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Author Info & Bio

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Author of 
History, Mystery, 
Romance...and Hope!

Click to go autobiography THE DAY SECRETARIAT WON THE TRIPLE CROWN

Thank you for your interest in my writing. While I write a variety of styles and genres, my bottom line is hope. May you find your hope in Jesus Christ.
 
May what I write, help you "see" Him as the answer.
 
CRS

INDEX
Life is All About Hope
Personal Side
Interview with Carolyn
Interview with Gloria Geiselman
Speaking
Publishing Credits
Contests, Awards, Publicity

BIOGRAPHICAL ARTICLES
Storms stir many family memories
Three years ago, and a bunch of miracles later
Special birth, plus another surprise
A time to reflect and to give thanks for those close to you
Memories matter, not how long vacation lasts
Kaufman-Wernert store stir memories of adventure
Making and passing on precious memories
the season of joy and memories

LIFE is All About HOPE

Carolyn R Scheidies is a wife, proud mother of two, and grandmother of wonderful grandchildren she loves to spoil. Though her writing career is important, it is not more important than her family or her faith.

A graduate from the University of Nebraska at Kearney (UNK) with a degree in journalism, Carolyn's published credits include over two-dozen plus books (with various publishers including Harlequin and Barbour), several of which have garnered awards. She's written features, program material and more for a variety of publications, has a regular newspaper column, worked as an editor, speaker/teacher and book reviewer. One of her Kearney Hub columns also won her an Amy Writing Award in 2013.

Through the years, Scheidies has spoken to different groups, led workshops, substitute taught in the media dept at UNK for several years and has taught adult enrichment writing classes at Central Community College. She has been interviewed on NTV, KHAS and AFR radio as well as in numerous print and online publications and had a monthly book review segment on NTV when she was a regular book reviewer.
Whatever she does, Carolyn’s goal is to share hope found in Jesus Christ.
Http://IdealinHope.com
http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/idealinhope.
http://www.amazon.com/author/carolyn-r-scheidies

THE PERSONAL SIDE

I contracted Juvenile. Rheumatoid Arthritis. when I was 13.

Within a year I was confined to a wheelchair. Over the years I was subjected to a multitude of treatments, many painful. There were times I wanted to give up. But I didn't. In time I was prayed for and something special happened.

The pain, the great pain I suffered continually,
disappeared. But, I was still disabled. Still confined to a wheelchair I did not have strength to wheel myself. However, in that moment I began to fight my way back.

I attended college in a wheelchair long before accessibility was considered a right. I graduated Who's Who in journalism from the University of Nebraska at Kearney (UNK).

From college I went into surgery to replace my knees joints and to straighten my legs. It took another year before I could walk without full length leg braces and crutches.

During that year my husband and I fell in love and a little over a year after my surgery I walked down the aisle as a bride. With my multiple disabilities, being first wife, then mother and now grandmother is sometimes difficult, but always I have known God is with me through the hard times as well as the good times.

At home I continued to write and over the years had a measure of success. My published credits include hundreds ofplays, poems, meditations, crafts, games, stories and feature articles--andover a two dozenplus published novels.

Along the way I could have given up, given in to despair and at times--for short times I did, for my medical problems continue.

Since those first surgeries, I have had a second set of knee joints plus one, three hip replacements, ankle surgery, surgery for a broken femur as well as other surgeries--everything from my two c-sections to two biopsies. (We won't talk about the broken leg, two broken arms, concussions...etc, from falling, trach & feeding tube for three months....)

My point of cataloging my past is for one reason only. To let you know that no matter what you go through, don't give up on life, on the future or on your dreams.

Most of all, know that God loves you and He cares. He is the God of hope.

INTERVIEW WITH AUTHOR
CAROLYN R. SCHEIDIES


Q: When did you start Writing?
A. I was always writing. Even before I could read, I tried to make letters. Before I entered school, I kept bugging my dad to show me how to write this word or that. I soon knew all the three letter words that rhymed with cat and would make endless lists of rhymes. I loved the sound and rhythm of words.

