I’ve been asked why I became interested in the Buddy Schumacher story and decided to write a book about it. A couple of things factored into my decision.
First of all, I became interested in the story when my next-door neighbor growing up, Mrs. Harwood, would occasionally mention “the Schumacher boy.” She’d say things like “I know who killed the Schumacher boy,” among other things that kind of freaked me out.
My dad had bought our house at 8118 Hillcrest Drive in Wauwatosa, Wis., from a man named Art Schumacher. Back then, neither my dad nor I knew if Mr. Schumacher had a son or brother who had been killed. But the things Mrs. Harwood said about the boy, that he’d been killed by the Menomonee River and the railroad tracks, stuck in the back of my mind for decades.
Finally, around Christmas 2009, I decided to do some Internet searches and see if anything about the murder of a Schumacher boy could be found. The first item I came across that confirmed part of Mrs. Harwood’s allegations was a photo of a casket being carried out of a house with caption information about murder victim Arthur “Buddy Schumacher” being carried out of his house.
I had to know more. And the more I dug, the more intrigued I became in all the plot twists in the saga.
I’d started three books previously and hadn’t gotten past about Chapter 3 in any of them. The Buddy Schumacher story was a story that I was extremely interested in. And when I managed to track down Buddy’s two surviving nephews — one in Australia and one in Virginia — and found them to be most cooperative, I decided to try writing a book.
One of my passions is answering questions. And there were so many questions to be answered in this case, that I found myself really enjoying the investigative part of the process. Hours of phone calls, letters and emails, plunking quarter after quarter into microfilm machines at the Milwaukee Public Library, online news searches, poring over census records and genealogical information. It was all very interesting.
I was afforded the opportunity to write a three-part series for Wauwatosa NOW newspaper in the summer of 2010, the 85th anniversary of the killing.Getting that together was sort of like producing a Reader’s Digest version of the book as I had to whittle down what I’d already written.
Along the way, I received great advice from authors Michael John Sullivan, Heather Hummel and Bobby Tanzillo. Bobby suggested I pitch my idea to The History Press, which is the perfect publisher for this type of book.
So there you go.
Any other questions, just let me know!