Hello, I’m Hazel, and I was thrilled and honored to be asked to do a podcast recently. The person who did the podcast was Mandy Connell. She is on KOA 850 AM radio here in the Denver area from 1 to 4 every single day of the week, Monday through Friday. I was thrilled that she wanted to do a podcast with me, and she just wanted to know about my life and what I had done. It stemmed from the fact that I had written my book. The book is called 88 Keys to Living a Long and Purposeful Life. She was interested in that because a lot of people who are 88 years old are not able to do very much, so she was thrilled that I could do what I do and wanted to know about my past.
We talked about my days of picking cotton from the time I was six years old till I was 11 every day in the summertime, and I’m talking six days a week. We didn’t pick cotton on Sunday, but it was from sun up till sundown. Now that’s a long day in the summertime. That is not your eight hour day with coffee breaks and lunch break and all of that. We had no coffee breaks. Of course, I didn’t drink coffee at that age, but no pop breaks, I should say. I never ever, ever had a pop to drink in my life. We worked from sun up till sundown and took our sack lunch and had 30 minutes to sit in the shade of the wagon and eat our lunch for 30 minutes and then back to that sea of cotton all day.
We talked about. We talked about how I got started with my music career. The way I did was my friends came to me and asked me to teach them to play the piano, and I didn’t know how to teach anybody to play piano. I was 11 years old, but I figured I could teach them what I knew, so I said, “Okay, it’ll be a quarter a lesson.” It didn’t take me long to figure out that I could have five students and make as much money as I could in that cotton patch working all day from sun up till sundown in that grueling sun. I could be in the comfort of my living room and teach five students and make a dollar and a quarter. That’s when I made the last day I picked cotton. Now I didn’t make a dollar and a quarter every day. I want you to know that’s just the last day I picked.
When I was six years old, I couldn’t pick 250 pounds. 50 cents 100 was the going price of what you got paid. All the other days, I didn’t pick that much, but I was really proud of myself. It was a status symbol to be able to pick a lot of cotton, and I was very happy when my mother said I didn’t have to pick anymore because by that time, she had gotten her degree and started teaching. I had these three older brothers. When our dad died, I was five. I had one brother that was seven. One was eight, and one was 12. We did the best we could to make a living while mother was still getting her degree because she had taught school four years before on the old normal school certificate during the first World War. During the 14 years she was married to my dad, they changed the laws to Texas to require a degree, so she had to start from scratch.
At that time, she was 37 years old, and that doesn’t sound very old to me now, but she felt like she was really an old woman because in those days, people didn’t go to school when they were that age. They went to school if they could when they went to high school. Most people didn’t go to college then and certainly didn’t go when they were 37 years old. She felt pretty old, but she persevered and managed to get through and taught school until she retired. We had a very nice life. We were poor, but we didn’t really know it. Everybody else was poor, and she would’ve never gotten into the soup line or anything that you hear about during the Depression. She was very proud, and we managed on our own.
The podcast is available on the Mandy Connell Show, Mandy Connell podcast, and you can click on the link and hear the whole thing. It’s about 40 or 45 minutes long, and I was very honored. If you would like to know more about this and the book that I wrote, give me a call at 720-810-6161. If any of you would like to have a podcast with me, I’d be happy to do one for you and maybe on another subject. Thank you. Have a great day. Bye!