High School Yearbook Photo

"More than a place, the Shady Dell was and will forever remain a state of mind." - Shady Del Knight

"More than a place, the Shady Dell was and will forever remain a state of mind." - Shady Del Knight

Friday, April 24, 2015

103 Candles! Just In - Picture Yourself at Margaret Schneider's Birthday Party!

Tom Anderson back with you today on this very happy occasion. They're here!
Hours ago I received the pictures taken last weekend as our dear friend, Margaret Elizabeth Brown Schneider, affectionately known as
The Oldest Living Dell Rat, celebrated her 103rd birthday surrounded by loved ones. Once again I proudly welcome back Margaret's daughter, my friend and guest blogger Kathleen Mae Schneider, who files this special report.



Kathleen Mae 

Mother celebrated her 103 year birthday
at her home on Saturday, April 18th, 2015,
surrounded by bright colors, sweet tastes,
and loving family.

Balloons and flowers, which she loves,
were everywhere.

There was even one shaped like a butterfly,
another of her favorite things!

Our good friend Toni Deroche, who saved
Mother’s childhood home, paid Mother a
visit the day before the party,
bringing sweet gifts!

At last count, 74 birthday cards arrived
in Mother’s mailbox. We displayed them
along with living gerbera daisies
and twinkle lights.

Some of the cards contained donations
to the York County Food Bank in Mother’s
honor, an option we added to our
invitation for her card shower,
raising nearly $800 to feed
hungry families!

The greeting above especially pleased Mother.

Mother was amazed by her Swiss lemon
mousse birthday cake with a picture of
her as a teenager on the top!

Gifts both small and large filled
her floral-themed table.

She was delighted by the bird in the cage
that sings, and of course all the sweets!

Mother was happily surprised by visits
from some of her 6 grandchildren and one
great-grandson, who serenaded her with
“Happy Birthday” on his saxophone!

My daughter Elisabeth shared a quiet
moment with her Grammy. (Her name comes
from Mother’s middle name.)

But the biggest surprise of the day was
on the inner net, as Mother calls it.

She could never in 100... make that
103 years... have imagined being
wished a Happy Birthday by her new
friends on Shady Dell Music & Memories!

Mother and I want to send
a big "Thank You"...

to everyone who made her birthday
celebration so very special!


  1. What a wonderful birthday celebration, Margaret! That's a beautiful cake and I hope you enjoyed eating it. The Miss America Pageant got its start in the Roaring Twenties and you look like you could have been a contestant. How proud you must be to have received a signed message from the mayor. I admire you for thinking of others and helping to raise money to feed the needy people of your community. I wish you health and happiness in the coming year, Margaret. Love, Kathryn.

    1. Kathleen Mae SchneiderApril 24, 2015 at 7:02 AM

      Good Morning, Kathryn! It's good to hear from you.

      Mother never had a birthday cake or celebration as a child. Her parents weren't cruel; some research on my part showed that it apparently just wasn't done back then. So any cake is something that makes her very happy. Of course she didn't know that pictures could be put on cakes, so she was amazed that such technology exists.

      Mother was thrilled and surprised to get the mayor's greeting, and the poem resonated with her and everyone who read it. I thought it was so thoughtful of the very busy mayor to hand sign it, and to send more than a perfunctory card.

      Wait till I tell Mother you think she could have been a Miss America contestant. She won't believe it! It's easy to see why my father fell so deeply in love with her though. Not only was she a treat for the eyes, she had the sweetest disposition and was not the least bit deceptive in nature. She remains so today!

      In her long life, Mother experienced much deprivation and many hard times, and I've always known her to give of herself in any way possible to makes others' lives better. She often tells me she feels like a "burden" and wishes she could do something to help others now but she's "too old". I think the outpouring of donations to the Food Bank showed her that the love she engendered in others for 103 years still is giving back to her world.

      Thank you for your lovely comment. This birthday just keeps bringing Mother more delightful surprises such as this!

  2. This is such a lovely birthday, filled with so much love, wonderful people and beautiful colours and gifts! I enjoyed looking at all the photos. A signed message from the mayor along with all the birthday cards and visits must have touched your heart. I wish you nothing but love, peace, good health and happiness now and always!

    1. Kathleen Mae SchneiderApril 24, 2015 at 7:14 AM

      You know, Linda, when we asked Mother to make a wish before she blew out the candles on her cake, she thought for a few minutes while the room went quiet. Then she softly said, "I wish that I have more good health". Now she says this with diminishing eyesight, increasingly poor hearing and obvious age-related frailty. Most wouldn't consider that "good" in any way! Tears filled many eyes of those in the room hearing her wish, and then she needed help blowing out the last candle. It was bittersweet to be sure.

