Marcella's Secret Dreams and Stories book

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Bill and Marcella's Last Years

Each of the pictures in this online photo gallery document a part of Bill and Marcella Schaumburg's life with glimpses of the lives of their children and relatives. (For photos of Bill's siblings and his father in 1927 and 1972, see the Family Tree.)

Marcella left her family a special legacy of love in all the words she wrote and in the way she lived her life. Bill also left his children a special legacy of his own, one that my sisters and I write about in the book's chapter, "Remembering a Sweet Daddy."

On a trip to California in 1977, Bill and Marcella agree to have this formal picture taken.

This year Marcella has a visit with her brother, Raymond, who takes her to a place she has always wanted to see: Mission San Juan Capistrano.

In 1980, the kids surprise their folks with a 45th wedding anniversary party in Buckley so all their friends and relatives can help them celebrate.

Marcella's brother and his wife, Vira, come to Buckley to help his sister celebrate. When Raymond got married in 1942 without advance notice to the family, he announced the news in a letter to his . . .

. . . sister (who he always called 'Cussie,') writing, "If Mom faints, just dash a bucket of water on her and wait for her to recover."

One day in 1981, Barbara visits her Mother and asks if she can tag along with her and watch her work that day. She was in her prime then as Charge Nurse at the Greenbrier nursing home.

We all knew it was coming, and we had a lot of time to say goodbye, but it was nonetheless hard for all of us.

William J. (Bill) Schaumburg—a brother to six, a loving father to Barbara, Mary, and Mollie, and our mother's lifelong best friend and husband—dies October 20, 1982 at the age of 75.

By 1984, Marcella has retired from nursing, sold the house in Buckley, and moved to senior housing in Altus, OK to be near her brother. She always felt at peace when she was watching ocean waves wash up on a beach, and we can only imagine her thoughts on this particular day when she was visiting Mollie and Jim in California, still grieving for Bill.

This Christmas family gathering in California in 1986 is the first time since 1963 that Barbara is able to be with her family for this holiday.

BACK ROW, left to right: Jim's mom, Betty Ann, Mary, Jim, Kris, Marcella, Barbara. FRONT ROW: Jeffrey, Mollie, Kathy, and Matthew.

Marcella squeezed a lot of joy out of this Christmas and all the days remaining to her as a widow. Here she delights the family when she strikes a pose in her Christmas PJs from Barbara.

For the first time in decades, Barbara plays a piano duet with her mother, who taught her to play by ear when she first sat down to the piano as a child.

At long last, Marcella is able to spend time with Raymond. When he wasn't taking her on little trips to see the country, his size 13s were often propped on her footstool.

In 1987, Mary and Mollie give our mother the vacation of a lifetime: a trip to Maui, which they dubbed "Moms on Maui." Here a joyful mother poses by a waterfall on the famous "Road to Hana." She would never forget this vacation and had much to talk about when she returned to Altus.

In January, 1988, Marcella was so happy to be a part of the wedding of her granddaughter, Kris (Mary's daughter) in Colorado.

ABOVE, left to right: Kris's sister, Kathy, Mollie, Marcella, Kris, Mary, and Barbara.

Marcella wears a dress Barbara made for her decades earlier. Although she didn't have many places to wear a purple satin dress in Buckley, she said it was the prettiest dress she'd ever had.

In October, 1988, the family learns that Raymond has lung cancer that wasn't caught in time to be successfully treated. His death on October 10, 1988 is a devastating blow that Marcella struggles to get past. Saying goodbye to so many loved ones in recent years has left a heavy weight in her heart.

Mary and Mollie bring her to California a few months later so they can care for her in the remaining years of her life. In spite of her steadily declining health due to emphysema, Marcella tries to find reasons to be thankful for a good life, and every visit to the ocean is now very special.

Our beloved Mother dies on August 29, 1992 at the age of 78, and we lay her to rest next to our father in Maple Grove Cemetery in Milford, Illinois. Surprisingly, her funeral turns out to be a joyful celebration of her life as we see God at work throughout this amazing day—an uplifting story in the book that will give many readers pause.

 

AS WE ALL BEGIN TO GRASP the number of people we've known in years past who are no longer with us, we are finally forced to start thinking about how our lives will end and what we will leave behind. Our lives are like an artist's canvas on which we are painting every day that we live. Every brush stroke of our life, whether dark, happy, bold, or thin, increasingly becomes the canvas of who and what we are, and this will eventually create a picture that we will leave behind, one that people will see as our legacy.

Buckley, Illinois: The Schaumburg's Hometown, continued next page ->

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