After her husband left her and their six kids, Marjorie Schulte was determined that “We will be a family.” Here’s how her kids honored her.
By Dennis Rainey
Most of us have no idea where we were or what we did on September 23, 1966. But for six children in Dayton, Ohio, that date will always be one of the most significant of their lives. It was the day their mom decided they would be a family.
Nine months earlier—just before Christmas in 1965—Marjorie Schulte sat stunned in the living room as her husband announced that he was leaving her for another woman. Three daughters and three sons, ranging in age from 14 to three months, sat with her in the living room and cried.
Marjorie walked shell-shocked through the next few months, watching helplessly as her family slowly unraveled. But something happened in her heart on that September day—her anniversary—when she returned from a meeting with her now ex-husband. She realized that the family would fall apart unless she did something to pull them out of their downward spiral.
So she gathered all six kids around her and said, “With or without your dad, we will be a family.”
An amazing commitment
I truly believe some of the biggest heroes in our culture are single parents like Marjorie—parents who struggle to meet their families’ needs and to somehow raise godly and responsible children.
Marjorie made one amazing commitment. She would do whatever it took to provide for her family, but not at the expense of being a mother. She decided that, no matter what, she would be at home when her kids returned from school, and she would be involved in their lives.
She sewed draperies, mowed lawns, nannied other children, and shoveled sidewalks. She delivered newspapers with her kids. She watched every penny, and not only put food on the table but also helped put most of her kids through college.
She would lie in bed at night and cry out to a God she hardly knew at the time, “Please help me raise these children. I can’t do it on my own.” And God answered her prayers. Against all odds, her children are solid, responsible adults today, with families of their own.
Proud of their mom
One of Marjorie’s sons, Jeff, served as my personal assistant for several years. It was his
idea in 1989 to put together a special book as a tribute to their mother. It didn’t take much coaxing to get his five siblings to join in–that’s how proud they were of their mother.
Each wrote their own tribute, and Jeff had the manuscript bound. It’s a best-selling book—eight copies were made. The cover reads, “We Will Be a Family … September 23, 1966 … A Tribute to Our Mom.” It’s published by “J. Schulte Publishing”—Jean, Jack, Jim, Joanne, Jeff and Judy. I also like the line on the second page: “For more information: Contact any of the authors personally and they will gladly tell you more about their mom.”
All six kids and their families gathered for a family celebration. They sat Marjorie on a couch, showed her the book, and all the kids took turns sitting next to her and reading their passages aloud. I’ve seen the video of these event, and it is so emotional it ought to be rated “K” … for Kleenex!
Following are excerpts from the book, all written to a woman who truly is worthy of honor.
“When I smile at you today it’s because I feel our hearts are one.” –Jean
Every morning I can remember hustling downstairs dressed for school always to find you at the kitchen counter packing lunches or completing the task of sorting out the butter and the peanut butter toast while we headed straight for the large pan of cocoa simmering on the stove. Off we would go without a care or worry. We knew where you were and we needed that feeling of home and the love that was always there.
You went to each of our school activities and sporting events, trying to at least get to see each person. You became involved in our school and let us know how important we were as well as the people we were with and the activities we participated in. You not only coached for 25 years but you found time to even be the St. Helen athletic director.
Mom, thank you, not so much for being in the role of my mother, because this was God’s gift to us and I am grateful to Him for that. But thank you for choosing to be my companion and friend on the journey walking through life and death with me and freely and unconditionally loving me. Those have been your gifts to me.
I want you to know that when I smile at you today it’s because I feel our hearts are one. And when I cry it’s because I feel your closeness.