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Kelly is a close and dear friend of mine... She has many childhood memories of spending time with her grandparents and her grandmother "Mary" will be 100 years old on the 19th of September 2007.... Miss Kelly asked me to use my writing skills and compose a poem for Mary.... I asked Miss Kelly to write me a summary of her thoughts and feelings about her grandmother to give me an idea or impression of who I was to write about.... You see, once I sit down to write, the poem takes on a life of it's own and I feel like I am just the person who puts it down on paper... What comes out is purely inspiration with deep feeling and meaning...
Thank you Miss Kelly for allowing me the opportunity to compose this and thank you for sharing this part of your life with me....
Carl Schunke



A life so full and pleasant

Touching many as she goes

The ripples they are many

Reaching farther than she knows


She cherished life and husband

Of 50 years they were joined

Is truly an inspiration

Their love we all enjoyed


With rosy cheeks and snow white hair

She is beautiful and so elegant

A voice so sweet and real

She speaks and really meant it


Soft touch to hold a child’s hand

Or hugs for those she loved

To play a game or enjoy your time

The little things she really adored


She loved her flowers and little girls

Both similar can you see

They both start out as a little seed

A beautiful bouquet they will be


She cooked and baked for all to enjoy

No helping does she ask them

Just have a happy tummy

And say ‘HI’ into the kitchen


She still inspires so many

Even if family drifts apart

The memories they are many

With new ones ready to start


For years go by and memories fade

Age has a price to pay

The coming of the end for all

Is tragic some will say


No pity does she ask you

For a life so full and loving

Just carry on her legacy

A 100 years and counting

Written by:             Carl Schunke

Inspired by:             Kelly Nicolaus for the love of her grandmother Mary born in Yugoslavia, September 19, 1907

Name:  Mary

Born:  Croatia, Yugoslavia (now known as Croatia)

            September 19, 1907 (100 years old)


Things Mary loved to do:  cook, bake, willing to help others, read romantic novels, crochet, play card games and knows how to “cha cha”.


Physical features:  Average height, rosy cheeks, beautiful snow-white hair, soft hands and blue/gray eyes (sometimes they are green).


Favorite Memories:  When I was little I looked forward to spending time up north during the summers and deer-hunting season.  Gram would always be cooking or baking something.  Her and Grandpa also taught me a great deal about gardening, growing vegetables and canning them, growing grapes to make homemade jelly (or wine), or growing flowers.  I guess you could say that is why I enjoy gardening so much now.  I can remember Gram telling me one day in the flower garden how flowers and little girls are very similar; they both start from a seed and grow up to be a beautiful bouquet, both so sweet and elegant.  She used to talk to her flowers like they were her kids.


Gram loved to play card games and Yahtzee.  I couldn’t wait until after dinner so we could play games.   We would also make our own Christmas ornaments. 


She worked part time at a local restaurant.  She enjoyed cooking for people.  Gram would feel very special when people would ask for her to come out from the kitchen so they could say “hi”.


Married to the same man for over 50 years, she cherished him as much as he cherished her.  A marriage and a love like theirs is truly an inspiration to all of us. She not only touched my grandfather’s heart, but she has touched all of our hearts as well.  With her soft touch and gentle hugs, she will always make you feel very special.


In the late 1980’s, Gram took the trip of a lifetime back to Croatia.  It had been the first time she had been back since she moved here.  She was able to meet cousins and even an aunt she didn’t know she had.


Three years after her first visit to Croatia, she was suppose to take another trip back but was discouraged to make the trip because war had broke out.


Her family consisted of Grandpa and four sons.  One of the sons died at a very early age.


Unfortunately, as time marched on the family drifted apart.  Grandpa passed on at a very young age.  Grams heart was empty.  Two of the sons moved to different states and didn’t visit much.  And the youngest didn’t come around much.  My siblings and myself probably saw more of Gram than anyone else. 


 One son is still living from what we know, but doesn’t communicate with anyone.


A daughter-in-law and her three children still visit Gram, along with her great-grandchildren.

Mr. Carl,


Here is the electronic version of the document I gave you.  I hope this is what you were looking for.  As I told you before this was very difficult for me to write, knowing my Gram doesn't even know who I am anymore.  I'm glad I had prepared myself for this.  But, it still is hard.


Thank you again for being such a wonderful friend.  :-)


Click here to view a poem I received from my Amish friends....

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