Life and Times of Polly Jo Perry
Warrenfelt - Riddell
writing as G. Polly Jordan
Note: This is a work in progress. I would not have posted it before it was complete unless I thought there was a chance I might die first. On January 1, 2023 I went to the ER and it has been a downward spiral with pneumonia brewing. I am putting it here and now as a precaution because no one knows my life and for some reason it is important for me to share.
Nothing worse than an obituary that lists date of birth and death with a list of people survived by. Is this a legacy? I want to know how the person lived, who did they touch, what memories will linger long after they are gone. Time of grief is not the time to start gathering material for an obituary or celebration of life. Perhaps you would like to know me before I die. Who could write such a story for me? I have been working on this one for over 65 years.
My four life phrases sum me up.
- “The world is full of people who will go their whole lives and not actually live. She did not intend on being one of them.”
- “Be kind and Be Generous.”
- “We must be willing to let go of the life we planned in order to live the life God has planned for us.”
- And of course G. Polly Jordan says, “record your stories for when you get old or have a head injury, which ever comes first.”
My earliest memories were from a little house where we lived next door to my Great-Grandmother Polly who I am named after. Her name is Genevieve Polly Jordan Orme hence my pen name G. Polly Jordan. The property was on Bluff Road at Edgewood and it was a 40-acre farm on the south side of Indianapolis. I am told that our little house was a remodeled chicken house. Countless family members lived in that chicken coop as they got their start. Next door was a large two-story house where my Great-Grandmother lived alone. I am told many of my family members lived in that house at various times as the depression wreaked havoc in their lives and thankfully there was a property that served as a homestead for many years for many family members.
Vivid first memories include waiting for my dad to drive up the long driveway in his blue Chevy truck (or maybe it was a Dodge) as he returned from work as a draftsman for Allison (or perhaps it was Naval Ordnance.) Visiting my Great Grandmother Polly next door as she indulged me with sweets before dinner much to my mother’s chagrin. She had lots of rocking chairs and I got my choice. I liked the one with the dark red leather seat. I played with an interesting device called a card shuffler. It took a deck of playing cards and shuffled them with the crank of a handle. I remember Great-Grandmother Polly watched soap operas in the afternoon. She adored me. I had my first Cadillac at age four. Mom tells the story of my dad carrying that huge toy car under his arm through a department store and out to their old Cadillac. It was a Tiffany blue toy car that was big enough for me to drive around the patio at the chicken house. I often wonder how these early memories play into our future. Did my love of driving start with that toy Cadillac?
I could never explain how I was related to so many cousins. Seems we are a product of the phenomenon called “Double Cousins.” Two Jordan sisters married two Orme brothers and this started with my Great-Grandmother Polly marrying Harry Orme and her sister Hazel marrying Charles Orme. Finally, I understand why there are cousins everywhere.
Genetic Crossword Puzzles
My mom Sue-Ella Orme Perry (Susie) has been a keen documenter of our genealogy. She documents dates of birth and death and children produced. It is priceless information, but what I want are the stories.
Years later we discovered how dyslexia came to some members of the family as a result of the Orme/Jordan genetic cross. Many suffered from severe learning disabilities and social awkwardness. The eccentric ones in the family were some of my favorites.
As a child, I remember my Grandfather Hubert Orme growing flowers and vegetables and giving them to everyone. The only subject he could ever talk about was bluebirds. I became his favorite when I went to Purdue because he had a fascination with the hybrid plants Purdue developed. We had a menagerie of peacocks, ponies, iris and strawberries at his house and everything was always in a state of chaos but grandpa always had a smile when he saw me.
Another favorite (with the genetic cross gone bad) wore bright pink sphere earrings that swung wildly as she walked. She would attend family dinners wearing a beautiful wool suit and tennis shoes. At the time, tennis shoes at a formal family dinner were a serious faux pas and embarrassed many in the family, but I thought she was such an expression of eclectic individuality.
I think I have some of these genes running through me but my mother seriously denies this.
I had favorites on my Dad’s side as well. My Dad is Jack Perry (he died in 2009.) My paternal Grandmother Grace Perry and her sister Peg Tillman were in competition to see who could outdo the other in dressing me in fine couture as a child. I believe this is what got me started with fur hats and coats. I believe I took the fine fashion sense from my grandmother Grace and great-aunt Peg and combined it with the eccentricity of the Jordan/Orme gene cross and this produced my eclectic taste in clothes, boots and fur. I come by it honestly.
I measure love as a result of how I was treated by my favorite person, my grandfather Don Perry. To this day I can remember calling him on the telephone. I can visualize him picking up that old black phone in the little alcove (where they kept a hard-wired phone) and when he heard it was me on the phone, his voiced warmed and I could almost see him smile as he said “hi baby.” He had debilitating arthritis, a severely curved spine and was in constant pain but I never heard him complain. He used to let me squeeze in next to him in his curved recliner chair and he would tell me all sorts of things about every subject from science to rockets. He was a great reader and shared so much knowledge with me. He must have been very smart as he had a number of patents from designs and inventions he made for US Rubber. I think my curiosity of wanting to know about everything comes from him. I have never found a match for the love I felt from him but Great-Grandmother Polly was a close second. Grandpa Don and my dad built a large concrete swimming pool at Grandpa’s house in Homecroft along with a goldfish pond and this is where I spent my summers as a little fish.
Great-Grandmother Polly had a daughter named Marcia Orme Murphy. Aunt Marcia and her daughter Polly Jane taught me everything I know about fine dining. In my youth, Aunt Marcia was appointed by Governor Schricker as the General Manager of Turkey Run State Park and later Pokagon State Park. She lived on-site and taught the restaurant staff everything they ever needed to know about delicious homemade cooking. These regal women introduced me to the Ayres Tea Room and as I got older, they took me to fine restaurants like the King Cole. I learned to return the favor of indulging people you love by treating them to first class dining adventures. They taught me to be prim and proper with full knowledge of etiquette and what to do with all those forks and spoons. I learned to appreciate champagne at the earliest possible age!
