Our Youngest Turns 27 (New Poem by Polly Castor with photos)

Our Youngest Turns 27 (New Poem by Polly Castor with photos)

Our Youngest Turns 27

This is the girl,
who when she was seven
carefully took off her socks
to wade in the river
in her brand new leather shoes.
The one who at age nine,
wore a snake
around her neck for months,
celebrated her half-birthday
with swimming parties,
and then grew to create
150 ceramic bowls to donate
for soup in a hunger
awareness fundraiser.
She cares about
the plight of women in Iran,
and is a champion of
diversity, equity, and inclusion.
She stands by her friends
when they are having hard times
and mentors students and colleagues
with alacrity, whether they are
timid, anxious, confused, or abused.
She’s got sound wisdom
enough to spare,
yet gets so giddily
enthusiastic sometimes
she jumps around,
clapping her hands with glee.
She’s on my case lately
to get me to drink enough water,
and because of her, I am doing better.
She explains physics multiple ways,
until her students understand,
and helps them see
why it is relevant in their lives;
they, in turn, are surprised
not only to get it, but to like it.
She originated what
department professors
have dubbed the “Laura pause,”
where in the classroom,
when she asks a question,
she waits with gaping expectation,
until someone fills in the breach
with an answer;
the method is so successful,
now her professors
have adopted it too.
Somehow she reads
over a hundred books a year,
this one who I despaired
would ever be able to read at all.
What used to be impossible for her
is now her escapist fun.
She keeps
a creative experiments journal,
always trying something new:
a savory oven pancake,
a flexible nib, Tunisian crochet,
homemade rough puff pastry,
knitting an intricate sock pattern,
making a reversible fleece vest,
or a quilted pocket
to wear over all her clothes.
She’s detail oriented,
working in seed beads,
and complex formulas
with mostly Greek letters,
but when baking macrons,
she wings it
and they come out great.
Who else is so exacting,
while so comfortable
with fudging it?
She’s very quick
with a jigsaw puzzle,
and dehydrates beets
into little chewy coins.
We hike at Huntington
when she’s here,
and talk on the phone
most other days.
She wonders about things like
how to stuff popovers with
hidden goodies inside,
and where she’ll buy land
to grow her own flax
to make her own cloth.
She’s careful about money,
getting quickly out of debt,
but she invests in herself too,
having a monthly “fun budget,”
to use on things like
new red cowboy boots,
bodkins, linen,
an antique pocket watch,
garage sale handsaws,
and even a sword with a scabbard.
She toured Europe with a walrus,
brings her crocodile
and bunnies home
for the holidays,
and added a bat
to the menagerie this year.
She is writing
a story about dragons
in tiny handwriting
in beautifully colored ink
in a bound book she made
with a pieced turtle
on the front;
the story is unspooling
at the rate of about
30,000 words a year;
we invent good dragon names
when we drive together.
She prefers sewing by hand,
does laundry in her bathtub,
enjoys darning,
wears her long wavy hair
in a crown around her head,
calls the cops
on her fighting neighbors
at four in the morning,
and composes her own
lyrical piano music.
Lately, she’s been learning
to play the accordion,
is the vice-president of the
Graduate Student Senate on campus,
was awarded TA of the year
for the 8am
Physics class she taught,
and hiked a portion
of the precipitous
Hardergrat trail in Switzerland
by herself, in bad weather,
and in a skirt.
After she graduates
in May with her PhD,
where will she be?
Secure in my heart,
that’s where,
my forever friend,
my complex and creative compatriot,
a delightful mutual support system.
Life is never dull with her in it.
Here’s to our next trip
around the sun together!
I’m overwhelmingly grateful
that she exists.
I’m so fortunate
to be getting to know her,
and am thankful
for every
we share.

by Polly Castor
























Looking down on the narrow Hardergrat trail: sheer drop off both sides.

























I work to amplify good wherever I find it. I love color, texture, beauty, great ideas, nature, metaphor, deliciousness, genuine spirituality, and exploring new territory. I encourage authenticity, nurture creativity, champion sustainability, promote peace, and hope to foster a new renaissance where we all are free to be our most fulfilled, multifaceted, and terrific selves. Read more here.


  1. John+gregory 4 months ago

    Rightfully proud.

  2. Sherri 4 months ago

    Try reading that with a dry eye!!!

  3. Sherri 4 months ago

    Happy Birthday to your birthday girl ❤️ May everyone get to experience such a marvelous relationship. God’s greatest blessing.

  4. Meg+Hanson 4 months ago

    I loved reading about your accomplished and interesting daughter!

  5. Dilys 4 months ago

    Happy Birthday lovely lady! X

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