The mother of Homer Hickam Jr. and the wife of Homer Hickam Sr., Elsie Lavender Hickam is an intelligent, ambitious, and supportive woman. She frequently quarrels with her husband about life in the mines. Although most of her family is involved in mining, she despises every aspect of the life of a miner. Largely for this reason, she encourages Homer to pursue his dreams of building rockets, as she believes that rocketry will help Homer attend college and escape the mines. Much like Homer himself, Elsie feels a curious distance between herself and Homer Sr. Her distance becomes literal as well as metaphorical at the end of Rocket Boys, when she announces that she’s moving to Myrtle Beach, far from the Coalwood mine.