One and Only Sister
My sister Jill Ann Perry Clay came on the scene five years after I did. I don’t think I cared much for her in the early days. She must have liked me because she could be found sneaking out of the house in her pajamas trying to talk me into letting her board the school bus on my way to school. When she broke her leg at age three, she was a handful trying to keep her off her leg. She ran around the yard in a cast that was not meant for walking. I am pretty sure she inherited some of those genetic issues we spoke about earlier. As a teenager she always complained about not having any money. It was years later that I caught on to her game. The reason she had no funds is because all her money was in the bank! She is opposite of me in every way. She has worked the same job for almost three decades, saved for retirement and did all the right things. She grew up to be a marvelous person who I treasure as a sister. I got married at age 19 and went away to college during her formative years. She married at age 46. She was the favorite daughter.
Speaking of marriages. I have done it two and half times. I married my high school sweetheart Paul Warrenfelt and we were married twenty years. The next marriage to Mike Riddell was a business arrangement for health insurance and it lasted half the years of the first and then I did not marry Riley Tomlinson because he would have lost his Veteran’s health insurance by adding my income to his household and I cut that non-marriage down to five years. One marriage was for health insurance and one marriage could not happen due to health insurance. My how our government meddles in our lives and does everything to keep us in a state dependent upon their “services.”
I got married the first time because that is what we were expected to do. He was a very fine man until he left me for his secretary. We travelled a lot and he introduced me to my love of trains and travelling in private railcars. He helped me with my neon art business Zephyr Neon Manufacturing Ltd. His fascination with British bikes and cars led us to procure thirteen Jaguars and an equal number of Triumph motorcycles and thankfully he was a mechanic as this was a requirement when you own British transportation. He restored and completely rebuilt a 12-cylinder Jaguar sedan. He loved Triumph motorcycles and I have learned that in his retirement, he opened a Triumph Motorcycle shop in downtown Indianapolis. We designed and built a majestic home on South Meridian Street on the family compound. He and his second wife got to live in my dream home next door to my parents and I moved to Florida in humiliation after he filed for divorce. Life after Paul made me who I am today. Relentlessly resilient to overcome adversity.
My second marriage was for health insurance. I worked with Mike Riddell and he supervised my foster son Robert Nolan. Robert deserves a full chapter. Mike wanted to live on an island. I was only willing to live on an island I could drive away from. That is how I ended up in Key West. Driving away is indeed how I left and divorced him in 2004 due to his drug and alcohol addictions. In June of 2012 a tornado obliterated his mobile home with him and his pets inside. He had just been fired from his job. We had been divorced for years, but I was the first call he made. I let him move into my newly emptied mobile home just three doors down from him. The newspapers wrote stories and the churches turned out in droves. He quit drinking for five days and he realized it was a miracle and that God spared him. He walked away from God and returned to his life of desperation. Ten years later and ten days before his 60th birthday he dropped dead in my former front yard. He abused himself to the point of death.
I developed my love of cows from Riley Tomlinson a Central Florida native who was a cattle rancher, ex-undercover narcotics officer, US Marshal and Mall Cop. He also drove a big rig for 13 years before he retired. He is the one who taught me to shoot guns and handle a trailer in reverse. Our love affair was like a Civil War Re-enactment. Well-bred Yankee Woman meets Southern Redneck Cracker. Was destined never to have worked out. We were together in the accident that gave me the head injury. There is a series about him as well and most of the stories in the Story Collection under MAD CAPERS Letters to Jordan are about him.
Foster son Robert Nolan wondered into my yard at the big house on Meridian Street. The pastor at the church next door was looking for someone to take over Robert’s mentoring. Robert was 16 when I met him. All he wanted to do was learn to drive. He lived at Central State Mental Hospital. The hospital told him he could take driver’s ed if he found someone who would pay for his class, provide transportation to and from class each day, agree to put him on their insurance and supervise his student driving. So, in other words, they gave him no real hope. But then he met me. I was invincible back then. The worst thing I ever did was make his dream come true. His developmental limitations made him react too slowly to drive safely. He wrecked two trucks before we took his keys away. I worked with Robert for four years through two husbands and at age 21 when he became emancipated, he returned to the same family that abused him so dreadfully in his youth. Twenty years later, I reconnected with Robert to learn he has a commercial driver’s license and drives a big rig. All those trips around the grounds of Central State teaching Robert to drive a stick shift must have been worth it. I wrote a 12-part series about that reunion.
Employment – My Nemesis
At last count I have had over forty jobs. I hated most all of them. I went to Purdue because my boyfriend/first husband went there. It never occurred to me that I would actually have to work my entire life. A degree in Horticulture did me no good. I could never get through a Bachelor degree and it took me three years to get an Associate Degree. I lost patience with things that were not right. After college, I assembled telephones at Western Electric. I was good at it so they put me at the end of the line to catch all the things the others had missed. I did not like this stress and quit. I sold Avon and Mary Kay and got talked into every MLM known to man. Back in the day, I took jobs where I wanted to learn about something new. Now employers want you to come in knowing everything. I learned the PC when it was invented, I learned word processing when Wang’s came in vogue. Back when I could memorize, I committed to memory an hour’s presentation given to high school students on how to get a degree and find a job which was good training for the forty plus jobs I had. I wish now I could remember that presentation. I took a job where I had to learn accounting in order to do tech support for an advertising software company. I was introduced to the LAN a local area network. I think I actually loved that job as I taught myself accounting and networking and I loved helping people solve their problems. The company got sold.
Stranger than Truth
Things became strange at this point. I went to work for an accounting firm to help them start their computer consulting practice. Funny thing was, they had no computers. One of the clients I was to take from a manual system to full computerization was fascinating. I thought it would be fun to work there so I pitched myself and got the job. This was when I started carrying a gun. Not so much for the neighborhood but more because of the people I worked with. One day a friend stopped by to see me telling me he had been offered a lot of money to “take out the competition” and he told me to get out immediately. I loved that job. I went back to another accounting firm that was also starting a computer consulting firm with no computers because apparently, I am just that stupid.
