In Her Words
Candid Profiles of Strength Told by the Women of Northbridge
Throughout the month of March, we have collaborated to celebrate Women’s History Month and the rich history of the amazing women living in our communities. Their candid stories are brimming over with love, happiness, passion, family values and the markings of individuals who have truly lived well and loved life.
Louise's Story (resident of Sunnybrook Senior Living)
What is your name and where were you born?
My name is Margaret “Louise” Hudson (The name Margaret was already taken in the family so I went by my middle name). The name Margaret was for my mom, and Louise was for my aunt from St. Louis. I was born in Arkansas City, AK right on the Mississippi to Ferree Brinton Hight and Margaret Matthews Hight. I have a brother, George and I had a sister Jeanne.
What kinds of things did your family do together when you were young?
My grandmother had two pecan trees, so we’d go to her house and help her out by picking up pecans off the ground. Grandmother couldn’t stoop down…so we would pick them up and she would shell them. She was careful to get all the “bitter out” to ensure that they were delicious. We would also go on short trips in the car until WWII. We were then restricted due to the gasoline ration. When I was around 6, mother would take us to the park because we had a small yard. We learned about the news from the paper and radio. Daddy was a farmer (shared it with his mom) but had a degree in agriculture from University of Arkansas. He was a security advisor for the FSA, but thought that it was important to get the news, one paper in the morning and one paper in the afternoon. Mother and daddy were in love their whole life. Daddy didn’t talk much but mother was very social. They married in 1928, daddy passed in 1982, mother passed in 1991.
What did you love to do with your friends?
My sister and I played together a lot (she is 2 and ½ years older). I made a doll named “Lady” with my friend Yvonne from cotton from my father’s farm in 5th grade. Yvonne would help me hand stitch clothes together for my doll. In 2001, Yvonne and I reconnected while she was up north. The last time we had seen each other was in 1952. Yvonne recalled that I had designed an imaginary country when we were young, with maps, 2 newspapers, 2 churches and King Willem because I could not spell William.
What is your husband’s name? How did he propose?
I married Yeager Hudson. We met in college while he was studying to be a Methodist minister. I told him I wasn’t getting married, but he persuaded me. We were married on the 20th of December, 1953 at the chapel at Millsap’s College. He went to the Boston University School of Theology for his master’s degree and took philosophy courses, which he loved. He also earned his PhD in Philosophy after a year of me teaching. We moved to Waterville, ME. I hated to leave because I found a great job at the Harvard College Observatory, working on a project for mapping Mars (drafting and photography were my skills) with Dr. DeVaucouleurs from Paris. Dr. DeVaucouleurs was mapping Mars, attempting to get a clear picture of the planet. A 1961 issue of Popular Astronomy mentions my work on the project. We finished the project for the fly-by of Mars in 1964 and it was successful. We were working on this project for NASA, and we were the only ones working on the map of Mars at that time. The map that DeVaucouleurs’s team produced was precise enough to facilitate the Mariner 9 mission, which became the first space probe to orbit a planet in 1971. Yeager taught at Colby until retirement in 1999 (a total of 40 years as a professor at Colby College). While I was working I put my husband through graduate school. I commuted from Waterville to Cambridge for five years.
What are your children’s names?
Unfortunately, I had a miscarriage, and couldn’t conceive again. We decided to adopt two boys, Paul in 1963 and Gary in 1965.
What are some special memories you have about your children?
I have a memory of Paul, when he was 5 and in the wagon outside our home. He stated that he loved everything, loved the trees and the house and would love to kiss the world but his mouth wasn’t big enough.
Where have you lived?
Primary residence was in Vasselboro, Maine as it was close to Colby College. Paul had his 4th birthday in Ahmednagar, India, because Yeager had a Fulbright Scholarship to teach logic at Ahmednagar University. We also took several students to Sri Lanka, as he taught philosophy, I kept the books and stayed for a year. Sri Lanka was in a tumultuous time but we kept all our students safe. We then went to Nepal for a few days and went to India to travel. Yeager wrote a book called The Philosophy of Religion.
Have you had jobs? Who did you work for and what did you do?
Teacher, Astronomer, Mom, Telescope Maker, Artist and Photographer.
What are your hidden talents?
I am an artist and I use oil in my paintings and pencil sketching, grind telescope mirrors to reflect and magnify…that creates the mirror for the telescope. I have made 4 telescopes.
I’m also a whistler!
What did you do to get through the difficult times in your life?
The hardest time was the miscarriage, had a good bit of strength. Well-loved and wisely loved by my mother in the early years. She understood me, was loving, was patient and strong.
Do you have holiday traditions? What do you do for the holidays?
We joined the Methodist church in Waterville and our traditions were shaped by those holidays in that church. Christmas morning was the celebration.
What are some of your favorite things?
The stars, geology (rocks and fossils) …when I became interested in astronomy my mother commented to my husband that, “isn’t is great that Louise has a hobby that she can’t collect.” I had brought home LOTS of rocks so mother was relieved! I love plants, having life around me and growing things. I have a raised bed for planting at Sunnybrook.
The Source of Human Good by Henry Nelson Wieman
Dogs and cats
What are some personal experiences that have especially touched your heart?
When I worked with the children at the center, a boy named Willy who was about 7, was called over and asked to sing and he sang so clearly and beautifully…it was just so moving.
What are your favorite things to do now?
Take care of and grow plants. Painting. Listening to classical music.
What are your favorite experiences to partake in at Sunnybrook?
I love that Edna is across the hall [at Sunnybrook], our husbands were both Methodist ministers. She is a good friend.
What do you hope for your children and grandchildren?
I wish for a peaceful world.
What is your biggest piece of advice for young women today?
In every person you meet, you do well to look for the young child inside them.
Sum your personality up in 1 word?
For more information about the wonderful way of life at Sunnybrook Senior Living, click here.