Skip to main content

Helen Shediwy Scheetz memoir

 Collection — Folder: 1
Identifier: IWA0677

Scope and Contents

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.


  • Creation: 1988


Conditions Governing Access

The reminiscence is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

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

However, copyright status for some collection materials may be unknown. Transmission or reproduction of materials protected by U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17, U.S.C.) beyond that allowed by fair use requires the written permission of the copyright owner. Works not in the public domain cannot be commercially exploited without permission of the copyright owners. Responsibility and potential liability based on copyright infringement for any use rests exclusively and solely with the user. Users must properly acknowledge the Iowa Women’s Archives, The University of Iowa Libraries, as the source of the material. For further information, visit

Biographical / Historical

Helen Shediwy Scheetz was born in Elkhorn, Nebraska, in 1921. Her father was the son of as homemaking 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.


0.25 linear inches

Language of Materials



The youngest daughter of immigrants reflects on growing up in Iowa towns during the Depression.


One folder, shelved in SCVF.

Method of Acquisition

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

Doris Malkmus, 2001.
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the Iowa Women's Archives Repository

100 Main Library
University of Iowa Libraries
Iowa City IA 52242 IaU
319-335-5900 (Fax)