WE REMEMBER DONNA family & friends pay tribute to a special life 3
WE REMEMBER DONNA family & friends pay tribute to a special life
To Cliff and Ruth Stock, for bringing Donna into this world To The Schwabettes: Jena Leigh, Kira Layne, and Carissa Joy, for reflecting the joy Donna found every day of her life, for being Donnaâ€™s living legacies To Donnaâ€™s family members and friends, for touching Donna and being touched by her, for blessing Donna with a lifetime of memories packed into fifty-six short years
Editor: Judith Kolva, Ph. D. Memoir Shoppe www.memoirshoppe.com Designer: cj Madigan Shoebox Scanning & Design www.shoeboxscanning.biz
Text copyright ÂŠ 2008 Charles J. Schwabe Photos courtesy of the Schwabe family personal archives except where noted Page design copyright ÂŠ 2008 cj Madigan
Contents Life Partners Chuck Schwabe. . . . . . . . . . 8 A Cinnamon Sweet Tooth Jena Schwabe . . . . . . . . . . 10 My Mom: A True Renaissance Woman Kira Schwabe . . . . . . . . . . 12 Donna: The Meaning of “Mother” Carissa Schwabe. . . . . . . . 14 Where, Oh Where, Did My Sweet Rye Go? Nancy Mercure. . . . . . . . . 16 The Discovery of REAL Key Lime Pie Jill Dunkin. . . . . . . . . . . . . 17 Richard the Kiddie-Hearted Brenda Larrain . . . . . . . . . 18 Cream Cheese Anyone? Anne Strange . . . . . . . . . . 20 The Sound of Kindness Pam Jacoby Custer . . . . . . 21 A Back Seat for Hotdogs Debbie Stainton . . . . . . . . 22 Why Not? Myra Gresko. . . . . . . . . . . 23
Babka Cake & the Busted Cookie Monster Audrey Wallace. . . . . . . . . 24 Straight to the Heart Connie Hohulin . . . . . . . . 26 Not Sweeter than She Bill Sides. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27 A Fish Story Bonnie Striker. . . . . . . . . . 28 Breaking News Marlene Josias. . . . . . . . . . 30 Jeanie’s Tribute Jeanie McGuire . . . . . . . . 31 Schwabe Time Chuck Schwabe. . . . . . . . . 32 Family Vacations. . . . . . . . . . . . 33 Mission Impossible Chuck Schwabe. . . . . . . . . 34 Family Christmas: The Power of Tradition Chuck Schwabe. . . . . . . . . 36 Donna & The Schwabettes . . . . 38 Pizza by Donna Chuck Schwabe. . . . . . . . . 39
A Life Together Donna & Chuck Schwabe. 40 Shared Belly Laughs Ruth Stock. . . . . . . . . . . . . 42 In Loving Memory. . . . . . . . . . .44 Night of the Infamous Pink Towel Steve Stock. . . . . . . . . . . . 45 Donna: Artist, Teacher, Mom, Friend Steve Schwabe . . . . . . . . . 46 Muchas Gracias, Donna Nancy Threan Loraine. . . . 48 You Be the Judge Bill Sides. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 50 It’s in the Hole! Pat Vorreiter. . . . . . . . . . . . 52 Way to Go Donna . . . . . . . . . . 54 Granola Memories Jan Holden . . . . . . . . . . . . 56 Family Favorites . . . . . . . . . . . . 58 Friends & Family. . . . . . . . . . . . 68 Five Miracles. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 74 Donna’s Tree. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 76 About This Culinary Memoir. . . 78 We Will Survive. . . . . . . . . . . . .78
he seeds for We Remember Donna were planted many years ago . They were protected from the drenching rain, scorching sun, and freezing wind by nearly forty years of a journey with my life partner, Donna Chaille Schwabe . These seeds are the stories that were nurtured by our family and friends during our amazing forty years together . Stories are created from both the big and little events that frame lives . Our stories are no different . Some are told again and again, each time family and friends get together . Some live only in heart memories . Others, regrettably, are forgotten . These seeds—the stories you are about to read—sprouted on Friday night, May 12, 2006 . That night, Donna completed her journey on Earth and was taken by a brilliant full moon to begin her life with God in Heaven . I was blessed to share nearly forty years of my life with Donna . Through stories, favorite recipes, and pictures of family and friends, it is my honor to return a small portion of this blessing to you .
Some stories will make you laugh out loud . Others will light your face with a smile . A few will cause you to wipe tears from your eyes . And perhaps, the most important ones will give you reason to pause, to think, to reflect. Is there something you’ve left unsaid or undone? My hope is you will make a commitment to say a word, to take a step, to fill a gap that doesn’t need to exist.
It seems fitting to begin We Remember Donna with two stories. Let’s go back to the beginning. I first saw Donna when she was a lifeguard at the YMCA in Des Plaines, Illinois. I took a single look and just knew. But Donna wasn’t so sure. I asked her out, and she didn’t hesitate. There was nothing about her, “No!” I didn’t understand. Our forty year journey could have ended then and there, but thanks to strong-willed intervention by her girlfriends, she reconsidered . We spent a sun-drenched afternoon at Lake Michigan, and our life together began . As you probably conjectured, there is a story behind the cover picture for We Remember Donna . Donna loved to garden and much of what she grew became ingredients in one or more of the recipes included in the following pages . We had a small but respectable garden at our home in Sunnyvale, California. It was the most prolific, ever. Donna attributed the size of the zucchinis, tomatoes, pumpkins, and onions to the concoctions she used to build up the soil and fertilize the plants . One brew called for equal parts of a wide variety of ingredients including, of all things, Scotch whiskey . Imagine my reaction when I came home from work one fine spring day to find the eighteen-year-old single malt Scotch nearly gone, and Donna singing gently in her garden as she delicately applied her mixture to each planting . I could only shake my head, hide the remaining good Scotch, and go to the liquor store to buy an undrinkable brand that Donna could use next time she wanted to give her plants an afternoon nip . We Remember Donna ensures that Donna will live in our memories, forever . Now, enjoy the stories, savor the recipes, and treasure the pictures that capture the life and times of Donna Chaille Schwabe . We, her family and friends, are blessed to have shared her journey here on Earth . May we one day meet again in Heaven . September 2007
A Cinnamon Sweet Tooth
First Backpack Ride, 1981
Mother and Daughter, 1983
Sun Goddesses, Jena and Mommy, 1981
Coral Springs High School Graduation, 1999
can’t quite remember the time I had my first yummy cinnamon snickerdoodle cookie . These wonderful treats go back as far as I can recall . When I was little, my mom would make cinnamon toast for breakfast every day . As Kira, Carissa, and I grew older, the breakfast routine graduated to Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal . Every year around Christmastime, we took a day to bake Christmas cookies and deliver them to our friends and neighbors . We made sugar cookies, wedding cookies, and of course, snickerdoodles . The best part of this day was “taste testing” the cookies to insure they were “okay .” Inevitably, there was a batch that was thrown away because it was burned, but that was part of the fun and a running household joke—our house was active and there were always plenty of distractions . My favorite memory is going to college as a freshman and having so many snickerdoodles that I was stocked for the entire year! Mom stayed up late one night baking a batch of cookies . She, then, mailed me a huge care package entirely of snickerdoodles . Every time I eat a snickerdoodle, I am left with a warm feeling and the love that Mom had for me to bake these wonderful treats . . . and that cinnamon sweet tooth has stuck with me to this day .
My Mom: A True Renaissance Woman
Say Cheese, 1987
A day at the spa, 2002
Quintessential Kira, 1996
Prom Night, 1998
rowing up, Christmas in my house was a magical and wonderful time . My mom, a true Renaissance woman, decorated our house with majestic beauty and southern charm intertwined into one . The end result was holly, Christmas garland with twinkling lights, our old and tattered Merry Christmas Y’all sign, and cinnamon and nutmeg in the air . The spices were always smelled in our house at that time of year because Christmas, for us, was a time of family, celebrating, and baking! Each year, Mom made her famous Christmas cookies—a recipe that required two days and was always requested when we shared our cookies with friends . Mom making cookies was exciting because we were always allowed to help! My two sisters and I gathered around the mixer in the kitchen and took turns asking, “Mom, can I put in the flour?” Or “Can I add the sugar? Jena got to crack the eggs!” And so we’d spend time mixing, “test-tasting,” competing with our siblings for who got to add more ingredients, and laughing with Mom over the flour that seemed to always splatter when one of us turned the mixer on too high, before we had to let the cookie dough cool over night . And if we enjoyed making the cookie dough, boy, did we love baking and, best of all, decorating those cookies . Like the house decorations, Mom made sure each cookie was immaculately decorated into trees, angels, bells, stars and even Dradels for our Jewish friends . As a kid, I always thought being able to decorate and eat the newly frosted cookies was the best part . As an “almost-adult” of twenty-three, I now see the best part was being with Mom—kidding, laughing, and lying around, completely content and full of her delicious cookies .
Donna: The Meaning of â€œMotherâ€?
Bathing Beauties, 1987 The Monkey, 1992
Prom Night, 2004
Coral Springs Parade, 1991
Jack-o-lantern Carving, 2002
her feel great. That’s when I knew I wanted to make other onna was the meaning of “Mother .” She was people feel the same way she did . My mom is the one always there for anything that was going on in who told me about massage school and supported my the Schwabe life, even if it conflicted with what decision to stop going the West Valley College and start at she was doing that moment (a .k .a . possibly burning the National Holistic Institute . I was in the middle of my dinner) . One memory that I will always keep with me second half of school and only had three months before is when I came home crying about something or other, graduation when I got the news about my mom’s status. and I went straight into my room . Usually, when I did I flew back to Florida and took time off, so I could spend that, I would stay there, and no one would come and my mom’s last days with her. bother me. But I’m guessing by the way I stomped up the stairs and slammed my door shut, she When it was time for me to go back to knew I was obviously upset . I was upset because I was not happy with the school I school, I didn’t want to return. Without my My favorite recipes: was attending and didn’t know what I wanted mom, I had no motivation and thought about pickles!!! to do . Mom stayed up ‘til two or three in the not going back . Then, I remembered the day chili we decided I was going to go to massage morning while I cried in her arms . I never felt Mexican Lasagna school . Mom wrote me three quotes on a more safe and secure . She told me that it was cucumber salad piece of paper and hung them on my wall . okay—that she was there and always would pasta salad I thought I had lost the paper, but my sister, be . She waited until I fell asleep to leave, so fudge Jena, found it in my apartment in California she knew I was at least sleeping. The next chocolate chip cookies and sent the quotes over to me . I knew I had morning when I woke up to go to school, to finish for my mom and for myself. She was she had coffee and a big hug waiting for me . so proud that I was going to school for massage, and I And every day until my parents moved to Florida, we wanted to make her proud by finishing. I knew she was always had a long hug, and I knew that whatever was there on graduation day with my family and friends in all going on in my life, it was going to be okay because I of our hearts . I wanted to write had Mom to support me with everything . down the quotes for you, but unfortunately, with all the moves We talked about what I was interested in, and she I’ve had in the past year, the started to tell me about a massage she received in Napa paper was lost . But unlike that Valley . She told me how much it helped her and made piece of paper, my memories and love for my mother will never be lost . I love you, Mom, and miss you every day .