Q: When did you begin writing stories?
A. In third grade several of us began a writing project. My story was titled THE THREE GOLDEN APPLES. I don’t recall much about the story, but I fell in love with writing. From then on I began writing in earnest. I also began to entertain my younger brother with made up stories.

Q: When did you decide to become a writer?
A. Very early on. I loved reading both fiction and non-fiction, loved the smell and feel of books. I probably always had a passion to write, but it wasn’t until elementary school I realized I wanted this to be my life’s work.

Q: Why did you decide to write fiction?
A. I always loved a good story. Even now, I am in awe of the skill of some authors to draw in the reader, then again, I read other books and think, “I can do better than that.” Quite frankly, once an idea starts spinning around in my mind, I feel compelled to write down the story as it unfolded.

Q: What mentor’s have you had?
A. When I was in high school, my father took a church in Iowa. There was a published writer in the congregation who kindly took me under her wing. She taught me how to format, edit my own writing, and market. It was through Margaret Freeman my first stories were accepted and published. Best of all, I got PAID! And I hadn’t even graduated from high school.

Q: Who are your favorite authors?
A. That’s tough. I’m a very eclectic reader and like many different types of writing from classic to contemporary, from literary to romance. Some of the authors I loved as a child were Walter Farley--the black stallion series (I loved anything having to do with horses.), Aristotle, Victoria Holt, Phyllis Whitney and Mary Stewart all come to mind.
I kept adding “favorite” authors along the way. I've devoured Brandilyn Collins, and Dee Henderson. I also like Francine Rivers, Robin Lee Hatcher, Tracie Peterson, JoAnn Grote, Irene Brand, B.J. Hoff and too many others to count. I have books I read over and over again, and would not give up.

Q: What is your favorite book?
A. That one’s easy. The Bible. It has more variety of writing, more practical living tips and has the best story of all--the story of a loving God embracing his creation through the sacrifice of his son Jesus.

Q: How did you prepare for a writing career?
A. First, by writing all the time. Second, I began to journal and still do. Third, by getting a comprehensive degree in journalism. Writing for the media teaches you to work under deadline, to work within space limitations (most print publishers have word length restrictions), and not to waste words. This is great preparation for any kind of writing from picture books to novels. Basically, I learned to make every word count. I also read books, listened and learned from other authors, attended writer's conferences and learned to format my work for the marketplace.

Q: Do you prefer writing fiction or non-fiction?
A. I have no preference. I write both. I love interviewing and writing about real people, because I believe everyone has a unique story to tell. I've written both fiction and non-fiction for all ages, and have contributed to several non-fiction books. While I write articles for a variety of publications, I also enjoy writing fiction. There’s nothing quite like creating characters that take on a life of their own as they tell their story. And I like endings that end with hope.

Q: I noticed you have physical limitations, how has this influenced your writing?
A. Write what you know. Many of my characters also suffer some physical problem with which they must deal.
As for me, I do tire easily and surgery sometimes short-circuits my writing schedule. I have learned to schedule around my limitations. I also appreciate the time I do have, and use it to its fullest. I hate wasting time. I usually have pen and paper handy to jot ideas whenever they strike, whether that’s in a doctor’s office or the middle of the night.

Q: How does your writing affect your family?
A. When our children were young, I wrote whenever I could, whenever I had the energy, and whenever I was wide awake enough to concentrate--even for a few minutes. Our two are grown now with kids of their own, so I write about grandkids these days.

Q: Where do you see your writing going from here?
A. I write a regular column for the Kearney Hub that I enjoy very much.

I have had over two dozen books published and have some book projects that will be released in the future..

I plan to continue writing wherever the ideas, and the Lord, lead.

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Interview with GLORIA GEISELMAN who first encouraged Carolyn to write adult fiction and who critiqued her first attempts. She also contributed to HELP I'M A NEW MOTHER.

My name is Gloria Geiselman and I am currently the administrative secretary for UNMC College of Nursing at the Kearney, Nebraska division. I am a mother of three grown children, a wife who admires and loves her husband, and a doting grandmother. My roles over the years have included office manager, day-care provider, women's ministry leader, and the best roles--wife, mother and grandmother.