      Thank you for your good wishes today. We appreciate your visit and comment very much!

  3. This is the perfect follow up to the wonderful post of last week. I love seeing the pictures and I'm thrilled to see the great turnout that this wonderful event.

    Here's to the future, made ever more beautiful by the presence of a certain young lady of 103. Just look at the love on the faces of your friends and family, Margaret - you're immortal.

    1. Kathleen Mae SchneiderApril 24, 2015 at 7:38 AM

      Dear Cherdo,

      I will have to explain to Mother the implications of immortality, and that will be pure unmitigated fun!

      She had just a sixth grade education, but is definitely a star graduate from The School of Life. Believe it or not, she is still learning at her age, and my career as a teacher is often called out of retirement as I care for her. We have the greatest discussions as she asks questions about so many things to which she was never exposed. Add technology to that equation and I can't put into words what a joy it is to spend this precious time with her.

      So I will read your comment to her and she will understand by the time we're finished that those of us who love her so much will carry her legacy into the future, thereby enabling the best of her to live forever.

      Thank you for returning to bring more good wishes for Mother. She will love that her birthday celebration isn't over!

  4. Happy Birthday again Margaret! Kathleen, I loved all the pics. That cake is so cool and wasn't your Mom a hottie! I loved the one of your daughter with her Grammy...brought tears to my eyes. The poem from the Mayor is beautiful. I'm glad she had such a wonderful day and is surrounded by all the love a person could want. It's wonderful to know that there's no age limit to doing good deeds. She's fed many with the donations in her honor. What a blessing she is! Good health and happiness to you Margaret! Thanks for sharing your day with us!

    1. Kathleen Mae SchneiderApril 24, 2015 at 8:00 AM

      Hi Yaya!

      I'm glad you enjoyed the party vicariously through the photos. I have enough pictures to fill a scrapbook at this point. It helped to have my iPhone at the ready and it did a much better job than my camera.

      My daughter came the night before the party so she could have her Grammy all to herself before the big day. She made some large origami stars as gifts to Mother and we hung them prominently where she could see and enjoy them.

      Mother is so proud of her kids, grandchildren, and great grandchildren, and the pride is mutual. Elisabeth often tells me how impressed people are when she tells them how old her grandmother is, and is still 'with it' mentally.

      Lis comes often to tend the flower gardens and beds at Mother's house that her Grammy started years ago, and has inherited her love for all things green.

      At last count, the donations for hungry York County families totaled $783.00! Although there were small useful or whimsical gifts for her, Mother says she has everything she needs, and another stuffed animal or tchotchke isn't necessary. (Although she is charmed by them all the same!��)

      We're grateful for your second visit and comment, Yaya. Yours and the others will all will be printed and put in that scrapbook for Mother to enjoy many times over!

  5. Happy Belated Birthday Margaret! I haven't been on blogger regularly so I missed the announcement. I'm so pleased you had such a wonderful birthday filled with love from so many loved ones and from your internet friends.

    Kathleen, thanks for sharing the pictures of your Mom's special day. Seeing as my Mom turned 90 recently, I know how blessed I am to still have her in my life and as "sassy" as she is!! lol. Best wishes to you and your family.

    1. Kathleen Mar SchneiderApril 24, 2015 at 8:07 AM

      Welcome, Barb!

      It makes you wonder, doesn't it, when you have mothers this old, whether you've inherited those longevity genes? Right along with that, at least for me, is the question about what good we might accomplish before we leave this life.

      I'm glad you made it to Mother's birthday post and enjoyed seeing some of the scenes from the day. Thank you for your comment, and I hope you have many more years to enjoy your Mother too!

  6. What a fantastic birthday gathering. Getting that many cards is amazing (people don't send cards anymore). That letter from the Mayor... no wonder she was so tickled.

    Speaking of tickled, I giggled at the "inner net." In some ways that makes more sense actually. I'm so glad that she read the comments from the previous post and enjoyed all her birthday greetings. Even more happy to have been a part of it all.

    What a day!

    1. Kathleen Mae SchneiderApril 24, 2015 at 8:20 AM

      Hi again, Robin!

      With Mother's age and poor hearing, she often only "gets" part of a conversation. It's often funny, as when she refers to the iPad that I use to show her many things, including this blog, as "that I-Thing"! :)

      All her life, Mother sent greeting cards with notes and sometimes letters to relatives, neighbors and friends. For many, hers were the only ones they got. We've cut down the list for her recently because it's a struggle for her to see well enough to sign her name. However, she still remembers the special days of those she loves and wants to do it. I think that over the years she's kept Hallmark in the black!