Where, Oh Where, Did my Sweet Rye Go?
onna knew I was a serious bread lover, and her homemade sweet rye bread was my very favorite . Because we lived in different parts of the country, it wasn’t often that I had the opportunity to enjoy this wonderful treat . A few years ago, I was visiting Donna on a quick break from a very busy year . As a surprise, she made a fresh loaf of her wonderful sweet rye. On our first morning together we sat down for breakfast, and she brought out the loaf . It was warm and fragrant from the oven . I was thrilled! We each had a big slice with our morning tea and started catching up on a year’s worth of visiting .
The bread was every bit as good as I remembered . I was looking forward to spending an entire week relaxing with Donna and eating sweet rye bread every morning . We got talking about what she and Chuck had done to their backyard, so we stepped out of the kitchen to the patio to take a quick look . We stayed just long enough to get hungry for another piece of sweet rye . We walked back into the kitchen just in time to see Brandy, their crazy Dalmatian, finishing off the last crumbs of the entire loaf . Donna just laughed . It certainly didn’t spoil the trip, but I sure miss Donna and her wonderful sweet rye bread .
The Discovery of REAL Key Lime Pie
Tim and I asked for small helpings, and in hopes of not hurting Donna’s feelings, gently confessed we didn’t really care for key lime pie. She smiled and gave us each a small slice . Hooray for her that she encouraged the taste. I recall blurting out (unexpectedly), “Is this what key lime pie is supposed to taste like???? This is amazing!” Donna just laughed and served us two bigger slices. She knew the first helpings were rea 1/2 c waaaayyyyy too small . up k L Key L
ne of the joys of gathering with Chuck and Donna was enjoying Donna’s homemade desserts. Donna knew Tim and I were “dessert people,” so any dessert was okay by us—especially if it included chocolate . ‘Course when she brought her now famous REAL key lime pie to our house one night, we were tentative about the new dessert . Donna had just returned from Florida, carrying fresh key limes in anticipation of making the pie . Even though she knew we were declared chocoholics, she was excited to share her discovery with us.
ey lim iM 1 can e juic e pie s w e etene 1 cup e d We miss Donna’s smiles and laughter. Yet, her REAL key lime pie is 1 8-i heavy wh condens nch g e i a close second . raham pping cre d milk a m c racke Mix r pie the li shell m milk until e juice a n s Whip d con moo t mixtu cream an h and ble densed n d r shell e. Spoon fold into ded . and c mixtu key l garni i sh w hill overn re into pi me ith ke ight . e dollo To y ps of whip lime slic serve, Serve es ped c s6 ream and .
Richard the Kiddie-Hearted & Company
feel fortunate to have met Donna and Chuck at such an early age . We were part of a group of close friends who created many moments that, for decades, will generate smiles . We often had dinner parties and enjoyed playing racquetball— yes, we were once physically able to do such things . My husband, Richard—also known as “Dick”—and I bought a new home . It was a very cool town home in the middle of the woods just north of Ann Arbor, Michigan . By then, our friends were starting to scatter across the country and start new chapters in their lives. Dick and I often reflected on the fun we’d had back in Chicago. We decided to give a housewarming party . Just for giggles, we invited Donna and Chuck, Donna’s brother, Steve, and Myra and her husband, never dreaming they’d come. A couple of weeks before the party, an envelope addressed in calligraphy was delivered to our home . The evidence stands posted on these pages . We assumed the envelope meant everyone was planning to attend . And they did . And we did all that is stated in the documents at hand . And it was a weekend with Donna and many live-inyour-heart-forever friends I shall always treasure . Do note that there were a few hangovers the morning after the party, which, unfortunately, was the day everyone had to drive home. Everyone, that is, except Richard the Kiddie Hearted and me . Thank you for being in my life, Donna . It is all the richer for it .
Left to Right: Donna, Maggie Frogge, Chuck, Brenda Larrain, Myra Gresko Front: Lynn Schwabe, 1982
Cream Cheese Anyone?
n 1977, Keith and I took our first trip to Great Britain. Donna agreed to keep our great big, one-year-old lab named “Katie” while we were gone . On the day before our trip, I met with Donna and explained the detailed list of things she needed to do for Katie . In addition to feeding the dog and walking her four times a day, Donna had to give Katie a large heartworm pill. Now, Katie didn’t take to this pill and often spit it out. I showed Donna how to open Katie’s mouth, put the pill in the back of her throat, quickly close her mouth, and rub her throat so she’d swallow the pill. Donna said, “Not to worry. No problem. I’ll give Katie her pills .” When we returned home from our two week vacation and went to get Katie, I asked Donna how she made out with the heartworm pills . Donna said, “Oh, it was easy to get her to take the pills .” I was amazed, “Really?” Donna replied, “Oh yes yes . I just put the pill inside a large piece of cream cheese, and Katie took it happily every day day .” From that point on, Katie’s heartworm medication was camouflaged in cream cheese. Whenever I see a carton of cream cheese, I think of Donna and Katie and those heartworm pills pills .
Race for the Cure Center: Donna and Anne, 2003
The Sound of Kindness
Left to Right: Pam Custer, Joellyn Kinzer, Nancy Mercure, Donna, Carol Giles, Linda Hannen, Anne Strange. Front: Lynn Schwabe, 2003
Donna was one of the kindest people, ever . If kindness has a sound, it was the sound of Donna’s voice. She was particularly wonderful with children and gave of herself to her three beautiful girls . Chuck, her daughters, her family, her friends, and even those she contacted for brief moments in time benefited from her generosity . Gentleness and kindness were her hallmark . Donna is remembered, always .
Pam Jaccoby Custer
wo of many adjectives I use to describe Donna are “creative” and “kind” . Some of the fondest, everlasting memories of Donna I cherish are the beautiful Christmas decorations she created and shared with her friends . Each year, when I received our Christmas treasure, I wondered at her creativity. A quilted Santa, a green box covered in beautiful Christmas fabric, an angel door bell, and a stuffed cat that perches on the top of my china cabinet each year are among my favorites .
A Back Seat for Hotdogs
Donna and Debbie, 1998
he Stainton’s favorite recipe is Donna’s pickle relish . When Donna was crafting, she’d sometimes call on Ron for a tool, a special piece of wood, or just an experienced hand to help her with a project. Ron couldn’t wait to get to her house because he knew there’d be a jar or two of pickle relish waiting to seal the bargain. He’d return home with his treasure, and he and Randy would cook up a storm . It didn’t matter what was on the menu. Everything was topped with Donna’s pickle relish . Clearly, pickle relish was no longer just for hotdogs . No doubt: We enjoyed every moment and every dish . Hotdogs took a back seat .
Why Not? Myra Gresko
onna and I cemented our lifelong friendship the first year we met . We were freshmen in college and out on our own for the first time. We were starting a new chapter in our lives, no longer kids, but not quite adults . Donna and I met and became instant family . As with any great friendship, we shared the bad times and the good times—nothing was off limits . There were truly so many good times when we just laughed at ourselves . That was part of our magic—we were always “those girls” when we were together or communicated .
Myra and Donna, 2005
Myra and Donna, 2005
One of my favorite memories is during our first year of college when Donna came down with mono . Don na’s She got a bit of cabin fever while recovering, It wa spec s alw iaL L ays s and we found mischief to be a great outlet . We bottl otio uch a e of D n t r eat to onna penned people in, moved people out, furnished recei ’s Spe ve a cial L form elevators, and did whatever else we could otion ula . 6 ou think of . But what will always live with me, nce 2 ounc s peanut is the memory of us as we put dust mops on 2 ou es olive oil n o our feet, ran down the hall, and surfed right 1 tab ces water il l e s poon into her room to buff the floor, laughing lanol in Toda hysterically, of course . Donna looked so y, yo u but y much like a Girl Scout . BUT she had a bit ou ca can’t buy n n use raw l u rsin of the Devil in her soul . It always made a breas g mother the salve nolin, s rub ts . Li that for a great time . We encouraged each quefy heat. on th e T other with a “Why not?” attitude . This continued ingre hen, mix the salve ir dient o i ver l n all s right through our last trip together to a spa in the a fav orite . Add the the othe ow r h greas s California wine country when we piled into a y, bu and lotio olution to n. t very wond hot air balloon at sunrise . Why not? erfu goo It’s very l mas
d . It m liqui akes a d .
Babka Cake… BaBKa caKe 1 c . warm water 2 pkg . yeast 2 c . plus a pinch of sugar 3 whole, large eggs, room temperature 6 c. flour 1 t . salt 3 sticks (1 c .) unsalted butter, cut into 1” squares, room temp . 1 # semisweet chocolate, finely chopped 2 T . ground cinnamon 1 T . heavy cream Streusel Topping 1 . Pour warm water into small bowl . Sprinkle yeast and pinch of sugar . Let stand 5 min . 2 . Whisk 1 c . sugar, 2 eggs, and egg yolks. Add to yeast mixture, whisk together . 3. In electric mixer, beat on low 30 seconds . Change to dough hook . Add two sticks butter and beat until completely incorporated—about 10 minutes. Add flour.
4. Turn dough out onto floured surface and knead until smooth . Butter large bowl . Place dough in bowl . Cover and let rise 1 hour . 5 . Place chocolate and remaining 1 c . sugar and cinnamon in large bowl . Stir . Using 2 knives, cut in remaining stick of butter . Set aside . 6 . Generously butter 3 loaf pans . Line with parchment, extending parchment over sides of loaf pans . Beat remaining egg with 1 T . cream . Set aside . Punch down . Let rest 5 minutes . Divide into 3 equal parts . Roll to 16” square and 1/8” thick . 7 . Brush edges with reserved egg wash. Crumble 1/3 chocolate mixture evenly over dough leaving 1” border . Roll tightly . Pinch ends . Twist 56 turns . Brush top with egg wash . Crumble 2 T. filling over left half of roll . Fold right half over left . Fold ends under and pinch to seal . Twist roll 2 turns and fit into prepared pan. Repeat with remaining 2 rolls .
8 . Heat oven to 350 degrees . Brush top of each loaf with egg wash . Crumble 1/3 cup streusel topping over each loaf . Cover with plastic wrap . Let stand 20-30 minutes . 9 . Bake, rotating halfway through—until golden—about 55 minutes . Lower temperature to 325 degrees . Bake until deep golden—15-20 minutes more . Remove . Cool . Can freeze up to 1 month .
g L toppin streuse ar owder sug 1 2/3 c . p our perature 1 1/3 c. fl room tem r, e tt u b . T 12
The Busted Cookie Monster
ho knows how much time Donna spent making her chocolate Babka Cake . Chuck once told us it timed out at five or more hours. Even for Donna, the recipe was complicated and tested her culinary skills . But for Donna, the end result was all that mattered . The cake was delicious .
