Nevada County resident celebrates 100 years
GOLD PANNER’S LAMENT
By Milada “Millie” K. Pozar (Originally published in The Union in 1980)
I remember the day the gold fever got me
I bought me a shovel, a pick and a pan,
I’d heard all the tales of gold seekers’ findings
And knew I would find it, if anyone can.
My white-collar job no longer could hold me,
My dreams were filled with vistas of gold.
I lived for the time when I would go searching
Confirming the truth of the tales I’d been told.
The gold fever symptoms really took hold of me
My appetite fled and I could not sleep.
Clutching my gear and how-to books I had purchased,
My excitement kept mounting as I followed my dream.
Those books were a guideline that really would help me
And told me again of the gold in that stream.
Daylight broke early and I eagerly started
To rig up my sluice where the fast water ran.
I moved boulders and rocks that were real heavy,
And shoveled and sifted all that darned sand.
At the end of the day I emptied my sluice box,
Hardly able to wait to place that black sand,
Surely full of gold flakes and large nuggets aplenty,
Into the final stage, the Gold Panner’s Pan.
iWell the water was cold and my body said stop,
But I swirled the water and worked with a will,
Sure I had found it and led on by that thought
As I reached for the bottle I was planning to fill.
Well, the gold was like powder and tweezers were needed
To pick the gold specks out of that sand.
I’d washed it and sloshed it, as sorrow crept o’er me
For I hadn’t disturbed any gold in the land.
But the hours wore on and the coffee was good
And I remembered my dreams of a free man
To search and pursue and find vistas of gold
And knew I would find it, if anyone can!
And the morning brought drizzle and muscles so sore,
The thought of that sluice box held no seduction.
“I’ll go back to the city,” I said, “and what’s more...” I’ll sell all my gear at a slight reduction.”
Millie Pozar came to live in the mountains above Nevada City on land she had bought on her father’s advice years before she retired. Father and daughter both loved to fish and to work in the outdoors, together or separately, and the property on Scotts Flat Road was ideal for them.
When she retired, Millie had been working as a traveling representative of a high-end cosmetics firm, Charles of the Ritz. In her long working life she had a wide spectrum of jobs, including a stint as an auto mechanic, and was soon bumped up to shop accountant.
Millie (Milada Katherine) Pozar was born in Santa Cruz on Nov. 22, 1917, the middle daughter of two Czech immigrants. Her father had served in the Austrian army and had met her mother, a dressmaker, in Vienna. In California, Frank Pozar had a wide range of jobs, worked as a gardener, ranch manager, PG&E lineman, cotton farmer, and hospital orderly. Marie Pozar died young, leaving three motherless girls. There was never enough money to go around, and the girls learned independence early.
Millie was always ready to help needy neighbors herself. Sometimes she would pay them to help around her place. She found a real job for a fellow who had been living in his car down by the lake. Some years ago a sudden ferocious electrical fire devastated her home, and almost cost her life. Rebuilding it, with neighbors’ support (and good insurance) consumed several years of her life, but strengthened her sense of community.
Ruth Coffelt is Millie’s oldest friend, from the days when they would do the garage sale circuit every Saturday, and take the occasional outing to Reno. Rodney Guyton, once Millie’s neighbor on Scotts Flat Road, comes to see her summers, when he returns from his place in Mexico.
Carol Faust, a more recent friend, takes Millie out for what they call “little adventures. It could be to follow a garage sale sign and see what we can find, go for a scoop of chocolate ice cream, get a new bouquet of flowers. Her curiosity is very alive. One day for example, she noticed something on the roof of a house and asked what it was … so I explained about solar panels.
“I’ve heard bits and pieces of the years before I knew her, and realize that Millie has led an incredible, rich, adventurous and full life. It is been my pleasure and privilege to be in her life these last few years and now as she turns 100.”
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