I sent a letter to a landscape architecture firm asking for work. In 1997 you could still do that. They called me. They asked me to meet them at the library across the street from the firm. They interviewed me but we had to whisper the entire time because they picked a library for an interview. Within two weeks of starting and having to revamp the entire workings of the office and the accounting software, I was made an owner. The owner was very wealthy and he was divesting his wealth and had no children to leave the business to. He gave ownership to 9 long-time male employees and me. You can only imagine how well received I was. Turns out years and years before (during the depression), the family of the owner was taken in by my family in very desperate times. My how things come full circle. While I loved this job, it was impossible. You cannot run a business by committee. The owner showed up every day for work and undid all the decisions I made. The stress of 9 men who resented my presence and the fact that I called all the shots until they voted to overrule me, I quit and moved to Key West.
I could not get hired anywhere. Most of the locals were drunk or high or failing to show up for work. I should have been a good catch with my mid-western values and work ethic. I interviewed with a bank and sold them on my ability to pass a drug test and that I was dependable and honest. I helped them create a job to fit my skills. I was put in charge of all the ATM machines up and down the Keys. Every month I drove around Key West on my scooter checking on my machines. I got in my Saab convertible to cruise up the Keys inspecting all 27 machines. I was also a cash auditor and surprised branch managers by showing up and counting their vaults. This was just flat out boring and I had to wear business attire in Key West.
Husband #2 worked at Hog’s Breath Saloon. The day 9-11 happened, I was in the teller area when the report came in. I decided it was a good time to go inspect ATM machines. I went over to the Hog’s Breath and watched it all unfold on the TV’s mounted in the bar. It affected me greatly. Life is too short to work in a bank. I got a job at Hog’s Breath Saloon in the office doing accounting and I was put in charge of music promotion and I helped out selling T-shirts in the mercantile. I was tired of island living, tired of drunks, and realized my poor choices so I divorced husband #2.
I wanted a regular home with a yard and a garage. I moved to Sebring, FL. I bought a lovely house with a pool from the killing I made in Key West real estate. I think mom might have asked if I should get a job first before buying a house. Turns out she was right. Has she ever been wrong?
There were no jobs in Sebring FL. This started my career as a self-employed mortgage broker which then led to becoming a real estate appraiser. All I did was study, pass tests, get credentialed and hate the work.
I was still entangled with my 2nd ex-husband and went to Key West for some unknown reason. A girl I met in appraisal class lived in Key West. She saw an ad for a commercial appraiser trainee in Key West and wanted me to apply. In order to advance to lucrative commercial appraising, you had to work under a master appraiser for who knows how many years until you had completed who knows how many hundred appraisals. I dropped by their office as I left town to head back to Sebring and stuck my resume in their mail slot. I had only made it to Sugarloaf Key when my phone rang. They wanted to interview me right away. They wanted someone who was NOT a Key West local. I turned around, interviewed the same day and they asked if I could start tomorrow. Thankfully I had a week’s worth of clothes with me so I stayed.
For the next two years, I lived with my 2nd ex-husband while learning commercial appraising. My employers were the best. They said they had never seen anyone catch on to the job as fast as I did. They loved me. After I proved myself, they let me come to Key West, get an assignment or two and work from home in Sebring for the time it took to create a commercial 100+ page appraisal. This was working quite well. I appraised every sort of commercial property from Islamorada to Key West. Mixed-use properties along Duval Street, hotels, restaurants, industrial and condos. I appraised some magnificent estates and even learned to appraise boat slips that had been turned into condominiums. I got good at new development and specialized in “affordable” housing of which there is no affordable housing in the Florida Keys. My favorite appraisals were Replacement Cost appraisals where I learned to calculate the replacement cost of commercial buildings for insurance purposes. It was exciting and challenging and I loved that I could calculate what it would cost to build any commercial building no matter how large.
The End of Life As I Knew It
On August 6, 2006 while with Husband #3 who I did not marry, we were in a car accident. I hit my head on the hard headrest in his old Ford truck. I was turning my head and smacking it at the same time. At the hospital I could not name the president or the month of the year and did not recognize Riley’s nephew who came to pick us up, but that was ok, the hospital sent me home. The next day I had an appraisal due. I opened the spreadsheet, looked at the data and had no idea what to do. I could not think, I could not drive, I could not handle motion. For a year, I had to be taken care of. I was prescribed every sort of drug and accused of lying about my condition by the insurance company. It was pure Hell. I was not getting any better. The day of the accident I had just completed the required number of appraisals over a two-year period to be able to test for my commercial certification. Ironic. I tried to return to appraising. My bosses worked with me every way they could. I had to relearn it all and attempt to take the big test. I just could not do it. I could not make sense of anything I used to know. I had no ability to perform analysis. Miraculously I did pass the test, but that was a bittersweet gift God gave to me. I have always been good at taking tests but my reality was my brain no longer functioned in this capacity. My bosses gave me simple work and I performed poorly. I tried some administrative work in appraisals in Sebring but that was disastrous too.
I did some work as a life coach for developmentally disabled adults as I gravitated to this sort of work throughout my life helping those in special ed at school. The pay for this sort of work was a far cry to what I was used to making.
I needed something of an entrepreneurial nature. I learned about the need for Professional Guardians for the elders in Florida. It is a court appointed position to handle the affairs of elders who are no longer competent to handle their affairs. I took the training, passed the tests and became certified. I called this venture Respect Your Elders. This was a wild indescribable ride interacting with families who were fighting among themselves and greedy for mom’s money, courts who were overseeing the madness, outrageous behavior from the incompetent elder and greedy lawyers who did not want to do what was right.
