Saturday, October 26, 2013

1962-64 Linda Hughes - Peace Corps

Linda Hughes NVHS'59 Collage.  Left to right: 1957 Cheerleader, 1958 Homecoming Attendant; 1957 FFA Queen; 1959 Graduation Picture.

The Peace Corps was officially started in 1961 by President Kennedy and a year later two NVHS graduates were serving: Linda Hughes (NVHS'59) in Ethiopia and Doug Bernard (NVHS'61) in Brazil.  Any other New Vienna people who were part of the Peace Corps?

Found on Newspapers.comNew Vienna Girl Joins Peace CorpsLinda Hughes, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. John Hughes, New Vienna, Rt. 3, is Wilmington College's third graduate to enter the Peace Corps.
Having received her degree with a major in education and English in June, Linda expects to teach English or geography in Ethiopia.  She has left for training at Georgetown University, Washington, D.C., where she will study Ethiopia and Amharic, its major dialect, and American politics.  After her training there is completed she will leave Sept. 4 for Africa.* * * * *
The above clipping is from the front page of Hillsboro's Press-Gazette, July 13, 1962.

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The letter that follows was sent to the Uible family during Linda's second year in Ethiopia. Transcription follows, as does a synopsis of Linda's life after the Peace Corps.  Thanks to the Hughes family for assisting me in this post, and especially to Laura "Weegie" Hughes Page for providing the biographical write-up.
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October 22, 1963

I want to thank you for the interesting letter you sent me in June.  And I'm ashamed of myself for not finding time to answer it before now, but if you've read any of my summer letters you'll realize I had a pretty exciting time.

I'm assuming that perhaps you've hard something about it, so I won't go into any detail.  The most interesting part was meeting so many different people and observing the ways of Egyptians, Cyprians, Jordanians, & Sudanize.  They resembled the people of this area in ancient dress and ways, but the signs of progress were much greater than in Ethiopia.

I am now sitting in the teacher's room of the school during my free period.  We don't have any study hall, but we do have an empty room which will be a library and a good one thanks to the Wilmington Community Project.  Those books haven't arrived, yet; but we're eagerly waiting.  I'm sitting here rather oblivious to what is being said by the others, because they're speaking in Tigrinya – one of the 6 local languages.  Two of the women teachers speak English, so they translate for us.  They've just been teasing me about putting holes in my ears, rings in my nose, & tatooes [sic] on my hands, feet & forehead.  These women don't follow these old customs, but their mothers & friends do.

The students understand English so much better and teaching is just so much easier in this second year.  I'm sure the same would be true if I were in the U.S.  As my roommate & I were walking down the street to the post office a man perched on his camel went trotting by only a couple of feet from us.  We remarked at how common place this sight was and how at home we now felt in this once strange land.  It makes me wonder what will be my feelings when I returned to the land of plenty – America. 

How is your sprouting family?  If each has grown as much as Weegie I'm sure I won't recognize them.  Though I hated to see the school lose their identification & personableness, I feel consolidation will bring more advantages and great challenges.  I'm so happy there is now a kindergarten, as I haven't met many people my age who didn't go to kindergarten, and it's about time they had one at New Vienna.

My family wrote that they're preparing another program on Ethiopia – I'm pleased that people are so interested, but wonder if it isn't becoming repetitious for you.  I've never seen any of my pictures on screen, so I don't have a very good idea of how they look.

I would certainly enjoy hearing from you and send my best wishes to all the Uibles.


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Linda Hughes, New Vienna HS of '59, graduated from Wilmington College ('62) and immediately entered the Peace Corps. She was stationed for two years In the Eritrea area of Ethiopia.

After returning from Africa via a trip through the Far East, Linda taught elementary school at New Vienna (1964-5) and subsequently in the Milford and Woodlawn schools in the Cincinnati area. Linda married William C. Wilson in 1966. She received her Masters degree in elementary guidance and counseling from Xavier University in 1968, and her Rank I in 1982 from Northern Kentucky University.

Linda and Bill relocated from Cincinnati to Williamstown, Kentucky, which was Bill's hometown. They were the parents of three children, Todd, Nicole and Stacy.

An enthusiastic planner and organizer, Linda continued being involved in education support at the local, county, and state level. The Grant County (KY) school parent volunteer organization, the Williamstown (KY) United Methodist preschool, and the Grant County Library children's story hour were all founded and developed by Linda based on her love of children and commitment to early childhood education.

Linda passed away at age 43 on October 6, 1984 after a 20 month battle with breast cancer, still orchestrating children's church activities and lesson plans in the last weeks before her death.

1 comment:

  1. What an interesting life she lived! She passed away too young however.