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My Mom-a Very Special Lady

War Time Wedding

War Time Wedding


Mom looks so happy here on her wedding day. After all she was 19 years old, in love and had her whole life ahead of her. It is probably a good thing we cannot look into the future, because I think it would have been very frightening to realize the challenges she would have ahead of her.

Mother has overcome many hardships and struggles during her lifetime, but has done so with the help of God and the love and support of a good man. Mom has always put other people before herself and I truly believe that demeanor is what helped her through everything that life threw her way.

Mother's mind will no longer let her look back and reflect on the past, but I believe if she could she would say she had a good life. She had a loving husband, four children, nine grandchildren and now great grandchildren. She and Dad ran two successful businesses and enjoyed traveling to many places.

This then is the story of my Mother. A women of courage who believes in love and family.

unless otherwise noted all photos are from my Mothers files

Life in Washington, Missouri

Mom grew up in the small town of Washington, Missouri. She lived with her mother, father and older brother. Her father worked in a corn cob pipe factory and her mother worked in a shoe factory. Their house was on a large lot just off the main street and my grandfather had a large garden and also raised chickens.

Here are some of the highlight of Mom's early years.

  • She was born on October 17, 1926 and named Anna Marie.
  • Her grandmother lived with the family during her early years and she was quite ill.
  • Mom had two good girlfriends, Alice and Mary.
  • Mom graduated from Saint Francis Borgia High School in 1944. During her senior year there was only one boy in the class because all of the others had gone off to war.
  • Mom's love during her high school years, was Erwin. He was the brother of her friend Alice and also lived around the corner from her. Erwin joined the Navy in 1943.
  • After Mom graduated from high school, she took a train up to Maine to visit with Erwin while he was on leave from the Navy. While they were there they got married. When Mom arrived back home to Washington she did not tell her parents because she was afraid they would disapprove. They liked Erwin, but he was Lutheran and Mom was Catholic.
  • A few months after she was back from Maine, Mom told her parents she was married. At first they were very upset, but over the years they became very fond of my father. Mom eventually joined the Lutheran church so she and Dad could raise their children in the same religion.

Growing up in Small Town MidAmerica - Washington, Missouri


This photo of my Mom was taken with her parents in the park across from their house.

photo from the collection of Ann Schroeder

Married Life- the Early Years

Joys and Hardships

When Dad returned home from the war, Mom and Dad moved to the big city, St. Louis, Missouri. Their first house was in a garage in the back of a house in south St. Louis. Dad worked at a shoe factory during the first years of their marriage.

After a couple of years they bought their first house in the suburb of St. Ann. The house was small but they worked hard to fix it up and Dad added an additional room and a garage on to the house.

During their early marriage Mom began to have a pronounced hearing loss. This was just the first of her medical challenges. The hearing would gradually decline till she was nearly deaf. About fifteen years later she had an operation that restored much of her hearing to one ear, but she was destined to wear hearing aids all of her life.

In 1949 I was born and two years later by my brother John joined me in the family. In 1953, when Mom was pregnant with her 3rd child she woke up one morning and could not walk. Dad took her to the hospital and it was discovered that she had Polio. My main memory from that time is my father taking my brother and me to the doctors to get the Polio vaccine. We were among the first in the area to get the vaccine. I also remember standing outside the hospital and my Mom waving to us from her window. I'm not sure how long she was in the hospital but I know that she was very ill and in danger of losing the baby. My sister, Donna, was born a few months later and although premature she was a healthy 4 lb baby. When Mom came home from the hospital my paternal grandmother stayed with us for a few weeks. After that Mom was alone with three small children. She walked with braces during the first years after getting polio.

Polio - Part of America's past

Polio is virtually unheard of in America today thanks to the vaccine, but in the 40's and 50's it was a terror for many people. My Mom has struggled with the effects of polio since she first contracted it in her late 20's. First she had the fear that she would never walk again and the awful fear that she would lose the baby she was carrying. In mid life she had the embarrassment of walking with a limp and trying to find clothes to cover her " bad" leg.

