Interviewed by Libby Henneman

Dode Nottleman

Dode Nottleman was born in Decatur, Nebraska on September 29, 1928 to John and Mabel Tippery. She attended school in Decatur until 6th grade and then moved to a farm by Macy, Nebraska, where she finished school. She quit school halfway through her senior year and got married to Marvin Nottleman at the age of 17. They bought 500 acres of ground throughout their marriage.

After she became unhappy with the country life, she then got her GED in Omaha, Nebraska and raised chickens until she had enough money to attend college at Wayne State to become a teacher. She taught in a country school outside of Macy near her home. After two years there, she worked in Macy for 28 years teaching 6th grade and then junior high. To finish her career she worked at Walthill teaching 6th grade. After teaching a total of 32 years, she decided she had enough teaching and quit to take care of her sick mother.

She had 9 siblings growing up, 5 being younger. With so many siblings in her family, she was not left with many new things leaving them to wear hand me downs or second hand store clothes. She was the only girl for a long time so she had her fair share of taking care of the kids. She feels that she “grew up too fast.” She worked hard to raise a garden and canned many things to help with the grocery bill. After years of taking care of her siblings she moved out and in with her brother and that is where she met her husband.

“We did not have the conveniences as people do now” is one of the things she stated about the difference in life now as to what it was when she was growing up. She also shared the fact that money wasn’t as available as it is today. Children from the age of 14 are able to work and have their own money to spend. “Today, small children to adults have a cellphone as compared to there being only one phone in our house. They also can drive and have many vehicles in the yard. My family shared one car and it was old,” she said.

Dode and her husband moved back to Decatur in 1995 and soon after her husband passed away. Her only son, Donald, passed away in 2011. She says that “he was a godsend to help me with many things until the Lord took him.”

Dode Nottleman now has two grandchildren, Clayton and Carry, three great grandchildren, Natalia, Bobby, and Crystal, and two great great grandchildren, Carson and Kamden. She also likes to take care of her flowers and plants as one of her hobbies.

Dode’s advice to me was to “get all you can out of school, always plan ahead, and go on and further your education. Even though you might get married, you might be left alone with your kids and have no way to make a living. You will always be able to fall back on it.”

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