Sunday, November 25, 2012


the photos are from the internet
their beauty was capture by a photographer.
(just look into those eyes...)
the story.
was written by my mom.
her name is pat.
but long story short...she goes by tilda.
and i love her.

November 24, 2012
her name is Polly
..Polly is a small older woman of undeterminable age, a woman you might never see or not. You might
look away, but more likely you would just not see her.
Her hair is graying, thick, almost shoulder length, and has a natural curl I wish my tresses would do. But mine is straight. I am not sure if she has teeth, but I think not. She has a few long hairs on her chin, I try not to focus on when I look into her face. Her speech is soft, and halting, like she cannot voice her thoughts into a complete sentence.
She looks into your face when speaking, but the look and her voice trails off into space.
While I am short, Polly is shorter than me. Her aging process, perhaps, that removes inches from our youthful height.
I don't know Polly's last name. I know little about her actually. I met her about 10 days ago. She has a way of permeating your thoughts. No doubt due to my childhood, growing up with an eccentric grandmother, I seem drawn to these people. Polly is like my biological Great Uncle Jack, my grandmother's brother. Except more talkative. Jack rarely spoke, he merely smiled a lot. A beautiful smile of a child on an old man's face.
Simple, was a term I heard used for Jack. Simple might apply to Polly.
I have long believed that people and events are put in our path to teach us something. Often we fail.
Often we don't see it. Sometimes we don't want to.
For me, Polly is hard to ignore.
In October, I committed myself to joining a group of artists in a wonderful OLD building in a small town 34 miles from here. What was I thinking now comes to mind, but at the time, while I had reservations, apparently they weren't strong enough to prevent me from joining. I was specifically asked, and while it is something I do NOT do, my little voice that should have stopped me cold, kept silent.
So. Long story shortened, I am in a small 'studio', with my antiques and folk art, neither of which, this small town understands. While I have long realized that primitives are an acquired either love it or hate it look, MY look there is almost laughable. The only person who 'gets it', is the woman who almost begged me to be there. And she doesn't count...apparently.
By some, I am met with almost open hostility. And I think Renee(my invitor) has to probably daily, explain or apologize for my presence there. But there I am. Until December 21st anyway. My self imposed deadline. The deadline I realized one early morning this past week, when still awake at 2AM beating myself up, over large old style multi colored Christmas light strings, that had been put in my wares, without my knowledge or consent, and put me in mild hysteria. I am not accustomed to others being able to add to, remove, alter, my wares when I have done a display. Thus my hysteria. Determined to remove those offensive multi colored large lights (that are not even plugged in!) which had been somewhat carelessly tossed onto my tables and displays, I intended to remove them with grace, biting my tongue, but still rigid in my resolve that those lights were going!
And that process went well. Nothing has been done since that day. Perhaps ultimatums were given. I don't know. Or suggestions, which I somewhat firmly addressed, when confronted by one large stinky man, when I responded with, "In the shows I have done, I pay for an allotted space, and in my display NO one touches my things, moves them, puts their things on my tables."
I bring carefully packed loaded trucks of wares and suitable display tables and benches etc. I work very hard to make these displays good.
He makes doilies.
My display takes time to put together. Doilies do not.
Even though this is clearly not my normal venue, I put it together as if I was doing Simple Goods. More time than if I 'arranged' a pile of doilies on a shelf.
This studio is run by volunteers. Doily is one, I am one. I will NOT work on the same day as doilies maker.
I prefer to work the day AFTER doily stinky man works, so I can undo whatever he has done.
Verbal agreement to do this place, surely comes to mind. One of those 'what was I .......?'
Enter Polly, and why I met her.
We were fairly busy that first time. Not particularly with sales, but people. While Polly could be overlooked, she cannot be when she places herself in front of you and begins to talk to you, until she stops in mid trailed off sentence and wanders off, leaving you to simply watch her walk away. But I merely smiled. She looks at the bright shiny wares of the shop, and presently returns and begins the conversation anew. It becomes clear immediately about Polly. Polly is Polly, a character. She draws you in.
She brings out her drawings. Herself very pleased with her work. In her halting sentences, she describes each sheet of white paper with pencil drawings on them, both sides. Her work resembles the pictures drawn by a child of perhaps 4 or 5 years old. Like the drawings of my grandchildren saved in albums. With words written in the manner that same child would print, some misspelled, she explains her work to me.
