WACONIA (AP) -- Right after Paul and Vici Scheuble made the winning bid for a statue of the "Peanuts" character Lucy last year, they told people who came up to congratulate them that the statue would be donated to a park in their hometown.
Paul did most of the talking, because Vici was crying too hard. And when other auction participants learned the reason why the Waconia couple wanted the statue, which depicts Lucy as an angel, other eyes welled up with tears, too.
The Scheubles wanted to commemorate the memory of their first child, Lucy, who died in 1999 when she was 2 days old. And the memory of their own loss had evolved into a larger concept -- a way to acknowledge anyone who has lost a child.
Like most people in the small lakeside community west of Minneapolis, the Scheubles knew about a grass-roots campaign to build a playground near Bayview Elementary School, which had recently been converted from a junior high and had no playground. Putting Lucy there seemed like a wonderful idea.
The proposed donation was received with a degree of enthusiasm that surprised even the Scheubles, who hadn't been certain the playground boosters would take it.
"I thought they were crazy to think for a moment that we wouldn't want it," said Betsy Jacobs, a coordinator of the campaign to build the playground.
Playground supporters have privately raised nearly $145,000 to build the park, which will be created during a whirlwind five-day building spree, May 14-18.
"The plan is to do it like we're raising a barn . ... Lucy will be kind of towards the entryway. She'll be standing with her back to Lake Waconia facing the pavilion," Jacobs said.
Vici Scheuble said she's trying to summon the courage to write a poem for an inscription on a new concrete statue base that her husband will cast.
The statute was one of more than 100 Lucy statues that graced St. Paul -- the city where "Peanuts" creator Charles Schulz grew up -- last summer in the city's third year of tributes to Schulz (the first two featured Snoopy and Charlie Brown statutes). Fifty-six Lucies were auctioned to raise money for a permanent Schulz memorial in downtown St. Paul.
The Scheubles bought a statue called "Truffle Heaven," which had stood outside Chocolat Celeste, a confectionary shop.
They didn't plan to buy a particular Lucy statue when they went to last October's auction. In fact, they feared the $5,000 they were willing to spend wouldn't be enough. But buying the angel Lucy became their goal when they saw it in the auction catalog, and they got it on a bid of $4,250.
"I just burst into tears," Vici said. "I couldn't stop crying."
For now, the statue sits in a breezeway in their home, where it is pawed over by their 2-year-old daughter, Sally. They also have a 3-month-old son, Mac.
Shortly after they moved Lucy into their home -- they had to take out a patio door to do it -- a box of chocolates arrived, a gift from Chocolat Celeste.
"I'm so glad that someone who really wanted her bought her and that she really made them happy," shop owner Mary Leonard said. "Lucy deserves that."
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