Phyllis Hegy is 89 years old and grew up in Fairfax, Minnesota. She currently resides in Lyons, Nebraska which reminds her a lot of Fairfax and what the town was like. I asked her what she liked to do in her free time when she was a kid in Fairfax. “We played games outside with friends all afternoon and only came inside to eat,” said Phyllis describing her childhood with a smile. She said that they were never inside. She and all of her friends spent their time outside enjoying the day. During the winter they would always make their own ice rink across from the school and would skate every day.
She would always like to go down to see big-time bands play with her friends. She remembered getting into shows for 50 cents back then. “The best part,” she mentioned, “is that there was no supervision for us back then. We took care of ourselves.” Phyllis also spent a little of her childhood in the band taking clarinet lessons.
I asked her what her goals were back when she was a kid. She told me that back then, they didn’t focus on goals. They never really were asked nor thought about long-term goals for their life. “We did what we were supposed to do and just took it one day at a time,” said Phyllis.
She lived in Fairfax and described what life was like while the United States was in engaged in World War Two. She said that as she got older during high school, people her age were mainly concerned about the war. She had a side job working at a cafe but she mainly did what was asked of her to help with the war. Looking back Phyllis said that she would have liked to further her education and perhaps go on to become a teacher. “With the war, there weren’t many opportunities to go on with education or even think about continuing on,” Phyllis mentioned looking back into the past. This made it easier for her to give out her life advice to younger kids of today. “There are so many more opportunities for people today. So have fun, don’t worry, take on each day individually, and go to the movies,” she summed up as her life advice.
Phyllis also mentioned that she moved a lot throughout her life because her husband Bob worked for the government. She moved to California twice, Oklahoma, Minnesota, and eventually settled in Lyons, Nebraska. One of her fondest memories is going to Minneapolis by herself as a young adult and successfully getting a job there without her parents’ help. She found a job at the insurance company and met a lot of friends. Something that always frustrated her was her 48 dollar salary. “One of my most frustrating struggles was never getting that 48 dollars up to 50,” she told herself. She described that time as having very little technology and no one had their own cars, they were all street cars. “It wasn’t like today; times were so much simpler, we just had fun.”
Now she is happily living in Lyons where she is actively involved in the community events as well as family events. Phyllis said, “Lyons reminds me a lot of Fairfax, and that is why I like it here so much!”