Lee (Pega Crimbchin), who turned 81 last week, grew up in Korea, was captured by Communists, released and walked 100 miles in the snow from Seoul to Daejeon, South Korea to escape war and Communism.
Part of the library's "Authors in Ambridge" series, Schell's discussion begins at 1 p.m. and coincides with her book "Love Beyond Measures: Memoirs of a Korean War Bride."
Schell's memoir details her mother’s remarkable journey as a young Korean peasant who survived unspeakable suffering.
Orphaned at age 7 and farmed out to households as a slave, Lee lived a life of servitude until 1950, when the war broke out. She was in Seoul when the first battle occurred and the Communists moved in and took over the city.
"She was taken captive by the North Koreans at that time," Schell said.
Captured by the North Korean Army, Lee experienced near-starvation. She escaped, but lived in Seoul under Communist rule. She survived the second battle of Seoul when about 70,000 American troops were sent in and took over the city.
Incredibly, Lee again survived and lived under American safety until the Communists returned for a third battle. That's when she walked 100 miles from Seoul to Daejeon, South Korea to escape Communism.
"It was those stories she would tell me when I was a child. She would tell me about that long journey in the snow when thousands of South Korean people were leaving the city...That was why I really felt I needed to share her story of survival."
About 80,000 civilians a week left Seoul at that time. Lee ended up in a camp town where American soldiers were. Through a series of events, Schell said her mother met her father-- an American G.I. from McKees Rocks -- but their love story wasn't without its own problems.
"They fell in love but he couldn't marry her because it was against the laws for soldiers to marry Korean women," Schell said.
Schell said immigration laws also prevented her mother from coming to the United States. Her father returned to the U.S. and it took another nine months of saving money and waiting for laws to change before he could return and get her.
When the laws changed in the late 1950s she became one of a small handful of Korean War brides to make it to the U.S. She moved to McKees Rocks and then to Moon Township in the early 1960s.
"Her story is really amazing. The details are utterly amazing," said Schell, who will discuss the Korean War as well. "That was why I felt like I really needed to share her story of survival."
Signed copies of the book will be available for purchase at the library. The book is also available on Amazon.com and a Kindle version. Proceeds go to the Women of the Wells organization. As a slave girl, Lee carried water on her head everyday and has a heart for children without fresh water.
If You Go
"Love Beyond Measures: Memoirs of a Korean War Bride"
When: 1 p.m. Saturday, June 21
Where: Laughlin Memorial Library, Ambridge