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One of Dahlgren's pioneers, Rose Hancock, is out and about as she nears her 105th birthday
Rose Hancock at her high school graduation in Maryland. She moved to the Dahlgren area in 1925.
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By Ed Jones
Now living near Colonial Beach, McElroy remembers the kindnesses and support offered by Hancock, her distant cousin, to generations of Dahlgren students.
"If you had a math problem, she had a problem," says McElroy, who recalls Hancock's many reference books--some of which still fill her home. "She really guided us."
"When anybody got hurt, Mrs. Hancock would fix them up" and, if necessary, drive them in a Model A to get professional help. McElroy remembers Hancock as one of the few women of her era who drove.
With an irrepressible curiosity that still shines, Hancock smiles broadly when told of the fond memories others have of her. She has many happy remembrances too, including that time Budd told her, after a couple of dates, "I'm going to be your husband."
Together they traveled the country, enduring the mosquitos of Yellowstone while visiting every state but Alaska.
Her Maryland childhood is filled with anecdotes, like the one about the former slave and occasional midwife who helped around the house. Young Rose always thought the woman would be bringing new babies with her.
She remembers the days when a chicken could be mailed to her in Dahlgren from her family in Waldorf, Md. Sometimes it arrived on the same day.
These days, Hancock likes to read about U.S. presidents, recalling "Mr. Hoover's" support for a five-day workweek, which allowed Budd and her to visit relatives in Maryland more often.
It adds up to a century of memories and a life well lived. Says McElroy, "The whole of Dahlgren idolized her."
Ed Jones: 540/374-5401
Some of Rose Hancock's children are expected to attend the Dahlgren School Reunion on Saturday, May 1. For details and to register, which is required for access to the base, go to fredericksburg.com/dahlgren.
Read about Mike Gould, superintendent of a school district that stretches 1,600 miles from New York to the Caribbean, with stops in between at Dahlgren and Quantico. Coming next Wednesday in Region.