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Spiz: The Story of Betty Jean Howard Hammond

January 22, 2021

On December 5, Seeland Park resident Betty Hammond was the featured guest at a book signing of her recently copyrighted autobiography at Stepping Stones in Grinnell. Betty learned the value of work at a very young age and has been a hard worker all of her life. When Betty was encouraged in 2017 to put her memories and stories down in writing by friend Dodi Reilly, it turned into a short book and lots of photos with the help of that friend.

To say Betty is well-known in the Grinnell community is an understatement as she and husband Montie owned and managed several successful businesses during their careers and were always willing to help others as well as lend a hand with community events. 

In her preface note, Betty shares the following advice:

My advice to the next generation would be that you need to work hard and accomplish the goals you set for yourself. I was married at 16 to the toughest looking boy in Beaman and had our son at 19. Montie and I enjoyed 64 years of marriage. It wasn’t easy and it was hard work, but it was full of love, family and companionship.

I feel proud when I remember feeding a group of hired working men when I was 12 because my mom was in the hospital. I had to kill and dress the chickens, fry them and prepare the meal. It was just something I knew I had to do. I could fill a truck full of corn or bean seed in 60-pound bags by myself when the men were working in the fields. It was hard work, but it had to be done so I did it.  When you own a restaurant and you are closing up at 11 PM and two buses of hungry people show up, you feed them!

We did things and bought things when we could afford to do them and buy them. We tried many different careers and always worked with integrity and passion. Find something you are passionate about and always do your best.

Help out your neighbors, friends and family. Don’t always expect to get paid back. Put in the time and effort to do a good job.  Your rewards will be memories to cherish.

To learn why the book is titled Spiz, you will have to read it! A copy of Spiz has been added to the Hawn Center library and may also be obtained through Stepping Stones or directly from Betty. 

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