I got blacklisted by one of the attorneys who refused to act in the best interest of one of my clients. She was NOT incompetent but she was 101 years old at the time. She hired me through this attorney to manage her financial and personal affairs. In the course of serving her, she told me how she was coerced into signing a new will which overturned her financial gifts to over fifty beneficiaries and put it in the hands of a distant relative who inherited all. I was outraged. She needed an advocate. Long story short, I did the right thing and ruined my career. We fired the lawyer who would not take action and hired an attorney who believed in the right of an elder to change her will and saw the proof of the coercion. Doing everything by the book, we were able to prove her competence and overturn the fraudulent will. She died a year later and as her trustee and executor, I went in search of 50 beneficiaries I had to find to distribute her gifts. It was joyous work to wind out my career. I absolutely loved this work. It might have been my most challenging yet rewarding work.
What could I create that would give me work around all the challenges of my head injury? A reflection upon my life shows I am a serial-entrepreneur.
My first entrepreneurial venture was in 1979 when my grandmother loaned me the money to buy Primavera Handbags and Jewelry a retail store in the Hyatt Regency Indianapolis. I learned how to negotiate rent as a percentage of sales. I organized a fashion show and luncheon featuring Indy 500 race car driver’s wives. I was lucky enough to get the media to attend and right before lunch the Pope was shot. The media ditched the fashion show, the race car driver’s wives were primadonnas and business suffered. Within three years, all the retail at the Hyatt was out of business.
My next venture in 1987 was Zephyr Neon Manufacturing Ltd, a company I created when I went to Los Angeles and fell in love with the art and manufacture of neon at MONA the Museum of Neon Art. This was a real challenge as I did not understand electricity or chemistry, the noble gasses like neon, argon, xenon and was afraid of fire from the torches but I loved neon art. Husband #1 worked with me and we made art, created signs for many notable businesses and regrettably took on a large job at a strip club. The Back Story of Zephyr Neon Manufacturing
I needed to create a job I could do with a head injury. I was also reinventing myself because I needed a new start for a new me. My best friend from youth reached out after 30 years and we brainstormed what two middle-aged women could do to wind out our working careers.
Welcome to the Helicopter Field Trip for Children. I took my first helicopter flight with Wild Man Steve another friend from my youth. The three of us created the idea of aviation education for children. My former best friend was a brilliant photographer specializing in child photography and later she got good at embezzling. We incorporated the thrill of flying in a helicopter with photography as a product to sell. I got busy creating a larger-than-life experience called Hover Over Photo. Creating this venture brought the most satisfaction and the greatest losses of my life. Always investigate the motives of a former friend who looks you up after 30 years.
Primavera was located on the 3rd floor of the Hyatt Regency.
Jobs after Brain Injury
The Professional Guardian work does not end until the client dies. I managed the clients from afar while caregivers attended to each client. The last two died in the first quarter of 2013.
I had run away on the Kansas online dating adventure in April 2012 and returned in June 2012. A book called Moon at Eleven O’Clock was released in 2022 about that insanity.
In March 2013 after looking for work for months, a church friend offered me a job at the company she worked for. It was the worst job of my entire life. Chained to a cubicle, I had to spend my first paycheck on Bose noise cancelling headphones as the environment nearly incapacitated me. The worst management on record with the entire company turning over three times in my three years there. No time off, no vacation, no sick time. Absolute pure Hell. I did a very good job. Turned the Union Pacific Safety Program account around single handedly. Managed 250 locations company wide.
May 2016, I took a live-in caregiving job 24/7 every other week caring for two developmentally and physically and mentally disabled adult clients in their home. I did this job for the benefit of every other week off. This became the worst job of my life. No words could describe the insanity of what went on there. A few tidbits: staff expected to accompany client to strip club and allow him freedom to drink alcohol until he puked and then staff had to clean up the mess. Abominable poop issues beyond anything anyone could imagine because western medicine could not manage constipation issues. Clients who could not pass a competency exam were allowed to report staff to the state when they sought retaliation risking job, reputation and livelihood for future for staff. I also experienced the joy of living in Section 8 housing.
Desperate to get out of the caregiving madness, I took a parttime job with a builder in a sales assistant role. Started networking and writing professionally. Wrote for Greenwood and Center Grove Monthly Magazine and wrote business spotlights for freelance clients and Christian Community Connect. Friends I met in networking asked me to get my Insurance License in Property and Casualty so they could pay me when I referred business to them. One more certification added to the list of things I can’t stand.
I needed more income than the free-lance writing provided. Once again, I lamented my job plight on Facebook and several things happened. I got a scholarship to get my CDL license to drive a truck. I wanted a skill where I would always be able to be employed. I only planned for a Class B to drive dump trucks and not 18 wheelers. I passed all the tests and the DOT physical. I got to the driving part and was told I had to memorize three pages for the pre-trip inspection. I tried and tried with every memory aid imaginable but this is the worst of my problems from the brain injury. I can’t repeat three words let alone three pages. I had to quit in defeat. This was the first time I could not achieve something.
A Facebook friend reached out about a job with IU doing field research. I called it my street walking career. I was mostly assigned to the highest opioid use counties. I saw the human condition and it repulsed me. I was very successful at the job however. I could talk to anyone anywhere under most any conditions. It was easy for me to have people trust me to give me two hours of confidential health information and a test tube of saliva. I was one of two that completed the highest number of surveys and I did it in less time than anyone. The heat of summer, the rains of spring and the frigid conditions of winter with the disgusting conditions in the homes where I surveyed made me stop after two years. Covid added an extra layer of lunacy to the mix with no bathrooms open for my travels. I once bought a state park admission for $7 just to use the bathroom.
Another friend reached out during Covid and told me about her job as a loan signing agent. It sounded good. I became a notary with a title endorsement and $1700 later, I had all the licenses and insurance and equipment to start. I loved it. I could make my own schedule, work as much or as little as I wanted and going into the homes of home owners was a step up from the homes of crack heads. This was successful for about a year and a half or until the refinance boom was over and my work stopped.
