What My Mother Said about My Dad’s Parents

Because I never really knew my mother’s family, my dad’s parents were the grandparents that I dearly loved. I am writing a separate memoir just about my grandmother [my dad’s mom]. The name of that is Calico Cotton. Following is what my mom said to me about my dad’s family.

From the Memoir of Laura Mae Dunscombe Baker,
Born December 6, 1926

Recorded by Jacki Kellum, Born 1950

If you have read other of this series of posts, you will remember that my mother actually said what I will share:

“His grandmother’s name: Lena Sanders. She was German or born of German parents, but she was born in the USA. She married Henry Schatz, who was the same: born here but of German heritage. They had 3 daughters that lived: Nell, Edith and Irene [my grandmother was Rebecca Irene]. Another was born but died in her teen years. They also had these sons: Ed, Joh, George, Will, Matt, is that all? …

“Hank said his grandad died when his mother was 15. So her mother [my grandmother’s mother] was left to make a living for all those kids, along with their help, I’m sure.

“She then married Phillip Schmidt who was really German, born there and came here as a young man. He had a brother who had already come to St. Louis and was fairly well-established when Phillip came. The brother was working for a company called Luecking who bought and sold coal. So Phillip went to work for the same company. This firm owned some farm land in and around where his grandmother lived. Hank doesn’t know whether his grandmother was working on the farm or lived and worked nearby. But they did meet.

“Phillip could barely speak English when he went to work for the St. Louis company. They taught him enough that he could ask customers if they needed coal, but that was it for some years. By the time he married into the family he had learned more English but it was so thick and Dutchey that everyone had trouble following his words. He had 2 boys of his own when they met and married, so Mrs. Lena helped raise them. Hank was very small but he remembers all of them with fondness. The two boys, Walter and Phillip, he liked–as well as their Dad, who died pretty early.

“Hank used to go and visit them with his mom, and he said life was about like Heidi’s grandpa’s house. Very clean but very, very little extra around. Everything homemade, of course. Mart [my dad’s dad] used to take a stick of bologna and they would be thrilled to death, because it was so different from what they generally ate.”


Copyright Jacki Kellum October 17, 2015

As I have also said before, I have begun a 3-Way Memoir, where I’ll record some of my mother’s responses to some questions that I asked about her life.  I hope to have the memoir published for my mother’s 90th birthday on December 6, 2016.  It will be my grandmother’s story, my mother’s story, and mine–all told about our lives in the now very dusty and boarded-shut Bootheel of Southeast Missouri.

You can find excerpts from that memoir in various places on my blog, by searching:

What My Mother Said, Calico Cotton, Cotton Child, and When Cotton Was King.

All Rights Reserved

More about the upcoming book: https://jackikellum.wordpress.com/2015/10/17/it-is-time-for-the-world-to-hear-from-3-strong-women-from-the-missouri-bootheel/


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