Chuck, Donna, Audrey and Lee Wallace, 2001
One day, my husband confidently asked Donna for the recipe . Lee claimed he was going to make the cake. Well, it’s been about eight years, and no big surprise here . Although Donna was kind enough to send the recipe, Lee has never gotten around to making the Babka Cake . Actually, he has never gotten around to making any cake in his entire life .
Cakes aside, Lee claims his favorite Donna story is about cookies . Donna knew what a cookie monster Lee is, so we never got together at their house, our house, or any vacation place when Donna didn’t make cookies for Lee . He remembers one year, after we sent Chuck and Donna a large box filled with nothing but Q-tips—not packaged, but single entities—Donna reciprocated by sending Lee a box of broken cookies . How mean .
We Can See You! Left to right: Jena, Audrey, Chuck, Todd, Carissa, Lee, Kira, Donna, 1998
Straight to the Heart
Connie on porch
y relationship with Donna was special. We weren’t neighbors or best friends, but we shared a bond that went straight to the heart . I met Donna though “the girls” and came to know “the girls” through Donna . Jena was at Coral Springs High School, and being a great student, talks about colleges were normal for a guidance counselor. What wasn’t normal was me calling Donna for advice and support. That was God’s blessing in my life. She taught me to be aggressive in my health care . She demonstrated great faith, complete grace, wonderful humor, and a love of life that convinced me that I was just as lucky as she was—that I could do no less than enjoy every moment of my life . I was the counselor . Donna was the teacher . When Donna and Chuck moved to California, we kept in touch through e-mail . When they returned to Florida, I knew she would bounce into my office, smiling, for a catch-up chat. Her golf stories made me laugh . Her love and concern for “the girls” gave us lots to talk about—especially Kira! How to get a California girl into UF—should I say a determined California girl—was the challenge. However, Kira, with her parents’ support, rose to the occasion and became a Gator . Donna’s e-mails then turned to stories about Carissa and the pets. I’m not sure which stories I enjoyed most. Together, we learned, and we grew. We exchanged words of encouragement and prayers. I miss her bounce and her smile, but I’m still blessed with her presence .
Connie and her daughter
Not Sweeter Than She
Entering Donna’s house brought back fond memories and wonderful smells of our grandmothers’ dinners and desserts. We’d say, “Donna’s kitchen smells Bill and Gayle Sides, Carlsbad, California just like Grandma’s kitchen.” Because I had the sweet tooth in the bunch, I was always partial to Donna’s desserts. What a dessert chef she was . I can still smell and taste her cakes, pies, cookies, brownies, and fudge .
alking into Donna’s house was always a treat. At any given time, she would have five to ten homemaking projects in progress. You could count on one being in the kitchen. Mixing bowls, utensils, and ingredients were spread about the countertops . The cat was nearby—usually perched on the tip-top of a kitchen cabinet . Her watchful eye, seemingly, was focused on giving approval of visitors and Donna’s cooking.
My favorite was Donna’s Fanny Mae Fudge. She knew how much I enjoyed the fudge, so occasionally, she would prepare a fudge survival kit for those times when a sweet tooth attack got the best of me, and I had to indulge. I knew better, but there’s no guilt or shame in being a Fanny Mae Fudge closet junkie . Remember the saying “Everything tastes better when sitting on a RITZ”? Although I never tried it, I’d be willing to bet that Fanny Mae Fudge would be a huge hit as a party hors d’oeuvre sitting on a RITZ. Yes, it is that good!!! How sweet her fudge, but not sweeter than she .
A Fish Story
onna and I met at the Congregational Church in Boca Raton . I was the Christian Education Director. Donna was Volunteer Extraordinaire. The denomination owned a quaint, old camp site in Avon Parkâ€”a small town nestled amidst the orange groves of Central Florida . An old log lodge sat on the shore of tiny Lake Byrd . Each year, our Christian Education Committee sponsored a family weekend retreat at Lake Byrd . Many of us thought Lake Byrd was the perfect getaway from the hectic South Florida lifestyle . Others thought the place was a dump . Donna and I loved the old lodge with its huge fireplace, uneven floors, and wonderful smells wafting from the kitchen .
Bonnie and Donna, 2001
Our annual weekends were a mix of planned group activities and plenty of free choice time . We selected a central theme and got creative with our thoughts . Donna always planned the craft activities for Saturday afternoon . One year, she planned much of the programming for our small-group time . As a part of the culmination of these groups, Donna strongly suggested painting fish. Yes. I mean real fish. We would eventually use them to make fish prints on large banners. Donna sewed the bannersâ€”easy for her . My job was to get the fish. I stopped by the local Avon Park Winn-Dixie a few months before our weekend to ask the fish market manager if she would order five or six whole fish for our project. She
agreed . All set . Or so I thought . Arriving in town for our weekend, I stopped at Winn-Dixie to pick up our fish. The lady handed me a package all wrapped and ready for us . No charge! She had decided it was way too expensive to buy fish for an art project, so she sent her husband out fishing just for us. Fish in hand, we were ready . Later that weekend, Donna had our church friends slapping Tempera paint on real, smelly fish. Their next task was to press the whole, now paint-drenched, fish onto a cloth to create lovely banners we hung to decorate the lodge . Now, there was some “religious” reason to do this fish project, but nobody can remember what it was . What we do remember is the process, the complaining, and the eventual laughter . All of us who went to Lake Byrd have stories to tell—many of which include memories of Donna and the Schwabe family . The lodge no longer stands, but the memories remain strong .
Lake Byrd Lodge
reaking News: Recent Research Proves “Energy Drink” Effective for Medicinal Purposes In April 1998, Chuck and Donna visited with us on board our boat, Warrior II, in the Bahamas . We had been living aboard and traveling around for almost a year . Chuck Marlene Josias, Steve “Mr. Chang” and Donna had shared many good times Josias, Donna: Hair Pieces; 1999 with us during the time Chuck and Steve worked together at Coral Springs . Unlike Chuck, Donna was not a proficient drinker . But while in Highborn Cay, Exuma, we plied Donna with enough rum to make her quite exuberant. From that time forward, our famous rum punch was renamed “Energy Drink” in Donna’s honor. After we moved ashore in 2002, Chuck and Donna visited . Chuck, Donna, Steve and Marlene We played a round of golf at our Josias: California Dreamin’, 2001 new home home . The 1 gallo energy D afternoon was ri n Pineap Dole Orang nKs made much e-Bana pl naMeyer e Juice s Dark livelier when R Banan a Rum um we convinced Pineap pl Cocon e Rum Donna that ut Grena Rum dine S “Energy Drink” yrup had been recently In a ga llon co ntaine juice w approved for r, mix it all the and 1 h 1 cup eac medicinal purposes purposes . h of t cup o he 4 ru f th Pour o ms ver ice e grenadine syrup . and en joy .
I am grateful that God sent you as an Angel of Joy in my life .
Photos by Jeanie McGuire
Flying in a glider over Arizona I think of you as I am kept aloft by the magical lift of air currents . Sometimes climbing up and sometimes floating down; but never without the wind beneath the wings, like being in the palm of God’s hand .
I think of you, And I am filled with Joy As memories of Times together Bring a smile to my face .
To Donna with love, joy, and smiles
God’s majesty is awesome in every way. Yosemite is one of my favorite places . Even though I have looked at this valley many times I never cease to be in awe . The mountains are a sense of strength, the streams and waterfalls bring peace and the trees and grasses remind us of the wonder of renewing life .
onna’s cookies were legendary. She baked cookies for every season, and everyone who she so generously be-gifted with these melt-in-your-mouth treats hoped for more . It was a well-known fact: When Donna’s cookies arrived, even the anomalies—the ones who insisted, “I don’t have a sweet tooth,”—became instant cookie connoisseurs .
Travelin’ on Schwabe Time, 1986
What isn’t so well known is what transpired each time Donna baked cookies. Her DNA didn’t allow her to solely bake cookies . She never simply transferred cookie dough from bowl to baking sheets to oven . Donna was the queen of multitasking . The Schwabe household buzzed with two, three, or four projects she juggled simultaneously . For the record, let it be known, this, not Mr . Schwabe, was the precipitator of the widely acclaimed Schwabe Time .
Yummy! Carissa, 1988
But back to the cookies . It never failed . At least one batch of cookies remained in the oven a tad too long . Once Donna remembered she was baking, she’d drop her current task and bolt toward the kitchen . Her quest was to rescue the ill-fated batch of cookies before the smoke detector blared . Usually, it was too late . Home Depot stockholders appreciated the amount of Schwabe money spent on smoke detector batteries . Sometimes the burned batch was beyond hope and got dumped, rather unceremoniously, into the garbage can . However, if the cookies weren’t quite hockey pucks, the dog enjoyed a treat, and the remainder was stored in the cookie jar. Come on. Confess. You know what I mean . These are the cookies that make their way to the bottom of the jar and become milk cookies—the ones that, when all the other cookies are gone, get dunked in a glass of cold milk before they’re Multitasking, 1985 scarfed down . . . secretly, at 3 AM .
Chuck, Donna, and The Schawbettes, Whitewater Rafting, Sacramento, California, 2003
Chuck and Donna, Hawaii, 2004
Donna and Jena (second row from back), Busch Gardens, Tampa, Florida, 1994
Donna and Carissa, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida, 1997
Donna, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida, 1994
et me set the scene . The year was 1987 . The setting was Coral Springs, Florida . The characters were cast to include the typical All-American family: Dad, Mom, three lively daughters, one rambunctious dog, and a princess cat . The stage directions required Dad—that would be me—to orchestrate the three daughters and a multi-tasking wife to the airport in time to catch a butt-crack of dawn flight from sunny Florida to chilly Denver, Colorado . Now, the twist: This long-anticipated family vacation was to occur during one of the busiest times of year— the Thanksgiving holiday. And finally, the hook: The entire production was peppered with a huge helping of the infamous Schwabe Time . And I thought the line from Mission Impossible was, “Mr . Phelps, if you accept this assignment . . . .”
Donna and Carissa, Washington, D.C., 1987
Scene One . Action: Being a Schwabe savvy man, I decided early-on there was only one way for this comedy to have a happy ending . That would be for me to plan and carry out each and every detail . And so I did . Privately, I plotted, organized, and sweated: The dog and cat were farmed out . Dozens of Daddy, I must have stuffed animals were made travel-ready . A mountain of laundry was washed, dried, and folded . Enough luggage for a small army embarking on a mission to a dessert island was packed, re-packed, and forced shut. Over-taxed suspension system ignored, the beloved Chevy Astro Van was loaded. The alarm clock was set for 3:30 AM. Briefly, I slept.
