Anne's family letters

(with some comments by Eileen)

Note: we've got some missing gaps here from 1974-1977.   If you have these letters, please email Dick

Anne at age 5 -- (24488 bytes)

See pictures from Anne's life

July 30, 1973 -- Anne


It sounds as though we have some hard core gardeners on our hands! Our garden is also holding our interest these days. We've harvested broccoli, flowers, onions, beets thus far and are already eating zucchini, squash at two meals a day. My latest venture has been a compost pile for humus production, which is really working! I had a fellow deliver 15 bails of hay this last weekend for mulch. He charged us 25 cents a bail (first cutting) and a couple dozen sweet rolls for delivering.

I am out of school for the summer, and have several projects under way. My biggest project, however, is getting Chuck to go away for a recreational weekend. He is now in charge of baseball diamond construction in East Lansing, and is putting in many long days.

I am hoping to open a flower stand in front of the house. We live on the main drag in Lansing, and I certainly have plenty of flowers. It should be interesting, at any rate.

We are looking forward to seeing everyone at the next "affair".




December 10, 1973 -- Anne

Hi Everyone,

We are having our first real snowfall in Lansing today, and it is long overdue. Fall has been lingering on. Last week I discovered two very confused spring flowering trees in bloom in the botanical gardens on campus.

I am working on my last undergrad year at State. My program this year includes Community Mental Health Practicum one day a week. At the present time I am participating in group treatment outpatient program with "psychotic" adolescents. It is very interesting and I am learning a lot.

Chuck is working and going to the local Community College at night. He was recently elected to the Local Union Board and is becoming acquainted with the operations of the State, County, and Municipal Employees Union.

Our garden was a great success this year, especially the tomatoes. I managed to can about 86 quarts of tomatoes, juice and sauce, and supply a couple other households with fresh vegetables from July to September. The seed catalogues have already started arriving.


Anne and Chuck

PS: Name drawing sounds like a good idea, however, the holiday is coming right up.


March 28, 1974 -- Anne

Dear Everyone,

Today we are having what I hope is our last snow. We have had several weeks of mild weather and now the coats, boots and hats and etc. are really a bother.

I have just begun my last term at MSU. I will receive my B.A. in June. My work in Community Mental Health is continuing this term. I am finally learning how incredibly inefficient the entire organization is. This spring I am undertaking an administrative project which is designed to evaluate programs on an ongoing basis. I will be running a pilot study in an Occupational Therapy program under the Mental Health Board's supervision (of course!).

Chuck will be returning to LCC [Lansing Community College] this term. He is secretary of his local at work and is already up to his waist in union politics. Contract negotiations are scheduled for July, and they are really going to push for cost of living. We are planning on taking a vacation after the contract is signed.

The Schmitt News is a riot!

Love to Everyone,

Anne and Chuck

[And she wrote the following on the back:]

To all you Michigan Schmitts,

I know you are all interested in reducing our expensive and ugly litter problem. May I take this opportunity to URGE YOU to write to the House Consumer & Agriculture Committee in support of House Bill 4926. This bill will ban the sale of "one way" beverage containers.

Write any of the following:

Josephine Hunsinger

Frank Wierzbicki (chairman)

Quincy Hoffman

James Smith

All are at the following address: House of Representative, The Capitol, Lansing, Mich. 48901


August 13, 1974 -- Anne

Dear Family,

I have just closed up shop on my second garage sale of the summer. Junk collecting has never been more profitable!! I have earned $300.00 this summer on the sales alone. In addition to the money earned, I also had an opportunity to meet many of my neighbors and other Lansing people. Such fun!

This week Chuck and I are preparing for our vacation in Western US and Canada. We plan to leave Lansing on Friday and drive to Colorado Springs to meet friends. From there we go to Paul and Cindy's place in New Mexico and then on to San Francisco (pant, pant!). The return trip includes two weeks of camping in Southern Canada. We plan to arrive home in time for Lucy's wedding on September 15.

