Polly Parker Elniff

In 1957, after living for 15 ½ years in Camden Maine, a coastal town in midcoast Maine, I moved to Sarasota, Florida along with my parents, Helen and Brampton, and my brother, George. May parents had separated for a while but had reconciled and decided to stay together rather than getting a divorce. Dad had come to Sarasota a year earlier to see if there was enough architectural business so he could move his family down.
There was, so we came to Sarasota in August 1957 just in time for for the beginning of school, 10th grade for me and 9th grade for George. Although I missed my friends in Maine, I made some good friends in my new home. Madge, Joanie, Elaine, Sally, Judy, Mary Ellen, Mikey, Carol Crosier, Jane Marsh, and Wendy Utz, being most of them.
Those were good years in Sarasota. Memories of Sarasota High School include football games, slumber parties, Sailor Circus, Mama Deal’s American history class, Miss McCawley’s World history class, and Miss Crockette’s English class, and Keyette club.
Eventually the architectural jobs grew fewer and my mom and dad decided to return to Maine in the summer of 1962.
In the spring of that year I had become a convert to Christianity. Let me back up a few years to explain. During the time my parents were having marital problems, I was devastated. My whole world seemed to be falling apart. In the midst of it I read a book by Catherine Marshall titled "A Man Called Peter" and I saw the movie about his life several times. I noticed that Peter Marshall, a Scottish Presbyterian minister, had a peace and a joy that I did not have. I remember praying to God that if He would keep my parents together, I would believe in Him.
I was in junior high at the time. Three or four years later, we moved to Florida, where I became close to several girls whose parents were loving to me. One of these girls quoted to me a verse from the Bible, John 3:16: "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him would not perish but have everlasting life."
At the age of 20 I asked the Lord Jesus Christ to forgive my sins and give me his salvation, and He did! My mom and dad and brother had a hard time understanding who had happened to their daughter and sister.
My mom and dad moved back to Maine. My dad died of lung cancer in August 1966. George and I stayed in Florida. George was already attending Florida State University in Tallahassee, and I moved to Tallahassee in August 1962, and stayed there for the next 2 ½ years, where I graduated with a BS degree in Elementary Education.
I went on to teach fourth grade to 34 kids at the Grant Park School in Atlanta, earning enough money to pay back my student loan to FSU. I had enough money left for one semester at Columbia Bible College in Columbia, South Carolina. I had felt the need for some Bible training because I wanted to teach in a a missionary school. I applied and was accepted in their Graduate School of Missions.
During the summer of 1967 I attended the Candidate School of The Evangelical Alliance Mission (aka TEAM). The director thought I needed more experience teaching before teaching in a school for missionary kids in a foreign country.
So, in January 1968, I was accepted as a Ninth grade counselor for eleven freshman girls at the Ben Lippen School, a missionary boarding school for girls and boys, 9th through 12th grades. I taught Bible, Physical Education, and helped out in the library.
I stayed there for the next 15 years. It was there I met Terry Elniff, from Jewell, Kansas, who taught American history and English, and served as the Librarian for the school. We were married in Camden, Maine, on July 24, 1971. We continued teaching at Ben Lippen until 1983.
We raised our children there--Chris, Cathy, and Samuel. Terry became the School’s bookkeeper, and eventually got his Masters degree in American history, as well as his CPA license.
We left Ben Lippen in early 1983 but continued living in Asheville. Terry got his MBA and has continued his accounting practice ever since. He also teaches history in the adult education program of Montreat College.
After our youngest, Sam, entered kindergarten, I’ve worked several part-time jobs at God’s World Publications, a publisher of newsmagazines for children and adults. Its flagship magazine is "World" magazine. For the last 16 years I’ve enjoyed cleaning their offices!
We are active in a local church, the Covenant Reformed Presbyterian Church, a congregation of the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA). We thoroughly enjoy having our 2 grandchildren, Nell, 7, and Jack, 2, along with their parents, Cathy and Colin, living just a mile away. Chris and his wife, Kim, are living in Leavenworth, Kansas, where Kim is an officer in the Military Police, and Chris works for an Army contractor. Sam has just applied to Nursing School in Durham, North Carolina. And we have just celebrated 39 years of marriage!