      The good thing about the iPad is being able to enlarge the print so she can read it more easily. With macular degeneration advancing, we don't know how much longer that will be possible, but we persist until that time to give her lots of things to visually enjoy.

      Thanks for being here again to comment on Mother's 103rd birthday party!

  7. Oh now that warms my heart to see her smiling and that she still lives at home! She must have done all the right things and have a huge heart and a wonderful way to look at life. She was quite the Sennett Beauty in her day (well the Sennett Gals were older than her). I hope people have marked down all her memories of great events that happened to her or where she was when big events happened in the world. I love butterflies too and they mean "Joy in Life"

    1. Kathleen Mae SchneiderApril 24, 2015 at 1:01 PM

      Thank you, Birgit, not only for your comment, but for educating me today! I never heard of Mack Sennett and his famous bathing beauties - the pinups for the soldiers fighting in World War I. I'll ask Mother if she remembers them and show her their pictures on my iPad.

      As I researched Mack and his girls, I found it interesting to note the contrast of female physiques then considered beautiful to those of today. The gals back then had a lot more "substance", for lack of a better term. The natural curves of a woman's body were apparently in vogue, certainly providing a more realistic and ultimately healthier role model for young girls and women than the stick figures so popular today.

      We are committed to keeping Mother at home as long as possible. She knows that if she doesn't exercise every day and move around as much as her energy level allows, we cannot lift her, and professional care will become necessary.

      She lives in the house my father Ralph built with his own hands, and she is comfortable and at peace there. Both times she was in a nursing home to rehab from her broken hips, she could not wait to come home again. She did everything possible, and so did we, to make that happen.

      Now, as she grows older, we remain vigilant about her nutrition and immune system, and try to bring quality to her days. I am writing down all the stories she remembers, and recounting them here on SDMM in my "In-Dell-ible Memories" series. Here are links that will help you find them, should you care to read what's written so far and see the old photos that accompany them.

      I was in the middle of writing another chapter when Mother broke her second hip and one of our family caregivers had to drop out of the rotation, making my schedule less than optimum for researching family history and writing. I hope to pick it up again soon.

      Yes, Mother did a lot that was right in life. That's why I am trying to get all her stories and advice recorded now, while she still is in good mind and remembers so much. Believe me, she gives an expanded meaning to the term "living history"!

      If I miss writing down her memories now, they will be gone forever. She is the last of her original family that lived at the Dell, and few of my cousins were told anything by their parents about that time. So I feel I am being given a real treasure to preserve for future generations.

      I think we can learn a lot from butterflies. They have a lot to teach us in addition to sharing their sheer beauty to add that joy you mentioned. They, in their short lives, don't take themselves too seriously, focus on the brightest flowers and colors, feed on the nectar of each one, and bask in the sun to gain energy. (I just recently read that scientists have discovered that their wings actually act as solar collectors!)

      Thank you again for visiting and reading the post, and writing a comment that Mother will enjoy and also expanded my knowledge. I hope we touch base again real soon, Birgit.

    2. Oh those beauties had meat on them! I think men like that even now. Your mom is special. My mom is 87 and lives in a long term care home. She has dementia sadly. She suffered a severe brain injury after the war (she is German) and was 9 months in the hospital and had to learn how walk and talk again. She smoked 50 years and did not eat properly (she would forget to eat). The dementia is an awful thing. My mom knows me and is better than many others but she forget 1 minute after. She has emphasema (spelling??) and does not exercise and lays in bed. She used to be very active. So hug your mom! I miss mine. I love family history so I will check this out:) I love Native teachings and they talk about spirit animals so the butterfly , to the native people means Joy. Isn't that lovely:)

    3. Kathleen Mae SchneiderApril 24, 2015 at 6:56 PM

      Hi again, Birgit!

      I'm so sorry to hear your Mother has dementia. It seems to be an epidemic, doesn't it? When Mother was in the nursing home for rehab twice, everyone around her had it, and she found it very depressing. It's why we are keeping her at home as long as possible.

      My daughter is a cognitive rehabilitation therapist for people with brain injuries. Her clients have similar issues as your mother. It must be very hard for you to see her as you describe her condition. However, it's good she is getting care and is safe where she is, as opposed to being alone and forgetting to eat. My heart goes out to you!

      Although my mother has "old lungs" (her gerontologist's diagnosis), she never smoked. Her lungs were first injured as a child when she had Spanish Influenza, and she's come through typhoid fever and several bouts of serious pneumonia as an adult. We have to be very careful not to expose her to upper respiratory bacteria or viruses of any kind.

