Thursday, October 23, 2008

Hildegard Scheuber's Life Story

I have known Hildegard Scheuber my entire life. She has been like a mother to me. Her advise to me throughout my life has been timely, useful and always served to bring me cheer. Last year, 2007, after being absent from St. George for 11 years I returned. My desire at that time was to serve Hildegard. She has been as a guardian angel and a light of hope to me. Now that she was elderly, I could perhaps cheer her life up a bit. She could no longer see well enough to read by herself. She could no longer do the things she always enjoyed. I wanted to spend time with her to attempt to repay her in some way for the nurturing and motherly service she gave to me. And so one day, while I was visiting her I asked her whether she had written her life story. She responded, “No, I have no children, I don't think I need one. Who would be interested in it?” I responded to her “You are a great lady and the things that you have done in your life will make a difference in other peoples lives, and will be an inspiration to them. And besides that, you have nephews and nieces who will want to have your story.” I then continued “If you'd like, I'll help you write it.” She responded that she would like that, and so the next week we began to sit down together with a tape recorder and she began talking about her life.
Hildegard Kamilla Ludwig Scheuber was born on March 15, 1910 in Zwickau, Sachsen Germany. Her father was Paul Richard Ludwig and her mother was Anna Marie Weber. She was the youngest of twelve children, her mother dying only 18 months after she was born. Her family consisted of seven boys and five girls. Nine of these children lived to adulthood. They were: Otto, Else, Klara, Kurt, William, Paul, Frances and Herbert; and the three of her siblings who died in infancy or childhood were: Lina, Eric and George. The last and youngest child was Hildegard.
Hildegard was 4 years old when World War I began. She was eight years old when it ended. Hildegard referred to the War as being “a time of starvation.” There was very little to eat and the food that was available to her was not appealing. As a result Hildegard had a small appetite. Instead of eating with the family, many times she would curl up on the couch and take a nap.
Once a week her older sister Frances, would go to the Slaughter House and stand in line to pick up the family's share of food. Sometimes Herbert would accompany her. Every family, regardless of their size would be given one shovel full of potatoes. By this time several members of their family had already left home. When their mother would cook the potatoes it became necessary to throw most of the potatoes away because they had frozen in the fields and were bitter. From the few good potatoes that were salvaged, Hildegard's mother would make soup because it would “stretch further” for the family. The bread they ate was rationed out on tickets. One time the whole family divided the bread ration and each person received one slice of bread. That was supposed to last them for the entire week, but the bread was gone in two days. “My occupation those days” Hildegard relates, “was mostly sleeping, this is how I survived. Had the war lasted much longer, I wouldn't be here today.”
As a result of the War, Hildegard's body was very thin. When her mother sewed for her she “made the dresses bigger and put sheering in them so it would look like there was a girl inside.”
When Hildegard was 6 years old her father married Albine Siebach. Hildegard grew to love her new mother. She was a good woman, of pleasant personality, and was a good example for Hildegard and her siblings. She was the only mother Hildegard ever knew and Hildegard felt that she grew up to be quite a bit like her.
During the war Hildegards mother commonly would grate a carrot and put it in an earthenware jar. Hildegard would dip the carrot in a little bit of sugar. This was her entire lunch.
At age 8 Hildegard was baptized into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day-Saints. Her father had accepted the gospel in 1905 and was disowned by his father because of joining the Church. Paul Richard Ludwig was a good and a spiritual man. He was a Blacksmith by trade. He worked hard, but received little pay. In Germany
there seemed to be only two classes of people: the poor and the rich.
And so, at an early age, Hildegard and her siblings realized the need for additional finances in the home. At age 10 she acquired her first part-time job doing housework after school for an elderly lady who lived only a few blocks away.
At age 14, after she had graduated from high school, Hildegard acquired her first full-time job. She gave her entire wage of $5 per week to her father in order that the family could meet the rent and other necessities.
Hildegard didn't have much time for play during those early years, but she loved nature and the out of doors. She enjoyed the songs of the birds, the green grass and lush trees. She relates that she occasionally would play at the park near by. One day as she was walking home on the boardwalk she viewed a hole in the fence. She looked through it and was surprised to see a huge pile of bones. Later on in life, she realized that the park she had played at was in reality a cemetery. The bones were piled up because of the German custom of rotation of burial plots.
