This memorial website was created in memory of our loved one, Pauline "Polly" Monson, 83 years old, born on January 6, 1937 and passed away on April 9, 2020.

Pauline “Polly” Emilia Monson (Shirk) passed away peacefully in her home in Pismo Beach, CA on April 9th, 2020 of Adenoid Cystic Carcinoma cancer. She was 83 years old.

Polly was born in Fresno, CA on January 6, 1937, the daughter of Daisy Shirk (Cerveny) and Paul Shirk.  She attended elementary school at the Fresno State Lab School where she gained life-long friends. She graduated from Fresno High School in 1954.  Two years later, she married David Sleeter. Together they had three children:  Don, Doug, and Diane.

In 1967, after divorcing, she attended Fresno State College as a single parent, graduating in 1969 with a B.A. in Education with a minor in Music. Upon earning her teaching credential, Polly became a kindergarten and first grade teacher in the Fresno School District, where she taught for 23 years

She was also an accomplished musician, playing the flute and piccolo in the Fresno Symphony Orchestra and Opera for many years. She also taught music to many flute and piccolo students, some of whom became life-long friends. 

In 1978, she married William N. Monson, a professor at CSU Fresno. They were active in the university, arts and music communities in Fresno until they retired and moved to Pismo Beach in 1997. Polly loved living in Pismo Beach, walking on the Pier and breathing the clear air. 

Music was always an important part of her life. She was happiest playing with chamber music groups locally and in Ischia, Italy. She formed a group called “Flute Fun” in Pismo Beach with friends who met regularly to play music together. She was an ardent supporter of Festival Mozaic in San Luis Obispo. She also played impresario for Robert Stallman, a world-renowned Flutist and arranger by planning, funding, and promoting Stallman’s public performances in San Luis Obispo in 2009, 2010, and 2013. She took on big projects like this every few years. Recently, she spent two years editing and posthumously publishing William Monson’s novel “Adoree Ames”.

Polly was preceded in death by her husband, William Monson, in 2005. She is survived by her three children and their spouses: Don and Kim Sleeter (Castro Valley, CA), Doug and Sherrill Sleeter (Pleasanton, CA), and Diane Sleeter (Capitola, CA); her brother and sister-in-law Peter and Susan Shirk (Millbrae, CA);  her three step-children Laura Monson Gross, David Monson, and James Monson; 14 grandchildren; a great grandchild; and niece Jenn Warner and nephew Paul Shirk.

A memorial service is not yet planned due to the COVID-19 shelter-in-place order. In lieu of flowers, contributions are preferred to Festival Mosaic in San Luis Obispo, CA

