A perfect foil


Susan Schneider and Bruce Heidebrecht grew up in households that couldn't have been more opposite. Susan, the middle child and only girl in Daniel and Marian Schneider's brood of five, learned early to hold her own against her brothers. The family's Rosedale rancher seemed always to rock with laughter. In their youth, the Schneider siblings forged a bond that remains strong today. All regularly return there for rollicking Sunday dinners.

Bruce's childhood was more subdued, he says. His immediate family consists of himself, his brother Brian and their parents, James and Susan.

James Heidebrecht worked for the Exxon Corp. for many years, and the family moved often. Meals were enjoyable, but usually low-key. Which is why Bruce's parents must have been surprised when they met Susan for the first time and watched her pile her plate with food.

"Hon, you can have seconds here," Bruce teased.

He and Susan were brought together in June 1997 through a mutual acquaintance. Bruce, who has fenced competitively since college, joined the Chesapeake Fencing Club in Homeland after he moved to Maryland in 1996. (He was hired as a forensic scientist in the Maryland State Police Crime Laboratory in Pikesville, a position he still holds.)

After Bruce's fencing practice one evening, he and Susan were introduced and then joined their mutual friend and her boyfriend for dinner. Susan was back in Rosedale after earning her bachelor of science degree in horticulture at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in Blacksburg, Va.

She was working as a tree-care technician for a landscaping firm and earning an associate's degree in computer information systems at Essex Community College. (She has since graduated from Essex and become an environmental analyst and consultant for the Maryland Highway Administration.)

Susan and Bruce hit it off at dinner. By the end of the night, they had exchanged phone numbers. The next morning, when Susan was trying to talk herself out of calling Bruce because it might "scare him off," her phone rang. It was Bruce.

The couple met that night to watch videos. The next evening they played miniature golf with Susan's brothers, "who must have liked Bruce right away because they didn't give him the third degree," Susan recalls.

In February 1999, Bruce surprised Susan by proposing at the fencing club. He followed the big question with a romantic dinner at the now-defunct Haussner's Restaurant, where the couple were seated under a painting titled "The Proposal."

On March 25, Susan, 28, and Bruce, 30, were married at St. Clement Mary Hofbauer Roman Catholic Church in Rosedale. The 120 guests included all of the Schneider clan, as well as Bruce's brother, and his parents, who now live in Flat Rock, N.C.

After a honeymoon at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Fla., they expect to move into the home they're having built in Glyndon.

Pub Date: 04/02/00

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