Marcella's Secret Dreams and Stories book

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The Schaumburg Family in Buckley, Illinois

Building a House and Business and
 Raising Three Daughters in the 50s

"We had to move into our unfinished house with only two rooms partially done and no ceilings finished. We had no bathroom, just an outhouse . . . and we sort of 'camped.'" - A note from Marcella's memoir


No photos could be found of what our house looked like in the early years, save for this crooked shot in Barbara's photo album taken in the fifties (that's Mary on the left and Mollie holding one of the cats). This picture shows the back side of the house with the bare ground that would later become a huge garden. Bill's garage can be seen in the background.

Guess Marcella wanted a formal family photo, because Bill only wore a suit on special occasions.

At Grandma Williams' house about 1946. That's her beloved dog, Frisky, on the porch.

photo of Barbara Brabec at ten with sisters

Mollie Marie is born in March, 1947. Bill is praying for a boy, but he soon gets over his disappointment. Marcella is working full time as Mollie is growing up, and when Mary and Barbara are in school, Bill takes care of her until they got home. (Mollie LOVES to help her Daddy in the garage, and she's always covered in grease when we get home.)

In 1947, Marcella starts work at the Greyhound Post House as a cashier and pie maker. Bill's sister Lil and her girls are  living with them temporarily. They work hours that allow one of them to be with the kids at all times.


All Mollie wants for this particular Christmas is a walking doll, and Barbara is thrilled to catch the moment when she pulls the doll out of the box with the paper flying through the air. That doll is still in pristine condition in a glass case in Mollie's home. (We're all very nostalgic about things like this.)

On one of her trips home in the late fifties, Barbara snaps this photo of Mary with Mother and Mollie. (Our home was next to the railroad, and in the background you can see a train passing through town.)

Above, Marcella and Frank Fox, one of Buckley's best fiddlers, entertaining family and friends some time in the fifties. A lot of music came out of the Schaumburg's living room piano in those days. Marcella learned to play as a child, and she made sure her girls had piano lessons as long as they wanted them. (She also encouraged us to to play other instruments as well—a story told in the Buckley chapter of the book.)

Here's Mollie, tap dancing in a school operetta in 1959, wearing the pink taffeta dress Mother made for her.

Barbara graduates HS in 1955, and in 1959 she urges the family to take their first camping vacation. Now with a good job and studying music in Chicago, she buys the tent to get them started. Above, Mollie, Mary, and Barbara wade in a babbling brook on the way to Yellowstone National Park. (See this page for some pictures of how the Park looked then.)

Here's Bill on an earlier trip to Starved Rock after his daughters have worn him out. (Barbara dubbed this photo, "The Thinker.")

Bill and Marcella loved to go square-dancing on a Saturday night, and this photo might have been taken on one of those nights.

(That stand table—in Barbara's living room today—was a catchall for "stuff" as we all came and went, and we liked being able to primp in the mirror on our way out.)

Marcella adored her brother, Raymond, who joined the Army in 1941 and made it a career—which meant she rarely got to see him as he did duty all over the world. This photo was taken in 1959.

Raymond had this picture taken for Marcella and his mom while he was stationed in Hawaii. Some of his amusing and highly informative letters to his mom detailing his early working life in Chicago and the C.C.C. are featured the book.

It was wonderful to grow up in a home where we could see how much our parents loved one another. Sure, they squabbled like all married couples, but their love and devotion to one another endured to the end, and it gave their daughters a solid foundation on which to build their lives when they left home and married.

ALL LIFE IS ONE STORY AFTER ANOTHER, and the photos on this page are just part of the four-generation family story told in Marcella's Secret Dreams and Stories: A Mother's Legacy.

Work and Family Challenges in the 60s and 70s, continued next page ->    

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