Tell us how you met.: I met Carolyn when I was a new freshman student at our local college. The first Sunday, this lonely freshman walked to a local church. Afterward I was invited by Pat, a young woman, to her birthday party. Though Carolyn attended a different church, she'd also been invited. Her friends dropped her off after church at Pat's house. We hit it off immediately. We enjoyed our conversations from the start and once I found out her apartment was with in walking distance from my dorm, the friendship grew.

Are you surprised Carolyn is a writer? Why or why not?: From the start of our friendship I was fascinated by her desire, skill, and passion for writing. Literature and English were my favorite subjects along with being on my school debate team. So I think Carolyn and I naturally saw in each other a kindred spirit in seeing our world expressed in the written and oral forms. Since an early age Carolyn saw she had a gift for expressing herself in writing and that God could use this talent no matter her physical challenges. I believe she was created with this gift so it is no surprise to me her talents as a writer have blossomed through the years.

Share a funny story with us.: We've been friends now for over 45 years and I suppose I could pick a number of stories. But in truth it is more the every day life experiences that stand out in my mind that we have shared together. The way we can follow each other's patterns and jump in mid-sentence to know what we are talking about while our dear husbands remain confused as to where the conversation went.

The laughter we've shared over some of the crazy situations she has been in due to her physical capabilities affected by Rheumatoid Arthritis as a child. Maybe that doesn't sound very kind, but we have been able to laugh together at least in retrospect. For example: her taking 3 (Carolyn's recall is 5, but who's counting) stop lights to cross an intersection while we flagged cars to not run over her; or some of the crazy struggles a bathroom has given that is not designed well for a handicap person; and her creativity in using a squirt gun on her then young toddler to stop his antics.

Now speaking of our children I could tell more stories that relate to being a young mom. I never will forget the time we discovered our at-the-time 3 year olds (my daughter, her son) in the nursery room sprinkling baby powder all over. They, my baby son in the crib, and the room were totally covered in white powder. Now only good friends could laugh together at this right? (Though not right away.)

What is your favorite book written by Carolyn and why?: Really all of the books she has written I feel are done well. I have three favorite ones. BLACK HAWK FEATHER was my favorite fiction maybe due to the time period of the story and of course the characters. They seemed like real people not just fictional characters whose life was all put in order in the last few pages. HELP I'M A NEW MOTHER is a great resource book Carolyn put together from many Christian women and I love the variety but helpful encouragement it gives.

Her historical docu-book A TALE OF THE OREGON TRAIL of a young girl traveling on a wagon train is the kind of read that an 80 year old to a 7 year old would enjoy as they learn about the struggles of being a pioneer.

Carolyn has the capability of writing things for a wide range of interests.
***
Note: Gloria's daughter Jessica illustrated Carolyn's picture book I'LL FLY AWAY LITTLLE BLUE CAR (An Eppie finalist) and her son Justin illustrated A TALE OF THE OREGON TRAIL, a book developed with and for museums and gift shops

SPEAKING
I used to speak quite often to a variety of groups. Now I do limited speaking engagements. Contact me if interested.

PUBLISHING CREDITS
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Harlequin Heartsong Presents, Barbour publishing, TrebleHeart Books, Kearney Hub (regular column), Lifeglow, a variety of Standard Publishing program books, Melody of the Heart E-Zine, Obadiah Magazine, Obadiah Press online, Writer's Exchange, Relate E-Zine, Advanced Christian Writer, The Christian Communicator, Grit, and many other publications.

CONTESTS, AWARDS, PUBLICITY

2013 Amy Award for a Kearney Hub article

MY LITTLE BLUE CAR: EPPIE finalist 2006.

SECOND CHANCE FOR CHARITY won in the Inspirational category, KATALINA placed second in the mystery/suspense category of the annual Treble Heart Books awards for best books of 2003.

THUNDERING HEART won the Treble Heart Books award for best Contemporary Inspirational Romance of 2002. TO KEEP FAITH placed second in the Historical Inspirational Romance category.

Top Ten Heartsongs in the years in which they were released: Black Hawks' Feather and IN LIZZY'S IMAGE. IN LIZZY'S IMAGE also a Holt Medallion Finalist.