Scene Two . Action: At the appointed hour, with plenty of time to make our 6 AM flight, three sleep-grumpy daughters and a still snoozing wife were poured into the van. Without incident, we arrived at the airport. Not bad. The next task was to maneuver the troops and strong arm the way-over-weight-limit luggage from the car to the terminal. No problems. Things were lookin’ good. The still-drowsy wife
A Typical Family Vacation and three frowning Schawbettes reluctantly trudged behind me to face the crabby ticket agent. Ignoring the agent’s obvious reluctance to be the first shift priestess of exemplary customer service, I pulled the remembered (Yes, remembered) tickets from my pocket and handed them over. Okay. Relax. All that remained was to be directed to our gate . Scene Three. Action: The agent’s fingers raced across the keyboard. Tap . Tap . Tap . She stared at her computer screen . She glanced at me . She returned to her computer . Tap . Tap . Tap . Her eyes locked with mine. In seconds, an eternity flashed by. Still confident, I declared innocently, “Ma’am, we’re an hour and a half early. That’s exactly what your airline advises. There can’t be any problems here.” The agent eyeballed my less than happy entourage and smiled slightly . “Mr . Schwabe, you are, indeed, early—twentyfour hours early .” Icy stares from the All-American family left nothing to the imagination . Clearly, I was toast .
Kira, Donna, Carissa, Long Beach, North Carolina, 2002
Scene Four. Action: The only possible explanation for what happened next was that the agent had been prompted to recognize Schwabe Time . Knowing there was no Earthly chance of once again accomplishing this miracle mission, she arranged for us to make two connecting flights 24 hours before our confirmed reservations. I settled the All-American family into our seats and smirked, deservedly . I was the star of the show . Guaranteed . Somewhere over Tennessee, I jerked out of my catnap to face an unrehearsed sequel: We were now 24 hours early for our hotel reservations. But that’s another story . . ..
hristmas in the Schwabe household never varied . We had blue-blooded, revered traditions . After Christmas Eve church service, Donna and I wrapped presents well into the wee hours. Christmas Morning meant we were awakened to squeals of, “It’s time to get up, Mommy and Daddy.” And Christmas Day, we anticipated eagerly Donna’s traditional Christmas dinner. All was well, until—until the year, in our infinite wisdom, Donna and I decided it was time to broaden the girls’ culinary experiences by introducing changes to the expected Christmas menu . Enter the ill-fated Christmas adventure . The traditional oven-roasted turkey became a turkey roasted Cuban style. The tried-and-true bread stuffing was replaced with a Granny Smith apple, sun dried tomato, and smoked Italian sausage dressing . The normal smashed potatoes and gravy were transformed into creamy garlic and herb twice-baked potatoes . The much-loved green bean and French fried onion ring casserole was kicked up a notch and became a stir-fried autumn vegetable medley. And to make our final statement, there wasn’t a jellied cranberry log in sight. We were pleased with our fare and announced excitedly, “Dinner is served.” The family gathered, held hands, and offered the traditional blessing. That’s when our bubble burst, and we discovered the power of tradition . The girls took one brief look at this Nuevo cuisine, glared, pushed their chairs away from the table, and marched in lock-step to their respective rooms. Yes. No question . They boycotted dinner . Our only salvation, and I use the term loosely, was we served our traditional desserts . After cleaning up the kitchen, Donna and I just looked at each other, nodded in tandem, and pinky-swore that next year and every year thereafter, only traditional favorites would appear on the Schwabe Christmas dinner table . st Turkey
n Style Roa
The Power of Tradition
Jena and Santa, 1983
Christmas Morning, 1992
Holiday photo, 1990
Mary, Joseph, and Baby Jesus, Schwabe Style, 1984
Donna & the Schwabettes
Stayinâ€™ cool 1987
Smile for the camera 1988
Donna and the Schwabettes, 2005
Water babies 1995
Arenâ€™t we cute? 1989
Pizza by Donna
Then, there was the Friday night indelibly recorded in Schwabe lore . On this fateful evening, the Schwabettes’ teamwork was outstanding. They took turns— Took turns? Was there a blue moon?—placing black olives on each others’ fingers. When I returned from building a fire in the fireplace, my only thought was Donna must have provided an assist . There they stood: Jena, Kira, and Carissa, displaying proudly their, “Look, Dad, a fistful of olives!” fingers. I shook my head in amazement and cheered wildly as the race to determine which sister could eat her olives the fastest ensued . .
he TGIF celebration for the Schwabe family didn’t allow for wiggle room. Pizza was the featured menu item . Donna prepared the from-scratch crust, whipped up the sauce from the bounty of her herb-enhanced canned tomatoes from the Schwabe garden, and loaded the final creation with our favorite toppings . Although we loved olives, we laughed and agreed: They made far better Schawbette finger decorations than sliced pizza toppings. All was well in the Schwabe kingdom .
Not wanting to halt the fun, Donna decided each girl was allowed to celebrate their olive feat by making an individual pizza. The first indication trouble was brewing came when we could no longer see each other . Pizza crusts became sister missiles, and flour dust filled the kitchen. Toppings intended for pizzas were consumed in a heartbeat . And who knows what happened to the grated cheese—probably a Brandy attack . Our only choice was to call Pizza Hut . But never again . We agreed unanimously: Pizza Hut was zero competition for Pizza by Donna .
Donna & Chuck Schwabe
A Life Together
Bradley University Spring Formal, 1968
Wedding Day, October 6, 1972
Renewing Our Wedding Vows, 30th Wedding Anniversary, 2002
Outrageous Halloween Costumes, 1976
Coral Springs Holiday Party, 1990
Proud Band Parents, 1996
Golfing in San Jose, 2002
Exploring Mendicino, California, 2003
Last Golf Outing, 2005
Shared Belly Laughs
any of my memories of Donna are times when we laughed hysterically at something that wouldn’t seem funny to anyone reading about it . In fact, it would probably sound silly. But I don’t know many people with whom I can share a good belly laugh over practically nothing . It sure is fun when you can . One time, when Donna was pregnant with Jena, we went shopping for a crib mattress . On the way, we saw an old baby mattress someone had thrown out to be collected by the garbage man . One of us made the remark that mattress was just what we needed . Well, one remark led to another until we had to pull over to the side of the road because we were laughing so hard .
Grandma’s Visit to Coral Springs, December 1988
One of the last times Cliff and I were in California, Donna and I were doing a crossword puzzle . One of the answers was “toget” . It was pronounced tog it . We puzzled over what “toget” could mean . Although anyone working crosswords knows that on occasion writers come up with words no one can find, “toget” wasn’t in the dictionary. Sometime along the way, one of us realized the word was “to get” . That started us off on one of our laughing jags . The girls, Cliff, and Chuck just shook their heads. They didn’t find it funny at all.
I remember when Donna and her then best friend, Jana, were about eight-years-old and decided to learn how to roller skate . The roads in our subdivision werenâ€™t paved, so the girls decided to skate in our basement . I strung ropes between the support columns, and they hauled themselves along on the ropes, laughing hysterically . I had to laugh too, just watching and listening . In fact, I got the camera and took a few video shots . One time, Donna and I took my seventy-five year old mother to an afternoon show . Most of the other people there were somewhat the same age as my mother . The movie was Thoroughly Modern Millie . In one scene, a young lady is kidnapped and taken to a bordello . The name of this place was in Chinese, but there was an English caption interpretation on the side . The name was The Cat House . Well, naturally, Donna and I had some loud and long guffaws about that in an almost totally silent movie house . In addition to our shared laughter, Donna and I had such similar tastes that there were times when, though each was in different parts of the country, we picked out the same pattern and the same material .
Family Photo Op: Ruth, Donna, Chuck, Cliff, Kira, Jena, 1984
In Loving Memory
Donna Stock Schwabe (1950-2006); CJ Stock (1944-2006)
CJ and Annieâ€™s Wedding Day, Standing, left to right: Annie Stock, CJ Stock, Chuck Schwabe, Donna Schwabe; Sitting: Ruth Stock, Cliff Stock, 1975
Night of the Infamous Pink Towel
Family Portrait, Standing Left to Right: Lynn Schwabe, Steve Stock, June Stock, Chuck Schwabe, Donna Schwabe, Sitting Left to Right: Cliff Stock, Ruth Stock, Powder
Then there was the night we all remember . . . Hearty German Soup was a recipe I found in a magazine and served on the Night of the Infamous Pink Towel . Donna, who was a participant, asked for the recipe. I’m sure she made it hundreds of times, but was it ever the same without a pink towel? The evening started with soup, Black Forest Cake, numerous drinks drinks . and the pink towel towel . Dinner was followed by a trip to Dirty Nellie’s. I can’t remember why, but the pink towel went with us us . We went on to Butch McGuire’s for more libations. By this time, the pink towel was left in the car to fend for itself itself . We had enough trouble navigating ourselves into SS .O .P . for dancing until 2AM 2AM . The obvious question is: How did we make it to work the next day? I don’t know. But we did.
ne afternoon after work, I stopped by my parents’ home in Mt . Prospect and discovered Donna baking chocolate chip cookies . I went to the refrigerator, poured a glass of milk, and started dipping the freshly baked cookies. Just as I was scarfing down the first delicious bite, Donna rather nonchalantly said, “Be careful . I broke a fingernail in the dough and can’t find it.” That stopped me in mid-chomp . Donna casually walked out of the kitchen—no doubt to have a silent belly laugh in the next room. I can only imagine the giggles she and Mom shared when Mom heard the story .
Donna: Artist, Teacher, Mom, Friend
Steve, Karen, and Michael Schwabe, 2007
met Donna when I was ten. The first few years, I didn’t see her much. She was just Chuck’s girlfriend. Then, during Chuck’s senior year in high school, we moved to Ohio . Watching Chuck suffer from great disappointment at the loss of not having Donna around taught me what love is all about. He didn’t mope around or sulk, but you could see the pain in his eyes . Then, they got back together at the University of Illinois . When they came home during break, their energy was sparkling . We had fantastic Turkey Bowl games in the backyard with all of Chuck and Donna’s college friends . Donna was a good football player . She could pass, run, defend, and catch with the best of them. If you didn’t watch her closely, she would trick you and score easily . I got the best Christmas presents from Donna . They were always homemade . She made the best clothes— the coolest shirts, pants, or the most colorful underwear you ever wanted to see . I never got a wrong size or had any problems with fit. Donna taught me how to make rings from wax. I must have broken 25-35 wax bands . But Donna calmly told me what I did wrong and showed me how to fix it. She taught me how to throw pottery, and I still love to throw pottery. It’s so relaxing
and fun. I’ve made a few pieces in my time, but nothing like the beautiful pieces Donna made . We all got a cup made by Donna for being in their wedding party . Donna and Chuck brought over their first-born, Jena, when she was about two years old . They said, “Watch Jena when we plan Neil Diamond’s America .” They put on the song and Jena got up and started to dance . Every time Neil Diamond sang America, Jena held both arms over her head and sang along . Donna had such a loving and wondrous smile on her face as she watched . You could see she loved her kids with every ounce of her soul . As Donna began to get ill, you could see her rise to fight back. You could see her put away her own fears and pain to help someone else . In her weekly or monthly newsletters, there was always more about how life was good—about how the family was doing fine, rather than the pain she must have been going through . I learned a lot from Donna about the importance of living each and every day to its fullest . Thank you, Donna, and God bless . This was written from the heart .
