Almost three years after their mother’s death, sisters Sharon Peterson and Nancy Montross still enjoy reminiscing about the old days and their mom, Margaret Schultz.
“She was a great lady,” Peterson said. “But we might be a little on the biased side,” Montross added.
Schultz was born in 1917 to Jay F. and Effie Jane Muser on a farm six miles northeast of De Smet.
Her mother died when she was 18 months old, following the birth of her sister, Mary. Schultz’s maternal grandmother, Maggie Crawford, raised the girls and taught them the art of crocheting, sewing and needlework.
In 1937, Schultz married Howard Schultz, and two of their children, Donnie and Sharon, were born prior to the start of World War II.
Howard joined the Navy, and Margaret, along with other local military wives, formed the Let’s Go Club in De Smet.
Children Nancy and Chuck were added to the family living on Joliet Avenue after World War II.
Peterson and Montross agreed that their mom always kept them “in line.” They never remember her saying, “Wait until your dad comes home.”
Although Schultz never drove, she held various jobs at JC Penney’s, the K&K Company grocery store, Munger’s Café, the school cafeteria, the city auditor’s office, and she made homemade ice-cream for Peschl’s Meat Locker.
“As busy as she was, mom always made time for her family,” Peterson said. “And everyone else’s,” Montross quickly added.
The two sisters said that they had a revolving door in their house. The family saying about Schultz is that if someone came to the door without anything to eat, she would make them a sandwich. If someone needed a shirt, she would make them one. If someone had no place to stay, she would give them a bed.
“She was very much a caregiver,” Peterson said, and both sisters agreed that Schultz should have been a nurse.
Montross remembers her mother’s gift of stretching a small amount of food to feed many people.
And if an unexpected visitor arrived and there were no cookies in the cookie jar, Schultz would serve saltine crackers with cheese or spread with chocolate frosting, or graham crackers with vanilla frosting.
Her Sunday supper of Johnnycake with honey or cream and sugar, served with a side of bacon, was a staple in the Schultz household each week.
She was an avid gardener, especially remembered for her strawberry bed and rhubarb. Schultz canned what she grew, and her daughters recall her canned pheasant meat that made delicious sandwiches.
She ironed everything, her daughters said, including dishtowels, handkerchiefs, sheets and pillowcases — and she expected them to learn how to iron, too.
“She was a beautiful seamstress,” Peterson said, and added that her clothing was always handmade by either her mother or Grandmother Crawford.
During her later years, Schultz made a set of embroidered dishtowels for each of her great-grandchildren to be given to them when they married.
Montross, whose grandchildren are still young, was given special instructions to wash and press the dishtowels every year to prevent them from turning yellow.
And she does. Even in death, Schultz’s wishes are kept to the letter, because a good daughter always obeys her mother.
Posted on 05-14-2018
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