      Yes, I will hug Mother! I tell her every day how fortunate we are that her mind is still functioning.

      I will say prayers for you and your mother tonight, asking that you be given the strength and courage to love her in the best ways she can understand. It's good she still recognizes you. That is surely a blessing.

      Thank you for telling me about your Mother, and for commenting a second time. I hope our paths cross again!

  8. The inner net...don't we all say that?
    Happy Birthday Margaret!

    1. Kathleen Mae SchneiderApril 24, 2015 at 1:10 PM

      Hi Susie!

      I bet if you took a poll to see how many people say that, you'd be surprised.

      Another of Mother's misnomers that we had to correct some years ago was her label "Amtrack" for the infection that sounded a lot the same to her!

      Thanks for swinging by to comment again and send another birthday wish for Mother. She loves all this attention!

  9. I was honored to be invited. Give that wonderful woman a hug for us!

    1. Kathleen Mae SchneiderApril 24, 2015 at 1:14 PM

      We'll be sure to do that, Chris. Mother's a great hugger, and she'll appreciate your sweet message! If she could, there would be hugs all around for every one of her new cyber friends! Thank you!

  10. Hi Tom, Kathy and Margaret,
    I didn't expect to see my picture in this post but that was nice, Tom.
    I always enjoy my visits with Margaret and Kathy. There's always a new story to tell along with the latest updates and past memories . I'm so happy the dell has brought us together . Our friendship means a lot to me. The party looked so colorful and festive--what fun! Margaret looks so pretty and happy being with her loved ones. She was quite the looker in her days, too! What a wonderful post for a beautiful person!
    Again, Happy Birthday , Dear Margaret!
    Maybe next time you'll get a BIG winning lotto ticket! We'll keep trying (and scratching)!!!
    Toni Deroche

    1. Kathleen Mae SchneiderApril 24, 2015 at 1:38 PM

      Dear friend Toni,

      Some would say it was coincidental that Mother was born when and where she was born, and grew up at the house that would become the Shady Dell. They'd ask what difference does it make that she gave me life, that you bought her old home and gave it a new life again, and we met through this blog written by a Dell "son"?

      I don't believe in coincidence any longer! That house and those who fell under her spell has some kind of indefinable magic that brings people together. It has from the beginning, and just the memories of her past lives continue to foster friendship and goodwill.

      Your visits mean so much to Mother and me. They enhance and give value to her life at a time when many would ignore what they consider to be just another very old woman. How kind you've been to us both!

      As for the lottery tickets, I didn't mention them specifically in the post because I felt they truly were "sweet" gifts. Even if there are no huge winnings (Hey - $12 is $12!), Mother just loves to scratch them off to find surprises, and your bringing her the opportunity to do that brought immediate smiles. You did notice that she immediately began to scratch them off, right! :-)

      All I can say is we treasure your friendship and will always be grateful for your kindness. We hope to see you again soon.

  11. Hokey-Smoke! That really WAS some party, wasn't it?! I'll bet all my birthday parties combined wouldn't have totaled that many balloons and cards. Well, maybe if I manage to make it to 103 (as if my liver could hold out that long. Ha!)

    Great cake, too, with the photograph! Very cool.

    [I saw England
    I saw France
    I saw Cherdo at a glance.]

    Nice follow-up, Kathleen. Y'all sure know how to put on a great celebration!

    ~ Stephen

    1. Kathleen Mae SchneiderApril 24, 2015 at 2:47 PM

      Hi again, Stephen,

      We tried our best to make our party for Mother colorful and joyful, but subdued at the same time. When everyone is talking at once and there is a lot of activity, it overwhelms her. That's why our family parties in installments with her. This weekend, my brother's contingent of the family will have their celebration. There will probably be gifts, more cake and ice cream and definitely a Bingo game. This way, no one gets lost in the shuffle.

      When you've lived as long as Mother, you've accumulated a lot of friends along the way. Most of her doctors, past and present, sent cards, as did nieces and nephews that live far away, and their children too. They all remember her kindness when they were growing up, and since their parents and/or grandparents were Mother's brothers and sisters, there is a deeper connection. She is much loved by many!

      Thank you for stopping by and taking a look at our party pictures. Your comment is also much appreciated!

  12. The party looks appropriately sweet, colorful, and fun, to match a lovely lady. If you will provide information about the food bank, I'll make a donation in your mother's honor.

    Janie Junebug

    1. Kathleen Mae SchneiderApril 24, 2015 at 5:42 PM

      I apologize for not answering your comment sooner, Janie. I've been writing a lot today and I ran out of power on my iPad. I had to recharge it and it just now left your message come through.