As she has gotten older, her weak leg has again failed her and she can no longer walk on her own. She walks short distances with a walker but the fear is always there that she will fall. For the most part, she now stays in a wheelchair.

For many people who have not grown up knowing about Polio it is a unknown disease. This book shows the effect on America of the polio virus.

Mom's Life-the Middle Years - Age 30-55

During these years Mom continued to live life to the fullest. She worked through her hearing challenges and at this point in her life the main effect from her polio was that she walked with a limp. Along with Dad she raised her children, ran a business and enjoyed traveling.

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Here are some of the highlights from the middle years.

  • In 1957 Mom and Dad moved the family to a new larger home in St. Ann. This home gave them more room for their growing family and allowed Mom to have a large flower garden which she really enjoyed. Gardening was a relaxation for Mom and she loved working in her garden.
  • In 1957, Mom became pregnant again. She was somewhat fearful about the pregnancy because of her issues with moving around, but all went well and my sister, Julie was born in November of that year.
  • In 1958, my Dad had partnered with another man and started a small home improvement business. Once Julie got to school age Mom and Dad bought the partner out and ran the business together. Mom signed up for a nighttime bookkeeping class to enhance her skills and she took care of the book work part of the business. Mom also worked in the shop while her children were in school. She worked as the office manager in running the day to day tasks at the office.
  • Mom and Dad loved to travel and every summer they loaded all of us kids in the car and we would head out to see America. We went south to Florida, west to the Rockies, and east to see Washington D.C.. I have many great memories from our family vacations.
  • In addition to gardening, Mom enjoyed doing needlework, sewing dresses for her girls, and taking ceramic classes.
  • Once the children were out on their own, Mom and Dad took longer vacations. Each winter when the business was slower they would spend some time in a warm climate. Florida and south Texas were two of their favorite locations.

    Mom and Dad also started going on big trips every other year. They traveled to Europe and to the Holy Land. They also took cruises to Alaska and the Panama Canal.

Our Family

Our Family

Our Family

Family is Special - Love,commitment, memories

Great Grandma and Ella

Great Grandma and Ella

Mom has always put family first. I remember when my children were small she would change her plans whenever we needed her to help. She was always wonderful with the children and they have many great memories of times spent with Grandma.

Mom particularly likes babies and small children. That is true to this day, whenever she sees a little one her face lights up. In this photo she is holding her Great Granddaughter, Ella.

photograph by Mary Beth Granger

The Retirement Years

Grandpa Erv's Christmas Tree Farm

Mom had inherited a 70 acre farm in Illinois from her Aunt. When Mom and Dad were in their 50's they started to make plans to turn over the business to my brother and start their next business on the farm. After much research and attending some meetings they decided to start a Christmas Tree Farm. They started by planting the trees at the farm and having a house built on the property.

When they were in their early 60's the trees were ready to harvest and the house was completed so Mom and Dad moved to Mount Olive, Illinois and started Grandpa Erv's Christmas Tree farm. It was a " choose and cut" tree farm and kept them very busy most of the year. There was planting and trimming to be done in the spring and summer and then getting ready for Christmas season each year. I think their "easy" retirement turned into a bit more work than they expected, but Mom and Dad seemed to enjoy it. They got very involved in their church and people from the church worked for them during the busy times. By this time Mom and Dad had 9 grandchildren who also enjoyed working and playing at the tree farm.

Right after Christmas was always a slow time for a couple of months, so Mom and Dad made plans to travel during that time period. When I talk to Mom about our travels she always says "Go while you can, that is what Dad and I did".

Mom and Dad ran the tree farm for 15 years till health issues forced the decision for them to move back to the St. Louis area to be closer to their children. It was Mom's health issues that forced the move, but as fate would have it, it was Dad who became seriously ill shortly after their move and he died a year later.

