In Memory

Mary Ann Bethel (Mason)

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09/18/11 01:52 PM #1    

Candace Barnes (Van Der Meulen)

I think she had suffered more than anyone else in our class.  I hope she found peace and love after high school....and if anyone knows about her later life, i would love to hear it. I hope she gets a happier birth.

09/20/11 09:52 AM #2    

Arlene Squires

Mary Ann was sweet person and warmed to anyone who would be a friend.  I am sure God is showing His love in her eternal life.

03/12/12 03:57 PM #3    

Sue Nadeau (Sowden)

     I was probably her best friend in High School.  I hope this does not seem harsh but very few others would have anything to do with her.  We all know what hIgh school students are like and few cared to hang out with someone so wounded by life at such an early age.  Her story was heart-rending -- her physical and mental disabilities were the result of being an in-utero experiment on her mother while interned in a concentration camp during WW 2.  The Nazis wanted to study the effects of severe malnutrition on a pregnant woman (Mary Ann's mother) and Mary Ann was the result.

      I also befriended her mother.  She was a lovely, soft-spoken, and hard-working woman who survived the camps and came to this country after the war.  She was told by the Nazis that her doctor-husband was killed in another camp; at the same time, her husband was told that she was killed.  Both ended the war thinking the other was dead.  A few years later, Mary Ann's mother discovered that her husband was still alive and re-married.  She flew back to Germany to meet with him because, as she said, it would have broken her heart to never see him again, knowing that he was alive.  They met quietly and then said their final good-byes.  Years later, she died of a heart attack, leaving Mary Ann alone and helpless.  I asked Mary Ann what her mother died of and she struggled with her limited vocabulary.  Finally she said "her heart broke."  Although that was the only way she knew how to say 'heart attack', her answer was truer than she knew.

     We had Mary Ann to our busy house (5 children) for holidays and occasional visits.  She suddenly disappeared, however, and I was never able to find her again.  I was saddened to see the rose by her name.  Only God knows her sorrows and only He knows how to comfort them.

Sue Nadeau Sowden, '62

04/05/12 01:17 PM #4    

Sue Burford (Davis)

May Ann's story broke my heart! How sad. I don't remember her from High School, but what a brave person; her and her Mother were. Truly, truly, sad. If we only knew then; what we know now, maybe we could have all made her life alittle better! I'm happy that she had such a good friend as you!

06/13/12 03:53 PM #5    

Sue Nadeau (Sowden)

In response to Candace's request, the only thing I can add to what is already there is that Mary Ann often came down to Santa Cruz to visit my family.  Since we had been friends in high school (I helped her learn to read better and write more clearly), she felt that she wanted to remain close to me even though we lived a long bus ride south.  Our five children learned a lot of patience and compassion from her -- more importantly, she felt welcomed.  We lost track of her quite suddenly.  Someone told me later that she had to move into a home because she couldn't do well on her own after her mother died.  She tried to, though.  She was a little survivor.   I don't know what she died of but I know that her physical condition was severely compromised due to the Nazi torture her mother endured.  Sue Sowden (Nadeau). 

11/12/12 05:06 PM #6    

Candace Barnes (Van Der Meulen)

thank you, sue. i heard she had been married, also; i hope she found love.  high school had to have been rougher on her than most.  she had a heart:  when i was new, she made friends with me.

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