      My goodness, what a wonderful way to honor Mother and a delightful surprise for us! You can make your donation at

      I was surprised to find out just how many hungry families there are in my home town and county. There has been an economic downturn with many people out of work and whose homes have been sold at sheriff's sale or are in foreclosure. Those needing food number in the thousands!

      So I want to thank you so much for your donation. It's truly the "icing on the cake" of Mother's birthday to know she is inspiring others to be so kind.

      I will call her tonight to tell her and will see her tomorrow when I take over for my sister, who has been with her the last few days while I had a surgical procedure.

      Our lives touch those around us in so many ways. You will make some child very happy because she won't have to go to bed hungry! Thank you again, Janie - with love from Mother and me.

    2. With cutbacks on food stamps and other government programs, food banks are more important than ever.

    3. Kathleen Mae SchneiderApril 27, 2015 at 3:37 PM

      I agree. I feel most sorry for the children, who are the ones who suffer the most. They can't understand their parents' frustration or the economic realities of unemployment; they just know they're hungry!

      Thank you again for caring about these little ones and their families, and for your donation to help them.

  13. That was sweet to share the pictures of her party! What a wonderful thing to ask for donations to the food bank in her name. What a great party!! :)

    1. Kathleen Mae SchneiderApril 25, 2015 at 8:17 AM

      A good Saturday morning to you, Rita!

      We are very pleased to have done just a little bit to help those less fortunate through Mother's friends and family and their donations to the food bank. It's heartwarming to know how several of those people were financially disadvantaged themselves, but found $5 or $10 to contribute.

      We felt that there really wasn't a better gift to Mother on her birthday. She always taught by example that we should do whatever we could to help others.

      I remember one time when I was perhaps 8 years
      old, and I answered the door to find a beggar standing on our porch. He was gaunt, and he asked if my parents were at home. His appearance frightened me, so I called Mother to the door. He told us that he had fallen on hard times and wondered if she possibly had any work for him to do because he was hungry.

      She told him to just wait on the porch and we went into the house. A few minutes later she insisted I take a sandwich and a glass of her homemade root beer out to him, as she stood at the door and watched. I'll never forget the look on his face and the tears in his eyes as he accepted the small lunch from me. After he finished eating it, he handed me the empty plate and simply said, "Bless you, my child!"

      Although I was young, the encounter made a lasting impression. Years later, and even now, I wonder who he really was and what became of him. Though I'll never know the answer to those questions, I'm reminded of the quote, "Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by this some have entertained angels without knowing it."

      So by offering a chance to those who love Mother to listen to their better selves, we are merely doing what she taught us as we were growing up.

      It seems to me a much better answer to alleviate the source of much of the suffering and deprivation in the world than fighting and war.

      Thank you for your kind comment!

  14. Oh-my-stars! I love balloons. That butterfly is so cute. I may have to get one, and have a 'celebrate nothing really' day. Still it prompts me to share my day, with both of you, (smile).

    I've been working to get the last flower bed groomed before summer kicks in. Today there were dragonflies everywhere! Tall purple Irises are already popping out. Wait until those Zinnias come up... it will be butterfly city as well. Then in my visit here - a butterfly. Doesn't take much to tickle me.

    Margaret, I am thrilled your birthday was so full and joyful. I share your love for butterflies! May you be surrounded by more kindness than you could possibly give.

    Kathleen, you're such a precious and loving daughter. Your gift in sharing her story, shares part of your story! thank you, (smile).

    1. Kathleen Mae SchneiderApril 25, 2015 at 8:23 AM

      Hi Rita!

      What a great idea that would be - celebrating every day for no other reason than just being alive and being able to love those flowers and butterflies!

      Mother is always amazed when we decorate her house. It enlivens her day, and she wants the balloons left up long after the party so she can enjoy them. She received three flower bouquets as well, and she absolutely loves all their forms, colors and textures.

      It's wonderful of you to share your day with us and very apropos! Well up into her eighties, Mother spent most of her time in the spring, summer and fall in her large vegetable garden and the many flower beds that border on her house and yard. It was her passion while my father was alive, and her healing from grief after his death. "When you're feeling sad..", she says, "..get your mind off your troubles and find some work to do or help someone else."

      The hard work of gardening and just digging in the soil was for her a labor of love. It had a double benefit because she gave the fruits of that labor to her family, neighbors and anyone else who visited her. She'd tell them, "I planted too many tomatoes and zucchini, so take them so they won't go to waste" - but we knew the main reasons she gave so much away!

