As long as I can remember, I have loved and written poetry.

Living in a coal mining community…Jenny Lind, named for the Swedish Nightingale. A short distance from where I was born.

I grew up with three brothers and one sister. We were a happy family. My brothers stayed busy playing boy games. Mine and my sister’s interests remained on the front porch in the summertime. We ignored the heat, entertaining ourselves with simple and “play-like” activities. The game of PLAY-LIKE was important to us.

Some of our favorite things to do were: gluing discarded fruit and vegetable labels and catalog cut-outs on cardboard and on Mama’s last year calendars and presenting them to her.

We discovered multi uses for the discarded carbon paper salvaged from the wastebasket of the depot agent’s Missouri Pacific Railroad office; thrown away from the original freight bills and other railroad correspondence.

Some days, we were busy store clerks, learning the skills of Ms. Jessie who clerked at Clark & Bailey Company Store, where everyone in the community shopped and where my sister and I traipsed down the dusty road just about every day for no other reason than to observe and visit with Ms Jessie. The discarded carbon paper was ideal for writing credit tickets on the days we “played-like” store clerks…just like Ms. Jessie.

Other days we might pretend to be teachers, writing assignments, grading papers and getting report cards ready to send home for parents to sign.

I often dreamed of my sister becoming a teacher. She would have been a great one!

Neither of us attended college. We both married and played the part of wife and mother to the hilt.

My favorite days on the front porch were constructing Mothers Day cards for mama and Fathers Day cards for daddy on their days. On these days…I was a poet! I wrote simple four-line poems to print inside.

Mama would “overdo” it with hugs and kisses when presented to her. Daddy would quietly read his card to himself and gently hand it to mama and say, “Put this away for me.” We both knew they were pleased.

Years passed. I never lost the desire to write.

During and after marriage, if there became a lull in housework and mothering, I continued to write. I became fully aware of the meaning of rejection, but that did not deter me. My desire was to be a PUBLISHED poet.

On January 20, 1997…President Bill Clinton’s second inaugural, Arkansas poet Miller Williams, who had distributed literature for President Clinton when he ran for Congress and was a long standing friend, stood and read his poem titled “Of History And Hope.” There had only been two inaugural poets before him. I watched on TV and was spellbound!

Afterwards I wrote a poem titled “Oh, To Be Like Miller,” entered it in a writing contest, winning second place and a cash award and saw it published in our local newspaper.

I was elated and thought it only “fitting” I mail Mr. Williams a copy, giving him the good news. I received a signed thank you card from him…now framed and hanging on my wall.

What joy! Not only am I a published poet…I feel like a published poet. After sending God my…THANK YOU!

My goal is to continue composing and submitting poetry, on my good days and even on a fixed income, hope I can manage to purchase spirals, copy paper, pens, postage stamps and manila folders.

I’ve lived my dream, but at the age of 89, I still like seeing my name in print.