Tuesday's Child: On the Occasion of Monteen's 86th Birthday

There is a loved and much repeated rhyme taken out of Old Mother Goose which is dished up in many formats at baby showers and is also self-applied sometimes when circumstances in people's lives go awry. It reads as follows and provides a little theme for this story of our cherished sister Monteen on this her 86th birthday celebration.

Monday's child is fair of face,

Tuesday's child is full of grace;

Wednesday's child is full of woe,

Thursday's child has far to go;

Friday's child is loving and giving,

Saturday's child works hard for its living;

But the child that is born on the Sabbath day,

Is bonny and blithe, and good and gay.

Eighty-six years ago in the rolling woodland country of North Georgia a baby girl was born to young Lowery and Opla Poteete. She was the proud couple's first child and she arrived in their first home which was a rustic log cabin located somewhere on the farm of her grandparents, James and Martha Poteete. Monteen Stover Poteete was born on Tuesday, May 25th, 1915 and to date she has graciously lived 86 years or to put it another way-- 34,412 days. According to insurance actuarial tables she still has the luxury of eight years left in which to put her affairs in order!

Since there was no library in Ivy Log, Monteen's parents could not check out a convenient compendium of baby names, the proper choice of which would, hopefully, give the child an auspicious start in this huge world of uncertainties. Not to worry. In the Poteete/Chapman clan at Ivy Log creativeness took up the slack when other amenities were scarce and in the matter of child naming posterity with its fickleness remains to judge. Well-meaning friends and relations collaborated to craft names out of whole cloth if need be. Worse yet, names of loved ones dead or alive might be conveniently conjoined together. The names of local heroes or generals of now diminished glory were brought out and dusted off. The name, so called, of Opla fits into this category of "Made Out of Whole Cloth." Its history goes like this: At the time of Opla's birth, Oklahoma had just reached statehood. Her birth-namers thought that the name Okla would be commemorative, but fortunately better minds prevailed and she was named Opla instead. Thus, the name Opla, a name to be borne throughout her life with much spelling and misspelling and many tedious explanations once she had left her birth place of Georgia.

In the community of Ivy Log there were names like Glamer, Tascal, Lowing, Magnolia, Dillard, Napoleon (it was later in my life that I learned that "Uncle Poly" was short for Napoleon), Buell, Buford (there was a general Buford in the Civil War), Amon, Modena, Agenes, Joaquin, Hoyt, Reinette, Lowery, etc. These names gave no one pause for comment or alarm. Add to this the name of Monteen Stover laid on the unaware babe. (Taken from a newspaper). A name to be borne throughout her life with much spelling and misspelling and many tedious explanations once she left her birth state of Georgia.

As can be seen from this early childhood photo, little Monteen exhibits for the camera body language which shouts out, "Ready to Go!" Notice the forward thrust of her infantile body, her open, smiling face for even such a thing as the strange camera, her tiny hand grasping the chair strut as if to hold down that leaping spirit inside her, the eagerly splayed out toes on those little feet which would someday carry her adventurous and questing self to the peak of Mt. Whitney–one of the rooftops of the world.

Lowery and Opla were oblivious of the artistic temperament that Mother Nature had bestowed in that tiny, human frame. Their precious baby was born at the time of year in the verdant northwoods of Georgia when the month of May produces enough visual and sensory delights to inspire even the most mundane and plodding of personalities. It was into this woodland ambience that their baby girl began to open up to the world around her.

As the years progressed with more and more vigorous little siblings crowding her space and of necessity crowding out household enhancements from the home such as pictures, vases and pretty gewgaws that other people managed to get, Monteen found herself, with her mother's prompting, having to make daily attitude adjustments and to accept THINGS AS THEY ARE.

Happily, for all her loved ones and for posterity this rite of passage was transversed healthfully and sometimes with grace culminating with Monteen marrying a gifted man, and producing with him a family of loving, devoted children. Later she managed full-time employment and nurtured to high accomplishment the skill of water color art.

It is known that the free and unfettered development of human potential can result in a rich cultural heritage for beneficiaries. Monteen's many, many watercolor paintings are sought after and cherished by her family and admirers. Her art adorns the walls of their homes, table and desk tops, favored nooks and crannies and even the office walls of strangers who demand only blue ribbon quality art.

Long after Monteen has left this arena to go exploring the eternal world of multi-dimensional awesomeness, the perusal here of her exquisite pictures will begin to draw forth for the viewer the sub-portrait of Monteen as a gracious and blithe spirit who once gleaned from and enhanced the portion that God allotted her.

--JPL, May 25, 2001

A Pauline benediction for a beautiful life: Now Unto the King Eternal