      Even though I don't have a lot of time or opportunity to keep my flower garden here at my home looking its best, I still gravitate outside to simply watch nature going through her paces whenever I'm feeling low. She doesn't seem to mind my negligence, but sends up the glorious irises, daffodils and tulips anyway!

      At Mother's house, because her mobility is limited, I try to keep something blooming outside every window she visits as she opens and closes her blinds every day. Because of her diminished eyesight, I plant lots of large, bright and hi-contrast flowers so she can see and delight in them.

      It's great that you've got so many dragonflies visiting you! I've read that although their meaning changes with each culture, their main symbolisms are renewal, positive force and the power of life in general. Not a bad influence as you greet the day!

      As for butterflies, I've always seen them as symbols of transformation. Don't we all need that as we go through life?!

      Thank you for your cheery and authentic comment, Dixie. As Mother would say, "It's right up our alley!" See you again, we hope.

    2. Kathleen Mae SchneiderApril 25, 2015 at 10:48 AM

      I'm so sorry, Dixie, for not correctly addressing the above reply to you. I am terrible with computer skills to start with and I've just recently had a surgical procedure. I'm still feeling some groggy effects of the anesthesia. Thanks for your understanding!

  15. What a wonderful story! Wish I could have been there in person, but being there in spirit and through the photos in this post was darn nice. So much love and joy comes across in the photos in this post as well the comments.

    Goes to show how much one person can touch many many lives and in our age we have the advantage of the "inner net" to reach out everywhere.

    Yay, Margaret! You exemplify the positive side of who we can all aspire to be. Thank you for sharing a peek into your wonderful life.

    Arlee Bird
    A to Z Challenge Co-host
    Tossing It Out

    1. Kathleen Mae SchneiderApril 25, 2015 at 10:22 AM

      We appreciate your compliments, Arlee, and are glad you could imagine being at Mother's party through the photos.

      Some people showed up to the party uninvited last Saturday - a bit embarrassing because we didn't ask a lot of people to visit that day on purpose. At 103, Mother can't fully appreciate "too much of a good thing"!

      Of course, as is our family tradition, everyone was welcomed anyway. Mother was surprised, thanked them for coming and of course gave them a big hug!

      Celebrating online is perfect for Mother's situation, because she can absorb and enjoy all this in small doses. Seeing herself online and having all this love and goodwill coming to her on my iPad seems like magic to her. Me too!

      We have Tom to thank for this, for sharing his blog space and taking the time and care to publish my posts. (Just ask him. Working with my lack of tech skills isn't easy!)

      Thank you for reaching out to us again across cyberspace with another kind visit!

  16. Hello Tom! Sorry it's been a while since I've stopped by, needless to say blogging has been on the back burner these past few months as I've been working more and spending as much time as possible with little Olivia!

    I'm so happy to come back here and see these wonderful photos of Margaret on her 103rd birthday! It's so heartwarming to see all of the love her family have for her and all of the cards and donations in her honour. What a special lady! Thanks to Kathleen for sharing these with us all!

    I hope you're keeping well Tom!

    Emma x

    1. Kathleen Mae SchneiderApril 25, 2015 at 10:53 AM

      Hey there Emma! Are you the "Ole' Green Eyes" I remember from past posts? It's good to see you here again.

      Thank you for picking up where you left off with a sweet comment about Mother's birthday. You're a special lady too!

  17. The decorations at the party are so beautiful and cheery. It was great to see all the photos and I'm happy that strangers were fed in honor of the day!

    Margaret said, "When you're feeling sad, get your mind off your troubles and find some work to do or help someone else." This is good advice and something I try to do also. Sad thoughts have to be shooed away!

    My mother is 87 now and still lives on her own. We have asked her to live with us but she loves her apartment and her doctor's office is across the street! There is also a grocery store, drug store and Subway restaurant a few steps away, which she loves. I hope she will be able to live there for many years to come.

    I am sixty-five now, but I don't feel like a senior citizen. I'll bet Margaret doesn't either. Our memories keep us young, I think. Thank you Margaret and Kathleen for sharing your lives with all of us.

    1. Kathleen Mae SchneiderApril 25, 2015 at 10:09 PM

      Belle, it's good to hear from you again!

      As an elementary art teacher for more than half my life, it was my job to keep my schools looking colorful and inviting, with student art displayed in the hallways and showcases.

      Now that I'm retired, I find I enjoy doing the same thing with Mother's house. I change the decorations for every holiday and/or season, using small gifts she's been given over the years, my dad's gourd-craft, and of course, lots of flowers - real or silk.