Posted by Gordon Reynolds on January 8, 2021
My very good friend for many years, Polly comes to mind frequently when I
come across items that would be of interest to her. It is difficult to accept
that she is no longer with us, though she left a memory of a fine, caring and
considerate person. Always genuine.
My very best to her loving family and numerous other friends.
Posted by Marti Lindholm on January 6, 2021
Miss my dear friend so much. Miss her bright smile and happy laugh and our shared passion for music. She lives in my heart.
Posted by Patti Daley on May 20, 2020
   I am still processing the news of Polly’s death. We had such a good time with her when we were in Avila this winter. She was full of enthusiasm around all her interests that were, in turn, very interesting to us. We had even hatched a plan to join her for concert in a winery this coming July. 
   She was such an organizer of people, in the best sense of the word. We especially benefitted from her putting together the mini-Fresno High reunions that were timed to happen while we were in California. We had an especially lovely dinner at her home the night before we returned to Princeton in early March. She was so excited about her upcoming Tapestry boat trip.
   Though Polly had been very upfront about her diagnosis, she continued to be vigorous and full of life. I am so grateful for the seasons that Eliot and I enjoyed Polly’s wonderful presence.
Posted by Diane Sleeter on May 10, 2020
Happy Mother's Day Mom. Miss you and think of you often. And today was our first Mother's Day without you. It's strange and a bit sad to not be able to share this "holiday" with you. 
Love you,
Posted by Joseph Capell on April 24, 2020
(reposted from facebook site from April 12. 2020)
Poly was our dear friend and neighbor for almost 40 years. She was across the street when we moved to Fresno with our big, rambunctious family. She and her husband, Bill almost despaired as the van full of kids pulled into the driveway. We grew to be close sharing SuperBowl, Fourth of July fireworks, Christmas neighborhood parties and numerous birthday celebrations including my own 50th for which she and Bill performed an original song about the old days. They moved to Pismo Beach and we followed . Our relatives, my sister and brother in law shared a place in the Pismo Senior Mobile Home park and just about each time we were there, we visited with Poly and Bill and then when Bill passed, Poly and other neighbors. We attended the Mosiac Festival with Poly and her son, Don and enjoyed numerous musical and gastronomic experiences. We met and enjoyed so much each of her children and their families. The last great adventure with Poly was a trip, this last September, to Northern Italy in the Lake Como region with her son, Doug Sleeter. We walked, dined, explored quaint little and some big villages , museums and spent much time just talking, relaxing together in our rented villa and sharing boat rides. The last time we saw Poly was a month before she died. We traveled from Northern California, visited Diana, her daughter, ate together with friends from the park and talked and shared fond memories of so many events in our lives. She seemed to be tired more often, but was still very present and vivacious, adventurous and so very Poly. We will miss her and share our thoughts and condolences with her family. Good bye, Poly.
Posted by Marty Farahat on April 24, 2020
My heart is full. Polly was my lifeline after moving from the Chicago area to the Central Coast. We met through a neighbor who knew her from Opera SLO meetings when Polly was looking for housing for visiting musicians. From that early introduction we played together all the time we were both in town--initially once a week, eventually a second time weekly with our clarinetist friend Steve. Over the years we bonded in so many ways, cooking, wine, attending concerts, performing a few actual gigs, and traveling together on the memorable trip to Ischia. Polly's generosity is only one of the ways she modeled for me a life well-lived. Her focus, follow-through, attention to detail, celebrating each moment, and even near her final days on earth caring for others, are all teaching moments for we who loved her. We carry her spirit with us.
Posted by Carol Sethre on April 22, 2020
I am so proud of Pauline using her exceptional organizational skills to live her last year of life to its fullest. And to leave this life in a way that she was in charge of. Polly had a life force that served her well in everything she did, and it is so gratifying to see that so many people were touched by knowing her. She was the reason I played flute when I was growing up because I knew that cousin Pauline played the flute so well. I know she will be missed by everyone in her family and all her friends. Good bye dear Pauline.
Posted by Patricia Lynn on April 20, 2020
Polly is full of fun! She always had a hearty laugh and a very patient spirit. She played as a substitute in our Santa Maria Winds Quintet. We performed school concerts and different gigs together. She was a competent and lovely flute player. When able, I was a participant in her flute choir. She loved it when my students participated as well. We will miss her sweet smile and willingness to play in many different groups in our community. God has blessed us with being her friend!
Posted by Chris Mulcahy on April 19, 2020
Polly I probably met you as a young teen but we will miss you. My best to Donald, Doug and Diane . 
Posted by Stephanie Fugate on April 19, 2020
I am a part of Polly’s Flute Fun group and she is one of my heroes. She was always positive and encouraging and I admire how she embraced life and faced it head on. I am a better musician and a better human being for having known her. Although we will continue her group, Wednesday afternoons will never be the same.
Posted by Gordon Reynolds on April 19, 2020
I became acquainted with Polly 68 years ago in the Fresno High School band
where she played excellent flute and I, the trombone. A warm and caring
individual who became a good friend right away. She had what I call "soul."
We remained friends over the years while our lives went separate ways. But a vivid and meaningful memory often comes to mind of when she invited me to attend a Stravinsky concert in the meadow behind the Ahwanee Hotel in Yosemite (1968). I had accepted a company move to New York and would leave in a few days. That event and her empathy for my mixed emotions made an indelible impression that I have recalled and cherished over the years.

R.I.P. Polly. You were loved by many and will be missed immensely.
With this note also comes my heartfelt condolences for your family
and thanks to Doug for this memorial site.

