My grandma, Marjorie “Marge” Schramm was the first female mayor of Kirkwood in St. Louis. I wasn’t even alive yet when she finished her two four-year terms as mayor. It actually wasn’t until much later when I finally learned about my grandma’s job as mayor. I was questioning the large metal key sitting on my mom’s desk when I learned about it. Being mayor of Kirkwood, lots of interesting things happened to my grandma.
Grandma was very well respected as mayor. Being the first female mayor, grandma was an inspiration for many people. She worked hard, meeting people, fixing problems and being the best mayor she could be. Grandma was a great listener and met as many people as she could when she was running for city council. She was a city council member for ten years before becoming mayor. During her campaign, she walked the streets of Kirkwood, shaking hands and meeting people.
Once during her term someone came in and dumped a bucket of asphalt on her desk because the asphalt she was using to pave the roads was lumpy. People wrote letters to her from the point of squirrels about trees being cut down! No matter what the complaint, grandma was always very polite and patient with the citizens of Kirkwood.
Grandma was also very successful. She was mayor from 1992 to 2000, when my mom was 25 years old. Grandma first became interested in politics when she was teaching history and government. Someone then suggested that she run for office. Among her many accomplishments, grandma was the first woman to chair the Missouri Highway and Transportation Department, she led the Small Cities Council for 1994 and created better roads and sidewalks in Kirkwood.
Just because interesting things happened in office doesn’t mean nothing happened at home. In fact, my mom told me a story recently that grandma always told her. One day my grandma happened to be in the basement when the door closed on her. Someone had closed the basement door! Grandma probably knew right away who it was. It was my mom, when she was a young child. Grandma shouted for my mom to let her out, but she didn’t. Instead my mom got on top of the stereo (which she definitely wasn’t allowed to do). She brought lots of books and sat there, reading them out loud. Grandma shouted for my mom again and again, louder and louder, but my mom just matched grandma’s volume. This went on and on and eventually grandma gave up. She climbed out of the basement window! My mom definitely got in trouble for that one.
My mom remembers lots about grandma. I however, don’t. I only remember what she looks like in a wheelchair. But she always had a big smile on her face when we arrived at her house. The house was an average-sized one story. It had a large living room, small kitchen and bathroom and three bedrooms on the first floor. The basement also had a bathroom and a nice area with a tv and plush chairs that we always sat on. Grandma did a great job of spoiling my sister and me. There was always a jar of some sort of candy on the counter. There were most likely lemon drops in that container. Maybe circus peanuts, sweet mints or candied orange slices. I loved lemon drops as a child. Grandma would always let us pry off the lid of that container and have a few. The smell of sweet lemon was always enough to make us ask for more.
Grandma’s house always had a nice amount of snacks too. We’d sit at the table snacking on chips while either grandpa’s baseball game or grandma’s talk shows played in our ears. If we were lucky, then we would be able to watch cartoons on the tv in the dining room. We usually finished our snack and ran into grandma’s room instead.
Grandma passed away in 2011 at the age of 75. Though I don’t remember very much about her life before she was in a wheelchair, I will cherish what I do know for the rest of my life.
Submitted by Katka, Age 14