Mom and Dad Enjoyed Traveling

Mom and Dad Enjoyed Traveling

Mom and Dad Enjoyed Traveling

Mom's 85th Birthday

Mom's 85th Birthday

Later Years

Struggling with alzheimers

Dad died in 2005 and Mom took it very hard. They had been so very close for nearly 60 years. At first Mom stayed in the condo where her and Dad had moved when they saw they needed to be closer to their children. She did well there, with the help of my sister Julie, but after a short time we saw that she was getting rather forgetful. My siblings and I were afraid that she would fall when she was alone or that she would forget to take her medications.

Julie went with Mom to visit several assisted living care facilities and they picked out one that they felt would work well for Mom. Mom loves activities so she was soon gathering residents to go with her to every activity they could find. She loved bingo, ceramics and the outings that they took. Mom just loved to keep busy.

After two years, it became apparent that Mom's memory was getting worse. She was diagnosed with Alzheimer's and we were now on a search for another place for Mom to stay. We found a lovely place that had a memory unit with just 12 residents. Mom could have her own room and furniture and there were plenty of activities to keep her busy.

Alzheimer's has been another challenge for Mom's life. It is a terrible disease, robbing her of many of the memories of a lifetime. We use the photo books Mom kept of her trips and she smiles and remembers the places and people sometimes. She seems to want to keep looking at the photos and they make her happy.

photo of Mom's 85th birthday taken by Mary Beth Granger

Here is the card I made for Mom for Mothers Day!

Mothers Day by mbgphoto

NOTE: Mom passed to her home in heaven on March 2, 2014. Love you Mom.

Swimming Solo - A family struggling with alzheimers

This book is a moving story of another family who struggles with Alzheimer's. Although the disease is different with each person, I could see many similarities between the people in this book and the struggles that we face with Mom on a daily basis.

We read this book for my book club and the author came and talked with us. She was very interesting as she related in a loving manner the experiences she had with both of her parents and both of her in-laws who suffered with Alzheimer's in a ten year period.

Do you have a special memory of your Mom? - stop by and leave a note

Ibidii on May 08, 2014:

What a lovely lens about your Mom and Dad. What a great life they both had. My Mom is 85 and Dad passed in 2001. She has memory issues and probably has Alzheimers now. She is at home and my daughter is her care giver going two times a week to help her.

RoadMonkey on March 17, 2014:

I love reading these lenses about people's lives. Your mom certainly had some challenges in her life but she seems to have had a a good, happy life. I am sorry to hear that she may now have Alzheimer's. One of my husband's relatives seems to be heading that way too.

Nancy Carol Brown Hardin from Las Vegas, NV on March 03, 2014:

Mary Beth, my heart goes out to you. I know how devastating losing a parent can be. This is a beautiful tribute to your mother, and I know she is proud of you. ((HUGS)) and my deepest sympathy my friend.

KimGiancaterino on March 03, 2014:

My condolences, Mary Beth. I lost my dad in January, so I know how sad you must feel.

barbara-hubbell-9 on March 03, 2014:

What an amazing tribute to your Mother. I am sorry for your loss but know that you will find comfort in the fact that she is with the Lord in heaven and all those that passed before. My prayers are with you and your family.

burntchestnut on March 03, 2014:

A lovely story. My parents also lived in St. Louis, where I was born, and then moved to the suburbs, Burke City, between Ferguson and Florissant. I remember lining up in grade school to receive a polio vaccine.

Margaret Schindel from Massachusetts on March 03, 2014:

Mary Beth, both your parents were remarkable and wonderful people who showed you the importance of family and of loving life and living it to the fullest. I am very saddened to hear of your mom's passing and and glad that you have so many wonderful memories of special times shared to sustain you and your family even as you mourn her absence.

RinchenChodron on March 03, 2014:

I'm saddened to hear of the loss of your mom. This is a very special lens. Thanks

Nancy Tate Hellams from Pendleton, SC on March 03, 2014:

What a great tribute to your mom. My mom had Alzheimers also and it is such a horrible disease. I know you will miss her. Treasure the memories. I will keep you and your family in my prayers during this difficult time.

