Retired Atascadero teacher writes book about her uncle who died in Vietnam
Lynn Higgins self-published, ‘The Box’
–After five years of writing, rewriting, editing and designing, Atascadero resident Lynn Higgins self-published “The Box,” which is a memoir about her Uncle Edward August Schultz.
Higgins was 19 when her uncle lost his life in combat in Vietnam at the age of 21, just three months after he was deployed. “He never wanted to go to war, but he never complained,” Higgins said.
Higgins started the book after her friend Jim Petersen told her he was traveling to Vietnam in 2009. She asked if he would stop by the village of Hoc Mon if he went by it. He did, and he stopped in the village. She said he came across some men who were Viet Cong members.
“These men were in the same battle [as my uncle],” she said. “One of the men started crying and told of his loss.”
That man then told Petersen to wait, and he took off on his bicycle and returned with a box; a gift for Higgins.
“To me, they were the enemy,” she said, but then she said she realized that they suffered as much, if not more, loss than those on the side of the United States. “I was so blown away by it. i knew this was a story I had to share. It’s not just for me, but for anyone with loss. I had to share his gift.”
Not long before Petersen’s trip, Schultz’s best friend and former platoon mate, Andy Wahrenbrock –a man he spent 24/7 with during the war– had contacted Higgins’ family.
“I thought everyone in his platoon had died – that’s not the true story, but what I thought for years,” she said.
Wahrenbrock, who now lives in Bakersfield, told them of the battle that took Schultz’s life, as well as the battles that preceded it. With his help, Higgins was able to write about Schultz’s life leading up to his death. Until Wahrenbrock visited Higgins’ family, they did not know that anyone from his platoon has survived. He was able to tell the family what happened in the war, and how Schultz died. Because Schultz and Wahrenbrock were together all day and night during the war, Higgins said she was able to get a pretty good picture of what her uncle experienced.
She knew the age and where the man from the Viet Cong was from and used the history of people growing up there in her book. She told the story of both sides from when Schultz was a boy through his death.
Schultz graduated from San Luis Obispo High School in 1965 and was drafted in 1968 when he was 21. Three months after he was deployed to Vietnam he was killed in action. Because Schultz was only two years older than Higgins, he was the last of six children in her mother’s family, they were very close. Higgins mom, Lorine, was the oldest and often took her mother and Schultz places around town. Higgins said Schultz was more like a brother to her than an uncle.
The 182-page book was released on Jan. 9 via Amazon.com through its print-on-demand feature under the name Lynne Lorine Ludwick. The book is $10 and is printed and mailed once it is purchased. As of Jan. 15, Higgins said she had already sold 40 books. A friend of hers will be having a book signing and book launch party for her in the near future, most likely in March. She will announce the event on her website. Her sister, Judy McPhail, a speech therapist at Almond Acres Charter Academy in San Miguel, took the photo on the cover of the book and Higgins’ daughter, Lauren Christophel, who currently lives in Truckee, designed the cover.
Higgins taught special education full-time for Atascadero Unified School District for 20 years, after subbing for 10 years. She has three children, Lindsey Lau, who graduated from Atascadero High School in 1998; Christophel, who graduated from AHS in 2001; and Michael Higgins, who graduated from AHS in 2003.
Higgins was born and raised in San Luis Obispo. She graduated from SLO High School in 1967 and spent her eighth grade year in Atascadero.
She is also starting a scholarship in honor of her uncle. For more information on it, click here.
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