Nancy Threan Loraine
Muchas Gracias, Donna
Nancy and Donna, 1971, Indiana University in Bloomington Here we are anticipating the flavor of these Pepperidge Farm chocolate fudge cookies. This was a real extravagant purchase back in our student budgeting days of university life.
Cliff, Donna, and Ruth Stock, 1968 My visit to Donnaâ€™s family home
onna and I met during our first week, perhaps even our first day, of moving into Stevenson North dorm at Northern Illinois University . We were both freshman . Donna was artistic . I was tomboyish . Donna was from Mount Pleasant . I was from the Dominican Republic . I couldn’t go home on weekends, so early in our friendship, Donna invited me to her family home .
Right from the start, I was treated like family. For our first breakfast, Donna made waffles that were out of this world. Super light and airy, they had a hint of cinnamon flavouring and just melted in your mouth. Wow! I had never tasted a waffle like this before—not even at the World’s Fair Belgium waffle food pavilion. Even though in those days, my mom insisted I only knew how to make fudge and canned soup, I went back to Northern with Donna’s recipe for Lincoln Waffles. I didn’t own a waffle iron until after I was married, but I kept this special recipe in my diary for years years . Lincoln Waffles are a regular Sunday brunch item for our family. Our four kids grew up knowing only Lincoln Waffles, and now, our grandson loves these waffles as much as any of us. Thanks to Donna, I had a second “family” throughout my time in Illinois . Her love of cooking, unnoticed by me at the time, has also given our family and numerous guests over the years our most popular brunch menu item . Muchas gracias, mi muy querida amiga, Donna .
You Be the Judge
The Exploding Golf Ball, Donna, 2005
n August 2005, Gayle and I visited Donna, Chuck, and the girls for a couple days of relaxation in Sunnyvale, California . We spent a majority of the time playing golf. It is always an experience when we step onto a golf course . The usual questions enter our subconscious minds: Who’s got game? Who’s got shame? Do we have enough balls? And the dreaded statement: Hope there isn’t a line waiting and people watching us drive off the first tee. On this particular day, we arrived at the course just in time to pay, load our bags onto carts, and head to the tee box for our scheduled tee time. Good thing we weren’t early (fat chance on Schwabe time) for a warmup on the driving range . Due to a classic car show between the 50 and 150 yards markers, the range was closed . Too bad, they looked like great targets . Before we headed to the first tee, Chuck dashed back to the pro shop and returned with a brand new driver cover for Donna . It was a pink (and I mean pink) flamingo. This was perfect! Through the years of our friendship, pink flamingos showed up on front lawns, mysteriously, during the night—Virginia, Florida, California, the state was inconsequential—at birthday parties, and even as gag gifts . When Donna was going through chemo treatment in Florida, I sent her a pink flamingo hat that she wore around town. Of course, her daughters wouldn’t ride in the car with her as she proudly displayed this beautiful collector’s item. Off to the course we went with Donna proudly displaying her pink flamingo treasure. It was an interesting round of golf, indeed . We demonstrated our talent throughout the next five hours or so with skillful drives traveling great distances only to be lost in the woods, water, or accompanying private property . It was
a warm day, and we repeatedly tested our rainmaking skills by hitting that little ball so high into the clouds that surely rain and lighting would commence at any moment . But the only thing that found its way to the earth was that damn white ball . Chipping onto the greens and putting into the hole, one-third the size of the Great White Ball, also had its moments of glory and agonies of defeat . Do we count the missed swings as a stroke? Can’t we play this game with modified horseshoe rules: Close is good enough? I’m claiming any ball within ten-feet of the hole as a give me!! Any questions?? Maybe we didn’t rock the club house with our scores, but we had a great time and a fun round of golf . A special moment of the day came on the 17th hole of our second round . Donna was getting tired and having trouble driving the ball off the tee . Chuck, being the kind, gentle, passionate, loving husband that he is, patiently worked with Donna on her swing, stance, and placement of the ball on the tee . She regained her composure and confidence and addressed the ball. It was the perfect swing . She hit that ball smack in the middle of the driver’s sweet spot with such force that the ball literally exploded. Yes, it exploded into a white cloud of dust . As they say, “A picture is worth a thousand words.” You be the judge. After the initial shock of the explosion, Donna laughed so hard she had a difficult time making another shot for the rest of our round . Chuck and I waited the whole weekend for the right moment to switch her ball . Needless to say, our patience paid off . Ah, to spend such a relaxing, enjoyable weekend out in the green pastures and shade trees with such wonderful friends can’t be beat. We will always treasure every moment we spent with Donna .
feat in turn. Chuck and Jenna joined us for a celebratory drink at the end of our round. Of course, as golfers we all yearn for a hole-in-one but I can honestly say we were unanimously elated that it was Donna who actually made it happen that day. We will cherish forever memories and friendship.
Itâ€™s in the Hole!
The Golf Group, (left to right) Flo Stafford, Jane Shoemaker, Donna, Jena, Pat Virretier, August 2005
The Golf Group Flo Stafford, Jane Shoemaker, Donna, Jenna, and Pat Vorreiter
onna made a hole-in-one on the third hole of the Deep Cliff Golf Course in Cupertino, California in August 2005 with Pat Vorreiter, Jane Shoemaker, and Flo Stafford as witnesses .
Jane, Flo, and I play golf twice a week and always invited Donna . Because of doctors’ appointments, low energy, or her treatments, she wasn’t always able to make it. But we held the fourth slot open for her, just in case. On occasion, when one of the regulars wasn’t available, we could coax Jena to join us. Although we continually strived to improve our golf game, the pleasure was most definitely in the pursuit of the bond we shared . It was a special treat that Donna felt up to playing the 18 holes at Deep Cliff that day . We were on the third hole . Although we often complicated the task by finding the woods, the water, or the ditch, it was a comparatively easy par 3. Donna’s drive appeared to be the best of our four drives . We thought it had landed on the green and then rolled shortly beyond. It wasn’t until we approached the green and began searching for our respective errant drives that I found Donna’s ball in the hole . “It’s in the hole! It’s in the hole!” The collective shouts of glee were heard from one end of the course to the other . Donna immediately called Chuck on her cell phone, and in turn, we all confirmed her feat . At the end of the round, Chuck and Jena joined us for the customary celebratory drink . Of course, as golfers, we all yearn for a hole-in-one . But I can honestly say we were unanimously elated that it was Donna who actually made it happen that day . We will cherish, forever, her memories and her friendship .
Way to Go Donna!
“I can see you !” 1998
Surf’s up, Baby! 2002
Cow-a-bunga, Baby! 2002
Me and my cat, Sam 1978
Brandy Kisses, 2003
May I help you? 1998
“Where are those cookies?”
Nearly Siesta Time, 2003
My Donna, 1995
s I’ve reflected on my lifetime of Donna’s friendship, no one story emerged. Instead, I carry, rather like a sweet granola mixture, many precious mental images of moments in time . . .
Donna at the high school Saturday night card table, completing our circle of friends—Kathy Audo and Andrea Ney
Donna, her mom, and I at her kitchen table in Mount Prospect, talking about everything from Edgar Cayce to the importance of drinking lots of water for kidney health
Donna in her kitchen in Reston, keeping us in stitches with her story about being a car passenger on a long trip during which the male friend driver would not stop to let her pee
Donna driving me home late at night, sitting in the car talking into the wee hours about a topic in which she had endless interest and an endless perspective (if not advice): relationships with anyone and everyone
Donna in her usual interaction, loving Chuck, Jena, Kira, Carissa, and virtually everyone with whom she came in contact
Donna at my kitchen table in Lewisville, Texas, amazingly as stunningly lovely bald as she always was with a full head of hair
Donna in her kitchen in California, introducing me to the breakfast dish of vanilla yogurt and homemade granola, which is still one of my all time favorites
Donna in a fast foot restaurant, dutifully consuming a chocolate shake to put on some weight
Donna’s name on my e-mail, bringing another of her informative, funny, touching updates
Donna in bed that last evening only a few breaths away from God, looking so vulnerable yet surrounded and supported so completely by an ocean of attention, care, and love
Donna in my vision the morning after her passing, appearing in the prime of life, looking up at someone while authoritatively providing them with spiritual insight . As Chuck said after hearing this experience, “Yup. That’s Donna!”
My friendship with my dear friend, Donna, is among the halfdozen longest relationships of my life . I treasure my mélange of sweet memories . Now that her life on Earth has ended, I will, as many of her recipes ended, “store them in a closed container .” However, unlike the products of those recipes, these memories will keep indefinitely and be repeatedly consumable, nurturing my heart and soul again and again .
Family stuffeD artichoKes Cut off stem, top, and all points of leaves . Pound on table upside down to spread leaves open . Rinse . Drain . Make paste using bread crumbs, chopped fresh parsley, garlic, salt & pepper, Romano grated cheese, 1 egg, and a little olive oil . Stuff into open leaves, sprinkle small amount of oil on top . Put in covered frying pan filled halfway with water. Bring to a boil, then slowly simmer until done (about 30 minutes) .
❦ DiLL Dip 1 c . sour cream 1 c. Hellman’s mayonaise 1 t . chopped green onion 1 t . parsley 1 t . or more dill weed 1 t. Lawrey’s seasoned salt dash of Accent salt & pepper to taste Refrigerate 3 to 4 hours .
DiLL picKLes 1 qt . white vinegar 3 qts . water 1 c . salt cucumbers dill Soak whole cucumbers overnight in brine (1 c. salt to 1 gallon water). Combine first three ingredients . Boil . Pack cucumbers in sterilized jar . Pour salt solution over to cover . Put lid on jar . For sliced dills, cut cucumbers and soak in ice water for a few hours . Then same as above and seal jar .
❦ Mayonnaise Measure out 1 c . salad oil . In blender, put 1 egg, 1/2 t . dry mustard, 1/2 t . salt, 2 T vinegar, and 1/4 c . of the oil . Use low speed of blender . Immediately uncover container and pour in remaining oil in a steady stream . Waiting no longer than 15 seconds total blending time from start, switch blender to high speed . Blend 3-5 minutes .
1 c . dry milk 1 can condensed milk 1 container yogurt 1 qt . (4 c .) water, lukewarm Cook 6 hours . Can be frozen .
❦ spinach & torteLLini soup 2 lbs . Italian sausage 32-oz . chicken broth 16-oz . whole tomatoes 1 pkg . spinach 8-oz . tortellini 1/2 c . chopped celery 2 c . water 1/2 c . onion, chopped parmesan Simmer celery, onion and sausage one hour in water . Add chicken broth, tomatoes and spinach and simmer another hour . Add tortellini and simmer another 1/2 hour .
