Memories as recalled by:
Norberta "Bert" Schmitt-Renauld
Mary Schmitt Masal
Agnes Avon Schmitt-Vanarsdal
Your name could be here -- submit your memories to Sherlene today!!!!!!
Martin & Emma Schmitt were faithful, faith filled, prayerful, honest people.
Their God and their family were the most important things in their lives.
They both loved and cared about people. They loved to go visiting, and were both good visitors.
They were able to sort out their needs from their wants so thus had few luxury items in their lives. They were both hard working and helpful, happy people.
Like so many things in life, I took them for granted too often. In retrospect I see what a great gift each were in my life.
They did all they could to care, but also to have their children grow up to be independent people, who loved and cared also.
Like all of us, they were not perfect, but they sure tried hard and did the best they could, always.
TOP OF PAGE
When I think back on trips to visit Grandpa and Grandma Schmitt.
I recall excitement building as we’d drive country roads past farmland and over bridges until we passed through Plainwell and were on the highway to Otsego, turning off at what we called the farm.
We kids would pile out of the Chevy and say our polite hellos and linger on the patio reading musty comics about Turok, Son of Stone until we finally got the okay to go out and play.
Then I recall racing far out past the corncrib and henhouse to play hide-and-seek in the corn, wind stirring the husks, crows cawing overhead, the bones of small animals strewn in the dirt.
Beyond the corn I recall the sunlight filtering through the neatly spaced rows of pine trees as we tromped across ground made soft by layers of fallen needles.
In the fall, we’d play football in the yard adjacent to the garage, Rose of Sharon bushes marking off every ten yards.
I recall a headless chicken once scampering across the same lawn, its head bound for the furnace, the rest of it for the dinner table.
To quench our thirst on hot afternoon, there was homemade ginger-ale we could sip while spinning in a tire dangling from a tree.
Whenever we stayed late, I recall mysterious late night drone of traffic out on the highway passing trucks sounding almost like waves on a beach.
The ride home always seemed so short.
TOP OF PAGE
Looking back, I have many memories of visiting Grandma & Grandpa Schmitt's. While they lived at the Vern Gilbert Farm ,in Kalamazoo, I was fortunate enough to visit them quite often because dad (Stanley) worked on the farm. The things that stand out most vividly in my mind are the hammock hung between two large trees in the front yard; the collie dog, although for the life of me I cannot recall its name (Toots says his name was Alex); chickens and ducks; Aunt Bert's bedroom with all the bright red nail polish sitting on her dressing table; Grandma, affectionately saying Aunt Bert's picture was hung up to keep the rats away; looking in Grandpa's glasses to see what cards he had when playing canasta; the candy dish with lemon drops and Grandma's doodling pad sitting by the phone.
Grandpa and Grandma moved to Otsego, in the mid 50's, and once again we were able to see them more often. I don't recall the wooden toy box on wheels (this was made by Stanley Schmitt) in Kalamazoo but when I took my children to see Grandpa and Grandma I considered it to be one of the most important items in their house. Puzzles were often being put together on a card table so anyone that came usually tried their luck at helping to get them completed. Grandpa’s homegrown popcorn and peanuts hung on the back porch to dry. For several years Grandpa had rabbits and chickens that were mauled, petted, and chased by grandchildren and great grandchildren.
The last time I had lunch with Grandma, prior to her being unable to stay alone, she told me she ate her big meal at noon. That "big meal" consisted of homemade bread and jam, delicious, just not filling enough for most people, including myself.
TOP OF PAGE
My best memory of Grandpa and Grandma is when we would either visit for the afternoon or sleep-over. I loved it when Grandma would shuffle my sister, Laura, and I into the kitchen at snack time. We always fought over who got to sit at the pull out board, under the counter top, and sit on the white stool with the gray circle top. Grandma would get out that big cookie tin with the crackers, pretzels, and cookie shapes, in flowers, all over it. I remember it had a purple knob on top that somehow kept them moistened just right. Whenever I bake my soft ginger cookie (see Schmitt family recipe book) for my family and friends it reminds me of Grandpa and Grandma.
TOP OF PAGE
I remember that they both never raised their voice, worked hard and paid attention to all of us.
When we were very little, we used to "help" bring in the hay from the fields. The day would start with a flatbed trailer hooked to the tractor. We'd climb higher and higher as the hay was piled higher and higher. Grampa would check on us from time to time with his wonderful, quiet smile, seeming just as pleased as we were at how high we were by the time the haywagon was full. Now THAT was a hayride!
On the way out to the fields, we rode on the tractor, with Grampa saying "hold on tight". What a thrill that was for us city-slickers! I've loved tractors ever since, and attribute that to the joy on Grampa's face when he was on his own tractor. Of course, these were open air tractors from days gone by. Not the new, air conditioned, CD playing tractors of today!
When we visited on the farm, there would be popcorn in the evening, on a blanket in the living room in front of the fireplace. That farmhouse was magical to me with the wood stove that Gramma knew exactly how and when to stoke, when to add wood, how soon to get the wood started.
And Aunt Bert's room! What heaven for a little girl to have such a big, elegant room to stay overnight! Her room was in the front too so I could watch the entrance to the milk barn to see when Grampa was up. Many mornings I was down there with him, watching the milking and checking out the new litter of kittens roaming among the cows.
That farm had a marvelous creek behind the barn too, down by the woods. Lots of adventures required going down to the creek several times a day to see the wildlife.
Later, when Grampa and Gramma moved to their last home, Grampa had a big garden. On hot summer days, Gramma would make ginger ale and we'd play Canasta on the porch. I'm not sure if we liked playing Canasta, but we sure did like the card shuffler Gramma had. She'd wait patiently between card hands while we shufffled and shuffled and shuffled the cards through the card shuffler.
Grampa and Gramma Schmitt were also my Godparents so they were very special to me.
TOP OF PAGE
The only place that I remember Grandpa and Grandma is in Otsego.
The first memory that always pops into my mind is
playing the game of Parcheesi with them both, out on the porch. I now play
it with my grandchildren and with great pride I tell them that I played it with
my grandparents and that someday they also will play it with their
grandchildren. They can tell their grandchildren that their grandmother
played it with her grandparents many many years ago. I also loved that
card shuffler; grandpa would let me run the cards through it.
When I spent the night we always said the rosary.
Thank God that Grandpa and Grandma prayed for all of us so often. I
am sure that's one of the reasons that all of our lives are so good is because
we had those two people praying for us daily----------------wow what a
Then, there was Grandpa's pop corn and the large metal bowl with
the small, all different colored little bowls. Today I have a metal large
bowl and four small ones, they are all the same color but they remind me of the
times of eating pop corn with my grandparents. I have passed that
story on to my grandchildren too and I hope they pass it on through the years of
their lives. As they do, the memories of Grandpa
and Grandma Schmitt will just kept alive for years to come.
I recall it was too quite at night at Grandpas and
Grandmas and I had a hard time falling to sleep at night.
One more thing that sticks in my mind is at Saint
Margaret's school when there was mass both Grandpa and Grandma would always be
there. I thought that was pretty special to have my grandparents there and
they would wave and make me feel loved.
Last but not least I remember the birthday cards with the
quarter, they were great. How could any of us forget them?
[Note: Agnes doesn’t know that before there were so many grandchildren
we each received a dollar in our birthday cards...Sherlene]
TOP OF PAGE
Last Significant Revision: 2006