Kathleen Schaeffer wanted to give her former husband, Lloyd, some souvenirs of their seven-year marriage, which has dissolved into a messy battle now on its way to the state's second-highest court.
Within arm's length of two Carroll County sheriff's deputies -- called Friday to make sure Mrs. Schaeffer vacated the family's Sullivan Road home -- Mrs. Schaeffer threw into his arms a wedding picture album, a portrait and even the light blue dress she wore on one of their first dates.
"Here are some reminders of our marriage, Lloyd," she cried. The Westminster scene was crowded with family members, friends, a rented truck, several vans and five cars scattered in the driveway. Her father led her away as her former husband fumbled with the items, then placed them, silently, on the ground.
As Mrs. Schaeffer got into her car, she admonished her former husband to "take care of Matthew. He's been sick all day."
Mr. Schaeffer said he would take care of their son. Then he asked his former wife to give him all of the house keys and the two automatic garage-door openers.
Mrs. Schaeffer -- now Miss Murphy, although she refuses to use her maiden name -- was ordered out of the house Friday, after her husband's attorneys decided to enforce Circuit Judge Raymond E. Beck's Oct. 9 divorce decree granting Mr. Schaeffer temporary possession of the $300,000 house.
As recently as a week ago, Mr. Schaeffer -- an owner of the Schaeffer Lumber Co. -- had told Mrs. Schaeffer that she; Sarah Blair, her 13-year-old daughter from a previous marriage; and the couple's 5-year-old son could continue to live in the home until the divorce proceedings were completed.
He changed his mind a day before an article describing the divorce was printed in The Sun.
By talking to a reporter, Mrs. Schaeffer "has amply demonstrated that her sole concern is for her own selfish interests," E. David Silverberg, Mr. Schaeffer's attorney, wrote in an answer to Mrs. Schaeffer's request for a stay to Judge Beck's divorce order.
In that order, Judge Beck granted a divorce to Mr. Schaeffer without specifying any grounds. Mr. Schaeffer also was granted custody of Matthew and three years' occupancy of the house.
zTC Mr. Schaeffer was ordered to pay his former wife temporary alimony of $800 a month; the judge also ordered Mrs. Schaeffer to pay $315 a month in child support.
Mrs. Schaeffer says she can't afford the support payments, her legal fees -- said to be approaching $20,000 -- and another $10,700 the court ordered her to pay her former husband before the couple's joint assets are divided.
On Thursday, Judge Beck denied Mrs. Schaeffer's request for a stay. Later Thursday, Mrs. Schaeffer filed an appeal with the Court of Special Appeals. With that filing, she also asked Chief Judge Alan M. Wilner of the Court of Special Appeals to stay Judge Beck's order.
On Friday afternoon, Judge Wilner and Court of Special Appeals Judges Robert E. Fischer and John J. Bishop Jr. refused to stay the Circuit Court order.
Mrs. Schaeffer's appeal will be heard next summer, court officials said Friday.
Mr. Silverberg, who was standing at the end of the driveway talking with the sheriff and Mrs. Schaeffer's attorney, Elwood E. Swam, declined to comment on behalf of his client.
"This whole thing is a tragedy, it's really a tragedy," he said.
Mrs. Schaeffer was not sure where she was going to live as she drove away Friday evening.
"Where am I going to go? What am I going to do? I can't wait until the summer for my appeal, I don't know what I'm going to do," she said, as her daughter cried quietly in the passenger seat.
For the weekend, at least, they were going to stay at a Westminster hotel. They were also going to rent a storage room for their belongings until they found a place to live.
In the hours prior to Mrs. Schaeffer's eviction, her parents, siblings, friends and Sarah packed up the items Judge Beck's order allowed her to take with her.
She packed her clothing but decided to leave her arts and crafts supplies behind. "I'm probably not supposed to take these; it might make them angry," she said.
"That it should come to this, is terrible," said her mother, Ann Murphy, as she packed a picture of the Virgin Mary.
# "This is terrible."