Ode to our Mom
Patricia Ann Schonberg, our Mother, friend, and mentor passed away February 20, 2020 at 91 years old. Mom was born on October 6, 1928 in Marysville, California to Bernard and Dorothy Peters, and spent her early teenagehood on the island of Oahu in Hawaii. She watched the bombing of Pearl Harbor on the morning of December 7th, 1941 from the porch of her family home.
When she was just 19, Mom became smitten with a tall, blonde, blue-eyed motorcycle riding man named Russ. They married on June 10, 1948 in Auburn, California and she set off on her life goal of being a wonderful wife and mother. Though she originally wanted a baker’s dozen children, reality stepped in and she contented herself with six. Our Mom gave us life, nurtured us, kissed us, taught us, and fought for us. Most importantly, she loved each child unconditionally, although at times I’m sure that was a stretch.
Our Dad worked long hours to keep us housed, fed and to make his mark in the world. He succeeded in these goals, but his long hours away left our Mom to take care of the house and six energetic, precocious, and mischievous children. She endlessly drove us around, mopped floors, washed loads of clothes, made legendary lemon meringue pie, and often burnt the vegetables.
As if all that wasn’t enough, she was also an adopted mother to many of our friends and neighbors. Our house was a gathering place for our friends whose parents were working or fighting. Our friends knew that our Mom and a child or two would be around after school and on the weekend. The door was never locked.
Raising kids in the Bay Area in the 1960’s and 70’s was a challenge! You could take a short trip to San Francisco and see Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Grateful Dead, and Jefferson Airplane. The influence of the Beatles and the British invasion was everywhere. Our parents had to adapt to the girls all wanting to look like Twiggy with white lipstick, heavy eyeliner and mini shirts. The boys wanted to grow their hair long and the look like the Beatles. Talk swirled around us of free love, rebellion against the Vietnam War and government and drugs. What a difficult time and place to keep kids safe! Mom tried her best but couldn’t keep up with everything, even with her eyes in the back of her head. But we made it through somehow and we have even grown into older people ourselves.
Mom is still with us. She lives within us and will continue to guide us with how she lived and loved. Her dry sense of humor will always make us shake our heads and smile when we are taking life too seriously. Her soft but firm voice will lift us up when we feel down. Her green eyes will always look upon us with their unwavering care and boundless love.
Even as her own health declined, her greatest concern was that all of her children and grandchildren were safe and happy. A mother’s prayer is that her children will love each other and take care of each other after she is gone. With Mom’s spirit inside of us, we will continue to fulfill that promise.
Sadly, Mom lost her oldest daughter, Nancy, many years ago. She is survived by three remaining daughters, Susan Schonberg, Sandi Lucas, Bonnie Schonberg, two sons, Peter Schonberg and Mart Schonberg, 15 grandchildren and 18 great grandchildren, and her brother Dick Peters.
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