Illustration: Shoveling snow

Storms stir many family memories
Published Kearney Hub 3/14/16
2016 Carolyn R Scheidies

February 2016 came in with wind, snow and ice. I think the wind blew most of the snow from Collins Park areas onto our property. The drifts got higher. Tuesday the 2nd, Keith didn’t go to work. He couldn’t even get out of the door. 

The next day, he was out scooping. Our front door froze closed and the walk was pure ice. Thankfully, my brother came by with his Cat and scooped out the driveway and sidewalks. Keith got to work. 

Such storms bring back memories. Of course, my birth isn’t exactly a memory, but what happened was relayed to me by my Aunt Esther. My father was a minister. In those days, he had churches in Minnesota, Wisconsin, and, when I was born, in Canada. Winters in these areas are hard. It didn’t help that my birth came during the coldest part of the year--January. My folks wanted me born in the United States. 

When Mom went into labor, the roads were blocked and there was no way to get to the Warroad hospital. But those used to cold and snow are resourceful. Dad helped Mom into the car and started south--across a frozen lake. The doctor followed them. Mom had me on the American side of the border. 

When daughter Cassie was in middle School, she was excited about being asked to be in her cousin’s wedding in Kansas. We made plans to head to Kansas the last of January. Only weather stepped in. When Chris and Cassie headed to school in the morning the weather was overcast. A few flakes trickled down by noon and then the storm hit. Many students, like Cassie, as well as teachers, ended up spending a night in the schools. Keith was unable to leave his work at YRTC. I was home alone with the dog and cat for company. 

The next morning, Cassie and other students saw their school on Good Morning America. Took a day or two, but our family was finally all home. The dilemma was how to get out of town for the wedding. Roads were either still snowed under or icy. I-80 was completely closed off. We got some good advice from someone who’d made it back to Kearney. “Go straight south into Kansas and then east.” 

We set off. When we skidded on ice, spun around and ended up facing the traffic the opposite direction, I wasn’t sure we would make it. But we finally got out of town. South of Minden things were much clearer and Kansas had hardly been hit at all. 

The wedding went off beautifully. The weather was so warm we discarded all our heavy winter gear. Amazing how a few hundred miles south changed everything. 

Snow storms and other unexpected events mess up schedules and lives. Such times can have us grumbling and complaining. Or they can make us appreciate our blessings and provide times of reflection. After all, who doesn’t appreciate hot chocolate and a good book on a cold day. 

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Three years ago, and a bunch of miracles later
Column published in the Kearney Hub 3/13/17
2017 Carolyn R Scheidies

I get up in the morning glad to be alive. I often whisper, "This is the day the Lord has made; We will rejoice and be glad in it." Psalm 118:24 (NKJV)

Whatever happens, I am thankful to be alive and not only alive, but also able to breathe and eat on my own. Three years ago those were all in doubt.

Keith came home late after work one night--he works until 9 pm--to find me on the floor in the bedroom calling his name. I’d fallen and hit my head. I remember only bits and pieces of what happened next. Keith managed to get on my shoes and take me to the emergency room.

The medical professionals sent me through a CAT scan, which revealed a cracked skull, a brain bleed and a concussion. That was of some concern, but in the normal scheme of things I would have been sent home in a day or two. But that night Dr. Chinyere Obasi, who specializes in Neurosurgery, was on call and that made all the difference.

With my limitations I have fallen from time to time, but the falls have a reason--I tripped, got tangled or was accidently knocked. This fall appeared to have no reason. He also discovered this was the second unexplained fall in six months. As he said later, he had a gut feeling there was more to my fall. He ordered an MRI and discovered the truth. My upper spine was almost completely cut off. Surprising I hadn’t had more severe problems.

I needed immediate surgery to, possibly, save my life. Scary time as my family were notified and our children and sister headed to Kearney. (My brother and wife already live in Kearney.) The surgery was successful, but the process of intubating compromised my throat because of my health problems.

I ended up not able to breathe well enough and was unable to swallow. I ended up with a tracheotomy and a feeding tube. Even as I began to heal, there was only guarded hope from the doctors that I would ever stop needing either. But my care was excellent, my support from family and friends constant and my motivation high. Most of all, friends, family, and those I hardly knew were praying.