Renaissance Woman from Colorado on March 02, 2014:

Returning here to pay tribute and honor the memory of your mom. Thinking of you and your family.

Virginia Allain from Central Florida on March 02, 2014:

Our moms are so special to us. It's wonderful that you've featured her here with these family photos.

Later on, I suggest that you put these writings and photos into book form for the family to keep. You can make a print-on-demand book using It's relatively inexpensive, but is a keepsake they will treasure.

Mary Beth Granger (author) from O'Fallon, Missouri, USA on March 02, 2014:

@rita-brinkmann-9: Rita Thank you so much for your comments. I remember your special Mom too!

rita-brinkmann-9 on March 02, 2014:

Thanks for the beautiful tribute to your mom, what great memories you have. My mom is with me every day, in my heart always, as your mom is too. Sorry for this sad time, embrace your wonderful memories with a smile. Love, Rita

Robin S from USA on March 02, 2014:


Kathy McGraw from California on March 02, 2014:

This was a beautiful read, and tribute to your mother. And now the two of them are more pain and lots of memories for everyone that loved her.

Mary Beth Granger (author) from O'Fallon, Missouri, USA on November 13, 2013:

@Diana Wenzel: Thank you so much for the visit and your kind comments.

Renaissance Woman from Colorado on November 13, 2013:

Such a moving tribute to a beautiful mother. It was an honor to meet her through your memories and loving words.

anonymous on January 21, 2013:

My mom was so so very very special also, she lost her life to cancer last year, at 53. People were suprised how I've coped with it. I haven't really, I have just had to get on with it and I know she here with me some times. Sad I can not see her with my own two eyes though. I'd give her the biggest hug ever.

anonymous on January 13, 2013:

What a lovely Mother you have! So courageous in all that life threw at her and stayed active through out it all.

Lorelei Cohen from Canada on January 13, 2013:

You mom really is wonderful. The most important job anyone can ever have is to be a parent

anonymous on January 12, 2013:

A big giant thanks to you Mary; for sharing the life of a very wonderful human being that happens to be your mother. It is a great pleasure for me to read about true soul-mates. Again thanks for sharing.

WhiteOak50 on January 11, 2013:

It is always beautiful to read the closeness some people have with their family members. My sisters birthday is October 17th, the same as your mom's.

sittonbull on January 11, 2013:

A treasured life journey written with love. My Mom is 92 and has mid level dementia and we were blessed to find an Angel to sit with her in her own home which she loves and is only 15 miles away. My brother and I both had mild cases of polio in 1954, but thankfully were both able to recover within a matter of months. Great lens!

Michey LM on January 11, 2013:

Mary this is a great story of a life, and your Mother with all the health straggles, was a fighter and a very special. personality. I am living with my Mother who is 98, and I help her as much as I can. Now she is in a rehab for a month.

As far as I can remember she was the soul of entire family, loving character, involved with my life, always count on her help and wisdom. Blessings!

Virginia Allain from Central Florida on January 11, 2013:

What a treasure for the grandchildren and other family members to see the details of your mother's life here. I enjoyed reading it very much. My Mom is 88 and I'm working with her to document her life.

atsikplornu1 on September 29, 2012:

Oh yes! My Mom was special to me, she made me what I am today.

But I missed her, she is no more.!!! Thanks. atsikplornu1

Mamabyrd from West Texas on September 07, 2012:

Your parents sound like they were amazing people. Thank you for sharing your memories.

piarejuden on June 05, 2012:

I was moved by this lens.. the admiration and love for your parents is priceless! God bless!

jazziyarbrough on May 19, 2012:

My mom is still living and I love her dearly. Thank you for sharing your heart felt story about your mom. Your mom was a beautiful person.

iWrite4 on May 19, 2012:

Wow, such a beatiful lens! Great job.

anonymous on May 15, 2012:

Me and my mother love but hate. I love her so very much but I hate our arguments. So, I moved districts. I don't see her much but I do call, Me and my partner take her shopping as she can't drive. Even though we don't see eye to eye. She is special, She loves me so much and always has got me out of scrapes. So, my mother is special also

anonymous on May 13, 2012:

Mother and her child has a very special bond.. I enjoy the lovely story of you &your mother :] Thanks for sharing the moments with us and I appreciate it if you could take a look at my mother's page:

Kay on May 12, 2012:

Such a very special tribute! Blessed!

