Remembering Life Past

| 5/26/2015 11:08:00 AM

Tags: Treasures, Stories, Tales, Nonagenarians, Lois Hoffman,

Country MoonSometimes our most precious treasures aren’t always in pots of gold at the end of the rainbow, but rather right under our noses. I personally know three nonagenarians (people who are in their 90’s). The wisdom and memories they have gathered from living nearly a century is priceless although they are still young at heart. Their stories fascinated me as I hope they will you as I share them over the next couple of weeks.

The first one I had the pleasure of talking with was Esther Hacker, who is a mere 92 years of age. The youngest of eight children, she is the only one of the family to go to high school. “It certainly wasn’t an easy task to get to high school back then,” Esther recalls. “Kids today think it’s bad if they can’t drive to school. We were lucky to have one bus for the whole district!”

She paid $1 per week to ride the school bus 20 miles a day to Athens High School. On top of that, the bus was driven by a student. On her summer vacation from school she cooked and cleaned for the folks who owned King’s Mill, a working flour mill in Leonidas, Michigan. She was paid the hefty wage of $4 per week. Esther recalls that back in the day people would bring a trunk load of wheat to the flour mill and trade it for enough flour to last through the winter.


She has seen some hard times, growing up as a young girl during the Depression of the 1930s and later when many items were rationed going through World War II. “We always had a place to live and enough to eat, so we didn’t realize how bad things were,” says Esther.

The one thing they did have were free silent movies where people would throw a blanket on the ground on warm summer evenings and watch the show projected on a sheet hung up on a side of a building. Then people started talking about a thing called television where a person could sit in her living room and watch a movie and it would even have sound. She recalls that no one ever thought that would happen. Good thing it didn’t for a while because she met her husband Bill at the old silent movies. She smiles, “A friend and I walked up and down the rows of people and checked out the boys!” Some things never change!

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