passing, almost three years ago, and after we had to place her mother in a nursing home due to Alzheimer’s Disease, we decided to take the clothes that didn’t go to the nursing home, and any material he mom had left, and make quilts for everyone. Debbie single handedly took on the task of making quilts for the grandchildren. It was a huge undertaking, because there are eight grandchildren, and ten great grandchildren. Debbie did a wonderful job on those quilts, and they are something the grandchildren and great grandchildren will treasure forever, because the are from their grandparents clothing, and made with love for them by Debbie. It just doesn’t get any better than that. Today is Debbie’s birthday. Happy birthday Debbie!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
Yesterday, was one of the harder days of going through our parents’ things. Some of the most valuable possessions they had went to new homes. I don’t suppose everyone would find these items valuable, but to us they are priceless. The two old trunks that had belonged to Dad…his personal trunk and his military trunk, Mom’s wedding outfit and Dad’s wedding suit, Dad’s Army Air Forces dress uniform, his daily wear uniform, and his military coats, as well as his medals, and the Bible Mom carried at her wedding, all found new owners, and for some of the things, new homes. It felt really sad somehow, that these things wouldn’t be together anymore, but yet we also felt very blessed to receive the things we did, because they would now be treasured by a new generation of people. Our children and grandchildren will also get to see them, and hear the stories about the lives of their grandparents. The blessings are definitely there, but it still feels sad to separate the things forever. They have been in the same house for 56 years.
The process of separating our parents’ things moves so fast sometimes that we don’t even think about taking the time to take pictures of these most precious items…until later. The good news is that they are not being sold, so we can will have other chances to get together, and the smaller items that should be grouped together could be brought together again. We also all have the ability to take pictures of those previous items and send them to each other. Nevertheless, the feeling that the order of things just isn’t right anymore, continue to persist. I know we all feel it, but I think maybe for my sister, Cheryl Masterson, it s just a little bit more pronounced. The home she has lived in for so much of her life, just doesn’t look quite the same as it always has. Of course, the things in the house are the least of the changes the house has seen in the last seven and a half years. The biggest and most painful change is that the people who always graced that house, our parents are gone now. The things in the house are secondary to that loss, by a great distance, but nevertheless, they still feel like a loss.
I guess, the main reason that it feels somewhat right to divide up our parents’ things is that it is the only way that we can keep them close to each of us…their things that is. We each, always have Mom and Dad close to us in our hearts, but having their things around us…brings them just a little bit closer somehow. That is really the reason why people want their parents’ things…to make them feel closer to us. Each and every time we look at their things, their memory instantly appears, and that is, after all, the purpose of mementoes. For us, the sadness appears when we realize that the wedding dress and the wedding suit will live in different homes, the uniform and the medals won’t be together anymore. And eventually their home will take on a new appearance. It will be Cheryl’s home, and it will look like her home, and not Mom and Dad’s anymore. It is a sad reality that we all must face.
The morning was beautiful, calm, peaceful, and clear. The perfect day for a Valentine Wedding. The national day of love has become a day to always remember for Lindsay and Shannon. The background was the Atlantic Ocean with the Deerfield Beach Pier stretching out into the calm waters. They couldn’t have asked for a more perfect day. All the guests gathered, as well as the addition of curious onlookers, who wanted to share in the moment they had stumbled upon. They only served to add to the special beauty of the occasion. Lindsay’s dress was stunning, and was only outshined by the beauty of the bride herself. Shannon was handsome and very happy, as he looked lovingly at the bride, whom he had waited for all his life. They are the picture of a perfect couple, and their long and happy life stretches out into the future. For them, Valentine’s Day will always mean much more than it does for the average couple, because it is the day that they will celebrate as the most wonderful day of their lives…the day the two became one.
As we all know, Valentine’s Day is the day that we celebrate love, and for my niece, Lindsay and her now husband, Shannon, nothing could be more true. This morning began with their wedding on Deerfield Beach in Miami, Florida and will end with them celebrating their love on a ship bound for the Bahamas. When Lindsay told us of their plan to be married in Florida, I must say that I was a bit surprised, because they lived in South Dakota, but they wanted something a bit different when they said, “I do.” Their wedding was certainly something different for this family, but little did they know as they planned their wedding on that beach so far away from their home, that it would now end up being quite near their home. As it turns out, Shannon was offered a job at Florida International University, and they will be living just a few miles from the beach where they were married this morning.
It is hard for me to believe that my cute little niece, who has always had a wonderful, bubbly personality is all grown up and married now. Time goes by so fast. She has been a go getter all her life, and I always knew she would go far, I just didn’t expect it to be far away.Nevertheless, I can’t be sad, because she is going to live in a beautiful place, and the beach where they got married, will most likely become a favorite hangout for them. The years ahead hold so much promise for Lindsay and Shannon, and I am so happy for both of them. Congratulations Mr and Mrs Moore, on your marriage today!! I know God will bless you with all the best things He has. We love you!!
About a year and 4 months ago, while I was researching my family tree, I came across someone else who was researching his family tree, and my Aunt Ruth, my dad’s sister was in that tree. Since his name and his user name were not the same, I contacted him to ask what his relation to my Aunt Ruth was. I was quite surprised to hear that he was my aunt’s grandson, Larry. That was strange too in that my mom had just said that she had wanted to get in touch with Shirley, my Aunt Ruth’s daughter, because she wanted to give her our grandmother’s wedding dress and we had been out of touch with that side of the family since Aunt Ruth’s passing in 1992. This all seemed too amazing to be simply chance. I believe it was a journey the Lord wanted our families to take, and one that would turn out to be a journey we would cherish for the rest of our lives.
Meeting up with Larry in the very near future seemed very unlikely given the fact that he was in the service and stationed in Korea. To further complicate matters, he planned to stay in Korea following his retirement. When Larry retired however, things in Korea had changed. The place he had intended to work, had implemented a hiring freeze. There was no work there for him. Larry and his son, Nehemiah returned to Washington state where his family lives. The job situation there was no better, until a friend suggested that he go to truck driving school. Larry was unsure that he would be able to learn to drive a truck, but with his friend’s encouragement, he went to school and found that this was a perfect fit for him. He loves driving truck.
Yesterday, Larry’s route found him driving through Wyoming. He posted a picture saying that it was a picture of the sunset in Wyoming. I asked where he was in Wyoming, and at the same time his mom was asking the same question. When she found that he was in Casper, she called me and told me. She gave me his phone number, and I called my mom and sister, Cheryl. Within half an hour, mom, Cheryl, her granddaughter, Aleesia, my grandson Caalab, and I were sitting at Perkins, having pie and a great visit with Larry. It was like coming full circle for our families. We had not seen them in 20 years, and yet it felt like just yesterday. The crazy thing about it is that neither Larry, being his family’s photographer, nor I, the one who uses pictures every day to tell the stories I tell on my blog, thought for one minute about taking a picture to commemorate the visit. Can you believe it?? I hope Larry’s route will soon find him in Casper again, and since he has my phone number now, he can let us know ahead of time, so we can have a longer visit, and bring more of the family…and take pictures!!!