I’ve been amiss for several weeks in posting. The reason is due to a vacation, working two jobs other than writing, and the approaching deadline of a children’s book. Thanks for your patience! Here is a story that appeared in the Ossian Sun Riser. Delores is a friend of mine from our Stitches of Hope group. She’s just as adorable in person as she looks! What a brave gal she was with that horse! Anyone else done daredevil stunts with a horse like this? I felt lucky to stand on the back of our pony!
To watch Delores Polderman of Ossian crochet is to run the risk of going cross-eyed. Her fingers fly across the yarn at dizzying speed as they hook first one strand, then another while chatting with others. She barely looks at her hands as they whiz back and forth.
The speed is not without results. In four years Delores has crocheted 2,000 caps and other items, most of which she has donated to local charities.
Delores created the caps for Stitches of Hope, a Bluffton-based volunteer group that gives handmade caps to people who lose hair from illness (www.stitchesofhope1.blogspot.com). Each Friday she joins the group of crafters who meet at Ossian Church of the Nazarene to crochet items that are given away to needy individuals.
Sharing her natural gift of creating with others is part of Delores’ personality and she is always looking for ways to help. When she heard a neonatal nurse lament about the lack of clothing to wrap stillborn babies in who had died before handing them to their parents, Delores began crocheting tiny gowns. “It seemed a small way to help the families with their grief,” she said.
Helping others was important to Delores at a young age. Born in central Arkansas in 1940, she learned to barrel race on a friend’s horse. By at age 14, she had joined a rodeo based in her hometown. She adapted easily to trick riding on the rodeo boss’ trained horse named Sonny.
With Delores’ instructions Sonny performed three tricks for audiences: pushing a baby buggy, waving an American flag, and balancing on a teeter totter.
At the end of each show Delores somersaulted off of Sonny’s back, then she and Sonny bowed. Delores was paid $50 for each rodeo performance. “That was good money for a teenager in the 1950s,” she said.
On several occasions she and other rodeo members performed benefit shows for residents of the nearby state hospital. “It was a lot of fun making people happy,” she said.
Delores worked with the rodeo until graduating from high school. She then enrolled in nursing school in Little Rock, but transferred to Saint Joseph’s School of Nursing in Hot Springs from where she graduated. As a nurse, Delores worked in various departments of the hospital — Emergency, pediatrics, orthopedics, and surgery. “Each area was challenging,” she said. “Being a nurse was never boring.”
In 1962 Delores married her husband Neil. The next year they moved to Oklahoma where Neil attended air traffic controller school. In 1971 the couple, which by now included three children, moved to the Ossian area when Neil was hired as an air traffic controller at Fort Wayne International Airport.
Delores became involved with PTA, cub scouts as a den leader and as a volunteer with the Red Cross blood mobile.
In later years she changed careers from the health industry to communication, finding a position as a training instructor with Centennial Wireless. Since retiring in 1999, Polderman has taught herself many crafts, including oil and water color painting, doll making, rug weaving, counted cross stitching and candle wicking. Her current challenge is to learn how to use a spinning wheel to make wool thread. Her home is filled with many of her endeavors.
When her grandchildren visit, Polderman is quick to share her love of crafts with them “I like to encourage the next generation to create because working on a craft project is soothing,” she said. “It feels like I’ve accomplished something when I’m done.”