I had two questions for my Uncle Wayne that were birthed out of the Family History vacation in April. They came spilling out of odd mentions from Uncles John and Dave, and left me with furrowed brow. My intent was to ask Uncle Wayne.
First, there was mention of Bub being sickly as a child (Bub is Uncle Dave) and needing a blood transfusion. As Uncle John spoke of it, it became Bub’s safety net in many situations. Grandma always sort of protected him, told the older boys not to pick on Dave because he had almost died. Of course, it was so long ago, and they were all children, so Mom, Dave, and John don’t really seem to remember why Dave was sick or what sickness ailed him. This was my first question for Uncle Wayne. Being a few years older than the others, he may have recalled more details about Bub’s near-death experience as a child.
Second, there is a wild legend of Uncle Wayne in his high school football days. Nobody quite recalled those particulars, either, except that Grandpa was so proud of him and would always talk about Uncle Wayne’s infamous touchdown. To hear him tell it, I’ve heard, was a great experience.
These were my two questions for Uncle Wayne–what was David sick with, and what happened at that football game. The first question still has no answer. The second, however, sparked a memory with Uncle Wayne. I offer it here, transcribed from a letter dated August 6th of this year, in Wayne Schmitzer’s own words:
Now about my football career at Frankenmuth High. I started at Frankenmuth at the beginning of my Jr year. Frankenmuth went 4 years without a defeat. We were a class C school, but we played against class B. I would guess the reason we did so well was that we were a farming community. We didn’t have any real big players but they were strong from working on the farms. Now about the play I made. It was during Father’s Day at the game. Mom & Dad were there. Well coach I guess knew this. I normally played defense. But coach put me in the offense to run the ball. Well I made it into the end zone and did a front flip. Dad teased me about that for years. I could still do front flips till I was almost 50. I have one record at Frankenmuth. Nobody ever scored against me while I was on defense. They may tie it, but never break it.
I can’t even imagine my Uncle Wayne doing a front flip. And believe me, I’ve tried very hard. Still, I imagine he is feeling young and wonderful now that he is home in Heaven. I imagine he’s already done a couple of flips.