At 65 years old I started looking for work AGAIN. The absurdity of this job search resulted in four stories. Geriatric Starlet Needs Job Series. My former boss at IU is a Facebook friend and she had mercy on me and asked if I wanted to come back for some survey work from the safety of my own home. I measured cognitive decline in people over 55. I know a thing or two about this. I hope they don’t discover that I cannot pass the very tests I will administer.
I had the nicest email asking if I was still interested in being a courier driver for a lab. Once we got past my refusal to get the jab, my refusal to wear a mask and all my conspiracy theories and distaste for western medicine, I was miraculously hired. I worked my way up to enough hours so I could quit IU at the end of the assignment. I became head of fleet maintenance. My second home is at the Dodge Jeep dealer. I pick up blood all over the state and listen to YouTube along the way learning everything my curiosity prompts me to explore. My boss read my book and has not fired me. She is my best boss and I hope I can keep driving until I am eighty. One of our best employees is eighty so I am inspired.
How could I have planned so poorly? Well, I actually did not plan at all. You would think handling all the affairs of the elderly including paying every bill, I might have caught on to how it works when you can no longer work. After my first marriage derailed when I was 38, it was a challenge just to survive. I had no career to fall back on. No one wanted to hire me after looking at my resume. The next two men I married and did not marry did not help either. I spent money making places livable. After the accident, it was mere survival. I have social security, a home thanks in large part to my mother, I have an IRA which will not do much. I am told there are people much worse off than me but the bottom line is I have to work in order to do the things I like. This is how people end up living out of their vehicle. I am considering becoming a nomad and living in a van or RV in the desert of Quartzsite, Arizona.
If there is any advice I wish to give to young people, it is plan for your future first. Make saving a part of every paycheck. I drive an 11-year-old Subaru. It is an amazing vehicle and much nicer than the new cars I have rented. A person does not need a new vehicle and they don’t need the big house and mortgage. Had I kept the first house we ever bought, I could have saved a fortune. Even though I do not believe in western medicine, you do need health insurance. I can’t get over how many young people do not have it. One car accident can wipe out your savings and might take your home. You do need life insurance. When you get used to a two-income household, when one of you dies, the other must be prepared not to lose a house and must have funds to continue paying the bills. Financial planning needs to start the day after high school graduation or before. I am a single person. I am not putting kids through college nor am I able to afford vacations, travel or even not need to work in retirement. Don’t do what I did.
I have lived in everything from a mansion to a metal box. I always had a garage for my car until the mobile home stint in Florida. I had a condo at Eagle Creek where I could see the lake from bed. I built my dream home on the family compound and lost it to my ex-husband when he moved his new wife in. I lived in every sort of mobile home and even did a stint in an RV in the middle of nowhere in Kansas and wrote a book about it. Moon at Eleven O’Clock available on Amazon. I now live within walking distance to the majestic house I lost to my ex-husband. It is also within walking distance to my burial plot at Round Hill Cemetery. I am not going to be buried, but I do own a beautiful spot along the woods where I will place a monument to this crazy life I lived. Another hair-brained idea. Who will even know it is there? I have no family who will survive me.
My favorite home was my dream home on 3 acres of the 25-acre family compound on South Meridian Street. It was a labor of love in the design and building of this home. I often admired the homes on North Meridian Street and spent many hours photographing my favorites. I incorporated the looks into my own creation. It was important to use Indiana limestone. The world’s most impressive buildings are made of limestone that comes from two small counties in southern Indiana, Monroe County-Bloomington and Lawrence County-Bedford. The Empire State Building was one of my favorites with its art deco design. I often visited the Indiana War Memorial and admired the craftsmanship of Indiana limestone. Most libraries, banks, churches, and courthouses were constructed with Indiana Limestone. My design was an original and the pieces were custom cut in Bedford. I have pictures from when the stone was delivered and on the back it said “the Polly W job.” Watching the team of builders hoist the pieces in place was awe inspiring. I had prepared a time capsule representative of the life and times of 1989. We put it behind the largest piece of limestone at the entry. The back yard dropped off to Buck Creek. I had a family of ground hogs and a family of red foxes I dearly loved. My dad maintained hiking trails throughout the 25 acres. Photos were damaged in a flood in my basement.
Riley, my third ex-husband who I did not marry, sent me packing in 2009, three years after the car accident and head injury. He regretted it of course, but I promised God that if He could get me out of that situation, I would follow the Lord where ever He took me. It has been the wildest ride ever since.
From Mansion to Metal Box
The home where I was the happiest was a metal box in Lake Placid, FL where I parked my car in the front yard as they forgot to put in a driveway. The landlord let me bring my office and I worked with a beautiful view of the lake. It was on two lakes with a view front and back and it came with my freedom from relationship tyranny. On Valentine’s Day in 2009 at age 52, I was alone, free and happy for the first time in my life.
Ironically husband #2 dropped dead in that same front yard in 2022 ten years after I returned to Indiana. I believe I have been kind to my ex-husbands. I financially supported #2 long after we were divorced and when a tornado took his trailer with him and his pets in it, I let him move into my place and he lived there for the ten years it took to drink himself to death just ten days before his 60th birthday.
Husband #3 (who I did not marry) had a stroke just days before his 80th birthday the month after #2 passed away. I have written many stories about #3. I loved him, but our relationship was like a civil war re-enactment. I gave up on husbands in 2012 right after I ran away to Kansas.
Snakeskin Boots and Fur Coats
A Daniella Boone persona emerged as I discovered who I might like to be when I grew up. It was time to reinvent myself. At age 51, I truly and completely accepted Christ as my Savior and vowed to follow Him. One of my first prayers was to get out of the relationship that I knew was not pleasing to the Lord nor healthy for me. God answered that prayer in short order. This is how I came to live in the little metal box in Lake Placid. My remaining three years in Florida were grand. I had the freedom to manage the lives of a number of elders of whom I was their legal guardian. Doing what was morally right has always gotten me in trouble. My work in guardianship stopped when I would not play the game. I can die vindicated that I was able to overturn a fraudulent coerced will and reinstate the wishes of my favorite client who was 102 when she passed.