Karen’s saLaD 2 bags spinach 1 bag iceberg lettuce 1 c . cottage cheese 1 lb . bacon 3/4 c . Swiss cheese 1 red onion 3/4 lb . mushrooms 1 1/2 T poppy seeds 1 1/2 c . olive oil 3/4 c . vinegar 1 1/2 t . salt 3/4 c . sugar 3/4 t . dry mustard Marinate last 8 ingredients overnight . Pour over first 5 ingredients just before serving. Crowd size .
❦ cucuMBer saLaD
Cucumbers Chunked tomatoes Sweet onion slices
Marinate overnight in Italian dressing . Can sprinkle with fresh herbs from the garden .
Family saLaD Dressing – founDation 2/3 c . oil 1/3 c . lemon juice 3/4 t . salt 1/4 t . pepper 1/2 t . dry mustard 3/8 t . dry powdered ginger 1-2 large cloves garlic
❦ herB Dressing olive oil basil marjoram or thyme red wine vinnegar tarragon chopped parsley
❦ cheese Dressing oil & vinegar or foundation dressing Add cream cheese and dill weed . Add blue cheese in small pieces .
potato sesaMe BreaD 2 pkgs . yeast 5 1/2 c. sifted flour 2 T sugar 2 t . salt 1 1/3 c . milk 1/2 c . butter 1 1/2 c . sieved hot cooked potatoes 1 egg white, slightly beaten Sesame seeds In mixing bowl, thoroughly mix yeast, 2 c. flour, sugar & salt. Heat milk, butter & sieved potatoes over low heat until very warm (120-130 degrees) . Butter need not be completely melted . Add liquid to dry ingredients . Beat 2 minutes . Add remaining flour, kneading in by hand (10 minutes) or with dough hook . Place dough in buttered bowl turning to butter all sides . Cover . Let rise until double in bulk . Punch down, divide into 4 parts . Roll each between buttered palms to form a strand about 15 inches long . Spiral wrap 2 forms together to form twist loaf . Place in buttered loaf pan . Let rise . Brush tops with egg white and sprinkle with sesame seeds . Bake at 375 degrees for 40 minutes . Makes two loaves .
Favorites BarBeque sauce for spareriBs 1 stick butter 1c . chopped onion 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped 1/2 c . catsup 1/4 c . brown sugar 1 t . salt 1 1/2 t . freshly ground pepper 1/4 t . Tabasco 1 T lemon juice 1 t . basil 1 T chili powder SautĂŠ onions and garlic till tender . Add remaining ingredients, bring to boil, and simmer 5 minutes . Salt & pepper ribs. Broil one side on grill; turn and brush finished side with sauce. Repeat .
sweet & sour sauce 1/2 c . sugar 1/3 c . ketchup 1/3 c . cider vinegar 1/2 t . garlic powder 1 14-oz can pineapple chunks, drained 2 T cornstarch with 1/3 c . cold water Mix sugar, ketchup, pineapple juice, vinegar and garlic powder . Stir and bring to boil . Stir in cornstarch paste and stir until thickened . Add pineapple chunks just before serving .
â?Ś hoLLanDaise sauce â€“ BLenDer 4 egg yolks 1/2 t . salt Dash Tabasco 1 T lemon juice 1/4 lb . (1 stick) butter, melted Combine egg yolks and seasonings in blender . Turn blender on and off . Melt butter until bubbling but has not yet turned color . Turn on blender, leaving inner part of top off, gradually pour a thin stream of butter into egg yolk mixture. It will thicken and turn golden . Keep over warm water until ready to serve . If this should curdle, pour 1T of boiling water into the sauce while the blender is on . Makes 1 cup .
Family chicKen anD spinach 3 lbs . cooked chicken 2 pkgs . frozen spinach, cooked For sauce, blend: 1 can mushrooms 1 1/2 cans cream chicken soup 3/4 c . mayonnaise 1/2 t . curry 2 T lemon juice Layer spinach, then 3/4 sauce, chicken on top . Top with remaining sauce . Sprinkle with parmesan cheese . Bake 350 degrees for 45 minutes . Can serve over rice .
â?Ś MarinateD fLanK steaK 1/3 c . soy sauce 2 T honey 2 T vinegar 2 cloves garlic 2 T ginger 1/2 c . corn oil 1 1/2 lbs. flank steak Press garlic or mash with fork . Put this and all other ingredients into a container, shake well, and pour over steak . Marinate 24-48 hours . Cook on grill .
Beef carBonaDe 2 slices bacon 1 1/2 lbs . boneless beef chuck 1 T butter 2 medium onions, sliced 2 c . fresh mushrooms, sliced 1 c . beer 1/2 c . beef broth 1 T red wine vinegar 1 T snipped parsley 1/2 t . brown sugar 1/4 t . dried thyme 1/4 t . salt freshly ground black pepper 1 bay leaf 2 T flour hot cooked noodles In skillet, cook bacon until crisp; save drippings in pan . Crumble bacon and set aside . Add beef to drippings; cook till lightly browned . Remove and set aside . Add butter to skillet, stir in onions and cook until tender . Add mushrooms and cook 2-3 minutes . Stir in beer, 1/4 c . of beef broth, vinegar, parsley, brown sugar, thyme, salt, pepper and bay leaf .
Favorites Combine with beef in 1 1/2 qt . casserole . Cover and bake in 325 degree oven for 1 hr 15 min . Stir in flour and 1/4 c. beef broth. Bake 15 minutes more . Arrange noodles on serving dish . Top with beef . Sprinkle with bacon and parsley . 4-6 servings .
â?Ś chicKen crepes 1/2 lb . fresh mushrooms, chopped 1 T grated onion 1/3 c . butter 3 T cornstarch 1 t . salt 1/4 t . white pepper 1/2 c . half & half 1 c . whipping cream 2 T each brandy and dry sherry 2 c . cooked, diced chicken 1 1/2 c . seedless grapes 8 warm crepes SautĂŠ mushrooms in butter and onion . Blend in cornstarch, salt & pepper . Add half & half, whipping cream, brandy, and sherry . Cook, stirring until thickened . Add chicken and heat to oiling . Stir in grapes . Remove from heat . Fill and roll crepes .
coLoMBian chicKen Cut up 2-3 chickens in pot, cover with water . Add salt, freshly ground pepper, finely chopped medium onion, finely chopped bunch of celery . Cover, boil, then simmer 45 minutes . Remove skin and bones, continue cooking broth . Cut chicken into small pieces . Add: 2 small cans button mushrooms 2 small jars diced pimiento 1 large green pepper, diced 1 package slivered almonds and/or water chestnuts Mix all and reserve. Add 2 T chicken boullion, 1 T Gravy Master, and cornstarch and water mixture to broth to thicken slightly . Add reserved ingredients and cook until green peppers are tender but still green . Serve over rice . To freeze, let broth cool, then add reserved ingredients and freeze .
3 T olive oil 1 1/2 c . chopped onion 8 large garlic cloves, chopped 2 lbs . ground chuck 1 envelope (1/4 c .) taco seasoning 1 t . dried basil 1/2 t . dried oregano 1/2 t . dried thyme 1 15-oz can tomato sauce 3 c . chicken broth or vegetable broth 1 6-oz can tomato paste 2 16-oz . cans of kidney beans, drained Heat oil in heavy saucepan over medium high heat . Add onions and garlic . Saute about 8 minutes or until onions are translucent . Add chuck and cook until brown, breaking up meat with a spatula as it cooks . Add taco seasoning, basil, oregano, and thyme. Stir 2 minutes. Mix in tomato sauce, chicken broth and tomato paste . Simmer until thickened to desired consistency, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking, about 1 1/2 hours. Mix in beans. Simmer for 5 minutes . Season to taste with salt and pepper . Refrigerate until cold then reheat over low when ready to serve .
Mexican Lasagna 1 lb . lean ground beef 1/2 cup chopped onion 1/2 cup chopped green pepper 2 1/2 cups salsa 1 11 oz can whole kernel corn, drained 1 t . chili powder 1 t . ground cumin 12 corn tortillas, divided 1 16-oz container cottage cheese 1 c . shredded sharp cheddar cheese 1 small can sliced pitted ripe olives, drained Preheat oven to 375 degrees . Brown meat in large skillet on medium heat; drain . Return to skillet . Add onions and peppers; cook until crisp-tender, stirring occasionally. Add corn and seasonings; mix well . Layer one-third of the meat mixture and one-half each of the tortillas and cottage cheese in 13x9-inch baking dish. Repeat layers; cover with remaining meat sauce. Sprinkle with cheddar cheese and olives . Bake 30 minutes or until heated through .
Favorites caraMeL pecan roLLs
1 c . milk 1/2 c . sugar 1 t . salt 1/2 c . margarine or butter 1/4 c . warm water 102o-112 o 1 pkg . dry yeast 1 egg 4 â€“ 4 1/4 c. flour
Scald milk, stir in sugar, salt and margarine . Cool to lukewarm. Add one half of the flour and mix till smooth. Dissolve yeast in 1/4 c. warm water and add to flour mixture. Lightly beat egg and stir in and then beat in the remaining flour until smooth. Cover, refrigerate at least 2 hours or overnight . Dough may be kept in refrigerator up to 3 days . This amount is for one 13x9x2 inch pan: 1/2 c . melted margarine 1 c . brown sugar 1 1/2 T dark corn syrup 1 c . pecans Combine melted margarine, brown sugar, corn syrup and pecans . Pour into greased oblong pan . To prepare dough for the pan, divide in half . Knead a few minutes, then roll out into a rectangle 15x9 inches. Spread with melted margarine . Sprinkle with sugar
and cinnamon . Roll tightly beginning with wide side . Cut in 15 1-inch slices and place cut side up in prepared pan 13x9x2inches . Cover and let rise in warm place until double, about 1 1/2 hours . Bake 350 degrees 75 minutes for glass baking dish .
â?Ś appLe crisp
6 tart apples 1 c . sugar 1/4 t . ground cloves 1/2 t . cinnamon 2 t . lemon juice 3/4 c. flour 1/8 t . salt 6 T butter 1/4 c . chopped nut meats Whipped cream or ice cream Preheat oven to 350 degrees . Peel, core, and slice apples into a bowl . Add 1/2 c . sugar, the spices, and lemon juice. Mix lightly and pour into 1 1/2 qt . casserole . Blend remaining sugar, flour, salt, and butter to crumbly consistency . Add nuts and sprinkle over the apple mixture. Bake 45 minutes or until apples are tender and crust is nicely browned . Serve with whipped cream or ice cream .
