I experienced great pleasure and satisfaction in writing this article. Periodically I select one of our Senior Citizens to highlight their life and how they have lived it. Last week I selected Nadine Hawkins and she agreed to an interview.
Nadine is almost 92 years young and she agreed with me that is far better than being 40 years old. The one thing I have noticed about Nadine is that she becomes more loveable as she becomes older.
Nadine’s pleasant personality is of great value to our center. I have never heard her complain about anything or speak badly of anyone. She always has a smile on her face. She has a spark of determination that sets her off from everyone else.
Nadine Stancell Hawkins was born 1929 at her parents’ home in Lariat. At that time, doctors made house calls to deliver babies. Such was the case with Nadine. She has stayed in this area her entire life. She told me she has lived in the same home for 64 years.
Nadine married Wesley Hawkins when she was 17 years old. At the beginning Wesley worked different jobs—mostly with farming and later he worked for many years for the City of Lubbock Water Works.
Nadine told me that many times Wesley would ask her to move with him to California. Nadine said “Every time I said ‘No.’ This is home and I’m staying here.” After several years of asking, Wesley finally gave up and stopped asking. They lived their entire life together until his death.
Nadine worked at Penny Brothers for a while in Muleshoe. But the job she loved most was the McCormick Draperies. She literally made the drapes. She told me she came up with a design then cut the fabric, sewed them, and then did hand-made pinch pleats in them. She stayed with this job for 44 years.
Nadine and Wesley had three daughters. They are Regena Dent, Jolinda Johnson, and their third daughter, Ladonna Tree, is deceased. Nadine told me the roughest thing in her life was losing her husband and her middle child only six months apart. Nadine now enjoys her eight grandchildren, 14 great-grandchildren and two great-great-grandchildren.
I had the pleasure of conducting my interview with Nadine at her home. I had heard her speak of her collectibles but had no idea how great they were until I walked into her house. There were collectibles in every room. Nadine collected Colonial Glass, all types of bells, antique dolls, plates from places she had traveled, teapots, refrigerator magnets, miniature cars, shelf sitters, puzzles, quilts, miniature houses, marbles, music boxes…I could go on and on. Walking around in her home was like being in a museum. When asked which were her favorites—she answered “All of them!” My favorites were the miniature cars and the quilts of perfection she had made herself. She showed me several chests and trunks full of homemade quilts. She told me that one year she gave 17 quilts and 34 pillows to family members for Christmas presents. All of them she had made herself.
In addition to her many talents, Nadine is a wood works craftsman. Many of her wood pieces are in her home and are used to display all of her collectibles.
Nadine admitted she has slowed down a little with age. Now her favorite activities are painting and reading. She said she reads purely for entertainment and loves Western, Romance, and Mystery books.
A beautiful painting was hanging in her living room that she had done herself. I noticed it when I came in and mentioned it to her. Being the honest woman that she is—she told me that yes, she had painted it but it was a paint-by-numbers project. No matter how she did it—it had Nadine’s hand in it and it was most unique.
She is a lady of strength, grace, patience, and love. She truly believes that life is worth living. She is also a Christian lady who believes every life is God’s plan. Nadine attends the Muleshoe Church of Christ. She told me when she was younger, she sang in their choir. “As I got older, my voice just croaked. I quit singing but now I have the joy of just listening to the choir,” she added.
When asked how she made it through the recent pandemic, she told me she stayed inside her home for months because she was fearful of getting Covid. She then told me “I have always been a homebody so it wasn’t so tough. I saw it as a way to use my time wisely by working my puzzles, reading my books, and just relaxing every day for a while.”
I have often heard that the workshop of character is every day life. Nadine could truly be the professor of such a workshop.
Nadine has never had to really search for happiness. She finds it in her home and with her family and friends. She finds it in living life fully 24 hours of every day. She has a reverence for life and she embraces every day as she knows it could be her last.
When asked if there was anything about herself that we might be surprised to hear, she thought a minute and then a big smile came on her face. “Yes”, she said with enthusiasm. “I was fortunate to go on a week-long cruise to Alaska with my two daughters, their husbands, and a grandchild. It was such a great time, especially for a home body like me”, she added.
Some may say Nadine’s is a simple life. But she is anything but simple. She sees each day as a day of beauty—a day to read, paint, work a puzzle, or finish a quilt. She sees each day as a day of extended moments. Our seniors see Nadine as one of the most beloved and honored of our membership. Thanks Nadine, for sharing your story with all of us!
Bailey County Senior Citizens Center