Posted by Juliane McAdam on April 18, 2020
Polly and I first got acquainted because of our mutual affection for Rebecca Sloan, who was at that time my piano teacher. Through Rebecca's long illness, Polly and I would meet at Festival Mozaic events and share stories about Rebecca. Our friendship grew after Rebecca's passing, and we continued to enjoy seeing one another at Festival Mozaic events. The Mexico City trip was definitely a highlight! Polly was always and ever cheerful, generous, gracious, and a thoroughly wonderful person. She will definitely be missed.
Posted by Marti Lindholm on April 18, 2020
I remember sharing so many happy moments with Polly. She loved Festival Mozaic. I had boycotted the festival since it changed its name in 2008. But Polly invited me to come with her to a Notable Encounter Dinner and I was converted. We shared our love for the festival from then on. We also played chamber music together. She had the most incredible music library. She brought the music , her flute and sometimes a friend and I sightread the piano parts while she made it all make sense with her lovely flute. We had so many great afternoons making music. We had both been teachers, so we had many stories to share. We loved the music in our community and could count on seeing each other at the various concerts around town.
I will never forget the time Polly and I drove to the LA Opera to see Placido in
Nabucco, driving home that same night. We had to put the comedy station on my SiriusXM to keep us awake so we could make it home. Polly was such a good sport and a dear, dear friend! I will miss Polly and remember our adventures forever.
Posted by Carla Cassinelli on April 17, 2020
I have known Polly for over 30 years, I am a friend of her daughter and family. I always enjoyed seeing and visiting with Polly. I will miss seeing and talking with her at family gatherings and visiting with her at her house. I will really miss her. 
Posted by Pat Burbank on April 17, 2020
My heart goes out to all of Polly's family and friends. We will all miss her, but she lit up our lives while we had her.
Posted by Diane Sleeter on April 17, 2020
This is Diane, Polly’s daughter. First and foremost I want to thank my Mom for a wonderful lifetime of memories. So many times of inspirational people and music throughout my life!!
As a very small child I learned about symphonies and operas and got to experience the richness of music. It was my normal to have various flute students come into my home and be mentored and encouraged in their gifts. I listened through walls and listened through the years. It was really a great way to grow up!!
Mom loved getting to know people. She enjoyed the human experience and finding out what made someone “tick”. Finding passion in others gave her smiles.
She was the ultimate organizer. We all knew she had fun planning all kinds of get togethers - no matter what group she was in. Family celebrations came with special decorations or silly well thought out gifts for sure. You always felt well celebrated when your birthday or important days came by. 
She loved being active and engaged with her friends! Her travels were so very special. She would always come home and share her adventures with pictures and stories and something fun to laugh about.
She always looked forward. Was an inspiration to me to look forward and do my best. 

It’s so touching to read all of these stories. I really appreciate all the love she had in her life!
Posted by Gerrie Fausett on April 16, 2020
I got to know Polly during the last 10 years. She came to Santa Barbara to play in our chamber music workshop twice a year. Perhaps we played together 2 or 4 times. She was a fine musician and a great partner in the group. I loved her "straight up" attitude and ever-present sense of humor. I will miss her and her smile. Family members, please know she loved you dearly and spoke fondly of you all.
Posted by Sherrill Sleeter on April 16, 2020
Polly (“PollyMom”) was a wonderful Mother-in-Law to me for the past 34 years. She always took the time to ask me how I was, to thank me, compliment me. She was a terrific mother to my husband and grandmother to my son Thomas. She was most definitely the grand matriarch of our extended family.
There are so many things I admired about her. She had incredible energy for life; she was lighthearted and quick to smile and laugh; she had talent and a deep love for music; she was incredibly generous; she showed courage in raising three kids as a single Mother; she was always curious and a lifelong learner; she had the ability to talk to anyone and engage in interesting conversation; she had great listening skills; she was an enthusiastic party planner; and more recently I learned what an incredible “documenter of people and life events” she was.

