Sunday Q & A: Barbara Beamer Hodgen

Barb Hodgen (center) with friends Margaret and Fran

What do your friends call you? 


How old are you?

59 ... Yikes!

Where do you live? 

Pendleton has been my home since 1973.

Where did you go to school? 

I graduated from McEwen High School (Athena) and Oregon State University. Go Beavs and DGs (Delta Gammas)!

What do you do? 

I retired in 2006 after nearly 30 years of being a Pendleton elementary teacher, then a school counselor from 1989-2006. I directed the Presbyterian Nursery School from 1979-1984 when my children were young.

What’s the best thing about your work? 

I always loved the natural curiosity children brought to school. It kept my creative juices flowing as I planned lessons with active participation. I admired the parents who sought resources to improve the lives of their children and their families. It was my pleasure to encourage and support some amazingly resilient people. I continue to respect educators who truly are there for their students. They believe in the students’ capabilities for success and never give up on an opportunity to make a difference. What a group of professionals they are! I feel blessed to have had a profession where I had many opportunities to assist in making the world a better place. 

Who is the historical figure you most admire? 

How I loved and admired my two grandmothers: Winnie Beamer and Eleanor Johns. I enjoyed spending the night (getting away from my three younger brothers) and snuggling under those warm flannel sheets and homemade quilts, or sleeping upstairs in the attic room! My grandmothers taught me so much about the value of friendship, making cookies, being a strong, independent woman, how to sew and knit … mostly I loved our many casual conversations. What wise women they were! I still have letters they wrote to me while I attended college. I miss going to “grandma’s house.”

The living person you most admire? 

I greatly admire my two children: Teri and Tuk. They are great parents and wonderful in their professions: nurse practitioner and computer network engineer. I’m blessed to have them and my four grandchildren living nearby. I have especially admired the strength and courage they’ve shown since the death of their dad, Tom Hodgen, on Jan. 29, 2005. 

What is your proudest accomplishment? 

Being a supportive mom is always my goal because I love and value my relationships with Teri and Tuk. Being a parent is an honor and a responsibility and one of the most rewarding opportunities a person can have. Of course there's no manual for being a parent and the parenting role shifts and evolves over time. I value the openness my children and I have to respect each other, and enjoy the times we laugh and have fun. I feel so lucky to be their mom. 

What is the most difficult challenge in your life these days? 

Finding the time to do all I want to do. I’ve always been a high-energy person so finding the time to do “everything” is always a challenge! There’s nothing I enjoy more than organizing a fun outing or event. I love my family and friends and also meeting new people and experiencing new opportunities! 

What do you like to do in your free time? 

Lunch with friends, read, garden, go for walks, volunteer for a community event, plan a creative outing, be spontaneous and ready for some fun.

What type of electronic equipment do you carry around with you? 

Just my cellphone that’s already about five years old … I do need to upgrade (just ask Tuk)!

If you had to live in another country for a year, where would you go? 

England!!! I first visited there in July 2004 when my son Tuk was at Croughton Royal Air Force Base. I went with my friend Dea Gray and while there started my (Mottoware) Tourquay Ware pottery collection. Each piece has wonderful proverbs like: “Waste not, want not,” “One today is worth two tomorrows,” “Be like a sundial and count only the sunny days.” Some special pieces of my collection came from Elizabeth in Bristol, England. This was an eBay purchase after I returned from my trip. We became pen pals and continue to write … a true six-year friendship. I REALLY want to meet Elizabeth! I’ve loved our emails, special gifts, and particularly her “cheers” and other English expressions. 

If you could change one thing in your community, what would that be? 

We’re all out and about more enjoying our community and its happenings! 

What did you eat for breakfast this morning

Oatmeal with blueberries … added a bit of brown sugar and raisins this morning, just like my mom, Althadel Beamer, used to do for me.

Your favorite beverage? 

Glass of wine with my fiancé Scott Palmer … we love the arbor at Maryhill Winery! Sno Road (Echo), Don Carlo (Milton-Freewater) and Columbia Crest (Paterson, Wash.) are my local favorite wineries. I look forward to our wedding toast on Nov. 5, 2011.

Tell us about the best book you’ve read lately. 

I enjoy belonging to a book club … am proud to have completed “Pillars of the Earth.” Just finished “Heaven is for Real” and now am enjoying “Bossy Pants” by Tina Fey. I look forward to a summer discussion of the “Four Agreements” by Don Miguel Ruiz … those four agreements of being true to your word, not assuming, not taking it personal and always doing your best, provide a great guide for living life! 

Your most prized possession? 

A family portrait taken at the Bar M Ranch. 

What’s the funniest thing that ever happened to you? 

I think I’ll change the word to “funnest” … is that a word?? I will always cherish times growing up with my three younger brothers, Doug, John and Dick, on Greasewood Creek outside Adams. My brothers and I enjoyed making dams and catching polliwogs at the creek, swinging from the swings made by our dad (Larry Beamer) anchored in the tall fir trees, playing Annie Annie Over, picking peas from our fields, swinging from the rope in the barn, digging forts, riding horses, making mudpies … the list goes on and on. 

What is your guiltiest pleasure

Making and eating cookies … I almost always share them with my neighbors and Grandma Sylvia!

What’s the one question we didn’t ask that you’d like to answer? 

Who’s a key mentor in your life? My lifetime mentor, Martha Rosacker, was a major influence in my life. She recently died (age 90) and I miss my visits with her. Martha, a longtime adoption clinician for Boys and Girls Aid Society based in Portland, invited me to be a Umatilla County outreach volunteer. For five years I worked with individuals and families as they faced decisions about adoption, single parenting and all the resources needed for those situations. I learned to value the local community resources that truly helped the youth and young people. Martha was a wise woman who cared about the family unit and assisted many local families with adoption. She and I maintained a 30-year friendship!

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