It will be on Feb. 19 that Pauline Pearl Hull will be turning 100 years old. A seasoned Idahoan, Hull spent the day talking to the Messenger Index about becoming a centenarian and walked us through the timeline of her life.
The conversation began by asking her about any nicknames she gathered throughout the years. “As a young child I was unable to say Pauline Pearl so I called myself Poddy Po,” said a laughing Hull. It was evident right then that despite her age, Hull’s sense of humor hasn’t gone anywhere.
Hull was born in Howard, Kansas on February 19, 1920. The fourth of six children born to Loran and Pearl Shipman. “A year or so after I was born, the family moved to the country, east of Howard, to the Antioch District,” said Hull.
It was in the Antioch District that Hull would experience what it was like to live on a farm, learning life skills that would follow her all the way to Idaho. It was on that Kansas farm that she learned to milk the cows with her dad, churn butter and make cottage cheese from the clabbered milk.
“My sister and I wanted no part of being inside. After breakfast we would grab our milk pails and head for the barn. We milked around 15 cows, morning and night. It seemed like by the time we’d get everything done it was about time to start all over again.”
Hull recalls the farm work being a daily chore before leaving off to school.
“We lived about a mile from the schoolhouse. Sometimes we would walk to school and other times my dad would hitch up the old mare to a cart and we would ride the cart to school. It was a one room school with one teacher for first through eighth grade,” remembers Hull. “We had none of the conveniences that we have in this day and age. We had to use an outhouse at school and we all drank from the same dipper.” Something that would never be allowed in today’s day and age.
While the 1930’s were marked by scarcity and “The Great Depression,” Hull never let life get her down.
“We didn’t have a lot of money when I was growing up, but we always had plenty to eat. Mom grew a big garden and we had an orchard in the back. We canned and dried lots of fruit and vegetables, made cider with our cider press and we’d even put fruit on top of the roof to dry,” said Hull. “We also had chickens so gathering the eggs was my job. I remember one time when Fern (sister) was helping me gather eggs. She made me mad about something so I started down the ladder of the loft and broke an egg on top of her head. I got in trouble for doing it but I always thought it was worth getting in trouble for.”
“We didn’t own a car either,” said Hull. “Every Saturday night Dad would hitch up our team of horses to the buggy (our surrey with the fringe on top) and the whole family would pile in and go have a night on the town. Dad would give us a nickel or dime and we were able to get lots of candy or gum. Once in a while he’d let us go to the movie, which was a dime apiece. We were as happy as if he’d given us a five-dollar bill.”
That same joy Hull felt as a little girl only intensified when she met and married Donald Leroy Hull, the love of her life. “I was dating his brother Harold and he came home from the CCC Camp and it was love at first sight. There was no more dating his brother after that,” laughed Hull.
“We welcomed our first baby boy, Billy Joe, on March 7, 1939. Two years later another baby boy was born, Terry Lee, on July 17, 1941 — our anniversary, I thought they were the most wonderful little boys in the world and I still do”.
It wouldn’t be until five years later that the Hull’s would make the trek from Wichita, Kansas (where they had relocated) to Idaho. Don Hull had previously worked in the Davis Westholt Airplane Factory but desired something different. It was Faye’s husband, Erwin, who got him a job sawing logs — a job that Don worked until his health deteriorated.
“We arrived in Horseshoe Bend in August of 1947,” said Hull. “Once again we had to make due with an outhouse. It wasn’t until 1949 that we built our house and I finally had the luxury of an inside bathroom.”
It was in Horseshoe Bend that Pauline became a waitress and spent her time volunteering at the local school for over 15 years. She eventually became known as “grandma” to the kids at Horseshoe Bend School.
Pauline lived on the land they originally bought up until the 2000’s until she moved to Meadow View Assisted Living here in Emmett. “We bought the property for $300 and sold it for over $110,000 when I left,” said Hull.
“After Don passed away I did some traveling. I went back to Kansas and visited my oldest sister, Lura, for a month. I got to visit my nieces and nephews while I was there. I even went to Hawaii.”
When asked how many grand and great-grandchildren she has, she laughed and said she couldn’t keep count.
Pauline Pearl Hull or as others call her, “Poddy Po,” has lived an extraordinary life. A woman who has endured many ups and downs but nevertheless has persisted. Never turning to smoking or drinking when things get tough. The secret, Hull says, is “to fear little and laugh a lot.” A catalyst in what seems to be many centenarian’s stories.
If you or someone you know would like to celebrate Pauline’s 100th birthday, make sure to attend the party on Wed., Feb. 19 at 2 p.m. The party will be at Meadow View Assisted Living, 1013 S Johns Ave, Emmett.