On July 26th, my mother, Barrett Martin Schroeder turns 65. She may or may not want me mentioning this milestone in a blog but I am proud of her and thankful for those many years she has been in my life and impacted it. She represents a living legacy to both my sister Sarah and I. We are readers because of her. We try to be forgiving to others because she is of us. We have traveled so much because of her leading the way. We are educated because of her (and Dad). We are a close family because of her example. Yep, we even look a lot like her too. Both my sister and I have kids now so we feel that it’s our responsibility to continue on a living legacy and always tell her story. We love you mom and have a Happy Birthday. Here’s to many more ahead.
And yes, I’m sorry I threw a plastic chair at you when I was 5.
Last year when my father turned 65, he sent out this letter to everyone and I hope you will enjoy it. He is the definition of “nostalgic” and loves looking back to figure out what “today” means. It’s no shock about why I love history as do they do too. I hope you enjoy as it is quite humorous. He is the “real” Dave Schroeder.
Some Thoughts on Turning 65
Sunday I celebrated my 65th birthday in Chicago with Barrett and our daughter Sarah. While I did not say anything to them, I kept on thinking “What was it like in 1944 and how can I explain it to my children and grandchildren?”
For the first 14 months of my existence, I live with my mother in the second floor apartment in South St. Louis. The apartment had a kitchen, bedroom and living room. The total square footage was about as big as most people’s family rooms today. We had a radio and a phone for communications. The phone was a “Party Line” which meant we shared the line with two or three other households. Today if you said Party Line your probably meant 1-800-GOT-SEXX.
We did not have a television for almost seven more years and that was a big box with a round black and white screen. No HI DEF. There was no Internet (I am a few years older than Al Gore), nor e-mail, Twitter or Facebook. We communicated by writing letters. I still have the one from my dad when he found out I was born. The reason he was not in my life for those 14 months was that he was in England waiting to be shipped to the Ardennes in Belgium to fight in the Battle of the Bulge that December where he was wounded just a month later. I recently asked a young man checking me out at an office supply store if he had heard of the Battle? He replied, “No, but I am going to study it next semester as I am taking “Ancient and Medieval History.”
I finally met my father in January of 1946. Instead of flying home from Europe in six or eight hours, he came home on a “Troop Ship” which took six to eight days and then had to take a train from New York to St. Louis which took another couple of days. Legend has it that I leaked all over his uniform. Those old diapers just don’t measure up to today’s Pampers.
When dad got home, we did not have a car and it took another year or two before they were available because of rationing. My Grandfather Moberg had a car. I figured he was rich. Dad took something called a trolley to work or we walked to shop at the neighborhood store right around the corner or took the trolley to Tower Grove Park.
We finally got a house in Webster in 1951. Three bedrooms, all brick for the whopping price of $15,000. We had to build on a garage a few years later with the help of my parent’s friends. It is amazing what you can get for a few cases of beer. But life was good and we were happy.
I was not happy when I had to repeat 1st grade. Since I started in the city school at midterm, when we moved to the county, I was a semester behind and could not read. Best thing that ever happened to me! I went form being the youngest kid in the class to the oldest and I learned how the read, write and do math. Little did we know at that time that our principal, Mr. Rose, was doing the dirty deed with Miss Bright my third grade teacher. It was a big scandal years later.
No need to cover the high school or college years or the forty-one years since then. Today I am married to my college sweetheart, Barrett, and we have been blessed with two wonderful and productive children, Sarah and David. They have continued blessing us with two grandchildren and another one on the way. Yesterday, we actually saw a Sonogram of the soon to come grandchild. Did we have those in 1944? (since then, she was born and doing well)
And to top things off, our children and their spouses gave me a Garman GPS for my birthday. Without it, I never could have found my way back from Chicago.
God bless all our relatives and many friends. It is amazing how fast 65 years can fly by. But I feel like I did thirty years ago other than a few aches and pains. I can live with that, as I have been blessed.
Age 65 is a lifetime away for Sarah and I but a lifetime of memories to build and share. We are already started.
Where do you see yourself at 65?
What do you see yourself doing?
Who is with you?
What do you see as your living legacy?