Mountaintop’s Kay Baluta is celebrating her 91st birthday on November 15th.
Normally it’s impolite to ask a lady her age, but Kay is an exception – in fact
she’s exceptional in many, many ways.
One major way is that she often expresses
herself in poetry, and sometimes lyrics; that’s how she interprets
her world. “I’m turning 91 and
I’m handicapped, but the best thing about me is my brain,” she says with a laugh. “The poetry just comes into my mind, sometimes I can write an
entire poem in only 20 minutes!”
This gift of language was cultivated over a lifetime of experiences, some of her writing recognizes the everyday
events that are universal, and
some are drawn from Kay’s unique life. “I’m a Navy veteran and I
served during World War II,” she relates proudly.
That service puts Kay squarely in
the midst of what Tom Brokaw calls ‘The Greatest Generation,” a segment of America’s youth that answered
its country’s call and will carry the memories of that honorable cause forever.
The only girl in a family of seven kids
to feed and care for in those dark pre-war days, Kay says that her chores
as a child started at dawn and didn’t end till late.
“It was the Depression, and I was Cinderella. I’d get home from school and
make five beds every day. My mother favored the boys. I wrote about
that and looking back I realize that
my mother had a hard life. The word love was never mentioned in our household, never.”
Kay remembers well joining the military and warmly shares her story.
“I tried to enlist at 18 but they wouldn’t take me until I was 21.” She says
with glee, “When I was 21 I flew the coop!”
She and some other girls went to work in a defense plant, they all roomed together and she says that
they were all like sisters to her.
Eventually the group decided to enlist, “So they took me over to New York to join the Navy. The Navy sent me
to boot camp at Hunter College there in New York,” she relates. “We were Waves, but I was so small they called
me a ripple,” she says with a chuckle.
See Poet page 4