August 31, 1997. Visiting friends the night before I left for college.
July 16, 1999. Awakened by my mom who told me the news.
September 11, 2001. Watching the Today Show in my mom's room.
Those are the days that I remember where I was. Days that have been marked in history as significant days. Important days. Days to remember.
Days like November 22, 1963.
Like all days, they all started as just another date on the calendar. Just an ordinary, run of the mill day to get through.
On November 22, 1963, my mom was 17 years old. She was a senior at Bishop McDevitt High School in Wyncote, Pennsylvania. She was an innocent girl living an ordinary life. But she was also so much more. She was a girl on the cusp of new beginnings. She was a girl with big dreams. She was a girl with an unwritten future.
In many ways, I think she was a lot like the United States was on that day in 1963 - standing on the precipice of change.
But no one ever thinks about those things until time has moved on and it's time to look back.
On November 22, 1963, when Margaret Mary Schellhardt woke up in her room on Montgomery Avenue, it was a relatively ordinary day. Except for one special event. See, that day was Yearbook Photo Day.
After her graduation portrait was taken, she went to Religion class. It was taught by a Mercy nun in the habit of wearing habits; her name was Sister Rosamond but Margaret Mary called her Peahead because "her head looked like a pea." The November afternoon was unseasonably warm so the classroom windows were open. The sounds of a car radio wafted up to the classrooms. It sounded mournful, like "Taps" or a requiem. Soon after, she would learn that indeed it was a requiem. A requiem for the slain President. They made the announcement over the loud speaker. The President had been assassinated. The students were dismissed early. That evening's dance was canceled. She went home. Later that afternoon, she had to pick up her best friend - so distraught about the news, she missed her stop in Oreland so Margaret had to drive over to Ardsley to get her. "I was so scared."
Innocence shattered. New beginnings ended. Dreams dashed. A future changed.
November 22, 1963 was an ordinary day that turned extraordinary.
It was a day that would be remembered.
Where were you on November 22, 1963?
(P.S. I owe you a photograph from that day. 50 years on, yearbooks tend to get misplaced!)
This weekend is pretty special – tomorrow is Max’s birthday and Sunday is my parents’ 40th anniversary. Since I didn't plan a surprise anniversary party (surprise!), I wanted to make sure Featured Photo Friday was extra awesome this week - yep, you guessed it, you're getting two photos!
Both photographs are from wedding days of Schellhardt daughters - Helen and Margaret. Sadly, the father of the brides would not live long enough to see his youngest daughter, the flower girl in the first photo, marry. But I’m sure he was there.
This first photograph is an example of why Schellhardt Generations exists. See, my mom has only one photograph of just her and her father…and that was taken shortly before his death. But a few weeks ago, Aunt Helen Knuttel sent me a photograph of her wedding – she and Uncle Bill were behind their wedding cake, flanked by Mr. and Mrs. Knuttel and Nanny and Max. And leaning against Max, was a flower girl who was clearly exhausted. It was a photograph that my mom had never seen before. And that folks, is what this website is all about!
For her birthday, my mom asked for a copy of the photo…with everyone cropped out so she could have one more photo of just her and her dad. On this weekend, I think there’s no better photo to feature!
Max and Margaret Mary Schellhardt
Fast forward a few years to when the floewer girl was the bride!
Margaret and Joseph Henderson on their wedding day, April 14, 1973, with the Schellhardt family
By the way, with all the talk of South Philadelphia in yesterday's post, I wanted to let you know that I added some Phun Phillies Photos
to the photo album section! If you have any to contribute - even if it's just you wearing a Phillies shirt - please send them to firstname.lastname@example.org. I'm working on blog post now but I tend to suffer post-traumatic stress whenever I think back to those days...
Today's little Margaret Mary's birthday! She is the youngest of Max and Anna's six children and was definitely a bit of a surprise. But she was a good surprise!
Since she's my mom - and she likes it when people make a big deal out of her birthday - she gets a special post! Happy Birthday Mom! Hope you're special day is special! We're so glad that you're a part of our family!
Margaret Schellhardt celebrates her birthday
This might be hard to believe but there was a time, not so long ago, when Number 33 wasn’t the adventurous, bee-bopping, gal about town that she is now. Her life was confined to where she could get to on surface roads or at least any place where merging wasn’t required.
Maybe it was because of a lackluster Driver’s Ed program.
Maybe it was because her mother insisted on driving everywhere.
Maybe it was because Number 33 didn’t have a cool car like this!
Margaret Schellhardt on the street in Oreland, Pennyslvania