She has amazed all of us these past few years… living her life with gusto. Once she learned her cancer diagnosis, she focused on LIVING. Polly was a planner… and her final plans were executed with such GRACE and COURAGE. She will be sorely missed.
Posted by Elena Longworth on April 16, 2020
I knew Polly for many years through my sister, Sherrill and her husband, Doug, one of Polly's three children. My favorite memory of Polly was just last summer, hanging out with her and the other grandparents of Tom and Megan at their engagement party. Polly was hopeful about making it to their wedding despite her diagnosis and her spirits were high that day, she wasn't in too much pain. We sat by a fire and chatted and celebrated with a large circle of family who hung out later than most of the party. A little drinking was going on, all the grandparents posed for several photos I took with Tom and Megan. Polly really lived her life, she was a huge music lover and had done tours with a group as a flautist, she enjoyed them so much. She always remembered things about my life and what was going on with me and that always touched me. She loved all her children and grandchildren so much, she appreciated her blessed life. She will be missed. In my last text to her, I told her we would have a photo of her up at the wedding and that she would be remembered fondly. She wrote back with emojis-- 4 hearts and a face blowing a heart kiss. RIP Polly, your thoughtfulness will be remembered.
Posted by Susie West on April 16, 2020
It is my privilege to be a member of Polly's Flute Fun group. . . and it is fun! We were so fortunate to have her open her home and organize our get-togethers each week. She was exceptionally thoughtful, making each of us feel welcomed and included. The friendships among all of us are blossoming thanks to her. Polly has definitely left a hole in my life, but she leaves a legacy of strength, enthusiasm, hope, love and positivity for all of us whose lives she touched .
Posted by Dave Monson on April 15, 2020
Polly was a great mom to all "her kids".  I was fortunate to have such a caring, considerate and give-it-to-you-straight mama mentor. Her advice and wisdom was not always what you wanted to hear, but it was always what you needed to hear. 

I am a better person because Polly was a guiding light in my life. 
Posted by Don Sleeter on April 15, 2020
Hi everyone. Don here. Our family thanks everyone for the warm and loving kind words. I think we all love reading stories and sharing memories of Pauline-Polly-Mom (we've been hyphenating her name for years now) 

If anyone would like help uploading photos or entering into the website a story, tribute, or photo(s), please let me or Doug know. We can upload for you.

To contribute a tribute, story or photo(s), all you need is an email address and new password to get a "login" for this website. I trust to be respectful of your/our privacy. For security reasons we need to login. Keeps spammers out.

By the way, this site will last "forever." I hear you wondering what Polly-Mom would say to that.
Posted by Maynard Orme on April 15, 2020
Thank you, Doug. I can't believe she is gone. I can't get her out of my mind. She was such a dear friend. Cheers to you!
Posted by Doug Sleeter on April 15, 2020
From Mary-Louise (Baer) Peters:

Like Rochelle and Maynard, I went to school with Polly from kindergarten through high school and Fresno State. We were a wonderful group of friends who she called “Kindergarten Cuties.” Many times on Fresno High School reunion weekends, Polly entertained our College Elementary group in her Fig Garden home/back yard. Always a wonderful get together. We brought photo albums of our elementary school days and just enjoyed each other’s company. Polly had that wonderful talent to bring people together with her warm and welcoming personality. She will be missed by all of us.  Mary-Louise (Baer) Peters

Posted by Doug Sleeter on April 15, 2020
From Rochelle Anixter, a childhood friend.

Dear Doug and Family. I am so sad to hear about your mother's passing. Polly was a month and a half younger than me. I remember her birthday, January 6th because it is the same day as my dad's birthday. Polly lived around the block from me on Yale in Fresno. We walked to school together from kindergarten though high school. 

My thoughts are with you and love too. 
Posted by Maynard Orme on April 14, 2020
Dear Polly in absentia,

You know how much I will miss you. We have known each other for almost 80 years, having gone to pre-school, elementary school, junior high and high school together. You were always one of my dearest friends. Here is a poem, just for you.

The spirit
of my dear friend
sails off
into the soft sunset.

Her destiny unknown.

A piece of my soul
sails off with her
her loss,
is my loss, too.

Bon voyage, dear friend. I hope I catch up with you soon. Much love.

