Pauline (Polly) Mary Springer Matheson passed away peacefully in her sleep on February 26, 2023 at the age of 95. Polly’s parents Frances and Earland and her grandparents settled on County Road in Plympton and she grew up there on the family farm along with her six siblings. A lifelong resident of Plympton, Polly felt a deep appreciation for life in a small community: the intimacy of knowing all of the people who lived there, the trust that locals could be counted on to lend one another a hand, the comforting rituals of church attendance at the Plympton Congregational Church, Memorial Day parades, Fourth of July celebrations, and, later on in adolescence, dances at the Grange Hall in the center of town.
It was at the Grange Hall that she met the love of her life, Carl Matheson. Carl was a resident of Middleboro who attended a dance at the Grange Hall one evening with plans of being introduced to someone else, but when Polly saw the handsome stranger across the dance floor she knew he had come to dance with her. And he had. They married in 1946 and raised their twin daughters Jacqueline and Wendy on Winnetuxet Road on an old mill site.
Jacqueline and Wendy both married and raised families on Winnetuxet Road. Nana (later Great Nana) was beloved by her 5 grandkids. Many of their summer days were spent in her yard: climbing trees, jumping off her rock wall, and swimming in the raceway behind her house. Popsicles and a pitcher of coffee milk were always at the ready.
Polly showed her love through kindness and action. Her grandchildren remember her for her laugh, her hugs and kisses, her knitted hats and mittens, her delicious fudge and baked goods, and her ever full and accessible jar of candy. She rarely said no. She took delight in spoiling both children and animals but was known to chase a particularly rascally grandchild around with a broom when necessary.
She was a lifelong animal lover, protector, and over-feeder. She took in many strays and had up to 5 cats, a dog and even a duck at any given time. If anyone in the area found a stray they knew they could pawn it off on Nana. She was famous/infamous for feeding all the neighborhood dogs chocolate ice cream in the summer.
Polly was special in many ways, highlighted by the fact she was hit by lightning as a young girl. According to the story, Polly was sitting at the kitchen table with her family when the lightning came through the phone line and struck her. She leapt up, ran outside and ran in circles.
Like most all of us, Polly had struggles in life but overcame most of them (sometimes multiple times); perhaps this is why she was not judgmental. She was tolerant of everyone and everything (especially animals and children) and kept an open mind about people’s beliefs and ways of being. Her nonjudgmental attitude was a comfort to her grandchildren who could confide in her and always felt her unconditional love.
Polly had great renown in her community for her expert and prolific knitting. The town librarian (also an avid knitter) sourced the latest and best knitting books for the library’s collection, and Polly always got first crack at them. She would voraciously knit her way through the patterns within, and so her daughters and granddaughter had a vast and enviable wardrobe of couture hand knit sweaters. Polly rarely knit for herself. She preferred to see her creations modeled on her loved ones, and they were all too happy to oblige her. Some of her granddaughter’s favorite memories are of time spent with Polly, pouring over the pages of knitting books, or the latest issue of Vogue Knitting magazine, and deciding what Polly was going to knit next. Many of these sweaters are still worn today. Such was the skill and love with which Polly knit.
Polly loved gardening and was a founding member of the Plympton Garden Club. She created “Polly’s Triangle,” one of the first traffic islands in town, located at the intersection of West, Winnetuxet and Elm streets. She was also a lifelong member of Plympton Congregational Church, serving as a deacon there. Polly’s daughters have always been grateful that she brought them to church services and to the library every week. Her legacy is a loving, close knit family which is grateful for the blessings of their mother/nana/great grandmother. Polly is survived by her daughter Jacqueline and son-in-law Kevin Rafferty; daughter Wendy Matheson and son-in-law John Wands; grandchildren Laura Graber and husband Steven; Timothy Rafferty and partner Tabitha McLellan; Paul Simeone and wife Emily, Adam Simeone and wife Lauren; great-grandchildren Josephine Graber, Thomas Graber, Jack Rafferty, Johanna Simeone, Genevieve Simeone, Sawyer Rafferty and Miller Simeone; and her sister Carol Springer Berrigan of Maryland. She is predeceased by her husband Carl Matheson and grandson Matthew Simeone, who we believe have welcomed her home.