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Sun., Apr. 20
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Canton octogenarian writes about her life

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CANTON - Publishing a book about your life is not necessarily headline news. But when you’re 84 years old and fresh out of college, it’s worth writing about.

Canton’s Myrtle A. Butterfield recently released Cod Liver Oil and Pig Weed - her compilation of essays, poetry and musings.

“It’s me, it’s my life,” the active senior citizen professed. “A lot of the poetry is about family.”

Ms. Butterfield was inspired to write when she enrolled at SUNY Canton in August 2010. One of her first classes was expository writing and from there the words started to flow. She earned her associate’s degree in Liberal Arts in December 2012.

“My semesters at SUNY Canton reinforced my lifelong love of words. Putting my thoughts, feelings, experiences onto paper was such an epiphany,” said Ms. Butterfield who describes herself as a late blooming composer of light verse, both fact and fiction, and whimsical reminiscences.

One of her first assignments, she recalled, was writing a sonnet, a task she described as frightening.

But it didn’t take long for Ms. Butterfield to become inspired, shifting thoughts to her late husband, William, and penning this sonnet titled “My Sweet William’s Hands.”

My sweet William’s hands held secure my heart.

Left no doubts, fears, that I would ever feel.

Gave the assurance of faith from the start.

As a solemn promise, his pledge was real.

Two shared decades ever he kept his vow,

That we should share in all ways what life brought.

But, the coming of Death did make him bow,

Thus, he now lives on only in thought.

Most of all I see, his hands, huge, gentle,

Methodically soothed a fevered brow.

Trust in them was elemental.

Problems to be solved, he always knew how.

They were my guide, support, reason for life.

God gave me this gift, my place as his wife.

“I didn’t like poetry. Now I can’t stop writing it,” she said.

The word “family” was stated steadfastly by Ms. Butterfield, who applauded the work of her daughter, Amy Oney, and illustrator Abigail Powers.

“It’s not just my book, it’s Amy’s, Abby’s and mine,” she said. “My supportive family and friends have made it possible for me to take this wonderful, fulfilling path.”

Ms. Butterfield’s book was printed locally at Commercial Press. The cost of the paperback book is $15.95. It is available at the NYSARC Gallery, 95 Main St., Canton, the St. Lawrence County Historical Association, 3 Main St., Canton, the SUNY Canton Bookstore, Pickens General Store in Heuvelton, and T&R Wines and Liquors in Potsdam. Inquiries can also be made by calling Diana Goolden at 386-4178 or email

“I am proud of what I did. I wish there had been more,” she said. “So far people are liking it. I hope everyone enjoys it as much as I enjoyed writing it.”

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