Wednesday, October 30, 2013
Tim Cox let me know that Blandine Schilling recently celebrated her 105th birthday! She and her husband Ernie ran the grill and grocery store in Strathmere until the early 1980s.
She now lives in Hilton Head South Carolina and attends St. Francis by the Sea Church.
Below is a reprint of the story that appeared in The Catholic Miscellany on Blandine's 100th birthday.
Blandine Schilling, 99, leads an active life of faith
BY CHRISTINA LEE KNAUSS THE CATHOLIC MISCELLANY HILTON HEAD —
Blandine Schilling, 99, has become one of the best-known members of St. Francis by the Sea Church. She attends daily Mass so faithfully, always sitting in the front row, that when she left for a two-month trip earlier this summer, she was instantly missed.Daughter Susan Boyd said that dozens of people greet her by name at church social functions, and at locations around the island. Her birthdays have become a cause for celebration at the parish.
Schilling, a native of France, will celebrate her 100th birthday on Oct. 16. She said her strong religious faith and a good attitude have helped her live this long. “My faith helps me to live. I could not be without it,” Schilling said in a recent interview with The Miscellany. “I have been so blessed to have a healthy life and a healthy family.” She’s been a member at St. Francis by the Sea since 1998, when she moved to South Carolina from Florida.
She grew up in the city of Tourcoing in the north of France, in a region known for its textile mills. Schilling started working in the mills when she was 13, and became adept at a skill called “invisible mending,” which involved hand sewing to fix flaws in fabric as it came off the looms. She came to the United States through Ellis Island at the age of 19, after the death of her mother.“She had four brothers and sisters at home, and her father let her go because she could send money home,” Boyd said. “She also said she wanted to come because of the adventure of going to the United States.” Schilling remembered one humorous anecdote from her time at Ellis Island. A processing agent told her that American girls “would be jealous of her beautiful teeth.” Schilling grew up during World War I, and she said sugar and sweets were almost nonexistent.
Schilling moved to Philadelphia to live with an aunt and took a job in her mending shop. When the Great Depression hit in 1929, Schilling’s “invisible mending” was in high demand because people couldn’t afford to buy new clothes and brought them to her to be repaired. In Philadelphia, Schilling met a German immigrant, Ernest Schilling, when both were enrolled in night school to learn English. The two married and raised seven children — three girls and four boys — in Philadelphia, where Ernest ran a restaurant called the Fernwood Diner.
The family continued to grow over the years. Schilling now has 18 grandchildren and 17 great-grands. Ernest wasn’t Catholic when they were first married, so the couple said their vows in a rectory. He later became a convert, and the couple renewed their vows with a full church wedding in 1960.
They moved to Strathmere, N.J., and ran a grocery store and grill there until the early ‘80s, and then retired to Florida. Ernest died in 1991, and Schilling moved to Hilton Head seven years later. For many years, she walked to the church from her apartment at an assisted living facility adjacent to the church property.
These days, Boyd drops Schilling off for Mass in the morning. “She’s treated like the doyenne of the church,” Boyd said. “People vie to take her home when it’s over.”“She’s quite an individual,” said Dr. Vincent Rerucha, a retired physician and fellow member of St. Francis who regularly drives Schilling home from daily Mass. “She is really considerate of everybody; she’s got a good memory; she knows everybody at St. Francis. And everybody knows Blandine.”
Lorraine Dufour also drives Schilling home frequently, and the women have become close friends. “She’s a really sweet lady and such a devoted parishioner,” Dufour said. “She loves a party and loves a good time. I draw a lot of inspiration from her. She’s like an Eveready battery; she keeps going.”Schilling’s daily life is an active one. She plays games three times a week, takes senior exercise classes, and reads three or more murder mysteries a week. Her favorite author is Agatha Christie. She crochets and makes baby blankets for each new family birth.
She also still nurtures a lifelong love for travel. Her most recent trips took her to Montana for a grandchild’s wedding, Bermuda, Philadelphia and upstate New York.
Her Catholic faith, Schilling said, is one of the reasons she is able to stay so active. She also knows how important it is to help others live their faith, she added. Schilling is an extraordinary minister of holy Communion who regularly brings the Eucharist to shut-ins at her assisted living complex. She said she has a special devotion to St. Thérèse of Lisieux, likes to say the prayer of St. Francis of Assisi and regularly prays seven rosaries a day.
“My mother has a very strong belief in God watching over her,” Boyd said. “She’s weathered the sadness in her life with an unshakeable faith.” Schilling said she doesn’t have any overly profound advice for people who wonder how she’s lived this long. Her three simple tips sum up the way she’s approached her entire life.“Stay active, stay involved, and keep the faith,” she said.
Published Oct. 2,, 2008, The Catholic Miscellany
SIA Newsletter 10 29 2013 - Another Christmas Party Change; Sandy; Deauville; Tidal Levels; Bulk Trash; Boat Ramp
Wednesday, October 09, 2013
SIA Newsletter 10 9 2013 - Bayberry and Beach Plum Planting Saturday; No Trash or Recycling Monday; Beach Funding; Christmas Party Changes; Bayview Flooding; Calendar
You can now mix cans, bottles, plastic containers, newspapers and boxes in one container as indicated here:
Friday, October 04, 2013
Most Popular Books and DVDs for summer 2013:
Most popular children’s books – Sea Monsters, The Enormous Crocodile & Charlotte’s Web
Most popular fiction – Gone Girl & And the Mountains Echoed
Most popular non-fiction – At Home: A Short History of Private Life & Killing Kennedy
Most popular DVD- Silver Linings Playbook (checked out a record 13 times)
Used Book Sale and Donations:
Our fifth annual “End of Summer” book sale is over and it was very successful. We made $541.80 and had 284 people stop in the library to browse and buy. Keep those donations coming!
October is Mystery Month at the Library:
For the month of October we are having a special drawing for a “mystery prize.” Check out a book (any type of book – it doesn’t have to be a mystery, even though we have LOTS of those to choose from) and enter to win.
We will also have our “Borrow a DVD for FREE” promotion this month. What a deal!
Hours will vary this winter. We’ll be open Tuesday - Saturday, either from 9-4pm or 8-3pm. This is to accommodate Melissa’s hours (she has to pick up children from school). And no Thursday evenings.
Our Library and the Used Book Sale Are Famous:
Well, maybe a little famous – we were STARS of a great article in the Hometown section of the Press of Atlantic City. Joan was even featured on the front page of that section.
Here’s a link: Article about the library
Christine Rohrman, Library Director
Thursday, October 03, 2013
SIA Newsletter 10 2 2013 - Town Meeting Last Saturday on New FEMA Maps; Bayberry and Beach Plum Planting 10/12; Webcam; Like Us on Facebook!; Calendar
The Strathmere Improvement Association includes all owners in Strathmere and Whale Beach and many visitors. It was founded in 1951 as a community organization with the simple objective of making Strathmere a better place. We are proud of the organization's many accomplishments over the years.