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Guide to the Helen Shediwy Scheetz memoir

Collection Overview

Date Span: 1988
Creator: Scheetz, Helen Shediwy (1921-2013)
Extent: 54.00 pages.
Collection Number: IWA0677
Repository: Iowa Women's Archives
Summary: The youngest daughter of immigrants reflects on growing up in Iowa towns during the Depression.

Arrangement: One folder, shelved in SCVF.

Access: The reminiscence is open for research.

Use: Copyright held by the donor has been transferred to The University of Iowa.

Acquisition: The reminiscence (donor no. 792) was donated by Helen Shediwy Scheetz in 2001.

Preferred Citation: Helen Shediwy Scheetz memoir, Iowa Women's Archives, The University of Iowa Libraries, Iowa City.

Repository: Iowa Women's Archives
Address: 100 Main Library
University of Iowa Libraries
Iowa City, IA 52242
Phone: 319-335-5068
Curator: Kären Mason

Helen Shediwy Scheetz was born in Elkhorn, Nebraska, in 1921. Her father was the son of as hoemaking family from Vienna, Austria who immigrated to Chelsea, Iowa, in the late nineteenth century. There he met Dora Jensen, an immigrant from northern Germany. They married in 1903, and moved every few years while raising their children. Both worked variously as restaurant owners, shoe and harness repair workers, stockyard workers, dishwashers, and occasionally farmers. They settled in DeSoto, Iowa in 1929 when their daughter Helen Shediwy was of school age. She attended school there, graduating in 1938 from DeSoto High School at the top of her class of eleven students.

After graduating, she moved to Belle Plaine, Iowa where she worked for a relative who owned a Maid-Rite Diner. She also enrolled in a short business school course in comptometry while working. She met and married Charles Scheetz in 1942. Scheetz had been raised on a farm, but was an auto mechanic in Belle Plaine at the time. During World War II, he began working as an aeronautic mechanic and stayed in that field after the war. Helen Scheetz worked part time throughout her married life as an office worker in Cedar Rapids and Iowa City. They had no children, but enjoyed their home and garden, as well as traveling together.

Charles Scheetz died of a heart attack in 1973 at age sixty-three, soon after retiring. Helen Scheetz also retired at that time. She lived alone on their acreage near Solon, Iowa until 1993. As she disliked driving, she belonged to few clubs, but enjoyed cooking, gardening, and reading. She traveled to Europe five times after retiring. In 1993, she moved to a retirement home in Iowa City, where she lived until her death in 2013.

The Scheetz reminiscence, "Beside the Still Waters," dates from 1988 and measures fifty-four pages. In enjoyable prose, it offers a loving and candid portrait of childhood in an impoverished immigrant family in rural Iowa during the Depression. She wrote this reminiscence for her nieces and nephews.

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This collection is indexed under the following subject terms.

Personal Names:
Scheetz, Helen Shediwy, 1921-


Rural girls
Rural women
Immigrant families
Rural families
Family life
Great Depression, 1929


Geographic Names:
United States -- Iowa

Genre/Form of Materials:

Rural and Farm Women