Two and a half months after entering the hospital, I went home--still with the trach and feeding tube. Keith had spent time learning how to care for them and doing so isn’t easy or particularly pleasant. I continued to heal. A month or so after returning home, doctors removed both the trach and the feeding tube. Yes, I need to be careful in what and how I eat, but I am breathing and eating.

I was given a second chance at life. I would have missed so much not being here--time with our son and grandchildren Devon, Dane and Tori, our daughter’s wedding a year after my surgery and, this year, holding our new granddaughter Ellery. What a blessing!

I am thankful I didn’t give up, had medical staff, family and friends who cheered me on and who supported Keith and me through it all. I don’t know what tomorrow will bring, but I know that God is in my tomorrow as much as He was with me in my yesterdays and I know I can safely leave my future in His hands.

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Special birth, plus another surprise
Published by Kearney Hub 2/13/17
2017 Carolyn R Scheidies

Friday January 27th, my friend Gloria and I took off for Omaha to attend my daughter Cassie's baby shower. My sister Karin drove up to York from Kansas and was able to leave her car at a motel parking lot. We picked her up, stuffing her gifts and luggage in with ours, and headed off again.

The weather was beautiful and downright warm for late January. On the way I received a phone call from Cassie. She'd had a high risk, no fun pregnancy. The baby’s actually due date was February 20th. I knew her doctors planned to take the baby early, but it came as a surprise when she said she was going in Monday morning the 30th to be induced. Her baby was 37 weeks.

That changed things considerably. The three of us enjoyed our overnight in Omaha, eating out with Cassie and Kurt and her mother-in-law Becky, also down for the shower. The baby shower the next afternoon was fun and baby Ellery received lots and lots of clothing and other required baby supplies. Good time, too. Couldn't have waited any longer for that baby shower!

Late afternoon Saturday we headed back to Kearney, leaving Karin off in York, filling up with gas and driving on home. Not much of a break for me as I started packing and preparing. Monday morning Keith and I headed back to Omaha. At first we thought to stay in a motel. Keith's sister said we could stay with her instead. Cassie called and asked us to stay at their apartment and take care of the dog so Kurt didn't have to drive back and forth to care for him.

Once in Omaha, we went to the hospital to see Cassie. She was having a rough time, but things seemed to be progressing. We stayed for several hours and left to settle in to their apartment and take care of Melvin. Later Kurt called to tell us the doctors were taking Cassie in for a C-Section. We prayed all would go well. Later yet, we received the good news that the baby had been delivered and mother and baby were doing well. We gave thanks.

The next morning, we spent a good part of the day at the hospital where we admired our sweet new granddaughter and even got to hold her. Keith pointed out our two granddaughters are one day and thirteen years apart. (Our granddaughter, our son’s daughter, Tori had her 13th birthday Sunday.)

Wednesday morning, we again spent time at the hospital, again holding our newest grandchild. The car was already packed up. Kurt's mom, who had gone home to Minnesota and returned for a longer stay, would be taking over doggy duties. We smiled hugged and finally, reluctantly, left the hospital, got into our car and headed home.

I am thankful mother and baby are home and doing well. I was also humbled and surprised when Cassie and Kurt named our sweet new granddaughter Ellery Ruth Hungerford. Ruth is my middle name.

As Cassie said, they used the name to honor me, one of Kurt's aunts and Ruth of the Bible who was a strong, independent woman. What could be better than that?

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Our family with Dad Jiggs and Mom Bert at Dad's 90th birthday Nov. 2015

A time to reflect and to give thanks for those close to you
Published in Kearney Hub 11/21/16
2016 Carolyn R Scheidies

Thanksgiving this year will be different. Not because our family wants it to be different, but because we lost an important element of the holiday celebration. We lost the very one who made the Scheidies Thanksgiving celebration what it became--a special celebration of faith and family.
Before all of Keith's siblings got married and had kids, having Easter at Easter, Thanksgiving at Thanksgiving and Christmas on Christmas wasn't difficult. It certainly wasn't a problem when I joined the family. I was the first to marry into the family, marrying, Keith, the oldest of five siblings. My father and step-mother lived far away so holidays weren't much of an issue back then.