When Hildegard was 17 years of age her parents informed her that it was time for her to prepare to leave for America. They realized that there would be another war, and they wanted to spare their children the suffering that would result. Previously all of Hildegards siblings had left for America.
On September 28, 1927, Hildegard boarded the ship “Columbus”. She sailed for 8 days until she arrived in New York where her brother, Herbert met her. She stayed with him for several weeks and then boarded a train for Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
Upon arriving at the Milwaukee train station an interesting experience occurred. Frances, her sister was scheduled to pick her up, only Frances, was late. Hildegard's train arrived on time and the delegated representative to assist immigrants called Frances to tell her that Hildegard had arrived. This representative spoke in German to Hildegard and called a newspaper reporter who also spoke German to come and interview Hildegard. That evening much to the surprise of the William Ludwig family, there appeared a picture in the Milwaukee paper of Hildegard sitting on her suitcase at the train station. Under the picture appeared the caption: “Short skirts, rouge, when it is necessary and all the fads and foibles of the American flapper are just as prevalent in Germany as in the United States, with the exception of bobbed hair perhaps, according to Hildegard, 17, who arrived today from Zwickau, Saxony, Germany.”
Hildegard adjusted well to life in America. She began her first job within days of her arrival. It involved doing housework for a family with several young children. These children assisted her in learning the English language.
For the next 8 years, Hildegard's occupation was domestic work for mostly wealthy Milwaukee families who lived in homes decorated with marble and ornate staircases, and who employed butlers, gardeners, cooks, chauffeurs and maids. Each place she worked provided her with room and board. She earned about $8 per week which she considered a pretty nice wage because her room and board was included.
It was while working for the original Pabst Brewery family of Milwaukee that William Scheuber, a caller of one of the other maids, came to visit. He quickly dropped the other maid he had been dating “when I came on the scene.” He had remembered seeing Hildegard's picture in the newspaper. They courted for 6 years because he wanted to have sufficient for her support. They were married on November 27, 1935.
Their first home was in an apartment complex owned by Bill's parents. In the 1950's they bought their own home at 2520 N. Pierce St. Hildegard never worked out of the home after marrying Bill. She did become his at-home-secretary and was responsible for answering his business telephone calls. One day when someone didn't reach him by phone he asked Hildegard why she wasn't there to answer the phone. She told him that there were “other things that a homemaker was expected to do besides answering the telephone.”
Hildegard was a wonderful homemaker. Not only could she cook, can, and repair things, but she was frugal, smart and ambitious. Bill loved her cooking and Hildegard could stretch the meals of one whole chicken further than most homemakers could. She would prepare: paprika chicken, chicken chop suey, and creamed chicken. Bill seemed to love everything she cooked. When a repairman was needed to fix anything in their home, she would watch him do the job so the next time she could handle it herself. She taught herself to swim when they bought a cottage on Big Cedar Lake. She was an expert on shoveling the snow following the big snowstorms in Milwaukee.
Among her other talents were sewing, knitting crocheting, and cut work. In 1940 she decided to take a tailoring class at the Boston Store. She sewed herself a lovely suit and having material left over she also made a purse and hat. One day when she and Bill were out walking and Hildegard was wearing her new attire, Bill suddenly ran ahead of her, turned around and watched her walk towards him, and said, “You look like a million bucks.” This was the beginning of her sewing career. Later on she made 3 more suits, numerous dresses, and began sewing a corduroy long sleeve shirt for Bill at Christmas.
Hildegard's philosophy for handling money was to “stretch” the dollar. She managed the household on $10 per week. She'd shop at the Green Market every week in the summer time. A bushel of vegetables or fruit was $.25. A bushel of potatoes were $.50. She had a basement full of canning jars and during the summers she canned everything from sweet and sour pickles, sweet and pickled beets, to corn, beans, peaches, pears, apricots, plums, and applesauce. She even canned her own ketchup which was one of Bill's mothers recipes.
Now just for a brief moment I'd like to speak about the personal relationship I had with Hildegard.