Our "fight inflation, artificial flavoring and coloring" garden is a great success this year. The abundance of fresh vegetables encourages me to play with Chinese cooking; tonight's menu: sweet & sour vegetables, fried rice, and green salad. Mmmmmm.

Love to everybody,

Anne and Chuck


From Eileen -- October 13, 1976


Anne and Chuck have settled in and shifted their possessions around until it seems like they've always been here. Gram too-- she and Anne are a lot of company for each other when the rest of us have duties (or pleasure) taking us elsewhere, so it's working out quite well.



From Eileen -- March 31, 1977


The Chemotherapy has been very hard on Anne, so she's been sick 10 or 11 days out of every 14. The last time though (3 days ago), the dosage was cut in half so she's doing better. We don't see much of Chuck. He works 2 or 3 jobs (coaching, swimming, and insurance) and is very active in G.C. J.C.'s. Now that Anne can get outdoors, she and Philip have gardening plans.


From Eileen -- July 23, 1977


Thanks to Anne, we have more flowers in bloom around the house, at the office, and in a small plot the Milton's loaned to her than we have ever seen here before. Anne is starting a two week radiation series Monday at Beaumont Hospital. This time only for the area in her right lung. Her mental attitude is wonderful.


June 16, 1977 -- From Anne

Hello Everyone,

What a great week it has been. Philip and I spent our second night in a row sleeping in a tent in the back-field. Since East High graduated last night, we also spent a while waking, but it was still cool and restful.

In March I flew to Washington, D.C. to visit with Mark and a friend and also to see the sights. The city has changed since my last visit eleven years ago. I was able to do quite a bit, thanks to the limousine service and tour guiding provided by my hosts. Chuck and I were in Chicago a few weeks ago for a swimming coaches clinic. What a delightful city! The streets are alive with people day and night. We celebrated our fifth wedding anniversary at Don the Beachcombers, Mom and Dad's favorite spot.

In March I became eligible for Social Security Disability benefits, having been disabled for one year. What a relief that was. At about the same time I also received notice that my job was being filled permanently. So it goes. Now I'm in the position of having time and money as Mark says, but not the health to do as I please. So it goes.

Chuck is still working three part time jobs. He's in the process of deciding whether to go with insurance full time or return to Western in September. It is nice to think that by the time this letter circulates, this decision will be made, and life adjusted accordingly.

Have planted lots of flowers around the house, but am still unsure if any will grow.




January 26, 1978 -- Eileen

The past Christmas Season was our quietest in recent memory.

Anne died of Hodgkin's Disease, very peacefully, conscious and without pain, at our home on December 26th at 4:54 PM. She fought with all her resources to the end, but accepted the knowledge that death was imminent calmly and with great dignity. For about 3 months she had been getting a little weaker each day and finally her lungs just gave out and her heart stopped.

Anne's wish was to stay at home, and we are all happy we could manage this for her except for 6 days of hospitalization in early December. Chuck took over her care at night completely and whoever was home helped during the day. Of course, in the Spring of '76 when the diagnosis was made she had spent 5 1/2 weeks in the hospitals.

Anne loved our home and spent her last days in a room overlooking the backyard where she and Chuck were married 5 years ago. 21 months ago they came to live with us from Van Buren County, where Anne was a Social Worker and Chuck was a student at Western Michigan University, so Anne could be treated at Beaumont Hospital. She expected to be back at her job in 6 months and then return for supportive treatment periodically. Unfortunately, she was in the 10% who do not respond favorably to the current accepted medical remedies for Hodgkin's Disease.

She was a joy to have around and is sorely missed. She was a familiar sight puttering around the yard, walking her dog, coaxing flowers to grow in the shade where none had ever bloomed before, with grapebaskets of pansies on the steps, and impatiens and cyclamens and the like in other strategic spots. Brown Street never saw such blooms and probably never will again. Her courage was a lesson for all of us. We feel that it was a great blessing having her here and our lives have been forever brightened by this contact.


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