|Maria Schuster marries Samuel Ebner May 22, 1899|
recorded in the Church "Family Book" in Grosspold, Romania
The bottom of the Samuel Ebner page in the "Grosspold Family Book," shown above, records the marriage. Maria Schuster (née Wagner) was thirty-two when she and Samuel married. It may have had as much to do with practicality as love. Each had suffered the loss of a spouse. Each had children to raise. Joining together made sense, but Lisi, Samuel's daughter and my grandmother, felt abandoned a second time.
She wanted her father all to herself and felt she was losing him to this unknown woman. The same dynamics that affect blended families today--children not accepting the new step-parent, resentment, parental loss still palpable--those feelings existed just as strongly 100 years ago.
A neighbor took Lisi aside, we later heard, and in trying to convince her all was for the best, whispered, “A man needs a woman.” Twelve at the time, Lisi probably missed the sexual connotation of this remark, but never forgot it.
Just like today, it probably took a lot of patience and love for Maria Schuster as the step-mom to win over Lisi, but she did--and Lisi came to love her new mother and sisters as her own. Difficult times and a strong community code that encouraged families to stay together probably helped, but I believe unconditional love was at the root of this blended family’s success.
Two new children were born to Samuel and Maria: Theresia, known as Resi, in 1900 and Johan, called Hans, in 1904. But the sisters brought into the marriage remained a mystery--until our family trip to Romania in 2007.
|Agnetha Schuster), left, my|
grandmother's step-sister. Wedding photo
|Elisabeth Kirschlager center|
L-R Bill, Paul, Linda Gartz 2007
Next: Lisi's third mother.