As my eyes fill with tears, I listen to her.
I am told she comes in often, because the volunteers sharpen all her pencils. She brings ALL her pencils in to be sharpened at once. I quickly learn where the pencil sharpener hangs on the wall. Previously I had never noticed it. Now I do. And perhaps she receives a kind word in this place of stinky man who puts unwanted large multi colored Christmas lights on others displays. Although I doubt stinky man who makes doilies would even see Polly. Or is it just me he disapproves of so strongly and openly.
Satisfied that I had seen her drawings and approved, she goes to look at the handmade hats and mittens, mutters soft words to no one, and leaves.
I gave her little thought again, until yesterday when I volunteered again to work the day of Black Friday.
It was a day of bitter cold, furious winds, and spitting snow.
Enter Polly. Her thick gray hair was completely wind blown as she had no hat. No mittens. She was shaking with cold. She brought me drawings to see. Her hands could not stop shaking. And her body convulsed in cold shivers.
This time I noticed her coat. Long to the top of her boots, it is an old black wool coat, that in its former life, had a mink color. Most of the mink is now gone. What remains is a white colored puffy fabric that the mink was adhered to. It makes a strange looking coat. It took me a few seconds to realize what the collar actually was and that it was missing most of the fur.
She had 5 or 6 pages of white paper with the pencil drawings and words. One a bird, one a woman that she said she could not get eyes good, ( I could make it out as a person), one a panel truck with the word truck written up the right side of the page behind the truck, one a Little House on the Prairie house that she drew from a book at the library. There no doubt to get out of the cold, and for inspiration. But one page stood out. Not immediately comprehending what it was, as it was lines and rectangles and squares with some words. I asked her about it. She replied,' it is the halls. I lived there once." She had the halls all named, but I didn't recognize any names. Then I saw the child print words,
TC State Farm. (The Traverse City State Mental Hospital). I almost could not breathe.
She asked me more about pencils. And if I knew about how to make frames?
She came in twice, in this bitter cold.
From the volunteer working with me who is from this town, I learned that Polly lives in an AFC home.
Does she escape each day? Do these people let her out in this bitter cold, with no hat or mittens to wander the streets? Does ANYBODY watch or care about this woman?
In my 45 minute drive home in the dark, I thought of Polly.
This next week, I am going to Goodwill to buy a coat. One with a mink collar, all in tact, if I can find one. Mittens, a hat, and a scarf. From Walmart, I will buy a new packaged set of top and pants long underwear, several pencils and paper. I will put it in a big Kraft paper bag, with handles and leave it at the studio with a big sign with her name printed on it.
While I know we are supposed to do good works without acknowledge or praise, and do it quietly, I am making an exception, as there are many 'Pollys' out there who need help. This is not about me. This is about Polly.
It is within my power.
The best motivation comes from within, because it is the most
sustainable and authentic. When you have a reason, you have
a powerful, driving force.
And always, you do have a reason. The important thing is to
connect what you must do with a purpose that is truly yours.
Ralph Marston
Polly, whoever you are, you deserve to be warm, and to have pencils and paper.
It is truly MY pleasure to give them to you. Perhaps this is the reason why I am in
this place that does not want me. Perhaps my purpose was to meet Polly.
in my fondest of thoughts

saying prayers.
for you polly.
thank you mom.
your journey has been blessed.
in knowing polly.
just BE.


Enchanted Moments said...

I read your mum's email today about Polly, it touched my heart....

Chubskulit Rose said...

I love these photos, they attest to some wonderful years!

Late visit from Shadow Shots Sunday. Here's my link to Indoor Plants Shadow
Your comment will be greatly appreciated.

Molly said...

That was such a lovely, lovely story. Polly lives all over the world.

MyMaracas said...

What a touching story. Your mom is very kind. A forgotten scrap of scripture springs to mind ... "thereby some have entertained angels unaware".

Leah said...

I am so glad your mom decided to share this story, and that you shared it here in blog land.

There certainly are many, many Pollys out there. I am sure as your mother stated, this is no chance encounter. I hope this encounter marks something significant and good in your mother's life, and a vivid reminder to remember "the least of these" to all who read this.


CanadianGardenJoy said...

Robin your mom has "spoken" a remarkable story here about Polly.
Yes .. there are so many Polly(s) in the world and no .. there are no chance encounters. Your mom was meant to "see" Polly ... and she was meant to do this good deed for Polly ... and all of us who have read this story, were meant to read this story.