As long as I can remember, Hildegard Scheuber has been a part of my life. I am a full blooded German. My parents, Fred and Elsie Busselberg, and my grandmother, Caroline Tegtmeier were contemporaries with Hildegard, and became very close friends. They, my family, immigrated to America just 1 year prior to Hildegard. My father was Hildegards Bishop for 13 years. Hildegard served as a counselor in the Relief Society Presidency with my mother for quite a few years. Hildegard loved and served my grandmother and drove her to Florida in the late 1960's. Hildegard was present at family dinners in our home, ward dances, bazaars. picnics, musicals and plays. I remember during my teenage years accompanying Hildegard and my grandmother on material shopping trips as we all loved to sew. After I moved to St. George in the mid 1970's we stayed in touch with each other. Hildegard would come to our home whenever my mother would come to town. In the 1990's after mother moved to Las Vegas, we took Hildegard to visit her occasionally.
I know that Hildegard was a dedicated servant of the Lord. Although Bill was not a member of the church, he supported her in serving in her callings. She was a visiting teacher, Sunday School teacher, Primary President and Relief Society President. While serving as Relief Society President, she read the Book of Mormon 4 times. This was because she knew that reading the Book of Mormon was the best way she could develop the spirituality she needed to be an effective leader.
It was in the early 1960's that Bill decided to build Hildegard a ranch style home in Leeds, Utah. Hildegard's brother, Herbert and sister-in-law, Cecelia were living in Leeds. Each summer Hildegard would load her two dogs in the car and travel to Leeds, approximately 1800 miles one way. After vacationing for 1½ weeks she would gather the dogs and return home to Bill in Milwaukee. This she did for many years.
When Bill built this home for Hildegard, he had no intention of leaving Milwaukee and moving to Leeds. One day as he was doing his banking in Milwaukee, two teenagers attempted to rob him. They must have been disappointed when they only found Bills eyeglasses in the bank pouch that they stole. This entire incident shook Bill up a quite a bit. Hildegard then reminded Bill about “the brand new air-conditioned home” that he owned in Leeds. She pointed out: “ it's not necessary to stay in Milwaukee and put up with this kind of foolishness” Bill soon gave in and agreed to move to Leeds.
Many of Hildegard's friends in Milwaukee expressed farewell sentiment towards Hildegard.
Bill hired a moving company, and they drove their two cars to Leeds where Hildegard could enjoy a large flower and vegetable garden, more space for their dogs and a warmer, more comfortable climate.
While living in Leeds, Hildegard was active in the church and made new friends. Among them was Wilma Beale who in later years would work with her in the temple.
Cecelia and Herbert owned a restaurant in Leeds known as “The Home Spun”. Occasionally Hildegard would help Cecelia with food preparation and accompany her on shopping trips. Because of Hildegard's frugality when seeing Cecelia making a purchase she might question, “are you sure you need that?”
Hildegard and Bill lived in Leeds for approximately 12 years and Bill's business did even better than it had in Milwaukee. In 1983 he was hospitalized with a bladder infection and never recovered from it. He passed away on March 6th 1983 after 47 ½ years of marriage to Hildegard.
Hildegard was endowed in the St. George temple on April 28th only 1½ months after Bills passing. She was 73 years old. Within one year of Bills passing she had his temple work completed and felt peace. Within time, she sold her home in Leeds and moved to the Temple Terrace Apartments only 1 block from the temple.
During the next 20 years while living at Temple Terrace, her life was dedicated to serving the Lord. She attended the temple daily and became a temple worker. Sister Russon, the temple matron from 1980-1985 made the following comment about Hildegard: “She moved about quietly, never wanting to be in the limelight. No applause or honor. She was very solid in belief and commitment.”
During these years, Hildegard was given opportunity to travel. She went to Israel, Hawaii and many other places. She met President Kimball, President Hinckley, President Monson, President Uchtdorf and other General Authorities. She also toured with the tabernacle choir. One Christmas the BYU Idaho Choir sang carols to her at her home.
Hildegard always desired to be independent. After she no longer had her driver's license she requested that the Doctor prescribe a “scooter” for her. One day when it was snowing and she felt it unsafe to drive the scooter, she walked 13 blocks to her Doctor appointment. The members of his staff were all amazed and surprised that she had walked the entire way in such cold and bad weather.
Hildegard was strictly obedient to the counsel of the Prophet in storing a year's supply of food. She had shelves built and air conditioning installed in the garage so the environment would be favorable for storage.
She was fiercely self reliant. After she moved from Temple Terrace to 63 East 200 South in 2005, and could no longer ride her scooter, she arranged with a dairy to deliver milk,eggs and butter, so that she would have the means to keep her bones strong.
In May, 2007 her final home was “The Meadows,” a lovely Senior Retirement facility where all her physical needs could be met. She enjoyed attending her LDS branch, getting her hair done, and the kind and loving staff.
