Pen in Hand: Hazel Woodard and 95 years of American living - Tehachapi News

Hazel Woodard has seen a lot of living in the 95 years since she was born on Independence Day in 1920. Raised in Oklahoma, she came to California in 1937 in the back of a pickup truck, and moved to Tehachapi in 1949 – and she was recently... Hazel was a fixture at Tehachapi Hospital for 30 years, working as a practical nurse from the day the current hospital first opened in 1955 until she retired in 1985. A diminutive but strong woman, Hazel has an unforgettably plain-spoken... Hazel’s story began one hot Fourth of July day in the little town of Heavener, Okla. “When Mama was pregnant that last time, she didn’t tell any of us. But then her belly started getting bigger,” Hazel remembers. Hazel notes one advantage to being born on the Fourth of July: “We always had homemade ice cream on my birthday. Hazel’s long employment history began when she was just a teenager. ” Hazel’s father Henry worked for the railroad and also grew a big garden to help supply his large family with fresh produce. When Hazel was 17, she married James “Woody” Woodard, who was 24. It was 1937 and the worst of the Dust Bowl was over by then, but Oklahoma was still plagued with economic problems and a lack of jobs. Source: