Born June 20, 1928 in Lubbock to Harvey Manroe and Lottie May (Myres) Puryear. She was 92 years old. She peacefully passed Saturday February 13, 2021 at her home with her children present. Her name was given to her by her father who enjoyed the movie series called “The Periels of Pauline”. She was a “mom” to all and fed every human and stray animal that graced her presence. People joked that if they were to be reincarnated, they would want to come back as one of her pets.
“Polly” was raised by the only girl in a household with three wonderful brothers who cherished, spoiled, and protected her. Growing up they only had one pair of adjustable clip-on skates between them, and lovingly shared with her. Skating was her life. She would tell the hair-raising story of her and her brothers climbing up on the water tower to skate because it was the closest smooth surface. Even in adulthood they kept this secret from their mom.
When Polly was 16 years old, her uncle Curt Myres gave her a job at his company “plucking chickens”. Not the most sought-after job for a teenager, but that first paycheck made a believer out of her. Soon after, Aunt Alice Myres’ dad Earl gave her a job at his creamery and candy factory wrapping butter, peanut and coconut brittle. She saved enough money to buy her first pair of skates which she would continuously take to the boat shop for repairs because she did not want to have to break in a new pair. She did not walk – she skated everywhere she went.
Barriers Roller Rink on E. Broadway across from Makenzie Park was the favorite hang-out for Polly and her cousins Irma (Myres) Brown and Jeanne (Myres) Sanders. One day her cousins decided to go skating at The Palace Roller Rink in downtown Lubbock at 10th and J. There they met the most polite, handsome young man, Henry Black, who unbelievably could out skate anyone. Totally giddy and amazed, they began the plan to introduce Polly to this skating phenomenon. Henry, being a gentleman, agreed to meet the girls at Triple S Drugstore, which was on the corner of Main and Texas Avenue. It was love at first sight. She was perfect for him and he was perfect for her. Henry asked Polly and her cousins if they would like to go skating the next afternoon at Plainview and they all agreed – but why Plainview?
A few years prior to their meeting, Henry had graduated from new Deal High School and left for California to build airplanes for WWII. While there he discovered roller hockey and brought his love of it back to the rest of the US. The Plainview rink owner allowed him to form his first roller hockey team, “The Rolling Ghosts”, because he wanted to teach others this new sport.
When Henry arrived at the drugstore, Irma jumped in the front seat and Jeanne and Polly hopped in the back. They had the most wonderful day and when it was time to come home Henry said “I want Polly to ride up here with me”. Shy, naïve Polly was so flustered that she left her skates in his car. When he brought them back, he had replaced her rough, fiber wheels with new top of the line wood heels and precision bearings. A couple of days after that someone said they saw her name on Henry’s car. That’s when she knew that he really liked her because he wasn’t the kind of person to glue red metal letters – HENRY on the driver’s side and “POLLY” on the passenger side above the door handles of his brand new car.
After a whirlwind romance, Henry asked for her hand in marriage. They told only their mothers Bertha Tillman Black and Lottie that they were secretly eloping to Clovis, NM because in those days, friends would steal the bride for fun and run off with her before the wedding – a term they called “Shivaree”. It was St. Patrick’s Day. They married that afternoon and were skating at the Clovis rink that evening.
On their return, Polly’s new mother-in-law had their home in the country near Hale Center ready for them. Polly describes it as spotless and perfect. Henry, the farmer and Polly, the city girl, were married and in love with their life. She was now a farmer’s wife and Bertha immediately started to show her how to pick cotton, milk cows, churn butter and can vegetables, which she said was “A far cry” from the city life. She was scared when Henry would leave in the middle of the night to go to the cotton field to change the water. He jokingly and lovingly started calling her “PILL” because “she was so hard to take”. The nickname stuck and to this day loved ones still referred to her by that name.
In 1949, Henry began negotiations to buy the Palace Roller Rink and their skating legacy in Lubbock began. They had a daughter Dixie in 1951 and fourteen months later a son named Ricky. Henry had told “Pill” she had better not have those kids on hockey night or he wouldn’t be there. Dixie was born on Hockey night. He was there. Polly would brag that the kids were skating before they could walk.
In 1957, Henry started building what would become the Roll Arena Skating Rink which is still family owned and operated to this day. He completed construction in 1961 and held their grand opening on July 4th with customers wrapped around the building. The rest is history.
Henry and Polly raised a lot of kids and a lot of “famous” kids at the rink (you know who you are!). They affectionately called them “rink rats”. It is not uncommon to have a family of five generations walk through the doors today. To this day, their customers consider it “Hallowed ground” and stop by from all over the world just to say hi and relive their childhood memories. Henry and Polly were not in it for the money, they just wanted to keep kids safe and off the streets. If someone did not have an entrance fee? No problem, come on in. No money for cokes and candy? No problem – what would you like?
Polly had the biggest heart in the world and there was not a hateful or mean bone in her body. Wherever she went she radiated love. She was beautiful inside and out. Dixie & Rick were not her only kids- she also claimed each one of her precious “rink rats”. Polly would want you to know that her life was blessed because of knowing you and that she loved y’all dearly. It didn’t matter if you were sweet or mischievous growing up, she would say, “just leave them alone and they will turn out fine. There isn’t a bad one in the crowd”.
Thank you “rink rats” for popping in to share your stories. So many stories! To all our cherished Roll Arena Customers, thank you for loving our Mommy and reminiscing with her on the patio. We are so blessed to be in a business where we see generation after generation grow up. You are not a “number” to us – you are “family”. Polly is jitterbugging and waltzing in heaven with Henry.
May we all go to be with them some day at their new rink – lets call it “Heavenly Skates”.
Polly was preceded in death by her husband Henry, her parents, her brothers Cecil Harvey, Troy and Bobby Puryear, her half-sister Alta Hovden, infant sister Ernestine, and her newborn great grandson Henry.
Polly leaves behind her grateful children Dixie Hill and Husband Mitch and Rick Black and his wife Paula, all of Lubbock. Jessica Coppedge and Husband Laurence with children Samantha and Paul of Wilmore Kentucky, Jim Evans-Hill and wife Kai with children Sage, Jade, Emi and Christian and wife Taylor with children Macie and Breslynn all of Lubbock. Dustin Black and wife Kelsey with children Piper and Riley of Colorado Springs, Colorado.
The family lovingly sends special thanks to her caring physicians Dr. Floyd Pirtle, nurse Kathy Foley and staff as well as Dr. Naga Bushan. She loved ya’ll dearly.
Because of her love of animals the family would like all memorials to go to :
The Haven Animal Care Shelter
Memorial to be determined at a later date.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Pauline (Puryear) Black, please visit our floral store.