Posted by Cassandra Tarantino on April 14, 2020
I will always remember the feeling of pure JOY that surrounded Polly- joy that permeated which ever room she was in. Her love of music and her fellow musicians blessed so many of us. She brought incredible talent and experience with her, and always made everyone feel loved, included, and important. I am so grateful for the time spent with her and will cherish my memories with her. I am happy to have some of her flute literature in my library. I will think of her each time I pull one of those pieces out. Requiem aeternam, sweet Polly. Et Lux perpetua!
Posted by Diane Denbow on April 14, 2020
Polly and me were High School class mates. We hooked up again a number of years ago when my sister discovered she lived in Pismo Beach a stones throw away from Arroyo Grande where she recently moved to. We attended along with some other folks mini class reunions and short trips together. I tried to set up a lunch date or drinks with her and my sis whenever I was in town visiting my sister. We had such a good time reminiscing (sp?). She was a super lady and I will miss her.
Posted by Elsa Ross on April 13, 2020
Polly became a wonderful, kind and generous friend during my student years at Fresno State College in the mid-1960s. I resided with her and her family for more than three years and was always treated as a member of the family. I remain very grateful for the genuine friendship shown me over the years by Polly, her husband, David, and children, Don, Doug, and Diane. I am very saddened by her passing away and will miss her very much.
Posted by Alayne Gyetvai on April 13, 2020
I loved playing woodwind quintets with Polly. She was awesome! She always tried to recruit for her Ischia, Italy Music 'retreat'. She was also an ardent Words with Friends online player. She was very good at this too! Polly, I will miss your online presence, your flute playing, but mostly your joy!
Posted by Judie Childress on April 13, 2020
I call Polly my "flute angel" because I met her on July 30th, 2019 when she rescued me from depression and loneliness. I stood next to her at the Office Max print shop and her music copy lead me to say, "that looks like a lot of fun." We discovered that we both played the flute and she invited me to her Flute Fun Group the following week. In addition it was Festival Mosaic week and she introduced me to this great group of musicians. She was an amazing woman and I'm blessed to have known her. She is forever in my heart.
Posted by Yvan Albert on April 13, 2020
If you ever lived at Hillsboro court, you had the pleasure of knowing and being with Polly. What a spirit to do so much and provide happiness and friendship.

from Sally and (Yvan) Albert
Posted by Kathy McCarthy on April 13, 2020
I remember meeting Polly so many times at your home- -your family summer parties, Christmas.  She always seemed so happy to be with her family and I enjoyed the many conversations that I had with her. I'm sure she will be missed.
Posted by Kathy East on April 13, 2020
Polly was a dear lady that always had a smile for everyone. I never heard her say a bad thing about anyone. Her love for life and joy was infectious. A true inspiration of a life well loved and lived. I miss her and send my condolences to her family and friends.
Posted by Dennis Hart on April 12, 2020
Sharon and I were so privileged to know and love Polly for 45 years. She was a great lady, and we will miss her all the rest of our lives.
Posted by Janet Datu on April 12, 2020
My sweet, dear friend Polly Monson is playing her flute amongst the angels....I will miss and treasure you always...every time I play my flute (and turn on my clip fan!) I am so blessed to have had you in my life...

Leave a Tribute

Recent Tributes
Posted by Gordon Reynolds on January 8, 2021
My very good friend for many years, Polly comes to mind frequently when I
come across items that would be of interest to her. It is difficult to accept
that she is no longer with us, though she left a memory of a fine, caring and
considerate person. Always genuine.
My very best to her loving family and numerous other friends.
Posted by Marti Lindholm on January 6, 2021
Miss my dear friend so much. Miss her bright smile and happy laugh and our shared passion for music. She lives in my heart.
Posted by Patti Daley on May 20, 2020
   I am still processing the news of Polly’s death. We had such a good time with her when we were in Avila this winter. She was full of enthusiasm around all her interests that were, in turn, very interesting to us. We had even hatched a plan to join her for concert in a winery this coming July. 
   She was such an organizer of people, in the best sense of the word. We especially benefitted from her putting together the mini-Fresno High reunions that were timed to happen while we were in California. We had an especially lovely dinner at her home the night before we returned to Princeton in early March. She was so excited about her upcoming Tapestry boat trip.
   Though Polly had been very upfront about her diagnosis, she continued to be vigorous and full of life. I am so grateful for the seasons that Eliot and I enjoyed Polly’s wonderful presence.
her Life

Pauline E. Shirk, As I Knew Her, by Pete Shirk

Actually it was a while before I did know her because of the difference in our ages (about 9 years).  She was born in the 1930s, I was born just after the end of WW2.  Those were very different decades and the generational difference was obvious. 

