In 1909, in a hollar born to Charles and Violet Ann
Norma Jean began a life of strife
not knowing until later age
just how poor her future would be.
With remnants of quilts stitch into clothes
smell of coal burning in stove
so breakfast could be made
once she gathered eggs from coop.
A few pumps and water magically appeared
standing in bitter cold
mornings of helping her father
hitch up the horses to a sleigh
to take her 3 miles to a two-room school
then walk back home each afternoon
no matter the weather or perfect grades.
Norma Jean died before she became
a woman with an opportunity to change
but I’ll always remember her heart
the stories told to me as a youth.