Wednesday, June 11, 2008
Eileen Rose Busby
writer, world traveler and antiques expert
By Elizabeth Fitzsimons
April 9, 2005
Eileen Rose Busby had always wanted to be a published writer, and for years she would come up with jokes and stories she'd send to Reader's Digest, only to be rejected time and again. However, once her five children were grown, her writing career took off. She earned her bachelor's degree in English from New York University at the age of 62, and wrote several books on the topic she became an expert on: antiques. "She really had two lives," said her son J. Michael Scott.
Mrs. Busby spent her 60s and 70s traveling around Europe and writing from a home in England. Her latest book, "Royal Winton Chintz and Pastel Ware," is scheduled for release this fall.
On April 6, Mrs. Busby died at the Point Loma home of her daughter, Cordelia Mendoza. She was 82. Until last month, Mrs. Busby had been living independently in the San Carlos fixer-upper she bought four years ago and restored herself.
Mrs. Busby wrote books about Royal Winton Porcelain, Cottage Ware, chintz china, and even one on typing.
She was a member of the San Diego chapter of Mensa and the San Diego Press Club, and was featured last year in the newsletter of the Antiques Road Show. Mrs. Busby was scheduled to speak later this month at a San Francisco convention on chintz china, one of her areas of expertise.
Mrs. Busby was born on Aug. 15, 1922, in Two Harbors, Minn., a town on Lake Superior, northeast of Duluth. While she was still a baby, the family moved to San Diego, where Mrs. Busby's parents owned and operated the Karamel-Korn Shop downtown. Upon graduating from San Diego High School in 1939 at the age of 16, Mrs. Busby attended Woodbury Business College in Los Angeles, where she lived with an aunt. When she was 18, Mrs. Busby met James Scott on a blind date. Three months later, they married. The couple had five children, including identical twins.
The family home in La Mesa was a busy one, and with the swimming pool in the back, it was a popular hangout for the children's friends. "We were Grand Central Station," her son said. "It was just sort of an open house for all our friends."
While her children were growing up, Mrs. Busby held jobs as a waitress at the Bali Hai; a secretary for San Diego schools and as a typing teacher. She tried to pass on her work habits and resourcefulness to her children. "If we wanted something new to wear, we had to make it," Mendoza said.
Mrs. Busby was always writing. She submitted jokes and stories to Reader's Digest, but was never published. She kept a folder full of her rejection letters, but wasn't discouraged. After all, she said, "Peanuts" creator Charles Schulz had been turned down 300 times before he succeeded. Mrs. Busby took classes at local colleges whenever she could, including court reporting and Braille. "Something would catch her fancy and she would learn how to do it," said daughter Cathy Scott.
Mrs. Busby and James Scott divorced after 26 years of marriage. A few years later, a friend took her to a singles mixer, where Richard Busby asked her to dance. They were married in 1970, the same year that Mrs. Busby earned her associate's degree from Grossmont College. About 15 years later, she earned her bachelor's degree from New York University. "It was a very big deal to her that she got her degree," Cathy Scott said. "Education was so important to her and it wasn't offered to her by her parents."
In the mid-1970s, the Busbys sold their Mount Helix home and everything in it and moved to Suffolk, England. They settled into a thatched-roof cottage built in 1545 that was filled with antiques. The couple used the house as a home base and traveled around Great Britain and Europe, researching and photographing articles that would be printed in publications such as International Yachtsman and Sea.
The Busbys lived in England for about 10 years, returned to San Diego for a year, and then spent another year in England. When they returned to San Diego for good in 1990, they led antiques tours to England. Mrs. Busby wrote articles for The Collector, Antiques and Collectibles and West Coast Peddler.
Mrs. Busby is survived by her sons, J. Michael Scott of Moscow, Idaho; and Jon Scott of Niangua, Mo.; daughters, Cathy Scott of Las Vegas, Cordelia Mendoza of Point Loma, and Sally Scott of La Mesa; brother, Frank Rose of Sherman Oaks; stepchildren, Nancy Whitlock of Simi Valley and Chuck Busby of Ferndale, Wash.; nine grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren.
A memorial service is planned for 1 p.m. Friday at Point Loma Community Presbyterian Church. Donations may be made to San Diego Hospice in her name.
Posted by Eileen Rose Busby's daughter at 9:21 AM