This is the second time I’ve written to the editor about the beautiful Polly Marston poem entitled “I Remember” published in the Roundup on Oct. 16, 2002. The first letter was not used, so I ask that the poem be repeated in the Roundup with this letter.
My friend, Polly Marston, is a 95-year-old widow in relatively good health, living in Powell House here in Payson. She was born of Presbyterian missionary parents in western China. The only significant schooling available there, was a boarding school operated by Lutherans.
At the age of 7, she and her 10-year-old sister were enrolled there and only got to return to their parents’ home twice a year. After adulthood and further education in America, the older sister returned to China as a missionary and died in service there. Polly married a Presbyterian minister and they served in the U.S.A.
Polly witnesses in Powell House, teaches a Sunday school class at the First Southern Baptist Church, and is a regular attendee of the senior citizen Bible class at the Payson Senior Center.
Rev. Perry Epley, Payson
I Remember When
When I was young, not even eight,
I went to school, wrote on a slate.
There were 60 kids, mostly MKs*
Who lived on a mount in old Cathay
Called KiKungShan, a mountain high,
That pierced the clouds, scraping the sky
Named Rooster Mount, for a mammoth rock
Resembling a rooster, a mighty game cock.
I learned to read, write and ’cypher,
To spell hard words (that made me smarter).
We wore black hose, high buttoned shoes,
Mother Hubbard dresses, baggy muumuus.
I wore my hair in pig-tails neat
With ribbons tied, severe but sweet,
Braids like ropes, after combing tangles
Took ages to do, ’twixt tears and wrangles.
Each season was gorgeous, orchids in spring,
Forests of bamboo, birds on the wing ...
Hillsides ablaze in gold and crimson
White dogwood-dotted under bright sun.
In summertime butterflies flit everywhere
And as dusk deepened, pale Lunas, beware!
We dashed after gloworms to capture their spark.
When thunderstorms crackled and rattled below
And lightning flashed, we’d watch ev’ry glow
Delighting their beauty, more exciting by far
Are God’s fireworks shooting up to a star!
A pool in the valley, a waterfall rare
Beckoned all swimmers to come if they dare.
Holding our noses we’d shoot into the pool
Dry off on a rock, and climb back to school.
The fall colors were gorgeous, the Chinquapins ripe
We’d roast by our fires on a cool autumn night.
In winter, when ice clung like lace to the trees
We’d skim down the hills on our sleds like a breeze.
This spark of my childhood still glimmers today
Though I’m old and wrinkled, fat, homely and grey.
by Pauline (Polly) R. Marston