Family crèMe De Menthe ice creaM pie 3 qts . vanilla ice cream 5 T crème de menthe 2 c . Nabisco chocolate wafer crumbs 1/3 c . butter, softened Fudge sauce Crush Nabisco chocolate wafers . Combine with butter and press into pie plate . Refrigerate about 1 hour . Turn ice cream into large bowl to soften . Pour crème de menthe over it and swirl . Fill wafer shell with ice cream . When you serve the pie, drizzle hot fudge sauce over it .
❦ Mint syrup Boil then cool 2 c . sugar and 1 c . water . Strip leaves from mint plant . Pack to make 1 cup . Bruise the leaves . Place in syrup and refrigerate for a few days . Strain .
wassaiL 1 gallon apple cider 4 c . orange juice 2/3 c . lemon juice 1/2 to 1 c . honey 4 cinnamon sticks 1/2 t . nutmeg Blend . Heat . Enjoy
Favorites creaM cheese Brownies 8 oz . package cream cheese 2 1/2 c . sugar, divided 3 eggs 1/2 c . butter 3/4 c . water 2/3 c . cocoa 2 c. flour 1 t . baking soda 1/2 t . salt 1 t . vanilla 1/2 c . sour cream 1 c . chocolate chips Combine cheese, 1cup sugar and eggs . Set aside . Mix butter, water and cocoa in saucepan until butter is melted . Mix flour, remaining sugar, soda, salt, vanilla, 2 eggs and sour cream . Beat chocolate into flour mixture. Spread in greased and floured 17 1/2 x 11inch pan. Spoon cream cheese mixture over chocolate and marble with a knife . Sprinkle chips on top . Bake at 375 degrees for 20-25 minutes .
1st Layer: Blend with pastry blender 1 1/2 c. flour and 1 1/2 sticks butter or margarine . Add 1/2 c . chopped walnuts . Pat into 13x9-inch pan. Bake 350 degrees for 20-30 minutes until lightly brown . Set aside to cool while working on 2nd layer . 2nd Layer: 8-oz . pkg cream cheese 1 t . vanilla 1 c . confectioners sugar 1 c . Cool Whip Beat until smooth . Spread over 1st layer . Chill 1 hour . 3rd Layer: 2 small pkgs . instant lemon* pudding 3 c . cold milk Beat at low spead 1 minute . Spread over 2nd layer . 4th Layer: Top with Cool Whip. Chill till firm. Cut into squares . * Chocolate, butterscotch, or pistachio pudding may be substituted for lemon .
Makes 32 brownies .
Friends With heartfelt thanks to family and friends who lovingly took We Remember Donna from vision to reality.
Pam and Ed Custer
Pam and Ed live in Stevensville, Maryland . We met Pam through the Reston connection and soon became fast friends . Pam introduced us to the wonderful sights and sounds of Baltimore, its inner harbor, and ethnic neighborhoods . As Donna battled her disease, Pam’s thoughts and prayers offered strength to each of us. Pam’s telephone call to me on a very dark night helped me realize that my future would, indeed, be once again sunshine bright. Look on page 21 for Pam’s memories of Donna .
Tim and Jill Dunkin
Tim and Jill Dunkin live in San Jose, California. It was during the six tumultuous years we lived in Sunnyvale, California that they became our close friends . Tim and Jill were right there, laughing with us through the good times and supporting us through the difficult days, weeks, and months as we fought cancer . On our 30th wedding anniversary, Donna and I renewed our marriage vows. Tim officiated at the ceremony, and both Dunkins joined the hearty celebration afterwards . Their home and hearts have always been unconditionally open to the Schwabe family . When we returned to Florida, Tim and Jill served
as West Coast parents for Jena, Kira, and Carissa—each at a different and much needed time in her life . This is a generosity for which I will be forever grateful . Tim introduced us to the joys of all things alcoholic, and Donna reciprocated by introducing the Dunkins to the wonders of REAL Key Lime Pie . Look for the recipe on page 17 .
Myra and Rob Gresko
Myra and Rob live in Sleepy Hollow (Yes. That’s the real name.), Illinois. For almost 40 years, Donna and Myra created warm memories . The miles that separated them were inconsequential . Through to the very last, Donna treasured each experience she
& Family and Myra shared . After cancer spread to her liver, Myra and Maggie Frogge (another friend) invited Donna to a long weekend in Napa Valley, California. They sampled fine wine, took a hot air balloon ride, and pampered Donna at one of the area’s finest spas. The friends agreed: No matter how expensive the spa, Donna’s massage lotion was the best. See the recipe for Donna’s Special Lotion on page 23 . Donna returned home well rested, reenergized, and ready for her next battle. Truly, Myra was the wind beneath Donna’s wings.
Jan and Gary Holden
Jan and Gary live in Texas. Donna and Jan were forever friends . Together, they shared the delights and difficulties encountered by young girls transforming to mature women . Although after graduating high school Donna and Jan were separated by many miles, they stayed close through thoughts, prayers, letters, emails, and telephone calls . As Donna battled her disease, Jan was exceptionally helpful to both of us . When we traveled to Dallas for specialized chemotherapy treatment, she opened her home . We were family . During the last days of Donna’s life, Jan took time from a work schedule that was beyond busy to offer her presence, comfort, and prayers. Jan’s
description of her final visit with Donna gave me the courage to move forward with my life . Thank you, Jan, for everything. Look for Jan’s Granola Memories on page 56 .
Connie lives in Georgia. We first met Connie through her passion: Guiding students at Coral Springs High School . Admittedly, Donna and I were befuddled by the complexities of the University of Florida’s admission process. Quickly and competently, Connie stepped up to the plate and became our “go-to-gal” as first Jena and then Kira became official Gators. We came to realize that in the whole scheme of life, UF paperwork was but a minor blip on the radar screen of challenges . Together, Donna and Connie fought personal battles with breast cancer . The love and support they were able to provide for each other was one of God’s most generous blessings. Look for Connie’s special memories on page 26.
City Attorney. Marlene had the most difficult job of all—trying to keep Steve in line . It was, and still is, a 24/7 responsibility . As the recipe for Energy Drink found on page 30 illustrates, Donna and Steve touched each other’s free spirit . When Donna lost her hair following chemotherapy, Steve delighted us with the costume you see on page 30 . I suggest you look closely . After Donna left me to live with God, Steve and Marlene were my safety net of strength and encouragement . During those first dark weeks, we talked by phone every day . Every month, I was a guest in their Stuart, Florida home where we added to the folklore of the golf course at their country club . Special memories . Special friends . Both then and now .
Steve and Marlene Josias Marlene and Steve live in Odessa, Florida . We met when Steve and I were employed by the City of Coral Springs . I was the Senior Assistant City Manager . Steve was the Supreme Commander . I mean, of course, the
Friends Brenda Larrain
Brenda lives in Sleepy Hollow, Illinois, and you can look for her full story on page 19 . Brenda came into our life after Donna graduated from college and began her teaching career in Medina, Illinois . Donna, Brenda, Myra, and Maggie shared experiences, laughs, and sometimes tears. There they were: four single, attractive, careeroriented young women in the Chicago area . Mind you, this was just a couple of years before Sex and the City. You finish the story….
Nancy and Hugh Loraine
Nancy and Hugh live in Sunderland, Ontario, Canada . Nancy was raised in the Dominican Republic and met Donna when they were freshman at Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, Illinois . Donna and Nancy were two seeds in the same pod—each living a faith-based life and finding laughter and joy in every day. Donna and I attended Nancy’s wedding in the Dominican Republic, where she introduced us to Hugh, the Caribbean lifestyle, and the scariest sand crab “spiders” ever . Although Donna and Nancy lived in two different countries, they thought of each other every day, and the connection remained true and strong . Look for the recipe for Lincoln Waffles—a three-generation Loraine family favorite—on page 49 .
Given that Jeannie and her husband travel continually, it’s impossible for me to tell you where she lives. Officially, her mail is delivered to Boca Raton, Florida . Donna and I met Jeanie through the First Congregational Church in Boca Raton, Florida where Jeannie introduced us to the Stephen Ministry Program. It was because of Jeannie’s encouragement and support that Donna and I became Stephen Ministers in the Los Altos United Methodist Church . Thank you, Jeannie, for providing yet another opportunity to create a meaningful life experience with Donna. A tribute to their admiration for each other is found on page 31 .
Nancy and Jim Mercure
Nancy and Jim live in Reston, Virginia and were our golfing buddies. The four of us shared laughs at golf courses on all four points of the compass . Those stories would take up another book, so we’ll save them for another time . However, there is a favorite story about the family that can’t be put off: Donna and Nancy shared child rearing responsibilities for both families . When Nancy worked in Reston, Donna took care of Nancy’s son, Jeremy. Donna loved to shop at a grocery store in Vienna, Virginia, probably, in part, because she
could drive fast on the two-lane, hilly roads that wound between Vienna and Reston . After one particularly fast trip as Donna was unstrapping Jeremy from the safety of his car seat, he looked up, stretched out his still shaking arms, and proclaimed, “Aunt Donna, you drive like a pig!” Yes, only from the mouths of babes. Look for Donna’s Sweet Rye Bread—a Mercure family favorite—on page 16 .
Carissa Joy Schwabe
In summer 2007, Carissa returned to Florida from California and now lives in Gainesville . During Carissa’s early years, we lived in Coral Springs . When Carissa was thirteen, the family moved to Sunnyvale, California where she completed middle school and high school . Of my three daughters, Carissa is the most allergic to mornings, so she wanted to find a profession where she could be in control of her work schedule, rather than the other way around . Carissa completed a grueling, nine month program and became a certified massage therapist in California . Carissa is now working toward becoming nationally certified in her profession . I must tell you that Carissa is a very suave businesswoman . She successfully negotiated and received payment for Dear Old Dad to receive a series of massages . Now, about that first massage, Carissa. Thanks,
& Family Carissa, for defining the real meaning of Joy. Your life will be full of joy, accomplishments, laughter, and successes . Look on page 15 for Carissa’s special story about her mom.
Jena Leigh Schwabe
Jena lives near Santa Cruz, California and is the original University of Florida graduate . Go Gators! During Jena’s freshman year in Gainesville, we moved from Coral Springs, Florida to Sunnyvale, California . I remember vividly her stating for the entire world to hear that she was first and last a Florida girl and would never live in California . Well, that was before she spent three years with Donna and me—we called them “bonus years”—after her 2003 UF graduation . AND before we enjoyed a family vacation (that’s another story!) in Hawaii where Jena met Ryan Baker, who just happens to live “over the hill” in Santa Cruz, California . Jena and Ryan are engaged and in the midst of planning their 2008 wedding . The wedding will take place—you guessed it—in California . Thanks, Jena Bean, for helping me to learn how to be a dad . Look on page 11 for Jena’s special story about her mom.