Pauline Emilia (never known as Polly until a boyfriend, Dave, started calling her that) was a bright and active young student and musician.  As a teenager she got pretty good grades, progressed well on the flute - and God forbid, on the Piccolo, won a scholarship to a national music summer camp in Interlochen, MI and it inspired her to make music a permanent and central part of her life.

She left home when she was 18 instead of finishing college and went to England to be married.  When she returned home to Fresno she began having babies and Pauline and Dave had difficulty getting established. This was the phase of “Tires on the Rambler, or Shoes on the Kids”.  Typically Dave resolved it by deciding that he must have new tires, and our parents ended up buying the shoes for the kids.  By 1966 they had a nice brand new home and things were getting stabilized, although not for long.

By late 1967 she was raising the 3 kids by herself as she finished college and began to work.  Those were challenging times for her but she always spoke about them almost as a grand adventure.  Facing difficulty with determination and a fair amount of pluck became one of her hallmark attributes.

Hard work and attention-to-task returned her to stabilized living and she spent some good times raising her kids. (Don, are you going tell about your roof-top gardening days?)

Our paths diverged from Fresno, she living in Pismo Beach, I in the SF Bay Area.  Over the years we would get together and speak of many things.  Actually, anything.  My sister could converse on almost any topic and hold up her end of the conversation.  Another hallmark.  Her curiosity, interest, and expertise in a variety of things.

Throughout our childhood and as adults we never had a clear and extensive picture of our family heritage.  We were generally aware that we descended from Czech-Austrian maternal grandparents, and “German” paternal grandparents.  When retired we had time and began to learn more about our roots.  The Austrian-Czech side proved to have many facets, colorful and fun to learn about and to know that we were connected to those lively and fun-loving folks.  Our mom used to joke about being Bohemian.  Actually Grandpa Emanuel was from the province of Bohemia.  We enjoyed sharing notes on this and tracking down new information.  We became researchers together.

The paternal side really provided many surprises and it turned out that we were not so much “German” as we are Swiss, and the family name was not really Shirk, but rather Schurch.  We found historic records through the Schurch Family Association of North America ( ) that told us we descended from Ulrich Schurch, a Swiss Mennonite who immigrated to the Penn’s Wood territory (now Pennsylvania) in 1728.

Pauline visited grandparent birth places in Czechoslovakia and Switzerland with Diane.  Another hallmark:  Love of family history and knowing their stories.

Which brings us back to the 9-year separation.  In pondering this for so long, I had come to suspect there might have been a child between, but nobody in the family could verify that.  In fact several told me “No way, that didn’t happen.”   With all our research I finally found it:  A letter from my Aunt Emelia to our mom, expressing her regrets of the loss and wishes for a good recovery.  So, in fact there had been a child born between my sister and I but apparently was either a still birth or almost immediately passed away.  It would have been a brother. Very relevant for my sister who until literally her last day reminded me that she was disappointed and that she had really wanted a sister.

She enjoyed cooking and a party.  We had such great, long discussions over a glass or more of wine.  Here is a photo of our last Thanksgiving, 2019 at her place in Pismo.  She looks so happy and lively, just as I remember her.  Always a great hostess. 

Her condition worsened after that and her end time was not easy, but she had planned carefully and stuck to her plans of how to leave this world as gracefully as possible.  In her exit we were reminded that dying is part of life, that everyone’s end is as different as their lives, and that there really is no good way to die. Her circumstances were particularly challenging.  Although I bemoaned much of what was going on, after it was over I came to realize:  She managed to do it with as much order and dignity as possible.  

She set a fine example. If you feel like she left your life without saying a proper goodbye, please remember she was facing her biggest challenge and had to make some difficult choices.  If you think about having a terminal illness then it really complicates saying goodbye, and she did have a lot of friends.  Please don’t feel less loved by her, leaving so abruptly.  She found it necessary and all things considered it was probably the best way to go.

