Making History

Pauline Hackett was born in Fairfax, Missouri, in the early years of a new century.  In 1910, William Howard Taft was president and Model T’s were rolling off the Ford assembly line. 

Today, at the start of another new century, Mrs. Pauline Hackett Arnold still resides in the small northwest Missouri town of her birth. A life-long member of the Fairfax United Methodist Church, she is now its oldest active participant. 

Mrs. Arnold – known to all as “Polly” – has seen plenty of history in her 93 years.  For the youth of her church, however, she is making history. 

In 1996 Polly created a scholarship fund at the Missouri United Methodist Foundation in memory of her husband “Chaulkey”, to help send local high school graduates to college. The church selects the recipient of the $1,000 scholarship each year. 

“The students in the church look forward to applying and take it very seriously,” states Reverend Judy Voss. “Polly’s scholarship is another affirmation of how much this congregation and the community care about the children.”

Children and education have always been close to Polly’s heart. She received a teaching certificate from Central Methodist College in 1929 and ran a successful business – the Fairfax Variety Store — for thirty years. “It was the only place where the kids were waited on before the adults,” says Polly with a laugh. At Polly’s Store the cinnamon balls were called “Uhhs” because of one regular customer, a little boy, who would point and say “Uhhhh” when he wanted to buy one. 

Polly remembers the past and the many landmarks that surround her with clarity and fondness. Her late husband, Charles C. “Chaulky” Arnold, ran the local train depot and telegraph. The depot closed in 1975, but still stands a few blocks from the old store building and the home where Polly grew up. 

The Fairfax United Methodist Church is another landmark. But it is a landmark with plenty of life. Of the 650 people who call Fairfax home, nearly half are members of the church. 

Polly takes great pleasure in her church family and the young lives being nurtured there. Judging from the bright twinkle in her eye, she may just be imagining the next century.