Ruthi on May 12, 2012:

Thank you for sharing your special memories with your mom.

Mystico on May 12, 2012:

I love your lens. Nicely laid out, nice photos, good message. Well done. Brings back warm memories, for sure. Everything you need for Mother's day - here.

MJ Martin aka Ruby H Rose from Washington State on May 11, 2012:

She was always really busy raising all of us, yet when I really needed her, or had a new idea to try, she always took my side, let me go, and try. Thanks Mom. This is a great lens about your Mom too.

kmyangel on May 11, 2012:

yes of course :)

HenkWillemse on May 11, 2012:

Yes, the times she took off work to come and watch me play sports.

KyraB on May 11, 2012:

Thanks for making this great lens I liked a few weeks ago but I didn't leave you a comment. I enjoy hearing the old family stories, your lens has inspired me to make a lens about my own great grandma.

LynetteBell from Christchurch, New Zealand on May 09, 2012:

My Mom passed away 10 years ago and I still miss her. Mom's are special

gottaloveit2 on May 09, 2012:

I have a lot of memories of my mom, having cared for her for the past 5 years. She gave me a lot of things to write about as I cared for her. I miss her horribly - she died this past February. Your mom is adorable - hug her as much as you can and tell her how much you love her. Take every chance to do those two things. Nicely done and blessed.

trendydad on May 09, 2012:

moms are ver special, love this

MichelleFriend on May 09, 2012:

She is always the special one for us.May they all be blessed!

Mary Crowther from Havre de Grace on May 08, 2012:

Such a special and loving tribute to your Mom, wonderful lens! Blessed by an angel!

vBizeso on May 08, 2012:

Beautiful Story

Işın Tuzcular from Istanbul on May 07, 2012:

a very touching story.

themeaparty on May 07, 2012:

She is adorable. Really interesting story. The way you have sketched it....very touching.

GeekySocket on May 07, 2012:

A very beutiful story :)

Blonde Blythe from U.S.A. on May 06, 2012:

Beautiful story about your mom. She sounds like an angel. :)

joannalynn lm on May 04, 2012:

Thank you for sharing your Mom's life and your love for her. It is beautiful. I have the most wonderful Mom too. She is a uniquely giving and loving person to everyone, and she makes me complete.

jammarti on May 04, 2012:

Heartwarming lens. My special memory of my mom is talking and laughing on each others jokes and her singing at the karaoke.

SteveKaye on May 04, 2012:

You wrote a very touching story about your mom. And you reminded us that life is filled with surprises, struggles, and victories. Thank you for publishing this lens. It's a wonderful work.

ByrlLane on May 04, 2012:

My favorite is mom singing, she would never fail to brighten up my day.

miaponzo on May 04, 2012:

Thank you for sharing this very personal story! Blessed

GlendaStringer on May 02, 2012:

Very moving lense. My grandmother past away with Alzheimer's. It's very hard to see them deteriorate and lose their precious memories. Like my grandmother, your mother was a very courageous lady.

SoniaCarew on May 02, 2012:

Lovely special lens. I don't have one special memory, I have a million and one special memories.

Congrats on the purple star!

pawpaw911 on May 02, 2012:

Very nice tribute.

srsddn lm on May 02, 2012:

Marriage at young age, struggling with polio and now Alzheimer's - it is great story of courage. Polio is eradicated in many parts of the world but the curve of Alzheimer's is ascending, age being a big factor. There is a lot which we can learn from the struggles of the elderly. Thanks for sharing.

grannysage on May 01, 2012:

My mom also had Alzheimer's. She always took good care of her body so it was sad that she lived to 95, living in a nursing home and not remembering anyone. This is a lovely tribute to your mom.