At the same time, I needed to create a job that would sustain me in my fifties and beyond. This unleashed one of the most creative and excitingly challenging periods of my life. The Helicopter Field Trip was conceived as a result of my first terrifying helicopter flight where I vowed to overcome fear. With the small “settlement” I received from my last non-marriage, I created the most outlandish aviation education program for children to ever exist. Every aspect had to be procured, created, marketed and delivered. It was a huge success until the income mysteriously went into the pocket of my partner, my best friend from youth. It was actually more fun to create than to actually do which I have found to be true my entire life.
Moving back to Indiana on the heels of loss of every kind, I was in a slump. At age 55, I was starting life over for the third time and I reached the lowest point of life having to move back home and live with my mom. I lost what was left of my mind by running away to Kansas hoping for life on a farm in the middle of nowhere. This was the bitter end of my poor decision-making skills. An entire book has been published on that escapade. Moon at Eleven O’Clock available on Amazon.
For the next ten years, I was forced to do work that became more bizarre and stifling all the time. Praying for the Lord to make all my wrongs right. Praying for the Lord to restore all that the locusts have eaten. I will let you know how that works out.
Pondering the hole left in the earth by the harvesting of limestone to build the Empire State Building, sometimes raw materials are extracted to build something lasting and magnificent for all the world to see but where it came from is now a hole in a small county in southern Indiana. I am praying to make that sort of lasting legacy from the Indiana misfit who never got things right. I am working on that legacy and hope to be remembered as a kind soul who helped others and was remembered for her snake skin boots and fur coats.
My writing has taken me around the world. The Lord brought me an African son who is a refugee in Uganda. I vividly remember that day in church when my missionary friend returned from Uganda and told us about how God broke his heart for the refugees. He asked if any of us wanted to be used by God in a mighty way. I raised my hand and tears began to fall. Several weeks later, Jerry reached out via Facebook. Jerry knew Alex Mango and my missionary friend knew Alex Mango who was one of Africa’s greatest advocates for refugees so I figured this Jerry who wrote to me was who God wanted me to meet. I made a good choice. I have written an ever-growing series of the life and times of a refugee family. African Refugee Series – Jerry’s Story I now have many African grand-children. More and more refugees are reaching out to me and they all need a mom. I pray that God will use the little I had to give at the Lord’s prompting to help those who have no home, no country and no family. May the lessons we have discussed, the encouragement that was given, the love that was shared and the education that has been provided be the catalyst to create a new Africa full of peace and prosperity.
It was once prophesied that I would have a multi-cultural ministry filled with brown children. It has happened.
Five years later in 2022, a young man Gor Buor who is a colleague of Jerry, reached out to me in search of a writing mentor. He has spent the last 19 years of his 24 in a dispicably hopeless refugee camp with no opportunity literally starving to death. His stories will soon be posted. He writes under the pen name of M. Jilang. Introduction to Gor Buor writing as M. Jilang I am going to write two books at the same time sharing Jerry’s story and Gor’s story. The world needs to know of the plight of the refugee and the joy and miracles that come from being the hands and feet of Jesus.
I have friends from Africa, India, Japan, Australia, Poland, Hungary, Ukraine, Haiti, Brazil, Pakistan, Myanmar, Hong Kong, Vietnam and Korea.
In 2021 and 2022, I lost some dear friends and family who wrote me off for my beliefs. It might be for my political beliefs, or it might have been for my conspiracy theories, or it might have been for my beliefs on natural medicine, or it might have been as a result of my love for the brown skinned children that the Lord has asked me to care for. It is hard for me to understand how we cannot agree to disagree and still remain friends and family. Surely a rational discussion could occur, but no, I was written off with no word, no response to emails, phone calls or cards and a refusal to continue life-long friendships. Only one rejection carried verbal specifics on how I was no longer welcome and sadly I saw first hand the effects of brainwashing and believing a false narrative.
Sharing the Gospel
I was never good at this but if an opportunity presented itself, I bumbled through. A friend who helped me when my basement flooded asked if I would speak to a friend of his who was in need of Christ. I bumbled through, wrote a story about it and she used an entire box of Kleenex so I guess it might have been a little bit of conviction there.
An unscrupulous landlord leased a short-term condo in Jacksonville for our use in the Helicopter Field Trip. I learned of his deception when a process server came to the door to serve notice of the condo being foreclosed and the requirement to vacate. But he had my rent and my security deposit and we were doing business there. I called the landlord every name in the book and told him he really needed Jesus. I enlisted church family to pray him into the most uncomfortable position. I told him to never contact me again unless he wanted to talk about Jesus. After packing my stuff, driving back to Lake Placid and sitting in my favorite restaurant on the lake, my phone rang. I moved to the bar and closed the place down sharing the gospel while he cried through a box of Kleenex. Seems to be a pattern. Read the Story “Vengeance is Mine”
I have had countless online conmen from third world countries try to con me and I never hang up. I strike up a conversation and when they get to know me and think I am really very nice, I explain the Gospel and ask them if they care about what God thinks about what they are doing. Only God knows if the seeds planted fell on fertile soil.
At the risk of losing my street walking gig with IU, a disabled Veteran asked me about God. I shared the gospel and we both cried in that grungy apartment lobby in Connersville, one of the worst opioid cities in Indiana.
I have had knock down drag out fights with Ex-husband #2 and Ex-husband #3 who I did not marry about Jesus. They made fun of my faith, quizzed me relentlessly on my lack of Bible knowledge and I just kept praying for them. Ex-#2 ended up being convicted by the Lord and I took him to church as his ex-wife for a number of years. Ex-#3 was such a tough one. I wrote a story about it of course. Looks like I will see them both in Heaven.
