Norma Williams
Interview by Ty Sears

Norma Williams

Norma Jean Williams was born on July 17th, 1928 in Lyons, NE. She lived south of Decatur on a farm as an only child. During her childhood was the depression, which meant there was little money.

In her home, they had no electricity so they used kerosene lamps. “The house had no water, so we had to depend on a windmill to pump water in the house, which didn’t always work,” she said.

They went to the store occasionally for food but mainly they lived off of their own farm products. Her dad butchered beef and pork, and her mom would can it.

Norma started school at Divide Center and then moved from Divide Center at age seven and went to another country school south of there through the 8th grade. During 7th and 8th grade years they had to go to Tekamah to take tests to see if they passed to go onto the next grade. She also added that she skipped the sixth grade and was 12 years old as a freshman.

Norma said, “English and grammar were my favorite classes.” She stayed with her grandmother in Lyons during her freshman and sophomore year.

At prom sophomore year she helped out to serve at the banquet. In high school, she was a clarinet player in the band plus joined the glee club.

Then Norma’s parents moved near Lyons so she went and lived with them to finish school. She graduated high school at the age of 15 years old. At age 16 that summer Norma went to Wayne State College for one year. She taught school for two years after college, then got married and lived closer to Decatur on a farm.

Norma said, “Over the time I was with my husband, we did commercial fishing together. Then the family would help clean the fish afterward.” To catch the fish they used traumal nets and catfish traps. Fishing helped them raise extra money to help out around the farm.

Norma and her husband had three kids over their lifetime: one son and two daughters. Her husband and she moved to Decatur in 1962. The house they lived in before they moved was in bad shape so they decided to sell it and find a new home in town.

Some places she worked were the senior center as a cook and supervisor in Tekamah, NE. Norma worked at Little Rock in Decatur, NE for 8 years. She then worked at the grocery store in town for a few years.

Sadly, her husband Riley passed away in 1997, and she has now lived on her own.

In her free time, she likes to help out with the Decatur Museum. On Saturdays, she goes down to the recycling center to help break down boxes and sort stuff.

Norma is also very active in the Methodist church in Decatur. During her time home alone, she is still able to mow her own lawn each week and tends to a variety of flowers in her yard.

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