Genesis Davies from Guatemala on May 01, 2012:

My mother is a heroine to me, as well. She was also married at 19, had me and two sisters by age 26 and raised us mostly alone while my father was traveling and selling software. She chopped her own wood and cooked on a wood stove and homeschooled us and I would love to be awesome as she is!

magictricksdotcom on May 01, 2012:

This was very well done. You should consider self-publishing a book.

Country Sunshine from Texas on May 01, 2012:

Such a beautiful tribute to your mother! Thanks so much for sharing!

solarenergyuk on May 01, 2012:

Really nice :)

JoyfulPamela2 from Pennsylvania, USA on May 01, 2012:

What a special lady! Thanks for sharing her, Mary Beth! {HUGS!}

Mary Norton from Ontario, Canada on May 01, 2012:

My mother just passed away in February this year and I was so surprised to see the big church full of people during her funeral. As I had been away, I did not realize she has touched so many people.

allenwebstarme on April 30, 2012:

Mothers are those who deserves the highest respect in the world. Worth reading your story.

jlshernandez on April 30, 2012:

Thanks for sharing this lovely and heartwarming tribute to your mother. We are still making memories up to this day with my mother. Thanks for sharing.

Ann Hinds from So Cal on April 30, 2012:

Your lens for your dad was wonderful and so is this one for your mom. My mom passed away on Mother's Day but my very special thought was that she spent that day with her mother. She had been missing her for 60 years. I lost my dad to alzheimers and it is a very ugly disease. Even with the disease, enjoy every minute. It is worth it.

Titia Geertman from Waterlandkerkje - The Netherlands on April 30, 2012:

Thanks for sharing your mom and dad with us. My mom is still alive, she's 100 years old now and though her short memory fails ever so often, she still knows a lot about the old days. I wrote a lens in her honor when she became 100 last year.

Einar A on April 30, 2012:

What a way to honor your mother and her life! Sounds like she is a very special lady.

andreaberrios lm on April 30, 2012:

Amazing lens!! What a beautiful family you have and your story was very touching. Thank you so much for sharing it with us. Blessed*

Susan Deppner from Arkansas USA on April 30, 2012:

I have lots of special mom memories and, happily, we're still making more. What a loving tribute to your mom, Mary Beth. Very nice lens!

KimGiancaterino on April 30, 2012:

What a beautiful tribute to your mom. She looks very happy in the picture with Ella.

flycatcherrr on April 30, 2012:

What a lovely tribute to your mother. Polio is such a dreadful disease, thank heavens for the vaccine that's made it virtually unknown today - but nothing can be more cruel than Alzheimers, the gradual loss of everything that makes someone you love the person they are, and yet they are still here in body. Anyone who has been there will understand and sympathize deeply. I'm so glad you have so many wonderful memories to look back on. Your mother has a beautiful smile.

ria on April 30, 2012:

what a beautiful and personal lens. congrats on having it featured. you should be very proud

Harriet from Indiana on April 30, 2012:

Yes, I do have special memories about my mom. You mother seems like such a great role model for all mothers. I am so sorry her late life has robbed her of the memories she cherished. You are really blessed as I am to have had a mother as great as yours.

kotagedejualan on April 30, 2012:

Great information!

AJ from Australia on April 28, 2012:

It was lovely meeting your mother and I look forward to learning more about your father. Blessings.

Fcuk Hub on April 26, 2012:

Yes I have. Your mum is really special lady as I can see. It was nice to meet here :)

Cynthia Sylvestermouse from United States on April 22, 2012:

What a lovely woman and inspiration! I loved reading about her streak of independence, her steadfast loyalty and her amazing endurance during the trials of life. A beautifully written tribute to an truly beautiful lady! You were clearly blessed and birth and for my small part, you have been blessed here too.

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