On February 14th, 2008, Hildegard fell in the parking lot at The Meadows. She broke her pelvic bone and was hospitalized for several days, then went to Kolob Care for rehabilitation. One of the first things she said while at the hospital was, “I may never walk again.” Through a Priesthood blessing, physical therapy, self-determination, and prayers, Hildegard did recover and could walk with the assistance of a walker. After 4 weeks at Kolob she was released to the Meadows and was very happy to be back in her home.
Hildegard had a personality that was witty, cute, humorous, firm, and strong. She held fast to her testimony and convictions to the end. She displayed humor in her personality. Upon being spoon fed by one of the nurses she saw a cup in front of her. She commented “I don't drink coffee.” Then the whole time she was being fed she repeated, “coffee soup, coffee soup.”
Hildegard was a wonderful and true friend, full of love and compassion for everyone who knew her. She always had a listening ear for her friends. She had a quick wit. She was wise in counsel and gave good sound advice. She was selfless and observed the needs of others. She would strive to fulfill their needs in one way or another. At times she would pay a friends hospital bill, leave groceries on someone's back door, or support a friend or relatives son or daughter on their mission. These acts of kindness were given anonymously.
Hildegard was a strong individual both in character and personality. Perhaps this developed because of the hard times and opposition she experienced in her youth. She learned to accept difficult and trying situations without complaining. She often would say, “why complain, and fill others ears with what you can't do anything about anyway. It just makes others miserable. You might as well make the best of the situation and find a way to do it better.”
The last birthday Hildegard celebrated was on 15 March 2008. She was then rehabilitating at Kolob. She spent the afternoon and evening with her nephew Evan, his wife Barbara and their family. They enjoyed dinner at one of Hildegards favorite places to eat, Red Lobster. Evan and Barbara were attentive to Hildegard's needs and spent much time with her through the years.
As Hildegard's health began to fail during the summer of 2008, she began to experience additional problems. Her right leg had much swelling. Her appetite decreased. On August 11th Hospice came in to assess her and determined that she would soon pass away. Her dear friend Glenalee Casper came to say “goodbye” to her dear “Hildie.” The appearance of Glenalee and her endearing love and care for Hildegard, seemed to animate Hildegard and she gained a second lease on life.
On August 17th 2008 President Coombs gave her a release blessing. After the blessing she remarked: “I'm happier now than the day that I married Bill.” She was anxious to see him again an was ready to go home, but yet she knew it wouldn't be immediately. Because I needed to go out of town, I said goodbye to Hildegard, she asked, “when will you be back?” I replied, “3 or 4 days,” then she responded, “oh, I think I'll still be around.”
Hildegard's philosophy of life was one of working hard, but not allowing herself to be burdened with undue stress. She frequently was heard saying: “Enjoy today, yesterday is gone, and tomorrow is not here yet.”
We could sum up Hildegards life by expressing these thoughts from King Benjamin:
“ And now, for the sake of these things which I have spoken unto you—that is, for the sake of retaining a remission of your sins from day to day, that ye may walk guiltless before God—I would that ye should impart of your substance to the poor, every man according to that which he hath, such as feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, visiting the sick and administering to their relief, both spiritually and temporally, according to their wants.
“And see that all these things are done in wisdom and order; for it is not requisite that a man should run faster than he has strength. And again, it is expedient that he should be diligent, that thereby he might win the prize; therefore, all things must be done in order.” (Mosiah 4:26-27)
I say these things in the Name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Gramma's happy feeding little RJ

Daddy and Mommy went to a show and grandma had her first baby sitting experience with RJ. He's a great eater, takes mommy's breast, or the bottle, which is so convenient. He's still so tiny. Weighs probably 7 1/2 pounds but will be growing quickly with his hearty appetite.

So sleepy, My tummy's full!l

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Brent Busselberg's Recital

I'm backing up in time. May 17th the Busselberg siblings met in Milwaukee to attend a violin recital given by Brent. This was his third recital. He performed in the Milwaukee Leon Terrace chapel where the Busselberg children grew up. He played the Franck Violin sonata in A and the LeClaire in D. His accompanist was very good and together they played wonderfully. We missed Carol and Wilmer as they were in Nauvoo on their mission. Next year we hope that all 6 of us can be together. A reception was held after the performance and enjoyed by all. Rose Kindt and Brent worked together in organizing the event.

Thursday, Oct. 16th is the date that we are starting this family blog. It's Jake Christensen's birthday today.