      They say "Old teachers never die, they just lose their class". So I guess that applies to me, although like you, my age of 68 doesn't seem old. Jack Benny said, "Growing old is a case of mind over matter. If you don't mind, it doesn't matter"!

      I'm sure that in addition to hard work, keeping a positive outlook and not giving in to self-pity contributed to Mother's longevity. She has learned to not fight against those things in life over which she has no control, but to do the best with what she can influence. I admire her accepting attitude and grateful spirit.

      It's great your Mother is within walking distance to everything she needs. Not only is that convenient, it also keeps her moving, which is so important for continued good health. Compared to Mother, your Mom is a youngster! I also hope she will remain independent and in her apartment for a long time.

      Thank you for taking a look at our party post, Belle, and telling us about your Mother. My mother will enjoy hearing about another active senior, I'm sure. We hope to see you again!

  18. Thank you for letting us 'see - the rest of the story'. What a wonderful day it must have been. I am grateful that I could be a small part of it and overjoyed to see the pictures today.

    As I was looking at the pictures and scrolling through the text, I thought, now these people (Margaret's friends and progeny) will be able to hand down the memories of this day to their children and grandchildren. May that circle be unbroken.

    Thank you so much for continuing to share your mother with us, Kathleen. I will be looking forward fondly to next year's celebration and hoping we in the Inner-net, can come up with something special for Margaret.

    1. Kathleen Mae SchneiderApril 26, 2015 at 7:36 AM

      Good morning FAE and welcome back!

      Celebrating another birthday next year isn't guaranteed for any of us, is it? However, you folks here on the blog have already "come up with something special" for Mother this year, right now!

      When I told Mother that more comments were arriving on the blog about her birthday party, she said, "I guess I'm pretty popular." She says that with a sense of wonderment, and without a bit of braggadocio. She feels undeserving of all this attention, but I tell her that's it's because she is such a good person and it's one of the better prices of living to be 103!

      I heartily agree with your reflections about this post becoming a family heirloom! Researching my maternal family history these past few years, all I have at my disposal are the family Bible, old photographs and letters, Mother's stories, and

      While that's more than a lot of people have to work with, imagine what I could do if I had personal eye witness stories and high quality photographs recorded on a blog from my ancestors many generations back!

      Thank you for your thoughtful and kind comment, FAE. I'm anxious to complete more chapters of In-Dell-ible Memories, now that so many of you out there have shown an interest!

    2. Kathleen Mae SchneiderApril 26, 2015 at 7:41 AM

      I forgot to tell you what a great boost you gave Tom and me with your blog post. Thank you for validating our style of blogging and writing such an enthusiastic endorsement of our work. It's so good to have others appreciate the labor of love that this blog has become for us!

  19. Well I am glad she had a great birthday, to be 103 is bloody marvelous, think of all the advances and inventions that she has seen in her lifetime. So many cards as well that is bloody marvelous

    1. Kathleen Mae SchneiderApril 26, 2015 at 9:00 AM

      You're right, Jo-Anne. Mother has seen so many changes, inventions, wars and presidents pass by in her long life. For instance, she remembers her mother doing the family laundry at the Dell. She washed very dirty clothing (remember, my grandfather was a butcher, dog breeder and automobile mechanic...) in a big pot of water heated on a wood stove, using a wash board to agitate the dirt out. Then it was hung outside in all kinds of weather to dry. Sometimes the clothing froze and had to be thawed by standing it up against chairs by the stove - before ironing it of course with a heavy iron placed on the same stove. No spin cycle or permanent press clothing was available!

      Mother loves to get mail, and usually junk mail is all that is in her mailbox. Most times I kid her about getting "air mail", meaning nothing at all. So you can imagine her delight with all these colorful cards showing how much her family and friends care about her.

      Thanks for your visit and comment, all the way from Australia! We will show Mother where that is located on a globe today, since she never had world geography as part of her 6th grade education.

    2. My mum grew up in the country and they had no washing machine either or milk in a bottle mum had to walk up a hill to her cousins farm to get milk, they had no tv, or phone or even a car they walked everywhere unless they were going to town which was over an hour away by bus

    3. Kathleen Mae SchneiderApril 29, 2015 at 7:15 AM

      Those stories of your mum's are very interesting, Jo-Anne. I especially took note in reading your comment that your mother walked everywhere. Just think - today, many women have to go to the gym to get their exercise on a treadmill! It makes you wonder just how much progress we've made, doesn't it?

      It would be fascinating for us to see what people 100 years from now will think of how we lived. They will probably look at us and feel sorry for us because of our seemingly primitive lifestyle with only cell phones and iPads!

