Life History of Pauline May Cameron:
Pauline was born in Auburn Indiana on July 3, 1920 to Frank Boucher, and Lida Monttiger Boucher. Lida was 16 and Frank was in his 30’s. They lived in a little cottage in Auburn. Frank worked at a rubber factory, and would sometimes bring home reject toys from the factory – balls, cars, etc.
Lida gave birth to two more little girls; Virginia and then Lanor. After the birth of Lanor, Lida struggled with her health. When Polly was 7 years old Lida lost her battle with cancer. She was 23 years old. Polly remembered hearing her pray, Lord, please save my little girls. This prayer followed her all her life.
In the days following the death of her mother, Polly remembered trying to fill her mother’s place by fixing food for her father. She would start the fire in the wood stove, clean and slice the potatoes, and fry them for her dad, but apparently her sisters did not share her burden because they came sneaking in and stole all the “brownies” (browned potato bits) out of the pan. Polly never forgot her feelings of shame when Daddy came home from work and asked, “What’s for supper Kid?” and the potatoes were all gone!
But life was not easy for Frank either, with three little girls and no wife to help him. Polly remembered him sitting in a chair with his head in his hands. She felt so bad for him that she ran to her room and brought him her two dearest treasures, a nickel and an English walnut. That sweet gesture moved him to tears.
Frank had a truck garden where he grew corn and beans and other vegetables. Polly remembered helping to can green beans from that garden when she was between seven and ten years old. She also remembered a neighbor lady across the street who babysat three-year-old Lanor when the older girls were at school.
Finally, Frank decided to go back to church. There he met a nice lady named Luella. She married Frank for the sake of the little girls when Polly was ten, and the little girl felt very relieved and thankful.
After Luella came to live with them, Polly was able to focus more on her classwork at school. She loved school. One day when she was walking home from school, she looked up in the sky and saw Jesus in the clouds. He was holding a little lamb. His eyes followed her all across the field as she walked towards home. This was a landmark experience for her. To the day she died, that image of Jesus with the little lamb brought comfort to her.
Not long after that, Virginia gave her heart to the Lord at church. She came home with a burden for Pauline, her older sister. She said, “Pauline, wouldn’t you like to give your heart to God too?” So two little girls went off to the only place they could find any privacy, which was the outhouse. Two little girls knelt out there in the outhouse, and Polly gave her heart to the Lord.
Whatever stresses came during these years, Pauline did not remember them. She said she was very thankful for Luella. When Polly turned 16, she began working rather than going to school. She was a sophomore at that time. She started to work for a Jewish family by the name of Poor. She worked in their home while they tended their jewelry store. From then on Polly eared her way and was never allowed to go back to school. This was a grief to her.
Polly’s next job was with a family where the lady was very sick. Polly lived in the sick lady’s home and cooked for the family, kept the house and cared for the sick mother. After that lady passed away Polly continued working there for some time. As you can imagine, she longed for her own home. Polly had a friend named Mae who was going with a man named Karl Cameron. Mae had met Karl’s twin brother, and decided she preferred him, so Mae introduced Polly to Karl. Karl liked Polly right away and it was not long before they decided to tie the knot. Their first home was a little cottage. Polly finally had her own home to care for. This was a very happy thing for her.
Karl had a factory job and Polly stayed home to play housekeeper. Then Karl decided to go to Anderson College in Anderson, Indiana. It was a Church of God Bible school. He trained to be a minister. Karl got a call to pastor, first in Michigan, and then in Newport News, VA. Karl and Polly became aware of a girl named Marie who had had a really rough start, and they decided to adopt her. Marie came to live with them. While in Virginia, a new addition came. Polly gave birth to her one and only natural child, Paul James. They were very poor at the time and she had to supplement her diet in order to nourish the baby during the pregnancy. He was born prematurely.
Not long after Paul’s birth, they moved back to Indiana. They stayed in Polly’s sister Virginia’s home with her family. They lived in the garage, and Virginia took care of Paul while Polly went back to work. It was a difficult time for them, but they wanted to save money to buy their own home. This, due to their frugal lifestyle, they were able to do in about a year. They purchased a small house. Karl put additions on it and a basement under it. Luella came to live with her step-daughter, and Polly cared for her until her death. Marie met and married Kelby Mansfield and they had two children, Nelson and Peggy.
