“Hello, Mrs. Schue!”
That is what Julia Schue hears whenever she is out and about in Warsaw. Whether it be at the grocery store, the dentist’s office or on a simple walk, Schue’s former third grade students always make a point to greet her. While they have grown and changed drastically, hearing them call to her as they did in elementary school makes Schue realize she hasn’t changed as much.
In a comfortable home decorated with old photos from happy and memorable times, Schue has been waiting out the cold weather by working on 1,000-piece puzzles.
“Puzzles teach concentration and observation. If you get tired or frustrated, you can just walk away and come back to it later,” said Schue, who exchanges puzzles with friends or hunts them down at thrift stores.
“This last puzzle was Hallmark. It had different kinds of candy, then ornaments on top of the candy. When I finished I felt a great sense of accomplishment, but I had to buy gumdrops because I was craving them.”
Reading is another major part of Schue’s life. Biographies, autobiographies and classics are her favorite kind of books. When “Harry Potter” had become popular, Schue and her late husband had bought the books and watched the movies to ensure it was appropriate for their grandchildren, though they ended up enjoying it themselves.
She also enjoys sewing, gardening and is a part of the church visitation committee, where she visits older people who stay at home.
Despite being 87-years-old, Schue remembers every little detail of how Warsaw was when she was a girl — the dime stores, drug stores, the five-cent bus ride downtown and the milkman setting glasses bottles of milk on the doorstep in the early mornings. It may be long gone today, but it’s still fresh in her memory.
As the start of World War II came, Schue’s parents decided to move to the country to live on a farm. Their thoughts were, “If anything happens, at least we’ll have food.” Life changed, but she continued living life for all it had to offer.
She graduated as salutatorian from North Webster High School and went on to teach third grade for 27 years. While teaching was fun and challenging, it wasn’t without obstacles to overcome.
“I went to Grace College for my masters when I was 34. Back then, you had five years to finish a program to teach,” Schue explained. “Around that time, my husband had a stroke. I had to take care of him and raise three kids while going to school and supporting my family. I’m pleased with what I had achieved at my age.”
After retiring, Schue and her husband spent 11 winters in Arizona. They also visited California, Nevada and Ernest Hemingway’s home in the Key West, where grandcats of Hemingway’s famous polydactyly felines still run amuck.
The Birthday Lunch Bunch group through her church and her grandchildren and great grandchildren keep Schue busy, though she appreciates time to herself.
“It’s been three years since my husband passed,” told Schue. “Life is precious and you have to live it, make the most of it. Right now it’s my time, where I get to do what I want. If a friend calls me up and wants to go out, I’ll go out and don’t feel guilty about it. I’m enjoying my alone time. I’m not afraid of it.”