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  • Writer's pictureSamantha Alcaraz

Betty Hastings from Lakeland Senior Living

Betty Hastings - The Homestead

“I was born Betty Jean Jones on January 29, 1927, in Dewey County, South Dakota in a blizzard. My mom and I were at my grandmother's house waiting for me and they were afraid the doctor wasn’t going to get there because of the blizzard. But he did and it was evening and he got there and I got there. Everybody was fine and so, I’m here! And so the first nine years of my life I lived on my dad’s Homestead in Dewey County, South Dakota. Very primitively. That means that we had no running water in the house, we had no electricity, what else do we need nowadays? No telephone, no plumbing, no water. All the water that we used was hauled in by my dad in barrels and of course in the wintertime when the snow was deep, why, they melted snow for water.”

Betty Hastings - Life at the Homestead

“That was my first… my first home was two rooms. And in that, two rooms at that time was my dad and my mom, my older brother and myself, and later came two more brothers. Well, we had five of us in two rooms until the little brother came, and then my dad added another room to the house. So then we got three rooms.”

Betty Hastings - Schooling

"I was homeschooled in my first grade. My mother had been a teacher and school was 8 miles away and I was pretty little. So, in the wintertime, why, that was impossible for me to go. So, my mom taught me first grade at home. I have one memory of being homeschooled. I was standing at the little blackboard doing my little numbers or something on it and I said to my mom, “When’s recess?” and that’s all I remember of being homeschooled. The next year my brother, older brother and I started school at the school that he had gone to the year before. The year before he stayed at the school with the teachers. Then when I went to school we rode our horses to school and that was up until the weather got too bad and then we moved to a house near the school. My mom and us kids moved. My dad stayed on the Homestead."

Betty Hastings - Schooling Part 2

Betty: So, I went to school. That was actually my second grade. They started me out in my first grade because I’d already had a year of school and after two weeks they put me in second grade. Then, the next year my dad was on the school board and so he got the little school open that was about a mile from our house and it was four students.

Interviewer: The whole school?!

Betty: The whole school! My older brother and I and our two cousins who lived a couple of miles from us. And so that was during the depression and it got really, really bad. There was no feed for the cattle. It was just really bad so, my parents decided to move to California. 1936 we moved to California.

Interviewer: How old were you when you moved to California?

Betty: Nine. I often think about: there’s three things that I remember smells of from back there. Roses, meadowlarks, and sheep dip.

Betty Hastings - Neighbors

Betty: Anyways, when I was nine we moved to California, Humboldt County. Went to school. We’d been through fourth grade through high school. When we came when I was nine, we moved into this little house and all at once there was a yard full of boys from across the street. Hastings boys. There were five boys in the family. My older brother was friends with the three other ones, so I saw quite a bit of them. So, later on I married the third one.

Interviewer: What was his name?

Betty: Eddie.

Interviewer: Eddie Hastings?

Betty: Uh huh!

Interviewer: Sounds like an actor!

Betty: Now, this is 1943 and he was drafted into the army. So, a couple weeks before he was getting ready to go overseas, we got married! And he left for the South Pacific and was gone for 2 1/4 years. Came back and we set up housekeeping. About a year and a half later we had a little girl and then a year and a half after that when we had another little girl.

Betty Hastings - Jobs

“Jobs and so forth were not easy. You know, you didn’t make a lot of money back then. So, it was decided that I would go to work. So, I went to work in a grocery store for a little while and when I figured it out, I figured it wasn’t worth it. By the time I paid the babysitter and so forth it wasn’t worth being away from them. So, then I didn’t work for a while. Before Eddie came home from the service, I went to work in Woolworths department store and this was kind of interesting, the way I got the job. I had a friend who worked in the office there and they had part-time people that worked like they had extra people on Saturdays. So she got me, you know, gave a good word for me to get a job and so I went to work on a Saturday and come Monday morning I was at the front door before the boss got there. And he says, “What are you doing here?” and I said, “Well I thought I had a job.” He looks at me and he says, “Come on in!”

Transcription and Audio Edit by Ileana Chavez and Samantha Alcaraz.

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