She’s 100 and counting

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This is part two in the story about 100-year-old Mary Alice Patch Schacherbauer. She was born in 1914 and even wrote a book to be handed out to her guests at her 100th birthday party. The book, “Days I Remember,” was mainly meant to tell her daughters what life was like in her early years.
She grew up in the Jerome and the New California area and graduated from New California High School in 1933. The Patch family were farmers and Mary Alice’s father let her drive a car on the farm property. She would go across the pasture to the woods where all the kids played. She was about 12 years old and was driving back toward the house one day when it happened. She didn’t know how to stop the car, so she tried to hit the gate post on the fence. That did it. The car stopped, but there was damage. She ran to the house and to her room to hide. Surprisingly her father never said a word about it.
There were just 11 in her class at New California High School (they called it New Cally) when she graduated in 1933. Even though she always wanted to be a teacher, she was not able to go to college, so she went to work.
This was the Great Depression and jobs were scarce. Mary Alice became a nanny to several children earning $2 a week plus room and board. Her duties included some housework.
About this time she learned the art of embroidery from her mother and that would be her trademark. She made many comforters for members of her family, some taking two years to complete. Just recently she has given it up, since it’s too hard to make her fingers work.
Her love life was busy. She dated several guys at a time, which was the custom then. After all, attractive young ladies had to keep their options open. Then came Lee Schacherbauer.
Mary Alice was active in the Jerome United Methodist Church which she had joined in 1929. Sunday night was a big date night for church-going young adults. She was in the car with her brother, Bud, and his girl. They were to pick up Lee, who had moved to a Union County farm from Illinois. He jumped into the back seat with her and that was the beginning of a beautiful romance. She remembers kissing him that night. She always knew she wanted to marry a farmer. That’s what Lee was.
The year was 1933 and four years later they each said goodbyes to the others they dated and knew they were right for each other. Lee and Mary Alice married at the courthouse in downtown Columbus and made an interesting choice for a honeymoon. They got in the car and took another couple with them to Illinois to the place where Lee grew up. There were four people on the honeymoon.
When they returned, they moved for a short time to his family’s farm and then had their own place on Route 42 near the intersection at Industrial Parkway (Route 33 then). Lee borrowed a horse to plow and make a garden.
They still didn’t have electricity. That came soon after 1937, which changed their lives greatly. Now there was an iron, refrigerator and a Maytag washer. In 1929 her mother had a gasoline-powered washer before electricity. They still had the outhouse for a few more years.
One day in early 1938 Mary Alice wasn’t feeling well, so Lee asked the doctor to stop by. Surprise, she was pregnant. Their first daughter, Judy, was born several months later. Several years later, a second daughter, Marylee, was born. The family lived on a 129-acre farm on Harriott Road. Their two daughters went on to graduate from Marysville High School.
Mary Alice and Lee had nearly 73 years of marriage together. It was a good one. They were able to travel all over the United States and Europe. He became a well-known farmer in the area and was active on several boards including that of the Farm Bureau and Memorial Hospital of Union County.
Then there was the tradition of the dandelion. For many years Lee would pick the first dandelion of the spring that he saw when walking to the barn. He would bring it to Mary Alice. Finally, in the fall, he would bring her the last blossom. Sometimes it was as late as Christmas. When she sees a dandelion now, all those memories come flooding back.
The home on their farm was almost 200 years old. All that property was sold about 10 years ago and they moved to Marysville, where Lee died at age 92.
Mary Alice quit driving at age 92. Now her life at 100 is still really good. She looks wonderful and her memory is fantastic. She lives alone and goes out once a week to have her hair done. I watched her move quickly around her home with her walker on wheels as she came to sit close to me and talk. She’s especially interested in and loves a good discussion about politics.
With so many years behind her, she thinks sometimes of what is next. She asks in her book, “How will the last years be?” She has a strong faith in God, so no problem.
Then she ends with, “I say my prayers, thank God for the life I’ve lived, for the love Lee and I had, for our family and for our friends. We have been so blessed. I thank God for it all.”
Now Goodies Galore in Marysville will be selling her book, so you can read the rest of the story!
I wish you well Mary Alice. You are a gift!
If you missed part one of the story, just go to marysvillejt.com. Click on off the hook, then on archives.
(Melanie Behrens – melb@marysvillejt.com)



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