When Paul was about ten years of age Clarence, Karl’s brother, found “new truth” and began a campaign to share it with Karl. There was much study and discussion until everyone else was sick of it. At last, Karl had to admit that Clarence had, “the edge”. In the end, Karl and Paul joined Clarence’s family in the Blessed Hope.
Pauline was not impressed. She was looking for true conversion and did not yield to their persuasion until Paul found Jesus for himself in his early 20’s. She joined the SDA truth by profession of faith, and the family was united. They began to talk of moving to a country property where they could grow their own food. Elder Pumford, the pastor that helped Karl find truth, had moved to Tennessee. Karl and Polly visited him and found a nice place to settle near Altamont. Paul and Karl moved down to start building while Polly went on with her job and began packing. When she realized that the guys were building a huge two-story garage, but no house, she was not particularly pleased. Karl finally got her a house. It was a used, single-wide trailer, but she courageously fixed it up to be a very nice little home. She worked very hard, and they put in a large garden and some nice fruit trees.
In the fall of 1974 Paul went for training in New England. Pauline used her empty-nest time cleaning house for Meisters, making her own house more homey, gardening, and pouring her heart into her church. She ran the potlucks for years, taught the children’s Sabbath School, and was a greeter. She worked as a deaconess. Her church was everything to her. She was known all over the neighborhood and in the church as someone who could be depended on. She also gave haircuts and donated all the money to Investment.
In 1979 Paul brought a wife home to his Mama. Three years later Polly had the joy of helping her daughter-in-law when Rachel Ellen was born in 1982. Rebecca Ann came less than two years later, in 1984. Polly’s life was finally complete with grandchildren. She would make up the hide-a-bed and tuck the grandchildren right in near her. Those were happy years. Some of her best friends were Helen Lowery, Karen Dahl, Heronomous’s (Bakery owners for whom Polly had worked), Jewell Halverstott, and many others.
Paul and his family went from the colporteur work into ministry. In 1996, Paul was ordained which was a high point for both Pauline and Karl. This meant the world to them, and they traveled to the ordination which was held at the first camp-meeting at Cedar Lake.
Then came a very difficult passage for Pauline. On October 14, 1997 Paul was involved in a serious car accident. Polly came to be with him and the family while they waited to see if he would survive. She stayed with the family for about two weeks, then she had to go back home because Karl had been diagnosed with cancer. Polly nursed Karl for about six months until his death in April of 1998. By May, the doctor had to do quadruple bypass surgery for Polly. Marie stayed with her to help care for her at that time.
It was an adjustment for Pauline to learn how to live without Karl. But she did very well. She lived on her own from 1998 to September of 2006. For the next eight years, Paul and family visited often with Grandma Polly as they adjusted to the changes they experienced due to Paul’s injury. Finally, in 2006, when they were settled on a beautiful farm in Eastern Washington, Polly made the decision that she needed to move in with her son. One morning, very early, that decision was made final by a fire in one end of her trailer home that destroyed many of her things and made life in her own home impossible.
Paul’s family went back to Polly’s home, and helped her to clean and salvage everything that could be saved. Many other friends helped also. All of the church ladies came one day with a big tub and washed everything that Polly might want to save. Then they had a big garage sale, sold what they could, and packed Grandma Polly’s remaining things in a moving truck Her friend, Victor Hawkins, drove the truck cross-country to her new home.
Polly found great joy in the garden and the flowers and living in the country with her family. The thing she valued most was worship times with her son, Paul. Rebecca’s favorite memory of this time was seeing Grandma Polly embroidering lovely pillow slips and scarves. She remembers her beautiful African violets in the bay window.
Grandma Polly also loved to work in the kitchen. Soon she decided that she needed a greenhouse. She purchased a portable greenhouse, all on her own. That was a nice addition to the family’s little farm. It made Polly very happy to contribute to the family economy.
At one point Paul talked to his mother about being baptized into the Sabbath truth because Ellen White had chosen to be re-baptized when she accepted the Sabbath truth. After some prayer, Polly decided that she wanted to do the same. She chose to have her son baptize her at the Spokane Central Church in Spokane, Washington.
In 2008 Paul and Sheila sold the farm. No one, including Grandma Polly, wanted to sell the farm, but God’s providence was so clear that even she had no question that God did want the family to sell it. The next year, Polly decided to buy herself an RV so she could have her own space. Not long after this, Paul’s family moved to Southern Oregon, and settled in the mountains in a yurt. Polly was able to live in her little RV alongside her son’s family. During this time she loved to invite people to come and eat the food she cooked in her own little kitchen.
