Hall Has En­joyed ‘Ev­ery Minute’ Of Life

McDonald County Press - - FRONT PAGE - Rachel Dick­er­son

Rebecca Hall of Pineville says she has en­joyed ev­ery minute of her life.

She joined the Army in 1952 and went to ba­sic train­ing at Fort Lee, Va.

“We weren’t al­lowed to see or talk to men. We weren’t al­lowed to wear slacks. I prob­a­bly didn’t say 50 words the whole time I was at ba­sic train­ing,” she said.

From there she went to Fort Knox, Ky., for ad­vanced train­ing. Back then, she said, women didn’t have many ca­reer op­tions in the Army. They could only be sec­re­taries or teach­ers.

“I loved it. If they hadn’t made me get out be­cause I got mar­ried, I’d still be there to­day,” she said.

She went to Fort Slocum, N.Y., where she trained to be a teacher as one of 20 women and 200 men. She spent the rest of her time in the Army at Fort Jack­son, S.C., as a teacher. She taught his­tory of the Army, chem­i­cal war­fare, how to take ri­fles apart and phys­i­cal ed­u­ca­tion.

“I couldn’t go to town be­cause my sched­ule wouldn’t al­low me to take the bus,” she said. One day when she had time she went and bought a 1947 Har­ley David­son for $200 cash. Then she told the mer­chant, “Now if you’ll show me how to ride this, I’ll leave.”

He had a large field be­hind his shop where he al­lowed her to prac­tice un­til she felt com­fort­able tak­ing it out on the road.

“I rode it all over South Carolina, Ge­or­gia and North Carolina ev­ery op­por­tu­nity I had,” she said.

She worked at night in a theater and took in iron­ing.

“I didn’t do it be­cause I needed money … I just had time to do it,” she said.

Then she mar­ried David Hall and the Army made her get out, she said.

The cou­ple came back to Neosho to go to school and then they went to school at Pitts­burgh, Kan., on the GI Bill. Hall started teach­ing in the early 1960s in Edge­wood, west of Neosho, in a one-room school­house. Then she went to Neosho and taught and made $4,000 a year. She taught third grade, then in­ter­me­di­ate school, then taught fifth-grade so­cial stud­ies for 17 years.

Hall ran for City Coun­cil and got elected. At the same time, the mayor had a heart at­tack, and so she be­came mayor pro tem. The next year she was elected mayor.

At one point she worked on a garbage truck dur­ing the sum­mer months and loved it, she said.

Af­ter 22 years she and David Hall di­vorced. When they had been di­vorced for some time she mar­ried Phil Moomaw and moved to McDon­ald County. She started teach­ing fourth grade in McDon­ald County. She re­tired in 2001.

“I’ve never had a job I didn’t like,” she said.

She said she has been “busier than ever” in re­tire­ment. She has two sons, Doug and Allen.

Last year she vol­un­teered at Carver School in Neosho. She painted all the vault lids for the wa­ter me­ters in Pineville.

“I spend a lot of time weed-eat­ing. I’ve got a big place,” she said.

She has a bone col­lec­tion and schools in­vite her to show her bones. She has all kinds of an­i­mal bones and skins.

“I even loaned some bones to a school in St. Louis,” she said.

She noted that when she was teach­ing fourth grade in McDon­ald County, the bus driv­ers used to let her stu­dents pick up dead rac­coons off the side of the road.

“That’s how I taught my anatomy class. String those in­testines out, look at the heart and liver,” she said.

Hall con­cluded, “I have en­joyed ev­ery minute of my life. I’ve had a good life. I wish ev­ery­body could have a life as good as mine.”

RACHEL DICK­ER­SON/MCDON­ALD COUNTY PRESS

Rebecca Hall of Pineville says she has en­joyed ev­ery minute of her life. She served in the Army and worked as a teacher and now vol­un­teers in re­tire­ment.

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