|My Grandmother and My Mom in early 1935.|
My grandmother, Esther Pauline Goble Van Hooser was raised on a farm in SE Missouri outside of Poplar Bluff. The arc of her life has thus far seen the introduction of radio, commercial aviation, television, space travel and landing on the moon, the computer revolution, countless medical advances, the internet and smart phones. Even when I was young she would talk about these changes and discuss them in the course of telling stories of what life for her family was like growing up. It has been one of the means by which she conveys to her loved ones their heritage and identity as family and children of God. This sense of history and of progress is something I learned from her. I have a distinct memory from when she came to visit us when my brother Tim was born. He was a few days old when this happened so it is sometime in August 1960. The space program was in the news prominently and the Echo communications satellite had just been launched. Mom, Grandmother, and the rest of us went out in the evenings and watched it cross the sky. One evening as Tim was lying on the couch, she said to me, a nine year old thrilled at all things having to do with science and space, "Just think, he might live to see them land on the moon." From that I learned optimism and justification for interest in such things as well at their importance. Little did we know how soon that significant event would come about. It would only take about nine years. One of her favorite memories involves her family traveling across the US to California in a Model T when she was just seven. She has told the story a number of times to me. It was must have been a formative experience for her and a journey, not a trip. She survived Tetanus as a child. She and my grandfather Mac were married in the midst of the depression and after a year of farming, they did as so many from the South, they migrated to Michigan where it was possible to find employment. They raised their family in Pontiac, MI. The extended families of Pauline and Mac often looked to them for assistance with their needs as they were stable, responsible, and supportive. They returned South to Searcy, Arkansas upon Mac's retirement in 1972. To this day, at age 95, she continues in various church activities, most recently she made dozens of dresses for a mission in Panama. She still teaches Sunday school. Her knowledge of the Bible is intimate and she discusses the various people in the Bible as if they are friends and acquaintances.