In 2014, Polly was walking on the road and a stone turned under her foot. She fell, breaking her hip. It was extremely painful and she had to be transported in the family car down the bumpy country road to the hospital. The next day they did surgery and she spent 4 weeks in the Rose Haven Rehab. After the Rehab, she came home to live in the yurt with Paul and Sheila. She did amazingly well, and was back on her feet within a couple of months. By spring of 2015 she was able to move back into her own little house where she lived for another 2-1/2 years. During that time her eyesight began to fail. She couldn’t do her needlework or read her Bible.
One day Paul’s wife found half of a burned hot-pad lying on the deck. It had been carefully stitched along the burned edge. The family realized Grandma Polly could not see the flame on the stove anymore. She started eating her meals over at Paul’s house. When the weather got colder in the winter, she moved over to her own little bedroom in Paul and Sheila’s house where she was warm and comfortable. She always wanted to help with everything. Hanging laundry on the drying rack became one of her tasks. One day when Sheila needed to go into town, she gave Polly a basket of laundry to hang on the rack. Sheila asked her not to try to hang anything up on the top bar. There was a twinkle in Polly’s eye and Sheila wondered whether her mother-in-law would heed the warning.
Sheila came home in time to pick up Polly and take her to prayer meeting. On the way home from prayer meeting Polly said, “I think you are going to be mad at me.” Sheila asked why. Polly said, “I hurt myself.” Sheila said, “How?” Polly said, “I fell.” When they got home, it was discovered that Polly had a three-inch gash on the back of her arm. When questioned, Polly said, “I wanted to hang things up on the top bar. I stood on the stool, but I was still too short, so I jumped. I fell on the wood stove.” Sheila bandaged the arm and took Grandma Polly to the doctor where she was stitched up. The family then realized that Polly needed to have someone nearby at all times.
Several times the family had conversations about being sinners. Grandma Polly didn’t think she was a sinner. She had been a good girl, she had never gone out “into the world,” so she did not see herself as a sinner. The texts, “For all have sinned and come short of the glory (character) of God,” and “Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners of whom I am chief,” did not make sense to her. Then, one day, she listened to the book, “Wounded in the House of His Friends.” Something clicked in her mind. Paul and Sheila found her crying and rejoicing with a new understanding of herself as a sinner and Christ as her Savior. This started a whole new chapter of joyful freedom in Jesus for Grandma Polly.
In March of 2020, Grandma Polly fell and injured her back. It was just two days before the COVID lockdown. It took her about four or five weeks to recuperate, but her mind was not idle. Her 100th birthday was getting closer, and Polly took great joy in planning her party. Polly and her family prayed that they would be able to celebrate her 100th birthday with their church family. Her recovery was slow, but she finally got to where she could sit up in the wheel chair without too much pain. About that time the Covid restrictions were loosened enough to meet at the church. They celebrated her birthday on July 5 even though the actual date was July 3. About 40 or 50 people came. It was a beautiful celebration with apple pie alamode, her very favorite dessert. There was a large bouquet of pink balloons tethered to fresh flowers on the table, and for some reason those balloons just made her smile and smile!
While bed-bound, Polly had written up her life story, and it was read aloud. She testified that she credited the Seventh-day Adventist truths and the health message with giving her the longevity and the quality of life she enjoyed.
Just a few weeks after her hundredth birthday, Pauline started to suffer more setbacks. One of those setbacks was increased pain in her abdomen. Efforts to treat were not successful and by the end of August she experienced a lower GI hemorrhage. Slowly, system by system, her body started to shut down. She was still thinking clearly, but became less and less able to express her thoughts. Hospice brought education, pain management, security, and encouragement to Polly. They helped teach Sheila how to provide her with the best quality of life under the circumstances. The hospital bed was a life-saver.
Polly was surrounded with love. Friends came to see her. Her family waited on her constantly. Paul spent hours and hours reading to her. Pauline and her family felt the presence of Jesus sustaining them. Several of the family and church members were impressed that Grandma Polly would go to her final rest on a Sabbath, and that is what happened. Paul and Sheila were on either side of her, holding her hands and singing and praying with her. Becky joined the family by internet and comforted her grandmother with song and prayer. It was September 12, 2020, at 3:30 in the afternoon when she breathed her last. And the angels said, Amen!