Naomi Cole

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Marble Springs 2.0 screenshot of Naomi Cole

What we know

1879 - 1944
Oldest child of Matthew and Rachel Cole. Born with "bruises on the brain," which would probably be diagnosed as cerebral palsy today. She taught in the Colorado Springs Institute for the Deaf, Blind, and Destitute from 1900 - 1926. Came back from Colorado Springs to take over the store and take care of her father when Rachel died in 1926. She died in the flood of 1944, trying to take food to stranded motorists in Carbondale.


Behind the gingham bolts in Cole's Mercantile,
Naomi slipped licorice to the children
and they all put solemn fingertips to their lips1.

When her father forbade this, saying it did
nothing for the public good, Naomi made them paper cranes and lacy bookmarks.

Under pine-dark nights she took her teas
to the miners’ cabins, easing coughs
which shattered the cold glass air.

When her mother said she was a sight with the old
jars dangling from her crutches. Naomi didn't
explain that the miners feared her mother's aid.

Over the arches of the Marble Edifice,
Naomi's soft voice spilled the choir
over into the morning sun of heaven.

When the Pastor's Wife asked her to join
the choir, she said she would when
Billie Rose did. And not before.
In the corner of Jenson's barn,

Naomi's withered legs tapped with the tunes
from a distance, the dance became beauty.





Portal caption and links

A drawing of tall grasses with a paper crane's head peeking out—or a grass leaf.
Mariah Horner
Lottie Horner
Leah Cole

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