(A Found Poem)
I shall always think of you
with pleasure love thanks
you raised money enough to send me to N.Y.,
to take part in a "try-out" track meet
you raised the money for my trip
in New York about a week to Newark
every day to practice thirteen girls in the
August 1 sailed on the Aquitania
six days we hated to leave the ship up
every morning before breakfast practiced on deck
To practice the 1,000 meter run I had to go round the
deck three times
August 7 Cherbourg
rail to Paris Every morning to Colombes
we practiced two hours each day saw everything
worth seeing a heap that wasn't battlefields
cemeteries Quentin Roosevelt's grave
Versailles the palace flower gardens
all the beautiful things in Paris cathedrals, Notre
Dame, the Louvre
The Meet was held in Pershing Stadium early
morning August 20 ten in each preliminary
down to the four best I placed in the shot put,
javelin throw 300 meter run 1,000 meter run
Everything announced in French
lunch Meet right afterwards each
team marched around the field I was chosen to carry
Old Glory proud to lead that team around the
track about 20,000 people to see us
My first event shot put all keyed up
I was taller than the French woman, but she was husky as
an ox I was scared Everybody knew she would win
I stepped into the circle our coach shouted,
"Now, ol' South Carolina Mountaineer, show em what the
South can do!" I put the pill I broke the world's
record put it at twenty meters and more, twenty-two
with both hands that is sixty-six feet beat the
French women's record more than six feet, six inches
looked as though somebody had pulled a chair out from under
her kind of sudden-like she was a good sport, shook
hands congratulated me American flag was run up
band played the "Star Spangled Banner" twice happy
those Americans yelling opened their mouths so wide
I was scared for fear the sun would warp their ribs or
blister their tonsils
shut in by a circle of men with cameras, about four
million of them almost cast a fit grinned like a
lunatic tried to make believe I was used to it
next event the 300 meter run coach told me
just trot around the track that would give me
fourth place wanted to save me for the 1,000 meter race
That was the hardest thing I ever did in my life
anybody slower than Balaam's donkey could have gone
faster than I did don't believe the judge knew whether
I was last in that race or first in the next
In the javelin throw I came third Near the
finish the girl just in front of me fell I was
going pretty fast Leaped over her and in the leap
measured my length on that track thought I was through
with this world dragged my carcass to an upright
position, coaxed my bruised bones to work took third
fun at the banquet that night five countries
speaking five different languages Did I drink wine?
Can a fish swim? French pastry
the medals were awarded. I got six, three more than
next morning train to Cherbourg sailed
August 21 on the Saxonia
what I did was done for you my share in helping
the U.S.A. win all she could in the first international
meet for women that's what counts knowing
there are people who want you to win whatever
This piece of cheese has sworn to take gym
morning & night from now till Wednesday to make up cuts.
Will you please see that she takes it till she sweats,
and oblige your adorable gym teacher?
Girls, did you know
that Roosevelt was going to get on a
boat at Charleston and go on a cruise?
if Roosevelt wants
to see me, he can come up here.
Go back and apologize.
Go back and apologize.
Go back and apologize.
Mine was a simple medal
the records didn't last very long
athletes today wouldn't think
it was very far
My gosh, they've already written
Look at what the young men do in wartime
new records are being broken all the time
by men and women. All you have to do
is look at them to watch them prove
I'm tired of reading about me in the paper.
You play your best, and then if you win or lose,
it doesn't matter.
My greatest satisfaction in teaching physical education
is not necessarily trying to turn out a few top winners
it's what you do for that girl who is never going to get
anywhere along that line
I've had girls who never had a racket in their hands
that have finished and were good
I tell my girls you've got to want to win, but that
doesn't mean that's all there is
I was so embarrassed at not doing
what I knew I could do in that race,
I skipped to the finish line. My
teammates met me with a bouquet
You're in no man's land!
Mind if I hit a few with you?
I can hit the ball it's just
that it takes me longer to get to it!
Sometime or Other
Tell him what's bothering you
Tell him that you're crying
because you're scared you'll fail.
That's one of the reasons I bought
this house for the view.
Lucite Ellerbe Godbold (1900-1981) born in Marion, reared in Estill, educated at Winthrop and Columbia College was the first South Carolinian, man or woman, to qualify for the Olympiad. Selected to participate in the Olympic games held in Paris in August, 1922, the first year that they were open to women, she won six medals more than anyone else. These included two gold: for the shot put and the hop, step and jump. She went on to teach physical education for more than 50 years at Columbia College, where her Olympic medals are on display in the library. USC's South Caroliniana Library is also featuring an exhibit on her during August.
This poem was assembled from "Miss Ludy's" words as found in various manuscrips, books and periodicals located at Columbia College and the South Caroliniana Library.