By Cathy Leestma

My family is hooked on the popular television series now in its third season called “This is us.”  A quote from Hulu states: “This is us is a smart, modern new dramedy that will change your everyday presumptions about the people you think you know.”

My grandmother, Emma Schaub, on the left encourages her great granddaughter, Andrea to pose for the picture, my mom, Marjorie holds our daughter.

It is set in a dual timeline of before and now and reveals the story of the Jack Pearson family. There is a reason we were hooked from the first episode, and I can almost guarantee you that you will find watching this series a great way to spend an hour.  It is done so well.

Perhaps there is another reason though for its success. And that reason is how as the story unfolds, it reminds me and perhaps will you, of your own, your very own story. We all have a story in this life filled with complicated people, great loves and love lost, twisted plots and “who would ever have thought?”

If I could have the producers of “This is us” focus on just two of the people who have shaped my life, it would be to honor and show the true grit of the women who came before me, namely my paternal grandmother and my mom.

My grandma Schaub, one of ten children, grew up on a farm near Seymour, Indiana. She sent three of her four sons off to fight in WWII, only two returned. At sixty seven, she taught herself how to Braille Sunday School lessons for blind children. She was the church treasurer for years and I guarantee you everything balanced down to the penny. Every night she would take down her braided bun and brush her hair 100 times. After that she would kneel at her bed for prayer. Did I mention how far she could make a pound of ground beef go? To this day, I would give anything for one more plate of her spaghetti, the best I’ve ever had. If she sounds almost too good to be true, she was.

Marjory Spotts Schaub was my mom. She and my dad split their time between Sarasota, Florida and Lake Lure, back when a 1000’ cottage on the big lake (as we called it) was a mansion. She lived a full life and began her career as a buyer in retail for women’s clothing. Her fear and dislike of flying came about from too many scary trips from Florida to New York in the 1940’s.

Although she had strong opinions, they would only be shared with those she trusted. She never hovered as a mom. And many times she would not give us her opinion, trusting us to make the right choices. But I always knew she was there for me, and when she died, I felt like I had lost my best cheerleader.

This is us reveals the grit of lives that don’t give up, something like the women in my life and the folks here in the Gorge and surrounding areas. This is our community. For those of you visiting for the first time, welcome! This area is bustling for a good part of the year but winters are pretty quiet and many full timers like it that way. For our local businesses, though, winter can be tough. So we welcome spring like a new baby, all fresh and full of potential, with summer just around the corner.

You will meet a lot of good people here, people who care about this community. Just like the Pearson family, the folks here experience jubilation and heartbreak, plenty and want. So, as we go about being “us,” let’s encourage others by spending an extra moment in conversation, buying locally and being grateful for this one life we are given to live.