Kira Layne Schwabe
Kira lives in multi-locations: Jacksonville, Florida, Gainesville, Florida, and Macon, Georgia . If that sounds confusing, well, it is! As the publication of We Remember Donna approaches, Kira is finalizing the last minute details of her November 11, 2007 wedding to Alex Hettinger. One of these details is finding a place to live with her husband and jobs for both. This helps to explain her multi-state shuttle . In 2007, Kira graduated with honors from the University of Florida . She is the middle daughter, affectionately dubbed by herself and her two sisters as “the princess .” Like her sisters, Jena and Carissa, Kira carries Donna’s legacy to the next generation. Thank you, Kira, and remember: Your future is bright. It belongs to you. Look on page 13 for Kira’s special story about her mom .
Steve and Karen Schwabe
Steve and Karen live in Hickrey, North Carolina . In my family, Steve follows Lynn in birth-order, giving him the precarious honor of being the youngest Schwabe sibling . For years, Donna and I were convinced that Steve was a confirmed bachelor. Then, he met Karen. Now, not only does he have a wonderful wife, in September 2007, he and Karen became the
proud parents of their first son, Michael. Look on page 46 for Steve’s heartfelt memories of Donna .
Jane Shoemaker, Flo Stafford & Pat Vorreiter
A hole-in-one. It’s every golfer’s dream—golf’s ultimate measure of perfection . I, however, can only live vicariously and imagine how Donna felt one glorious day when she scored a hole-in-one . The golf course was Deep Cliff Golf Course in Cupertino, California . The loyal gallery was her dear friends, Pat, Jane, and Flo . Look for the full story on page 53 . Let me add excitement to the memory by recounting the phone call I received from Donna . My cell phone rang and caller ID revealed the call was from Donna . Her customary gentle, “Hi, Honey,” was pre-empted with a shouted, “Guess what!!!” Before I could spit out word one, she blurted out the news, “I got a holein-one . I got a hole-in-one .” Excited is hardly the appropriate word . Overwhelmed comes closer. But Donna being Donna, the call wasn’t just about her accomplishment . It was as much about the thrill of her golfing buddies. I must confess, however, that playing a round of golf with Donna was never again quite the same .
Friends Bill and Gayle Sides
Gayle and Bill live in Carlsbad, California . We first met Bill when we lived in Reston, Virginia . With our active family, something was always breaking . What a relief to have the expertise of Bill Sides—our personal Mr. Fix It . Picture this: A cold winter day . Two small girls . An ornery hot water heater that kicks the proverbial bucket. One phone call hastened Bill, our knight in shining armor, galloping to the rescue . Because of its location and a weird combination of pipes winding in and out of our townhouse, replacing the water heater was no easy feat . After several attempts and numerous trips through the snow to various hardware stores, Bill completed the job . Hot water, once again, flowed into the Schwabe household. Donna rewarded Mr. Fix It with one of her specialties: Fannie Mae Fudge . Look for the recipe on page 27 . Five pounds of this decadent treat won’t be enough. Guaranteed .
Ron and Debbie Stainton
Debbie and Ron live in Coral Springs, Florida . We became fast-friends with the Staintons during the years we cheered our girls and their son Randy through school events at Coral Springs Middle School and Coral Springs High
School . After we moved to California, Ron and Debbie literally opened their home as first Jena and then Kira attended the University of Florida . To this day, all three girls have a key that unlocks the Stainton’s front door. On more than one occasion, Debbie has returned home to find one of the girls (or at least some evidence of them) in their home. Donna’s pickle relish was a special favorite of Ron and Randy . Debbie remarks that after Donna gave them their first jar of homemade pickle relish, hamburgers and hot dogs were never the same . Look for the recipe on page 22 .
Cliff and Ruth Stock
Ruth and Cliff, Donna’s parents, live in Grand Junction, Colorado. Cliff’s career required them to re-locate from Belleville, Illinois, to Mount Prospect, Illinois, to farm country in Harvard, Illinois . Now, in retirement, Cliff and Ruth are enjoying Grand Junction, Colorado . Quite candidly, during my early courtship of Donna, Cliff terrified me. However, with three daughters of my own, I realize he was a great role model. That’s what a father should do. It is hard to describe the depth and meaning of Donna’s relationship with her parents. Whether we lived 15 minutes or 1,500 miles apart, their connection was strong . They never
missed a beat . Conversations that occurred yesterday or last month were picked up, seamlessly, in mid-sentence . Family—Cliff, Ruth, and Donna defined the word. Look for Ruth’s memories on page 42.
Steve and Annette Stock
Steve and Annette live in Littleton, Colorado . From the moment I expressed a romantic interest in Donna, Steve’s seemingly sole mission in life was to ensure that I was sufficiently worthy of courting his sister. Never one to do anything halfway, Steve insisted that I toe-the-line in each and every aspect of the dating ritual . As testimony to his quest for perfection, I refer you to his recipe for Hearty German Soup found on page 45 . We were introduced to this delightful soup during a ski weekend in northern Wisconsin . Enjoying this taste-treat cooked over an open campfire only adds to its allure and Steve’s impressive culinary skills . With that said, Annette, be warned, you have your hands full .
& Family Keith and Anne Strange
Anne and Keith were part of our original Reston, Virginia “Gang of Eight .” Keith taught us that what we once knew to be the Civil War is actually pronounced the “War of Northern Aggression .” Our education continued when we learned the Battle of Bull Run was actually two battles: the First and Second Battle of Manassas . Anne introduced us to cheese straws—look for the recipe for this delicious treat on page 20—and South Carolina Barbeque . Because of Anne and Keith, the South has risen and shines brightly .
Larry and Bonnie Striker
Bonnie and Larry live in Boca Raton, Florida . We met Bonnie, and then Larry, through our first church home in Florida—the First Congregational Church of Boca Raton where Bonnie led the Christian education program . Because of Bonnie and Donna, our daughters are well-grounded in their faith in God . Larry provided us with a seemingly endless supply of pocket-crosses—crosses that I still carry with me. Look on page 28 for a typical fish story .
Lee and Audrey Wallace
Audrey and Lee live in Go-Gators-Lexington, Kentucky . Our friendship with the Wallaces stretches back to college days at Bradley University, making it one of the longest on record . Lee is infamous for being the King of Practical Jokes . Whether giving or receiving, no questions asked, he’s the best of the best. When Donna was battling her disease, Lee and Audrey made it their mission to bring a smile to her face . Nearly every week, for years, Donna opened the mailbox to discover yet another card that made us laugh out loud . On Lee’s 50th birthday—He’s much older now!—she decided to “get even” and sent him 50 birthday cards . Wanting to spread out Lee’s delight, Donna mailed the cards in groups . The plan was to have them arrive sporadically several days before his birthday . Imagine Donna’s reaction when she called him and was informed that every single card was delivered on the same day—one day after his birthday . How appropriate . Schwabe Time strikes again. Look for the recipe for Donna’s Babka Cake on page 24. It’s one of Lee’s favorites. He’ll be more than happy to make it for you . . . just not in this lifetime .
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Five Miracles For eight years, Donna battled her disease. Every hour of every day and every night, she fought. Along the way we encountered many victories. But most importantly, we were blessed with five miracles. No question. These miracles emboldened us, gave us hope, and strengthened our faith.
In 1997, Donna was diagnosed with Stage IV breast cancer . My initial realization of the seriousness of the disease hit me when Donna was hospitalized at Good Samaritan Hospital in West Palm Beach, Florida. Until then, we’d struggled to find the right doctor—the doctor who wouldn’t view our case as a lost cause. And that’s when we encountered our first miracle. Doctor James Harris nursed Donna back from the brink . He gave us hope .
As Donna’s condition stabilized, Dr. Harris approved our move to Sunnyvale, California . A short three months after settling into our new home, Donna was diagnosed with leukemia . Enter miracle number two . Our new oncologist, Dr . Hope Rugo, was also a hematologist . But most importantly, her ability to fight matched Donna’s. Donna’s only hope was a stem cell transplant. Dr. Rugo didn’t give up until we received the necessary clearances .
Now, we needed a stem cell donor who matched Donna’s blood chemistry. It’s rare that even a family member is an exact match. Donna’s two brothers were tested. Miracle number
three occurred . They were both a perfect match . Donna quipped, “I’ll pick Steve. He’s better looking.”
Dr . Rugo warned us, “Stem cell transplants are risky procedures. It’s not unusual for patients to die .” She also made sure we understood the stem cell transplant wouldn’t address breast cancer . However, if it were successful, it would cure Donna’s leukemia. Against all odds, Donna survived the procedure . With tears in her eyes and a catch in her voice, she called me, exuberant with the good news: The stem cell transplant was successful. Donna’s leukemia was cured, and the growth of her breast cancer was stemmed . We celebrated miracle number four . Donna, and I, and the girls packed as much living as possible into the next six years.
In April 2006, we returned to South Florida, in part, to work again with Dr . Harris in search of miracle number five. The cancer had spread to her liver. Miracle five emerged on May 12th, when on a brilliant full moon, Donna returned home…forever.
fter Donna died, the family discussed ways to honor her memory . Given her love of gardening and her green, green thumb, we decided planting a tree would be an especially fitting tribute. I talked with Nancy Mercure. She immediately embraced the idea and promised to work with our other Reston, Virginia friends to make it happen . And sure enough. Donna’s Tree became a reality. Nancy and our friends worked closely with the Reston Homeowner’s Association to select a beautiful red bud tree and to pick the perfect location. And what a location . The tree looks out toward Lake Anne in Reston—the lake where Donna and I docked our sailboat . Our Reston friends placed an engraved rock at the base of the tree, and through every season, they take loving care of Donna’s Tree. It’s safe to say that Donna’s Tree is the most beloved tree in Reston . This picture captures memories of the Sunday I traveled to Reston to see my great friends and dedicate the tree. As Donna’s Tree was planted, we spread some of her ashes beneath its branches and prayed for renewed peace . More trees were planted . Coral Springs, Florida, Los Altos, California, and even, the State of Israel treasure their own species of Donna’s Tree. Others will follow. And Donna’s memory lives on.
About This Culinary Memoir This custom edition of We Remember Donna was coordinated and edited by Memoir Shoppe in Fort Lauderdale, Florida . Book design, digital imaging and page layout was done by Shoebox Scanning & Design in Vero Beach, Florida. Judith Kolva, Ph.D. is the founder and owner of Memoir Shoppe. Judithâ€™s doctoral work focused on how preserving life stories can create meaning in life . She is a trusted interviewer, expert researcher, and gifted writer whose experience and expertise makes completing life stories easy. Judith travels worldwide transforming precious memories into priceless memoirs . Please visit her web site: www .memoirshoppe .com cj Madigan is a publication designer and digital imaging specialist with over twenty yearsâ€™ experience in graphic design and print production. Her firm, Shoebox Scanning & Design in Vero Beach, Florida, helps private publishers turn manuscripts into masterpieces. You can reach her through her web site: www.shoeboxscanning.biz.
We Will Survive! Proceeds from the sale of We Remember Donna will be used to further breast cancer initiatives . To order additional copies please visit www .memoirshoppe .com/resources .
Donna chaiLLe schwaBe 1950-2006
Published on May 17, 2013