Hilda Rupp lived a tough life. She lost her own mother when she was only 17 and helped raised her 10 brothers and sisters through the Great Depression after her mother died. She went on to raise eight children of her own.
Hilda’s daughter, Joyce Rupp, writes about her mother and the lessons she learned from watching her resiliency in her new book Fly While You Still Have Wings and Other Lessons My Resilient Mother Taught Me.
Rupp reminisces about the diaper bucket her mother kept dirty diapers in until they were ready to be washed, and what it would have been to raise eight children on the farm without running water or a modern washing machine.
“You think about it now; how did she do it? How did anybody do it?”
Rupp penned the book as a way to let go of her grief after her mom’s death. During this Talk of Iowa interview, host Charity Nebbe talks with Rupp about her new book and her mom. She describes her mother as ordinary but representative of a lot of Iowa farm women.
“She’s kind of this hidden persona that most Iowa farm women are. They’re sturdy, they’re responsible. They’re trustworthy. They care about their children, but they don’t make the news.”
Rupp says her mom would tell her to ‘fly while you still have wings' as she grew older. She writes about how difficult it is to talk about death in the book, especially with your parents, but she says that being ready and willing to have that conversation is vital.
Hear Talk of Iowa weekdays at 10:00 a.m. on Iowa Public Radio.