But once Keith's siblings married and started families getting together required some delicate scheduling. There were jobs and distance and in-laws. Finally, Keith's mom, Roberta or Bert as she was known, came up with an idea. She decided that the family would get together as a family twice a year for holidays and celebrations. Those times were the last weekend of April to celebrate Easter and the weekend after Thanksgiving to celebrate both Thanksgiving and Christmas. (These became known as "Spring Fling" and "Thankmas." We also celebrated birthdays and other special times during these gatherings.)

She chose these times so families could be with other relatives on the actual holiday. This worked out great for the most part. There were no arguments since we all knew in advance when we'd get together and schedule accordingly. These became times of laughter, fellowship and fun because we are not only related by blood, birth, marriage or adoption, but also by friendship. We like spending time together.

This Thanksgiving will not be the same. Last April we lost Bert quite unexpectedly to a heart attack. The funeral was a testament to her deep faith and her love for her family. She is greatly missed and will be missed as we celebrate this year.

But Thanksgiving is about giving thanks and what a blessing that we'll be able to gather as a family, remembering wife, mother, mother-in-law, gramma, great-gramma, and truly give thanks for all her love, faith and guidance. I am thankful for the legacy of one special lady, my mother-in-law, Roberta Scheidies, who accepted me into the family with kindness and welcome so long ago. This Thanksgiving, hold those you love close and give thanks for every moment you have with them.

Have a blessed Thanksgiving.

Florida Everglades
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MEMORIES MATTER, NOT HOW LONG VACATION LASTS
Published by Kearney Hub 9/19/16
2016 Carolyn R Scheidies

Over the years as our children grew up, we took vacations. Many of these included family reunions and took us to a variety of locations. The first Fredrickson family reunion was held in Estes Park where we stayed close to a magic shop--and Chris was very into learning magic back then. We enjoyed good food around town, the amusement park, shopping and time with family.

Another vacation included Eureka Springs, Arkansas and Silver Dollar City. Because of a tight budget, I got creative in affording vacations. For that one, I contacted Silver Dollar City for access and did in depth interviews I later sold to a variety of publications to help pay for the vacation.

One of our best vacations, another family reunion, took place in northern Minnesota where we took over a resort. There weren't even locks on the cabin doors. It was a week of boating, eating, shopping and late fireside conversation and fun.

The year after the attacks on 9-11, we held the Fredrickson reunion in the Black Hills. There were fears the Mt. Rushmore monument was on the hit list over the 4th of July. Some of our group had some adventures with the protective military presence in the area and fire was a present danger. No fireworks displays allowed.

Another year we joined Keith's family for a Scheidies get-together at Lake Mcconaughy. Though we had a resort on the lake, the drought was so bad the sand stretched way out. In fact, we had to go to another resort to rent a boat for the family. Ended up rescuing two young men whose jet ski was sinking. Then there was outrunning the storm and rescuing a fisherman in a small boat. Thankfully, by the time the storm hit, many of us were safely off the boat.

These reunions created memories and often inspired ideas for books. This year we didn't have big plans. In fact, our big vacation was simple and close to home. In July, we headed to Lincoln to take our son and grandkids out to lunch. Now that two of the three grandkids are teens, they work and have other activities. Gone are the days they spent a week or more with us during the summer. We're just glad we can go see them, which we did during the summer.

After lunch, we headed to Omaha to spend the weekend with our daughter who moved back to Omaha in July. Kurt's year of mobilization with the navy was up and, while his brothers moved her back to Omaha, Kurt went to Virginia to be debriefed. (Kurt and Cassie spent the year in Florida and are glad to be back home in Nebraska.)

Cassie didn't want to spend the weekend alone and we were delighted to see their new apartment and spend time with her. That evening, Chris and kids met Keith, Cassie and me at a restaurant and we had fun, ate and laughed. Sunday, we attended church with Cassie and picked up a few things at Trader Joes. Later, while I relaxed and rested, Cassie took her dad to the latest Star Trek movie at the theater steps from her apartment building. Then it was time to head home.

Many of our reunion vacations were 5-7 days long. This one lasted scarcely more than a day and a half, but vacations are more than getting away. Vacations are about family and making memories. This year's vacation was just about perfect.

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KAUFMAN-WERNERT STORE STIR MEMORIES OF ADVENTURE
Published by the Kearney Hub 9/05/16
2016 Carolyn R Scheidies

When my family decided to move to Kearney in the early 1970's, the Kaufman-Wernert Store was already a fixture of downtown Kearney. Everyone knew the store. It was a store that carried everything from soup to nuts--and that isn't an exaggeration. There was a food counter where shoppers could take a break from shopping for a sandwich and coffee.

Three levels of store and more were crammed with all sorts of merchandise. If there was something you wanted or needed, the place to check was Kaufman-Wernerts. The Kaufman-Wernert Store offered a wide variety long before Walmart came on the scene. They had interesting gems in the different departments and it took time and an adventurous spirit to go through the bins and down the aisle like a prospector searching for gold. A trip to Kaufman was always fun and an adventure for me since the aisle weren't all that wide.

Even in my smaller wheelchair, I didn't always fit. But my mother tried. She manhandled my wheelchair like a pro down those aisle. That wheelchair was one reason we chose to move to Kearney. While there were no churches of my pastor father's denomination in town, what Kearney did offer before the days of ADA was a college willing to help me get to classes. We moved to Kearney so I could continue my education.

Besides narrow aisles, the store had several levels and lots and lots of stairs. Stairs and wheelchairs don't mix. But my mother wanted to get to the other levels and was not about to leave me behind. Just maybe the store had an elevator and when mom asked, she was directed to the back of the store.

There was an elevator all right. We glanced at each other as the already ancient elevator groaned, squeaked and clanked as it moved up from the basement. Even back then it seemed a bit of a risk to use it, but in we went. The fit was tight for my wheelchair and mom squeezed behind the back handles. It worked. Many times we used that elevator as we shopped. Later, even after I had massive surgery and began to walk, I used that elevator when shopping Kaufmans. But eventually, the store that sold everything closed and now the Kaufman Centre holds a variety of businesses.

Recently Keith and I had an appointment to see a financial advisor in what turned out to be the Kaufman Centre. Not realizing the business was in the Kaufman Centre, I'd called about access, since not all downtown businesses are accessible for someone who avoids stairs. Yes, there was an elevator. Of course there was, we realized once we checked the address. Hold that appointment. The ancient elevator sported an "Out of Order" sign.

Keith went up stairs to let them know. Turns out the elevator is so old getting parts is a problem. We ended up holding our appointment on the benches by the back door. Worked out just fine.

But the elevator did bring back good memories of the old Kaufman-Wernert Store, my intrepid mother who wouldn't leave me behind and all the adventures we had shopping at a special Kearney store.

Making and passing on precious memories
Published in Kearney Hub 5/23/16
2016 Carolyn R Scheidies

Keith with his mom last fall

Memories are precious. We often do not realize how precious until we lose them. I have problems recalling the two weeks after I fell a couple of years ago, cracked my skull and ended up with some pretty serious surgery--a need uncovered by that fall, Evidently most of the time I was aware, but I have only flashes of memory of what happened during that time. I do recall some of the more positive things, 

We should strive to hang onto as many good memories as possible. These memories lift us up when life isn’t fair, isn’t fun and causes us hurt, pain or grief. 

When I married into my husband’s family, his family got together at Christmas and Easter until Keith’s siblings all married and started having families. Holidays got complicated with so many families to consider. Now we gather the weekend of Thanksgiving and, usually, the last weekend in April. The Scheidies family has also planned a few trips with some or all of the family, including one to Lake McConaughy that ended up with all sorts of unexpected adventures and inspired my book for tweens, My Summer Journal. 

The wedding of my niece Crystal and David holds an important place in our memories. Almost all the family on both sides were able to attend this outdoor wedding in Colorado. It was both reverent and fun. We smiled as we headed home. Not much later, my sister-in-law (the bride’s mother) lost her brother unexpectedly. Her family can look back now at the memories forged with him during the wedding. 

