Born in Lamar in September of 1943, Mary Ann Bauer was the daughter George Bauer (born in Russia to German parents, the family immigrated to the U.S. in 1912) and Martha (Ackerman) Bauer (born in Nebraska); the couple met in Wyoming, and moved to the Wiley area, not far from Lamar. Her father worked in a hay mill, irrigated for other farmers, and farmed his own land. Her mother worked as a fry cook for the Lamar A & W restaurant for 25-30 years, also selling chickens, turkeys, eggs and cream locally (not to mention feeding her family of six.)
Mary Ann and her brothers, Delmar, Duane and Allen grew up helping out on the farm. Although her mother would never allow her daughter to milk cows, relegating that specific chore to her sons. That did not mean Mary Ann had it easy, she had her chores feeding the turkeys, chickens, and helping out her mother. Her first job was at age 11 dust mopping a neighbor’s home for $1. She rode on top of the hay rake (serving as weight and dislodging any errant rocks) while her brother drove the tractor. By age 12, she was driving the tractor herself. “We grew everything but sugar and flour; we had a huge garden. We canned everything, and kept it all in the cellar, we always had stores through the winter.” Mary Ann said they didn’t mind farm life, it was a way of life.
The Bauer kids were enrolled in 4-H and raised sheep, and Mary Ann recalls one of the lambs actually followed her to school one day! As she set off down their lane to catch the bus, the lamb pursued her. The kindly bus driver waited until she had secured her lamb, and then the bus was on the way again. Such was life in the country.
In her teens, Mary Ann worked for the Food Liner (the local grocery store), a fabric store, and as a car hop for A&W. She listened to country music station KCSY radio out of Oklahoma City, like most all the kids her age in Lamar at the time.
Morris McSchooler was born in Ridgway, Colorado on September 1938 to Melvin and Dorothy (Baumgardner) McSchooler, and grew up fishing and hunting. His siblings included Francis (Garrett), Beatrice (Boyd), Jeannie (McDaniel), Ed, Raymond (died as an infant), and Jo Ann (Mindenhall). Morris attended high school in Canon City before choosing to enroll in the Navy in 1956, where he worked in the fire department. He finished his degree while serving. When he returned to Colorado he started working for Mountain Bell as a young technician, the company sent him to Lamar, CO. While buying his lunch one day at the Food Liner, he first laid eyes on the beautiful Mary Ann, and learned that she worked at the A&W restaurant in the evenings.
Mary Ann was 17 years old when ‘Mac’ walked into the restaurant intent on meeting his future bride. When the couple was first dating in 1960, Morris would pick Mary Ann up at 11:00pm when her shift would end to go drag Main Street for 30 minutes, then get her back to A&W by 11:30pm when her mother got off work, and they went home together. “He had a ‘60 DeSoto, and we would travel up and down Main Street. We sure had fun!”
Morris and Mary Ann married on Sept. 24, 1961, initially living in Pueblo, before Mountain Bell needed his skills in Alamosa, then back in Pueblo, and then to Lamar–moving for nine years. At the same time they started their family, Pamela was born in 1962, followed by Scott in 1965 and Janelle in 1970.
In 1971, the family made plans to move to a home up the slope just off Savage Road next door to Morris’ sister Jeannie and her husband C.V. McDaniel. While they had to haul water, the incredible views made up for the inconvenience. One year it rained all summer, that’s the summer she said she learned to drive in the mud.
Simultaneously, her sister-in-law Jeannie asked Mary Ann if she was interested in helping her out at a Pueblo florist called Campbell’s Flowers. Despite a hectic time, she agreed, and up until this past year had worked for them both at the counter and in floral design. The dynamic team of Jeannie, Mary Ann, and Bunny Even worked in the wee hours of the night on countless holidays making arrangements of all sizes and shapes. Mary Ann also worked at King Soopers, a Beulah carrier for the U.S. Post Office, and the Beulah General Store.
In 1974, they found just the right piece of property on North Creek Road, the border of their new place border actually lands right in the middle of the creek. Picturesque meadow and mountain views, along with a consistent parade of wild turkeys have always rooted the family. Mary Ann explains, “We love the country!”
The McSchoolers quickly became involved with a host of community activities including 4-H, Beulah Valley Saddle Club, the Beulah Melodramas, and the Beulah Yule Log Festival. Anything the McSchoolers were involved in, they gave it their all.
“Morris loved doing for the community, ahead of the Yule Log he would make calls, gather pine boughs, work to make hundreds of feet of pine bough rope (with the help of Elsie Kent, Rose Caple and Laura Amman) to decorate the pavilion and fill the air with the heady scent of the woods to the delight of all visitors. The family helped to make wreaths, which were sold to pay for the wassail.
Beulah Valley Saddle Club was important to the entire family, Morris would watch the cattle at the Mountain Park Arena ahead of the annual 4th of July Rodeo. He worked the arena dirt, flagged, ran the gate, and was the chief cook for steak fries and overnight rides. Mary Ann helped in the office, wrote checks as the treasurer and still found time to iron her children’s shirts for big events and parades. “I just loved having my kids around, they are each very special. I really got to enjoy each of them, because they were three and a half years apart.”
Today, Pam lives in Penrose, CO and works as an educator, married to Joe Caprio, together they have three children Josh, Beth and Tim. Scott is retired from the USAF after 25 years and works as an aircraft mechanic, living in Spencer, OK with wife Mary Berriz; children Taylor, Everett and Cody. Janelle works as a leasing agent and inspector and lives in Alamosa, CO with husband Josh Self, who has two children Bator and Kahlor.
Morris passed away in September 2001 after a brief battle with cancer. While life was very different without her partner of 40 years, Mary Ann continued to find great peace in her Beulah home. The entire family draws strength from memories of his sense of humor, and the way he could always be heard singing to his wife, like “the ol gray mare ain’t what she used to be, but I love her so!”
Today, Mary Ann enjoys quilting, a hobby she picked up in 2005 just in time for her first grandchild’s high school graduation, and now with five grandchildren, three step-grandchildren, and six great-grandchildren the talent is well utilized. Mary Ann has enjoyed attending quilting retreats and the monthly Beulah Quilt Club.
She is a longstanding member of Beulah Methodist Church and her faith in God is strong. Each of her children independently remarked on her strength and selflessness. When asked about her philosophy of life, Mary Ann simply responds ‘Just take everything as it comes, and try to live the best you can.”
Mary Ann is celebrating 50 years of living in Beulah this month. Her Beulah home and property remains a retreat, filled with memories of a good life. Together Mary Ann and Morris will always represent Love. Love for their beloved family, and for their treasured community.