Memories of Charlotte by Heather Shulick

The Academy Heart (Jody Adams Award)

Charlotte T. Schultz was born in Spring Valley, Wisconsin on August 21st, 1920. The exact year of her birth was up for debate for many years and not confirmed until the year we celebrated her 90th birthday in 2011, when my uncle dug up her birth certificate and discovered we had missed that boat by a year. Her father Paul was a German immigrant who married Anna and together they had 8 children – 3 sons and 5 daughters. Charlotte was the youngest.

The story goes that during the Depression was when her age was fudged so she could stay in school an additional year instead of having to leave to work. The picture seen here (and used in the piece) is her 8th grade graduation photo, taken some time in the mid-1930s.

In 1939 Charlotte married Arthur Lander, who was a chemist and enamel worker. Arthur had a successful enamel company in the Chicago suburbs, and together they had five children, including my mother. Arthur died unexpectedly at the age of 51 in 1966. After my mother married in 1976 my grandmother moved to Wisconsin to live with two of my uncles, one of whom was mentally disabled and stayed by her side his entire life.

I always remember going to Wisconsin to visit Grandma Lander. We had many good times together – going to the beach at Lake Geneva, dinner theater in Fort Atkinson, the Circus Museum in Baraboo, and all the wacky stuff people do in Wisconsin that would take too long to describe here. She was a rock for me in many ways.

Charlotte lived to enjoy 8 grandchildren and 3 great-grandchildren. She was a very harsh critic when it came to the boyfriends but was very pleased that I married the grandson of a German immigrant. She passed away in 2013 and is with her King now – Elvis Presley.

She would be the first to tell you that she couldn’t stitch for s**t – she had no patience for it. Pink and green were her favorite colors, and my grandmother was into big costume jewelry, so Grandma – this one is for you!