The Fredricksons, my side of our family, began having family reunions because of a similar occurrence. Cousins were growing up who scarcely  knew one another. When my father died, he left a huge void. He was the oldest sibling. My brother and dad’s brother Bob decided it was time to change the growing separation. They planned the first Fredrickson reunion. The reunions continued every two or three years since the 1990s. We missed some, but the ones we did make were filled with family, fellowship, fun and the making of memories. The Fredrickson reunions were seldom in the same location. We’ve been to Estes Park, Northern Minnesota, the Black Hills (the year after 9-11) and Eureka Springs--including Silver Dollar City. Finally, our family found a vacation getaway in Manitou Springs, CO and several family members return each year.  (We joined them last year.)

This year we planned the Scheidies Spring gathering with anticipation. But it never happened. The week prior we unexpectedly lost Keith’s mom. Instead of a fun time of fellowship, we gathered to mourn our loss--while celebrating a life well lived. Roberta left us knowing she loved Jesus and she loved us. Still the loss is deeply felt. There is now a hole, but she left a wealth of wonderful memories.

After each family reunion or gathering, I create a collage of text and pictures to help me remember. This time the collage is more somber, but still a memory. I am thankful that when life is difficult I can look back, remember and be thankful for my family and friends who’ve helped build positive memories into my life.

Too quickly we lose those precious memories, Keep them close with words, pictures and repeating stories. Make scrapbooks. Most important, help build a solid foundation for the future, by passing on family memories to children and grandchildren. 

The season of joy and memories
Published Kearney Hub 12/21/15
2015 Carolyn R Scheidies

Christmas is in the air. It draws us forward, but it also pulls us backward--back to childhood and the wonder and joy of the season. 

When I was a child, Christmas was the best holiday. At Easter, my pastor father instilled in us the marvel, miracle and meaning of the resurrection. We dyed Easter eggs and found hidden chocolate crosses or bunnies. Independence Day was all about parades, flags and patriotism. Thanksgiving was about fellowship, food and fun. 

Christmas was different. There was always the sense of surprise, of hidden gifts and secret smiles as we plotted what to get for each other--often with small purchased or handmade items. Money was tight so we’d have to save our nickels and dimes. Mom often sewed new clothing, pillows or other items. 

Part of the wonder of Christmas came from Mom. She absolutely loved Christmas. She made Christmas for us. She decorated our home with candles that she spent hours creating--the ones that did not decorate the church or that she made to give away. The house smelled of the scent of the Christmas tree that went up one week before Christmas. Before then, branches decorated the house, lending their aroma of “Christmas.” 

The kitchen  smelled of cinnamon and ginger from the huge rolls Mom made, along with cookies enough to feed the entire town. Before Christmas, sister Karin and I were servers for the open house our folks put on as a thank you. 

Stores and homes rang with joyous Christmas carols. We church kids worked hard, practicing for our Christmas program. At school, we practiced for the school Christmas program. Almost everyone wore a smile and extended “Merry Christmas”  at every opportunity. 

Christmas Eve WAS Christmas for my Swedish family. We read the Christmas story and prayed before Dad passed out the gifts, one at a time, so we would take our time and truly appreciate each one. 

My last year of college, it appeared that after graduation I’d go in for extensive surgery to help me walk again after almost ten years in a wheelchair. Because of my limitations, I could not do much to help, but I watched Mom excitedly decorate for Christmas--her most favorite time of year. But, Mom was not to share Christmas with us. The afternoon of the 24th, after suffering a massive stroke the evening before, Mom got to spend her most favorite time of the year--the time we celebrate the birth of Jesus who came to give His people hope and new life--with her Savior. 

Our Christmas that year was filled with tears, reverence and an amazement at her choice of gifts--almost as though she knew. Her love surrounded us--even months later when I had extensive, reconstructive surgery. It was successful. I learned, once more, to walk.

When my husband and I married, and especially when we had children, I did not forget Mom’s Christmas traditions. We created our version of them, providing Christmases filled with the true meaning of the day--“Joy to the World! The Lord is come.”

2002-2017 By Carolyn R. Scheidies--All rights reserved.
Please do NOT use anything on this page or web site without permission. Thank you.

Scheidies author of features fiction mystery, history, romance,

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