It would have been great to have just one more glass of wine with her, but it was not to be.  My own farewell with my last and closet relative was extremely brief.  And touching.  And peaceful …  Goodbye, Sis.

You were the best mom anyone could ever have. You taught us how to live, how to be positive, and how to work hard to achieve our dreams. You showed by example at every step of the way.

You always responded to challenges by picking yourself up and taking action to get through it instead of letting life struggles decide your fate. You were a single mom for much of the hardest part of raising children, you were sick and on your death bed in 1966, but somehow just picked yourself up and made a better life for yourself and those around you.

At the end, you even taught us all how to die. You did it on your terms, with concern for everyone else around you. You died as well as you lived.

You will always be in our hearts. Love you Momer!

... Love Doug - Your #2 son, the left hander with black hair.
Recent stories

From cousin JoAnn Cox

Shared by Doug Sleeter on May 27, 2020
Dearest Cousin Pauline,
The pictures of you floating through my head at this moment are from our shared childhood, when I spent summer weeks with you and your family in Fresno, or when you came with them to Los Angeles for family gatherings. Those hot summer days in Fresno found us sitting on the side steps of your house eating fresh peaches while the sweet juices ran down off our elbows onto the covered driveway. Or when your mother sent us to Loucks Bakery (I think that was the name) to buy wonderfully fragrant bread and goodies...or when we spent hours in your cool basement playing school or grocery store. And I can picture, with regret, the time when you were at my family's house and my brothers and I accidentally closed a closet door on your fingers. I still wince at that memory! I am profoundly glad they healed and left you able to release beautiful music from your flute!
You were seven years old, and I was 10, in the attached photo taken in Yosemite Valley in 1944. We had such fun. I'm enormously grateful for the memories our parents made possible for us.
Your brother and three children are truly blessed to have had such an interesting, adventurous, accomplished sister/mother as a wonderful example of a life well lived.
So now, the pictures of you in my head include a brave, joyous angel spreading happiness in an orchestra of Heavenly Hosts.
God Speed, dear cousin!

Polly's Birthday

Shared by Don Sleeter on May 6, 2020
Polly would have turned 1000 months old today, May 6, 2020. I've had it on my calendar for a long time to celebrate it royally, because 1000 months sounds much cooler than 83 years. Just four more months past 83, and one can celebrate a cool Grand birthday. 

I'm sad she did not quite make it to 1000 months. We were also going to go on a nice European vacation this next week, or so, to join many of her friends in the Festival Mosaic on a Danube River Cruise. With a few days stay in Berlin. Where we were going to celebrate 1000 months of life and new beginnings.

If you know anyone that is turning 83, wait four months...  Give them a Grand birthday party. They deserve it. It's way cooler than 83.

From Barbara Capell, Neighbor and close friend for over 40 years.

Shared by Doug Sleeter on April 20, 2020
It has taken me a few days to wrap my heart around the truth that Polly isn’t on the Pier watching the surfers. I didn’t know what to add besides all that has already been said. Polly loved my stories so I will share one with you all. In my front yard grows two well established Valley Oak trees. They sadly misbehave and don’t drop their leaves in the fall like most trees on our street. No, my leaves cling to their branches until Spring and then shed. Every spring garbage bags full of brown leaves cover the lawns of all who live on Santa Ana. Every Spring one or six neighbors would contact us to cut the trees down. However, the tree guy said they were too rare and healthy. One spring day Polly was number four to knock on my door and complain about the mess. She was just after number three neighbor who had arrived with a saw for my Gardner. Unfortunately, I sort of lost it and “stated” the trees would be staying. Of course, I did apologize as did she. The next autumn Polly met me on the street between our houses with the most beautiful, framed picture of my naughty trees in full Fall colors. She saw their loveliness. That is what I will miss. Polly saw the beauty in our perfect imperfections.

I will miss the music, the laughter, wine at sunset, walks on beaches, the many travels and dinners together. I will miss but carry with me the love of life Polly radiated. I will miss you, Polly, the next time I’m seeking an enthusiastic friend to share an adventure.