      One thing is sure, though, and it's a reason why I enjoy hearing such stories as the ones you just shared. When you hear these narratives of the past, you feel a connection to those people and realize they did the best with what they had, where they were. They deserve our admiration and respect for their persistence and sheer will to survive. We can be grateful that they passed their genes onto us.

      Aside from these stories, we will never know our ancestors from long ago. Neither can we know those who will come after us. However, they were, and will be, just like us in their basic needs and hopes for their lives. Those things never change!

      That's why writing down the stories given us are so important. They inspire us live as they did with conviction and resilience, and to carry their legacy forward.

      Thank you for stopping by a second time and for sharing some of your family history with us, Jo-Anne. In the not-too-distant future, I hope you will have the opportunity to read more about mine.

  20. Happy Birthday to her! 103 is amazing!

    1. Kathleen Mae SchneiderApril 26, 2015 at 9:25 AM

      Yep - Mother's been around for 37,603 days now. Thanks you for adding your birthday greeting to our post. Come back soon!

  21. Lovely family there, Kathleen, I can see why Margaret experiences longevity :) cherish the moments with her, inner net is classic, thanx for sharing cheers Allie-Millie

    1. Kathleen Mae SchneiderApril 26, 2015 at 10:05 AM

      Well now, a second friend from "down under" pays us a visit! Hi Allie-Millie!

      Our family is far from perfect, but we are all in this together. That's important.

      I certainly do cherish my time with Mother. While she seems like the Ever-ready Bunny, I know that our time together grows shorter every day. Bittersweet to be sure!

      Thanks for your visit and comment!

  22. I'm so glad that your mom had a wonderful birthday with family and friends. It was also nice that you celebrated this milestone by donating to such a worthwhile cause. You have a beautiful family, and you can tell that your mom is still sharp as a tack. I'm so happy I was fortunate enough to meet all of you through the "inner net!" Thanks for sharing this experience with us, Kathleen. You and your mother are very lucky to have each other.


    1. Kathleen Mae SchneiderApril 28, 2015 at 5:29 PM

      Hi Julie!

      Thank you for coming to our party, and for your kind comment.

      Mother and I are indeed fortunate to have each other, and the marvelous opportunity here on the blog to make new friends online. Mother was a letter-writer in her day, and she now appreciates hearing from people via this new medium of the computer, although it mystifies her how so many nice people showed up for her birthday.

      Mother's eyesight and hearing are diminishing rapidly, so having this technology at our fingertips is a godsend. It seems "like a miracle" she says, and I agree!

      The option we suggested in our card shower invitations for donations to the food bank turned out to be what we intended - a gift in Mother's name to others whose lives are difficult.

      By giving this gift, those who know and love Mother, and whose lives have been touched by hers throughout her many years, are able to celebrate the kindness and caring Mother showed to them. She is pleased that she was the impetus for helping others.

      It's good to meet you, and we hope to see you again in future posts. Thank you again for your friendship!

  23. Happy 103rd to your mom! Wow. Such a milestone. Amazing years I'm sure.

    1. Kathleen Mae SchneiderApril 28, 2015 at 6:47 PM

      Hello, Lux! Mother and I thank you for your birthday greeting.

      Apart even from what happened on the world stage, Mother's 103 years have truly seen a lot of change and contrasts.

      She experienced wealth as a child, then bankruptcy. Stable family life was displaced by being uprooted and becoming transient. She knew serious illness, but healed and rebounded each time. Many loved ones surrounded her; then they were gone.

      Though she knew great happiness, life often proved sorrowful, but through it all - the good and the bad - Mother survived. With her strong faith supporting her and her belief that things will get better always in her mind, resilience became a way of life. She still has a lot to teach us all about surmounting obstacles and enduring, now that age has taken so much from her.

      Thank you for stopping by and being a part of Mother's birthday celebration. We appreciate it very much!

  24. I tried to comment weeks ago but had difficulty. Anyway, just wanted to wished a belated 103rd Birthday wish and continued health and happiness! To the whole family. Thanks for keeping us posted on your Mother. Amazing women run in your family.
    (Dell Rat) Ron Shearer

    1. Kathleen Mae SchneiderMay 31, 2015 at 3:31 AM

      Hi there, Ron!

      Thank you for your comment and persevering with getting it through to us. Mother thought her birthday celebration was over, so she was pleased that your good wishes extended it another month.

      We all sure can use that good health and happiness you sent us as a family. I also appreciate the compliment. As you well know, when one is in the midst of caregiving and feeling exhausted, you just keep going. It never enters your mind to describe yourself as "amazing". Thank you so much!

      May your kindness return to you and bless your family as well. We hope to see you here again soon.



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