I consulted an attorney about leasing my helicopters. I wrote him, “I have spent more time thinking about your salvation than figuring out how to lease my helicopters. It is not about going to church or being “religious” it is about having God in your heart and guiding all of your steps. Hope is knowing God and resting in his love. Decide to be part of that faithful remnant of souls who humbly worship and obey the living Lord. God is holy and will judge and punish all who are content to live in sin, who are indifferent to Him or who are unconcerned about justice. The great day of the Lord is near. To be spared from judgement, recognize your sins. Know they will be judged and know you cannot save yourself – Only God can save. Christ will ransom us if we believe in him.” Written January 2012.
It certainly took me a long time to personally meet Jesus. It is very important to give people the opportunity to choose heaven or hell. Someone must be willing to tell that story. This is My Testimony
I want to know about everything. In my old age, I taught myself about solar power. I am still quite horrible with electricity and have stabbed myself countless times trying to strip power cords and solder them together. I want to know how things are built. I want to know how things move and have been in the cockpit of planes, combines, trains, bulldozers, semi-trucks and motorcycles. I took flight lessons until the early 1980s when so many planes dropped from the sky and I was in some mid-air emergencies, so I stopped flying. I had my motorcycle endorsement from a young age. I saw neon and learned to manage fire and electricity and neon and argon gas to create neon art. When my dream home was being prepared, I begged the guy moving earth to let me try it. He could not risk it, but he did relent and let me sit on his lap and work the controls. It was exhilarating. I can watch YouTube videos all day of people creating DIY projects like homemade air conditioners and heaters.
I have curiosity about people. I want to know their story. I get to know everyone at my favorite restaurants. When I arrive at French Lick for my birthday celebration, people know me and stop me and bring me up to speed where we last left off. I care about people. I listen. I will pray with anyone anywhere. I tip well too which might have something to do with it.
When the southside of Indianapolis became the largest concentration of Chin people from Burma, I wanted to know about the culture. I dropped in to the Chin Community Center and just asked. I talk to more people that I can’t understand. Somehow we get by. A friend of my Burmese neighbor got locked out of the house. He knew I was a friendly person and he came to my house for help. I did not understand a word he said, but I figured out enough to solve the problem by driving to the neighbor’s work location to get a spare key. A smile and a caring heart is all you need. English is overrated. Don’t be afraid of people who are different from you. Learn about them and you will see they are not much different than you are. My Burmese neighbor calls on me to make phone calls for him when he needs a plumber, an HVAC tech, garage door repair. I make the appointment and assure the company my neighbor is a really great guy but does not communicate well. All the repair people end up loving him. I do to. Sadly he called me to come over when his housemate had a stroke. I did not like making that call for an ambulance.
When selecting my burial site, I learned everything about cemeteries and the story of my friend the caretaker who buried my great-grandmother Polly and will most likely bury me, but since I learned he just retired and because I am going to return to dust, I guess I will not close out his nearly 50 years of caring for the dead.
I am curious about how the body works. A lifetime of Western medicine that cured nothing and made most things worse was my catalyst to learn the truth of how the body can heal itself if given the right natural ingredients.
I am curious about how things are made, particularly fur coats. I have a serious love of fur, cowboy boots and guns. I inherited a mighty gun collection and then began adding to it when crime became rampant. Alternating rounds of 45s and 410 shotgun shells in my Judge and clicking the button for the laser in the 9 mm so I can get a good aim is what makes me feel rather safe. Please don’t mess with me. I hate cleaning the guns, so don’t make me fire them.
Most Memorable Moments
Since I have a serious memory problem, the moments I might remember most might be recent or maybe not.
- Turning my life over to Jesus and with my eyes closed, seeing light and feeling indescribable peace. April 2008
- Being the first white woman proclaimed Mwamikazi of the Bushi tribe in DR Congo. Mother’s Day 2019
- Finally getting my book self-published once I exhausted all the reject letters. Moon at Eleven O’Clock on Amazon 2022.
- My pastor Gary Walker said I needed a number of miracles as I described my challenges back in 2013. He went on a prayer fast by giving up one meal a day until I got a job. After a thousand applications, one job offer came from a member of our church for the right amount of pay and the opportunity to learn to work in chaos with a tyrant and find comfort and endurance while being imprisoned for three years. My light shined and coworkers and vendors liked me. Even on my last day, the tyrant said he would take me back if things went south in the new job.
- My first crate of Christmas gifts sent to Africa delivered by a friend who called Jerry “a rare diamond” 2019.
- The film lab making it through corrupt customs with help from the Machine Gun Preacher organization 2019.
- Being thanked for my influence and inspiration. Being a matriarch of an international dynasty. I have arrived with the Hannah anointing of all things. Influencing and birthing the next great leaders and change agents in all the world.
Memorable Quotes and Thoughts
- We need to surround ourselves with objects and ideas that excite the senses, that make us smile, that provide a soothing balm of comfort for your days. Thomas Kinkade
- Threaten to pray without ceasing for your enemies and see what God will do. G. Polly Jordan
- Sign in the railyard of Union Pacific Railroad in Chicago – “Ask yourself, what could go wrong.”
- I am the living miracle of Christmas – Saved, Restored, Renewed, Unstoppable
- We must be content to serve in the role God has designed for us.
- From God – “I am creating something new in you that spills over into other’s lives. Do not mistake the joy for your own. Watch in delight as my Spirit flows through you to bless others.”
- If you are always keeping blessings to yourself and never learning to pour out everything to the Lord, other people will never have their vision of God expanded through you. That’s it, expanding other people’s vision of God through me.
- And in these trials as God’s child, disappointment is pouring in, washing in and utterly defeating my chosen plans. My trembling heart is grieved and is cowering at the intensity of my suffering. Surely the rains of affliction are beating down upon my soul – but surely I am mistaken – He is raining blessings if I will only believe.
- Often we lay broken and disfigured in the quarry, everything seemed to be without design or meaning. But gradually we were cut into blocks and some of us were chiseled with sharper instruments until we had a fire edge. Now we are complete and in our proper places of service. You however are still in your quarry. You are not complete and because of that, as once was the place with us, there is much you do not understand. But you are destined for a higher building and someday you will be placed in it by angelic hands – becoming a living stone in a heavenly temple.
- Like Dresden china, human trials of life are burned into us numerous times and through God’s grace, beautiful colors are formed in us and made to shine forever.
- Create a life you don’t need to escape from. Mark Batterson
- God uses broken things. Those gripped by the power of the Holy Spirit and used for God’s glory are those who have been broken in their finances, broken in self-will, broken in ambition, broken in lofty ideas, broken in their worldly reputation, broken in their desire and broken in their health. He uses those who seem totally helpless and hopeless as the lame who will carry off the plunder. Those people God uses most to bring glory to himself are those who are completely broken. It was not until Jacob’s natural strength was broken and he came to a point where God could clothe him with spiritual power. Through the very process of the loaves being broken that the miracle occurred. God only parted the Red Sea when the people made the step forward to cross. It is not until a seed is crushed and buried that its inner heart sprouts producing hundreds of new sprouts.
- The devil has two tricks to tempt, discouragement and doubt. With discouragement we are of no service. With doubt we are breaking the bond of faith.
- We never move ahead as swiftly in our spiritual calling as when we are carried by wings of happiness. Sadness clips the wings and causes the wheels to fall off our chariot of service.
- My desire is to be cherished and chosen. It has not yet happened.
- Families should not be split over DNA. “You have found your home in me. The weariness of the battle will soon be left behind as you realize all I have prepared for you. Your rest and reward await you. Your beauty as you emerge from my refining fires is breathtaking for me to behold. This is the day I have been anticipating from the first moment of your conception.”
- Conclusion of 8-hour Neuropsych exam after head injury in car accident: “Ms. Riddell presents an extremely complex and confusing case. While there is some somatic and psychiatric history, there is no evidence of emotional and psychiatric factors would be severe enough to be sufficient to explain the depth and severity of her symptoms. On the other hand, the severity of her symptoms is atypical of individuals who have sustained a mild head injury without loss of consciousness after a 3-6 month period. On the other hand (how many hands does this doctor have??) the pattern of cognitive, attention and memory dysfunction is what might be expected for a significant brain injury. The abnormal PET scan and EEG analysis must be taken into consideration in this regard. Clearly the symptoms and their severity are directly a result of her motor vehicle accident as she was sustaining full time employment without difficulty for many years. Nonetheless a clear etiology for her symptoms is not well defined. This does not mean that her symptoms are contrived or purely psychiatrically based. One the contrary, she was able to pass all measures of symptom validity relating to cognitive and psychiatric and somatic symptomology.” 2006 Clearly Western Medicine had no solutions for me and I baffled them to the point of them pulling all the big words out of their medical dictionary. Do you think this is too much to put on my headstone?
I have lived in my current house since 2013 longer than in any other home. It is the shortest time in my life to live by the Lord’s commands. In preparing this retrospective/memoir/obituary, it took me years just to rebuid what I was doing in each year of my life as a result of my lack of memory. I left the photos to the end and started going through them to insert into the document. This is when I got sick and went to the ER on New Year’s Day 2023. I am fighting major pneumonia and hoping I live to at least finish this piece. I have photos going back to when I started college at Purdue. From 1975 to 2008, the photos illustrated how sinful I was. Life was all about self, parties and material things. My greatest regret was not giving my life to Jesus when I first heard the gospel in college. I went through the motions but my heart was not surrendered. Fifty-one years was a huge waste of living the way the world lives. I finally got the picture thoroughly when I was 57 years old. It has been a life fully lived and one of service since then and there is so much more I have to do.
Inspiration from Michelle McClain-Walters
Author of five books:
The Deborah Annointing
The Esther Annointing
The Anna Annointing
The Ruth Annointing
The Hannah Annointing
- The Lord is extending a great invitation to you to become a part of His-story and to effect history. He is calling ordinary men and woment lie you into His extraordinary work.
- God calls us to live as His ambassadors amoung the nations, spreading his love and making an eternal difference in teh lives of those in our sphere of influence.
- Be a voice for the voiceless.
- Lead a generation to stand for God’s ways of righteousness in the midst of a wicked and perverse generation.
- Allow the Spirit of God to fill and form your life for Kingdom purposes.
- Compassion involves showing mercy to heal and advocate for hurting hearts.
- You will preach the best message to someone’s life through the widsom of God that flows through you.
- Praise and worship are the spirtual weaponsof war that bind and break the powers of darkness.
- Women will have words of encouragemetn from the heart of God taht will bring healing restoration.
- The right word spoken at the right time carries tremendous power.
- When we pray, God’s power is released and made available to bring victory and breakthrough into even impossible situations.
- She sees needs and envisions herself as the solution.
- The high destiny of the person is to serve reather than to rule.
- Prayer is t4he primary way God has chosen to release His power on the earth.
- If you allow it, God will awaken destiny and purpose in your life and reveal opportunities to do extraordinary things for Him.
- A life of dedication and sacrifice can become the hand of God in the lives of others.
- You have been blessed to be a blessing. What you have you give. What you have belongs to God; it is not yours.
- Who will lead the next move of God?
- To end inequality in race and gender.
- To end poverty, lonliness and hungar.
- To speak peace and prosperity to the nations.
- To deliver the world of God and bring healing.
- Mend broken hearts.
- Love the unlovable
- Liberate the oppressed.
- Bring joy where there is heaviness.
- Women are giving birth to people and movements that shake the world. There is a deficit in teh land and modern day Hannahs are teh carriers and deliverers of the promise that will fill the gaps and release the power and glory of God in our lives.
I will leave a lasting legacy for the generations. It is up to you whether your life on earth is a pamphlet or a novel.